Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Rather amazingly thanks for asking. More later

A good nights sleep had me jumping out of my skin this morning. Well, my skin felt tighter than usual so could be only excuse. After 10 days of being a sick old fart I may just be an old fart now having turned the corner. Down for usual impressive breakfast before heading to the pool before the bulging bikinis arrive. With all the massive buildings around not a lot of sun gets through before noon but it is very pleasant and you can wrap yourself in as many towels as you like. The service level at this place is amaze balls .

As pleasant as pool was we thought we would do Miracle Garden today so yet another long taxi drive. The taxis are very reasonable price wise but as so far from most things still 25-40 AUD to get anywhere. The gardens are simply stunning and truly a wonderful display of colour. It was crowded but no big deal apart from the usual ignorant assholes who walk in front of your camera. Long time since seen so many selfie sticks.

Grabbed some very good Chinese for lunch before deciding time to check out the beach. Ah this is where the good bikini bodies hang out. Always remember there is good naked and bad naked

The water was surprisingly cool which was good as the sun has some kick. Picked up some beach mats and towels from hotel which is very handy. Back to the pool then for another hour or two and day well sorted. Will head back down around 6 pm for a drink and dinner pool side and maybe a Shisha.

Another great night. Starting to taste beer again and had another great share plate. The Shisha tested out any lingering cough and it was a very relaxing end to a very relaxing day. I could take this for a couple of days

Not a bad flight as far as these things go but we are not well in the tummy either so I ate very little and CLP had zip. We arrived in Dubai 20 mins early which is not a good thing as we then sat on tarmac for 30 mins waiting for our gate ! Standard process landing st these large airports. Ya just suck it up. Then a long taxi ride to Sofitel Jumeirah where we collapsed into bed for a couple of hours.

Decided to wander down to the pool around lunch time and it was crowded much like most of the bikinis on display. We eventually got a spot and had an easy lunch. Then checked out The Walk which has changed a lot since last here and the beach. One thing has not changed – idiots roaming up and down street in expensive cars

So not sure how these few days will pan it. It’s a nice room but is a noisy part of town. We are simply out of whack and no real energy to do much although have a couple of things on agenda. Time will tell

We did venture back to pool area on sunset and had a beer and dinner . Very pleasant end to a long day

And so we come to one of those days with travel when 24 hrs is actually about 36 hrs and feels like 48 😰

Today we say farewell to Paddington and indeed London and catch the Qantas Big Bird to Dubai tonight from Heathrow. Plan is a few days R&R in the land of sand but not all plans work well. CLP is really laid low with the lurgy at present and I am still closer to 0% than 100% . One interesting aspect of this holiday as it may well have finally killed off my desire to travel in winter and that includes Feb 2019 USA. Yes I will still do something but may stay in California rather than going over to NYC etc again . Of course I reserve the right to change my mind one week after back home in Maryhole.

Not so hard to fill in morning in hotel on a rather dreary day. After midday though we move camp to the lobby for a few hrs as even we would balk at turning up at qantas Club 8 hrs before flight . I mean you can’t can you?. Apparently not as you can’t drop bags off until 4 hrs until flight ergo 16:45 . The new lounge at Heathrow looks swank and even if can’t really taste it will definitely be hooking into the Gin bar where I did see some Four Pillars . Three more than my usual quota….

Bit of a day of reflection then. Ireland is a great country and we have some wonderful memories but fair to say we got dudded a bit. Even in February this weather was extremely bad . Did have a wonderful few days for birthday in Killarney . London has also been a bit of a washout apart from two superb dining experiences. Just not a city that grabs me like say New York which is similar in a way. Almost seems London is too caught up on the old Empire with statues up the ying yang and nothing free. Look at me, look at me. Tube works fine but not a great walking city for moi. Thames is a poor river sadly

So we stuck it out at hotel lobby for 2 hrs before heading to Heathrow with hope in our heart. Dashed again. No check in until 4:45 pm as predicted but then rather smooth and a gin soak by 5 pm. It’s an impressive lounge apart from bloody tourists . You pick a quiet corner out of the 100 free seats and fuck me if some clowns dont come and sit next to you. My magnetism is becoming a real issue so will start dialling down the charm. You were warned. It’s an impressive lounge with bars on two floors . Luckily the gin one is on ground so no pesky stairs involved. Only 3 hrs to boarding …better sign off now

Which oddly enough was the first thing Harry said to Meaghan.

