"VT tip and photo targets for 2009" St_Vincent's Profile
I have to admit that I had been neglecting my Virtual Tourist pages a little in 2009 and don’t think I added any tips at all in the first quarter. I’ve got a bit of information and some photos that need turning into tips so I decided to set myself an end of year target to motivate me to be a bit more active. As at the end of March 2009 I had 208 tips and 445 photos. The target for the end of December 2009 is 300 tips and 550 photos and I‘ll be keeping a monthly running total here. So to start,
End of March - 208 tips and 445 photos
End of April - 209 tips and 446 photos - Well that was a bit of a poor start, only one new tip and one photo in the entire month of April. I’m going to have to do much better if I want to hit that target.
End of May - that’s a bit more like it. After a concerted effort in May I ended up with 227 tips and 474 photos.
With the weakness of Sterling against the Euro I doubt I’ll go overseas in 2009, although depending on the US Dollar exchange rate I guess I might be tempted to spend some of my Virgin Miles and hit Vegas again.
But I’m really looking a bit closer to home in what I am calling my 2009 UK Tour. I've already completed four short trips so far to Bedford, Reading, Folkestone and Croydon. In May I also took a trip to Edinburgh to watch my county cricket team Middlesex play Scotland (yes they do play cricket).
By booking early during the special Travelodge promotional periods I’ve also managed to get four nights in Brighton in June and three nights in Bath in September for just £19 per night. I reckon at those prices I can afford a night in the Hilton afterwards.
My last overseas trip was to Belfast in May 2008. Now I know it’s part of the UK but to anyone adamant that it should not be classed as overseas I’ll just say one thing….”try walking there”. You can read about some of Belfast's historic sights, culture, pubs (of course) and how I joined the Blarney Army by clicking here.
Prior to that I spent a long weekend in Hamburg with 14 friends to celebrate one of their 50th Birthdays. I only came back with enough information for a few tips but have also written a rather amusing (well I think it is) report for my travelling companions which can be found in a travelogue on my Hamburg page
Last year I started building a new England page, (that's a new page about England not a page about New England!!). I hadn’t really considered doing this before but then thought that all of you out there in VT land might like to read what an insider thinks about the eccentricities that make up the English way of life. So I am now embarked on what an anthropologist might call a “participative observation” exercise and am using my England page to record my findings. What you will find there, should you be brave enough to look, is a series of observations about my fellow countrymen and what goes on in our Green and Pleasant Land. Find out where we are on a Sunday morning when we should be in church, what we think of our National Anthem, and that most perplexing of subjects, what the unwritten rules are about talking to an English person about the weather. All of this will be included along with some practical and useful information about surviving a trip to England.
It is very much a 'work in progress' and I will be building it up as ideas for topics enter my warped mind. If you have any ideas yourself about things you'd like covered please let me know. I would also be interested to hear what you think of it, as it is perhaps not the usual style for a VT page, so feel free to take a look and leave me a comment.
I thought I would provide details of my earlier travel history. It has a slow start, a big gap between 1985 and 1995, gets going a bit, then really takes off in 2001 - well they do say life begins at forty.
1977 - my first overseas holiday was an end of school camping trip to North America and Canada.
Late 70's - a trip to France with a group of friends, I remember being in Paris, eating mussels and not eating snails.
1980 - the typical road trip around West Coast USA with four friends.
1981 - having enjoyed the experience so much the previous year, four of us decided to repeat it in 1981.
1982 - Paris for the France vs England rugby international. This was the game after which the infamous aftershave drinking episode took place.
Mid 80's - To Cervinia, a ski resort on the Italian/Swiss border. Almost everything I did could be considered apres-ski as I effectively gave up trying after the first day.
Mid 80's - a cricket tour to Holland, staying in the coastal town of Scheveningen and visiting Amsterdam.
June 1995 - a weekend in Fort William on a charity trek up Ben Nevis - it's a long way up!!
1996 - a trip to Worcester with my Mother. The wonderful cathedral, beautiful scenery and the Royal Worcester porcelain factory.
Feb 1997 - after more than 10 years without going overseas I embarked on an overnight coach trip to Lake Bled in Slovenia.
Feb 1998 - Persuaded my parents to take an overseas holiday with me and we went on a coach tour to Ebbs in Austria.
Sept 1998 - I joined my parents again for a few days in Llandudno, Wales
July 1999 - decided on a Summer holiday this year, and headed off to Portoroz in Slovenia.
May 2000 - saving money for next years trip so I went back to Llandudno to do a bit of exploring.
April 2001 - I had been promising myself this for a few years. My first proper Vegas experience, did all the tourist things, went to the Grand Canyon and of course vowed to go back.
