A Travellerspoint blog

2006 - Greece

An all expenses paid short stay where I got to see nothing...

Sadly this is not a tale of a lovely holiday to Greece, however it was just as much an experience as any holiday I've ever been on. Having been a PCS Union Rep for only a very short space of time, I was more than stunned to learn that I had been chosen as one of the Young Members Reps to join a 6-person delegation to Athens for the 2006 European Social Forum. Having no clue what I was going for, or more to the point what it was, I dutifully packed my bags and met the other delegates at a London airport (I forget which it was). The moment we stepped off the plane in Athens I was blown away with the heat.

We stayed in a lovely hotel, and every day we travelled to the Sports arena for the forum by bus and underground.

The underground in Amsterdam wasn't very appealing, and not a place I'd want to get lost in by myself. The days were long, starting at 9am and finishing at 9pm, and whilst we had two hours for lunch and two hours for tea, there wasn't much to do at the sight inbetween presentations. The nicest part of each day was travelling back to our hotel at night and seeing the Acropolis lit up against the dark sky.

The forum itself was an interesting experience, listening to debates on all different European campaigns, and talking to fellow reps about their involvement in them. I remember me and Dayna painting our hands and making our mark on the Amnesty International "Stop Violence Against Women" campaign. Another memory of Athens would be the sunburn I acquired on the first full day. Sitting in the sun for two hours at lunch time had seemed such a good idea at the time - my shoulders evidently didn't appreciate it much though. I spent a good hour having tea tree oil rubbed into them that evening...

I didn't see much of Athens whilst there - but having seen the Capital and more importantly the Acropolis, I don't think I would go back. It's not that I don't want to see more of Greece - I just want to see more Countries in general.

Posted by JosTravel2016 08:39 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

2005, 2007 & 2010 - Latvia

Three trips, three different reasons...

Ok, so I don't like to visit a place more than once; but there are valid reasons for my three trips to Latvia's Capital, Riga - honest!

The first trip was with David and his cousin's family again in 2005. It was our second city break, and was again for Hollys birthday. There was an addition to this trip in the form of Hollys sister Katie. The six of us spent the weekend seeing most of the sights and trudging around in the snow. We managed to take in the Museum of Occupation, St Peters Church, Freedom Monument, Stockmanns Department Store, Central Market, and the Skyline Bar. I was taken for ice-skating lessons courtesy of Rob & Holly, the second of which was undertaken while Paul & Katie went to the bobsleigh (nutters!!!). Us girls spent an evening at the Ballet (a must if you like the theatre), and it cost us all of £10 each at the Royal Opera House for tickets, a programme, and a drink at the interval. The "men" of the group didn't want to do the "girlie" thing, so they went to Dolls; a strip bar across the road. They spent £100 EACH, and only had one drink...lol. It was also my first experience of walking ON a lake...it was frozen 20ft deep and there were local men fishing through holes they had drilled in the middle.

My second trip was to be the first time I'd take my mum abroad in 2007. We only went for a weekend, and I wanted to go somewhere I sort of knew my way around. I managed to do some of the things I didn't get chance to do the first time round. We visited the Dome Cathedral, Lido, and the House of Blackheads. There was no snow this time, but the rain did prevent us from doing many of the things we would have liked. The Christmas market was on, as it was December when we went, and we also managed a trip to the zoo :) . We went to the Opera House twice during this trip; once to see La Traviata, and again to see a comedy ballet (which wasn't very good!). It was nice to stay in the same place I had done the first time, and seeing a familiar face in Diga Daga (the lady who owns the b&b) was nice.

My latest trip to Riga was to take my current t'other half Kerry for his birthday. He's football crazy and has a thing about floodlights (not sure it's a healthy obsession!!!). He wanted to visit Skonto Stadium by bus, and I must have spent hours before our trip trying to contact the stadium to arrange a tour to no avail. However, I was right in my prediction that we would see some snow. Being February again, I knew there would be at least some - I didn't realise there would be as much as there was!! We took Digas dog Sara for a walk on Mezaparks Lake, and the snow was up to our knees!!! Visiting the usual places I'd been to before, it was also nice to have plans to do something slightly different. Unfortunately we had to catch the trolley-bus to the stadium, even though it was within walking distance. From the carpark you can see right into Skonto Stadium, and filming Kerry singing with the stadium in the background was an unforgettable experience. We managed to get into the entrance of the stadium, only for security to tell us it was closed. Both using our puppy dog eyes, we must have looked really disappointed, as security promptly went and got their keys to let us onto the main stand! It was fantastic, and hopefully a birthday treat Kerry won't forget (that and the cake I ordered him)

Posted by JosTravel2016 08:37 Archived in Latvia Comments (0)

2004 - Germany, Luxembourg & France

A weekend break for Holly's birthday. Trier (Germany), Luxembourg City (Luxembourg), Hetange Grande (France)

Germany was a strange choice, and it was when I purchased my first passport. Me, and my then partner David, had been invited to go with his cousin Rob, his wife Holly (who incidentally was the little girl in Supergran :) ), and her brother-in-law Paul, to go to Trier for the weekend in the February of 2004 for Hollys birthday. It was this trip that probably got me hooked on weekend city breaks, and the need to constantly be looking at cheap flight websites...

We flew from London Stanstead to Frankfurt-Hann, and then hired a car to drive to Trier in West Germany; a small town sat on the River Mosel. It is a lovely place, and from our hotel, Hotel d'Umfer, we could see the Mariensaule Monument on the top of the hill.
Karl Marx Haus

We did take a picnic up there one day, and the views were astonishing. We climbed the Porta Nigra, visited the toy museum, looked around the Constantine Basilica, took a trip to the roman baths and the amphitheatre, and even went to the Sunday flea-market. We did the ritual city tour on the little train, and I still have the tickets....We also visited the Karl Marx Haus....and I hate to admit that up until recently I had no idea who he was!!! (I'm still not that sure).

Having a hire car proved useful on our last day. We had to check out of the hotel by 10am, and our flight wasn't until at least 5pm. After hollys birthday breakfast we jumped in the car and went for a drive. We managed to go across the border to Luxembourg for a couple of hours and then onto Hetange Grande in France for Hollys birthday lunch. It was definately an experience to cover four European countries in one day....

As with France, my only regret from my trip to Germany is that I didn't get to see the Capital Berlin. I'd like to go back to see the Capital.....but I'm too eager to make my way around the world as much as I can to book another trip back to a Country I've already visited.

Posted by JosTravel2016 08:26 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Where have I been?

Just a quick reference list of countries I've been lucky enough to visit.

I've moved my blogs to this site as I wanted a more blog-style way of publishing my travel memories. Hopefully some will find them interesting. I'm slightly behind as I've not had broadband for over 2 years, but I'm hoping to catch up soon. I have a pending trip at the end of this month, so will have even more to write about!

2004 Germany, Luxembourg, France
2005 Latvia
2006 Greece
2007 Latvia
2008 Netherlands
2009 Cyprus
2010 Latvia & Tunisia
2011 Turkey & Norway

Pending blogs:
2011 Malta
2015 Spain & Portugal

Posted by JosTravel2016 04:02 Comments (0)

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