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Holidays 2004

Puerto Del Carmen, Lanzarote

Following the cultural whirlwind that was my trip to Amsterdam, a trip to Lanzarote for my 40th birthday celebrations and the hope of some sun soon beckoned. Undeterred by an earlier scare about an invasion of pink locusts to the Canary Islands, mid December saw us jetting off from Manchester airport. After a very bumpy 4 hour flight and a short transfer we arrived at our home for the week, La Penita Apartments in Puerto del Carmen. Our apartment (no 200) was great, huge room, all mod cons and even a microwave and coffee maker (luxury)! The location of La Penita appts is ideal, being set just a block behind the main 'strip'. The staff there were great even dropping off some chocolates for my birthday which Lisa enjoyed! A very nice touch we thought. Anyway after chucking in our cases we went in search of dinner and some drinks.

After a very nice Italian meal we went for the first of many visits to the Diamond Cocktail Bar. This is a great bar serving all kinds of different cocktails, some in some very strange glasses and all with sparklers of course! Lisa sampled the 'Erotica' cocktail which as well as tasting like a delicious mint milkshake also seemed to invoke strange magical powers of memory loss!, After returning to the apartment later on that night we'd sat out on the balcony drinking brandy videotaping our conversation. Lisa remembered nothing of this until I told her about it the next day. Amazing really as she seemed quite sober when we watched the video back! I shoulda had one myself!

The rest of the week was spent relaxing, sitting in the sun when it came out and the wind went down a bit! We walked to the old harbour area of Puerto del Carmen, which was nice, especially when viewed from 'The Red Crab' bar, which overlooks it, beer in hand of course with complimentary garlic bread. For my birthday 'meal' we went to 'El Charro', a favourite Mexican we'd visited numerous times on our juants to the island and our second meal there on this trip! As usual it was fabulous and rounded nicely off with some very large brandys. . A few other bars/restaurants of note that we visited were 'The Old Spanish Inn' and 'La Rounda' which were both great for breakfasts. The Lani's grill is also well worth a visit and its sister Indian restaurant. Not that authentic but tasty enough after a day's sunbathing.

the red crab bar

Amsterdam, Holland

This visit to Amsterdam was to celebrate my 40th birthday later on in the year. I had four fellow travelers, Mat, Bruce and Jonathan (who for the purposes of avoiding a misname on the booking was being known as JoHonathan), none of whom had been to Amsterdam before. The Easyjet we took from Liverpool airport lived up to its name and after taking the waiting train at Schiphol to Amsterdam Central station, we took the short walk to the Botel on Oosterdokskade for a three night stay.

 

I had told the boys it was going to be cold and windy but the Botel proved to be cosy, cheap and cheerful, the in house movies perking us up for some reason. After dumping the bags we set off for the afternoon for a quick feel for for the city and to get our bearings. Didn't take long before we found a bar and a pool table!

 

The following day we got ourselves an Amsterdam travel pass. This contained a free map and gave us free: entrance to a host of the city's museums, travel (buses, trams and underground), canal cruises as well as a host of other discount vouchers. We got a three day pass for 51€ which turned out to be well worth the money. First museum visit, using the pass, was the Rijks museum with its old Dutch masters. Not being that 'arty' didn't detract from the influence of the paintings. I felt quite moved to be in the presence of these Rembrants that were painted in the 17th century. Next was the Van Gogh which wasn't that good but we did manage to send a video greeting from an interactive screen they had set up there. For eats I had some tradition 'frites', chips basically that are always freshly fried and are just gorgeous... (without mayonnaise for me of course but the choice is yours and as in the words of John Travolta in Pulp fiction... they do "drown em in that shit"!).

 

We visited the Dutch Resistance museum, very interesting exhibits detailing life and its dilemmas, under German occupation during WWII, thought provoking indeed. That evening we had a decco round the Red Light District, very entertaining I must say and even came back with a few souvenirs! Most of the girls working there are gorgeous, some aren't and some aren't even women! Culture huh? We visited the Green house coffee shop for some er coffee and got chatting to Mark, the barmen in one of the many RLD pubs, who gave us a few insights into life in Amsterdam and the Netherlands in general. Top Man.

