I could have thought of worst places to be, seeing in the New Year, as the last
second of 2005 ticked over into 2006. Happy New Year indeed.
For the best part of the past ten years myself and my friends have contented
ourselves with heading into the town centre of Driffield every December 31st
for one of the few nights of the year when it genuinely hustles and bustles.
To drink away New Year's Eve before joining the crowds around the towering
Christmas tree in the Market Place in anticipation of the countdown to the
New Year, which is routinely followed by a hearty rendition of good old Auld Lang Syne.
But after doing that for almost ten years, we decided we'd rather be elsewhere for the New Year.
The only downside of going away was missing our respective families, but we were only away
for a week, which flew by in any case.
So, where did we decide to go? And why? Well, a great many people set their
hearts on a little 'winter sun' at this time of year, but we felt like an adventure,
and after my two mates - Matt and Simon - had indulged in their first real
extreme 'sport' earlier on in 2005 whilst in Crete (where they bungee-jumped,
while I feigned nausea on the wayside), we collectively settled on the idea of going skiing.
None of us three had skied in any way, shape or form before (other than Simon
who had spent a little time on a dry ski slope), but that fact failed to faze us.
By going somewhere relatively cheap, we wouldn't feel as though we'd wasted our
money if a) we weren't very good, and/ or b) we didn't enjoy it as much as
he'd hoped we would.
After scouring the internet, Bulgaria came up as the most enticing and
financially viable option for a week's worth of skiing over the New Year period.
Some of the ski resorts in Romania are alleged to be even cheaper, but the
purpose-built resort of Borovets in the Rila mountain range of Bulgaria,
south of the country's capital of Sofia, suited us just fine.
Bulgaria is two hours ahead of Britain, so when we arrived at our lodgings at the
Victoria Hotel at around 11pm on New Year's Eve, it was still 9pm back home.
After a tiring day of getting from A to B, and from home to our glorious
home-from-home, we felt like going straight to bed and to sleep.
First things first, we had to be up at 7am the next morning for the first
tentative day of Ski School.
Still, it was New Year's Eve and not seeing in the New Year would have
been a cop-out, however tired we might have professed to being.
What's more, the hotel had laid on a gala meal for all new arrivals,
which we took full advantage of and which was gorgeous: a four-course
extravaganza, topped with wine and champagne.
At ten to twelve, one of the waitresses in the hotel's basement restaurant
turned up the volume on the TV that sat like a Cheshire cat on the well-stocked bar.
It all sounded Bulgarian to us, as a TV anchorman talked us into the New Year,
at which point the staff of the hotel began to rapturously clap (if I remember
rightly, given the next morning's mild hangover and multiple flashbacks
that mixed fact with fiction to a thoroughly disturbing extent), before
everybody in the cosy restaurant clinked champagne glasses with one another
and wished each other 'Happy New Year.'
Places to Visit - Walking The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path - Part One By Steve Rudd
Get out of the city and into the country, sooner rather than later.
A great many people genuinely have no idea how scenically diverse and breathtaking some
swathes of countryside are in the UK, and such a fact is a great shame,
because while they might be spending all their spare time in dirty and cramped
urban environments, there's often fresh air and inspirational
Places to Visit - Thailand By Rich Mills
Expressing the experience of being here in Thailand is difficult to put into words.
The sensorial experience is so mind blowing that you begin to feel overloaded.
However it is the smallest of things that grab your attention, and stick in the mind.
We are waiting for a taxi to take us down to the ferry, so that we can go
over to the small island of Koh Maak.
This is where we will get the full
Places to Visit - Ostend Weekend By John Allbones
I needed a break. Well, you just do sometimes don't you?
The constant day to day drudge of the nine to five erodes your spirit until a
change of scene is all you crave. Nothing fancy, just a few days will do.
Preferably abroad, it just seems more of a break when you're on foreign soil.
I managed to grab a late deal on a long weekend in Ostend.
So desperate was I to get away,
Places to Visit - Eight Feet and Two Weeks On Crete Part 2 by Steve Rudd
One of the best ways of exploring the huge island of Crete is by car: in your own time, at
your own speed and in your own style.
