Category Archives: Brussels

Headed to Belgrade

Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 10 am on July 19, 2012.  We packed everything up and left at 11 am.

We caught the Metro to the centre.  Ivan popped to an internet café to print out our tickets, and then we found the airport bus and it left at 12:05 pm.

I worked on the blog during the bus ride. 

Ivan and I stood in line for check-in.  Ivan noticed that our Wizz Air flight was delayed 3 hours and 50 minutes.  Ugh, I hate waiting.  I don’t mind flying – I just hate the waiting… waiting for check-in, security, the boarding of the flight, Immigration and pick-up of baggage.  I could certainly do without the waiting.  We got a light snack voucher worth 4 Euros each. That certainly went a long way to making us feel better (joke – 4 euros is barely going to buy a bottle of water at airport prices!)

Ivan used the internet while I worked on the blog.  Ivan and I got a courgette soup with bread with our vouchers.

There’s no free internet at the small airport S. Charleroi Airport in Brussels.  I think all airports should have free internet.

Our plane left at 6:05 pm going to Belgrade.  I was sat in the same row as the ugliest baby in the world.  I looked at the parents and I could see where she got her looks from.  There was probably 6 babies on the plane and it seemed like half of them were crying at one point.  I watched an episode of Weeds and Hotel Impossible on the plane. 

Immigration took forever like 30 minutes.  Some people tried to cut the line with a special pass they had.  One lady tried to cut into our line and I put my arm out to make sure she knew I wasn’t having that. 

We grabbed our bags and Ivan looked around for a guy holding a Wizz Air sign.  He found him and we followed him to the van.  Ivan set up this airport transfer which only costs 7 Euros per person to a place within the city centre.

The van drove us right to the hostel. 

Ivan checked us in to Indigo Hostel.  We put our backpacks in the room.  Ivan asked the guy at the reception about a good restaurant to eat at.  He said ? – Question Mark was a good Serbian place nearby. 

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We walked to ? which is right across from a church.  Ivan wasn’t sure since most of the Serbian dishes are meat.  Ivan got a strong local brandy, which helped with the fact that there was almost nothing on the menu that he could eat!

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I thought we should try a few different side dishes.  We shared a Serbian salad with cheese, cream cheese, polenta with honey, grilled mushrooms and beans with onions.  The cheese in the Serbian salad was very tasty.  The cream cheese looked and tasted like butter.  The polenta and mushrooms were rather plain.  The beans were like refried beans – it was unhealthy and didn’t have much flavor.  Ivan was disappointed and wished that we went somewhere else.  We got a delicious dessert called tufahiya which is a boiled apple stuffed with walnuts. 

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We walked around the city before going back to get some rest.

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Belgian Chocolate Tour

Ivan and I woke up at 7:45 am on July 18, 2012.  I took a shower before going into the city centre.

Today, we were headed on a Belgian Chocolate tour.  Ivan always finds all the best things to do!  Lil Dave went to meet up with his cousin Jean-Dave who lives here in Brussels.  Jean-Dave was showing him all the best banana dishes in the city.

Our guide was a Belgian man.  I don’t remember his name, but we’ll call him Papa Smurf (Yes, the Smurfs are Belgian!).  He had a big stomach and looked like he did the tour way too many times enjoying all the different chocolates. He looked like one day he said to himself ‘ Well I spend all day eating chocolate anyway, so I might as well get paid to do it! – now where is that bucket of chocolate for my morning snack’.

The tour was almost 5 hours long.  Our group had 13 people in it.  We stopped at many chocolate shops and touristy spots like the main square.

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It was great that we got to try chocolate at 7 different places.

One place had a chocolate factory in the front. 

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I think it would be hard making chocolates all day – I’d be too tempted to eat a bunch of chocolate.

We stopped in front of a big Smurfs monument. 

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I wanted to climb it!

We stopped at the St. Hubard Gallery.  Here, there’s a Mary chocolate shop which is George Bush’s favorite chocolate place.

We stopped at Cote D’Or.  Here, we got to make our own chocolate!  The first group consisted of 6 people.  The first part was dipping almond marzipan and a cookie into the chocolate.  The next part was putting chocolate on a paper than moving the paper to make the chocolate round. 

We got to put toppings on our chocolate like cherries, mint, coconut, pistachios and almonds.

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The group all got a glass of hot chocolate and two pieces of chocolate in the back room.

We got a certificate and our chocolates at the end.  Very cool!

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We stopped at Pierre Marcolini.  We went upstairs to see the chocolates.   We got Rose and Earl Grey chocolates. 

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The Rose was very tasty.

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I was all chocolate’d out which I didn’t think was possible. 

We had lunch at Poissonnerie ABC – Mateos.  Ivan and I shared a tasty salmon and tuna.  Ivan got a wine as well.  I tried to drink it, but it burned my throat.

Ivan and I went to the pharmacy to ask where a doctor’s office was.  We went to one, but they were closed and didn’t reopen until 4:30 pm.  The office closed at 10 am – that’s a long 6 1/2 hour break.  That’s worse than the Spanish siesta!

Ivan tried another pharmacy to find a doctor.  We went to another doctor’s office and the doctor was gone. 

We tried another pharmacy in a different area.  Again, we went to the office and the doctor wasn’t working.  What do the doctors in Brussels NOT work on Wednesday?  Ivan thought we should just try the first office later on after 4:30 pm.

We went to the mall.  Ivan’s laptop’s a/c connection wasn’t working.  He wanted to test a a/c adaptor, but the store wouldn’t let him.  He tried the display model’s adaptor and it worked, but then stopped working a few moments later.  He figured it was the Eee PC’s a/c connection and he should just buy a new laptop.

