Brewdog Pub, Aberdeen, Scotland



AJbeerBrew Dog Pub

Castlegate branch, 1 Union Street, Aberdeen

This summer, we were visiting Aberdeen again, for a conference, and got a taxi from Aberdeen airport to our hotel. The taxi driver told us about 2 places, which she really liked, that were new to us: Brew Dog pub, and CASC (see next post). It turned out that Brew Dog was right below our Royal Athenaeum Suites, so it was a perfect location for us—just go downstairs and next door.

Brew Dog is a spacious ground-level pub, with high and low tables of all sizes, serving craft beer, handmade coffees and some food (plus other drinks, if you want). I’m not really a big beer drinker (although I like to try a little), so it was good to see that their wine list wasn’t too bad either.



It has a lovely atmosphere and really friendly servers and seems to be very popular, as it was always buzzing. It’s a place that welcomes dogs and there were many in there, each time we visited. They provide doggie water bowls and the first time I didn’t realize where the bowls were placed, and kicked one over!



There’s also a “BottleDog”, a huge fridge with hundreds of beer takeaway offerings. This ‘BottleDog’ off-license is a nice addition as you can buy beer to take away or, for a corkage fee, drink it onsite—a great idea if you want to try something that’s not on tap at the moment.


Part of the beer menu


deciding what we want

The large basement section is called the Underdog, which also has music until late many nights—a popular local night club.




RwindowThe pub is a success story. One Brew Dog pub already existed in Aberdeen and the company, started out by two local guys, wanted to expand, so they converted the ground floor of the Athenaeum building. Hence the slogan “Made in Aberdeen”. There are also branches of BrewDog in Dundee and Stirling, Scotland. They have now also gone international, with some BrewDogs in London, one in York, one in Columbus, USA, Florence, and in Berlin (I’m sure there may be more, but these are just examples). They would also like to open in other countries, such as Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin, Zurich. It’s a company that pays a living wage and the couple of servers we chatted to seem very happy to work there.



With our Japanese friends, Satoshi and Max

tasting map

Beer tasting map—what fun

We popped in a couple of times, and also came with our Japanese friends who were at the conference too—they loved it. The beer is pretty good, with very interesting/fanciful names, such as Jet Black Heart; Elvis Juice; Punk IPA. It also has other drinks, of course, and has a pretty decent wine list too. But it’s not a place where I’d personally choose to eat, as they offer just typical pub grub really, like big burgers, fries, chicken wings. Although our grandson had a snack here one evening (big burger) and it did look pretty good, I must say.




Badger Statue in Madison, WI


Our first view of this symbolic work of art


The four stones, plus badger on the ‘trough’ with pool

We love outdoor sculptures and were doubly delighted to find this one: it’s got an interesting meaning and has a badger too (I just wrote about badgers being the mascot for the University of WI); plus two Buckys (Bucky the Badger on parade this summer) are right near it. This sculpture, in the form of 4 large stones and a bronze badger and baby on a long slab like a trough, is on the small plaza next to State Street Brats in Madison, Wisconsin.

First we saw the badgers, then we saw a series of stones and initially it wasn’t obvious that they were supposed to be linked in any way—until we found the plaque explaining it.



A Bucky just beyond one of the stones is looking fierce

The plaque tells us that it is called “The Four Lakes” (2009) by Andrea Myklebust and Stanton Sears. The two artists both live in Stockholm, WI, and have been working together since 1993. They have completed many public commissions throughout the USA.

The Four Lakes” refers to a traditional Native American name for the Madison region. The 4 boulders create an abstract map of Lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, and Kegonsa, the lakes around which Madison sprawls. The badger with a baby is a symbol of the state and an allegory of “alma mater”, the nurturing mother.

Flamingo Wings


Pink Flamingo Wings


One city banner celebrates flamingos

We were strolling around downtown Madison, WI, mostly checking out the Bucky on Parade statues, when a wall painting caught my eye. It’s of two flamingo wings, outspread, but not joined. It’s a wall installation, called Pink Flamingo Wings, on the side wall of the Wisconsin Historical Museum, Madison, on the edge of Capital Square The artist encourages people to take photos standing between the flamingo wings and pretend to be a bird, but I didn’t see anyone doing that while I was there.

