Thursday, July 31, 2008
Bruxelles: Chocolat, Café Tricot, Chocolat, Bière et Chocolat...
Before shoving off for my recent trip to Belgium and France, I made darn sure to arrange a little knitting get-together with a blogger I have long adored: Sophie of More Itchy Knits. If you haven't read her blog (it's in French and English), you really need to because a. she is devilishly funny and b. she throws down some cables that mere mortals like me will only ever dream of.
Of course my non-knitting friends (a group that will be soon dwindling unless they cool it with the negative comments. Phil, I am talking to you) had to deride me/give me shit about this. "Oh Gawd, I knew you had some secret knitting agenda with this trip!". Umm, secret? Moving on.
After our presentation at the conference in Liège, Kenric (yes, the guy that now kicks my knitting ass with his entrelac skills) and I had a café liégeois (i.e. you get the whipped cream on your coffee without the humiliation of actually having to ask for it) and hopped on a train for Brussels with the aim of horning in on the Friday night café-tricot at Arthur's, a lovely little café conveniently located right across from the Luxembourg train station. As Kenric cast-on for the Koolhaas hat on the train we had a gas with our usual mix of shop talk, knitting chit-chat and general tom foolery. We made excellent time and arrived at the event without a hitch, despite a fit of nervous lip balm application just before entering (does anyone else do this?).
The group of knitters were so friendly and gave us a warm, warm welcome. Sophie and I traded little gifts--I brought her a yarn that is obviously unavailable in Europe, Brooks Farm Solo, and she gave both Kenric and I the most lovely packages of baking chocolate ever as well as a recipe, written by her with her usual sense of humor, for Belgian Truffles. How did she know that this would be so up my alley?
We stayed for several hours and had a great time knitting and chatting about the current Belgian constitutional crisis (Umm hello! They don't have a government now), the tension between the Flemish and Walloon population, the intricacies of language policy in Belgium as well as knitting techniques in both countries. All in all, a really nice event that Kenric and I felt lucky to be a part of.
We topped off our jaunt with a visit to a chocolate shop (see first picture above) and Delerium, a world-renowned beer drinking joint that will bring out the inner frat guy like nobody's business...
Once back in Liège, Kenric and I parted ways, but not for long as much to my delight he's moving to Philly later this month. I spent my final day wandering around the city, checking out the beautiful gardens and parks and doing something that I could only ever do alone as the ridicule and scorn I would face from my family would be too great for me to endure. I am of course talking about visiting a museum dedicated to marionnettes, le musée Tchantchès. I enjoyed this place so much that now even I am weirded out by myself. In any case, Liège's most famous resident is a naughty medieval fellow named Tchantchès and if you go to Liège, well you can visit his museum, too.