June 19, 2011
Belgium

If I were married to Spain, Belgium would be my mistress on the side. We began our journey early in the morning on Saturday, catching a 7am train from Strasbourg to Metz. Being the cheapskates that we are, we went for the cheapest train possible. This means the early as hell train with a lot of connections. From Metz we transferred to a train headed to Luxembourg, and then finally to a train headed to Namur. In total, it was about a 5 hour train ride, but time flew by because I spent most of it asleep. My ability to fall asleep on trains and airplanes has improved A LOT.

We got to Namur right around noon. Namur is the capital city of Wallonia, which is the southern region of Belgium. It’s located along the Meuse river,  and it’s a charming little city. We were lucky enough to catch a few jet skiers racing in the river AND this weekend happened to be Namur’s fete de la musique. The first order of business was lunch, as we were starving by that point, and we asked for a good restaurant to feast on tasty Belgian waffles. I ordered a Brussels waffle, which is fluffier and less dense than a Liege waffle. It was completely indulgent, covered in lots of cream and sugar. This was actually my first time having a Belgian waffle, period. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it again.

After lunch, we climbed up a mountain (no, I’m serious) in order to get to the citadel in Namur. As you all know, I’m incredibly lazy, so climbing a mountain took a lot of effort on my part. Once we got up there, however, the view was incredible. I must have snapped at least ten pictures of the city. We took a little tour of the citadel and then went to go check out the music festival.

It rained pretty much all day on Saturday, so we spent some of the time huddled under buildings or our umbrellas. That was the only thing I wasn’t a huge fan of in Belgium. It rains even more than Strasbourg?! Once the rain finally stopped, we went to have a drink at one of the local bars. That was pretty exciting, because Belgium apparently knows how to party! We heard a lot of bottles crashing, and even got to sort-of witness a bar fight. I say sort-of because we only heard it and the ruckus, but didn’t actually see it. That was when we decided we should probably head back to our hostel.

The next morning (aka this morning!), we caught a 10am train to Brussels! The weather was still icky, but it rained much less than it did on Saturday. This city was a blast. We spent some time around the medieval square just marveling at how beautiful the buildings were, and of course, went to go see the Manneken Pis. The Manneken Pis is the famous statue of a little boy peeing. He gets dressed up in different costumes during holidays, but unfortunately he was naked for us.

Since we had a Brussels-style waffle yesterday, clearly we had to have a Liege waffle today. These are the street vendor kind (hooray for 1euro waffles!), and my favorite if I had to pick between the two different styles. These things are DENSE and deliciously sticky and sweet. I had one early in the day and then got TWO to-go on our way back to the train station. What? Don’t judge.

For lunch, I had the famous Belgium meal of a bucket of mussels, frites, and a beer. The mussels were another thing that sold me to this country. I almost cried of happiness at getting a bucket full of mussels. Tasty tasty.

After lunch, we wandered into the museum of chocolate. It took a lot of willpower to not stay in there for hours and eat all of their chocolate. Oh, and there’s a chocolate statue of the Manneken Pis. Awesome.

Before we ended our day, we bought some Belgian chocolate to bring back home. I’m currently eating my way through some of mine. I bought a bar to share with my lineage at Psi U (and Jairo), but I can’t promise that I won’t give in and just eat it myself before the end of the summer. Hopefully I can resist. I would have gotten a lot more, but that stuff is pretty pricey…

Belgian people are also incredibly friendly. Not to say that the French are mean or anything, but a lot of people were so happy to have conversation with us. We got a free round of amaretto after dinner on Saturday, because our waiter was awesome. Even the lady who gave us our cappuccino in Namur and spoke absolutely no English (Gosh I hope my French isn’t painful to their ears) wanted to know more about why we were in Europe.

3.5 more hours until we get to Strasbourg. Let’s see if I can sleep the time away.

Oh, I never made a post about Luxembourg last week. Dammit.