The artist is Gabrielle Javier-Cerulli a mixed media artist. She lives in Madison and is the Program Director for VSA Arts Wisconsin. Installed in 2018, this is a temporary public art project until the end of summer 2018 (probably linked to the Bucky of Parade).


Real flamingos in Madison’s Henry Vilas Zoo

Why flamingo wings?

Early one morning in 1979, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the city of Madison


Postcard of the flamingos of Bascom Hill

woke up to the most unusual sight of more than 1,000 pink plastic flamingo ornaments filling the lawns of Bascom Hill, the incline that leads to the Dean’s office on campus. The student government “officials” from the Pail and Shovel Party, also responsible for the ephemeral replica of the Statue of Liberty on frozen Lake Mendota, had looted student government funds to create the display as a massive prank. Apparently generally people these days agree that the money was well spent.


This Bucky on Parade is called “One leg up”

The flamingo continued to be important on campus, and in 2009, the Madison City Council voted to name the plastic flamingo as the city’s official bird. Funny, but an interesting story!

This year, U-W is hosting the Bucky on Parade and a couple of Buckys are graced with flamingos.



Wisconsin Badgers and Bucky


A Bucky statue at the Henry Vilas Zoo, Madison, where there are real badgers


One of the Buckys on Parade, looking rather fierce

pieces signWe’ve recently returned from a 10-day trip to Madison, and Spring Green, Wisconsin. Partly for a conference for my husband and partly a short family break with some of our family from St Louis.

Wisconsin is known as the Badger State and the university mascot is a badger called Bucky. This year, from May 7-September 12, Madison and Dane Country are hosting a large public art display called Bucky on Parade.  Many life-sized Bucky badger fiber-glass statues, all individually designed and painted, are dotted around the city, and people (including us) are having fun tracking them down (more on the Bucky on Parade soon).


Pieces of Wisconsin Bucky at the Zoo


The State Capitol in Madison—note the gold statue atop the dome

Why badgers, and why Bucky?

The state’s nickname originally referred to lead miners who settled here in the early 1800s. The miners built temporary homes by digging caves into nearby hillsides. These caves came to be called “badger dens” and the miners were called “badgers”. Because the miners lived in these dens, they could work through the winters when others could not.

The nickname spread to include the people of Wisconsin, and then to the state itself. In 1957 the badger was adopted as the official state animal, partly because they admired its ferocity. The badger is also on the state coat-of-arms, and tops the helmet of Wisconsin, the name of the golden female figure on top of the dome of the State Capitol building in Madison.


Wisconsin, the statue (try to see the badger on her helmet)

1st and 10

1st and 10 Bucky on State Street

The Story of Bucky

Bucky’s real name is Buckingham U. Badger. His story starts in the 1890s when the University of Wisconsin-Madison football team began using a live badger as their mascot. But the animal was too fierce to be used on the sidelines, so it was sent to the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison.

In 1940, artist Art Evans drew a new mascot, but at that time it was variously called Benny, Buddy, Bernie, Bobby and Bouncey. Then in 1949 the Pep Committee had a contest to name the badger, and “Bucky”, or Buckingham U. Badger, was chosen. The winner was a student, Bill Sachse. That same year the first papier-mache head of a badger was created, another student wore the outfit, and an icon was born.

It’s a fun story, and the Bucky on Parade was a lot of fun for us too.

Jaunting Cars


Sign in Irish and English

signwpicKillarney, Ireland:

Recently we visited Ireland, partly for pleasure in Dublin and partly for a conference in Killarney. The first day in Killarney we drove south from our hotel through a little of the Killarney National Park, a lovely wooded area on the edge of three lakes.

We passed a couple of road signs saying “Jaunting Cars” and wondered what on earth that kind of car was.




by statueWell, it turns out that a Jaunting Car is a horse carriage! They seem to be a very popular way for visitors to get around the town and out to some of the attractions in the park. The drivers have a central parking area in a square in the town, where people get onto the carriages and off again at the end of their jaunt.

We saw many of these carriages on different roads and the clip-clopping of the horses’ hooves is a pleasant sound. They are beautiful animals and seem very well cared for.

An interesting name—should try to find out the reason/origin of it here in Killarney.



Baltimore’s Berger Cookies


cookiesBerger Cookies, a Baltimore favorite

When a Baltimore friend first told me about the famous Berger cookies at Lexington Market I heard and understood “Burger cookies” and could not imagine what they might be like and why they would be popular!

