A Long Weekend in Liège and Maastricht

We needed to get the heck outta Dodge. Well, I did. With no travel from Mallorca until last weekend, it felt like we hadn’t been anywhere in ages. Don’t get us wrong, we’re enjoying the new place. But a whole lot of work intensity and no change of scenery to break it up made for a very real need to escape for a bit.

So here’s what we did:

  • drove to a Ferienwohnung1 in Liège, Belgium
  • dug up Belgian grub there
  • trained it to Maastricht for a day
  • drove back to Regensburg

That helped.

Our FeWo was in the Fragnée neighborhood — with a couple sandwich shops and a big grocery store nearby and an easy walk to Liège’s central station, Guillemins.

Fragnée Neighborhood Liège

The station was impressive during the day, but other-worldly at night. It reminded me of something out of “Encounter at Farpoint.

Guillemins Station Liège
Guillemins Station Liège
Guillemins Station Liège

Our landlady recommended a couple nearby restaurants, but none were able to accommodate us on short notice without a reservation. So we followed our noses2 to Namaste India, not far from the train station. Expecting MEAT AND POTATOES from Belgium later on that weekend, we tried to get our vegetables on with some of our favorite vegetarian dishes. And it was quite good.

Namasté Liège

Getting some frites from a frites joint downtown with a line out the door, we spotted this dish:

French Fry Baguette

Yeah, that’s for real. And it was a popular choice among the locals: 4 or 5 others got the same order.

After our first night, we were able to get a table without a reservation at Au Concordia. It was a little fancier than we expected, considering its proximity to the train station, but we didn’t feel out-of-place in our weekend clothes compared to the other tables. We were very impressed with the MEAT AND POTATOES here. Star of the show: the green peppercorn creme sauce, which was great on the fries, the boiled potatoes, and the steak.

Rumsteak, Frites, Boulettes at Concordia Liège
Central Liège

Liège was pretty, but kind of weird. We’ve been to plenty of places that have a mix of old and new architecture, but that’s usually been due to aerial bombing (see Nuremberg, Berlin, etc.). This felt like it was on purpose.

Construction in Liège

I wonder if this construction crew above has read the book below.

Dutch Shade

We spotted that book at the Bonnefanten Museum in Maastricht. Getting there was a cheap and easy half-hour IC train ride from the space mushroom in Liège. On the way, we needed some coffee and pastries. Enter Limburgse Vlaai.

Limburgse Vlaai
You can bet we’ll be seeking out recipes to replicate that at home.

It was kind of a long walk from the Maastricht central station to the Bonnefanten Museum, but the weather was nice, and we wanted to take advantage of that.

Bonnefanten Museum Maastricht

We were pleasantly surprised by the contemporary exhibit there — Cai Guo-Qiang : My Stories of Painting BACA 2016

The whole top floor of the museum was devoted to the career of the artist and his family — several members of which are talented in their own fields.

Before leaving Maastricht, feeling pretty MEAT AND POTATO‘d up, we picked out a highly-rated Indonesian restaurant. We were lucky to get a table without a reservation — the place filled up around us. We ordered a vegetarian Rijsttafel3. All the otherwise-meaty bits were supplanted by tofu in various forms. It was all delicious and an excellent contrast to the pervasive MEAT AND POTATO cuisine in Liège.

The next day, we got up a little earlier than otherwise, breakfasted on some supermarket findings from the day before, and had an easy drive back to Regensburg to face the onslaught again.

  1. vacation apartment []
  2. actualy, TripAdvisor []
  3. Not just rice, but also noodles! []

A week in Eastern Italy

October was a big month for us. Really big. Yuge Enormous, even.

  • We went on vacation at the beginning of October.
  • We moved from our beloved literal island in the Danube onto a figurative island in the city.1
  • I changed jobs and office buildings at work.2
  • We went on vacation again at the end of October.

It’s almost the end of November now, and it feels like we’re still trying to catch up from October. We’d planned this trip many months in advance, coordinating with my parents and their friends in several different countries, and so bailing or rescheduling it to let us concentrate on our impending move across town and adjustment to a working kitchen again was not an option. Not that we wanted too, anyways — after getting the details mapped out with the new landlady and previous tenants in our new place, it was good to get away from a stressy bit at work. Continue reading A week in Eastern Italy

  1. More on that later, maybe. []
  2. Same boss, same employees, but new, old, and different stuff for me. Probably no more on that, ever — here at least. []

Italy Road Trip May 2016, Part IV: Naples and Pompeii

It’s been a little hectic around here since we got back.

Our story thus far:

  • Sarah flew down to Venice to meet up with our pal Rachel
  • Cliff drove down to Piombino Dese to pick them up at the train station and eat and sleep at Ca’ de Memi
  • The three of us drove to Siena and explored for a few days
  • Then we made our way to Rome, where we walked A LOT and ate a lot
  • After five days in Rome, planned a route through Gaeta, tried some tielle there, and braced ourselves for Neapolitan traffic

It. Was. Bad. Continue reading Italy Road Trip May 2016, Part IV: Naples and Pompeii

Italy Road Trip May 2016, Part III: Exploring Rome on Foot and Departure

We walked our feet off in Rome. And why not? We had great weather the whole time we were there, and armed with some offline Google Maps marked with stuff we wanted to see or eat, we navigated on foot a lot after taking the Metro in from Cornelia to someplace more central, like Barberini or Spagna.

One glaring and super-convenient exception to that: our hotel offered a shuttle service from their reception to the entrance lines of the Vatican Museums. It was dirt cheap but classy door-to-door service — one of our favorite things about the hotel.1 Continue reading Italy Road Trip May 2016, Part III: Exploring Rome on Foot and Departure

  1. Alas, they were pretty disappointing in some other ways. See the previous post. []

Italy Road Trip May 2016, Part II: Sleeping and Eating in Rome

Arrival and Hotel

We drove in from Lago di Bolsena sometime around 7:00 p.m., expecting to have missed rush hour traffic. Whoops: we landed smack in the middle of it. A friendly taxi driver told us Italians start and finish their workday later, and consequently rush hour traffic runs later. We followed instructions from our GPS and rolled up to our hotel, the Church Palace, oohing and aahing at the gated entrance to the generous and secluded parking around, set several hundred yards back from the Via Aurelia. Continue reading Italy Road Trip May 2016, Part II: Sleeping and Eating in Rome

Italy Road Trip May 2016, Part I

In May 2016 we took our longest road trip yet through Italy. It was a challenge to plan, given three participants on two continents, all with their own scheduling constraints, but we pulled it off to great success.

1st Leg, Regensburg to Piombino Dese to Siena

Continue reading Italy Road Trip May 2016, Part I