Saturday, 19 January 2013

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse: Newark's Rebirth!

Virgin Atlantic Airways brand new Clubhouse has arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. The rebirth of Virgin Atlantic Airways presence at Newark Liberty International Airport has brought a fresh, modern and sophisticated vibe to this premium hub. Forget that other British airline because we all know that Virgin Atlantic does it better! Newark, served it!

Marvel at the dazzling spotlights when stepping into Newark's brand new Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Clubhouse. This cutting edge Clubhouse invites the privileged Upper Class and Goldcard guests to relax and feel like Rockstar's before boarding their flight to London's Heathrow Airport. With a new location after security this Clubhouse enables guests to luxuriate in a glamourous setting by either enjoying a spot of breakfast in the morning or a signature Virgin Atlantic cocktail before the evening flight to London Heathrow. Be greeted by one of the professional and welcoming Clubhouse Host's as each and every guest is transported back to the high society of New York City. Are there any belongings to store in the wardrobe? The spacious wardrobe space allows for coats, bags and any other personal items to be stowed away, guests can enjoy the Clubhouse to its full potential. Newark Liberty serves Upper Class style!

Missed the familiar reads of England such as; The Daily Mail or The Independent? Please take a copy to read as there's always enough for everyone. A wide range of business, travel and lifestyle prints are available to browse through. Enjoy a cup of early morning Earl Grey tea catching up with the fast-paced world of business, or when the sun goes down stay in-line with the world of celebrity with a Gin & Tonic whilst reading the gossip columns, it all makes sense! I guess it's true that Newark's Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse keeps everyone in the loop? Newark meets New York City at this Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, guests can step out of their chauffeur driven limousine from the vibrant and cosmopolitan streets of NYC to the striking and ever so slick Newark Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, obviously after checking-in any luggage and clearing security but that's just the name of the game! Some would say that Newark Liberty is located much closer to NYC compared to JFK? Of course Newark wins it!

Preparing for any flight can be stressful so guests can take their stresses away and lounge at the Skyline themed seating area. Immerse each sense to truly feel the NYC vibe as guests enjoy the comfort and hospitality of the Newark Clubhouse. Be catered to and feel like a Rockstar for the attentive and professional Clubhouse Hosts cater to their passengers requests, nothing is ever to challenge for the hosts! Stay connected with the use of free Wi-Fi access, so keeping those daily affairs in order is no trouble. Keep up to date with flight Information by taking a glance at the Upper Class departure board, conveniently located to the left of the entrance. This Clubhouse features streamlined facilities such as showers to refresh and recharge before that overnight transatlantic flight. Keep feeling like awesome from point to point during that Newark Clubhouse experience with Virgin Atlantic Airways. Being a guest was great! Yass V!

Enjoy express check-in and security treatment, then make your way to the Clubhouse as quick as possible because the sanctuary of Newark's Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse awaits. Look no further than the friendly and knowledgeable the Clubhouse Front Desk team, who go above and beyond to assist their guests. Guests have the freedom to seek advise about their assigned seat or asking for information about their flight is all in a days work for these professionals, don't just fly with Virgin Atlantic because its all about the Clubhouse experience! The only thing that really needs to be accomplished whilst lounging in this Clubhouse is relax and enjoy the entire guest experience before that world-class Virgin Atlantic flight to London Heathrow airport. There's one thing about this Newark Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse that stands true, someone has definitely brought sexy back with the rich red, black and grey interior design fittings for its just gorgeous! Nothing compares at EWR, my Newark Lib!

Feeling peckish? I was starving! Order from the select Newark Clubhouse menu and enjoy superb food that is freshly cooked to perfection. Guests have the opportunity to choose breakfast in the morning or an evening meal before the night flight, this menu has been meticulously designed to suit different tastes. Breakfast is best for Newark's Virgin Clubhouse serves the best bacon sandwich and freshly baked pastries to accompany that early morning coffee. Experience one of the best Full English breakfast's in Brick City! Going hungry at this Clubhouse is sure as a difficult task to even imagine. Those night-fliers can choose the Poached Haddock accompanied with roasted potatoes, spring onions also served with a flavoursome Pepperint sauce. Don't worry frequent fliers of the VS18 or VS2 flights for this Newark Clubhouse menu is switched up regularly, a whole new culinary experience awaits everyone! Soak it up!