Last full day in London so time for some architecture and culture . Throw in a garden and the trifecta of boredom is complete .We do have lunch booked at The Shard so timing revolves around being there at a certain time . Once I get into an Art Museum the time just flies by so have set some alarms. First up though is find a full service laundromat near by. Surprisingly we bailed at paying 3 pound to launder a pair of socks . I shit u not.

Laundry on the go so head off for some cheese and gherkin – as in how many cheesy shots can I take of it. Not many it turns out. Hard to get a shot of London skyline without a crane in it. Had a very nice coffee at Black Sheep and then was devo to find out Sky Garden was closed. Yay, more time at Tate Museum for Terminally Dull. Great little markets to walk through on way and even saw the Golden Hind for second time today. The first was in the mirror this morning to be fair. I also saw a Globe but that may have been the angle

The Tate is rather impressive if you like seeing pretentious twaddle mixed in with the odd interesting piece. My fave was the before and after shot after the cat jumped on the canvas

Some of the pop art stuff was good and it was free as were the toilets so all in all letting some art flow over me paid off in more ways than one and I like to think there will always be an exhibit of mine at the Tate now. Ya with me

Then it was onto lunch at Aqua at The Shard and let me assure you folks this was superb. The view, the service ,the food quality . Top stuff. Yes it is expensive but I’ve paid more for less trust me. The views from 32nd floor are brilliant even if London is basically a block of grey cement with some cracks in it for buses to go back and forth.

Then we still had some pesky pounds to get rid off (as opposed to alarming kilos ) so flew up to The Gong Bar on floor 52 for a cocktail as you do . Another brilliant location. I could go back just for the toilet !

So another memorable dining experience to add to list . Back for a few hours rest before catching up with the old Dazzler for dinner nearby . Derek used to work at Maryhole Pathology before it closed down . You could probably file that fact under “Rather Obvious Things I read Today” but I mean he actually left before the Day of Infamy 2012 for London. Ha, he thought he could get rid of me that easy

To be fair, pretty well over this holiday now. A few relaxing days in Dubai may spark one up but it’s been a long week trust me. Will be good to see the old red kangaroo tomorrow but will be a long day until we fly out at 8 pm

I imagine the two hours closest to that time could be spent in the Qantas Business Lounge at Heathrow. It’s the first 12 that are a bit dodgy .

Good nights sleep in what is a quiet hotel but as time goes by you see where they have cut some corners and service is poor. Breakfast was ok but not organised at all and all self help including tea and coffee. The room is warm as simply not a strong enough AC to cool it down. The pool is closed “ Thanks for your Understanding” Oh, I didnt realise we had a choice in the matter ? The towels are thin and at 2 pm on second day room still not serviced . Doesn’t help have basically been sick now since I turned 60 last Saturday . Which leaves only one question really

This morning was fairly casual with plan to walk to Camden to look for some Winehouse stuff and then onto Churchill War Rooms. We have our dinner at Dans Le Noir tonight – the blind Restaurant ! The first walk was longer than expected and did go via Baker Street. Camden does look like an interesting place but had a very poor coffee there

By now it was time to test out using our iPhones to pay for Tube rides. Worked well in the end. Got off near the war rooms so had a look around Downing Street etc on way. The rooms were very impressive indeed and could spend hours in there. You know if you were a nerd with no life.

