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London Trip – Day 3

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More Hashing & Hammerton

Another day starting with a breakfast buffet, not to fuel me for a morning of museums this time, but for a mid-day run. Another kennel this time: the London Hash House Harriers. I packed all my stuff, put on my running gear, checked out, and headed to The Golden Fleece, where the run would start. More nice hashers—some the same as on Thursday—banter, a really nice, touristy trail, and of course some beer…

After the run I still had some time—although less than planned—to check off a few more beery places of my list. Caps and Taps and Indiebeer are primarily beer shops, so an excellent opportunity to fill my bag with a few cans to take home. Of course I also tasted a couple of the beers they had on draught…

My last stop this trip was the Hammerton Brewery, a microbrewery in Islington. Unfortunately the kitchen was closed, so I had to forego the pizza I was hoping for… The beers and cracklings were nice, though!

Eventually I made it back to St. Pancras International in time for my Eurostar back home.

So long London, is has been a blast, and see you again in a couple of months!

London Trip – Day 1

Waterloo & West London H3

The last time I was in London for more than a couple of hours, is almost four years ago! So it was about time to visit again, and today I finally found myself once again on a Eurostar under the English Channel. Lots of queueing—the train was full—but at least the biometric gates now worked with my Belgian comic strip passport.

Since I didn’t have time for a coffee before my departure in Brussels, and because I had a bit of time to kill before check-in time, my first stop in London was at Redemption Roasters for—apparently—some prison-roasted coffee, and a piece of banana bread.

My hotel for this trip is once again the very conveniently located—right next to the station—hub by Premier Inn King’s Cross, where I’ve stayed once before, returning from one of my Scotland trips. A swift check-in, change into my kilt, and it was time to hit the town!

First up was Mother Kelly’s Bottle Shop & Taproom in Vauxhall. Their taprooms have been on my to-do list for years, but somehow I never made it… This one has 33 beers on tap, so it wasn’t hard to find some beers I liked! The music I didn’t like that much, so after two beers I moved on.

The second stop was the Waterloo Tap. The bar is part of the same family as the Euston Tap, my usual last stop before boarding the Caledonian Sleeper, so I thought I knew what to expect: a nice selection of keg and cask beers. I wasn’t wrong about that, but the venue itself was so much more open than the Euston Tap: it was basically a railway arch with windows put in on both sides!

Then it was time to visit BrewDog Waterloo. At that moment it was still the newest London BrewDog bar, but that would soon, very soon change… I’ve visited BrewDog bars of all sizes, but this one was just ridiculous: apart from the bar itself—with 60 taps—and a micro-brewery like we’ve seen in other Outposts, this location also has a separate coffee bar, a hidden cocktail bar, a podcast recording studio, duckpin bowling, and a slide! My stomach was still on Belgian time, so I seized the opportunity to give the Vegan Allstars menu a try, and had some Loaded Skins.

I didn’t want to eat too much, because the next activity on the schedule was a run with the West London Hash House Harriers. In The Old Star pub I quickly changed into my running kilt and shoes, and off we went! As usual wen hashing, I met a lot of nice people, and as luck would have it, it turned out to be a very tourist friendly trail!

The last stop of the evening was BrewDog Wandsworth, for its Equity Punk (pre-opening) night, that just happened to be during my visit to London. So yes, from now on, that is the newest BrewDog bar in London! I managed to chat to some people I’ve been reading on the EFP forum for years, and some I had met before, which was a nice way to end my first evening in London.

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.

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!

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 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 10

Last Call in London

The last day of my trip was a bit calmer than originally planned. Instead of hitting the streets early in the morning, after breakfast in the hotel, I just went back in my room for a couple of hours. I prepared for the return trip—making sure I don’t have to dig too deep for my Belgian SIM, Brussels transport card, an house keys—and edited and uploaded the photos for the blogpost of the previous day. Those pull-out desks they have at hub Hotel really are perfect for this!

Then it was time to head out to Dalston for my vegan lunch… only to find out BrewDog Dalston doesn’t open until 16.00 on Mondays!

I briefly considered coming back then, but when I also found out that BrewDog Old Street wasn’t even open, I decided to take it very easy my last day, and save both those bars for another trip.

I did however go to BrewDog Chancery Lane, and had the blackened cajun chicken bowl for lunch there. That place is way bigger than I expected, by the way!

After that, I already I picked up my bag at the hotel, and walked over to BrewDog Camden. I spent my last hour and a half there, to meet up with its GM Ryan after all, and a last couple of beers.

From there it was not even a twenty minute walk to the Eurostar terminal in St. Pancras International train station.

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!

Back in Inverness, I had a pizza for lunch at the Black Isle Bar, where they of course also served beer from their brewery on the other side of the firth. Before getting to the train station, I had to little walk through town, and quickly visited Leakey’s Bookshop. After all, since handing over a sixpack of 75cl bottles, and a couple of cans and small bottles in London, I had plenty of room in my bag for books!

After this little excursion, it was time for the first Scottish BrewDog bar of this trip, and my first stamp towards the Flying Scotsman reward: BrewDog Inverurie! I was still a bit rough from the day before, so I just had one beer there, and a whole lot of water. The staff was great though, and the Craig Fisher graffitis were awesome as usual!

My last train of the day brought me to Aberdeen, which would be my home for the next two nights. I checked into