CURRENCY: The Euro… 100 cents to the Euro. Bills are 5,10,20,50,100,200. Coins are 1,2,5,10,20,50 cents and 1, 2, Euro. The Euro was introduced in 2002.
LANGUAGE: 65% speak Flemish, which resembles Dutch, only softer. 32% speak French. English is widely understood.
TEMPERATURE: 70’s during the summer…with rain about every other day.
BANK HOURS: M- F…9-4 SHOP HOURS: M-S … 9-6
THINGS TO BUY: Lace, crystal, pewter, linen, and chocolate.
FOOD: It is excellent… some say as good, or better than in France. Lots of fresh fish. Street stands abound and their food is very good … toasted waffles, or cones of French fries with mayonnaise … also sausage. Belgium waffles are the best.
DRINK: Beer and wine are available everywhere. Beer has a vague Cola taste… like it or loathe it. No restaurant without a “club” license can serve spirits, and these are limited, generally, to hotels and membership organizations.
TIPPING: 16% is added to restaurant bills. You may leave a little more. Leave tip for Chambermaid … tip porter…Taxi’s get 15%.
ZAVENTEM AIRPORT From the basement of the airport building, a special train goes to Central Station or North Station in Brussels…16 minutes.
FOR FREE MAPS and INFORMATION: BELGIAN TOURIST OFFICE, 780 Third Ave. Suite 1501, New York 10017. +(212) 758-8130.
MISCELLANEOUS: It’s surprising that Belgium hasn’t “caught-on” as a major tourist country. The people are among the friendliest in Europe, and the attractions in Brussels, Brughes, and Ghent rival the attractions, or surpass the attractions, of other countries. One visit and you’ll be sold!