Thursday, August 23, 2012

Last day of Holidays

Today was my last day of holidays, I did a 9km run around the local parks - Ealing Common and Gunnersbury Park, I checked out of the Lodge and then left my bags there for the day, my flight is not until 10.15pm tonight with Emerates. I decided to just do a bit of last minute shopping and some wandering around the city.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I went to the Hurling Sunday afternoon, Kilkenny beat Tipperary in the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior semi-final, it was a close first with Tip holding a 1 point lead at the half, but we're overrun in the 2nd half by the Kilkenny boys, score 4 - 24 36 points to 1 - 15 18 points , there was 50,000 there, a very interesting sport. I decided yesterday to go the Ireland national Museum and the Guinness Brewery, I went to the Museum first except when I got there, it is closed on Mondays, so then I went to the Guinness Storehouse which is the Museum for the Guinness Brewery, it's not too bad, but it's all just video and displays of how they make the brew, I actually wanted to see the real thing in action. They do have tastings plus they show you how to pour a Guinness and you get a free pint, I had a Guinness many years ago and I wasn't keen then on the taste then, but I thought freshly brewed in Ireland it must taste better, awful, to say I had 1/3 of the pint was generous, if you drink the stuff you will love the tour, if you keep going back to the tasting bar you could get your money's worth on top of the free one. After getting back to my lodge, I got a message from Kerry Boden, saying that her and Neil were in Dublin, I knew they were coming this way but after I had passed thru, they were only staying about a 10 minute walk away, we had dinner at their hotel and watched Everton beat Man United on TV, a great result. Today I am flying back to London from Dublin, I have a 2.20pm flight, I am staying in Ealing tonite, very close to where I lived here for 3-4 months in 1988.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Day trip to Wicklow

Yesterday I got onto one of the Day tours by Bus that goes out to County Wicklow from Dublin, we saw some beautiful countryside, we had lunch at the town Avoca whee the series Ballykissangel was filmed, it used real places in the town were used in the series, the pub, the shops, the church, which still retain the names now.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Arrived in Dublin

I caught a bus from Belfast to Dublin, it took about 2 hours, I arrived yesterday, it only took me about a 15 minute walk to find the B&B I am staying at, room is up on the 2nd floor, no lifts here, dragging the suitcase up the stairs makes it interesting. I then went and scouted my run for the morning, I can run along the river and about 3km from the city is a big prk, so I thought I would head there in the morning. I awndered around in the evening, there are plenty of places, I even found a bakery that does Cornish pasties, so I will be back there, I didnt get that much to eat, wasnt feeling that hungry, had eaten crap all day. In the morning I did my run up to the park, it doesnt open until 7.30am approx, I just did a couple of kms into the park & back to the hotel for about 10.5 all up. I am going to try and hook up for a day trip today.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Belfast - not a bomb in sight

Belfast is the oppisite of what I had in my own mind of what this place was, you hear all the stories about the violence and the bombings that occurred in Northern Ireland, the city centre is a very similar size to the civic area of canberra, no real tall buildings,it seems a very quite sort of place, it had one of the most famous ship building comapnies here - Harland & Wolff that built the Titanic, probably the most famous ship of all time. Yesterday I saw the Titanic memorial garden in the city that has listed all the people that died, then I went to the Titanic museum that opened up in March, but most of the tickets were already sold for the day, they let so many people in on the tour each hour, you can pre-book online up to 2 days in advance, So I was told to come back around 9ish next day to get one of the tickets that they just sell on the day. I cam back today, go there about 9.30 and got a ticket for 10.20, I thought it was tour, whereas it is a self guided trip thru the different displays, it is one of the best museums I have seen, they have about 8-8 fifferent areas setup, the earlier days ol Belfast, the setting up of Ship building area in Belfast, the actaul building of the Titanic, the fit out of the Titanic, the launch, the actual sailing, the sinking (which they did very tasteful without putting any blame on anybody, the rescue, the aftermarth, the inquiries, the search for it, I was in there nearly 3 hours. It is a very comprehensive display about the Titanic. Basicallly she was going too fast thru the area that was littered with Icebegs, there were not enough liferafts, thats basically it. After the museum I headed back to the hotel the waether was turning and ir started to pour and it was getting very windy, I ahd forgotten my umbrella, but I had my green plastic poncho that I had brought with me from Australia, which I used twice at the Olympics, when I was walking back thru the city, a lady asked where I had got it from I said that I had brought it with me, I am sure those sort of thing are sold in the UK. Tomorrow I am off to Dublin, I will probably catch a bus which leaves every hour from Belfast.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Last day London, First day Belfast

