Techniquest's Sticky Digits Chasing (Trip Reports)

Discussion in 'Trip Planning & Reports' started by Techniquest, 5 Jun 2014.

  1. 47403

    47403 Established Member

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    Plenty winners roped in there Tech and as usual a cracking read there too.
     
  2. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    That’s impressive that you only need a couple of 319s... I’ve only ever been on a few (and I don’t really know which ones due to a regrettable lack of note taking when it came to units).
    It seems like things are a bit better for you than they were a few months ago.
    Any plans to come to the south west this year?
     
  3. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Thanks for the responses all. Yeah I would have been Kite, it was tempting to do but I had a date with a winning 150 to go after so I'd have bowled myself out. I also wouldn't have got 319379 otherwise!

    Yeah that Wickford thing was a big fail, I've learnt to triple-check moves since then!

    Noddy: Yeah my train nerd side is one I've learnt to accept as being there, but the balance between the railway and NormLand is finally found. Took a rather long time to find it!

    Aye things are far better these days, at this time I'm on the final couple of stages of the health improvement scheme. The final stage includes things like getting my teeth fixed up once and for all, but there are other things to do first. Once they get done, then all can proceed. Cryptic yes, but I have a plan and it's all falling into place. It's taken over 15 months of hard times, over-thinking and analysis to get this far, but what's interesting is that most of this has all come about from looking at other stuff and the triggers for getting things back on track fell into place unexpectedly.

    Still a lot to do, don't get me wrong, but the final stages of the plan are in progress. Once I finish them, then all is going to be good. I'm likening it to a positioning move for something epic, if that makes sense!

    As for a visit to the South West, I would hope so but to be honest I've absolutely no idea. Given back in January I didn't think I'd ever really get back into the scene at all, I'm kinda taking things as they come. I have nearly finished my wishlist for world exploration, and there is a good chance it will be all done in less than a year. Once that is done, I will have much more time to do other stuff!

    Regarding the 319s, yeah it is good to not need many of them, but I have had a long time to do so!
     
  4. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    It reminds me how lucky I was when my last one fell, it went to Liverpool and was meant to work to Newcastle but due to the service from Newcastle getting spun at Victoria due to late running it went back to Scarborough, allowing me to squeeze on when it returned to form the last Liverpool via Warrington fast service (on a Saturday in early December).
     
  5. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Late evening all,

    I figured I'd provide two updates for you all. Completely polar opposites...

    First the good bit. I recently gave up smoking after 15 years. I'd go into the how, why etc but I'm not up to that right now. So I booked a reward holiday to LA using a 747 each way!

    Second the bad bit. I attended a mate's 30th tonight, and the details aren't important. Those who need to know already do via off-forum means. Long story cut short, almost 16 months on from the toughest time in my entire life, in which time I'd transformed SO much and made myself better, it's all been reversed. While only I know some of the details, and quite frankly that is how that must stay as not even my closest friends can know the deepest details, I'm in a bad place right now.

    All I want to do is curl up in a ball and cry. Yes it's that grim. I thought I could deal with certain factors caused by tonight, but it turned out I can't. I'm back to a miserable state, and I don't yet know how to fix it. All my fears have come back to life, and it is going to take a long time to repair the damage.

    Why am I publically discussing this? It's mainly to have a way to vent it all, but also to explain why I will probably be ultra quiet for a good while. It's going to be hard going to work tomorrow, which is a shame as I had FINALLY made peace with so many things. I had a plan to bring about permanent happiness, but it has been destroyed in a matter of no time. It's not their fault, it's just the way my brain's configured!

    So bear with me all, this is going to be a tough time.
     
  6. fowler9

    fowler9 Established Member

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    Great to hear about the trip, very sorry to hear about your problems in your personal life. I don't know what is going on in your personal life and I'm not asking to know. All I will say is you can and will get through it. I have struggled with depression and anxiety since I was 18 and I am 44 now. Lots of stuff has happened and I know life can be tough. If ever I can do anything I will. Just enjoy those flights for now.
     
  7. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Thanks, LA is in January so a while yet.

    I've been spending this morning to let the brain do its thing, it is on fire this morning trying to fix itself. I've got a clear idea of what I need to do, where I'm going etc, but just not how to get there. Or at the least I have an idea, just I can't quite get past the fears it all involves. I don't know, it has to get there, and I'm doing everything I can to ramp up the efforts to get stuff sorted quickly. Setting a restrictive timescale on doing so will help no end, I find it makes me focus on it and get the task done ASAP.

    Not before a good sleep and feed later though! Either way, I'm going to be off the forum for a while.
     
  8. D841 Roebuck

    D841 Roebuck Established Member

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    All the best. Hope things work out for you.
     
  9. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Hi all,

    Well I figured I really should share an update with what's going on, since the last time I posted on this thread it was less than positively!

    Things have been vastly improved, following a major overhaul of various things. There's still a couple of things I'd like to get sorted out, but I'm almost there now. The last 3 'toxic' people have been banished, and I only wish I'd done that sooner. I'll still talk to them if circumstances require it, but they're no longer classed as friends. I have no time for people who only want me when it's convenient for them, and I've been busy replacing those friends slowly but surely. As one of my wise colleagues said, it's better to have just a couple of decent friends than loads of friends!

    My Improvement Scheme is close to done, it's just getting rid of the excess fats where they need to be eliminated. That is proving easier said than done, but I'm close to getting that organised and in a few weeks I'll certainly notice a difference. In terms of physical fitness, I'm still not quite there with the upper body strength to actually run yet, but part of that is down to strengthening the lungs enough to cope with the high demand they'll be put under. All is going the way I want it to, which is what matters.

