A Jet Set Lifestyle: NOORDZEE MER DU NORD – BRUSSELS, BELGIUM

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I totally dig Croquettes and I totally dig shrimp. So when I read online about Noordzee Mer du Nord and their shrimp croquettes I knew I’d be taking a trip there.

First off their menu goes far beyond shrimp croquettes and it seems everyone loves them as they were packed.

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This is a very large stand. The cooking happens inside but it an open building style where you walk up to the counter to order your name is called you grab your food then hope to find a place to stand at one of their standing room it tables. They have a lot of these such tables however they are very popular and every table was full.

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The standing room tables

Did you know croquettes could be grilled or fried? I didn’t. I know them as fried only. But the shrimp ones come only fried. So I placed my order.

My name was called rather quickly for how busy they were. It’s served on a small plate. There are two shrimp croquettes, a little dipping sauce, and a small salad.

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These little guys were delicious. I must say however though being heavy, there’s only two so they aren’t very filling. They’d make a good snack or a great accompaniment to more food. The outside was fried to a perfect dark golden complexion and the inside was smooth and creamy with bits of shrimp both blended in and folded in.

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If you dig seafood I suggest you check this place out. Everyone seemed to be ordering the soup. I’m unsure what kind of seafood soup it was, but it seems like another popular option, especially if you are looking for something to go with your shrimp croquettes.

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Note that because it is a stand there is no restroom here.

Happy 2nd Birthday A Jet Set Lifestyle

2 years ago today I started this blog. I know with the support of my faithful readers my audience can continue to grow.

If you don’t already please follow me on:

Twitter @ajetsetlifestyl (not a typo, there is no e)

Instagram @AJetSetLifestyle

Facebook @AJetSetLifestyle

And please, retweet, like my tweets and posts, share, comment, invite others to like, repost blogs, comment and like blogs, etc.

Thank you for all of your continued support.

 

-Meg

A Jet Set Lifestyle

A Jet Set Lifestyle: A day trip in Amsterdam

I took a day trip to Amsterdam with dreams of seeing the Van Gogh museum, the Resistance Museum, and The Anne Frank House so with much to do I figured the 24 hour Amsterdam city card would be helpful.

I was dreadfully wrong.

You can buy tickets for The Van Gogh museum online but then you cannot get in free with the city card. You can buy tickets online for the Anne Frank museum as well but the time is from open until 3:30 PM, sell out months in advance, and again cannot use the city card.

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Well, I hadn’t bought Anne Frank tickets ahead of time so I decided my plan would be to hit Van Gogh, Resistance, and Anne Frank.

The King and Queen were also in town for the day so many of the tram routes were rerouted and I was left stranded at multiple stops. I finally got to the Van Gogh museum in the early afternoon. Or should I say I got to the line. The queue just to buy tickets was an hour and a half, then there was the queue to actually get in. I sadly decided I needed to skip it.

I headed over to The Resistance Museum dealing with more transportation delays. This one I was able to walk right into. I spent a couple hours here. I’ll be writing a separate post about this museum specifically.

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From there it was time to get in line for Anne Frank. Granted I could have lined up first thing in the morning but since all of the other museums closed earlier than the Anne Frank and they didn’t even start letting in people from the line until 330 I had opted to go stand in line after I went to the other museums.

I got over to the Anne Frank museum and saw the line went down the block, down another, and down another. The Anne Frank museum was not happening.

The city card was a waste as a  24 hour public transportation card would have been much less expensive, but how could one know this? Well, now you do. So don’t make my mistake.

I took a canal cruise just trying to try make the card worth something. I’ll be writing about my second chance on a canal cruise in a separate post.

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So how does one make the most of a short amount of time in Amsterdam? Well if museums are important to you, I suggest knowing you want to go to Amsterdam far in advance and booking and paying for tickets and a time slot ahead of time. Then once there buying an unlimited transportation card.

A Jet Set Lifestyle: Pinballz Arcade

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I’ve been to multiple Barcades in NYC and the one in New Haven, CT as well. So when heading to Austin, Texas for the first time and hearing about Pinballz Arcade I thought I’d check it out.

Well Pinballz Arcade is an arcade as you remember them from your youth (if you’re my age or older.)  This isn’t a bar, this is an arcade, and a huge one at that. There were multiple rooms to lose hours in.

