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Tag: Roman history

Wien, Bayern & Berlin Reise – 1

Welcome to Wien!

With just a slight delay—just twenty minutes—I arrived in Vienna. After a quick checkin and shower at the Ibis hotel, I was already back on schedule.

Usually I like to start with a visit to the city museum to get a general overview of the history of the city, but unfortunately, Vienna’s city museum was closed for renovations. So instead, I went to Time Travel Vienna, one of those places with animatronic puppets, 3D films, and special effects. This one even had pyrotechnics at the end! But I must admit, since I’m a sucker for reconstructions—wether it is built, drawn, or computer generated—I actually quite enjoyed it!

After that it was time for lunch already, and I simply had to start with a classic Wienerschnitzel. Figlmüller seemed like the perfect place to have one, and considering the queue, I did well making a reservation well in advance!

For my after lunch coffee I went to Fenster Cafe for something quite peculiar: coffee from a chocolate lined ice-cream cone. It was nice being able to eat the ‘cup’ after emptying it, but I’ve been picking chocolate out of my ‘stache until hours later!

Since Vienna actually is actually a stop on my—‘temporarily’ on hold—Limes Route cycling tour, I had to visit the Römermuseum, of course. It even had some excavations of ancient Vindobona in the cellar.

I then actually wanted to visit Cafe Central to sit in the same seats as Trotski and Freud, but there were really long queues here as well, and this time, I didn’t have a reservation. So I went to CaffèCouture instead, for a proper, no-nonsense cortado.

After a quick stop to buy some Lederhosen—you’ll see them later—it was finally time for some Austrian beer! First stop: Mel’s Craft Beers.

The next beer stop was at the—undoubtably heavily BrewDog inspired—Hefebrüder, where I had a pizza as well.

Now, usually I avoid drinking Belgian beer abroad: why pay more for something you can have cheaper and fresher at home? However, today was Zwanze Day, and Ammutsøn was the only bar in Vienna joining in the celebrations. Admittedly, it was a lot more expensive to try the new Zwanze beer than it would have been in Brussels, but it was so nice to meet fellow Cantillon enthousiasts, and try the beer at the same time as my friends in Brussels.

The last stop of the night was at Beaver Brewing Company, luckily not far from my hotel…

Croissants and Culture

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!

A Trip to the Past

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!

Day 8 – Napoli

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, at Starita. 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.

Day 7 – Pompei & Erculano

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!

Day 6 – Roma II

On the second and last day in Rome, we first visited the Palazzo Massimo Alle Terme to see their nice collection of Roman statues, mosaics, and frescoes.

After some pizza al taglio, we then went to see the Ara Pacis, and the Claudius exhibition in the same museum.

West of the Tiber, we checked out coffee place Pergamino and beer bar Be.Re., that strangely enough seemed to be two parts of the same business…

A last visit to BrewDog Roma to have our beer visas stamped, and we had a couple of beers as well of course.

After a excruciatingly slowly served dinner, we quickly picked up our bag at our B’n’B, and eventually still managed to catch our train to Napoli.

Day 5 – Roma

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.

Places of worship: coffee, Mithras & beer

The places we usually go for our daily dose of caffein tend to be on the smaller side, but Host is something else: it’s in a church!

After coffee, we quickly visited another place of worship: a mid-3rd century mithraeum, nicely reconstructed underneath the Bloomberg headquarters.

Finally it was time to worship our own god—beer—at BrewDog Outpost Tower Hill. We had only been there for breakfast before, so today we finally have the opportunity to see it when it’s beer-o-clock!

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.

London – Day 3

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.