Our adventure has begun–we landed on Thursday, May 15 at 9:30 a.m. after an exhausting flight and Tori, our lovely hostess, picked us up. We hoped to go with only a carry on and a personal item, but our backpacks were too large, so we checked them.
Many people have warned that if you go to sleep after an overnight flight, you will never get adjusted to the time change, and that has proved to be true because it is day three and we are still exhausted. We slept for a few hours on Thursday, and Tori surprised us with a fantastic picnic in her garden. A basket full of German bread, two types of cheeses, salami, bologna and delightful cookies. The view from her organic garden is magnificent, and this picnic was the idea of Europe that we had been thinking of for so long. A leisurely picnic with tea and sunshine and great conversation. Beauty is in the simple things here, and we love it.
After our picnic, Tori took us to the train station and we headed off to Brussels. Starting at the Grand Place, we had a kriek on the patio of Chaloupe D’Or. Kriek is Belgium’s famous cherry beer. We liked it, but it was a little too sweet for our palates. The weather couldn’t be more lovely here. The sunshine and cool breeze is the perfect cure for exhaustion.
Catherine is very good at reading maps- and me, not so much. I just like to ask people for directions. But putting our strengths together we tried to find St. Michael’s Cathedral to no avail. It was our first day in a city that we knew nothing of and didn’t speak the language, so finding things was quite difficult, but we got better at it the next day. By this time, we really needed another beer, so we found a place called The Zebra Bar and asked the bartender for a good brew. He brought us Zinne Bir, a Belgian pale ale brewed at Brasserie de la Senne. It has been both of our favorite beer so far on the trip. I highly recommend it for any occasion. After the Zebra Bar, we searched for Delirium Cafe, a bar known for having over 2,000 beers. It is laid back environment and has a very diverse crowd. We met two guys, Eric and Alex that are Ph.D. Students in Brussels and they were our first inside look into the city. The beer was delicious- and much higher in alcohol than the beer that we are used to in the states. The thing about Brussels that pleasantly surprised me the most was how nice the people are. Everyone we spoke to spoke English and were very eager to help us. Day one was quite a success–more to come on lovely Brussels.