A Travellerspoint blog

February 2018

Forward Planning

sunny 6 °C
View IIHF & Aberdeen & Steòrnabhagh & Girne '18 on IainT's travel map.

Now that I’m an employee for 4 working days a week I have an old discipline which I am having to re-learn - holiday planning.

For the previous 11 years I took as many holidays as I chose and just had to fit them around when the busy and quiet times came around as far as work was concerned, and other people’s holidays of course.

Now I’m limited to the pro rata equivalent of 25 days of normal holiday time plus 10.5 days of public or privilege holiday time. On the other hand, every weekend is a 3 day weekend.

Current plans certainly make good use of the 3 day weekends. In March I’ve booked a 2 night visit to Lewis (Leòdhas) and Harris (Hearadh), staying in Stornoway (Steòrnabhagh). Loganair flights from Edinburgh, a B&B and a rented car.

Loganair

Loganair

In the 90s I had a couple of day trips to Stornoway for work, and for ages I’ve wanted to go back to see more of the Outer Hebrides.The days will be getting much longer by then.

Tiree Airport

Tiree Airport

In May I have another 2 night trip organised - Copenhagen this time. The idea was formed initially by an overwhelming desire to be out of the country on 19 May (my hard core republican tendencies revealed) and then I was reminded about the ice hockey World Championships being held in Denmark in May. The semi finals are in CPH on 19 May, and I have a ticket for the evening game.

Copenhagen is a city I used to visit regularly for work, and the airport was the usual (and preferred) connection on my many trips to Vilnius. SAS had some great deals back then for connections through its CPH hub. I’d look forward to going back after close to 20 years even without the ice hockey.

For a “proper” holiday, I’m booked up to go back to Kıbrıs (or North Cyprus or Turkish Cyprus, depending on how you see these things) at the end of April. I’ll have 10 nights away, with 7 of them on the island and 3 nights in Istanbul in transit. Staying overnight in Istanbul is optional, but what an option!

Istanbul

Istanbul

I’m going back to Girne for 5 nights and the other 2 nights will be in Kumyalı on the Karpaz Peninsula.

Girne

Girne

I want to see that undeveloped part of the island. I want their spring sunshine and warmth too...

Posted by IainT 13:13 Archived in Scotland Tagged scotland sport istanbul flights cyprus airlines kibris islandlife girne Comments (0)

Sheffield & York

overcast 2 °C
View Eagles on IainT's travel map.

Sheffield Steel

Sheffield Steel

The road trip ended on Monday afternoon, with CrossCountry Trains’ 09:47 taking me from Sheffield to York and a connection there for a Virgin Trains service to Kirkcaldy. The Kirkcaldy train was a little bit delayed, but 15 minutes isn’t the end of the world.

CrossCountry Comfort

CrossCountry Comfort

The Sheffield Novotel gave me my second hearty buffet breakfast of the trip. My heart and my waistline are looking forward to getting back to normal breakfasts (porridge or a smoothie).

Sheffield Novotel

Sheffield Novotel

I had time between trains in York for a wee wander. I’ve been there a few times before. The station reminded me of my first visit, for a conference. It was held in the “grand” railway hotel next to the station. At the closing dinner I was seated next to a Brussels lawyer I knew very well. He took one look at his main course and announced “C’est un peu triste ça...”

Or “That’s a bit sad, isn’t it.” He was right. Maybe even a bit understated...

Next time I had to spend a night in York I chose the Novotel.

It’s an attractive and historic city, but the traffic and the crowds are horrendous.

York

York

I’m guessing that’s my only ice hockey road trip for this season. Edinburgh have an annual end-of-season national tournament in Sheffield in April, but even if I could face another journey to Sheffield, I think I’m away on holiday then.

Posted by IainT 10:00 Archived in England Tagged trains sport york sheffield Comments (0)

Leeds

sunny 5 °C
View Eagles on IainT's travel map.

Well on Sunday morning, the Jurys Inn gave me a hearty breakfast after a good night’s sleep - maybe not long enough, but for me quality rules over quantity.

Chilling

Chilling

The rain disappeared overnight to give a cool but sunny day. I appreciated it, because it meant I could walk around Leeds for a couple of hours in between trains. Leeds reminded me of Glasgow - both cities which grew up in the 19th century.

Style

Style

I walked around the Leeds City Museum and the Henry Moore Foundation. Henry Moore was a Leeds native.

19th Century

19th Century

A municipal museum is always a good place to start in a new city. This was no exception. Museums and galleries are also a good bet for quality (free) toilets and cafes. Again, this was no exception.

Art

Art

Northern Rail got me from Bradford to Sheffield (via Leeds) nicely.

Novotel gave me a friendly welcome in Sheffield and it is much better than any other city centre hotel I’ve used here. However it does feel very weird so soon after staying in the Casablanca one. So much is the same and so much is different.

I enjoyed a 3 course dinner in Café Rouge just 100m from the hotel. It’s solid French bistrot type food. I love it. I recognised the waitress from my last dinner there, which was probably 2 years ago. It’s a good sign if they keep their staff.

Sympa

Sympa

As with Saturday, ice hockey was the main event. Edinburgh Universities at Sheffield Universities. A 22:45 face off at Ice Sheffield... allegedly. It turned out to be a 23:15 start. Well, at least it’s a more pleasant facility than the one in Bradford.

The game was an absolute cracker, with Edinburgh winning eventually 5:2. It could have gone either way until the last 5 minutes. The Edinburgh players had to dig really deep after their tough game on Saturday. By the end (about 00:45) they were out on their feet.

Team Huddle

Team Huddle

Then a 5 hour journey home for them in the minibus (via McDonalds, no doubt).

A hard earned 4 point road trip!

Posted by IainT 08:19 Archived in England Tagged trains sport leeds casablanca sheffield bradford Comments (0)

Bradford

rain 3 °C
View Eagles on IainT's travel map.

Well, so far so good.

The CrossCountry Trains service from Dundee to Exeter got me from Kirkcaldy to Leeds on time and in just under 4 hours. It was a comfortable journey too - by booking many weeks in advance and using my senior railcard, the 1st class carriage had become affordable.

4 Trains

4 Trains

From Leeds to Bradford is just a few minutes on a local service.

I’d chosen the Jurys Inn in Bradford because on the map it seemed to be a short walk from both the railway station and the main focus of the trip - the ice arena. I was right. Jurys isn’t a brand I’ve used often, but this one has been fine. A quiet and comfortable, 6th floor, corner room.

Comfort

Comfort

The weather was cold and wet when I arrived, so walking around the city centre wasn’t appealing.

Alhambra Theatre

Alhambra Theatre

The reason for coming here was my son’s ice hockey match for Edinburgh Universities against Leeds Universities. A 22:30 face off in an ice arena which has seen better days.

Zamboni Flood

Zamboni Flood

It turned out to be an entertaining and competitive game, with Edinburgh winning 6:2. That keeps Edinburgh on top of their league - the British Universities Division 1 (North).

Spot the Puck

Spot the Puck

Next, Sheffield on Sunday night.

Posted by IainT 03:05 Archived in England Tagged trains sport transport hockey bradford Comments (0)

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