Wednesday, 31 August 2011

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

Boring Lefties

Approximately 2.0% of female golfers are naturally right handed and play golf left handed. Among men, the rate is approximately 0.052%.

Quote/Unquote

"The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself."
 
- Sir Richard Francis Burton

What a Welcome

We had some luck in Bamberg when we were there as they were having a beer festival as we arrived.  Izola too had a special treat for our return.  Alive concert in the square with food stalls all around from all the European countries offering free samples.  We have no idea what was going on, nor did we care- free food and music?  How's your luck?  :o)

On the Hunt

The King is Dead, long live the King.

If the Moby has gone up town,we'll have to discover something down town and we won't have a difficult task.  There are dozens of coffee shops, bars and places knocking out bottles of beer at differing prices.  Location dictates the cost of a pint; the nearer to Old Town the more expensive, so on our walkabout to the shops and back we have been doing some research.

The Royal looks to be a good bet with options to drink inside or out (among the smokers, it's also banned in public places here), a shorter walk home than the Moby and the price is far better.  Both the Lasko and Union are 2.30€ for large bottles. 

More news as we drink it...

Like for Like

Main Europe really is expensive compared to here and luckily we can hopefully start to make up for overspend during the last month.  Coke Zero (500 ml) in Germany was just under 1€ plus another 15-25 cents pfand (deposit which didn't always get taken back), in Austria it was 1.50€ (but no deposit) and the same stuff here is only 67 cents.

Twenty fags (Marlboro Reds) are just over three Euros, fish, chicken, bread, chocolate and fruit juice is much better too.  And a frozen, standard cheese and tomato pizza (great to use as a base before you load up with extras) is just 79 cents.

We're certainly going to eat and drink well.

Hobbling Along

I can't believe how much walking we've done in such a short space of time considering how small Izola is.  The problem is that the bigger shops and supermarkets (Hofer, Spar, DM and similar) are at the other end of town, in the new part, and we can only carry so much shopping in one go. 

We've done multiple trips but we're now stocked up with all kinds of stuff which should see us through for a few weeks, bar the daily stuff, which we can get from our local fresh market nearby.  It's also good to have familiar shops as Hofer is Aldi, DM is Boots (wifey loves their products) and Spar is... Spar, but very good and not like the ones in the UK.

Good News?

Aye. 

We left a couple of bags here and the Os kindly kept all of our stuff (in fact we have another two bags arriving from Kraljevo, Serbia next week) and we've discovered some real treasure.  Not only wifey's writing course and Slovene phrase book, but also some books and my sunglasses.  I've been looking everywhere for them and now have then back.

Bad News 3

Hadn't heard from Khun Saeri in about a fortnight, which is unusual as he always drops us a line and we chat abut the weekend's football and what we've all been up to.

We jokingly said he's probably got anew job.

Oh dear.

That's exactly it.  :-(


He's taken another challenge and moved to Pattaya to run another hotel in the same group, but it means he will no longer be at the Imm.  I can't believe we won't be seeing him every day and while we canof course understand he needs new challenges, we are really sad to see him go.

Naturally we'll be going to visit him as often as possible and we know the new manager who was Mr S's deputy, but it's not quite going to be the same.  Oh well, life goes on but we truly hope he achieves all the success he deserves. 

Our loss, Pattaya's gain.

Bad News 2

We took as stroll through the old town (we are right in the centre of it, down by the water front) and walked up to the Moby Pub.  It used to be our regular place and both owner and manager became used to seeing us life on a weekly basis.

In the car, Orhan mentioned it had had a revamp and it was "much different".  We thought a new look isn't a bad thing as long as they leave the character of the place- it was a proper pub, not some wine bar/cocktail joint and we loved it.

Oh dear.

It's now some top end restaurant and cocktail bar (horrors) and despite both owner and manager recognising us and getting the gen (it was closed for almost a year), I doubt we'll be going back much.  Perhaps the odd meal, if we can save up some cash.  Cheap it is not.  :-(

Bad News 1

Our bank ATM cards haven't arrived yet (we opened up an account a while back and sent over some cash from NZ).  Orhan has chased them up and they should be here now next week, so in the meantime we've had to borrow some folding from him as we don't have quite enough to see us through. 

Luckily he was happy and able to oblige and we have another thing to thank him for.

2 000 000 + 2


Population of Slovenia is around two million (we're the extra two) and Izola is tiny at 15 000 or so.  We love it here, but can you find it on the map?

What's This?

Having to buy bog roll?  That's a first in four years...

Cable TV?

I love telly.  Correction, I love flicking through the channels into the early hours seeing what's on around the world, much to wifey's dismay.  That was something I was going to miss as Slovene TV is not renowned for many options, the odd sub-titled filum or series perhaps, but little else.

Can you understand my pleasure to discover we now had cable in the flat?  From 4 or 5 channels last time and watching JAG at 03:00, I was checking out all the new offerings until stupid o'clock, when I fell asleep at around channel number 200+.

Plenty of English speaking stuff but even more fun, all the big German programmes that I have enjoyed so much last month.

The odd thing though is that it's not really cable TV- all transmissions are via the one provider (TV, telephone and internet) and the receiver is fed through a LAN connection.  Not seen that before but who cares, I'm on the other side of the box.

Error, Yip, Another One

As I was gloatingly writing about taking the train through the intense scenery through the Austrian Alps on Monday, I asked you how your day in the office was.  My bad, I now realise it was a Bank Holiday.  Hope you all enjoyed it- it's your last until Christmas, I believe.

*smug mode back on*

Beach Buddies

The local beach has also seen much improvement and the Os go swimming every day in the early evening.  They've been suggesting we too take a dip and when I heard the water temperature is around 28029 C, I think I'll be cracking out the Speedos.  Swimming in the Adriatic in September?  Oh, all right then.

God's Snack

And the second thing we did? Marmite on hot, buttered toast.  Yes, we have a toaster too.  :oD

The Joy of Cooking

I can't recall the last time we had a proper kitchen at our disposal (Greece in 2007?), equipped with hob, oven, fridge,  freezer and a microwave.  Heaven.

Yet out first meal?  Fish fingers.  :o)

Double Dilbert

The Official Dilbert Website featuring Scott Adams Dilbert strips, animations and more
The Official Dilbert Website featuring Scott Adams Dilbert strips, animations and more

Double Bubble

Per person Japanese run twice as many searches on Google than Americans.

Peace Returns Tomorrow

We are currently in peak "high" season and the place is swamped with holiday makers all wanting to stretch their Euro that little bit further.  The Italians have been coming here for ages as they are only around the corner and Izola's second language is Italian (I love ciao as it means only having to remember one word for both hello and good-bye) but we heard plenty of German and lots of...  Russian.

Aye, there is a lot of money about with all the yachts and plenty of Russian investment in property too, apparently.

