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Tag: Martijn

A Belgian Holiday – Part III

For the last part of my Belgian holiday, I stayed close to home, in the old duchy of Brabant, and I went to Mechelen on Saturday, and to Antwerp on Sunday. It was a weekend well spent.

Mechelen

To get a bit of a walk in before the beers, I got off the train one stop early again, in Weerde. This way, I got to enjoy a bit of green before entering the town. When I arrived in the centre, it seemed just about everybody wanted to spend the day outside—and rightfully so—but luckily I found a free table at Sister Bean, to enjoy a coffee and and apple crumble.

When it comes to beer, it seems De Floeren Aap is the place to be in Mechelen nowadays. Needless to say, I spent quite some time on their terrace, to try some of their vast selection of canned beers. Not for too long, though, because I had a race the next morning…

Brussels Nature Run

Sunday morning I had my first ever running event: Brussels Nature Run! It was also the first time I ran somewhere not completely flat, so that was a bit of a challenge, and I almost regretted choosing the 16K instead of the 10K… It all worked out in the end, and I’m quite happy with the time I made.

Antwerp

The last day of my Belgian holiday, I spent in Antwerp. Because this was actually supposed to be my last day in Scotland, I went kilted on this occasion. I selected Antwerp for this last stop, because I knew there would be plenty of beer places to visit, and beer people to meet.

My first stop was at Billie’s Bottle Shop. Its little beer garden was already packed, but with a bit of improvisation, I eventually had a nice spot to enjoy some of Stéfan’s excellent selection of beers.

Next up was Station 1280, which had set up a terrace on a nice and quiet courtyard. Then it was time to discover a place I had never been before: The Northerner. Their draught beers were pretty standard, but here again, a very nice can list! The pulled pork sub was very tasty—and at that point very welcome—as well.

My last beer stop was, as usual, because of its proximity to the train station, Beerlovers Bar. Saying goodbye to Ben, and to Antwerp, also meant the end of my Belgian holiday.

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!

A Special Saint-V…

Today, the 20th of November, is Saint-V, the day when the VUB and ULB students and alumni celebrate the foundation of the free universities of Brussels, and what they stand for.

This year the celebrations mostly take place online for understandable reasons, but that doesn’t keep me from wearing my traditional ‘studentenklak’ on this special day!

Every year special medals are made for the occasion, carrying that year’s motto. The Dutch version of the current edition would translate as “At a distance, but not distant”…

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is not really a holiday I celebrate, but the mask seemed appropriate for the times we live in…

Don’t call the mask medieval, by the way: it is based on those of the now iconic 17th century plague doctors.

Off to Berlin!

Wait, what? Straight to Berlin? What happened to Wien and Budapest? Well… because Hungary suddenly closed its borders for tourists, I had to change my plans a bit. The sleeper train adventure has been put on hold for now, and on this trip I will only visit Berlin and Hamburg, meaning I’m going straight from Brussels to Berlin. I’m still keeping it classy though: first class tickets all the way!

As usual, I had to change trains in Köln, giving me the opportunity to quickly grab something to eat. Don’t be afraid to ask them to put your order in your own reusable packaging, even abroad! No time to grab my usual coffee in the coffee bar just outside the station, so a train coffee had to do… Really nice of Deutsche Bahn to serve it in proper cups, at your seat!

Now just a couple more hours of podcast listening—I was running behind a bit anyway—and enjoying the view, and I’ll be back in Berlin!

Meat & Museums

It’s going to be a long day, so we started with a hearty lunch at MEAT Liquor. Their restaurants had been on our list for quite some time, but the proximity to St. Pancras station and the weekday lunch deal, made this the perfect opportunity to finally try them! It turned out to be great value for money, and the fast service meant we were back on the street in no time, ready to continue our day in London.

We visited quite a few museums in London already, but until today, the Museum of London escaped our attention. Unrightfully so, because it is the perfect place to learn about the history of London, providing context for a lot of other museums and monuments we did visit before.

Cardiff – Day 3

After breakfast at Servini’s, we spent a drizzly Saturday morning at St Fagans National History Museum. An American lunch at The New York Deli and a coffee at Outpost Coffee & Vinyl were to prepare us for the main event of the day: a visit to the Tiny Rebel brewery!

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

kiltedguy:

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Saint Patrick’s Day, the only day each year I wear my saffron kilt. Although sometimes I get the question wether I’m Irish even if I’m wearing a kilt in a — to me clearly — Scottish tartan, most people associate any kilt with Scotland, and rightly so. 

But there certainly is such a thing as an Irish kilt, and saffron kilts have been around as an expression of Irish nationality for over a hundred years!

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The ancient Irish actually wore the léine, a linen tunic with voluminous sleeves and a hemline reaching the knees or higher, often dyed with saffron, which turned out quite yellow on linen. When there was a revival of Gaelic nationalism in the nineteenth century, the Gaelic League and the Gaelic Athletic Association — two major nationalist organisations, both concerned with Irish identity — wanted a ‘costume’ or national form of dress. The léine was considered to be too difficult to be updated to the fashions of the day, so they adopted the garment of their Gaelic cousins in Scotland: the kilt, dyed either green or saffron. Used on wool, the saffron dye gave it a bit more of an orange-brownish colour, the one we associate today with saffron kilts.

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The school uniform of St. Enda’s School for Boys (1908) included the saffron kilt.

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Nowadays the saffron kilt is mainly worn by pipers of Irish regiments, often without a sporran.

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Another year, another Saint Patrick’s Day, so enjoy it! 🙂 

I might share an updated photo later.

40 km

After a short stop in Liège, we arrived home safely, happy to see a proper bed. Hiking 40 km with full gear, but without any training, it was quite an experience!

Some last photos from yesterday to say goodbye, until our next trip!