This weekend, after many many years I returned to the town of my early childhood: the tiny hamlet Eizeringen in lovely Flemish Pajottenland, Belgium. Strange sensation taking this trip down memory lane, driving through this very tiny village: some things never changed in my memory and well…some things didn’t change there either…
I couldn’t recognize at first the house where we used to live, it appears to be a baby and children day-care centre now, however, now I know where it is, should return later to take some pics. We left there and moved when I was still a little girl, think I must have been four or five years old, but we returned many times during school holidays or visiting family. It was only when my grandparents died and we all had our own lives that contact was lost.
School used to be around a ten or fifteen minute walk from where we lived and my grandparents lived only five minutes away. I remember there was this little grocery store on the corner where we used to buy candy, however the store has been long gone I guess, as it isnow a normal house. The school building is still there and it still is a school…they even had left the entrance gate open for me.
On the oppositie site of the school used to be a little forest where we went to play hide and seek, think at lot of trees have been chopped down with the years passing or it might just be my imagination is playing tricks on me…as a child maybe everything just looks bigger, I don’t know…
We, my husband joined me on this trip to my childhood past, also visited my grandparents house, where my aunt now lives and took a little stroll through the village. There used to be a little post office, I remember those stairs well, playing on them going up and down endlessly!
After our little stroll we returned to the church square where we had parked our car and also went to see my grandparents grave. I am not the greatest cemetery-lover, I like to remember my lost ones by the warm memories I have of them or by little objects or photos, however, being in the village after so long, would have felt strange not to go.
However tiny the hamlet of Eizeringen, part of St-Kwintens-Lennik, may be, on Sundays it often attracts an international and mixed crowd as for many years in a row now the café located in the church’s shadow is voted best beer pub in the world by the influential website Ratebeer.com. It is also known as the second best beer destination in general in the world! Think it has the longest and most peculiar name ever for a pub, it is called “In de Verzekering tegen de Grote Dorst” which you can translate as “In the Insurance against Great Thirst”
It’s a very characteristic pub, stepping inside, brings you into a warm vibrant 40s, or early 50s décor and they serve the most extensive selection of Geuze and Kriek beers, speciality of the region. However, bear in mind the pub has very limited opening hours: Sundays and Public Holidays 10:00-13:30. In February and March, celebrating its 175th anniversary, opening hours are extended till 20:00. The two owners still have their own jobs aside running this pub, explaining these limited opening hours. They took over the pub from an 85 year-old lady who was about to stop the café activities, closing down that way the last remaining pub in the village. That is where the new owners Kurt and Yves stepped in, as according to them, and very true, a village without a pub just isn’t a proper village!
We spent some lovely hours there, thoughts and stories were exchanged, my husband and me got the most lovely little drawings from local artist Chris, who used to be an architect and local poet and optimist Fons couldn’t stop charming us all, including me, with his witty rhymes and poems from the heart, which deserved him a hug and kiss, right?!
This is the place where you enter, take a seat next to complete strangers, but when you close the door behind you again, your heart is filled with warmth and joy, soft music, lovely stories, little poems…and you drank some excellent beers!