However, tomorrow everyone goes back as it's the 1st September and tourist season is finally over.  People go back to work, school, home and we get our Izola back as we like it.  Empty.  :o)

Red or Green?

There are principally two local brews, in the red corner we have Union and in the green corner we have Lasko,  Both are good at around 5% but given the option, I prefer the red.  Naturally, our first toast was with green (although Orhan too drinks Union, he had got us Lasko...) and here's a very important custom.  When knocking glasses together in a toast, you must always look the person directly into their eyes.  Looking away suggests you are not being sincere and that just doesn't do.

We remembered much to our friends' amusement.

Same Flat, New Look

While the dimensions and layout haven't changed, there have been some major investments and we now have a huge (though ever so soft*) double bed- it's so big the only item of furniture is the wardrobe, a new sofa, which becomes a double bed (lucky for my cousin Julia who will be visiting next month), a new dining area and we have cable TV. 

We couldn't ask for more, except maybe a few beers in the fridge?  Yip, taken care of as well.  There's that typical Slovene hospitality for you.




*Some kind of memory foam that sinks as soon as you land and stays in that shape for ages.  It's really funny and while a bit too soft since we've become fans of the Thai beds, I am certainly sleeping well.

So Pretty

Thankfully nothing major has changed in the town and most importantly, the view is as breathtaking as ever.  We are literally a few steps away from the beach and marina and to see yachts bobbing in the water, to feel the hot sun on your face and see tranquil life slipping along with just a sigh of pleasure is utterly delightful.

We are going to be so relaxed after our three month stay here.  If the parties don't kill us.

Apparently we have half a dozen birthdays in September and at least one wedding we've already been invited to.  And these Slovenes, like their Croatian/Serbian cousins know all about celebrating.  :o)

Driving Back

Trieste is not far from the Slovene border, under 20 km, and it doesn't take long via the new motorway.  No passport control either since Mr Schengen and his agreement, so we were treated to the same view that kept us here last time for six months in a very short space of time.  Of course, Orhan does drive like an Italian F1 pilot...

Back on Line, So Where to Begin?

How about getting picked up by a huge beaming man in shorts at Trieste train station?  Directly off the train on the platform, in fact.  It was so good to see Orhan and it felt like only yesterday since we had last seen him.  A great start.

Fresh and Interesting Website

Here's just a snippet of what to expect:


Who knows how long you have travelled for and who knows what kind of coincidences brought you here to this little and remote island.
We (Mia and Davide) discovered this beautiful island in 2007, while travelling around Mexico, searching for colours, new experiences and feelings.
And here we are! After more than 2 years and thousand doubts and insecurities, we decided to leave all our belongings (we didn’t have much!) to make a little dream come true: to build a hostel!
After some obstacles and some good fortune, we are ready to give our contribution to you for a few days of your Mexican journey. We want to give you something that we would have been happy to find while travelling around the world.
Tribu is going to be a place where the keyword is “sharing”! Experience, stories, knowledge, drinks and fun! At the end it’s going to be you who decides what to take and what to give..
You can pass your days reading books, watching movies on a rainy day, swimming, walking, discovering the wild, drinking a beer and listening to good music..
  • Just in case you’ll decide your footprints are passing by,
    here we are!
Mia, Davide and Mango

Ever Been to Mexico?

We haven't made it to that part of the world, but O2's (Olvera & Orhan, our host and friends) eldest daughter and her boyfriend have bought a hostel style pad in Holbox Island, just north of Cancun.  She's called Mia and her island is called Tribu

We hope to chat more to her about it next week when she comes back for her birthday- and her father's 60th, which by all accounts is going to be massive.  Can't wait, but in the meantime, here's the link:

Mia's Pad in Mexico

Loose Connection

Can you believe it?  That was all the problem was; the LAN cable had become dislodged upstairs and once securely replaced, we now have full fat, 100 Mbps of glorious internet access again.  At least, that seemed to be the problem- happily all is well now.

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

Quote/Unquote

"Television is for appearing on- not for looking at." 

 - Noel Coward

Credit Only

The average American carries $28.43 in cash with them.

The rest in plastic, one assumes?

On the Meter

The German city of Bonn has introduced parking meters for prostitutes in an attempt to tax the world's oldest profession. 

Prostitutes working the streets of the old West German capital now have to buy tickets from converted roadside vending machines that once dispensed tickets to the city's drivers. A night's ticket will set a prostitute back £5.30, irrespective of the number of clients they have. 
Like parking metres, the machines also tell users the times of day when a ticket is necessary: in this case between the hours of 8:15pm and 6am, Monday to Sunday. 
Monika Frombgen, a spokeswoman for Bonn city council, said the ticket machines would bring street prostitutes into fiscal line with their peers in registered sex establishments. 
"This is an act of tax fairness," she said. "Prostitutes in fixed establishments such as brothels and sauna clubs already pay tax." She added that with many street prostitutes foreign born previous attempts to tax them had floundered on a widespread inability to comprehend a German income tax form. The machines, Bonn hopes, will provide an easy-to-understand system of taxation. 
Inspectors will prowl the streets and any prostitute caught without a ticket will receive a warning for a first offence, but after that faces the possibility of a fine or a ban from practising prostitution.

This is the first time tax tickets have been sold on the streets in Germany. 

Dortmund has a similar system but it requires prostitutes to buy tickets from petrol stations.
The ticket machines come as the latest step in Bonn's drive to increase tax revenue from prostitution as it wrestles with financial problems. Earlier this year the city introduced a "sex tax", and it expects the levy to raise annual revenue of £265,000 for the city's coffers. 

Along with tickets, Bonn has also taken steps to control street prostitution following complaints from locals that their roads and gardens were being used as locations for sexual acts. 

The city has banned prostitution from areas of the city, and allocated six closed-off parking places for the use of prostitutes and their clients. 

Along with the location providing a certain amount of privacy, they also come with alarms a prostitute can trigger if she gets into trouble.

Blinding idea.  The Germans tax it and the Brits outlaw it and miss out on what's natural.

TTel

Technical Problems

We've got a few gremlins in the works so our internet access is intermittent.  We should be OK again tomorrow but in the meant time we've just got a few "regulars"for today, coming up next.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Back Live

But we won't be around for a bit as we have plenty to do.  We'll catch up as soon as though.

And is it good to be back?  You betcha.  :o)

That Was All Off-Line

We'll be back "live" as and when we settle down in Izola

Now then, brain in gear to try and remember some Slovene.  This is not going to be easy- I didn't learn any the first time around.

Gruss Gott

A typical greeting down south; "greetings/best wishes to God".

Erm, "hallo", I don't believe in God...

Alpine Pass

Our train is now passing directly through and around the Alps and I can't begin to describe the scenery.  Despite it being the height of summer, we have snowy peaks, lush green fields, sturdy pine trees and deep blue sky.  The river running alongside the tracks looks crystal clear (and freezing) and the cows are happily munching their grass without a care in the world.

