Belgium August 2018

Every two years in the center of Grand Place Brussels a flower carpet is constructed. I read that they do this in other places but this is the largest one in the world. At night there is a light and sounds fireworks show.

Near the Atomium, which was constructed for the world fair in the 1950’s is a cute park called mini europe where there are about 60 animated models of places in Europe.

I’m staying with a host family in Brussels. I also took a day trip to Bruges. It was the most beautiful scenic train trip yet. It’s as if I am being transported back in time. The interesting thing is that the people of Brussels which is the capital of Belgium speak French, whereas in the area of Flaunders where Bruges and Ghent are located they speak Dutch.

Homemade Belgian Waffles are usually eaten with no toppings. The batter is thicker than pancake batter and contains a lot of butter, as well as sugar in the batter so there is no need for syrup. Sometimes they may sprinkle a little powdered sugar on them but it’s more for decoration. Waffles are also usually eaten at 4:00pm, more as a snack to have with tea, not as a breakfast food. There are two main varieties. Brussels style Waffles are large and fluffy with crispy deep pockets and Liege style Waffles, where the batter is really thick and the edges of the waffle are uneven. Often times they put pearl sugar in them which carmelizes as it’s cooked. Liege style Waffles are chewier and have a heartier taste. Of course every family makes their own little variations too.

I also booked a house-sitting gig close to Brussels, which was about a 30 minute car ride going into the country, in the small town of Overijse. The neighborhood is gorgeous. I could have had this place for a month but I wasn’t sure I wanted to be isolated for that long. Luckily this host family was fine with just a short stay because they just wanted someone to water the houseplants while they are on vacation for a month. Actually, it’s not as remote as I first thought it was going to be. There is a bus that goes right into one of the train stations that takes you into the center of Brussels. And a little over a half mile up the road is a very large grocery store. A little further is the main village with lots of quaint shops in front of a very populated Forrest with hiking trails. There’s even taxi and Uber service here. When I arrived there was a welcome note that asked if I wouldn’t mind doing something useful with the Macintosh apples from their tree. So today I canned them several jars of applesauce and some apple jam. They’ve also have a lot of blackberries in the yard which I’ve been indulging in. Oh and get this… My previous host volunteered to drop me off here and is also coming by to pick me up and take me to the airport. Turns out she has friends who live in the area and she said she didn’t mind. Can I get any luckier than that!!! I tell you I have meet some amazingly accommodating people on my travels.