The first post here was supposed to begin with something like, “We just arrived in Belgium.” In reality — and true to form — we’ve already been here for 3 weeks. So, to get us caught up, some observations from Amanda, a first-timer:
- Belgium (Flanders) is way greener than expected
- Almost all houses are made entirely of brick, giving everything a very solid, tidy, nice appearance
- There are true towns everywhere. These aren’t towns with two streets, or small cities, but self-contained, bustling, big towns. And they’re everywhere. To Amanda, an East Coast suburbanite born of housing developments and strip malls, this is remarkable.
- We’ve been to Antwerp three times already because it’s fabulous — a perfect mix of old European charm and modern European sophistication.
- A critical region from the Middle Ages through the 20th century, Flanders is dripping with history and culture — and the people here appreciate it
- Belgian beer is to be savored like wine, not chugged like Bud. This is difficult as it is delicious.
- The French paradox extends to Belgians, but apparently does not extend to Amanda
It has been a delightfully rich 3 weeks, made lovelier by Joris’ kind and generous family and friends. After spending Christmas with the Lemmens’, we ship off to Scotland on Saturday (Dec 27).
So, more to come as we go…
In the meantime, a happy Solstice to our friends in Maine. Fingers crossed for the pig…