10 Things I Learned About the Land of 1,000 Beers
It took me 64 days to realize this country is more than just beer.
In 2016, I spent nearly a whole summer in Belgium. I made a handful of local friends who showed me around. This is what I learned. Tell me how much of Belgium I missed!
1. French Fries, alone, is an acceptable meal.
Look around, everyone is making a meal out of the gigantic, heaping mound of fries. You can get your own for around 3 Euros.
2. Belgians like mayo. A lot.
Take another look at those fries. That white mound on top of the fries is mayonnaise. And expect to find mayonnaise on about everything else as well.
3. Belgian waffles leave something to be desired.
I’ll admit, I stayed on the cheap side and got a sugar-powdered waffle. There are lots of variations. But I was not blown away in the least. Next time, I’ll get the more expensive one loaded with chocolates and fruits.
4. Don’t get Cuberdons, just don’t.
Don’t get them. More for me that way. These are the most delicious candies I’ve ever had. If you’re in Ghent, you can get fresh-baked Cuberdons. At the city center, find the two carts parked by the Subway. They’re far better than the store-bought Cuberdons. There’s even a violent rivalry between the two makers.
5. Beer, beer, and more beer.
We all knew about Belgian beer before coming. For that reason, this one shouldn’t have made the list. Just don’t ask a group of locals which beer to order. They all have different answers for you.
6. Brussels isn’t the only city to see in Belgium.
As a matter of fact, it could very easily be my least favorite. Between the “big four” in Belgium: Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, and Brugge, it is not the most unique. Regardless, keep it on your list because it IS worth seeing the Grand Place.
7. You’re very centrally located in Belgium.
I cannot speak enough about how convenient Belgium is as a place to visit. Europe is, quite literally, at your fingertips. London, Amsterdam, Paris, and even Hamburg aren’t more than 3 hours away by public transport. Add those in with the proximity of great Belgian cities and you got yourself one hell of a Euro-trip.
8. Everyone knows English.
Can’t decide between learning Dutch or French before your trip to Belgium? A matter of 20 minutes separates the Dutch-speaking territory and French-speaking quarters. So, which should you learn?
If you have to choose, I’d learn French. The Dutch side of Belgium speaks English at a much more fluent rate. Although, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who can’t help you in English in Brussels (French), too.
9. You need a bike.
Ghent and Antwerp, in particular, are great biking cities. It’s something you must do to take in the whole culture. All four of the major cities of Belgium are ideal for biking. You’ll notice it right away by the abundance of bikers you see on the roads.
10. It may be a small country, but it has a lot of history.
Belgium is somewhat of a well-kept secret in respect to its tourist scene. Like the forgotten step-sister next to Amsterdam and Paris.
But that is not at all what Belgium is. Belgium is rich in gorgeous medieval cities. And has a full history even when compared to larger countries.
Traveling to Belgium? I spent several months there in 2016. I was chaperoned by locals which gave me a look at the true culture. Don’t be afraid to ask me questions and I will help to the best of my limited knowledge.
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