Artie is my super curious little aardvark friend who comes along on adventures where astronomers go, like our brewery weekend in Belgium. Part 1 of his adventure can be found here.
The last day of the Belgian weekend I was super-duper excited in the morning cause we were going to visit a famous Trappist brewery called Westvleteren. Westvleteren monks only sell enough beer to cover the costs of the monastery so even though some people call it “the best beer in the world” it is super-duper hard to get your paws on some. But it turns out not to be so hard if you go to the monastery and buy some at the tasting room!
Whenever I go on any astronomical adventures, or adventures with astronomers, our group’s mascot Artie Aardvark seems to tag along. And it’s time for Artie to tell you all about a recent weekend we had in Belgium- take it away, Artie!
I really enjoyed my short trip to Belgium for the NAC, so a week later when I heard a bunch of astronomers were planning a weekend trip to Belgium to visit trappist breweries I begged them to go along. After all, what if they needed an extra driver? What if they needed the services of an attack aardvark? And most important, I was very curious to see what the fuss was about when it came to trappist beers!
Luckily they let me come so we set off on Friday after work for an adventure! Though our first stop was before the Belgian border, in the Netherlands, at the La Trappe near Tilburg in the southern Netherlands-
For those who don’t remember him, Artie Aardvark is my research group’s mascot. He’s a curious fellow who likes to tag along to astronomical conferences and the like, so it was only natural that he tagged along with me last week. I’ll let him tell you all about it!
Last week was super-duper exciting, as Yvette finally took me on a new adventure! We were off to Lommel, Belgium for the annual Dutch astronomers’ conference which is known as the NAC. I was a little confused on the train ride over why were going to Belgium for a Dutch astronomers’ conference, but the astronomers told me that northern Belgium is an area called Flanders where they speak Dutch with a funny accent. (I guess some of them claim Flemish is a separate language but don’t ask me for details- I’m an aardvark, not a language expert!) This year they were organizing the conference, so we took a train and bus to Lommel just across the border. Continue reading
It turns out that a weekend in Belgium for someone who has lived nearly a year in the Netherlands is a rather disturbing experience because nearly everything is the same but not quite right. The architectural style is similar but with more stonework and modern buildings thrown in, a lot of history focuses on the Golden Age but more with regards to Antwerp than Amsterdam, and while they also eat their frites with mayonnaise here they unquestionably taste better. Add in the creeping influence of the French the further south you go, and… yep, Bizarro Netherlands.
Anyway, recently I went to Brussels, and I was further surprised to discover that Brussels is actually quite nice. I was not expecting this at all- it’s usually described as a boring place, and looked like a giant sprawl from the train whenever I’ve traveled through there, but it turns out if you know where to look amidst the office buildings there are still true gems of lovely old architecture-
Because I am incapable of sitting still, I decided to celebrate my one month anniversary in Europe by taking a trip to Bruges, Belgium. A lovely sunny weekend in a town so lovely that if Disney had built it we’d all hate it and claim it’s unrealistic-