May 18-21: It’s not often that Brian and I visit a place more than once and to visit a place three times is very unusual. This past weekend we made our third trip to Brussels. It was a short stay since our main focus was Liege for the Beer Lovers Marathon.
Avery and took the Friday early morning flight from Sofia to Charleroi, about an hour outside Brussels. Brian didn’t arrive until later that night so Avery and I had the day to explore. Avery’s been sick, which means he’s much more cranky and tired. He did well in the flight, but by the time we got to our rental car he broke down, wanting to be held and to go back to sleep. It took some time just sitting there in the car parking lot, but eventually he calmed down and I could get him in his car seat without a fuss. We drove to the Brussels Botanical Gardens a little bit outside Brussels. It was beautiful and well worth the visit to this large park. It was quiet and peaceful. The rhododendrons were in bloom and were the prettiest part of the park. The second half of the day we spent in Brussels. We walked around the city, and I made sure to get a waffle. Brian met up with Greg and Carroll at the airport and they all took the train into the city together.
We spent a couple hours on Saturday morning wandering around Brussels city center and then we drove to Liege. The runners got their packets and then we spent the next few hours at the beer festival right in the center of town. It was a beautiful day and we tried a whole lot of beers. Not the regular marathon prep day that you would expect, but totally normal for this beer lovers marathon! Greg and Carroll had two friends from TASIS who joined us there. We finished the day off at the race sponsored pasta party. It was a bit too crowded and loud for my liking but the food was good.
Sunday was race day! Avery and I were in the cheer squad while the others raced. The first spot I saw them was at 5km, at the Montagne de Bueren stairs. It was also the first beer stop. It was madness. But also hilarious. Lots of costumes for the Wild West theme and music playing in the background.
Next, I went and met them around 19km. Brian and Greg were still running together at that point, but Brian went on his own after that. They booth looked pretty good. I saw Brian again at 23km and he was in this midst of picking up his pace to finish the second half faster. I caught up with Greg and Carroll around 26km. Greg was doing ok, despite his leg injury, but had hoped to run a bit more with friends.
It wasn’t until 40km that I saw Brian again. I was starting to wonder how he was doing because it was taking him longer to get there than I expected. Finally, I saw him off in the distance with a labored stride. He took a break at the 40km beer and food stop and we chatted. He was beat. He was quite hilarious the way he was talking. I wasn’t sure if he was a little buzzed from the beers or just in a marathon delusion. Probably both. He survived the last mile and two more beer stops and we met up at the finish. There were 18 beer stops in total and Brian said he hit them all.
We had just two hours before we needed to take Brian to the airport so he relaxed at the apartment while I grabbed some food. Avery and I did a lot of walking today, too! I drove Brian to the airport and Greg and Carroll to their hotel near the airport. Avery and I went back to Liege for the night and then we were off again early in the morning for our direct flight back to Sofia.
The Beer Lovers Marathon was pretty crazy. Kind of what you’d expect, but also hilarious and shocking when you actually see it. Brian thought the running would be easier since he was going a slow pace, but his feet and legs gave in pretty early on. He says next time he’d train a little more 😉.