Time flies when you’re having fun! It’s been how many months since I shared with you my first thoughts and experiences of Belgium and I’m still here! So there’s no time like the present for update #2.
As the festive month of December rolled in and made its annual appearance, my hopes of a white Christmas were severely destroyed with no snow in sight. On a positive note, it bought the perfect excuse from me to try more things ‘Belgiany’ (food) and to overindulge in true English style. I will admit I didn’t like the idea of not having a traditional Christmas dinner, however I was open to any new suggestions and happy to do Christmas the Belgian way. I wasn’t disappointed!
HELLO meat fondue! Meat fondue is something I’ve never seen before, I’m only familiar with the chocolate kind. So when I heard the words ‘fondue, dinner, Christmas’ my mind was thinking ‘chocolate as a main meal on Xmas day? Gosh, these Belgian people must really love chocolate’. A little later, to my relief out popped the word ‘meat’, I was happy. Anyhow there is something highly satisfying about stabbing a piece of meat, cooking it to your exact liking and watching it fry away in front of you. There is a first for everything. It will definitely make an appearance on my dinner table again.
I have also been introduced to a lovely new friend. He comes in liquid form, has multiple personalities and likes to be sipped on. You may already be familiar with him, Mr. Jenever?
We met at the Christmas market in Leuven. I absolutely loved walking around the market getting into the festive spirit seeing all of the local products. Despite the rain and the cold weather, Mr. Jenever was the perfect way to warm up my toes. I’ll be meeting up with him again very shortly, we are going to be good friends! Another Belgian bonus.
An unexpected challenge, yet something I would usually take for granted without even thinking about it, is driving. I’ve held my English licence for eight years now and not blowing my own trumpet, I would class my left hand side driving (English side) pretty good. My right hand side (Belgian side) on the other hand… let’s just say there is room for improvement.
I’ve had to drive to and from Brussels for work and have discovered changing gear with the opposite hand is not easy! It feels so uncomfortable that I’m having to control my desire to do it with my left hand, which is obviously not possible. The gear change itself isn’t as smooth as myself or my boyfriend would like it (as he likes to keep reminding me). But don’t panic I’m not a danger to the Belgian roads, it’s just the gear thing which I need to work on!
Fun in the Flanders. We recently took a few days to visit friends over in the Flanders! Luckily for me and the other road users I was the designated passenger, not the driver. What a lovely part of the country. I’m a seaside girl at heart, so I really enjoyed being back on the coast. It reminded me a lot of home, with the countryside and the sea so close to each other. The weather was true to fashion, wet and windy. It certainly blew the cobwebs out and quite possibly could have blown me back to the UK. But one thing was missing was the vending machines. My favourite Belgian revelation so far (as you may have noticed). I was told by friends that there are SHOE vending machines around that area, for me this is even better than the bread venders. So whilst we were there, I kept my keen eyes open as I would just love to purchase a pair of shoes from a machine.
You crazy Belgians never fail to amuse me.
So until next time…