Thursday and we head to McD's for breakfast again, no sausage muffins though only the bacon ones :( . As with a lot of the museums, there is a 'route' you can follow through them. The Amsterdam Historical museum is no exception, who's route is basically a timeline, along which we discovered how Amsterdam came into being. It was peppered with lots of interactive exhibits, video clips and demonstrations. My favorite was the stereoscopes of locations throughout the city, now and as it was in the past. The quality and the effectiveness of the 3D make these the best stereoscopes I've ever seen.

After a great value lunch in the Comedy Club we took a relaxing canal ride around the canals of the city. Apparently the river Amstel, which runs through the city, is the only natural waterway in Amsterdam. For a snack I found a cheese shop, spookily enough selling gouda, hmmm one of my favorites. That night we stayed in just the one pub, before getting kicked out at closing!, played some pool and Mat and I settled down to smoke some rather large but really mild cigars, that'd I'd bought from John N Andringa on Reguliersbreestraat 2. Jonathan wasn't up to one for some reason and may never smoke again.

 

Friday saw a visit to the sex museum, well worth the 2.50€ including 19th century porn which would make you blush even today! I'd recommend a shufters. Then off to the Maritime museum with its royal barge and a rebuilt 'Amsterdam', a three mast ship. In the afternoon, after getting a yumi savory pancake at the Pancake bakery, we visited the Anna Frank museum. I'd been there last time I visited the city but its now been added to with a new modern entrance and shop. Visitors are taken from this into the house itself, along a route, with an accompanying leaflet, which describes life in the house hiding from the nazi's. At certain points there are video clips of interviews with Otto Frank and others who knew and helped the Frank family during their 2 years in hiding. Quite an experience to see Anna's diaries and notebooks and along with other artifacts which bring the situation she and her family, and others in hiding with them, into focus.. It was afterall not that long ago..

Taking advantage of our pass we took another free canal trip before paying a visit to the torture museum (Jonathan wanted a few tips me thinks!). Some interesting exhibits (sure I've seen some in Ann Summers) but the format of the, at times hard to read and, drab display was the same throughout and it wasn't really worth the 5€ entrance. And that was that back on the chuffer, an express this time and so only took 15 minutes to get to the airport for our flight back home. All in all a very busy, tiring but enjoyable experience.

easyjeteasyjetFurry Monsters
cheaper than the RLDFab four in the Van GoghHappy campers
hssss in the grassIts a biggi!The Amstel BotelNight watch

AlBruce
JonathanMat

And who said we can't do our own Van Gogh styled self portraits!

Or did I just nick my ear shaving...

Thanks for the snaps Jonathan...(kindly donated by he who had digicam and introduced me to fork cam!)

West Coast of America

Click for full details

Kendal, Keswick

Not much to say bout this visit but that certainly doesn't reflect on how good it was. Very relaxing and peaceful was our base at the Castlegreen hotel. The Steam room, pool and restaurant were fabulous and the on site pub was great value, considering it was quite a way out from Kendal. I found out on the Fitz Park mini golf that I wasn't as good as I thought I was!! Still managed to get a short walk in up to castlerigg stone circle, which is actually older than stone henge. Watched the local cricket team on the Sunday afternoon.. howzat for a relaxing break?

Castle Green HotelBowls anyoneFitz Park
Some blokes headIt actually worked tooSnuzzle while you walkAbout to serve
What a backdrop. Lords it aintCastle Green HotelCastle Green Hotel
DecisionsWhat's down here?

 

Lindos, Rhodes Island, Greece

This was our first trip to Greece and Lindos was so much like I thought it would be, quaint and relaxed but balanced well with a great nightlife We stayed at the the 'Lindos gardens' with its traditional Greek sugar cube apartments, ours had its veranda facing the Acropolis, nice. It was backed against the hillside and the dawn chorus or goats, dogs and cockerels ensured we missed none of the day. If you are into insects you’d love it here all sorts of shapes and sizes and the crickets doing their noise thang all day! Still, at least you know you’re on holiday when you hear their ribbiting. I happen to find it quite soothing unlike the mossi bites of which I had a fair few to suffer.

Church and Acropolisil_palazzerro RestaurantLifes a beach!!

