Posts Tagged - London

Time flies when your having fun

12 Sep 10

Meknes - Morocco

The title of this post explains why I haven’t made a post in the last 9 months. Ive been travelling (yet again), working and relocated back home to Sydney, Australia, leaving London behind. Follow me on twitter to stay in the loop.

Here’s the quick version of what I got up to in the first few week of my 3 month trip home, most of the links below are some pictures I took along the way.

  • I worked for most of the English winter until April. I packed up my stuff and shipped it home, gladly I managed to fit it into one tea-chest box. Looking back I really miss London, there is always something to do no matter what day of the week it is. Saying goodbye to my friends in London town was a sad moment, we had so much fun, ill never forget it.
  • Good Friday was when my next adventure would begin. First stop was Porto in Portaugal, followed by beautiful Lisbon and a night train to Madrid, Spain. I was lucky enough to couchsurf in central Madrid, minutes away from Plaza Mayor for a few days, I headed out to the spanish countryside to Avila & Toledo as well.
  • To celebrate ASOT450 I headed to Bratislava in Slovakia in a tiny ATR 42 is a twin-turboprop plane  for a night, then headed to Wroclaw for a second night of ASOT450. After two flights, catching the wrong train and being ripped off by a taxi driver I finally made it to Wroclaw only to find out ASOT450 was canceled due the Polish president and his wife being killed in an air crash. I was so drained that day, sometimes things such don’t go to plan.
  • I spent a week in Poland visiting Wroclaw, Krakow (Auschwitz & Salt Mine) and Warsaw. Disaster struck again as flights were grounded in most of the EU due to the volanci ash spewing out of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. After waiting 3 hours in line to purchase a train ticket to Berlin, Germany I was over the moon. Poland was in mourning, shops and daily life was slow down to minimum, so I was glad I was leaving.
  • I ended up spending an unplanned week in Berlin (I also checked out Potsdam) trying to get to get to Morocco anyway posible, I booked a 34 hour train trip to Tarifa which is on the tip of south Spain and catch a ferry over to Taniger in Morocco. Yes I was that desperate. Fortunately a few days later the planes where flying again and I got to Morocco in less than 34 hours. YAY!!!! Only downfall is I missed my tour group in Morocco by one week. Gecko Adventures which I booked my trip through didn’t refund my money or have any compassion for  the situation I was in. My advice is to steer clear of them.
  • I had to tackle  Morocco on my own without any pre-reading before hand, in the end I visited Casablanca, Taniger, Fes, Meknes, Rabat (Capital), Marrakesh all by train. I throughly enjoyed my time in Morocco, never meet some many locals that are genuinely  friendly and I stayed in some amazing guest houses (hostels don’t really exist over there).

Thats the first 5 weeks of my adventure, stay tuned for the next few weeks I spend visiting the Middle East.

Billy Elliot the Musical

13 Jan 10

Billy Elliot the Musical

Just a quick post, last week I scooped up a cheap ticket to attended my first West End musical – Billy Elliot. I was amazed at the young talented actors on stage and the attention to detail in the set design. The musical has been running for 5 years in London and has expanded to New York, Sydney, Melbourne and this year opens in Chicago & Seoul.

I had an enjoyable evening and looking forward to my next visit to a West End production.

Reflecting on 2009 – Part 1

05 Jan 10

Overlooking Monte Carlo, Monaco

Looking back at 2009 it was quite an exciting and eventful year, I met many people and visited numerous cities on my numerous trips mostly around Europe. Here a few highlights of what I got up to.

  • Lady Gaga – One of the great aspects of living in London is the never ending list of bands & artists performing, both big and small. Lady Gaga was the Gig for 2009, she put on a great performance at Heaven.
  • Manchester – Headed up for the weekend to checkout nightlife on Canal Street – met some great people at my hostel, we great night out
  • Hamburg – Took advantage of the Ryanair’s silly fares (£5 return) and went to Hamburg Germany for the weekend.
  • Nightwish – A Finish band which would probably never make it to Australia was playing in London, so it was a must do. Had an enjoyable evening at their Gig, only downside was I had to sit down the entire time 🙁
  • London – So much is happening in this city visited Hyde Park, September GigFoam Party @ Heaven and Shortdich House.
  • Brighton – Spent Easter couch surfing in Brighton.
  • Armin Van Buuren – Been such an avid fan I went to Birmingham & Ministry of Sound in London (twice :)) to see him DJ.
  • Sensation – I flew all the way to Budapest Hungry to attended Sensation – Ocean of White, this was my second couch surfing experience. I had a great time and really enjoy my time in Budapest.
  • 2 Week Trip – Spent two weeks mostly traveling by train around Europe, first stop was Amsterdam which they were celebrating Queen’s Day (National Holiday) followed by Berlin, Zurich, Rome, Venice & Barcelona.
  • 46 Day Camping Trip – I haven’t done much camping beforehand but I braved the conditions and best time EVER, its one huge trip I will never forget.
    • I visited many cities, our tour started in London and continued into Paris, Barcelona, back into France to visit the French Riveriva (Nice, Cannes & Monaco),  Verona, Venice, Pisa, Florence, Rome, Capri (one of my favorites) and Pompeii.
    • We took an over night ferry from Italy to the laid back island of Corfu, Greece after relaxing, drinking cocktails & doing watersports we headed to Athens, then crossed over into Turkey one place I would love to head back to. After our time in Istanbul & Gallipoi we headed into the Eastern Block. Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania & Montenengro where very different and full of surprises along the way. We spent a 3 lovely days in Dubronivk Croatia. Hungary was next followed by Bratislava, Slovakia, Austria, Mathausen Concentration Camp, Cesky Krumlov in Czeck Reupublic then onto Prague.
    • Our camping trip was coming to an end, our next stop was Munich the home of Octoberfest, entered Switzerland, the scenery amazing we visited Lucerne & Jungfrau. Back into Germany to visit Heidelberg, St Goar & Rhine Valley. To finish up we headed to Amsterdam then back to London.
  • Spent a few days soaking up the London Summer before I set out more travels. Watch out for Part 2.

