Published: September 3rd 2006June 23rd 2006
The Charles Bridge
Schona, Baz and I with the Charles Bridge in the background - well known as it appears in blockbusters such as Mission Impossible and Triple X
'Morning Richie, Morning All, Sorry i'm late...'
Not good enough, i know its been a while but there has been to much soccer on tv...
Not a great deal of travel has been done over the past couple of months but we spent Spring Bank Holiday in the beautiful city of Prague. Having left on the Friday night and arriving by 10pm, this left us with some solid drinking hours, and that is exactly what we did. Alcohol is extremely cheap in the Czech Republic especially when you are earning the pound. It seemed that many others had the same idea for the long weekend as the streets were flooded with Stag Groups and very few Hens Nights (boo hoo). I've heard great things about the Eastern European chicks but unfortunately there were not many out, well at least not the kind the didn't stand on the street corners.
Not sure if they sell this stuff back home, but if you get a chance try a shot of Absinthe. It is a 70 proof anise-flavoured spirit. It is said to have originated in Switzerland, but is more well known in France and the Czech Republic. That stuff knocks
They call this architecture?
Seems a bit out of place in Prague
you around, i woke up with a nasty hangover, but that didn't put a damper on my weekend. I tried a few different beers here and the Pilsner Urquell and Budvar seem to be the most common in the Czech Republic and both are served in either litre or half litre steins, which is common in Europe (It's gonna be hard to go back to pots when i get home). Budvar is most commonly associated with the 'King of Beers' produced by the Yanks called Budweiser. There is some controversy about naming rights as the Yanks claim to have been distributing it since 1895, however the Czech company contends that its history (and claim to the Budweiser name) goes back many centuries before that. Either way, what ever you want to call it, it was plentiful, cheap and cold! That night i recon we woke up the entire 5th floor of the Mariott on our way back to the room. Err, big night.
Other than a three day break consisting of boozing and eating, we managed to squeeze in some of the sights of Prague including the Prague Castle, the Communist Meseum and Charles Bridge (which might be best
known from the first Mission Impossible movie - the scene at the start where Tom Cruise runs to the bridge after his team had been killed off to find John Voight falling to his death after being shot (or at least we thought). The bridge is also featured in the XXX movie (no gents, not that one... the one with Vin Diesel). Along with the castle, the bridge seems to be the most popular tourist attraction.
We also saw numerous Churches and Cathedrals and in my opinion, without any disrespect, having seen many others in Paris, Bruges and London, if you have seen one cathedral, you have seen them all! They are all very similar in design and shape. They all have high ceilings, stained glass windows, mammoth organs, central alters and donation boxes in every room you visit! They are usually associated with the rich history of the City and usually are the burial place of a King or Queen. Blah Blah Blah. I made the mistake of not removing my hat in one of them and was quickly reminded by one of the attendants that this is a place of God and i should show some respect!
Oops. Having seen so many cathedrals over the past 6 months, it was really doing my head in. But i recon i can make an exception for Rome later in the year.
Our rugby team have definately come along way since the start of the season, after a couple of draws mid season the 'Island Dingos' emegerged with their first win in the very last game of thte season. Although it was a dead rubber, 7th V 8th, we managed to walk away with the points and i even managed to score a try. Although (and i only tell this part to keep this interesting) the week after one of our drawn games, confidence went from sky high to rock bottom as we were beaten convincingly by a team which included a couple of skirts. But hey, if you can't laugh at yourself, who's gonna laugh at you? Enough said about that though!
As always i have been working hard and seem to be enjoying it a little more now. (For the Planners on the list), Newham is particularly concerned about stats each month (reminds me of somewhere i used to work). They apparently get extra funding if
Had a nice day...
they meet their targets. In the last 2 months i have determined more apps than any of these slack planners (and by a long way!). The work ethic of the poms is deplorable. It seems to be the expats who keep the place running. Luckily it was noticed and i recently received a pay rise.
A little while back i managed to score a ticket to the Bon Jovi concert. It was supposed to be at the new Wembley Stadium (as was the FA Cup Final) but Multiplex couldn't get it finished on time, so they relocated it and I made the journey up to Milton Keynes, which almost required a charter plane to get there. Regardless, it was a sweltering 30 degrees for most of the day and a very balmy evening, and the outdoor venue proved to be the perfect venue. Hearing some of the classics live in concert and seeing the way the crowd reacted sent a shiver down my spine and I have now decided that in my next life i am going to be a rockstar.
