Crap coffee in Kyoto

I’m beginning to think Kyoto is the crap coffee capital of Japan, just have not found anything at all decent. There is a proliferation of drip coffee vendors which seems to be quite popular. Haven’t even seen a Starbucks yet, although I’m sure they are around.

I didn’t get a coffee yesterday, cold coffee in a can was it. In the morning we had a 7:45 train to make and I thought it was going to be the same again. I even bought a tinned coffee as a backup incase I couldn’t find one.

On the platform we did manage to find somewhere that at least sold machine made espresso. Not great but better than nothing.

Station coffee vendor. Selling both drip coffee and machine made espresso

Coffee’d up and ready for today’s adventure in Japan!

To the Land of the Rising Sun

Was a very early start to the day, 8:15 flight out to Tokyo from Sydney so had to be at the airport by 6. I never sleep much just before a big day of travel anyway so doesn’t really matter much. Was actually up at 3:40 so had plenty of time to get ready. Drove to the spot where I was meeting my travel buddy Dave. Got to the airport in no time and we were through emigration and security by 5:45.

A few shops were still opening but grabbed an ok coffee from one of the many overpriced vendors in the departure area. Coffee, muffin and bottle water, ka-ching! there goes $20

This JAL flight was My first trip on a 787. JAL had us all boarded quickly with the expected and welcome Japanese efficiency. The rain had cleared by takeoff, so nice and sunny departure. First impressions of the 787 is good, it does seem noticeably quieter than other jets.

JAL offer inflight wifi at USD18.80 for 24 hours. Not cheap by any means but better value than what Singapore Airlines offer were it was a per megabyte charge. I’ll probably take advantage of that on the night flight home

Food was ok, worst impression was that I did think there was a lack of toilets compared to other jets. There were none up the back. Good legroom for economy

When we landed in Narita I was very surprised that we just got dumped on tarmac, 10 min on bus into the actual terminal. Narita is undergoing major renovations

Got through immigration and customs quickly, found the JR office and had our rail passes and all seat reservations done within 20 minutes

Then waited about 20m for the Narita express and the ride to Shinagawa took about an hour. Luckily the hotel was really close to the station and we found it quite easily.

Room not massive but decent enough for 4 days. Got to shinagawa at 8pm and it was still pumping with people, easily more busy than any Sydney station would be in peak hour.

We headed out for a late dinner and crossed to the east side of the station, lots of little places to eat. We settled on one and had some fabulous Yakatoroi and steak with beers for the princely sum of ¥2600 (about A$35)

Coffee in Vienna

Coffee has a rich history in Vienna and an entire culture developed around it that is different to the rest of Europe. It dates back to the time of the Ottoman Empire. Being there a day I hardly even scratched the surface of all the wonderful offerings there, however here is a summary of the various coffee types you will see

Kleiner Schwarzer / Großer Schwarzer:  a single or double espresso

Kleiner Brauner / Großer Brauner: Also a single / double espresso, served with a small jug of milk for you to add to make it brown.

Verlängerter: An espresso with added hot water. translates as “an extended one”.

Einspänner: Espresso topped with whipped cream.

Cappuccino: Obvious

Wiener Melange: Usually shortened to just melange, from the French word for “mixture”. This is an espresso with steamed milk and topped with a little foam. Apparently less milk than with

Biedermeier cream and a shot of apricot liquor

Franziskaner Same as a Melange, but with a dollop of cream

Häferlkaffee mug of milk, with a drop of coffee for taste

Wiener Eiskaffee. An iced coffee.

Associated Coffee

On the way to the office today I swung by Association coffee to grab the daily fix. On the way was an interesting sculpture, which is actually a cross section from an Airbus jet. Calling it a sculpture in my opinion is a bit of a stretch, I’d call it a cut out cross section personally, but it was interesting none the less. Especially considering its right in the middle of central London.

The coffee from Association was very good. I think the coffee from Secret Frog is still slightly better, however this is of course dependent on the barista of the day who makes it for you. As a bonus, they also do Vegemite on toast, and after not having it for two weeks it was a divine experience.

Association are obviously quite proud of their coffee, they have on display a London Coffee guide, and sure enough they are featured in it. If I’m here next year I’ll be grabbing a copy of this one !

Obligatory Daily Gherkin with Secret Frog Coffee below. I had to pop out to the post office yet again to post another book home, so swung by Secret Frog for one last fix before we head out to Paris tonight.


Department of Coffee

Today I finally had coffee at a cafe I noticed two years ago but never got a chance to visit. This year I made time out of work to walk the 15 minutes up Bishopsgate’s road past Liverpool St Station to get coffee from the “Department of Coffee and Social Affairs”. It was a solid 7/10 but unfortunately I was a little underwhelmed given it was such a small coffee for £3 and the Gherkin coffee yesterday was closer and pretty good.

A cool name does not always equal an awesome coffee. Maybe my expectations were a little high

And let’s not forget the Obligatory Daily Gherkin. Today it combines coffee and bikes !

And the Gherkin tonight

The mood in London tonight was totally electric given the UK beat Colombia in the World Cup match to get into the quarter finals. Even I, one of the most sport agnostic people in the universe ended up in a pub watching the game on TV

Today Sharon and Emma visited Harry Potter Cash Extraction World. Updates on that to come later…

Keep calm and go to London

It was time to bid farewell to Krakow and head west to London. At the same time Sharon and Emma were on their way to London via Hong Kong as well.

I Got up early, did a final pack and was out by 5.10am. I had a 5:56 train and didn’t want to take and risks in missing it. Found train platform easily and discovered it was already here, but not letting people on it yet. Everything with this train is well marked no issue finding carriage or seat number. Quite a few people already waiting for the train, this one heads across the country and its final destination is Gdańsk.

Train left spot on time. Of course the day I leave the sun is out and it looks like it will be a glorious weekend. Conductor Checks ticket and name on ticket matches passport. Even in second class on this train they give you a tea or instant coffee. Any caffeine at this time is welcome but some sugar was added to make it digestible.  Once at the Warsaw central station, quickly found the metro ticket office, bought a 75 minus ticket (the transfer takes just over 20 minutes, so the “cheaper” ticket won’t cut it). Got the S3 fast train to the airport.

I managed to spend my last 30 zlotys getting breakfast at the airport which was a coffee and an apple muffin. Not sure what it is with Airports but they food is almost exactly the same in everyone. This was pretty tasteless.

My flight was delayed out of Warsaw and delayed in Heathrow so I only really had time to check into the apartment here then head back out to Paddington station for Sharon and Emma to arrive. Arrive they did and we went out for some Pizza in the Leadenhall Market

British Airways were not having a good day. Delays at both airports and they ran out of for mid Service. Everyone says London has horrible weather. When we go there we get heatwaves !

Hello London !img_2784

We are not in Krakow anymore Toto. Back to Western European prices for thee. This would have fed me for 2-3 days in Krakow.