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24 Hours in Amsterdam

For an exam I might tell you more about in another post, I needed to be in Amsterdam last Friday morning. To avoid getting up very, very early to be there in time, I decided to already travel to the Dutch capital the day before, and spend the night there.

So after I fulfilled my work obligations in Brussels, I packed my bag, and headed to Brussels-South railway station, to catch my Thalys to Amsterdam. After arrival, and waiting thirty minutes for a tram that was supposed to come every six minutes, I could finally check into my hostel, CityHub. As you can see, the ‘rooms’ are quite special!

Bag dropped, I headed to a nearby Indonesian restaurant, Café Amoi. Boy, do I miss ‘Dutch’ Indonesian food in Brussels! I had the satay ayam, with some nasi goreng and a krupuk mix. And extra peanut sauce, of course!

After dinner I went straight back to the hostel to study a bit more, and get rested for the next day. I even resisted the temptation to have a local beer from the self-service tap in the hostel!

Friday started with my pre-booked hostel breakfast at The Breakfast Club. The exam itself only took about an hour and a half, so soon after I was looking for coffee already, which I found at Monks Coffee Roasters.

Then it was time for one of those Dutch staples, a ‘broodje kroket’. Although you can get them ‘from the wall’—yes, like a huge vending machine for hot snacks—one of the best places to have one remains Eetsalon Van Dobben. Since I thought it was still a bit too early to start dinking beer, I then played tourist for a bit, and bought ‘some’ liquorice to take home…

Although I was actually on my way to another coffee place, when I passed Het Lagerhuys, I couldn’t resist, and already had a first beer there. I did manage to get to Hummingbird for that coffee afterwards, though!

By then it was was—in my opinion at least—late enough to taste some more beer! The first stop was at Foeders, since that bar was the furthest from the centre. I love peeling and eating the peanuts there! You can usually tell by the amount of peanut shells on the floor how busy it has been so far, but that day, I was obviously the first to have had a crack at it.

From there I went to the Beer Temple—where I also had some ‘bitterballen’—Proeflokaal Arendsnest—with some ‘borrelnootjes’—and Bierproeflokaal In de Wildeman.

After all those classic bars—not much seems to have changed in the Amsterdam beer scene—it was already time to slowly make my way back to the station. However, I still had time for a final Surinamese dinner at Kam Yin!

Wien, Bayern & Berlin Reise – 10

Reached this post by just scrolling through my blog? 
If you want to read about this trip from start to finish, instead of in reverse order, click here!

Back to Brussels

So the last day of my trip—the voyage home—went a little bit different than I originally planned. I actually knew that it would a couple of days ago, when Deutsche Bahn sent me an e-mail telling me the one of the trains I booked was cancelled, but I could use my ticket for other DB trains to get me home.

So I looked up another convenient combination of ICE trains, and booked seats on those, since my original seat reservations did no longer apply, of course. However, those were considerably later than my original trains, so I decided to add a late checkout to my easyHotel booking. That way I could sleep in a little, and leave my bags in the room while I went out for brunch.

For that, I went to Codos this time, where I had a very tasty breakfast burrito.
By then it was time to do a last bit of packing, and actually check out.

I did well reserving a seat on the train I planned taking, since it was absolutely packed, even in first class! Add to that the fact that about an hour before departure, they had to switch trains, so everyone with a reservation was assigned a new carriage and seat. As you can imagine, quite a few people didn’t see that e-mail before they boarded, so where clueless about where to sit…

I didn’t manage to book a solo seat, but since someone though you could reserve a seat for luggage as well, and used the seat next to me for that purpose, I kind of sat solo after all. I did have to suffer quite a few dirty looks from people who thought that those were my suitcases! Anyway, I was seated quite comfortably until at least Frankfurt Flughafen train station, and got started on watching Die Kaiserin, which seemed quite apt to finish this trip with.

In Frankfurt I had to change onto another ICE, and even had a seat in the compartment with the see-through wall behind the driver’s seat, but unfortunately it was set to opaque.. On this train I didn’t have a solo seat either, but the person that reserved the seat next to me between Köln and Aachen, never showed up.

By the time I arrived in Brussels—quite tired, after ten full days, and with a delay of over forty minutes—I had finished watching Die Kaiserin, and was ready to take the last few metros home, unpack, and organise my virtual and real souvenirs of this trip.

Wien, Bayern & Berlin Reise – 9

DDR & Döner

Last full day of my trip, better make it count, right? Well it did!

The day started with a breakfast at Zeit Für Brot again, after which I went to the DDR Museum. It was very crowded, on the eve of Tag der Deutschen Einheit (German Unity Day), and as far as I could tell, most of the other visitors were people that grew up in communist Eastern Germany, telling their children about how they actually know everything on display from first-hand experience!

After a coffee in what must be The Barn with the most impressive view, it was time for a visit to the Helmut Newton Stiftung. Hungry after looking at all the photos, I had some Leber Berliner Art at the Dicke Wirtin.

Beer o’clock? Beer o’clock! First, the Schneeeule Salon, for some Berliner Weisses. Then—after being unable to find it last time I was in Berlin—the Vagabund Kesselhaus. It was definitely better signposted this time, although the fact that is was still light might also have aided in finding it this time…

No visit to Berlin is complete without a döner kebab, so a quick stop at Kebap 63 before heading to the next beer destination was a must.

