Number of tie wraps: 50 (holding steady)
Countdown: 8419 miles down, 166 to go
It was too foggy for a river cruise in Cologne, but before we left we took a short walking tour of the city center that included the magnificent cathedral, which is on the list of “Top Ten Things to See in Germany.” We all agreed that if we had seen this cathedral first, the others we’ve visited would have disappointed. This one was worth the wait, although the photos below don’t really do it justice.
We hit the road about 11 a.m. after attaching our newly acquired Germany colors to the cars to show our football allegiances during Sunday’s World Cup final.
We didn’t have any major rain during the drive, but fog and mist limited our roadside sightseeing, and I didn’t even notice we had crossed into Belgium until my cell phone blipped a text message welcoming me to Bel Proximus. About 1 o’clock, we exited the highway and drove into the small town of Eupen. We weren’t sure why Eupen had been included on our itinerary, but we figured that once we arrived in town it would be obvious. Eupen was a pretty Belgian town, but not seeing any major tourist attractions, we stopped at a local eatery for some famous Belgian fries, which we kept warm by resting them on the Roadster hood. The people who sold us the fries couldn’t think of any reason why we might want to visit Eupen either!
Refreshed with fries, we drove on to Chimay via a winding and picturesque country road.
With only about 3,000 people, Chimay is the smallest town we’ve visited during our trip. We’re staying at a beautiful bed and breakfast, Le Petit Chapitre, that dates to the 18th century, comes complete with two cats, and is located on the town square within walking distance of everything we might need — pubs, restaurants, post office, laundromat, store with batteries and potato chips, a nice church and even a castle, which we plan to visit during our day off.
Best of all, we discovered Chimay beer! The beer is brewed by Trappist Monks, and there are four kinds: red, white, blue, and gold. The gold is a special beer that the monks originally kept for themselves, but they now allow a handful of people, including Le Petit Chapitre, to sell very small quantities. Click here for more information about Chimay beer.
We walked to a tavern across the street from our B&B to sample the red, white and blue beers and after dinner we raided our mini-bars to check out the gold. The beer was some of the best we have ever tasted in one of the best settings we can imagine, so our hats are off to Mir for setting us up here!
After a day of errands and relaxation in Chimay, we’ll head to Rheims on Saturday, a short drive of 124 km, and then it’s on to Paris!