31 March 2013

Next Stop... Belfast, Northern Ireland!

With a day spare in Dublin I decided to jump on the cross-border train to Belfast, I wanted to investigate this city to see if the tensions had subsided and to see what British influence Belfast carries forth to this day. Religion is religion and that shouldn't make a difference but this publication does follow a certain theme so I want to be honest about that. I'm ready B!

Stepping off the Enterprise Inter-city train at Belfast Central, I had left the Republic of Ireland behind me. I checked my phone and to my delight my signal and internet had returned. The Euros that I possessed were worthless for British Pound Sterling is the currency of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Technically, I was standing in the United Kingdom a step closer to home, England! I only booked my train to Belfast a few days before I boarded my Dublin bound flight, I wanted to experience a different Ireland. My first port of call was Belfast City Hall, finding this point of interest was really easy as the streets from the train station were signposted well. You could say that Belfast City Hall looks like a smaller version of London's St. Paul's Cathedral? Yes, I think so!

The British influence can be seen around the main city centre area of Belfast, a stark contrast from the architecture that I had found in Dublin the previous day. From my first moments of being in Belfast I sensed a really positive aura of the area around me. I will be honest the weather in Belfast wasn't that cold compared to the likes of Dublin, the snow had hit Belfast quite considerably cancelling flights and causing general chaos to the whole of Northern Ireland. The air was cool but not cold. Enough about the weather I had so much to see, so much to do all in one day! Belfast honestly didn't how ready I was to explore and uncover some of the events that have shaped this city and this part of the United Kingdom on a wider basis, I had no idea! Oh, I was thankful for the UK!

Becoming a political tourist was entirely my plan, I wanted to see things that represent the troubles. Taxi Trax Tours enabled me to see how the two communities live in Belfast. My first stop was in the Shankill Road area, a Protestant strong-hold which was quite remarkable! Captured to the right is a mural depicting Oliver Cromwell's 'Hand of Ulster' I was shocked by what I saw and the meaning behind the flag and the 'Ulster Hand' because it didn't seem to represent a welcoming feature. My taxi driver/tour guide informed about the area that we were in, I have been to some eerie places but this side of Belfast was a very bitter pill to swallow. One mural featured a masked 'UVF' fighter, which turned my stomach the wrong way. This said mural had this 'UVF' fighter pointing a rifle at whoever was looking, personally I felt it. Shankill showed me a contrast of feeling and emotion that spoke of anger and stillness. Oh, B!

Something about this area didn't sit right with me, you don't have to show your loyalty to Britain by flying the 'Union Jack' flag high on every corner. I believe the Protestant people only do this to antagonise the Irish Catholics. Religion is religion but why should that get in the way of normal life? Tourism presents itself in many different ways, I took my Taxi Trax experience very seriously and with many thoughts crossing my mind about the question mark that is the United Kingdom. Are we really that United? Aside from the religious statements presented, the Shankill Road area exuded a frozen personality that stood cold in time, mixed with the cool weather and left-over snow the whole atmosphere of the place I didn't know what to think?! Along with the unsightly murals this area was nothing more than a seriously bleak council estate. I would have loved to of heard what the Protestant's thought of the Catholics even after the troubles. Has this situation changed?

We drove across the Peace Line into the Falls Road area that interlinks with 'West Belfast'. Being on the Catholic side of the city I felt certain kind of safety. We passed through a twenty foot cast iron gate that separates the two communities this gate was once closed for thirty-seven years. Now it only closes from Friday to Monday morning. Taking sometime out to see the Clonard Martyns Memorial Garden, the gated area remembers the lives lost from the fires of Bombay Street. The people of the Catholic community raised the money to rebuild the houses of 'Bombay Street' because the Protestant council refused to help the Catholic residents affected. Belfast doesn't hold anything back, for these certain reasons I don't want to either!

Overall I did feel a lot safer on the Catholic streets of Belfast, moving through to the Gaeltacht Quarter another Catholic community in West Belfast which embraces their Irish Gaelic heritage. I was shown a mural of Bobby Sands MP, an inspirational man from the Catholic front in Belfast. Bobby Sands was a Catholic Member of Parliament and also a freedom fighter. He is the hero within all of this heartache and struggle but for the humanity of Northern Ireland and Belfast as a city the future should be here and the past should be behind us. In theory Belfast is a city with two hearts that believe in two different ideals that clash on a scale that hasn't ever been equal, believing in one god works for some but why can't there be unity instead of hostility? Check out www.taxitrax.com today B!

To end my day in Belfast I ventured over to the Titanic Quarter to investigate the Titanic Belfast Experience. I had seen quite a lot in one day so this final part was the light addition that finished my day off perfectly. The docklands in Belfast City seemed to be going through a serious development project. The Titanic Belfast Experience showed me so much more than the movie could ever begin to. From the futuristic landmark building to the detailed exhibits that showed the ins and outs of the Titanic Liner, I was really impressed. I actually never knew that the Titanic was built in Belfast until that day! I would have to say that this experience taught me so much more compared to the glamourised scenes from the movie starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. I'm not one for cruises but if I was on a passenger on the New York City bound Titantic, it would of been Third Class for me! I'll only fly to NYC!

