The character of Eastbelgium has been formed over the years by its location in the heart of Europe. There is a tripoint in the north of the region where three countries meet -- Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany -- while the western border connects it with French-speaking Wallonia. It then borders Luxembourg in the south and the German states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rheinland-Palatinate in the east. You'll find that its location and the influence of its neighbours have given Eastbelgium a very specific identity. The main ingredients are a mixture of Belgian calmness and German reliability, with a good shot of hedonism thrown in to round out the picture. With a surface area of 1036 square kilometres, you will find Eastbelgium surprisingly large in cultural, language as well as culinary terms. Its eclectic nature is also reflected in the language. French is spoken in Malmedy and its environs, with German being spoken in the rest of Eastbelgium. The differences with its neighbouring countries also go without saying. In the border country near Aachen you will see the start of a landscape which has not let agricultural land consolidation and industrial agricultural production strip it of its charm. It's just real countryside, relaxed and like a painted backdrop. The narrow lanes seem only to have been put there for the purpose of leading you down the scenic route to the next picture postcard village, to the next atmospheric town. It's likely, in fact almost certain, that you will chance upon a restaurant serving regional cuisine along your way, because Eastbelgium is also full of gastronomic surprises.