About a month ago I spent some time bumming around “Benelux.” This term refers to the countries of Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg. See, my blog is educational, too!
The first stop was Belgium, a land of midieval town centres, beer, chocolate, waffles, and french fries. You can also do some good partying. Add Brussels to the list of places where I have danced on tables.
Ghent, Belgium. At night, people pack the riverside bars; others just hang by the river and drink. A great atmosphere a in a beautiful city.
I need to talk to you about the beer in Belgium. In opinion, it is the best in the world. It is next level to any I’ve seen anywhere (and I’ve been around a little). Not to mention, the sheer number of beers they brew is insane. You won’t even know where to start. After sampling a few, you will never want to drink another Blue Light ever again. And you will be probably getting a bit drunk, as Belgian beers have a very high alcohol content. I have heard that some are up to 12%. If you are a beer fan, you need to get yourself to Belgium!
One of my favourites, this is a Redamarcher Amber. Alcohol content: 10.5%. And we Canadians thought we had strong beer in our country!
To make things more impressive, each Belgian beer is served in its own corresponding glass. Here are just a few:
Contrary to popular belief, the French did not even the french fry. The Belgians did. In the city of Bruges, they even have a museum dedicated to the french fry. In Belgium, 3 million tons are produced every year, and 2.5 million are turned into french fries. I know, I know, your mind is blown. Feel free to use this little tidbit at your next party, you will be the most interesting person there, I guarantee it.
Random picture: believe it or not, this statue is the most popular tourist attraction in Brussels. When I went to see it, throngs of people surrounded it, snapping pictures left and right. Chaos. It’s name? Manneken Pis. Genius.
If I didn’t love Belgium already, here is the icing on the cake: One day I was walking down the street in Ghent when the music floating out of a cafe made me stop in my tracks. Could it be possible?? I went into the cafe… and, yes, my ears did not deceive! They were playing The Tragically Hip! Right on! The Belgians have great taste in music, too! The song? “Courage.”
Next door in the Netherlands, bicycles rule. I’m told there are more bicycles than cars in the country. Cyclists have their own lanes and even their own traffic lights! Everybody cycles everywhere: to the bar, to the supermarket, to work. I love how Dutch girls cycle to work in full business attire: skirts, high heels and all. Very impressive.
A classic Dutch bike: “granny” handle bars, rack, bell, chain and mud guards. All this one is missing is a basket on the front. How cool would I look riding this in Canada?
The capital, Amsterdam, is a great city that, as I far as I know, everybody loves. It is famous for, among other things, its canals, bars, cyclists, “coffee houses” (aka, places to smoke pot), and the red light district. Let me show you a few things:
A classic Amsterdam canal
Every means of transportation has its place on the streets of Amsterdam. From left to right: The tram travels in the slightly-raised centre of the street, then the cars, the bikes, and, at the far right, the people walk.
The Red Light District. If you visit Amsterdam, you should definitely take a stroll through here. It is part of what makes Amsterdam Amsterdam. Nearly-naked prostitutes stand behind glass doors, illuminated by red lights, try to get your attention. The bars and the streets are full of party-goes. The whole thing is quite a scene.
If you love all these Benelux goodness, you can get a little more here.
Here in Poland, the Canadian Embassy in Warsaw just got me a new passport in record time: six working days! That wasn’t even a rushed service, it was just their regular speed. It has to be some kind of record.
Later, good people.