Compared to the whimsical air of Barcelona and roaring spectacles of Paris (as seen in my previous travel diary posts), Belgium’s beauty was more understated. Think Charlotte York from Sex and the City: an old-fashioned beaut amongst her seemingly au courant friends. It was nice to enjoy a pleasant kind of quiet for a change. Although the cold was pretty cruel and the kind that bites (quite expected coming from someone used to harsh amounts of sunlight and humidity c/o the tropics).
This alley was filled with mouth-watering displays of artisan chocolate. Define sweet-tooth torture.
There’s something inherently medieval about Brussels; I could have sworn that amidst the low murmur of dutch conversations, a fiddler was playing a folk tune…
“Today is a good day, today I eat Speculoos” (my apologies for my brother who seems to have been possessed with excitement)
The Lion Hill. Yes, the struggle was real. All 226, not to mention, STEEP steps of it. I’m sorry for all that trouble, lungs – thank you for not giving up on me. I did, however, leave my pride and shame somewhere around the 87th step (if not earlier) because I exhaled and cheered a little too audibly when I reached the top like it was some kind of Mt. Everest excursion. That wasn’t a good day to wear heeled boots, mind you (to my defense, that climb was a spontaneous decision).
The Lion Hill overlooks this vast plain – and as well-groomed and solemn as it looks now, this was practically a graveyard back in 1815 of over 50,000 casualties following the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte in the Battle of Waterloo, putting an end to the Napoleonic Era of Europe. It was a good day for quite the history lesson and some ghost hunting.
After we went to Waterloo we stopped by a carnival to grab a bite. But what we found was anything but bite-sized. Insert incomprehensible Dutch translation for “monster chocolate-stuffed churro” here. And while you’re at it, say hello to diabetes with open arms!
The Orval Abbey Church is such a serene place (the place had an almost eerie aura to it as if it cleansed me of all my negative energy) It’s a monastery located in Luxembourg and legend has it that all of this was built from a widow’s request – after a trout spat out her wedding ring which she dropped in a spring located in the vicinity of the abbey. Truly this is a Val d’Or (Golden Valley)! Hence, the name Orval.
I spy Manilyn Monroe!
This place had an abundance of swans and they are such elegant and long creatures. It was practically begging for a portrait.
Grote Markt. Cardboard cut-outs? Think again.
Brugge was such a quiet place. Literally. You actually had to keep the noise level at a minimum in this hidden village.
Mechelen, Belgium (aka our humble abode for a week)
When we come home from our daily adventures, we like to annoy the sheep in our backyard in Mechelen (stopping only when they decide to chase us out of the pen).
Belgium was cold and cozy, but I can’t wait to share with you our last stop, Italy! Home of Gelato, gladiators and the best risotto I’ve ever had in my life.