Back to reality

01 Sep 09

norway-scenery

Well, where do I start haven’t blogged for quite some time, but I have been tweeting away on my travels. Over 5 months of traveling I meet some great people, cities and experiences that I will never forget, I have many stories & odd facts to tell.

Majority of my traveling was with Conitki (An organised tour for 18 – 35 years old) which took me through Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia & Scandinavia. I often get asked ‘Which is the best placed you visited?’, its quite hard to narrow it down as each city/country I visited has it own unique qualities. If I had to pick one city it would have to be the day we spent on the small island of Capri in Italy, the sun was shining on this sleepy, but beautiful pebble beach town. Overall my favourite country was Norway, the scenery was breathtaking.

Im back in London and have moved into a new shared house just south of Central London & have secured a short term contract in working for a large advertisement & communications agency, so things are looking good at the moment.

Over the next few months I will be posting up a selection of the 1000’s of photos I took.

Job Update + Out & about in London

10 Apr 09

finsbury-park-london-daffodils

I have been without a job for close to a month now. The market has been quite tough especially towards the end of March, early April being the end of the financial year in the UK.

In the past week I have noticed in the area of Front End Development the contact side of the job market has improved quite rapidly. So much so I have attended a number of interviews and had 3 jobs offers! I can’t believe the turnaround. I start my new job on Tuesday working on a great project.

With the temperatures warming up and days getting longer now was a great time to get outdoors, here’s what ive been up to over the past few weeks…

  • Sleeping in  🙂
  • Finsbury Park – This 45 hectare park is just up the road, its massive spanning over 2 suburbs.
  • Hyde Park & Green Park – Located in central London, had a lovely day walking around.
  • Heaven Foam Party – Loads of fun was soaking wet by the end of the night.
  • South Bank – Nice warm weather, people were flocking outdoors for the sunshine.
  • St Johns Wood – quite high density apartments which are quite sort after. Kate Moss & Sir Paul McCartney are some hight profile residents.
  • Hampstead Heath – This is one of the more affluent suburbs around London, some of the most expensive property is located in the Hampstead area. The shops that line the streets are aimed at the high end consumers. Jamie Oliver is a resident in Hampstead.

The Easter long weekend is here, I am venturing down to sunny Brighton today, going par-take in my first CouchSurfing experience – im excited!

the world is waiting for you

Twitter power – the booking of Michael Jackson Tickets

13 Mar 09

michael-jackson-tickets

I will admit first up that I am not an avid Michael Jackson fan, but I have been told its a show of a lifetime and if I ever get the chance I shouldn’t miss it.

I never thought this opportunity would ever arise to see a solo entertainer of 13 Grammy Awards & 13 number one singles perform, but low and behold earlier this month Michael Jackson announced he was putting on 10 shows at the 02 Arena in London.

Later that week I signed up to be included in the pre-sale of the highly sort after tickets. I headed to ticketmaster.co.uk just before 7am on Wednesday and eagerly waited to purchase tickets. From the word go I had problems, waiting over 15mins in a virtual queue and then being kicked out at the last minute or after waiting to be told the tickets have been sold out, very frustrating.

Searching through Google & news websites to see if the pre-sale tickets had been sold out for all 10 shows didn’t yield any results. Twitter on the other hand was giving constant updates of other people struggles & triumphs of scoring tickets.

It finally clicked in my head for the first time the power of near to real time updates of Twitter tweets. It was the first time I had ever used twitter in this way, it reassured me that I wasn’t the only one with issues. ticketmaster.co.uk started adding new unannounced shows from 10am onwards and this was communicate instantly on Twitter.

I instantly started booking process when new shows dates were being posted, I waited impatiently. After 5hours of trying I succeeded in purchasing 2 tickets. The seats are on Level 1 which seem to be a good distance from the stage. After Twittering my success of scoring tickets I received a reply from a stranger stating how lucky I was & to enjoy the gig. Wow! This was such a nice surprise! I now see Twitter from a difference and quite useful angle.

