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  1. #1
    CC FIDE Master
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    Forace's Tour of Europe 2009

    Hi everyone,

    For those who don't know I have just started a seven week holiday in Europe. I wasn't planning to do a blog per se, but I received a request from Dave Smerdon, so here goes...

    The first stop in my trip was 48 hours in Dubai, UAE which of course isn't in Europe. It was a convienent way to break up the trip and see somewhere I hadn't seen before.

    Dubai is essentially a big, hot city and a concrete jungle. The weather which was 41 degrees both days wasn't really a problem. I didn't feel that the humidity was too high, it's only a marginally more humid than Canberra. The heat mainly comes from the lack of trees and the overuse of cars. It was much nicer under what little shade the city has to offer.

    The hardest thing for me was observing the holy month of Ramadan. While I am not Muslim, it is an offence to consume anything with the daylight hours, so my activities had to be limited some what.

    The first day around, I spent walking around Deira, the city where I was staying, but by lunch time this had worn me out. After resting for a bit, in the hotel I searched though my copy of 101 Things to Before You Die and noticed that one of the items was to be at the top of the Buj Dubai, the 2.5km high buiding which is yet to be complete. After planning this, I had a sleep and then headed for dinner, then retired to the night. The ultimate irony was that my old air-con unit couldn't be turned off, so I had the sleep with a thick woollen jumper on, so I didn't freeze.

    Day Two: I caught a cab ad took an informal tour around the city, I did visit the Buj Bubai but as it is essentially a construction zone, I could only get a 100 metres away. It's really hard to believe that it's so high. It was a little over the top, but many aspects of Dubai are like this.

    In the afternoon I went Ice Skating. (yes really. ) It's been almost 10 years on ice for me, but I managed to stay on my feet for the entire time, which was a bonus.

    I suppose if I had a great reflection of my two days there, it was counting the cost of the enviornmental destructiion of Dubai and the appauling conditions that labourers from the sub-continent have to endure in working there. As for the environment, it's a city devoid of trees and a result the heat from traffic is very intense. I also drank 12 bottles of water in just two days, and while I recycled them, I am also aware that the plastic used in these bottles can't be recycled all that many times, because of the poor quality.

    The working conditions of workers as I said is terrible. I read a local newpaper article in which a local was organising aid packages to labourers. The iitems requested were all essentials. One partiuclar request was a bed linen without lice. It's this bad. The kits are worth about $US50 or about 200 Dirhams. I also watched them in 40 degree heat, wondering were they allowed to have a drink break??

    While it was an experience, I doubt that I would ever return.

    I arrived in Malta about four hours ago, and I'm here for four days, essentially visiting family, though tomorrow I am visiting an area called Blue Grotto in the south of Malta, known for it's fluro blue waters. More of that in due time...
    Lee Forace

    Foraceīs Legacy - Swap off when you are down.

    It's better to set goals that one cannot acheive than to settle for mediocrity.

  2. #2
    CC Grandmaster Basil's Avatar
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    Happy hols Lee. A good read to date. Say hi to the Brits for me. As in - stop people in London and say "Howard from Brisbane says 'hi'". They'll know who you mean.

    Stay safe.
    There is no cure for leftism. Its infestation of the host mostly diminishes with age except in the most rabid of specimens.

  3. #3
    CC FIDE Master
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    Foraceīs Tour of Europe - Part 2

    Hello Boys and Girls,

    Hope all is well back home in Australia. Iīve been a little slack (enjoying my trip) and so havenīt updated my adventures.

    The second place on my trip was the islands of Malta. This is actually my fifth trip to Malta so I had seen the vast majority of the place before, but I had never been in the European summer, so there were a few little things I had missed for seasonal reasons.

    The two main parts of the trips was visiting the island (rock) of Comino and visiting a area of the island called Blue Grotto.

    Comino is Maltaīs 3rd largest island. (There are seven islands). It is a mere 1.6sq km (or a sq mile) for those on the old scale. On the island is a hotel and not much else. It has some great beaches with beautiful waters, so I enjoyed the boat ride and the swim. Itīs other claim to fame is that the island used to be owned by Ralph Harris.

    Blue Grotto is a series of caves with again electric blue waters. Unfortunally there was a little pollution but for the most part it was wonderful.

    Most other adventures were spent around Paceville (or Peacetown). Amusingly itīs where Maltaīs nightlife is, which rocks with great music, heaps of clubs, bars and for the most part cheap (but good cocktails). I also hung with the little family I actually like in Malta, met their friends and had a blast.

    One surprise I didnīt see coming was dinner in Mdina. Mdina is Maltaīs ancient capital, a hge fortified city in probably Maltaīs only hill. The city is comprised of beautiful, huge limestone buildings and unlike the rest of Malta isnīt so hectic. If I could live in Malta it would be here, but itīs an unrealistic goal. Houses almost never go up for sale as they are past down from generation to generation. I did look for rental places (while browsing the paper) but there were none.

    For the last 48 hours Iīve been in Reykavik, Iceland. Itīs an amasing place. The physical beauty is amazing, the hills, beautiful greens and blues. The weather has been great, between 7-16 degrees each day, and about 16 hours of sunlight. Unfortunally I missed the land of the midnight sun.

    I went on a tour today, taking in the National Park, waterfall and Geysir. Again it was breath taking, and well priced. There are a lot of tourists around, not that its a problem.

    Tomorrow I plan to go for a swim in a natural hot pool, and on Tuesday I plan to head to London, where as requested I need to ask every local I meet that Howard says hi.

    One part of the London quest in the Monopoly board pub crawl. From Old Kent Road to Mayfair - One Giin and Tonic at a time.
    Lee Forace

    Foraceīs Legacy - Swap off when you are down.

    It's better to set goals that one cannot acheive than to settle for mediocrity.

  4. #4
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Hey Lee, sounds great. So what is the theme of the trip? Malta, Iceland, Britain... A tour of the small islands of Europe?
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  5. #5
    CC FIDE Master
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    Theme

    Quote Originally Posted by Rincewind
    Hey Lee, sounds great. So what is the theme of the trip? Malta, Iceland, Britain... A tour of the small islands of Europe?
    Hi Barry,

    Malta is for family, Iceland because itīs so different and London as Iīve never been before. Iīm also taking on much of Western Europe on the Contiki tour, so your island theme falls a little...

    Cheers.

    Forace.
    Lee Forace

    Foraceīs Legacy - Swap off when you are down.

    It's better to set goals that one cannot acheive than to settle for mediocrity.

  6. #6
    CC Rookie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunderspirit

    One part of the London quest in the Monopoly board pub crawl. From Old Kent Road to Mayfair - One Giin and Tonic at a time.
    Sounds like a pretty harsh session.

    Hope you remebered to pack your get out of jail free card.

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