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The GW Hatchet

AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

My two days in Brussels

After leaving Amsterdam on Queen’s Day, I was ready for a more subdued, peaceful experience in Brussels, Belgium. To get there, we took a two hour train that was much more enjoyable than the cramped one we had to take from Budapest to Vienna. Upon arriving, we found our hotel (and ourselves) in the middle of a decidedly un-touristy area, which was both good and bad.

We hadn’t eaten for a while, so we went in search of some food, and stumbled upon a cafe/bar that seemed to be inhabited by only regulars. This was my third time in a French-speaking country, so I have pretty good command of the very basics of the French language (numbers, “pardon”, “oui”, “non”, “au reviour”, “merci”) and can read some words that are cognates of English or Spanish (jamon is Spanish, jambon is French). I found that I could read most of the things on the French-only menu, and between my limited French and the waitress’s limited English, we all got our food and drinks just fine. Our hostel owner in Budapest told us that once you learn three languages well, other Latin-based languages are extremely easy to learn. I’m not anywhere close to knowing three (or even two) languages fluently, but my experience with French leads me to believe he is right.

As for the rest of Brussels, I liked it a lot. The area around the main square is a veritable labyrinth of identical looking seafood restaurants. We didn’t end up going to any, but they all had shellfish out on display and it looked quite good. While we’re on the subject of food, I might as well mention here that the waffles were disappointing. They were relatively expensive (about five euro for a good one with a topping) and really tasted like any Belgian waffle you’d get at any diner in the U.S. Needless to say, I was disappointed.

The beer, however, lived up to every expectation I had. Really, it was better than good. All the bars there have dozens of beers at the least (one we went to have more than 2000), most of which are extremely good. Belgian beer is usually between eight and ten percent alcohol (most beer is between three and five), but somehow manages to have vibrant flavors. Most of the best beers in the world are surprisingly made by Belgian Trappist monks, and while some monasteries do export their brew, it is much easier to find in Belgium.

The E.U.’s headquarters have their own neighborhood of Brussels, where the European Parliament and European Commission, among other bodies, are located. The buildings are all extremely modern-looking, as is the art work in the surrounding yards. We couldn’t go in and see anything, but it was interesting to see.

I leave Dublin for good in exactly 10 days. Not surprisingly, this is bittersweet. But it deserves its own post, so I’ll do that soon. Thanks for reading.

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