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What's going on?

Well, back when I started writing the mini-travel guides it struck me that my mind is full of lists, and I'm forever comparing new experiences with old ones (some would say that's a bad thing, I know!).

Anyway, here's a snapshot of my mind right now - obviously more recent trips burn brighter in the recesses of my mind, whilst further away trips may have been romanticised a wee bit. Either way, this may give you an inkling as to whether my opinions are on the same wavelength as your own.

Cheers, Paul

(This section was last updated, ever so slightly, in December 2009)


Top for drinking I

  • Poland (for vodka)
  • Brussels (for excellent, fruity beer)
  • Prague (for excellent, cheap beer)
  • Düsseldorf (for excellent, slightly unusual beer)
  • Lille (for excellent, French beer)

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Top for drinking II

  • Germany (for beer)
  • Moldova (for wine, but not sherry!)
  • Budapest (for the House of Hungarian Wines)
  • Slovakia (combining Czech-like beer with Hungarian-like wines!)
  • North America (for micro-brews)

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Top beer I

  • Schumacher, Düsseldorf (for sheer addictiveness)
  • Pilsner Urquell (from a "tank" pub, prefereably), Czech Republic (for rarity value - best of a very good lot)
  • Mort Subite, Brussels (for fruitiness and freshness)
  • Guinness, Ireland (for saving me from an acidic lager hell)
  • Sarajevska Pils, Sarajevo (for an unexpected taste sensation)

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Top Beer II

  • Krausen, Bremen (like bitter, churned-up Becks)
  • Augustiner, Munich (touristy, but good!)
  • Kriek, Belgium (proto-alcopop fruity goodness)
  • Dark Star beers, Sussex (from Espresso Stout to APA, they're all good stuff)
  • Harveys beers, Sussex (some of the best bitter known to man)

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Top spirits

  • Killepitsche, Düsseldorf (for herbiness)
  • Becherova, Czech Republic (for being nicer than absinthe, and going great with coke))
  • Zubrowka, Polish bison grass vodka (for not giving me nasty hangovers thanks to the apple juice)
  • Flavoured Dutch schnapps, Amsterdam Tasting Houses (butterscotch or rum and raisin?)
  • Vana Tallinn Creme Liquer, Estonia (Baltic Baileys)

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Areas for great pubs

  • Altstadt, Düsseldorf ("longest bar in Europe")
  • Opatovina, Zagreb (for everyone having a good time)
  • Railway arches, Innsbruck (something for everyone)
  • Altstadt, Heidelberg (for olde worlde German drinking and food)
  • Sinchon, Seoul (for drunken rice wine and fruit platter pub crawls)

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Top German pubs

  • Schumacher Stammhaus (Düsseldorf)
  • Zum Roten Ochsen (Heidelberg)
  • Malzmühle (Köln)
  • Zum Uerige (Düsseldorf)
  • Hövels Hausbrauerei (Dortmund)

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Top Prague pubs

  • U Zlateho Tygra
  • U Cerneho Vola
  • Prvni Pivni Tramvaj
  • Pivovarsky Dum
  • U Fleku

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Top Baltic pubs

  • Hell Hunt (Tallinn)
  • Troika (Tallinn)
  • Veerev Olu (Pärnu)
  • A La (Riga)
  • Avilys (Vilnius)

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Top French & Spanish pubs

  • Les Frères Berthom (Strasbourg)
  • Les Trois Brasseurs (Lille)
  • The Fairy Forest (Barcelona)
  • Bar Pastis (Barcelona)
  • Manolo's (Valencia)

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Top south-eastern European pubs

  • KGB (Bratislava)
  • Hobbit (Zagreb)
  • Little Britain (yes, seriously!) (Skopje)
  • Amsterdam (Bucharest)
  • Cafe Muppet (Sarajevo)

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Top English pubs

  • The Selden Arms (Worthing)
  • The Garland (Redhill)
  • Bag O'Nails (Bristol)
  • The Plough Inn (Coldharbour)
  • The Claret (Croydon)

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Top Brussels pubs

  • A La Mort Subite
  • A La Becasse
  • A L'Image de Nostradame
  • A Vieux Au Bon Temps
  • Cantillon Brewery visitor's bar

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Top Glasgow pubs

  • Blackfriars (Merchant City)
  • The Clockwork Brewing Company (Mount Florida)
  • The Three Judges (Partick Cross)
  • The State Bar (Charing Cross)
  • Allison Arms (Pollokshaws Road)

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Drinks to avoid

  • Stun Commando, Poland (makes Buckfast look sophisticated)
  • Zalgiris Midus, Lithuania (for straw-melting strengths of 75% ABV)
  • Absinthe, Czech Republic (for tasting like petrol)
  • Scrumpy, Bath (for it's sleep inducing powers)
  • Mad Dog 20/20, Milngavie (for un-necessary fruitiness)

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Top hotels (that I've slept in)

  • Grand Dedeman, Chisinau, Moldova (for unexpected luxury)
  • Commodore, Busan, South Korea (for the chance to stay in a landmark)
  • Excelsior, Hong Kong (for great views over the harbour)
  • Regent Petite France, Strasbourg, France (for ultra-modern and comfortable in a tasteful, old town setting)
  • Marina Residence, Antalya, Turkey (for a friendly, postcard-perfect hotel in a magical setting)

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Top for women

  • Lithuania (Best in the Baltcis)
  • Macedonia (Best in the Balkans)
  • Korea (absolutely stunning)
  • Turkey (slightly unhinged)
  • Slovakia (like Prague, but more so)

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Top for cheapness

  • Prague (for cheap beer)
  • Portugal (cheapest original-EU country)
  • Moldova (for ultra-cheapness everywhere)
  • Romania (everything's cheap, bar the taxis!)
  • Turkey (prices are merely a suggestion, and an excuse to start a lengthy debate)

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Top for unpredictability

  • Hong Kong (for sheer numbers of people in small spaces)
  • Poland (for drunken lunacy at every turn)
  • Turkey (a maverick country full of maverick, but very friendly, people)
  • Slovakia (not quite as ordinary as the next-door neighbours!)
  • Iceland (for vikings who can't hold their beer)

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Top for architecture

  • Heidelberg, Germany (for medieval, and original, architecture)
  • Washington DC, USA (for so many landmarks in one place)
  • Vilnius, Lithuania (for wide, sun-kissed-yet-cold streets and colour)
  • Istanbul, Turkey (for stunning mosques and markets)
  • Strasbourg, France (olde-worlde Alsatian meets ultra-modern EU)

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Places not to go back to

  • Wloclawek, Poland (for being the worst place on the planet, apart from the Warka Strong Club)
  • Stuttgart, Germany (for being too new, and not enough decent accessible pubs)
  • Rimini, Italy (for being too spread out, and too shut)
  • Helsinki, Finland (saw it all in less than a day)
  • Oslo, Norway (very boring and very, very expensive)

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