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Friday, June 7, 2013

France Week 5 aka Belgium

Welcome to Belgium: The waffles are five star, the people are warm and friendly, and the atmosphere is such a mix of people and cultures. Here I am in the Grand Place de Bruxelles (Brussels). The Grand Place is basically just a wide open square in the middle of town where everyone gathers. It feel like the heart of the city. While in Belgium, here is what I noticed:

1. Waffles! Seriously, truly, truelove, so good. I could have only eaten waffles while I was there and been so happy. They are so unreal it is ridiculous - better than any pastry in France any day. Out of all the perishable things I wish I could bring home to my family, this one is top on the list.

2. The architecture was unlike anything I have ever seen. I basically took a ton of pictures that look pretty much all the same because I was so fascinated with what I was seeing. We took a boat ride down the river in Bruges and learned a petit bit about the history. I could just imagine the streets bustling with trade and the people of the past.

3. Brussels is one of the capitals of the European Union. The city is the walking definition of cosmopolitan. We met a guy who spoke 15 languages, and although he is an outlier, just walking around the streets you can hear many languages weaving together. And, we got to tour the European Union Parliament. I absolutely loved learning about European politics. And I might even go as far as to say that foreign politics should be taught in high schools. It was fascinating to see how other governments work and realize that different governments work for different groups of people with different historical backgrounds. The parliament building was designed so that people would have many opportunities to meet and interact with their coworkers just by walking the halls. There really was such an atmosphere of peace there, and it was fascinating to see how all these different countries can all work together so well. I am not saying the European Union is perfect, but it is a pretty amazing system. I was talking to my host mere about it, and she pointed out how difficult it has been for some countries to manage their economies with the euro as their money system. Next spare time activity: learn more about the EU.

4. Tout le monde rides bikes. Which is great. I am a bike advocate. I love bikes. Biking is my favorite way to travel actually. Someone should invent a foldable bike that can fit in a backpack. Someone probably has.

5. I feel like maybe swans are native to Europe. They are everywhere.

6. I got to see a piece of the Berlin wall which was way cool. Another thing to add to my to learn about list: the political implications that accompany the Berlin wall and what exactly doe it symbolize to different groups of people?

Basically, I loved Belgium. But mostly, I loved learning about other cultures, peoples, and politics...and eating waffles.

Loving me some Belgium

The EU Parliament

Some modern art in the EU parliament.
If you touch it in one spot, the entire structure moves
in different ways symbolizing how what happens in
each country affects the rest of Europe.

Belgium is also famous for their fries.

The Berlin wall.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds amazing! wish I were there with you! I love waffles! and you!!!!