We first sampled Belgium chocolate through a box of Galler in our hotel room. Unfortunately, G and P ate 3/4 the box in about 5 minutes and entered blissful hibernation. However, if not for the sacrifices of my teammates, I would not have survived to write this post, instead, I would be lumbering in chocolate heaven, never to return. The remaining members of the Team, Y and me, would be covering Brussels by ourselves the first day.
Our first goal was Autoworld, a museum of historical cars located in the awesome Parc du Cinquantenaire. The archway was the most breathtaking building I’ve seen up to that point, unapologetically magnificent, from the extremely wide wall paintings on either sides of the horseshoe to the bronzed guardians on the chariot. Brilliant.
Autoworld was a lot more fun than it should be, given that the only thing I know about cars is how to mooch rides off friends so I don’t have to drive. The most interesting car was the Amphicar, pictured below (runner-up: the 1954 BAT 7 ).
Alex and Nathan have told me to not miss Delirium Cafe, but even getting to it turned out to be an adventure, as we had to fight through a trecherous gauntlet of outdoor restaurants which I named the Red Food District. Around 10 maitre d’s would block our way and ping us with every language they figured we would speak and attempt to drag us to the tables. We fearlessly fought through the undead horde and arrived at the home of the 2000-long beer list. I am not a big enough beer buff to peruse the full list of 2000 beers, so we just looked at a small list and picked out the Floris berry kriek and the St. Bernadus Abt 12. This was as unholy as beer matrimonies go, but I wasn’t exactly feeling saintly by the 50 or so taps.
Y was starting to see pink elephants at this point, so we willingly offer ourselves to the vices of the Red Food District. I actually got a pretty amazing rumsteak (though the wine was bland) for 17 Euro. Quite full, we sit and take in the town square before going back for sleep.
In the morning, we take the bus in the wrong direction and get lost (I blame P’s French, or maybe the nice grandmother on the bus giving him directions really wanted him to be with her longer), but we somehow bumble our way back to the city center, where we ate at the climatically-named Brussels Grill. P reminded us that there was a Belgium specialty we should not be forgetting.
Before finally getting on the train to Paris, I stopped by the Tintin Boutique, revisiting my childhood hero (Harry Potter has nothing on the most badass 22-year-old freelance reporter of all time). I settled on a Captain Haddock coffee mug, but I realized it could not be the only souvenir when I saw the Snowy plush. Now I had a lovable and fiercely loyal companion to aid me through the dangers of graduate school. Little did we know that an unexpected storm already awaited me in Paris.
Thousands of blistering barnacles.
P.S. Brussels elevators earn massive points by having a mathematically clean numbering system. The B’s, L’s, and M’s always annoyed me.
P.P.S. Y astutely pointed out that having the trunk of the car opening up to be a seat was a pretty sweet feature. I think he is spot on.