Ivan wanted to check out the other mall.  I was really tired since we had to wake up early for the tour.  I went to McDonald’s to rest and catch a nap while Ivan shopped.

Ivan came back later on with a new Toshiba netbook.  We’ve always loved Asus Eee PCs but the batteries don’t last very long like they used to.

It was time for the doctor’s office.  We walked inside the office and there was no reception.  It was a cold room with wood on the walls and shelves.  There were two ladies in front of me.  I guess we just had to wait it out.  I was hoping that the doctor spoke English. 

It seemed to be a very, very long time waiting.. an hour and a half!  The last lady seemed to be in there for ages.  I wondered if they were talking about their life story to each other.

Finally, we got to go and see the woman doctor.  I’m so glad she spoke English.  I told her that my throat has been hurting for a week.  It hurts to swallow, I have mucus, headaches and chills.  She took my temperature and put the stethoscope on my back and asked me to breathe deeply.  She said that I had tonsilitis.  She asked if I was on antibiotics and I said no.  I’ve only been taking Strepsils and ibuprofin.  It was really cheap to see the doctor at 20 Euros.  She said the medicine was 13 Euros – we thought she said 30 Euros she meant per pill.. but it was per box. She kept on telling us that she could give us the paperwork so we could claim back the 20 euros –but Ivan was saying it didn’t matter, because to see a private doctor in the USA would cost a LOT more than 20 euros!!!

We thanked her and walked to the pharmacy down the street.  I got my antibiotics which turned out to be 6.58 Euros – even cheaper than she said. 

Ivan thought it was best that I got more rest, so we got a taxi to the apartment.  I fell asleep for 3 hours while Ivan used the internet.

It was 10 pm and we wanted to get some food.  Ivan didn’t feel like walking to the city centre.  I was way too tired for that.  We found La Delizia which is an Italian restaurant.  Ivan got the salmon tagliatelle while I got the rigatoni with zucchini and mozzarella.  This was the worst pasta me and Ivan have ever had!! Mine was the worse since it was so tasteless.  Avoid this restaurant like the plague.

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Mussels in Brussels

On July 17, 2012, Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 9 am.  Ivan and I packed everything up and left the very orange Easyhotel. 

We got took the train to King’s Cross and left our baggage there.

Today, we were doing the Street Art London Tours in Shoreditch.

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Ivan and I love graffiti and it’s always evolving in London. 

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We went to many places and saw lots of cool graffiti. 

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We recognized a couple of graffiti pieces that we saw last time on a different graffiti tour we took. 

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The tour guide showed us a Banksy, but it was covered by glass and it up high where my short self couldn’t see it. 

After the tour, we headed back to King’s Cross to collect our luggage and then pick up tickets for the Eurostar train.  I was hungry, so Ivan and Lil Dave stayed with the luggage while I got some food at Marks and Spencers.  Ivan also bought some food.  It still hurts when I swallow – even just water.

Then, we left on the train at 2 pm from London to Brussels, Belgium.  The train is very cheap at 49 Euros each and it goes under the sea for an hour.  We fell asleep the whole time though. The train arrived at 5:05 pm in Brussels.  Ivan tried to find the bus at the airport, but the one we needed didn’t stop there.  We were too tired and decided to get a taxi cab to the Airbnb apartment. 

We were welcomed by this sign next to our room. 

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How cute!!  We met Carine and her son.  Carine is a friendly Belgian lady.  She had a map for us and we talked about our honeymoon and Brussels.  Her son made us tasty mint Moroccan tea.  I need to learn how to make it!  Carine is always smiling.  Ivan asked why mussels is so famous in Brussels.  She wasn’t sure.  Ivan reckons it’s because it rhymes. 

We took showers and then walked to the city at 7:30 pm.  Along the way, we saw Brussels Cathedral.

Ivan showed me the main square la Grand Place.  He said it looks a lot better at night.

We found the restaurant Chez Leon on a very busy street filled with restaurants.  Ivan read online that this is the best place for mussels. We shared a good white beer.  Lil Dave got a banana pasta.  Ivan and I each got a 800 gram bucket filled with mussels: one with white wine and one with celery, onion and butter.  It came with pomme frites.  The mussels with celery, onion and butter was the best one.  The mussels were real good, but not the best we’ve had. 

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Ivan and I prefer the mussels at Comme Ca in The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.  I’ve never eaten so many mussels in one sitting in my life. It really was a LOT of mussels!

It was 9:30 pm and it was still light out.  There are many statues of the Pissing Man statue.  Ivan thought he’d get a drink.

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We went to the main square and then headed to the real Pissing Man statue. 

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I thought he would have been a lot bigger than he actually is.  I think he’s less than a foot tall. 

We walked across to the bar Poechenellekelder (say that three times really fast!!).  This bar is connected with the Pissing Man statue.  I think about 12 times a year this bar changes the outfit of the Pissing Man.  I wish he wasn’t naked and had an cute outfit on.  Oh, well next time.

We wanted to try a sour beer, but they didn’t have any.

Ivan remembered a cool bar with 250 beers nearby.  We went to Delerium and ordered two beers.  One beer was honey and the other was cherry. 

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I really liked the cherry one.  The beers are really strong here.  It’s best to ask how strong it is before drinking too many!

We saw the Pissing Woman statue in the courtyard of Delerium.  I couldn’t get a good picture of it since she’s behind a gate. After drinking our beers and realising that there is no way we could drink more than 4-5 of them because even just one (at 9% alcohol) made us feel tipsy, we jumped into a taxi and headed back to the apartment.

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