Now, that's our Monday.  How's it going in your office today?  :o)

Sitting Pretty

I'm glad we reserved our seats, for while the train wasn't full, all compartments had people.  We found ours and asked the rather indignant couple, of mother and daughter, to move out of our places and we're now settled with a couple of hours to go. 

The mood has also since tightened now they have realised we not only speak German but we did actually pay for our seats.and everyone is smiling again. Not that we weren't.  :o)

Breakfast

That's a first (for a while) we actually took breakfast and it wasn't half bad.  We had options of several types of bread or rolls, fruit juices (apple or orange), coffee, yoghurt, cereals plus the standard cold cuts and cheeses.

It's still early for us to eat but we made the obligatory "packed lunch" (cheese and salami roll) and off we went.

Monday, 29 August 2011

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

Not Hanging Around Today

Just a brief visit as we have to start our long day.  With luck we shall be with you from Izola in the next day or so.  See you soon.

The Oatmeal

Minor Differences Part 4



Quote/Unquote

"Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well."
 
- Voltaire

As They Are

MotoGP Standings
  • Casey Stoner: 243 points
  • Jorge Lorenzo: 199
  • Andrea Dovizioso: 174
  • Dani Pedrosa: 130
  • Ben Spies: 125

Stoner Win in USA

MotoGP championship leader Casey Stoner continued his march towards the title as the Australian took victory at the United States MotoGP in Indianapolis.

The Honda rider, who has finished on the podium in all but one race, came home 4.828 seconds ahead of last year's Indy winner Dani Pedrosa while American Ben Spies was third at the Brickyard.

Spain's world champion Jorge Lorenzo was fourth as he fell further behind Stoner in the MotoGP Championship race.

Rossi came in 10th and Stoner now has a 44 point lead.

Coming Up

Saturday, 10th September 2011
 
Arsenal v Swansea, 15:00
Man City v Wigan, 15:00
Stoke v Liverpool, 15:00
Bolton v Man Utd, 17:30 
 
Monday, 12th September 2011
 
QPR v Newcastle, 20:00

Looking Grim

Team P GD PTS
1 Man Utd 3 10 9
2 Man City 3 9 9
3 Liverpool 3 4 7
4 Chelsea 3 3 7
5 Wolves 3 3 7
6 Newcastle 3 2 7
7 Aston Villa 3 2 5
8 Wigan 3 2 5
9 Stoke 3 1 5
10 Bolton 3 1 3
11 Everton 2 0 3
12 QPR 3 -5 3
13 Sunderland 3 -1 2
14 Norwich 3 -2 2
15 Swansea 3 -4 2
16 Fulham 3 -3 1
17 Arsenal 3 -8 1
18 West Brom 3 -3 0
19 Blackburn 3 -4 0
20 Tottenham 2 -7 0

Here We Go

A 1-5 stuffing by Man City as Tottenham's season kicks off with a flier- and we were at home?  8 goals let in to Manchester teams and I doubt it's going to get any easier.

Not even the consolation of Man U putting 8 past the Arse helps that much.  :-(

Zeroless

Nationwide an estimated annual savings of 9 300 man-hours and $130000 worth of ink could be gained if dates were written without extraneous 0's- 27/2/6, for example, instead of 27/02/06.

Photos to Come

We have plenty and when we get a chance (ie a good, reliable connection) we'll be updating a couple from each place we've visited onto our Flickr account.  We'll let you know when, don't worry.  :o)

Old Town, Old Weather

The weather held on to its sunny crown and high temperatures (T only) all day and we strolled into the Alt Stadt, not a huge distance away.  We instantly remembered the river, the glorious views of the castle and the main shopping area.  We also found the splendid gardens and the main square next to the Dom and best of all we also ran across the same restaurant we dined at last time and swore we'd return.

On that occasion we were working had enough cash but little time, now we're on a budget yet can stay as long as we choose.  This time we also had our first burger and fries since Thailand...

Stink Expensive

Examples:
  • McDonald's came to 10€ for 1 x meal, 1 x fish burger and coffee
  • A box of standard chocolates (present) was 8€
  • A Coke Zero (500 ml) without Pfand (deposit) was 1.50€
  • Standard bag of crisps- around 3€ (OK, that was in a petrol station as everything was closed due to it being a Sunday)
 It sure was cheaper in Germany and the last time we were here- about 14 years ago.  :o)

The Adlerhof

It sounds very grand ("eagle yard/courtyard/playground) and looking at the cost you'd expect it to be (80€) but in reality it's not much better than a B & B- and we do get breakfast which we don't want or need.

It's cosy enough but it also comes with niggles.  The bog seat is loose ( a real turn off for me), the sink is blocked (ditto) and the bathroom fan is so noisy due to a lack of cleaning for 25 years, that you'll barely be able to hear the TV with the door open.  The TV channels are all pissed or missing and the power plugs are poorly located.

On the upside, the beds and lined are good, it has a cosy feel to it and it is a brief 5 minute walk to the station.  Head the other way and you'll find the Old Town in around 15 minutes.

OK-ish but only worth 50€ compared to what we've been paying in Germany.

It's Complicated

Luckily they have an info/ticket centre at the front of the station, a large port-a-cabin, which was where we were once again ably assisted with ur onward travel needs.

We had already booked our tickets via the train and bus to Udine in Italy but decided to reserve two seats on the train (two hours) for just 3.50€/person (we already have seats for the 1.5 hour bus journey) and we found out we can also buy our tickets for the final leg, Udine to Trieste, which were a good price at just over 7€ each.

This means we are set to go and only have to get through the day as best we can.  Thank God Orhan will be at the station to collect us- even if Trieste is still a good way off Izola.

Salzburg Hbf Is...

... a massive building site.

It's going through some transformation as pretty much the entire main hall is being revamped and all you see are temporary buildings and annexes strewn around.  It's not pleasant to look at, there are poor facilities available and you can easily get lost.

And it's big.  We arrived on platform 35b.

From A to B

Another transfer that was simplicity itself with DB.  Once again we found a compartment that was free and piled in our luggage and our luck held as no one ventured to join us for the two and a half hour journey. 

The train was an Austrian one (OBB) and instead of being open plan was more old fashioned with a corridor and separate compartments for six travellers.  They're OK but have very poor luggage room, particularly if you have heavy or large bags.  Still we managed and all went well.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Oatmeal

We've looked at this wonderful site's Minor Differences parts 1 and 2 before, today we have part 3 and part 4 follows tomorrow.

Minor Differences Part 4
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Country #35

Arrived without much fuss in Salzburg

Digs basic, wi-fi patchy, same old, same old, really.  Still, time to explore.

