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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Belgian Waffles??


In Belgium, waffles are either rectangular or somewhat oval in shape! And there's no such thing as a Belgian waffle! Belgian waffles are actually American waffles!  Confused? Read on ...

So, turns out there are 2 types of waffles in Belgium – the Brussels waffle and the sweeter Liège  waffle.

So how do you differentiate the two?
Firstly, the shape. The Brussels waffle has a rectangular shape; it is larger, lighter and fluffier with deeper square grooves made from yeast-leavened batter. The  Liège waffle is smaller with rounded edges; it is thicker and more doughy with chunks of sugar in the batter that caramelize as it cooks. The result is a more dense, chewy waffle with golden clusters of sugar baked right in.
image source -

Originally showcased in 1958 at Expo 58 in Brussels, Belgian waffles were introduced to North America by a Belgian named Walter Cleyman at the Century 21 Exposition in Seattle in 1962, and served with whipped cream and strawberries. The waffles were further popularized in the United States during the 1964 New York World's Fair at Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, New York City. These waffles were introduced by Maurice Vermersch of Brussels, Belgium. Largely based on a simplified recipe for the Brussels waffles, Vermersch decided to change the name to the Bel-Gem Waffle upon observing that many Americans could not correctly identify Brussels as the capital of Belgium.These waffles were served with whipped cream and strawberries, and they were sold for a dollar.

source - wikipedia

Oodles of toppings. Chocolate? Caramel? Nutella? Fresh fruits with whipped cream?
And yes, no maple syrup!!!

More toppings, more money!!
You will probably be drawn in by the 2€ sign , only to walk away  6€ poorer. The  2€  price is for those with powdered sugar only!!

No, Belgians don't have waffles for breakfast! Waffles are eaten around the clock as snacks. They are a popular street food.

Those deep grooves are perfect for holding pools of sauces!!
Brussels waffle


We tried both the Liège and Brussels and the Liège was the  hands-down winner. Personally, I preferred the  Liège plain –  the toppings overwhelmed the flavor of the waffle. The pearl sugar-studded Liege waffle was perfection itself.

Musings Of A Tired Mummy

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Of Enchanted Forests and Pork Knuckles

Hansel and Gretel were abandoned in a dark, labyrinthine forest. Snow White ran for her life in a haunted forest. Sleeping Beauty slumbered in her castle in an impenetrable forest of briars and thorns. Issac met the devil in an ancient, magical forest in the movie The House With A Clock In Its Walls.

So where is this forest, the backdrop to stories like these and many more?

"... he was lost
in the Black Forest.
Now, that is a very old place
with very old magic.
It's where the Brothers Grimm
wrote their histories." - Florence Zimmerman (The House With A Clock In Its Walls)

Ah, the enchanted Black Forest, where tales are spun: sinister, fanciful, whimsical, mysterious, mythical, magical ...

When our tour guide mentioned that lunch in the Black Forest was next in our itinerary, the ominous name suggested mystery – spooky paths in gloomy, forbidding woods inhabited by nymphs, goblins, witches, demons, werewolves...

But what I imagined was farther from the truth! The Black Forest is, in fact, a picturesque region of mountain ranges, fairy-tale villages and lakes.

Heck, the forest isn't even black but a dark shade of green!

The dense canopy of trees overhead blocks out most of the sunlight making the forest appear almost black from a distance, hence the name Black Forest. In more ancient times, the forest was reputedly so dense and black that stepping inside it was like walking into abyssal darkness.

Besides the Grimm brothers, the Black Forest is also home to cuckoo clocks, thermal spas, pork knuckles and its namesake cake.

It is said that the best cuckoo clocks are carved from the Linden trees found in the Black Forest. Interestingly, the history of the cuckoo clock, however, is a topic of debate among clock makers. The identity of the person who first invented the cuckoo clock, until today, remains a mystery.

Our pork knuckle lunch at  Zur Mühle · Café & Brauhaus in Titisee

Titisee is a lake in the southern Black Forest in Baden-Württemberg. There are several theories behind the name of this beautiful lake. According to an old Black Forest legend, babies are not delivered by the stork but they come from this lake!  In Alemanni, "teti" means baby and "see" (pronounced as zay) is lake, hence the name Titisee.

Lake Titisee against the  mysterious Black Forest backdrop

Zur Mühle · Café & Brauhaus
Image source: Google

The name pork knuckle doesn't sound very appetizing, does it? But it does sound kinda amazing when you say SH-vines-HAKS-eh!

Schweinshaxe(German) is tender and juicy pork knuckle wrapped in a salty and roasted skin.

Served with brown gravy,  fries and sauerkraut.
 Crispy on the outside and fork-tender on the inside!

Bestest Black Forest cake ever!

