Category Archives: Adventure

Berlin

I went back to Berlin!

I went for a week this time, the last adventure was a quite exhasting. I last went there as a backpacker, arriving in around 5am, due to some trains just utterly failing to turn up. This time I had a full week, I was still recovering from my surgery, and to boot the weather was aweful, drissly rain.

How ever I got to visit, the

  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Reichstag building
  • Berlin Wall Memorial (Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer)
  • Museum Island ( Pergamon Museum )
  • Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
  • East Side Gallery
  • Checkpoint Charlie
  • Alexanderplatz
  • Potsdamer Platz
  • Berlin Cathedral
  • Fernsehturm de Berlín ( Romantic Date )

Other Notes

Erdnuß Locken are my own personal form of Herion, thesse peanut flavored wotsits are just the best.

The TV tower was one of the highlights of my Trip.

So much Vegan food everywhere.


 

Ice Skating !

I went ice skating for the first time this weekend :) My friend Mr James Spray invited our old uni friends for an last minute get together in London so we went Ice skating.

Alas I had to leave early, but it was worth it see my friends for the first time in ages. Also to try something new, I achived my somewhat modest goal of skating 10 meters without holding onto anything

ice skate

Delfin L29 Simulator

I went along to Top Gun Flight Simulators this weekend which my parents had kindly bought a package from as my Christmas present.

Thanks to this, I got to fly a simulator for a Delfin L29

Deflin L29

It was great, they had a wonderful setup in the cockpit:

Delfin L29 Cockpit

They did not go easy on me at all, made me take off with the correct lights, turn them off, adjust my flaps, turn fuel on on and off, retract landing gear. It was great fun, I really felt like I was flying though it was tough and I felt drained.

My instructor co-pilot flew me down the Menai Strait, and under the Brittana Bridge, and after a couple of aborted attempts of my own, I managed to do it all by myself .

I flew under this :)

We did some acrobatics, and other tricks, flew around, and then did some circuits back at the airfield, before I attempted a landing which went rather well.

All in all a very fun time:

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Return to Rome

As of the time of writing, I have not yet actually put my first trip on this blog ! Because its like Effort man.

However I went back to rome with Ellie, and her friends Sophie & Damion.

Day 1)
We arrived at our little flat which we rented via AirBnB It was nice, though is too often the case it was smaller than the pictures, and it took us a while to realise the dinning room was the second bedroom, you had to convert between the too.

We weant for a lovely meal, I enjoy some Roman style Artichoke, Pizza, and wine :) and sophies friends discovered is VERY easy to get me drunk.

Though we did manage to capture a picture of me where I do not look like an idiot.

1901718_10154871356295327_56136612725348270_nWe then weant to bed.

Day 2)

I had planed to take us on a tour of Rome, We did the

  • Pantheon and visited Rapel
  • Took a quick took at my favorite obelisk ( Bernini’s elephant )
  • Had my first cafe roma ( SUGAR AND CAFFEINE )
  • Piazza Navona and the fountain of the four rivers.
  • Pizzza del Popolo and the church of Santa maria del popolo. ( saw the chigi chapel )
  • Then stopped by the Spanish steps for a break, and some lunch.
  • We decided to skip the rest of my tour, and instead walked up the tiber.
  • To the Castlo del Angelo.
  • Though St Peters square.
  • Then went on the guided tour of the Vatican, Sophie kindly arranged for us.

I have been the the Vatican museum before, but this tour was really worth it, and made me see the Sistine chapel in a new light as some of the symbolism was explained to me.

Day 3) We dedcided to split up for the morning, the other two went to the Colosseum, while me and ellie spend a lazy morning wandering rome, grabbing sweets.

Ellie fell ill, so I took her home, met up with the others, and we climbed st peters. I said prayers inside for my friend Phil Brown, and for my gran parents.

We climbed the dome, and attempted to watch the sunset, but it was cloudy!

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Day 4) On the last morning, we decided to visit the Trevi on our way to the airport, even though it was being worked on. We threw coins as is the tradition.

Then ellie realised she had left her passport at the flat, and thus followed a mad dash get the owners to open up so we could search for it, then a cab ride the the airport.

All in all a good holiday.

