Thursday, June 2, 2016

Top 8 Things to See & Do in Belgium

One of the tiny countries that often goes overlooked by many, this small country is rich in history and comparison.  It is especially educational to visit Holland after finishing with Belgium or vice-versa.  What made these two countries so different was a mere 80 years war and a battle for religious freedom between Catholics and Protestants.  Today, that history shines brightly in the extravagent Belgian Cathedrals and the white washed walls of Dutch churches.

1.Eat waffles
Definitely a must for any traveler to Belgium.  To be quite honest, you can find these sugar coated waffles throughout Europe, but in Belgium, you get them fresh and for a Euro each.  Talk about a good reason for needing a dentist after your European vacation.

2.Eat Frites
Alright, so these are literally just french fries put in some weird paper holder and covered in mayonnaise and ketchup, but there's something about eating french fries, in the place where they came from.  And don't worry, you will look a little strange eating the big pile of fries as elites walk past you in suits, but it's all part of the experience.

3.Take pics with the peeing statues (Manneken Pis, Jeanneke Pis)
This number is important because there are a couple important things to know other than you should see the statue.  The first is there are TWO statues!  The first is the famous one of a little boy peeing, from whence the legend really comes.  The second is a female version that was added in 1987.  The other thing to keep in mind is that they dress up the statue throughout the week, he has hundreds of costumes, and they even post a calendar.  The last thing to keep in mind is that sometimes throughout the year they will hook the statue up to beer kegs and yes, you can drink out of the peeing statue.

4.Visit WWI sites
There are quite a few  WWI sites to visit as Belgium landed square on the lines of the trenches.  From Mons to Ypres, if you're battlefield hunting, this is the place to be.

5.Ghent Cathedral & Castle
Both of these are architectural marvels and beautiful elements of this ancient town.  The castle is one of the best preserved large moats left over from returning crusaders.  Its thick, stone walls are testament to its fortitude and strength.

6.Meuse Valley
Perhaps most famous to Americans as the object of the German counteroffensive at the Battle of the Bulge, this important industrial zone and river has long been an important trading router into and out of Europe.  One of the prettier cities in this area is Dinant, which has been rebuilt after shelling from American troops trying to dislodge Germans housed in the town.

7.Climb the hill of Waterloo
Here the great Napoleon was finally vanquished.  Come and reminisce what the world might have looked like had that battle gone differently.

8.Walk the old town of Antwerp
Antwerp is one of those old European cities that it is easy to simply become lost in an bygone era.  The old stone bridges and tight cobblestone streets transport you back in time.

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