Looking for tickets or info for the Get Happy Tour 2018 featuring Bowling for Soup, Army of Freshmen and The Aquabats?

This domain name was used for the Get Happy Tour back in its original run around 10 years ago, when I used to do work for BFS and AOF. However, for the past 5 years it has been used for my travel blog as I never thought we would have another Get Happy Tour and I didn't want it to go to waste.

But as a favour to two bands who have done a lot for me over the years, and so you don't miss out, ticket info is:
O2 Presale: 10am on 25 September
General Onsale: 10am on 27 September.

Tickets available from ticketmaster.co.uk and bowlingforsoup.com
 


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Archive for September, 2009

Helsinki Day 4 – Returning Home

September 20th, 2009 No comments

Today was only really taken up with getting home. We had a lazy start to the day, showered, packed etc then walked slowly to the bus station via the market square again for some last minute photos. The bus to the airport doesn’t accept tourist cards so we had to pay for another ticket but it was only 4 euros and got us to the airport in about 35 minutes.

George, Anna and a Tortoise

George, Anna and a Tortoise

Helsinki Market Square

Helsinki Market Square

Walking to the bus station

Walking to the bus station

We got to the airport about 30 minutes before check-in opened so just took things easy then joined the queue early enough that we would be in the first boarding group. Helsinki isn’t set up for online check-in, which is given priority boarding with Easyjet, so we had to check in at the airport and get there early to be able to get on the plane first to get a good seat.

Helsinki Central Station where we caught the bus to the Airport

Helsinki Central Station where we caught the bus to the Airport

There are plenty of shops and cafes in the airport so, after going through security and getting a strange look from the guard for having a bag of confetti from the Nightwish gig, we bought last-minute souvenirs before just sitting down and relaxing over a coffee.

We went through to the departure gates and relaxed for a bit longer before being called to our exact gate. When we got there we saw probably about 20 other people who had been to the gig – either because they were wearing Nightwish shirts or other random metal band shirts. On the bus to the plane we talked to some of them and decided it probably would have been easier to just charter a plane to and from Helsinki – there probably would have been enough people from the UK going.

I’ve had enough experience with Easyjet and have a good system worked out for getting a good seat which I won’t go into here otherwise you’ll all know it, but we managed to get the exit rows again on the way back which was great – I can’t fit in the seats without this extra bit of leg room.

Flying home

Flying home

The flight was uneventful, although we saw views this time, and we arrived back at Gatwick on time, where we split up and went through three different passport queues. Anna had one of the new passports so went through the automated booth, George has an old passport so went into the longer queue and I’m signed up for the iris recognition system so went to that booth – for which I was the only person in the queue so got straight through.

Anna got on the bus back to Oxford and we went back to the car park for an easy drive back to Kent. Overall I had a great time and would consider Helsinki again – and will definitely go to see Nightwish next time they play Hartwall Areena, although that isn’t likely to be until 2013 now!!

I found the way to Amarillo

I found the way to Amarillo

This deserves posting!!

This deserves posting!! George didn't notice I took it!!

There isn’t as much to do in Helsinki as there are in other major cities but it is possible to stay here for a few days to see all of the sights, or use it as a base to see other things in the local area, or even go to Tallinn in Estonia for the day. The Eurohostel was a nice, cheap, alternative to staying in the expensive hotels for which Scandinavia is well known. It has private rooms with shared facilities which, although basic and not soundproofed, are good enough if you just want somewhere to sleep before exploring the city.

Oh and did I mention they sell Mountain Dew in Helsinki? Here I am celebrating the fact I found some without having to travel to Uganda or the USA….

Me and some Mountain Dew

Me and some Mountain Dew

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Helsinki Day 3 – Nightwish

September 19th, 2009 No comments

Today was the day I had been looking forward to the most – the day I would see the final show in Nightwish’s world tour at the epic Hartwall Areena. We would spend much of the day at the venue queuing but decided to take in some sights first.