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Obviously there were rows upon rows of pinball machines, but beyond that there was skee ball, basketball hoops games, driving games, multiple player arcade games etc. And best of all you won tickets and could get prizes just like when you were a kid! And let me tell you, if you aren’t good at games, the prizes still suck, just like when you were a kid. But I love my little green plastic warrior man, because I won it and it’s nostalgic. So I suppose “suck” is relative.

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Bring your young ones and check it out, or re-live your childhood with your adult friends. Just don’t expect a bar atmosphere.

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A Jet Set Lifestyle: Ryanair 

On this trip I took two flights with Ryanair which is one of the budget airlines in Europe.

First off, before you go, make sure you read what the bag restrictions are as for weight and size as they are different from other airlines I have been on.

Also, know that if you are an American and you want to buy anything in flight you’ll need an American Express card or the currency for the area for which you are in. I had my Visa and Mastercard both of which were declined simply because they were not accepted. Side note, Discover users you’re really out of luck in Europe as just about every place (besides Ryanair) seem to accept Mastercard and Visa only for American credit cards. Though some will also take American Express.

Okay back to my two Ryanair flights.

My first was from Copenhagen to Denmark. That flight was miserable. The plane landed late so I understand the crew wanting to turn over the plane quickly and get my flight off the ground but the head flight crew member was awful.

They had us come out on the tarmac to begin boarding and the flight crew is mingling about. The head flight crew guy stands at the top of the plane steps claps his hands loudly to get the crews attention and begins yelling at them to pay attention and to get on board.

The flight begins to board and there is a man in a wheelchair sitting at the bottom of the stairs. When the head attendant reappears at the top of the stairs the man in the wheelchair calls something up to him. It’s not in English so I’m unsure what he is saying. This crew member begins yelling at him in accented English and I catch some of what he is saying, “You’re not my boss” then he calls to the airport member who is with the man in the wheelchair to explain the situation to him. I am assuming it is because they brought the man in the wheelchair out first (it was cold mind you) and having him wait to board last. I would be wondering why I was waiting as well as most flights have those who need extra help go first and board first. Furthermore if he’s not going to board first why was he brought out to the tarmac to sit in the cold and wait?

Well on the flight itself I slept for much of it. I wake to shouts and cries for help. This alarms me I take off my eye mask and attempt to turn around. My turn radius is not so good at this point and whatever is happening is happening directly two seats behind me.

I hear shouts for a doctor as you see on television. I am hearing people calling out that someone is having a stroke or a seizure. Then I hear the same flight crew member yelling at everyone to sit down, that he is not allowed to get up right now and since we were making our decent nothing could be done until we touch down on the ground.

People begin getting angry and rightfully so. Despite the protestations of the flight crew member the man sitting next to the sick person gets up and gets the sick man’s bag from the overheard compartment. He finds the man’s medicine and the seizure stops.

Once we land the medical team comes on board and they begin having us all deboard. I hope this man is okay and I hope this flight crew member is dealt with. Maybe rules are that those in wheelchairs do board last but be nicer about it and don’t make the handicapped come out so soon. Maybe on decent you aren’t supposed to get up and they fear more people will be hurt if they allow others to get up to help, but I feel the flight crew must be willing to get up, not the whole crew, but at least one appointed member.

I really hope Ryanair learns from this. I knew I had a second flight booked with them already, but after that flight I was really turned off. So I knew I’d take that second already booked flight but then never fly with them again.

On my second flight it was a better experience. Granted I was unable to even buy a bottle of water since I didn’t have paper or coin money with me and the only American card they take is American Express which I don’t travel with. And medically I need water so that was a problem. But the flight crew were all professional and one particular member was extraordinarily nice. So, because of him he may have possibly saved the company from losing a future customer, despite all the damage the man did for their reputation on the first flight.

A Jet Set Lifestyle: The Belgian Comic Strip Center – Brussels, Belgium

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So I used to read comic strips as a kid but in my adult years I have put down the funny pages, mainly because I read my news online rather than a newspaper. I however have gotten more into comic books, or more specifically when a run is put together in a graphic novel form rather than each separate book. I just don’t have the time to keep up with that.

