Sunday In Belgium

Ahhh, Belgium:  a flat little country sandwiched between Holland and France, and used as a military highway by the Germans twice during the 20th century.

But it’s beautiful, especially in the south where the Ardennes Forest covers the hills and valleys.

Oh yeah, and there’s Spa:

Also Bruges:

…and Brussels:

And while we’re on that topic:


And they just loves their football, oh yes they do:

For tennis, there’s former world #1 tennis totty Kim Clijsters:

…who quit tennis to have a baby, then came back three years later as a plump matron, and won the U.S. Open.  Twice.

And back when there were still F1 grid girls (grrrr don’t get me started):

Speaking of delicious things to eat, there’s the peerless Belgian chocolate:

…then, and still, the finest chocolate in the world.  In Belgium, it’s regarded as an art form, and supermarkets devote whole aisles to the lovely stuff.

And then there’s this stuff:

…but I have to say that while others swear by Belgian ales, I don’t care much for them.  Maybe I just didn’t spend long enough in Belgium  [makes note]  or maybe I should just have read something like this.

But I’ve left the best till last.  From Liège:

Aaahhh, you know all about their guns, so I haven’t bothered putting any pics up here.

Just kidding.  Here’s the FN (a.k.a.Browning) P35 High Power:

But of course, they’d been making pistols long before that, with the Browning-patent M1903 in 7.65mm:

…and the M1922:

…and many others, including the “Baby Browning” in 6.35mm (,25 ACP):

And in the modern (plastic) era, we have guns like the FNS-9:

…and the oh-so-trendy FNX-45:

Moving on, we have FN’s rifles, like the FN-FAL battle rifle:

and the M249 SAW:

And you all know this one from John Moses Browning:

Lest we forget, after WWI FN pretty much armed the world with their Mauser 98 derivatives.

And let’s not forget their wonderful sporting rifles, either:

There is a cogent argument to be made that in any era you could equip an army solely with FN small arms, and it would be one of the best-equipped forces around.

So.. all that good stuff coming from a tiny country sandwiched between a whole bunch of bigger, more belligerent ones.  Not bad.


  1. They talk funny and they eat funny food, just saying, that’s where, Brussels, I ate snails and decided if you had enough garlic butter you could eat an ‘art-gum eraser’ and it would taste about the same.

  2. I second your opinion on the Belgian Ales. Too sweet for me, just high alcohol content. The Mad Dog 20 20 of the beer world.

  3. Some of the Trappist ales are very good. There is one Trappist monastery outside of Belgium that brews real trappist ale. It’s the St. Joseph Abbey in Spencer, MA. They started off making jelly and preserves that are very good. They added beer brewing several years ago. Before they could sell their beer, they had to get approval from the other Trappist Abbeys. The Spencer Brewery ale is very good. One of the best beer tastings I went to was with Brother Isaac from the abbey. They have an open house in July each year that attracts tons of people.


  4. Kim, you missed a great opportunity with FN:
    The first production Weatherby’s were built on FN Mauser actions –
    an early Mk-V Deluxe in .300 Weatherby Magnum would have fit right in.

    Personal Disclaimer – proud owner of an Imbel-manufactured SAR-48, from Springfield Armory, which is my #1 SHTF arm.

  5. I agree, Kim. Stick to guns because your beer sucks (and I’ve tried 20+). The Trappist monks pumped their wort up to tanks on the roof and opened them for several nights to let the “wild yeast” start the fermentation. Yecch!

  6. My one visit to Belgium consisted of about 45 minutes on the ground while the plane was getting fuel on the way home from the Kuwait thing. Staring at retirement coming right at me and the suspicion that the commie bastards in government will find some way to empty retirement accounts to buy off the shiftless and feather their own nests, I am less than confident that I’ll ever see more of Belgium or anyplace else I’d love to see in Europe beyond that view out of the plane window 30+ years ago.

    On the other hand, I do have examples of three of the five pictured FN handguns either in the room I’m in or the next one over, so I guess I’m experiencing it somewhat vicariously.

  7. I went to Brussels in 1980 and loved it so much I went into the Army to get back to Europe. I spent three glorious years stationed outside of Pisa, Italy. The only time in my life I’ve won the lottery. Bought a FNX-9 recently on closeout for under $300, and it’s beautiful. Unfortunately, Belgium is only a few generations from becoming the Islamic Republic of Belgium. It will be the first domino to fall unless the Netherlands beats them to it. Everything highlighted in this post will be gone. Think about that.

  8. Sadly, they’re going the way of the Swedes, and will be an Islamic Republic within 20 years or so. No more beer, and all those beautiful women will be draped in black tents and forbidden to leave the house.

  9. I was at the end of a Satellite upgrade job in Germany in the testing phase almost 2 weeks in December. I was waiting for a test unit to clear customs in 4 days with nothing to do. I heard about the USAF PJ’s running an exercise running the route Patton took to get to Bastogne for the annual Battle of the Bulge event there. The closest I could get a hotel was in Luxembourg. I drove into Bastogne for breakfast the next morning. I did wear my 101st ball cap. As I was finishing breakfast two young Belgium ladies asked about my cap. I told them it was one of my work caps when I supported 101 Currahee as a contractor in Afghanistan and I felt it was appropriate for what was happening in Bastogne today. They then invited me to join them for the day and we explored Bastogne’s remembrance and tribute to those that were at the Battle of the Bulge. We had a great time that day. They explained some of the local traditions and their fascination with the Battle of the Bulge/Americans.

    I was a faithful husband but I am sure that they would have gone back to Luxembourg with me without much persuasion. I was old enough to be their father.

  10. My uncle Ray Embree was an artillery officer who went through the Battle of the Bulge and he was decorated for his ability to call in the air strikes when the weather changed, he told us it was miserable and he had gone 30 days freezing without a singile change of his clothes. He was a lifer and got wounded a few laters when he was a Lt. Col. in charge of artillery at the Chosen Revisor in Korea, mad it out and ended a full Bird at Ft. Sill in the 1960’s.

  11. Belgium is a wonderful place as long as you stay out of Brussels. I’ve never seen such a dirty European city. And that’s not counting the politicians!

  12. I may be wrong but I believe that the 1903 is actually a military model in 9 browning long and the 6,35 a 1906 instead of the actual ” Baby “.
    And while Brussel was a wonderful city up to the 80 it is fast becoming a muzzie s…hole.
    There are still nice part left however.

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