Helsinki is one of those cities where you can see as many things by just wandering as you can by planning a route so we decided to just randomly wander, although decided to go to the station to investigate tickets to the Pasila station near Hartwall Areena first. We weren’t sure what to do so went to the desks to ask about tickets but were told the tickets were only sold in singles, not return, and were only valid for an hour. This is completely different to the UK where, although the most expensive in Europe, tickets can be bought and used at any time of the day and can also be return tickets. This wouldn’t be as good for us so decided to go away then come back later after looking into tickets more.

The park in the middle of the road leading from the market square (Esplanadi) has free wi-fi so I decided to look online on my phone and found a one-day tourist ticket would be the most convenient for us. We decided to continue randomly wandering the city, taking in some more of the sights and doing some more shopping until we were ready to go to the station.

Back to the ticket desks to get the tourist pas, which they didn’t do. However they did direct us to a kiosk which sold them. We purchased the ticket and got on the train to the Pasila station which only took a few minutes.

Hartwall Areena

Hartwall Areena

We arrived at the venue somewhere between 12 and 1pm and there were already between 100 and 200 people in the queue, some of whom had been camping overnight judging by the comments that had been posted on twitter that morning. We decided this was far enough back so joined the queue.

Outside Hartwall Areena

Outside Hartwall Areena

It was warm enough to start with but when the sun started going behind the entrance to the car park that we were sitting next to it started to get quite cold. However we all managed to entertain ourselves with a mass karaoke session and random nonsense that always happens in a long queue for a Nightwish gig. During this time the security were also nice enough to let us all into the venue to use the toilets, providing that we picked up all of the rubbish that had accumulated throughout the day and night before.

Lots of people from various places visited

Lots of people from various places visited

Anna, the third member of the group, arrived an hour or so before doors and was able to join us in the queue – a short time later the queue started compacting up towards the barriers and she wouldn’t have been able to join us.

Security on the doors were quite strict so I’m glad I hid my camera in its usual hiding place as anybody that was found with one was made to join a separate queue to deposit it in the cloakroom which would have meant letting hundreds of people would get past us. On entering the venue there were a lot of fast-food chains to tempt us but, once we managed to work out that we were in the correct queue for the standing section, we decided not to leave it.

They tempted me with pizza!!

They tempted me with pizza!!

After 30 minutes or so the doors to the arena opened and we all rushed in – we think the other side opened first as there were quite a few people in there by the time we were in there but we were able to get around 10 rows from the front. There was no real pushing unlike shows in the UK so once we found a good spot we were able to keep it, give or take natural movement of the crowd.

Apocalyptica were on first and are the only band I’ve ever seen that have cellos as the main instrument instead of guitars. I’ve seen them twice before, including once at a music awards, but it was a good performance today as they had guest vocals on some of the songs instead of just being an instrumental act as normal.

Apocalyptica

Apocalyptica

Apocalyptica

Apocalyptica

Apocalyptica saying goodbye

Apocalyptica saying goodbye

After a tense wait Nightwish came on to a LOT of pyro which was very warm even from 10 rows back. We knew it would be a special evening and indeed it was – they had guest musicians, new songs that had never been played live, pyrotechnics, confetti and an incredibly moving water feature during the final song.

I didn't get too many photos of the pyrotechnics - the videos have that.

I didn’t get too many photos of the pyrotechnics – the videos have that.

The setlist was:
INTRO:
Finlandia (with Troy Donockley)

MAIN SET:
7 Days to the Wolves
Ever Dream
Wishmaster
Romanticide
Amaranth
The Sirenn(with Pekka Kuusisto)
While Your Lips Are Still Red (with Pekka Kuusisto)
The Poet and the Pendulum
Nemo
Sahara
Dark Chest of Wonders
The Islander (with Troy Donockley)
Walking in the Air Acoustic (with Troy Donockley)
Last of the Wilds (with Troy Donockley)
Meadows of Heaven (with Troy Donockley)

ENCORE:
Ghost Love Score
Wish I Had an Angel

OUTRO:
The Heart Asks Pleasure First

Tuomas in his boat

Tuomas in his boat

Emppu Guitar Solo

Emppu Guitar Solo

Pekko Kuusisto as a guest musician

Pekko Kuusisto as a guest musician

Anette dressed up for the occasion

Anette dressed up for the occasion

Emppu and Troy Donockley

Emppu and Troy Donockley

Anette from Nightwish

Anette from Nightwish

Overall I didn’t get as many photos as I do usually at Nightwish gigs as we were a bit further back but this allowed me to get some good videos and to actually experience the concert more with the confetti and general atmosphere.

