Belgium / Czech 2002 Home :: :: Geoff's Travel Home :: 2002 :: Best-Of Photography

Maybe this webpage should be titled "People and Temptations". The food in Belgium is so good, it must be sinful. Ummm, let's spend the next few pictures imagining the tastes melting on the tongue... (hold Lenka back) 

Cake window
Edible Beauty
Belgian chocolate

"...don't wake me up from this beautiful dream..." — says Lenka... 

This photograph, taken at Maria's mom's house, is a great transition to the other, very important section of this page - people. If this is your first stop on the Belgian/Czech travel page (don't be embarrassed, we know that the word FOOD can lure even the most determined of us) then a bit of introduction: the two people in the picture are Maria and Herman, our friends from Portland. They also by chance happen to be Dutch by origin, which as you can imagine came in very handy. In the very short three days we were there, they showed us the awesome, true Belgium under the skin. We're extremely glad to not have left home without them.

Cheers! Prost! Nazdravi! is to friends! 

Toast at Maria's mom's
Maria & Geoff

Maria goes through the list:

"OK, Geoff, Belgian rule #1: beer, chocolate, cheese for breakfast. Rule #2: beer, chocolate, cheese for lunch. Rule #3..." 

Herman and his mother-in-law. 

Family tenderness
Cafe heaven

On the way from one home town to another, we stopped at a town called Oudenaarde which had our most favorite town square and cafe. Everything about this picture just says "Europe". 

Every trip is filled with meeting all kinds of people. Even Belgium has its set of interesting characters. Here again we bumped into that enigmatic Belgian character that seemed to be following us around Belgium, mumbling something about us giving him "just a few dollars for a coffee". 

Cafe Herman

One word: Kriek. If Lenka has her Belgian chocolates, then Geoff has his Kriek. It is the most delicate, intricate, sweet, light and rich elixir Geoff has ever tasted. He still dreams, months later, about the explosion of the senses as it touches the tongue. No words can do it justice, but just trust us on this one: if you ever are in Belgium, get a bottle of Lindemann's Kriek, cherry beer. Yes, it has a tinge of cherries. And yes, you have to both pop the cap AND unscrew the cork to get to the luscious liquid. But it's worth it. Several cases later, just trust us on this one.

Tips & Tricks: A good bottle opening technique we learned in Belgium, here demonstrated by Herman and his mom: 1) Drink few bottles of Dufel first to warm up. 2) Let mom do a special ceremonial dance, cheering "you can do it Hermie, you can do it". 3) Sweat. 4) Pop. 5) Screw. 6) Pour. 7) Ahhh, that was a great breakfast... 

On the count to three...  

Home brew
All in the family 1

In addition to being graciously hosted by Herman's wonderful mom, we had an opportunity to experience two Dutch family evenings with Herman's sister and her family. Another fascinating tidbit that we noticed during our trip: we heard these curious words spoken: "That's funny, aunt Marie, you mean you watch "COPS" on TV too?" 

All in the family 2

Herman and Maria have been telling us that "Everyone in coastal Belgium eats mussels, it is the local speciality". Yet when it came to ordering, we suspeciously noticed the buckets of mussels on our plates...but Herman was eating gulash...  

Muscle fest
Belgian Waffle

Another sighting of the enigmatic Wandering Belgian. This time he is mumbling "just for a few dollars, I will give you a bite of this REAL belgian waffle". What happened afterwards is not a pretty story. Let's just say that Geoff would jump off of a huge cliff for a bottle of Kriek...and then climb back up again just for a bite of a real Belgian waffle... (trust us, it is quite different from what they call Belgian in the U.S.)

Below, Maria snuck out a few crumbs of escargot and french fries from the hungry man. "Here Geoff, come and get it!" 

Escargo in the park

Geoff's brother-in-laws family used to live in Brussels. Armed with a cryptic address written on this red dinosaur notepaper and Gregg's "it should be somewhere in this area, on GristleCrouchingBasketWeaverStrasse street", the four of us set out on a house treasure hunt. Almost by miracle, we found it. Herman and Maria didn't think it was funny when we accredited our success to "Belgium being SO SMALL". 

Gregg's old stomping grounds
Backpackers in Belgium

Much to the chagrin of Lenka's mom ("you can't go to Europe with a BACKPACK!!!"), we left all suitcases at home and brought our backpacks with. It was our first trial run of "living out of a backpack", a test run for our soon-to-follow sabbatical world tour. Oh, how naive we were... 

On the bus from Belgium to the Czech Republic: afraid that the Czech beer may not be as good, here are our friends loading up  

The bus ride

(c) Geoffrey Peters and Lenka J.,, 2003. For more information regarding this web page, please contact
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