Tag Archives: uk

Thames Path – pt. 5.

Having just completed a vacation-till-you-drop tour of the Caribbean and Bahamas – up early every morning, late to bed every night, daily flights between the islands, sore index finger from all the snapping – it was time for a complete change: of continent. But the island theme, arguably, continued, for we were headed to London, capital of the UK – another island nation.

I find myself in the British capital frequently – our European HQ is here, so there’s always plenty of business needs seeing to. And seeing as though I’m here often, and have been known to enjoy a lengthy, brisk stroll if I can fit one into my working schedule, I decided a few years back to walk different sections of the Thames Path at different times, whenever I can. You can’t do the whole Path in one go as it’s just too long – nearly 300km! Well, I’d done four sections to date, with the last one taking me as far as Richmond Lock. Now, it was time for the fifth installment…

So, setting off from above-mentioned lock, the first things we come to are two bridges:

Conveniently, practically all bridges along the route have paths or tunnels going under them beside the river, meaning you don’t have to climb up from the Thames to get past them.

Read on…

LCY – AMS: Quicker flight than the taxi ride to the airport.

Sometimes, trying to save time sees you spending even more of it…

Every now and then you hear a frustrated business traveler complaining about it taking longer to get to the airport than to fly to their destination. Well, this time that business traveler is me, for I’ve just set myself a record: a recent drive to an airport took twice as long as the flight itself! It was in London, but the airport wasn’t Heathrow or Gatwick or Luton, it was London City Airport – just 18 kilometers from our hotel near Hyde Park: a lot nearer. But we were driving for a whole 90 minutes! Oh my grrrr.

// And before you wonder why we didn’t take the Tube, let me just explain that we had with us fat and heavy suitcases to see us through a whole week of business traveling across four countries. Tried it before; the only conclusion: never again! The Underground is far too cramped for comfort with big suitcases.

Read on…

XIA – PEK – SVO – LHR – NAS – LHR – PHEW.

I’ve been getting about quite a bit this fall, and practically every day I’ve been as busy as a bee. It’s that slightly disorienting routine I get into every few months or so: each day something new – starting with the hotel room I wake up in.

But the other day it wasn’t a hotel room. Upon waking, my first question to myself was the usual ‘Where am I?’, but the answer this time came ‘in an Airbus!’ Indeed I was, flying Xi-an – Beijing – Moscow – London – the Bahamas – London over several days.

Such continent hopping in a short time with lots on the work agenda forces my happy-snapping habit into its minimalist regime. This isn’t so bad, as the pics that do manage to get taken are normally very much ‘greatest  hits’ and no padding. Thus, this post: ‘Greatest Hits of the Last Several Days’!

First, here’s a masterpiece from Petrovich taken at dawn at Danxia:

Before you ask about the fly, let me make the introductions: please meet our pet fly, whom we carry around the world with us in a jar and sometimes let him out for a walk fly :).

And now for a brief rundown of my recent continent hopping…

Read on: Asia > Europe > North America > Europe…

Thames Path – No Faff.

The other week, in London on various work matters, A.S. and I managed to find the time to continue our stroll along the Thames Path. I say continue as I’d covered a good stretch of it before – last year I think, only with A.B., not A.S. Anyway, the Thames Path starts (or ends) at the Thames Barrier (near London City Airport) and finishes (or starts) somewhere up by the river head. Yes – it’s long. A whole ~300km long! And since, though not fully gym-shy we’re not quite Ultraman triathalonists, we take sections of this premium path separately when in town, this time from the very end/start – the barrier – to the Golden Jubilee Bridge, and from there we wander off-pistepath to other London places of interest, of which there are plenty, as you’ll either know or guess.

Read on: A brief summary of the previous segments …

An Alternative History of Crown Dependencies.

My recent short trips to the Channel Islands (in particular, Jersey) had left me with many unanswered questions and much bewilderment. And of course what amazed me most was the official status of these mini-territories, and the fact that some have their own currency and even Internet domains.