Much of the talk during the show was in Finnish but a lot of the time Anette talked it was in English as she hasn’t quite mastered Finnish yet. They did make a point of saying see you on the next tour and that all of them would be on the next tour in case anybody was thinking Anette would be fired after the show like Tarja was last time they played the venue. The projection screen showed “see you in 2011” at the end so we have a bit of a wait but at the end of the gig while this was being shown we were in for a surprise – they played an unreleased song that will never be released over the sound system. It’s a song called “The Heart Asks Pleasure First” which is a cover of a song from The Pianist which was refused permission to be released from the original composer which is a shame as it’s a very nice song.

Nightwish at the end

Nightwish at the end

Inside Hartwall at the end

Inside Hartwall at the end

After buying the obligatory t-shirt with all of the shows from this tour on, which we later noticed were incorrect (London isn’t in Belgium for example), we proceeded outside and met up with people we had been separated from before heading back to the train station.

They have a good system in place for post-event trains. There is a walkway directly from the venue to one of the platforms at the Pasila station which just runs shuttle trains backwards and forwards into the city until everybody has been transported. It took a few minutes for the train to fill but only took a few minutes to get into the city, from where we walked slowly back to the hostel for some well-needed sleep.

Me, George and Anna in Hartwall Areena

Me, George and Anna in Hartwall Areena

Here are a few videos from the event:

This event was definitely a dream come true for me. Nightwish have been my favourite band for 7 or 8 years now and I’ve known them for 9 years since long before they even played the UK. I’ve been a fan through the hard times and during the times they built up a fanbase eventually playing 4000 capacity venues in the UK and to see a full show of theirs in something like a 13000 capacity venue in their home city at the end of their world tour. Unless you experience it there’s no way to really describe it. Just it was one of the best nights of my life and I’m glad I went!

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Helsinki Day 2 – Sightseeing

September 18th, 2009 No comments

A fairly leisurely start to the day today.

Me in Helsinki

Me in Helsinki

George relaxing

George relaxing

The end of the peninsula

The end of the peninsula

After waking and having breakfast we went for a nice walk to the tip of the peninsula that Helsinki is on, past the ferry terminals and stopping to take photos on the way. After relaxing for a bit to take in the wonderful scenery we walked back into the city towards the cathedral where we took some more photos. During this random walk we also started our souvenir purchasing at a nice souvenir shop right next to the market square which was a little expensive due to the location but sold some very nice items – we shopped at the market for anything we wanted cheaper.

Helsinki's old streets

Helsinki’s old streets

Me at Helsinki Cathedral

Me at Helsinki Cathedral

The next stop of the day was the Temppeliaukio Church which is like a concert hall built into some exposed bedrock. There were some people practicing for some sort of televised event there – a few musicians were soundchecking and there were TV broadcast vehicles outside so maybe it was an annual concert or something.

The old church in the bedrock

The old church in the bedrock

Right opposite the church was a great souvenir shop that sold everything else we needed. I say everything else as the souvenir shop next to the marina combined with the market allow you to find most things but this shop has things like Christmas decorations and just silly little things that you can buy as presents for people.

We decided to wander back to town and wandered down towards the Tavastia club, which felt like some sort of pilgrimage. To compare, the Tavastia is like the London Astoria, the Key Club, or Radio City Music Hall – the legendary venue where everybody seems to play and that would be missed if it was demolished. Nightwish have played here a few times so it was nice to be able to see it.

