Saturday, 13 June 2009

We didn't go to Belgium this year

Quite why Belgium should have come into my mind is a mystery. But then, She Who Must Be Obeyed would probably say that my mind is a complete mystery to anyone, especially me.

The last couple of years, the Lions International Relations Committee (four of us who like a day out) have visited Belgium just before Charter Night to buy Belgian chocolates to use as raffle prizes. Why Belgium should produce such great chocolates I can't imagine. I always think of it as a grotty little country.

Granted, there are some very attractive parts. I'm told that Ghent is, but whenever I have tried to visit the town it has been raining cats and dogs (or perhaps I should say chats et chiens). Bruges (or Brugge) is very attractive, at least in the centre. So is Ypres (or Ieper). Notice that there are two spellings for the name of every city, town or village. That's because this tiny country actually has two languages: French and Flemish (or Walloon). Most of the inhabitants speak both, and also German and English. Even a waitress where we had coffee admitted to speaking five languages.

I don't think much of Brussels. I've been there twice. The first time was about 45 years ago when the coach we were travelling on back from Austria stopped there for a while, then a few years ago the OB decided she would like a day trip while we were staying at Lille. The Grand Place in Brussels is beautiful, but that's about it. The great majority of tourists also visit the Mannekin Pis, a fountain of a little boy passing water (you can guess where from, but I will post a picture all the same).

What very few tourists ever see is another fountain in a narrow dead-end alley off an almost equally narrow old street. This fountain is the feminists answer to the Mannekin Pis is Jeanneke Pis...

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