Working up quite a thirst? Take a seat at Newark's Clubhouse Bar to enjoy a signature Virgin Atlantic cocktail. Choose a Gin Fizz, Virgin Red Head or even a Cosmopolitan! I would wholeheartedly recommend the Mojito, this freshly made cocktail has the perfect blend of Bacardi rum and mint. Choose from the extensive range of spirits and liqueurs and take every opportunity to kick back and enjoy the new Clubhouse at Newark. Did some say that its Champagne o'Clock? Take our night flight and enjoy a wide range of fine Champagnes on offer! Not crazy about the bubbles? Then enjoy a glass of white wine from Bordeaux, France or go 'Rouge' with a cheeky glass of 'Signal Cannon' Merlot from South Africa. Please don't be shy, because life is a celebration for all of the finer things. We don't need JFK to experience the unique style of Virgin Atlantic hospitality because Newark's Clubhouse represents with its world class Clubhouse and team! I used to be a Clubhouse Host! I'll always be! 

Who Brought Sexy Back? Virgin Did! 

Joseph Harrison

Friday, 18 January 2013

Orlando: The Fabulous Three!

I made the short trip from New York to Orlando to see my Disney friend Zach Airstarr, my fabulous co-worker and friend that I met during my Internship at Orlando's Walt Disney World Resort. This GaGa loving diva touched my heart, I knew that I had made a friend for life, something told me that I needed to get back to Orlando without haste! Oh, I saved the best until last!

Touching down in the Sunshine State to catch up with Zach, so much time had passed since we had last saw each other. Those Delta cookies didn't keep my hunger at bay so we had a Kiki at IHOP! After our quick bites we continued our Kiki! If truth be told I had chosen to be stupid by living out of a rucksack the past week, travelling light proved to be restrictive. To feel the sun on my skin was great, the wet weather in New Orleans just wasn't fun as my post-placement cold had me feeling really unwell. The Orlando heat was the best! We hit the Orlando Premium Outlet to find me some new threads for the weekend ahead. American Apparel was my retailer of choice, I had just been paid so we shopped like Material Girls! I wanted to find Pacsun but never did so we went back to Zach's place ready to meet his boyfriend Dawin. 2011 seemed like a really long time, I loved Orlando more! That mad Disney love lasts forever! Yass, Orlando!

Our dinner of choice turned out to be a lovely meal at 'Bahama Breeze', I enjoyed some lovely 'Bermuda Swizzle' cocktails, but by that time my hectic turnaround from New Orleans via Atlanta and my early morning departure had caught up with me. From shopping to a KiKi, then finally a episode of 'Sex and The City' before turning in for the night. It did feel ace to be in a place to visit friends from Disney much like my Toronto weekend, my other trips were much more independent so being with Zach and Dawin was an absolute treat! My first day back in Orlando was amazing, it was even a pleasure to arrive back into Orlando Mc Coy International Airport since I was last there on my way back home from my Disney Program. My Industrial Placement would be going out with a bang! The day had been full packed, I needed rest before turning up at Parliament House! I had not been out to a club properly during my placement, I needed that! Fuego B! I wanted the magic of Disney first!

Bright and early 'The Fabulous Three' all set off for Walt Disney World Resort, our original plan was to visit the new 'Fantasyland' at Magic Kingdom but with us using the staff passes it was a blackout day, we hatched another plan to ditch Magic Kingdom for EPCOT! Never mind, our plans changed so we visited Epcot. It was quite strange walking through Future World North as it was the location that me and Zach made our Disney days fabulous. Feeling hungry, we made our way to Mexico on the World Showcase. I had to pinch myself for I was back in the security of the Disney bubble even if it was for a few hours at least! I loved the tacos and enchiladas from the Mexican pavilion at the World Showcase, we dined with the world in our view. Seeing 'Spaceship Earth' since working at Disney was amazing, getting back to my all-time favourite Disney Park. I was finally old enough to drink around the world! Cheers O!

