heard on the wire

And relax

And we did, with a a spot of retail therapy at Habitat for The Becster, followed by Belgian beer in a bar that doubles as a record shop — Carlsberg doesn’t do record shops but if they did, etc. — then dinner in Cook & Book, an old haunt that is much improved since we last ate there.

The big move was pretty much trauma free, unless you happen to be one of Sven, Tommy and Kristof, the awesome removal men. They put in a 16-hour shift on Tuesday to ensure they and our belongings left Switzerland on time, only to have to spend five ours on Wednesday waiting by the road side after their second tyre blowout of the day.

We are, of course, surrounded by boxes, mostly unpacked, though The Becster has done a sterling job turning a sterile living space into something resembling a home (hence the Habitat trip).

Yesterday my bike, its trailer and I found an easy route to Rob the Gourmet’s Market, which might sound like an invitation to pilfer but is in fact Carrefour’s upmarket supermarket brand — Waitrose with narrower aisles. Today we ventured to Carrefour itself, a truly horrible shopping experience — never did I think I’d yearn for Winterthur Grüze Coop.

Interesting journey to get there, though, along mansion-lined avenues, past fowl-filled lakes and then on a cycle path alongside the tramline, an invitation to race. Especially as this part of Brussels, Woluwe, is Eddy Merckx’s home.

Talking of whom, I even got to ride on some Belgian cobbles, possibly the same roads that shook the bones of the young Merckx.

Tomorrow we unpack some more before riding tram and Metro to Brussels centre for an emotional reunion with the Grand’ Place and Toni & Guy. Thence to the day’s penultimate destination, Jack O’Shea’s butcher’s shop for bacon, sausages, black pudding and fat-lined loin of pork, then home. It’s great to be back in Belgium.


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