Monthly Archives: October 2012

From Antwerp With Love

I would like to take a moment to thank My Personal Francophone for two wonderful years together, and, in honor of the Belgian chocolate heart he gave me yesterday, which I can no longer share with you in photos because a decent portion of it is in my stomach, I am sharing this photo instead.

This heart was in front of the Central Station in Antwerp, at the end of the huge commercial street (Urban Outfitters next to The World’s Smallest Waffle Shop, which is indeed tiny—why not?).

I’m not sure where it came from, or why it says You May Not Camp You May Not Wine You May Not Ice Cream You May Not Hold Up Your Hand. I’m not even sure where it went–I never found it after that one afternoon in September. But I can picture it, shuffling its sad,  restrictive self down other highways and byways of the city, and I will always remember Antwerp’s large, red, picturesque love note. Dank je wel!

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I’m the Big Cheese

In Antwerp on Sunday afternoons there is a huge market. I mean HUGE. Stalls of clothes, Moroccan leather, fries, meats, cheese, dried fruits and nuts, exotic birds in all colors, tiny furry squeaking snuggly hamsters… ❤

Then there is one particular stall, to which I was drawn not only by the free Gouda and Mimolette samples, but by the mysterious powers of….The Big Cheese.

The thing must weigh 70 pounds at least. It looks like Gouda, if I can judge by the wax casing it’s in. It’s like my entire body has been compressed, a foot thick, into a sumptuous, sensuous, curvaceous…immediately I was struck by the demons of self-doubt and slight lactose intolerance…

“But why would a cheese like that choose ME?” I asked myself.

I pictured it rolling down a hill, free to do whatever its cheesy heart desired, laughing at the puny humans it left, some perhaps flattened, in its wake…my heart ached at the thought that it might leave my life FOREVER.

Then I pictured myself, oh incredible thought, all five feet three inches of me, staggering home under the weight of all that glorious amazing incredible cheesiness that must be mine, all MINE….

Then I came to myself and wiped away the puddle of drool on my chin. That was no way to show respect to such a rare creature! I hesitantly reached out to touch it, afraid the very tips of my fingers would sully its glossy beauty. “I’m sorry,” I almost whispered…

Did such a siren have a name? I looked around for a label, SOMETHING to give it a positive identity, a name, to make it feel even a little more attainable.

But the Flemish, it seems, know their cheese, or maybe just their marketing skills. The old wisdom came into play here—the more mysterious something is, the more desirable it becomes. The sign they had placed next to it said simply, “Old Cheese.”

Fearing that His Old Cheesiness would prove too much of a strain on my slim budget, and my back, I placed a fist over my heart in salute. “I will come back,” I vowed.

“You WILL be mine!”Image

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No Waffles!

I HAD to post these after “Chocolate Hippos!“. Before you look at them please go back and read “PLEASE DO NOT EAT YOUR WAFFLES IN FRONT OF THE WINDOW” and I promise you they will make much more sense.

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Chocolate Hippos!

I will post more blog entries when I have a moment, but for now, please be content with this humble photographic offering of two magnificent chocolate hippos, carved by the wonderful people of a little chocolate shop in the Sablon in Brussels!Image

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Filed under Belgium 2012-2013