A highlight from 695 Belgium Pride; Favorite Gardens; Arctic Trails

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When planning a trip to Europe, it can be easy to overlook Belgium. It's so small that, you know, when you drive through Belgium, you close your eyes, you probably out of it. But it's got so much to offer for being such a small country. Just ahead, we'll hear what makes one native son proud to be Belgian. What do you like to see when you travel? A New York activist for public spaces shares some of her favorite gardens to visit around the world. There are roses climbing over ruins are a tangled branches everywhere. There is a stream coming from this mountain range that has the clearest water I have ever seen. And while you can't garden much in the Alaskan Arctic, we'll hear what life is like on the tundra of northwest Alaska. You can see it's a harsh country, but real rich with seals and salmon and Caribou and Musk oxen. Let's explore the world's amazing variety in the hour ahead. It's traveled with Rick Steves. Not many people get to grow up in Assad hut with Caribou herds as your neighbors. Coming up on today's travel with Rick Steves, Seth kantner tells us what it's like, living in the Alaskan Arctic, upriver from katsu, and on the other end of the spectrum, author Katie Marin shares why a romantic garden designed by a princess in central Italy is one of her favorite places to visit in the world. Let's start the hour with our old friend fairly menge. He was raised in Belgium and no matter where he's lived in Europe and in the U.S., Faraday will always be proud to be a Belgian. You know, when you're dreaming about traveling through Europe, Belgium often falls through the cracks. It's a little country about 10 million people the size of Maryland. It happens to be about the most brightly lit place in Europe. There's actually a term for it, NASA astronauts when they look down from outer space, they see a bright, welded spot in Europe. They call it the Belgian window. There's lots to see in Belgium besides just bright lights from outer space and I'm joined by ferdinando mengi, who was born and raised in Belgium, and for the last decade or so, he's been a tour guide. Faraday thanks for joining us. Hey, Rick. Ferdinando, when you think about Belgium, I mean, you're up against London and Paris and the Rhine river in the Swiss Alps. Why should somebody stop in Belgium? Well, Belgium is just a unique place. I mean, look at the size of a dis so small that, you know, when you drive through Belgium, you close your eyes, you probably out of it. But it's got so much to offer for being such a small country. And the cuisine is one of the top 5 in the world. Don't forget that. We have some great chefs, some great cuisines, so some mix between German and French cuisine. Don't forget we got one of the best beers to be got the best chocolate in the world. So it's the place for foodies. If we're foolish for sure. A lot of people I've heard say you eat as well as the French and as hard as the Germans. Absolutely. It's a mix between those two cultures and we are in the midst of it. No, did the Belgians and Dutch used to be tied together politically? Yes, before. Because the unification for Belgium was 1830. 1830 before that it belonged to Holland for a quite like 18 or 20. So what was the rationale for the division? What is the fundamental difference between Belgian and Dutch people? They were protestants that's one. So that was an issue. It was an issue. And the Dutch. 90% of the Belgians would be Catholic families. Protestant. Because I mean, you think about the Belgians and the Dutch dividing, but Belgium itself is about 50% French speaking walloons and half Dutch Germanic speaking. It's actually 60 40. 40% of balloons to the French speaking people. Now I read a quote from one of your prime ministers and he said, Belgium is a country united only by a king, the love of beer, and a soccer team. So you have this division problem. We do have, but we deal with it. You know, we civilians get along and sometimes those politicians, they bicker about things. The language barrier, the money divided into two. But it must be tough. It's not easy to do something like that. To run a country where there's two languages number one, two different mentality. Is it mostly French or mostly Flemish? Well, it's both. That's not a problem. So we have three problems. We have to lose. We have the Flemish and we have Brussels. Which is like the dominant city. It's so fascinating because they headquarters of NATO is there. The headquarters of the EU, it's all there. No, I think one thing that the Flemish and the French people of Belgium have in common is a love of beer. Now, last time I was in Belgium, I couldn't believe it half the Americans I met were there on a beer pilgrimage. Going to different beautiful pubs and drinking the beer. What do you have like a 120 different varieties of beer? Or even more than that. I think we have now. I think 606 150 different kinds of beers. I think I'm proud to say that we have one of the best beers in the world. I've been studying beers in Europe for like 30 years now and I'll tell you. I really say that the finest beer. Oh, it is. Is in your home country? Yeah, it is. What is it about Belgian beer? I don't know. Well, this goes way back like a thousand years when the monks were, there was a lot of monasteries in Belgium and those are the ones who came up with the idea. What I was contaminated and beer was something that was better to drink for the local people, and they developed this into an art. So if you care about your kids, you'd feed them beer. Yes, I was, I grew up. I'm 60 years old. When I grew up as a kid, my dad gave me beer. I was one or two years old, not in because they wanted. Well, they had the idea, drink a glass of beer. You went to a doctor. 13 signs in the brewery. It said, drink, strafe hendrik. It's good for your health. It's good. There's a stout that said it's made from horse blood, mature of that too, but in the old days maybe it was the case. We got all these different kinds of generally. They're higher alcohol and yeast year than what you find in China. It's pretty healthy. Trapped. That's a monk beer, the trappist monks, and they've got great beer. You can buy it here in the states. Tell me about the lumbar. One big that's a brussel beer. It's really brewed in Brussels. It's also a cherry beer. They have different flavors, different fruit flavors. Oh yeah, yeah. But the one I like from one biggest to cherry one. I'm more of a light light. I drink beer, but in small quantities, but I like that kind of sherry flavored beer, which is one of them. Now what about the very strong ones? They got sort of devilishly. That's almost 9% of alcohol. Bottle of beer. And let me tell you, that's a strong beer. If you're doing 5 of those, I guarantee you. Other beers like Judas, Satan. Lucifer. I mean, they really go for that hellish beer. All that stuff. And there's this tradition of quack. Well, the quack, that's interesting. The quack is named after the glass that pour it in. It's like one of those laboratory glasses. They have a beaker. A beaker, exactly. And when you drink it, the beer quacks. It makes it sound. It makes a sound of goes in there because it's narrow neck. That's why they call the quack. I'm Rick Steves. We're talking about Belgium with Ferdinand domingue, who was born and raised in Belgium. When you think of Belgian cuisine, you think of Frick. French fries. Of course they don't call them French fries. Just fries. Or plums that would be Flemish, right? Yeah. There's actually museum in Bruges all about fries. Yeah. You can go in there and on the end of the tour, you can get little fries to eat. Chefs are evangelical about their fries. I mean, they just love these fries. I've been in the kitchen

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