Monday, 17 November 2014

Catch up: Porto December 2012

I have been sorting through video files on my laptop recently and found a number I shot in Porto, Portugal's second city, in December 2012. So, as a bit of catch up, this is the video of the whole holiday. We were there for a week and, as we often do, we looked for last minute bargains. This one certainly fitted the bill. It cost about £450 for the two of us.

We found Porto to be very competitively priced, though at the time, the Portuguese economy was in a dire mess and had to get itself back into shape. Food generally was good though we experienced one cafe where it was so bad we walked out (after paying for the meal). As it was December, we were outside the tourist season. The weather was not brilliant and we saw quite a storm (as you can see from the video) when we were at the mouth of the River Douro on the Atlantic coast.

At some point I will post up individual location videos and photos, hopefully before I go to Barcelona next month.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Barcelona but no Andorra

We have booked a short (and cheap) holiday in Barcelona which we will take before the end of the year. £350 between the two of us, flying BA, 5 nights, is a bargain. Thank you eBookers. We will spend some time shortly checking out places to visit. I have visited over 50 countries but Andorra is not on that list. My aim is to visit as many countries as possible but sadly, it looks like on this holiday, we won't be able to get as far as Andorra. There are no direct train services from Barcelona and it takes 3.5 hours to get there by bus. We would only want to visit Andorra on a day trip from Barcelona but we would end up spending more time travelling than visiting the country. That doesn't seem worth it. So we will spend the whole of the holiday in Barcelona instead.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Deanos Trattoria in Whickham

After a late meeting on Thursday evening, we headed to Deanos Trattoria on Whickham Front Street. Whickham in Gateshead, North East England, is home turf for me and we have eaten before at Deanos. I think the prices are competitive but the quality does not lose out. For £6.95 I had a bowl of minestrone soup followed by spaghetti carbonara and a coffee (I could have had ice cream as an alternative to the coffee. Come to think of it, I did have ice cream as well as a colleague did not want hers.) The staff were really good as well.

One to recommend.

First class return

I used the return part of my free first class East Coast rail ticket to London on Monday. A rather uneventful journey but I wanted to show you two photos, one taken at the start of the journey and another at the end. The redeveloped Kings Cross Station is a great improvement and looks fantastic, as you can see in the photo above. The 2nd was taken as we crossed the King Edward VII railway bridge over the Tyne, approaching Newcastle. I always know when I am just about home from London when I see this stunning view of the River Tyne gorge and the bridges that span it.

Friday, 7 November 2014

The farm in Crystal Palace Park

In the corner of Crystal Palace Park in London is a small farm belonging to a local college. It is open to the public and we visited it on Sunday. As a goat keeper, I was pleased to see the farm has golden guernseys (I have one myself as a milking goat).

There are also pigs, poultry, rabbits, tropical animals and so on. It takes about half an hour to have a good look round.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

The Bridge House at Penge

We had Sunday lunch at the Bridge House in Penge on Sunday. We had eaten there previously and our experience was positive, hence our return. Whilst it is more pub than restaurant, the food was more restaurant than pub. Very good quality though not cheap. A typical main course was around £15. Nevertheless, we felt it was worth it.

My only word of warning is that the Bridge House is popular with young families. So for Sunday lunch at least, expect lots of kids to be running around and quite a bit of noise.

Crystal Palace Park

The Crystal Palace was built in Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition in 1851. Once it had closed its doors, the Crystal Palace was moved to its new and permanent home at the top of Anerley Hill. And to accompany it, a park was built. The Crystal Palace burnt down in 1936 but the park lives on. It is famous for its dinosaurs though few dino-scientists would argue that the concrete animals resemble any creature that lived millions of years ago. Despite the advances in our understanding of dinosaurs, it is still fun to see them, which we did on Sunday.

There is a big lake in the park which is home to a large amount of water fowl, most of which are used to being fed by visitors. In the past, we have bought bird food for them from the building opposite the cafe though I'm not sure whether such purchases are now available.