Helsinki Tavastia Club

Helsinki Tavastia Club

Esplanadi, Helsinki

Esplanadi, Helsinki

Relaxing in Helsinki

Relaxing in Helsinki

Nobody should go to Helsinki without taking in a cruise around the harbour whatever the weather. We decided to do one with IHA Lines but went back to the hostel first to refresh, put on warmer clothes, put souvenirs in the room etc. We decided we were going to sit on the open deck to take in the sights so needed to prepare!!

George and Icky

George and Icky

Me on the boat called Doris

Me on the boat called Doris

Our cruise took us out into the harbour, past the big ferries and out to the western harbour where the cruise ships dock, freight is shipped out etc. This took us past some nice stereotypical Scandinavian buildings and allowed us to get some good photos of the city. Next stop was Suomelinna, the fortress built on the islands off of Helsinki to protect the city against attack. We didn’t actually stop on the island but went pretty close to it and got some good photos before heading further out into the harbour.

Helsinki by boat

Helsinki by boat

Me on Doris again

Me on Doris again

Suomelinna by sea

Suomelinna by sea

After a while cruising the harbour and seeing many of the beautiful islands we started heading back towards the city. By this time we were the only people still remaining on the upper deck as many people had decided it was too cold – indeed it was but we wanted to take some good photos.

The final stop was the part of the harbour where the ice-breaker fleet is docked and where there are many government buildings before returning to the dock past the big ferries. The cruise took about 90 minutes and was definitely worth it.

Helsinki Icebreaker Fleet

Helsinki Icebreaker Fleet

The National Geographic Explorer

The National Geographic Explorer

One thing I thought was quite nice after the tour we waited to let the large Indian tour group and other tourists get off first, during which time the tour guide was saying thank you to them all in English. However when we went to get off she said Kitos, which is thank you in Finnish, to us which was a nice change and was the first time we haven’t been marked as typical English tourists that only speak English. Even the girl on the checkouts in the supermarket talks to us in English before we even say anything!

Me and Doris

Me and Doris

If anybody is considering doing a cruise on the harbour there are two or three companies to pick from and they all depart from the docks near the market square / presidential palace. They usually take similar routes but some do slightly different things at different times of the day so pick up a leaflet from all of them to pick the one that is right for you. They mostly do tours with live commentary in Finnish and English but others may offer other languages, dinner cruises etc.

We had started to get cold by this point and it was starting to get late so we headed back to the hostel via the supermarket, had dinner and now it’s time for a fairly early night due to the long day tomorrow.

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Helsinki Day 1 – Travelling

September 17th, 2009 No comments

A very early start today to pick my friend George up from her house in Canterbury before travelling to Gatwick for our flight to Helsinki with Easyjet.

The journey to Gatwick was quite quick and when we arrived at the car park it didn’t take long for a bus to arrive to take us to the airport. We had already checked in online so went straight through passport control but got stopped by security – they were checking quite a lot of people today. Not quite sure why my bag got picked maybe it was a random sample or maybe they were having problems with the machines.

Icky at Gatwick Airport with our plane

Icky at Gatwick Airport with our plane

Time for a coffee at Nero before walking to our plane. Boarding was a little late and the scrum for the plane was as usual but we managed to get an exit row which was great – I like extra leg room due to my long legs! The flight was uneventful and we didn’t see much due to cloud cover but we arrived in Helsinki on time. We took the local bus into the city and it went through all the housing estates on the way before arriving at the central train station 30 minutes later.

Me at Helsinki Harbour

Me at Helsinki Harbour

It was a little early to check in so we took a slow walk to the Eurohostel and took in some sights on the way such as the Orthodox Cathedral, Marina and Presidential Palace.

Helsinki Harbour

Helsinki Harbour

Helsinki Orthodox Cathedral

Helsinki Orthodox Cathedral

A photo of our room at the hostel

A photo of our room at the hostel

Another view of our room

Another view of our room

The third member of our group, Anna, was arriving another day but we let them know this so she could check in when she arrived. After checking in and travelling up a very questionable lift to our room we relaxed for a bit before randomly wandering the city to take in some more of the sights.