But, of course, these cookies have nothing to do with meat and are quite sweet. Berger’s Bakery is one of the pastry stalls in the market, selling many types of sweet treats besides the namesake cookies. Seeing we were in the market we decided that we had better try these well-known cookies, so we bought two. They are a little like shortbread


Rod M tries a Berger cookie

with a fudge coating. Quite nice, but actually way too sweet for us.

But, we did try!

Lexington Market in Baltimore



I’ve been writing recently about some lovely markets in France (see here for two of the markets https://vivsfrenchadventures.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/more-markets-dijons-les-halles/and here https://vivsfrenchadventures.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/more-markets-dijons-les-halles/), so it got me thinking about markets in the USA too.

insideWhen we were in Baltimore last year, we were excited to hear about their Lexington Market and made a point of visiting it. It’s a Baltimore icon that’s been around for 236 years and that many say shows the “real” Baltimore much better than the tourist-oriented attractions around the Inner Harbor.

It was a hot sticky day, but we could walk from our hotel (Hilton on Pratt Street) quite easily. Lexington Market in the Bromo Arts and Entertainment District downtown. This area was once thriving and those days seems to be coming back as it evolves into an arts and tourist destination.




aisle2It’s a large interesting covered market, but done in a different style to those in France. For us, it was interesting to see how they do a covered market here and compare to those we know in France. The main difference is that this seems to offer way more prepared food, cooked food, stuff in boxes (sadly most we saw weren’t really the healthy types of food), and not that much fresh produce, although we did buy some bananas. But, the fresh fish was impressive—many types, all laid out on ice, and at a very reasonable price.

It’s also a bit dark in places, with no outside, natural light.



Although famous, and well-loved by locals the other noticeable negative that we found was that the market doesn’t seem to be in a great part of town currently and the area around it seems rather run-down and a bit sketchy. Hopefully that will change as a reconstruction takes place (see below).

Bit of history:

This is the oldest continuously operating public market in the country, since 1782, so is almost as old as the USA itself.

General John Eager Howard, famous in the Revolutionary War, donated part of his family farmland to be used as a market. At first the market was called the Western Precincts market as it was on the far western edge of town, but was renamed after the Battle of Lexington, the first battle in the American Revolution. It grew rapidly and soon became very popular and famous, with many well-known people passing by or stopping in. For example, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Painter James McNeill and novelist William Thackeray wrote about it, and Ralph Waldo Emerson visited it and extolled it as the “Gastronomical capital of the world”.


The fish stalls were great


cakeAfter the Civil War, and right up to the early 1900s, Lexington Market was also a social center where people could talk about current news and produce prices. You could also find local musicians, other buskers, fortune-tellers, and religious groups or economists on their soap boxes. As more immigrants came into the city, the market adapted accordingly with new stall keepers offering exotic foods over their counters.

By 1925, there were hundreds of stalls under 3 block-long sheds. There were just as many stands and carts outside, and traffic had become a problem. One mayor felt that the market should go, should be closed down, but that never happened despite many attacks, as it was too popular and vibrant.



PandoraWhat did change the market was a disastrous fire in 1949 that caused millions of dollars in damage. But, this gave an opportunity for a more modern building with refrigeration and stoves to replace it—the building that we see today.

A Baltimore pamphlet tells us that these days there are more than 100 vendors, who serve up items like seafood, chicken and waffles, and brisket sandwiches. Famous are Faidley’s, known for crabcakes, and DeBaufre Bakeries, which sells the well-known Berger cookies.


Red snapper—you can tell that we like fish!

fishclose2And another big change is in store for the market. A huge new market is going to be constructed on an adjacent lot, starting this year (2018) and then the current market will be demolished. The current market will not be demolished until after the new building is constructed (which is projected to take about 26 months), which will allow vendors to stay open during the process. Inside the new building, vendor booths will be expanded, aisles widened and layout simplified. Vendors will have more room for prep, cooking and display. They also plan special educational and event spaces, including a demo kitchen and cooking lab for kids. Once the existing building is demolished, the land would be used for a public park and weekly outdoor market for local farmers and fishers to sell their produce.

I’m not sure if this has all started—maybe we need to visit Baltimore again to find out!

Address: 400 West Lexington Street

Open 8:30am-6pm Monday-Saturday


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