Austria, Here We Come

Time has run out and we now have to schlepp our gear to the station and onto Salzburg.  A straight run through should see us arrive late afternoon and if all goes well, we'll have some good weather.  At least the sun is out here now so it's a nice way to say "auf widersehen, Deutschland".

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

Why?

Researchers at Michigan State University have taught chipmunks to "sing". The test subjects are capable of replicating simple melodies of up to five different pitches.

Explains the awful filums, then.

12 Points & Out? Nah...

Thousands of British motorists have been allowed to carry on driving despite having amassed 12 or more penalty points on their licence.

Official figures obtained by TInd show that more than 10  000 motorists have totted up at least 12 points for offences including drink-driving, speeding, and failing to produce a specimen.  One Bradford motorist is still on the road even though they have collected 32 points.

The DVLA have confirmed that 3.8 million driving licence-holders were recorded as having current penalty points. Some 13 449 people are disqualified from driving by a court as a result of collecting 12 or more penalty points- meaning that more than four out of 10 drivers who hit the limit manage to keep their licences.

Although accumulating 12 or more points over a three-year period is usually enough to earn a driving ban of at least six months, many motorists have managed to escape the sanction by pleading that it would cause them undue hardship.   Plod claimed that driving standards were deteriorating, but warned that, even if every repeat offender received a ban, cuts to highway patrol budgets meant that the get-tough measures would be "ineffective".

Once again showing that the penalties rarely act as deterrents.  Welcome to sob-story Britain.

Headache

"Londoners are putting their relationships in jeopardy by using laptops in bed, a new study claims."

How such nonsense even gets off the ground is beyond me.  How's this different to watching TV or reading a book then?

If you have to, you can read more at TES

'S True

The popular computer game Minesweeper was based on a live-action game played by by GIs with grenades and coconuts in the Pacific Theatre of World War II.

Tables

Team P GD PTS
1 Liverpool 3 4 7
2 Chelsea 3 3 7
3 Wolves 3 3 7
4 Man City 2 5 6
5 Man Utd 2 4 6
6 Aston Villa 3 2 5
7 Wigan 3 2 5
8 Newcastle 2 1 4
9 Bolton 3 1 3
10 Everton 2 0 3
11 QPR 3 -5 3
12 Stoke 2 0 2
13 Sunderland 3 -1 2
14 Norwich 3 -2 2
15 Swansea 3 -4 2
16 Arsenal 2 -2 1
17 Fulham 2 -2 1
18 West Brom 2 -2 0
19 Tottenham 1 -3 0
20 Blackburn 3 -4 0


Team P GD PTS
1 Rotherham 5 8 13
2 Morecambe 5 7 12
3 Crawley Town 5 5 10
4 Gillingham 5 2 10
5 Dag & Red 5 1 10
6 Cheltenham 5 2 9
7 Southend 5 -1 9
8 Port Vale 5 4 8
9 Oxford Utd 5 2 8
10 Bristol R 5 1 8
11 Shrewsbury 5 1 8
12 Torquay 5 0 8
13 Macclesfield 5 5 7
14 AFC Wimbledon 5 -1 7
15 Accrington St 5 -2 7
16 Burton Albion 5 0 6
17 Barnet 5 -3 5
18 Bradford 5 -1 4
19 Northampton 5 -3 4
20 Aldershot 5 -3 4
21 Swindon 5 -1 3
22 Crewe 5 -6 3
23 Hereford 5 -8 2
24 Plymouth 5 -9 1

Footie Results

Saturday, 27th August 2011- Barclays Premier League
 
Coming today:

Newcastle v Fulham, 13:00
West Brom v Stoke, 15:00
Man Utd v Arsenal, 16:00

Not Quite Good Enough

England's women won their fourth consecutive European hockey bronze medal with a 2-1 victory over Spain and the Dutch beat Germany 3-0 in the women's final.

2nd and 3rd is not the end of the world and we also have the mens' finals today.

That's Theat Then

Our tour of Germany ends and we now prepare for a hectic couple of days' travel  via Austria and Italy to get to Slovenia.  It'll be worth it as we love Izola and can't wait to catch up with Orhan and Olivera and the rest of the (growing) family.  To think, tomorrow night we'll be there.

Bloody Annoying


For some reason we keep getting this warning message popping up every nanosecond on switching on the laptop and trying to re-connect to the Etap wi-fi signal.  Clearly we haven't changed anything since putting the 'pooter to sleep and yet this flicks in as soon as you power up and eventually log on again.

And it happened in Dresden too.  Come on Etap, get it fixed.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Malaria Warning

Holidaymakers to Greece have been warned to take precautions against mosquito bites following six reported cases of malaria since June.  The cases occurred in the Laconia region of the southern Peloponnese and on Euboea, a large island north of Athens.

Travellers need not take antimalarial medication, but should take measures to prevent being bitten.

Egg & Chicken

The tax on plane tickets could rise by nearly 25% because the number of people flying is failing to keep up with Government forecasts which has left the Treasury facing a black hole in its finances.  Depending on the rate of inflation, the gap could be at least £500 million.

According to the latest figures released earlier this week by the Department for Transport, this will have to be paid by fewer people than previously anticipated, but with the Treasury looking to raise £3.6 billion from Air Passenger Duty (APD) in 2015/16, compared with £2.2 billion in the current financial year, the tax will have to rise more sharply than anticipated if the gap is to be plugged.

Last year the Government shelved the annual inflation-linked APD rise pending a review of the tax.

More at TTel

Bangkok Shopping

Thais love shopping, so join in the fun. The sheer variety of items on offer can be as overwhelming as it is exhilarating. Clothes and textiles, jewellery, electronic hardware and pirate DVDs are among the favourites. Don’t forget to haggle for bargains.

Getting your bearings: Downtown Bangkok, especially the area around Chitlom, Siam Square and Pratunam, offers unrivalled shopping, from bargain clothes and designer sunglasses to hi-tech gadgets and local souvenirs. Try gigantic MBK, which contains countless independent outlets and bargains (BTS National Stadium), or the upmarket Siam Paragon (BTS Siam) with its luxury-car showrooms and huge basement aquarium. Also interesting is the Patpong Night Market (BTS Sala Daeng) for bootleg luxury items and Banglamphoo (Phra Athit pier or taxi), Bangkok’s backpacker quarter, great for trendy clothes and jewellery. Panthip Plaza (BTS Ratchathewi) offers five floors of computer equipment. For more idiosyncratic stores and markets, try the folowing:

House of Chao presents three floors of antiques and curiosities from Thailand, Myanmar, India and China.

Address: 1/9 Decho Road (BTS Chong Nonsi).
Contact: 00 66 2 6357188.
Opening times: Daily, 9am-7pm.

The Loft stocks an eclectic collection of modern Asian gift ideas and gadgets.

Address: Siam Discovery Centre (BTS Sian)
Contact: 00 66 2 6580328.
Opening times: Daily, 10am-9pm.