The weather here is hotting up, we are in the middle of a so called 'heat wave'.
So tempting to do a 'horsie' from the upper tier.
We had a period of 30+ degrees for 10 days straight. Unfortunately my office, being an ex hopital building, doesn't have the luxury of air conditioning and can be quite uncomfortable at times (like now for example). I seem to be doing many more site inspections than what is required, just to get out of the office and get some fresh air. On the upside however, i haven't worn a collar to work for some time now and am contemplating the possibilty of shorts and thongs. Not sure if that will go down too well though, but willing to give it a try.
I went to Bath and Stonehenge a few weeks back also. Bath and its surrounds are quite unique places and much different to what i expected. It gives you the impression that you are in some other European country. Bath is a place in South West London most famous for its Roman baths used by the Roman Empire when they invaded England many centuries ago. The baths were centres of public bathing and socialisation. Although the baths these days dont' look as appealing as they once might have due to the sunlight allowing algae to grow,
I wonder how many tourists have this photo in their collection?
being there, you can imagine how spectacular these baths must have been particularly given the time they were built. I was very tempted to do a 'bomb' or a 'horsie' from the upper tier into the baths, but somehow i think my @ss would've been hauled out of there.
The areas around Bath contain many English Heritage sites most notably, Stonehenge. It is located between Salisbury and Bath and is literally in the middle of an open paddock. You are just driving along the open roads with green pastures on either side, and then out of nowhere, in the distance, there is this rock monument that stands out like dog balls. It is quite bizzare. There is much speculation surrounding the engineering feats required to build Stonehenge as it is believed that the huge bluestones were brought in from Wales by hand. Very hard to imagine once you see them.
'Me mom' popped in for a brief visit the other week, she had been in Poland for 4 weeks visiting her mum and sister, and of those 4 weeks she managed to squeeze just 2 days in London... She obviously wasn't missing me that much. I took her
World Cup Mania
Thousands flock to outdoor viewings to watch England fight a losing battle in the World Cup - Bloody Ronaldo! This is the area outside of Canary Wharf Tube Station
around to visit some family and also showed her the sites of Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs. Not exactly classic London scenery but if you only allow yourself a couple of days, what can you expect.
It cannot have escaped your attention that the World Cup has just concluded. Prior to England controversially (in my opinion), making an early exit from the tournament, the place was really buzzing. The proliferation of flags flying from car windows and houses was something else, and it seemed that shirts were no longer in fashion, rather an english flag draped around yourself seemed to be the trend.
The saturday before last, the big day for England supporters, we decided to avoid the pubs, given the 30 odd degrees and intolerable english supporters (i don't classify myself amongst these thugs), and decided to watch the game from the comfort of our lounge room. I won't say much about the game, only that England seemed to play their best football with 10 men, but the end result was disappointing. As our flat is situated between 2 pubs we could hear the rollercoaster of roars and moans. However about a minute after the
This was the scenes outside our apartment after England lost to Portugal in the World Cup
conclusion of the game, all we heard was smashing glass. We looked out and surprise surprise, there was a punch on happening in the streets involving football hooligans. Within minutes there were police vans everywhere (i think i counted 14) and every man and his dog came out for a look. We had a birds eye view from the first floor. As it turns out two guys had to go to hospital, one had been smashed over the head with a bottle and the other was apparently stabbed. Have i mentioned before how violent a place London really is? Well this just confirmed it.
On a less violent note, I went for a bit of a sightseeing tour in London last weekend, given i hadn't seen much of the landmarks on this trip. First stop was Lillywhites (Huge Sports store), not really a landmark, rather a must do, then went to Soho, Buckingham Palace, St James Park and then to Hyde Park. Hyde Park hold many music festivals during the summer months and because of its open location, you don't really need to buy a ticket to listen to the events. On this occassion, The Who, Primal Scream and The Zutons kept the crowds entertained and i just freeloaded in a nearby part of the park with a few ice cold beers. It was quite a relaxing day.
Looking forward to going to Paris in a fortnight for the conclusion of the Tour de France and then Spain the following week. I will be spending 4 days in Barcelona, 1 in Valencia, 2 in Ibiza and another couple in Mallorca. Have also locked in flights to Nice/Monaco/Monte Carlo, Geneva/Zurich, and Rome/Florence/Cinca Terra, and Amsterdam so plenty to look forward to.
Anyway next edition should be a bumper so stay tuned.
Would love to hear from you all.