July 2001 - a long weekend in Edinburgh.
Feb 2002 - My first trip to Gibraltar. Was proud to have taken part in the demonstration at the Spanish border against shared sovereignty talks. Information on the sovereignty issue can be found on my Gibraltar page.
June 2002 - a week in Borovets, a ski resort in the Rila Mountains of Bulgaria. My reflections of going to a ski resort in summer can be found on my Borovets page.
Nov 2002 - Back to Gibraltar to witness the most pointless referendum ever. To the question, Do you approve of the principle that Britain and Spain should share sovereignty over Gibraltar? a massive 98.97% voted NO.
Feb 2003 - To Vegas again, I persuaded a friend and work colleague that we should take our bonuses and seek our fortunes. The following week we were of course back at work.
Nov 2003 - I was in Edinburgh on business and decided to stay on for a few days afterwards, meet some friends and explore some of the local pubs…..well a lot of the local pubs actually.
March 2004 - I took a nostalgic trip to Folkestone & Hythe on the Kent coast where we used to go on family holidays when I was young.
May 2004 - The first of two visits to Prague this year. This was to celebrate a work colleague leaving and consisted of a party of 13.
June 2004 - A few days in Manchester to ensure that the work colleague mentioned above did actually leave.
Nov 2004 - Back to Prague with a smaller party of 5 to see some of the things we missed earlier in the year, things like the sky and what the outside of the bars looked like.
March 2005 - a business trip to Manchester that was extended by a couple of days to take in the St. Patrick's Day celebrations and of course a few pints of Guinness.
May 2005 - I really could not miss this, the bicentennial celebrations in Las Vegas. Fremont St. was transformed and I stayed right in the middle of it at Fitzgeralds.
July 2005 - A few days in Glasgow meeting a friend, with a day trip to Edinburgh.
Oct 2005 - Following the success of last years Prague excursion I organised a trip to Budapest for the same crowd. It's amazing how similar the two cities are.
Feb 2006 - as I seem to have taken on the role of travel agent within my group of friends I arranged a Belgian beer-hunting trip to Gent for five of us at the end of February.
March 2006 - St. Patrick's Day in Manchester for a few pints of Guinness with friends.
May 2006 - A few days in Hythe on the Kent Coast reliving some old memories
July 2006 - To Edinburgh to say farewell to a Kiwi friend who is returning to New Zealand.
October 2006 - A trip to Worcester to look around the Cathedral and some of the surrounding towns.
March 2007 - Guinness & Gold Cup in Manchester
May 2007 - Watching cricket in Derby.
November 2007 - To Las Vegas for what now seems to be becoming an 'every other year' trip - and with nearly $2 to the £ why not.
March 2008 - Hamburg for a friend's 50th Birthday celebrations. Check out the travelogue if you dare.
May 2008 - To Belfast to check out a few pubs and watch a bit of cricket with the Blarney Army.
The 2009 UK Tour. January, Bedford and Reading - March, Manchester and Folkestone - May, Croydon and Edinburgh - June, Brighton - September, Bath.
My first travel motto was "No Six Pack - No Back Pack - No Biking - No Hiking" and that sums up quite nicely both me and my attitude to travelling. The last time I was in a tent there was a beer festival going on inside, and my idea of roughing it is getting a bus from the airport to the hotel rather than a taxi. As such I thought at first that VT might not be for me. I feared it was a Lonely Planet type forum with intrepid young adventurers competing to see who could come up with the most dangerous and uncomfortable experiences from the most remote and unheard of parts of the world. Whilst I enjoy reading about these things, we are all dreamers at heart after all, the likelihood of me visiting some of the places that you guys have been to are about the same as Equatorial Guinea hosting the next Winter Olympics.
However, after reading some of your wonderful pages, I found that the VT family is a truly diverse group of people, enjoying and sharing a wide range of travel experiences. So I thought I would join and inflict upon you my particular brand of self-opinionated and irreverent writing. Please feel free to leave comments if you like my pages, or indeed if you don't, or even if you don't really care who hosts the next Winter Olympics.
If you do visit any of my pages you might notice that many of my tips are recommendations for pubs and bars that I have enjoyed during my travels. Researching the places where you can get a good beer is I think an essential part of the planning stage of any trip and I hope my recommendations might give you a few ideas. Some of my favourites recently visited are the Freakin' Frog in Las Vegas, the Klasterni Pivovar in Prague and the Henri Belgian Brasserie in Budapest.
If for any inconceivable reason you are thinking of going to a ski resort and not skiing then you might find either my Cervinia or Borovets pages interesting, but then again you might not, you choose.
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