Thursday, 20 September 2012

SOLO TRAVEL - Oh how it has changed!

Solo Traveller
Shared via creative commons from Flickr
taken by Emmanuel Frezzott.
Twelve years ago the internet was in its infancy. There were internet cafes but you couldn't simply sit in a cafe and make connections like you can now. Back in my early travel days solo travel was scary and adventurous but also had a smidgen of the lonely thrown in. But as a traveller you just accepted these moments on your journey.

Nowadays things have changed greatly. Solo travellers no longer need to feel alone when travelling. We can choose to be alone or we can choose to mingle and reconnect with people around the world fairly easily because of the easy access to the internet - more importantly mobile access.

Now while I am not a big fan of smartphones or iPADs, when travelling they can come in handy. But it is important not to rely totally on them and to find yourself spending more time tweeting about what you are doing than actually doing what you are doing.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

LONDON - On A Shoestring : Good times on a budget

Writing my tongue-in-cheek expose of London's pretentious and expensive side here made me want to shift my focus onto ways to enjoy London on a budget. London, without a doubt, manipulates the tourist through over-charging, but if you dig a little deeper, you needn't miss out on some of the wonderful attractions and experiences that London has to offer.

High class accommodation and dining aside, what can you do when in London on a budget?
London Big Ben Westminster
One of the many fantastic views from the top of the ORIGINAL TOUR COMPANY tour bus - a cheap and inexpensive hop-on hop-off service.

I was very surprised that I thoroughly enjoyed a tour of London on an open-top bus.

LONDON : Pretentious & Expensive - well some of it anyhow...

Big city, bright lights, vibrant culture, music, energy - this is London!

Or is it?

London Tower Bridge Paralympic Rings

My first trip to London showed me a part of our culture in the UK I do not care for. I come from a working class background, my father was a mechanic, my mother worked in a factory. My family are from the North, a very down-to-earth part of the UK, can be a tad fiesty, but more than anything it is earthy, warm and friendly.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

REVIEW: Tophams Hotel - London. 1 Star Pretending To Be 4 Star

On Saturday the 8th of September my friend and I left my home town of Gloucester to head off on what promised to be a luxurious travelling experience. After writing about another hotel in London on my Squidoo blog I won 2 nights in a 4 star hotel in the wealthy area of London, Belgravia, through (this included breakfast).

We stayed at Tophams Hotel which was within walking distance of Buckingham Palace and we stayed in room 103. At the time I was staying it was the weekend of the closing ceremony of the Paralympics and also the Thames Festival weekend. The cost when I looked earlier in the summer was over £600 for 2 nights (this has since halved).

Tophams Hotel as described on their website is:

"After a two-year closure, the long established Tophams Hotel in London has re-opened during the summer of 2008 as a completely rejuvenated and substantially enlarged luxury boutique London hotel. The hotel has five different bedroom schemes with bespoke furniture in each room."

Tophams Hotel London Bad Experience

We arrived at approximately 8.30am and experienced the greatest humiliation anyone could ever experience when trying to check in to a hotel - especially a 4 Star hotel.

Prior to arriving in London I had sent countless emails to the Sales Manager Paul to ensure an easy and pleasant check in at this hotel as it was a prize. In my last email I said :

EUROPE : My Fountain Of Youth

The following post is my entry to NOMADIC MATT'S 
'Win a 12 Day Trip To Europe' contest.

Shared Via Creative Commons Taken By Panorama - Flickr

Now, in my late 30's, I am facing the fact that unlike most people of my age I am not married, have no children, not tied down, and I feel like I am starting my life again. I am young, I feel young and I cannot describe how much I need to travel again. It oozes its way out of my veins, it bugs me to the core and my feet are needing to move as they are itching to go - right now!
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