Photo of the Week – Pall Mall, London

This week’s photo is of one of my favourite spots in London, Pall Mall.

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The road leading up to Buckingham Palace is very popular during the summer.  On Sunday’s the road is closed to traffic allowing pedestrians to be able walk down the Mall.  It is a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Until the next post, stay safe, stay healthy and keep on smiling.

Steve

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Checklist – Vienna & Budapest

It is now 10 days to go before my trip to Vienna and Budapest.  Now is the time to start preparing so not to leave anything to the last-minute.  So this is my checklist.

  1. Get my rucksack out of the cupboard.  I am sure that it will need airing before I use it.  I can also check for any holes that may have appeared.  I have had my rucksack for 13 years.  It has served me well. 
    Old Faithful Rucksack.
    Old Faithful Rucksack.

     

  2. Check the contents of my first aid kit to make sure that everything is still in date and replace where necessary.
  3. Transfer money to my travel cards.  This will be done during the week to ensure there are funds for the trip.
  4. Purchase some Euro’s.  I will be travelling to Vienna by coach.  I will need some refreshments along the journey.
  5. Pack the rucksack.  I am aiming to do this the weekend before I travel.  I do not want to leave this to the last-minute.  It is going to be an early start on the day of travel and I do not want to spend the time last-minute packing.  You always end up forgetting something.
  6. Get some sleep before I set off.  As I have already mentioned I will be setting off early.  I finish work at 17:00 and it takes me about 90 minutes to get home.  The aim is to have two or three hours sleep.  Must remember to set the alarm.
  7. Ensure all gadgets are fully charged.  This includes back-up batteries.  It is going to be a long journey so I need to keep myself amused.
  8. Ensure all tickets, passports and other documentation is packed.  I tend to double-check, even triple check.  The last thing I want to notice at Birmingham Coach Station is I have forgotten my passport.
  9. Arrange taxi to coach station.  Being a Wednesday morning this should not be a problem but I will have to book it early to be on the safe side.
  10. Finally, if the above has been ticked off then sit back relax and enjoy the trip.

Until the next post, stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

Golden Lane – Prague Castle

Golden Lane can be found in Prague Castle.  It consists of small houses that have been compared to doll’s houses.  Franz Kafka lived here with his sister between 1916-17.  When the communists took over Czechoslovakia they nationalised the Golden Lane.  They restored the buildings.  Today the Golden Lane forms part of the Prague Castle complex.  Which ever visit option you chose will get to visit the Golden Lane.  However, you cannot visit the Lane on its own.  It is a welcome change to all the castles and churches though it does get packed during peak times.

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There is many sites to see on the Golden Lane.  Just take your time and enjoy.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

Frustration of Lost Photos

I was going to post some photos and stories of my trip to Berlin in 2007.  I initially thought that I had the photos on my hard drive.  Nothing was found so I must have made a back CD with them on.  After days of searching I found a back up CD from August 2007.  This is must be where I put the photos.  Sadly, I was to be disappointed.  The frustration of not being able to find the photos is one thing, but it is the memories that are associated with them.

I spent 5 great days in Berlin.  There was so much that I saw and experienced.  Now I have nothing to share.  Who is going to believe me?  I saw the last pieces of the Berlin Wall.  Loved the Brandenburg Gate, Potsdamer Platz, Alexanderplatz and so much more that I wanted to share with you.  My memories of Berlin was that it was city that was on the up.  It was basking from the success of hosting the previous year’s soccer World Cup.  Berlin is the symbol of the new reunified Germany.

So, the main lesson I have learnt is that I must back-up my photos.  Still, it is not all bad.  It means that I will have to visit Berlin again.

Until the next post, stay safe, stay healthy, keep smiling and back up your photos.

Steve

Photo of the Week – Venus de Milo

This week’s photo is of the Venus de Milo which is displayed at the Louvre in Paris.

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You can see that it is a popular attraction.  I have recently rediscovered a lot of photos from my trip to Paris taken in 2005.  Hopefully I will be sharing more with you.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

The Liebster Blog Awards – Again

Like buses I have been nominated again for the The Liebster Blog Awards.  This time the nomination came from Jessica from Ways of Wanderers.  Thank you Jessica.  This is a fun way to meet new bloggers and discover new blogs.  You can follow Jessica on twitter @waysofwanderers


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Here are the rules of the Liebster Award:

  • When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you on your blog.
  • Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (make sure you tell them you nominated them!) and ask them 11 questions.
  • You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated you.

My 11 Random Facts:

1. I have broadcast on radio

2. I have lived and worked in France, even though I cannot speak the language.

3. I graduated from university aged 37.

4. I was an Assistant Scout Leader for 8 years.

5. I follow Walsall FC who play in the English League One.  Up the Saddlers!

6. Apparently the family line can be traced back to the Normans.

7. I have over 60,000 tracks in my ITunes account.

8. I would love to be able to play the drums.

9. I can see myself ending my days outside the UK.

10. I drink too much coffee for my own good.

11. I always arrive too early at my destination.

I have used the same facts as the post last week.  I could not think of another 11 interesting facts.

