Saturday, October 30, 2004

The bird in Budapest

Bird baths
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.

Hey up

Sorry it's been a while since I last posted. After I took the Kylie pic - which I'm glad you liked - I've been super duper busy at work, with a few days' holiday squeezed in the middle.

The picture above was taken on those few days' holiday, in Budapest with my fiance, my best pal Simon and his girlfriend Ruth. We went from last Saturday until this Wednesday night and had a really cool time. Here are my off-the-top-of-my-head highlights (in no particular order)

1. Szechenyi Gyogyfurod es Strandfuro baths
This is where the picture was taken, an amazing complex of baths and thermal pools, built in about 1920. As well as the hot outdoor pools, there were plenty of saunas, steam rooms and eggy sulphur pools Inside the buildings you can see behind Robin. Great place for a relaxing day out - and only cost about four pounds (seven dollars).

2. The 6-3 Bar
Not a particularly nice bar, but it was named after a football (soccer) game in 1953 when Hungary became the first team to beat England at Wembley. I like that 50 years on a little pokey bar commemorates that.

3. All the other bars
Cheap, good beer is hard to argue with, especially in cosy, stylish places. Some great restaurants there too.

4. Our flat
We stayed in a flat in the centre of Pest, which very much confirmed my theory that self-catering and having your own space beats hotels everytime.

5. Buda
The place is called Budapest because it's made up of two places either side of the Danube - Buda and Pest. We stayed in Pest, but had a lovely time up in Buda, which is like the old town, with a pretty castle etc. Funnily enough the only pest we met the whole time was in Buda - some loopy fella who was desperate to be our (paid) tour guide and didn't like to take no for an answer. He said 'Allow me to say one sentence more...' at least five times. We just wandered off eventually.

6. The cake shops
There are some amazing cake shops in Budapest. Okay, so they do like to put goose fat and cabbage in an alarming number of their pastries, but the sweet cakes are superb. And again, extremely cheap (30p/50c will buy you a properly amazing chocolate cake).

So, there you go, the highlights of an ace few days away - can really recommend a visit if you ever get the chance.

Hope you folks are all well and sorry for not posting for a while.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Robin meets Kylie!

He should be so lucky
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.

No, your eyes do not deceive you, today Robin met the woman who closed the Sydney Olympics. The woman who's sold around 40 million records in a really rather successful career. The woman most of the world has had a crush on at some point or another. And the woman who thought Robin was so cute that she let him stand on her head.

Kylie Minogue, for posing with Robin (and for being a thoroughly pleasant woman) we salute you!

Monday, October 18, 2004

Robin attends GB Olympic parade!

A Robin among pigeons
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.

Yes, several months after the Olympics finished and we all came back to the UK, the British athletes finally got their victory parade today.

Floats carrying all the medal winners from the Olympics and the Paralympics went through London and ended up in Trafalger Square, where we went to see them.

The BBC were broadcasting the whole thing live and they went through batches of different athletes on the big stage, showing highlights and interviewing them.

Although the crowd gave nice cheers to the rowers, the relay squad, Kelly Holmes and all the rest, to be honest the whole thing felt a wee bit flat. Perhaps cos it was Monday lunchtime. Perhaps cos it all went on quite a long time. Or perhaps because it was such a long time ago that they actually won their medals. Still, nice to go along and wave our little flags at some of the folks we last saw on podiums in Athens (and, let's face it, we couldn't not go - having made it all the way to Athens, a few hundred metres from my work is nothing!).

Friday, October 15, 2004

Robin's lunch-break adventure: Pt 1

Robin goes down the tube
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.

Yes, this is Robin's three part lunch-break adventure, which we've just returned from.

This is a picture of him at Tottenham Court Road tube station, where we went to catch the underground train to get the picture of Big Ben (which, you'll remember, got most votes).

But it's just a boring tube platform I hear you say. No, no dear readers. This, I believe, is the very tube platform where something nasty happens in 'An American Werewolf In London'. Luckily, Robin looks tough, so nobody bothered him.

