Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Few Observations of Belgium

To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.
                             – Aldous Huxley

Huxley is a pretty trusted source, but after our trip to Belgium last week, I have to disagree with this quote. Because traveling to Belgium helped us to discover that everyone was RIGHT about that country! :-)

We had read in all of our travel books and information guides that we should be VERY AWARE of how the Belgians drive. Phrases were used such as "no regard for other drivers", "disregard for traffic laws", "reckless", and the list goes on.....

And sorry, Aldous, but everyone was right.
I can report that after our 4 days in the country that the Belgians just took the award for CRAZIEST DRIVERS away from the long-standing champs--The Taxi Drivers in Mexico.

My husband is an amazing driver-- he can drive in all kinds of traffic on BOTH sides of the road, on BOTH sides of the car, but even he said that driving in Belgium was absolutely the worst he had ever experienced.  I wonder if the Belgians are ever scared of getting on their own roads because according to American author, Clifton Fadiman:

"When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable."
I do however have to give the Belgians some MAD PROPS in the category of innovation and efficiency. After visiting the Waterloo battlefield, we needed a quick lunch that we could get and take on the road with us as we headed to Germany. Since the only fast food available in most European countries is McD's, we stopped there. And discovered this............

The McD's outside of Waterloo had 6 of these machines....all designed for the customer to place his order (with all kinds of customizations and special requests available). You even pay here and then get a receipt with a barcode.

Then you wait for your number to be called with everything ready TO EAT!
Now I am not necessarily a fan of McD's, but I am a fan of cool technology!

If they could only create a machine like this that makes the Belgian drivers drive nicer..... :-)

Traveling observations are the best!