Have You been ?

A quick questions and answers session for forum members

Re: Have You been ?

Postby mapperleywhite » 03 Jul 2020, 13:37

Selby White wrote:
Next Ten -
11. Hong Kong

Went with Mrs MW in 2010, got a package deal from the excellent Kuoni including flights with Air New Zealand. The Langham Place hotel is in the Mongkok district and is one of the best I've ever stayed in - nicely appointed rooms, spotless and excellent service. It is on top of the Mongkok metro station so very convenient for getting around. Yet in the road at the back of the hotel there was a street market with fish flapping around in bowls and hens in cages - thankfully don't recall seeing bats - as well as traditional Chinese shops, really fascinating.

Didn't take too much notice at the time but perhaps one in ten people were wearing face masks.

It was cloudy and rather humid the week we stayed and there was some heavy rain typically on the day we took the ferry to one of the islands. My recollection is that it wasn't overly expensive but certainly not as cheap as I had imagined - really couldn't say we got any bargains there.

The place had a real buzz about it and the iconic trams add to the unique atmosphere. At the time I got the impression that HK brings together the best of Chinese and British cultures, but. sadly, I don't think that's the case today.

Had some enjoyable meals, most notably when we met my companies' distributor and they took us for a seafood blowout which was sensational. Eating out was certainly more expensive than the UK, well Nottingham anyway.

Conclusion: I've ticked it off my bucket list and it's unlikely I'd go back

12. Tokyo

I wish! Right at the top of my list

13. Madrid

One company I worked for had a major office in Madrid and used to visit probably every three months.

But my first ever visit was with a different company in the early 1980's. I was with my colleague John and we met the local sales people for dinner and there were solemn promises that we'll get cracking at 9 AM the next morning. So we rolled up at the office at 8:50 to find the door locked. Eventually a girl arrived probably about 9:20, head down, avoiding eye contact, and we were let in. By about 10 AM everyone was there and we were able to get on. It got to 12:30 and my stomach started rumbling so I asked John when lunch was and he said 'be patient'. An hour later still nothing.....but we finally went out at 2:00 PM. I remember it was a small church converted to a restaurant. Nice apperitive of dry fino sherry, food started arriving as did bottles of red wine, the place was packed and the hub-bub of conversations gradually increased.

When you are with the locals you cannot (!) finish a meal without a brandy to accompany your coffee, so they ordered a special one called Cardenal Mendoza. OMG there's no using of optics and I was poured the biggest measure I've ever seen in a huge goblet. At one stage I had the presence of mind to look at my watch and it was 5:30! and lunch was still in full swing! And there was a potential problem: my flight home was at 6:15! As you might imagine I was feeling rather carefree by that stage, but fortunately I only had hand luggage and the taxi got to the airport in 15 minutes and got my flight ok - those were the days!

It's a good destination for a visit with some fabulously elegant boulevards and buildings, and there's plenty of historical sights in addition to a pleasant climate. Well worth staying a few days to take it all in. I find the Madrilenos rather humourless and they can be a bit stand offish. The compensation, well for me at least, is that like much of Spain, it's a great place for eating out with the various regions of the country well represented - Galicia, Asturias, Basque Country and Andalucia. The seafood is of a calibre rarely found in the UK.

I'd happily go back if only to stock up on Cardenal Mendoza.....

14. Athens

Been a couple of times on business. The Acropolis and other antiquities are, of course, unique and unmissable. Elsewhere it's probably the ugliest city I've ever visited with mile after mile of grey appartment buildings all of the same height (it's in an earthquake zone). It gets seriously hot too.

Wouldn't be bothered by not going again.

15. Prague

When I worked in Frankfurt Prague was a five hour drive due east and we went as a family a couple of times. The centre is dotted with wonderful and interesting buildings and squares, and there''s that unique 'Mittel Europa' atmosphere. Always found prices quite reasonable, eg half litre of beer perhaps £1.50. Don't know if the locals have had an issue with the influx of visitors since the fall of communism but some of them can be very surly and off-hand. For the single gentlemen among us there are some very attractive ladies, like in much of Eastern Europe. Excellent local red wine too!

