Friday, 20 June 2014

Hotel Bloom; Brussels, 22nd to 26th May 2014


During late August last year Victoria and I had taken the Eurostar to Brussels and stayed at the lovely Hotel Bloom near Botanique. On October 26th last year it was my mum and dads 50th Wedding Anniversary and we decided that we would take them to Brussels in the spring time for a treat.

Delirium Cafe
We booked the Hotel Bloom and Eurostar quite easily but had a bit of a dilemma about getting to St. Pancras, the previous year we had taken the train for Derby, but with coming back on a Sunday this time it seemed a bit of a long-winded, multiple change, late arriving, faff. However, we saw that if we went from Newark, the journey was only one and a half hours each way and worked out at £23.00 each for a return - bargain!

On the Thursday mum and dad picked us up and we drove to Newark station and were soon on the platform waiting for the train, it had been unfortunately delayed by a broken down good train but we arrived at St. Pancras in good time. Dad mentioned that it was the first time that he and mum had been on a mainline train since spending their honeymoon in London over 50 years ago!

Enjoying a Floris Pomme
Arriving at Kings Cross we traversed the road to get into St. Pancras and picked up some lunch to take on the train. Victoria and I had Yo Sushi take-out while mum and dad went for the safe option of a Marks & Spencer sandwich. We were soon on the Eurostar to Brussels where we arrived at Midi Station and took the Metro to Botanique and were soon checked in to the hotel.

That evening we walked into the centre of Brussels and had dinner at one of the restaurants on Petite rue des Bouchers, they are all pretty much the same so whoever offers the best deal take it, we were just happy to get a vegetarian meal with a drink for €15.00 After that we had a beer and a walk around the city taking in Grand-Place and Manneken Pis. After another beer it was back to Hotel Bloom for some kip.

Veggie hot-dog, yum!
In the morning we decided to forego the €25.00/head breakfast at Hotel Bloom and walked into the centre and had a fresh coffee and croissant for an incredible €2.00 at Exki. After that we showed mum and dad around town and then left them to wander while we went to a couple of the the comic book stores on Anspachlaan where I picked up a copy of Pieces of Wonderland that I have put away as a birthday present for her while Victoria bought me a copy of Pin-Up Wings 2 (I already have Pin-Up Wings 3). After a bit of shopping we went to Delirium where we had had a couple of lovely beers last year. As there is so much choice - it holds the record for having over 2000 different beers on sale - this year we decided that we would try some of the many fruit beers on offer. We had a Delirium Red, a Floris Pomme and a Mongonzo Mangue all off which got a tick from both of us. For lunch we found a hot-dog shop that sold veggie hot-dogs - these were lovely.

Galler waffle - yum!
We then met up with mum and dad in Grand-Place for a coffee while watching the world go by. We then popped into the La Boutique Tintin then back to the hotel to put our feet up before we went out again for a pizza for dinner on rue Gretry then took mum and dad to Delirium, dad liked it, mum was not so sure, I had another Delirium Red while Victoria had a Mongonzo Coconut both very nice.

Mum & Dad - Happy 50th
The next day we awoke and walked into town and had breakfast at Hema then a day mooching around town. Victoria did not fancy what was on offer so had a chocolate waffle from Galler, she gave it five stars. Wandering around town in the sun it was not long before we succumbed to the lure of Delirium, so Victoria and I soon settled down to a lunchtime session, Pink Killer, Floris Chocolate, Floris Frais and Delirium Red, realising we were a bit peckish we also had ordered the bowl of Gouda - a massive amount of cheese with mustard and celery salt for about €3.00. That afternoon we were a little dazed, so wandered around town some more picking up some souvenirs from La Boutique Tintin we met mum and dad at Exki for a coffee before picking up some beers to take home from De Biertempel before a walk back up to the hotel for a snooze before dinner.

Delirium drinks
That evening we took mum and dad for a traditional Belgian supper of chips and mayonnaise on rue Henri Maus, mum was impressed that she could have a bottle of wine with her chips although we will skip over the ketchup incident - buy me a beer and I'll elaborate.

Mum and dad went for another Belgian tradition, crepes and waffles, while probably unsurprisingly Victoria and I gravitated back to Delirium. It was Saturday evening and the bar was bouncing, we had a Cookie Beer, Floris Frais, Floris Ninkeberry and St' Idesbald Blonde.

Man vs Waffle
Next morning was our last day in Belgium, we breakfasted again at Exki and then went back to Hotel Bloom to check out. We took the luggage to Gare Midi and then caught the Metro to Heysel Stadium and then walked over to the Atomium where we spent a fine morning enjoying the exhibits and views. We went back to Gare Midi for lunch, picked up the luggage and then caught the Eurostar back to London.

At Kings Cross we walked over to St. Pancras and were soon on the train back to Newark and were home by 10:30PM.


Mongozo Coconut and Floris Frais

Grand Place
Atomium