We are both quite tired and getting used to the cold so will have an early night ready for the next few days.

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Africa videos

September 16th, 2009 No comments

I’ve finally been able to upload all of my videos from Africa. They’re all now on YouTube and can be viewed below, or in full by clicking on the videos themselves. If you have a user on YouTube feel free to comment on the videos if you want.


Baboon Family at Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya – August 24, 2009
 


View from Ngumo Primary School, Gilgil, Kenya – August 25th, 2009
 


Meeting local kids on the Tea Plantation walk near Fort Portal, Uganda – August 27th, 2009
 


Chimpanzees at the Kibale Forest National Park, Uganda – August 27th, 2009
 


The Amahoro Group of Mountain Gorillas during our trek, Rwanda [1/2] – August 31st, 2009
 


The Amahoro Group of Mountain Gorillas during our trek, Rwanda [2/2] – August 31st, 2009
 


Pygmy village dancing and singing for us near Ruhengeri, Rwanda – September 1st, 2009
 


Some of our group rafting on the River Nile at Jinja, Uganda – September 4th, 2009
 


Visiting Bujagali Falls near Jinja, Uganda – September 4th, 2009
 


Den, Amanda, Jono and Al go Bungee Jumping at Adrift near Jinja, Uganda – September 4th, 2009
 


Al number 2 goes Bungee Jumping at Adrift near Jinja, Uganda – September 4th, 2009
 


Having fun at the campsite near Eldoret, Kenya – September 5th, 2009
(This is the video with the 50 states, the rapping etc)
 


A Sparrow attacking itself in Oscar’s mirror at the campsite near Eldoret, Kenya – September 6th, 2009

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Africa Day 18 – Crazy Airport Security

September 7th, 2009 No comments

Today I got up at 5am, had a quick shower and checked out before saying goodbye to people that were leaving at the same time. I took my taxi to the airport and it was really quick with no detours unlike on the way in. My driver asked for less money than on the way out but asked me to pay it before we got to the airport otherwise if the police saw it they would have asked for some.

Security at Nairobi airport was intense. I had my ticket checked, went through a metal detector and had my bags scanned before even getting into the terminal. Then after checking in I went through two levels of passport control before getting to the departure lounge. I shopped for a while before going to the gate that had been called where I found even more security. I had my passport and boarding pass checked before walking through a metal detector and having my bags scanned again. I went to put my belt back on but was told not to as there was another set of checks – where my passport was checked, I walked though ANOTHER metal detector and had my bags scanned AGAIN before getting to the departure gate.

All of this made you feel safe but did feel excessive.

The flight back was quite nice. I requested a seat on the aisle and I’m planning to watch some movies before getting some sleep. I’m due to arrive at Heathrow this afternoon where I will be met by my family to be driven back home.

Our tour group in Eldoret Hospital visiting Janneke

Our tour group in Eldoret Hospital visiting Janneke

Overall I had an amazing time in Africa. The highlight was of course trekking with the endangered Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda, and being grabbed by one of them, but I saw and did so many great things. Lovely scenery, lovely people, great new friends and almost 2000 amazing photos! Al and Jono were awesome tour staff and it’s almost impossible to say how great Den was – awesome chef and great guy too. I miss his food already.

There are so many places I want to see in the world but every time I go to Africa (real Africa not the bit up north) I feel home. Africa is definitely on my list of possibilities for next year and if I do go I’ll seriously consider Dragoman again!

Here’s a small map of our route for future reference – courtesy of the Dragoman website.

Tour map of Dragoman trip ZNN159

Tour map of Dragoman trip ZNN159

Dragoman Logo

Dragoman Logo

Ps: I know I wrote a lot here – sorry about that – most of the length is photos anyway. The blog does go onto two pages… and if you want to just read stuff from this trip click on “2009 Africa” in the categories menu to the right and the most recently dated page of the two will be shown.

