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Tag: train

Back to the ‘Dams

My little autumn break wasn’t quite over yet, after my Warszawa-Berlin trip, so on Friday I went to both Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

For the long stretch Brussels-Amsterdam, I used up all my Thalys points—mostly earned by filling out questionnaires—for the high speed option. Although officially the company is Eurostar now, my train was still adorned with the Thalys branding.

After my morning commitments—my trip wasn’t all leisure—I stopped at Quartier Putain for a coffee and a piece of apple pie. I’m not sure if that name would go down well in cities where they actually speak French!

By then it was time to discover the newest addition to BrewDog‘s portfolio of bars: BrewDog Amsterdam Centraal! It opened just a week before, when I was about a 1000 km east from here, so I missed the EFP opening, unfortunately… The shipload of EFPs—literally, since they had organised a communal ferry crossing for the opening—didn’t drink the bar dry though, and they even had one beer on draught I hadn’t had yet!

It was only around lunch time, but the bar was packed, the staff seemed to be well-trained, and handled the crowd well. Apart from a couple of beers, I had the Cluck & Satay Skewer. It’s always nice to have something ‘local’ on the food menu of a BrewDog bar!

Just before leaving, I also had a nice chat with franchisee Peter, who seemed to be confident he had found a great location for the bar. I can’t disagree with him: located right within Amsterdam Central Station, it will definitely one I’ll be visiting more often!

From the bar to the train platform was only a couple of minutes’ walk, and soon I was off to my next destination: Rotterdam!

The BrewDog Outpost Rotterdam was the only BrewDog bar in the Benelux participating in this year’s edition of Collabfest, so if I wanted to taste any of the beers, I had to make a stop there. Not every bar get’s all beers, but the selection in Rotterdam was great. As it turns out, it even included the highest rated beer, which was Rotterdam’s own collaboration with the Moersleutel: the K9 Chocolate Stout – Brewdog Rotterdam Outpost Collab!

After trying almost all the Collabfest beers, and a few others, it was time to go back to the gorgeous Rotterdam Central train station, and catch the train home again…

Warszawa & Berlin – Day 7

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Back to Brussels…

And just like that, it was time to go home again.

To keep things simple, I just had breakfast at ibis Berlin Mitte, with a view on wat seemed to be a rooftop apiary. I didn’t try the waffle maker, but I was tempted!

After checking out of the hotel, I took the M2 tram again—the tram with which every day in Berlin started and ended—to Berlin Hauptbahnhof, to take the ICE to Köln.

The ICE arrived almost in time, so I had plenty of time for a coffee at Blooming Coffeebar and Roastery, before a last beer in Germany. I was considering going for a Kölsch, like last time, but when I passed Craftbeer Corner Coeln, still well before its opening tim, there was already some movement inside, and the door was open. When I asked about their 18:00 opening, they took pity on me, and served me some beers already!

From there it was back onto an ICE, for the last stretch to Brussels. That meant the end of another wonderful trip, full of great discoveries, and happy revisits of familiar places!

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Warszawa & Berlin – Day 4

On-On to Berlin H3

Today started way too early, but I had to get to Warszawa Centralna to catch the Berlin-Warszawa Express: I needed to be back in Berlin in time for my next hash. I planned on getting a kotlet schabowy in the restaurant car just before arriving in Berlin, but unfortunately they wouldn’t accept cards anymore after crossing the border. So I had the next best thing after arriving in Berlin Lichtenberg: a Schnitzelbrötchen.

Then it was a quick trip to ibis Berlin Mitte to check in and change into my running gear.

From there I went to Potsdam Hauptbahnhof, where the trail of the Berlin Hash House Harriers would start. It was a slightly longer run than yesterday, a bigger turnout as well, and definitely a longer circle. All in all: great fun!

When it was all over, I went back to Mitte for a shower and change in the hotel, and some chow, before hitting the town for some beers…

On the programme tonight: Muted Horn, Lager Lager, Biererei, and—just in time for last call—Hopfenreich. Nothing new, but all great to return to!

Warszawa & Berlin – Day 3

On-On with Warsaw H3!

On my last day in Warszawa, I managed to be downstairs in time for breakfast in the hotel! Some breakfast elements—different kinds of sausages, cooked vegetables—must be typically Polish…

One more museum on the schedule today: the Stacja Muzeum, a train museum. Maybe it’s not as slick as the one in Schaerbeek, but the number of trains on display may even be bigger, and some definitely even cooler!

The main event of the day, however, was my run with the Warsaw Hash House Harriers. It was a small pack—there were just eight of us—and the markings were quite peculiar, to say the least… The trail was nice though—albeit rather short—and it led me to some parts of Warszawa I hadn’t seen yet.

After circle, I went back to the hotel for a shower and change, to head out again for dinner.

Tonight’s pick was Zapiecek, where I had some bigos and potato dumplings with cottage cheese. The bigos was not my favourite, I must admit, the sauerkraut taste was stronger than I expected…

My last beer stops in Poland were the very hip—think fancy cocktails and bouncers—Cuda na Kiju, and the infamous PiwPaw Beerheaven.

Warszawa & Berlin – Day 1

Welcome to Warszawa!

My European Sleeper arrived in Berlin Hbf bang on time—even though the stewardess warned me it often arrives early—so I could stick to my schedule and go full Hobbit: have a second breakfast!

I actually saved most of my packaged train breakfast for later, so there was plenty of room to indulge in the breakfast buffet at the InterCityHotel Berlin Hauptbahnhof. More importantly, it provided me with a very comfortable ‘waiting room’, since my next train would be three hours later! I’ve spent enough time aimlessly wandering through the Berlin train station or just having fast food on previous trips, so having some comfortable seats, power, and clean toilets was nice for a change.

My next train was the Berlin-Warszawa Express, run by the Polish rail operator PKP Intercity. In a little over five hours it would take me to Poland’s capital Warsaw. At about 1160 km from Brussels, this also marks the furthest destination I’ve reached by train… so far!

The train was a bit of a special one: lots of 6-seater compartments, and for first class it was the only option. Not my favourite seating arrangement, when not travelling with people I know… However, since the booking system didn’t allow me to pick a specific seat, I booked first class anyway, so I would at least have slightly wider seats. And complementary snacks and drinks, apparently!

After finally arriving in Warszawa, I took a bus to the ibis budget Warszawa Centrum check-in. I booked the hotel when I was still hoping the Warsaw Beer Festival would be this week, hence the location slightly out of the centre of the city…

Bags dropped off, it was just a short and easy walk to Kawiarnia Fabryczna for some coffee.

My first beer in Poland was at Gorączka Złota. Not your typical craft beer bar, but a great start. And I managed the whole visit without a word of English being spoken! A very important phrase I looked up and memorised was “Mały, proszę” (small, please), otherwise I would have been drinking pints all night…

I had been told to check out the phenomenon of ‘milk bars’, so for dinner I went to Bar Mleczny Bambino. There I had my first taste of traditional Polish cuisine: gołąbki—stuffed cabbage leaves—and kluski leniwe—potato dumplings.

With something in my stomach, it was then time to hit the first craft beer bars: Jabeerwocky, Kufle i Kapsle, and Hopito Craft Beer.