First Trip to Belgium! Part I
Posted by Pete & Mel on 04/06/2003 09:25:47 PM
Here's our report on what will hopefully be the first of many trips to the Low Countries...
We arrived at an ungodly hour in the morning, dropped our luggage off at the hotel, and headed for the Grand Place. Walked around for a few hours,did the bus tour that came with our trip, went to the tourist office and purchased the Must of Brussels package, and headed to the Comic Strip Museum. Passed Mort Subite on the way, so we stopped in. Pete had a draught faro, which was awful, and I ordered a blackberry, thinking it was something I hadn't had before. I thought Cassis was plum?!? Not a good first cafe experience, aside from the nice kitty asleep in the corner.
The Comic Strip museum was mostly lost on us, since it was all in French or Flemish. Looking at the pictures only goes so far in comics!
We then headed back to the hotel to get ready for our reservation at Spinnekopke. Our dinner was fabulous! I had a chicken waterzooi, Pete had mussels in shrimp bisque. For dessert we shared a Dame Blanche - the chocolate sauce was to die for!
After dinner we stopped by LopLop, but it was way too crowded, and Cambridge, but it was closing.
Friday we did the Musical Instrument Museum, the Art Museums, stopped by Mannekin Pis (that day he was Mannekin Peace), and went in the Poechenellekelder. Very cool place. For some reason, we kept ending up at the Place d'Espagne, so we stopped for a waffle. That chocolate sauce is killer. We decided not to go back to hotel before the concert (London Philharmonic, Mahler 1st), so we headed to the Bier Circus.
BC was definitely our favorite cafe in Brussels. Very nice and helpful staff, and a comfortable place to hang out. Ended up getting dinner which was excellent. Our first try of stoemp. My first Hanssens Oudbeitje, which I will definitely drink again.
Saturday we headed to Antwerp. Did a few churches and museums, and got a pitta off the main square. Went to 't Waagstuk first, Pete had a Zeppelin, I had a Cantillon gueuze. Then we went back through town towards the Kulminator, stopping at all of the chocolate shops on the way. We were still early for the K, so we ended up at a place called the Lucky Leprechaun (I think). Knowing we were in for a night of drinking, we started off with a shot of Bushmills whiskey (P), and a half of Strongbow (M).
At the Kulminator, Pete started us off by ordering a 1982 Boon Kriek Mariage Parfait for me, and a Abbaye de Rocs Grand Cru 2000 for him. Both 75cl, mind you. He said he just did it because it was busy, and he hadn't gotten to the small bottles when Leen (I guess) came by. After we finished those, and watched a table of four men go through about 5 rounds, we were ready for another. In my happy state I made a very bad decision in trying the De Troch Lemon, which tasted strangely like a melted water ice. Pete had a Vichtenaar. We then decided that we needed to go find food so we could make our way back to the train station.
Sunday we had planned on going to De Dolle, but I had twisted my ankle somewhere, and we decided not to risk having to walk 2 mi to the brewery. So, after reviewing the Midi market, we went straight to Brugge. We dropped our stuff at Erasmus, and rushed to the Groeningemuseum. Hieronymus Bosch was a pretty wacky guy! We need to do some research on him.
Somewhere in my research I had read about a fondue place called Pietje Pek, so we went there for dinner. No beer, knowing we were heading for the Beertje next. It was good, but very targeted to English-speaking clientele. We were disappointed that there was no chocolate fondue.
The Beertje was packed, but we bonded with a couple of gents who noticed our Tim Webb book and were perusing their own.
We headed back to the Erasmus, and I had a nice Gouden Carolus Tripel, and Pete had another womderful Dame Blanche.
To be continued.... Bruges part II & Gent.
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