All up Michael Jackson is putting on 50 shows stretching all the way to February 2010. I thought £75 a ticket was on the upper side of reasonable, but tickemaster.co.uk charged an obscene £20 booking + postage fee for two tickets. It has been reported even AEG Live, the event organisers have decided to rip off fans by charging £500+ for ‘premium’ seats.

Aug 19 is quite a number of month away so I hoping it will turn out to be the show of a lifetime. Be sure to follow me on Twitter for the latest.

Job Update + Google Mobile Sync

24 Feb 09

nokia-95-8gb-google-sync

Im happy to say that I found a job, its on the other side of London town and I’ll be starting in a few days. The contract is only a few week long,  creating HTML email campaigns & attending to website updates. I am glad something finally came up as I was started to get bored at home.

One task I did attempt in my jobless period was updating the firmware on my Nokia N95 8GB phone. After backing up all my contacts & settings I proceeded to install the updates, then I loaded all my contact & settings back on, things didn’t go as planned. Many, many hours later which now became the early morning I had given up trying to retrieve my contacts.

To ensure I would never lose my contact again I did some research and came up with three options:-

  1. PC Suite – software the comes with the Nokia N95 8GB phone. One major downside is that doesn’t work on a Mac.
  2. iSync – comes bundled with Mac OSX. To be compatible with my Nokia N95 8GB phone a plugin is required. iSync ties in with Address Book, iCal & MobileMe, none of which I currently use. This was a viable option which I considered.
  3. Google Mobile Sync – earlier this month Google Mobile Sync was announced making it possible to sync your address book & calendar from a number of selected phones (iPhone, BlackBerry, Nokia, Sony Ericsson & Windows Mobile) with  Gmail & Google Calender of which use both.

Even though Google Mobile Sync is still in beta and the Nokia N95 GB  supports syncing contacts only I decided to give it ago. After the longish step by step guide to configure all the settings it worked  first go! I was quite impressed with the speed  and to my surprised it even copied the photo for each contact, if  supplied.

East London + Valentines Day Party

16 Feb 09

Valentines Day Part @ Shoreditch House

I finished up at my job at News International at the end of Jan 09 and been looking for work since. The market over here is very tough and to making it more of a challenge contract work is harder to find. Things did look up towards the end of last week, so I hoping something comes my way shortly.

Apart from sleeping in most days during the week I ventured out to East London with a friend on Friday afternoon. East London is serviced mainly by the DLR (Docklands Light Railway), the trains are computer control hence there is no driver on board, we sat right at the front of the train :-).

First stop was Canary Wharf – this the financial  district hub of London, all large national & international banks can be found here. Canary Wharf is home to some of the tallest building in the UK, the skyscrapers are a complete contrast from central London as there are very few tall buildings around.

Next stop was the O2 formerly known as Millennium Dome, these days it used for concerts and includes, restaurants, bars & cinema complex. The 02 is quite dead during the day when no events are being held, similar to Homebush Bay area back home.

We headed to Southwark to the bank of the Thames River and visited the TATE Modern. I didn’t understand most of the artworks & sculptors and got bored very quickly. We cross the Thames River over the London Millenium Footbridge to St Paul’s Cathedral.

I was quite lucky to be invited to come along to Valentines Day Party at the trendy private members club, Shoreditch House. Even though it was a chilly night in the single digits the outdoor 16m heated pool was the highlight of the night. I didn’t go for a swim but enjoyed the rooftop amostphere with backdrop of the night sky of East London.

Photo Gallery of East London. Until next time… the world is waiting for you.

London – Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow

02 Feb 09

Snowing in London

Yesterday evening it start to snow, which continued today. This was a first time I have ever seen snow falling from the sky. All the streets & parks are covered in white fluffy snowflakes making it quite pretty.

Majority of buses, trains & airports were suspended due to the adverse weather condition. It quite rare for snow to fall in London, hence transport doesn’t quite adapt to the weather conditions very well. Quite a number of shops (ie Barclays around the corner) were closed as people we unable to get to work. It wasn’t to chilly despite it was snowing, which I was quite surprised at.

Lady GaGa, j-j-just dance

19 Jan 09

Lady Gaga @ Heaven UK

I had been waiting eagerly for Lady GaGa to perform at Heaven ever since it was announced in Dec 08. I left home and battled my way through the cold wet rain and started to line up early (in the rain). Once I was in, the music on the main dance floor was very hit & miss throughout the night. As the hours passed people were still streaming into the club and it was beyond packed. I managed to be towards the front, but it came with many extra’s such as ‘free’ sweat from the people next to me, barely able move my arms and thick hot air seemed to fill the room, ahh… what more could you want.

Around 2am Lady GaGa came on and all little things that were bothering me didn’t matter any more. She put a non stop performance, created a fun & enjoyable vibe in addition to her unique fashion sense. Wooohooo!!!!

I took quite a number of pix, due to the lighting & the wild crowd not all of them turned out, check them out anyway. Can’t believe she is only 22 and her song ‘Just Dance‘ has already peaked at number one in UK, US, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand & Australia. Have a feeling there are going to be more great hits from her.