Friday I woke , breakfasted at the pub and headed off for a last walk around Hebden. The sun was back out , the morning crisp and Hebden was immodestly picturesque. I walked down the canal and took in the narrow boats. Had a coffee and then headed for the train station. A quick train to Leeds and then a fast train to London and I was passing through French immigration and taking my seat on the Eurostar. A 300KPH trip through a tunnel under the sea is pretty cool, weirdly I had cell phone coverage and data even under the channel. A quick stop at Lille and we were flying through the Wallonian countryside and pulling into Brussels. I walked through the streets of Brussels from the station to my Hotel which I had chosen as it was called Hotel Barry as much as for any other reason. Once I had found Bazza , checked in , showered in the small shower with a hand held shower head , I set out to explore. I located Moeder Lambic which was a block away and then searched out Nuetnigenough the restaurant that had been recommended to me. I took one look and saw it was very busy so I headed back to Moeder Lambic and took a seat at the bar. I ordered a Tilquin Draft Geuze , then a Cantillion Mamouche , then a Cantillion Geuze , and then a Dutch Farmhouse ale from a brewery I forget. Next to me a chap from Manhatten got talking to me. He was cabin crew and visited Belgium regularly. He loved Belgium and loved Belgian beer. He ordered a cheese board and shared it with me. The cheeses were all excellent , unpasteurised and perfectly ripe. We talked about the differences in brewing in the US and Belgium and about his family that was all in Kent and the Netherlands , I told him how I had had some good Belgian style beers from the US, and he retorted they were all too sweet. He showed me his bag from Cantillion and told me how his days purchases would get him several nights free drinking in his local bar. He then left and on my other side 3 Americans sidled in. It turned out they were tax specialists in town for a tax conference and one of them owned an American brewery that brewed only Belgian style beers called Taxman Brewing. So on one side I had an American complaining about American Belgian beers and on the other side a chap producing them. The taxman was having a year! off the booze , and I was impressed to watch him keep his pledge even at Moeder Lambic drinking pints of water. I then paid my bill and headed back to Nuetnigenough. I got a place at the bar to wait for a table, ordered a large bottle of Fantomas Black White , and chatted to the barman who was eager to talk beer trends. Then my table became clear so I ordered some lamb meat balls stuffed with goats cheese and served with Stoemp , a Belgian mash of potatoes and other root vegetables. The food and beer were delicious. The waitress enthusiastically talked to me about New Zealand, she had lived in Christchurch till the earthquake. I then left and wandered through cobblestoned lanes , through groups of young Syrian and African people , I stumbled upon The Grand Place and took the out of focus photos below. I then headed north and walked through the red light district , the girls all tapping on the windows and giving me the eye. Lime Scooters had hit Brussels and they were scattered everywhere . Groups of men stood on corners smoking and drinking . Some of the buildings were burnt out and bricked up . As I returned south large groups of middle eastern people were living on the streets , homelessness was rife in England but here I saw children on the street for the first time.
I was stopped by the police and asked if I had seen anything suspicious , all I could do was say no I was a traveller. I returned to Bazza and hit the sack.
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