Sunday, April 28, 2013

April 28, 2013 – Day 27 – Welcome to Zanzibar!

Brace yourself for a wild blogging ride.  We have to tell you about today before we finish Paris and say much of anything about Amersterdam.

This has been one of the best days of our trip so far.  We sadly left Amsterdam where we enjoyed our Dutch apartment to the max and traveled to Brussels, Belgium.  Before we left, our landlord Vlad, suggested that we try his favorite place for breakfast.  Since check-out was at 11, and our train didn’t leave until 2:20, we had plenty of time to kill.  So we had Eggs Benedict at Greenwoods.  Half- way through the meal, the girl next to us leaned over and asked how we had found it since it was an insider place that most tourists didn’t find (are we really that obvious? – I think so).  An hour later we were still talking to charming Zooey and her charming friend Eda (I probably have butchered the spellings).  They made us feel absolutely great.  They told us that if their parents did what we were doing, they would feel like they didn’t have to worry about them.  They told us that age wasn’t a number, it was an attitude and we were very young.  This after Vlad told us that he thought we were too young to be retired and guessed my age at 45 – whoo hoo!

After our delightful breakfast, we walked to the train station.  Today was a light walking day.  We probably only walked about a mile.  Most days we walk for 2-5 hours.  My back and my knee are actually better now.  The train trip was just fine -  we enjoy the trains of Europe.  After two hours, we arrived in Brussels and the Hotel Welcome. We found this hotel after recommendations from both Rick Steves and the Travel Channel’s Samantha Brown.  The owner has traveled extensively outside of Europe and all the rooms in this hotel are named and decorated after a place he has visited.  That’s why we are now in Zanzibar – the coolest room we have ever stayed in. Check out the pictures. 

The lovely lady at the reception desk recommended Grimbergen for dinner.  It wasn’t dinner – it was an experience.  Snails in garlic butter as an appetizer.  Bill had an Irish Ribeye and I had Flemish Stew, with, of course,  Flemish French fries and mayonnaise.  Our waiter recommended two beers -  Belgium is even more famous for beer than Germany.  Our first beer was dark.  He said he couldn’t find the English words to tell us what it was, but it was great.  We asked to try something else for our second beer, and he poured – with a flourish we can’t even describe – a lighter beer called Judas that had its own glass.   We could have had dessert, but we are saving ourselves for the chocolate crawl tomorrow.  All in all a great day!  And to think, we almost scratched Brussels from our trip!

By the way, did you know that you can get wine and beer from the Vending Machines in Belgium?

Picture 1:  Bill and me at the Central Station in Amsterdam; Picture 2 - Bed in Zanzibar; Picture 3 - Bathroom in Zanzibar; Picture 4 - Desk in Zanzibar; Picture 5 - Grimbergen Placemat;  Picture 6 - Bill with a Beer and a Flemish Fry at Grimbergen; Picture 7 - Hotel Vending Machine

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