Chatuchak Weekend Market is one of the largest open-air markets in the world, so huge that an electric train (free of charge) whisks visitors about. Some 15,000 stalls sell furniture, plants, trendy clothes, souvenirs, traditional medicine, books, animals and much more. Plenty of small eateries and drinks stalls save marathon shoppers from exhaustion.

Admission: Free.
Address: BTS Saphan Kwai, MRT Kamphaeng Phet.
Opening times: Sat-Sun, 7am-6pm

Bangkok Nightlife

Bangkok’s nightlife is high, low and in-between, reflecting the tastes of its ever more cosmopolitan visitors, expatriates and well-to-do locals. Wine bars, intimate music venues, cocktail lounges and trendy nightclubs give the ubiquitous go-go bars a run for their money – and for their customers. Night owls will enjoy themselves until 1am, when the government curfew closes most establishments.

The Adhere 13th Blues Bar

Bohemian hole-in-the-wall bar in Bangkok’s backpacker quarter, with great live music. The house band is the best of its kind in the city – and at weekends, the joint gets so packed that punters (a great mixture of Thais and foreigners) spill out on to the street (2).

Address: 13 Samsen Road, Banglamphoo (Phra Athit pier, or taxi).
Contact: No telephone
Prices: Admission free; about £2 per cocktail.
Opening times: Daily, 5pm-midnight.

Brown Sugar

Long-running jazz venue (live music from 9pm) with a pub-style atmosphere. Country and Western on Sundays. Basic Thai food is served (3).

Address: Soi Sarasin, Lumpini Park (BTS Sala Daeng, MRT Silom).
Contact: 00 66 2 2500103.
Prices: Admission free; about £2 per cocktail.
Opening times: Mon-Sat, 11am-1am; Sun 5pm-1am.

The Bed Supper Club
Futuristic nightclub and restaurant, parked like a Kubrickian spaceship in an alley off Sukhumvit Road. Bed has the capital’s coolest dance floor, where celebrities and wannabes party hard to the beats of international DJs (4).

Address: 26 Sukhumvit, Soi 11 (BTS Nana).
Contact: 00 66 2 6513537.
Prices: Admission £8-£10; about £8 per glass of wine/cocktail.
Opening times: Daily, 7.30pm-1.30am.
Bangkok: nightlife

Sirocco Sky Bar, Lebua at State Tower

Visitors will feel on top of the world at this very smart 64th-floor lounge bar, crowning Bangkok’s second-highest building. Beautifully lit and well-stocked with wines, helped along by live jazz, fresh oysters and stunning views. Dress code smart casual (5).

Address: The Dome, Silom Road (BTS Surasak, taxi).
Contact: 00 66 2 6249999.
Prices: Admission free; about £10 per glass of wine.
Opening times: Daily, 6pm-1am.
Bangkok: nightlife
Sirocco Sky Bar, crowning Bangkok’s second-highest building
Visitors who want to take a wander through Bangkok’s notorious red-light areas should avoid infamous Patpong and hard-sell Nana Plaza. Head instead for the marginally less freakish Soi Cowboy, where punters are least likely to be cheated when it comes to paying the bill.

Bangkok Attractions

Ten top sights

Wat Pra Kaew and Grand Palace Complex

The royal complex, located on Ko Ratanakosin, an artificial island by the Chao Praya River, includes Wat Phra Kaew (1) – the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The sacred statue itself is housed in a richly decorated hall while the temple walls are covered with exquisite murals of the Ramakien, Thailand’s interpretation of the Ramayana. The Grand Palace, a curious blend of Italian Renaissance and Thai architecture, was designed by British architects in 1882. Visitors must be covered up.

Contact: 00 66 2 2241833.
Opening hours: Daily, 8.30am-3.30pm.
Admission: 350 baht (£7), including entry to Dusit Palace Park.
Transport: Tha Chang pier or taxi.

Wat Po

Home to a 150ft-long reclining Buddha, Wat Po (2) also houses the largest collection of Buddha images in the country. Traditional massages offered here are highly recommended, and visitors who want to learn about Thai massage should begin here.

Contact: 00 66 2 2219911.
Opening hours: Daily, 8am-5pm.
Admission: 50 baht (£1).
Transport: Tha Thien pier or taxi.
Bangkok: attractions
Wat Po is home to a 150ft-long reclining Buddha

National Museum

The country’s largest museum (3), on Na Phra That Road, offers exhibitions illustrating Thai history, plus collections of Buddha images, textiles, ceramics, musical instruments and weapons. The guided tours (in English, 9.30am Wed-Thur) are recommended.

Contact: 00 66 2 2241333.
Opening hours: Wed-Sun, 9am-3.30 pm .
Admission: 200 baht (£4).
Transport: Tha Chang pier or taxi.

Dusit Palace Park

This park (4) contains various palaces and museums, including the attractive Vimarnmaek Teak Mansion (compulsory tours in English every 30 minutes, 9.30am-3pm) – the world’s largest teak building, apparently, containing a vast collection of royal antiques. Visitors must be covered up.

Location: Ratchawithi/Ratchasima Road.
Contact: 00 66 2 6286300.
Opening hours: Daily, 9.30am-4pm.
Admission: Adult 100 baht (£2), child 50 baht (£1); free with same-day Grand Palace ticket.
Transport: Taxi.

Wat Aroon

The spectacular 19th-century Temple of Dawn (5) rises on the western bank of the Chao Praya, its main tower covered with impressive mosaics made from shards of Chinese porcelain.

Location: Arun Amarin Road, Thonburi district.
Contact: 00 6 2 8911149.
Opening hours: Daily, 9am-5pm.
Admission: 20 baht (about 40p).
Transport: Tha Thai Wang pier.

Wat Traimit, Chinatown

Bangkok’s Chinatown (6) was founded in 1782 and is a warren of narrow alleys, incredibly congested roads and street markets. Wat Traimit contains a 10ft-tall solid gold Buddha. Pahurat, to the south-east of Chinatown, is Bangkok’s lively Indian community.

Location: Wat Traimit – Yaowarat Road.
Contact: 00 66 2 2259775.
Opening hours: Daily, 9am-5pm.
Admission: 20 baht (about 40p).
Transport: MRT Hualamphong, or taxi.

Lumphini Park

Named after the Buddha’s birthplace, Central Bangkok’s only spot of green (7) offers an artificial lake and well-kept lawns. Early in the morning, locals practice t’ai chi, while in the late afternoons aerobics classes shatter the peace; prostitutes take over at nightfall.

Location: Rama IV, Wireless and Ratchadamri Road.
Opening hours: Daily, 5am-8pm.
Admission: Free.
Transport: MRT Lumphini, BTS Sala Daeng.
Bangkok: attractions
Lumphini Park, central Bangkok’s only spot of green

Jim Thompson’s House

These traditional wooden Thai houses (8), in a wonderful garden compound, were once the home of Thompson – the US spy and founder of the Thai silk industry, who mysteriously disappeared in Malaysia in 1967. The main house contains a collection of antiques and personal belongings (compulsory tours in English every 10 minutes).

