Arcticterntalk.org

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 “holiday”

The Cost Of Airport Food Is Outrageous . 20£ For A Burger at Arlanda Stockholm Airport


Travellers have little choice often to eat in airports. Having to arrive hours before a flight, airlines rarely serving free food and a mandatory queue at passport control afterwards. So it might be reasonable to expect two things. A choice of food options that are not dominated by Gordon Ramsay, Sushi and Caviar bars. As one gets in Terminal Five. Trying to buy a humble cup of tea or coffee can be impossible . A second expectation is that prices are equitable. Things are now getting out of hand and travellers have every right to protest.

At Arlanda airport last night a sports bar , O’Learys, nothing special if I am honest was wanting over 20£ for a burger . Ribs would set you back 27£ and a steak would cost you not much under 40£.

How can these prices for food that looked inferior to Burger King be fair? Put it another way. Family of three. A burger meal and drinks would be costing around £75. If the children asked for chicken strips that too is around 25£. Vending machines would then sell you chocolate bars such as Twix for £2.

Other airports are no better. London City Airport charges extortionate amounts for average food.

The regulators need to look into this. Just as service stations charge 20p per litre more airports should be prevented from operating this unpleasant pricing cartel .

Very Interesting Room Service at Radisson Blu Belfast


While travelling one sees curious things, people and foods. To find this version of room service this morning is up there with the most curious.

My guess is a kind friend left breakfast for someone. Or is it the cheapest breakfast ?

Fall Out Boy At O2. Beyond Brilliant


It’s more difficult than one can imagine to entertain 17,000 folks with the right mix of songs.

Even when these folks are avid fans. Fall Out Boy contrived to do this brilliantly . A few reasons why

  1. Only one excellent quality support band . Against the Current. No need for multiple poor bands to fill time, these guys played maybe 35 minutes and were great
  2. The stage set was unique in that the background to the band was an ever changing colourful visual .
  3. The band played 2 songs effectively on a raised stage in the middle of the auditorium. Meaning that even those souls in the Sky got some close ups . A walkway also allowed the band to dance through the crowd in a kind of sensible non contact crowd surfing.
  4. The set list was a mixture of old and new with even the odd almost acoustic number
  5. They sounded great. Vocals were superb and the sound very complete.
  6. They played 90 minutes so not overdoing their welcome including an excellent encore.

All in all a great evening in what is now London’s best large music venue

A Restaurant Called Alice. Alice Ristorante Milan. Simply Beyond Brilliant


I am as far from being a restaurant critic as it is possible to be. Having been summoned to a Milan restaurant as part of a group of people one has little idea of what the food will be like and often the style of the food.

Alice Ristorante is situated in a complex with the cute sounding Eataly Milano Smeraldo name. Arriving at the door it seems one has arrived at the Milan equivalent of Waitrose. A large food store selling on three levels various Italian foods. Tucked away on the top floor was Alice Ristorante. A medium size restaurant overlooking the main street where the only obvious landmark was the taxi rank.

The food and the service was beyond brilliant. The group had been pre ordered a menu with accompanying wines.

Depending upon how one counts courses we seemed to have seven. Some of the dishes are best described by looking at the menu here. The only obvious dishes were the excellent sea bass and the risotto.

I cannot recall a better meal. The service was attentive without being overpowering. The white wines were perfectly chilled. The food looked and tasted superb. Cost? I have no idea.

Early morning drinking at airports and the waste of alcohol


Airport lounges are never dull places. In general if you seek rudeness you can expect to find it. Folks pushing in to grab the food and generally taking up seven chairs. Some of the fashion sense is also dubious . Anything free is pounced upon in a hawk like manner.

If you have followed my blog you will recall articles on early morning drinking at Scottish airports. So I will not repeat my thoughts here. Today however a totally new rant. Waste. Anyone travelling to USA will be highly familiar with the waste of food there purely by being served gigantic portions. What is less common is waste of alcohol, after all it is relatively expensive there . Today however it is the waste of alcohol here in Uk. Terminal 5 lounge where for fortunate passengers food and alcohol is free. I had no intention of writing a blog at 9 am but was struck by two men essentially having poured and wasted numerous drinks. Five to seven glasses at various times. At a guess mostly different types of champagnes. Why? Society is not in a good place if this is a behaviour that is common. End of rant . Except to comment on the lady next to me who either has an unfortunate ring tone on her phone announcing texts or emails, the sound of a steam train[ I think] or alternatively an unpleasant gastric situation . Needless to say the ring tone is set to extra loud. Good morning

Vienna is a Black and White place. The power of BW photography


Sometimes black and white photography conveys far more a meaningful resemblance of a city than colour. Sometimes not.

