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Brussels, Belgium – January, 2020

A quick stopover was made in Brussels, Belguim after visiting York, UK. The main goal was to visit breweries, but a few side-attractions were also entertained. We stayed in the ibis Brussels Centre Gare Midi Hotel, right next to the Brussels Midi Station and had a view of the trains and trams!


The first night was spent with a wander up into town. Dinner was had at KFK Hope where both delicious beer and stoemp were served! I'd nearly demanded McDonald's when I saw the varied menu, but it was then a perfect fluke to find this bar/restaurant with a delicious menu.

The next day involved a lot of walking. Firstly, uphill in search of breakfast. It turns out Belgian's really only drink coffee, so a croissant was purchased from a small convenience-ish store as it looked neat with its layer of icing sugar on top. It happened to be full of apple! So good. Anyway, the goal was to actually wander to a model railway store, but we ended up crossing via two really random tram intersections.

Firstly, up the top of a rise, the intersections of Rue Theodore Verhaegen, Avenue du Parc, Chausee de Waterloo, Rue de l'Hotel des Monnaies, Chaussee d'Alsemberg and Avenue Paul Dejaer create a round-a-bout that includes a tram line! Usually these aren't anything special, as we even have them in Melbourne, but here, the rails will cut straight through the round-a-bout... not also use it as a junction!


The lighting wasn't the best... actually, the rain wouldn't hold off, but we still managed to watch a few trams run the gauntlet and dodge traffic. Of course, they can't dodge at all and so cars new full-well to give way. Another good point was that all cars were giving way to the right and letting cars in front of them enter the round-a-bout. This was very unexpected as here in Australia we also give way to the right and it therefore lends that these guys should've been giving way to the left? A quick search shows that it's known as priority-to-the-right and Belgium actually wants to get rid of the law!

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After a while, a tram came through and halted in the intersection before the exit points closest to me. It turns out they also have cab-controls fail and have to switch points manually at times.


From here it was a nice dawdle downhill to find the model railway store. We ended up passing a church that the trams had also been built around.

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Further fluking led us to the Marolles Flea Market. Here I successfully acquired a Philips CDI console with broken controller and game for $5. The rain really didn't help the sellers, but most were convinced to just let the wares deal with the elements.

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From here, a short wander was had to Cantillon Brewery. This is a living museum, still producing beer, whilst allowing tours of the entire factory. Infact, you're allowed to wander around by yourself after a quick introduction and disclaimer. For a nominal fee, you also get a tasting included at the end. The beer was very wine-like... and super delicious. For someone like me who just devours things, actually taking time to appreciate the 'depth' took a lot more effort than I was expecting!


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From there, I finally had my Royal O'Fish at McDonald's, proceeded by an afternoon session at The Belgian Beer Project. This was nice and quiet as we arrived at 2pm as it opened. It quickly changed as a work christmas party arrived. Many tasting trays were created for the 40-odd new guests, but most of them weren't interested... and so we happily received their left-overs.

Finally, the 1757 Amsterdam-bound Thalys was cancelled. There was no mention of it at all on the departure board and I had to line up to find out what was going on. The advice provided was "to take the next train. Choose any free seat after everyone else was seated." We fluked forward-facing seats and got to Amsterdam without much further trouble!

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