XKCD @ Union Chapel

Randall Munroe on Answering the Unanswerable
Thursday November 6 2014 | Union Chapel

So I got to meet one of my hero’s last night.This man:

He has MAD duck stacking skills

You know when your about 16, and trying to define yourself and you find some rock-star or model and worship? Well I found Randall Munroe. xkcd was maybe not in its infancy, but certainly a toddler. I saw xkcd 152 As my first ever comic, and then read backwards like a maniac, and then waited every Monday Wednesday and Friday for updates.

I always enjoyed xkcd because it is whats it says on the tin “A webcomic of romance,
sarcasm, math, and language.
” If you stop and think and realize that one hell of a range of subjects. I love that there was no line between those subjects either, it was saying you can be nerdy and in love, and you can be nerdy about love, and mathematical about love, and even sometimes you need to put down and math and just love.

Sometimes he just connected to me as one of the few people who seemed to think like me.

http://xkcd.com/17/

This was a very potent mix of subjects for me to hear about. It also taught me a told, as anyone who knows me will know I am fascinated by learning. Some of the best XKCD comics are ones I did’nt understand because they introduced me to new and interesting bits of maths and physics.

I sort of miss some of the older comics, they where really a sort of diary in someways and held a more personal note that the comics he publishes now. I’m not complaining everything grows and changes, this is how we get amazing new ideas like What-if

What-if is the highlight of my week when it comes out. Its humorous and exciting and educational all at once.

I’ve grown up now, and dont quite worship Randall anymore, he is a human afterall, and I from what I know of him, I think he would disapprove of worship, or anything other than a polite thank you, and a “that comic was awesome”. Still everything xkcd holds a special place in my heart, and if I was to pick a top 10 people to be stuck on a desert island with I can tell you he would make the cut.

Anyway getting less emotional!

His talk was amazing, He did a more details breakdown of his “Table of elements” What-if which was very fun to hear especially when he got distracted and rambled. Mostly about fluorine and how evil it is.

Then did a Q&A with Simon Singh ( Of Fermat Last Theorem Fame ) Taking questions from the audience 😀 including one of mine !

Q: I know you love the wacky science the US did during the cold war, what is your favorite paper that you have found.
A: An analysis of the forces required to drag sheep

He was then kind enough to sigh both my posters, and my copy of What-if ( I could’nt find my xkcd Volume 0, I suspect Cat has it ). He was very kind and polite despite having had to sigh books for the last hour, and make the same small talk over and over again.


It was amazing, and unique opportunity, I am very glad I got the chance to go and meet him.

Third and final day in Paris

This was my last day in paris, I had stayed with a new couch surfing host. The lovely Marion and Theo.

The evening before Marion needed to go shopping and had taken me to a sort of shopping district, mall thing. It was a few rows of shops, it was interesting but there was not much I could not have brought in England. I tried a chocolate olive which turned out to be something like an M&M a bit of peanut, then chocolate and then a shell.

I decided to spend my last day in Paris on a visit to the Palace of Versailles.2014-07-08 12.02.07

As you can see the approach is incredible, ( though the clouds did some extra work for me here ). The only thing I can think of that gives me the same feeling of approaching majesty is St.Peters. Your whole walk to Versailles Tells you clearly that this is a palace, and the people in it are better than you, and you are tiny.

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I found out using my UK passport I could get free entry, being a backpacker, this was the best news EVER. So I lined up for an hour at the ticket office, to get my free ticket. Only to find out my passport WAS my free ticket. So I then joined then 1.5-2 hour queue to get into the palace. About 20mins from door, the heavens opened. I could not believe how many people who had waited over an hour where just abandoning the queue! I was getting soaked, but I didn’t mind  I knew I could change into dry clothes from my backpack. I lovely little old Chinese lady tried to protect me with her  umbrella but I declined, In Mandarin  which surprised her!

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Above a couple of pictures of the inside of Versailles, I didn’t get much time inside. The nearly three hours of queues had robbed me of quite a bit of time, and my goodness was it packed. I have never felt like cattle so much my entire life. Pushed from room to room, barely able to move. I would have loved Versailles, but I lacked the piece to enjoy it, or even to stand still for two minutes without being shoved over. It was beautiful though, the paintings and the frescoes made me think of the Vatican. I would like to visit again when I have more time, and also to see the Gardens, I caught the odd glimpse of them out of the windows and if many videos I watched, and signs I read are to be believed they are the true treasure of Versailles.

