It ‘s very nice to have a couple of passions in common, The common of me and Raffaele is surely beer. To celebrate her birthday I organized a surprise weekend “birroso” in Belgium, in Flanders, one of the destinations for excellence homeland of good beer.
It all started from a small airport a little Italian ‘squalid: the Treviso Canova from which often super cheap flights to Brussels. With The Lonely Planet in one hand and a bit ‘of information on the other breweries of Belgium (thumbing through the website of the Tourism Flanders to be inspired) we have taken place in our plane and arrived in Brussels with a certain thirst.
We could immediately take a train to Bruges or Ghent, but given the time we preferred to stop in the city and leave for Flanders next morning.
Our first taste of the beer we had in a great restaurant in the center of Brussels: La Fin de Siécle, reccommended by our host fee and reconfirmed by TripAdvisor, by many Italians that we found in the restaurant and – after testing – even from we.
This restaurant is not very big so usually best to book or do as we did, get in line with a good dose of patience and a beer in hand and you will see that will make you sit down very quickly. A La Fin de Siécle you eat local food especially meat (stew, shin stew …), the dishes are unique include contour and very abundant, there is no menu but a list of 4-5 dishes between choose from that are presented by the waiters when you order.
Here we drank our first beers: the Orval, a stout and amber (6.5 degrees), light, but that leaves a bitter taste lingering, Hoegaarden a clear and lightweight whose taste reminded lemon and cinnamon and a Leffe, blonde, dark and intense.
Satisfied with the super dinner (with excellent value for money) and our first drink Belgian the evening continued walking nell’animatissimo historic center of Brussels up to the wonderful Great Place lit that has held back a little ‘there, enchanted, to admire the lights and outlines of buildings.
Strolling we also came across many chocolate shops, beer, vendors waffles … A bit ‘for the event have reached the symbol of Brussels: Manneken Pis statue of a child peeing. I did not understand why they decided to just take this as a symbol of the city, but this will remain my question probably.
The next day we got on the train that brought us the wonderful city of Bruges was super busy, maybe because the weekend many even among the Belgians go into making the weekend out in Flanders!
After leaving luggage in a nice room in a small house by the green door with canal view we went exploring the small Bruges. Immediately we made friends with its romantic canals on which shone the light of a beautiful autumn sunshine. Carpets of leaves in shades of red, yellow and orange muffled our footsteps eager to learn about this little gem of a city.
Before the big square Burg has opened our eyes: the administrative center with the city hall. At that moment a couple was getting married and a wake of friends and relatives were outside ready to celebrate the newlyweds.
Going further we reached the Markt square overlooked by the traditional Flemish houses and we slingshots toward one of the two green vans that sell frites in front of the Belfort. We ordered a portion drowning in mayonnaise and there we enjoyed sitting at the foot of the statue in the center of Markt enjoying the moment, the place, the coming and going of people, the sun of the beautiful day.
But frites alone they put a certain thirst so here we are again looking for beers to sip and to add to our collection.
Strolling meet the brewery 2be that attracted us more than anything else for his “Wall of Beer” a wall lined with lots of different beers to the entrance of the venue. Exploring it we found that you can sit on the terrace overlooking one of the canals of Bruges. It ‘time to drink and sip respectively a Brugse Zot blonde and a Gouden Carolus lager top fermentation.
2be to make even the “taste” of beer, small glasses of different types of local beers, a nice way to try more kinds without exaggeration.
Next stage of our beerkend a traditional brewery in Bruges, De Garre. Finding it was not an immediate thing, but we have not imagined demorso because – rightly – that was a really valid. We found a free table on the third floor of the ancient Flemish tavern in the attic and chosen in a hurry (and a little ‘accident) a Garre and a Bieken we did accompanied by a selection of cheeses (pretty poor to be honest not I recommend it).
De Garre is a really nice, rustic and traditional warned though that is precisely why it is very busy so you might have trouble finding the place.
Waffle on the fly and then dispose of the beers on the 366 steps that lead us up on the Belfort. From here a beautiful view over the city, its canals and windmills. Too bad for the safety net that blocks the view and prevents photos made it right! Be aware that it may take a while ‘to get to Belfort as inside for security reasons are accepted up to 70 people at a time … Arm yourself with patience and be prepared to do a little’ tail!
We decide to make a stop in Gent evening: its canals and the reflections on the water fascinate us but we realize that our hit and run is too risky. Let’s take a romantic walk and we return to Bruges with the certainty that we must soon return to visit Gent!
Sunday morning started with confidence and a full English breakfast (as I have already told here).
Then we were on to the mills of Bruges along the canal we be enchanted by the trees dressed in orange and yellow, and the many houseboat moored, some really great ones real villas on the water.
My wondering eyes were amazed at how this city was crazy, especially at that season that gave us warm days and kissed by the sun and warm colors in nature.
Our walk continued along the path through the park Kruisvest where four windmills positioned in a row one behind the other they stand proudly with their blades that shoot up towards the blue sky.
Families cycling, dogs and owners in walk, people who are held in shape by jogging. The area of the mills of St. Anne seemed like an oasis away from the tourism of the city center. The last hours in Bruges flew strolling along the canal and the alleys of the district of St. Anne: we have not seen the artisans lace that animate this district, on the other hand we noticed the many sacred images of the Madonna on street corners, on the walls of houses, characteristic of this area of Bruges.
With a last portion of frites on the stomach salute the small town, Flanders and go back to Italy assured that this little piece of Europe that has bewitched in such a short time we will review soon for a more detailed visit and accurate.