Margaritas all round for us as alcohol can be consumed at Epcot, a policy that I agree with 100%! Norway served me a lovely pint of Carlsberg beer, somehow I don't think Carlsberg is Norwegian but I enjoyed my pint all the same. The weather was beautiful and was a welcome change compared with the rain that was served in New Orleans throughout the previous trip. We eventually reached the United Kingdom section, I led the way by going to the Rose & Crown pub to order an ice cold pint of Strongbow Cider! I hadn't indulged so much with boozing during my work placement in New Jersey apart from the odd occasions, I was ready to turn up around the world at EPCOT's outstanding World Showcase! Yes, I went back to the Rose & Crown pub in the United Kingdom pavilion for another pint of Strongbow Cider! Mexico served some lunch and the rest of our chosen countries kept the drinks flowing! I was living to be back at Walt Disney World again! I needed a nap before the night!

Disney was great but we were ready to marry the night! Going to the gargantuan Walmart nearby I found yet more Strongbow Cider! I never got the chance to shop at Walmart in New Jersey! I was living for that boozy shopping trip! Getting ready, we applied a range of luxurious fragrance's before hitting the club! We will always be the 'Flower Bomb Bitches!' Pulse Orlando wasn't popping, cruising down the North Orange Blossom Trail we turned the party up at Orlando's Parliament House! The Latino's were looking fresh to death, I was definitely living for that night at PH, Orlando! Slaying on the dancefloor I loved life with Zach and Dawin, at that moment I realised that I have such lovely friends! Finishing our drinks it was time to grab some McDonald's before resting our heads! New Orleans was equally as memorable with Fiorella but I had gotten over my cold, I was living for a Disney themed and fabulous weekend in Orlando! My Orlando, Florida experience was on-point! Get it, Florida!

Packing my rucksack, I bid farewell to the crazy canine that is Fendi! That dog has it's own drag name, I was living for the ratchet and scandalous behaviour of Orlando's infamous Drag Dog! Of course, Miss Fendrea Shitzonyou loved me! Getting back to Orlando was the perfect way to conclude my final week in America after finishing my Industrial Placement, reuniting with Zach for our weekend to remember was everything to me and more! It's true to say that I have a special love for my international friends that I don't see an awful lot of the time, I love them all for very different reasons! It was true to say that Zach and Dawin welcomed me into their home and into their hearts as I felt a part of each activity that weekend. I truly loved my Orlando weekend, from the KiKi in IHOP to dancing for my life at Orlando's Parliament House! I boarded my JFK bound flight with a quiet demeanour, I was going to miss my Orlando lovelies very much! Zach, I kept my promise to return! Yass B!

Flower Bomb Bitches!

Joseph Harrison

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Flying High... Delta Air Lines!

Delta Air Lines was my airline of choice, flying me to New Orleans, USA and Orlando, USA. Would I experience exceptional customer service with the added Delta flare? How would their problem solving skills help an under-the-weather me get back to New York's LaGuardia Airport in time for my early morning departure the next day? I'm part of the 'jet set?' Of course I am!

New York's LaGuardia Airport showed us Delta's own terminal on my first trip to New Orleans Louis Armstrong Airport, Louisiana. Myself and my dear friend turned travel companion Fiorella witnessed the beginning of Delta's early morning operation. As captured to the left, Delta Air Lines has fashioned a revolutionary way of serving their customers before a flight. Replacing waiters and waitresses with iPad's that take food and drink orders while keeping guests up-to date with their flight status. A chef stood present to cook those food orders, also accompanied by another person making hot and cold beverages for purchase. Whilst this technological forward service allows Delta passengers the opportunity to experience something different, could this approach decrease customer interaction? So, I stayed as an onlooker because my placement salary didn't cover pre-flight snacks and beverages. Delta, I will indulge soon!

