apel: (weepingoak)
On New Years Eve I drove from my hotel in Carmel Valley to Pinnacles National Park. I took the long way, along Carmel Valley Road and Arroyo Seco to Soledad. The route was beautiful in a way that's hard to convey in photos. But I took a couple of panoramas that hint at the charmingly rural experience.

Here's the first one. If you recognize the scene, it's because I took a similar panorama of it last time I was there.
very long scrolling panorama )
apel: (shoes)
I've just booked a self-catering apartment in St. Mawes for the first week in January. Really looking forward to strolling along the beach, maybe visiting the Eden project and savouring the seafood. Kieron mentioned the pasties too. My camera will be coming, for sure.
apel: (California)
I've just got off the phone with the letting agents for my flat. They say that the notice period is a month from the rent day as stated in the contract. The rent day is 24. So I have a choice between giving notice for 24 August or 24 September.

That's a bit of a bummer because I'd prefer 24 August but I've just extended my contract till the end of August. So in that case, either GT let me go a week early or they let me work from home, i.e. Cheltenham for the last week. It would also mean I'd have to clean out the flat in the 5 weekends between getting back from my holiday and 24 August. With Kieron's help that's not impossible.

On the other hand if I go for 24 September, I'd have a lot more time. I'll have to talk to Kieron and see what he says before I make up my mind. There's a possibility that I could negotiate with the landlord too. He's fairly easy-going.

The letting agent also said that when I send them the notice, they'll respond with a letter that tells me all about what's required of me wrt cleaning the flat, handing over keys etc.

To Do
  • Ask cleaning people how long do the carpets need to dry after the shampooing before they can be walked on?
  • With the 24 as the hand-over date, when would they recommend that they come in?
  • Put outstanding tasks from Moleskin and LJ into Life Balance
  • Make print-out of tasks to be done before holiday and put in Moleskine
apel: (may)
The Clerkenwell Road outside our offices has been closed off because of a labour demonstrations. From what I could see, the syndicalists were the largest single contingent, which reminds me of Kate Fox's observation of the most well-organised meeting she'd ever been to -- an anarchists meeting.

There were also small contingents from various countries, Iran, Kurdistan and Cuba were countries I could see and identify. Just behind the syndicalists, with their beautiful black-and-red flags, was the Communication Workers Union.

People in the office are bemused. Demonstrating on 1 May is not a British tradition. It would have been hard to establish too, as the day is only a holiday if it's also the first Monday in May. This year the Bank Holiday, and our May Day celebrations, will take place on May 7.
apel: (sunset)
Today I've booked our holiday to the Canaries. We're going the first week of March and staying in Tenerife for a week. It's going to be great. Really looking forward to it.

Next on the to-do list is to find some walking books and/or maps. We have guidebook already, a Lonely Planet.
apel: (yule_tree)
I've just booked myself into a spa outside York for a couple of days at the end of December. It's going to be so good. Initially I was thinking of going somewhere warm for the whole week but it was just too expensive. Maybe I'll go somewhere warm in February or so instead. For now I'm looking forward to being pampered and maybe getting some walking in.
apel: (sweden)
I've copied the entries from Linköping from my holiday diary to LJ. They start with my arrival in the youth hostel. From there you can use the Next button to navigate through those days.

I'm Back

Sep. 3rd, 2006 10:39 pm
apel: (sweden)
No time for LJ tonight. Maybe tomorrow. It's been good. Thanks for all the well wishes.

Off We Go

Aug. 26th, 2006 11:09 am
apel: (sweden)
I'm off to Sweden. Take care, all of you.
apel: (sweden)
Yesterday was no fun at all. I felt icky in all possible ways. Some of that was because I hadn't slept enough the night before but most of it was simply being ill from the UTI. Today was much better but now my throat is sore. I'm getting the distinct impression that my body doesn't want me to go to Sweden. It has a point but I'm going anyway. So there.
apel: (train)
I had tried to book a hotel in Malmö through totalstay.com but the experience left me confused. The hotel I was booking was Hotel St. Jörgen so naturally I got an email telling me that there was no room at Teaterhotellet. Huh? When I enquired about the email, a friendly person left me a voice mail the next day telling me the same thing.

St. Jörgen and Teaterhotellet are emphatically not the same place. In fact I had chosen not to go with Teaterhotellet, even though it was cheaper, because of a review that mentioned the "musty smell". That's a deal breaker for me. When it comes to hotels I'm willing to pay for two things: hygiene and en-suite facilities. You can keep your fancy-schmancy Radison-Elite-Marriott-Hilton-de-Luxe as long as my hotel is clean and I've got my own bath.

Instead I googled on the Swedish spelling of "hotel" and "Malmö" and found Malmo.com's hotel booking. They allowed me to check availability on all 35 Malmö hotels for the relevant nights and sort them by price. Way easy. I chose one that had what I wanted and had a good review on Tripadvisor.com and got a quote of almost £100 less than at totalstay.com. I guess I was lucky that my first choice of hotels wasn't available!

This hotel is in a better place too, off Södra Förstadsgatan, one of the main shopping streets in Malmö.