Through my day in Belfast, Northern Ireland I experienced a moving and exciting juxtapose of emotions. Visiting this UK city made a lot of sense because one way or another we all struggle and hope for a day when all of us can sing from the same hymn sheet. Is religion the cause of all the trouble or is it history and a warped sense of tradition that's fuel for the passion. I went to a Catholic school for both Primary and Secondary but believe that religion should not separate us or cause conflict because we are one world with the same fight for life. Belfast I wish to see you again in the future but girl you've got some work to do! Let's just say I had one heck of a trip in Ireland both Republic and Northern but I'll say for sure it was great having a proper phone reception in Belfast! I'm a superficial soul! Belfast, I thank you for a thought provoking and enriching day because we've all got a bit of struggle in our lives but shining bright is what we do best! Belfast is a city with a golden heart! 

Belfast is Brilliant!

Joseph Harrison

30 March 2013

Baile Átha Cliath, Éire

The Republic of Ireland was calling me! Booking my Ryanair flight within weeks of being back from America, I needed to see the Emerald Isle and drink a pint of Guinness stout! It's a destination, a city that's not to faraway from home so I needed to see this place for myself. I don't need anyone when I travel so I packed my carry-on bag and set of for the city of Dublin! Go!

Dublin welcomes you! I literally hit the ground running without a minute to lose. My parents had been to Ireland countless times during my childhood so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about! The Republic of Ireland stood before me, well the city of Dublin. You might be wondering what the title of this blog means? It means 'City of Dublin - Ireland'. I wanted every single part of this publication to mirror my time in Ireland. Incorporating the Irish language posed a important part to include within this blog. Captured to the right is the 'Ha'penny Bridge' it's a sight that I have seen every-time when I have viewed Ireland on the television so I needed to see this bridge in-real life! From the second I landed in Dublin, Ireland I threw caution to the wind by following the outline of the 'River Liffey', this river put things into perspective I was finally in the Republic of Ireland! Now, where was that pot of gold at D?!

Would I be greeted by a little green Leprechaun? I made my best attempts to discover the Irish charms of Dublin right from the second I checked-in to my hostel. Rewinding back to my first moments in Dublin, back at the airport I encountered a family that sounded every inch the modern Irish Gypsy Traveler. I speak of them in the most positive light as they meant no harm but certainly made me laugh to myself with their conversations as it was ironic I had just landed in Ireland, a stereotype maybe? Flying from Birmingham Airport with Ryanair my early morning flight only took fifty minutes to reach Dublin Airport, I was right on time because my short time frame didn't leave much space for delays! I had a few places in for my day in Dublin but I wasn't going to go crazy, I wanted to enjoy the time I had there. One thing that I noticed quite soon was the strong Dublin accent that sounded rather nice, well that's for the gentlemen so ladies I'm sorry. Yes, we ready DUB!

Setting up camp whilst in Dublin was a very easy task, my residence for the two nights that I would spend in Dublin would be at 'Oliver St. John Gogarty's Hostel'. I literally slept in my dorm, benefiting from a shared bathroom connecting to the room it was a winner! I just needed my own key! Being an independent traveller I don't need luxuries I just need a place to sleep, I would say that finding somewhere to stay in Dublin for a low price can be a task but its all about persevering. It's a room so who could complain? My hostel was in the 'Temple Bar' area of town, situated on the south of the 'River Liffey' this property was located in a prime location, close to the local amenities. Temple Bar serves tourist appropriate Dublin with all the pubs.

Dublin's Connolly Station was only a ten minute walk away so benefiting me for my onward trip to Belfast. This super cheap option only cost me €25.00 for the two nights that I spent in Dublin. Who needs the Ritz-Carlton? The 'Temple Bar' area was seconds away from the centre of the action, playing its part in giving foreign tourists what they want when it comes to traditional Irish culture. The pubs along 'Temple Bar' played a selection of folk classics that pulled in the punters to spend their Euros. I spent my first night drinking in my hostels own pub, it was a lovely night as I felt at ease and enjoyed some lovely pub food accompanied by the lively sounds of a Irish folk band which played many songs that took me back to the age of ten, I did have a flashback or two! Let the free birds fly!

I had only been in Dublin a few hours, I had to keep going otherwise I would fall asleep! I made my way over the 'River Liffey' to find the 'Kilmainham Gaol' the jail from yesteryear. I took the Luas to St. James Hospital stop to make my way to the prison that once killed prisoners straight threw the heart. Walking down the 'Old Kilmainham Road' I could not get over the cutesy mining houses that sat on the side of the road. After getting a tad lost I asked a local Irish girl where to go, her accent almost mesmirised me. Finding the jail was an immense feeling as I tried to use the tourist map as little as possible. Booking my trip for 1:30pm I realised that I would be okay with seeing the sights for that day. The luck of the Irish would definitely be with be for that day, this Dublin prison sent chills down my spin it was that eerie! I didn't want to be predictable by going to the Guinness Storehouse, I make my own rules!