Second Day in Paris ( The Church of Saint Sulpice )

I did much more on my second day in paris, in face I sort of did everything. The Eiffel tower, Champs-Élysées, Arc de triomphe, Montmartre etc…

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But the place that still sticks with me is Saint Sulpice. It is the most beautuiful church I have ever been in. I say this with a little hesitation as though my travels over the next month I would visit I lot of churches, and I became aware that I grew a little sick of them. So maybe some of my pleasure was dude to this being my first experience of the architecture of continental Europe.

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It was certainly a new experience for me, my pictures do not capture it well, but the atmosphere is so different from any church in Britain which I can now only think of a “lazy gothic” They are large and dark and oppressing, but without the truly dark magisty of being Gothic.

 

 

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I suspect I am a hypocrite though, and when I see Durham again, I will love it, and my loves are mostly those of the new and different. For all my rambles  Saint Sulpice is a beautiful magical place, light and airy. I feel like I could spend an afternoon in Saint Sulpice and feel at piece and happy. I am finding hard to describe being there, it is a happy place.

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It was my real pleasure to see the Gnomon of Saint-Sulpice, which is an astronomical measurement device in Paris, designed to cast a shadow on the ground in order to determine the position of the sun in the sky.

I enjoy studying the history of science and took a great deal of pleasure in visiting it and leaning how it had once worked.

 

The sunlight passes through a small round opening in the southern stained-glass window of the transept, at a height of 25 metres, forming a small light disk on the floor; this disk will cross the meridian each time the sun reaches its zenith at true noon. The sun will cross different parts of the meridian depending the time of year, as the sun will be more or less high in the sky at noon. A point on the meridian is marked with a gold disk which shows the position of the sun at an equinox. It is located right in front of the altar.

The first day of my Adventure ( July 5 2014 )

This was the first day of my adventure across Europe. In some ways the most boring, but I was very proud of myself for going at all.

Spent the night before carefully packing, repacking, checking tickets and planning,and then it was time to be off:


I caught the

  • #5 bus from Sainsburys to Winchester station
  • Train from Winchester Waterloo
  • Tube from Waterloo to St Panrus
  • St Pancreas to Garde du Nord!
  • Then Paris Metro to meet my Host

Florence

 

Florence was lovely, she very polite and welcoming, bless her she had even cooked for me but had not realized that I didn’t eat fish. She had a lovely little apartment which I liked a lot, I wish I could have taken a picture without being rude.

It was split horizontally like a giant bunk bed, which took up most of the room and had a living room underneath.

Much like this

 

 

The Elevator upto her apartment was an experience all of its own, tiny unlike English elevators I barely fitted in it with my backpack on it was more like a vertical coffin.

After some food she was kind enough to take me on my first tour of paris, which ended at a out door cinema set up by the banks of seine. They were placing songs from the musicals both English and french and everyone was singing along.

Here are some of the photos I took along the way:


Flying

I went flying for the first ever time! Well that’s a bit of lie, I have flown in big commical aircraft, but this was my first time in a light aircraft. It was beautiful, and it was terrifying mostly during landing as you can really see your self heading right at the ground, and very fast.

I really enjoyed it, it awoke a real love of flying in me. Pity it is so expensive to do. (£8,000-£10,000)

We flew from a airfield in west London to the isle of wight and back in a mere hour. I hope to do it again some day, or better when I have money learn to fly 😀


Leeds art Gallery

While helping my friends Joe & Becky move into there new place in leeds, we visited the leeds art gallery.

Thesse are some of the pieces I really enjoyed.

Le dortoir de Moret by Léon Richet

This picture does not really do it justice. When seen in person the atmosphere of the painting is real, you can scene it. You can almost smell the soil and leaves of the road.

Reflections on the Thames, Westminster by John Atkinson Grimshaw

In Peril (The Harbour Flare) by John Atkinson Grimshaw

These pair by John Atkinson Grimshaw are just beautiful, again they contain so much that excites my other sences. I feel like I am really there, I really enjoy the reflections in the thames, as I remember spending an evening leaning against a rail in a similar fashion.

The crown of my vist though was Retribution by Edward Armitage (below). Joe gave me my first introduction to allegorical painting. Below Britannia slays the Bengali Tiger as reprisal for the Indian Mutiny. Viewed from a 21st century perspective, it is a provocative imperialistic version of events which at that time fuelled a highly emotional response in a jingoistic British public.The man stands a defender for civilization (look at the background) and culture ( the books at his feet), against the wild untamed indian (The jungle background).

Retribution, by Edward Armitage

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