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Tag: First Class

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 – 6

Breakfast in Bamberg, Beer in Berlin

Time to travel again! To avoid a half standing breakfast again—yesterday’s bakery had quite peculiar ‘seating’ arrangements—I booked a breakfast in my hotel, saving some time in the process.

I still had time for one museum before my train, so I went to the Diözesanmuseum. I originally just planned it as a ‘filler’ museum, just to kill some time and check off another activity on my Bamberg Card, but as I had learned about the importance of Bamberg as an episcopal city, I’m glad I included it. When I was an altar boy, we didn’t have a handy “A” for “aqua” and “V” for “vinum” on the little jugs for water and wine, as far as I can remember!

After a Portuguese coffee at Zuckerstück, it was time to check out, and I headed to the station for my ICE to Berlin.

In Berlin, I headed straight for my familiar easyHotel to check in and drop off my baggage, and then off to Populus Coffee for a proper third wave coffee. Then it was time to go to Lager Lager, and boy, was it nice to taste an IPA again, after days of lagers…

The next stop was Markthalle Neun, for some beers at Heidenpeters, and some empanadas from one of the Street Food Thursday stands.

Then it was time to revisit some classics—Biererei, Hopfenreich, and Muted Horn—before turning in for the night.

Wien, Bayern & Berlin Reise – 4

Oktoberfest, the OG

Time to move on to Bamberg, but with a very important stop along the way, München. It’s the end of September, so it isn’t hard to guess where I went: Oktoberfest! I put on my brand new Lederhose—I shrunk out of the pair I bought a couple of years ago—and headed to Wien Hbf for my four hour ÖBB Regiojet trip to München. It was too early to have breakfast before boarding, so I had my last Austrian breakfast on the train.

After arriving in München and storing my bag for the day, I first went for lunch, to line my stomach for what was to come. Although is didn’t really have time to play the tourist, there was one place I had sung about many times before—🎶In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus🎶—so I simply had to visit it, and of course already have a Maß of Dunkles with my Obazda there.

A quick coffee at Man versus Machine Coffee Roasters, and I was ready for the main event.

As I’m quite a traditionalist—even if it comes to traditions I’m not really a part of—I went straight for the Oide Wiesn, and its Festzelt Tradition. They had a Blaskapelle playing there, and even served the beer—Augustiner Edelstoff—in stoneware Keferloher, instead of glass.

Since I would have to spend almost two hours on the train during dinner time, I decided to have an early dinner—Knuspriger Spanferkelbraten mit Kartoffelknödel und Speckkrautsalat—at the Augustiner-Keller, right next to the station.

In Bamberg a lot of places seem to close quite early on a weekday, so even before checking into my Ibis Bamberg hotel, I stopped at Brauerei Spezial for a Märzen.

To conclude the day, I went to Stillbruch, one of the few interesting places open late.

FyneFest Trip – Day 9

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Back to London, on to Brussels

And just like that, it was time to head home again… After a bit of trouble getting my bag packed—adding a couple of T-shirts, a jumper, some whisky and beer glasses, and quite a few cans of beer will have that effect—I had my last breakfast and a coffee at the DogHouse, and I checked out.

I was in the station quite early, so I hung out in the LNER lounge for a bit, until the Azuma to London was ready to board.

In London, I had a couple of hours to kill, which I spent at BrewDog Camden, conveniently close to both King’s Cross and St Pancras International station. But eventually it was time to board the Eurostar, with which my FyneFest trip has come to an end…

FyneFest Trip – Day 7

Back to Glasgow to hash

After a last bacon and egg roll, it was time to say goodbye to the glen and the coos, and to get on the bus back to Glasgow.

After a pancake brunch at the Stack & Still, and staying at BrewDog Kelvingrove for a couple of hours, for some last beers at one of my favourite bars in Glasgow, and to get the festival blog updates online, I slowly made my way south.

The first stop was at Ride Brewing Co., which didn’t actually have their taproom open, but the brewer was happy to sell me some cold cans. Second stop was of course at the Koelschip Yard.

The final destination in Glasgow was at Eala Bhán. Not for the food or beer though, but to meet up and run with the Glasgow Hash House Harriers. They couldn’t believe I didn’t get my hash name yet, so they named me right then and there! Henceforth I’ll be known as “Out of Kilter”, although my home kennel might have to say a thing or two about that…

Then I caught the last train to Edinburgh, to finally check into my hotel for the next two nights: DogHouse Edinburgh. What a contrast with that yurt!

FyneFest Trip – Day 0

To London, and on the Caledonian Sleeper

After a shorter hiatus than last time, I find myself once again on my way to Scotland. The main destination is FyneFest this time, but I’ll be spending a couple of days in Glasgow—obviously—and Edinburgh as well.

Lessons learned after last time, I only spent a couple of hours in London in between Eurostar and Caledonian Sleeper, although somehow I still managed to visit two more bars than planned…

I finally made it to the Great Nepalese this time, and the chicken Tikka Bhutuwa with garlic naan didn’t disappoint.

What did disappoint, was the lack of real cutlery and crockery on the Caledonian Sleeper

Flying Scotsman Trip – Day 9

LNER back to London

After putting on my trousers again—and that feels weird and uncomfortable after a week in a kilt—I boarded the LNER Azuma to London. Unfortunately, because of railroad works, it would take a different route, and take around six hours to get there, instead of the usual four. At least I would be well fed and hydrated, or so I thought… They already ran out of bacon rolls by the time the trolly arrived at my seat! A cheddar and pickle pickle roll for breakfast is was, then. A bit after noon I was lucky enough—yes, lucky, since they skipped the early boarders to feed all the newcomers first to see if anything would be left—to get a chicken and salad sandwich as well. Plenty of tea and cold drinks, though, and even their own ale!

