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.Biarritz

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.
Trainbus

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 View in Biarritz

And being in a train bus

IMG_0949 Adam and Matt and a trainbus

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

    1. Matthew did this
IMG_09942. A dog did this
doggy in the water
Doggy getting out of the water
3. I had a beer here
Beer drinking spot4. I found this view
Amazing View

Our Airbnb host recommended a place for us to have dinner while watching the sunset. It was a place called Eden Rock.
Eden Rock Biarritz

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.

Sunset in Biarritz

 

 

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.
San Telmo MuseoaThere 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.
San SebastianWe then had a walk around the town, which has some really old looking  buildings and art around the streets which is nice.
Old Building in San SebastianArt in San Sebastian

We rounded a corner and were confronted with a massive crowd down one street just opposite the building above.

Busy street in San SebastianIsn’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.

Matthew joining a march

We then got distracted by boats (It was the day of the boat racing or something)

Boats

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.
FountainThen it was off to Biarritz!

Day 1

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 –

Matthew looking grumpy

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.

Day 2

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.
Matthew on a rock 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.

Giant flower dog Entry to the museum is 15€ per adult and includes an audio guide in the price.

Matthew with the audio guides

Matthew with the audio guides

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.
Matthew in a giant metal thing
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.
Cat in a sock by Jeff Coons

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.
All of the 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.
Prawn poo removal
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.
Egg cake thing
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.

Egg cake thingMatthew liked it.

We then went on a bus tour with an open bottle of wine we bought from a corner shop for 5€.

Bus tour

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.
Back at the museumIt 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.

The Martian Book Cover

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.

I rate this book
7.marvin-what-we-think-martians-look-like-130318

out of
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Armada Book Cover

Hello everyone,

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.

Bye.

2015-08-17 13_25_08-you're never weird on the internet - Google Search

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

codex out of FELICIA-Avatar-Pose-hi-resjpg

 

Now then, I read ‘To Kill A Mockingbird‘ in February last year and very much enjoyed it. I immediately bought Go Set a Watchman when it was released and was just waiting on finishing my last book before I got dug in.

There has been a lot of news and controversy over this book and so I decided, that rather than read it through the medium of text, I would have the lovely Reese Witherspoon read it to me via the medium of audio.  I made the right choice.  I’m not paid to advertise Audible, but I will be if you click on the below link and sign up for a free trial (you get a free audio book!).  I would highly recommend listening to Reece’s southern belle voice read racist words to you.

The book is an interesting take on the characters that have been around for decades.  I’m not a massive fan of who some of the characters have become, but I guess it makes for a more interesting book than more of the same.

The book does make you think about ‘the other side’ of the argument of segregation and it actually made me consider myself a bigot at one point because I just cannot see it from the other side.

I’m not sure if it was because I listened to the book rather than read it, but the book is also very short about half the length of To Kill a Mockingbird.

I won’t recommend this book to those of you who don’t like Reece Witherspoon, but to those of you who are not evil -give it a go!  It is a very relevant book in the current racial climate in the US over 50 years after the book is set.

It’s not the sequel people wanted, but it’s a sequel that might be a bit more realistic considering the time and setting.

I rate this book

Reece Witherspoon out of 2015-07-20 13_22_56-legally blonde - Google Search

Today I finished reading ‘The Long Earth’ which is a non discworld book by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter.

The book is not a discworld novel.  It is definitely not a discworld novel. I can’t tell you how much this is not a discworld novel.

It’s about some people who can travel between ‘worlds’ which are different versions of ‘The Earth’ which they call ‘The Long Earth’ through a process called stepping.  Stepping involves using a potato with a switch you can flip.
2015-07-15 15_00_56-long earth - Google Search

I wasn’t a massive fan to be honest, so I probably won’t be reading the other books.  It’s not very funny, which is what I expected from a Terry Pratchett book.

I don’t have much more to add.

Bye then.

I rate this book
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itunes

Hello everyone,

We’ve just finished recording another podcast for your ears to experience.

In this episode, we talk about:

Jurassic World and the tingles it forced through our bodies.

Sarah Harding’s solo effort

All of the reboots that are happening at the  moment

We also talk about Rihanna’s new video

The Scream TV show

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49mcwqUbABc

We also briefly talk about 7/7 and the emotional drama from the BBC called ‘A song for Jenny‘ which we can’t recommend highly enough.

itunesCan you believe we’re ten Amazting Podcasts in? No, us neither, we thought we’d run out of enthusiasm way before now.

Here the things we mentioned this week, and some other links we thought were amazting but didn’t make the cut (that’s right, there is a serious editing operation that filters out quite a lot of nonsense!)

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 21.20.56
Orange Is The New Black. It’s steadily becoming a cult classic, but if you haven’t heard of it already head on over to Netflix and check it out. We felt that Season Two was better, but its still far better than anything that is actually on TV!

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 21.19.28H U M A N S started recently on Channel 4. Oddly it airs on a Sunday but you can catch the first three episodes on All 4 (which used to be called 4OD). It prompted an argument about robots and conversation about how The Jetsons was ahead of it’s time.

Dinosaurs. We feel like the only people in the Western World who haven’t yet seen Jurassic World. Until we can bring you our insightful review we leave you with this picture of how T Rex could have really looked. I find the idea of a 20ft tall robin terrifying!
Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 21.22.54Mr Holmes was the film we saw this week. It’s slow paced, but an interesting and sensitive story about the onset of ageing. Also, it stars a kid that looks a bit like the other kid from Love Actually and Frances De La Tour, who has been stalking Matt. (There is a Big Bang Theory episode where Sheldon is convinced there is a cloud following him – is there a clip?)

 

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Here at Amazting, we love a spoof, and a spy spoof is top of our list! We saw Spy, which sees Melissa Mcarthy as a first-time-in-the-field agent along with a supporting cast of Jason Staham, Jude Law, Miranda Hart and Rose Byrne. It’s got other people in too, but their the ones that count.

alicexzombieWe also strapped on some culture this week in the form of Alice Undergoround and Generation Z. We had a fantastic time at each, but want to avoid any spoilers so will keep it brief. The Queen of Hearts is a tyrant. The war between red and black cards is on. Alice stumbles in and interrupts. We fell down a rabbit hole and peered into looking glasses, we even sipped on tea with the Mad Hatter. The attention to detail is great. The groups are slightly too large, and on the night we went it was swelteringly hot. However, Alice Underground was a fantastic experience which could only have been improved if we’d had a better level of knowledge about Alice in Wonderland and Lewis Carrol more generally.

If you’re fans of anything zombie related (here at Amazting it’s a serious concern). We cannot recommend Generation of Z highly enough.  It was the best thing we’ve done in a while.  You are filled with fear throughout, but in a good way.  Be prepared to get a bit bloody and have your heart beating faster than it probably should.