My answers to the questions Jessica asked me:

  1. If you were to write your last blog post ever, what would the title be? And Now The End Is Near
  2. Which food do you miss most when you’re on the road? Toad in the Hole (Sausage in Batter)
  3. What is one job you’ve had that you would never ever do again? Cutting cheese in a deli counter.
  4. If you had to give up either visiting beaches or historical buildings/monuments for the rest of your traveling life, which would you choose? Easy, beaches.
  5. What is the worst meal you’ve had on the road? Chinese meal in Vienna.  I ended up with food poisoning.
  6. What song do you blast in the car first when you head out for a road trip? More Than A Feeling by Boston
  7. What is the most unusual item that you travel with? Beard Trimmer
  8. Do you have a favourite travel-related book? It can be a travel narrative or a guidebook. You’ve Gone Too Far This Time, Sir! by Danny Bent
  9. What is your biggest insecurity? Being a solo traveller, not being able to connect with people at a hostel.
  10. Do you consider yourself to be more of a planner or a flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of traveler? Planner
  11. How do you keep yourself entertained during long train or bus rides? Listen to music on my 160GB iPod Classic

My 11 Questions to the Blogs I Nominate

1. What is your worst travel experience?

2. What is your favourite song?

3. What is thing that always brings a tear to your eye?

4. Which social network do you use the most?

5. What would be your last meal?

6. Who would be your least ideal travel companion?

7. Which luxury would you always travel with?

8. Do you listen to podcasts?

9. Which do you prefer, Hostels or Hotels?

10. What do you hate about travelling?

11. Slow or quick travelling?

Again I am asking the same 11 questions as last week.

My 11 Nominees!

 Alyssa from Elsaway

Byron from Byronbackpacks

Tiffany from The Unimagined Life

Kate from Canuckiwikate

Doc Wends from Journeys & Travels

Sarah from Asia Travel Tales

Renee from Travel with Renee

Tahira from Tahira007

Callie from Wilds of Wherever

Caitlin from Caitlin’s Wanderlust

Chris and Rach from Flip Flops Only

Let’s keep spreading the travel blog love! Thank you again Jessica for the nomination!

Musée Rodin, Paris

One of the most surprising delights of Paris is the Musée Rodin.  Set in the outskirts of Paris the museum is based at the Villa des Brilliants which was Rodin’s old home.

When you enter the grounds you are confronted by Rodin’s sculpture of the ‘Gates of Hell’ based on Dante’s inferno.  What struck me was the magnificence of the piece.  There is so much detail going on and sitting at the top is a figure who I will come back to later.

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Gates of Hell

Inside the museum you are given the life story of Rodin.  More importantly there are on display some of Rodin’s sculptures.  The most popular would be ‘The Kiss’.  However, every time I view it I cannot stop thinking of Monty Python and Terry Gilliam’s animation.

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The Kiss

An added bonus to the museum is a walk around the gardens.  It was place that allowed me to contemplate about my visit to Paris.  To be in the heart of the city yet find a spot that was so tranquil was something to enjoy.

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Finally the highlight of the visit is the giant statue of ‘The Thinker’.  This is probably Rodin’s most famous work.  It is the perfect photo opportunity.

The Thinker (Guess which one)
The Thinker (Guess which one)

I believe that any visit to Paris should include a visit to the Musée Rodin.  If only to escape the bustle of the main sights of Paris.

Musée Rodin, 79, rue de Varenne – 75007 Paris

Nearest Metro Stops : Varenne (Line 13) or Invalides (Line 13 or Line 8)

Admission €9, 18-25 years (Non EU) €5, 18-25 years (EU Citizens) Free

Until the next post, stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

Photo of the Week – View from the Arc de Triomphe

This week’s photo was taken from the top of the Arc de Triomphe.

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As you can see it is of the most famous structure in Paris, the Eiffel Tower.  This photo was taken during my visit to Paris in September 2005.  It acts as a reminder that I need to visit Paris again, even if it is only for 24 hours.

Until the next post, stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

100 Posts – 5 Things That I Have Learnt

This is a momentous blog post.  It is the 100th post.  Little did I know when I started back in April last year that I would get this far.  Previous attempts at blogging have ended in failure.  So what are the five things that I have learnt?

1. Content – Any blog is only as good as its content.  I have been lucky that I have travelled a little bit during 2012.  This has enabled me to post something that is interesting to me and hopefully to everybody else.  The more I travel the more content I will post.

2. Post regularly – One of the previous reasons why previous attempts at blogging failed was that I was not posting regularly.  Maybe once a month if lucky before I would lose interest.  With this blog I set myself a target to post at least three times a week.  It has allowed me to get into a routine which I am comfortable with.

3. Blogging is a great way of forgetting the daily grind – One of the reasons I started to travel more was due to the high levels of stress I was suffering at the time.  I ended up spending a night in hospital in 2011.  It was at that moment I knew I needed to change my life.  Travel has given a focus, indeed something to look forward to.  The blog which I update mainly from home clears my mind of all the daily stress.  There is now a focus outside of work.

4. The blogging community is supportive – I was apprehensive at first while setting up this blog.  There are so many excellent travel blogs out there.  I was worried that people would let me know if my blog was rubbish.  However, this has been so different.  There has been a lot of support out there including offers of help to take the blog to the next level.  This has given me a warm feeling inside.

5. The next steps are mine – The blog has given me control.  Only I can stop the blog.  The next steps are down to me.  With the next 100 posts I want to take the blog forward.  When I return from my trip to Vienna and Budapest I will be looking at upgrading the blog.  There have been offers of help which I will be looking to take up.  I am feeling excited about the future.

Finally, I want to say a big thank you to all those people who have taken time to read, comment and tweet.  It is as always greatly appreciated and I look forward to your continued support.

As I raise my glass to salute the 100 posts stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve