The Belgian Gaufre


The sky was grey and threatening, smothering smiles and casting a haze over the landscape. It was our first day in Brussels. I adjusted the straps on my purse, aware of the pressure cutting into my shoulder. “Wanna get a waffle or something?”

We had been walking all through Brussels on an empty stomach, since our arrival hours before. Our hollow stomachs, coupled with the overcast skies, contributed to our listless trudging and general annoyance with the world. Getting waffles seemed like the appropriate thing to do, as we were in desperate need of a pick-me-up.

We located a vendor packed with locals and took our place in line. (At this point I was regretting not taking French in high school, as everyone around us chatted comfortably in French.) I reached the counter and, determined to use what rudimentary French knowledge I had, I stammered, “Un gaufre vanille,” not sure if that was even remotely correct. It seemed to be close enough, as the woman behind the counter demanded two euro in payment. I took the receipt she gave me and headed around the corner to the counter around which the mass of people were huddling, vying to hand their receipts to the workers, like traders on the floor.

I stood in the mass timidly, observing the locals before I embarrassed myself, and when I was ready, I confidently handed the woman my receipt, nodded when she said, “Vanille?” and held out my hands to receive the steaming waffle, fresh from “oven” and wrapped in a sturdy triangle of paper.



Though I’d been warned it was hot, I took a nibble from the corner anyway. I found it rich, yeasty, and filled with pockets of sweet sugar. I didn’t want it to end.

It was unlike any waffle I’d had before, a far cry from the two Ego waffles I used to pop in the toaster every morning before grade school. The smell was thick and syrupy as it swirled up from the waffle in the crisp air.
And bite after savored bite, it was gone.
Guess I’ll just have to return.

What’s the Same? Amsterdam vs. Brussels


You know those pictures, where they print the original picture next to a doctored one and you must count the number of ways the doctored picture has been changed? (Please say yes.)

Yes? Great. Then let’s play a little game, with a twist.


What’s the same between these four photos?


Exhibit 1a



Exhibit 1b.


Exhibit 1c.


Exhibit 1d.


If you said, “iamsterdam,” then you’ve probably been told you’re “Captain Obvious” multiple times.


Let’s try one more before the answer.


What’s the same between these three photos (this one’s slightly easier)?


Exhibit 2a.


Exhibit 2b.


Exhibit 2c.


Did you catch it?

Take a look at the answers:


Answer 1


Answer 2


The pictures in both Amsterdam and Brussels were taken in the timespan of 20 minutes, yet the same people are in the picture. Granted, both art pieces are rather touristy, but I just wanted a picture with out any obstructions (or photobombs, depending on how you look at it, haha).

Let’s delve a bit deeper into the stories behind the pictures:

Amsterdam, 11:32 am

“Hey, there are the ‘iamsterdam’ letters! Let’s take a quick picture while no one’s there.” I looked around. Peace and quiet. Perfect. We scuttled over to the sculpture, and just as I was casually posing near the “i,” I heard a low rumble. As the rumbling grew louder and changed into the eager excitement of tourists, I squinted in the sun and saw a massive crowd heading towards the sign, like a tsunami wave. I tried to wave on my friend to take the picture, but the wave was just too powerful, quickly overtaking the sculpture.

I jumped away from the sculpture just in time, as the masses were crawling over every imaginable part of it. “Oh well, I’ll just try to get a picture of the whole word,” I said dejectedly. So I waited. And waited. And waited. Just when I thought someone was done taking a picture, they would run back to the camera, check it to make sure they looked good, and run back to do the whole photoshoot over again. Like the moles in Whack-a-Mole game, people were popping in and out of the holes of the letters.

So I gave up and embraced the random strangers in my photographs. Readers, meet Mr. Backpack and Sunglasses (let’s call him “Randy”), found in exhibits 1a and 1d. Favorite activities include sunbathing and sitting cross-legged on large art-sculptures. Not to be missed is Miss Timid (let’s go with “Sandy,” for congruity purposes), found in exhibits 1b and 1c. Favorite activities include, well, actually, she just tries to blend in.


Brussels, 12:10 pm

“Woah, cool, letters just like in Amsterdam!” I was secretly pleased because “welcome” contains a “c” (the first letter in “Claire”), making the perfect photo opportunity (is that hypocritical?). This time I was determined to get a clean photo, i.e. no random people. I stood back, camera at the ready, waiting to snap a picture just as the last person was out of view. Unfortunately, my earnest efforts were thwarted by the even more earnest efforts of Miss Red Backpack, whose mission it was to deeply document each letter.

But the good of all of this?

She wasn’t interested in the letter “c” for long:




Has something similar ever happened to you?