The day after the EBCU reception, I had 6 hours in the Brussels. Before catching my train back to Amsterdam. A chance to correct my neglect of the city.
Been away so long I hardly knew the place. And, due to me being an idiot, the maps I'd printed out of the centre didn't have Centraal Station marked on them. I spent some time wandering about searching for a street that was on my map. I was trying to find Mort Subite. Eventually, I found a street map at a junction. After looking at it for 10 minutes I realised that Mort Subite was just behind me, 20 metres away at most. I thought to myself "I knew it was around here somewhere." It's covered in scaffolding. That's my excsuse.
Inside, Mort Subite was just as I remembered it. Except the prices are now in euros. I had a gueuze. It really wasn't that bad. Nicely sour. Breakfast. It being just past 11 AM, it wasn't mobbed. Just me and another bloke in the opposite corner. Despite being outnumbered by the staff, it still took me the best part of 5 minutes to order. Not that it particulalry mattered. I was in no rush.
The Delirium Café is just around the corner. On a little dead-end alleyway off Rue des Bouchers. Rue des Restaurants would be more appropriate. It's wall-to-wall restaurants. Handy when you know you'll have to have lunch in an hour or so.
The main bar of Delirium is in the cellar. You probably already know that. I must be the last person in the universe to have not visited the place. Large and rather gloomy. I headed for the bar where there was a little more illumination. Already sitting there were the delegation from Danske Ølentusiaster. They'd shown less restraint than me the day before. I'd gone almost straight home (I did stop off for one beer) after the reception ended at 21:00. The Danes had continued on in the city centre for several more hours.
The beer list is very impressive. And pretty international. Where to start? I opted for Pannepot. "Sorry, we're out of standard Pannepot. Do you want the Grand Reserva instead?" Yeah. Go on. Not had that one. What can I say? I didn't think it tasted quite as good as the normal version. And I'm not a great fan of that.
The Danes were off before I was even halfway through my Pannepot. Some building site or other they had to go and look at. Either they have strange hobbies or I've some personal hygiene issues. You would tell me, wouldn't you? If I stank, I mean.
Restraint is my new middle name. After just two beers (the second was French), I went in search of dinner. Or lunch as poshoes insist on calling it. In my calendar of meals, there is no lunch. Rues des Restaurants is full of places offereing three-course meals for as much 13.50 euros or as little a 10 euros. Feeling flush, I opted for the latter. What to drink with it?
Here's another of my many admissions. Sometimes I prefer to drink wine with food. Depends what kind of food it is. German or Asian, and beer is perfect. With Frenchy type stuff, wine is often the better choice. It's probably a good thing I don't order wine more often. I have expensive taste. I won't tell you how much the bottle of Burgundy that accompanied my meal cost. Several times more than the meal. I'll just say that. I don't want Dolores to find out. "We could have had a weeks' holiday with that money, Ronald. Why are you so irresponsible?"
When I'd finished off my grub, I returned to Delirium for another beer. It really was just the one. I told you restraint was my new middle name. I'll admit that I did buy a couple of bottles of Guinness Special Export for the train. It's a three-hour journey. You wouldn't want me to die of thirst, would you?
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