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BeNeLux Belgium Travel Thread

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I've traveled to Belgium a couple times now, so I thought I'd give this a whirl. It'll be pretty incomplete, but I've been happy with the results...

A couple pointers for those traveling from the US to Belgium for the first time:
1) If you're driving, check out the road rules. Highways often have unsigned speed limits, which seems to mean 120. There's no right on red. Etc. Also note that Belgians are fanatical about returning to the right after passing. Do that too. In fact, do that in the US, because people who don't are terrible people.
2) If you're not familiar with European restaurants, they can be a bit weird. First, they're way understaffed compared to the US. That means way less face time. Which is fine, except that they hardly ever come to your table for any reason. Get good at making eye contact and flagging waiters down to place orders, get another beer, or get the check.

Brussels:
Cantillon: You knew this already. It's kind of in a worse part of town, but if you ignore the men loitering around you'll be fine. Take the tour, but you knew that already too. Everything is absurdly cheap here, but you have to get lucky to find the limited stuff.
Moeder Lambic: There are two locations, one is closer to the center (Fontinas) the other farther away (Chez Moeder). I've heard that the rare stuff has all moved to Fontinas but can't confirm. The rare stuff is expensive, but hey, at least you can order it.
Bier Circus: Weird location and weirder decor, but a great menu rivaled by few other places, and for reasonable prices. Has food, can't vouch for its quality.
Bier Temple: A chain in Belgium, worth checking out, might find something you like (especially if you like glassware).

Outside of Brussels:
De Heeren: You knew this one too. Probably the best lambic selection in the country (at least of places I know of...). Good food too. Sells to go, but only with cash.
In De Verzekering Tegen De Grote Dorst: Insurance against the great thirst, in case you're wondering. Very restricted hours, but worth going for sure. E-mail the proprietor to ask about their B&B (bed and beer) if you'll have a car.
3 Fonteinen restaurant/store: Good food, vintage 3F on the menu. Store has really limited hours, can't vouch for the selection as it's always been closed for me.

Antwerp:
Kulminator: You knew this one. Go there. In fact, go there every single night you're in Antwerp. I guarantee you won't run out of awesome stuff to order at ridiculously low prices.
't Antwaerps Beerhuiske: It's fine, but with Kulminator in town it's pretty unimpressive. Unless you want some overpriced "Loons" (yes they really did have them labeled as "Loons").
Gollem: Decent food (though the locals I met didn't think much of it), decent beer selection.

Brugge:
Rose Red: Small hotel bar. Cantillon on draft, great bottle list, good prices.
Cambrinus: Restaurant with good food and a decent bottle list, including Westy.
De Kelk: Seems to be affiliated with Struise somehow, but maybe they're just big fans. Good selection, including some vintage stuff. Ask the bartender/owner for more, not everything's on the list.
Brugs Beertje, Staminee de Garre, Comptoir des Arts: Listed together because they're all pretty similar. It's worth seeking out each one if you have time, but if you don't, the other places are more interesting (IMO).
Struise Beershop: Sells some Struise stuff. It's right next to the town hall so you may as well stop by.
Bier Temple: A chain in Belgium, worth checking out, might find something you like (especially if you like glassware).

Gent:
Het Waterhuis: Fun little bar on the water, fine selection.
Dranken Geers: Awesome bottleshop. This is what I expected Belgian bottleshops to be like, but it was the only one like it. Huge selection, tons of lambic, including lambic baskets.
(I have more Gent but it's been longer since I've been there so I can't vouch for my comments.)
 
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I've thought a couple of times of seeing if a handful of BAs I know have any interest in maybe a 10 day trip. I know this has been done like 500 times before by different groups, but I'd like to do it before the Italians and Americans wipe every cellar clean.

Pretty nice post though, seriously. You only gave away one of my sleepers, but I'm pretty sure that one has been gaining traction anyway.

You did forget to mention that Dirk looks like Doc though, so I have to dock points for that.
 
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Pretty nice post though, seriously. You only gave away one of my sleepers, but I'm pretty sure that one has been gaining traction anyway.
Which one? I thought all of these were pretty common knowledge.
You did forget to mention that Dirk looks like Doc though, so I have to dock points for that.
Haha oh man, so I went there 3 nights in a row a couple weeks ago, and every minute I was there he was opening some kind of dreamworks playing cards and sorting them into binders. Someone asked him why he was doing that, and he said "for the kids".

I never saw a kid in there.
 
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Haha oh man, so I went there 3 nights in a row a couple weeks ago, and every minute I was there he was opening some kind of dreamworks playing cards and sorting them into binders. Someone asked him why he was doing that, and he said "for the kids".

I never saw a kid in there.
My wife and I went there for maybe 5 nights in a row? The scrapbook is across the room....my glass of HT is too full for me to get up, get the book and get another, so fuck it, we'll say 5 nights. Also, dude, it's a scrapbook. Not happening.