That next beer destination was Bar Amélie, a cocktail and beer bar I initially even didn’t remember of why I put it on the list. Looking at the tap list, however, it became immediately clear: this was the taproom of some excellent new brewers going by the name of Unverhopft. It turned out to be a very cool place, with enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff!

Last stop of the evening was at Mikkeller, since it’s right around the corner from my hotel.

Wien, Bayern & Berlin Reise – 8

DogTap Day

Saturday started with a grilled cheese sandwich at AERA, which was in the area. After that there was still time for some coffee at the new neighbourhood The Barn, but then it was time for the long trek I always make when in Berlin, to Mariendorf.

I was booked for the 13:00 brewery tour of BrewDog Deutschland, as it’s now officially called, which would of course included a little tasting as well…

Matt gave a great tour, and since all participants already knew BrewDog quite well, he deviated from the usual headliner tasting, and gave us some of the locally brewed specials to taste..

After spending quite some time at DogTap, and enjoying some spareribs, it was time to get back to the centre for a coffee at Five Elephant.

A short stop at Birra, and a visit to the Bräugier Brewpub, it was time to eat something

Much to my delight, there was a kitchen takeover at Manifest, and there were some really nice sandwiches by +Kitchen. The Rodeo I ordered was absolutely great!

The last stop of the night was at BrewDog Mitte, for a stamp, and a last couple of beers, of course.

Wien, Bayern & Berlin Reise – 7

Berlin by Boat

After awaking in my last hotel for this trip, I had breakfast at Zeit Für Brot, and a visit to the Tränenpalast, to learn a bit more about a side of Berlin I wasn’t too familiar with yet.

A first coffee at Café Neundrei, and it was time for a little cruise on the Spree, in a canal boat from Amsterdam, converted to be 100% electric now.

For lunch I went to Markthalle Pfefferberg, one of the newest trendy food places. Fewer restaurants than I expected there to be, but the Kerala fried chicken burger was quite tasty nevertheless. Quality over quantity, right? Although the quantity of the food from Gully Burger was more than sufficient as well…

In the far east of Berlin was Dark Matter, where I discovered—among many other mesmerising things—the clean future of campfires.

Another coffee at Tres Cabezas, and it was finally time for beer! First up was Straßenbräu, followed by Bräugier Ostkreuz—where Certified Cicerone Oli gave me some helpful tips for my upcoming exam—Schalander, Protokoll of course, and to finish the night with some dirty fries and a stamp, Brewdog Friedrichshain.

Wien, Bayern & Berlin Reise – 6

Breakfast in Bamberg, Beer in Berlin

Time to travel again! To avoid a half standing breakfast again—yesterday’s bakery had quite peculiar ‘seating’ arrangements—I booked a breakfast in my hotel, saving some time in the process.

I still had time for one museum before my train, so I went to the Diözesanmuseum. I originally just planned it as a ‘filler’ museum, just to kill some time and check off another activity on my Bamberg Card, but as I had learned about the importance of Bamberg as an episcopal city, I’m glad I included it. When I was an altar boy, we didn’t have a handy “A” for “aqua” and “V” for “vinum” on the little jugs for water and wine, as far as I can remember!

After a Portuguese coffee at Zuckerstück, it was time to check out, and I headed to the station for my ICE to Berlin.

In Berlin, I headed straight for my familiar easyHotel to check in and drop off my baggage, and then off to Populus Coffee for a proper third wave coffee. Then it was time to go to Lager Lager, and boy, was it nice to taste an IPA again, after days of lagers…

The next stop was Markthalle Neun, for some beers at Heidenpeters, and some empanadas from one of the Street Food Thursday stands.

Then it was time to revisit some classics—Biererei, Hopfenreich, and Muted Horn—before turning in for the night.

Wien, Bayern & Berlin Reise – 5

Bamberg: Rathaus, Reiter, und Rauchbier

What a day in Bamberg this was! For starters, the bakery I planned to go to for breakfast was closed, so I had to look for another one. Luckily Bäckerei Seel was open, so I had a roll and a croissant there.

Then it was time for the guided tour included in my Bamberg Card. Very enjoyable, educational and entertaining, and Hans the tour guide even knew some Dutch!

By then it was time for lunch, and being in Bamberg, I couldn’t wait any longer, and I went to Schlenkerla. My first choice was of course their very smoky Märzen, and since apparently onions are a big thing in Bamberg, I had the Bamberger Zwiebeln for lunch.

I then went back to the Dom to see the famous Reiter, before spending quite a bit of time in the Historisches Museum.

In a city so full of old breweries, I had to go to the Brauereimuseum as well, of course. They even had a wooden koelschip!

Then it was time to actually taste some beer again, starting at Brauerei Greifenklau. The place was packed, and when I noticed a man sitting alone at a table of eight, I asked if I could join him. He said it was actually the Stammtisch—which one shouldn’t take lightly—but I was welcome to sit there nevertheless. Had a nice chat, and felt really welcome.

After that I went back to the centre, to Zum Sternla, where I actually planned to have dinner, but it was so full, so I moved on to Stöhrenkeller after just one beer. Completely different vibe there—more modern?—but I eventually decided to have dinner—Leberkäse mit Kartoffelsalat—at my last stop, Brüderla.