The Grand Tour, goodbye eco travel and enforced travel 2019!


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Europe
January 4th 2019
Published: September 9th 2019
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This is a whistle stop blog from the start of 2019 and what looks like two fingers up to lowering my carbon footprint this year as it's all about enforced jet-setting, apparently!



Amsterdam, Schiphol, NetApp Work Trip

First off, a work strategy outing to NetApp's head office in Amsterdam Schiphol, March 6th flight out. Not too much to talk about apart been as it's work, but, work to one site, a lovely evening put on by Steve at restaurant Westeinder Paviljoen Aalsmeer, westeinderpaviljoen.nl, great views over lake Grote Poel and some great steak tartare followed by a sirloin steak, who doesn't love a double steak all paid for dinner and some great red wine as well.

Highlights:


Johnnie Walker's blue label whisky, top shelf!
Double steak at Westeinder



Poland, Krakow, Dad's 65th Adventure

Next trip out of the UK, it's Dads 65th birthday in March and to celebrate it's an adventure to Krakow, Poland for me, Helen and my Mom & Dad. We fly out from our nearest airports, Gatwick for us and Birmingham for Mom & Dad, it's a great flight over Europe and you can tell when you hit Poland, in my Moms words, look at those undulating hills! Great use of the word undulating! 😊 It's a taxi from the airport to the Radisson Blu Hotel in the heart of Krakow where we meet up with my Parents, all smiles and ready for a wonder into the largest square in Europe, according to my Dad and internet verified! A beautiful square and clearly , lots and lots of history here:


Pope John Francis lived here
Wawel Royal Castle and market square
Wawel Dragon
St. Mary’s Basilica and the unfinished trumpet song
Kazimierz Jewish Quarter
National Museum, we got to see a Lady with an Ermine by Leonardo Da Vinci
Auschwitz death camps, a horrific reminder of a brutally efficient genocide by the Germans
Pretzels, on all the street corners


We took in the red open top tour bus and hopped on and off for the day, a really nice city and lovely people. I have to mention the two main restaurants that we manged to stumble across, both amazing and I didn't think that we could out do the first one, but... somehow, we did! (A few weeks before, we'd gone to the Ivy for another meal for Dads 65th year, it's all about fine dining!)


• Restauracja Wesele, a Romantic Polish venue with folksy decor, mezzanine boxes, embroidered cushions & market views, not to mention a piano player
• Amarylis Restauracj, award winning Michelin restaurant, somehow, again, i'm double steaking


The final day is spent at Auschwitz and it's a start reminder of just some of the horrors that Germany unleased on the world, an eye opening and heart-breaking day.

An amazing, cultural and great weekend spent with Mom & Dad, happy 65th old man 😊





Czech Republic, Prague, Jay's Stag

It's another plane, this time it's the other part of Team James's stag, off to Prague we go, not cultural in the slightest, Hooters for wings, techno rave club way too early in the night and a 1970's indie music night in the brightest discotech I’ve seen. Thanks to Booth, not a single person is without neon tribal paint all over them, I tried my best to get Joe but he's gotten stronger in his old age! Crazy few days and a dodgy hostel to stay in and it's a hazy memory already, great weekend, onto the recovery!

Highlights:


Dodgy Czech Hostel and coming back to our dorm to have random strangers in our bunks!
Booth tribal rave neon war paint on everything, creating neon Jay Ragnar Lothbrok
The long walk to the football and the long walk back to town!




France, Monflanquin, Jay & Jen's Chateau Wedding

As if by magic, the Stag and Hen do's are over and it's the main event, off to Monflanquin, France, that's rural France at its best and the heart of Bergerac and Wine Country for Jay and Jen Georges Wedding. With all the craziness of the year, Helen managed to find a lovely little airbnb apartment for us and The Booths in the heart of Monflanquin town. I've never seen such a chilled-out bachelor as Jay, enjoying a beer on the morning of his wedding and rockin shorts and a t-shirt! A lovely venue, great wedding day put on by Jay and Jen, possibly too much beer and excitement from me but it's not every day you get to rock out to some rage against the machine in a French Chateau! Thanks for an epic weekend Jay & Jen and great to see all the Uni crew together again!

Highlights:


Rage against the machine at a wedding
Jay's converse, smartest I think anyone has ever seen him!
Monflanquin and the wedding venue were pretty stunning




Ireland, Swords, Michael & Ann's Wedding

Another wedding, this time we are off to the emerald island and its capital city of Dublin, were here for Anne and Michaels Wedding, Helen's Uncle. It's an easy trip over, only 45 minutes in the air and we are in the motherland, it's oddly roasting over here as well, great weather for the wedding. It's a short taxi to Swords and the wedding venue, Roganstown Golf Club, a lovely stately entrance and nice and large for an Irish wedding. We join the Callaghan Crew in the bar and both me and Helen try our first Guinness in Ireland, it's not half bad, so much so, I have two, just to ease myself into the wedding day! A lovely ceremony, fantastic food and onto the evening dancing, drinking and more drinking! A hazy morning and no one mention rum!

Highlights:


Guinness in the emerald isle, delish!
A great day with the in-laws and some rum....



What next... we'll see, maybe give the credit card a rest!

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