Woot! Maerose here! 😉 I have been spending many afternoons watching the Big Bang Theory with my boyfriend. I’ve actually seen the series until the end of season 6, but we decided to roll the episodes again. Ha! The jokes really never get old, and it’s nice that we (Carl and I) have something we both enjoy watching. Out of curiosity, I looked up some facts about the scientific theory and was quite surprised to know that the actual proponent was a Belgian cosmologist and Catholic priest- Georges Lemaître! Well, I’m just “quite” surprised, not surprised-surprised!, because I know that many of the scientific theories and concepts we have now were proposed or discovered by religious people, like the Augustinian friar Gregor Mendel is the father of genetics, etc.
Anyway. Belgian. That motivated me to look back and reminisce the time I visited the small European country, which is nicknamed “the battleground of Europe”. Why? Because Waterloo, which lies in the southern part, was the setting to the battle which defeated Napoleon Bonaparte in June 1815, and that battle is considered one of the biggest in world history. 😉
How did I end up in Belgium? Well, this is a rare and true story. I met a friend online, on a penpal site, and because of my (or our) very trusting nature, we agreed to meet up and explore the place together. Jos, my friend, is from the Netherlands, but he decided to move to Belgium because of job opportunities. He was kind enough to accommodate me and show me around his town, the capital city of Brussels, and the Dutch border, Maastricht, without asking for anything in return! It is not uncommon to host travelers in Europe, but I would still advise you to be cautious if you’re planning to do the same thing. 🙂 Yes, there are many good people like Jos, but there are also opportunistic ones. So, get to know your host better — befriend him/her on social media, talk with each other on skype, send postcards, etc. Jos and I are still friends, and a big thanks is due him for introducing Geocaching to me, which eventually became a favorite dating activity for me and bf. 😉
Flying from Copenhagen to Brussels was hassle-free. SAS is not my favorite airline, but it was prompt and safe. I was also impressed when the pilot greeted me with ‘Mabuhay!’ when I entered the plane. ;D In less than an hour and 40 minutes, I arrived in a foggy and gloomy Belgium. haha
The country is home to the international headquarters of the EU and NATO. It boasts of medieval old towns and Flemish Renaissance architecture. But if you’re going to ask me, I’d say that Belgium is all about chocolates, fries, and waffles!
I thought that it was going to be awkward when my friend and I met for the first time. In contrary, we were relax and familiar and everything flowed smoothly, without planning or much fuss. haha The Dutch are one of my favorite people (okay, I like everyone), but the Dutch are particularly nice, warm and hospitable. It was in Amsterdam where I was greeted by airport personnel with a smile and a ‘how are you’.
Jos was very accommodating! He was friends with the mayor and everybody in the neighborhood! I honestly think that the world needs more people like him. 😉 He works with children, and live with his sophisticated cat, Sheba. Jos even made dinner for me! And it was a really good sweet sauce spaghetti!
On the day that Jos and I decided to roam around the capital city, we came across a Loppemarked, or a flea market. It was very big and organized. Lots of antiques and everyday stuff one could find there, and the people were all in a happy mood!
Everything was looking perfect and good on my arrival. First impressions on Belgium? Well, it was very different from up there in the north.. It’s more or less crowded on the streets, and the roads need improvement. 😉 Belgium is a very “developed country with a high income economy”, but just like any other country, it has its modern and less modernized parts. There can also be some traffic jams on the road, so bring patience with you. (Not that heavy traffic in Manila is unknown to me.) Read more on Belgium
I was deeply saddened by the terrorist attack that occurred in Brussels Airport just last month, and I hope to bring back the optimism on Belgium through this entry, or series of entries. I’m excited to write about my experiences in Belgium, and sharing some helpful information about travelling there. 😉 So, see you in the next entry! ❤