Once upon a time there were 5 girls in a tiny Suzuki Swift who went to Belgium for a wild week. First stop was Brussels. I couldn't wait to stuff my stomach with waffles, chocolate and moules frites. My first impression of the city was that there was a lack of atmosphere (compared to Dublin), drivers loved to honk, everything was cheaper than in Ireland and that there was a huge Little Africa vibe going on. Oh, and it was cold as fuck.
After taking a few photos around the majestic Grand Place, one of the most beautiful squares I've ever seen, we had a great time in Delirium, chatting with an astroengineer and ordering a bottle of Deus, a strong ale resembling champagne. The quantity and diversity of beer was overwhelming - my favourite has to be Lindemans Apple, a lambic style fruity blondie I had the pleasure to drink at Le Poechenellekelder. There was also a cookie-flavoured beer I regret not ordering when I had the chance. Raspberry beer was a good surprise, we had it in this Art Noveau club called Madame Moustache, where we danced the night away before heading home. Who needs a gym when there's a dancefloor?
While everyone raves about Atomium, I was more thrilled with the Planetarium - our trip wouldn't have been the same without such a trippy, interesting experience that involved lying down and watch a movie about the Universe being projected onto a 23m overhead dome, as if we were in a space shuttle getting up close and personal with the stars, the galaxies, the black holes, the planets... Pure cosmic ecstasy! It wasn't even 3D but it certainly felt like it was.
Food wise, I have to say the Belgians don't mess around when it comes to fry culture. In Fritland, we all had massive portions of fries with the yummiest of sauces (garlic mayo never felt so homemade). Greasy glitz. Meat, however, was unimpressive (this is what happens when you spend too much time of your life in FX Buckley). I'm pretty sure it was all horse meat. Now, for a healthy and delicious brunch, Peck 47 was the place. Runny poached eggs cooked and presented to perfection, refreshing juices and smoothies, cheesy waffles with herby sausages, drool-inducing cakes... All of it in a cosy, quaintly decorated café, packed with locals on their lunch break.
Our airbnb soon became a pyjama party, a mess of maps, blankets, leftovers, empty bottles, Belgian chocolate boxes and Lidl plastic bags. Our Portuguese neighbours gathered outside day and night, which was handy whenever we needed a lighter or a corkscrew. No one vomited inside a Photomatic after enjoying a massive overdose of frites et fricadelle. No one had an anxiety crisis induced by the endless stream of heavy traffic while listening to THIS very loudly. More importantly, no one got robbed while going for a pee in the open air - behind a tree in the park opposite to the Royal Palace, to be more specific. All good.
Note to self: if you keep on drinking coffee followed by beer and simultaneously feasting on greasy stuff and chocolate nonstop, pray for your intestines.
To be continued...