Gothenburg and Bruce July 2016

Thurs 21st

Easy travelling to Gatwick airport. Seemed much less hassle than getting to Heathrow by train.

At the airport I just followed the signs and the Bloc hotel is actually inside the terminal. The room is small with no window. The wet room is also small but all good fittings. The lack of a window means that it’s like a cell albeit a comfy one.
Ate my samosa and salad from M&S and settled in.
Popped down to the Wetherspoons for a bottle of craft lager from Hog’s Back brewery, very good beer but a shame about the Wetherspoons as it’s the only bar in the south terminal. I guess I could have stepped outside and gone to a hotel bar but I was too tired and didn’t.
Cath and I usually start our navigation courses at a Wetherspoons because it’s open, quiet and cheap however we want to boycott them after their Brexit campaign support so we will now be going to the Bear cafe in Todmorden instead to do the first bit with our clients.
Went to M&S again to buy my breakfast and a mini bottle of wine. This made me suddenly overwhelmed and almost sick with sadness as I’d last been in this same M&S doing much the same with Chris before we went on our holiday to Finland. I returned to my room and got a message from Gary from the Romania trip who was in the Wetherspoons (!) so we had a message chat and then I popped down for a chat with him. Nice to see him and his fingers have recovered (see Romania blog post). He works near the airport and was there because he’d worked late and missed a bus. Funny because I’d seen someone earlier who reminded me of Gary and had been thinking also about coincidental meetings.
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Sunset over Gatwick
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Cell Bloc
Fri 22nd
Up at 7, Bircher muesli in my cell and straight to check in. Didn’t even get patted down at security! Free double espresso from Pret a Manger and a bit of a wait. Chatted to an American medievalist as we both tried not to be assaulted by 2 plump puffins who were “amusing” the kids. She was a nice 3 minute interlude! Amazing what you can learn in a short time.
On the plane I had a window seat next to Simon who did a lot of talking but was nice and funny and clever. So 2 nice, sensible people to amuse me!
Smooth flight, met Simon’s partner and friend who were seated further along. They were nice too!
The luggage took a while to come and mine was almost last off the conveyor belt.
Got some money with my Revolut card, bought a travel ticket for the city not a City Card and got on the bus.
About half an hour to the city. The stop is just a big bus park. A few minutes to orientate myself. I’d worked out I needed a number 3 tram so was pleased to see one straight away. I got on and followed my map, getting off about 6 mins walk from Tidbloms hotel. It’s in a quiet residential area. The hotel is on a hill so although the room was first floor it was actually the ground floor at the back. This meant that with the windows open (very hot here) it felt a bit exposed. Also a dark gloomy room.
Set out to the official alcohol shop to buy some beer for while I’m here. Not too expensive. 3 cans for £3.50.
Then supermarket for bottles of water. Back to hotel thinking about asking for a new room. Hungry so got a tram to go to the Haga area. It passed the Elite Plaza hotel and Steven van Zandt was outside with a few fans. I got off at the next stop but just missed him by 30 secs. Talked to a couple of Finnish women. Bruce is travelling back from Dublin where he’s been with daughter Jessica and a horse competition (she is top horse person) in his own jet, not Ryanair! I got back on the tram to Jarntorget which was a bit rough (old winos) so moved on to Haga which is an old, quiet nice area. Found a lovely restaurant, En Deli Haga and sat outside with a selection of salads. Less than £10 but the beer was £7. Walked to a better tram stop to return to Tidbloms hotel.
I asked for a different room so now on 3rd floor at front. It’s a better room, lighter, some road noise. Although the rooms are non smoking there is a lot of smoking going on on next door’s balcony but at least I can leave the windows open and mostly the wind wafts it away.
Haga
Haga
Haga
Haga
Haga
Haga
Haga
Haga
If it helps!
If it helps!
Sat 23rd
Excellent breakfast. Strong coffee, fresh orange juice, home made granolas and mueslis with pouring yoghurt and berry compote. Cold cuts, cheeses, hard boiled eggs with mayo and dill, lots of different breads, salads, hot food. I didn’t have the egg or the hot food.
Out on tram to Botanical Gardens, these are lovely. The city has lots of trees and suffers from litter as do most cities but the gardens were fine as is the area my hotel is in, mostly residential. On the way I stopped at Stevie’s hotel but no sign of him or anyone else.
Through the gardens via the scenic viewpoint route. Met English couple who have FOS (front of stage) tickets so they don’t have to queue all day in roasting sun for the pit. Bet they cost a packet. Then into nature reserve which is the forest and lakes and heathland in the city. Extraordinarily quiet, not loads of people. Walked around for a couple of hours then back to Botanical Gardens for an open cheese sandwich on rye with salad on top and an espresso. Excellent. Then an ice cream before heading back to prep for Bruce.
Tram to the Ullevi stadium a few stops away. The ticket I bought on Greasy Lake from Josef Mahmood got me into the lounge. This is a posh restaurant where you pay more for strong drinks because the ordinary folk are only allowed to have 3% beer. Despite this one man had managed to drink so much he couldn’t stand and he dropped one of his £7 beers all over the poor man in front of me. I’ve met some very nice Bruce fans but I often seem to end up at the gig with one or two total knobs nearby. Pissed up git was with man with enormously long arms which spoilt the view when he was clapping. He was well over 6′ tall so his arms stretched out that far too.
Before the gig I had a veggie wrap but it wasn’t very nice.
When you go in the lounge you get a wristband to show you can have strong liquor but you’re not allowed out again (can’t imagine why this could be a problem seeing as you clearly have the wristband) however I sweet talked several staff in my vain search for a 23rd July t shirt. Went on the pitch and out of stadium and got let back in!
Bruce started with Meet me in the city then did the whole of The River and then another hour and a half of solid R&R, not many ballads. No Patti. It was perhaps a good thing it wasn’t too emotional a show. I’m quite capable of doing that without Bruce. It’s still very odd doing something like this without Chris who is with me in my heart all the time. It’s just not the same, my love.
My favourites were:
She’s the one, my video on YouTube

