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Tag: art

My Belgian Summer Holiday – Bruges

So today I went to Disneyland… Oh wait, no, to Bruges! Although the amount of tourists didn’t differ much… Seriously, when I got off the train, hordes of tourists went the same direction, like they wanted to get on the same ride as me…

Somehow, I did manage to shake most of them off, and I had a relatively tourist free coffee and cake at Li O Lait.

After that, my first stop was at the Gruuthuse museum, home to majestic tapestries, colourful stained-glass windows, elegant wooden sculptures, historic lace, Burgundian manuscripts and Chinese porcelain. Most interesting of all, were the private access way to the adjacent church, and the loggia with a great view of the city.

The Volkskundemuseum (Folk Museum), gave some insights about ordinary daily life in Bruges in the 19th and early 20th century.

After that little trip to the past, the first been stop was at De Garre, which was remarkably hard to find, especially considering I had been there before!

Easier to find, and definitely less touristy—but stil fully booked—was Café Rose Red, where they always have some interesting beers on the menu.

After that I went underground to have some beers at Le Trappiste.

By that time I really needed to eat something… My originally planned venue, and even my first backup turned out to be closed, but prepared as I usually am, I had a second backup—Cropains— where I had a tasty chicken and bacon wrap for dinner.

Then there was still one place to visit, one that had been on my list for quite a long time: De Kelk. Their beer list is excellent, and I could easily have spent the rest of the night here, but I didn’t want to risk stranding somewhere in Flanders… So after having some of the best beers on the menu, I made my way back to the station, and home.

My Belgian Summer Holiday – Antwerp

Usually I do my big trips in spring and autumn, but that doesn’t mean I don’t go anywhere in summer. When the Belgian rail company launched their Off-Peak Unlimited ticket—all-you-can-travel for 31 days—I seized the opportunity (again) to plan some trips within Belgium, and slightly beyond… It’s also a great opportunity to put my Museum Pass to good use!

The first destination was Antwerp, mainly because they have quite a few nice beer bars I just don’t go to often enough.

As usual though, the first stop was at Cuperus Coffee. It might actually be the last time, since apparently they’ll be closing that location in the near future…

From there it was just a short walk to the Snijders&Rockox House. It is actually made up of two restored historical buildings, and named after Nicolaas Rockox and Frans Snyders, two key figures in Antwerp during the Baroque era. This museum is now filled with 16th and 17th-century art and objects, evoking the everyday world of their 17th-century residents.

The next destination was Het Steen, the oldest preserved building in the city. The Antwerp Story, an exhibition you normally have to pay for—but luckily not with my Museum Pass—was supposed to be all about the history and identity of the city. However, unless I missed something, it was actually just promotion for all the other museums of the city… At least I got to see the inside of Het Steen!

After all that art, history, and promotion, it was time for beer, starting at the nearby Café Pardaf, followed by Café Ernst, just a couple of doors down the street.

Since the slightly underwhelming exhibit at Het Steen meant I started dinking earlier, I really needed something to eat, to tie me over until dinner time. For this I went to Loa Streetfood, for just a bit of Korean fried chicken. In my experience, that usually means either some boneless chunks, or wings. However, in this case I got a bowl of full-sized drumsticks! All of a sudden, the price made a lot more sense…At least now I was ready for one more bar, The Northerner. I was never actually inside this bar, and despite the nice beers they have, it’s definitely a sports bar as well…

My actual dinner was fish and chips at Bia Mara. You can’t go wrong with that!

The evening programme consisted of Billie’s Bier Kafetaria—an Antwerp craft beer classic—Station 1280, and conveniently close to the train station, Beerlovers Bar.

Before leaving you, I’d like to share a very Antwerp phenomenon: street corner Marias! I don’t know any other city that has this…

By the way, over the coming month I’ll have some more day trips like this coming up, to Lille—not Belgium, I know—Bruges, Ghent, Liège—well, mostly Misery Beer Co.—and Namur. Recommendations for bars, breweries, and places to eat are always welcome!

FyneFest Trip – Day 10

Tartan & The New Town

Breakfasts in Aberdeen just don’t seem to work out as planned for me: after being too late yesterday, I was too early today! As it turns out, BrewDog Union Square only opens at eleven nowadays, which was too late for me today…

So instead, I resorted to some breakfast at Black Sheep Coffee, where apparently they combine high-tech touchscreen ordering with low-tech name shouting.

