The Naked Ladies, Twickenham

The Naked Ladies are located in the gardens of York House, Twickenham, London, England, the history of which is detailed further down the page.

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Budapest: Breathtaking Beauty

Budapest, Hungary, is a stunning city under the light of day or the sparkling lights cast from its regal buildings at night and reflected on the River Danube, which slides through the two halves of Buda and Pest. (Part 1)

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Buda looking toward Pest

It is a very walk-able city with plenty of sights and sites to view along the way, be they churches or cafes on a square with sprawling pavement seating. (Part 1)

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Hungarian Parliament at night

The food, especially the duck and fish, is splendidly prepared and presented. But finding a quality beer here can be a bit of a challenge but with research and determination it can be done. (Part 2)

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When the beer offerings were at a low ebb, I switched to Hungarian red wine, which was plentiful and of good quality, hitting the right notes of fruit forward with a nice peppery finish. (Part 2)

Broadway, Worcestershire, England: Golden Gem

I’ve been to the beautiful village of Broadway many times. Here are a few images that suggest why I like to return so much!

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Looking up the curve of the High Street as evening settles on the village.

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The Old Stables on the High Street is resplendent in its golden stone.

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An inviting courtyard off the High Street begs the question of what might lie beyond?

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St. Michael and All Angels Church, circa 1840, the other side of which lies my favourite pub, The Crown and Trumpet.

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Impressive buds of garlic showcased at the Broadway Deli. Fine meats and vegetables are found here. Tea and coffee, breakfast and light lunches are also served.

The Craft Brewers Conference 2016-Philadelphia, PA

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Over 13,000 eager delegates descended on Philadelphia May 2 to 6 to purchase new brewing systems, services or ingredients, learn more about the art and science of brewing and selling beer, drink beer with their buddies from other states and provinces and explore the City of Brotherly Love.

 

 

The showcase BrewExpo America®, which had more than 800 vendors, was of staggering proportions, the enormity of which made the feet tingle after a tour of most of the .5 million square feet of floor space at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.  newlands bellwoods

 

The seminars were thorough and thoughtfully presented, from a Retailer Panel about Selling Craft Beer to a How to Transition from a Nano to a Microbrewery.

 

The economic impact was estimated to be $23.8 million USD for Philadelphia.

 

With literally hundreds of beer related events in and around the city during CBC16, there was never a shortage of things to do or attend.

 

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The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company did not disappoint with an event highlighting its incredible range of beers brewed in collaboration with a number of breweries across the USA called Beer Camp Across America 2016 Collaborations.

 

The beer and food pairings were brilliantly executed and generously set out around the dedicated dining room at Time, 1315 Sansome Street, for happy CBC attendees.

 

This was another great educational and fun Craft Brewers Conference put on by the Brewers Association that delivered big time on all fronts!

Cesky Krumlov: World Heritage Site

Krčma V Šatlavské, Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

DSCN0242On the train, actually more of a three-coach tram, one being empty, trundling up a steep incline toward Cesky Krumlov a World Heritage Site in the hills of the Czech Republic, I am told by a local that there is one place, one bar, that he considered to be the very best in the world. Whether or not this is true, I am certainly hooked on the concept of putting his comment to the test.

I find my hotel and quickly dump my bags in the room. On the way out, I see a local tourist office and drop by to make an inquiry as to where the Tavern in Satlavska Street (actually Gothic dungeons of the old town prison) is located. A smiling official says it’s just up the street, turn left as you go out the door and you’ll see it on your right. Not far away, I turn into the bar, find a seat just left of the door, and order a glass of the original Budweiser, Budvar, known for years as Czechvar over in North America due to an on-going legal battle with Anheuser-Busch over rights to the Budweiser name. This has been settled in AB’s favour with the purchase of the Budvar Brewery. Budvar is still a refreshing brew with a good hop quotient matched to a sturdy backbone of malt.DSCN0235

To my right, about half way along the opposite wall, is an open wood fire beneath a four foot by three foot black iron grille, which has two levels of cooking grilles, both on rollers. The waiter, dressed in medieval attire, delivers my beer and then slides over to flip chicken breasts, wild game, spit-roasted pig, and thick sausages on the grilles. He then delivers more beer to other tables, goes to the kitchen to retrieve cooked potatoes and garnish to complement the almost ready meats. Plating the meat, he delivers the dishes to table, returns to my table to take my food order, the mixed grill, and he sets off to tend to the grille again. He rolls out the two grilles, pokes the embers around a bit and then places a couple of logs on the fire, returning the grilles in place after the initial flare-up has subsided.

I return on another night to find the place packed, and find a seat in the caverns nearer to the back of the place. This time both grilles are tightly packed with grilling meat, mainly featuring meats for the mixed grill. It is an impressive sight indeed.

Was the Krčma V Šatlavské (Tavern in the dungeons) actually the best bar or pub I have ever been in over the years? I am reserving judgement as I am quite certain I will be visiting other fine establishments in the coming years. It was certainly a fine and unique place. The food and beer were both top notch. The atmosphere was warm, inviting and genuine. The hard working staff were friendly and helpful. The total experience was fabulous and I have a certain longing to return and sample its wares again. I very much admire the hard working waiters who not only are servers but cooks as well. But with so many other great places around the world, to name just one place seems so unfair, unfair to all the other great pubs and bars awaiting my first visit. And still others that demand a return visit. I await.

http://www.outsideprague.com/cesky_krumlov/satlava_tavern.html

The Fleece Inn, Bretforton, Worcestershire, A Gem of a Pub

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Unchanged since the mid-17th century, The Fleece Inn, a National Trust treasure, has a quarry of little rooms surrounding a tight little bar. High-back settles face in toward an inglenook fireplace and there’s a famous pewter collection in the main dining area, beside the servery hutch. It is a welcoming, traditional pub in the finest sense. On tap, guest cask ales and Uley’s Old Spot, which has leanings toward malt sweetness, and while the hop bitterness lags initially, hops come charging through in the finish.

 
Hearing that the timeless Fleece had sustained considerable damage in a ripping fire a few months after a visit in December of 2004 was most distressing, though it didn’t surprise me as the fireplace in the pewter room was discharging quite a bit of smoke into the room the day of my visit. The fire, however, did not originate in the pewter room as one might have suspected but in a fireplace in a small room at the far side of the bar, and from there spread to the roof, as well as to the toilets out back. Villagers raised the alarm and raced to help remove and save the fine pewter collection and the antique furnishings.

DSCN0625In order to restore the pub interior as close to original as possible, the pub’s landlord, Nigel Smith, requested that anyone who had pictures or digital images to send them to him. I sent a few images along and I like to believe I helped in some small way to restore this quality inn, which has a single letting room.

Fortunately, the pub has been returned to its former state of glory as a traditional pub serving locals and visitors alike. They even re-painted in the witches’ circles in front of the main fireplace.

Since then, I have been back many times to the Fleece and can happily vouch for the quality of the cask ale and the plentiful plate of perfectly cooked fish and chips.

The Fleece featured in the first CAMRA Good Beer Guide back in 1974 and is on CAMRA`s National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors.

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