Waffles, chocolate, beer, and fries. The four most amazing things Belgium is known for. The beer is STRONG. One pint and that is ALL you need. Let me assure you that I am not exaggerating. Belgian beer ranges from 8-12% so don’t get cocky with Belgian beer! I did not take the advice of our tour guide and helped myself to a pint extra and found myself not feeling great the next day. But I learned a great little fun fact that French fries actually originated in Belgium! Fries are a Belgian dish! It was during World War (2?) when American soldiers were eating fries in Belgium, but because half of the country speaks Dutch and the other half speaks French (the American soldiers were in the French-speaking half), the Americans heard everyone speaking French so they thought they were in France. They traveled back to America and introduced French fries. Way to go America. You nailed it. Spot on. Ha! What a funny story. Spread the word! Fries are Belgian! The waffles are DEEEEEEEEEELICIOUS. I don’t know who we are trying to kid when we make “Belgian waffles” back in the states because waffles in Belgium cannot be replicated! They are more dense, and almost taste as if there is caramel (?), or hell, maybe honey in them. There is such a subtle yet more satisfying sweetness to Belgian waffles, that are from Belgium. Tastey!
Now that I’ve got us on the topic of sweetness, let me just “mention” Belgian chocolate. Belgian chocolate is, how should I say? …………………………………………………………… A GIFT FROM NEPTUNE AND VENUS AND THEIR LOVE CHILD. Yeah, I guess that description will do. That was not in any way a dramatic way of emphasizing the magnificentness that is Belgian chocolate. But in all seriousness, I have never experienced an overwhelming satisfaction from a mere taste of chocolate like I did in Belgium. Family and friends, you all know quite well that I truly and sincerely love chocolate with the entirety of my being so you should know that I mean business. My sweet and generous friend Megan got a three-tier full of mini treats at this wonderful “The Old Chocolate House” in Bruges (north of Brussels so they spoke Dutch, not French!) and she kindly shared her treats. HOLY CRAP! Every small bite of chocolate mousse, brownie, cupcake, and every sip of hot chocolate was a life-changing experience. Literally, the first five minutes of us receiving our treats was silent because we were both staring in amazement at the sweets before us and we were simply speechless at how good everything tasted. Wow. I really hope you’ve all guessed how good Belgian chocolate is. I don’t know how much more dramatic I can get in my descriptions of Belgian chocolate. By the way, did I mention Belgian chocolate is amazing? There. I think that just about does it.
So the food was great as you can all decipher. The city of Brussels was honestly not my favorite though. There isn’t anything special about Brussels, it just happens to have great food and it’s a biggish city in Belgium. I learned about some of Belgium’s history but it was kind of like reviewing a history class. I wasn’t intrigued. Although, I will say I found it funny hearing the story behind the statue of the little boy peeing into a fountain. So there used to be a market right in front of where the statue is, right? Well, back in the day, tanning (process of making leather) required a special ingredient…..pee! Also back in this day lots of people were poor but children couldn’t work so the only way they could help their families get any money was……if they sold their pee at the market! Know the phrase “piss poor”? That is where that phrase comes from. It’s a story I’ll tell my grandkids!
Aside from Brussels, the city of Bruges (also known as Brugge), is a beautiful city in Belgium! It feels like you’re stepping back in time! Granted a lot of tourists travel there, but even with all the people, you can walk around and find quiet paths, alleys, benches, cafes, shops, and time just slooooooows down. It was honestly relaxing being in Bruges. And every time we turned a corner we all said “oh wow, that’s pretty” because everything about this town is simply pretty and beautiful! So although I don’t highly recommend Brussels, if you find yourself traveling to Belgium PLEASE try to find your way to Bruges because you will not be disappointed.
Total sidenote, but every city in Europe has Christmas shops. It’s ridiculous. (No, I don’t enter all of them….just most of them). But there was this Christmas store in Bruges and holy sweet lantis of Belgian chocolate, there was the most beautiful hand-crafted Christmas village decor, ornaments, nativity scenes, aprons (randomly enough) and oh my gosh. Everything was just so beautiful and pretty and it made me feel really happy on the inside and so excited for Christmas which is less than 270 days away. None of my sentences are structured grammatically correct anymore because I’m just too excited about chocolate and Christmas. Is this what love is? It must be.
So Belgium wasn’t my favorite stop on this crazy five week adventure but Emma and I got to see our friend Megan and visit Bruges. In total, a good trip with friends. My next blog will tell the tales of Barcelona! Enjoy my Brussels/Bruges photos below!
Salté! (how the Dutch say cheers but not sure how it’s spelt)