Wow- once again I am off planning other trips instead of finishing the one I just got back from. Let's pick up from our impromptu road trip on our Belgium Beer Run.
When we decided we would visit Thomas one more time, we brainstormed what was around Cologne. Ah- Drachenfels (or "Dragon's Rock") and Schloss Drachenburg. Lovely.
(p.s. Take the tram. We walked and it was a bit of a hike. Plus- the tram looks cool.)
Also, Bridge at Ramagen. Satisfies Ian's thirst for War (History). It had a really terrific Peace Museum within the remains of the bridge that covered the history of the bridge, and the cost of war in general.
However- beware! You have to take a ferry to cross the river. There are still next to no bridges that span this section of the Rhine. We tried go avoid taking the ferry only to drive many kilometers out of the way to finally give in and pay 3 euro to cross. Probably spent 5 euro in gas.
We also saw Mr. Thomas. About to leave for one year in Mexico City working with street children, I told him it's been nice knowing him. Kidding! It sounds like the adventure of a lifetime, but I do worry about the beheadings in Acapulco, drug cartel wars, and rampant crime in Mexico City. I wrote EasyExpat's guide for Mexico City. Seriously Thomas- careful.
What else, what else is around SW Germany? Belgium. What does Belgium have? Some of the world's best beers you say? Trip ON.
Ian laid out some brilliant breweries for us to visit. Plus he somehow figured out how to get us to a WWII museum. He's talented like that.
Southern Belgium is different from the North in that it is primarily French speaking, poorer, and with less big cities. We had been to Leuven & Brugges before, so we were ready for some dirty South. What we weren't prepared for it the utter lack of gas stations, hotels, and cash machines. This was some country.
No matter, we made it to our first stop -
Grain Dorge in Hombourg
This was in the middle of nowhere. (Thank buddha we opted for the GPS). Pulling up, I thoguht we had made a mistake as there were kids playing in the yard and it looked like a beautiful private home. We nervously approached to have the extremely gracious Benoît give us a personal tour. He went about the brewery process telling us about every element. Usually, they only give tours to groups of 10+ - whoops! This ended up being our favorite place and beer.
Brasserie de Bellevaux
Despite what their website said, they were closed. A big disappointment since it looked pretty fabulous. We will have to look out for their beer.
Lovely countryside at least. And those cows! Belgian Blues- they look like body builders.
Stop 3 we were back to WWII. Outside of Malmedy, There was a great museum & Ian was once again in bloody heaven.
Baugnez 44 Historical Center
We raced to make the next brewery tour at...
Brasserie Du Bocq
...and missed it by 2 minutes. Serious sadness, until we found a cafe a short walk away in which to enjoy the beer. And, the shop opened back up at the end of the tour so we were able to buy some beers & a glass.
and this- Home of the Saxophone!
It was really dramatic looking. But...not the place we wanted to stay. We grabbed some fries and made our way to our last brewery.
La Brasserie des Fagnes
This brewery had a large beer garden and children everywhere. Kids & beer - I love it. We had an amazing Lambic (that sadly was not available to take home). We enjoyed our sampler, wifi, and several beers to haul back to Berlin.
Ferme Des 4 Saisons
We were excited to be in world famous Chimay, but a dismayed at the accommodations available. The only place that seemed habitable was booked. Last minute vacation planning snafu! Luckily, we did eventually get pointed to which was a tiny hotel outside of town with restaurant below. Relieved to have a place to sleep, we naturally had a Chimay downstairs. I love that everything is served with cheese.
As the night drew to a close, we enjoyed a countryside stroll and looked at some of those bizarro cows. The day didn't go much like we expected, but it was truly fabulous. And we had a little something to take back home...
Pics of Road trip through Belgium
But first! Next post about Colmar, France