The crowd were crazy even before the band came on. Bruce didn’t do any requests, no Sunny Day with kid thank god, but got several people up for Dancing in the Dark. Finished with Twist and Shout, no quiet solo last song for us. Bruce clearly nowhere near retirement! It was VERY LOUD. They were selling ear plugs and rain ponchos!

After buying a shirt I walked back to the hotel about half an hour away. At first a little unsure about doing this on my own but kept usual eyes in back of head and kept to lit streets. Lots of people around. Late to bed!

Nature reserve
Nature reserve
Nature reserve
Nature reserve
Botanical Gardens
Botanical Gardens
From Botanical Gardens
From Botanical Gardens
Botanical Gardens
Botanical Gardens
Botanical Gardens
Botanical Gardens
Hotel stairs
Hotel stairs
Nature reserve
Nature reserve
Nature reserve
Nature reserve

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Bruce and Stevie
Bruce and Stevie

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Soozie
Soozie

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One side said "Welcome Home" and my side said "Bruce and E Street". The people in front of me are holding up the papers to make the sign.
One side said “Welcome Home” and my side said “Bruce and E Street”. The people in front of me are holding up the papers to make the sign.
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Panorama Ullevi
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Fireflies phones

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Nature reserve
Nature reserve
Goteborg by night
Goteborg by night

 

Sun 24th

Got up just in time for a shower and breakfast.

Out on tram for about half an hour to Saltholmen for the ferry to Vrango. Straight into big queue for boat but no trouble getting on. Direct boat no stops. Lovely sea breeze. Just under an hour. Island is small and has surprising number of houses. No cars allowed so people are on foot, on bikes with trailers in front or behind, electric golf carts and 2 stroke bikes with trailers behind or in front.

