Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Damn long way to Damme

I tried to find a place to rent a bike,  I had seen a few yesterday but now there were none. So much for that.  I got all messed up today and I went for the boat to Damme, first took the bus but when I got to the spot no clue where the boat was leaving from there were no signs so I was walking in circles and I finally found it and of course missed the boat. I saw another boat was leaving in about 20 mins but I soon realized it was the boat time from Damme not to Damme. I was not the only one making this mistake some people with handi-caped children were waiting too. It was another 90 mins wait and I decided to walk I knew by a sign it was about 3 miles in the end a bit longer. I did it in around an hour or so at times i wondered it was worth it but it was as it was a pretty Medieval town they had a windmill and some unusual trees near it.

I was hungry and it was after 3 so I had a sandwich turns out it was really big so I ate about 2/3 and saved the rest of it for later, it was really delicious had some local ham and cheese and all sorts of veggies including some tiny little onions. One of the best  sandwiches ever.
I continued looking around the town and in some shops it was small but interesting.
I discovered you could take a bus directly back to Brugge The canal boat trip I missed out on was not worth it since I had already walked along the canal so I did take the bus and then I had to stop and get my suitcase to get the bus to my Castle.

I ran across this interesting set of "statues" along the canal



No wonder I got confused

My castle Castle Ten Berghe

Well first I missed the bus as I was standing on the wrong side of the Centrum where the bus leaves from,  why the sign was on the other side where it is drop off beats me I panicked as I would be late; because I had told them around 6 pm, kept trying to call. The phone number would not work and  some people came up and tried to help me and it seemed I needed to dial country code phew they were okay with me being a bit late.

 I got off the bus and no clue as to where the Castle was I could not see it so I walked around and finally saw a sign "Ten Berghe" which I knew was the address and it is about 15 mins more walk the castle (small paved road hard on the suitcase) was smaller than I expected it but it was beautiful it was surrounded by water and there were swans and ducks I took loads of pics walked around the grounds and inside was really great too more pics. My room was on the 2nd floorthis is not a modern hotel by means but they had the greatest shower, I have ever seen that also had a little seat in it to get water shot at you from all sides. You could buy beer in this room by the chapel (gives a new meaning to Holy Water) so I got me a bottle of Belgium beer just to try some it was good sat in my castle and then sat outside and enjoyed peace and quite.

I then was taking photos with my  camera set on timer and got some and a woman offered to take some so I got brave and pulled out my crown; (I had a nickname at my job BOR Queen and one year a girl presented me with a crown so I brought it for my castle stay) the woman thought it was fun and took some pics. I slept good and then had breki which was cold cuts and all sorts of rolls and decided to have coffee for a change it was good and also juice and fruit and eggs, there was a little paper with my name on it front of my plate I was the first one there at 8.30.
I took the bus back to town but walked down the wrong path so I missed it the first bus, as I wound up in a field.  I finally found my way out and the woman from last night and her aunt were waiting for the bus. She was visiting from China so we sat on the bus together and had a nice chat.

CastleTen Berghe

dining room

Comfy bed

fancy bathroom

Even Cricket got into the Royal mood

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Brugge at last

view from on top of the Tower

Markt Brugge

I took early morn Chunnel to Brugge. Arrived in Brussels and had to continue to
Brugge nothing in English but met some other women and we figured it out with some help We had to haul our upstairs as the escalator was not working. It is beautiful picture postcard perfect the sky was a perfect blue with clouds that it did not seem real, I actually took my sun glasses off thinking it was the sunglasses. I had a chocolate waffle, no big deal a lot cooler here well actually not cooler but some breeze and sun has been in and out so easier to handle.I took tons of pics and went up the Belfry Tower man what a climb I am still sore. A climb of 366 steps takes the visitor past the luggageimpressive clock mechanism and culminates in a breathtaking panoramic view of the city and its surroundings. The famous 47-bell carillon is also located here.

