Pt. 5 Belgium

Italics indicate written shortly after experience.

One day at the Office of Tourism, one of the other interns walked in and said,  “I heard a great joke today,” and proceeds to tell the following joke. “How do you keep a Belgian excited for hours? Give them a piece of paper with ‘prize on other side’ on both sides.” 
“Why do French people make fun of Belgians so much?” I asked.
“Don’t you have a population you make fun of in the US?”
“Not a country, but Blondes,” I replied.
“They don’t count, everyone makes fun of Blondes.”

On a side note, that joke also exists in the US; just substitute “Belgian” with “Blonde.” People need to start getting more creative with their racist jokes. 

I later found out, it’s not just the French that pick on the Belgians, Luxembourgers do it too. My friend from Luxembourg says Belgians are “special.” Honestly, if a country the size of Luxembourg is picking on you, there has to be something to it. Jokes aside, Belgium (or at least Brussels and Bruges) is a beautiful country and the Belgian people are extremely hospitable and kind. 

I get the feeling the city of Brussels is kind of like a 13-year-old boy trying to wear daddy’s suit. Despite being the capital of both Belgium and the EU and the only city I’ve seen so far with veritable sky scrapers, the city exudes a youthful care-freeness. It’s the home of Schtroumpfs (Smurfs), Tin Tin, Belgian waffles, and fries.  There are also comic book like murals around the city. After all, who but an impish 13 year old boy would make a sculpture of a child peeing in public somewhat of the city’s symbol?

Bruges, on the other hand, has a very different feel. Though I imagine the city was once steeped in history, now it feels like a huge tourist trap. There are more chocolate shops in Bruges than there are bars in Milwaukee. In any case, this city is known for its chocolate production so, I had to visit the Chocolate museum.

These are sculptures made out of chocolate.

Just walking around Bruges…

Bruges also has a lot of swans.

City center…

…And that was my spring break.

Oh yeah, I got to ride first class back on the TGV.

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