There are 2 cafes, one is entirely fish and the other ok but not brilliant. I walked a circuit of the island through a naturist area which was lovely and not a naked person in sight! Bought an ice cream from a man selling them from his garden.  Used a compost loo, not as nice as the Finnish one we went to. Found a bit of sea all to myself so had a paddle.

The land on the island and in the nature reserve in the town is largely glacial. Lots of big humpy bits (roche moutonees).

Back to village and harbour. Saw the fishermen’s sheds I nearly stayed in (until I realised I might not get back there after Bruce). Went to cafe, had not very good blueberry cheesecake.

Back on stopping ferry. Trams. Very very hot. Hotel.  shower. Walked to nearby pub Olstugan Tullen. Had vegan chick pea patty with roasted parsnips and carrots and salad. And soya mayo. Big glass of lager!

Hotel. Ice. Beer. Fan.

There are lots of bikes, they look quite heavy, step through and old fashioned. Some have kids in front of them in a sort of motorbike sidecar thing except in front.

There are a lot of very tiny dogs I guess chihuahuas. They have a fenced off poo park to go in and no poo on the streets and the dog area is clean too.

Man buns. Oh no! A lot of beards. And some face tattoos, they make the man buns look good.

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Slow boat
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Fast boat
The Stena boat kept popping out from behind little islands
Big boat! The Stena boat kept popping out from behind little islands
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A life on the ocean wave

 

House on Vrango
House on Vrango
Vrango
Vrango
Boat for Chris
Boat for Chris

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Vrango
Vrango
Not a naturist to be found!
Not a naturist to be found!
Vrango
Vrango

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Vrango
Vrango
Vrango
Vrango
Vrango
Vrango

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Vrango
Vrango
Vrango
Vrango
Vrango
Vrango
Vrango
Vrango
Vrango
Vrango
Entrance to cemetery on Vrango
Entrance to cemetery on Vrango
Vrango
Vrango
Donkey bikes!!
Donkey bikes!!

Mon 25th

Got up late only just in time for breakfast. I’m going to try making my own granola as so much nicer.

Packed up and checked out. Tram to central station and managed to heft my suitcase into a locker above my head height so not easy as now seems to be twice as heavy and full although what with I can’t think. Not really bought anything.

Went on ye olde fashioned Liseberg tram for a round trip (free on my travel card). Took half an hour. Rammed all the way to Liseberg funfair then just me all the way back.

Another tram to Haga area where I wandered. A bit more open and busy than Fri evening. Nice shops, nice cafes. Stopped for a while at one. Resisted the famous cinnamon roll because it’s massive, the size of a dinner plate. People next to me shared 2 between 5 but didn’t eat them all. Smelled amazing though. There was a big dalecarlian horse.

Back on my last tram to central station. I loved the trams! The travel pass is very good value, I went everywhere including the return trip on the boat for under £15 on the 3 day pass. Collected bags and chatted to man who has seen Bruce 167 times. How is that possible in time to take, in money? He is self employed. His partner has only seen Bruce 3 times because they’ve been together 2 years and she only goes to nice places!

Bus to airport. Check in and security all fine. Small amount of shopping. Long queue for passports. Wait to get on bus. 15 min wait on bus not moving. Drive to plane 10 more minutes not moving. Onto plane more time waiting. Smooth flight. Bobbie the bear films. Plane in holding pattern prior to landing.

All easy at Gatwick. Checked into room with window. No extra cost and all because I said I didn’t like the lack of window when they asked for my feedback. M&S for supper wine and breakfast.

On ye olde tram
On ye olde tram
Ye olde tram
Ye olde tram
Something very similar to these in Nice
Something very similar to these in Nice
On ye olde tram
On ye olde tram
Window view!
Window view!
Bloc hotel with window
Bloc hotel with window
Big dala horse
Big dala horse
Even when it didn't have a line through, I still found this the most baffling sign
Even when it didn’t have a line through, I still found this the most baffling sign

Tues 26th

Granola yoghurt and berry compote. Nowhere near as nice as Tidbloms Hotel’s. Going to try making my own granola.

