There tend to be disturbances prior to my visits to foreign lands – riots in Paris many years ago, a bomb threat evacuated Ibiza airport the morning of one trip, the army were sent to protect London airports just before another trip abroad…this, my first trip to look at foreigners this year, was no different:
I can only assume my precence has a calming, reassuring effect when I arrive.
should take one final opportunity to use the Euro before it collapses. The arrival of an e-mail offering return
train fares to Brussels for £69.00 was too good an opportunity to miss, it
ticked the both the boxes of a country I had never been to and the nearest
country I had never been to, so 746 e-mails later between myself and my sister
we were booked.
of ‘Ull, so myself and my sister thought it most appropriate to launch our
adventure from the champagne bar in St Pancras, which by the way is quite a
spectacular train station with the grandest clock. Even better than the new Reading station.
life for a round of drinks for two people.
I will state this for clarity now – I much prefer beer. Champagne is probably nicer than Carlsberg
but give me a real beer any day.
less threatening than an airport. I yet
again succumbed to the conspiracy to give me table seats despite requesting
airline seats on a train, however we were sat opposite a friendly lesbian. Well…she had short hair. Shorter than me anyway. Then again my hair is now longer than a
horse. Jumping ahead a bit, we saw a
horse with a nappy in Brussels. And she
told me she was a lesbian. The lady
opposite us, not the horse, obviously.
Google Maps on the journey and memorising it.
To be fair, we were at one point only one street away and perhaps we
would have found it had we not been distracted by the European Union building
but we gave up after trying to wheel our suitcases along cobbled streets and
got a taxi. The hotel itself was fine,
respectable but the room had a slight but distinct whiff of sewage. Very comfortable beds – crap pillows.
it wasn’t open on a Saturday or Sunday.
Whoever said Brussels was boring?
Instead we had a Leffe in Fat Boy’s pub.
It was nearest, I needed beer, OK?
Brussels – the Grand Place was the central focal point and was indeed rather
nice. Just how beautiful?
a highly-recommended locals place. This
was where the beauty ended. Once we had
walked around quite a lot trying to find it.
ice. It looked cheap and tasted cheap. No wonder we were not allowed drinks whilst waiting for a table.
alioli was really nice, the sliced baguette average. 5 dishes arrived at once – the chorizo was
badly overcooked, the one piece of lamb kofta was ok. The 3 prawns were pointlessly submerged in a
swimming pool of sauce. I cannot remember what else we had.
frozen bag and there was no bravas – just potato.
We then discovered that the goat’s cheese we had ordered didn’t exist, a good 20 minutes after
our 5 dishes arrived. The replacement
was some horrid omelette-type thing.
albondigas – or meatballs to you and me.
They were cold and slimy, one assumes out of a can. Absolutely horrid.
hazy, though not overly drunk. I am
really unsure as to why we did not go to the Drug Opera.
for some reason. Navigating by way of
accessing wi-fi from standing outside bars that we had connected to the night
before, we found our Shoreditch-style café, full of young people, albeit nothing
hinting at hipster – this is boring Brussels, don’t forget. We were served a gorgeous eggs benedict
(though I had the sausage variety), with Hollandaise sauce (new discovery). It was so good that I ate the accompanying
which I have wanted to go to for years.
Honestly. The attached bars kind
of reminded me of Hornsea Pottery (yeah I know most of you won’t get that) –
rather tacky. But the park itself was excellent
– in a tacky 90’s kind of way. For €13
we got to walk around every country in the European Union – beat that
Ryanair. Not only that but we got to
press a button to hear the individual national anthems.
raining. Those were the only 3 minutes
of rain all weekend.
Euro-rocket. A delightful hour or so.
An impressive tower of balls. We
saw the queue which was about an hour long and spent a good 15 minutes
deliberating as to whether to spend the necessary €12. We did and found out the queue was just for
the observation tower, so we went through the escalators and stairs through the
exhibition pods. The exhibitions were
absolutely boring. Thoroughly boring.
which I imagine is what it would be like in a nightclub having taken too much
And queued. The bright side was
that there was a hottie in hotpants to stare at, though she did have a bit of a
horsey face. I cannot say I was
impressed with the Belgian women. 50 minutes and we were going up in the fastest lift in Europe. In 1958.
restaurant – the Chilean lady who ran it didn’t speak English and we didn’t
speak French or Spanish so it was an interesting experience, especially when I
tried to tell her my favourite DJ, Ricardo Villalobos, is from Chile.
main of 400g of fillet steak.
ordered the medium-rare which was quite an exceptional piece of steak. Absolutely making up for the horrific
experience of the night before, and we even got a kiss from our hostess.
2,000 beers – quite an impressive range.
Delirium is a beer itself and probably my favourite new beer – a banana
beer was also rather tasty.
must-visit list. There was little unique
or special about the city and one can see why people think it is boring. However it was a nice place – lots of
chocolate, tons of beer, decent weather, a fabulous sister for company.
Barcelona and London are all light years ahead of Brussels.