When we came out we found we were not far from Buckinghuge Palace so why not. Men in uniform and all that . Then onto Piccadilly before catching Tube back to Paddington for some lunch at Smiths Bar and Grill. I had the ribs, I may not recover

So we had actually played typical tourist without really trying. London is a very expensive place of course and it’s tres rude to charge to use public rest rooms. Very quiet afternoon now before our rather interesting dinner. Tomorrow we have lunch booked at The Shard but were also hoping to go to the Sky Garden but sadly it is like a School for Virgins. That is, no open slots all week. 🤓 Maybe everyone takes a long jimmy in the garden rather than pay for privilege?

Well Dans Le Noir was certainly an experience . Started off great, sat next to nice couple and first course and surprise cocktail were great . Then second course came quickly along with a nice wine and all going well. Then the raucous Sheilas arrived eh and could no longer hear yourself think let alone talk. Then there was about 30 mins between second and third courses . Still sick, trapped in dark with obnoxious women. Like my worst nightmare . Or Grade 12 Formal. We had gone with the White Degustation – shellfish and meat – and 3rd course was a lovely rich dessert but even Blind Freddy knew moscato in the dark! Yuk. So, it was a worthwhile if expensive night out but totally unique and memorable . In the end we had some crocodile and reindeer even

Next time would also ask for the deaf option

So , a long day beckoned. The Ashling was an impressive hotel and a good choice given it was done in 3ms. Quite room and great breakfast . Flight was due at 1300 and as has been case all along with BA the mobile options for checking in etc are useless so little Anal Annie thought we need to be at airport in plenty of time. Taxi booked for 0900 as probably at least 30 min drive

Taxi arrived at 08:45 . No traffic. We were tarmac adjacent just after 9 am! So we start the check in process and of course not simple. Our names are on flight but don’t match e ticket. Wait 20 mins for the one operator who can fix this who is taking20 mins to deal with one customer! Then it happened. “ Hey handsome, would you like to get on an earlier flight”? Well call me Chauncey and show me the way . In a double bonus for CLP we couldn’t sit together! I got 35 F which is where they would put the second roll of toilet paper if needed. Literally the back corner. So the flight was due to leave at 10:30 but of course delayed until 11:15. No sweat . The “ flight” is nominated at 90 mins from go to whoa which allows for getting off ground and getting to gate at Heathrow. Actual fly time is only 50 mins. Still we did not arrive until after 1 pm and then bags took at least 30 mins. Heathrow is your basic nightmare. We had prebooked Heathrow Express which is a great service

Now I had joined Accor as a member and as such had booked the Novotel at Paddington for a good price . This gave CLP much pause which turned into much grief for moi given the reputation Paddington as a bit of a hole. I had done my research though and the hotel is in a revamped area and had requested a high floor. The windows are double glazed and cannot hear a thing , not even a bear wandering the hallways

Then it was time for a walk around the area . It was cool and grey but quite pleasant . Had a coffee first up and even a lamington. There is an area nearby called Little Venice and there is a far canal with boats on it. Walked to Kensington Gardens but we were a bit shaggus by now and Princess Di was still dead so back to hotel as looked like a good bar with some great share plates. And a happy hour at 5 pm every day. It was only when we sat down we realised it was only just after 4:30 pm! After 15 mins of looking at my sad face the bar tender gave us the cheap drinks

Ah so share plates are not for one 😏

All in all not a bad day in the end . Hopefully we can relax next few days, get better, and stop having to deal with a new contingency plan every few hours

I couldn’t Bear it in Paddington as well

So , plan today was to train it down to Waterford and back as trains supposed to be “ back on track” at 0900. They are not and so our plans lay shattered on the floor like a smashed 14th Century Ming Dynasty Chamber Pot. Oddly here at Rosquil breakfast only starts at 0900 on weekends or as we call it back home – lunch! Thus on the good news front we do indeed get to have one last full Irish breakfast here . Little optimist me .