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So when I heard about the comic museum in Brussels I was intrigued. Unfortunately, I quickly learned it’s not about comic books, but about comic strips. It’s fine, I was already here and I am familiar with some comics. This museum deals mainly with artists from Belgium, so I knew less than I thought, though it was interesting to learn that some of the comics I do actually know have Belgian roots.

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In the gift shop you’ll find a mix of items having to do with characters from both comic strips and comics books. You really only need about an hour and a half to go through the museum, and it’s really not a place for small children. If you’re interested in the history of this art form I suggest it!

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A Jet Set Lifestyle: Freetown – Christiania Denmark

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Freetown is a hippie commune. Originally Freetown had been military barracks But when they became abandoned neighboring people began to use the area as a playground for their children. Eventually people moved in and began squatting. It wasn’t until 1994 that residents had to begin paying taxes.

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There are quite a few entrances into freetown but there’s a main entrance and exit point. Many residents of Freetown do not want photos taken of even the entrance and exit ways. Knowing this I was waiting around for a clear moment to take a photo to not catch a resident and a man who looked like he was in his 40’s came out and yelled at me and told me to not wait around, to take a photo and to leave.

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As for inside there you can wander around the streets and see the dilapidated houses but the area where everyone seems to want to go is where pot is sold freely.

Now I’ve never been an advocate of such things but I decided to take a quick walk down the street, mainly because it looked as if there were several restaurants and this lady needed to pee! TMI? Yeah, sorry about that.

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Annnywaaay, as you are about to enter this area where pot is freely sold by just about every person standing along the both sides of the street street there are multiple signs saying no pictures can be taken.

When you get to end of this area you get to the main exit of Freetown where there is a sign that says “Now entering the EU.”

In this area you will find shops selling beverages, food, and various items made by residents of Freetown. Feel free to support local artists.

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A Jet Set Lifestyle: The Little Mermaid Statue – Copenhagen

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So in all tourist destination cities there are some things you have to see because when you get home you’ll be asked if you went and if you respond no you will then be questioned as to why you didn’t go.

Well in Copenhagen one of those things is The Little Mermaid Statue. So I went. Yes I saw her on the canal cruise, but again, you can only see her backside. So I headed over to see her face because not everything should be about a woman’s backside now should it?

Well she’s a little bit of a thing. Not as small as I expected when hearing she was little but certainly not the size of say Alice in Central Park.

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I thought it would be impossible to take a photo with her, but luckily despite a crowd of people most were relatively considerate. There were a couple of Asian gentleman that made the rest of us tourist look bad, but I had definitely seen worse.

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A Jet Set Lifestyle: Hamlet’s Castle

Hamlet. As in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Yeah that guy. He has a castle in his home of Denmark. Sort of. Now we know Hamlet wasn’t real but there’s a lot of mystery surrounding Shakespeare. Things weren’t well documented and preserved then. A little ironic with him you know being a writer and all. Some of the things that Shakespeare supposedly wrote the world isn’t even sure if he did. And new research says there are a few things credited to that definitely were not written by him. Was Hamlet? Who knows.

Did Shakespeare ever visit Denmark? Who knows. If you do know please inform the rest of us.

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The castle is actually called Kronborg Castle, not Elsinore. And King Frederick the II lived  there with his wife Sophia of Mecklenburg-Güstrow and their 8 children, not Hamlet. (Granted others lived there as well but while touring the castle you learn much about this particular family.

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Inside the castle you can head through and see where the King Frederick II and Queen Sophia actually lived, worked, and entertained. I have been inside of Palaces before but never an actual castle so this was a treat.

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The exhibit was so so. I would have hoped there would have been an exhibit dedicated to Hamlet but there wasn’t.

There is a tour a couple times a day of the dungeon or you can go on your own. There is also another tour that is a Hamlet tour but unfortunately there wasn’t a chance for me to go on that one due to the time I arrived. At the time of writing (2017) this tour is an extra 50DKK.

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The King’s bedroom
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Where the King worked

If you want to check out Hamlet’s Castle it’s a little over an hour outside of Copenhagen right on the water in Helsingør. There is a train from Copenhagen and then it’s less than a mile walk to the castle. You  can see the castle the whole walk.

Supposedly there’s a ferry that takes 15 minutes from port to port that brings you to Sweden. So if you really wanted to you could hop on over then say you’ve been to Sweden. I myself wanted to get back to Copenhagen.

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