Monthly Archives: February 2009

Hotel Oud Huis Amsterdam, Bruges, Belgium

Hotel room, Oud Huis Amsterdam
Hotel room, Oud Huis Amsterdam

The mule has just returned from five days in Belgium. We chose Bruges as our base and enjoyed four nights in Hotel Oud Huis Amsterdam, situated in a historic building overlooking one of the city’s trademark canals. We first eyed up the hotel as one of the many options offered by Eurostar in its train + hotel deals. There’s no shortage of hotel options for Bruges, however the sumptuous looking yet traditional surrounds of Oud Huis Amsterdam (henceforth OHA) won us over.

We had done our bit of research first, however, and noticed that the recent reviews on TripAdvisor were all glowing. This was very much our experience too. Our room was located in what appeared to be a relatively new extension added to the first floor, yet still part of the main building with views over the canal. The room was spacious, offering a blend of tradition, modernity and comfort that worked very successfully. Wooden beams sat aside glass tables and comfortable chairs in an ensemble that seemed inspired yet effortless. The tiled bathroom appeared at once to be clean and nicely appointed, with a stone style finish that retained an air not out of keeping with the rest of the room.

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The Mule goes on tour…

We’re off to Bruges for the week, so hopefully we’ll come back inspired to write something scintillating for your enjoyment. No doubt we’ll be Tweeting, though, so keep an eye on the right of this page.

Incidentally, I may finally have found an extrovert activity on public transport that doesn’t offend me: a man reading a book to his daughter on the rail replacement service. How lovely. Virgin trains would be inestimably improved by this service.

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Have only just registered the ‘Muffin the Mule’ punnage potential…

dsc_0450 Turns out making muffins can be a social activity as well as providing breakfast. Behold our muffin-orgiastic pile of twenty eight (made in three batches) !

Having been thrust unwillingly (ha ha) from our place of work at lunchtime on Friday thanks to the snow, three quarters of the department and I retired to our kitchen to bake (well, I baked and they moaned about the state of the carpet. The hoover’s broken. Okay, they did some mashing and peeling).

Incidentally, and on a slightly different note from usual, found a lovely story about a mule in Livy’s History of Rome (44.40) this week. The Macedonians (this is before the complete conquest of Greece in 146BC) and the Romans are encamped either side of a river, reasonably peacefully. A highly inconvenient Roman mule escapes from its handlers and wanders into the river, where it’s found by two Thracians, who try to drag it onto their bank. A couple of Roman soldiers follow and kill one of the Thracians, which starts a full-scale battle.

So, other than about the mass production of muffins, we have also usefully learned this week that inconvenient mules have existed throughout the ages. If anyone knows of any other mule stories, we’d be delighted to hear them!

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Dara Cottage in the snow

Sunday

15.42: Brief light flurries periodically since 10am, but nothing more significant. Reading the weather warnings, however, encourages hope of 15cm over night, which would be pretty amazing for North London. Let’s get out there and do a snow dance, people! Dan’s successfully managed to light the fire and it’s definitely making a difference.

15.54: Snow clouds gathering – you can tell by their slightly yellowy-grey appearance. I hope.

16.01: A flurry! Let’s see how long this one lasts…

16.06: So that was five minutes, then. It looked quite promising for a moment, there. We need more cloud cover.

16.36: Here we go again…

17.37: Very dark down our little close now, so harder to keep track of possible snowfall.

18.33: Hmm… should have started by now.

Monday

09.12: Tons of the stuff. Judging by the bin lids, we have 10-12cm. Neither of us need/can go to work because the schools are shut, the entire bus network has been withdrawn and the tube is considerably broken (Londophoto-0015n is ridiculously bad at dealing with any kind of severe weather). And it’s still snowing!

09.56: Dan’s going to make an attempt to get into work via the overground.

10.18: It’s stopped actively snowing, but more forecast for later. Amused to see the report that Harrow Council have used up 25% of their annual grit allowance over the last 24 hours.

12.17: Right, enough of this sitting around watching Mamma Mia. Shall get dressed and then go and romp in the snow for a bit. Fire blazing merrily and only slight snowfall outside.

13.28: Just been out to make a snow Roman (see pic on the right). I’ve never actually made a snow man before! Leaves came in handy to make the laurel wreath. It’s started snowing again.

Better do something useful. Snow tipping out of the sky, which’ll hopefully be so substantial that we’ll have to have tomorrow off as well!

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