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Tag: England

Our Aberdeen Trip: BrewDog

BrewDog

We’ll be leaving for our next Scotland trip soon, and there were still two subjects about the our Aberdeen trip I wanted to discuss. One of them is BrewDog, since visiting their Punk AGM 2016 was the main goal of this trip!

We managed to visit eight different BrewDog bars — six of them for the first time: Camden, Soho, Clerkenwell, Aberdeen, DogTap, Underdog, Castlegate and Shoreditch. On top of that, we visited the brewery in Ellon, and of course the Punk AGM, where we also had the opportunity to have a drink at Truck Norris. On our way back we still had the opportunity to visit BottleDog Kings X and buy a great looking growler, filled of course!

We’re quite experienced BrewDog patrons by now — we’re Equity Punks after all — but it still strikes me every time again, how passionate everybody who works for BrewDog is about craft beer, and about their company!

We usually stick with beer when visiting BrewDog bars, but this trip we also had lunch one time, at BrewDog Soho. The patty melt and hot dog were tasty for sure, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to have lunch or dinner at BrewDog.
The Dear Green coffee on the other hand, was a surprise: it surely was the best espresso we had in Aberdeen!

Our Aberdeen Trip: London Revisited

Visiting London again

Before and after our time in Aberdeen, we allowed for some time to visit London again. We had to change trains there after all, so why not take the opportunity to stay a little longer?

We still had an Oyster card from our previous visit, so it was just a matter of topping it up, and hopping on the underground or bus again! The evening of our arrival we only used it to go for dinner and a couple of drinks, but the next day we had plenty of time to be tourists.


So early in the morning we headed for The Who Shop and museum, almost an hour traveling by underground and on foot. It was worth it though: the shop had Doctor Who related items I hadn’t seen anywhere else yet — quite happy with my new TARDIS umbrella — and the attached museum we had to enter through a TARDIS, had a great collection of props and costumes.

In the afternoon we discovered Soho a bit — Carnaby Street, Kingly Court — visited some vintage shops, and just strolled around a bit in this unknown — at least to us — area of London. It seemed to be a bit less stressed than the centre of London, which was nice.


During our stop on the journey back home, we visited Madame Tussauds, which offered a Star Wars ‘experience’ at the time. Nice to have finally visited the famous attraction, but not sure if I would ever have paid full price for it… Luckily I didn’t have to, taking advantage of a two-for-one offer.

Our Aberdeen Trip: Accommodation

Accommodation

Seven days in the UK, that means six nights in a bed away from home. Well, two of those nights were spent in a train, and one of those wasn’t even in a bed… Never again!

In London we stayed in the Belgrove Hotel, mainly chosen for its proximity to our train station. Previously, we stayed at easyHotel, and we would happily have done so again, if only there would have been one near Euston station, so we can avoid taking the underground with our bags!
But the Belgrove Hotel did the trick, providing us with a clean place to sleep, breakfast, and somewhere to store our bags during the day not too far from the station. The latter is quite nice, considering the left luggage service at the train station costs £12.50.

In Aberdeen we stayed at Travelodge Aberdeen Central. For some reason, the ratings for this place were pretty low, but we really can’t understand why: central location, the rooms were clean and comfortable, the staff friendly and helpful, and the breakfast tasty and all-you-can-eat! Not to mention we paid as much for our three nights in Aberdeen, as we did for one night in London!
We had a peculiar wake-up service though: every morning a seagull came pecking on our window! It seems they’ve become accustomed to guests feeding them.

Off to Scotland again!

Off to Scotland again! By train this time, and an overnight stop in London.
It will be an epic week, with visits planned to nine different BrewDog bars and basements, the brewery and of course the #PunkAGM2016!

Victoria Coach Station

After dinner — although mostly a liquid one — we made our way back to Victoria Coach Station. When we arrived there, quite a lot of people were already waiting for our bus, so for the first time, I was not one of the first to board it.
It didn’t make much of a difference though, since we had the same berths as last time, and no one sleeping on the berth above us.
So, next stop: Glasgow.
Goodnight!

Changeover in London

We arrived in London at the scheduled hour after all, so we had time to go to BrewDog Clapham Junction, the one we didn’t make it to when we spent a couple of days in The City.
Waiting for my Psycho Chilly now, the Sunday specialty of this bar…

Eurotunnel

No further delays in the Eurotunnel, so we’re on our way to London, only 15 minutes behind on schedule, according to the MegaBus driver.
(photo by h–na)

London & Edinburgh Trip

No day to day report of my trip this time, a couple of photos after our return will have to do. Later I will post a follow-up with some photos from the cameras and iPhone of my travel companion and girlfriend h–na as well.

The journey by bus was more troublesome than ever before: the trip to London has taken us six hours longer than intended, mainly due to problems in the Eurotunnel. We made it to London eventually, but headed straight to the hotel to get at least some sleep before our first full day in the city.

Our first stop after breakfast was the British Museum. I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to see the heavily contested Elgin Marbles

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After some time in the museum, we needed a drink, so we enjoyed some tea and scones at the Tea and Tattle. And I must say: it was the best cream tea I’ve had so far!