    Mental health wise, yeah I'm pretty happy with how things have improved. Getting rid of those toxic friends helped a lot, and the time away from social media etc also helped me figure out the obsessive need to tick off as many beers as possible, and more importantly what the root cause of it all was. Having figured that out, and it was sort of a Lightbulb Moment, I'm actually a lot better off now.

    As for the quitting smoking, well on Saturday night surrounded by smokers at a social event I did end up having 3 puffs. Not impressed with myself, naturally. It seems when I'm on my own outside of work, even with a few beers in me, I can resist the urge quite happily. Indeed, until this week I didn't realise just how many people smoke! My tastebuds are so much stronger now, and the disappearance of the stain and smell on my fingers is extremely welcome! I've also moved on from the 4mg nicotine lozenges to the 2mg nicotine chewing gum, which is good progress on its own. Yesterday, and so far today, I've not had any of it whatsoever. My appetite has been vastly increased lately, it must be said, but slowly I'm sorting that out.

    My Leeds trip has had to be cancelled due to a lack of funds, those which I do have are being spent a little more wisely. I've now booked my Advances to/from London Paddington for the Budapest trip, and the rest of the available funds for the next few weeks is being used to have a bit of fun, help build up savings and help pay off the credit card. There's also more important things to do than go play trains at the moment, and my days off at work are going to be used partly for overtime (to further help pay off Japan) and partly to accelerate the finishing of the Improvement Scheme.

    Yes I was looking forward to visiting Leeds, but there are just far more important things to do right now. Taking some numbers off a memo file does not count as important! Sorting out the last couple of significant concerns/fears I've got going on in my head, and to be fair these have been there for a long time, that is important. I've got the theory in place, just not the guts to actually put it into practice! Just a case of applying similar self-discipline techniques to this as the excess mass shredding and quitting smoking. Once I crack that, I'll hopefully be well away!

    Anyway, let's not end on a negative. As you can see, overall there's been a lot of positive changes with more to come. I may not be quite there yet, but I am close!
     
  10. adrock1976

    adrock1976 Established Member

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    It is nice to hear that you are on the mend again.

    Regarding the comment about toxic people, I have found myself a long time ago in a similar situation where it would be in the best interests all around for me to part company with toxic individuals - they were of the type that no matter what you do for them, they were never appreciative at all. Those toxic individuals happened to be my old man's side of the family, which explains how my mum had a breakdown and had to have psychiatric treatment in the mid 1980s. Since I left school in 1993, I have had nothing to do with my old man's side of the family. Whenever I am visiting my mum in the West Midlands, I have always kept a low profile and more crucially have deliberately avoided hanging around the Rowley Regis and Oldbury areas for any length of time. Also, I have only recently found out in the last year or so via an old social media account from my college and uni days (it was the time the Data Protection legislation came in back in 2018) that my old man had passed away at the beginning of 2017. One of my cousins on my old man's side had sent a message that he had paid for the funeral, which I was suspicious of in terms of how the message was phrased. Needless to say, I blanked it and deleted the former account. Of note, I was not upset that my old man passed away being as I was never close to him and never shown much interest in me either, even though my mum was keen for him to be in contact with me when I was of school age.

    The cousin who had left a message on the social media account that I had not used for a long time (I was in the West Midlands network section as well as Glasgow) can be violent, and has had porridge for breakfast in Winson Green prison. Back in 1990 when I was 13/14, while my old man was asleep while at his mum's and his brother was out, the cousin had very horribly assaulted me and threatened me with a knife, and told me to keep quiet. Due to my autism, I managed to cope with it really well and put it to the back of my mind until December 2018, when I was doing some seasonal work and saw somebody who was obnoxious and arrogant carrying a pair of scissors who bore a striking resemblance to that cousin who assaulted and threatened me back in 1990. I have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after my GP referred me to a psychiatrist, who subsequently booked me to see a psychologist in the future. That explains the reference in some of my 2019 trip reports the reason I am on medication so as to prevent depression and recurring nightmares.

    Regarding the quitting smoking, it may be best for you at this moment in time to avoid spending too much time with smokers. I have been there myself and have not touched any conventional tobbacco products since the spring of 2015.

    Good luck with your Improvement Scheme, and enjoy not just your upcoming Budapest trip, but everything else in general too.
     
  11. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Thanks for the reply, I'll discuss it further by PM later as unfortunately I've got to get ready for work shortly and time is not on my side right now
     
  12. The_Train

    The_Train Established Member

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    Great to hear that things have been much more positive just lately Tech. It's a wise decision to remove people from your circle of friends who are no good for you. Unfortunately, there are simply too many self absorbed people in the world who don't care who they trample over to get what they want. You are better off without them as you've already realised.

    I've never smoked, but nor have I ever had any issues with those that do. Even though I don't understand what it takes to get off them, anyone who does manage it has my upmost respect as one thing that is clear to anyone is that it takes a lot of strength and determination to get off them and more importantly stay off them. Don't be disheartened by the fact you had a few puffs (ooh err :E), just use that situation to understand what took you to doing it again and try and learn from it so you don't repeat it.

    Keep up the good work mate!

    Oh and I'm definitely looking forward to the Budapest trip report
     
  13. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    Really interesting reading that Tech.
    I’ve found that as the years go by I’ve less and less tolerance for irritating people and people that believe that their dreadful behaviour is somehow your responsibility.
    Get it out of your life mate, otherwise it drains the life out of you!
    @adrock1976 - I’m sure any of us that have read your post would want to send you all of our best wishes for what sounds like some terrible stuff to have had to deal with over the years.
     
