Archive for the ‘traffic’ Category

Timanfaya National Park

October 25, 2017

Timanfaya National Park is volcanic National Park on the southwest of Lanzarote island

The volcano last erupted between 1730 and 1736 which resulted in the island being covered in the volcanic matter we see today. Timanfaya volacano remains active as the surface temperature in the core ranges from 100 to 600C at a depth of 13 metres.

We drove to the park entering through the gates some way from the mountain and the car park with the queue of traffic snaking its way for some kilometres in front of us as well as behind us.

The entry into the park is well controlled as the car parking area is very limited so you are only let in when space is available.

Cars queued in front of us

And cars snaked for kms behind us

we have no idea why it was so busy on a Monday, when there were no public holidays and it is not as though it is peak tourist season either.

Once we reached the car park and safely negotiated the parking area we then hopped onto a bus for a tour of the park, the only way to view the park as it is a one way, narrow winding road.

the motley crew

this is known as Manto de la Virgen, which we took to roughly translate as nuns mantle

The view across to the Caesar Manrique designed visitor centre and restaurant nestled on the top of the mountain.

Back at the parking area we were invited to watch the attendants show just how near the surface the heat is. The attendants shovel in dried scrubby material which ignites almost immediately.

Next they poured a bucket of cold water into a vent hole which then spurted with a hiss and a roar, much like a geyser, into the air to the oohs and aahs of spectators.

After watching this show, you can appreciate how a visit to Rotorua thermal area in New Zealand would be a mind blowing experience for some people!!!

It was time for some lunch in the Caesar Manrique designed restaurant nestled into the top of the mountain, with an impressive view over the whole park. (More on Caesar Manrique in another post).

After lunch we left the mountain to head down to an area further along the road where we all decided to have a go on a camel ride. This is a bit of a different camel ride to others that we have done as on this ride the seats are astride of the camel.

our rides waiting patiently

yes that is Roy waving madly at the camera, with Christine and Barry in front of us.

Alex and Ian led the way on the safari into the dunes.

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Landed in London

September 30, 2017

Oops I did it again, I accidentally swiped the publish button on the last post before I had finished writing it.

We eventually landed at Heathrow 30minutes later than scheduled, by this time we were both exhausted and restless but ready to disembark. We were one of the last off the plane as everyone else was in a hurry and blocking the aisles for a good 15minutes before we were able to retrieve our hand luggage and disembark. Then it was off on the long walk to immigration and customs, why is it that all our flights seem to end up at the gate farthest away from our next point of departure? I know we need the exercise but by this time we were shattered. Next we were to face the long queues of people lined up at the “other” passport entry, fortunately I travel of my British passport so it was straight to the UK & EU line where there was just one couple on front of us. A cheery passport control man welcomed us to the UK where we chatted about the length of our flight and the prospect of a good cuppa before we were through and off to collect our bags, then straight through the green exit line to where Alex was waiting for us.

It was close to 5pm by this time and the traffic on the motorway was a bit slow at times but it wasn’t that bad and we were soon on our way to her lovely home in Erith.

Erith is circled in red in the above map.

Erith is just a 40minute train ride into central London, and is right by the Thames. A very pretty area that we shall enjoy exploring over the coming weeks.

Alex and Ian have bought a lovely home which they moved into earlier this year and they have already done some decorating to put their stamp on the place. That evening we managed to stay up until around 8pm before bed was calling out for us to sleep. Oh what bliss to be able to lie down. The following morning Roy and I managed to get the bus into the village (well, I say village but the population is around 68,000 people) the bus goes right past the house and even though there is no official bus stop in the street you just hail the driver and they stop for you. Assisted by a very friendly and helpful bus driver, we got into the centre of the town where the bus driver told us this was where we got off then she made sure we knew where to catch the bus home again and which number bus we needed, extremely helpful.

We wandered around the local supermarket, Morrison’s, where we were like kids in a sweet shop as everything was so cheap. To top it all off, we got free wifi in the store so we could chat with Alex about various matters (getting UK/EU SIM cards for our phones tomorrow). We could not believe the price of food compared with NZ, especially the price of fresh produce, the store even has cheaper versions of fruit and veg if they are deemed “wonky”. The wonky veg looked perfectly fine to me, as well as the price the range and quality was good as well. For example, baby gem lettuces were two for 50p, raspberries were two 250gm containers for £1.50, tomatoes were similarly priced. They even offer a pack of wonky veg for £3 which they say is enough to feed a family of four for a week. We had to restrain ourselves from buying too much as we knew we had to carry it back with us so we just got the essentials…….including Melton Mowbray Pork Pies!! Of course essential supplies included rum and gin, all available at the supermarket and at prices cheaper than Duty Free!

and the variety of different brands was extensive and impressive.

We headed back home with our bags of goodies, again with the help of a very kind bus driver who stopped the bus practically outside the door advising us this was where we should disembark.

We have tried to reestablish our sleeping patterns with the time difference, it has taken a day or so but we are pretty well sorted now. I have to admit that I take the No Jet Lag tablets available at New Zealand airports, which does help me as I have suffered jet lag (nausea and disorientation) previously on one long haul flight when I forgot to take them.

Alex & Ian have of course been working all week, so now we have the weekend together to do some sightseeing and some shopping. This evening we are going to a curry house, a typical English thing to do apparently, for dinner and to meet Ian’s family which we are really looking forward to.

PS. The weather has been very good to us so far, quite warm with very still days. Let’s hope it continues.

Melbourne – oddities

September 24, 2015

One of the most unusual sights in Melbourne on the streets in the city, it is the unusual traffic rule of having to pull over to the left before turning right!  They call this a hook turn, it feels very strange but I have to admit that it works and it keeps traffic flowing.  Signs indicate where this rule is in place, note: “normal” rules are in effect at all other intersections i.e. To turn right, indicate and wait in right hand lane until safe to turn.

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Another day and the handrails at the Swanston Street tram stop had been ‘yarn bombed’.  The colourful yarn covering around 200metres of handrails – very impressive!

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Christmas arrives early in Melbourne, with this store near the Queen Victoria Markets decked out in its Xmas finery in September.  Nothing like getting in early!

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