OK, Delta this wasn't your drama! Throughout my travelling time with Delta Air Lines using LaGuardia Airport I found the prices of items such as water and chewing gum too high, after working at Newark Liberty International Airport I found it easy to compare the cheaper prices at Newark compared to New York's LaGuardia Airport. I suppose this wasn't Delta's fault but the selection of the amenities could have more of a variety when referring to the price? Maybe not, but who am I to judge? Being a passenger is a great experience, so by each step I took through out my Delta Air Lines experience I know that those issues were quite superficial. But, I thankfully enough to made it from LGA Airport from Newark on-time DL! American airports are very different compared to British airports, we have more affordable solutions with more variety after the security checkpoint. Checked in and waiting at the gate, our mornings flight down to New Orleans departed on time. Let's get it Delta!

Throughout my journeys with Delta Air Lines I was quite Impressed with their in-flight efforts. On my previous New York JFK to Manchester night flight the cabin crew conducted their in-flight service with an abrupt tone. Whereas, on my New Orleans bound flight the service was delivered using hushed tones due to the early morning departure time. Unfortunately, the in-flight announcements were proclaimed with a monotone voice but all the same informed us well enough. Eating something before boarding is advisable because meals are not served on domestic Delta services. But, Delta Air Lines do serve a small selection of complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. I enjoyed the Delta cookies, mini pretzels and peanuts on-board my five Delta Air Lines flights. I did choose to purchase a gin and tonic twice for $14.00 due to Delta only charge for alcoholic beverages. I was excited to fly from ATL!

On the whole the services given by the Delta crew shone through and championed the level of customer service I experienced before from JFK. Throughout my time in the United States I have had the opportunity to experience the service of other American carriers such as; Southwest Airlines and United. Thinking about Delta's service I was pleased with their in-flight services and judging by my previous experiences with this airline I would select Delta in the future. I know what airline to choose upon my next trip to the United States of America! Both flights from LGA Airport to New Orleans and Orlando departed on-time, I landed early into Orlando, that did impress me! Having flown both internationally and domestically with Delta Air Lines I felt satisfied with my flights. Maybe with the Strategic Alliance between Delta and Virgin Atlantic, could I fly with both airlines back home? The Delta passengers made me laugh with their cabin baggage! One of the crew looked mighty fine! Yes!

My original plan was to simply take two round trips flights from New York to New Orleans and then onto Orlando but nothings ever that simple! Feeling awful I decided to get to the airport early to seek about taking a different flight, so I could rest before jetting off to Orlando. After taking care of a $150.00 change fee I was ready to embark on my flights to LaGaurdia via Atlanta. Clearing the TSA airport security check-point was simple, although after realising that my connection flight from New Orleans to Atlanta was delayed I contacted a Delta agent to find a solution! Luckily, a helpful agent changed my ticket in a flash. Bidding a rushed goodbye to my friend, Fiorella made her onward connection back to New Jersey. Pushing back from the gate took a long time because of the rain, I was ready to leave for Atlanta the captain announced a delay in our departure due to the heavy rain! MSY, I made my Orlando flights!

New York's LaGuardia Airport was in sight after my forty minute layover in ATL. I transited effortlessly through the terminals to catch my then next flight. Who knew that I would be revisiting this airport and the state of Georgia? I didn't! On the whole my change of plan worked out well, I arrived at my hotel early at 18:30 allowing me to relax before my fabulous Floridian weekend commenced. I experienced the same excellent service during my Orlando flights, arriving back into New York's JFK Airport. The Delta Air Lines ground and cabin crew were fantastic on all five of my Delta flights between NYC and Orlando via Atlanta. As mentioned before he looked mighty fine1 I was amazed by the new technologies being used and thankful for arriving back to JFK early. Yes, I would definitely fly with Delta Air Lines again! Sure, I want to take a super long haul flight with Delta Air Lines in the future! ATL, I'll return! Delta Air Lines, let us not be strangers? No, I also want to fly into Detroit!

Delta, Work! 