Like a snowball rolling down a hill gathering abandoned rail tickets our plans are also of the rolling variety and likely to change as day progresses. First update is

0800 – have booked pm train to Dublin and a hotel in Dublin thus forfeiting our last night in Kilkenny. We now await Irish Rail update at 10am to see if in fact train is running . I feel like I am in prison and certainly have the Blues, just hope I hear that train a coming soon or I may just have to shoot a man

What a fookin nightmare . Everyone directs you to check online. Online keeps saying another update at x.xx . It comes and goes with little helpful info especially for foreigners who strangely enough don’t know every hick town in Ireland. Very annoying Bus Iran ( yes deliberate nickname ) take nonrefundable bookings online for routes that will never run. With no updates easing our minds decided to walk down to station having already told our host we are leaving today. It was closed

Bloody French! So a group of 3 Frogs were also there with luggage and Tony the Taxi boy was doing hard sell on them. They also needed to get to Dublin. By now we were told no trains today. He would take them for 170 Euro. I suggested if we could get a maxi we could share cost . Oui. Tony only take 4, we needed 5. No other taxi company would go so didn’t feel like we could take the taxi ourselves and leave Frogs behind. In meantime Tony decides he just spoke to mate near Dublin and he wouldn’t get there by taxi even. Take us back to B&B then please. On way back he says” I may have someone who would do it, let me check” Back at B&B and I smell the old taxi shim sham happening . He gets out of cab, makes phone call , or at least pretends to, and comes back and says he will do it but it will be 220 Euro. And what is your cut Tony? Look we were getting ripped off but at this stage past caring. We had been frugal last few days and just wanted to get out of Kilkenny .

Good run up to Dublin on Highway but streets are dodgy in the city . We made it though and the Ashling looks great once you get past all the people sitting in lobby with suitcases!

As luck would have it only a 10 minute walk in the slush to The Brazen Head, home of the worlds best Irish Coffee. Or so we thought . It was crap this time and only cost us 400 Euro to get there 😰 Had a nice Guinesss stew at least and then time to head back to room

So, today’s particular version of Hell on Earth was drawing to a close . Once again if we had not been proactive and walked to train station and met up with Two Taxi Tony we would probably still be in Kilkenny. Mind you we havent left Dublin yet . Snow has finished but very cold and a bit wet so roads a mess. Still have to get to airport let alone board a plane that is still leaving

What possible new joys could tomorrow bring ?

I checked. Not one time was The Beast from The East implicated or even questioned. No surprise really because so far it’s been a bit of a pussy . Now those words may come back to bite me when sitting on a tarmac on Sunday afternoon with a shovel in my hand but as with many of these “events “ there has been overkill. By all means close down transport, schools etc for public safety but stop trying to justify it with 24/7 reporting of some idiot standing in the snow with a microphone. Let you in on a little secret. We were walking the streets of Ghost Town after 4 pm curfew yesterday and if an ice cream shop was open I would have gone in . There has been snow overnight here and will likely continue today . The problem for us hearty visitors is because of the red alert in place businesses just shut down for two days so doesn’t matter if I went nude cycling into town later , no shops are open. Maybe a pub though? At least the news would have something to report “ That’s not a bike pump. This is a bike pump” #crocdundee4

So plans for the day are casual to say the least . First up though will be breakfast at 0800. Still rather sick sadly and no surprises as still sweat during the night and then wake up with damp PJs and not just in the nether regions.

Time to venture out into the neighbourhood or at least 100m up the road to Newpark Hotel for a coffee. Very swank looking place with a great bar for future reference . And the cricket is on!

Then back home for a Brains Trust meeting. Sadly it was poorly attended. We booked a train to Dublin on Sunday as well as Bus is a bit hit and miss. Mind you if we have to use train making the flight will be tight and we will be trying to change to a later one same day . Irish Rail is good with cancellations so let’s hope Plan A goes ahead on Sunday – 0725 bus to Dublin Airport and catch 1 pm flight to Heathrow. Now time for some lunch kindly provided again by hosts – split pea soup . Perfect

Back out in the light snow in afternoon for a walk into town and search for that elusive second great Irish Coffee. Failed miserably but did see some great sights including Kilkenny Castle but of course everything is closed

There were quite a few people around and cars on street although conditions were a bit tricky . We finally dropped into Matt the Millers bar on the river which was a great looking bar but very ordinary Irish coffee

Then it was time to head home and get out of the weather as now seems CLP has caught the dreaded lurgy . Have no idea how . Maybe when I sent her out to do the washing last night ?

