Our time in Brussels was almost over, but we still had a few hours until we had to catch the Thalys back to Paris. With only a slight hangover (talk about a miracle), we headed back out to the Grand Place to pick up a few souvenirs, some chocolate, and beers for the road/sky.
It wasn't even 10:30 a.m. in Brussels, but on our two-minute walk to the Grand Place we passed people drinking beer on café patios. I was pleasantly surprised. And when we walked into the beer store to get bottles of Delirium Tremens, Affligem, and other new favorites, the store clerk told us that we needed to go ahead and start drinking.
"Eleven o'clock in the morning is the best time to drink beer," he said. "Your palate is the most receptive at this time to all of the wonderful flavors of beer."
Before we knew it, he had walked to a refrigerator, grabbed two bottles of beer, and popped their tops and handed one to me and one to Brandon.
"You can drink this on the streets," he said with a smile. "It's legal here."
So on our empty stomachs, we drank beer as we walked the cobblestone streets of Brussels in the bright morning sun buying little Manneken Pis corkscrews, tote bags, and boxes and boxes of Neuhaus chocolates.
We wrapped up our time in Brussels with a hearty typical Belgian meal in the Grand Place. This time I got the steak and fries. It was perfectly medium, and the waiter suggested I get a mushroom sauce to go with it. Delicious. Just what my stomach needed after all those beers from Delirium the night before and this morning's breakfast beer.
We were sad to leave Brussels, but I think we definitely need to come back in August 2014 to see the flower carpet. Also, we should probably try to schedule more time to do some real sightseeing and museum hopping -- and to sample the thousand or so beers at Delirium Café that we still have yet to try.