Brussels

I was there. I drank beer. I went to the PARLIAMENTARIUM.

We arrived early, and our hotel wouldn’t let us check in. Who’s ever heard of a hotel not letting you check in early. Not even a little bit?

We hadn’t had any breakfast, so the only logical thing to do was go to the nearest restaurant and order an enormous steak. It was full of gristle, but for €17, you can’t really complain. At least the peppercorn sauce was delicious. Two Leffes started off the beerducation –  don’t hate, it was the only beer option available in the sole inviting-looking restaurant serving food at 11:30am in Saint-Josse-Ten-Noode, where our hotel was.

After checking in and having a wander, we ended up at the Delirium Café, where I finally got around to trying a Delirium Tremens. It’s available in London, albeit not widely, but I’d never tried it before. I figured the Delirium Café was as good a place as any.

Despite how this appears, I was not drunk. I wasn’t even a huge fan of the Delirium Tremens.

We did some more wandering and came across some truly awesome second-hand/antique shops.

Brussels – ur doin it rite

Oh, just playing naked tag with my goat…

The next day, we went to a place in Ixelles called Beer Mania. It was a beer shop with a bar at the back. This was perhaps my favourite place in Brussels.

I tried an XX Bitter followed by a Golden Dragon. The Golden Dragon was tasty, but lethal – at 10.5% ABV.

We ended up getting some frites from Maison Antoine. This is not because we wanted to get frites from Maison Antoine particularly, but because we both really needed to pee after having two beers at Beer Mania, and this meant we needed to go to another bar to drink more beer. Lots of bars in Brussels allow you to bring frites in from off the street. As we were looking for a bar, we saw the queue at Maison Antoine. So, being good Brits that we are, we joined it. And then we went to Chez Bernard and ate them with some Jupiler (standard lager sold in Brussels), after using the facilities, of course.

The next day, we went to the Grand Place.

We had lunch at La Roue d’Or, where I ate moules frites.

By and large, the coffee in Brussels did not impress me. This is unfortunate, since I need it. Usually, I rue the plethora of Starbucks – one on every street corner – here in London, but what I wouldn’t have done for those in Brussels… Not a single Starbucks was seen in that place. That said, cette double expresso était parfait, avec un peu de lait. It was certainly the best coffee I had in Brussels, and I’m glad I ordered it after my rather unimpressive moules frites at lunch.

My hip was hurting from all the walking; my left knee was hurting from the bruise I got by falling between the train and the platform at Westferry just before our trip; we were wandering around aimlessly looking for a place to sit down and have a drink. So after about 30 minutes of this, I finally got stroppy and told my husband that I was getting really annoyed and needed him to pick some place to stop and do it fast.

We found a sunny table just off the Grand Place. This is the place where I found my new favourite Belgian beer (Judas) and actually uttered the words ‘I feel much better now that I’ve had a beer.

Our final stop was A la Mort Subite, just enough time for a couple beers before heading back to Gare du Midi to catch our Eurostar train to London.

For the second round, I ordered the gueuze – supposedly a true Belgian lambic beer, not one of those fake sweet ones…

It. was. disgusting. So sour. Oh, so sour.

But I took it like a champ.

We walked to the train station and checked in. I didn’t want my last beer to be the gueuze, but there were no bars. I was hungry, but there weren’t many options. And let’s just say that the food in the Eurostar terminal was a bit dubious.

I love going away on holiday, but I love returning to London more.

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