France: Sunflowers, Lavender and Castles, oh my!
Don & Donna's Visit - Brussels, Ypers, Poland, & Brugge

Goodbye Summer and a visit from D2 & A

This Blog is a little late, but I wanted to share our summer.  We have had an unusually warm and dry summer in Brussels.  One day we got up to 93 degrees; and remember, no air conditioning over here! 


D did not have any work trips in August so we decided to spend time exploring Belgium.  We enjoyed driving around the county-side with the top down.  Isn't this photo cool - it really makes you feel as if you are moving.


One day we visited Durbuy a sweet little town an hour north of Brussels. 


It's claim to fame is the littlest town in Belgium.  They have cute little shops and a Brewery where we ate lunch.  And most importantly, awesome ice cream.  I had one of the most unusual flavors I have even tasted - popcorn.  Sounds questionable, but wow was it good.

D was dieting this day so he only had a small scoop......


and a waffle on a stick.  This was new to us.


On this outing we also stopped by Bink Brewery. 


They are a farmhouse brew and one of D's many favorites.  Their motto is "We brew it, We drink it, We sell what's left!".  As to the name...Bink is akin to "dude" but only in reference to the people of that area. 


While we are on the subject of beer, another trip we took was to get two cases of "THE WORLD'S BEST BEER", St Sixtus, Westvleteren.


Seriously, it has been rated at THE World's Best.  And it is not easy to get.  It is brewed by Belgian Monks and you can only purchase it directly from the Abbey. 


It is not sold in any stores (well it is sold illegally in some stores for $14 a bottle). 


Okay, so just drive to the Abbey and buy the beer.......not quite that easy.  First you have to check the calendar on the web-site to make sure it has been released for sale.  This occurs a few times a quarter. 


Then you have to phone the Abbey to make your reservations.  Without reservations they will not sell you the beer.  Still seems pretty easy right?....forget it!  Getting through on the line is like winning the lottery.  They open the lines for two hours when the beer is released. 


This was our third try and by "try" I mean both of us calling - non stop for 2 hours straight.  Well, D finally got through!  Can you tell how happy he is?


For those of you thinking wow, he has enough to share - Forget it.  You must first be deemed "worthy" and they maybe he will share a bottle with you.  Note the logo on the glass.  There are over 500 beers in Belgium and each and every one has it's own glass.  And yes, D says it really is one of the best he has tasted.

D2&A's Visit


Our travel Buddies D2 and A came for a visit.  We pretty much ate....


AND drank the entire visit.


A almost got us kicked out of our favorite ice cream shop for taking a photo.  If you remember the "Soup Nazi" on Seinfeld, well he is just like that.  It is very quiet in the shop and you stand in line single file to order.  He takes the lid off the ice cream, makes your cone and then puts the lid back on before taking the next order.


He was not happy A was taking a photo and we were scared we would be licled out for life.  Thanks goodness we still got our ice cream! 


He does have some unusual flavors.  On this day he had Wasabi and Sesame.


The Royal Palace only opens for a few weeks in the summer.  So we took D2 and A for a tour.  It is very beautiful on the inside but unfortunately you cannot take any photos.


The boys had fun in the children's section of the Royal Palace - making paper airplanes.  They are both Engineers you know...WITH careers in aviation.  The real test was inside where D2's plane flew the furthest.


A celebration was going on in front of the Royal Palace with a monster blow up of the Manneken-Pis.  Too funny!  A symbol the city can really be proud of.


and I don't think we have shared the partner to the Manneken Pis, the Jeanneke-Pis. 


Speaking of engineers - I would like to share this photo of two dorky engineers in their european capri pants.  Note - that is peach beer in their dainty glass.


We went to the "Beach" where they ship in tons of sand in for the summer.  They have food and music, swimming, volleyball, and games for the kids.  We could not get D2 to take off his Capri pants.  He wore them the entire weekend.


In the evening we took them to our favorite tapas bar where the food goes around on a conveyor belt. 


  A fun way to end a fun weekend!



Breda Netherlands

The last weekend in August we took a trip to the Netherlands - to Breda, a small town about an hour north of Brussels.  It was a drop dead gorgeous day.  Cute town.  Nothing really historic, shopping, lots of cafes and a big church.   We ate lunch and did a little shopping, but it was the trip home that was so much fun.

We were on our way to Westmalle Abbey Beer, on a very small side street when I saw a tiny sign with an ice cream scoop on it. 




Maybe not that small.


I yell STOP - ICE CREAM!   D thinks I am nuts as we are out in NOWHERE.  He stops the car and check it out - a full cafe behind the barn - homemade ice cream!!!  Straight from the cow.  How fun!!  {actual cow at the dairy}.


but the smell.........oooohhhhh manure!  Despite this small inconvenience, the ice cream was yummy.



D had Westmalle beer ice cream!  Now that was interesting.  We would definitely go back...that is if we could find it!




We finish our ice cream, drive two farms down and I say turnaround -there is a vending machine selling veggies. 



Beautiful veggies and soooo cheap.  


Three peppers for 1.10 euros.  Four tomatoes for .60! 





n to the brewery - closed to tours.  We knew this but thought we could get a good photo of the old building.  Nope.  Completely covered by trees.




We ended the day with the best frites and yes, that is mayo on them.  That is the true Belgium way to eat your fries.



and D finally got to try a bicky burger.....what makes it a Bicky Burger?  Why the Bicky meat, bun, special dressing, special ketchup, hot sauce, roasted onion and cucumber.  Let's just say we had not been missing much!


Goodbye Summer!





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