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Category: Travel

Scotland Trip: Postponed

Under normal circumstances, at this exact moment, I would have been on a Eurostar leaving Brussels, and after dinner at the Great Nepalese Restaurant, I would board the Caledonian Sleeper in London later this evening, which would take me to Scotland overnight…

As we all know, circumstances are far from normal right now, and I had to cancel or change all the arrangements I made, some already a year ago! I must say though, even if it was quite a bit of work, I can’t complain how all affected companies handled my requests! Everything has either been rebooked—Travelodge, easyHotel Glasgow, hub by Premier Inn, and even the BrewDog brewery tour—or refunded—Caledonian Sleeper and ScotRail. The odd one out here was Eurostar, where the only option was a voucher… Luckily I can use that for the postponed trip anyway, but I feel sorry for the people who had to cancel their trip altogether.

The only thing I couldn’t cancel, were the days off I had requested… I held up hope for so long, the work planning for May was already final by the time it was clear no international travels would be allowed this month. Luckily I still have some days off later this year, but I’ll be using those for a trip I had already planned to a completely different destination.

So, sadly no Scotland for me this year, but early 2021, I’ll be heading for the—then probably slightly colder—Highlands again!

Kielegat, or—as it’s usually known—Breda

Breda is right across the Belgian-Dutch border, and they have a nice brewery there, so I’ve wanted to visit it for quite some time. After a couple of futile attempts to find a travel and drinking buddy for this trip, I finally went by myself this random Saturday in February. Only, it turned out to be not just a normal Saturday…

In the south of the Netherlands—Brabant, Gelderland, and Limburg, to be precise—carnival is a kind of a big thing. I should have known it was the opening Saturday of carnival that day, because I grew up in Limburg… However, it had completely slipped my mind. Only after seeing people dressed up on the train platform where I was to take my train into the town centre, it dawned on me…

Fourth day in Berlin

Fourth day in Berlin. Mainly recovering from the third day (breakfast at Cô Cô was helpful, as was our dinner at Altes Europa), but also check off some more bars from our list (Stone Brewing Tap Room & Mikkeller), and say our goodbyes to BrewDog Berlin Mitte.

Third Day in Berlin

Third day in Berlin started off with a proper breakfast and a visit to the Deutsches Historisches Museum. Then coffee at 19grams, a trip to the east end of the city, and a stuffed, oven baked potato at Patta, followed by beer, lots of beer… (Hops & Barley, Straßenbräu, Labor Berlin, and Protokoll)

Second day in Berlin

Our second day in Berlin was all about BrewDog’s first European AGM. You can’t start a day like that without a proper foundation, so we started off with a real Berliner döner kebap at Rüyam Gemüse Kebab!

First day in Berlin

After a broken down ICE train, we arrived in Berlin an hour later than planned. Still, after checking into our easyHotel Berlin, we had time for a quick drink at BrewDog Berlin Mitte, before having a delicious dinner at Chicago Williams BBQ.

Day 10 – The Journey Home

Today we left Italy to go home again, taking the final three trains of this #TenTrainTrip. A quick beer stop in Zürich at Drinks of the World—only to take home this time, not to drink in—and another changeover in Paris.

However, this stop didn’t quite go as planned: instead of having beers and dinner in BBP Canal, we went hunting for my wallet, which had been stolen from my not-so-safe ‘train’ backpack… And that after eight days without any problems in the Italy with my PacSafe sling…

According to the Tile in my wallet, it was last seen near metro Bastille, but after looking for it for a while, we had to give up so we wouldn’t miss our train home. We eventually reported the theft with the police in Gare du Nord, just before our Thalys home.

Day 9 – Milano

Our last day in Italy turned out to be the hottest as well, ironically in the most northern Italian city we’re visiting: Milano. From our B’n’B on the Piazza Leonardo da Vinci, we went to the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit in the technology museum: Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia “Leonardo da Vinci”.

The Piazza del Duomo was even busier than usual, because there was a big stage for the Festa della Repubblica celebrations, so we quickly headed to the Porta Ticinese and Naviglio Grande area for some beers at Tutti Fritti and Al Coccio.

When all other bars we were interested in turned out to be closed, we went to the Hops Beer Shop, before going south again for our own last supper—ossobuco and cotoletta alla milanese—at Osteria del Binari.

After two more beer stops at Bere Buona Birra and Hop, an antique tram brought us back to our B’n’B for our last night in Italy…

Day 8 – Napoli

Today we visited the Museo Archeologico di Napoli, to see all the stuff they moved out of Pompeii. As a future archaeologist, learning about the importance of the correct recording of all finds, it is quite frustrating to see that for many of the finds from Pompeii, they now have to guess where exactly it was actually found… Still, nice to see so many famous mosaics and frescoes for real at last!

For lunch we had a real pizza napoletana, and a pizza fritta. Indeed, my Scottish friends: “We’re gonna deep fry your pizzas”, is no threat at all, for the Neapolitans!

After lunch, we did a bit more sightseeing, since we hadn’t seen much of Napoli in daylight yet. Ugly apartment blocks and quadracycles immediately reminded us of Oostende, but we have to admit, the sea view was quite a bit nicer!

Our last stop was NaBeer, one of the newest—and probably smallest—craft beer places in Napoli, serving beers from local brewery VentiTré on draught.

After that it was time to catch our Italo train to Milano. Since the price difference at the time of booking was negligible, we even even had the pleasure of enjoying this almost five hour trip in Prima class!

Once checked in in our Milanese accommodation, we briefly popped out again to visit one of the Birrificio Lambrate bars.