Monday, 19 September 2016

More low-key travel

I've a whole array of unfinished posts. It's quite scary, really. Now I need some quick posts to cover a week of travelling, it's time to dust off one and sort of finish it.

It's about a trip to Nijmegen me and Dolores made last winter. Yes, it's taken me the best part of a year to get around to finishing it off. What a lazy bastard I am.

Dolores had never been to Nijmegen before. "Let's go there, then." I said. We had to go somewhere. Our cheap day tickets expired in a few days. It was a case of use them or lose them.

We'd bought the tickets to travel to the Kerstbierfestival in Essen. Then discovered it was all ticket and sold out on the day we planned attending. Bum. Time to find another destination. Quickly. Harlingen - which looks lovely - was too complcated a journey. I couldn't persuade Dolores to visit Zwolle. And Arnhem was out because "the station is too far from the centre". Options running short, we finally settled on Nijmegen.

I must be mellowing. Because I didn't buy any cans for the train in the station. Just a newspaper. The journey was magical. A low, grey sky barely illuminating the washed out verdure of the fields. Not that I was paying the scenery much attention. Too busy reading Private Eye. I've managed to get two issues behind and I needed to catch up. At least that was my excuse. I let Dolores devour the paper.

Considering it's vomitting distance from the German border, the trip to Nijmegen is short, just under 90 minutes. And then just a few minutes' walk into the centre. Dolores was keen on dropping by Primark to get some clothes, so we headed there first. It was mobbed. But Dolores managed to pick up somedead cheap clothes for her and the kids.

Shopping out of the way, it as time for refreshment. Nijmegen is a slightly odd town, mostly as a result of heavy wartime damage. The Americans accidentally bombed it, believing it was in Germany. It means that a lot of the city centre is compased of fairly bland postwar buildings. Though some of the older fabric of the city has survived.

One of those bits is now a brewery, Stadsbrouwerij De Hemel. Though it is sort of hidden around the back of the city centre, the sole older building is a sea of modern flats. It's all a bit odd.

They've been around for a fair while and have built up a reasonable reputation. For a long time it was the only brewery in town, though now it has several companions. Brewing is booming in the city. As it is in many parts of Holland.

Inside there are two rather grand rooms, with high ceilings and at atmosphere of the past. One houses the brewing kit, the other the bar. We settled in the one containing the bar and set about resolving our refreshment issues. Beer and food - what more could you need? A happy hour or two was spent gnawing away at out hunger and thirst.

On our way into town I'd noticed a beer shop, De Bierhoeder. Seemed a shame to just walk past it again, so in we popped. They had a very decent array of locally-brewed beers, of which I pliucked a dozen or so from the shelves. I hadn't been looking at the prices and had quite a shock when I came to pay. Many were over 3 euros a pop.

Still, at least I had something to pop on the journey back. And much classier than a can of Heineken.

Stadsbrouwerij De Hemel
Franseplaats 1,
024-360 61 67

De Bierhoeder
Bloemerstraat 86
6511 EM Nijmegen
Tel: +31 24 3601620

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