In Love in Belgium

EUROPE, GUEST BLOGGERS, MEMORIES — By on April 6, 2012 at 01:06

Story by guest blogger Tania Dakka. Photos Copyright © Tania Dakka.

Roeselare, Belgium might not be on many sightseeing tour maps, but it certainly should be. However, I could be biased.

You see, when I got off the plane in Brussels (on the way to Roeselare), I laid my eyes on the man I would marry. That day.

No big deal. Right? Well, this was only our second time seeing each other and it was love at first and second sight—and, well, one-millionth sight, too. But, I digress. . . .

The smell of diesel filled the air as we waited impatiently to board what was to be the longest train ride of our lives. Shoulder-to-shoulder travelers begged the late train to hurry.

Through the train windows, the energy-filled, crowded streets of Brussels gave way to curving grass fields as the train rocked its way to Roeselare. When we finally arrived, it was magical. I’d never been anywhere like Europe before, so I had no idea what to expect. It was just like an old painting, with fields and farms neatly manicured in the background of the town streets.

Streets were swept clean. Had it not been for the exhaust dust of the little cars, you could’ve eaten from them. The green of the pastures rolled on in a calming undulation behind our cottage. That day, we met with an equivalent of a Justice of the Peace and got married. Right there.

We spent the remainder of our time there walking everywhere we went. The river ran close to where we stayed and each bridge wore decorations of potted plants overflowing with pinks, reds and blues.

Walking let us absorb the fragrant begonias and enjoy the quacks that followed us around every corner. The ducks enjoyed our trips to Aldi’s as much as we did. And that was our entertainment: Every day, we (and the ducks) walked into “town” to grocery shop, so we could feed each other love and shrimp.

The nature in Roeselare is, by far, its most spectacular attribution. But, for me, its neighbor Blakenberge held a jewel even more stunning: the North Sea.

If there’s anything about me you should know (other than I’m crazy enough to marry a man I’d only seen once), it’s that I was a fish in my other life.

In April, the waters of the North Sea are nowhere near tolerable temperatures, but that didn’t stop Mr. Smart from trying his hand at taming those wild waves. (You see how frightening they are?)

The North Sea

Taming the wild waves of the North Sea

I waited patiently on the shore, wondering who was crazier . . . me or him. But, I loved every wind-beaten moment of our times on that beach. The best part was the screens and chairs set up so that, no matter who else was there, you felt like you had the sands all to yourself.

I loved Blankenberge. I loved Roeselare. But when you’re an extended guest in a country, you’re bound to have to visit the capital for paperwork at least once.

So off to Brussels we went.

Remember I told you I was crazy? Well, apparently wearing heels in Brussels ranks right up there with swimming in the North Sea in April. The cobblestone roads, regardless of their timeless beauty, are not good friends with Chanel.

City fountain in Kotrijk, Belgium

City fountain in Kotrijk, Belgium

But, thankfully, we only traveled to busy Brussels a couple of times. We visited neighboring Kotrijk more often and enjoyed wonderful weekend markets in the town square, where vendors sell their hand-crafted goods and bring an energizing spirit to chilly Saturday mornings.

The old towers of Kotrijk are the last remaining evidence of medieval fortressing in the city. It was breathtaking to stand in the presence of such age and beauty.

I loved the parts of the country I saw, for all their beautiful nature and relaxing atmosphere. But being in love and in Belgium made it ever sweeter.

———

Tania Dakka

Tania Dakka


Tania Dakka is the Freelance Writing Project Master whose love is kicking the proverbial backside of Productive Creatives. PC’s, get tips and lessons from her blog to eat clean and stay fit so you’ll produce the best work you have in you. Check her out at www.taniadakka.com, Twitter (@TaniaDakka) and Facebook (Tania Dakka).

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    20 Comments

  • Tania Dakka
    Twitter: TaniaDakka
    says:

    Thanks, Milli, for this opportunity! It was a pleasure guesting here and I hope your readers enjoy it – I know I did! :D

    • Milli Thornton
      Twitter: millivrstravels
      says:

      Tania, it’s a total pleasure having you as a guest and I love your story and photos. Thanks for sharing them with my readers. ~ Milli

  • JM Merchant
    Twitter: JMMerchant86
    says:

    Love the photo on the bridge Tania :-)

    That’s another three towns added to the ever-increasing, never-decreasing travel list!

