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Tag: public transport

Day 9 – Milano

Our last day in Italy turned out to be the hottest as well, ironically in the most northern Italian city we’re visiting: Milano. From our B’n’B on the Piazza Leonardo da Vinci, we went to the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit in the technology museum: Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia “Leonardo da Vinci”.

The Piazza del Duomo was even busier than usual, because there was a big stage for the Festa della Repubblica celebrations, so we quickly headed to the Porta Ticinese and Naviglio Grande area for some beers at Tutti Fritti and Al Coccio.

When all other bars we were interested in turned out to be closed, we went to the Hops Beer Shop, before going south again for our own last supper—ossobuco and cotoletta alla milanese—at Osteria del Binari.

After two more beer stops at Bere Buona Birra and Hop, an antique tram brought us back to our B’n’B for our last night in Italy…

Bye bye Britain!

We wanted to eat something very British as our last meal in the UK, so we went to Piebury Corner for a meat pie and a Scotch egg.

It’s also conveniently close to the station where we’re taking our Eurostar back home, for the last time in the foreseeable, uncertain future of this island…

A last pre-Brexit trip to London

When we left London last time we visited it, we already knew we had to return soon, to get a stamp from then-about-to-open BrewDog Canary Wharf. However, a lot can change in half a year, and now we have not one, but three new BrewDog bars to visit—one of which will have its official opening during our visit! Apart from that, we also hope to have some drinks in the new Mikkeller bar, and the Anspach & Hobday pop-up The Pigeon.

Last year’s arduous bus journey was an effective reminder to book our train tickets earlier this time, and after taking advantage of a New Year’s offer, this must be one of our cheapest Eurostar trips so far!

Viaggio in Italia: Trains ✓

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You might have noticed we don’t really like to fly. For our trips to London, a train has always been the most logical choice: faster and—when booked well in advance—cheaper than flying. For our trip to other destinations in the UK, Berlin, and Prague, the price was still competitive most of the time, but journeys like that take a bit longer already. Our Italy trip in late spring, however, is taking the train craze to the next level.

No fewer than ten different trains will take us to and through Italy! And you can take ‘ten different trains’ almost literally: one Thello sleeper, one Trenitalia Regionale Veloce, one Trenitalia InterCity, one Frecciabianca, one Frecciarossa, one Italo train, one Trenitalia EuroCity, one TGV Lyria, and two Thalyses!

The trick of keeping a trip like this affordable, is booking each of those journeys as soon as they become available, taking advantage of all kinds of Super Economy and Mini fares. Considering the different booking windows the rail operators use, this means it actually took several weeks to get it all sorted!

The only setback was the direct Milan-Paris TGV we planned on booking: it never appeared! We finally found out that specific TGV wouldn’t run this spring due to railroad works, so we’ll be making a little detour over Zürich. Apparently there is a very good beer shop in the station, so we don’t really mind… 😀

Our B&Bs are all booked as well, so we’re now all set for our ten day Viaggio in Italia!

Back to Brussels

Victoria Coach Station was the usual chaos and crowdedness I remember from my Megabus trips. Our Flixbus back to Brussels was late to start with, and boarding took ages. On the plus side: we would be crossing the Channel by ferry this time, so plenty of opportunity for decent meal!

Goodbye London, see you again soon!

Ready, set, go!

After over seven hours in a bus—luckily well air-conditioned—and the obligatory double customs checks, we caffeinated ourselves at Iris & June: excellent espresso from the local roasters Ozone Coffee.

After that, it was just late enough to check into our home for the next couple of nights: easyHotel London Victoria. Excess luggage dropped off, and we’re now ready to take on the challenge, and go to our first BrewDog bar!

London revisited: by bus

We’ve been to London quite a few times before, visited a lot of sights and bars, but the introduction of BrewDog’s Beer Visa enticed us to revisit the Big Smoke, to earn the eponymous badge.

Al we need to do, is visit all nine BrewDog bars in the city, stamp out little booklets, and have our EFP cards swiped. Of course, we do need to have a drink in each bar as well…

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It’s been a while since we’ve taken a bus to the UK, preferring a high speed train over a rather slow bus. However, because of our rather late decision to go on this trip, Eurostar prices had already risen to a ridiculously high level! So a trip by Flixbus it will be this time—Megabus doesn’t operate on the European mainland anymore—and from the money saved, we booked two nights in an easyHotel, conveniently close to Victoria Coach Station, so we can spread out our bar visits a little. The downside of this mode of transportation: we did have to get up quite early for a bus that will get us there before nightfall.

We got bumped from those nice places, by the way, since apparently now it’s possible to reserve specific seats, and we weren’t aware of that…

The Hanging Man

We managed to have a look at Sigmund Freud the Hanging Man, before catching our train home. Again, we had three changes to make, but even the shortest one — eight minutes — was no problem.

A €21 train ride to Prague…

Made all our connections — although the last one was tighter than planned — so we’re now on the final stretch to Prague. Enjoying our first views of the Czech countryside, while the sun sets…

Prague Trip

And off we go! This time, a four part, eleven hour — but ridiculously cheap — train journey will take us to Prague.

Changeover in London

As we often do, we enjoyed our last British drinks — and a burger — at BrewDog Camden.
The Eurostar terminal was even more crowded than usual this time, and like on our way here, they’ve changed our seats last minute. 😢 Oh well, it’s only a short ride, and we’ll be home soon.

Cardiff – Day 5

Last day in Cardiff, so it was time to pack our bag and check out. We didn’t have anything planned anymore, so we had a leisurely breakfast at The Plan Cafe, a last coffee at The Little Man Coffee Co., and — since BrewDog Cardiff apparently only opens at 4 pm on Mondays — a couple of beers at smallBAR, which we both agreed on probably is the best bar in Cardiff!
The train arrived with a small delay, but we expect to arrive in London on time. Fingers crossed!

Getting there…

Getting there is half the fun, they say. Especially if you can take a break halfway, for coffee and an overdue brunch. Java U is the perfect spot for such a break, conveniently located just outside Paddington station.

East & West London

Arrived a minute early — so no complaints there — then we went to our hotel — hub Spitalfields — to check in and have a quick play-around with the app operated controls.
Now it’s time to really get started: off to Weird Beard first, then to BrewDog Shepherds Bush and BrewDog Camden!

Off we go!

And off we go!
After having found our way to the temporary Eurostar terminal, the usual security checks, and a short wait, we boarded the train.

Haarlem Trip

When an e-mail with a special offer for a two person trip to the Netherlands arrived in our mailbox, we couldn’t let this opportunity slide. So just before the Christmas craziness and exam stress, we’re on our way to Haarlem. Even though the train only started its voyage in Brussels-Midi, it managed to depart in Brussels-Central with a fifteen minute delay…

Departure Day

Our departure day was cold and rainy — completely the opposite of the previous days — so our daily cup of coffee at the Bonanza Roastery was a welcome break from our last few strolls through Berlin.
We were briefly tempted by the Oktoberfest tent in front of the Hauptbahnhof, but a Maß (liter) of Märzen lost its appeal after all those great beers we had over the last week.
Our first ICE train had a bit of a delay, barely leaving us time to grab something to eat in Köln. We’ll be crossing the border to Belgium soon, signalling the end of this Berlin trip.
However, some more — and better — photos will follow soon!