No beer for breakfast either, so I was in Aberdeen station early, and luckily so was my Scotrail train to Dundee.

Arrived there, I left my very full bag at a Stasher location again. The reason for my stop in Dundee, was the temporary Tartan exhibition in V&A Dundee. While I was there, I of course also went to see the Oak Room, one of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s most important interiors, formerly one of Miss Cranston’s famous tea rooms in Ingram Street, Glasgow.

After that cultural intermezzo, I went to BrewDog Dundee for a pizza—with mustard?—and some beers, before resuming my journey to Edinburgh.

This was actually the first time I crossed the famous Forth Bridge by daylight, as far as I know!

After arrival in Edinburgh I checked in at hotel Travelodge Edinburgh Central Rose Street , and after unpacking a bit, I immediately changed into my running kilt, since it was almost time for my last hash this trip!

The start of this The New Town H3 run was at the pub Bennets of Morningside. From there it went up, up, and again up, it seemed! Well, we actually went up, since we reached the top of Buckstone Snab at some point, and the views from there were amazing!

After getting back to the hotel for a shower and a change, I popped out for a couple of beers at the nearby Fierce bar, and at The Black Cat.

FyneFest Trip – Day 3

Rural Glasgow

After finally a full night of sleep, the breakfast choice of the day was a beef shin and cheddar toastie at Outlier. You can’t have a full Scottish for breakfast every day, can you?

From there, the number 6 First bus—eventually—took me to the National Museum of Rural Life. It was not just a museum, but also a working, centuries old farm, with Highland coos, rare Tamworth pigs, sheep, and big farm horses!

Then on to The Burrell Collection, in Pollok Country Park. When I was there the last time, they were just renovating the building, so this was my first opportunity to see it.

On the way to my first beer, I stopped for a coffee and brookie at Grain and Grind. Just a little bit up the road was the Koelschip Yard, where quite coincidentally, my mate Dom was sitting at the bar! Beers were had, and some very good bottles shared…

The plan was then to have a vegetarian Indian dinner at nearby Ranjit’s Kitchen, but their card machine was out of order, and without an actual card on me, it turned out to be impossible to get money from a machine…

I did have Indian in the end, but back in the centre, in a restaurant in the St Enoch Shopping Centre, Namaste by Delhi Darbar.

The last stop of the night was Inn Deep, a conveniently short subway ride from the hotel, which gave me the opportunity to use my Bramble smart card again, which still had some money on it from years ago…

Running in Rotterdam

So this Saturday I went for a run in Rotterdam. As is the case for most out-of-town runs nowadays, it was a run with the Hash House Harriers, the FILTH H3 kennel, on this occasion. I had run with them before, when they set a trail in Liège, but this would be my first time with them on their home turf.

The start was at Rotterdam train station, and we were promised run of about 20 km, and a couple of beer stops at breweries and taprooms: a challenging run, but right up my alley! After giving the hare a ten minute head start, four running harriers gave chase. Some others went straight to the beer stop by public transport.

After almost 8 km, we arrived at the Stadshaven Brouwerij for a first beer or two. Although at some point we were very close, apparently, the hare was already enjoying a beer when we got there.

After giving the hare a head start again, we took off as well. This time, we came nowhere near the hare, since he put enough distractions on trail, like a weird art garden, and plenty of nice views.

Just when it was starting to rain, we arrived at beer stop number two, Kaapse Kaap, the taproom of Kaapse Brouwers. Distance run up to that point—including lots of ‘checking’—was 19,7 km, and we were still a couple of kilometres from the start/finish…

Since we almost reached the promised distance, and the weather had turned, it was suggested to end the run then and there. However, three of the runners still were up to run the last part as well, so just five minutes after the hare, off we went!

Another five kilometres—definitely not the shortest way—brought us to our third and last beer stop, Brewpub Reijngoud, after just missing out on catching the hare! From there, we just walked the last 300 m to Biergarten Rotterdam for the closing Circle, after 25,2 km in total…

Fittingly, there they were serving a beer with on the label a hare chased by hounds, in turn chased by a huge hare… Perfect end of a great day!