  14. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    23/08/2019 - Juliano's Pacer Farewell

    Firstly, apologies for the 2 week delay in getting this done, it's been a bit hectic here lately! Secondly, there's a good chance that there will be a follow-up farewell at some point, but with that extremely unlikely this was my offical farewell to the infamous Pacer.

    The Pacers surely don't know need any introduction, but it was definitely fitting to say farewell to a type that have been a significant part of my adulthood. They may not have been a favourite, not by a long shot, but even so they're too interesting not to say farewell!

    The day before after I finished work, I was chatting with fellow forum legend Kite159 about the 37s in Cardiff and how I had considered going that way that evening for something. He reminded me that he was making a presence in Cardiff the day after, of which I was on rest day, so the meet was sorted. It had been a long time since we had last met up, probably 8 months or so, as I had to cancel last minute on a Midlands meet earlier in the summer. I spent forever and a week, or at least it felt like it, planning my journeys to/from Cardiff, and on the morning itself when I finally woke any plans to go by bus were well out of the window!

    I had nowhere near enough time to get the 0936 [seems to vary between 0931 and 0936 whenever it feels like it! - Ed] but I remembered the 1010 was an option so went for that instead. I probably could have made the earlier train but as fate had it I made the right call. Find out why shortly...

    After picking up my tickets, following the booking of them on the TransPennine Express app [I use it especially for Nectar points, otherwise I'd use the superior VTWC app - Ed] I got a coffee from Pumpkin and soaked up some sun. A surprisingly empty 175108 rolled in to take me to Newport, a journey which was over surprisingly quickly thanks to some pumping tunes. I had originally intended to see which IET was coming in from London, but noting the 0916 Taunton to Cardiff was formed of 4 coaches I was intrigued and raced over to platform 1.

    A good choice on moves it proved to be, as in rolled my first ride on the so-called 'GTi HSTs' with 43191+43004. In a way it was frustrating not to get one of the power door sets, but equally it was nice to get one with droplights as I got to sample the MTU noise again. As I had been promised, the acceleration on these 2+4 sets was impressive, and it was just a shame that we were on the relief lines all the way to Cardiff.

    Just before arrival in Cardiff the IET I could have got from Newport came up alongside and it was a dud 800/3 so I definitely chose well. Both it and the HST got held on the gradient coming into Cardiff, and oh my days it has been a long time since I last had that happen. I couldn't help but flash back to September 2005 and the memory of doing similar on a 47/8-hauled rugby extra service. The noise of the MTU surprisingly drowned out the IET next to me, and I alighted a very happy lad!

    There was of course photos to be taken while I awaited Kite's arrival from the south, who was unfortunate enough to have stuck between both a pair of 153s from Ebbw Vale Town and a late running Manchester Piccadilly to Milford Haven 175, so his planned connection to a Coryton service was missed. Once we found each other it was onto 150281 for the ride to Pontypridd. That was over surprisingly quickly, and I had finished my Pret coffee by the time we got off. This was also my first trip into the Cardiff Valleys area for many a year, so there was lots of noting changes, or the lack thereof, to the area.

    Seeing the bay platform at Pontypridd was new to me, I knew of it of course but the memory of the old Pontypridd was further destroyed by ticket barriers. Even so, after a couple more photos the 143 Kite wanted rolled in, and we joined 143622 as far as Llandaf. The next journey was 150254+143607, which was not what Kite had expected [there will be a link to his excellent trip reports later on in this write-up - Ed] but we joined the pair anyway for a journey to Cardiff Queen Street.

    We had time for a supply raid here, and while Sainsbury's would have been doable, we instead chose Spar across the road from the station. With liquids sourced, there was first time for a photo of 153333 in Transport for Wales colours on the Cardiff Bay shuttles, with our next journey being on 143601 to Penarth. After a couple of photos at a terminus which doesn't look to have really changed at all in the time since I moved out of South Wales [way back in the mid-2000s - Ed] it was back on 143601 as far as Radyr via Cathays.

    We had planned to visit Taffs Well on a tight +4, which is certainly doable on a quick footbridge transfer, but as we had been held up at Queen Street by a late Bargoed service, our connection had been reduced to a +1 at best. It might have been doable, but it wasn't worth the risk so getting off at Radyr was a better call. Not a huge change here either apart from the new car park and ticket office.

    142076 was Kite's last Welsh 142 to get for 10 miles [I stopped doing mileage a good long while ago, but got back into recording moves in February 2019, just in case I ever change my mind - Ed] so unsurprisingly we got on that to Cardiff Central via Cathays. It was straight back out to Radyr on it, on a Treherbert service running non-stop Central to Radyr via the City Line. The mission now done, we had a fair time to wait for what turned out to be 150279 back to Central, again non-stop via Ninian Park.

    A supply raid in Greggs was next, and on return to the station the barriers didn't like our rangers so we got let through. I swore blind it was letting use both through, instead they shut on me which sent my coffee to the floor. It's fair to say I wasn't happy about that, but hey ho it could have been worse, it could have been my phone! Our next move was taking us west for the first time all day, and the expected IETs were not had but instead we got dud 802008 and winner for me 802012. To Bridgend! A coffee was sourced from the trolley [I do love my coffee! - Ed] and it was finished way before Bridgend!

    Ah yes, Bridgend, another place where I used to frequent back in the day. Memories galore, unsurprisingly, one of the key ones was getting off a 180 with heart-of-wessex once and getting moaned at by staff for videoing near the end of the platform. A pair of IETs here just looked and felt odd, and after a while 175105 came in to save us and take us back to Cardiff Central, where we had an appointment with a certain train to Rhymney.

