January 12, 2012 11:20 AM   Subscribe

A city, a bed, a bar and a book. Can you help me get away more in 2012?

For the first time in 20 years I am no longer tied to a full-time job. I'd like to spend more time in Europe this year in regular short but sweet bursts of 2-3 days. I've always enjoyed just propping up a bar and soaking up the atmosphere everytime I've travelled and would like to do this rather than hit the tourist trail. Can you recommend great cities easily accessible from the UK (i.e. one flight or train journey), a place to stay, a bar to drink in and a book (ideally connected to that place) to read. Bonus points if the bar serves great food and is near the one must see or do that city has to offer.
posted by veryape to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

Lovely sounding plan!

Take the Eurostar to Brussels, then BNCF to Bruges, stay at the Hotel 't Keizershof (nothing fancy; like staying at a family vacation house), drink at 't Brugs Beertje. Have lunch at the pub that's next door to the Hotel. I forget the name, and they're new. (Google Maps & other online resources are no help.) I had a beer braised chicken there that was one of my most memorable meals in 2011. No suggestion for book - everybody I talked to told me to watch In Bruges either before or after I visited. Great town to wander & drink through.

Fly to Duesseldorf Weeze; drink altbier at Zum Schlussel. Eat "mett". Great people-watching.

Other German cities that are smaller than I'd expected & perfect for pub culture: Koeln, Muenster. Would be hard-pressed to find pub names now.

If you can find your way to Middelburg, The Netherlands, drink & eat & stay at De Mug. Their ribs were delicious.

In Prague, stay at Hotel Meran - simple but clean & central. Drink at Vinárna U sudu, underground & cavernous.

Sorry I don't have book suggestions!
posted by knile at 2:04 PM on January 12, 2012

City: Budapest

Bed: Corinthia Hotel
A beautiful 1896 building, restored in 2003. The central location can't be beat.

Bar: Menza Restaurant
Retro-70s soviet canteen style, with delicious Hungarian food. Patio on a pedestrian street during the warm months.

Book: Prague
Yes, that's right – a novel set in Budapest called Prague. Some parts can be a struggle to get through, but others stay with you for a long time. Much like Budapest itself.

PS. Try the baths.
posted by Kabanos at 3:10 PM on January 12, 2012

I was cyberflying around with google earth earlier and thought it might be nice to spend a few days in San Sebastien, or maybe even Toulouse, for no particular reason. But I would play it by ear in terms of hotels and bars and allow serendipity to do her thing.
posted by mareli at 3:41 PM on January 12, 2012

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