First Trip to Belgium Part II
Posted by Melanie (& Pete) on 04/07/2003 07:14:54 PM
In Pete's defense, he doesn't get to sit in front of a computer all day, like me... And now, he's at his fencing class.
So, we were in Bruges, on a Monday. After a very nice breakfast at Erasmus, we headed to the Church of Our Lady to see the Michelangelo Madonna & Child. We toured the Begijnhuisje, and did a canal tour - our guide showed us a "crackin' good time!" Sorry, I have to think of Wallace & Gromit whenever I hear that word.
We went back to the Markt and had lunch at the Sint Joris, which was okay, but not great. Pete had a Duvel, I had what was just listed as "kriek", ended up being a Belle Vue. So much for trying to avoid all Interbrews on the trip! We then got some shopping done - we found a place called the Bier Tempel, which seemed cheaper than the one in Brussels! We ended up with 2 bottles of the Oudbeitje, 3 bottles of Rodenbach Grand Cru, a Cantillon Fou Foune, a Jan van Gent, and an Oeral. We'd pretty much decided just to get things we either REALLY liked, or that we hadn't seen in any of the stores we frequent.
We lugged everything back to Brussels, and had a very decent dinner at a Chinese place near our hotel. It was interesting to note that what seemed to be locals all ordered Jupiler.
Tuesday we went to Ghent. We went to the tourist office first, and got some very good info from one of the employees - she told us to take the 21 Tram to get to Hopduvel (it dropped us about 2 blocks away, and then we got back on it to get back to the train).
We toured St. Baaf's Cathedral, and saw the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb. We got an excellent description from a gentleman who was in the alcove where the painting used to be hung, now there's a copy there. He was excited to learn that we were American, he explained that Hitler had gotten a hold of the painting during WWII, and the US troops returned it to Belgium. We felt guilty about learning all of this without paying, so we went into the crypt where the original is. The employee there gave us the "scoop" on the gentleman, that he's a volunteer and isn't supposed to give lectures, because the church loses money! And he doesn't contribute to the coffee fund, etc... Very amusing.
We also toured the Gravensteen, a little barren, but had to be done. The best frites we had on the entire trip was from a stand on the square right near the castle. Why is it then that all of the Belgian restaurants in Philly serve those little tiny fries?
The Waterhuis was our first cafe of the day. I ordered an Oud Beersel Kriek, and got a Hanssens instead. Oh, well...
Next was Dulle Griet. Pete had a Brigand, I had a Grimbergen Tripel. The service wasn't rude, exactly, but the whole staff was going in and out with large boxes the whole time we were there. Their menu was a big book with labels - there were two for the Rodenbach Alexander, so we had to ask. Has anyone had this recently? Is there anywhere you can still get it?
I convinced Pete that we should go to the Galgenhuisje, and we were glad we did. We also realized that we hadn't had any Trappists on the trip, so Pete had an Orval and I had a Westmalle Tripel. We were pretty happy by then. The bartender was very friendly, we told here where we had been, she said she had gone to school in Bruges. We tried a kriek jenever, the first of those. The last time I had gin was my high school graduation, and haven't touched it since (oh, 15 years or so...). I never would have known there was gin in it.
At the Galgenhuisje, make sure you use the loo before you start drinking. The spiral staircase was not pretty.
After a few drunken chocolate purchases, we needed a loo again, so we stopped in at a Irish/British pub - Celtic something or other. Met a very nice bartender who said she was from near Heathrow (the one who just flew home for a pound). She explained why everyone kept saying Alstublieft when they brought us beer/food/our change. I thought I had figured it out our night in Bruges when I caught a bit of "Everyone Loves Raymond", he said "Here you go", and the caption said alstublieft. Anyway, I had a Mangers cider and a Duchesse, Pete had two more jenevers - chocolate and blackberry. And the best part, we got to read the paper -the one with the page 3 girls (well, that was best for him...)
Eventually we made our way down to the Hopduvel. It was only 5:30 or so, so we verified that the kitchen opened at 6:00. I don't have any idea what I drank there! Whoops. Pete had salmon, I had the shrimp croquettes. Very good food.
We went back to Brussels, and the next morning, after some more chocolate shopping in the airport, headed home.
I wish we could just head over for a long weekend. Any ideas on how to get us jobs in the EU?
So, Pete went through the TW book and gave me his list of what he thinks he had, he can't remember what where. I also had a Verhaege Echte Kriek, too, I thought that was pretty good. Pete's list - Golden Draak, Rodenbach Grand Cru, Ichtegemus Oud Bruin, Floreffe Dubbel, Witkap Stimulo, Witkap Tripel, Kapittel Dubbel. I'm sure we forgot some, they were all good! Well, except for the De Troch Lemon. Sorry for the typos.
Looking forward to Sunday.
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