Tag Archives: travel

It’s a funny old game

The BBC showed the Greece vs. Russia game, on the final day of Group A Euro 2012, which Greece, against the odds won. Our taxi driver of  earlier in the day seemed prescient, his advice had been taken, except about Samaras who played, in my opinion a good match.

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Greece, Football, the Euro and tomorrow’s Election

On the journey to the airport this a.m., there was much more political posters and graffiti; most of it from the KKE, I saw one PASOK graffito and two New Democracy posters in Corfu town.

We were still on a high from having seen England’s best football performance since 2001, and the first one I’ve watched since 2004. Our taxi driver, Dimitrios, gave us a detailed preview of the Greek team and management. He started with the phrase, “If I knew, I’d tell the manager”, He did say, that at least it remained in their hands and all that Greece had to do was win. He identified the problems of age, too old and too young, weakness in at the left back position, wrong goal keeper selection,  he’s not a fan of Georgios Samaras, and starting the game 10 minutes after the opposition and the kick off whistle. He characterised the Greek team as fighters not exponents of the beautiful game, “We are not Brazil”.

We spoke about the election, what he said suggested that he saw it as a referendum on the Euro, but that he had seen a Greek language article in Germany’s equivalent of the Financial Times translating an appeal from Angela Merkel for the Greek people to vote for the Euro and the bailout agreements. He suggested that appeals from foreign politicians were unlikely to succeed in changing anyone’s mind in favour of their views and you’d think she’d have learnt from her so-successful support of Sarkozy. (Interestingly, the English language, Greek Reporter attribute the article’s editorial to the FT De alone, and elsewhere Merkel is quoted as declining to give advice to the Greek people.)

On arrival at the airport, the taxi rank full of taxis waiting for arriving passengers acts as a potent symbol to Europe’s and the Euro-zone’s economic policy makers, that they’re all in this together! It’s full of Mercedes, and to a lesser extent Peugeots. A Deutsch Mark would be more valuable then the Euro, they’d find it harder to sell their cars, the Greeks won’t be able to afford their Mercedes if they are expelled from the Euro and the new Drachma devalues. (I wanted to take a picture, but we entered the hell that is the Easyjet checkin queue at Corfu airport, and all thoughts of tourism exited my mind. It’s not a good way to end such a relaxing holiday; I wonder if we can do better.)

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Romance is not dead, well maybe

After a flight and a taxi journey, we arrive at the Delfin Blu, a hotel we discover at the top of trip advisor’s hotel list in NW Corfu. After a check in, we explore Aghios Stephanos, discover the Super Market, and four bars all showing the football. I hadn’t thought to realise that it’s the first week of Euro 2012. Mrs. L is a big football fan, and has honed her supporter skills and stamina by following Portsmouth and Tottenham. More recently, we have tried to follow England but like most who do, it’s been a painful process. I am reminded that on our honeymoon, we watched several games of the ’86 World Cup including England vs. Argentina, the famous “Hand of God” game.  We sit down at a bar, order two beers and begin to watch Holland vs Denmark. Denmark are in their white away strip; Red and Orange it would seem are too similar. Just as Denmark score, Mrs. L. says, “This takes me back”, “What seeing someone in a white shirt score a goal?” I reply. It seems I should have been more romantic.

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Things to worry about

Do have any electronic devices, Sir? Yes! Two phones, an ipod touch, a camera and a laptop. Is that enough, do you think? How do they choose people for these checks?

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Early start

God, it’s early. That would have been the advantage of taking a charter flight, but I only want two seats. I and Mrs. L. are travelling to Corfu this morning; our first trip to the Greek Island’s by ourselves since our honeymoon in 1986. There’s only one direct flight, and it leaves at stupid o’clock.

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A Nordic morning

Just back from a trip to Guildford, to the Scandinavian Fair. We now have some Xmas presents for others, a hat for me, and some snacks with which to watch “The Killing”.

No pickled fish unfortunately, but we made up for that on the way home.

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DE HQ Reunion Barge Trip

The Reunion barge trip is well over, I have started to upload and convert the images and videos. Sadly, I lost and found my Sony Cybershot, and most of the pictures were taken with my mobile phone, a Nokia 5800 express. I am still sorting the pictures in order to make a video slide show, and still converting some of the videos to a more usable format.

20th July 2012: The pictures are on flickr here….

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DE HQ Reunion Barge Trip

The Reunion barge trip is over, we travelled on the Stourport Ring, to and from Tardebigge, via Worcester, Stourport, Wolverhampton and Birmingham.

I have started to upload and convert the images and videos. I used a Nokia phone, and a Sony camera and Handycam so there’ll be some mucking about to make a video/slide show for youtube, laptops and the ipodtouch. The rest of the pictures are on flickr in a set called Barge Trip 2011.

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Citihub World Conference 2011

Home! Back from the Citihub World Conference, which was this year held in Chamonix, France.

