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London Trip – Day 3

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

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 2

Culture, Comrades & a Ceilidh

After a big, hearty breakfast in my hotel—more than pictured—I was ready for a full day in London. I had planned some museums and exhibitions I hadn’t seen yet, and the first one was almost next to the hotel: the London Canal Museum.

The second stop was the library, to see the Treasures of the British Library. Among those treasures were the Magna Carta, and original manuscripts from Shakespeare, Dickens, and Austen. Great stuff, for a bibliophile like me!

I then visited to the British Museum for even older versions of the written word, in the exhibition Hieroglyphs: unlocking ancient Egypt.

After all that sauntering I was well overdue for a coffee, so I went to Monmouth Coffee for my fix. That gave me the energy for one more cultural stop: the Museum of Freemasonry. We have one in Brussels as well, but London being the birthplace of freemasonry, and quite a bit more traditional, so not to be missed!

Time for a pie—well, a sausage roll—and a pint—well, halves and thirds—at the Sutton Arms! It looks like a classic pub, but had quite a few modern craft beers on tap! From there I got on the new—for me at least—Elizabeth Line, and train line that has been long in the making, and provides a faster connection with the west of London.

And in the west I finally got to visit The Dodo Micropub, where I also met up with some London friends for a couple of beers. On the way back east I stopped at A Pint of Hops for just a couple more… Crowded, standing space only, but nice people, and great beer.

Properly sauced, I was ready for the main event of the evening, a Burns Night Ceilidh, my excuse to walk around in London in a kilt all day… Loads of fun, although a bit more chaotic than other ceilidhs I’ve been to.

Before finally heading back to the hotel, there was one more important stop: BrewDog Camden! After ‘a couple’ of beers with Ryan, I then called it a night…

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 – 7

Berlin by Boat

After awaking in my last hotel for this trip, I had breakfast at Zeit Für Brot, and a visit to the Tränenpalast, to learn a bit more about a side of Berlin I wasn’t too familiar with yet.

A first coffee at Café Neundrei, and it was time for a little cruise on the Spree, in a canal boat from Amsterdam, converted to be 100% electric now.

For lunch I went to Markthalle Pfefferberg, one of the newest trendy food places. Fewer restaurants than I expected there to be, but the Kerala fried chicken burger was quite tasty nevertheless. Quality over quantity, right? Although the quantity of the food from Gully Burger was more than sufficient as well…

In the far east of Berlin was Dark Matter, where I discovered—among many other mesmerising things—the clean future of campfires.

Another coffee at Tres Cabezas, and it was finally time for beer! First up was Straßenbräu, followed by Bräugier Ostkreuz—where Certified Cicerone Oli gave me some helpful tips for my upcoming exam—Schalander, Protokoll of course, and to finish the night with some dirty fries and a stamp, Brewdog Friedrichshain.

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 – 5

Bamberg: Rathaus, Reiter, und Rauchbier

What a day in Bamberg this was! For starters, the bakery I planned to go to for breakfast was closed, so I had to look for another one. Luckily Bäckerei Seel was open, so I had a roll and a croissant there.

Then it was time for the guided tour included in my Bamberg Card. Very enjoyable, educational and entertaining, and Hans the tour guide even knew some Dutch!

By then it was time for lunch, and being in Bamberg, I couldn’t wait any longer, and I went to Schlenkerla. My first choice was of course their very smoky Märzen, and since apparently onions are a big thing in Bamberg, I had the Bamberger Zwiebeln for lunch.

I then went back to the Dom to see the famous Reiter, before spending quite a bit of time in the Historisches Museum.

In a city so full of old breweries, I had to go to the Brauereimuseum as well, of course. They even had a wooden koelschip!

Then it was time to actually taste some beer again, starting at Brauerei Greifenklau. The place was packed, and when I noticed a man sitting alone at a table of eight, I asked if I could join him. He said it was actually the Stammtisch—which one shouldn’t take lightly—but I was welcome to sit there nevertheless. Had a nice chat, and felt really welcome.

After that I went back to the centre, to Zum Sternla, where I actually planned to have dinner, but it was so full, so I moved on to Stöhrenkeller after just one beer. Completely different vibe there—more modern?—but I eventually decided to have dinner—Leberkäse mit Kartoffelsalat—at my last stop, Brüderla.

Final thought of the day: my bladder will be thankful if tomorrow I can have beers smaller than 0,5l again!

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.