Wednesday, December 29, 2010

12 Hours in Brussels

Here we are in lovely Eretz Yisrael (Eretz Yisroel to you die-hard Ashkenaz), enjoying the sun and the above-50 degree temperatures while all y'all on the East Coast suffer under BLIZZARD.

But, you know, Israel's suffering a terrible drought, so the constant sunny days we're having are actually tragic for agriculture and municipal water prices. So we spend a moment of silent contemplation before enjoying our coffee at an outdoor cafe.

But back to the first day of our trip, when we were in both snow and honest-to-goodness slush: our twelve hours in Brussels prior to landing at Ben Gurion Airport.

We landed in darkness, 7AM Belgian time actually being appropriate more to Berlin, so the sun comes up at 9AM and it stays light until 6PM or so, where it should be more like 8-4. In the purplish tones of early dawn, we took a train from the airport into Brussels Central (Dutch: Brussel Centraal) station, during which I listened to the Tron: Legacy soundtrack on my iPod. Early morning Europe from the train is awesome to Daft Punk. You should try it.

Once in the city, we saw many historic sights and learned that all of Brussels is right next to each other. So we went about trying to see every chocolate shop we'd heard of. Galler was closed, but we visited Leonidas ("These...are...truffles!"), Pierre Marcolini (which wouldn't accept our credit card, and lost a sale), Wittamer (100 years of tastiness), Neuhaus (just like in the Union Station mall), and Planet Chocolate, the last of which had (unusual for these stores) free samples, and even better (and not necessarily unusual but much appreciated), great service. We bought a lot of interesting chocolates there.

For "real" meals, we went to the Wittamer Cafe in the Place du Sablon in the morning, as it was open and we wanted to miss the brief snow flurry. The breakfast was simple, but it was very tasty and the coffee came with chocolate truffles.

For lunch, we went to the Maison du Crepes at the corner of Rue des Midi and some street just north of the Grand Place. The service was leisurely, but friendly, but the crepes were fantastic. I had a crepe "Paysanne," which was creamy mustard cheese sauce, bacon, scallions, and tiny potatoes, all in thin buckwheat. Yum. I had it with kriek, the Belgian near-beer flavored with cherries, which was a mildly sweet, tart alcohol. Both Sherbs and I loved it.

Following lunch, we hit a Christmas market, eschewing buying a wedge of cheese the size of a airplane wheel-chock for a somewhat lighter snack, but I'll let my better half tell you about that. Then it was onto the plane, and off to Israel.

1 comment:

Gramarye said...

Once in the city, we saw many historic sights and learned that all of Brussels is right next to each other.

It really is. I don't know if that made me feel more or less lost when I was wandering around in it. The only landmark I can recall with any real clarity was the Tintin shop. (I couldn't get people to go with me to see the Atomium, alas.)

Looking forward to more deliciousness from abroad!