Brussels, Belgium

 

I’m sorry to break Switzerland’s heart, but I think that the French train system may be better than theirs. In only a hour and a half we went from Paris to Brussels, the home of waffles, beer, and peeing statues.

The city is very similar to Münich, with its old gothic city halls, and large public squares. Jeff and I spent the weekend there, which turned out to be a cold and chilly affair. We tend to underpack, but it is usually okay, because we just wear the same shirt twice, or flip our underwear inside out, and we call it good. This only becomes an issue when it is cold, and we don’t have enough to keep us warm. When that happens, we our torn between our desire to keep warm, and our duty to explore. What ends up happening is we shuffle around for about 20 minutes before mutually agreeing to have lunch, even though we had just had breakfast. This is what happened in Brussels.

 

Jeff has been to the city before, and we were looking for a specific bar. While Jeff does have a good sense of direction at times, he can get easily turned around. I on the other hand, have a flawless sense of direction, and while Jeff tried to lead us into loop-the-loops, I had to convince him that we had already checked that street. One benefit of his aimless  directional rediscovery, is that we got to stumble upon some neat street art.

 

We eventually did find the bar we were looking for, which was Delirium. This bar has a selection of 2,005 beers, and spans an entire alleyway, complete with 3 bars and a cafe. One of the bars is the original Delirium, and the other two are “speciality” beer bars, to help with the overflow of beer and customers. We visited the original bar, and sat down with their 1 inch wide catalog to spend our evening sampling some of their offers.

The most interesting beer of the evening, for me, was a Cookie beer, which had a sweet and cinnamon like flavor. You know how sometimes liqueur claims to taste like fruit, like raspberries or strawberries? But in actuality it just tastes like lifesavers made with nail polish remover? Yea, this beer was nothing like that. It was delicious. Vodka, step up.

Jeff’s favorite beers of the night were the more respectable (as in, not something flavored like a dessert, a proper manly beer) Treppist beer. These beers were brewed by monks who have mastered the art of beer brewing. They tend to be much stronger than normal beers, and have a complex flavoring. Actually, all the beers in Delirium were stronger than what we were used to. Most at least 6%, many others floating between 8-12%.

I think we each had 4 beers over the course of the night, and met nice people from Ireland, Korea, and France. When we finally left the bar, we were buzzed, but not terribly drunk. We definitely wanted a Belgium waffle though, so we found an open shop, and ordered the most sugary one on the menu. The guy who made our waffle brought us the most beautiful thing you could bring two drunk individuals. It was your standard waffle, but then topped with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, apple slices, rainbow sprinkles, and strawberries. It was a culinary masterpiece. We nearly hugged the waiter, who said “I tried to make a heart with the apples, but it didn’t work.” Brussels Waffle maker man, you’re a truly wonderful person.

Not our waffle.

The next day, Jeff and I wandered around the cold city. Aside from beer and waffles, apparently Brussels is known for its “little-boy-peeing” statues and fountains. It certainly makes for interesting souvenir opportunities.  The locals call it the Mannekin Pis and there are many stories about why the statue was made. The first statue was made in 1388, but was destroyed and then remade in 1619. The government dresses the statue in costume sometimes, and celebrates this by having the statue pee beer on his first day of the new costume. Seriously, I’m a little disappointed that America doesn’t have a little boy statue peeing beer. What prudes.

For the regard, Jeff is sober here.

We left Brussels later that evening and made our way back to Paris. Which is where I’ll pick up next time.

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