Vottem, Belgium

Kept wanting to say hola and si in Switzerland and Germany. Now I keep trying to say bitte and danke in Belgium.

Belgium briefing with beer and chocolate the minute we arrived at Loic’s place.

Loic’s village name is Vottem, literally right next to Liege.

He lives in the Walloonian part of Belgium which is Southern and where they speak French. The Flanders part is the north of Belgium, where they speak Dutch. The Flanders part is richer and has to give a lot of money to the southern Walloonian part, just like Spain and France and Italy’s southern parts as well. They say that it is because the southern Walloonians are “Latin’s;” they speak a Latin language and get all firey and don’t work hard like the northern Germanic speaking countries. At least that is the stereotype. :)

Flanders would separate from Walloonia if it wasn’t for Brussels. Flanders supposedly claims Brussels, but it is in the south of Belgium, so geographically it is not theirs. And also, 90% of the population in Brussels speaks French, so it is more Walloonian than Flemish in that way. Brussels remains a region on it’s own, the third region in Belgium, but because of this both Walloonia and Flanders each privately consider it as their own. And Flanders will never break from Walloonia because they do not want to lose Brussels as it is a very important city to Belgium. Not only is it the capital of Belgium, but it is the political capital of Europe as it holds the EU headquarters.

The EU headquarters moves one week a month to Strasbourg. I remember learning about this in my European Union Politics module last semester. The EU parliament really makes a city look good, so Europe decided to give it to one other country. France won and now it is in Strasbourg. Most EU workers wish the EU could just stay in Bruxelles though, as it is not economical or efficient to have to lug a whole expansive governmental OFFICE to different town every month. They have to pack up all the papers, all the EVERYTHING, and move just for  week every month. Then they come back to Brussels.

They would change this, but, quote Loic, the French don’t want to lose Strasbourg’s power.

“Smell me.”

“You’re good.”

“Now smell me.”

“You’re good too.

*Straight, serious faces

“We should smell each other everyday”

-Jisu and I after four weeks of traveling.

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