Belgium

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atomeyes
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Postby atomeyes » Fri Mar 20, 2015 4:03 pm

Ceecee wrote:Is Ghent unsafe? It just seems quieter and less touristy than Bruges. I'm not looking for nightlife or even shopping per se (flying all over the place, keeping things light-ish). I doubt I'll be able to get out to any bars at night anyway. Grabbing a few bottles for the hotel is more my speed. Just leaning toward Ghent because I abhor tourist traps.


nightlife and Belgium don't mix. everything's closed by midnight.
plus Bruges's bars are much better than Ghent. everyone talks about Bruges B'jertje or whatever. it's a tourist trap. been mentioned in too many beer books. they don't even try with their beer list. De Kelk's bartender/owner looks like a reformed skinhead but is a supernice guy. bar plays some punk and other music. it's on the main path but totally off the beaten path. you just go there and drink and talk to the bartender or stranger. no partying.

not going out to bars while in belgium would be a huge shame, man. the people are nice, the bottles you get are great. and at good beer bar, the worst beer on tap would be St Berny 12 and Rodenbach. just think about it.

Ghent isn't unsafe, but it's definitely more raw than Bruges.
Bruges is pristine. Ghent isn't. you stay outside the old city part and you'll see. Bruges on the other hand,...you feel like the only crime that happens is littering, and that doesn't really happen.
Ghent also has a large Moroccan population. when you go to Belgium and you talk to the locals, you'll hear about their relationship with their immigrant/Moslem population. summary: they don't like the Moslems. but the Morrocans in Ghent are poorer. they're on the east side of the city, but there's definitely an element of roughness in ghent because of all factors (immigrant population, university town, less touristy, a new city built within an old city, versus Bruges where the residential area's outside the touristy area).
i'd say that Ghent is as safe as Brussels. so take that as you will.

first time i was in belgium, i liked ghent over bruges. this time around, it was the opposite. plus i can give you an insane B&B to stay at in Bruges. amazing rooms, amazing food.

i'd choose bruges over ghent easily. ghent's canals and walkways near the canal break my heart with their beauty. it's a city built within a 500 year old city. charming and liveable. bruges is charming and pristine and you don't need to pay for a horse-drawn carriage ride around. but it's great.
and you know what? ghent's a 1 hr trainride away. so you can always go there for the day.
Ceecee
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Postby Ceecee » Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:38 pm

OK, good to know. See, this is the kind of info that isn't readily available. It would be nice to not have to be quite so vigilant when walking the streets after spending a week in Glasgow.
I will be visiting some bars but preferably around dinner time or a bit earlier when I'm in Flanders as I will be out to the WWI sites during most days and will be wiped.
atomeyes
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Postby atomeyes » Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:31 pm

Ceecee wrote:OK, good to know. See, this is the kind of info that isn't readily available. It would be nice to not have to be quite so vigilant when walking the streets after spending a week in Glasgow.
I will be visiting some bars but preferably around dinner time or a bit earlier when I'm in Flanders as I will be out to the WWI sites during most days and will be wiped.


i suggest you also check the train routes before deciding on your home base.
Ypres was on the line from Ghent. not sure if you're driving or training, but Bruges may not be direct to Ypres.

you don't have to be vigilant in Ghent, but i wouldn't walk around with bling hanging off you or completely unguarded. again, Bruges is probably as safe of a city as i can imagine. your only worry is walking home drunk and into a canal.

Safety-wise:
Bruges = 9/10
Toronto = 8.75/10
Ghent = 7.25/10
Barcelona = 6.5/10
Prague = 6.5/10
Lima = 6/10

just some comaprables for you.
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JerCraigs
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Postby JerCraigs » Sat Mar 21, 2015 4:36 pm

I much preferred Bruges to Ghent, but I was a bit biased/tired against Ghent after a 4km afternoon walk due to getting lost in Liedekerke (I put the placemarker for the trainstation in the wrong spot on the map.) :) Bruges does feel a bit polished/touristy but not cheesy and I still quite enjoyed it.
Ceecee
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Postby Ceecee » Mon Mar 23, 2015 1:07 pm

Gonna be honest, here. I was thinking Ghent only because of the De Hopduvel and Dranken Geers shops. I'm going to need a LOT of time in each. However it's, what, 45 minutes tops to drive to Ghent from Bruges? I think the idea of staying in Bruges with a day trip to Ghent would be the best option.