    It was a bit tense for a while, as last time I was in Cardiff for the 37s they failed to materialise at all. This time though all was good, and 37418 rolled in with the ECS for the 1701 to Rhymney. It seemed rather overkill to have security guards on these trains, who also act as people to persuade others to move further into the train, but we managed to get standing space by the front vestibule without concern. The droplight was opened a little by one of the security staff, as the lavatory was, shall we say, not pleasant smelling. 37418 certainly put in a good bit of noise and we had a plan to do the other diagram too, so bailed at Heath High Level.

    After a mandatory photo we changed platforms and joined 150285 back to Central. Kite needed this 150 for mileage, and while he's still not quite got it cleared as I type this up this run certainly helped. Cardiff City FC were playing at home on this occasion, so we were glad to be due out of Cardiff before the crowds came back. Once at Central it was again a little tense for a bit but I rested assured when the ECS for the 1746 to Rhymney rolled in.

    Winner 37421 was certainly nicely noisy on this train, a lot quieter than the 1701 seemed to be, and as Kite needed the platform score at Caerphilly we left the 37 there. Naturally, photos had to be taken as last time I was here it was the Rhymney loco farewell in December 2005 and memories naturally came back. 37421 didn't disappoint whatsoever!

    It was soon time to joined 150285 again, this time with 142076 on the back, and due to connections needing to be made back at Central poor Kite didn't get to clear the 150 for 10 miles yet, as we had to alight at Ystrad Mynach. Again, the last time I was here was during the Rhymney loco farewell and I had got on a 47 back down the valley. There was a non-stop service to Cardiff Central at 1851, which was quite the novelty, and much credit to our driver who made 150262 really roar!

    Running early, we briefly paused at Queen Street and still arrived a couple of minutes early, making connections to homeward-bound trains nice and easy. I bade farewell to Kite in order for me to take dud 800012 and winner 800030 as far as Newport, changing onto 175103 for the return to Hereford and some tunes for most of the way back. Once home it was time for a late meal and soon after that to bed ready for work the next morning.

    Also, please do check out my good friend Kite159's blog at https://kitespotterings.blogspot.com/?m=1 for regular trip reports!

    Oh, and photos will be in the WordPress version ;)
     
  15. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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  16. shredder1

    shredder1 Established Member

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    Good report mate, I`m long overdue a visit to Cardiff, must have a day pacer bashing before they go.
     
  17. ajb

    ajb Member

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    Well, it has been a while since I was last on here and I have just caught up with your Cardiff trip. A very good read and brought back memories of my trip to Cardiff a few months back and the 2 hours I spent in Rhmyney after taking the 37 there, not much to do for 2 hours!
     
  18. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    09/09/2019 - Juliano's World Frenzy, Budapest, Day 1

    Welcome back to Juliano's World Frenzy! Back in late May 2019 I spent a lot of deciding where to visit next on my adventures. I had originally lined up a multi-day session on the trains in Scotland, but eventually I listened to the heart which informed me I'd regret not going for a Euro trip when the opportunity was there. So after much deciding, and a really poorly designed website, I had flights with Wizz Air booked! It was to be with BA originally, but despite Wizz Air having mixed reviews it was a required airline so that made that decision!

    It's fair to say it was a long 5 and a half months of waiting since the last adventure [Australia, Lithuania and Latvia in March 2019 - Ed], and it's fair to say it took some doing not to get into Holiday Mode any sooner than the last part of the shift the day before. Quite, my colleagues were left in no doubt I finally had 5 days off! Anyway, the day of departure finally arrived and it was an early start to get to London Luton Airport, on this occasion that started with the 06:42 from Hereford to London Paddington. I had secured some Advance tickets at £15.50 each way to/from London, so for once I wasn't going by coach all the way! Once the travel mug was filled, it was time to march on down to the station armed also with my umbrella as it was raining quite a bit!

    Dud 802106 rolled in as I strolled onto the platform, so I had a 9-car train instead of what the screens assured me was meant to be a 5-car train. No issue getting to my reserved seat, and the automated announcements got a bit confused with declaring the train was approaching Bristol Parkway, then Newport and it finally realised it was in Hereford! However that was it for automatic announcements for the rest of the journey, and clearly there are still issues with the electronic seat reservations as it was all paper labels out in coach C.

    As I hadn't been on the rails for a couple of weeks I'd forgotten how fast the IETs accelerate! Just before Pershore the trolley service arrived and I could not resist a Lavazza coffee. Regular readers will know I love the SuprLids that GWR [and I'm told TransPennine Express do as well - Ed] and Ryanair use. Eventually we got out of Middle Earth and by cripes coach C filled up a lot! A white 319 got noted on Reading depot which looked mighty odd, and the Heathrow Express colours on the 387s really suits the class.

    Arrival into London Paddington was a couple of minutes late despite a storming run, but I was at my most favourite railway station in the world so I was quite happy! A Pret coffee just had to be done, and after a while I went exploring the area, ending up discovering Merchant Square which looked like a fairly recent development. Back at the station I scored a few more GWR IETs for sight, down to just 15 more to see. Eventually it was time for a slightly early lunch and a positioning move to Bishops Bridge Road for the 11:21 National Express route A2 to Luton Airport.

    That finally arrived and left with one right ol' grumpy driver 14 minutes late, and after other stops we finally got to Golders Green. By now the coach was full of noisy passengers, and a safety announcement was finally made. Normal policy is for this to be played at the beginning of the journey, not a significant time into it! We were also about 29 minutes late by now, and it was onto the M1 at 12:41 when we were meant to have arrived at Luton Airport.

