Belgium

Click on this text or on the photo above for the best of our photos from Belgium. Or click here for all of them.

We had a connection in Copenhagen in between Reykjavik and Brussels. There was a Brewdog location in the airport, that had Dark Lord 2014 and 2015 — that would have been a pretty epic airport beer, but we weren’t willing to spend $100 on a bottle. We had boring food and beer instead.

When we got to Brussels, it was confusing as hell to get on the train. We had this experience with the trains there before, and I don’t really have a good explanation for it.

We walked with our bag to our room (“Olives“), walked by the door about seven times before figuring out it was our door. Scaled the incredibly steep and narrow spiral stairs. The room was fine, but it didn’t have a bedroom — the couch was a hide-a-bed. Kitty corner to our room was a church — “Church of Notre-Dame de Bon Secours”.

After we were settled, we went for beer at Moeder, and then walked to dinner at Peï and Meï. I wanted the eels in green sauce, but they said no. Instead, I enjoyed a baby lobster. KrisDi had a pork chop with stoemp. It was very near a church — “Église Notre-Dame de la Chapelle“.

We then wandered for a while (encountering a notable giant lobster) before going back to Moeder for a little more beer. We found Westvleteren 12 for 13.95, 11.50, and 17.95 euros. We bought a half dozen at the 11.50 price. We went and walked around Grand Place in the evening.


We started with breakfast at Charli. Before we left, we bought extra bread for lunch. We found a little deli and bought cured meats and some cheeses to enhance our lunch. We were also smart enough to buy some bottled water.

On our way back to the room, we stopped at a place called “Coffee” (you’ll never guess what I was looking for). The proprietor spoke no English, but she understood that I wanted an Americano. Then I realized that if she didn’t speak English, she might not be used to foreign customers, and therefore might not take credit cards — which was correct. And I had no cash. I tried to explain across the language barrier. She appeared to get fed up with me, and just give me the coffee to make me leave. I felt bad about it, but we had not gotten any cash at all.

Our walk to Cantillon was wet. It poured on us for the 3/4 of a mile walk. We were the second people there, at about 10:01 AM. We did the self tour, and I saw three exciting sights: A barrel actively bubbling over with fermentation, a label suggesting they were aging some beer in cognac barrels, and a label suggesting they were aging some beer with vanilla. This is another of those cases where we took a lot of pictures and it was fun and interesting, but there’s not a lot to say about it.

After the tour, we went to their serving area to drink our two included samples, and then started to buy bottles. Nate and Natalie were the first people to arrive; they were from Colorado, and Natalie was pregnant with their first kid. They approached us to start sharing with them, which we happily did.

Later we were joined by Todd & Karen, from Tennessee, who were in the process of adopting their first child and starting Bad Idea Brewing. Then Matt joined us — not sure what he was doing, but he’d been living in Antwerp for about 10 years after marrying someone in the wine industry who had connections with the Cantillon family. Nate and Natalie left at some point to go rest (they had come straight to Cantillon after landing).

We assembled and ate our sandwiches — superbly satisfying. We drank every beer they had available at the bar (sharing with our temporary friends, of course), including a bottle of the Rose de Gambrinus that was on its way into the labeling machine, which was very nice that Matt had convinced them to sell us. Of the several thousand beers I’ve had in my life, I think Lou Pepe Kriek and Fou Foune are in the top five. We stayed until they closed and kicked us out, about 4 PM.

We bought 750ml bottles of Gueueze (1x), Rose de Gambrinus (raspberry, 2x), and Kriek (cherry, 2x), as well as a 1.5 liter monstrosity of the Gueueze. They didn’t have anything else that we could buy to take home (at least, to drink — they had shirts and swag). We walked back to the room to drop off our beer, and then we went to Noordzee for dinner. Smoked salmon and cod ceviche. Then we drank some beer at Monk, where it was crowded and hard to get attention from the staff. We walked, failing to find frites for a long time (at least frites that we could buy with a credit card). Eventually we succeeded.

We got a liege waffle and a bruxelles waffle — both with dulce de leche and whipped cream. Then we picked up a beer at a convenience stored name Alimentations, and walked to look at St. Michael’s Cathedral. On to Poechenellekelder for more beer, and then back to the room. We practiced packing — our suitcases were very heavy, although we didn’t have a way to measure them.

Then we went to bed.


We got up at 5:30, ate some leftover bread from Charli and drank some Nescafe in the room, and walked to the train station to go to Bruges.
The train was much easier to navigate, having gotten Google directions beforehand telling us which track to go to, and already knowing that we couldn’t use KrisDi’s credit card to buy tickets.

We walked to a pretty corner called Rozenhoedkaai for photos. The water in the canals was beautifully calm when we first got there. Then we went to Sanseveria Bagelsalon for breakfast. Strange little place — very eclectic decor, only one very slow employee. She liked to go to a table, take their order, make it, deliver it, and then go to the next table to get their order. The food was very good.

We went back to the same corner, and wandered around to see whatever we saw. We found a pretty interesting map of Bruges, implemented in lace.

Then we visited a the Church or Our Lady, the nearby museum, and Sint-Salvatorkathedral. All three were filled with interesting and/or beautiful art and artifacts. The church had a Michaelangelo sculpture (although it was framed attractively in modern scaffolding). We took many, many pictures, and describing them would be dumb. If you care, look through the uncut photos.

Halve Maan was the place we went for lunch. Their beer was pretty good, their food was a little better. We had Stouvflees beef stew, a cheese plate, and of course beer.

Afterward, we went to Minnewater to chill a bit. Then we went to Grotemarkt to get chocolate at Dominique Personne’s Chocolate Line. They were delicious and pretty. We tried to go to de Garre (a bar that Matt at Cantillon had recommended for their specific house beer). We learned they only took cash, so we walked to find an ATM. Their house beer, a tripel, was definitely the best beer we had (served to us) in Bruges. Although they had a crowd of loud Irish firefighters downstairs.

We tried to go see Jesus blood, but we got yelled at for whispering and didn’t want to pay to see a vial of something any Catholic priest could make out of cheap wine.

So we went to another brewery, Bourgogne des Flandres, where we got one of each of the beers on tap. None were very good. None was bad. Some were in between. The location is really cool, right on the canal. We had a Ukrainian douche sitting next to us playing shitty Ukrainian pop music loudly on his phone, because you know, that brightens everyone’s day. We ate a couple of the Chocolate Line truffles and were visited by a duck.

Then we wandered to Poules Moules for dinner. KrisDi had mussels and I had rack of lamb. After we ordered, KrisDi sent me running for more chocolates from the Chocolate Line, and then I sent myself running to a beer store for some Drie Fonteinen (and a glass) to drink on the train ride back to Brussels (Framboos and Geuze). Dinner was good.

We successfully drank the two beers on the way back to Brussels, and they were really good. When we got back to the room, we packed some more and drank Westvleteren 12 and Rodenbach Alexander and chilled out.

Overall, Bruges was pretty, but it probably wouldn’t draw me back.


We got up at four and walked with our bags to the train station. The walk was not pleasant. There was a surprising number of people still up and drinking / drunk from partying the Tuesday night before. Some made us uncomfortable — a pair of females that were right in the gray area where I’m not sure if I see “friends being intense but not dangerous when they’re drunk” or “one woman getting ready to assault another woman.”

At the airport, the British Air lady was really nice. Patient while we tried to rebalance our luggage, and then just let a couple kilograms pass.

Posted by snaotheus

2 comments

Why would they not give you eels in green sauce?

snaotheus

They were out of eels.

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