Page 3 of Spurins Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Italy » Lombardy » Milan June 15th 2019

It’s Saturday – parkrun day. Today we’re going to Milano Nord parkrun in Milano Nord Park. This morning’s run has pros and cons. Pros: (1) it’s a scenic route (2) it’s flat (3) the participants are of diverse ability, so I’m not on my own at the back and have someone to follow. Cons: (1) there are a lot of other park users to avoid (2) my knee hurts (3) my lack of fitness due to injury (4) it’s bloody hot. But I persevere and make it to the finish line. There was supposed to be water but the fast runners have drunk it all. I hobble off to the supermarket dehydrated and grumpy. For breakfast I buy spoonable Gorgonzola. Cheese you can eat with a spoon! I love Italy. We return to the hotel and ... read more
Milano Nord parkrun
Milan Cathedral
Interior of Milan Cathedral

Europe » Italy » Lombardy » Monza June 14th 2019

This morning we are up early. Breakfast is served from 8-10, so the old man is on his starting blocks well before 8. We paid £108 for our little motel room, so I’m expecting great things from breakfast. We get a bread basket, some cold cuts and 3 sachets of jam. After breakfast we set off for Milan. At the world’s most complicated junction, we take a wrong turn and end up on the right road in the wrong direction. To rectify the situation, we must pass through the 10 km tunnel again (twice). The issue arose at a fork. I said ‘don’t go right’ and we went right. Apparently, it’s my fault: I should have said ‘keep left’. Finally, we are heading south, or not north, depending on your point of view. Today’s drive is ... read more
Breakfast with a view
Seegarten Hotel
Seegarten Hotel

Europe » Switzerland » North-West » Lucerne June 13th 2019

We have 4 free days until the experiment ends. There are no parkruns in Switzerland, so we do the only sensible thing and set off for Italy. First, we head for Lucerne. Once we have left the cordon of heavy industry along the border, Switzerland becomes much more Swiss with factories giving way to mountains and lakes. Reaching Lucerne is easy. Finding a parking space big enough for a van is another matter. Once we are finally parked, we are quite familiar with Lucerne. We walk to the river and zigzag our way through the old town, crossing the various bridges, starting with the 14th Century Kapellbrücke and finishing with the 15th Century Spreuerbrücke with its macabre Dance of Death roof murals. After, we head for our hotel in the nearby village of Bauen. In Switzerland, ... read more

Europe » Switzerland » North-West » Aargau June 12th 2019

This morning we complete our 600 drive to the Paul Scherrer Institut in Villigen. It’s a huge site spanning both sides of the river Aare. When we arrive, the fire brigade are in attendance. I ask daughter no 2 if they are likely to be required again. She is way too nervous to find this funny. Security is high. We need passes for ourselves and the van plus dossimeters. The issue of dossimeters requires passing a test. Daughter no 2 is concerned that the old man and I will fail. In fact, she has to take a test. We must first follow a safety course before we are allowed to attempt the test. It takes 2 hours to complete formalities and unload the equipment into the synchrotron. Then the old man and I retire to the ... read more
Arriving at Synchrotron
Synchrotron map
Getting around the PSI

Europe » Switzerland » North-West » Aargau June 11th 2019

Today is a normal day so we start with a second attempt at the supermarket. This time we don’t try to enter the car park. The van is allegedly 1.85m and the height limit allegedly 2.10m. One of these allegations is false as we discovered yesterday when we went clattering into the barrier. We purchase bread and cheese and set off for Switzerland accompanied by Six the Musical. Most of the day is spent driving; a total of 5 hours, with one brunch stop at a French service station. We arrive in Switzerland mid afternoon. Daughter no 2 is clutching her carnet. I have the passports. We are stopped at the border but they’re only interested that we cough up 40 Francs for a year’s Swiss road tax. We decide to go to the toilet while ... read more
Germany from Switzerland

Europe » France » Champagne-Ardenne » Reims June 10th 2019

We’re off on an extra little adventure. Daughter no 2 is doing an experiment in Switzerland and needs a van load of equipment driven from London to Zurich. So we are going to be roadies. Or, more accurately, the old man is going to be a roadie. I’m just along for the ride. Does that make me a groupie? Probably not with my own daughter. We start the day by catching an Uber to the college. We’ve not booked an Uber before. The old man eyes the App with the sort of suspicion you’d expect from someone encountering witchcraft. But the car arrives and we reach our destination without the driver casting a spell. The van is delivered – 35 minutes late. Daughter no 2 is very stressed. However, the equipment is packed and we are ... read more
Equipment loaded
And we’re off
In Le Shuttle

Europe » Denmark » Region Hovedstaden » Copenhagen June 8th 2019

It’s Saturday; parkrun day and we are going to Amagerstrandpark. It starts at 9, but we are awake by 5 thanks to a group of Chinese tourists replicating stormtroopers in the corridor. It’s raining heavily and my waterproof is in a car park near Stansted so I am going to get rather wet. The Strandpark is on a small Island in the Øresund; the strait which separates Denmark and Sweden. We walk the mile to the start, then hide out in a shelter as long as possible. The route is two laps along the island, across a bridge, along the prom and back across another bridge. To complicate matters, the first lap is anti-clockwise and the second lap is clockwise. Luckily, I don’t get lost despite being too slow to see the next slowest runner. I ... read more
Oresund Bridge
Amager Strandpark parkrun
Amager Strandpark parkrun

Europe » Denmark » Region Hovedstaden » Helsingør June 7th 2019

Today we’re taking a trip up the Zealand coast to Helsingør, home of Kromberg castle, setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. First, we need to purchase 24 hour travel cards from the ticket machine. The old man requests 2 tickets plus a receipt and the machine issues 2 cards; one ticket and one ticket with a receipt. However, he is convinced he has been issued with one ticket and one receipt. He calls the helpline to complain that he has paid for 2 tickets and only received one. Eventually, a lady who had been waiting patiently in the queue steps in and clears up the confusion. Once we have ascertained that we do, in fact, have 2 tickets, we catch a train to Helsingør and walk along the harbour. There are some nice sculptures, including a thought provoking ... read more
Helsingør station
Helsingør station

Europe » Sweden » Skåne » Malmö June 6th 2019

Not a good night’s sleep. The hotel has my pet hate; the flimsy bed/mattress topper combo. Every time the old man turns over, it’s like riding a small tsunami. And don’t get me started on the ripple effects from his farts. And there’s no a/c so we have our own personal Swedish sauna. Today is Swedish National day, which means parkrun on a Thursday. The start is 2 miles away, so first I have to work out how to get there when walking is such a chore. Google maps suggests an electric scooter. I consider it, but can’t work out whether to lead with my good or bad leg. So opt for a good old fashioned bus. I leave in plenty of time in case anything goes wrong, which it does. My card is declined and ... read more
Ribersborg parkrun

Europe » Sweden » Skåne » Malmö June 5th 2019

We’re off to Scandinavia for a long weekend of parkruns. We booked it before I fell over in Poland and smashed my knee. It seemed like a much better idea when I had 2 working legs. But I reckon it’ll just about be manageable with the correct amount of painkillers and alcohol. The cheap tickets out of Stansted at stupid o’clock aren’t so cheap when you add fuel, an airport hotel, car parking and the taxi to the terminal. Security is high. They’ve invested in new scanning equipment (presumably something to do with Donald Trump’s arrival) and they’re determined to get their money’s worth. With my dodgy knee I can’t spread my legs wide enough to stand on the designated foot markings for the body scan, which means I need an old fashioned pat down (she ... read more

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