Friday, 30 May 2008

Camel Shelter

Not an actual camel shelter but the view directly upwards from my hotel room balcony. The view reminded me of the Deer Shelter at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, although the sunlight through the hole is a lot brighter and definitely a lot hotter! The main thing common to both is that they are both quite tranquil and removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Menara Garden

On the way back from collecting my suitcase from the airport, my very helpful taxi driver suggested that I check out the Menara garden, as somewhere quite with some shade if it was getting too hot for me. Given that the markets in Marrakech are supposed to be better in the mornings I decided to take his advice and walk the short(ish) distance to the garden.

It is strange being somewhere so warm and desert like as there is virtually no sign of grass anywhere. The city is covered with plants but there is no grass in the gardens and no grass verges. I guess it is because watering grass would be so much more time consuming and expensive that watering large shrubs and trees as needed.

Anyway the lack of grass makes the gardens look strange, but it was still very pleasant to walk around away from the traffic, seeing camels and large oranges growing on trees everywhere you looked.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

My Suitcase Arrived!

Bizarrely my suitcase arrived exactly on time on the first plane of the day from Casablanca to Marrakech. The plane was due in at 10am and I rang at 10:15am and my bag had been found and held on one side for me to collect. Unfortunately I had to take an unexpected trip to the airport to collect it but at least now I have a change of clothes and my toothbrush!

Fortunately, I got a great taxi driver, Mustaffa, to take me the airport. Not only was he willing to wait for me while I went in to collect my suitcase but he volunteered to come in and translate for me. I'm so glad he did as most of the people I tried to explain myself to didn't understand English (or not when pronounced with a Yorkshire accent).

1 Taxi, 2 Trains, 3 Planes, 3 Time Zones all in 17 Hours

I'm exhausted but can't sleep. It's 8:30am (ish) local time in Marrakech, Morocco (so 9:30am in England) but that really tells me nothing as I've totally lost track of what time it is. I'm here to attend LREC and present a poster, although I'm hoping to sample the sights and sounds of Marrakech while I'm here.

Anyway the journey was very tirring: it started at 8:30am in the UK and ended about 17 hours later at 1:15am in Marrakech.

I took a train from Penistone to Sheffield. From Sheffield a second train to Manchester Airport where the train driver started the time zone confusion by stating that local time was approximately 11:15am -- I know that Manchester is technically in a different country (Lankarshire -- wrong side of the hills for this Yorkshireman). Then the fun really started...

We took a plane from Manchester to Brussels so we put our watches forward an hour to change time zones. Then another plane from Brussels to Cassablanca where we put our watches back two hours to go into the third time zone of the day. Unfortunately the plane into Cassablanca was a little late so we had to run to catch the final plane of the day from Cassablanca to Marrakech.

While it all seemed to have gone OK, upon arrival in Marrakech the first (and hopefully only) problem raised it's ugly head -- my suitcase was still in Cassablanca! I've been told that it will arrive on the first plane of the day so should be here at around 10am but I'm not holding my breath.

A short taxi ride took us to out hotel and I finally made it to my room about 1am local time (which I think made it about 2am in the UK) and I haven't slept well hence the exhaustion.

Anyway enough blogging it's time for breakfast....

Friday, 23 May 2008

Dalhousie Castle

As I mentioned before, the first hotel we stayed at on our honeymoon was Dalhouise Castle. This 13th century castle is located just south of Edinburgh although what can be seen of the castle today mainly dates from about 1450.

In later posts I'll show you the two dining rooms and some of the other facilities the castle offers.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Dalhousie Castle Cafetiere Coffee

The first hotel we stayed in was Dalhousie Castle. I'll get to talking about the hotel in a later post, but first impressions were good.

As many of you will know I quite like coffee. So I was very impressed with the coffee tray in the hotel room. The tray didn't contain the normal boring packets of instant coffee, instead there was a cafetiere and Dalhousie Castle branded packets of fresh coffee (and decaf for those who might prefer that). Not only did it look good but it was also by far the best coffee I've ever made in a hotel room.

Monday, 19 May 2008

The Angel of the North

On the way to Scotland for our honeymoon I got the best view I've ever had of The Angel of the North. Unfortunately, the view was while travelling fast on the A1 north towards Scotland.

The combination of fast driving and a camera that doesn't focus overly quickly means that the pictures are not as good as the actual view.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Warning: May Contain Nuts

In preparation for going on honeymoon we bought quite a few new clothes. Among the t-shirts I bought was the following:

Of course you may find the t-shirt even funnier if you happen to know that I am highly allergic to nuts!

I'm Back!

Sorry for the long break since the last post, but as some of you are aware I've been busy and then on holiday (far from an active Internet connection). At least the holiday as given me a fair number of things to blog about over the next few days.