Pageant of the Golden Tree and Brasserie Erasmus

Every morning while in Bruges, ducks and swans would come by the windows. And yes, I fed them the rest of the baguette we didn’t finish from the day before! They were fun to watch but surprisingly vicious to one or two that the group seemed to single out.

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As we walked through town, we learned that there would be a parade later in the day. It seemed to be a big event, all of the shops were selling seating in front of their buildings.

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We found a shady spot and sat on the curb to wait.

The parade was called the Pageant of the Golden Tree and only occurs every five years. We had no idea what was going on since the parade was in Flemish. But luckily we had learned a bit about the history of Bruges to somewhat understand some of the scenes. Such as the chest with the ten keys and the fact that Belgium used to be a large fabric center. All of the floats were pulled by horses.

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The horses were huge! They weren’t Clydesdales, but a breed of horse called the Belgian Draft Horse.

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In all honesty this parade was just creepy. And the fact that we didn’t understand the significance of many of the floats and scenes surely didn’t help.

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Yep, a severed giant head.

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With all the horses they had men come through frequently and clean up all the poo. They got the most cheers.

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I wish I knew what was going on!

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But we do have a funny story about the sheep.

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Later in the day we went into a lace shop and were talking to the woman who owned the store. She was joking that her young son asked what all the yellow and green marks on the sheep’s butts were. Then she noticed the totally blank look on our faces. She blushed while she explained that its done for mating reasons. A balloon with die is broken when the sheep is properly mounted for breeding. She couldn’t believe that any adult didn’t know this. We really felt like city people.

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More odd and unexplained somewhat creepy costumes.

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Suddenly, the parade was over. Although it lasted about three hours. Every single native person in Bruges must have had a part!

For dinner, I consulted the Good Beer Guide Belgium to find another good beer bar in the area, we were not disappointed. We walked to Brasserie Erasmus for dinner and drinks.

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When initially scanning their beer list, I must admit I was disappointed, but I was invited in to choose a beer from the beer wall, and I was told there were many more downstairs. The had so many aged and cellared beers, Jack and I were having a hard time choosing.

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Excited with our selection, we went back outside to enjoy it. We got the Hibernus Quentum by De Leyerth Brouwerijen (Urthel) of Ruiselede, Belgium at 9% (?) abv.

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The bottle had been cellared since 2000! It was supposed to be a triple, but as you can see, it poured out with hints of amber, no carbonation, and an almost viscous, syrupy texture. This beer was now well over 9% abv.

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So smooth, honey, melon and pear, and almost peppery. Very boozy, almost drinks more like liquor than beer.

The manager was discussing with us how, since they are renovating their cellar, they were trying to sell and clear out as many beers as possible. We thought that sounded great, but he said he was having trouble selling their older beers. Apparently many people adhere strictly to the date printed on the bottle and don’t want anything that had “expired.” But he gave us 20% off on our beer, and if we didn’t get so drunk on our first and only beer of the night, we would have helped him clear out a few more.

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