Location: 6 Soi Kasem San 2.
Contact: 00 66 2 2167368.
Opening hours: Daily, 9am-5pm.
Admission: Adult 100 baht (£2), child 50 baht (£1).
Transport: BTS National Stadium.

Mahariamman Temple

Impressive southern Indian-style temple (9) built in the 1860s, open to non-Hindus. The nearby Kathmandu Gallery on Pan Road features regular photo exhibitions.

Location: Corner of Silom Road and Pan Road.
Opening hours: Daily, 6am-8pm.
Admission: Free.
Transport: BTS Surasak.

Tha Pra Chan


This sprawling riverside market (10) sells religious amulets and carvings, including wooden phallic fertility symbols and a huge variety of brass figures. Several small restaurants with river views offer good local fare.

Location: Maharat Road.
Opening hours: Daily, 9am-5pm.~
Admission: Free.
Transport: Tha Chang pier.
Day trips

Ko Kret – an island in the sun

Visitors looking for respite from urban congestion will find a perfect getaway along the Chao Praya River, an hour north of the city. The artificial island of Ko Kret is home to the Mon, a minority specialising in pottery production. Numerous workshops can be found on this traffic-free speck of green. At weekends, Ko Kret is popular with Thai day-trippers and countless food and souvenir stalls open along the narrow paths that crisscross the island.

Admission: Free.
Transport: On weekdays, take a taxi to Pak Kret, then the cross-river ferry. On Saturdays and Sundays, Chao Praya Express (00 66 2 6236001, www.chaoprayaboat.co.th) operates ferries from Tha Sathon pier, 10am-4.45pm. Adult fare 300 baht (£6), child 250 baht (£5).

Taling Chan Floating Market

Bangkok’s floating markets – a network of canals teeming with small samphans, (narrow rowing boats), whose owners sell noodles, fruit and many Thai snacks – have long been a highlight on tourist itineraries. Taling Chan, about nine miles north-west of Bangkok, is one of the most accessible. Restaurants and shops line the canal banks. Location: Klong Chak Phra, Thonburi district.

Admission: Free.
Opening hours: Sat-Sun, 8am-5pm.
Transport: Taxi.
Entering or leaving Bangkok’s popular tourist sites, visitors are often accosted by tuk-tuk (motorised rickshaw) drivers, offering rides to other destinations for as little as 10 baht (about 20p) in exchange for a quick visit to a gem store on the way. Some drivers become abusive if they then don’t earn a commission. Take a metered taxi instead.
Seasonal guide

Kwok On: Masks of Asia

Exhibition of an ethnographic collection of masks from Japan, China, Thailand, Korea, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Tibet and India from the ethnographic collection of the Orient Foundation Museum in Lisbon.

Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre (00 66 2 2146630-1). 14 September till October 6, 2011. Open Tue-Sun, 10am-9pm. Admission free. BTS National Stadium.

The Space Dinner Party

The River Space is a project initiated by photographer James Nachtwey. The dinners, held once or twice a month, are inspired by Jim Haynes and his famous Paris dinners which have now lasted for thirty years. Expatriates and visitors to Bangkok meet, eat, chat and attend informal cultural events from photography slide shows to talks with local writers and artists in a spectacular location on the Chao Praya River. Check Facebook or email Ilovethespace@gmail.com for dates. Klongsan Plaza (next to Hilton Millenium) 7pm – late, A donation of 300 Baht is expected, bring your own drink.

Homesick

An essential guide to the Thai capital, Bangkok, including advice on the best hotels, restaurants, bars, shops and attractions.

    * Overview
    * Attractions
    * Bangkok Hotels
    * Restaurants
    * Nightlife
    * Shopping

Why go?


Thailand’s capital is South-east Asia’s most enigmatic city bar none: a head-on clash between tradition and modernity. First-time visitors may be a little taken aback by the concrete canyons and futuristic, billboard-covered skyscrapers, but take a few steps away from the main roads into one of the city’s countless alleys, and traditional Thai culture is everywhere – an urban cornucopia of smells, tastes, sounds and sights one in unlikely to forget.

Somehow, Bangkok gets the balance right between the expensive, the esoteric and the profane. The squeaky-clean sky train and underground system make most of this huge metropolis navigable, whisking visitors from their luxury accommodation to a sparkling Buddhist temple or an ancient amulet market within minutes – a kind of time travel possible in few other cities of 11 million people.

River trips, museums, shopping centers and, of course, Bangkok’s nightlife (which has come a long way from gaudy to cosmopolitan) make for the defining Far Eastern urban experience. Despite Thailand’s recent political turmoil, Bangkok remains one of the world’s safest cities; violent crime against foreign visitors is extremely rare.

When to go?

Bangkok is at its best during the cool season, from November to February, after the monsoon and before the sweltering heat sets in at the beginning of March.
Getting there

Flights

International flights arrive at Suvarnabhumi International Airport (00 66 2 7230000, www.suvarnabhumiairport.com), about 20 miles to the east of the city. The old airport, Don Muang, about 12 miles north of Bangkok, handles some domestic flights.

Transfers

From 6am-midnight, the Suvarnabhumi Airport Express rail link (00 66 2 1321888) runs to a new terminal in Makkasan, which is not particularly central but connects to Petchaburi underground (MRT). Journey time 15 minutes, fare 150 baht (about £3). A slower Suvarnabhumi Airport Cityline goes to the more central Phaya Thai station, which connects to Phaya Thai sky train station (BTS). Journey time 30 minutes, fare 15-45 baht (30p-95p) depending on distance travelled.

For visitors heading to downtown Sukhumvit Road or the backpacker enclave of Khao San Road, an airport taxi, which rarely costs more than 250 baht (£5)*, is more convenient – but insist on the driver using the meter. A 50 baht (£1) airport taxi surcharge must be paid on top of the fare. Airport limousines charge about 600 baht (£12.75).

A number of airport express buses run to the city: AE1 heads for Silom Road, AE2 goes along Petchaburi Road to Khao San Road, AE3 serves Sukhumvit Road and AE4 passes via Siam Square to Hualamphong Railway Station. Tickets cost 100 baht (£2).

Trains

Some visitors arrive in Bangkok by rail at Hualamphong station (see www.railway.co.th for information and bookings). An underground station (MRT) of the same name is attached to the station.
Getting around

Sky train

The quickest modes of transport are the BTS (Bangkok Mass Transit System) and the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit System). BTS tickets cost 15-40 baht (30p-85p), a Smart Pass 350 baht (£7.45) – good for 20 journeys (see www.bts.co.th for details). MRT tickets cost 13-30 baht. Both networks run from 6am-midnight.

