Guest Post: Ben & Halli

Hello Blog-o-sphere!

As some of you may know we were lucky enough to be the first guests to stay with Alex and Tracy (later referred to as the TigerLily B&B) over Thanksgiving. We promised to guest write a blog post, but it took us a few weeks to mull over everything that we learned during our visit.

1) Visiting Alex and Tracy in Europe is awesome and if you’re on the fence you should totally do it.

2) If you want to know what kind of beer to drink in Belgium Alex will be more than happy to tell you. If he is smiling with a twinkle in his eye when he makes the recommendation, don’t trust it. If it comes from A La Mort Subite then it will probably be amazing, even if it’s a Faro.

3) Tracy will ensure that you are well versed in all culinary things Brussels. She does not give mischevious or misleading advice and can always be trusted. Any time is a good time for a Leige Waffle and you can’t go wrong with a Lunch Waff!

4) Frites from Maison Antoine in Place Jourdan is another must and you should get multiple dipping sauces. You (and Tracy) will inevitably dislike at least one of the sauces you chose, but Alex will love it. We recommend the curry ketchup.

5) Brussels is very close to a lot of Europe. Definitely plan on visiting any number of the other cities nearby. We went to Amsterdam and Antwerp, but Cologne, Paris, and London are all within a few hours by train. Look at Rail Europe for discounted tickets ahead of time.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

For those of you still reading, here are our full trip notes from our stay at the TigerLily B&B:

We arrived Thursday evening on the regional Train from Antwerp. The train was uneventful, and there is a clear difference between the Thalys and the regional train service, but we arrived as scheduled. We were met on the platform by a swarthy porter who offered to help carry our bags while directing us through the Brussels subway system. Once we arrived at Thieffry we had a very short walk to the B&B that was precariously located between competing funeral parlors.

For dinner that night, we went to BioMara for beer with a side of fish and chips. It was a great start to the stay. We followed with a walk through the Grand Place and a phenomenal beer at A La Mort Subite. We finished the evening off with our first Leige waffle and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

While Tracy spent Friday as a contributing member of society, the rest of us went on a quick tour of the city. One word of advice, ask Alex to teach you how to get small bills out of the ING Bank ATMs before you pull out cash, not after. We started the day with a quick coffee and pastry at a local cafe and hiked to the top of the arch in Cinquantenaire Park. The view of the city was great, but much to my wife’s chagrin, Alex and I did not decide to use this as an opportunity to start our Par Cor careers.

Focusing on the important part of the trip, we then proceeded to tour Cantillion brewery. The tour was a great stop and the samples were even better. We did learn though that the trip from Cantillion to Tracy’s school is much farther than Alex initially anticipated. It probably didn’t help that we stopped en route to grab a quick bite for lunch.

We then got the grand tour of The International School of Brussels (ISB). The school is definitely an interesting building and their science facilities are awesome. Plus there is a great Christmas Market walking distance from the school if you’re there during that time of the year.

Once we got moving on Saturday afternoon, we went out for a Belgian take on Thai spring rolls at Knees2Chin. The place was pretty cute and they made a mean spring roll. The best part though was the rhubarb soda. Continuing on the Culinary tour we wandered around the Palais of Justice and the Christmas Market at Saint Catherine’s.

On Sunday we awoke to the TigerLily special breakfast of pastries, scrambled eggs and hashbrowns. It was great, but be forewarned, Alex might take out Brussels lack of spice on unsuspecting guests. After breakfast we were off to the races with the first stop at Maison Antoine for some frites.

We were moving slow on Monday morning, but our gracious hosts were back to being contributing members of society. Once we got up, we ventured to downtown in search of a few last minute souvenirs and to visit the EU Parliment. The Parlimentarium museum is very interesting and a completely free attraction. Afterwards, Alex met us and we went on the audio guided tour of the EU Parliament building. It was definitely a nickel tour, but worth the visit. If you decide to go, make sure you get there ~30 minutes beforehand so you can make friends with all the other confused tourists (and a big square sticker that confirms your spot on a tour).

From there we made a quick stop at Carrefour to buy some beer to bring back Stateside and met Tracy for dinner. We were deterred from our original course by an AIDS Awareness Parade and an Asian Chef at a Japanese restaurant that didn’t actually speak Japanese before stumbling into a great little Thai place in the neighborhood around the Grand Place. Fortunately for Alex, they actually knew how to make things spicy. We then capped off the night with a fresh-made Liege waffle before taking the train back.

We can’t thank Alex and Tracy enough for hosting us and really had a great time!