Wednesday, 2 August, 2017 – weather: grey then lots of rain
Our plan today is to visit the Wednesday market which is supposed to be something special. Here is the hype:
Wednesdays are for the Chatelain market – at least in my books!
The Chatelain neighbourhood is one of the poshest in town and probably as close to Paris as Brussels can get. The whole area is filled with smart shops, cafés, and some of my favourite restaurants. On Wednesdays the main square (Place du Chatelain / Kasteleinsplein) turns into an open-air market, where local producers sell pretty much everything from fresh meat, fish and vegetables to cheese, bread, olives, candy and flowers. If you arrive around 14:00 when the market opens, you’ll be able to do your shopping at ease and probably spot groups of friends making a bee line in front of the food stalls before they head back to the Chatelain Boutique Hotel for a cooking class. I always make sure to stop for a waffle (60 cents each!), an Italian piadina from Il Sapore Della Dolce Vita or an ice pop from Nanouk as I browse the fresh supplies on display.
The real attraction however takes place towards its closing when people make their way to the Chatelain market for after-work drinks (or an “apéro”, as the locals call it). The whole area comes alive as buzzing crowds gather on the square sipping wine or beer, tasting fresh oysters or nibbles from the various food stands and catching up with old and new friends. The party continues long after the market is officially closed in the nearby bars, especially during summer time. So, next Wednesday don’t make any other plans – head straight to the Chatelain market and enjoy!
We have breakfast at home again although Julie has to go out and get some supplies. Her hip / leg is acting up badly so she has organised a visit to a:
Julie returns after 4:00 and says that it is raining quite heavily outside. This puts a dampener, pun intended, on our plans to go to the market. Eventually, when the rain slows down, we decide we will go suitably rugged up. Google says that it is a 23 minute walk, more like 35 with my slowness, the rain and wrong direction decisions. Turns out it is very close to Julie’s Osteo visit.
As the rain continues, we make a very good decision not to get food from within the market as the best in terms of seating is small tables with rickety stools or milk cartons to sit on. That was the good news. The bad news is that we decided to pick a restaurant next to the market and, what’s worse, not a very good one.
Our waitress was a nice person but must have been a total airhead. I ordered a bottle of Cotes du Rhone, she areed. Then she came back to the table seeking a confirmation from me – yes, it is the Cotes du Rhone. Then this is what we got:
The rain would come and go. It cleared for a while and the open air tables for this restaurant and the bar across the street were all filled up. Then a downpour came which drove all the people away from their tables to cover. We decide we will walk home in the rain which is consistent but not horrific. You should have seen the vultures rushing to grab our table.
We can’t say that we enjoyed the experience of the market, it was OK but not the extra special implied by the Internet article. And we certainly did not appreciate our chosen restaurant.
It is a 30 minute walk in the rain. Julie is still hungry, I did give her most of the soup, the vegies and several mussels, so we stop at a shop along the way to get more salmon etc. for a night meal, I don’t require any more food, vino yes. As well as smoked salmon on fried bread, Julie made herself an Irish coffee from our supplies at home.