sidebar: breakfast rooms.

The hotel breakfast room in Europe: if you've never been to Yurp, you don't really know what I'm talking about, although the concept is familiar: your hotel room comes with a "free breakfast". In America, this means you go down to the lobby and have some cereal or toast and shitty coffee while you watch CNN or whatever pap is on the TV down there and simultaneously "read" USA Today. It can be a loud, semi-bustling environment (depending on what time you wake up of course).

In Europe, hotel breakfast rooms are deathly still and quiet, unless there are Americans there complaining about the lack of CNN, USA Today, and toast. Ideally you would never spend any time at all in one of these rooms....you would walk out the door, turn left or right, and within 50 meters you'd find a dreamy patisserie or cafe where you could sit outside with real people and enjoy a sublime croissant or pastry and a double espresso or two.

However, sometimes your hotel is not located in a city center. In fact, sometimes, your hotel is located in a very American-seeming highway offramp kind of situation, and if you're up before anyone else and hungry....the hotel breakfast room is your only option.

The above picture was taken in the hotel breakfast room in Dendemonde, Belgium. I was up early and hungry, and OK although this time we were actually in a city center, I was interested in what a Belgian hotel breakfast was like, and didn't really feel like facing the outside world yet.

It was...modest but OK. Above you see a ham sandwich with Emmenthaler, oude kaas, and honey; a honingkoek (honey cake); and a couple of speculoos cookies. And a cup of tea. With honey. Lots of bees in Belgium apparently.

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