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Tag: Brussels

Wien, Bayern & Berlin Reise – 10

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If you want to read about this trip from start to finish, instead of in reverse order, click here!

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!

… 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!

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?

St. Andrew’s Day 2021

Happy St. Andrew’s Day!
Slàinte Mhath!

Unfortunately I have to work tonight, so I can’t properly celebrate, but I made myself a haggis shepherd’s pie to enjoy at work. That way, I’ll at least have a dinner appropriate for this festive occasion.

Zero-Waste Dinner Delivery

Every once in a while, I run out of frozen meals—prepared by myself earlier, of course—and even Too Good To Go can’t provide me with a suitable meal in time for an upcoming night shift. In those rare cases, I do like a good delivery dinner, but the amount of disposable packaging it usually comes in, can be a real turn-off…

Luckily, SwapBox is now active in Brussels as well, and my favourite Korean fried chicken supplier—Nom Pow—is one of the participating restaurants!

After I’m done, I simply take the bowl home to clean it, and as long as I hand it in a at one of the participating restaurants—so not necessarily the one where I ordered the dish—within two weeks, it won’t cost me anything extra.

The order did still come in a disposable paper bag, though, so I do hope SwapBox will soon add delivery bags to their lineup as well, to make a food delivery truly zero-waste!

The napkin and chopsticks are my own, by the way, and both probably well over thirty years old!

Brewery Run Virtual Edition

I’ve started running a little over a year ago, but didn’t have an opportunity to participate in any events: the 20K of Brussels was postponed, then cancelled, and even the ‘corona safe’ Run for Nature in the Sonian Forest was cancelled last minute…

When Brewery Run popped up in my timeline, I just had to do it! Travelling to the Netherlands for one of the ‘live’ versions still wasn’t an option, but at least I could do the ‘Virtual Edition’ right at home, in Brussels. So I ordered a ‘ticket’—which included some Dutch beers and a medal/bottle opener—and set out a nice 10K route, visiting eight of Brussels’ breweries.

Saint Patrick’s Day 2021

When in 2020 all bars had to close their doors mere days 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… At least I had time to prepare for an alternative this time!

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!

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!

Christmas in Corona Times

No hours spent on trains and buses on Christmas Day this year, the Corona restrictions and common sense made it impossible to travel to the Netherlands to spend Christmas with my family… Instead, I just made the best of it alone at home, trying to recreate a family Christmas as much as possible.

It started of course with a Christmas brunch! I didn’t go through the trouble of creating some—impossible to find here—Limburgish sausage rolls, but just baked some croissants, and had a couple of slices of Christmas stollen.

The previous day I baked my very own kersttulband for the very first time, and it turned out quite well!

Obviously I had to make Christmas dinner myself as well, if I wanted to have a meal at least similar to that of my family. I also set up my computer, so I could at least virtually pull up a chair and sit down at the family table. 

Camera ready, lights, microphone: check!