Monday, 23 October 2006

Jenever know

MK: Hasselt, Hasselt, Hasselt.....what a strange adventure! Once a year, this town in North Eastern Belgium hosts the Jeneverfeesten (Genever Festival). In other words, yet another opportunity for Flemish Belgians to drink copious amounts of alcohol and do peculiar things. Like, for example, a waiter competition as shown in the photo above. From what I can tell, this involves a bunch of males and females walking around the town balancing a bottle of Jenever and its associated glassware...I still can't explain the whole point to it but it is fun to watch!

Back to the star of the festival: Jenever. In French: Genievre. In English: Genever. It is the juniper-flavored and strongly alcoholic traditional liquor of the Netherlands and Flanders, from which gin has evolved. While the old skool version ("oude") can bring even the toughest of men to his feet, there are thankfully countless other flavours available (e.g. fruity : cherry, blood orange, sour apple, banana, lemon; creamy: vanilla, chocolate, coconut; and wacky: cactus, speculoos. Yum!!

After what was a pretty satisfying day enjoying the fest and downing jenever samples, we made our way towards the train station. Just as we were about to clear the crowds, we ran into a huge Irishman, his English wife and their drunken friend -- a Dutchman. What initially seemed like a brief encounter turned into a party, with jenever after jenever and beer after beer consumed. So much for a simple Sunday out! We just caught the last train back to Brussels, feeling just a tad wobbly to boot.

We also witnessed our first true fight in the two years we have been living in Belgium -- and it was between two posh looking Flemish lasses no less! Their battle royale eventually drew in their male mates, causing an unprecedented frenzy which the not-so-motivated police had to break-up. It was almost as if we had been transported back to nights out in Hull (Quebec).

Photos of Hasselt Jeneverfeesten 2006 on Flickr
Photos of Hasselt Jeneverfeesten 2006 on Picasa Web Album

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