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Back Home in London

Sunday 19:30 BST And back home after an uneventful DLR journey home from LCY to the flat.

Sunday 16:40 CET So 40 minutes to change flights at Zurich, and I remember the insufficient 50 minutes slot I was given at Frankfurt, but we got a gate not a coach, and it’s all within one building, and I stayed on the same airline because I kept to my rules. Despite this, the Swiss Air staff were just as un-helpful as last time, merely saying that 40 minutes was enough, which was true and that we were early, which was not. My experience is that short/medium haul are never early; the ground resources are not ready.

Sunday 11:45 CET I got to Budapest Airport early, again. They won’t check you in until 2 hours before, but now Priority Pass can get you into four lounges. How to choose? However, they’re all airside, so I had to wait for checkin to open. The Taxi company this a.m. were marvelous, so thank you for that but they’re expensive, I wonder if they have multiple tariffs and if I come back I am definitely going to work out the public transport option. Either bus to the Metro and on, or Bus to Terminal 1 and the overground to Budapest.

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Memento Park, Budapest

A sculpture park full of the public statues from Budapest during the Communist era. The Hungarians, after the fall of the communist state in 1989 had a long and protracted debate about what to with that state’s public art. I think its important that they’ve chosen to preserve it, and also to do so in the context of this museum. If you visit this park yourself, buy the guide book, “In the shadow of Stalin’s boots”. As it says in the guide book, the Memento Park is not about Communism, but the fall of Communism.

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A not so long way home

Sunday: 9:30 Leaving the Hotel Bristol, for the Airport via Memento Park. I am looking forward to the statues, and the weather is fine.

Saturday 23:59 An early night this time, although we did explore a local bar round the corner from the Bristol, but in bed before midnight.

Saturday 19:30 I said we had to return to Gundel so we did. Here’s their famous guests page, you’ll note we’re not there. Maybe we should suggest we should be. We ate on the terrace, and the experience was enhanced by the howling of the neighbouring Zoo wolves. Thanks for the good time.

Saturday 15:30 A refreshing libation at Negro and then a walk along the east bank of the Danube, taking in the view of the Castle, Royal Palace and the National Parliament building, decorated by Charles Barry who also finished of Westminster Palace aka the Houses of Parliament in London.

Saturday 14:00 We have been shooting guns, in the words of Neo from the Matrix, “Lots of Guns”. See Top Gun Tours’ “Red Army Experience” to get an idea. They have some pictures of the hand guns and assault rifles we used. (This’d be good with a picture, and when I post them, I’ll link or include).

Saturday 01:45 Having moved on via the Place of Heros to the Meridien, once the central Police Station and then onto a bar called Negro which has a writeup at the World’s Best Bars site abd where I thought the service and atmosphere was good, we headed back to the Bristol. I thought it was a good day. And so to bed….

Friday 14:00 I got up late, walked across the City Park, past the zoo and ended up at Gundel for late lunch. This was excellent, great service, food and wine. Needs to be done again.

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A place to lay my head

22:45 CET We pop out for a swift one at Morrison’s Music Pub. I really mustn’t leave the research to others. I did quite enjoy it in the end though. If the Karaoke bar had had “Anarchy in the UK”, I’d have been up there.

20:15 CET I have finally arrived in the Hotel Bristol in Budapest. Nice people, free public Wifi. English speakers had best watch out. Remind me, why do I have to spend £5 an hour to connect to the internet when staying in British and US hotels. Obviously not in San Francisco.

19:15 CET And finally, Budapest, but I have not got any HUFs, but I do have Euros, which I hadn’t realised most people will take, not the best exchange rates but you never do when your buying retail. I speak to the exchange in baggage reclaim and fortunately they make a mistake and only book a small transaction because I had used a credit card; once I get out into the arrivals lounge there is an ATM. Marvelous. I booked myself a seat on the Airport Shuttle Bus while in baggage reclaim, which you can pay in Euros and avoids the need to navigate in Budapest. The public transport options are far cheaper, but need experience and the Taxi’s are not cheap.

16:00 CET Zurich Airport, I arrive and need to depart from the same terminal building, excellent. Priority Pass get me into the Swiss Business Lounge, which was nice very quiet and I got an hour’s free Wifi. (There was no cheese).

13:00 So off to Budapest, making the most of my city living style I have decided to fly via London City Airport, LCY. This means I have to switch flights at Zurich, since I am flying Swiss and there are no direct flights to Budapest from LCY. (Is that a distance/size thing at LCY, or isn’t there the demand? Both Swiss and Lufthansa offer you changes. Do BA actually still use City?) Anyway the AMEX exchange there doesn’t offer HUFs, bad news! The journey to LCY took 45 minutes, also not good, but LCY’s awesome compactness and efficiency means I made the flight on time. I love City Airport.

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