In Love in BelgiumMEMORIES — By Tania Dakka 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?)
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.
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 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).