The longer ride, also meant less time in London, so a lot of places to visit in a short time. A quick checkin in my hub Hotel—with a view on King’s Cross train station, highly recommended for trainspotters—and off I went!

I managed to get to the Bermondsey Beer Mile in time and have a drink—sometimes even more than one—in the Hawkes Taproom (yes, for a stamp), 73 Enid Street | Cloudwater London, new kid on the block Craft Beer Junction, and finally The Kernel Taproom Arch 7.

Then I went to that other set of arches in Hackney, where I visited Brew Club, Hackney Church Brew Co., and The Experiment.

To finish the night, I went to the OG London BrewDog bar: BrewDog Camden. Never seen it that calm, but it was a Sunday night, and already getting late. Still enjoyed my time there, some bars always feel a bit like coming home…

Flying Scotsman Trip – Day 7

Glasgow West End & Edinburgh

After another breakfast at the Bucket List Café, I decided to spend my last day in Glasgow in the West End. It gave me a great excuse to travel on The Clockwork Orange again, the third-oldest subway system in the world.

I started my western adventure with coffee and a cruffin at Papercup, where, in despite of their name, they actually did serve coffee in proper cups.

Since part of one of my tattoos is inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s designs, I simply had to include a bit of his work in this trip. I didn’t visit the Willow Tea Rooms this time, but the Kelvingrove Museum had another of Mackintosh’s tea rooms set up. Unfortunately the traditional one o’clock organ concerts had not yet been reinstated…

By the way: if anyone is looking for some Ingram chairs: just £500 in the museum shop!

The Grunting Growler is an addition to the area I had been looking forward to to visit. A bottle shop is so much more fun if you can sit down for a drink as well!

A last visit to BrewDog Glasgow, before shoogling back to the centre, picking up my bag at the hotel, and I was off to the train station again. Destination: Edinburgh!

Edinburgh Waverley is just a couple of hundreds of meters from my hub hotel, so a checkin and bag drop off was the first thing I did.

I’m all for discovering new places, but some are too good not to go back to. Wings is one of those places, and I’ve really been looking forward to get stuck in some of their chicken wings, five years after the last time I had been there! My pick of the evening: the Charlic dry rub, and the Baz’s Buffalo, Imperial Tiger, and Barbaraki sauces. Nothing too spicy—only up to level two out of five—but very tasty. I’ll level up next time!

The last stop of the evening, was my first ever BrewDog bar, where I drunk my first ever BrewDog beer: BrewDog Edinburgh! Or is it BrewDog Cowgate now? I was lucky enough to immediately get a table, and spent a wonderful couple of hours there. Love that they still have a chalkboard with staff portraits!

Flying Scotsman Trip – Day 5

Stirling and Glasgow

After a breakfast burrito at The Bulldog Frog, and a coffee at Blend, it was time to head back to Perth’s railway station, to take the train to Stirling.

After some hassle to pre-book while already standing in line, I finally visited Stirling Castle. I say finally, because the last time I was in Stirling, I simply didn’t have enough time for a visit to justify the entrance fee. It was nice to see reenactors telling us about where we were and what would have happened there, but it kinda defeated the purpose of the (paid-for) audio guide…

Castle visit over, I had some crispy haggis bon bons at BREA, followed by their ‘malt of the month’. A quick coffee at Unorthodox Coffee, and it was almost time for BrewDog Stirling to open.

I could easily have stayed about half an hour longer, because my train turned out to be delayed. My £3 upgrade to first class made me quickly forget about the delay though. I arrived in Glasgow Queen Street station, which meant I was able to check into my easyHotel not long after that.

Nevertheless, I still had to hurry along to be in time for my 19.30 booking in BrewDog Merchant City—or is it still DogHouse? After a first drink to catch my breath, I ordered the Trinity Sampler, which, in the end, turned out to be a little bit too much, even for me. I loosened my kilt straps and belt a little, and stayed in the bar for the remainder of the evening…

Flying Scotsman Trip – Day 1

Inverness, Inverurie, and Aberdeen

After a day of quite heavy drinking in London, and a nightcap on the train, I fell asleep—or did I pass out?—as soon as I put my head down. I even forgot to take out my contact lenses, or set my alarm, so when I eventually woke up, I was already late for breakfast! Luckily not too late, and mere minutes after getting up, I was enjoying a Highland breakfast and tea.

The Caledonian Sleeper arrived ten minutes early in Inverness, leaving me with a little less time than planned… In the rush, I couldn’t find my toiletry bag until the very last minute—it was on my bed under the blanket—leaving me with a rather peculiar hairdo for the rest of the day.

When I alighted in Inverness, I had still some time to kill before the first Stagecoach bus to Culloden Battlefield would leave, so I first had a coffee at Velocity Cafe and Bicycle Workshop.. The bus then dropped me off right in front of the visitor centre and museum. As a fresh National Trust for Scotland member, I had free access to the exhibition.

After that, I walked upon the battlefield itself. It was a chilling experience to stand on the exact spot where the MacLarens must have stood in 1746, in line with many other Jacobites, just seconds before advancing to the enemy, and for many of them, towards their death…

At Culloden I also learned that the perfect amount of social distancing is two Scottish broadswords long, or four targes. I think people would keep their distance much better if everyone was actually still wearing broadswords!