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Africa Day 17 – Return to Nairobi

September 6th, 2009 No comments

Another early start today with breakfast at 6 ready to leave by 7. Unfortunately this turned into 740 as one of the tyres needed changing due to having a big hole in it but this gave me a chance for an even bigger breakfast with a double helping of eggs. I’ve certainly not gone hungry since I’ve been in Africa which was something I was worried about.

Fixing Oscars flat tyre

Fixing Oscars flat tyre

I'll probably get into trouble for posting this, but I like it.

I’ll probably get into trouble for posting this, but I like it.

Our first stop was Eldoret Hospital where Janneke had been admitted. She had been feeling unwell for a few days and started feeling pains yesterday so was taken to hospital as a precaution. It was nice to see her today, have a photo with the group and give her a get well soon card. At first they thought it was a bowel infection but later in the week they discovered it was a burst appendix which is definitely not something you want to get at all, let alone in Africa. Luckily she was in good hands and after staying in hospital for a week was looked after by Raj at the campsite before getting home a few weeks later than planned.

Eldoret Hospital -visiting Janneke

Eldoret Hospital -visiting Janneke

Eldoret Hospital had nice grounds

Eldoret Hospital had nice grounds

On the road betwen Eldoret and Nakuru somewhere

On the road betwen Eldoret and Nakuru somewhere

There are a lot of roadworks in Kenya

There are a lot of roadworks in Kenya

We then made our way back towards Nairobi, with a few pee stops on route where for some reason kids kept trying to watch us. Lunch was at the Rift Valley view point which had lovely scenery and good photo opportunities. As we were leaving kids kept asking for money… well…. Telling us to give them money so trip replied with “you give me your rabbit” which gave a few laughs.

A salt lake near Nakuru

A salt lake near Nakuru

A view of the Great Rift Valley

A view of the Great Rift Valley

Great Rift Valley viewpoint

Great Rift Valley viewpoint

Lunch at the Great Rift Valley

Lunch at the Great Rift Valley

We arrived back in Nairobi at 3pm and it was then a short drive back to the Kivi Milimani hotel again for the final night. Christine the truck was there for people to transfer their bags to if they were continuing south on the route through Tanzania to Cape Town.

There was further confusion about room check-in this time too but this was sorted out and I made my way to room 101 which was my assigned room and allowed Leon to shower and keep his bags in my room so he didn’t have to keep them with him all evening until his taxi to the airport. I relaxed in the room for a bit before finding Leon in the bar and going for dinner with the rest of the group.

Back at the Kivi Milimani Hotel in Nairobi

Back at the Kivi Milimani Hotel in Nairobi

Dinner at the hotel

Dinner at the hotel

Dinner was a bit of an adventure. I didn’t have dinner on the first night but was told it was very nice and indeed it was… when we managed to get it.

I wanted a pizza but they were out of pizza so I ordered steak. 30 minutes later they came back to me saying they were out of steak so I ordered a burger. Some of our groups food arrived early and they finished and went, then my burger arrived while others didt, then the other burgers arrived which were mostly wrong. Pete eats his anyway but the others moaned but were told the food couldn’t be replaced so they just ate everything anyway. Leon’s food took so long to arrive that he had to have his red snapper to go on the way to the airport while Cass ordered a beer but it took forever to arrive.

In addition to those they were out of chicken so made a cheese quesadilla for Trip without asking him, showed him, and then just put it in front of him. They were also out of Tuska beer which wasn’t normal.

I chatted with Trip and Berry in the bar for a bit before going to my room to call home to confirm the arrangements for tomorrow. I have ordered a taxi for 615am and am now in my room checking through my bags, repacking everything and making sure I’m all ready for my flight home. Unfortunately while I was emptying out the bottom of my bag I found a very dead lizard that had found his way in there most likely when I emptied out my bag last night – I don’t think I’ve jumped so much for a while.

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Africa Day 16 – Back to Kenya

September 5th, 2009 No comments

I got up before 6 to have an early shower before all of the hot water was used up and, after falling down the big hole in the campsite, found it to be a nice and very hot shower. There was then time for a quick breakfast and last minute photos before heading off at 7 – I managed to get the table for only the second time this trip as people kept moving my bag. Next time I do a Dragoman trip I’m going to have to be more forceful and get the table more often as I worked out I should have sat there at least once a week.