    Arrival at journey's end was finally at 13:12, 31 minutes late, and I noted the Luton Dart [a transport link between Luton Airport Parkway railway station and the airport - Ed] appears to be coming on rather well. It's clearly going to be a good while until it's finished, but I'm looking forward to it when it's ready!

    Security was disorganised and rather unfriendly this time, which made it feel like a lot longer than 15 minutes from start to finish. Clearly I joined the wrong line, as it was an average of 4 minutes before I got there! After it was finally done, I had a bit of a wander around and settle for a Pret coffee eventually. I also took advantage of a filter water point to refill a bottle, a little sneaky really l must admit!

    Gate 10 was for me on this flight, W62206 15:10 London Luton to Budapest, and given my online experience both with booking and checking in was not great, I wasn't expecting much in the way of quality service. Eventually, thanks to poor handling of the Wizz Priority passengers' queue [that was down to the ground staff not Wizz Air though - Ed] it was time for everyone else to have passes checked. Once that was done pretty much everyone was in the same area so Priority only really got you the storage space on board. I wasn't willing to pay out the silly amounts of money for that, and as it's only a short trip my small backpack was perfectly fine here. It fits happily under the seat on planes so job done.

    Now it must be mentioned seemingly every man, woman, child, cat and dog tried to put me off Wizz Air with cries of bad legroom. This, for the record, mostly came from aviation reviews on YouTube. Yes the same source that had me believe Etihad were a good airline to fly on...So I found out for myself, and yes it's not incredible but it's not the knee-scraping experience I was seemingly promised. Maybe on the older planes it's not as great, I mean this was on an Airbus A321Neo, with more modern seats.

    I haven't done an A320/A321 of the older variety yet [well, except for whatever BA used when I went to Tallinn - Ed] and certainly not with Wizz Air. The BA trip in October 2018 was reasonable legroom too, so I guess it helps I'm only 5'10". My point being that whenever an aviation review says legroom is bad in the future I'm not going to believe it!

    Pushback was 2 minutes late at 15:12 and after a short trip to the runway [one major benefit of flying out of Luton! - Ed] we sat there waiting for a number of flights to come in first. However it was into the air at 15:32 with a nice and smooth takeoff.

    Clearly the Neo family's engines are better than on older A320 family craft as not only are they quieter, that awful noise I associate with Airbus craft wasn't heard [my seat was 8E for the record - Ed] so while there was a nice bit of spool-up noise which is always welcome, I didn't feel the ears get annoyed by that irritating engine noise.

    Am I being converted to *liking* these planes? Will I move from loving the 737 to the 321Neo? Only time will tell!

    The on-board magazine was quite an interesting read, and the Wizz Air network map had my eyes almost bulge out of their sockets. Good grief it's HUGE! Having had a friendly yet professional crew today as well, it was looking pretty likely I'll be using Wizz Air again on a future trip. The flight home was being looked forward to as well now, the only thing I'm not a fan of is the colour scheme!

    On board catering looked reasonable in terms of cost but I didn't partake this time. Quite, it took nearly 30 minutes to type this lot up! Oh, and for some reason I neglected to mention the registration for this craft, HA-LVC.

    18:12 [now on GMT+1 - Ed] and the descent to Budapest began. It was a little bumpy for a good while coming down on what I describe as a 'blink and it's over' flight. Having made it through that ultra-long-haul flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi in March 2019, which from memory was approximately 14 hours and 40 minutes, pretty much any flight seems short now! Quite, my trip to Los Angeles in January 2020 is scheduled for something like 10 hours, and I describe that as a quick hop over the Atlantic! The trip to Tokyo in November 2019 features a Frankfurt to Tokyo Narita overnight flight, and a Tokyo Haneda to London Heathrow day flight, both of which are 11+ hours from memory, so those are considered long flights. Will I ever do a flight as long, or indeed longer, than that one from Sydney again? There's only one way to find out...

    It was back on the ground at 18:40 and arrival on a remote stand at the terminal was at 18:43, 8 minutes late. After a short terminal bus ride to the terminal itself, thanks to ePassport gates I was through in no time. Once outside the exit, it was poorly signposted for the buses but I soon found the ticket machines. 900HUF [Hungarian Forint - Ed] for a single, and yes the machines have many different language options including English, or 1,800HUF for a return.

    Tickets have to be validated before use, and at the airport there were staff from BKK, the local transport operator, doing so. Otherwise there are validators on the buses, and eventually a 100E to the city centre arrived to take a large number of us to Deak Square. Don't ask me what that is in Hungarian! It took nearly 30 minutes to get there, and right next to the bus stop was Pizza Me. I popped in and got two decent size slices of Diavola pizza. That's cheese and tomato pizza with slices of salami on, 550HUF each. I did get tempted by Nutella pizza, I must admit, another time though.

    Onwards despite it trying to rain to base camp, and I got lost trying to find it. Eventually it dawned on me the other side of the street had the even numbers, and I'd walked past it! After checking in, I found I had a nice comfy bed at Caterina Private Rooms and Apartments as it is listed on Hotels.com. I was in room 8 which is a 5 bed dorm room, not too bad compared to some I've stayed in. The two places in Sydney for a recent example, and there was one near Borough in London once that was poor. The one somewhere in East London near the DLR was by far the worst though!

    After some catching up on stuff, including typing this up, it was soon time to crash out after a surprisingly busy day. However I was full of excitement for the 2 full days of rest, relaxation, exploring and, of course, some beers!