I had a nice Tortellini tonight at a cafe sat outside and enjoyed it want to try a Belgian beer so much to do here want to take at least one boat trip and watching people on bikes I want to do that, all looks wonderful I think I love Brugge already.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Elephants in the gardents

Well this am I got up early despite yesterday and Hyde park and late night. I went to Hyde park first and walked
around took photos of the flowers and also of where the concert was. Then to off to St James by then the heat was kicking in and it was not quite noon yet some. Somehow I lost my make shift lens cover which was a cloth cover and rubber band I had been using might have been when I was taking a photo of some guy on the bridge kind of think I put it in my pocket, and it fell out? Just guessing. I love St James Park it is my very Park in the world I can never get enough of it I fell in love with it on my first trip over 30 years ago I have managed to visit it on every trip to London, starting in 1971.

Man the water was bad it was all green algee from this horrid and i mean horrid heat wave. There were guys in the water clearing it out
had an ice cream to try and cool down sat and watched birds then realized my cap was gone went and retraced my steps to no avail.

Then I decided to go to see the elephants well they were gone from Green Park so got directions at the tube for Chelsea royal hospital which was tube then bus but it was the wrong Chelsea hospital (Madam there is nothing Royal about us) so had to bus to the other one met a woman doing the same thing well it was wonderful I took tons of pics and also got burnt to a crisp if you have heat intolerance you'd understand but i had chills so the sun was getting to me.

I went and had my lamb shiskabob and then up to my room to lay by the fan for 30 mins and now here at the internet will head over to Regents Park in a few mins I had planned so much for today but the heat has been brutal with no let up in sight. Trying to be happy no rain but would trade some for less heat.

clearing the algee in St James

what can I say I have a thing for Squirrels

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hyde Park or Bust

Early morning bus to London so had to get up early before 6 am and was down for breki at 7 am had a quick breakfast grabbed my luggage and headed out I was early to the station and knew it only took about 20 mins even with luggage but didn't want to take a chance. It was an express bus with only a stop or two near to Victoria station where I grabbed the underground to my B and B and checked in.

Today was PAUL in Hyde Park it was already pretty hot so I went to check my email and get a ticket and they were no longer available on line so I had a quick lamb kabob and headed for Hyde park I was so afraid I would not get a ticket that I bought one from someone selling them for Face Value was wondering why turns out they were available after all.

Elvis Costello was on stage so I headed over and got to hear the other song I really love Angels Want to Wear my Red shoes. Then went to get out of the heat for a bit it was really bad. I used the toilets but also saw something different they had a bunch set up near the water and turned out to be out door urinals and then men were just standing there using them out in the open and only slightly blocked.

I had an ice cream and sat in what shade I could find which meant on the ground later found a bench. I headed over to see Crosby Stills Nash and I left before they ended to again get out of the sun as I could hear them. Then I thought best eat something before PAUL came on and got some chips and got an idea to put mayonnaise on them yummy. I noticed PAUL pre-show starting and said he’s on next and he was so stood to the side of the stage it wasn’t a great spot or horrid it was ok.

However when PAUL came on things were bad there was a fan that was yelling out stuff in a very hard accent sounded German tho at one point he said he was from Holland he had a bratty kid along around 10 he was obnoxious he would constantly scream that he could not see then his dad would hold him on his shoulders or his mom would pick him up and he would get mad. It went on and on and on it was ruining the show. He threw a screaming tantrum at one point if this wasn’t enough dad would name every song and say if it was a Beatles song or wings or whatever everyone near me was upset they finally decided to leave after the kid started another tirade I did a little applause everyone was happy this was about 45 mins into the show and terribly distracting.

PAUL was great as usual he did Ram On again and he also started singing Tequila and then he said he didn’t know why he did that but it sounded good. He had a blast and seemed so happy with it all at one point he said we should all sleep out in the park. I am for that.
Hard to see it end but it did end and I managed to get to the Underground reasonably quick and was back in my room before midnight.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

PAUL McCartney in Cardiff

The first day I checked to try and get a decent ticket they only had one floor seat (pit as they called it) and it was not that good. The woman told me to come back on Saturday so I was there bright and early but had to wait in the long line of people picking up their tickets. They still had nothing good she said I could check back later and maybe something would show. I checked a travel agency that had tickets and also a ticket place nothing any good.

