This is a series in which I share simple & sometimes complex stories & photographs from my adventures backpacking Europe in the Summer of 2011
people I met
places I visited
lessons I learned
(you can find issue one: lagos here)
fulfilling my wanderlust- issue 2: Brussels
what they say about Belgian chocolate
& Belgian frites is true.
during my time there, i threw out any notion of eating whole foods & completely indulged. i ate way too many orders of "frites" (by far the best fries i have ever had in my entire life) with curry ketchup from countless street stands & certainly put down a few too many belgian beers.
one of the days i find most memorable from my entire trip was one spent in Brussels, Belgium. we were couch-surfing with an old man in the town of Linkebeek just south of Brussels. he was quite the character. when seeing his name (which i can't remember at this point) on the couch-surfing website, we pictured a wee old man in a wool vest, not unlike the likes of a hobbit. so you can imagine our surprise when a six foot three, burly, older man in a leather biker vest picked us up at the train station.
we left his home around noon to catch the train to the city. our first stop was a waffle stand. i couldn't be in Belgium without eating one of their famous waffles. soon after, we discovered a real gem of a vintage shop where i picked up some very old postcards and photographs for my collection, as well as some ribbon to make a camera strap with (still on my to-do list.) we decided that this day would be open for exploration. we would do whatever felt right at the moment (i suppose most days of those two months were this way to some degree, but this one felt especially so.) we eventually found ourselves on a street bustling with bars & cafes, drinking delirium beers, meeting new people, and acquiring pink elephants(the mascot of the beer we were drinking) from our waitress.
after spending what seemed like two hours sitting beneath belgian flags & listening to musicians busking about, we left to explore the city in our day drunken state (Belgian beers are MUCH stronger than typical american beers.)
|cactus beers our new Czech friend Radek bought us a round of. we had met him just moments before this photograph was taken.|
we ended up in the middle of La Grand Place, where my sister danced with an adorable chinese lady, we people watched, and admired a very old sculpture of Christ.
we peeked into a chocolate shop just before hitting the train station to head back to meet our couch surf host who had promised to show us the forest just outside of the city later that day. we noticed a frite stand across the street from the station and ran over to pick up an order. my first taste of this deliciousness. we devoured them & laughed at how we would have to keep the fact that we had tried them a secret from our host, who had said he wanted to take us to the "best stand around" to try them for the first time. we played that one off quite well in the end, acting like we had never tasted anything like them, when we actually had just hours before.
one of the best parts of the day was when we went to the forest- the rich, mystical forest i would not have known existed had we not been staying with a native. i never thought i'd be taking a hike in a forest during my visit to Brussels, but i will jump at any opportunity i have to pretend that i'm a woodland creature, so i was quite content.
it was lush, green, vast, & so very beautiful. we adventured for a few hours, lying on fallen trees & hiding away in a teepee we discovered deep in the woods until dusk arrived. it was truly magical.
missing you, Belgium, & all the goodness you brought to my soul!