NAME: Thomas Van Vaerenbergh (32)
BORN IN: Dendermonde (lived in Liedekerke & Ghent)
CURRENTLY LIVING IN: Guatemala
Thomas: “On a one year world trip in 2014, I met the love of my life, Marycarmen. I spent three months with her in Guatemala (Antigua), but I had to go back home to Belgium sooner or later… So I did and after I sorted things out I went straight back to Guatemala. At the moment we’re living in Chimaltenango. I have been working here as an independent office assistant for an American company.”
What do you miss most about Belgium?
The beer and the food! 😀 I love to eat and have a good beer with my friends. We are too spoiled when it comes to food and drinks.
What’s the first thing you do on your visits back to Belgium?
Have a beer or a glass of Portuguese wine with my parents at home, cuddle my cat and have something typical to eat like americain preparé!
The top 3 things to see or do in Belgium in your opinion?
It depends what they like of course but I would say: get lost in Bruges, Do a boat tour + dinner in Ghent and go visit a brewery.
Favorite Belgian cafe?
De Heeren van Liedekercke in Liedekerke. It’s the best beer restaurant in the world (for real!) and a great place to go try out some new beers and have a chat with friends.
Favorite Belgian restaurant?
Le Meyboom in Brussels. I have a weakness for spaghetti and this restaurant only serves spaghetti in 10 different ways. It’s deeeeelicious! The owners are very friendly and the place has a great atmosphere (old Brussels pub)
Favorite outdoor attraction?
I don’t really have a favorite spot or attraction. But I would definitely like to go to Het Zwin again. I like spending time outdoors and in nature. I’ve been there once with school when I was younger and I’ve always wanted to go back. Also the descent of the Lesse with the kayak in summer is really great.
Favorite food and drink?
My favorite drink is Belgian beer but asking me to choose, would be madness 🙂 I always brag about our beers abroad and am very proud about our beer culture. Damn, even for food it’s almost impossible because we have such a rich food culture in Belgium. I would say a nice steak with Belgian fries and green pepper sauce! I like to eat a good piece of meat from time to time and I’m a sucker for sauces (my mom is a sauce expert).
De Heeren van Liedekercke is the best beer restaurant in the world (for real!) and a great place to go try out some new beers
Your favorite Belgian tradition?
I’m a big sportfan in general but the cycling event Ronde van Vlaanderen on the first Sunday of April every year is a huge thing and has become a sort of tradition for a lot of Flemish people. We watch it together with friends and family or go see it live. I love the whole atmosphere and thrill that comes with the whole event.
The funniest misinterpretation you’ve heard about Belgium while abroad?
I just hate it that people think fries come from France (French fries) so I have made it my mission to tell everyone that it should be Belgian fries. I’m pretty sure fries originated in Belgium and I’m very proud of it 🙂 we even have a museum about the Friet! I always tell the story from the first world war:
Some people believe that the term ‘French’ was introduced when British and American soldiers arrived in Belgium during World War I and consequently tasted Belgian fries. They supposedly called them “French”, as it was the local language and the official language of the Belgian army at that time, believing themselves to be in France. No one can tell you if it’s the truth or not, but you have to admit it’s a kind of cool story…
“I’d like to share my 15 minutes of fame with… Vélo Afrique”
Vélo Afrique basically organizes adventurous mountainbike trips for a good cause. The collected funds are used to build schools in Africa. After participating myself I’m even more in owe of this wonderful organization. And of course, if you’re not up for the emotions, the blood, sweat and tears that it costs you to ride yourself, you can still make a donation too 😉