I went back several more times and then ran into Kathy from Wales I know. Well seems PAUL was arriving soon for sound check so I sat and tried to eat my lamb pasties that I had grabbed earlier and was now getting cold. He finally was arriving and I almost missed him if I had not seen John Hamel in the car. So I moved and for some reason the crowd sort of parted in an effort to see him and I had a dead view of the car as it drove by he was just turning in his seat to get a view out of the open window. He saw me and gave me a big smile. Be still my heart. The whole thing was sur real as in he was there and he was turning and it looked like he was sitting as something to make him turn. What you see when you see PAUL.

I went back several more times for tickets and the last time they gave me a comp ticket yup a free ticket I was shocked they did that and it was a pretty good seat. I went back to my hostel to change and head out ran across a girl trying to find a hotel I dint know where it was but a few minutes later actually saw it and went back to get her she was dressed in pink with a pink suitcase and I kept yelling girl in pink, Finally got her she was so thankful I went and got her but someone helped me where I was going my first day

PAUL was great what can I say and Cricket danced like a mad man during Hey Jude I managed to get fairly close to the stage during that and the last encore I managed to get 10th row after the show people were stoping for fish and chips or just chips so I decided to join in and get chips and eat on my way back to the hostel a couple young guys coming out saw my tshirt and they said oh did you go see PAUL too? great show

Friday, June 25, 2010

Golfing ghosts rolling men chat in Wales

decided to go to Castell Coch today after tea and toast at the hostel headed off. I caught the bus to the town near the castle well got there okayand started looking for the road to the castle supposedly 10 min walk could see the castle up high; so I asked a man walking the dog and he said well its a long hike but go up to the roundabout and just past see a fence well I did and the area was hilly and woody and no sign even so I am thinking what the heck so I start up man was it steep and wooded and I was sweating and I kept thinking man this is unreal and if I collapsed who will find me.

Castell Coch

Finally after about 20 mins found the top (very steep) and now wait for it I had to climb over a fence that was trampled to the ground and over branches now to do this had to climb this little mound and let me tell you not easy (Lor ya never would have made it) so I get over it and where am I? are you ready on a golf course! I saw a couple playing golf and they told me how to get to the road so had to be careful of flying golf balls I kid you not man that man must have been pulling my leg.

I finally found the castle after a quick round of golf (hahaha) some man had hit a ball and I pointed it out to him where it landed and he said I hope you dint see that swing I assured him I was too worn out and short of breath.

I finally got there and paid my admission the chap at the gate (quite cute i might add asked if I was ok as I looked exhausted so I told him my tale). The castle was lovely but since all climbing had to take a break in the ladies room I was sweating like a pig. Then I had an ice cream to cool down normally don't have ice cream at 11.30 in the morning.

The trip was worth it the rooms were gorgeous I took a lot of pictures the walls were all colorful and many had animals painted on the wall like monkeys. A woman named Ann was dusting the bedroom so we started chatting and she was the sweetest thing she was 5 foot nothing and told me how Micky Rooney came there once and he was shorter than me can ye imagine? she said it was suppose to be all hush hush but how could it be everyone knows him told me all sorts of tales about ghost I asked if I could take her pic she showed me orbs on some of my pics. I took her pic she was all pleased I asked (I had videoed her dusting earlier she didn't notice).

After I headed out there were two men walking about and they were huge the reason I
mention that is because the one wanted his photo taken and the friend decided to lay on the ground and he kept trying to get a good shot he'd pull himself up to a post and put the camera on it this was unreal I was waiting for a camera man to yell CUT it was like a John Candy movie he even rolled over to try a better one. I managed to snap a few shots watch this space.

I headed back to  Cardiff and just had the best cod fish and chips but it was huge had to throw out some chips the guy running it was a friendly sort he may have been Italian I loved watching him chat with people he was clearly enjoying his job, and seemed to know everyone.

I was off to Cardiff Bay next back didn't stay long way to hot and I am burned I was sweating like crazy bought a Popsicle cool down talked to a man who just got back from 4 months working in south America. I just love how people start chatting when they hear your accent. it always makes it more interesting.


This was the route I kid you not

Thursday, June 24, 2010

the other Elvis Mr Costello

It was really great show I had a glass of wine first, is this becoming a new tradition. My seats were great 4th row dead in front of him couldn't help but wish it was PAUL but still a good seat. He is quite the entertainer, and even though I did not know all the songs he did I still enjoyed them at one point he sat on the side of the stage legs dangling and sang without a mic and you could hear him.

