In this episode we venture into travel podcasting by telling you all about our trip to Japan, our investigator investigates the disappearance of Shania Twain and Matthew invents a movie “quiz”.
So let’s talk about Japan guys. It’s literally amazting. It’s the most incredible place that either of us have been. But c’mon, it’s 2016, I can’t describe how good it is in words, and even though it’s a delight even our podcast doesn’t do Japan as much justice as this collection of gifs.
Exhibit 1 – The locals
Exhibit B – The sporting events
Exhibit 4 – The respect for nature
Next Exhibit – Nature’s respect for you
Final Exhibit – The food!
So yeah, see, Japan it totes amaze, or sick, or groovy or some other slang word meaning really bloody brilliant.
In the next episode, we’ll have more Freakin Fast Film Fun, but until then, we’ll leave you with this thought from our incredible Tea Ceremony…
This is the only time we will ever be in this moment.
I assume that, having passed the baton to me, Adam’s excitement at being a travel blogger has gone the same way as his baking obsession (which lasted two weeks) and his Nutribullet (four weeks).
Actually Matthew, I still use the Nutribullet for my breakfast I just get up 2 hours before you so you wouldn’t notice. Also, it’s not my fault that everything I baked tasted like washing up liquid.
However, for you, dear reader, this can only be a good thing.
I take up the blogging on the morning of our second day in Biarritz…
After a sit down shower (the apartment we were in had a sloping ceiling and standing was not an option) we quickly erased all traces that we’d ever been there. Our train from Biarritz to Bordeaux wasn’t until the early afternoon so we arranged to leave our luggage and go for a final explore/ice cream.
I was disappointed that after 10:00 all the nearby café’s already seemed to be closing up for a siesta. Do they even have siesta in France?! So instead, we headed to Biarritz market ‘Les Halles’ in the hope of finding an indulgent patisserie. Several aisles of enormous vegetables and pungent cheese later we continued our search for breakfast.
We had a couple of hours to kill, and wanted to soak up as much of the incredible view as we could, so headed back to the beach and headed north. There was a lighthouse in the mid distance, and before we knew it, we were climbing steps to get to its base.
Stopping briefly to watch what Adam said was ‘a poor blind woman thinking she’s fishing’
The view from there was good, but somehow not quite as breath-taking looking back at the bay as it was looking out from it. We grabbed a quick drink (Adam: Water, Matt: Fresh OJ) and tried our luck with the giant sundial…which thought it was 3 in the afternoon in November.
Adam also got excited on seeing a quintessentially French looking guy in a beret.
As we made our way back to collect our luggage we stopped in for another ice cream. After some time Adam emerged from Dodin (http://www.dodin.eu/) with two ice creams and having ‘educated’ the French on grapefruits. A quick beer later and we were on the road again.
Having watched 3 series of The Amazing Race before our travels, I got super excited every time we got on a new mode of transport! The bus to Biarritz train station cost 1€ and took us about 25 mins.
We arrived about an hour before our train, but with enough time to book our tickets and eat lunch. I had a steak which was still mooing, but despite my reservations I ate it, and was pleasantly surprised.
Our train was BUSY, thankfully we had reserved seats. I made some good headway through my book (Five People You Meet In Heaven – 3 stars) and Adam went through the photos to determine which ones were publishable.
Arriving in Bordeaux was the first time that my meticulous planning let us down. Following a fair amount of UK-based stress (hiring a car without a credit card is tricky) and several laps of the station we failed to find the car hire office. It turns out it’s a good 15 minute walk from the station in a sketchy area. Despite having booked over the phone with Avis before leaving, the car hire lady bamboozled me with additional charges, deposits, insurance uplifts and other things. I’d like to tell you how much the car hire cost, but frankly I don’t know!
Driving in central Bordeaux is NOT recommended. Pedestrians have no regard for the road, likewise for bikes, and most of the other motorists. Add to that rush hour traffic, narrow 18th century cobbeled streets and a backwards car and it’s an understatement to say that I was a bit stressed.
We found a secure car park (Place Camille Julian, not exactly a bargain at 19€ per day, but it was largely our fault for booking a car for what was essentially a city break!). We collected the AirBnB keys and entered the property. After hanging out in a dark, damp tunnel which smelled strongly of fish trying to figure out which apartment we needed, we eventually realised we were in the wrong building, on the wrong street!
Once we finally found our digs we dumped our stuff and took a moment to recover from the stress of the whole situation.
We had a quick walk around the local area we decided to take dinner at Le Chaudon, largely because it looked like the sort of restaurant that Carrie Bradshaw would casually hang out in. On reflection she’d probably stretch a little further than 19€ for a three course meal, and I wouldn’t blame her.
We retired to the apartment to devise a plan for the following day.
It took us just over 2 hours to get from San Sebastian to Biarritz. After the initial sadness of only spending a few hours in San Sebastian, I was relieved to find that we were in somewhere equally as beautiful.
