BELGIUM: Just passin' thru ...

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Belgium: Not interested in touring France that we both love, having seen it extensively – drove 250 km straight to Brussels, [map] stopped there for a couple days.

The Flemish-not-French road signs surprised me, so looked it up – contrary to my previous ill knowledge, it's predominantly Flemish at 60% (almost-Dutch language), 30% Walloon-French and 10% others.

It has something besides French and beer in common with Canada – frequent political/cultural break-up noise, except here it's the Flemish who often want a split; meanwhile the Canadian noise of the French possibly splitting has receded. Here's a New York Times article [link.]

Moules Frites, mayonnaise on the best fries, chocolate, beer and much trade within the EU – it is doing surprisingly well economically! Belgian GDP (PPP) per capita is better than: Germany, UK, France, Japan, even Monaco [facts source link.] Didn't know that either.

Brussels – home of the EU and NATO, hence de facto the EU capital – is old world lovely in parts, especially the stunning Grand Place [photos]; rode most of it, obviously a fine important city. But if seeing amazing old European urban architecture is your thing, and time is limited, I'd prefer to linger in Paris, Venice, Prague, Florence, Berlin and others, any day. As for the famed Brussels' Manneken Piss statue [link] is something I have never understood, there are competing legends about it, but frankly ...

We went to Brussels partly to meet English computer wiz, biker and web site owner David Robertson who created the very recommended [link] – I admired it from Canada, contacted him, we were a couple hours away, so … Have been too busy doing this blog to contribute to his site (I will, a promise.) Dave is a BMW boxer (horizontally opposed twin) iron-butt rider. We had moules frites with him and his Estonian fiancée Yana, on an hour’s notice, in a charming cave, then went to their home next day, he kindly helped me fix something minor. David's web site makes brilliant use of the Web, even in a car, check it out.

Two nites in Hotel Windsor [link] right in downtown Brussels, worth its reasonable price, free internet.

The local full-service Apple dealer [link] fixed my broken keyboard for free while I waited, what a nice guy – I was expecting to buy a $250 keyboard.

On towards the Alps [route map]...

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