cerebral museum

Belgium Part 1: Godverdikkelinge in Dentergem with the Van Meenen Family (also beginnings of the Beer Awakening)

Posted in Uncategorized by Cassandra on June 2, 2010

Belgium's about the same size as Maryland. it's also known as the unofficial capital of the EU.

Lisa and I decided to visit some friends of hers in Belgium this April. After minimal planning, and finding a 7 euro flight, we spent the night at the airport in order to make our 6AM flight. 3 hours later, we’re in Belgium, a little ways outside Brussels. After a short wait, we found Regine and Geert in the airport, who welcomed us with hugs and a ride to their home in Dentergem. It’s a small town in the North-West of Belgium, and the Van Meenen’s have lived there since Geert and Regine married. I haven’t met nicer people than them in a long time. Seriously awesome folks… they’ve traveled the world together, have chickens and gardens, own a pub that’s been in their family for 3 generations, their family imported hamburgers to Belgium, they study and speak 4 or 5 languages, and are unbelievably generous. I am so, so thankful to have met the Van Meenen’s. These people know how to live.

We spent a couple of days around Dentergem.. riding bikes to barnyard bars with Tim (Geert and Regine’s son), hanging out with their friends in the town, partying in Gent with Tim and his friends, climbing up too-small stairways, eating fried things, and sleeping in lofts. After that, we took a day trip to Bruge with Geert and Regine, where and had a Belgian waffle that gave me a sugar high for 3 hours, saw an old cloister island, watched dozens of swans in the moat-like river, and found alleyway 4 story pubs with fireplaces and some of the best beer I’ve ever tasted. Later still, they were nice enough to take the train to Brussels with us and show us all around the biggest city, ate very well, saw insane architecture and the famous little peeing boy statue (Manneken Pis), and I got to check out some of the diplomatic offices. Such a good trip… Lis and I are so lucky to have met these wonderful people.

Tim and the lovely Regine with the best burger I've tasted in Europe, it comes from a recipe her father brought after his mid-century trip to find work in the States. She had endless stories passed down from him and his time in Vegas serving Frank Sinatra at a bar on the Strip back in the day.

flower blooming in Geert's garden

busted up bikes in Gent

fresh paint next to traditional Gent buildings

Lisa

cathedrals in the center of Gent

Gent canals... seriously surprised we didn't fall in

tiny old pub in Gent

I finally discovered my taste for beer in Gent. I’ve always, always hated it, but thanks in part to my dear friend Selma’s persistence and the serious aficionados I met in Belgium, I can now say there are a few I like. Also, I took a photo of a lot of different ones I tried in Belgium for Jon, partially to make him jealous and partially because I love him. So, be prepared for foamy hoppy malt onslaught ahead.

a favorite

at the bicycle bar in Gent. this was my favorite place... steady flow of CCR, ZZ Top, and Zep in the background, lit solely by candles, all types of bikes hanging off the ceiling/walls, weird good beer that you don't get to choose.. you just drink what they give you, and some total characters lurking= my kind of place.

Geert's little homemade greenhouse... we got to eat some of the sprouts. so good!

borrowed bikes, color coordination unintended but a sign of the deux-ex-awesome going on.

just outside Dentergem on our ride. I can guarantee you there's no artificial anything going on at this farm.

barn pub

barn/field venue and pub.. would be so rad to see a show here. owned by some old trust fund hippie, but nobody around here's complaining about what he decided to do with it.

gallinas

sitting in the Sint Canarus brewery trying their finest.

Belgian goodness

Geert climbing the ancient wind powered mill, on top of Dentergem's Mt. Everest.

I can’t say enough good things about this trip. I have more photos but, again, they’re not fit to post yet so I’ll have to wait a little while until I figure out the computer stuff.

I forgot the most important thing, though, that I learned in Belgium. In the wise words of Geert Van Meenen:

GODVERDIKKELINGE!!!

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