You mentioned a B&B?

What is parking like in Bruges?
atomeyes
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Postby atomeyes » Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:00 pm

Ceecee wrote:Gonna be honest, here. I was thinking Ghent only because of the De Hopduvel and Dranken Geers shops. I'm going to need a LOT of time in each. However it's, what, 45 minutes tops to drive to Ghent from Bruges? I think the idea of staying in Bruges with a day trip to Ghent would be the best option.

You mentioned a B&B?

What is parking like in Bruges?

there are places to park. had a car there the last time, i think. i mean, the train's the best way to get around most of Belgium. even if you give up the car rental for 2 days, your life would probably be easier.

http://www.b-bverhulst.com/

breakfast was incredible. owners are nice. we ended up getting the family loft for some reason. it was great (except the shower was typical european, which is annoying at times).

and it's near De Kelk!

planning a trip around bottle shops? dude, you're in Belgium. Westy 8 is the table beer at Cambrinus (a bit of a touristy place, but hey, you're in Bruges). there are bottle shops in Bruges. there's the f'ing Struise shop in Bruges!

plus you can have a few drinks at De Garre, which is always neat.
rfrf
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Postby rfrf » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:51 pm

atomeyes wrote:
rfrf wrote:
atomeyes wrote:
rfrf wrote:
atomeyes wrote:
rfrf wrote:Any recommendations for hotels in area around Cantillon?


http://www.sweetbrussels.be/

it was really great. breakfast was great. rooms were great, hostess was great.

keep in mind that, unless you're getting a place in the middle of nowhere (like i did the 1st time i was in brussels), everything is close to everything. so this B&B is a 15 min walk from the Grote Markt and, i think a 7-8 min walk from Cantillon
booked into this bnb for a couple of nights in april. thanks for the recommendation.


remember: it's beautiful in the inside, breakfasts are great and it's a 10 minute walk to the train station, grande place and cantillon.

if you want any food tips, let me know
by all means. tip away.


http://www.ratebeer.com/p/nuetnigenough-brussels/15910/

love their food and they have Fantome saison in bottles.

also, wander over to rue Saint Catherine. there are some fish shacks and oyster stands.

mussels = only eat them when the month ends in R. otherwise, they're imported, so you may as well eat them in toronto.

chocolate tour - walk the route. there are some amazing shops.

http://www.foodrepublic.com/2014/04/28/ ... russels-be

i wanted to go to #5 on that list. hard to find horse prepared nicely.


Thanks - spending this weekend in Brussels.
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ECBS
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Postby ECBS » Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:50 am

Hey guys,

Coming from a bit of a different angle here.

My cousin is in Brussels for 3 days, starting this morning, April 21/15 (in between Paris and Amsterdam). He isn't a beer geek (at least not yet), but he does appreciate good beer and he told me he'd love to bring back some beer for sharing (which I'm okay with, I guess). He'd also like to visit a brewery or two while in the area.

Where would be the most likely place to find Cantillon in bottles? The brewery itself? A particular bottle shop in Brussels? And what are the chances that he'll come across Fou or a Lou Pepe?

And for a good brewery tour, would Cantillon be his best best? When are tours offered?

Greatly appreciate ANY kernels of wisdom you guys have to offer!
rfrf
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Postby rfrf » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:08 am

ECBS wrote:Hey guys,

Coming from a bit of a different angle here.

My cousin is in Brussels for 3 days, starting this morning, April 21/15 (in between Paris and Amsterdam). He isn't a beer geek (at least not yet), but he does appreciate good beer and he told me he'd love to bring back some beer for sharing (which I'm okay with, I guess). He'd also like to visit a brewery or two while in the area.

Where would be the most likely place to find Cantillon in bottles? The brewery itself? A particular bottle shop in Brussels? And what are the chances that he'll come across Fou or a Lou Pepe?

And for a good brewery tour, would Cantillon be his best best? When are tours offered?

Greatly appreciate ANY kernels of wisdom you guys have to offer!


