I spent six months of my childhood  in Belgium in 1947, in the most beautiful town of it, which most probably is one of the best places on this Earth to live in. The few pictures on this page were taken much later, in 1987 or so, when I had the opportunity to spend a few hours there again, but the 40 years did not change the character of the city, it looked exactly the same as I recalled it.

Besides Bruges I could  just have a glimpse of Brussels when I arrived to Belgium and at the expiry of my "nourishing period" when the group of undernourished children was collected again for departure, spent a couple of days in Oostende, visited Zeebrugge and spent a few hours in Gent, if I remember well.

The six months I spent with the Lobelle family, the head of which was a textile merchant. I have written about them in my "Instead of biography, for captain Halaj" (in Hungarian). But I feel my obligation to say a few words about the parents here as well. It is rare in our world that parents of six children - not depending on their wellness - receive a child into their family for months to nourish him. And they did it securing to the child (me) the same status that their own children enjoyed. I bow my head and express my gratitude once again.

It is surprising that I cannot find more pictures now than the 12 ones, I put up. In the hope to find more I indicated herebelow titles of those places I visited and use a link for each to fill the gap.

Bruges is almost impossible to describe, it is so wonderful. Imagine a medieval city surrounded by a canal, which is connected to the ocean with a canal and criss-crossed with waterways. It is the landlocked Venice, the St-Peterburg of Western Europe. But much smaller and more cosy. Venice seems to be not real, fantastic, untouchable, close to functioning as theatre, St-Peterburg radiates power, it is somewhat cold, sparkling, Bruges is warm, comfortable, a place to play hide-and-seek; Venice is Giulietta Masina, St-Peterburg is Anita Eckbert, Bruges is the beautiful girl next door you may dream of.  

The basic language of the city is Flemish but French is spoken in every family, they may switch over from one language to the other in the middle of a sentence. I did not feel much of  tension between the two ethnic groups, Vallons and Flemings. 

I believe that is all I wanted to tell you about Belgium. The rest you'll find in the links below. No, I have to draw your attention to a few exciting things: the Belfry tower is world famous, do not miss to climb to the top of it, you will be impressed: the clock mechanism is exceptionally interesting, there are 47 bells to play with (according to a site below, I recall 82) the panoramic view from the top is breathtaking. The City Hall must be the most beautiful in the world. And there are unsurpassed religious ceremonies. Do not miss them either.

Bruges / Brugge Brussels-Bruxelles-Brüsszel Oostende Zeebrugge Gent