Belgian Scene, Part 2

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This photo is the answer to last week’s question: Can you guess what these people are doing? In fact if you look closely, you will see that the blue bridge is in fact a vertical-lift bridge and the people are all watching a barge going under it. Congratulations to Jan, who mentioned barges.

For more shots Straight Out of the Camera:

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10 Things I Love About Antwerp

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– It is a Belgian city. I have already mentioned how much I like Belgium. As the second largest Belgian city, Antwerp obviously has all the features I enjoy there.

– It has the largest Jewish community in Belgium.

– Walking through the Jewish area of the city feels a little like being thrown back into the sheitls of 20th century Europe.

– People speak Yiddish there in the streets, in the shops; even Indian diamond brokers speak it.

– There are dozens of Jewish stores, big and small. For someone like me for whom buying kosher products is a bit of a hurddle race, walking into those stores felt like being a child in a gift shop.

– The young butcher who served me was friendly and smiling and made me feel like an old customer.

– The linguist in me loves to hear people switch from one language to another. It is not unusual to hear people use three or four different languages in one store.

– We bought a new Chanukiah for the next holiday.

– We have some friends there so it is very nice to get some insiders’ insights into this place (its history, habits, food, …)

– I learned a lot more about Chasidism and feel far less judgemental about it.

Shabbat Shalom!

Alternative to Cash

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This is not a pretty photo but it has red in the foreground and a little bit in the background. However I have chosen to feature it as today’s Ruby photo for the cultural piece of information it contains. The sign in the middle is attached to a bus stop and reads: Pay your ticket with your cellphone. Something I find quite clever.

This photo was taken last week in the Belgian city if Kortrijk.

On Tuesdays, just post any photo you like (it must be one of your own) that contains the color RED and then link to this blog.

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This lovely badge was created by Leora from Here in HP.

10 Things I Love About Belgium

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– I only have to drive eighty miles to be in a foreign country with a distinct foreign feel.

– Belgians enjoy design and have lots of lovely interior decorating stores at affordable prices – there are also some expensive ones if you’d rather spend a lot of money.

– Petrol is cheaper than in France.

– The royal family is a stable feature of the country. They are rather subdued people who shun scandals and sometimes make me regret that we beheaded our monarchs two centuries ago.

– We use the same currency. Apparently some people are dissatisfied with the European currency and tend to blame all our evils on the Euro. They don’t seem to realize that it would make more sense to blame those who took advantage of the switch from a national currency to a new one to increase prices rather than take it on the currency. Besides they fail to see that it has made traveling within the Euro-zone much easier and cheaper too.

– You can use your phone to pay for a bus fare or a parking space.

– I simply love the architecture. Belgium has some beautiful cities and towns with magnificent town halls and beautiful crow-stepped gable or Dutch gable houses. It is also one of these Northern European countries which has managed to turn brick-building into art.

– The Belgians make nice beers and serve them cold rather than lukewarm like our friends over the Channel.

– The average Belgian is bilingual. Maybe I need to qualify this statement. Flemish Belgians are trilingual: they speak Flemish (their own version of Dutch), French and English. Walloons speak French. Indeed, like their French cousins, they take pride in not remembering foreign words and structures and whenever by chance their brains have registered some they make sure never to use them, especialy with foreigners.

– In the Flemish part of Belgium, you feel very clever as you understand the language, even if you have never learnt it. Here are a few examples so that you can feel smart too: koffie, thee, melk, jam, zalm, brood, zwembad, markt, haven, stadhuis, kanaal, parkeerplaats. The only problem is that when the people pronounce the words, it is virtually impossible to understand them; which is fine since they speak French and English anyway.

Belgian recipe: Beef Stew