Problem with fire at place controlling electrics for all trains from and to airport. Got onto first one. Crowded so standing and v uncomfortable. More people got on at Croyden so even worse hell. I hate being in contact with people and they probably do too. One woman was closer than my optician or dentist and accidentally touched my face as she got off. Totally hideous and I’m fit and healthy, would be awful if not. I feel a complaint coming on.

Had a cheese and tomato croissant with my espresso from Patisserie Valerie at King’s Cross to recover. Could do better but the coffee was fine.

Rest of journey all to plan. Home again, jiggety jig.

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

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Contours only navigation, Snowdonia July 2nd 2016

Friday
I drove straight from work to Garth Farm campsite near Capel Curig. Used Google sat nav on cousin S’s recommendation to get me to Garth Farm campsite just beyond Plas y Brenin at Capel Curig. Very good journey and whilst I was initially a bit surprised at 2 diversions I could see from the long queues I zipped past that it was in fact great! The journey was slow because of Friday rush hour but I still arrived at the time Google had said when I set off. Will continue to test out. The sign to the farm and the camping had nearly fallen off and I was a bit dubious but decided to bite the bullet and parked up with a couple of other cars. I selected a slightly sheltered dip in the field which was pretty much flat at the bottom.
Got my tent up quickly in a wild wind with some very dark clouds looming over the top of Snowdon and threatening to drop down. Promptly fell over the guy rope and broke the tent pole! Luckily it was still able to hold the tent up.
I went up to the farmhouse and gave Mr Jones my £5. He was busy watching Wales playing football so we didn’t chat. £5 was fine but if you are going there be warned that the bins need emptying and the loos and washbasins were not clean.
Cooked up my dinner of lime and coriander rice in the Jetboil and Sainsburys tinned veg curry on the MSR pocket rocket. The curry was surprisingly nice. Hot and tasty with a ring pull to open. Sainsbury are no longer doing Look what I found pouches. They were good because in a pouch, quick and hot.
I forgot a lot of things including a woolly hat, whisky, the porch mat (I looked at it last night and wondered very vaguely what it was, bugger) and the coffee and kit. More bugger but ok as will be going to Caffi Siabod first thing. Slept quite well through the lashings of rain and wind all night. And the tent held up more to the point and not a drop of rain got in. I love British summers!
Saturday
Up early to strike camp. Breakfast of fruit and yoghurt in the car. I’d also forgotten to bring any coffee so was keen to get to the cafe to remedy this. To Caffi Siabod for all their clean facilities. Paul turned up and we were a group of 6, 4 female and 2 male which is the first time that’s been the case on any of the mountain courses I’ve done.
Off to spend the day working the area around the back of the cafe (Clogwyns) which has lots of lumps and bumps, some of which are in between the 10m contours. We used 1:25K maps with only contours on them and heights. Although most of us had altimeters, we didn’t actually use them. The point of the course was to use the features in the landscape.
It was a great day and made me feel confident with my skills. I will look to see where we might be able to do this in our local area.
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Overlooking Llynnau Mymbyr
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Llynnau Mymbyr and sheep
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Blasted heather I can’t remember which one
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Llyn Crafnant
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Tryfan
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

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Long Lakes weekend June 2016

Friday 24th June
Good journey. After taking in enough bags (Carol) for several weeks we had a light supper and walked down to Esthwaite water in the dusk. Lovely.

