The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “france”

Biarritz. A curious place. Is it worth a weekend visit?

I simply don’t get Biarritz. On the face of it a southern France seaside town that is favoured by wealthy French citizens. The promenade does indeed look Grand with a backdrop of large hotels and apartment blocks and the blue sky and sea.

Titles of hotels such as Grand Tonic and Grand Palais combined with a number of casinos, and shops where clothes items seem to have the decimal point in the wrong place provide clues.

Undoubtedly surfers love this place though with their beach visits starting at 7.30 am in late October in the dark.

However the atmosphere is subdued. The buildings jaded and there is almost a sign displayed saying please do not come here unless you are wealthy. Paying 5€ for an ice cream tells another tale.

Beyond this monied facade though there are a few nice aspects and views. Watching the sea crash into and over the promenade as the sun goes down and warm light falling onto the steps near the harbour make pleasant viewing. People sit in the sunshine and a few brave souls join the surfers in the sea. Lots of happy looking dogs walking around and on the beach.

But is this a place worth coming to? I am really not sure. Biarritz is difficult to reach with direct flights limited to Ryanair out of Stansted. And the flights presumably are seasonal as the flight was only 20% full at best.

On balance for me this is not a place to visit even if you are tempted by £7.99 Ryanair flights. Better places are there for weekend visits at less cost. Even the nice pavement cafes and bars are not tempting enough.

What do we know after 2 days of EURO 2016? There are some bad barbers, bad referees and superb goals.

  1. We have not seen the winner of EURO 2016. Opening games can be notoriously unpredictable but none of the teams so far seem to have the ability to go and win. A few decent goals, Bale and Payet as examples, but the overall play has in many games been a little scrappy.
  2. The refereeing is poor. Any number of poor decisions have been made, mostly failure to give penalties or free kicks. The value of the official behind the goal is zero. In the Wales V Slovakia game the official was 2 yards away and missed an elbow to the upper shoulder from Skrtel. Albania can feel aggrieved not to have had at least one penalty in their game. IMG_4379
  3. The riots/disturbances seem to be initiated by Russian and French “ultras” ( whatever they are, I prefer the term psychopath). There are clear unbiased reports of fans sitting drinking peacefully and being attacked by groups of men in balaclavas, clearly premeditated. The reports are that the French police seem not to  be effective and are ignoring a lot of violence.IMG_4384IMG_4383
  4. There are some truly ridiculous hairstyles, and in the main the perpetrators of bad hair should be spending more time on football practice and less time in the barbers chair. Slovakia are the winners of the bad hairstyle Euro 2016 currently. The worst one? Easy. Kuco from Slovakia.
  5. There have been a fair amount of hard/dangerous tackles. Many of these in the Albania v Switzerland game.  The first serious injury awaits, and referees have been poor in recognising the dangerous from the simply bad tackles. A  number of two footed tackles have gone seemingly unseen and certainly unpunished.
  6. The best team performance? Another easy one. Wales. A real team reminding me of Leicester City. The sum of the parts are greater than the individual components. IMG_4381
  7. Fans are determined to enjoy themselves whatever. IMG_4382
  8. Street Art now recognises football. Thierry Henry. Just superb.IMG_4380
  9. England are going to give their fans a rollercoaster ride. They played well but did they really look like a great side? Not really. Maybe quarter-final material, and maybe not.

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