In winter Vienna is cold and often a wet place. A few photographs that attempt to convey what Vienna in November is.

FA cup First Round. The grounds are hardly crowded. Why ?


The media are full of the glamour of the FA cup. Sadly for many if not most teams that glamour is somewhat tarnished.

Not everyone is aware that the FA cup starts in August and ends in May. The early qualifying rounds are a god given chance for nonleague teams to make a small amount of money from the moderately attractive prize money on offer. By the time the first round rolls round in November the media suddenly awake with their stories of candlestick makers and funeral directors somehow managing to combine a job and a nonleague football career. Curiously they manage that on each of the other 364 days. As overheard at the recent Met Police FA trophy game a player when asked if he was playing on Tuesday simply answered negatively as was working. As Moriarty famously said in Sherlock “ that’s what people do”.

The glamour of the first round however comes with sadness too. The crowds at many grounds , sometimes famous grounds in FA cup parlor, were poor if not pathetic. The reasons may be varied. Clubs that decide not to offer deals and retain normal charges . Clubs that poorly advertise. Clubs that simply do not care as the league club imagines that the prize money more than compensates.

Let’s take a look at the winners and the rogues gallery. Starting with the rogues;

  • Colchester. We all recall Layer Road and the Leeds cup tie. The crowd v Oxford City a pitiful 1775. Oxford won 1-0.
  • Coventry. A crowd of 3370 saw a 2-0 victory over Maidenhead.
  • Charlton. Another ex-premier league side . A crowd of 4494 saw a 3-1 victory over Truro. Around 1000 were Truro fans
  • Blackburn. Premiership winners . A crowd of 3710 saw a 3-1 victory over Barnet
  • Wimbledon. There has been enough miserable moaning from the club over the last few years about MK Dons and Franchise FC. The famous FA cup winners persuaded only 3394 paying spectators to attend their game against Lincoln City who had an incredible run last year. Terrible in my opinion. Need I continue.

So where were the decent crowds? The nonleague sides playing at home. Hereford who are a reincarnated club but with great cup history had 4712 watch them defeat another nonleague side AFC Telford. Almost matching the highest crowd of the round at Luton v Portsmouth. 5333.

What realistically can be done? There are three options

  1. Do nothing and watch the history and glamour of this great competition die
  2. Allow the FA to subsidise prices for the first two rounds such that the maximum ticket price is £10 or less and children are free
  3. In the first round seed all nonleague teams to have home advantage

To do nothing is not an option.

An hour in Newcastle on Tyne


As with many trips there is never enough time to see a city properly . But if you have an hour just walk down to the quayside area . The choice is walk along the Tyne. Walk over a bridge. There are plenty to choose from.

The lower level bridge is my favourite for no good reason. One is undercover and the smell of urine is not far away. But a few curious aspects. The padlocks are interesting. To read the inscriptions . Compare the different types. Wonder how many of the couples who placed them here are still together?

The views are also good of all the other bridges. When you reach the far side you are in Gateshead. And it does seem as though you have left Newcastle.

This is a great city and a friendly one too. Well worth an hour wandering around

What Exactly Is The Point of C gates at Terminal 5 Heathrow?


While extra runways are the talk of the town there are few comments on the use of Terminal 5 in an effective manner.

Passengers dread the phrase when it appears on the departure screens, B gates or C gates. It always adds 10-15 minutes onto the time needed to reach the gate. The shuttle train is always coming in two minutes which translated this morning into 6 minutes. At least this is multiples of two. Combined with the wait while the ineffective nonsense of the security search is undertaken provides audible sighs and almost visible misery from the waiting passengers.

Today was such a day. A flight to Frankfurt on a 767. Presumably operational reasons dictated a large plane . No issues there. However the striking metric emanating from the departure screen was that only nine flights were departing from the C gates over a six hour period . How can this be effective for anyone? The shops there lie vacant of business with downcast salesmen with no one to sell to. The concourses were totally empty. Surely there must be a better way to use C gates?

Gothenburg Harbour . Sunrise and Sunset


The area around the harbour on the south side is essentially a Science park and a Radisson hotel. But at sunrise and sunset it comes to life . A few photographs .

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