Contrary to popular belief, the name Black Forest Cake isn't named after the famous Black Forest in Germany, but refers to the liqueur from that region called kirschwasser that is made from the deep red cherries that the Black Forest is famous for.

Some sources claim that the name of the cake is inspired by the traditional costume of the women of the Black Forest region : the dress is as black as chocolate shavings, the blouse as white as cream and the Bollenhut hat consists of a white base with red pompoms, which are reminiscent of cherries.
image source - wikipedia
image source -

Black Forest Gateau - a chocolate layer cake filled with Kirsch-flavored whipped cream and sour Morello cherries, topped with chocolate curls.

Musings Of A Tired Mummy

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Mount Titlis

As mentioned earlier in one of my posts, I have anemia and am vulnerable to high altitude sickness.

It would be a shame to go all the way to Switzerland and not go up the Alps... even if it was halfway up. So, The Hubs, Rodney and I hopped off the cable car at the Trübsee middle station and headed straight for the Snow Park while the rest of the tour members proceeded up to the summit of Mount Titlis.

The Valley Station

The scenic cable car ride up

We were told that in summer, it's a whole different vista. Instead of skiers whizzing by below you would see happy cows grazing on verdant pastures. Apparently, you could even hear the sound of the cowbells!  I can imagine how delightful that would be!

Skiers zipping  down the slopes below us

Going up, up, up!


Snow tubing was a blast! Imagine hopping on a tube, then flying down the slippery slope to the bottom, then riding the Magic Carpet (conveyor belt) right up and doing it all over again!

The usually unadventurous hubs having fun!

No skills required!

Riding the Magic Carpet up


Guess whom Rodney met on the mountain?

Nope, he wasn't your classic alpine St. Bernard with his keg of brandy around his neck but he was just as adorable!

Enjoying the snowscape and Swiss mountain air

The rest of the group joining us after descending from the peak

So what did we miss and did the rest get the spectacular payoff they had gone up to see?

Photos from our WhatsApps group when they were at the summit.

The Rotair

At the Stand station, they switched to the Titlis Rotair — a 360 degrees revolving cable car that took them up to the summit. It was a 5-minute ride.

Glacier Cave

A 150-metre-long walkway that descends ten metres below the surface of the glacier at a frosty temperature of -1.5˚C.

I was told that it was miserable in there — cold and slippery!

A stupid boy who was running in the slippery tunnel (seriously, who does that??!!), slipped, fell and crashed onto an elderly man who was a member of our tour group, sending the poor old man tumbling to the ground. Luckily, no one was hurt!!

There is a suspension steel bridge spanning two cliffs up there on the summit but our tour buddies passed up on the cliff walk as the sunny weather suddenly turned very foggy and visibility was low.
Some of them were feeling the effects of the high altitude. The air was so thin, they were experiencing nausea and breathing difficulties.
An image of the Cliff Walk I snagged from the internet

While the view up there was supposedly breathtaking (literally), I was glad I didn't take the risk.

A video of Trubsee Snow Park from their official website.

Musings Of A Tired Mummy

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Eiffel Tower

 I spent all my life dreaming of visiting the Eiffel Tower one day.

When I caught my first glance of the structure in the distance under a grey sky one March morn, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. That was when I really knew my dream had come true!

Can you believe that this tower was supposed to be demolished twenty years after its construction?

The  Iron Lady was built for the 1889 World Fair to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Prise de la Bastille (the storming of the Bastille).
Inaugurated in 1889, the tower was originally designed to be up for only twenty years. Furthermore, the Parisians and artists of that time hated it, describing it as “useless and monstrous”! They even started a petition for the tower to be dismantled.

Gustave Eiffel did not want it to be destroyed, so the tower was given a new purpose and turned into a huge radio antenna. The French military was then able to send and receive wireless messages. One can say the Eiffel Tower was of great value during WWI.

The tower grows 6 inches taller in the summer (due to thermal expansion) and shrinks in the winter!

It has be to repainted every seven years (by hand)!
 7300 tons of iron!

The ticketing office
No sign of the notoriously long lines as expected. Maybe it was because of the shoulder season.

Security is tight at the tower. You have to go through 2 security check points before you are allowed in. The second check is just like going through the x-ray machine at the airport (moving belt with trays where you have to place your bag). Keep a close eye on your bag, The belt moved faster than the people in front of you (while we were there), so your bag may have gone through but you were still stuck behind people and had to wait to get to it.

We took an elevator to the 2nd level of the tower

Click on the photo and zoom in. Can you see the Arc de Triomphe?

Statue of General Joffre

Everything in Paris is stylish!! Even the trees! Notice how the trees are pruned top-to-bottom in a square fashion.

The tower at night

Dreams do come true!