We found out the first night that they ONLY take cash. That really fucked me. Long story, but it worked out. Next night, he was bringing a cat to my wife while talking to it in some funny language, brought some book about old breweries and beers to us and was trying to connect, and Els (sp?) was being awesome of course as well.

Dirk gets a bad rap, probably because he is the most visited pub for American tourists, but I'd have to say that he gave us great hospitality.
 
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My wife and I went there for maybe 5 nights in a row? The scrapbook is across the room....my glass of HT is too full for me to get up, get the book and get another, so fuck it, we'll say 5 nights. Also, dude, it's a scrapbook. Not happening.

We found out the first night that they ONLY take cash. That really fucked me. Long story, but it worked out. Next night, he was bringing a cat to my wife while talking to it in some funny language, brought some book about old breweries and beers to us and was trying to connect, and Els (sp?) was being awesome of course as well.

Dirk gets a bad rap, probably because he is the most visited pub for American tourists, but I'd have to say that he gave us great hospitality.
The cash thing happened to us too, but they gave us directions to an ATM around the corner, worked out fine.

They've always treated me fine, but never anything special (AFAIK, anyway). I'm not sure why they'd get a bad rap, haven't had a bad experience so far.
 
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The cash thing happened to us too, but they gave us directions to an ATM around the corner, worked out fine.
That ATM, as well as the one about .25mi away, does not work for some reason after 12/1am (don't recall the time). That should absolutely be noted. Still short of the long story, but Dirk took my green paper. We paid them back upon our return, despite Els being reluctant.
 
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hitting brussels in the spring, have 2 days and 2 small kids. cantillon for sure, was thinking of walking from city centre? is that a bad idea?
 
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hitting brussels in the spring, have 2 days and 2 small kids. cantillon for sure, was thinking of walking from city centre? is that a bad idea?
How small are the kids? That's a walk that I wouldn't really be jazzed about. It's not just that it's long, but that it's through kind of sucky areas (not much to see, dirty, etc). Might be worth figuring out the bus/tram system in that situation (and I can't help you there).
 
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How small are the kids? That's a walk that I wouldn't really be jazzed about. It's not just that it's long, but that it's through kind of sucky areas (not much to see, dirty, etc). Might be worth figuring out the bus/tram system in that situation (and I can't help you there).
ages 2 and 4, will have a stroller. is it bad? i mean we have some sketchy here too.

train i am taking into brussels i believe drops off a few blocks from cantillon. coming in from paris.
 
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ages 2 and 4, will have a stroller. is it bad? i mean we have some sketchy here too.

train i am taking into brussels i believe drops off a few blocks from cantillon. coming in from paris.
I very much doubt you'll be unsafe, especially in broad daylight, it's just that it's not the nicest area. You can certainly do the walk, but it's long and it's not particularly aesthetically enjoyable. You kids will probably get cranky. That's all I'm saying.

I have no idea if there's a train station in the area, I only took the train from the airport.
 
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I very much doubt you'll be unsafe, especially in broad daylight, it's just that it's not the nicest area. You can certainly do the walk, but it's long and it's not particularly aesthetically enjoyable. You kids will probably get cranky. That's all I'm saying.

I have no idea if there's a train station in the area, I only took the train from the airport.
this is good info, i appreciate it
 
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I honestly can't remember if my wife and I walked to Cantillon but there's definitely subway stops nearby. I didn't find the area bad or anything, but it's definitely boring and just more city-like than anything.
 
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Oh and if you can, just plan on going to Beersel and Drie Fonteinen on a Friday. The train goes from Brussels there and the shop is open Friday / Saturday. I think we had to switch trains going there but it was super easy. Saturday would require taking a bus.
 
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i want to go to fonteinen but i am only there for a wed and thursday, not sure if its worth while.
Well, that sort of depends. Beersel castle is pretty cool, your kids (and wife?) might like that. The restaurant itself has pretty good food and some rare beer (97 and 01 geuze and Hommage are the standouts), but there's not a ton in the area and it's a pretty serious detour from Brussels. I'd say that it's worth it if no one else in your party will mind.

Otherwise just hit up Bier Circus and Cantillon and take your family sightseeing with the rest of the time.
 
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Yeah I agree with Stupac. The restaurant was cool and the old bottles are a great bonus, but it is a bit out of the way. The castle is fun to walk around though it isn't huge. I think the train was about 30 minutes? But basically you are going to Beersel to go to Drie Fonteinen and that's it.
 
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Anyone have any experience with Brussels Charleroi airport? I was considering using this since I'm headed to Seville after Brussels, but I'm a bit wary of secondary airports in foreign-speaking countries. Looks like you can take a shuttle from Bruxelles-Midi to Charleroi for like 10eu.
 

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