So I think I left off in Luxembourg, the city of great fun. We took a train into Brussels and immediately found a laundromat after checking in. Thankfully there was a nice couple there who helped us or we never would’ve figured the coin machines out! We hit up the pubs for some much talked-up good beer that night. I happily was reunited with Strongbow once again (yes, I drank other beer as well) and Al had the joy of drinking out of one of those wooden handles even though it wasn’t Kwak. If you can recall “Das Boot” problem from the movie “Beerfest,” then you can guess how it easy it was for him to drink 🙂
The next day we met up with our Belgian friend, Liz, in her hometown of Ghent. She took us to the store of 2001 beers (a sight to behold), we bought and cracked some beers, and then toured around the city. We went to what I can only describe as a shot house and had jenever. After viewing some more sights of the city’s landmarks (the 3 towers, their version of Mannekin Pis), she dropped us off to eat traditional gentse stoverij made with beer. It was quite delicious, similar to beef stew. We rejoined forces with Liz, her boyfriend, and her friend for a final few drinks before heading back to Brussels for the night.
The next day we boarded another train and were off to Antwerp. Liz had warned us that all there was to do there was shop, but the next lag of our trip disembarked there early the next morning, so we went anyway. I was DAZZLED by the BRILLIANCE…diamonds everywhere!!! (Apparently both diamond cutting and world trade have a long history in Antwerp.) Our short stay there was pleasant with amazing Jewish food (perhaps the best of the trip), the Rubens house, and Lebanese for dinner.
The next day (NY Eve) we left for Amsterdam. Our original plan was to ring in the new year at Museumplien with live music, but upon arriving there, the muddy, trampled park gave us reason to seek refuge elsewhere. We found an Irish pub (Strongbow again), a table, and contentedly settled in. As the NY approached, we turned toward the tvs, which were showing soccer highlights. I glanced down at my phone, and it said 00:02…WHAT?!? No countdown? No celebration? I had noticed people leaving the bar earlier, but thought nothing of it. We wished each other happy NY and left shortly after all the people returned to the pub. all I really remember is rounding a corner and walking into a carnival, complete with a merry-go-round,an army of people and treats. We couldn’t help but indulge in a warm Belgian-style waffle sprinkled with powdered sugar and drizzled in chocolate. Armed and happy (as my jacket showed the next day), we somehow found our way home. On January 2, we went to the Dutch Resistance Museum before leaving for Prague. It was pretty heavy material…many personal stories were orated, written, and depicted. Walking back was somewhat surreal. (I apologize…I don’t really have just words to describe the experience.)
So I’m writing this from Prague, but will stop here.