    Photos are in the report on my WordPress page ;)
     
  19. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    Sounded like a good first day Mr J :)
     
  20. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Apologies for the delay in posting more of my trip, been a crazy busy time since I got back and I've had a cold for 4 days so far!

    Photos, again, are on the WordPress version. As well as on Twitter.

    10/09/2019 - Juliano's World Frenzy, Budapest, Day 2

    After a false start at 05:30, by 06:40 I was awake again. Considering the trams almost right outside the building had kept me awake until daft o'clock I was surprised to be up so early. No matter, after a most excellent shower it was time for breakfast before I set out to explore.

    My first stop was at Nyugati railway station, and naturally some photos were taken during a quick look around.

    Next up, heading towards the city centre, I had a stop at a Lidl for a big bottle of what turned out to be sparkling water [d'oh! - Ed], which had me soon realise my passport was back in the room, so I returned to get that before anything else.

    After that, it was a major exploring session in beautiful warm weather. Yes, even at 8am! A quick look at St Stephen Basilica, one of Budapest's most famous landmarks, was first up with a more thorough look scheduled for later on.

    Erzsebet Square was next, and the Budapest Eye right next to it followed, also taking in Danubius Fountain in front of the Eye. As the Eye appeared to not be open at that point it was also pencilled in for a possible visit later on. Before all too long, I was alongside the river by Erzsebet Bridge, also known on my English walking tours map as White Bridge.

    Continuing further on, I ended up at the so-called Green Bridge, also known more accurately as Szabadsag Bridge. I kept seeing trams passing on line 2, which I'd discovered on a map from the airport is described as Europe's most scenic tram line. Given I've never seen a tram line running through such a beautiful city, let alone right alongside the river, I was already agreeing with that!

    On the other side of Green Bridge was Szent Gellert Square, on the corner of which was Gellert Baths. Cave Church [I'm taking these names from the walking tours map, so apologies if they're inaccurate! - Ed] is, as the name suggests, in the hillside alongside the Danube River. I took the rather hilly and, in many places, steppy route up to Liberty Statue. Far less well known than New York's Statue of Liberty, but still an impressive piece of art. Unlike the one in New York, to see this statue up close you don't need to spend silly money on tourist boats!

    By now, late-ish morning, it was getting rather warm so I was glad I had that water with me! I eventually found my way back to street level, taking a different route to do so, and got a bit lost trying to find Deli station. Budapest has three railway stations, all on different lines and none of them directly linked, even by Metro. Even the main railway station in Tallinn was not as much of a dump as this one! I feel sorry for anyone who arrives here and has *that* as a first impression of Budapest!

    Unsurprisingly, I didn't say long and I saw what looked like a really fun [but no doubt expensive! - Ed] idea, in the form of a former railway carriage near the station being used as a restaurant.

    Onwards and upwards, still in beautiful weather, and I found myself at Szell Kalman Square. Quite the transport interchange there, and the opportunity to sit down and study a map was welcome.

    Before I knew it, I was at Margaret/Margit Bridge which was a close contender to my favourite of the 4 I'd seen so far, the Green Bridge taking top spot. More walking alongside the river found me passing the Parliament building on the other side, and my immediate thought was that it looked more impressive than Westminster's Parliament building in London. I include multiple photos of it here as I couldn't decide on a favourite!

    Eventually I arrived by the funicular railway up the hillside. I could have taken that up to Buda Castle, but the line for tickets was huge and I preferred the idea of walking anyway. It takes a while to get to the top by foot but in my mind it was totally worth it.

    After some looking around I can't say I was blown away by the area, I mean don't get me wrong it was appealing to the eyes but I had a 'is that it?' view on it. I didn't spend a lot of time after all up there, and eventually found my way back to street level near where I'd been about 45 minutes beforehand.

    A walk over Chain Bridge was next, and en-route back to base camp I stopped at a supermarket for 3 beers, some meat and some bread for lunch. I ended up taking an alternative route to base camp, but eventually I got there and got some food devoured as well as some beers. I discovered I'd done a whopping 28.9km already by that point, small wonder my feet were aching!

    Check-in for the flight home was also done, all the way near the back in seat 30D this time but at least I'd have an aisle seat so wouldn't have to interrupt anyone else to get in or out of it. With 2 hours between booked arrival and departure at Luton I didn't mind being near the back anyway. No way was I paying £16 to have 12F which would have been my choice!

    So once this report had been typed up, the feet were nearly ready to go again. I still had a couple of bits I wanted to do, as well as head out to take some night shots, so I wasn't rushing as I still had a full day ahead to finish stuff off. I'd also discovered Brewdog have a venue in Budapest, so that would need doing at some point too...

    Just as I was getting ready to leave, I got a phone call from Carphone Warehouse. I now have a new phone coming my way very soon, thank heavens for that as this Archos thing I've been using is horrible! With that all done, I got back to pounding the pavements and exploring the city.

    By now it was about 25 Celsius, so pretty warm! The sun was fully back out too, having clouded over a bit while I was at base camp having that much needed rest. Next stop was Heroes Square, located at the far end of the Hungarian version of Champs-Elysees, and commemorates 1,000 years of Hungarian history.

    Next up was a trip to Keleti railway station, the third of the three mainline stations and its station building by far the most impressive. Naturally, there were some photos, including an OBB 1116 on a Railjet service as well as the awesome sounding 630 which had arrived light engine to work a long-distance train later on. For the rail enthusiasts reading this [I appreciate those reading this on WordPress aren't necessarily into trains! - Ed] think of the UK's 87s for the noise and you'll no doubt understand why I'd fallen in love with these!