Joseph Harrison

Monday, 14 January 2013

New Orleans, Louisiana: Rollin' On the River!

New Orleans, USA was the next stop on my United States travel crusade. Completing my Industrial Placement called for a weekend away in the Deep South, I usually travel independently but my former Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse sister Fiorella joined me this time. I wasn't prepared for the torrential downpours that NOLA threw at us but we loved 'The Big Easy!' Yes, NOLA!

After working my final split shift at Newark Liberty International Airport for Virgin Atlantic as a Passenger Service Agent I had a 3am wake up call for my trip to New Orleans, USA! Travelling with my dear friend Fiorella, we took to the skies with Delta Air Lines from New York's LaGuardia Airport on the 8th of January 2013 with a whole lot of expectations for our Deep South trip! I'm always an independent traveller but I had finally found the perfect travel companion! Touching down into Louis Armstrong International Airport, New Orleans was at our feet ready for us to explore. As we made our way from the airport to the 'French Quarter' it was mad to pass through the city where the merciless 'Hurricane Katrina' tore her way through to cause an untold amount of destruction and turmoil. Fiorella had taken a nap on the flight but I was far too excited to sleep, I was in a state of delirium and it was still early! Get it, NOLA!

Arriving in the 'French Quarter' we did not lose any time exploring the charms of this French Creole/Spanish looking neighbourhood. The weather wasn't strictly on our side but we didn't pay that any mind! Our hotel was located on Toulouse Street, just around the corner from the famous Bourbon Street. Of course, Bourbon Street amazed me and my dear travel companion! It appeared to be quite distasteful, boasting establishments that would cater for bachelor and stag parties, we all need a bit of 'Bad Girl, Gone Good' in our lives! Being frank I was not unimpressed by the fashion of Bourbon Street, along with the neighbouring streets I was living a dream during those first moments and for the rest of the trip. We looked closer at the fabric of this 'historic' corner of NOLA, those quirky parts gave us life because we didn't want ordinary! Voodoo? I didn't want that Hoodoo but we had a look at the gift shops that had me wanting to buy a Voodoo doll, I bought a NOLA shot glass. Yes!

I lived for Disney's 'The Princess and The Frog' film, both myself and Fiorella shared our delirium for this trip. I was serving my best 'Princess Tiana' persona as we made it to Jackson Square. The atmosphere within Jackson Square was simply amazing considering the gloomy weather that was looming! There was jazz music in the air and the sun was even shining a little bit, unfortunately the cold shadowed the warmness of the sun. Rollin' on the river, those waters from the mighty Mississippi flowed past us as we made our way towards a beignet cafe. Enjoying two beignets each with a cup of coffee served us another 'Tiana' moment! Did we want our fortunes told? We passed on that offer, getting our lives once more it was time for a cocktail or three to toast our first day in New Orleans! Those washing machine ice mixed drinks were so very good! We enjoyed ourselves but knew our limits. Yes, we had more drinks later on!

We discovered an absolute gem of a restaurant, located on the corner of Jackson Square was 'Stanley's'. This simple and contemporary looking restaurant served a grand breakfast that fuelled our second half of our sightseeing. Myself and Fiorella absolutely loved 'Stanley's', we loved it that much we ate there twice on the first day. I chose the Gumbo Shrimp Soup and Fiorella enjoyed another Po'Boy Sandwich, I had lost a lot of weight during my Industrial Placement year, getting some wholesome food in my life was much needed! Jackson Square gave us some beautiful views of the Mississippi River, due to the weather and our early arrival we didn't take a river cruise. Appreciating the views took us some going because the rain kept on pouring down! To be spending such a special weekend with my friend from work was great, exploring the city of New Orleans had us adventuring onwards! In the retrospect the weather should have been something I looked at before booking up!

