Saturday, October 5, 2019

Belgium: Ghent, Bruges & Brussels

Bruges - Belgium
Tintin &the Gang

There is little contention that there have been many influences that have shaped us, structuring the way we think and the way our minds behave. Admittedly, this stands true for me, and amongst people, I have many to thank: my wife, parents, loved ones, Robert Pirsig, Akio Morita, Gen. Rommel (Desert Fox), Keynes, Taleb, Our scriptures, the list is a bit too long.

The list above is pointless, but I cant help highlight the one queer outlying influencer amongst the above- Tintin. The Belgian reporter created by Herge/ Georges Prosper Remi.

Tintin features here because the Belgian reporter brings back to me a memory and mindset of a picturesque European background - and regardless of age, it takes me back to that faint memory when as a child, I would experience Tintin's world. So pristine, so perfect, where people were concerned  about mysteries, adventures.
I use that memory quite often, and it is immensely therapeutic. I see hunger, murder for survival and treachery for miniscule awards in my world. Just as I am about to lose faith in humanity, I go and touch upon that sweet memory - the world of Tintin.

Ghent - Belgium
Needless to say, Herge is no fool. The real Belgium was hardly different from that utopian feel that I talked about - that is; if you stay away from the big cities.

So with a resolve to keep you away from Brussels and Antwerp, I wish to take you to Ghent.

There is a fascinating history to the town. Which I forget. But what Gent is to me is that perfect utopian world of Tintin. People are spotted laughing in merriment, evenings are marked with slightly loud conversations in the city centers - where it is difficult to find food, but you have a variety of 220 beers to keep you busy and your volumes up.

Ghent Square
Mugs of beer, hale and hearty conversations in the evenings, in the backdrop of constructions of 650 BC. Don't get offended with the measly history, for Ghent has archaeological evidence of human life from the stone age and iron age as well.

In the city center, you park your cars well outside, and walk through the doors of history, all for beer (be well fed in advance, hardly any food around) and a conversation with your buddies.
Sounds like a good plan? Imagine if you have to do this everyday!

Welcome to Ghent.

At meine bruder's place, couple of queer things noted:
  • Magpies are not that big a menace (remember Castafiore's emerald and havoc at Capt. Haddock's Marlinspike?). The bubbly birds are cute and keep hopping around harmlessly, with no stealing of silverware et all on their agenda.
  • A person dressed for office, with a tie, etc. along with his office bag, is surprisingly crossing the  road carrying a canoe twice his size.
  • Is it the 240 different variety of beer playing tricks on me? I rubbed my eyes. No.. A canoe it is. confirmed.... And a set of oars. Yes..
  • The follow crosses the road, dips his canoe in the stream, hops in and pedals away!
  • At this juncture, may I ask how do you get to work?

If Ghent was not adequate to pique your senses, give Bruges a try.
This is a fairytale land indeed taking us back by a couple of centuries. With its cobbled roads, the Flemish city can take you from the first century to present.

Our recommendation on must do:
  • The Belfry
  • The Markt (square) - UNESCO world heritage site
  • Delirium, Brussels - Max Beer Q
  • Torture museum

We came here to meet Vikram, and that was our number one high for the city.

Thanks to Vikram, we did get to see the palace, the Squares. Most important find was Delirium - the only one on the planet to offers this kind of variety on beer.

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