You won't get Fou or Lou Pepe at the brewery anymore. They are sold out quiet soon after opening. I was there 2 weeks ago, I got:
2x iris
2x vingerone
1x lambic bio
1x rose de gambrinus

I also managed to get a lambic kriek @ https://www.facebook.com/maltattacks - I'd recommend visiting this shop. Not much else Cantillon that isn't at the brewery, but loads of other Belgium beer, plus a tidy selection of British and American beers (I got a few of the different Beer Geek Breakfast/Brunch bottles here).

If he doesn't mind paying bar prices you can get a lot of different Cantillon bottles at either Moeder Lambic locations - http://www.moederlambic.com/ . I prefer the original location than the other but both are decent and have a good bottle list. I'd recommend the original location. I managed to try Fou, Lou Pep Fram, 50 degrees, Mamouche at that location. Quite the evening.
Ceecee
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Postby Ceecee » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:43 am

Is maltattacks new? Staying at the Be Manos hotel this summer, less than 5 minute walk to Cantillon and apparently only 15 minutes to this store.
atomeyes
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Postby atomeyes » Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:02 am

ECBS wrote:Hey guys,

Coming from a bit of a different angle here.

My cousin is in Brussels for 3 days, starting this morning, April 21/15 (in between Paris and Amsterdam). He isn't a beer geek (at least not yet), but he does appreciate good beer and he told me he'd love to bring back some beer for sharing (which I'm okay with, I guess). He'd also like to visit a brewery or two while in the area.

Where would be the most likely place to find Cantillon in bottles? The brewery itself? A particular bottle shop in Brussels? And what are the chances that he'll come across Fou or a Lou Pepe?

And for a good brewery tour, would Cantillon be his best best? When are tours offered?

Greatly appreciate ANY kernels of wisdom you guys have to offer!


you will almost never have me saying that i want to tour a brewery or winery. but i've done the cantillon tour twice and i'd likely do it a third time. it's that cool.
plus, you get to drink 2 glasses of beer after the tour.

so yes, he should do the tour.
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ECBS
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Postby ECBS » Tue Apr 21, 2015 1:42 pm

If he doesn't mind paying bar prices you can get a lot of different Cantillon bottles at either Moeder Lambic locations - http://www.moederlambic.com/ . I prefer the original location than the other but both are decent and have a good bottle list. I'd recommend the original location. I managed to try Fou, Lou Pep Fram, 50 degrees, Mamouche at that location. Quite the evening.


Wow! Looking at the Moeder Lambic site right now - amazing bottle list! Prices aren't so bad, either (relatively speaking). Are the beers there only available for in-house consumption? Because if they're also available for take-away, I'd have no qualms with paying $40 CAD for a bottle of Fou! Doubtful this is the case, but please let me know if it is!

you will almost never have me saying that i want to tour a brewery or winery. but i've done the cantillon tour twice and i'd likely do it a third time. it's that cool.
plus, you get to drink 2 glasses of beer after the tour.

so yes, he should do the tour.


Thanks! Will definitely recommend it highly. (Note that if I was the one in Brussels right now, I wouldn't think twice about touring the place...twice.)

Appreciate everyone's feedback :)
rfrf
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Postby rfrf » Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:44 pm

The three or four bottles of Cantillon we asked about buying for take away were all a resounding NO.
atomeyes
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Re: Belgium

Postby atomeyes » Tue May 05, 2015 9:39 am

i'll be living in west Flanders for June.

if anyone has any tips or anything to add, it would be great to hear.
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admviolin
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Re: Belgium

Postby admviolin » Thu May 07, 2015 10:46 am

I was just in Belgium in February. We went to Brussels, Ghent, Binche (for the carnival...look it up it's crazy) and Orval.

Overall a great time, we had a car and although navigation was tough (especially Ghent) we wouldn't have been able to go to Orval.
Cantillion had a great selection to purchase when we were there (Lou Pepe, Brouscilla, etc.) and older Zwanzes at the bar!

One thing I noticed when researching the trip was most breweries only do tours for groups so email ahead to see if you can tack onto an existing tour.
We were able to do the Rodenbach tour with a bustour from England.

Bars are a bit of a culture shock from our abundance of taps. It was common to have a great bar with only 3 taps and a huge bottle list.

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