This month, many old trips, just got back from Budapest!

Been ill, tired, busy, and watching too much football the last month, but feel energised.

Correct, did a week’s travel on some European trains the last month, and ended up in Hungary – will go again. The above shot is, I believe, of a Budapest post box, or something along those lines? My Hungarian is not what it once was!

Whilst there, with a “recommendation” from a friend, just HAD TO go to the New York Café therein. Really? The “New York Café” in Budapest (Ed; NOT Bucharest!). And even (above) after 9.00pm, there’s queues.

This month will definitely will write of this recent foray to Europe, that saw us also in London and Paris – My God, why have I not been there for 30 years? In addition, still want to show some fotos from America, some places in Scotland, more from Germany and a voyage a month ago to Porto.

CB

Belfast, Northern Ireland – Part 1

ICC in Belfast

I’ve been to Belfast / NI, about a half a dozen times the last decade, for a variety of reasons; travel, golf, to see friends, etc, and each time it appears to be more vibrant, cosmo, livelier and “better” if one can use that word.

The Garrick

For today, I decided to have a walk around in the evening with my partner, and after leaving the ICC, we headed for a pub that we’ve been to before, The Garrick.

What a selection of beer, and a simply excellent, hearty menu. Ah tradition, I love it. Equally, there must have been an Erdinger bier promotion (both here and other places in Belfast), as the blau und weiss colours of Bavaria were everywhere.

From here, we had a stroll to Belfast City Hall, a hall that makes the one in Glasgow, look like a dump! I noted this to one of the very kind, security guards inside, and surprisingly, he told me that, that was the second time he had heard someone tell him that, on the day! Whilst inside, we naturally signed the condolence book(s) for Her Majesty, the Queen.

From here, again, we went to a familiar pub, and favourite of mine, The Crown Liquor Saloon, an antique of a bar owned by the National Trust.

A pub that always seems to have a decent pint of real ale on the menu. And equally, seems to always be packed with tourists.

Part 2 to follow, one can hardly wait!

CB

Month Ahead – Various past trips but also a recent one to Northern Ireland

Finally this month, with enough time, will return to blog about recent trips to Germany, America, London for Wimbledon and maybe a few more (Ed: Didn’t you just get back from St Andrews, Scotland, again?).

Belfast City Hall

But the last trip, was a quick 6 days to Northern Ireland, where I stayed in Belfast and had a day trip to the wonderful county of Armagh.

This was probably the sixth or seventh time the last 10 years for me to travel there. And I’ve always wondered just why, more people do not do the voyage? The flight was only about 25 minutes (!) from Glasgow – it literally takes off, and then sets down, stressing the ease of making the trip there.

And speaking of Ireland, both North and South, when back, I decided to go “Oirish” and buy a different type of porridge!

I’ve seen these Flahavan’s for some time, and felt that they would be too expensive when compared to the bog standard, dreadful things that usually come in a plastic sack.

Well, with the recent inflation, they aren’t any more and I can only say, that their “quick oats” design is a winner! In fact, you don’t even need a microwave, boiling water does just fine.

But talking about Northern Ireland, as usual, the people there were incredibly friendly, whether in Belfast or in the country and this week, will put several entries on Belfast, the Churches there, the Titanic Museum (where I had a wonderful dinner), and various things that I encountered there.

CB

Glasgow; various eateries; Nostrana & the Finnieston Fez

So I finally tried, after it was only open a few weeks, Nostrana, a new Italian place in Hyndland (just north of Soul Space in the link), Glasgow.

Nostrana, Hyndland, Glasgow

It was nice, very friendly service (my date spelled their coffee, and they were just SO helpful with them, even giving a new one FOC!), with food that at first seemed “small”, but was huge.

Handcrafted pizza

As usual, I felt that a normal dish would not be enough, wrong again! I ordered some bread, whilst the plus 1 chose their salad; both ample enough.

Well worth it, but no doubt during the winter, it’d be desirable to sit inside.

4/5

This brings us to the Finnieston Fez, located on the eastern edge of Finnieston, in the West End of Glasgow.

To be honest, this was a surprise, though I had walked past before, and always had a hankering to sit in the window seat. I shall return.

While inside, I was literally the only one there (later there were more, almost packed), and was confronted with several very lovely people. What a joy, they WANTED to be there! Isn’t that a good feeling, I was not intruding.

The menu is a Moroccan type of Mediterranean thing, and I opted for something simple – a Falafel Panini, and just had to have the sweet, traditional, Moroccan tea – glad I did. And for it to be served in a traditional setting, perfect.

As for the Panini, it was flavourable, and not overbearing. The tee-pee type of container contained slight chillied olives.

I will return.

4/5

CB

Kelvingrove Bandstand Concerts this Summer, Glasgow

Once again, the adage about something being on your doorstep, that you don’t even know about.

Kelvingrove Park Bandstand, West End, Glasgow

Had a walk on the weekend around the West End of Glasgow, and after hearing some music coming from the park, had another walk on the Sunday, and came across the above concert series; and they even had a drinks van from West Brewery in Glasgow!

I have to admit, I didn’t know a thing about this, and thoroughly enjoyed the hour I was there, listening to brass bands, one from the University of Glasgow.

Glasgow University Brass Band Ensemble, Glasgow

I would say that at least the powers that be, who run Glasgow, are attempting to have something for everybody here. This was a very friendly, family-oriented event – more please.