Mercifully, my friend and colleague, V.G, (inter alia, our resident history buff) filled in the blanks in my knowledge regarding these so-called crown dependences in a blogpost he recently put on our intranet on the Second World War – in particular, on the Nazi occupation of crown dependencies. I was going to give you my version of what he wrote there, but, on second thoughts, I decided it’d be better straight from the horse’s historian’s mouth, as they say. So here’s his post – verbatim. All righty. Here we go…

—8<—
 In August 1940, a month after the beginning of the Battle of Britain, the German occupation regime of the Channel Islands – up to that moment crown dependencies of Great Britain – was finally established. These islands became – and remained, until May 16, 1945 – the only territories of the British Commonwealth occupied by the Wehrmacht.

A crown dependency is a territory dependent on the mother country (the United Kingdom) – not a colony; this had been the custom since the times of the Dukes of Normandy, and became law in 1563. In 1565, Elisabeth I introduced the institute of governors of the islands of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, and others. The island of Sark falls under the jurisdiction of Guernsey and is ruled by a constitutional monarch with the title Seigneur of Sark or Dame of Sark. 

Read on: Back to the island of Sark…

Jersey in a Day.

Hi folks!

Herewith, more tales from Jersey.

I wasn’t quite expecting it but the island is a very beautiful one. It’s very green, with brightly colored flowers in places (in-between the potato fields). To the north it’s all rocks and cliffs along the coast. In good weather you can see the neighboring islands, and even a bit of France to the east.

In the evening we got to see a nice sunset above the sea:

But anyway. You might be wondering what we were doing on Jersey. Of course – working; plus touristy bits added on, as always ).

Read on: favorite work…

Oysterry Fields Forever.

Jersey feeds itself with the plentiful supply of potatoes that grows here; but all carbs and no protein is good for no man, woman or child, as you’ll all know. God knows this too, clearly, because he gave Jersey plentiful coastlines which, in combination with suitable climatic conditions, are the perfect place for oyster (protein!) breeding plantations. Which is where, unexpectedly, we were headed for a continuation of our touristic inspection of the island – shrouded by a thick fog and on the most unusual means of transport.


Read on: Here’s our ride

Jersey, pt. 1: A Hoard of Celtic Cash.

Hi folks – from the Bailiwick of Jersey, UK. Time for some touristic study of the history, ethnography, and other places and things of interest on this curious little island in the English Channel just a stone’s throw from France.

All righty. Before I get started here, er, could someone in the audience please tell me whether Jersey is an independent state or not? Why do ask? So I know whether I can add a +1 to my ‘been-to’ list of countries, of course!

The other reason I ask is that I couldn’t work it out for myself. I mean, WHAT?!: “[Jersey is] a Crown dependency of the United Kingdom, ruled by the Crown in right of Jersey. … Jersey was part of the Duchy of Normandy, whose dukes went on to become kings of England from 1066. After Normandy was lost by the kings of England in the 13th century, and the ducal title surrendered to France, Jersey and the other Channel Islands remained attached to the English crown. … Jersey is a self-governing parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy, with its own financial, legal and judicial systems, and the power of self-determination.”!!!

Ok, I’ll just have to work it out by the feel of the place… And it sure does feel like the UK. The houses lining the roads, the signposts (all facing the wrong way:), the license plates (on cars driving on the wrong side of the road:), the open fire in the hotel, the cricket grounds, the fog, and the money with a Queen called Elizabeth on it… yep – sure all looks and feels like the UK to me. Curiously, one thing that doesn’t seem quite so typically British is the openness of the inhabitants and how easy it is to strike up a conversation with them! Or maybe it just seemed that way in the opaque atmosphere of existence here.

I mentioned the money; well, they’re pounds all right – just a little different (‘Jersey pounds‘):

Read on: Jersey’s an interesting place…

Foggy London.

Phew. That was a tough two days in the UK capital. Herewith, a few words and a lot of pics of those two days…

It was two days of rising at the crack of dawn and getting to bed late. Three conferences + three speeches thereat + lots of meetings + lots of interviews + lots of traffic jams + lots of walking (to avoid the traffic jams) + nothing else! I mean – nothing non-work interesting or touristic. Boo. Still, did manage to take a few snaps over the two days:

A murky Thames:

Read on: A deluxe surprise…