Tomorrow we may do day trip to Waterford depending on weather and trains . Hard to fill in another day in Kilkenny methinks

After all we have already made an impression here

No wonder a person can’t get well. So we did have a taxi booked to take to train at 6 am this morning . He rang last night and cancelled . So started the walk in the snow at 5:30 am. It was -8 degrees, real feel -19. Surprisingly no one else was on the streets. Not sure wheels on luggage will have survived. Anyhoo we made it in time, had a hot chocolate and boarded the train

So at least we will make it to Dublin which is something . At present they say our 10:15 train out of Dublin Heuston to Waterford is last one running today so fingers crossed still is . If we get to Kilkenny we will look back on this and laugh one day . If we don’t then reflection may be more harsh. Walking the streets early in the morning in rather harsh conditions made me feel like the 5th Yorkshireman . Someone had licked road clean and definitely was a paper bag in the road

Ok so we didn’t make it to Dublin. Stop start trip had us at least an hour behind schedule and we would miss connection to Waterford. Or so we thought. So helpful conductor suggested we get off at Kildare some distance south of Dublin and catch our next train as it passed through at 10:41. Getting off train just after 10 am this seemed a good idea and it was . Just not the day for trains running on time. The train to Waterford left Dublin over an hour late – ironically we could have stayed on train and relaxed in much more comfortable Heuston station then the outpost Kildare is

Train finally arrived about 70 mins late and it was crowded. Still at last Kilkenny was in sight . We will now be closer to the dreaded 4pm whiteout get off the street curfew blizzard blowout and still need to get to our lodgings with no taxis operating and at least a good 20 minute walk . And find something to eat and maybe a few supplies for the next 24 hr lock down

There actually were taxis operating so could afford to have lunch in town, very passable Chinese. Most shops closed . Arrived at Rosquil and looks a lovely place indeed. Our room is spacious and at the back. And there is a bath !

Given Armageddon was not happening anytime soon thought may as well have a look and a walk around neighbourhood in case tomorrow is a wipeout. Plenty of churches and some quirk including an Elvis fan house

So what could have been a disasterous day turned out ok with some proactive actions. Once buses in doubt didn’t hang around, went straight to train. No taxis, no sweat . When we were obviously running late on first train asked about our connection and he organised the stop at Kildare . Realising we may struggle to get out tonight for dinner asked our B&B host about options and she came back and said she would cook something up for us

Apparently my charm even works over the phone 😏

Flashy weather rule #1

Snow today – good
Snow tomorrow – bad

Woke up to the lovely sight of snow on the ground. Down for hearty breakfast before venturing into town with the last words of host “ beware the blizzard “ ringing in our ears . Any plans for Cobh sank like the Titanic when all rail service there cancelled and nothing to do with weather .

The cold was getting worse by the hour but what can you do. Go out in freezing weather of course. By now though the sun was out and almost went back for sluggos but then remembered had been in a fair paddock of late 😏 We played in the snow , had a coffee and then decided to take bus to Blarney before that was cancelled.

Pleasant trip out to a very beautiful little town. The castle of course is a rip off but did get my first Seniors Discount. Asked if wanted to see my ID and she said no it’s fine. Smart ass bitch😉 Beautiful day for photos still and did climb right up to top and as no crowds and did kiss the Blarney Stone. And of course there was scaffolding 😰

Bus back to Cork and then had an Italian lunch and picked up salads on the way home for dinner as not going out again with blizzard approaching😏 In the meantime where is that sunburn cream Dear ?

Back home for weather update and not good. Red alert – highest – for tomorrow from 4 pm. All buses cancelled . We quickly booked a double train trip via Dublin leaving at 7 am in morning! If that is cancelled we are screwed. At present trains will slow after midday and cease at 2 pm. With any luck we may be in Kilkenny then and it can do what it wants

Cold is at its zenith with both nose, throat and head all joined in.

Shoot me now