I'd happily go back the Czech Republic but would like to visit other smaller cities: Brno, Ostrava and Olomouc

16. Edinburgh

Was a guest at the Scotland v France rugby match once and thoroughly enjoyed my time in the city. Took Mrs MW there a while back and it was great again, as was our visit to Glasgow.

17. Seoul

Down the list a bit, but would go.

18. Sydney

I'd prefer to see Perth if I was travelling that far, but, yes, it's one of the world's great cities. Have friends in Melbourne too.

19. Shanghai

Down the list but yes

20. St Petersburg

I've seen the pictures and it looks magnificent. Have a standing invite to stay with a family there.

More -
21. Amsterdam

One company I worked for had a factory near the city so have been often. Well worth doing a touristy canal trip to take in the city's unique layout and architecture. Always struck me as not especially clean, but there's a good buzz about the place, even away from the famous coffee shops.

22.New Orleans
23. Vancouver
24. Auckland

My cousin lives there and I like what I've seen. Also have a school friend living in Nelson on the south Island, so, yes I'd like to go

25. Bangkok

We have a Thai family who are good friends of ours and, in an ideal world. would like to visit their country with them

26. Damascus

Was pretty high up my list before the troubles on the basis it's said to be the city that's been continuously inhabited for the longest time.

27. Jerusalem
28. Cape Town

Was lucky enough to go when in RSA on business. My absolute favourite place I've ever visited! The setting at the foot of Table Mountain is spectacular and I was taken to see some of the places along the coast from the city, truly beautiful. Very reasonable in terms of prices and has a very pleasant sunny climate.

29. Cairo

Isn't it the base to go and see the Pyramids? Can't say I've ever heard anyone raving about the city.....

30. Marrakech

As part of a visit including other Moroccan cities. Friends of ours visited last year and found the local mens' attitude towards women unacceptable.

So come on folks tell us your stories about any of the above cities :thumbup:
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby Saxon » 03 Jul 2020, 15:10

NottinghamWhite wrote:Just the also for me as well.



Cape Town

Our first ever long haul holiday we were based near Simonstown in the Western Cape which is a very popular as a tourist destination lots of great restaurants & bars. When we were there it was when meat on the bone was banned here so t bone steaks were always going to be on our plates. We had a couple of days at Stellenbosch which is where the counties majority of wine is produced, paradise :D did whale watching seeing southern right whales at Hermanus which was amazing. When we were there the exchange rate gave us 15 rand to the £, lived exceptionally well.

Running total 11/30


NW, 1972 I lived about 10 miles round the bay from you in Muizemburg.
Worked for a company in Cape Town, our football team would play against all the foreign Navy's football teams which docked at Simonstown.
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby NottinghamWhite » 03 Jul 2020, 15:18

Saxon wrote:
NW, 1972 I lived about 10 miles round the bay from you in Muizemburg.
Worked for a company in Cape Town, our football team would play against all the foreign Navy's football teams which docked at Simonstown.


Were the penguins at Boulders Beach there then ? Heard after an oil spillage they rounded up all the penguins & took then to a beach a 200 kilometres away. Within a few weeks they’d all made their way back :D
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby Selby White » 03 Jul 2020, 16:00

Another 10 added and among them 5 I've been lucky enough to visit (15/40 now)
Fancy all the other five on this list.

31. Galle, Sri lanka - Actually unlucky to not have on my list we were booked to go a couple of years back but the travel company cancelled 3 month before our trip.

32. Copenhagen - Was around 1980 give or take a year when I travelled to see England play. Actually met Kevin Keegan the night before and still have his autograph on an England flag. Cracking match which we won 4-3.

