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Tag: Belgium

Wien, Bayern & Berlin Reise – 10

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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 – 0

ÖBB Nightjet Brussels – Wien

For the first time ever, I can take a sleeper train right right from my home town of Brussels! This ÖBB Nightjet is taking me all the way to Austria’s capital Wien, in one easy ride.

I just missed out on being able to book a Deluxe room with en suite, but the toilet at the end of the carriage is clean so far, and after arrival I can go straight to the hotel for my morning shower.

Contrary to the sleeper trains I’ve used so far, the Nightjet is in day mode at departure—so normal seats and a roomy table—and the beds are only made later on. That means I could comfortably have my Too Good To Go dinner first, and a couple of train beers while watching some Netflix. I had to bring my own cooler bag with ice packs though, since fridges aren’t really common on trains in this part of the world…

It’s about time to turn in, if I want to get up early enough for breakfast, of which I will add the photos to this blog post once I have them.

Goodnight!

Addendum:

Breakfast!

Brussels Breweries Tattoo Tour

For quite some while, I had been pondering getting a tattoo celebrating my love for some of the Brussels breweries. After mailing back and forth with the tattoo artist—Laïs at Koko Tattoo Shop—and a project discussion in person, I finally had it done mid June. After three hours on the table, I had a beautiful tattoo on my left triceps, featuring seven of my favourite breweries in Brussels: Cantillon, Brasserie de la Senne, La Source, L’Ermitage, La Mule, Surréaliste, and—being a pure brewpub, the odd one out—Mazette.

To celebrate my new tattoo, I decided to try to visit and have a beer in all of those breweries in one epic taproom crawl! I puzzled an itinerary together, created a Facebook event to invite some drinking buddies along, and I even had a T-shirt printed for the occasion… A healthy breakfast pizza to line the stomach, a cold brew tonic to fully wake up, and I was ready to start…

Cantillon (planned 15.30, but arrived at 15.20)

I arrived at the first stop, Cantillon, a little ahead of schedule, and ordered a bottle of Menu Pineau (2020) to get started. I asked for two glasses with it, since only one person confirmed her presence from the start. Imagine my surprise when somebody else already turned up first, and just before I actually planned on moving on, two more people I didn’t expect to join that early. So by the end of the second bottle, there were already five of us!

L’Ermitage (planned 16.15, arrived 16.45)

At the second stop, l’Ermitage, a sixth drinker was already waiting for us. To make up for the slow start, we stuck to only one beer at this taproom.

Mazette (planned 17.15, arrived 18.00)

Brasserie de la Senne (planned 18.45, arrived 19.00)

Almost made up for the delay, and just in time, since the Zenne Bar actually closes at 20.00. After saying goodbye to one participant in the previous bar, we welcomed a new on here, so the number stayed at six drinkers.

La Source Beer Co (planned 19.45, arrived 20.00)

At the fifth stop we could start to relax a little, since none of the remaining taprooms close early. So plenty of time for more than one or two beers… We were also joined by a seventh person.

Brasserie de la Mule (planned 21.15, arrived 21.55)

There was a band playing at La Mule, because they were celebrating their birthday. Live music here usually means beer from plastic cups only, but this evening at least then made an exception for one liter Maß glasses…

Brasserie Surréaliste (planned 22.45, arrived 23.15)

The very last stop, number seven! Five brave souls actually made it from the very first until the very last brewery, and they have the stamp cards to prove it!

It was great fun, and actually quite doable, so… maybe I’ll make this an annual thing?


Razernij – Beerdrinkers & Hellraisers

After a crazy Friday like that, the weekend had only just started, and on Saturday I went to the beer and punk/rock/metal music festival Razernij in Rumst. It luckily didn’t coincide with BXLBeerFest—which it often had in the past—and it was a lot dryer than last year!

Belgian & Dutch Nash Hash

Belgian Nash Hash 2022

In one of my FyneFest Trip posts I mentioned how the Glasgow H3 gave me a hash name. I also mentioned my home kennel—BMPH³—might have to say a thing or two about that…

Well, the weekend after my return from Scotland, it was already time for the Belgian Nash Hash: a yearly, weekend long event for Hash House Harriers, organised by a kennel of the eponymous country, but open to hashers from all over the world. When I arrived at the checkin, I did in fact receive a badge with my new name, but—ominously—with an asterisk next to it…

So after quite a bit of running—and a bit of beer drinking—in the beautiful Condroz, I was called into Circle. There I was confronted with what had happened in Glasgow, and as expected, the RA and the rest of BMPH³ didn’t agree with it, and deemed I needed a new hash name. After some debating, in true courtroom style, I was eventually found Kilty as Charged, which will henceforth be my hash name. The official naming that ensued, involved quite a bit of beer and flour… A lot more than in Glasgow, where, by the way, I will always remain Out of Kilter!

