Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Day 1: Beers, Broodjes and Boat Hotels

Our flight from NYC to Brussels was on Jet Airways, an Indian flight continuing on to Bangalore. I managed to obtain the bulkhead seats for my brother, father and I before the flight so we could sleep. Unfortunately, cultural differences on personal space resulted in several Indian passengers stepping directly over us in order to cross from one side to the other while we were sleeping. We created a makeshift carry-on barrier to keep passengers from stepping on our feet, which led to a small confrontation that was eventually settled by the flight attendant in our favor.

First order of business in Brussels was a quick breakfast before catching our train to Kotrijk. After clearing customs it was a short train ride to the station where we grabbed espresso and one of my favorite takeaway snacks: broodjes. A broodje is a simple sandwich on a french-style roll but this ain't no Subway. The bread is usually freshly baked and filled with tasty meats, cheeses and veg. In selecting a good broodje, one must often choose between the butcher shop or bakery which have their respective strengths and weaknesses on the meats and bread front.

It was too early to check into Bootel Ahoi, so we dropped our bags and wandered around. town. Koffehaus is a charming cafe in one of Kotrijk's scenic squares that had decent food and a few older couples drinking some wit beers at lunchtime. We even got a suggestion to check out the "bar for weirdos" at the train station. It was quite the scene of characters drunk by early afternoon who regarded us with polite curiosity as we drank espressos trying to stay awake. "Why do you come here to Kotrijk?" was the usual refrain. "For the bikes and the beers" was more than enough to elicit smiles from our fellow weirdos.

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