Preconcieved Notions: Brussels, Belgium

Posted by Christopher Wink on Oct 9, 2008 in Preconceived Notions |

We should be in Brussels, Belgium now, trying to nab a hostel, which we didn’t reserve. More fun that way, eh? Let’s see what I expect.

The country of nearly 10.5 million people is small - roughly the size of Maryland, though it has half as many people - and surrounded by two of the continent’s larger countries - France and Germany, both of which have large influences on the United States.

So, by comparison, I haven’t the foggiest conclusions to make about Belgium or its capital city, Brussels, where we are making a stop now.

Yeah, the waffles, Sean is shouting. Before I set foot here, I pictured ancient Gothic architecture and chocolate stores in its urban settings and rolling green pastures in its rural reaches.

Its political influence - and perhaps rationality - aside, I imagine kinder citizens, not like rougher U.S. cities like Philadelphia or larger business hubs like London. That may be a bit off base considering Brussels was recently named the burglary capital of the European Union, by the EU’s statistical collection agency.

I also expect a far less developed sense of nationality than in the United States or even other countries in Western Europe because of their muddled history and divided language class.

What the hell language do they speak there? Three and it changes frequently for some. Belgium has three official languages - most of whom speak Dutch, though 40 percent and growing, much of it based in the south, speak French and a small minority speak German.

With all those language choices, I think English may not be as prevalent here as other international cities of Europe.

A note of frustration for me. Belgium is the country; Belgian the people. The latter also rides high as an adjective, a Belgium waffle would be like calling that an America hot dog. Maybe later Sean and I will have some fine Belgian delicacies.

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Mom Wink
Oct 9, 2008 at 8:39 pm

Sounds like things are well. Hope you got to try the waffles. And hope you got to use some French. Stay well guys. Love ya

Ian Fulguirinas(dragonkilernz)
Oct 11, 2008 at 7:42 am

Actually I found Brusselians really friendly and I found it seemed like everyone spoke English, Dutch and French…last night I had to draw a diagram to some guys taking me from the Belgian border to Germany, because I was having trouble telling them I didn’t care where in Germany they took me, as long as they dropped me off at the train station, as I was going to catch a train across Germany…they got it in the end, but they laughed at my picture of a train. It was pretty bad, in all honesty.



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