    Really enjoyed your writing style as well. Thanks for this post.

    • Tania Dakka
      Twitter: TaniaDakka
      says:

      LOL Thanks…no, idea what I was doing in that pic! If you get a chance, it is a beautiful place to see! I appreciate your comments, they really mean a lot. Thanks for reading!

  • Betsyv
    Twitter: betsy_v
    says:

    What a great article of a very pretty place!
    I’m afraid that water looks way to cold for me too. Brrrrr! Maybe when I was younger.(Ugg)
    I’m a sucker for love at first(or sec.) sight story’s. My husband and I only knew each other for 9 months before we got married. I was 16 years old( he was 18). 40 years, and 15 grandchildren later he is still my best friend, travel partner and the love of my life. So you and I are proof you don’t need to know someone for years to fall in love and have a great marriage!
    Thanks, I enjoyed this a lot!

    • Tania Dakka
      Twitter: TaniaDakka
      says:

      Ha! Don’t you love it! Congrats on the long standing relationship! I can’t wait to say that we’ve had 40 wonderful years like you.:) Love your story as well and thanks so much for reading and commenting!

    • Estrella Azul
      Twitter: EstrellaAzul
      says:

      I’m a sucker for these stories as well. Having two here now is great! Wishing you many many more love and happiness-filled years together!

  • Al McCartan says:

    Great travelogue, Tania, I’ve had a duck in the North Sea too – blerry cold and the pebbles played havoc with my feet. I love Europe. Pity I did not have a lady to share it with at that time. Ah! that’s to come.

    • Tania Dakka
      Twitter: TaniaDakka
      says:

      Hehe:) You get points for going in! LOL I wasn’t brave enough for that. When the lady does come along, it’s definitely worth another visit. All the best and thanks for commenting, Al!

  • Ann
    Twitter: AnnHolly
    says:

    *sigh* what a beautiful story! Thank you for painting a beautiful picture with your words! The fountain is stunning and I’d love to hear more about you & Mr. Smart and your travels!

    • Tania Dakka
      Twitter: TaniaDakka
      says:

      Thank you, Ann! So glad you enjoyed it:) It was so much fun to remember all of it! And the pics don’t really do it justice (do they ever?). If you ever get the chance to see Belgium, go! Thanks for stopping by to read and taking the time to comment! All the best :)

  • Sean says:

    Beautiful, Tania!

    I love stories of how people met. They are some of my favorites. Thanks for sharing yours!

  • Estrella Azul
    Twitter: EstrellaAzul
    says:

    I love bridges. I love the sea. And I love cobblestone streets (and traveling).

    That equals with: I love this article, well done!

  • Bloggoneit
    Twitter: bloggoneit
    says:

    Great and romantic story. I must admit to only knowing my husband 6 months before we got married as well. When you know, you know, right?

    I loved the picture of the fountain — it looks absolutely amazing.

    Right now I am visiting Palm Springs, California where it is *very* warm and that cold water looks inviting to me today! I’m not sure what the temperature is here now but I’m almost afraid to go outside.

    I hope you write many more stories to share!

    • Tania Dakka
      Twitter: TaniaDakka
      says:

      Thank you for the awesome comment! Palm Springs is a place I’d LOVE to be right now! Unfortunately, warmth is not something we know here yet. So. enjoy for me:)

      Thanks for the sweet words and taking the time to comment! All the best!

  • Teresa Davis
    Twitter: iluvmnts4x4
    says:

    Tania, I absolutely loved the story..you’re so lucky to be able to live in such a city with the man you are so in love with. Loved hearing every detail. One day I plan on visiting Belgium an tasting the chocolate and having a waffle.

    • Tania Dakka
      Twitter: TaniaDakka
      says:

      Thanks, Teresa, for such an awesome compliment! I’m so glad you enjoyed and I hope that you do get to taste the truffles of Belgium while you sway back and forth as the train rocks its way to your cottage dream vacation!

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