There is a wide range of accommodations throughout Belgium; however, hotels are fairly expensive, with “trench-bottom” singles from 22 and doubles around 30-35. Belgium’s 31 HI youth hostels, which charge about 13 per night, are gener-ally modem and many boast cheap bars. Private hostels, however, often cost about the same but are much nicer. Most receptionists speak some English, and reserva tions are a good idea, particularly in the summer and on weekends. Campgrounds charge about 4 per night. An International camping card is not required in Belgium.
Belgian cuisine, a combination of French and German traditions, is praised throughout Western Europe, but an authentic evening meal may cost as much as that night’s accommodations. Seafood, fresh from the coast, is served in a variety of dishes. Moules or mosselen (steamed mussels), regarded as the national dish, are usually tasty and reasonably affordable (14 is the cheapest, usually 17-20). Often paired with mussels are frltes (french fries), actually a Belgian invention, which they dip in mayonnaise and consume in abundance. Belgian beer is both a national pride and a national pastime; more varieties over 300, ranging from ordi nary Pilsners to religiously brewed Trapplst ales are produced here than in any other country. Prices range from as little as 1 for regular or quirky blonde up to 3 for other varieties. Leave room for Belgian waffles (gaufres) soft, warm, glazed ones on the street (1.50) and thin, crispier ones piled high with toppings at cafes (2-5) and for the famous brands of chocolate, from Leonidas to Godiva.