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Next Stop: Belgium

World  (tags: Belgium, facts, food, pictures, travel, world )

- 1962 days ago -
Belgium fires one's imagination. Tourists from all over the world are attracted to Belgium and its cosmopolitan capital, Brussels.


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JL A (281)
Friday July 5, 2013, 6:55 am
So much history--and the visual definition of what Flanders Field means as well. Thanks Kit.

Kit B (276)
Friday July 5, 2013, 7:01 am
Map Credit: lonely planet

5 Facts You Might Not Know

1 The Royal Palace of Brussels is bigger than Buckingham Palace. Although no one lives there, it serves as the setting for government functions and other public events. The structure as it is seen today is relatively new, dating from the early twentieth century.

2 In 2002, Belgium became the second country in the world to legalize euthanasia. A patient can only be euthanized if he is experiencing chronic emotional or physical pain that cannot be treated by any other means. He must be conscious when the request is made. People cannot seek euthanasia if they are not terminally ill or if they are merely unable to afford medications that would alleviate their pain.

3 The Festival of Cats, or Kattenstoet, occurs every third year in Ypres. The parade is the festival's main event. In the Middle Ages, real cats were thrown from the belfry tower, but now stuffed cats are dropped instead. Townspeople enjoy dressing like witches or cats to celebrate the festivities.

4 The Smurfs first appeared in a Belgian comic strip illustrated by Peyo. Peyo was born Pierre Culliford in Brussels in 1928. He later chose to go by Peyo because it was a common mispronunciation of his nickname, Pierrot. Similarly, he developed his Smurf language based on the made-up words he would use to replace words he did not know when he was speaking in French.

5 Even though Audrey Hepburn is more commonly identified as British, she was actually born in Brussels. She moved between England, the Netherlands and Belgium as a child, staying in the Netherlands and adopting a false name during World War II in order to avoid the Germans. She did not return to Belgium to live, although her work with UNICEF was inspired by her childhood experiences during the war and her flight from Belgium.

Top 10 facts about Belgium

ON April 19, 1839, the Treaty of London was signed, recognising the independence and neutrality of the Kingdom of Belgium.

1. The word ‘spa’ for a health resort comes from the town of Spa in Belgium where the ancient Romans enjoyed the health-giving springs.

2. There is a carrot museum in the town of Berlotte in Belgium. It is said to be very small and only men are allowed to join its Carrot Club.

3. There is a memorial at Waterloo in Belgium to the leg Lord Uxbridge lost in the 1815 battle.

4. The Belgian hare is not a hare but a rabbit.

5. The Belgian Congo (now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo) covered an area 80 times that of Belgium.

6. In Belgium ‘French fries’ are called ‘Belgian fries’. The Belgians claim to have invented them.

7. In 2010, Chris Verschueren of Kastel in Belgium, set a world record for continuous chip-frying by spending 83 hours frying 1,500 kilos of chips.

8. Belgium won two bronze, one silver and no gold medals at the London 2012 Olympics.

9. In 2001, Belgium was the only country in the world whose government had more female ministers than male.

10. Belgium produces 220,000 tons of chocolate a year. That is about 22kg of chocolate per person.

Some Belgium Foods

1. Belgian Fries- Calling it a French fry in Belgium is complete and utter blasphemy, so if you want to avoid conflict, make sure you stick to ‘fry’, or ‘Belgian fry’. The Belgians are very protective and proud of the art of cooking the perfect fry- the perfect cut, the perfect oil temperature, the perfect potato, give a Belgian a minute to talk about the fry and they’ll be just as passionate as the Irish are with their potatoes… Apparently the definition of a Belgian fry is- freshly cut and irregularly shaped, fried twice, fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside, at least 10mm thick, served in a paper cone. Oh, and they won’t understand why you would want to put vinegar on them…trust me, I was met with a very confused and blank stare.

2. Giant Cookies- On my visit to Dinant I took this photo of these giant cookies in the shape of Saint Nicholas. I thought they were those baked clay things you hang on the wall, but no, they are in fact giant edible cookies.

3. Sausage- The Belgian’s like their sausage, clearly! The Ardennes region is well known for its charcuterie- cured and prepared meat products including ham, sausage, terrines and patés.

