After breakfast at the hotel—croissants of course—and a first real coffee at Telescope, I made my way to the banks of the Seine, to visit the famous Louvre.
I had no intention to see everything—which would have been impossible anyway—so I just picked a couple of highlights, that was more than enough to keep me occupied well until lunchtime.
This time my food of choice was a Parisian classic: jambon-beurre. As simple as ham and butter on a baguette, but the version prepared by Julhès was tasty nevertheless. A coffee at 5 Pailles, and I was ready to get moving again!
While I’m still awaiting my second vaccination, I continue discovering places in Belgium I haven’t been yet. One that had been on my to-do list for a long time, was the Archéosite d’Aubechies-Beloeil, a site with some archaeological reconstructions from the Neolithicum until the Roman era. I was of course most interested in the latter bit…
So, after an hour on a train, fifteen minutes on a bus, and then another twenty-five minutes on foot, I was finally there!
The outside of the buildings looked nice enough—the temple really reminded me of the time I worked as a volunteer ‘archeotolk’ at Archeon—but unfortunately the inside mostly seems to have been adapted for modern use, like exhibitions and events.
If I ever have a garden, I definitely want a summer triclinium like that!
So a combination of the Belgian railways Happy Ticket offer, and a poster advertising the Dacia Felix exhibit in the Gallo-Roman museum of Tongeren, lead to me heading to Limburg—both the Belgian and the Dutch version—this Sunday.
Today we visited the Museo Archeologico di Napoli, to see all the stuff they moved out of Pompeii. As a future archaeologist, learning about the importance of the correct recording of all finds, it is quite frustrating to see that for many of the finds from Pompeii, they now have to guess where exactly it was actually found… Still, nice to see so many famous mosaics and frescoes for real at last!
For lunch we had a real pizza napoletana, and a pizza fritta. Indeed, my Scottish friends: “We’re gonna deep fry your pizzas”, is no threat at all, for the Neapolitans!
After lunch, we did a bit more sightseeing, since we hadn’t seen much of Napoli in daylight yet. Ugly apartment blocks and quadracycles immediately reminded us of Oostende, but we have to admit, the sea view was quite a bit nicer!
Our last stop was NaBeer, one of the newest—and probably smallest—craft beer places in Napoli, serving beers from local brewery VentiTré on draught.
After that it was time to catch our Italo train to Milano. Since the price difference at the time of booking was negligible, we even even had the pleasure of enjoying this almost five hour trip in Prima class!
Once checked in in our Milanese accommodation, we briefly popped out again to visit one of the Birrificio Lambrate bars.
Our first day in Napoli, we didn’t actually spend a lot of time in the city, but on the sites of the Pompei and Herculaneum excavations, checking at least one thing of my bucket list.
When we returned to Napoli in the evening, we first visited Ventimetriquadri for some top quality coffee. For dinner we had a cuoppo di terra from Friggitoria Vomero.
Then it was time for—not surprisingly—beer, provided to us by Murphy’s Law, Hoppy Ending, Mosto, and Il Birraiuolo. This little pub crawl also learned us that Napoli is quite big, and the height differences can be huge!
We started our first full day in Rome with the obligatory visit to the Colosseum, complete with tour, and the Forum Romanum.
For lunch we had porchetta at Pane & Vino. I have to say: this Roman snack with crispy bits beats the Florentine lampredotto hands down!
Of course we had to visit the Imperial Fora as well, in particular that of my favourite emperor Traianus, before we had our first beer of the day at Johnny’s Off License, a beer shop where you can drink in as well.
In the evening we first visited the bar that once was the only craft beer bar in town: Open Baladin. We then crossed over to Travestere for Ma Che Siete Venuti A Fa’and Bir & Fud.
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.
Our last day in London, our last day of visits to museums, bars and breweries.
We started our day checking out the Old Spitalfields Market, having a pulled pork bagel for breakfast, followed by a last coffee at Nude Espresso.
After the lines at Dennis Severs’ House turned out to be a little too long, we went to the Guildhall Art Gallery, mostly to check out the remains of the Roman amphitheater, underneath the current building.
In the afternoon we visited one last brewery — Anspach & Hobday — and the last BrewDog bar of our trip — BrewDog Soho.
The last underground voyage took a bit longer than foreseen, when there were some problems on the direct line to St Pancras. We made it to our Eurostar well in time in the end, thus concluding this beer-filled London trip.
Vandaag was het tijd voor mijn eigen programma: het Museo della Civiltà Romana. Geen echte antieke originelen, maar wel massa’s afgietsels, reconstructies en maquettes die je doorheen de hele Romeinse geschiedenis gidsen op een manier die onmogelijk is in conventionele musea. Een ideaal museum om een leek voor te bereiden op wat er in Rome – en elders – verder nog te zien is uit de oudheid, als je het mij vraagt!
De afgietsels van de Zuil van Trajanus daarentegen zijn ook interessant voor de specialist, aangezien deze in betere staat verkeren dan de zuil zelf.
En de bekende maquette van het Rome onder Constantijn is bijzonder indrukwekkend in het echt!