Archive for March, 2010

Internet on board: what do you think?


2010
03.25

Internet on board is now offered by more and more airlines.  According to a recent Trip Advisor survey, 3 people out of 4 said the service should be complimentary, but only 27% of them would be willing to pay for it.

How much will it cost?
Will the cost be based on the flight’s length or will it be a flat rate?
Will it only be available in first class to attract new customers?
Will it be offered on restricted zones?
Will it be available on all major airlines?
Will there be any control regarding adult content?

I think it’s going to be a very popular service, as you can only have so much fun on board at the moment, even allowing some people to work on board (and take less days off).  Rates should be based on the flight’s length and have some kind of ‘deal’ for long haul. And as for adult content, it’s absolutely necessary to have some kind of filter to block this content, for several obvious reasons.

What do you guys think about this?

Castles pubs in Camden


2010
03.24

There are many, many pubs named after a castle in Britain, but 4 of them, located in the Borough of Camden in London, caught my attention when I was there because of their “strategic” location.

There are The Windsor Castle, The Dublin Castle, The Pembroke Castle and finally the Edinboro Castle. Ring a bell?

A legend links these pubs together. Back in the 1800s, during the construction of the rail network, workers from all over Britain and Ireland came to London to work as navvies. However, after a hard day of labor, the navvies were said to be somewhat dissident and prone to fighting when they mingled together.


Afficher Castle Pubs in Camden sur une carte plus grande

Notice how the 4 pubs are located around Regent’s Park and apart from each other? It was meant to avoid fights between the Irish, the English, the Welsh and the Scottish men at night.

Of course the attendants are not so segregated nowadays. The Dublin Castle is certainly the most famous as it was a very popular indie gig spot in the 90s. In fact, that’s where Coldplay is said to have given its first gig as a band ever.

Edinboro Castle boasts having the largest beer garden in the capital. Why not take advantage of a sunny day (if you’re lucky enough to have one) and give this pub crawl a shot!

Travel Report: Rome


2010
03.18
  • Date: April 21st-22nd
  • Accommodation: San Jouan Guest House - Via Francesco Berni 7, Rione Monti, 00185
  • Transportation:  London Gatwick to Rome Fiumicino with EasyJet
  • Food: lasagna, lasagna, lasagna. take-away sandwiches.
  • Activities: piazzas, Vaticano Museum, Colosseum, Forum Romano, eating lots of lasagna.
  • Total cost of trip: €400, for two people.
  • Appreciation: 5/5

Fontana di Trevi

I was lucky enough to be in Rome on the last day of Cultural Week, which gave free access to the Colosseum and the Forum. €30 in my pockets. I was off to a good start.

The city itself is a museum, every detail is interesting to look at. It doesn’t feel like walking from one sight to another, it feels more like a natural and relaxed stroll, taking in as much as possible.

As mentionned in a previous post, I think that Vaticano Museum was a rip-off, but it’s still worth visiting nonetheless, even if it’s only for the Sistine Chapel. One of those unmissables.

As for the hotel, I would definitely go back there. It was friendly, homy, well located and totally affordable at €69 per night for a double room with bathroom, breakfast included.

You can see on the map below what my itinerary was. I think that I really made the most out of my two days there, although I wish I visited more churches. I was not able to visit St Peter of Rome because there was at least a 4 hours wait. Next time I will plan ahead.


View Rome Itinerary in a larger map in a larger map

Follow the Famous Dick Whittington Ale Trail in London


2010
03.15

Perhaps Britain’s most famous trait, the pub scene is to be experienced once (or many, many times)  in a lifetime. Several pub activities exist, but the most fun one is definitely the Ale Trail, otherwise known as a Pub Crawl, which is pretty self explanatory.

The famous Dick Whittington Ale Trail is consisted of 6 routes, each located in different areas of Central London: Theatreland, Soho and Noho, Westminster to Piccadilly, Blackfriars, Financial District and London Bridge to Tower Bridge. There are 6 or 7 pubs per route, carefully selected for their history or their particularities and features.

In order to get a free bonus, make sure to pick up a leaflet at the beginning of your journey, get a stamp, drink your beer and off to the next pub. When you’ve visited 5 pubs, you get a free Dick Whittington t-shirt! It has the name of the pub on the front with its motto and a map of the trail on the back.

It’s a great and somewhat cheap way to discover some of the finest pubs of the city and really take in the world famous pub atmosphere. Plus, there are a lot of sights along the way to it’s kind of a win-win activity.

Travelling with UNESCO World Heritage


2010
03.12

UNESCO at Auschwitz-Birkenau

A great place to find out about new destinations is the UNESCO World Heritage website. They offer a wide variety of choice, from small natural sites to whole cities.

Most of the sites are located in Europe, luckily for us. Unsurprisingly, Italy holds the largest number (44), closely followed by Spain (41) and Germany, ex aequo with France (33).

Notable sites are the historic centre of Florence, the Acropolis, the Red Square and Westminster Abbey, along with many other less known places.

What’s great about this is that when you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, you can stick to the list and see major sites (both architectural and natural) of the country you’re visiting, without having to read a whole guide book.

Semana Santa en Sevilla


2010
03.10

Ze place to be for the Holy Week is arguably Spain, more specifically in Seville, Andalusia.

Brotherhoods (associations of Catholic laypersons, called Cofradías) organise processions which basically are public religious displays.  Some are silent, some are musical. They start at the home church of their brotherhood to Seville’s Cathedral and back, taking the shortest possible route, as decreed in the rule of the ordinances by Cardenal Niño de Guevara in the 17th century.

It can be a very long procedure, anywhere from a few hours to a whole day, regrouping hundreds or thousands of nazarenos.

Around 60 processions are scheduled from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, the most important one being right after midnight on Good Friday. Known as La Madrugá, this tradition dates back from 1340.

Procession - courtesy of WikiCommons

There are similarities in processions:

-Having a Great Cross open the way

-Nazarenos: group of people wearing habits and pointed hoods (capirotes), holding candles

-Acolytes wearing holy robes and holding candles and incense

-Penitentes: people holding wooden crosses and making public penance

 Interesting info:  The hoods worn by nazaneros were once a way to inflict themselves corporal punishment and ask for penance without being recognised. Rest assured, although costumes are still there, the tradition is now far from what is once was.

Pasos are present in every procession and are unique to Seville. They are highly elaborated lifelike sculptures of Holy scenes, usually made from wood and are carried by costaleros, which are hidden under the structure to give the impression that it is moving by itself. Some  pasos are considered important works of  art.

Usually, the most interesting processions are: La Madruga, of course, El Amor, La Candelaria, Los Panaderos and Los Negritos.

Apart from processions, keep an eye on women wearing a mantille on Maundy Thursday. It’s a traditional costume consisted of a black mid-knee dress and black shoes, a rosary and most importantly, a black lacy scarf worn over a high comb, covering both the head and the shoulders.

This year, Semana Santa is from March 28th to April 4th.
Readers who are attending or have attended this event, please comment!