    Back on the walk, aiming for the city centre, and a visit to Aldi for a supply raid and some beers had to happen. I can already hear the beerheads reading this shaking their heads, supermarket beers aren't usually that great after all. On the way towards the centre, having also found a cash-only [seriously, in this day and age?! - Ed] craft beer place near Keleti station, which I promised myself to remember for Day 3 of this trip, I found Neked Csak Dezso, and noting they took cards and were a Verified Venue on Untappd, I *had* to investigate.

    Quite the decent variety on tap, and plenty of taps too, and my first 0,4l [so only 168ml less than a British pint - Ed] was Horizont's Double Gentle Bas**rd at 8%. I took a seat in what was by now in the shade, but still warm, and PHWOAR! What a monster!

    If you're not hearing "What's that coming over the hill? Is it a monster, is it a monsterrrr?" then there's something not quite right! A thoroughly enjoyable beer, and if my fellow beerheads needed proof Europe does great beer THIS is the beer to prove it!

    A slightly weaker [if 6.1% can be considered 'slightly' weaker! - Ed] craft beer was had afterwards, and before I knew I was in Beer Bar, another Untappd Verified Venue. This was a Norwegian India Pale Lager, and while in this venue Tricky by Run DMC played [as well as another track I recognised but failed to remember the name of! - Ed] which occasionally comes to mind at work. I mean, come on, you have to have *something* to keep you occupied at 5am...

    Anyway, after that I finally found Budapest's Brewdog and had two awesome beers in there. One of which was from the USA, which was for some reason unexpected! On the way to base camp I made my final supply raid of the night at Spar for an ultra late evening meal of cheap meat sandwiches, as I was [understandably! - Ed] by now running fairly low on funds. I did however have 4 supermarket beers, so I was sorted on that front!

    Back at base camp those sandwiches got worked on, as by now I had a major appetite! 27.1 miles were recorded over 14 hours, so I was now 12 miles over target for the month. I also got chatting to a guy from Ukraine over some beers, just general chatter and when I looked at the Ukrainian language on my translator app I was shocked at how complicated it is!

    Eventually it was time to hit the hay after a really enjoyable and long day, although I still woke up early!
     
  21. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    11/09/2019 - Juliano's World Frenzy, Budapest, Day 3

    Another early wake-up to my surprise, but I did manage to get a bit more sleep thankfully. Eventually it was up and about at 08:10 to get ready for another full day, and by 9am I was back on the streets. It was another beautiful day, and this time there was no real list of stuff to see, except the couple of things I had put off on Day 2. So today was a case of exploring on an 'ooh where does this street lead to?' basis!

    During my wander I stopped for what turned out to be a really small coffee [500HUF for such a tiny and not great coffee was the biggest rip-off of the trip - Ed], and soon I ended up by the Parliament building that featured in Day 2's photos. Up close it really is an impressive building, and my photos here will not do it justice. Views of the other side of the river were mandatory of course too.

    Further on down various streets I then found Liberty Square, and the memorial to those who paid the ultimate price in wars. I hadn't known this area was here, a nice pleasant surprise and it goes to show this manner of exploring can yield some good results!

    Much more walking around saw me alongside the Danube River later on, and while at the fountain by Gellert Hotel I naturally had to fill my bottle! By now it was already 26C and very sunny, so water consumption was pretty high. The route continued down to Petofi Bridge, and once over that and on the city centre side of the river again, I made my way up to The Glass Whale.

    I've no idea what it is inside there, but it's certainly architecturally interesting. Soon enough I was at Central Market Hall, an enormous 2-storey market full of all sorts. Extremely busy too!

    Before too long I was back in the sun, the cool air in the market hall having been more than welcome in the midday heat. My walk took me onwards to Kalvin Square, and near Astoria I found an Aldi. European Aldi stores have an excellent bakery selection, so for lunch I got a bacon and cheese pizza rectangular slice, a pastry with a hot dog and ketchup inside, and a chocolate topped ring doughnut.

    For 477HUF that was a bargain, and thoroughly enjoyable. It wasn't long before that lot got devoured during a short people-watching session, and eventually I arrived back at base camp for a break. 4 hours of exploring had already racked up 12 miles, so I was keen to rest the feet [before the blisters got worse! - Ed] for a while. Some of Day 2's photos got shared to Twitter, with so many of them I needed to break from that too, so some other tasks were done too.

    It seemed as good a time as any, as by now it was 14:40, to crack open a beer and get the bag packed. No rush to do so, of course, but something was telling me to get on with it. With the majority of that done, I headed out to my final point of interest, City Park. A good call, as it turned out, as it was quite a nice park to have a walk around. The very impressive Szechnyi Baths building was a main feature, and below are a selection of photos from it and, before it, the Museum of Fine Arts.

    Eventually I found a nice quiet spot near a lake to sit down, relax and enjoy a beer. It's also worth noting there's a flight path over the park to Budapest Airport, so I also saw [but couldn't ID - Ed] a good few planes while there. By now it was getting close to 5pm, and a light breeze was starting, which was welcome. I had now done everything I wanted to do in Budapest, so all that was left to do was to relax before returning to the UK on Day 4 of this adventure. As much as I've enjoyed this trip, I was looking forward to my return to the UK.

    A slow walk back to base camp was next, with the only objectives of the evening being to enjoy some beer and have food. On the way back to base camp, I was deciding on the food option then got distracted by The Pointer almost next door. Happy Hour was on until 6pm, and a 1 litre stein of Hunters Gold was available for 590HUF. So I ended up going for that, and it was quite a refreshing lager. There's also the fact a stein in one's hand really has a weird way of upping the feeling of testosterone! A man's size drink, which I know sounds silly, but it is what it is!

