"Not so boring Belgium!" Belgium by smirnofforiginal
Belgium Travel Guide: 21,894 reviews and 55,382 photos
In truth - the first time we visited Belgium we only went because we had free flights. We had absolutely no interest in the country and our (pre-trip) view of it was that it was rather a boring and dull country. And whenever we thought of Belgium we thought of It's A Knockout "It's the Belgians"!
However, on visiting, we very soon became to feel rather fond of little, old Belgium and couldn't believe how completely wrong and totally ignorant we had been in our views!
Since our first trip to Belgium we have had several driving holidays within Europe and each time we have ensured another Belgian encounter. We've seen some wonderful places, such as Orval & Bouillon, we've managed to pick up some rather tastey beers (considerably cheaper than we can in UK).... but as yet haven't managed to eat a waffle there!!!
The Romans were the first to invade Belgium - the first of many. Julius Cesare mentioned the Begae and "belgium", the word was born. Cesare's armies held Gallisa Begica for 500 years.
In the Middle Ages when the plague broke out, St Arnold convinced the locals to drink beer rather than water because beer was boiled, unlike water.
Every Belgium beer has its own special and unique glass to drink it from - The Kwak glass looks like a piece of equipment from a science experiment!
By the 19th century Belgium was enjoying over 3000 breweries. WWI caused that number to half. By 1946 only 775 breweries remained.
Nowdays there are about 100 breweries - Hoegaarden, Chimay, Orval & Duvel being the most commonly found in off-licences worldwide.
Every year in September, Brussel's Grand Place holds the "Belgian Beer Weekend".
There are :
TRAPPIST BEERS - gold or dark in colour and very strong. These beers should be poured slowly with the glass tilted. The trappist breweries are (in Flanders) Westmalle, Westvleteren and Achel and Chimay, Orval adn Rochefort (in Wallonia).
WHITE BEERS - these are wheet beers and include my favourite, Hoegaarden. They are pale in colour and drunk very cold.
LAMBICS - these beers take 3 years to make. It comes out sparkling! They are sharp and acidic and I think a "required taste"! Its the traditional beer of Brussels.
GOLDEN ALES & ABBEY BEERS - they are young beers - invented to imitate the best loved beers. Duvel was invented after WWI as a victory drink!
VLAAMS ROOD & OUD BRUIN - Flemish red beers
SPECIALITY BREWS - these tend to be seasonal and brewed just in time for things like Christmas...
- Pros:It's ladden with history... and beer!
This is, as Morrissey would say, "the coastal town they forgot to close down" You can see the Ostend ghost of Halcyon... more travel advice
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