Doug Estey

Brussels

Introduction
Brussels

Our last stop in Belgium – my second last of the trip – is one that I really didn’t know what to expect of. As the unofficial home of the European Union's parliament, dotted with a much younger architectural landscape, Brussels feels oddly familiar to North Americans like us.

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While we didn’t intend to take a chronological tour of the its epicentres, it felt like a fitting end to our time here in Belgium. We stood in awe of what has to be the best Grote Markt in the country, sampled unreasonably good chocolates, and got adventurous with the local specialty frites.

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Yesterday, in what ended up being the highlight of Brussels by far, we visited an original Belgian lambic brewery: Cantillon has been operating for over one hundred years, and is one of the few remaining brewers in the country relying on non-injected (naturally occurring) yeast in its beer.

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While the sheer amount of effort and care that goes in to the creation of their product is truly admirable, they also manage to be surprisingly accepting of their natural environment – every batch is going to turn out slightly different when you’re relying on open air fermentation and a team of spiders to keep the pests away, and Cantillon is just fine with that.

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It’s starting to dawn on me just how quickly this trip is drawing to a close. We’ve just arrived in Paris, where we spend two nights before I fly back home. Emma will continue on for a couple of weeks, touring the UK and southern Ireland before her return at the end of June.

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Time to enjoy the last stop in the most stereotypical fashion possible – baguettes and wine, get at me.

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Doug Estey

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