Sunday, August 1, 2010

Belgium - Liege & Brugges

You travel to different corners of the world for different reasons. Sometimes its in search of history or beauty. Sometimes it's family or friends. Sometimes it's just for yummy food!

A few months back we caught an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Fly on The Food Network. Bobby challenged a NY food trucking making waffles. As we would learn not just any waffle, but Liege waffles. They are like a dessert pastry. Crunchy with caramelized sugar on the outside, doughy and dense on the inside. They looked amazing. We search in vain to find some place in Dallas that made them. (There is a place now, Fruitelicious in Carrollton). So, you think maybe we'd go to NYC...nah, we were already planning out trip to Europe, so why not put Liege on our map.

We were on our way to a campground that was on the grounds of a 16th century chateau, Domaine du Ch√Ęteau de Dieupart. We decided we needed to locate a supermarket to pick up food for a few more dinners. The GPS said there was a Lidl Market about mile away from our campsite. Unfortunately, one wrong turn had us driving our camper up ridiculous narrow hill. We did find a place to turn around and prayed we would not meet any large vehicle on the way up. We survived and found the supermarket. So incredibly Spartan, but we found the things we needed. We headed back and found the campground, by the side of a brook...hidden behind what....a huge Supermarket! We didn't recognize the name and missed it on the way by. Ah well, we stopped there in the AM on the way out and picked up the few things we were missing. (I needed sewing things to fix a suitcase that broke and Alex was in desperate need of chocolate syrup for his ice cream). The campsite was lovely.

There was only internet at the bar inside the Chateau. We headed up there after dinner and overheard one of the most hysterical exchanges of the trip. A bunch of drunken Irish were outside indulging in the beauty of Belgian ale. One friend spend a good 20 minutes telling the other how he was now dead to him and F U. Literally hundreds of f bombs. Alex, Frederick and I could not stop laughing. Eventually the drunk guy made his way inside and proceeded to ask Frederick why we American's had not cleaned up the mess we made in the Gulf. We decided it was best not to tackle that subject and made our way back to our site. We cooked some dinner and feasted on the ice cream we bought at the supermarket. The next day we were in search on waffles and were on our way to Brugges. The owners of the campsite said we'd have to make our way into Liege to get the waffles. I guess we figured they'd just be hanging from trees. We drove to Liege center, but after several circles around, we determined, there was just no place to park our beast and no sign screamed, WAFFLES HERE!

Thwarted, we drove off to Brugges. Frederick, Alex and I went to Brugges on our first Europe trip in 2005. It was our first stop on the continent, our first exploration of a non English speaking country (well really everyone is Belgium speaks English, but it's not the primary language). Our first train navigation. We we so impressed with the medieval city.


Same spot....2005

To see the city and be entertained, I recommend a Collin Farrell movie, In Brugges. Very, very funny in a very twisted way and a beautiful love letter to the city. We made a point to come here so Frederick's parents could see the city...and Frederick's Dad could see one of the places of his heritage. Yes, perhaps it's just a story, but there is a genealogical reference book on the history of the Fosters/Foresters family that traces their linage to the town of Brugges in the 900's. Anacher the Great had several successors, through to Baldwin the IV. He had a daughter, Matilda of Flanders who was kidnapped by William the Conqueror on his way to England and taken as his bride. Matilda's brother, Richard, came with her to England and fought beside Williams in the Battle of Hastings and crusades to Palestine. William took over England and gave lands on the Scotland border to Richard the “Forester” of Flanders to build Bamborough Castle. The Foresters lived there for many generations. One of the descendents decided to move to the new world. He settled in Ipswich, MA, in a house that still stands today. Frederick's Dad's great grandmother was a Forester, descended from this line. Frederick's great grandfather went to the Philippines in 1901, married and had 2 children. The oldest of these 2 children is Frederick's paternal grandmother.

We did not know this the first time we visited, but now 3 generations of Dorados would soon be standing in front of their ancestral home.

We stayed at another rowdy camp. This one had a “Hard Rock Casino” and all the other craziness of the last campground. I can't believe that can rip off the whole logo, guitar and all and no one seems to care.

We had to walk a mile plus to get to the bus stop to take us into the city of Brugges. Once there, the GPS directed us through the winding streets to the city center. It was acutually chilly, what a nice change. Alex has to have some chicken nuggets from Quick..the Belgian version of Mc Donalds. He ate there on our last trip 5 years ago and was no longer apprehensive about eating in Europe. Since then, we have pics of him in front of McDonald's and the like all over the world. Now, we bring our own ketchup, as you have pay for each pack on this side of the Atlantic.

We went in search of the Belgian delicacy Moulles and Frites. Mussels and French Fries. On the way, we smell it.....smells like yummy...smells like waffles! We found a little shop selling Liege waffles out the window of their store front. Yes, they are as good as promised. I now am on a quest to figure out how to make them at home. We found a small restaurant in 600 year old building. It looked good. We didn't have a reservation, but they told us if we could eat in less than 2 hours, we could have a table, as someone had reserved that table at 8:30PM. Piece of cake!

After dinner we strolled around the streets then made our way to the bus station for the bus back home. We got there just after the bus left, so we had to wait an hour till we could get the next bus. If we had a car, we'd be there in 10 minutes. I just can't love public transportation for this reason. You waste a lot of time! Once we got back to our stop, we still had the mile plus walk back to the camp. Exhausted, we attempted to do some laundry. It was 1 in the morning and the first load wasn't dry and the 2nd load wasn't in the dryer (2 washers, 1 dryer). We decided to bring them back and hang them overnight. No luck with everything was just as wet in the AM. We would just have to dry them at the next spot.

Next up...Amsterdam.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good sait, its very interesting//