4. Mussels- Mussels or ‘moules’ are an iconic food and they usually come in a big pot with…guess what…a side of fries. They come in a variety of ways- natural, in a garlic cream or the most popular way is ‘moules mariniere’ with white wine, shallots, parsley and butter.

5. Waffles- Here’s a bit of history for you- the waffle was introduced by Maurice Vermersch of Belgium and was served with cream and strawberries. The Waffle was a huge hit with the Americans after the 1964 New York World’s Fair and is still popular today, although in the states they often eat them with maple syrup. The Belgian waffle’s grid pattern is a lot higher, lighter and larger than other waffles and there are several types within Belgium including the Brussels waffle, Liege waffle and stroopwafel.

6. Belgian Chocolates- If there’s one food you can’t avoid in Belgium, its the Belgian chocolate. Belgian’s produce the best chocolate in the world, with pralines being the most popular choice. You’ll have little chance of curbing your sweet tooth with these gourmet chocolates, which are still usually handmade even today. You can take tours of chocolate shops and have a tasting session before you buy. Belgium produces 172,000 tons of chocolate per year sold in over 2,130 belgian chocolate shops.

7. Friterie- Friteries are everywhere in Belgium and a must-try if you’re visiting. Friteries are fast food joints serving, you guessed it…fries and a variety of deep fried stuff. Things you can have deep fried include Frikandel, meatballs, cheese, croquettes and hamburgers. Food comes with a variety of sauces including ketchup, mayonnaise and tartar sauce.

8. Paté- You’ve probably heard of Brussels paté, a smooth pork liver paté, delicious on a bit of toasted bread. Paté is a paste made of ground meat and fats and popular patés include duck and pork. In Belgium it may be cooked in a crust like a pie, called pâté en croûte or baked in a terrine.

The virtual tour of Belgium begins now.

Kit B (276)
Friday July 5, 2013, 7:05 am

New group at Care2 for those who travel and want to share their travels, or those who can not travel and want to learn from others or just talk about their dreams. Come join us and Travel Around The World.


pam w (139)
Friday July 5, 2013, 10:36 am
Belgians are VERY friendly to lost tourists! They make very good beer! They have absolutely amazing art, housed in wonderful museums. And they LOVE their famous statue of the little boy peeing into a fountain! You can even buy chocolates which look just like him! :-)

Tamara Hayes (185)
Friday July 5, 2013, 11:17 am
What a wonderful visual tour I just had, thanks Kit! ;)

Van voorst coll C (324)
Friday July 5, 2013, 12:56 pm
Thanks Kit, I am living in Belgium!and the comment of Pam is lovely as well!

Svetlana B (20)
Friday July 5, 2013, 3:11 pm
Noted & joined the group. Thanks. I love to travel, there are many places I've been to.

Past Member (0)
Friday July 5, 2013, 4:30 pm
When i think of Belgium---i see a civilised tranquil peaceful country! Thanks Kit 4 yet another lovely trip! Looking forward to the next one...and thanks 4 the invite to your new group too.

Eternal G (736)
Friday July 5, 2013, 8:34 pm
I have some very nice memories of Belgium especially Brugge and Antwerpen! Thanks Kit for a very enjoyable post!

Past Member (0)
Saturday July 6, 2013, 1:25 am
Natasha, Belgium is not a peaceful civilised tranquil country. Bordellos, blatant prostitutes on most streets after dark (and in some areas, in broad daylight), attittudes towards women that date back to the 70s, I-couldn't-care-less bureaucracy, an enormous population of illegal immigrants, European crossroad for drugs and human trafficking and a political system that just doesn't work.
Pam, great museums? Really? Depends what you compare them with I guess.

Past Member (0)
Saturday July 6, 2013, 6:09 am

Nicole W (646)
Sunday July 7, 2013, 1:24 pm
LOVE Belgium, very fond memories from long ago, thank you Kit

John De Avalon (36)
Monday July 8, 2013, 6:07 am
Sounds lovely...

Ben O (139)
Wednesday July 10, 2013, 7:11 am
Now we're talking! -I've been to Brussels once, and Antwerpen (Anwers, Antwerp) six times...
No big deal, but I have, and that is a fact...

Ben O (139)
Wednesday July 10, 2013, 7:15 am
Just joined Your group, Kit. As You know I have some stories to tell...starting soon...

Kit B (276)
Wednesday July 10, 2013, 9:17 am

Lovely Ben, I want to read about all of your many travels.
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