The Clips and Trips blog was put together in preparation for our leaving the U.S. on an indefinite world travel adventure which started around August of 2009 and returned us home in December of 2012. If you want to see where it all began, read our mission statement from before we left.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Paris, France

We love the food in Paris. Seriously, don't eat cheese and bread on the streets. Go in and try some fantastic food in their boutique restaurants. If there is ever a place to splurge a bit on food, this is the city. And it really doesn't have to be that expensive. We had outstanding experiences one after another.

That being said, I must offer a small warning. There is this traditional sausage that they make called the Andouillette. Pam ordered it during our first meal together in the city. French sausage, yep, sure, sounds good (we always share plates). The experience wasn't much unlike stepping in dog shit. Except in this case, I believe it came from a pig and we voluntarily put it into our mouths. It really was that bad. Days later in another restaurant we overheard an American expat translating an entire menu in detail to his visiting friends. When he got to the Andouillette, he said, "This is the only thing that I don't recommend" and he went on to describe it much more delicately.

Otherwise, a lovely, charming city. It was great to revisit it.

This guy's friends tricked him into eating Andouillette sausage. He feels betrayed.

We marked up our map to show the areas of the city that we covered on foot.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Brussels, Belgium

We took the train across the channel to see Brussels and visit with my Dad and Marion who had just arrived for the start of a short vacation. Taking the train is so much better than flying. Too bad it's more expensive.

I have to admit that Belgian beer has some fantastic variety and occupies a special place in my heart. The fries, however, that Belgium is supposed to be so famous for, we sampled many times, both in restaurants and from street vendors, and were only ever mediocre. This version of mid thickness, squared off edges, crispy outside, soft potato inside, is very common in the U.S. and U.K. and is almost always better.

Be sure to stay off the grass in these highly manicured parks or someone on the far end will blow a whistle at you. Illegally captured picture above. I endured the distant toots just long enough.

The crappy fries had me thinking that these things that tourist cities claim to be famous for are completely arbitrary and only exist for tourist marketing purposes -- magnets, mugs, etc. Then I reluctantly ate this. And it was very good. Not at all the breakfast waffle that I expected. They sell these out of vans all over the city and offer toppings that are unnecessary. For me, it falls into the category of doughnut. 

We took a tour of this chocolate store where they show you how it's made. This guy was making truffles and the chocolate needed to be aerated on a marble slab until it was the correct temperature for forming. He would test it by putting a little dab on his pinky and touching it to his lip.