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Tag: Brussels

Happy Burns Night!

Another evening behind a screen again, but nevertheless, dressed up for the occasion, and a plate of haggis, neeps, and tatties in front of me.

Slainte Mhath!

Happy Hogmanay!

This evening once again I mixed traditions. 

Tartiflette is actually a French dish, but it’s also a staple at the Christmas market, that under normal circumstances, would have been right in front of my door for the past month. Chêne, a Belgian dubbel by Brussels brewery La Source, fits nicely with the nuttiness  of the reblochon cheese, and with the the caramelisation of the bacon.

For dessert I went with oliebollen, a typical Dutch New Year’s Eve delicacy. Unlike the Belgian deep fried dough balls smoutebollen, these have raisins and currants in them, which I off course soaked in beer first!

With this sugar and fat overload, I had to choose a beer with enough character to withstand this sensory overload, so I picked OverWorksHocus Pocus, a 10.1% sour stout with raspberries and cocoa nibs, aged in Speyside whisky barrels. It was like having a raspberry-chocolate sauce on the side!

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.

IC Hamburg – Köln & ICE Köln – Brussel

Train route from Hamburg to Brussels, over Köln

My first leg of the journey was on an IC train. I’m not sure if it’s typical for this type, but it felt quite a bit older: lots of fake wood, actual curtains, no airconditioning… Next time I’ll try to make sure I only book ICEs!

And like it was on purpose, to rub in the fact that I had to cancel a large part of my trip, there was a ÖBB Nightjet waiting in Köln station!

The last leg was a proper ICE again, and even in seat 61! Perfect temperature, comfy seat, loads of space, and Komfort Check-in again! No clue how they actually check it, but every time I used it, they’ve always passed me by during ticket control.

Well, that was it, I’m almost back home! Hopefully next trip will be a bit longer again…

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!

New tattoos!

So barely a year after I had my first tattoo, I decided to have another one! Well, it started as an idea for one, but it ended up becoming two separate ones… Another great job by Sara Stella Tattoo at Mystical bodies

So on the left calf I have a slightly improved version of the world scout emblem. I wanted it to look a bit more natural than the usual WOSM ‘logo’, but since the lily flower the fleur-de lis is based on actually rarely looks like the heraldic symbol, I decided to draw inspiration from one of those classic metal scout hat badges instead.

On the right calf the I have the clan crest of the Clan MacLaren, a clan very closely connected to the scout movement since its early days, and therefore ‘my’ clan, of which I proudly wear the tartan… The lion is a bit more lifelike than is usual in heraldic depictions. I also had a subtle reference to my favourite Scottish city—Glasgow—included in the design: the clan motto (Creag an Tuirc) is in a typeface based on one designed for the Willow Tearooms by famous Glaswegian architect, designer, and artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Run, Martijn, Run!

So I started running just before the lockdown. I’m still not loving it, but it’s nice to see my times are gradually improving, as is my fitness level…

Prague Trip

And off we go! This time, a four part, eleven hour — but ridiculously cheap — train journey will take us to Prague.

Saint Patrick’s Day Cut

My barber — Bayer & Bayer — celebrates Saint Patrick’s Day as well: come in a kilt, and get a free haircut, beer and a whiskey. If that isn’t an offer I can’t refuse, I don’t know what is!