Thursday, October 4, 2012

Belgium, day 1

The flight was the toughest part, as I'm sure anyone can guess. We left Minnesota at about 3PM and the flight itself was about 7 hours long. This is a long time to sit in one place, and soon the Crazy Leg and the Back Crick become good old friends. It did not help that a very large man, redolent of old cheese, was hanging over my armrest on one side.

We arrived at Amsterdam with our friends Chris and Hassan, and they managed to discover a couple of other old friends on the same flight. Those wonderful guys managed to get us into the Sky Lounge where we spent the 3 hour layover in style with free breakfast, cappuccino, and make-your- own bloody marys. Next up, a short puddle jumper flight to our final destination, Brussels.

On arrival we muddled our way through a train ride to the city, and walking from the station to our hotel. Avoiding the very strong urge to sleep, we went out walking about the city. As with most European cities the ancient is overlapped with the new, resulting in a beautiful enigma. We found dinner, and a small bar from the 1400's called Au Bon Vieux Temps, hidden down a dark narrow alley. This bar had that white whale of beer called Westvleteren 12 on tap. Arrrhhhh matey, thar she blows! Our not so pleasant bartender headed down a small passage into the cellar behind the bar and returned with four unlabeled bottles and poured them viciously into four chalice cups, resulting in a deep mocha color with a huge off-white head. She did give me the caps to take back as a souvenir without asking, so this obviously wasn't her first interaction with American treasure hunters. Was it the Best Beer In The World? Probably not, but it was freaking fantastic! Malty sweet, but dry and almost a bit tart with high carbonation. It did not suck.

Returning to our hotel, I was not quite ready to sleep (6:30 PM here) so Sj and I headed down the street to Mort Subite, at very old bar that served meat snacks along with sweet cherry and peach lambics of their own making. Again, less than stellar waitressing that I think is due to the lack of tipping in this culture. Good peach lambic though...

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