Thursday, December 16, 2010

Flanders Boekenfestijn 2010

My fiancé's dad loves two things among others: books and bargains. A Boekenfestijn ("book feast") has both. Off we went.

The Boekenfestijn trade fairs are held annually in various cities around Belgium (at least in Brussels and Gent, as far as I can tell). Surplus books are shipped in from warehouses all over the area and sold for a ridiculous price. Where else would you get the complete works of Shakespeare for only €7?

I was surprised and pleased by the great number of English-language books on offer. There was a healthy balance between fiction and non-fiction, and much of the literature was sorted by genre, such as new age, manga, history, and cooking. If that's not your thing, how about a book on golf course architecture? 50's automobiles? Norwegian aerial photography? It's all to be found at Flanders Expo this weekend. Rest assured that I got my share of the goods.

For an idea of how huge it was, check out this video from this year's Boekenfestijn in Brussels.

Friday, December 10, 2010

New poll!

In my never-ending quest to find out more about my readers, I've put up a poll about food (and beer). Vote on the right to find out which type of food (or drink) the wide world has in common with the Belgians.

Photo: Wikimedia/Dvortygirl

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Crime and punishment II: hunks and horror

I covered most of the basics about the Belgian police force in an earlier post, but for some reason I forgot to show you what they actually look like. To make up for it, here's one of the suspiciously many photos my mother took of the policeman who came to my apartment after the burglary. His face is blurred - because.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The first snow

Our garden right now.

Growing up in northern Norway, you get used to six bone-chilling months of winter each year. Many times have I seen thundering snowploughs send a thick white spray through the air, barely reaching the top of the six-foot high bank of snow already bordering the road. I've crawled through snow caves that would have impressed the Vietcong. You have to be friends with the snow up north lest it become your enemy.

I remember how, as a child, I would wake up one morning between October and December and see the first soft layer of snow on the lawn. My sister and I would cry out with joy, immediately waking our parents, who for some reason were never quite as excited about the snow as we were. It was the happiest day of the season, and I still feel excitement at the first snow. It's something new.

A typical Belgian's reaction to snow would be a little more along the lines of Harry from "3rd Rock From The Sun":