33. Mexico City - Not yet been

34. Santiago (Chile) - Cracking city which we used for a base to travel around to a few places like up into the Andes, then to the coast to visit Vina del Mar (main resort), Valpairasso (World Heritage site as graffiti capital :crazy: ) and of course Casillero del diablo vineyard :D

35. Buenos Aires - Again used as base to tour on the economically friendly local trains (which were an education).
We went not long after Mrs SW and myself had met, i asked her if she fancied a "Tango", got a shock she was expecting a can of fizzy orange ;) , never looked back :D

36. Helsinki - Not yet
37. Stockholm - Not yet
38. Reykjavik - Not yet

39. Dublin - Yes ventured across to check out the Black stuff a couple of times.

40. Las Vegas - You either love it of hate it, I'll go for love as have been 3 times all for 3 nights following a touring holiday, perfect finish to a trip.
Should have been number 4 in May but Mr Covid stopped that one.
Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby NottinghamWhite » 03 Jul 2020, 16:37

Next batch -
31. Galle, Sri lanka
32. Copenhagen
35. Buenos Aires
36. Helsinki
37. Stockholm
38. Reykjavik
39. Dublin
40. Las Vegas

This is a good one for me :D

Galle - My personal highlight was passing the cricket ground & asking our driver to stop. Armed with my camera I went up to the fence to get some snaps when I was approached by a besuited gentleman who asked me what I was doing. He then asked me to follow him & he gave me the complete tour of the ground. He was the CEO.

Copenhagen - Great city we parked next to the Royal Yacht where all the crew were dressed in immaculate white uniforms. We walked around the harbour to see the little mermaid, had to be done :D

Buenos Aries - Fabulously vibrant city have visited twice. We visited the Santos district & walked along the River Plate. Beware if you go their on a cruise there’s lots of robberies on the Main Street, Florida Street ? Great steaks in cosmopolitan restaurants.

Helsinki - Visited on a Baltic cruise ( same time as we visited Copenhagen ) sadly it rained all day. We walked around the city & everyone spoke English. We were amazed & at the same time pleased how clean everywhere was.,

Stockholm - Visited on the same Baltic cruise. Visited the Vasa Museum absolutely brilliant. However the highlight was leaving & sailing through the archipelago of islands some of the houses were just stunning.

Reykjavik - A very modern city that is a lovely place to visit. ( see Helsinki ) We had a couple of hours to explore but we did the Blue Lagoon, Gulfoss Falls & the Geysirs ( loved them )

Dublin - Did a weekend there a few years back with the eldest & her husband. Loved the place, I even had a few pints of Guinness :D Lots of good bars & restaurants. Thought Malahide was a great place to visit.

Las Vegas - Did two days there ( tbh long enough ) as part of a coach trip on the West Coast. A place everyone should visit but it’s very in your face. People love it I just found it so noisy & busy. The restaurants are world class though, something that surprised me.

Running total 19/40 better ;)
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby johnh » 03 Jul 2020, 16:50

Saxon wrote:
NottinghamWhite wrote:Just the also for me as well.



Cape Town

Our first ever long haul holiday we were based near Simonstown in the Western Cape which is a very popular as a tourist destination lots of great restaurants & bars. When we were there it was when meat on the bone was banned here so t bone steaks were always going to be on our plates. We had a couple of days at Stellenbosch which is where the counties majority of wine is produced, paradise :D did whale watching seeing southern right whales at Hermanus which was amazing. When we were there the exchange rate gave us 15 rand to the £, lived exceptionally well.

Running total 11/30


NW, 1972 I lived about 10 miles round the bay from you in Muizemburg.
Worked for a company in Cape Town, our football team would play against all the foreign Navy's football teams which docked at Simonstown.