Taxis

These are among the cheapest in the world, but should be avoided during rush hour. Always insist on drivers switching on the meter. The minimum fare is 35 baht (75p). A trip across town should be around 100-150 baht (£2-£3).

Walking

Due to traffic and pollution, this is only recommended by the river and through Chinatown.

Buses

These are painfully slow.

For destinations close to the river, the Chao Praya Express Boat (www.chaoprayaboat.co.th) is the way to go. Stops are frequent and boats run from 6am to 7.30pm during the week, and until 6.30pm on Sundays. Tickets are purchased on board and cost 10-30 baht (20p-65p).

Know before you go

Essential contacts


British Embassy: 00 66 2 3058333; consular services 00 66 2 3058252, 14 Wireless Road. Open Mon-Thur, 8am-noon; 12:45pm-4.30pm. Fri, 8am-1pm. MRT Lumphini.
Bangkok Information Centre: 00 66 2 2257612, 17/1 Phra Athit Road. Open daily, 9am-7pm. Phra Athit pier.
Tourist Police: Dial 1155.

The basics

Currency: Baht.
Telephone code: Dial 00 66 2 for Bangkok numbers from outside Thailand, 02 from inside Thailand.
Time difference: +7 hours
Flight time: 11hr 25min.

Local laws and etiquette

It is strictly against the law to criticise the monarchy. Smart appearance goes a long way in Thailand. Visitors to Buddhist temples should be covered up, take their shoes off and never point the soles of their feet at Buddhist icons.


More at TTel if you click on the tabs at the top of the article or just read the nest few posts...





*Utter bollocks- most newbies will be striped for well over THB 350- 450 at least, even if they manage to get the meter running.

'S All BBC Bollocks

The BBC has reneged on a promise to cut executive pay after it emerged that almost half of the corporation's board members will avoid sacrificing a month's salary this year and one director has even secretly negotiated a £20 000 pay rise.

In response to mounting public anger over large salaries at the corporation, BBC executive directors announced last year that each member of its board of directors would give up a month's wages in 2011 and 2012.  It was part of a pledge to address what Lord Patten of Barnes, the current chairman, has termed the "toxic" issue of high executive pay. 

However, it doesn't seem to have been actioned (read more at TTel)- is anyone truly surprised?

Forget Cod with Your Chips

It could soon be big-headed carp.

Scientists are working on bringing exotic Asian freshwater fish to British dinner tables and the species, which also include silver carp and pangasius, could provide a radical, but tasty, alternative to popular fish including cod, salmon and trout.

Serving the fish in traditional batter to 100 consumers, they found that 39% preferred the pangasius while 16% preferred carp and 43% said they preferred the traditional cod.

More at TTel

Grey Market

A RECORD number of pensioners have been granted places in care homes across Britain, amid claims the entry criteria are easier than ever.

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'Nine grand a year for Leicester'
Over half a million senior citizens were offered board at their first choice old folks' home with another 125,000 going to one in Leicester through clearing.

Retired headmistress Margaret Gerving, achieved 81 years, mild senility and a varicose vein, which was enough to win a place at the Angry Swan Rest Home in Guilford.

But she dismissed claims that the selection process was anything other than arduous: "I worked really hard. Anyone who thinks I'm not infirm enough to have all my meals cooked for me forever should take a look at the backs of my legs. The left one's like a bag of M&Ms."

Veteran care home resident Roy Hobbs, 109, believes the advances in technology are responsible for pensioners gaining higher age scores.

"Some of these new octogenarians have cordless phones with giant buttons making it easier to alert a neighbour after one of their flappy turns. How is that fair? You tell me.

"I remember when just a privileged few went to care homes. Used to be you'd have to throw yourself down some stairs but now all you need to do is wet your knickers near a band stand."

Care worker Martin Bishop said he had seen an increasing number of overcrowded day-rooms, adding: "Many of these OAPs have gone to a care home without any real thought about their future.

"The sad truth is for many of them, there won't be a decent sing song at end of it and most of them will be forced take part in menial activities like Crazy Eights or Giant Jenga."


DMash

Bunk Up

COLONEL Gaddafi has asked Tony Blair if he can stay in his guest room for a while.

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'Of course you can, any time...'
The Libyan dictator expects to be homeless or dead by lunchtime but would accept the offer of safe passage if the former UK prime minister can put him up until he gets something else sorted out.

As fierce fighting surrounds Gaddafi's compound the leader was desperately trying to track down Blair on his mobile phone to check if the guest room had ensuite facilities and how they should arrange the whole laundry, food thing.

Amid the deafening sound of gunfire and mortar explosions, Gaddafi told Blair's voicemail: "I'm thinking either we take it in turns to do a wash or I do the laundry and you do the cooking."

Shouting until he was hoarse, Gaddafi added: "I'm not into this whole separate shelves in the fridge thing. I'll just eat with  you guys and bung in twenty quid or something, yeah?

"Happy to stay in the London house obviously, but would be great if I could use the big place in the country as well.

"I HAVEN'T PLAYED TENNIS FOR AGES."

But Blair's spokesman said: "It's always really awkward when someone gets the wrong end of the stick, isn't it? Tony always said Colonel Gaddafi could use the guest room as long as he wasn't under indictment for crimes against humanity.

"Plus, he's going to be away for a few days so... you know."

The spokesman added: "He's not being a dick about this, but Colonel Gaddafi clearly thinks they are better friends than they actually are. Tony is genuinely sorry if he gave him the wrong impression.

"It would actually be a lot better for everyone if he could just stop phoning us and get shot in the face."


DMash

Waste of Time

Football fans have responded to Gary Neville’s claim that his England career was a ‘waste of time’ by arguing that his fledgling career as a pundit is going much the same way.

Despite giving his all in his performances so far this season which have showcased his technical ability, most Sky Sports viewers have found themselves longing for Andy Gray to return -much to their own horror.

“We know that he’s got the heart and the passion, but he’s lacking that something special which would make him a winner,” explained disgruntled Peterborough fan Bob Thomas.

“The Premier League is exciting and full of skill, but I can’t see him making any progress for the next decade at least.”

“He tries his best, but me and my mates would still rather go on holiday to Tripoli than have to listen to him droning on at half-time.”

“You can tell he’s struggling and fearing the consequences of being outfoxed by Jamie Redknapp in the analysis box.”

In his autobiography Neville has revealed his disappointment at the treatment he’s received, just in case someone actually buys it.

“Pulling on your Monday Night Football suit and discussing the merits of a diamond formation with Ray Wilkins should be one of the best moments of your life,” he writes.

“But sometimes you question if you’re enjoying the ride. And I dread to think how the viewers feel.”

“We’re caught between being good, potentially very good, and as boring as Everton in the first half of the season.”

