Totally Quackers


Junior Goes to Brussels


By Linda Madrid


         Junior and I had a wonderful time on our trip to Brussels in October of 2001 in search of Ms Quackers. Although it was Junior’s first time in Brussels, it was my second time. I traveled to Brussels for the first time in Ninety-seven, I talked my Mom in to going with Johnny and I on one of Johnny’s business trips.


          This trip to Brussels Junior had to be my travel companion, while Johnny was hard at work.   My mother thought I might have a death wish traveling so soon after 9/11/01. Apparently so did a lot of other people because Junior had a seat to himself on the plane.




One of the nice things about traveling in Europe is the train system.  Choosing the right train and the correct station, you can disembark within easy walking distance to the center of the town or city. There are three train stations that I now know of in Brussels; the North, Central, and South stations.  On my first trip to Brussels, I did not know which train station to get off at to see historic Brussels.   I have since learned that the Center of Brussels, as with many of the Belgium towns and cities, is the oldest part of the city. Here you find the museums, churches, and other tourist attractions.  Johnny suggested on our first visit, when buying our tickets, I ask the ticket clerk which station we need to get off at to be in the old section of town.


Now, this ticket clerk either had warped since of humor or the old part of town, to him, meant raunchy part of town, for he told us to get off at the North station.    As we pull into the North station we past a row of houses with large pictures windows and in the windows sat ladies (?) wearing very little.  I was trying hard to pretend not to be looking and apparently so was my mom.  After getting off the train we managed to find a major street and headed in the right direction. We did have a walking tour map; needless to say these houses were not on the walking tour.  At first we passed many sex­ souvenir shops with window displays, which we were, both, pretending hard not to see. We had to walk around fourteen city blocks to get to the part of Brussels were the churches and museums were.  I did get up the courage half way through our walk to ask my mom if she had seen what I had. She said,” Of course I did I’m not blind.”   We both were tired from the walk and decided on a bus tour. My mother went to a sleep on the bus. She said, it was the best bus ride she had ever had, even though, she saw very little else in Brussels.   Now, even though this was Junior’s first trip to Brussels, I thought it best, that he not visit the North station (he is still too young) and we were sure that Ms Quackers would not be there..


Junior did take a break from searching for Ms Quackers to help me search for the perfect souvenir for my mom, a magnet for her refrigerator.  I plan to give to her Christmas in front of the whole family, a memento of the only thing she did not sleep through in Brussels.  I could not find the candles she wanted for her mantle.  (Mothers can still embarrass you no matter how old you get or how old they get.)   She found the candles in the back of a souvenir shop in Amsterdam picking them up saying, in a voice that I thought was to loud; she wanted a pair for her mantle.  The candles were shaped like the fifth appendage of the male anatomy. I did not want to take Junior to the part of town where, I know, I could have found the candles, or Mom would be getting set of candles for Christmas (Not). 




          On this trip it was my first time for having mussels.  A dish our hostess said Belgium was noted for, one of those must try at least once. I feel the experience of eating Mussels in Brussels came in two parts the eating and then the repeating.




  Mussels in Brussels Part One    


  Mussels in Brussels Part Two


         Another must try was Belgium beer.  It was my first time for drinking a whole beer.  I did not care for the mussels but I loved the beer.  The beer was a dark Abby beer and tasted nothing like American beer.  It also had 6% alcohol content and our hostess and Johnny enjoyed teasing me about liking the strongest beer.   

         Every day as Junior and I headed off to the train station and Johnny headed off to work, Johnny would say, “don’t you and Junior have a beer in Brussels, before you get on the train, or you’ll miss your train.” The last day in Brussels Junior and I were very tired from trying to find the perfect souvenirs for everyone and searching for Ms. Quackers. So we headed back two hours early to Halle, the little village where we stayed with friends.  Johnny had said not to have a beer before we got on the train; he said nothing about not having a beer after we got off the train. I figured right, there was a pub two blocks away from the train station.  After one beer, I had no problem navigating the two blocks back to the station, where Bruno our host, was to pick me up.



Return to Totally Quackers Page