Sunday, April 12, 2015

Belgium - Ghent/ Brussles

Back in the states my typical work travel consisted of middle of January trips to South Bend, Indiana, and frequent trips to small towns in Illinois where the best lunch spot was McDonald's and the best hotel was a motel, where the entrance to the rooms was on the outside of the building. Built more for hourly service, than that of the comforts required by a traveling business-woman.

Our jobs here in England, however, have afforded us a great opportunity to take impromptu visits to various countries. In January, after a work visit to Paris and Dusseldorf, Brett met me for a weekend in Belgium, where we spent the weekend exploring the medieval town of Ghent, drinking delicious Belgium beers, eating Belgium waffles, and experiencing our first Jenever (flavored Dutch gin) bar.  I guess the weekend was a bit glutenous, but what holiday isn't!

Ghent is also home to the famous Ghent alterpiece, a super old artwork that was stolen during the Nazi occupation of Belgium, and thankfully safely returned post-war. This artwork was featured in the movie Monuments Men.

We spent Sunday night in Brussels so that we could hop on the first Eurostar train back to London, in order to be back for work on Monday morning. While in Brussels, we expanded on our bar crawl, by opening it up to a bar crawl and frites (french fries) crawl.

Frites is a way of life in Belgium, where the best frite places often include adjectives such as handcut, double fried, and duck fat, with more sauce options than one can count- our favorite being the spicy sauce, a combination of mayonnaise and hot sauce. Ketchup, on the other hand, is for amateurs.

There are annual rankings of the best frites in Brussels, and we were fortunate enough to try two of the best places. Our first stop could easily be described as the point in time upon which all future time is measured against, Fritland. The place was packed with college aged travel abroad students, looking for a cheap meal, regardless of the impact on the waistline. And the other place we went was Friterie Tabora. I think the final verdict was a tie.

If you like beer, do yourself a favor and visit Belgium!

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