He walked to his other chair and announced and now for me special guest (heart throbs here) and says ME I am the special guest. they said no cameras but people had them they never checked anything and I wish I had it just to have a photo or two. He did some of my fave songs like Alison and Watching the Detectives and Veronica one of the ones he did with MACCA.

I hated to see it end he performed for about 1 hour 45 mins after wards they were handing out his set lists the ones he had typed up for himself in large CAPS spread over the stage as he went to various positons to play. I got one the only sad thing to see was at the end he decided to do a brand new song which was good but saw he was suppose to do Man Out of Town into I want you two of my fave songs and would have been a super ending to a great show.

Cardiff return

Cardiff Castle
  I felt a tad sick in the morning  not to fond of Cardiff so far long train ride from Glasgow hated leaving. I sat with a couple from Aussie they were nice, she lent me a pen and told me keep it she was writing a diary they had been traveling for a couple months, lucky people.

I got in had trouble finding the hostel but  ran into a girl walked me part of the way checked in and went in search of food all I had since breki was half a candy bar and 3 cookies. I couldn't find many places to eat finally splurged on steak and chips dinner and wine, in a nice restaurant.  I later found more places to eat phew mainly just walked around to see where things were.

Some guy came in my room last night all I can guess it the door wasn't locked thought it was so need to find out how to be sure it is locked. I yelled how did you get in here and he just stood there and mumbled I could not catch what he said he was half asleep I am near one of the toilets so think that's where he thought he was lucky he did not pee on me.

I feel better now walked around checked on Macca tickets decided to visit the castle maybe did it in 1972 who knows I recognize a clock tower in town and a park that's all folks. The sun was in all morning yea but now it is out desperate for clothes, because of the heat only have one pair of capris so I bought some capris at a thrift store. Tomorrow time for Costello have a fantasy that PAUL and Nancy will show and be sitting next to me hey what can I say oh yea its my dream I  can make it what I want.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Lovely day best day trip by far I went on the bus on my own I was there overnight in 2003 and I saw Campbell Castle and vowed to return one day. I  ran across a sign saying a man  named Niall  would do walking tours so went in to check he wasn't available so I agreed to check back after 3.
Jelly fish
I walked over to the water and out on a dock and someone was looking at some jelly fish and pointed them out to me I took some pics and managed to loose my camera lens as it fell off and over board into the water.

I went to the castle it was beautiful  and it was interesting to look around and there was one friendly guide so I asked him what the connection to the castle which is the home of the duke of Argyll and the clan Campbell and Campbeltown. as it turned out he  was from there so told him I was a Macca fan and we talked about PAUL he told me years ago his cousin was asked byPAUL to water his parsley at his farm once a week.... well me knowing things figured it out the parsley was pot and he got caught but he got off. Of course I remember when this happened. I just love how the McCartney connections kick in.
Campbell Castle

He asked if I saw the Linda McCartney statue in town and I said no I was there in the 80's (when I flew over on a 6 seater but that is another story)he said it is lovely he said the people of Campbell town loved Linda as she was so down to earth and friendly and they felt so bad when she died
tea and scones at the Castle

The gardens were okay there was not much is bloom yet and  some of the "Rhodies" were already dead probably cos of the heat. I went to the tea shop and treated myself to cream tea and scones man lots of cream strolled around some more just relaxing. I walked back to town and ran into 2 woman sitting on a bench by the water so chatted quite awhile the one very chatty she told me Paul McCartney played Glasgow for the first time in 20 years I said I know I was there she said well was he any good and I said yes and she said sure you'd say that cos your a fan and seems she does not like him

The guide showed up he had to be at least 80 years as he told me he has been married 55 year, he used to work at the Castle, he had a kilt  on he was grand nice slow walk and story telling tho he was a tad forgetful on some. I could not believe he was willing to do the walking tour with only one person, I gave him a nice big tip. Had a little dinner was not very hungry but had a sandwich and it was not too good some kind of sausage, I relaxed by the water till the bus came.