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Paris – Jan 2020

January 22, 2020 Leave a comment

Our first trip of the year, and we get the train for 2 hours all the way to Paris.

Weather was very good albeit chilly and despite the press suggesting the city had been closed since before the holidays, we managed to get around using public transport with no problems.

In short , a lot of walking and some amazing eating including the 15 euro cake (amazing), the savory buckwheat crepe with Egg, ham and mushrooms. Also amazing. And lastly a perennial favorite for us travelling to the French capital, Dim sum in the Galeria Lafayette.

Click on photos for comments.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai Nov 2019

November 13, 2019 Leave a comment

Due to poor planning by British Airways we had to cancel a holiday to Dominican Republic and find somewhere else sunny and relaxing.

We decided on the Middle East. Somewhere we both know very well through work , but we hadn’t been to AD (together) since about 2006, so assumed it had changed a bit if the ever increasing size of Dubai was anything to go by.

We landed at about midnight, so it was collect the car, hit the hotel and it’s bedtime. A quick look around suggested standard top end ME hotel. Massive lobby, lots of staff buzzing around and copious gold fittings.

Our room was very nice, and quite sizable, with separate bathrooms, his and her sinks, and full wall windows. We were lucky enough to be on an”exec” floor meaning we didn’t have to go to a restaurant for breakfast, got snacks during the day and a few free beers pre dinner in the evening.

We did two trips during our stay, both recommended. One was the Formula One track your. Very knowledgeable guide, and there was stuff happening on the track, as well as preparation for the upcoming AD GP. I won a competition to do a lap (driven) of the Drift course. Great fun, not as terrifying as it looks. It was on the actual F1 track. So if anyone spins off due to excess rubber on the north end of the track, apologies.

The other was the Grand Mosque. Not normally a visit for me but the scale of this place is amazing, and just the fact they can keep the whole building that clean and white in a desert is amazing in itself.

The drive down to Dubai was strange, There only seems about 15 miles of gap between the two now, where it used to be long periods of open desert.

We arrived at the palm in no time at all. I discovered the joys of valet parking this trip, so we dumped the car and got our room. Once again very nice, but no fancy extras, but a balcony. This was nice as the weather got cooler.

Very little sight seeing, as we have spent so much time there, but we did find some new places. The pointe, a shopping centre on the palm, not so fantastic but functional.But it has amazing views of the Atlantis Hotel at night. Bluewater is another “coastal” location, but has what will be the Dubai “Eye” being erected currently. It also houses Caesars Palace, which for a country with no casinos, caught me a little on the hop.

We did manage to join friends one day for a boat trip out from Dubai Marina to roughly the length of the palm. A little choppy out to sea, but a great experience.

Last but not least we went to Dubai Old city one night for dinner. Its quite ironic to knock down old buildings, build loads of new restaurants in the same shape buildings and reopen the areas as Dubai Old City. But no one ever said the place was not ambitious.

We also made our usual visit to the Burk Khalifa but didn’t go up this time.

The day before we left it rained. Hard. Very Hard. In fact some of hardest rain I have ever seen. When you live somewhere where you hardly ever see rain drainage is not top of the list. Therefore after an hour, there was some pretty serious standing water. I only have video so cannot put up here, but google recent rain in Dubai and you will see some interesting sites.

Great trip, next up the good ole US for Xmas. Maybe.

Calgary and the North – August 2019

September 9, 2019 1 comment

Recently went over to Canada for some R+R, and started in Calgary and , headed North up to Jasper and Canmore and some places in between. Had a great time but the photos are the winner here.

So heres some notes I did for someone else, and the photos:

Johnson Canyon near Banff. Bit tourist, made paths etc. 2 Waterfalls. Not the end of the world if you don’t get there, but worth taking a look if its quiet. I say that as its one way in and out, and if it’s busy I imagine a nightmare.

Peyto Lake. Just off the Icefields Parkway North of Banff. Short walk from the car park but the view is amazing. Once again could get chaotic if busy, but worth it.

Further north around Jasper you have Valley of the Five lakes. Proper hike for about 5 miles, not surprisingly, around 5 lakes. Some great views, nice bit of countryside. Bring mozzie repellent. By the state of me once we had finished, bears would have been welcomed !

Maligne Canyon. Bit touristy and made paths but worth the walk along ever increasingly deep canyons and water just crashing through.

Lake Louise and Lake Moraine. Lake Louise is the jewel in the crown and has a 5 star hotel attached. We blagged our way into the hotel car park for nish, but they will let you in for $20 if it’s not too busy. Else it’s get lucky in the nearby public car park, or its a 7km park and ride. Canoes for $100 an hour. No thanks !

Moraine is close by and more normal and worth the short drive. Also has a shuttle service but we managed just to drive on in. I thought the actual view and lake was better at Moraine but seemed to be in the minority.

Grassi Lake. We went here on a recommendation from an old friend who now lives in Canmore, just outside of Banff, who we saw for dinner. I didn’t even know she lived there until 1 week before we left. Hadn’t even spoken to her in 10 years ! Any way. It’s a locals hike, quite a bit uphill with 2 amazing smallish lakes at the end, but the view of the main lake from the top of the hill is worth it as well. Bear country, take your spray.

If you fancy something more hardcore in that area, there’s Ha-Ling peak

Japan – November 2017

December 17, 2017 3 comments

Last month we were lucky enough to go to Japan for a week or so. Absolutely amazing place and somewhere I need to spend more time. We based ourselves in Tokyo and and had a day in Kyoto.

Central Tokyo like most cities is full of shops and offices, but the sheer amount of different shops they manage to pack into one building through vertical integration does give that feeling of claustrophobia. We were staying just outside the centre in the Hilton , which is more in the business district of Shinjuku which gave us some relaxation away from the neon and bustle.

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A weekend in the Highlands – Easter 2016

April 3, 2016 Leave a comment

To most who know me, I am an Londoner / Southerner, with an definitive accent to match. To those that really know me, I have a big ole family in the North of Scotland and that is where we ventured to over the Easter weekend, to see places old and new, and visit family and friends. To truly appreciate this area could take about a million photos, but heres some from that fantastic weekend. Also, who thought not having a mobile signal for 4 days could be so great. Click on the photos for a better view. All taken with an iphone 6

Barcelona November 2015

December 6, 2015 Leave a comment

So part 2 of the Autumn travelogue series is Barcelona. What a place. I had been here several times but always work related not as a tourist. So this time we put this right in style.

Another first was our flight. We used Southend Airport. If they have your destination on the their flights, and you are in the South East, I would use it. So easy.

We stayed at Hotel Sixty Two which was a smallish boutique place on Passeig de Gracia. This means basically you are in the middle of everything. The main attraction in town is the Segrada Familia, a cathedral that has been over 120 years in the building and still has 30 to go. It was designed by Antoni Gaudi and is still being built to his initial designs, with successive architects taking on the challenge and adding a small amount of their own ideas as well.  Hence most of my photos are from there. We also went to Casa Batllo on our last day but I seem to have no photos but it is another Gaudi masterpiece.

On with the photos.

 

 

Vegas October 2015

November 18, 2015 5 comments

Things have been pretty busy, so this is late, and forms part one of a 3 part travelogue, covering Vegas, Barcelona, and Versailles. Here we go.
On Saturday we travelled via Seattle, and enjoyed 2 on time flights and actually got to Vegas 30 mins early, which was nice as we were meeting my Brother In Law, who had come down from Canada for the week, for his first trip.

Quick dash to the rental lot to pick up my Dodge Charger (nice win) and we checked in, at what is now becoming our second home. Excalibur.

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The Ride and Driver

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