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After a short visit to the Science Museum, it was time to start drinking… 😉 As an avid BrewDog fan, I wanted to visit as many BrewDog bars as possible, so we started at the latest London addition: BrewDog Shepherds Bush. After a couple of beers, we moved on to Camden. First fish and chips at Hook, where the dishes served looked and tasted remarkably like those at Bia Mara in Brussels… That means excellent, in case you were wondering! 🙂

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Then a beer in the nearby BrewDog Camden, and after a short stop at the Dean Swift, our third BrewDog bar: BrewDog Shoreditch. Since they were about to close, we were ushered into UnderDog, the beery cocktail bar of BrewDog.

Since we didn’t feel like switching to cocktails, and preferred to sleep a little before another day of playing tourist, we decided to go back to our hotel. The previous night we were quite happy with the service provided by our Uber taxi, and the very reasonable ride price of £7.92, so even when the app warned us it the cost would be 2.4 times the normal rate, we went ahead and ordered another one. Oh boy, was that a mistake… Apparently we were quite a bit further from the hotel this time, since the total added up to £34.58!


Our second day in London we visited Kensington PalaceWestminster AbbeyThe London Bridge Experience and were just too late for the Tower of London. The London Transport Museum was still open, so we went there, and had a stroll through Covent Garden. Unfortunately looking for dinner did take a bit longer than expected, so we didn’t have any time to spare for the fourth BrewDog bar in London this time, since we had to pick up our luggage and catch our Megabus to Edinburgh…


After arriving in Edinburgh, we checked into our hotel ( easyHotel ) for a little nap — I’m never fully rested after a night on a sleeper bus — and shower.

Since it was h–na’s first time in Edinburgh, we decided to get on one of those tour buses to get an overall view of the city. We had a small, standing lunch at Oink, and then went for an Introduction to BrewDog Tasting and Talk with Five Craft Beers to Taste Each with Cheese and Meats at BrewDog Edinburgh. Mostly beers from their core range, but I’m happy to say I was able to identify each and every one of them, before the staff told us which ones they were! 🙂

It was the 25th of January that day: Burns’ Night! So we went to a ceilidh with a haggis, neeps & tatties buffet. Not the best of combinations for me, since I wasn’t really up for more dancing after having a go at the buffet…


All was digested by the next morning, however, so plenty of room for a proper Scottish breakfast! 🙂

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This day we went on another bus to see Leith as well, and in the afternoon we had a private tour of Edinburgh Castle. Unfortunately, after the tour most museums in the castle were closed already. Winter isn’t the best time of year to be a tourist, so it seems…

But there’s always BrewDog Edinburgh, the place where I first discovered decent craft beer outside of Belgium and became a BrewDog fan. And as an Equity Punk, it is especially interesting to get there and order before five o’ clock to enjoy a very attractive Daytime Discount! 🙂

The culinary discovery of this trip must have been Wings: only chicken wings on the menu—well, and a few side dishes—but dozens of different sauces or dry rubs, and delightfully geeky!

In the evening, we visited the vaults under the South Bridge with a guide. Once again, there was nobody but my girlfriend and I. It must really be a hard time for the tourist industry in Edinburgh…

To finish the day, a visit to the Bow Bar — they even had beer from De Natte Gijt! — and one last drink at the Ghillie Dhu before turning in.


Our last day in Edinburgh we went to the National Museum of Scotland, where we rushed to the roof to hear the one o’ clock gun and see the ball drop on the Nelson Monument, only to miss it by seconds… It was the third time in Edinburgh for me, and I still haven’t actually seen or heard it!

Lunch at another newcomer in Old Reekie: Reekie’s Smokehouse. Here it was the first time I had brisket — tasty — but I’ll have to come back to try the ‘burnt ends’. Or maybe I’ll just get the whole Meatfest next time! 🙂

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We couldn’t say goodbye to Edinburgh without a last visit to BrewDog Edinburgh, and to finish it off, we shared a beer flight at The Hanging Bat.

Oh, I almost forgot about my mission to get some Irn-Bru bottles in my tartan, but I did manage to find some eventually! 🙂

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Going home, once again, terrible delays plagued us, but I have to say: the Megabus customer support on Twitter is second to none, and they helped us get home to the best of their abilities!

CASK Pub & Kitchen

In spite of the thorough border check of French customs, Megabus once again managed to get us to our London destination twenty minutes early. Plenty of time for a pit stop at CASK Pub & Kitchen for a burger and some beers! And for a visit to the crapper… Not trying to be rude here, but the company name in cast iron makes it very obvious where this colloquial name actually comes from.

Homeward

After a speedy night ride to London — we arrived half an hour early — I managed to grab the front row seats again in the bus to Brussels, and this time nobody insisted on joining me there.
Eurotunnel went as planned as well, France was a breeze, but Belgium slowed us down with a traffic jam before Ghent. Welcome to Belgium?
So, I guess that was the end of this trip again already…

Start the countdown to September! 🙂

London

Crossing the Channel went smoothly, crossing London to Victoria Coach Station a bit less so… We’re losing a lot of the time we gained, so eventually we’ll only arrive 15-20 minutes early. Still nice to have some extra time for dinner though! 🙂