Robin's lunch-break adventure: Pt 2

Robin. Big Ben. Parliament
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.

So having waited seven blummin' minutes for a tube (seven blummin' minutes is a long time to wait for a tube) we made it to Westminster station, which looks right out on Big Ben.

Sorry it's a bit dark (even with the camera's over-exposure turned up), but that's the weather in London today. Cold, dark and rainy. Brrrr.

Obviously pub quiz fans will point out you can't actually see Big Ben, because Big Ben is the bell, rather than the tower. But, hey, you can see the tower holding it, and the Houses of Parliament and even a traditional red London bus (which are being fazed out as we speak).

Robin's lunch-break adventure: Pt 3

Eye Eye Robin!
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.

Directly behind where we took the Big Ben picture is the London Eye or the Millennium Wheel, depending on what you want to call it.

Robin was feeling a bit chilly by this time (and the rain was rainin' even harder), so I made him put on his woolly hat. Doesn't he look smart?

Once we'd taken the pictures we walked back along Embankment to the station there, came back on the tube and typed all this up - all within a lunch hour! Don't say I don't put the effort in for you folks!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Apologies for lack of picture! Excuse!


Yes, I've not put a picture of Robin up for a wee while now, but I do have an excuse. I've been feeling a bit under the weather this week, which culminated on Tuesday night with my body taking it upon itself to make me throw up frequently and violently for around 8 hours. Not nice. Guess it must've been one of those bugs that the London Underground seems so effective at spreading. But I'm feeling a bit better now and am back at work (with lots to catch up on). So, Robin picture will be up very soon. As will a wedding update. And various other bits and bobs. As soon as I've got all this work out of the way...

Bring. On. The. Weekend.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Robin London shoot delayed!

Yes, I'm afraid the Robin photo shoot scheduled for today has had to be postponed until Monday. I have several excuses...

1. I'm dang busy at work.

2. Debate still seems to be hotting up and so we need longer to decide. It's currently:
- Big Ben 4
- Traf Sq 3
- Buck Palace 3
- London Eye 1

And last but not least...

3. I forgot to bring Robin with me today.

Oops. Sorry. But get your votes in if you haven't all ready done so!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Robin London pic voting hots up!

Quick update for you on the voting for the where-I-should-do-a-picture-of-Robin-in-London voting (to save you the effort of having to click on the comments on the post below).

Five votes in.

2 x Big Ben
2 x Trafalger Square
1 x Buckingham Palace
0 x Picadilly Circus, London Eye, Victoria Station

Oooh, you could cut the excitement with a knife. Even a blunt one. Who will the winner be come Friday lunchtime when I shall venture out to take said picture in my lunch break? One of the above is ten minutes from my office, others rather further - but I'm looking for a fair contest, so I won't tell you which...

Get those votes in on the comments tab on the post below (hmm, so it looks like you'll have to click on it after all...)

Robin goes to Italian footie! But where will he go in London? You decide!

Robin Italian style
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.

Hey up

Yes, our hectic jet-setting lifestyle continued this weekend (honestly, we're not always like this) when we flew to Italy, a present I gave my fiance for her birthday in July.

We went to Treviso on Saturday, a beautiful little town about 20 miles from Venice, also with waterways through the town, but not jam packed full of tourists (Venice is nice, but once is probably enough).

Then, on Sunday we took the train up to Udine, where we went to see Udinese play Juventus, one of the best football teams in the whole wide world! The fella on the ball in the background is Trezeguet, just one of a number of world-class players they have. We ended up in the Juventus end (Lex got a five euro discount just for being female!) and Robin kept up his winning mascot record - Juve won 1-0.

And now back to London where debate is hotting up as to where Robin should have his first London picture taken. So, now I want you to vote. And here is the shortlist:

1. Big Ben
2. Picadilly Circus
3. Buckingham Palace
4. Trafalger Square
5. London Eye
6. Victoria Station (for Vix)

So, get your votes in the on the comments form below (easiest way is to click on Post Anonymously). And on Friday lunchtime I'll go and get a pic of whichever one's got most votes.