A Chocolatey Day (Supplemental)

      Woke up before Lilly, which really isn’t much of a surprise knowing her. I checked email and such instead of waking her up but her mother took care of that a few minutes later, and I chuckled in amusement. After arising I preceded down to the main floor of the house where I was greated by the family and asked what I wanted for breakfast, to which I had no clue. So I had strawberry tea, and something called ‘koffiekoeken’ in Dutch. It was quite scrumptious. Liselotte’s sister gave us grief for a slow start since she was going with us for the beginning of the day. (Liselotte (Lilly) is my good friend who lives in Belgium.) After Breakfast we headed out for the day.

     On the way to Antwerp and the Mecca I call the scout shop, Lilly’s sister and I had a good time picking on her which caused us to get along quite well. Of course I always get sass back when I do that so I get as good as I give. Once at the scout shop I looked around and it was essentially like a council building back in the US (council buildings have all the offices and meeting spaces as well. I had a great time there and got a Hi-Vis vest with the scout group logo on it. Interestingly it was using Minnesota Minining and Manufacturing technology :D. After our sojourn at the scout building Miss Lilly’s sister dropped us off an Antwerp train station and bade us fairwell.

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     Here Lilly and I boarded an Intercity train for Brugge and I crossed my fingers hoping that this would be a better experience than the previous night. Once on the train we settled in for the hour and a half long journey ahead. I finished up yesterday’s post on the train and Lilly and I started sing to sing Disney tunes the rest of the ride. (There is something about Disney that is culturally universal in my experience.) Our train journey was quite easy and uneventful so IC rail is reedeming itself with me, at least a bit.

IMG_8355    In Brugge Lilly took me to the Chocolate museum where I got to read the history of the fine chocolate that comes out of Belgium. I read all the plaques in their entirety, thankfully IMG_2766they had an English translation since my French isn’t that good and my Dutch is nonexistent. I think I was taking too long for Lilly as she was quite a ways ahead of me. I learned some very interesting facts about Belgian chocolate, including that there are laws regulating its production and quality. Also in the museum I got to see a demonstration on how pralines are made and they gave us quite a few samples. They do make quite good chocolate.

IMG_1051     After the Choco-Story we made our way over to the museum on “French Fries.” Turns out French Fries are actually Belgian in origin but when some American soldiers were given some in World War II, they thought the soldiers IMG_1792that shared the fries with them were French and thus the misconception was born. We also went to the Choco-Jungle where we had a dark chocolate fondue and I had an ancient Mayan recipie hot chocolate. On the way out I also had a hazelnut hot chocolate to go. It was steamed milk and a cube of hazelnut milk chocolate that is melted in it. Best way to make hot chocolate in my opinion as it was delicious.

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IMG_0203     After the fry museum Lilly and I went to climb the Belfort, 366 steep spiraling steps up 83 meters. It was quite a cool old belfry and we got to see some of the rooms on the way up, or actually down as Lilly wanted IMG_0530to get all the climbing done as soon as possible. The views were quite breathtaking though the nets kinda spoil the photos at times. Lilly went down a little before me and on the way down I stopped in the rooms where the machinery was held and to be quite honest it looked like a giant music box. After that I returned to the Earth and went looking for my friend.

IMG_0522     While trying to find Lilly I wandered into a private art collection. They were all painted around a yellow blue eyed IMG_9725
poodle. There was one image called “Drinks, Drugs and Rock & Roll,” which I found quite amusing considering I’m here on a study abroad for pharmacy. There was another I liked called “The Fall of the Catholic Church,” and one whose title I missed but talked about graduating without a job offer. After that I was found by Lilly and we set off down the streets of Brugge again.

     We stopped at a clothing merchant called C and A where I picked up a hat that I think will be fun to wear, especially on Fancy Fridays. After this we meandered on back to the train station, through a fair that was being put on. We both got fidget spinners and looked at the prize booths. It was an interesting look, much like an American carnaval. At the station we popped into Starbucks but they didn’t have a Brugge mug and I was forbidden from buying the Antwerp mug until we were in Antwerp 😒.

    We waited for our train and the started our two hourish journey back to Lier and Lilly’s place. On the way we saw several hot air balloons in the sky, I’m gonna say 10 and I introduced Lilly to the joys of Moshe Kasher and suggested she check out Kumail Nanjiani and Bo Burnham. This is because I was tiring of the Disney soundtrack after awhile. In Antwerp we changed trains for Lier and took a further 15 minute or so journey back to Lilly’s home town. Once there it was a short walk to back to the house. Where we played Ticket to Ride, the Europe edition. I won by one point, with 131 points. 😁

~
Martin “Mixy” McNichols
Until we meet again

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