Dutch Nash Hash 2022

A couple of weeks later, there was a nash hash in the Netherlands, which would be my first foreign nash hash. The location was The Hague, and the weather was once again great. Only a few hashers from BMPH³ attended—the Dutch Nash Hash coincided with the German Nash Hash—but I already knew a couple of the Dutch hashers, and in general hashers are a friendly bunch anyway, so I felt comfortable quite quickly.

As a Belgian hasher, I’ve been quite spoilt when it comes to beer, and it came as a bit of a shock—especially after finding a home-brew in the welcome pack—that the only beer on offer was ‘Big Beer’, i.e. Heineken and Amstel… Since, as a matter of principle, I refuse to knowingly drink beers by AB InBev, Heineken, Carlsberg, Asahi, etcetera, it required some creativity to fulfil my beery needs during the weekend. Luckily, I had done my research, and prepared a list of craft beer bars and shops in The Hague. As luck would have it, those places were never too far from where the pack was, so I was able to sneak off every once in a while to get a proper beer to enjoy with the rest!

Oh, since the home-brew in the welcome pack wasn’t cooled when we received it, I just took the bottle home with me. I drank it a couple of days later, properly cooled, and it was actually quite enjoyable!

… and it all led to my first marathon!

Yep, that’s right: I ran my first marathon, the full 42,195 km! Well, I say ‘ran’, but unfortunately had to walk quite a bit of it… In despite of that, I was far from the last one to finish, contrary to some of my previous runs.

This was not a normal marathon though, but the infamous Beer Lovers’ Marathon in Liège. That meant, at the numerous supply points, we weren’t just given water and energy snacks, but a serving of beer as well! Curiously enough, with all the running, you don’t even feel the alcohol… Oh, most people were in some kind of theme appropriate costume as well. Can you guess who I was supposed to be?

Training

In preparation for this marathon, I also participated in a couple of other runs, although they were more like trail runs, so in nature, instead of the urban environment of this marathon. These runs were the Marathon Zoniënwoud (21 km), Brussels Nature Run (27,5 km), Trailberg (21 km), and 15km van Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe (25,5 km).

Okay, that’s enough running for this blog, I promise the next post will be about travelling and beer!

All about running…

Last weekend was all about running.

On Saturday I participated in the Natuurloop Beernem. For the tenth edition of this running event in West-Flanders, I had the choice of three distances: 7 km, 14 km, and 24 km. Since I already have a half marathon under my belt—albeit just around my little neighbourhood park—and the goal was to stretch my limits a bit in preparation for the Beer Lovers’ Marathon, I registered for the 24 km version, the Experience+

It was only my second running event—the first one being last year’s Brussels Nature Run—and the first one with a mass start, and supply stops along the trail.

The weather was perfect, the trail markers easy to follow, and most of the trail was off-road. So how did I do? Well, I finished within the three hour time limit, but only just! It didn’t really help that my running shoes actually need replacement, or that I had a few beers the night before… But all in all, I was happy I finished my longest running distance so far!

Sunday Hash

On Sunday it was time for my weekly run with the Brussels Manneke Piss Hash House Harriers. I ran quite a bit slower than usual, not having fully recovered from the 24 km the previous day… Lesson learnt: take it easy on a day after a serious run! Not only was it my fifteenth run with BMPH³, but as it turned out that day, I was the only hasher left with perfect attendance in 2022!

It was also the first sunny run I ran in my new Sport Kilt, in the official Hash House Harriers Trail tartan, so the perfect opportunity for some photos.

10 Years in a Kilt

On the 10th of March 2012, I picked up my very first kilt, somewhere in Limburg, at the inconspicuous garage shop of the sadly no longer existing company Great Scotland. The very same night I put on my new eight yard kilt, in a MacLaren Modern tartan woven by House of Edgar to take it for a spin, and a first pint.

Since then, this kilt has served me well, as I walked many miles, drank many beers, and had a lot of fun in it!

I marked this ten year anniversary—or kiltaversary, if you will—with a little pub crawl, which of course also included the very first place I went in my kilt, Celtica. There I tried to recreate the first photo of me wearing my kilt in public…
Can you spot the differences?

