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Entries in Belgium (2)

Underrated Belgium

1047435-958424-thumbnail.jpgAll I know is a country known for its beers, chocolates, waffles, mussels and cheap diamonds just can’t go wrong! We only decided to go to Belgium since it was close to The Netherlands, and was an easy flight to Switzerland – other than that we had no idea what to look forward to. We chose Antwerp as our starting point, mainly since there was an uncomplicated 2 hour train ride from Amsterdam.

Antwerp is one of those cities that we had heard very little about thus, we went in with few expectations. I actually think this can be the key for travel, since of course when you have high hopes for a place, and it doesn’t live up to it, it’s such a letdown. That’s why Antwerp was especially exciting, turning out to be an incredibly beautiful city, filled with cathedrals, small quaint streets, docklands around the river, and of course wonderful restaurants.

We had one of the best meals of our entire trip at a little local joint called Zoute Zoen – I have never seen more character packed into a single restaurant than into this joint. That accompanied by a reasonable $27 Euro 3 course meal, delicious food, and superb service, definitely makes it on the “Favorites” list. Ending that evening with a couple local beers made for a perfect evening.

1047435-958426-thumbnail.jpgAt the moment, we are in a town called Brugge. Unlike the larger city of Antwerp, this is a small village-like town that is one of the best preserved pre-motorized cities in Europe. Similar to Amsterdam there are canals that criss-cross the city, making it a very romantic place to spend time. Yesterday we spent the beautiful sunny day wandering the cobble-stone streets, getting lost in a local flea market, walking through a forested park, and of course drinking some Hoegarden and Duvel.

1047435-958427-thumbnail.jpgAlthough most things here have been awesome, there have been a couple minor hiccups. Jason is a salt fiend and especially looks forward to drenching his popcorn at movie theaters with salt. Upon purchasing popcorn to munch on while viewing The Simpsons, he was informed there was no extra salt. I swear to god, I think at that moment the movie was ruined for him. I guess it’s not so popular in Europe to use salt, but rather sugar, since we also ran into this problem in Paris.

Our dinner experience last night was really frustrating as well. Basically, what we thought was a split portion of already very pricey lobster bisque, was actually two portions worth. So, instead of paying what we considered was an expensive $12 Euros for the bisque (which didn’t even have lobster pieces in it), turned out to be a $30 USD mistake – there was nothing we could do since we had eaten every last drop!

Urinating Statue -- The Pride of a City

Of all attractions the city of Brussels boasts, it’s funny what a disproportionate amount of attention goes to this little fountain that attracts mobs of people. Manneken Pis (this is really its name) is a small bronze fountain sculpture depicting a naked little boy urinating into the fountain's basin -- it truly is a landmark in Brussels. There are several legends behind this statue, but the most famous tells of a Duke who in 1142 put his infant boy in a basket and hung it in a tree, to encourage the troops to fight a battle. From there, the boy urinated on the troops of Berthouts, who eventually lost the battle. Who would have thought urine could be such a powerful weapon!?! Check out the video of the masses gathered around this thing.

1047435-962362-thumbnail.jpgFrom urinating fountains, to Belgium waffles, the day couldn’t get any better. We had waited a long time to find just the right waffle to splurge on. I think we did pretty well by choosing one smothered in white chocolate and whipped cream. I managed to sneak a couple bites in of the thing; although Jason was being a little possessive of his delight (in fact he thought I should have gotten one of my own). All I know is by the end of devouring the waffle he was covered in whipped cream, and completely sticky for the rest of the day.

1047435-958425-thumbnail.jpgOur time in Belgium is coming to a close, as we hop a flight tonight to Geneva, Switzerland. It’s probably a good thing we have some distance from the delicious beers here, as well the decadent chocolates and waffles that we’ve been splurging on. This past week in this country has been fabulous – I only wish I could have convinced Jason to buy me a diamond, since I mean they are so much cheaper here. I guess we’ll have to save that for our next trip here. . .