Beer in Brugge

Friday, February 06, 2015
Brugge, West Flanders, Belgium
8:15 am:
On the train to Brugge . It's called the 'Venice of the North' with all the canals. Even though I'm not staying overnight there, I'm glad I will get there on a day trip, as it's supposed to be nice. I have a plan of what I want to do, but I also wouldn't mind just strolling a bit. I slept a good 10 hours last night as I was in bed by 8:30. I know, party animal! But today I feel fairly well rested, or as much as I can. I could still easily sleep another 20.

Yesterday afternoon I took the metro to Grand Place. Brussels' metro system is beautiful. Modern, clean, easy to follow. I can live in those metro stations. This train is also a little more modern than the Romanian trains, which I expected. There is at least a screen and an announcement of when we stop. In Romania, you just had to know your time and could read it at the stop. Like night and day. I bought some chocolate at Leoniatas yesterday, which Belgians like, as well as some grocery store brands that are good, also. Our guide also said that Fritland had the best frites in the city, so of course I had to stop there. And I must say, even though those things are a heart attack waiting to happen, they were pretty darn good.

1:09 pm:
At a restaurant called
Marieke van Brugge and waiting for mussels. Have not had them yet and am excited to try them here. It is rustic and cozy, and I'm sitting by the fire. I had the vegetable soup and am sipping some red wine and feeling very relaxed . This is what vacation should be! I had a bit of trouble making it to the town center. I left the train station and was walking and walking. It didn't seem right.  I asked someone and he said I was beyond the map. Apparently I had left the wrong end of the station. Grumbling, I started heading toward the town center when a man stopped with his car and asked if I was heading toward the market and would I like I ride?
Did I get in? Hells yes! I know, I'm going to get lectured at for once again getting in a car with a strange man, but I was willing to take that chance. His name was Steven and he was heading to Antwerp for surgery. He said I looked lost, which made me laugh. He pointed out some good things I should check out. He wouldn't take any money and said he wanted to help. 

Brugge is adorable, but very touristy. After climbing all 366 steps of the Belfort Tower, I grabbed a cappuccino on the square. The guy there said the horse carriage tours are cool but pricey, but a covered bus does a tour for a lot less . I hopped on that and although it was cheesy, I saw a lot in 50 minutes and got some great pics.

Mussels have arrived. They smell incredible !

6:14 pm:
I'm on the train, heading back to Brussels. After lunch, I decided to head to De Halve Moon Brewery for a tour. The next one didn't start until 3 pm, so I decided to walk toward the 'Lake of Love.'  It was lovely with the swans and ducks. At least I think that is what it was. The tour was also interesting. This brewery is the only one in the center of Brugge and was built In the 1860s. They brew about 30,000 liters per day, and brew 4 kinds of beer. The first room we saw contained the vessels. This is a new area, and then we saw the malt room
and where they mix the hops. The beer takes about 2-3 months to ferment. At the bottling place, it goes through a second fermentation. There is a plan in the works to use a pipeline to ship the beer directly to the bottling place. They use all barley, but about 10 different malts . She then showed us the hops, which is from the cannibus plant. Belgian beers often add other flavors like caramel and licorice, and that is what makes it unique. She then showed us the old areas where the beer was mixed, and wow, it did show its age. The old fermentation room had grids on the floor for the barrels and our guide told us how back in the day they would transport the beer to homes via the canal. That is pretty cool. At the end we got to sample a glass in the tasting room.

After the tour, I went to a bar that had beer on tap with samples that could be bought. I know one was strawberry, but I'm not sure what the other ones were. They were all very good!

Now I just get to sit on the train to Brussels. It's a pleasant ride and will be under an hour. I'm really glad the flat where I am staying is close to a major station. It does makes things much easier.

When I got back to the flat, Lora was arriving home. She was making dinner for some friends and invited me to join them. She is from France, so she had some excellent wine and cheese and even some fois gras. It was nice to sit and have a meal not at a restaurant. She is very laid back, and I really like her place for that. 

I'm not sure where I will go tomorrow. Maybe I will get to the train station and see what is leaving next? Now that would be interesting!
Today was a great day!

Thanks for reading,


aunt sandy

so lovely...sounds like you are having a great time...I wont give you the "lecture"...your mom and siblings will I am sure!!!!enjoy the rest of the trip and have a safe journey home