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The Eleventh Commandment ..... Tucked under the shadow of Antwerp's 14th Century Cathedral, is an unexpected hidden treasure called the Eleventh Commandment (or Het Elfde Gebod if you speak Dutch). Although many of the other ten say "thou shalt not", my guess is the eleventh commandment is all about having a good time. Most people in Belgium want to enjoy many of the hundreds of unique beers that the country is famous for. Not me. I love my cappuccinos.

The food and drink at the Eleventh Commandment is a feast for your taste buds. But, it is also a visual overload with hundreds of religious icons that line the walls, balconys, pillars and rafters. I read that there are actually 400 icons. It feels like thousands. They are just everywhere you look. Take your pick, you are most likely to see your favorite saint, nativity character, Bible hero as well as a knight or two in shining armor.

Okay, I can see how the devout might be offended by the decor. All those icons certainly once were housed in more pious locations. No longer, and nobody enters the Eleventh Commandment to say a prayer. Most likely, nobody wants to confess how much they drank during their visit either.
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If and when you order coffee or tea in the United States, that's exactly what you get. Coffee or tea. There's another little European tradition that I absolutely love. When you order your drink, there is always an extra little surprise. You get a cookie. Now, in Belgium, it's usually but not always speculoos, a traditional gingerbread cookie that is the best possible store-bought cookie. I'm not all that picky. If I get any kind of cookie I'm so pleased with that touch of continental civilization. However, at the Eleventh Commandment, I was served coffee with chocolate chips on the side. That was magical! Well . . . at least, wonderfully delicious.

Copyright 2015 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.