It also it is good, to see this once, run-down venue, being used more and more these days, particularly with their summer series concerts (rock, pop, etc) taking place here the last few years.

Very pleasant.

CB

Euro Trip – A good idea from Germany – the 9 Euro Ticket

So I’m over there in Deutschland, and the partner says to me, “I’ve got you one of these 9 Euro tickets.”

“Ah, I’ve heard of these.”

Yes I have, due to the online job that I have, where I communicate daily with many Germans.

It’s an (was) interesting idea and one that gave even more benefits, besides just being able to use it on a train.

You could use it on buses, trams, underground systems(?), everything BUT the ICE trains in Germany. The ICEs are the Inter City Express trains, that are not only quicker than normal ones, but have a good deal fewer stops as well.

Not only that, but another huge benefit, was that it did NOT expire after you used it, but was valid for the entire month of August (I believe?).


Many of the trains / buses were packed, and some were not, so it was not a panacea; OTOH, it was just SO convenient to use, and no doubt the German authorities wanted to see just how much of the public transport their citizens would use for one month, if it was, in effect, free.

Why oh why don’t we at least TRY to do this here?

CB

Europe – Start of my last trip, Hull to Rotterdam via the Ferry.

Very comfy bed in a double room cabin

I have to admit, normally I prefer DFDS Ferries, but this slightly older P & O one was perfectly fine, though it was packed with families and their kids.

We had stayed the night before in York (blog soon!), and then caught the evening (early, almost missed it!) ferry to Rotterdam, from Hull. I prefer this, rather than going to Amsterdam, as I’ve always felt (perhaps wrongly) that it is easier to get out of Rotterdam.

And the room was plenty big enough, though it did not have a window. Not really bothered, as I was really only in the room to sleep and shower. Also, there was even a “desk”, though the Wi-Fi was simply too expensive to pay for; I believe it was 9 euros for 3 hours.

The partner in crime had the top bunk, whilst I took the bottom bed, and yes the pillows looked and were, not my cup of tea, but two of them together were just firm enough for a good night’s sleep.

And speaking of showering, it has always amazed me, just how much “kit” there is in one of these ferry’s bathrooms!

Complete, even with shower gel.

Next will be the road trip to the Black Forest.

CB

Euro Trip – Germany and France – A random walk in Bavaria

Yes, in Bavaria again, and have always found it very good, to just go for a walk and see if there is anything different that strikes me.

I’ve been to Germany many times, but something always hit me, that many who have not been here, would probably find quite odd.

Yes, the above is a gigantic (not sure if I’ve blogged on this before) climbing wall, right next to a children’s school or nursery (a KITA perhaps).

With a smaller wall, for the children I presume?


It’s part of a club, and is right in the middle of a housing estate; but looks very well maintained. And the walk there, involved some grapes, growing at the rock wall by the sidewalk! Amazing.

Equally, just round the corner, as this was a Sunday walk, came across one of these huge quality / inexpensive German supermarkets, where the amount and variety of goods is amazing.

This was a Kaufland, and owing to German laws, it is not open on Sundays! In fat, NOTHING is open on Sundays, except bakeries, some restaurants, and petrol stations (maybe more, but am simply not sure).


As you can see, NO ONE is there, as the car park is empty.

Interesting.

CB

Cavavin, Hyndland – Cafe’ish & Wine Shop – Wonderful surprise

Cavavin – Street Wine Bar with nibbles

Cavavin has been here at the junction of Hyndland Road and Clarence Drive, only for about two years plus? Not too sure, but recently, or the last few months, they’ve offered a street service, though this may have been here longer (they also have a very small seated area inside, near the beer section in the back)?

Equally, it’s possible to have small side plates with your obscur’ish wine; the usual ones though quite delicious – humous, olives, etc. I had the hummus and pitta bread, which fitted perfectly (some portion!)

I hardly think this is bandwagon jumping, as there are simply not enough wine bars / wine and snacks type of places here; Lord, do we really need more cafes?

Though naturally, it is possible to get a coffee, tea and even a hot chocolate here as well.

I certainly look forward to the winter, when I’ll definitely be here on the odd mid-week evenings.

CB

Jordanhill, Glasgow – the Prancing Stag – Restaurant

Nice touch with a business card

Have you ever walked, biked, carred, etc, by a place, and still never have gone there? This happened to me with the “Stag“, so after needing car repairs, we finally decided to pop in here; a place that has had numerous name changes over the years – I’ll be back.

As the name indicates, it has a Scottish / Scottish Highlands type of vibe going here, with food to match. We were brought out a free Aperitif that was a delight, particularly the butter, if that is what it was. I then ordered the Venison to share – a perfect mixture of meat and fruit.

The menu had a variety of meaty, fishy, and even non-meat dishes, that all were true to this theme and also to many other, “modern” restaurants in Scotland, particularly in the West of Scotland / Highlands.

Pork Belly & Chorizo and the Fish (x3) special on the evening

For the mains, we chose the crispy pork belly, that was perfect; crispy but at the same time, the meat melted from itself. My partner in crime simply loved the fish, it was also devoured.

This was both classical stuff and modern. They pulled it off perfectly, and a quick glance at the numerous reviews on TripAdvisor, will only confirm this.

The dessert was perfect, a parfait, with that new thing called “soil” – merely a crispy bit of crumbs, in this case chocolate.

In addition, the knives are this new type of design, where they can stay “standing up”, if laid on a flat surface.

5/5

CB