Watou Winter Wonderland
Posted by Ian on 01/07/2002 10:44:46 AM
On Saturday I went over to the European mainland with my girlfriend and her friend. We took my car over for the day and put it on the excellent eurotunnel train, which is so easy and fast.
On arriving at Calais I dropped the girls off at Cite Europe which is a massive shopping mall with cinemas and restaurants. They wanted to buy cosmetics and handbags.
I was free to spend 7 hours over the border in Belgium. My first stop was Watou the famous brewers town. The weather in Belgium was beautiful, blue sky, cold and plenty of snow on the ground, it looked like a Christmas card with the decorations still up. I went into 't Hommelhof restaurant on the square but they were not serving meals until the evening. I did not have much time so I reluctantly moved on. I then went round the corner from the main square to Van Eecke brewery which was closed. I should be used to Belgian opening hours by now. I got back into the car and drove down country lanes to the old De Bie brewery and Cafe d'Hellekapelle and this was closed too! I'd phoned the previous day and was told that they would be open. I took some photos as it looked great in the snow. A local farmer told me that they might open later. Not far down the lane which was treacherous due to the snow I found a small cafe that was open. I went in and had a Helleketelbier and a Plokkersbier in the cosy bar.
I then decided to travel down to Noel Cuveliers beer shop in Abele. As usual the selection in Noels place is excellent. I was like a child on Christmas morning! I bought a total of 220 beers some were 75cl bottles which included the excellent Montagnarde from Abbaye des Rocs. Noel had the full De Dolle, De Bie and Van Eecke range.
I then went to the excellent Belgian chocolate shop a stones throw from Noels place to stock up on delicious chocolates.
I then thought that I'd check out De Bie again in Watou, it was dark by now. Guess what, it was open! I was the only customer at 6pm, I had a snack and 2 Zatte Bies which went down very well indeed, I love this beer. I know I was driving and I really should be more sensible. Whilst there I purchased a 6 pack of Zatte Bie and a 6 pack of Helleketelbier along with a glass for each. Cafe d'Hellekapelle is a tiny cosy place, I reluctantly left at 8pm. It is quite difficult driving down country lanes in the snow when you have had a few beers as the ditches can easily catch you out!
I got back to Cite Europe at 9pm to meet the girls and stock up on French wine and food. We bought 40 bottles of wine and I bought 60 bottles of biere de garde. After a coffee and a meal we left Calais at 11pm. My poor old car was packed full but we got back safely 2 and a half hours later.
We Brits are lucky to be able to do these daytrips but you really have to plan your day well as the time flies by.
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