Without the stress and cost of embarking on guided tours.
Head into any of Crete's major cities such as
Hania, Rethymno or Iraklion and you'll be bombarded by rent-a-vehicle establishments, all
of which are fiercely trying to
Places to Visit - Eight Feet and Two Weeks On Crete Part One by Steve Rudd
While I might be a massive fan of Michael Palin's epic travels, and while I do aspire to
follow him in many of his footsteps, up until now I've only ever been abroad three times.
The first time was in 2000, when I was lucky enough to accompany a work colleague for a month in Nepal.
The second time was for a holiday with some friends, last year, to the gorgeous
Places to Visit - Greetings From Amsterdam Part One By Steve Rudd
As the blazing red sunset slowly but surely cast Hull into shadow, the P&O ferry was ready,
and so were the passengers.
I'd never travelled by ferry across to the Netherlands, and thus was naturally overwhelmed
by the sheer scale of the ferry and the wealth of entertainment on board, what with
two cinemas, a kids play area, a restaurant and casino
Places to Visit - On The Pennine Way Part Two By Steve Rudd
After surviving the nightmare of Kinder Scout's mountainous bulk and getting back on track,
the next 'hill' of worth en-route along the Pennine Way is called Bleaklow.
Just like its predecessor, it could quite potentially be the death of you if
you're not careful in negotiating the peaty wastes as you go up and over and
onwards towards the tiny hamlet of
Places to Visit - On The Pennine Way Part One By Steve Rudd
Why on earth would anyone want to go walking on their week off work? That's the question that most people would routinely ask anybody who would do exactly that, as though walking - and long distance walking in particular - is something simply not to be indulged in.
I always argue that there is very little more
Places to Visit - Down South By Steve Rudd
Brighton has always been one hell of a popular place, but until one freezing cold
day in February of this year I had never before spent anytime whatsoever there
in my twenty-four years in this forever-overwhelming world.
I thought it was high time I paid the place a visit, and seeing as though
I was down in London anyway - and a return National Express coach ticket
Places to Visit - Up North By Steve Rudd
So, you look forward all week - at work - to your one or two days off... right? And what do you do on such days off? Housework, no doubt. Do you ever think you should do something more worthwhile with your sacred time off? Like travel, for instance.
County Durham isn't that far a trip from East Yorkshire, and if
Places to Visit - To Hampstead Heath and Beyond ... By Steve Rudd
So, you live in London and wish to escape the hustle and bustle of the inner city scene.
Where can you turn to? Why, the plethora of beautiful parks of course - and there are few
places nicer than Hampstead Heath, in North London, for some quality peace and quiet.
Places to Visit - On the Moors By Steve Rudd
So much for me confiding to people that I thought we were collectively out of the woods
and that Spring was just around the corner.
Clearly I spoke too soon and paid for such a misdemeanour yesterday
(13th February 2005) when I ventured up onto the
Places to Visit - Dinostar - THIS IS HISTORY By Daniel Laney
In the last two months Hull has welcomed a new addition to its ever growing tourist trade.
Dinostar, which opened on Easter Sunday of this year, should hopefully
be welcomed with open arms by families and budding historians alike and with it
being a quick
Places to Visit - Our Samhain Visit to Avebury by Janie Spencer
Before we start on our journey, let me give you a bit of background on Avebury.
It is a beautiful stone circle, so big that you can in fact fit a village inside it, as you can see from this overhead map!
As well as being a tourist spot, it is both a home and a gathering
Places to Visit - Burton Constable Hall.
Burton Constable Hall has collected several ghosts and stories from its 450 year history, the most frequently seen ghost being that of Nurse Dowdall, a much loved nanny to the children of the household during the 19th century.
Places to Visit - A day by the beach - Bridlington Harbour.
This Sunday I was spoilt for choice - either to visit a Buddhist centre in "Kilham"
or attend a strawberries and cream party. Opted to go and find Zen so duly arrived
with my offspring (Katie and Oliver) at my friend's house (Cilla) punctually (for
a change) at 11.30.