Lindos itself (a short walk from the apartments, down a steep incline) is a maze of narrow cobbled streets and alleyways you get completely lost in. Lots of fabulous architecture, interesting nooks and crannies (but that's another story) and old Greek locals going about their day to day business as well as donkeys (the Lindos taxis! no cars allowed see) walking around the streets creating a truly traditional ambience... as well as hazardous if you get in the way of one!

il_palazzerro RestaurantLindos TownMain Bay

We stayed in Lindos all the time we were there as an excursion failed to run for some reason and spent the sunnier, latter half of our holiday on the beach in St Pauls Bay which was idyllic. Very quiet when we went, it had shallow waters which were perfect for snorkelling (till ours sprung a leak!). There is a small white chapel, which I pressume is St Pauls at the edge of the bay which was very popular for weddings, we saw 3 in as many days! Suckers! Mind you the wedding snaps would have a boss backdrop.

Mythos roof top RestaurantSt Pauls BaySnorkling in St Pauls Bay

Previous to our beach chilling (complete with cool bag with beer and lunch of course, the other beach wallers were so jealous) we spent a lot of the time just exploring the aforementioned crannies... All these tiny streets seemed to lead to the path that heads up to the Acropolis. This is the main focal point of Lindos high on the hill above the town and is well worth the climb. Even if you're not into history the views back over the town and into St Pauls bay are spectacular.

St Pauls BayFab view of St Pauls Bay from the Acropolisstairway_to_the_propylaia.jpg (10859 bytes)

Oh OK and some of the time was spent in the bars too, many of which were converted Captains houses, which have one tall room topped with a window so that Captains of old could see their ships in the bay... or so the story goes.. my eyes tended to loose focus after a few pints of Mythos, the local brew. Amstel was quite prevalent too but most beer came in bottles hmmm and in my humble opinion, rather too expensive anyway. The bar at the Lindos Gardens was very homely and the staff soo friendly, ideal for a night cap, especially after the walk back up the hill from a night out in Lindos itself!.

Fortress StepsSocrates a captains house barHope they haven't lost the box cover!

In the evenings we tried the whole range of restaurants, many of whom had roof gardens with the stunning floodlit acropolis as their backdrop. Our favourite was "Il Palazzetto', an Italian near St Paul's Bay.. they even warmed up the Metaxa glasses so hey its gotta get my vote! "Symposis" was also very good and served a great Beef Stifado (ahem!). Others of note were "Stefanos" and "Mythos" (although the 2nd meal we had here wasn't as good as the first, thats what we get for going back).We were disappointed with the "Lindian Indian" though.. it isn't what you'd call an authentic Indian restaurant. We're curry connoisseurs though so hard to please. Hopefully it wont be too long before we get to go to Greece again.

 

Scarborough, North Yorkshire

A welcome break brought us to the windswept delights of Scarborough. Lisa was 21 for at least the third time so we thought we'd celebrate in style with true British grit against the bracing North Yorkshire weather. We stayed at the Derwent House Hotel (hmm nice paintwork) along with a gang of moped riders (all over the town they were). The breakfast's were top notch and set us up for a walk along the Cleveland way... not that we did as it was too flamin cold!! Shopping is always a good standby don't you think? and I ended up buying a pair of clogs from bjorn clogs, sooo comfy they are. We did get some climbing in though, McBean steps, at the side of the Grand Hotel kept us fit (178 steps I counted!) along with virtually everywhere else we went...Scarborough is not a flat place at all. We went for a curry in the Rupchanda, formally the Royal tandori on Queens St, which wasnt too bad but the service was very slow (which they apologised for with a complementary drink.hmmm). Frequented the Golden Ball and the Scarborough Arms and had a pint of 'Old Tosser' in Weatherespoons, which I thought was apt, considering.

bjorn clogs, got a pair I did!Open but not for sail, literally! never mind Lisascarborough castle, view of the North bay
golden ball serving up a fine pintmore steps then a B&Q ladder saleAfter a few treks up and down the stairs we took the lifteye eye captn!!
snail mail, how else can you send a beer matsouth bay & the lighthouseInfilling sure beats concrete

Tram leaflet
Click to enlarge

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