Last Stop: Belgium -Cruising Scandinavia

Scandinavia & Baltic Cruise

Belgium  – Our Last Stop   


Our Scandinavian-Baltic cruise concluded with a stop in Belgium.

Scandinavia & Baltic Cruise: Belgium

 Scandinavia & Baltic Cruise: Belgium We spent the morning of our final destination, Belgium, visiting Flanders Field, near Eiper (or Ypres in French). This town is so old it was destroyed by the Romans in the 1st century AD. It was again reduced to rubble during WWI. This area was a crucial battle sight between Germany and France. Almost 12,000 soldiers are buried in Tyne Cot (just one of many cemeteries here).

Scandinavia & Baltic Cruise: Belgium

The afternoon was spent in Bruges – probably my favorite of the medieval towns. Even the rainy day couldn’t spoil this treasure! The chocolate we purchased did not make it back home -we knew it would melt!

Scandinavia & Baltic Cruise: Belgium






Scandinavia & Baltic Cruise: Belgium

Scandinavia & Baltic Cruise: Belgium











Guest Author: Vicki L

The Ultimate Train – Chocolate!

From fun (and healthy) Fruity and Veggie Trains to the ultimate: A CHOCOLATE Train! (But, hey – chocolate is healthy too, right?).

Chocolate Train

Not only is this decadent chocolate train an amazing piece of artwork and sculpting, and a tribute to chocolate sculpting (read:  JOY TO CHOCOLATE).… might also be considered by some chocoholics as a waste of good chocolate – especially if no one is ever going to get to eat any of it!

Confirmed to be pure chocolate (no other materials used) and weighing over 2,755 pounds, nothing is said of the value of the chocolate used!  However, the talent, hours and chocolate invested, and overall size of this train is truly astounding.

Chocolate TrainUnveiled last November at a train station in Brussels, Belgium,  this train, made entirely of chocolate, set a new Guinness World Record as the longest chocolate structure in the world.

Originally on display at the busy Brussels South station, the sculpture is 112-feet (34.05 meters) long and weighs over 2,755 pounds (1250 kilos).Chocolate Train

Chocolate TrainMaltese chocolate artist, Andrew Farrugia, spent over 700 hours constructing this masterpiece.

He was inspired last year after visiting the Belgian Chocolate Festival in Bruge: “I had this idea for a while, and I said,  ‘what do you think if we do this realization of a long chocolate train’, you know, because a train you can make it as long as you like.  Actually it was going to be much smaller than it was, but I kept on adding another wagon, and another wagon, and it’s the size it is today.”  Farrugia had previously built a smaller train of 12 feet for an event in Malta, which he said gave him insight about how to build this much larger version.

The train’s many components include seven wagons modeled after

Chocolate Train

Chocolate Trainmodern Belgian trains. The remaining trains recall Belgium’s older train wagons, including one with a bar and restaurant.

Chocolate Train

Most of the structure was constructed in Farrugia’s home country, but the world record almost wasn’t — many pieces were damaged in transit to Brussels.  Three days before the event, Farrugia transported the chocolate train by truck in 25 wooden boxes from Malta to Belgium.

Farrugia said the train incurred considerable damage during the drive and several of the train’s walls had completely collapsed. Luckily, with hard work and little sleep, the chocolate artist was able to fix all the damages before presenting the train to the public on Monday.

After measuring the length of the train and confirming no material other than chocolate was used, officials from the Guinness Book of World Records added a new category to the collection of world records and declared the train to be the longest chocolate structure in the world.  The train will be on display at various chocolate museums in Belgium as well as at the Brussels’ train museum.


A VIDEO (From NTDTV):Video: Chocolate Train

MORE INSIGHTS (From The Telegraph):

(Contains video from AP)

The train, which is on show near the Eurostar train platform at Brussels’ Gare du Midi, was created to promote the country’s chocolate industry in the face of shrinking European market.

Belgium’s three hundred chocolate companies produce some £2 billion worth of chocolate every year.

Global trends suggest that demand for luxury chocolate is growing in emerging economies, but slowly shrinking in richer countries, with production slowly shifting to new markets where labour costs are low and the beans do not have to be shipped to Europe to be processed.

Since the recession, Belgian chocolatiers have been shielded from a dip in local demand by growing demand in eastern Europe and emerging markets Brazil, Russia, India and China.

The Belgian tourist minister Christos Doulkeridis said the industry was well able to withstand the growing international competition.

“We have the science and artisans to do it. We promote the chocolate of quality,” he said.

Chocolate Train Video

MORE PHOTOGRAPHS (From The Huffington Post)

World News - Nov. 19, 2012

World News - Nov. 19, 2012

World News - Nov. 19, 2012