Staring Contest - Trip vs Tokoloshe - Trip lost

Staring Contest – Trip vs Tokoloshe – Trip lost

Me and my new friend Tokoloshe

Me and my new friend Tokoloshe

We got quite good at packing stuff away by now

We got quite good at packing stuff away by now

The Exodus Truck

The Exodus Truck

The trip to the border was fast, as was the border crossing which was a nice surprise. They had run out of forms so we didn’t have to fill any out and didn’t have to pay either which was good. I had a multiple entry visa just in case anyway but this also gives me an excuse to ask for my passport back when it is renewed this year. While at the border I bought some samosas from the local vendors and they were actually surprisingly tasty, hot, and haven’t played havoc with my stomach yet.

The journey to Eldoret was quick and we arrived before 3pm which gave us plenty of time for swimming. I decided to upgrade to a room tonight as it was the last night and I wanted to splash out – at $25 for a single it was fairly reasonably priced for its quality.

Camping at Eldoret

Camping at Eldoret

My room in Eldoret

My room in Eldoret

After settling into the room we went down to the pool to relax for a while. Some people were already in there and after a while I was persuaded to join them. The water was cold but nowhere near as cold as the pool at the Hardap Park in Namibia a few years ago. Trip had a swimming race against Amanda and lost by 2 laps which was embarrassing.

Walking to the pool at Eldoret

Walking to the pool at Eldoret

The Swimming Pool

The Swimming Pool

I relaxed for a bit before showering, changing and then relaxing with a drink before dinner. The meal was similar to when we stayed here on the way out in the form of an Indian buffet but was slightly different at our request. The potatoes and veg were different and they had a paneer cheese curry in addition to the other selection which was really nice and just what I needed.

Trip

Trip

Me and Den The Chef

Me and Den The Chef

A few of us talking while waiting for dinner

A few of us talking while waiting for dinner

We relaxed with drinks and toasted marshmallows before the dogs were let out again. We chatted for a bit and took photos before heading to bed where I’ve been catching up on writing this blog and repacking my bags ever since.

Dinner at Eldoret, again.

Dinner at Eldoret, again.

Dinner at Eldoret, again.

Dinner at Eldoret, again.

Chatting in the bar after dinner

Chatting in the bar after dinner

...and of course time for Marshmallows

…and of course time for Marshmallows

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Africa Day 15 – Day of rest in Jinja

September 4th, 2009 No comments

It was a nice easy morning today and after having pancakes for breakfast we relaxed while the others got ready for rafting. I decided not to take part in the rafting as I wanted a quiet day so took some photos and videoed them setting off instead. Not going rafting also had the benefit of saving me money and giving me a chance to explore Jinja itself although this is one of the best places in the region to raft so if it’s your sort of thing I highly recommend it.

The River Nile as seen from the bar at Adrift

The River Nile as seen from the bar at Adrift

Our tents set up at the Adrift centre in Jinja

Our tents set up at the Adrift centre in Jinja

The truck needed refuelling so a few of us went into town for a while. I looked around but didn’t find anything I wanted to buy but found the post office and sent a couple of postcards, unfortunately not all of them as I didn’t have many Ugandan shillings left and the two I sent used up every last shilling.

Some of the group getting ready for rafting

Some of the group getting ready for rafting

A blue-balled monkey of some description

A blue-balled monkey of some description

More of the Monkeys

More of the Monkeys

This was harder than it looked

This was harder than it looked

Jinja City Centre

Jinja City Centre

After sitting at a bar with Al and Pete with a Mountain Dew for a while we returned to the camp where Amanda had booked 3 bungee jumps and decided to donate one of them to Den so that he would be able to have his first ever jump. Al and Jono also jumped but managed to persuade the people to let them go for free so that they could use the experience to persuade later groups to jump while in Jinja. They all had a great time and all managed to touch the water except Al who got completely dunked. I managed to get a few good pics and vids of them all which I put onto Al’s laptop for them to keep.

