Of all the places I have been at, the country that charmed me most is Belgium. After all it IS the land of Tintin and Captain Haddock, my first loves. Also, the host country of the magical Tomorrowland which has been on my bucket list since I had discovered electronic music and long before it became mainstream. Quaint little villages, friendly people, hot waffles, even hotter accent [swoon] and surprisingly healthy nation of potato lovers. Though much of my album from this tiny country consists of landscapes and picturesque town squares, equally exhaustive is my beer list! With every region and its specialist beers I was spoilt for choice and boy did I enjoy it! While the English like to guzzle down their beer like cola, the Belgians enjoy it. Not that they swirl it in their glasses and spit it out, but if you happen to guzzle down a Belgian beer you could be counting stars sooner than you thought. With alcohol levels ranging from 6% to 11% some bars even have restrictions on the number of beers served to a single person [smart move!].
Don’t be fooled by the size of the country, it has much to offer. But they had me fooled by the size of Manneken Pis. Manneken Pis was exactly the size as drawn on the map! […And the map claimed not to be of scale] I have come to believe the Belges have great sense of humour or that they have an overenthusiastic PR mechanism in place. A national symbol that requires a microscope to spot!
The most common question anyone in Brussels is faced with I guess is, “Should I go to Bruges or Ghent?” I’d say Ghent. Ghent is quieter, smaller, prettier, classier and less Disney-fied version of Bruges. It also has a brilliant castle worthy of being in fairy tales with a hidden chamber of torture. Though I am not much of the ‘must-do-must-see’ places, I was threatened by my brother that he would disown me if I skipped Bruges while I was in Belgique. I do not know if it had to do with the fact that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site or that In Bruges was shot there – a film that had him in splits. In all probability, the latter. Bruges invariably was swarming with tourists, not all Collin Farrell fans I hope. My personal pictures were constantly bombarded with one or two unknown entities whom I had to pretend I was friends with eventually since they hogged the better sceneries. The Basilica of Holy Blood was an interesting visit. A place where you can pray to the real blood of Jesus. Yes, that’s as real as God can get!
While I would like to make this post about how ‘awesome’ the country is, my rambling about their beer is probably not going to stop. At the end of every night I found myself ‘sampling’ some more beer from the region [sometimes beyond my capacity] and as much as I remember my mother asking me not to befriend strangers in my inebriated state, “Hello Google” doesn’t quite respond well to my mumblings. So till I find my Prince Charming, I am going to be ‘Drunk in Belgium’ [sorry Beyonce].