Today was strange, the Olympics was over, it had been a biig part of my life for just over 2 weeks, you watched, slept, heard, ran & eaten Olympics, it was all finished, Rio was now only 3 years, 11 months and 23 days to come. I check out of the room I had shared with the 2 hocket guys, Zorba and Badger, they had become good friends, I was really worried about getting on with them, but I did not have to worry, we are even thinking about teaming up again for Rio. I got a car service (included in my package) to Heathrow, go there about 1.30ish. I then caught a 3.15pm Aer Lingus flight to Belfast, we arrived at about 4.30pm, then I got a bus into the city bus station, I then walked to my B&B (CitiLodge) that I had booked on the Internet, a double room with breakfast was about 65 pound, WiFi was included, it took me about 15-20 minutes, some of the reports on the Internet hadnt been glowing, but the room is fine, toilet and shower a bit small, but big enough. I then went and scouted for a run in the morning, on the maps I could see a river to the west of me, I found it after wandering a couple of streets, there is a cycle and running path along the river, perfect, I marked with my Garmin so I can find it in the morning, there is forecast of rain, see what happens. I then when looking for food and had Fish & Chips at Bishops which was the best F&C for Belfast in 2011, they werent too bad, nice chips, good sixe piece of fish, I notice that a few places do pasties, so I will see if they come up to my Dads standard. Last week at the main shopping centre near the Olympics I had a Cornish pastie at a place as it had come hot out of the oven, it looked nice, I had walked away from the shop had my first bite, quite nice but the 2nd bite, the inside was coldish, they had obviously used frozen mixture in the pastie and then cooked them, but it hadnt thawed out properly, my Dad would have been very annoyed at them using pre-mixed filler, instead of fresh mixture like my Dads. I hope to do some wandering around Belfast if the rain holds out. vSomething th, y

Monday, August 13, 2012

London Olympic Mens Marathon and thoughts

This morning I went out to watch the Mens Olympic Marathon, as I did with the Womens Marathon I went out to the Turn around point of the 12.5km loop close to the Tower of London, in total the race consists on a 4.5km loop and then 3 loops of 12.5kms. The race was starting at 11am and they would get to the turnaround at about 32-34 minutes. I managed to find a concrete block that was holding up a side fence close to the turnaround point, so I had a view of the runners coming down to the turnaround and going away. On the first lap, there was already a runner from Brazil that had broken away about 200 metres from the leading pack of about 10-15unners, Jeff Hunt was the first Australian runner I saw, I think Michael Shelley had already snuck around, Marty Dent came around about 2-3 minutes from the leader, By the 2nd lap the pack had broken up and there was only small packs of 3-4 runners. Michael Shelley and Marty were running well, still well down from the leaders in about 50th and 60th place and Jeff Hunt looked like he was starting to struggle, By the 3rd lap there was a lead group of 3, a Ungandan and 2 from Kenya. I saw Michael and Marty come thru about 6 and 8 minutes from the leaders, but both looked strong, I then headed back to the Hotel which was only about a km away, I wanted to see the finish of the Marathon on TV, by that stage (1km to go) the guy from Uganda had broken away from the 2 Kenyans, there first Gold Medal since 1972, Michael finished in 16th in 2.14 and Marty 28th in 2.16 which were fantastic runs, Jeff Hunt finished in about 60-70th in 2.23, which was a great run considering how bad he looked half way thru. In the afternoon I watched some of the Mens Volleyball final, then watched the USA Mens Basketball team hold off a determined Spain 106 to 100, a really gutsy effort. At the moment I am watching the Closing Ceremony, which has never really been a big hit with me. The London Olympics had been very good in a lot of aspects, Venues, Transport, but it was very spoilt by the Ticket Fiasco, the biased coverage by BBC, plus it seemed like that the Olympics was put on for the Athletes and the British public, but the Foreign visitors were sort of forgotten about, speaking about Tickets, the Australian Olympic Committee has to look at its contract with Cosports who seems to horad all the good tickets and releases them with their hugely expensive hospitality packages and makes it hard to get Team sport tickets because you never know until the last minute which session they are playing in, but AOC wont do anything. Hopefully tickets will be better in RIO, I am sure of that.