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Tag: Belgium

Saint Patrick’s Day 2021

When in 2020 all bars had to close their doors mere day’s before Saint Patrick’s Day, I didn’t celebrate it at all. For this year’s edition it was already clear well in advance that celebrating in pubs again wouldn’t be an option, but at least I had time to prepare for an alternative!

I started the day with a walk—in my saffron kilt—past a lot of the Irish and Celtic pubs of Brussels. Even Manneken Pis was dressed for the occasion!

When I was back home, I started cooking a traditional Irish dish, that would hopefully also provide enough sustenance for the beery night that would ensue: colcannon. I even poached an egg for the first time!

The main event of the evening however, was an online Saint Patrick’s Day celebration which I co-hosted, on the Discord server I set up for my beer blog. For this occasion I sourced some beers from a couple of different Irish (Third Barrel, Galway Bay, Stone Barrel) and Northern Irish (Boundary) breweries, and the only Irish dry stout by a Brussels brewery: Stouterik!

Sláinte!

Liège & Manoir de Harzé

With one round trip left on my free government issued Rail Pass, and a museum assignment to complete, I decided to go to La Boverie, a museum in Liège, so I could take a nice walk in the Ardennes afterwards. So this dreich Sunday, I got on a rather empty train to Wallonia and spent my morning in the museum, and fruitlessly walking through the city looking for an open espresso bar.

In the afternoon I travelled on to Aywaille, and walked to Manoir de Harzé, home to the great Misery Beer Co., which I had visited before last summer. I had rain, hail, and sunshine during my hike, but it was sure nice to be able to be outside, in woods and fields, without a mask. Upon arrival, I had a couple of cold beers (the shop was still open, and I bought a glass as well), before heading home again with a backpack full of beer…

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is not really a holiday I celebrate, but the mask seemed appropriate for the times we live in…

Don’t call the mask medieval, by the way: it is based on those of the now iconic 17th century plague doctors.

Off to Berlin!

Wait, what? Straight to Berlin? What happened to Wien and Budapest? Well… because Hungary suddenly closed its borders for tourists, I had to change my plans a bit. The sleeper train adventure has been put on hold for now, and on this trip I will only visit Berlin and Hamburg, meaning I’m going straight from Brussels to Berlin. I’m still keeping it classy though: first class tickets all the way!

As usual, I had to change trains in Köln, giving me the opportunity to quickly grab something to eat. Don’t be afraid to ask them to put your order in your own reusable packaging, even abroad! No time to grab my usual coffee in the coffee bar just outside the station, so a train coffee had to do… Really nice of Deutsche Bahn to serve it in proper cups, at your seat!

Now just a couple more hours of podcast listening—I was running behind a bit anyway—and enjoying the view, and I’ll be back in Berlin!

Camping Misery

On the first day of August, Misery Beer Co. opened. It’s a bit hard to get to by public transport, as a lot of places in the Ardennes tend to be, so it was very convenient there was a special bus going from Brussels to the manor of Misery.

Due to the ever changing COVID-19 regulations, the opening party was a bit smaller than envisioned, and spread over two days. Once there, all necessary measures were taken to let us see the brewery and enjoy their beers in safety. And enjoy them, I did!

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

kiltedguy:

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Saint Patrick’s Day, the only day each year I wear my saffron kilt. Although sometimes I get the question wether I’m Irish even if I’m wearing a kilt in a — to me clearly — Scottish tartan, most people associate any kilt with Scotland, and rightly so. 

But there certainly is such a thing as an Irish kilt, and saffron kilts have been around as an expression of Irish nationality for over a hundred years!

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The ancient Irish actually wore the léine, a linen tunic with voluminous sleeves and a hemline reaching the knees or higher, often dyed with saffron, which turned out quite yellow on linen. When there was a revival of Gaelic nationalism in the nineteenth century, the Gaelic League and the Gaelic Athletic Association — two major nationalist organisations, both concerned with Irish identity — wanted a ‘costume’ or national form of dress. The léine was considered to be too difficult to be updated to the fashions of the day, so they adopted the garment of their Gaelic cousins in Scotland: the kilt, dyed either green or saffron. Used on wool, the saffron dye gave it a bit more of an orange-brownish colour, the one we associate today with saffron kilts.

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The school uniform of St. Enda’s School for Boys (1908) included the saffron kilt.

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Nowadays the saffron kilt is mainly worn by pipers of Irish regiments, often without a sporran.

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Another year, another Saint Patrick’s Day, so enjoy it! 🙂 

I might share an updated photo later.

Clans’ Days Ypres & Ooidonk

It was the third time I attended the Clans’ Days in Ypres, and the second time in combination with the Schotse Dagen (Scottish Days) at castle Ooidonk near Deinze. But this time was quite special: it was the first time our clan chief, Donald MacLaren of MacLaren and Achleskine, attended as wel!

The Schotse Dagen started on Friday evening with a charity dinner on the castle grounds, with speeches, toasts, an auction, live music and lots of whisky. An unscheduled piece of music was performed by our own chief. He has no need for a ‘personal piper’, since he is a talented bagpipe player himself, specifically in the pibroch genre.

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In Ypres there was a nice addition to the usual clans’ march to the Menin Gate on Saturday: to give the chief an appropriate welcome, we invited the MacLaren Pipe Band Venlo.

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After the wreath laying at the Menin Gate and lunch, we went back to castle Ooidonck to man the clans’ tent and enjoy the Schotse Dagen.

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It was great to finally meet the chief, and I hope to see him again at some clan event in Scotland. Or maybe he liked the Belgian part of his clan so much he will visit Belgium again to attend one of the next Clans’ Days?

(photos by h–na, Liliane Hye and myself)

Brewdog Brussels

thebelgianbeergeek:

Is @brewdogofficial coming to a place near you?? Well it will be coming to a place close to me soon. If all things go according to plan Brewdog Brussels will be opening in September. Close to the Central Station so all you tourists, citytrippers, beer geeks and commuters will walk straight from the station to the bar. How convenient is that? 👍🍻 Big plans for a big bar that will certainly shake the craft beer scene in Brussels! #beer #brewdog #beerporn #beergeek #belgianbeergeek #craftbeer #instabeer

Off to Glasgow again!

After all this preparation and anticipation, I’m finally on my way to Glasgow again! This time I’m travelling with my girlfriend, which will make the trip even more enjoyable.
Our Megabus arrived quite on time, is not too full, the power plug is working—unlike the USB plug—and it’s only a little bit too warm. I’ve had worse. 😉