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Esthwaite Water
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Esthwaite Water
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Esthwaite Water
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Esthwaite Water
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Esthwaite Water

Saturday 25th June.
Big breakfasts. To Coniston for a look round then up to the Coppermines and then on to Levers water reservoir now part of Coniston hydro electric system. Quite a hard walk for my party (Carol) who did very well. Picnic at Levers water.
Back down we stopped for a cup of tea with the Jetboil at the end of Coniston Water.
Back to Belle Green B&B to get ready to go to the Tower Bank Arms. We managed to be late even though it is only 2 mins walk away. No excuse for us having to wait over an hour for our dinner. Carol had pork fillet with black pudding mash and veg. I had y m2nd choice of ratatouille with sweet potato mash on top and tempura veg. The food was nice but we were hungry tired and cross by the time it came.

There is a mountain rescue Land Rover driving over the mountain near the top of photo
There is a mountain rescue Land Rover driving over the mountain near the top of photo
Ye olde mining wagon
Ye olde mining wagon
Levers Water
Levers Water
What I've got to walk all the way down as well?!
What I’ve got to walk all the way down as well?!
Entrance to mine
Entrance to mine
Spill chucker was not used
Spill chucker was not used

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Coniston Water
Coniston Water

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Sunday 26th June
More big breakfasts. To Ambleside for the shops! Then to Browfoot just north of Staveley for a flat walk along a river. Very peaceful. Lunch overlooking Kentmere tarn. Back via ferry which now has stupid ticket machine system instead of buying ticket from man on board. Very complicated machine which made me want to hit it. Machine has not resulted in fewer jobs as there is still a man to check tickets and a man to direct cars as to where to go. Meaning the machine is total waste of time and will make people very cross. It seemed to be succeeding well with this aim. Back to B&B to get ready to go out to the Blacksmith’s Arms at Broughton Mills. This is a very nice old pub with good food and the excellent Tirril Brewery’s draught Pennine Pilsner. I had 2 halves. Carol had grilled chicken with and I had pea risotto with a poached egg on top. C then had sticky toffee pudding and I had a sort of lemon mousse with a piece of shortbread. All very nice. Back via lovely quiet lanes.

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Thelwell
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It didn’t look that bad!
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The footpath went through a filtration products factory
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My jacket, my lager
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Well we didn’t smoke anything
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Roaming in the gloaming

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Monday 27th June
Big breakfasts! Set off to do pub inspections for a possible evening meal:

Cuckoo Brow at Far Sawrey
Red Lion at Hawkshead
Queens Head at Hawkshead
C did the inspections. Asked which she would prefer. None of them! Decided to buy some small snacks instead as both quite well fed now.
Drove to Broughton in Furness. Unfortunately the nice bakers is closed on Mondays but we got some bits in the grocers and the butchers which had various samosas, pakoras etc. We had a drink in a cafe on the square.
Drove back through Broughton Mills passing the Reading Room car park which would be a good place to park when visiting the pub which has only room for 3 cars in front of it and no car park of its own.
Parked on the little road to Torver and walked a short circuit down the road along the beck. Very quiet, saw 3 people. Stopped for lunch at a named hamlet which is just a handful of ruined houses. Started to rain but just a shower. Back up the hill through the forest. My party struggling a bit as quite a while since dialysis on Friday and the cumulative effect of a smaller volume of dialysis since the fistula repair operation. She did well and is expecting to be full of beans once back on the regular regime. I hadn’t really appreciated how this all worked.
Drove back to Near Sawrey stopping for a cup of tea brewed up on the Jetboil.

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Cheeky!
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I think this is “hurry up and take the photo”!
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And we worry about chemicals in our food now.
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Deserted hamlet
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It’s a strawberry for Little Ted!

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Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

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Walks in June 2016

5th June

Withens Clough

This is one of my favourite walks. I did a circuit from the reservoir and skirted round the bottom of Stoodley Pike. Lovely day.

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I’m fond of this gate and the posts beyond.

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18th June

Sophy and I did another favourite around the Walshaw Dean reservoirs. Not much sun so we brightened the place up ourselves!

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Walshaw Dean Middle
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Blending in with the rhododendrons!
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

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