Recent trip around Belgium
Posted by MattD on 03/23/2005 02:43:11 PM
I've just returned from a 9 day jaunt around Belgium (Sat 12th to Sun 20th), travelling by train + bus. Thought I'd share my thoughts, random comments etc
Within the first 48 hours I'd visited cafes Kroegske (Izegem), Pikardijn (Sint-Lievens-Houtem), Heeren van Liederkercke (Denderleeuw) and Oud Arsenaal in Antwerp. Think my faves were the first two. HvL seemed like more of a restaurant and I felt like a bit of a geek dining there on my own. Enjoyed the framboos lambic aperitif though.
On Saturday: only did Kroegske in Izegem; enjoyed some Duivel, Keyte, Arabier and Drie Fonteinen geuze.
Sunday: Found out that one can walk from Herzele station to Pikardijn reasonably directly by walking towards Sint-Lievens-Houtem, turning left at Oudenhierweg, and then just keep going. It looks like a farm track at first but in fact it's part of the 'Mountain Bike Route Zottegem'. Sharp right at the mounted map, and soon you're back on tarmac: Cottheim, ie the road that Pikardijn is on. I'd definitely go back there again. Enjoyed a bottle of Tonneke for the first time there as well, as well De Ryck special and Felix special oudenaardes.
I went to Aalst: checked out 2 hotel tips from Tim Webb's beer guide and 3 bars it said might to be open (the time being 5-6pm). All were shut. Got a bit fed up tramping around for nothing, got the next train out of town.
Monday: Best value cafe was Waagstuk in Antwerp: the house beer (Zeppelin), draught Mort Subite lambic, Westvleteren Blond and a croque monsieur came to under 10 euros. I thought Paters Vaatje near the big church was good as well (had Houten Kop, Gildenbier and Deugniet there).
Tuesday: After popping into Tropical in St Niklaas (had Triverius, Oud Zottegems and Serafijn blond for lunch), I went onto Liege, did Vandree 1+2. Unfortunately Les Olivettes was closed, I quite fancied a singalong. It's in a pretty dodgy area of town, although going round there was sort of useful: on the way back, some fellow started talking to me in foreign, I said I spoke English, and so he said in stilted English, 'Where can I get a hooker?' And I was able to tell him.
Wednesday: Huy is a charming little town, enjoyed cafe Big Ben there (drank Cervoise De l'Avouerie d'Anthisnes, St Feuillien blonde, St Benoit brune) . Walked up to the fortress and discovered that you have to take the cable car if you want to actually go inside. Went to Namur, enjoyed La Chapitre, then back to Brussels. The Bier Circus sold me a 37.5cl Cantillon Iris, and they had Barbar, Rulles and later on Boskeun, all on draught. Ended up discussing the Kyoto treaty with a Swiss chap called Reynard (for he was involved in its implementation), in Delirium, as you do.
I stayed in a dorm in Brussels (Hostel Jacques Brel), and encountered a room that stank of feet, a cramped little bed, a fine collection of bogies in one of the sinks, and crap on one of the toilet seats. Did I really put up with this when I was younger?
OK, that's the first few days, I'll write up the rest later...
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