A spokesperson for Sky Sports concluded, “The Premier League years have seen a rise in technique and skills and intelligence, but that improvement won’t work it’s way into the studio overnight.”

“In fact, as Neville so perfectly illustrates, it might never get there at all.”

NT

Fish Suppers

We fancied a hot lunch and went to Nord See, a fast food fish bar that also offers a restaurant side.  A couple of fish, one with rice the other with fried potatoes and we got the bill (no drinks or salad/veg either).  Fifteen notes.  Shocking.

Dilbert

The Official Dilbert Website featuring Scott Adams Dilbert strips, animations and more

That I Can Believe

On average, a gym member who signs a 12 month contract will visit their gym eight times.

I bet most of those are in January...

Dates & Places






That's not a bad route and we've had a fantastic time seeing new places and going back to some old ones.  Perhaps we can sneak a few days in before we fly back to Bangkok?  There's nowt better than Bielefeld near to Christmas time. 

The team certainly isn't...

Amost Done and Dusted

That's it now for our German tour and it's been the most fun we've had on the road.  Tomorrow we head off to Austria and return to Salzburg, a place we've already had the pleasure of visiting a few times previously.  Just the one night, sadly, but I'm sure we'll enjoy it and the hotel promises to be good too.  I think we have internet access so hopefully, once we settle in we can post up a little more before the long haul to Slovenia.

We might get a quick dabble tomorrow morning but the WLAN here has been out all afternoon and it's a bit ropey now that it's back.  It's no big deal, we've had access when we've needed it and that's all that matters. 

As Per

We're done for the day and as I look out of the window, it's a perfect day.  Clear, bright and sunny.

As mentioned, it's been raining pretty much all day but that wasn't the most striking aspect.  Yesterday it was hot and sunny, easily 27-28 C and today the mercury plummeted down to about 14 C.

We were jackets for the first time since landing in Germany and we can only expect this to happen more often as we roll into autumn.  Mind you, Izola is a little sun trap and today it was 25 C.  I hope that sticks around for a few months.

Quote/Unquote

"If I only had a little humility, I'd be perfect."
 
- Ted Turner

Same, Same


Not quite your 24 hour bar as per the Imm, but this vending machine at least offers you a chance of a chilled drink, whether water, Coke or beer.  Funniest thing?  They all cost the same; 2.60€.  :o)

Quicker Route to the Hotel

If you're coming from the station, go to the end of platform 1 (away from McDonald's) and you'll see a flight of stairs.  Down you go and you'll be at the tunnel which takes back under the tracks and onto the Etap.

It has to be said, their website is less than helpful.  Firstly it didn't forewarn of limited heck in hours (you'd be stuffed if you didn't have a credit card) and nor did it mention this short cut.  It's simple enough, so why not?

Could do better.

Singing in the Rain

Not quite yodelling but happy enough as we limped over the wet cobblestones and enjoyed our first visit to Augsburg.  Not quite as delightful as Bamberg or Dresden, it's also probably down to the continual drizzle which we experienced during our sightseeing tour.  That said, it's been worth the visit.

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

Bottoms Up

The world's 10 weirdest beers- as per SL:

The Pizza Beer

Linked Image
Pizza and beer: great meal. Pizza beer: not so much. This head-scratching drink is created by straining a mashed-up Margherita pizza and then filtering it with the regular ingredients. Just in case you don't find that strange enough, the creators have also made pizza beer pizza and a pizza beer sausage, which all begs the question: why? And, more importantly: why?

The End of History

Linked Image
Ah if ever there were a tabloid-baiting beer, this would be it. Firstly, the beer is 55% proof, making it the second strongest beer in the world, and secondly, more disturbingly it's served in the bodies of dead animals. You can choose between a stoat, a squirrel or a hare. The blonde ale is infused with nettles and juniper berries and other stuff but who cares about the ingredients when it's served in a dead animal?

Boza Beer

Linked Image
There are many physical effects that can be expected from drinking beer. There's an increase in toilet visits, a decrease in balance and quite often a high likelihood of a headache the morning after. Over in Bulgaria, there's another surprise reaction that the Boza beer can allegedly have. It involves breasts getting bigger. There's no real proof for this however but if anyone has any, let us know...

The Blue Brew

Linked Image
While melted cheese arguably makes around 87% of meals infinitely better, it's usually best kept far away from beverages. Choosing to flagrantly disregard this unspoken rule of the world, the Leicester-based Belvoir Brewery concocted a beer from the by-product of the Stilton-making process. Apparently it tastes creamy, rather than cheesy. This from the guy that made it though.

Beer Geek Brunch Weasel

Linked Image
Now, we're willing to be a bit adventurous with our beer. We've tried it with a twist of lime before. But there are definite limits. As soon as the faecal matter of any living animal is involved, we're suddenly choosing to drink wine or water or nothing instead. Avoiding our sage advice, the Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel utilises a coffee that's made from droppings of weasel-like civet cats. We're suddenly vegetarian.

The Dog Beer

Linked Image
Relax, we're not suggesting that you prank your dog by feeding him actual beer as, while initially funny, it would end up being wrong and dangerous. The Dutch-made Dog Beer is a specially brewed, non-alcoholic drink made from a blend of beef extracts and malt. So, in other words, never get the bottles mixed up when drunk.

Kidsbeer

Linked Image
Anyone who has kids will know that they're a bit obsessed with us grown-ups. While they're not acting like the true degenerates they really are, they're mimicking our behaviour with their toy kitchens and plastic mobile phones. It makes perfect sense then that they'd also want to get as embarrassingly drunk as we do every now and then. The non-alcoholic Kidsbeer is a Japanese soda that's been given extra froth to make it seem like it's for adults. We imagine their faux-drunkness would look something like this.

Deus Champagne Beer

Linked Image
If, like us, your father told you as a teen never to mix the grape and the grain then chances are you've tended to avoid drinking beer and wine in the same evening. But this piece of advice was clearly never passed on in Belgium. The beer boasts a wine-like strength (11.5%) and a champagne-like price (£32 for 75cl). We guess it's suitable for toasting how hungover you're going to feel the morning after.

Vostok Space Beer

Linked Image
It ain't easy being an astronaut. Despite having a job that at least 75% of schoolkids desperately want, the reality involves years away from home in an isolated environment. So, who could blame them for wanting to forget their troubles and get a bit buzzed every now and then. The Vostok Space Beer is the world's first beer that's been deemed suitable for space. It boasts an enhanced flavour which is designed to counteract tongue swelling, which often happens on a spaceship. Bad news: alcohol is banned aboard the International Space Station. Actually, wait, that's good news.

Start The Future

Linked Image
The world's strongest beer, called Start the Future, is probably most likely to start your future as a raging alcoholic. It has a 60% ABV and was created by a Dutch brewer, who claimed that he was forced into making it as he was trying to keep up with the Scots. He's won. Many livers haven't as a result.