Archive | October, 2005

Making good use of the weekends

31 Oct

Weekends have been a rare commodity recently. Much of the excitement was caused by the marriage of two very dear friends of mine, Julie and Alan. We kicked off with the Hen Night, which in accordance with modern ways was attended by a few boys as well. It was an 80’s themed romp around Reading’s Rephlex “premier 80’s venue” nightclub. The main bridal party got their superhero themed costumes on, which made for some good pictures.

Next, just before the wedding, came a long weekend away in Brussels – hearty eating and drinking all around ! Our big night out then invovled goblets of 10% beer, which went down like Coke, and destroyed many a good man. I didn’t feel to bad in the morning, mainly due to the little nap I had during the evenings entertainments…

Regratably, this weekend clashed with Alan’s Stag night, which I was told was highly entertaining and invovled some indoor fireworks 🙂 The groom and party all survived though and were all in attendance this weekend for the big wedding day. It was a great day, with lots of Reading friends in attendance and plenty of boogie-tastic music and funky fly moves busted out. The party season doesn’t end quite there, however – I don’t actually have a totally clear weekend until xmas ! Which could be seen as socially enviable, but its also sending a few alarms bells ringing… only 54 shopping days to xmas !

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Spain – act 3 of 3 – our heroes reach Valencia

18 Oct

I’ve let this story drag out too long, so to conclude we reached Valencia, sat in the Cathedral Plaza and had some cervezas. Valencia had a little more going on, we spent time at the aquarium, where we accidently ordered the uber-meat platter and then bloated on that we sat and gazed at our intellectual superiors performing tricks for fishbits. We also got some better food in again, now we were back in proper civilization, before getting a plane home, together this time round.

But in truth, 9 days of random wandering proved to be more irritating than relaxing – the very approach I’d taken when travelling just didn’t work as well on a one week holiday with other people along. It’s quite worrying to me that I am seemingly unable to plan summer holidays – I think I have always followed another more organised or focused group of mates before ! But with more and more of my friends going away as couples, it seems I need to start planning my holidays a little better – or just saving all my holiday for snowboarding !

Like last year, I think this year will be a three snowboard trips season. No point in working in this city if I’m not able to blow the cash on something I want to do. And right now, the snowboarding bug is biting hard. Went to a ski / snowboard show recently and picked up some socks, shades and wax, but of course what I really wanted was a solar-powered iPod compatible backpack 🙂 Of course, my iPod is still an old 2nd gen one, not compatible with most of the new accessories including that backpack – looks like I’ll have to get a new 5th Gen one as well… when they release an 80Gig model of course. And, no, I can’t afford all of that 😦

Yet 😉

Fear and loathing in Catalonia – part 2

7 Oct

Having qiuckly grown tired of barcelona, we hired a car from AVIS at some extortionate rate, and then ended up being charged about 30% more (some unquoted tax) than they quoted us later on upon returning the car. Damn AVIS. We then drove along the coast down to the town of Tarragona, which appeared to be famous for people standing in big towers, although never found out why exactly. We wondered around during the day looking for some sort of life in the town, and eventually stumbled across a town festival parade going on with dragons, lions and other oddness. All an excuse to drink and keep the kids entertained it seemed, so seeing as we were young, free and without offspring, we drank. But the nightlife of an off-season Spanish town on a Monday leaves much to be desired, and come the evening boredom set in.

The next day we headed on an old roman fort town, complete with castle to walk up the hill to and have a look at. Which we did. We also saw some dressed up girls doing a falconry display which scored highly on the unusualometer and kept up amused for minutes. The next day took us down to another old town, this time with Islamic constructed walls which were free to walk along – although my fear of hieghts stopped me from being able to walk along many of them – I jsut felt sick and dizzy when I even thought about trying.The walls and the town were quite pretty but now we had really grown tired of our “directionless” holiday, sightseeing just wasn’t that interesting and the nightlife was none existant – star wars top trumps had become the only way of passing time without winding each other up too much.

The next day we stopped off at some medievel town to see the “hanging buildings” – buildings that were consturcted to literally hang over a gorge… they might have poked out a little, but we felt cheated. The small town food, cheap but still overpriced, left us wanting more of the good cusine we’d picked up in Barcelona – at least we’d have more than beer to look forward to each day – so we pushed the car (or “burro” as it was now known) as hard as we could towards the seaside resort of Gandia, which turned out to be Bendiorn without the nightlife.

It is safe to say at this point, any pretence that this holiday had gone well collapsed – stupid napkin wearing bets were had, tourist beers were brought and tapas food games emerged… we had to get out of here and back to some form of civilisation

Viva Espania part 1 – Barcelona

4 Oct

The first day of my trip out to Spain started on a cold wet English morning – the perfect time to head off to foreign climates ! But the day did not go too well all in all. Firstly my brother had overslept, which meant I boarded our flight alone, made more frustrating then by a 2 hour delay to our takeoff. A choppy landing into Barcelona gave way to grey skys and solid rain all day.

But I went out to make the most of it, seeing the gothic architecture, narrow streets and rain sodden views from atop the cathedral. After walking loads and ticking the tourist boxes, I rested my weary feet in a bar decorated with oragami figures kicking the shit out of each other which was really cool. Then I went back to our room and passed out for a few hours, only to be awoken by my tardy brother arriving from his later flight. I got up, we went out, and crazyness ensued.

The next day was our bike tour day, 4 hours of cycling round Barcelona seeing mostly sights I’d walked to the previous day, but rather than being wet and grey, they were now more colourful and vibrant. We then walked up to some fort, getting good views over the city, but truth be told because we’d run out of ideas of what to do and it was too early to start drinking proper. It should be noted at this point that with we had realised we probably need something to DO on holidays and seeing places for there own sake wasn’t really enough. This important lesson was learnt over the oncoming week…