With our Beignets and coffee enjoyed at one of the popular places alongside the Mississippi River, it was for us to explore furthermore! Walking along the 'Moonwalk Riverfront Walk' gave us the opportunity to soak up that world famous New Orleans view. Even though the weather was god awful during that early part of the day, we made it our mission to get what we needed from New Orleans! The riverwalk served those views, we even saw a 'riverboat!' Were we going to take a 'riverboat' cruise along the formidable Mississippi River? No, we had planned to take a mysterious Bayou tour, but like some Voodoo curse that was taken away from due to the inclement weather. Concluding my American adventure in NOLA was the right choice to have made, the comeback will be real when life deems it to be the right time! Myself and Fiorella would enjoy our weekend with the mighty Mississippi River as our backdrop! Go!

With the Mississippi River looking magnificent, it begs the question whether I would consider returning one day in the near future? Yes! I would definitely save my penny's, making it back to the USA's Deep South so I could experience my very own New Orleans 'riverboat cruise' that would take me along the Mississippi to see a former plantation, to learn more about the complex history of the USA's Deep South river region. Back to the fun time we spent in New Orleans, was it really like Disney's 'Princess & The Frog?' Yes, I was feeling my 'Princess Tiana' fantasy with the Beignets and with the air of the French Quarter in sight! In that moment we made the best of our time in New Orleans, the weather got in the way a little but we saw lots within the French Quarter, crossing over into the Downtown to find the Garden District the next day. From our early morning departure in NYC, we made up time with our sightseeing! NOLA had more to show us, the river showed the way! NOLA, get it! 

Mother nature messed up our plans, after calling to reconfirm our upcoming Bayou river tour we had those plans shelved due to the heavy rain. Fiorella did some last minute research to find the 'Garden District' a leafy part of NOLA that served us a sense of class with the rows of the large white-washed colonial houses. We got the bus from Canal Street to the 'Garden District', due to us knowing a city like Newark had prepared us for that realness! Taking our time we found some killer chocolate brownies, just spending time together away from the stresses of the airport was enough to complement of our day within New Orleans's 'Garden District'. Stopping by a darling coffee shop we people watched to the maximum, clocking my dopple-ganger who was easy on the eye! Even though our planned Bayou trip had fallen through we made the best of the situation! Those brownies were tasty!

Getting off our downtown bound bus, we had a little diversion to look in some shops, it was quite amusing! The downtown served true grit, I needed some medicine so we called upon the trusty Walgreen's that served a rather rude customer service worker. As I mentioned before, we knew the ways of certain folk, we didn't pay her rudeness any mind. Finding some food, we enjoyed our last meal shared in NOLA. So, here's to a fantastic trip that took several twists and turns. We really tried to not let the weather get us down, looking back at our time in New Orleans we certainly did our best to enjoy ourselves! Choosing an earlier flight, me and Fiorella left for the airport to take our separate flights back to NY for I had to make my early morning connection onto Orlando on the 11th of January 2013. Our New Orleans weekend was unforgettable for all the right reasons! Our Bayou trip might have been cancelled due to inclement weather, we made the best of our time! Orlando, next! 

We Loved NOLA! 

Joseph Harrison

Monday, 7 January 2013

Wales 2010: Carry On Camping!

I love my foreign holidays abroad and don't really share other peoples enthusiasm for taking a 'staycation' within the United Kingdom. Changing my ways to embrace something different it was time for Wales! Me and my brother Lewis flew back early from holiday our to Turkey during the summer of 2010 to spend a camping holiday in the Wales. So, let's 'Carry On Camping!'

Packing up the cars me and some of my crazy family we made the two hour car journey to a campsite in the heart of the Welsh countryside. Close to the village of Beddgelert we set up camp for our alternative holiday. What a weekend we had in-store! So here we go! From the golden sun of Turkey to the rolling hills and fields of Wales, something new for me to experience! I wanted something different, embracing a 'staycation' was good for me. I didn't need my passport, just a sense of adventure! The first night we had a barbecue, watched the stars and enjoyed some hot chocolate before bedding down in our tents. For the weekend ahead would be non-stop, please let me advise you that I have my diva demands, it wasn't bad a at all because the camp-site was fully equipped with running water, flushing toilets and the added luxury that are hot showers. I don't ask for much but I'm a drama queen! Oh, Wales!

