Snapshots of Portsmouth, February and March 2012.
Archive for the ‘UK’ Category
Posted by dan on March 9, 2012
Posted by dan on March 5, 2011
Images of an excursion into the world of political correctness, at Waterloo station London…
Posted by dan on February 10, 2011
Located close to the corner of Princes Street and Lothian Road, just below the Edinburgh Castle, it looks just an ordinary old stone-house characteristic of the New Town area. However, as soon as you enter a different atmosphere awaits: the old features like wooden beams and exposed stone walls nicely blend in with the contemporary design. There is a big area in front of the bar to take standing crowds on busy nights, but there are also secluded little boxes for those who want more privacy. The food is great, with typical Scottish dishes like huggies along with the usual Brit pub food, and there is a wide selection of local and international beers and other drinks. Having a few pints you sure will have to visit the bathroom – the men having an opportunity to do it in buckets. An interesting and trendy pub for sure, a few steps off the main tourist path.
2 Rutland Place
Official website: http://www.ghillie-dhu.co.uk/
Posted by dan on January 7, 2011
I remember seeing them in Eastern Europe, but that was quite some time ago – probably there aren’t that many of them anymore, if at all, on the roads of the Eastern-block countries. So I was really surprised when I came across a Trabant, the East German wunder-car, in Portsmouth UK. Despite the sign DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik – German Democratic Republic) it has a British number plate, and this might well be the only registered Trabant in the UK. Trabants have a two-cylinder and two-stroke engine, and the body is made of cardboard. So, as the sticker claims on this one, there is definitely no rust on the body.
More info on the Trabant: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trabant
Posted by dan on December 26, 2010
- “For the first time in 30 years the Serpentine in Hyde Park was too frozen to allow all the ice to be cleared for the Peter Pan Cup, a 100 metre race, so swimmers had a hot cuppa to celebrate Christmas.
- “The Berlin Seals” ice swimming club have been taking the winters of the Orankesee for their health since 1979.
- The Copa Nadal held on a Barcelona beach is a 200 metre race celebrating its 101st anniversary in relatively balmy conditions. Only the civil war has ever interrupted this Christmas dip.”
The “Peter Pan Cup” Christmas Morning Handicap Swim: http://www.serpentineswimmingclub.com/christmas_day_race.htm
Serpentine Swimming Club: http://www.serpentineswimmingclub.com/
Posted by dan on December 22, 2010
Probably the easiest and fastest way to connect the two capitals is by the Eurostar train, which takes as little as 2 hours and 15 minutes. The biggest advantage is that you can start in the center of one city, and arrive in the center in the other one (St. Pancrass station and Gare du Nord), saving you time and money. Considering transfer times and costs, it is very competitive – and probably better – than the budget flights. You have to book as early as you can to get the best rates – tickets go on sale 90 days before trip – but you can get good prices even a few days before if you are traveling on a weekday or at certain times.
2010 is one of the snowiest winters in the UK and France, and many services were disrupted – flights as well as the Eurostar. As I am writing this post, I’ve heard news that travel is getting back to normal, which is very good news for many – especially at such an important time as Christmas. The following images were made when the first snow hit the UK and France in 2010.
Check rates and book tickets: http://www.eurostar.com/
About Eurostar: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurostar
Posted by dan on December 17, 2010
Another great nature eacape is a walk in Blackford Hill Local National Park, a bit south-west from the Salisbury Crags. There is a pond with ducks and swans, a hill with an observatory from where you can get a beautiful view of both the Castle and the Crags, a little forest with a creek and the Hermitage of Braid, now functioning as the park rangers center.
Friends of Hermitage of Braid: http://www.fohb.org
City of Edinburgh Countryside Ranger Service: http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/countrysiderangers
See also blog post: Edinburgh – nature walk in the city 1.
Posted by dan on December 10, 2010
With Christmas only a few weeks away, everybody is thinking of some good gift ideas. Here is one great idea from the brochure of Brittany Ferries – probably aimed at British visitors, as they are used to get everything in plastic. In the supermarkets in the UK tomatoes, apples, bananas, potato etc come in beautiful plastic boxes, holding no more than 2 or 3 pieces. You find similar in other countries as well, but not to the same extent. The bottom line is, if you have a banana, you have to protect it.
“Protects your banana when you’re on the move! The best guard in glorious yellow!”
Bananaguard official website: http://www.bananaguard.com/
See other great gift ideas: https://independentguide.wordpress.com/tag/gift-ideas/
Posted by dan on December 4, 2010
The Salisbury Crags with Arthur’s Seat is a dominant natural sight, rising above Edingurgh and visible from most part of the city. Located at the Royal Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Scottish Parliament, at end of the Royal Mile, it is easy to reach – even the Hop-On-Hop-Off buses stop at its foot. It is worth to walk at least a little up the Crags – the view of the city is stunning.
There are several paths of different difficulty and shorter or longer walks can be taken. A circuit along the rocky cliffs of the Crags is 1-1.5 hours; a summit circuit to Arthur’s Seat and back 2-3 hours.
“Holyrood Park is a rare example of unimproved grassland. Effectively unchanged since its enclosure as a Royal Park in the 16th century. It is rich in plant species and also provides a home to a variety of important invertebrate, amphibian, mammal and bird species. To find such a wildlife haven in the heart of a capital city is remarkable.”
For more information about the park, guided walks and other activities run by the Rangers, visit: http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/ranger
(Note: the url printed on the brochure doesn’t work.)
See also: Edinburgh – nature walk in the city 2.
Posted by dan on December 3, 2010
If you visit Portsmouth, a nice full day program could be a walk from the port of Old Portsmouth along the coast of Southsea and taking the bus back from the end of the walk. You could even make several day programs, depending on your interests, as there are an amusement park, an aquarium, the D-Day museum, a covered swimming pool with health-fitness facilities, lively Albert Pier, a small lake with pedal-boats and swans found along the way, and of course the beach. Although the beach is not fine sand but rather gravely, it is still a popular seaside destination for locals and visitors in the summer months. There are many hotels, B&B, restaurants and pubs all along the coast and in the center.
Other program ideas:
A ‘walk around Southsea Common’ is a much shorter walk: http://www.welcometoportsmouth.co.uk/southsea%20common%20walk.html
Portsmouth’s Official Visitor Website: http://www.visitportsmouth.co.uk/