Belgium & The Netherlands: A short visit to our neighbours

Imagine a place as sweet as a sugar-pie or as in the beginning of an old David Lynch movie. The little red brick houses with white window frames and the manicured front lawns. The funny wooden shoes here and there. The little girls with bouncing blond ponytails .... Welcome to the Netherlands. Maastricht to be precise with its charming city center and the many small boutiques with all that makes girls happy: shoes, boots, shoes, clothes, decoration, and then is even more shoes. We hadn't had come here for the shopping but to spoil ourselves with an evening of the finest fish and fresh seafood. Reasons enough to spend a weekend-break in this picturesque town.

But before dinner we strolled through the narrow streets of Maastricht and were enchanted by with what the window of the Chocolatiers are Friandises in Brugstraat was tempting us. Unfortunately, we do not realay have an iron-hard will, so that it was impossible not to enter that shop and order some of those gut little pieces of Chocolate Heaven. For whatever reason we didn't really understand, that Chocolatier always sends a box of his pralines to the U.S, to the White House to be precisely. Whether the Obama's nibble one of these tempting Dutch Chocolates in the very minute you are reading this is a information we may not have, but a nice thought!

The "Les trois Seaux" (meaning „the three buckets“) is like its sister restaurant Le Bon basin  one of the best fish restaurants in the area and serves the freshest seafood. And offer without much fuzz a more down to earth service and a rustic ambiance. First we had little „Mondvermaakjes“, ie a greeting from the kitchen. With fresh homemade smoked salmon, smoked mackerel and a fine anchovy tart. As an appetizer we chose the fish soup „Provencal“ style, a very good decision. The fine, creamy soup with fish fillet and shell was delicately spiced and almost melted in our mouth. It came with delicious croutons and with homemade rouille.

However, the portion was so enormous that we were hoping for a little break ... After a while the waiter served our main courses: Jenke was hungry got a large seafood platter including piles of clams, snails, giant prawns and a whole lobster with some bread and three dips. Angie had ordered a whole hot lobster with pasta in one of the most delicious truffle sauce she said she ever had. And she's an expert. Unfortunately there wasn't any room for a dessert, so we ordered two Espressi. Which was the only disaster of that evening. But the Espressi were accompanied by a mini shot of Advocaat eggnog topped with whipped creme and this was so good that we had to reorder another one.

With full bellies we spent the night in the Hotel Beaumont, but in the outbuilding - and here in a room that was separated from one another only by a very thin door. Unfortunately next door two babies started to cry in the middle of the night and wouldn't stop until early in the morning. Ugh. Besides having too thin doors, the house is quite nice and modern with a tendency to design preference. It is located in the Wyck district, the shopping center that is on the opposite side of the River Maas.

The next day we drove a few miles heading towards Belgium. Oh man, Europe is so great! The sun was shining and it was the perfect day for a stroll over a flea market. Tongeren, the oldest city of Belgium, whose history began around 54 BC, is home of a huge market where on Sundays the entire city transforms into a huge flea market. But you have to be early, as the market closes at around 13h. We need some comfort and steered to one of the seemingly innumerable Frituurs, where they serve those really thick Belgian fries and all sorts of unhealthy fried Frikandeln. But: Hey, you only live once and it's a traditional food so we had to try! 

By Angie with