Friday 2nd September was an important day! Not only was it Vietnamese Independence Day but it was also the start of the Belgian beer festival in Brussels.
We were awake before 7am and went to breakfast at Charli Boulangerie, where the baker is on show while you eat. I had the best pain au chocolat with a green tea, Captain Caveman had a double espresso and a plain croissant. The cost was a reasonable €10 and the place was quite busy. It was mesmerising to watch the baker, who was working very hard.
We were back at the hotel before 9am and then went to the farm shop close by to get something for the kitchen. We bought ham, goat cheese and a baguette, then couldn’t resist a second breakfast.
For lunch we met Simon and Anna, Captain Caveman’s brother and his wife. It had been a long time since we had seen them and it was great to catch up again. The restaurant they chose was called In’t Spinnekopke, which means The Spider’s Web in Flemish. I loved it there, the food was excellent and the waiter was impressive. Simon and I had the beef stew, Captain Caveman had sausage and Anna had fish. The meat eaters amongst us had our meal paired nicely with a Belgian dark beer which was surprisingly nice, so much so that we managed a second one.
It was still a working day so Anna and Simon had to get back but Captain Caveman and I took the afternoon to do a bit of shopping. We went to the Base phone shop and bought a SIM card which we would be able to use while in Europe, the man in the shop was very helpful and it cost €15, including a package for up to 30 days. We finished our shopping with a beer in the Delerium pub while we waited for Simon to finish work. Of course Captain Caveman had to take a photo of me next to the Jeanneke Pis, for good sightseeing measure!
Captain Caveman’s brother works in the brewing industry so he is involved in the Brussels beer festival. He had very kindly invited Captain Caveman and I to join him at the annual event. Unfortunately, Anna wasn’t able to join on account of her having the 3 children to look after. Captain Caveman went over to the Grand Place in Brussels to wait next to the Town Hall. Here we saw various important people coming out of the building and going in to the beer festival as the first guests. This included the Belgian Prime Minister who seemed very nice.
It will come as no surprise that we had several beers during the evening at the beer festival and I did my best to keep a note of them all – I’m sure some slipped through, though. My first one was a Kriek Boon as I do love a cherry beer and I was a little thirsty. We made our way round all of the beer stands enjoying our free beer samples and comparing notes. We liked the Van Den Bosch, Aparta and Martens – the cardamon flavoured beer was one of our favourites of the night and I thought it would be great with a curry. The Paranoia at Delirium had a great name but it wasn’t in my best beers. Floris was good, as usual and I was pleased to see that Huyghe had a Gluten Free beer which I had to try. If it hadn’t said that the Mongozo premium pilsner, served in a coconut shell, was gluten free I wouldn’t have guessed. It was light and easy to drink but I found the shell with bracelet style stand a bit tricky to hold and inadvertently put the ‘bracelet’ on then forgot to return it with the shell. Another top beer was the Paix Dieu at the Caulier bar, this also got extra points for the gorgeous glass. Stuut beer did cans that matched my dress but there was none available to try, the Super 8 had nibbles and a lovely glass too. By the time we were sampling Haacht, Kasteel, then De Dool my note taking was slightly fuzzy – not unlike my photos. If I recall correctly, we finished on Leopold 7 and thought it would be a great idea to get some food.
We’d met a few people along the way and one guy came with us to L’Express Kebab where we had Beirut or Heineken bottled lager. I’m no beer snob but it definitely wasn’t my favourite drink of the night! The kebab was a winner though, and definitely what I needed to help sober me up a bit before the walk back to the hotel.
Captain Caveman’s jetlag had certainly caught up with him as he was fast asleep on the bed, the wrong way round, by the time I had got undressed.