I was in Muizemberg in 1957. Troopship called at Cape Town on the way back to the UK (Suez Canal closed). A coach trip had been laid on and we went round the Cape Peninsular, spending a bit of time in Muizemberg. Lovely place. Have got a few photo's of the place somewhere. Magnificent beaches.
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby NottinghamWhite » 04 Jul 2020, 07:15

Just revisiting Cape Town we went up to the top of Table Mountain which was a great experience. Visited Cape Point where we were told if we wanted food to try & eat inside as the baboons were a real problem. We saw them snapping ariels on cars & generally being a nuisance. It was a great place just to walk & take in the fabulous views. The gardens at Kirstenbosch are worth visiting ( at the base of Table Mountain) they are exceptionally well maintained.
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby Selby White » 04 Jul 2020, 08:25

NottinghamWhite wrote:Buenos Aries - Fabulously vibrant city have visited twice. We visited the Santos district & walked along the River Plate. Beware if you go their on a cruise there’s lots of robberies on the Main Street, Florida Street ? Great steaks in cosmopolitan restaurants.


We stayed in a district called Monserrat which was about a 30 min or so walk (or take the tube for about 10pence) which was interesting but a little run, however never felt unsafe in that area and every street corner seemed to have a good restaurant. That was good for us as we try to eat at a different place each night when away.

We were warned not to go into La Boca on our own (which was similar distance as the centre) as was a history of outsiders been mugged. As I wanted to go to the football stadium and see the colourful houses we went with caution and used the hop on hop off bus which only dropped you at the main parts which were heavily policed.

However we did almost have a issue in the next district San Telmo (between Boca & Monserratt) as we went to the street market which is massive stretches for miles, amazing place with street entertainers and great food.
Was when we were walking back when Mrs SW felt something hit her rucksack and some old lady behind us came up with a tissue trying to clean it and take it off her back pointing at the birds. It was a gunge far more than bird muck so i said to the lady no, we'll sort it when too young blokes appeared and also started to pretend to help with me getting between them and Cathy.
Think the plan was for the old lady to take the rucksack to clean and the lads steal it without resistance from her. They were getting very forceful and was thinking we were in trouble when fortunately a police car appeared saw what was happening and pulled up, never seen 3 people disappear so quick.
The policeman tried to explain but couldn't speak a word on English but saw us safely on our way.
Found out later its a trick they use spraying gunge on your bag from a water pistol before helping and relieving you of your belongings.
Funny thing wasn't scared although maybe should have been, it just all happened so quick.

On another note there is a English Pub in San Telmo called the Gibralter for those that miss a pint from home, we did on route to the market. :D
Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby NottinghamWhite » 04 Jul 2020, 08:42

We felt safe in Buenos Aries but we were staying at a small hotel away from the main drag. The gunge trick we heard about on the cruise where several people had fallen foul of it. Pretty sure I watched a Leeds game in The Gibraltar there were several ex pats drinking in there. I can remember wooden flooring & a long thin room sure it was there. I looked it up on the net & it was one of the few places that was showing the game. Sorry it was the Boca area we went to not Santos as I said earlier. We felt safe there but our guide was very vigilant. The colourful houses & peek into the stadium was nice. Paintings of Maradonna on the houses as well. When Boca were formed they couldn’t decide on what colours to wear so decided to go to the harbour & the first ship displaying colours would be the one. The first ship was flying the Swedish flag, hence the yellow & blue.
Just looked & it was the Gibraltar I watched the game in, small world :D
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby Selby White » 04 Jul 2020, 10:56

NottinghamWhite wrote:We felt safe in Buenos Aries but we were staying at a small hotel away from the main drag. The gunge trick we heard about on the cruise where several people had fallen foul of it. Pretty sure I watched a Leeds game in The Gibraltar there were several ex pats drinking in there. I can remember wooden flooring & a long thin room sure it was there. I looked it up on the net & it was one of the few places that was showing the game. Sorry it was the Boca area we went to not Santos as I said earlier. We felt safe there but our guide was very vigilant. The colourful houses & peek into the stadium was nice. Paintings of Maradonna on the houses as well. When Boca were formed they couldn’t decide on what colours to wear so decided to go to the harbour & the first ship displaying colours would be the one. The first ship was flying the Swedish flag, hence the yellow & blue.
Just looked & it was the Gibraltar I watched the game in, small world :D


Small world indeed and inspired by this thread just been looking at my photos from that trip -

Image

Image
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