    Some bits and bobs were then sourced from Spar before returning to base camp with aching feet. Obviously there were some beers involved too, including one from Austria as it turned out! A very laid back evening followed!

    12/09/2019 - Juliano's World Frenzy, Budapest, Day 4

    And so it was time to get ready to head back to the UK! My Goodness this trip went by fast! I was awake quite early at 06:30, and at 7am I was ready for a small breakfast. Payment of my stay was only by cash, so I first went to a cash machine to get 8,000HUF. With transaction fees from the ATM operator and then another £2 fee from the bank that came to £30.26, so at just over £10 per night for my stay it was pretty good value.

    As I had a lot of time to spare, I shared some more photos on Twitter, and when it came to sharing a night shot from Day 2 of the Budapest Eye I wished I had gone to see a few other sights at night. Hey-ho, there's a good excuse to return one day! After some more coffee, it was already 08:44 so time to get into the city. As I still had plenty of time, I went on a lengthy route via the riverfront, taking in the views one last time. By some measure this is the most beautiful city I've been to!

    It was already 21 Celsius before I'd got to the river, and it was another sunny day. Before all too long, I was on a route 100E bus from Deak Square to the airport at 09:51, and as much as I've loved this city break there was a flight to catch. Therefore I was excited!

    35 minutes later I was at the airport, and it's quite a nice departures area. There was still time to soak up a little sun, and after that the line for security had quietened down considerably. After just a few minutes, and it never ceases to amaze me how many times I encounter people who are not prepared with toiletries, belts etc, I was through and had just under an hour to wait for gate information. I found a charging point and took advantage of big windows to spot a few planes too.

    After a while I decided to go for a proper explore of the terminal, after all today was a day with a lot of sitting around so all exercise was welcome! A large Costa coffee got sourced, and hugely welcome, given that Hungarian coffee is not great, before too long I'd discovered I was to depart from gate B13. After sourcing some Pepsi Max and a bottle of water for the flight [could have got away with just the one, as the plane was nice and cool - Ed] boarding eventually begun at 12:30.

    Downstairs to a bus to the plane, which was a bonus as I got multiple planes scored for sight as a result. On this occasion for W62205, it was winner HA-LVD, a Wizz Air A321Neo. My seat was 30D, right behind the emergency exit row, and at 12:51 we got pushback, 1 minute late. Following the safety demonstration and a short taxi, it was into the air at 13:02.

    Most of this flight was taken up by reading, and at 13:54 [back to GMT time now - Ed] the descent to Luton began. Once the seatbelts sign lit up at 14:02 I was halfway through the book, on this trip it was Linwood Barclay's Trust Your Eyes. It took a long time for the storyline to properly grab me, so a poor showing from an author who's usually really good. However, even being quite close to the engine this time, I still liked the A321Neo, and will be happy to fly on one again!

    Back on the ground at 14:19 and arrival at the terminal was at 14:23, 7 minutes early. It was nearly 10 minutes before I was off the plane, and thanks to the awesome invention of ePassports and the relevant passport gates I was through in no time. First port of call was Pret for a most enjoyable coffee [say what you will about the UK but at least our coffee is great! - Ed] and a sit-down in the sunshine outside the terminal.

    After about an hour, my stomach reminded me it had been a good while since my last bit of anything even close to proper food, so I couldn't resist Burger King any longer. One beast of a meal devoured, and the stomach happy to receive something extremely tasty, it was back to the coach stops [the sun had gone behind clouds sadly - Ed] before my coach at 16:40 to London Paddington. By now it was 15:51 so not long to wait, and I was already in Trip Planning Process Mode for my adventures following LA in January 2020. Looking at the terminal building, I thought to myself "I doubt many people have ever said it, but I must get to Luton immediately"! Say what you will of Luton Airport, it's one of my favourites and it is highly likely I will be back here before too long!

    Departure on the coach was a couple of minutes late, but I was surprised how fast that time at Luton went. More book reading occupied me to Paddington, where we arrived about 5 minutes late. I walked to Brewdog Paddington, but it was far too busy to get into so I went back to the station. Some hot food was sourced from Sainsbury's as well as chocolate for the long journey home [that BK meal was nice but didn't last long in the end! - Ed]. A beer for later in the journey from M&S was also sourced before a coffee from Pret. At that point I had over 4 hours until I'd get home, so a caffeine boost was mandatory!

    At 19:11 the announcement went out for the 19:22 to Hereford, and I got winner 802109 taking me home. I even had working electronic seat reservations on this trip, which I know sounds silly but it was oddly satisfying! After Oxford I got my book back out, sipping the beer after Hanborough. The journey started dragging in places, and by Hereford I was about 40 pages from finishing the read.

    Arrival back in The Ford was 5 minutes early at 22:49 and I've not been that happy to arrive early on a train for a long time! A march home was the end of the trip, although it took forever to unwind after finishing the book. I think it was about 2am when I finally got to sleep, and later on in the morning I'd caught a cold and the symptoms were really kicking in. Thankfully I had cold and flu tablets in the house, and I was grateful I had a day at home to recover before going back to work!
     
  22. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    A nice little holiday, told ya to go back out on the evening of day 3 to see the city under darkness as it looks different
     
  23. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Indeed you did, but I do believe a primary reason for not doing so was the feet. They were destroyed after so much walking, but as I've looked at it since then it just means I have a good excuse to go back some time. Get bored and somehow have nothing else to do with some time off? Over I could go! :lol:
     
  24. fowler9

    fowler9 Established Member

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    Sounds like a brilliant trip Tech. I love Budapest.
     

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