Imagine if Blackpool was beautiful and in France and clean and hot and everything that Blackpool isn’t. That’s what you get with Biarritz. We used Airbnb and stayed about 3 minutes’ walk from the beach on Rue Du Port Vieux. The apartment was comfortable and the host was lovely. We ‘checked in’ and then immediately went for a walk to the beach until we came across this amazing train bus thing.
We hopped on this for a quick tour of Biarritz, taking us around the town in roughly 40 minutes with a free audio guide and the novelty of being in a train bus. It was €6 each, but worth it for these views
And being in a train bus
We then went for an ice cream, or as they say in French “J’adore L’glace” and had a walk around the coast. We saw so many good things. For example
Our Airbnb host recommended a place for us to have dinner while watching the sunset. It was a place called Eden Rock.
We had a meat and cheese plate which was incredible and about 20€. We then had a few beers and watch the sunset while talking to some pilots from America. They were proper republicans and eventually we had to leave otherwise I would have said something they would have regretted. We then went for a quick walk and then went back to the apartment to sleep.
On the Sunday we left Bilbao by coach and traveled to San Sebastian where we had 3 hours before catching another coach to Biarritz.
Those three hours were three of the coolest of the holiday. The weather was beautiful and the town is incredible to walk through.
We got a bus from the coach station into the centre (costing 1.65€ for a single journey). It took about 10 minutes and we ended up here. There were about 30 people knocking around and we thought we were in a ghost town, we walked just to the right of the San Telmo Museoa (they grey building above) and ended up at the sea with some incredible views. It’s amazing how a sunny day and some water can put a smile on your face. We then had a walk around the town, which has some really old looking buildings and art around the streets which is nice.
We rounded a corner and were confronted with a massive crowd down one street just opposite the building above.
Isn’t it weird how everywhere seems to really like to advertise their pharmacies? We powered our way through the busy street thinking we would head towards that church in the background of the above image, unfortunately Matthew joined a marching band instead.
We then got distracted by boats (It was the day of the boat racing or something)
We didn’t have a lot more time and so we decided we should head back to the coach station. On the way to the bus stop we were confronted with mental protesters who thought it was a good idea to throw fireworks out of a window to protest about who knows what. (We later found out there was a vote on if the area should become independent from Spain the day we were there and the protests were likely to do with that)
Then we got a bus back to the coach station via this fountain. Then it was off to Biarritz!
We arrived in Bilbao at 23:00 on Friday 4th September after our flight through Vueiling was cancelled and changed without us knowing until we went to check in. What a bunch of turds. The flight should have been at 18:40, but was pushed back to 20:00 and then we didn’t take off until 20:30. When we were in the air, the stewards did not do a very good job of serving us drinks as we didn’t get any drinks. Matthew was grumpy at this –
Once in Bilbao we got a taxi from the airport which took about 20 minutes to get to the centre where our hotel (Hotel Ercilla) was located, it cost about 25€. We arrived in the hotel, dropped off our stuff and immediately went out and got drunk at the nearest bar we could find. There was a great sense of ‘I don’t care who’s car this is, I will lean on it and rest my drink on it’s roof’ which was nice. Speaking fluent Spanish I ordered too many drinks because the barman was obviously not listening to me. One of these drinks was called Kalimotxo (pronounced ‘Calimocho’) which was a mix of equal parts cheap red wine and Coca Cola. It is much nicer than it sounds and got me suitably drunk. Then we went to a kebab shop but it was closed and we ended up with a Subway sandwich instead.
Our second day (only full day) in Bilbao involved a lot of walking and some busing. Our first point of call was a rock that Matthew got unnervingly excited about. We then found the only reason Matthew wanted to come to Bilbao (he wasn’t aware of the rock until we passed it), the Guggenheim Museum. This is a freaking awesome building from the outside, it looks amazing from any angle and had quite a lot of ‘art’ outside, mostly by the artist Jeff Coons including this giant dog.
Entry to the museum is 15€ per adult and includes an audio guide in the price.
Inside the museum you have 4 distinct sections. The first is a section dedicated to metal swirls that you walk through. I was underwhelmed by this as it was a bit like walking through a dangerous building site.
The second section was an audio and visual piece dedicated to birds and oil I think. Up stairs on the top floor you have an ‘artist’ who has pieces reminiscent of a child’s drawings, but with words like ‘Black Police, oh the irony’ written on them. I didn’t like this section because I don’t like ‘art’ that I could do.
Then onto the middle floor we have the Jeff Koons exhibition. This was OK, with some interesting pieces including this cat in a sock.
We then walked to the old town section of the city and had a walk around. There were a lot of shops, but very few of them were open, which we found strange for a Saturday. We decided it was time to eat and had what the locals call ‘tapas’ but it’s not like any tapas I have had and it was good. Walking through the old town we found a big square called Plaza Nueva 10 and had a look at the options at the various bars, restaurants and cafes. It turns out the offers were all pretty much the same which was basically tapas sandwiches.
