Friday, 19 June 2015

Belgian Road Trip

It was with a  heavy head that I dragged myself out of bed and downstairs for the hotel breakfast. I managed an orange juice and a yoghurt before retiring again upstairs. I think the yoghurt was a bad idea. After a 15 minute power nap, which could possibly have saved my life we planned the trip, haphazardly, for the day.

We were off to St Bernadus for a brewery tour,who were the only people who got back to me of the 7 breweries I wrote to. Which is fortunate as we had the car for 1 day and we ran out of time as it was!

We picked up the car and very much unlike Italy everything went very smoothly, including having a GPS. Not to mention it was a Mercerdes hatch which was very comfortable. Highly recommend it!
Chariot du Belgium!

Brianna was super thrilled to be the only driver
We drove indirectly to Walout via Rosalere, My big idea was to visit Rodenach as I'm pretty sure I read they have a bar there. Unfortunately the GPS had never heard of it and my internet was for Italy, not for Belgium. What ended up happening was a drive around the streets of Rosalere until we finally gave up and started for St Bernadus.

That's when we accidentally came across Passchendaele. This was pretty moving, though I thought it was probably only a small site compared to some. We walked around the graves for about 20 minutes, trying to soak up some of the gravity of what had occurred here and really wondered how the families dealt with so many young sons having died. There were plenty of 18 and 19 year olds here too.

Phone Camera - "Passendale"

Canon 600D - "Passendale" 
The saddest part of these sites is the number of soldiers 'Known only unto God'. Assuming that with such horrific shelling and enemy fire there was probably a lot of mess on the battlefield and in the trenches, a lot of human mess. I do think it's great these sites exist and that those who lost their lives, whether the cause be just or not, are remembered. With that we signed the visitor book and headed for St Bernadus. Lest we forget. Lest we forget the horrors of the war machine.

Front of St Bernadus, looking at their hop garden

I bet these are all Styrian Golding...

St Bernadus gave a very usual tour. Without fault and with a really lovely history, we enjoyed it quite a bit

Pretty Crap photo - but cool if you were there

Certainly a history of beer, that was steeped in hops, then steeped in moden history. I found St Bernadus very insteresting as their roots were based on the Abbey as Saint Sixtus but commercialisation didn't occur until after WW II. The point is, that the Abbey beers have the year of the Abbey, not the year the brewery started.

Fortunately someone shone the light on Brianna
Brianna was super happy about her parallel park - I reckon she had heaps of room but it didn't seem so to her! Fortunately she asked for a photo. If ever there was a celestial presence, it was here..
I can't even tell you the name of this town. We'd been searching for food for about 2 hours when we came upon it. Fortunately, celestial bodies came together with a cafe across the road. This was a lot more enticing than the previous place, where patrons were drinking large glasses of beer, that turned out to be a self service drinks join - no food!

The beer we fund across the road was Leffe or Jupiler. Don't drink Jupiler. You might be better having any other mass produced beer... Worst beers in Belgium ever (if you didn't get it, I'm serious, Leffe is the equvalent of Minimum Chips and Jupiler is Melbourne Bitter - made perfectly [scientifically advanced process] every time!

We still hadn't had lunch. So we drove up and down the countryside. I'd like to point out this was the 2nd day in a row we couldn't find food. In Italy we couldn't go 10 metres without finding home made salami, cheese, salad, pizza, something! oh yeah forgot to metion - pig shit farm - seems to be common in Belgium. Everything we went to in the countryside smeeled like serious farm grade poo. Great beer though. I have no qualms there.

Yeah we are
Downtown Ypres - Worst hit town in WW I
As we're about to leave Bruges and therefore I will possibly forget to come back and tell a story about this photo and about this town, I will only say that Belgium is completed for an Australian by the ANZAC war memorials in the country. As my friends and family know me I'm quite the emotional beast and I had some great reflection during our drive in the western country. I don't actually believe I've felt a sens of national pride more than attempting to reflect and respect the memorial tombs of these soldiers, in this land.

Lest We Forget

After quite the somber day we had dinner in town, The highlight of which was having Brianna give the Kwak glass a go.


Bruges Makt at Night
I have another whole story about this place,but it will have to wait.
If you blow up the photo you can read the beers and the following photo is in order of my favourite. But for now, good night. Tomorrow, Amsterdam.

Finish off with the Tilquin

Till tomorrow, and Ireckon I will rewrite this entire blog! So many memories, so much info, so much to share!


  1. Hold the phone! If you rewrite it I ain't re-reading it!

  2. LOL - I doubt I will find the time!