Peddling through the Welsh countryside the views were breathtaking, I have never seen something so beautiful in the United Kingdom before! Surely the views had to be part of a National Park? The Snowdon National Park to be exact! Desperately Seeking Adventure knows its facts! I made sure I stopped whenever I saw a vista worth a picture, saying that I made numerous picture stops to capture the terrific views. I will not lie I had not been on a bike ride this intense for a long time, well I guess hadn't. Looking back the mountain biking was a great experience, which allowed me to see the natural beauty and to truly appreciate the landscape. My usual holiday activity tends to be sunbathing, I love the sun! For this time anyway I did fine without a swimming pool, sun lounger and bottle of sun tan cream. To tell the truth I think I could have done with a practice run because I'm sure that would have helped but nevertheless the afternoon was well worth it! Let's go! Oh, I needed a break!

Taking a short walk from the camp-site me and some of my crazy family discovered the nearby village of Beddgelert. This chocolate box Welsh village was charming, with its homemade fudge shop and the winding river that flowed under the stone bridge. Whenever there is a pub close-by I have to sample the local brews, so I couldn't resist having a pint of lager from 'Tanronen Inn' as it looked too good to pass up. I never turn down the prospect of a beer! Beddgelert appeared to be a village that has made it's location a big hit with tourists as there was a feeling of that when I was walking through the main street from our camp site. Essentially, being located within the Snowdonia National Park draws the mountaineers that take the challenge of climbing the mighty Mount Snowdon. The presence of Welsh street signs was very high and with the addition of a Welsh speaking primary school on the corner by the local park this village was quintessentially Welsh. Wales was impressing me B!

Yas, I had been to Wales before that summer break within the UK. Taking it back to a previous half-term holiday back when I was at secondary school I spent a week in Borth on a caravan sight, another memorable week because Borth was positively bleak! Staying close to that previous Welsh week we took a drive to Machynlleth to find a pretty town in the middle of nowhere, finding a high street pub we experienced an awkward reception with a torrent of stares due to our 'foreign' accents. Taking it to the seaside it was the perfect end of a mad week, Aberdovey served a small but inviting beachfront and a warmer welcome compared to the ancient beliefs of Machnylleth. Looking back on those Welsh experiences I would have to say Beddgelert's small village feel was perfect, no prejudice or shade was through because we were from the other side of the borderline. Could I be convinced to leave my passport at home again? Yes UK, seeing something closer to home was ace! Sure!

I climbed that mountain! Mount Snowdon to be precise. I can now look back and say that I'm proud that I climbed Mount Snowdon but at the time It was a whole different story! My Auntie Michelle could vouch for me and say that one moment I was a complete nervous wreck and the other I was the complete opposite, motivated and ready get to the summit. My brother Lewis and uncle Pete powered ahead while I found the climb a lot more challenging. I would have done anything to be sitting in the mountain train that took my auntie and cousin, I was such a diva! Taking my hysteria away from the climb that day, the views were magnificent even though I was petrified by the height of the mountain. I made it to the top! In a state of euphoria I had forgot that I would need to walk back down! By the time we reached the top I was out of my mind, in that moment I wanted to be at the top and sit down forever!

I can safely say that Mount Snowdon will be the first and last mountain that I will ever climb! It was an experience for sure, but never to be repeated again to that scale! Looking back to that 2010 break in North Wales I was about to embark on a new chapter by going to university in Birmingham. Chopping our foreign holiday in half allowed me and my brother to get the best of both worlds. From biking through the Welsh hills, a physical challenge, those views were worth it in the end! The chocolate box Welsh village of Beddgelert added enough civilisation to that scenic part of Wales, it was nice to not be in the concrete jungle of home. Making it back to the West Midlands I only had a few days before I was due to move to Birmingham for university, it was the perfect few days in Wales with family! Looking back, I now know that there's nothing with travelling within the United Kingdom! Where am I now? I'm in Newark, New Jersey, so why am I blogging about Wales? Why the heck not!

Ain't No Mountain High Enough!

Joseph Harrison