Belgium

Drew Montemayor Date: 5/4/15 Period: 6

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Weather

The best time to visit Belgium is between March and May and September and October. The prices are cheaper and fewer crowds clog the top attractions. This country experiences all four seasons, and rain is a possibility year-round. Average highs range from about 40 degrees in winter to 70 degrees in summer.

Culture

Official Languages


  • Dutch
  • German
  • French

Festivals and Traditions


  • The Gentse Festeen is a 10-day music and theatre celebration in July and is said to be the third largest festival in all of Europe.
  • The Carnival of Binche is a cultural event that takes place for three days prior to Ash Wednesday, culminating in the parade of performers dressed in colorful costumes, masks and wooden footwear known as the Gilles on “Shrove Tuesday”. It has been designated as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity Masterpiece.
  • The Procession of the Holy Blood in Bruges is traditionally held in May.
  • The King’s Feast is a traditional public holiday in honor of the King. Most businesses are closed this day.
  • Then there is Christmas, starting with the feast of Saint Nicholas on December 6th . Children receive gifts, sweets and chocolates for good children, supposedly left by Saint Nicholas. On Christmas eve, families gather in their homes for a large meal that ends with the serving of the La Buche de Noel, a traditional chocolate log made of sponge roll, cream, and covered with chocolate butter cream. Christmas Day most Belgians go to their churches with their families and continue their celebrations together with their friends the whole day.
  • New Year’s Eve is known as Saint Sylvester’s Eve, parties are thrown and at the stroke of midnight everyone exchanges kisses, wishes of good fortune, and toasts. On New Year’s Day or Nieuwjaarsdarg, children read greetings of good tidings and wishes for a good year to their parents and even godparents.
Travel Brussels, Belgium - The Manneken Pis in Brussels

Sightseeing

Food

Belgians like their food in large quantities and of good quality. There are a lot of restaurants in the country that serve top-rated cuisine, most Belgians prefer traditional, homemade food. Staples in a Belgian meal would be vegetables, bread, meat and creamy sauces. Lunch is the main meal of the day and dinners on weekdays is usually a light dinner of egg, cheese or fish dishes, with some bread or soup. Belgium has also been known worldwide for its beer, chocolates, waffles, French fries, and more. In various parts of the country, festivals that highlight a specific food or drink are traditionally done. There is the Beer Festival, the Potato Day and the Chocolate Festival.


Belgian waffles are made from a yeast-leavened batter using special waffle irons. There are two different types: the Brussels waffle and the Liège waffle. The Brussels waffle is rectangular, golden brown on the outside, dusted with powdered/icing sugar and then sometimes covered with syrup, slices of fruit, chocolate spread and whipped cream – all of which is deemed a mite inauthentic by waffle connoisseurs! The denser textured Liege waffle is square and has burnt sugar on the outside. They are sold by street vendors and gourmet restaurants alike.


INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour



  • 3/4 cup sugar


  • 3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder


  • 2 eggs, seperated



  • 1-1/2 cups milk

  • 1 cup butter, melted




  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Sliced fresh strawberries or syrup






  • DIRECTIONS

    1. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking powder.
    2. In another bowl, lightly beat egg yolks.
    3. Add milk, butter and vanilla; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until combined.
    4. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter.
    5. Bake in a preheated waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions until golden brown.
    6. Serve with strawberries or syrup.
    Makes 10 waffles.
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    Current Information

    Belgium currency is euros. One euro is equal to 1.12 dollars in the United States. Belgium is a federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy . Belgium's head of government is Prime Minister Charles Michel. Belgium's GDP is $299.1 billion, the GDP per capita is $29,100. Belgium major exports are machinery and equipment, chemicals, diamonds, metals and metal products.
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    Transportation and Lodging

    A nonstop United airline flight from Chicago to Brussels takes twelve hours and thirty minutes and costs $1,558 round trip. Three cities to visit in Belgium are Brussels, Belgium's capital, Bruges, and Ghent.

    Day 1: Get of flight and go to a hotel in Brussels for the night.

    Day 2: Visit Cinquantenaire Park (Free) and Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History (Free).

    Day 3: Visit Manneken Pis (Free) and Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula (Free.)

    Day 4: Travel to Bruges and visit The Hospital of St John (€8), Basilica of the Holy Blood(Free).

    Day 5: Travel to Ghent and visit Jan Plezier Boottochten (13€ for adults; 9.50€ for children aged 9 to 12; free for children under 3)

    Day 6: Travel to Laeken and see mini Europe. (€ 14.50).

    Day 7: Travel to Brussels and leave on flight to Chicago.

    Three nice hotels I recommend are Ghent Marriott Hotel (Ghent, 4.6 stars, $135 per night), Radisson Blu EU Hotel (Brussels, 4.5 stars, $110 per night), and The Hotel Brussels (Brussels, 4.2 stars, $120 per night). If I had to choose one hotel I would choose Radisson Blu EU Hotel because it is 4.5 stars but the cheapest of the three recommended hotels.

    Radisson Blu EU Hotel

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    Works Cited

    “Belgium Physical Map.” Maps. Maps.com, n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2015. <https://www.maps.com/ref_map.aspx?pid=11920>.

    “Best Times to Visit Brussels.” US News: Travel. US News, n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2015. <http://travel.usnews.com/Brussels_Belgium/When_To_Visit/>.

    “Important Belgian Traditions.” Belgium. Belgium.net, 2012. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.

    <http://www.belgium.net/belgium-guide/belgian-traditions.html>.