News and travel log
This site was not originally meant for general consumption, I even used frames to make it search engine unfriendly. I'm no great diarist and it was created in 5 minute sessions using notepad
editor to write the HTML whilst on the move, so no nice formatting, no standard for how pages link (just the easiest way I could add them to the page) and no worrying about spelling - just upload the page quick.
I didn't delete it because I thought I might want too look at it, when I'm older and greyer. However, I've now set up a public travel site and notice that my blog also appears on search engines, so I occasionally refer to it when I am answering travel questions.
Unlike this blog, I am proud of my Travel Site (TravelChimps.com); which offers:
- travel related articles eg on How to Find Travel Deals, How to find Travel Companions etc.
- the Online Travel Tools you need all on one page. These include Weather, Currency Converter, and what I consider to be the best available Flight and Hotel price comparison search engines(comparing 600 airlines, 30 major hotel chains plus the likes of Expedia, Lastminute, Opodo, Latebooking etc). The page also includes a booking widget for my favourite Hostel Site. Planned are a World Time converter and a Car Rental company price comparison engine.
- useful travel links
North AmericaApril 2006
To save on hostel bill decided to take overnight train to Boston. Good plan but got chatting and ended up in NY station bar drinking at 3 am during one hour train stopover - no sleep.
Boston seemed the most civilised big city to me, it is walker friendly, and is probably more similar to European style cities than NY/Chicago etc i.e. I felt more at home there.
I was lucky enough to see the "Iran Freedom" bill being debated in Congress - according to one Congressman this bill mirrors the prelude to Acts passed in the lead up to war with Iraq and among other things aims to force other countries to impose sanctions on Iran.
During my visit the Senate was at the end of tallying a vote on appropriations (the equivalent of voting on the Chancellors Budget?) and there were only about 30 Senators left in the Chamber - so its unlikely I've seen a future President of USA. The viewing gallery is only 20 ft (one floor) above the "chamber" and unlike Parliament there is no protective glass between you and the Senators, although each small viewing gallery is monitored by man in suit.
After the tallying one Senator made a case for an amendment (which I presume was to the Bill just voted on) to allow the Navy to retire the 40 year old aircraft carrier USS Enterprise and replace, as the cost of keeping it going was $240 million dollars a year.
Next stop Boston.
Flagstaff and Grand Canyon 17 - 21 April
Updated USA pages including Glenwood Springs and Hollywood. Highlight of States trip has been hike into Grand Canyon with CJ (an ardent Irish Republican I've tutored to say "tally ho chaps") and Anwen his Welsh partner. Next 3 days travel to Washington.
14 April - to LA and Hollywood
I've posted a few more pics and comments on the USA city pages. Or at least when you see this I will have done (I'm typing this on the train from SF).
10 April 2006 USA coast to coast (twice), and Canada (just)
I'm nearing the end of a 30 hour train journey to San Francisco from Glenwood Springs (Rocky Mountains), this means I will have travelled USA coast to coast (unfortunately my flight leaves from New York - so I will have to coast to coast again). My train is only an hour and a half late - pretty good the train east was 7 hours late arriving Glenwood!
So far: New York - overrated, Niagara Falls - ghost town, Chicago - cool city, Glenwood Springs - great chill out and hippy hostel. See North America page.
Iceland - 25 Mar 2006
Just arrived Iceland, off to New York in 4 days. Keflavik airport is most hassle I've been to. Straight out of airport onto coach with pleasant staff who drop you off outside your hotel. The only downside was when they asked you I had to shout out Salvation Army in front of everyone else!
The Sally Army guest hostel has excellent helpful staff and the room is fine (its for travellers not homeless).
Spectacular landscape and it doesn't seem to get darker much earlier than UK, 2C when I arrived, not much snow in coastal areas, but most lakes and water features in Rek are frozen and I did feel cold wandering round in the evening.
It is VERY expensive fish n chips £7, chinese meal Prague £3 - here £19, Salvation Army breakfast £6.50!!!
I've put the money I've saved by bringing sandwiches with me towards an all day glacier tour (with 1 hour snowmobile) tomorrow. I expect I will lose some fingers through frostbite as I've only one glove!
Update 28/3/06 - didn't lose fingers, but next day freezing - had a great time sightseeing, geysers, volcano craters, waterfalls, ice, ice, waterfalls and pony trekking. Pictures here. Would rec Iceland to anyone.
28 Jan 2006
Arrived back in UK after 2 week 1,400 mile round trip of Cuba, more later.
Mid Dec 2005Disastrous trip to Italy - more later.
Thu 3 Nov 2005
Updated Turkey pages as am informed someone missed Istanbul etc.
Finland far too expensive so scrubbed plans to go on to Arctic circle and back South via Sweden/Norway (even more expensive). So ferry back to Estonia, and hanging round for few days waiting for cheap flight to Berlin. Which where now.
Fri 28 Oct 2005
Been thro Latvia now in Tallinn, Estonia - snowing here the other night and I have had to buy a coat - drat. Not sure what I am doing next the Finns tell me Finland is as expensive as UK/London, and a Russian visa will cost me £200 + 5 days hanging round. Not really in a cultural frame of mind at moment.
A few pics of Latvia here until I get pages sorted.
Mon 17 Oct 2005Heading for Lithuania tonight - its cold enough here with my "Summer" clothes.
Tue 4 Oct 2005Now in Odessa, Ukraine. Also experienced the joys of Romania, Moldova, Transdnestier.
Updated all Bulgaria page added Romania, Moldova started, and updated Great Train Journeys with my experiences of having my carriage hoisted up to change for USSR and the joys of passport control at the Transdnister border. - Yes I know I'm begining to sound like a train anarak.