Den looking worried before his Bungee

Den looking worried before his Bungee

Amanda touching the Nile

Amanda touching the Nile

Amanda got wet!!

Amanda got wet!!

Al got even wetter after being completely dunked

Al got even wetter after being completely dunked

We paid a quick visit to the Bujagali falls, some really big rapids, to take some pics before returning to the campsite where Al #2 was having his bungee with some people from the Exodus group who unfortunately backed out. It was funny seeing them there as I was seriously considering going with Exodus until I found out that it would cost a lot more due to the Gorilla permit not being included and these would have been the exact people that I would have travelled with. They seemed nice enough people and we talked to them all for a bit in the bar tonight before dinner. It was lovely sweet and sour chicken stir fry but unfortunately an evil spider managed to distract a lot of us.

Me at Bujagali falls

Me at Bujagali falls

An evil Spider kept distracting us

An evil Spider kept distracting us

Al kept asking for a time to leave so eventually I picked a time which was earlier than a lot of us would have liked but I want to get to Eldoret tomorrow with time to spare to go swimming in the campsite pool. I think I’ll have one quick drink before bed to round off what has been a really great day. Jinja is a lovely town which, although catered for visitors from what I’ve seen, has been my favourite place to stop so far and definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.

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Africa Day 14 – Lake Mburo to Jinja

September 3rd, 2009 No comments

The alarm was set for 420 ready to leave at 5. Most of us were not best pleased so hoped the walk would be worth it. It was a dark drive down bad roads to Lake Mburo National Park but on the way we were told we could opt out of the walk if we wanted to and 7 of us took up the offer. I decided to opt out as it would be a good opportunity to relax, walk around for a bit on my own and get a head start on preparing food for everybody else. As we found out later it also gave us an extra $40 refund at the end of the trip.

Sunrise at Lake Mburo NP

Sunrise at Lake Mburo NP

Monkeys in the trees

Monkeys in the trees

This Zebra hissed at me then ran away

This Zebra hissed at me then ran away

We set up everything that was needed for lunch next to the entrance to the park and then went on a nice little free walk just outside the boundaries of the park ourselves. We saw Zebra, Warthog, Waterbuck, Cows, several species of birds, monkeys and Lida was also fortunate enough to see a Klipspringer. After finishing the walk we started setting up for breakfast.

Breakfast was ready very early as the others arrived back almost 90 minutes later than planned. By that time we had already had our breakfast, which turned into brunch, so that we could pack up ASAP when the others had eaten and had also had a long conversation about various topics with the guards from the entrance.

Apparently Bees both make AND like honey

Apparently Bees both make AND like honey

We had no time for lunch so stopped at the side of the road for kebabs – I’m not sure what meat they were but they were hot and fresh. Plus it was nice to try something from the side of the road as we had seen so many places like that throughout the trip. Earlier I recommended not buying things from the side of the road but these seemed hot and were fully cooked.

Buying lunch from the side of the road

Buying lunch from the side of the road

Eating weird meat kebab things

Eating weird meat kebab things

Our waiters trying to sell us food

Our waiters trying to sell us food

Later in the day we stopped at the equator to take some photos and stop for shopping. I stocked up on supplies, including a Mzungu t-shirt and Uganda sticker for the front of Oscar (Al wanted one from each of the three countries as Oscar was being retired to the Gorilla route after our trip and I wanted to leave my mark on the vehicle). There was also a nice coffee shop where we stopped for a few minutes. [Update 2013 – I’ve found out the sticker is still on Oscar even after 18 months of travelling around India and Nepal]

At the equator

At the equator

Me at the Equator

Me at the Equator

A Ugandan town on the way to Jinja

A Ugandan town on the way to Jinja

We didn’t have time to stop at Kampala due to the delays at the park and arrived late at Jinja which meant there wasn’t any time to make a proper dinner so we made tomato soup with bread  before sitting at the bar for a few drinks before heading to bed at around 11pm.

I had to take a photo of this

I had to take a photo of this

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