Having already met in Stavanger, London, and Amsterdam, my two girlfriends and I endeavoured to keep up our tradition of meeting in a different city; by selecting Brussels, Belgium as our next rendezvous.
5 Facts About Belgium
- Belgium has three official languages; Dutch, French, and German. In Brussels, you’re most likely to hear Dutch, French and English spoken.
There are over 800 kinds of beer made in Belgium, and Belgians consume on average 150 litres of beer a year!
- There are over 800 kinds of beer made in Belgium, and Belgians consume on average 150 litres of beer a year!
Belgium produces over 220,000 tonnes of chocolate every year, and Zaventem Airport sells the most chocolate in the World!
4. The name of the euro currency was first proposed by a Belgian to the European Commission in 1992. The design of euro sign (€) was created by the Belgian Alain Billiet.
5. The Law Courts of Brussels is the largest court of justice in the world.
I really got a feel for Brussels as we wandered through the Belgian capital. I was actually taken-aback at how small the city feels, which makes it perfect for a long-weekend adventure.
But this small capital is a swirl of historical and political grandeur, mixed with quaint and un-showy hidden gems. Winding, cobbled streets reveal majestic and beautiful city squares; the most famous being “Grand Place”, art nouveau facades, beautiful gardens, and plenty of places to spoil your diet with chocolate, chips, waffles, wine and cheese!
Our Trip to BrugGE
To maximise time immersing ourselves in all things Belgian, we had to make it to Brugge or “Bruges”, situated about 100 kilometres from Brussels.
One, early morning we hopped on a double-decker train and ventured about an hour North from the capital.
Famed for its charm, Brugge is simply a fairy-tale town that exemplifies quintessential “Belgium”. I absolutely adored freely wandering the quaint, medieval streets revealing stone historical buildings, boutique shops, pretty waterfronts, and Christmas-like town squares.
Brouwerij De Halve Maan
Brugse Zot popularity has grown over the years due to its refreshing taste and unique character. This character has come about due to it being brewed with four different types of malts and two types of aroma hops. The finished product is full bodied with a sweet malt character which is nicely balanced with fruit tones and is followed with a crisp and clean finish. – Beers of Europe
Our last stop of the day was to visit the ‘brouwerij de Halve Maan’, or ‘Half-Moon Brewery’, a renowned family-owned brewery dating back to 1856; that runs a museum to educate visitors about traditional brewing methods.
It was in their cosy pub area, next door that I opted for a drink that never passes my lips…beer!
I had been swept up and entranced by the Belgian charm of Bruges and decided upon their ‘city beer’, known as Brugse Zot – the only beer produced in Bruges town centre.
The moments spent in the historic, quintessentially Belgian, Halve Maan; with two of my best friends; by a crackling fire; on a crisp Autumn evening; sipping a highly palatable blonde beer; just so perfectly completed my Belgian experience with high contentment.
Time must have simply melted away during those relaxed moments in the brewery as we suddenly realised the departure time of the very last train that would return us to Brussels was rapidly approaching – so we fondly departed the brewery by hastily speed-walking to the station!
With our Belgian experience coming to a close – we left with fond memories of historic architectural beauty, indulgent and comforting food and drink, and just enough time to decide upon our next adventure – Riga in Latvia!
Until next time!