We found a place called Bertok Berria which offered 6 tapas sandwiches and a bottle of red or white wine for only €15! What a bargain, you’d pay this just for the wine in London, and it would be a rubbish wine. This wine was very good and got us a bit too drunk for 2PM but in a good way. The only issue I had was t hat in the prawn thing, I had to remove the poo pipe.
Following lunch we wandered for a short while until we found a place to buy desert. We ended up with one of these things to share, unfortunately I was too intoxicated to remember what it was called but everywhere sold them.
They are basically an egg custard with a lot of meringue on top. I wasn’t aware of this otherwise I wouldn’t have purchased it as egg custards are gross.
Matthew liked it.
We then went on a bus tour with an open bottle of wine we bought from a corner shop for 5€.
The bus tour was quite good but took us to places we had already seen through walking earlier in the day so there wasn’t much point as you can walk around fairly easily in about 2 hours. We got the last one which took us around the town and finished outside the Guggenheim Museum at 18:00. This cost us 12€ each which is reasonable but you can walk around fairly easily as it isn’t a big city. It was then off to the hotel for a siesta. 3 hours later, we left the hotel and got the metro back to the old town area with a plan to go for dinner. The metro is a great way to get around Bilbao as it’s cheap (1.50€ for a single) and air conditioned. We walked through the old town and like earlier there wasn’t a lot open. We found a reasonably priced restaurant and had an average meal. I had steak with a cheese sauce, it was a bit like a weatherspoons steak to be honest (slightly below average). Matthew had cod with garlic mouse which he very much enjoyed. We shared a starter of cubed potatoes with some tomatoes and mayonnaise on and a bottle of red rioja and it came to just over €30 which is pretty good value.
Then we realised that we couldn’t easily get to our next destination by train as we were travelling on a Sunday and there were no trains…so we went back to the hotel to plan.
So I seem to be very late to this party, but Audible recommended The Martian to me every time I logged in for as long as I can remember. I finally decided to give it a go this week as I didn’t have anything else on my wish list.
I went to the cinema and had a real sense of recognition when the trailer was half way through. I was like ‘This is weird, I’m listening to a book where all of this stuff happens’. So yeah, I have read a book where I could have just waited a month to watch the film, ah well.
The story line is very much based in reality, but just a bit in the future. NASA have a mission on Mars and something goes wrong and 1 of the astronauts is stranded on Mars while his team think he is dead and have no way of contacting him.
This book is very good. VERY GOOD. The main character has a sense of humour that carries him through his ordeal and makes the ending chapter genuinely teary. I listened to this so I could work and listen and I have to say, I had to go to the bathroom near the end so I could a) concentrate on the gripping finale and b)cry a bit.
The author does an incredible job of making the science believable and the maths probably accurate (there’s loads of both in this book).
All of the characters are well thought out and you care about them all which all adds up to a real sense of dread and all the feelings at the end of the book.
I am now genuinely excited to see how they have made this into a film.
The voice actor does every character with a distinctive voice and in genuinely amazing.
A few months ago I read ‘Ready Player One’. I really liked it, it was really good as a geek to read about games and such.
Armada has pretty much all of the same ingredients to make this a similar experience, but is it?
The answer is no. I cannot understand why, I don’t know what it is about this book but I really didn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much as the Author’s previous book. Much like the previous book, I listened to it via Audible so I could listen to this guy read the words out to me. I have to say, I am enjoying listening to books. A) It’s quicker B) Celebrities.
It feels like the book was rushed out as it doesn’t have anywhere near the level of detail and geeky nods of it’s predecessor. The main characters aren’t fleshed out, there is barely any development for the anyone.
Relationships aren’t developed in a natural way and it’s just all a bit rubbish. There is a relationship between father and son issue that gets sorted out within a page.
I can’t recommend this book, I’m not even going to rate it out of something.
OK, so I have been a small fan of Felicia Day since I saw her on Season 1 of ‘The Guild‘ which was a short web series that I saw when it first appeared on my Xbox 360.
It was a really funny geeky show about mmorpg ‘addicts’ and lasted for 6 seasons (each episode was about 10 minutes long so not you’re average season).
Anyway, I wasn’t really sure if I’d be interested in reading about her life, she isn’t all that real life famous and I’m not sure what she would have to say that I’d find interesting but I had a spare Audible credit going and so decided to give it a go. (Seriously, if you don’t have audible you should definitely sign up, it’s well worth it)
I worried that I’d end up not liking her (after listening to that awful self involved creature Lena Dunham, god her book made me hate her). I was pleasantly surprised, I have finished the book and so not hate her. I’m going to go through the 3 sections of the book and give each a rating.
1. Early life
This section is quite good and pretty funny. 4 stars
2. GamerGate 2 stars
I didn’t understand what gamer gate was before reading this and still don’t really understand. A lot of people seem to hate her because of it though.
3. The Guild and Geeks and Sundry 3 stars
A bit bleh, it was nice to understand how it came about but nothing you couldn’t have guessed.
I would suggest reading this book if you really like Felecia Day, otherwise you’ll probably care very little about what she has to say.
Also, why are all American female celebrities that have written a book full of anxiety?
I rate this book
All the amazting things