Thursday, April 27, 2006

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

More photos of Canada trip

I have uploaded some high quality images of my trip to Canada and put a few up on my flickr.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Short break in Canada

Having just returned from a short trip to Canada during April, I thought I'd share a few of my memories and pictures on my first visit to Canada.

I arrived at Toronto Pearson International airport after an 8-hour flight from London Heathrow, which seemed to take an age for some reason. I must say after flying Virgin Atlantic the previous month, the Air Canada plane seemed very basic indeed. I can remember barely being able to see the movie, which if I remember correctly was In the Line of Fire. It was by no means the worst plane I have been on, though having some decent food might have gone some way to improve the experience.

Enough moaning about the flight and onto explaining what I did in Canada. I won't go through everything as I'm sure that will bore most people to death and you'll probably just end up looking at the pictures anyway.

On my first day I got a feel for the city by having breakfast at a place called Over Easy on Yonge Street, incidentally Yonge (pronounced young) is supposedly the longest street in the world, not that I was going to find out by walking from one end to the other. I got chatting to the guy who worked there, who quickly worked out that I wasn't from around here and told me about a few places worth visiting.

My first stop was the CN Tower which although incredibly tall, so far as being the tallest in the world, isn't really much to look at and is also really difficult to take photos of from close by. Though it's not until you go up the CN Tower do you really get to appreciate it, the views were incredible and I was extremely fortunate that I had a whole week of very warm and sunny weather. I really couldn't have wished for better weather, it was just perfection. The icing on the cake of the CN tower must be the glass floor, great views, though not for the faint hearted. I enjoyed it, but I could see a lot of nervous looking people around me.

I managed to cram in a visit to the Rogers Centre that used to be the Skydome until a large telecoms/cable company called Rogers bought it out. The Rogers Centre is absolutely huge and it was quite interesting being shown around the place and seeing the various facilities. It even has a hotel joined onto the centre, with about 70 rooms looking onto the field.

I also did a cruise of the harbour and Toronto Islands from Queens Quay West, which was very nice and relaxing. The captain of the ship was a very good looking girl as well, which made it all the more pleasant. I recommend taking a tour and you're in for a treat if she's on the same boat!

One thing about Toronto is that I guess close to 50% of the population are immigrants, which is great as you've got plenty of different types of food to choose from and most groups will have their own district like China Town and Little Italy. Kensington Market is an excellent area to check out, there are just so many different people from all parts of the world there.

Toronto is a great place for shopping as well as having some huuuuuuge great malls; it has a city beneath a city. In fact there are other 27km of underground shopping arcades. I did manage to get lost a few times as the directions aren't always straightforward.

I visited Niagara Falls, which was quite a nice attraction, but ultimately I felt a bit let down because of the cheesy amusement arcades and casinos within 2 minutes walk of the falls. The Maid of the Mist was a truly excellent boat tour, which after you have put on your raincoat goes past the Bridal Veil Falls and then towards the mist coming off the Horseshoe Falls. This is the perfect opportunity to get soaked, just make sure you put your camera away somewhere!

The Bad: Toronto can be quite expensive, lots of homeless people, though most are very pleasant and helpful.

The Good: Good eating, very clean for a large city, plenty to keep you occupied and the nicest female captain I have ever met.

So would I go back to Toronto again? I would have to say definitely yes.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Moody Stonehenge picture

Here's a pic that I captured yesterday on my trip to Wiltshire....I think it looks very good in black and white, especially the clouds. I've also uploaded a few pictures to My Flickr!

A grand day out

I was getting quite bored on Wednesday morning and I thought to myself I better go out and do something, instead of playing on my PC or watching daytime television. Initially I was just going to mooch into town and look around, but I thought it was a bit pointless seeing as I had been in town the previous day to get hold of some Canadian dollars.

I had enjoyed my previous short trip to Dartmoor on the weekend and decided to go somewhere else today, though not knowing where to visit I filled up my car with petrol and headed onto the M5 and then onto the A303 going towards London. I must have driven around 90 miles or so and spotted a sign for Stonehenge.

I stopped here for a short break and decided to stump up the princely sum of five pounds and ninety pence to visit the famous stones. Incidentally you get to listen to a free audio guide inside the area, which makes the price a bit more bearable. I spent in the region of about half an hour or so walking around the stones and talking photos. I remember when I was young that you were allowed much closer to these stones, but these days you seem to be a fair distance away.

I drank some green tea whilst in my car and then decide to leave the car park and head off somewhere else.

On exiting the car park I notice a guy wearing a hat thumbing for a lift. I pull over onto the side and ask him where he is headed, he replies in an Italian accent Salisbury. I wasn't planning on going in that direction, but he convinces me to go that way as it's only about 9 miles away and I didn't have anything better to do.

His name is Massimo and he's from Sardinia, Italy. He explains he is here for 2 weeks visiting various places before he has to return to Italy at the end of the month. He mentions that he is heavily involved in music and does some band promotion work.

We arrive in Salisbury and notice a sign for Old Sarum. He reads out a section from his Rough Guide to England book which sounds very promising....hell even the English Heritage site promotes it well.

When we arrive we are sadly very disappointed, there lies very little in the way of remains of the castle, though the hill and what used to be a moat is quite impressive. We agree three pounds is a bit too much to spend on some old castle remains and decide to walk round instead.

Then we park up in the town centre and head towards the nearest pub for a quick drink before heading to Salisbury Cathedral.
The Cathedral was definitely a lot more impressive than Old Sarum and some of the buildings nearby are also very nice, reminds me a lot of Exeter.

It is approaching 4:30pm and I say I must head back to Exeter and offer Massimo a lift somewhere as there is not a huge amount to do in Salisbury. He agrees and I gave him a lift to Glastonbury, where we arrive a bit later than planned after missing the exit on the A303. I park in the town centre conveniently close to a backpacker's hotel, where Massimo dumps his backpack.

He asks a local for directions to the nearest McDonald's and gets told the nearest one is in New York! Sensing this guy was a local I quickly follow up by asking where the nearest fish n chip shop is, he happily points us in the right direction to a local award winning chip shop.

After eating some chips I say goodbye to Massimo and wish him good luck on his journeys as I head back to Exeter.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Amazing Mazinger

OMG! Look at the size of that's Mazinger as rendered by Jose Manuel LiƩbana.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Miniature of Hong Kong

Well after months and months of hard work I've finished creating my model of Hong Kong. Well one of the streets on Hong Kong island. You'll notice that I've gone to immense lengths to add some details to the miniature like people. Hope you like it... ;)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Foolish Romance

Looking for some lurve, well why not try this site courtesy of our friends at Google! ;)