The Grand Tour, Brussels redux

One last thing before I abandon Europe. I somehow managed not to post this.

We were in Brussels only for a night. And really only so we could catch the fucking unrealistically early flight to Venice and the only thing we did was eat dinner, that and get attacked by a drunken woman who wanted Ashish’s umbrella.

He had made reservations in a bar á vins. A wine bar just outside of the happnin’ part of the old city center. Only it turned out that he made it at the wrong bar á vins which was not in the happnin’ part of the city unless you consider criminal activities of various sorts to be happnin.’ And I suppose one might. 

Once he realized that where we were heading looked less than than appetizing he didn’t want to walk any further and so we turned around and stopped at a small cute place about half way between the real happnin’ and the dangerous happnin’ and had dinner. He went with the steak haché and I the beef bourguignon (It came with french fries, yea! I love Belgium). 

I really cannot say how the beef tartare was because, well, raw beef, but the bourguignon was really good. But not as good as Three Letters.’

I needed to get that last apostrophe in there.

Pain Quotidien

I did not sleep on the flight over. Oh sure there’s plenty of leg room in business class and the seats fold out into something like a rough approximation of an uncomfortable camping bed but that didn’t help my backache (and neither did the wine). I could not find a comfortable position, could not sleep and consequently I was very grouchy when I landed in Brussels. 

And my mood did not improve when I, shuffling like the hunchback of Notre Dame, dragged myself and my 3 steamer trunks (85 pounds of American canned goods, books and electronics for Ashish) out of customs and into the confusing fray of the Brussels International Airport and searched the gleaming, eager and happy faces awaiting the arrivals of loved ones only to not find one for myself. I took out my iPhone and to my horror I discovered that I had less than 10% power left. There was enough to text Ashish but probably not much more. So I texted him and waited anxiously as the hall emptied of the millions of happily reunited travelers, all the while painfully humped over my pile of luggage. 

Eventually he called claiming train delays, and finally showed up. The reunion scene wasn’t exactly like something out of Dr Zhivago but I was happy to see him and we managed to get back to his apartment where I took 800 mg of ibuprofen and slept for a few hours before we headed off (in much less pain) to my first meal in Belgium. 

The Pain Quotidien restaurant franchise is, despite the French name, of Belgian origin. The original is just around the corner from Ashish. We had boterham. Sandwiches. I had Paris ham and he had cheese and sun dried tomatoes with pesto. They were delicious.

Oddly, Pain Quotidien in French means daily bread, where as in English is means daily pain.