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Published: January 10th 2016
My first day of Brussels consisted of another free walking tour, through the city center. This time there were several groups and I joined one of them, met a few people from North America as well as a British guy on his way home from Asia. Brussels had an incredible city center consisting of old style palaces and churches within a giant square. The city was constantly fought over by surrounding nations and often was used as a buffer. Halfway through the tour we stopped at a bar called Scotty's, and I tried some blanche beer while sitting next to my new friends. As the tour resumed I followed Matt and Andy, while talking to another girl. After a while, the guys ahead realized they'd been following the wrong group of people. Turned out this was a Spanish group! We tried to backtrack but our group was nowhere in sight. We pulled out a map and made an educated guess about where they might have gone. We went towards a giant park and the royal palace and eventually ran into yet another group headed by a guide named Sena. Defeated that we would be finding our original group, we decided to
simply join Sena for the duration. At the conclusion of the walk we stood overlooking the giant statue of the king during the second world war and received an enthralling and passion filled speech about the how the Belgians held off the Germans for far longer than anticipated and bought valuable time for the Allies.
After the walking tour I went with the others I'd met and we got some chips at a city centre stall. Everyone then went their own way, I walked the center for a while and visited a cool museum about the history of musical instruments. At the top was a great view of the south side of the city. I got back to Scotty's bar around 1730 and met up with Matt. We were going to be doing a beer tasting we'd heard about during our walking tour. Belgium is known for its incredible variety of beers. Historically many Belgians would drink beer instead of water to prevent sickness as the fermentation process would eliminate much bacteria found in waterways (the alcohol percentage was MUCH less back then), and brewing beer became increasingly popular and a tradition, especially in monasteries. And they got really
good at it too. The first beer we sampled was a Trappist Chemay. Trappist beer means that it was brewed in a Trappist monastery and that monks were involved in the process. Sena explained loads of information to us about the brewing process, different glasses and why they were used, and the types of aromas. Trappist beer can be dangerous, as I learned, because of the 10-12% alcohol content, you often don't realize how drunk you're becoming. We left Scotty's and then headed to another bar for more sampling. This particular bar was very serious about beer, and went to great lengths to ensure that each beer got the respect it deserved. We sampled several other beers such as Band of Brothers, Val-Dieu and one that was so sour that most of us couldn't finish it. We discussed each beer and some food was ordered. Two Brazilian girls in the group were already extremely tipsy and I graciously helped them finish their beers. Sitting on the other side of me was a couple from Singapore celebrating their honeymoon. Another middle aged woman from New Zealand chatted to us about her travels. At the end of the night some of us
went to Delirium, a bar with over 3000 beers in stock. We tried some white and cherry beers. Looking at the menu became overwhelming! I was incredibly drunk as a I walked back to my hostel alone.
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