Disconnections, missed connections

5 September 2010

So up until Friday I didn’t know what my plans were. Actually, no, I knew some of them. My partner’s mother is visiting from overseas, and they’re traveling from London to Italy and spending a week and a half traveling around. Nothing more beautiful than September in Rome. At the end of September they’re heading to Venice for the weekend where I agreed to join them.

But of course, with starting a new job, I had no idea what was in the diary. Then I discover, the Thursday I’m going to join them in Venice, I have meetings in both Brussels and Edinburgh. Of course the first task is to work out which I’m going to (easier said than done). (I’ve now decided).

But you wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to get between the two. There are no direct trains (my preferred means of transportation) from Brussels. I could get an overnight train via Paris and Milan for £200 however. Or fly Ryanair for £30.

I hate Ryanair. Yes, they get you from A – B yada yada yada – and they’re cheap. I can cope with cheap. I can cope with all their extra charges. But what I can’t cope with is the fact that they purposely make the whole experience as unpleasurable as possibly. From their garish clunky website to the INYOURFACEYELLOW on the plane itself (I’m saying nothing about the overlyabrupt cabin crew). I’d really rather not arrive at my destination angry and irritated by the experience of getting there.

Anyway, that’s all irrelevant now as I’m actually going from Edinburgh. And could have gotten from Edinburgh to Venice on an appropriately timed flight (arriving that night, not changing at Heathrow overnight) with Lufthansa… but for £650 (£230 single). How can it cost so much more than a return to go one way? The £230 of course isn’t too bad. But as I have to get back to London it’s a waste of money and a seat.

Anyway, I’ve now resolved the problem. Increasing my carbon footprint, and tiredness in the process, by traveling back to London and catching an early morning flight the following day. Oh and missing out on most of a day’s holiday.

In an uber-connected world easy to forget that getting from A to B isn’t easy. And I’m lucky – I have the resources to do it.


holiday food: blog 1

29 July 2008

So a step into food blogging. Other than a blow by blow account of a wonderful holiday by train between Paris and Italy how else could I blog a trip like this?

With first stop Paris, and an inability to get seated in our restaurant of choice we ended up at a meat-dominated grill. I say meat, but to a vegetarian this meat was almost walking off my partner’s plate. Or just swimming in blood. They did, however, cook a fabulous Omlette for me. The following day however, we managed to make a reservation at a restaurant recommended to me by a masseur – (!). Le Petit Prince de Paris, pretty hidden away in the Latin quarter with very rich food and flirtatious Garçons, I was very impressed. They made a vegetarian plate for me and the Pistachio Crème brûlée, lit at the table, was probably the most memorable part of any holiday meal…

One of the days in Rome a transport strike meant getting between our accommodation and the city was difficult. We were unsure where to go and ended up at what we think may be a chain restaurant. However unlike the feeling you get when going to Little Chef or Nandos and similar, you realise that Italian chain restaurants cook fresh pasta and use fresh ingredients. And there I tried Trofie for the first time. A short and relatively dense gnocchi type pasta (cooked with saffron and courgette/zucchini) I was so impressed I simply needed to buy a box before returning.

[More food related blogs to come]


Returning

27 July 2008

I’ve unashamedly been keeping my distance from the news recently – holidays are great for that… and had no real desire to get back into it too much since my return. More dismay for the labour party isn’t something I want to engage in too much, but I appear, unfortunately to have missed some interesting thing I would normally have been blogging on.

Despite the exuberant gayness of the weeks I’ve missed I haven’t heard any more from Heinz, despite the fact the Advertising Standards Authority won’t be investigating. Yesterday I bought Sainsbury’s organic baked beans… I also missed out on the fun of Iris Robinson’s descent into madness and it’s implications for the Tory and DUP partnership. Lighter news I missed may have been a second resignation in two months for Boris Johnson, and another appointment. I’ve even not commented on the Evening Standard’s assertion that there are more gays in the London tory party than on Old Compton Street (they’re trying to fight political correctness don’t you know)…

And sadly I was somewhere travelling through the Alps while the Pride parade, attended by 825,000 people (!), and Boris’s pink stetson, were winding their way through London’s streets. I’m also missing this year’s Europride in Stockholm after the holiday took all my money and time over the last few weeks. And the need for a night in led to me missing a plethora of acts on the final night of G-A-Y at the Astoria (although it appears Kylie didn’t show up)… I’ll be sad to see it go…

Anyway, to make up for this I’ll take some time today so ignore the politics and write an entry on another favourite topic of food – what else could I write about after a holiday in Italy???!!!


Madhur Jaffrey update etc

22 June 2008

Madhur Jaffrey update, Florence and Sparkle Motion (random blatherings)

After finding Madhur Jaffrey, tonight was the first opporunity to try cooking her food from scratch, and I must admit to being very impressed…

Three dishes: Neela’s Aubergine and Potato, recepie available here, with an earthy flavour – you can taste what aubergine actually tastes like, Mattar Paneer (recepie here) creamy, sweet and spicy indian cheese with peas, and Mushrooms with onion, garlic and ginger – fabulously tomatoey, savoury and citrussy flavours…

It was a fair amount of work but an absolute triumph for both of us, so I had to update!

Still looking for somewhere to stay in Florence in the meanwhile, have found a few options with Tripadvisor but haven’t had the time to search prices etc yet – the website has a great map function, displaying the top hotels on a map which you can zoom, move and re-load to give the top 25 hotels in whatever area you choose.

I’m busy watching Donnie Darko to entertain myself this evening before another hectic week at work…

Sparkle Motion!


Italy: where to go?

15 June 2008

We have been planning a trip to Italy for some time. However, unforeseen circumstances mean we are rather frantically trying to organise exactly what we’re doing and when! What we DO know is we get into Milan by train mid-afternoon on the 5th July, we then have a train to Rome (which we can change if we want or need to) and we’re leaving on a night train from Florence on 18th. Pretty much everything’s up for grabs around that. The original plan had been Rome for a week, Tuscany for a week. We’re desperate for a bit of beach and trying to decide if there are any decent ones in Tuscany… we saw this rather attractive looking place but a lot of other beaches in Tuscany are apparently rather over-developed and with sections of beach owned by hotels – which isn’t really what we’re after. Terracina is another option. Do we want to head up to Tuscan beaches or go somewhere else for a bit of sea and sand first before Tuscany?

I simply can’t decide… we’ve posted a Thorntree entry so if anyone has any advice feel free to share it with us!


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