Running in a kilt…

Two weeks after co-haring a run for the first time with the Brussels Manneke Piss Hash House Harriers, I set and hared a trail of my own design. It could have used some improvements, but all in all, I was happy with this attempt, and so seemed to be most runners.

I don’t have a habit of taking out my phone to take photos while running, but luckily some others do, and I ended up on a couple of nice action shots…

So yes, I run in a kilt… Not in my good one, of course, but a lighter, easier washable one, in the Grey Spirit tartan. Actually, with a bit of luck, this was my last run in this kilt, because my special hashers’ SportKilt is on its way!

Cheers, and On-On!

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Burns’ Run & Burns Night

The attentive reader will know that, about two years ago, I’ve started running to offsett my beer calories. I’ve kept it up so far, but still tend to find it rather boring, especially the longer runs. At least it was, until I was introduced to the Brussels Manneke Piss Hash House Harriers last December. I could write a lot about the phenomenon of ‘hashing’, but suffice to say: if you’re into running, beer, and fun, find out if there’s a Hash House Harriers kennel in your city!

Anyway, last Sunday’s run with the BMPH³ was Burns themed. In addition to the usual beer stop, the trail even included a whisky stop along, and there was a haggis ceremony afterwards. That was sufficient reason for me to quickly change into more appropriate attire after the run, and toast to the Scottish bard in style.

Today, on the actual date of Burn’s Night, I will of course don the kilt again, and have some more haggis for dinner. No neeps and tatties this time, I’ll be making a haggis lasagne instead.

However you celebrate it, have a great Burns Night everyone! On-On!

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Razernij

Beerdrinkers & Hellraisers

Craft beer and live music make for a great combination!

I thoroughly enjoyed being at Razernij again, a beer and music festival I had only been able to visit once before. Usually it coincides with BXLBeerFest, but since that sadly was eventually cancelled this year, it freed up some of my time to spend an afternoon in Rumst.

I brought my own version of a ploughman’s platter, to soften the blow of the alcohol a bit. It helped… a bit!

A Trip to the Past

While I’m still awaiting my second vaccination, I continue discovering places in Belgium I haven’t been yet. One that had been on my to-do list for a long time, was the Archéosite d’Aubechies-Beloeil, a site with some archaeological reconstructions from the Neolithicum until the Roman era. I was of course most interested in the latter bit…

So, after an hour on a train, fifteen minutes on a bus, and then another twenty-five minutes on foot, I was finally there!

The outside of the buildings looked nice enough—the temple really reminded me of the time I worked as a volunteer ‘archeotolk’ at Archeon—but unfortunately the inside mostly seems to have been adapted for modern use, like exhibitions and events.

If I ever have a garden, I definitely want a summer triclinium like that!

A Belgian Holiday – Part III

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For the last part of my Belgian holiday, I stayed close to home, in the old duchy of Brabant, and I went to Mechelen on Saturday, and to Antwerp on Sunday. It was a weekend well spent.

Mechelen

To get a bit of a walk in before the beers, I got off the train one stop early again, in Weerde. This way, I got to enjoy a bit of green before entering the town. When I arrived in the centre, it seemed just about everybody wanted to spend the day outside—and rightfully so—but luckily I found a free table at Sister Bean, to enjoy a coffee and and apple crumble.

When it comes to beer, it seems De Floeren Aap is the place to be in Mechelen nowadays. Needless to say, I spent quite some time on their terrace, to try some of their vast selection of canned beers. Not for too long, though, because I had a race the next morning…

Brussels Nature Run

Sunday morning I had my first ever running event: Brussels Nature Run! It was also the first time I ran somewhere not completely flat, so that was a bit of a challenge, and I almost regretted choosing the 16K instead of the 10K… It all worked out in the end, and I’m quite happy with the time I made.

Antwerp

The last day of my Belgian holiday, I spent in Antwerp. Because this was actually supposed to be my last day in Scotland, I went kilted on this occasion. I selected Antwerp for this last stop, because I knew there would be plenty of beer places to visit, and beer people to meet.

My first stop was at Billie’s Bottle Shop. Its little beer garden was already packed, but with a bit of improvisation, I eventually had a nice spot to enjoy some of Stéfan’s excellent selection of beers.

Next up was Station 1280, which had set up a terrace on a nice and quiet courtyard. Then it was time to discover a place I had never been before: The Northerner. Their draught beers were pretty standard, but here again, a very nice can list! The pulled pork sub was very tasty—and at that point very welcome—as well.

My last beer stop was, as usual, because of its proximity to the train station, Beerlovers Bar. Saying goodbye to Ben, and to Antwerp, also meant the end of my Belgian holiday.