Steve and I went to Brussels last weekend. We travelled on Eurostar from St. Pancras International in London and were door to door in two hours. We breakfasted on fresh croissants, Wiltshire ham, Emmental and mimosas (half fresh orange juice, half champagne). Such a civilised way to travel.
I didn’t have much chocolate, just a decadent, chocolate-enrobed, juicy strawberry from Godiva. And of course, the obligatory gaufre belge (Belgian waffle), this one purchased in the metro station and slathered with chocolate sauce.
We had some very good meals. One standout was at La Vilette (Rue du Vieux Marché aux grains 3, 1000 BRUSSELS) where I had medallions of pork cooked with Orval beer and topped with Orval cheese and Steve had rabbit leg cooked with Lambic beer, plus a mountain of frites each. La Villette serves traditional Belgian cuisine and is a sweet little place with a good atmosphere. I also had lots of dark Trappist ales – Chimay, Duvel, Westmalle, Orval to name a few.
On Saturday we got up early-ish and went to the flea market in the cobblestoned Place de Jeu de Balle, Marolles.
It features a lot of junk unattractively dumped in old cardboard boxes or on blankets, still it’s a lot of fun and good for people watching and finding the occasional bargain. I bought a copy of Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi which had come from a used book store La Buena Nota in Costa Rica.
The Life Cycle of the Honeybee
We got caught in a rain shower just before the final row and dived into Chez Mamie (Place de Jeu Balle 14, 1000 BRUSSELS) a tiny, funky corner crêperie with a great vibe and good cheap fast food.
Grégoire cooks up crêpes to order in a place stuffed chock full of art, lingering locals, dogs and passing tourists.
The best seat in the house
A man happy in his work . . . . .
Crêpe avec le chevre et les épinards
After the rain stopped we went back to the final row of the market and made our first purchase for our new home. A clock identical to one handed down into Steve’s family from his grandparents. We turned our wallets inside out and got it for €50. All we’ve been able to find out so far is that it is a German box clock, probably made in the 1920’s. Not too packable, but we managed to get it back to the UK and we had no excuse to miss our train.