What remains to do now is to book airport parking or a cab.
apel: (sweden)
I've bought the tickets for my Sweden trip. BA were cheapest and had the best timing.

Also booked the hire car. It ended up being almost UKP 400. Ouch. It would have been cheaper to go for a stick shift but not nearly cheaper enough to be worth the hassle. Finally I've sent off a booking request for the hotel/youth hostel in Linköping.

Update: Booked the hotel in Malmö, Jörgen Kocks. It was £235 for four nights. This is one expensive holiday. I knew it was going to be but it still smarts.

Remains to be booked:
Hotel in Malmö
Airport parking at Heathrow
Call youth hostel in Linköping and give credit card details. Open 08.00 - 13.00 och 17.00 - 19.00 on weekends.
apel: (sweden)
BA offer me a fare to Stockholm Arlanda and back from Copenhagen Kastrup for £100.80. RyanAir charge a lot less, but I fear the savings may be eaten up by the logistics of leaving from Luton and returning to Stanstead. The fact that I'd be going to Västerås rather than Stockholm, isn't something I worry about as Stockholm isn't my destination.

But I would have liked to return from Kastrup rather than Malmö Sturup because I'd get to drive across the bridge. I've never done that because it was built after I left. On the other hand, returning the car in Denmark is bound to be more expensive than in Sweden. They charge extra for that, I'm sure. Then again, there are bound to be airport buses across the sound. If I ride a bus I'll have more time to admire the scenery. Still, driving myself is a different feeling. Decisions, decisions. I'd better find out how much extra the foreign return is going to add to the car rental before I make up my mind.

The bridge costs €32. The bus costs 57 SEK single trip so it's decidedly cheaper.

The lowest priced car at Hertz with an automatic transmission costs £359 if I return it in Copenhagen. If I return it in Malmö (whether in the city centre or at the airport), it costs only £290. That's almost £70 extra. That's a lot of money for a ride across a bridge, even if it's a very fine bridge.

Just to give an idea of the sums we're talking about here:
100 USD buys you:
  • €80
  • £55
  • 725 SEK
Yeah, there are three digits in that last one. The Swedish Crona has probably not been considered a hard currency since the seventeenth century. One hundred of my hard-earned pounds buys me 1'350 SEK. Unfortunately the general cost of living in Sweden is much higher than the currency status implies. Sweden is so the wrong country to go to if you're looking for bargains. On average things cost pretty much the same as in the UK. Some things, like restaurants and alcohol, are much more expensive while e.g. rents are cheaper.
apel: (mjausson.com)
Chionodoxa among lesser celandine I've put up a new page on mjausson.com. It's from my drive up to Norfolk on the Easter weekend. The first stop was Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire with some very nice gardens. I then had a brief break in Ely, admiring the cathedral before heading on to Hunstanton on the Norfolk coast for a walk along the beach.
apel: (apel_orange)

Originally uploaded by Mjausson.
I'm home. I had a good time but now I'm very tired.

There's no chance of catching up on LJ so if you wrote anything that you think I would like to read, comment here.

I'll leave you with the last photo from today. It's from the ferry across Windermere on my way home.
apel: (sunset)
I'm waiting for a salad in an Italian restaurant in Kendal. It's pouring down outside but I've "done" Kendal. Only two photos of what my guidebook calls "ginnels" is the result. At least the toilets were nice.
apel: (sparrow)
It cleared up for a while so Tatton Park was back on the agenda but then it turned wet again so I've stopped at the service station near it. I'm tired and would like to take a nap but I doubt that's possible in the hustle and bustle of the car park here. But I could at least have read a for a few minutes. I brought two Bujold books.

I've been listening to Sheryl Crow since my last stop but she's getting a bit loud. Emma Kirkby singing Vivaldi is going to be a bit more subtle. Next stop Kendal.
apel: (snail)
It's time for lunch so I stopped at a service station. It's still raining. The roads are slick so I'm driving carefully. My left eye has calmed down, as I hoped it would.

I've been listening to Boz Scaggs so far but now I think it's time for Sheryl Crow. I've brought her self titled album with Maybe Angels and A Change (Would Do You Good). Hopefully I still like it as much as I used to. I haven't listened to it for ages.


It's time to get going again. Hopefully I won't have to stop again until Tatton Park. Although if it's still raining like this by the time I get there, I'll probably just stop at a nearby service station. It's not very inviting weather.
apel: (shoes)
The cashier at M & S looked very hung over. It's a good thing that the till counts for them nowadays. I got a ploughman's sandwich, some scones and energy drinks.

It's raining and I had to drive 40mph most of the way here because of roadworks on the M1. Now I'm going to get petrol and then I hope I won't have to stop again until it's time to switch over to the M6 by Birmingham.
apel: (may)
My left eye is bothering me. I did something to it during the night. It's not red or swollen and there is no foreign object in it, it just hurts. I guess I cut myself on a stray eyelash when I rubbed my eyes. All I can do is keep it moist and let it heal on its own. It's just a bit irritating.

The weather is overcast right now. I've got a few more things to do before I can leave but I'm all packed. I should be out of the car park in another fifteen minutes or so. Wish me luck with the weather.
apel: (Default)
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