Posted by: musinganorak | August 16, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Holiday Musings – Day 12

Big day today, it’s our 10th Wedding Anniversary. 10 years. Only seems like 15!!

We leave Amsterdam in heavy rain en route to Brussels. First up, though, is Rotterdam Zoo which we have free entry to courtesy of Marwell Zoo annual pass. Although we’ve never had any problems using it at different UK zoos there is a certain degree of uncertainty as to whether it will cause any problems here. We needn’t have worried and in no time at all we are entering the zoo. A look at the map to get our bearings shows that there are 4 clearly signed routes around different parts of the park which, if followed, mean that you get to see everything. Another thing that establishments in this country would do well to follow.

Rotterdam is another of those zoos that is undertaking the long, slow process of upgrading it’s exhibits from the old style cages to modern enclosures. Absolute star of the show here was their newly born elephant calf, and I mean newly born. When we saw him he was just about 2 weeks old and unbelievably cute. The other thing that I particularly liked was the way that the exhibits are grouped together by continent.

After we had seen everything that the zoo had to offer, including extra views of the baby elephant, we headed onwards to Brussels. When we checked in to our hotel, just off the Grand Place, we were told that we had a special room. When we eventually got the keys to work we found out that they weren’t kidding. We had a suite. I’ve never had a hotel room with 2 TVs before – one in the lounge and 1 in the bedroom. I guess my little note on the booking form saying that it was our Wedding Anniversary paid off.

How to spend our anniversary evening? Hunting for beer of course, and first up was the only brewpub in the city centre, conveniently sited about 250 metres from our hotel. Brasseurs de la Grand Place had 4 beers on offer, and conveniently I was able to sample them all in a tasting stick. Of the four, Blond, Amber, Triple and Dark it was the Dark that had the best flavour. The other three were adequate representations of their respective styles.

Our next stop was a pub we found on our previous visit to Brussels and which, if you are interested, is handily located across the road from the Mannekin Pis. The Poechenellekelder is a typical beer cellar in all respects except one, it is situated on the first floor. The name translates as the mannequin cellar and it is easy to see why as there are numerous puppets hung around all of the walls. There are also a couple of life size mannequins in military uniform sat at one of the tables, our table for the evening as it happened. Slightly disconcerting. The beer list here isn’t particularly extensive by Belgian standards but there are still some very good beers to be drunk.

Our final stop of the evening was the Delirium cafe a place that I had heard a lot about but had never before visited. It is a large place split over three floors. We started out at ground floor level where there was a choice of 30+ beers on draught, although none of them were particularly exciting. Whilst having a beer here we realised that the three levels served different purposes and so we headed down to the basement where it said that the large bottled beer list was available. Unfortunately a live band was about to start their set and the place was heaving. Abandoning our plan we decided to see what the “Hoppy Loft” was all about.

Wow!! The top floor is where they serve draught and bottled beers from around the world. I had a sampling selection of US draught beers; Left Hand Black Jack Porter, 5.8%, Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout, 9.5%, and Left Hand Imperial Stout, 10.4%. I also picked up a bottle of Green Flash Imperial IPA, 9.4%, for later consumption. The astounding thing, aside from the amazing beer list, was the fact that the top floor was deserted.

After draining our glasses we wended our merry, very merry in fact, way back to our suite. I know where I am going to be heading should I find myself in Brussels again.


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