My trip around the jail was extraordinary, something showed me that people truly suffered for the crimes that they had committed. The tour itself gave a lot of food for thought, something told me that I would not want to be in a prison like that. 'Kilmainham Gaol' has been the set of many films such as 'The Italian Job' and 'The Whistle Blower' something that could be shown as a positive thing to have been produced by this institution. Life's hard but I couldn't imagine how bad it would have been for the prisoners who served their sentence at 'Kilmainham Gaol'. I had to modify the way I conducted that Irish trip for I wasn't permitted to discover the prison by myself for it was too dangerous, not fair! But abiding by the rules has to be done. Sometimes we don't get what we want but adopting some patience I saw exactly what I wanted from my trip that strange Dublin prison! I'm a law abiding citizen so spending time in that slammer would never be an option! I'm a good guy D!

Ditching the Guinness Storehouse I found a quiet Irish pub called the 'Patriots Inn' that served me with my first pint of Guinness. I drank every drop of my pint, I took every aspect in about this experience. It wasn't just a pint, it was the accents and conversations that filled the small bar area, I could actually feel like I was in a true Southern Irish pub. I really thank the Luas for being so convenient as I was able to get from one point of Dublin to the other, all in good time if I don't say so myself. The overall taste of my one and only pint of Guinness was quite overpowering but nonetheless I drank every drop. I won't be ordering another pint of Guinness, so make mine a pint of Magners Cider? Getting out of the city was ace, I hate tourists!

From my visit to the prison to my views of the green fields of 'County Dublin' I knew that my time in Dublin was totally immense. From the cute Irish pubs to the lively tourist appropriate streets in the 'Temple Bar' area I spent my first evening with a pint in hand, listening to some familiar songs that I have previously heard in my early years. From the 'Fields of Athenry' and 'The Irish Rover' something that put a smile on my face. I sat weary on my bar stool after tackling my full one day in Dublin, I had lot more to discover the next day but my time spent in Dublin will stay with me for a very long time to come. With Dublin done I had a day spare to see another part of Ireland, I loved the prison but didn't appreciate the hoards of tourists that surrounded the Temple Bar area of the city. No!

No More Guinness!

Joseph Harrison

Flying High... Ryanair!

Ryanair is an airline that's always in the press, forever causing a scandal because of a new service they now charge money for. Have you traveled with Ryanair before? I can safely say yes, I have traveled with Ryanair three times now. This Irish airline has pioneered the way that budget travel markets itself. Would you choose to save your pennies in order to see the world?

Ryanair operates flights by a strict no-nonsense mantra by saying no to the use of jet bridges, and charging for checked baggage. This Irish airline aims to allow only a twenty-five minute turnaround between flights, cutting the time that their aircraft sit on the tarmac not making money. Could you call this practice controversial? I would say cost-conscious because this airline looks after their Euros! Hailing from the Emerald Isle this controversial Irish low cost airline speaks my language, flying is becoming more like a bus in the sky! I've travelled long-haul with airlines like Virgin Atlantic Airways and Continental Airlines so I'm familiar with different services and in-flight offerings. Delta Air Lines might well give their economy passengers a complimentary soft drink and a small snack but Ryanair keeps things 100% no frills as everything is for sale, well almost the life vests! No, not really! Oh, I was only joking!

Forget silver service! Cheap fares do not warrant premium in-flight services because Ryanair does it better! They push the sales of refreshments, smokeless cigarettes, newspapers and even phonecards! Honestly, why would you want to buy a phonecard when your flight is only two hours? What will this airline charge for next? The toilets remain the only free service at the moment, but I dare say that could change in the near future. Could you say that the luck of the Irish has always been with this airline? Calling Dublin Airport it's home base and headquarters, this Irish low cost airline flies to some strange places. Well those places only sound strange because I had never heard of them before this cost conscious airline announced their ever-expanding route network. But over the years Ryanair has opened many bases across Europe and North Africa always staying close to their winning formula. Can you guess what is Ryanair's secret? Yes, it's those super quick turnarounds!

Revealing new destinations seems to be Ryanair's latest trend because its all go at the moment! Ryanair used to keep their flights to a minimum of 2.5 hours to cut the flying costs but new routes to Paphos, Cyprus certainly break that way of thinking. This Irish low cost airline are breaking the boundaries compared to other low cost airlines, but its evident to see that current market is so tough, an airline has to do what airline has to do! Using their persuasive tones Ryanair has opened a whole host of Grecian opportunities by announcing a new summer schedule for flights to Zakynthos, Rhodes and Kos for 2013. But the age old question is with all this eastern expansion will Turkey ever be on Ryanair's radar? Nevermind those destinations, this airline gets crazy when it comes to checking-in baggage so those overhead compartments are rammed full! Only I know too well during my three round trip flights!

Why fly to the main airport in a city? Ryanair do one better by choosing to use a city's secondary airport to cut costs. Think Scandinavian because Ryanair operates flights to Skavsta Airport which is ninety minutes away from Stockholm city centre, whereas other airlines fly to Arlanda Airport which is only thirty minutes away from the city! Ryanair have had their fingers burnt by advertising airports that aren't strictly the same as the location of the actual arrival airport, I would suggest that manoeuvre probably wasn't the best way to do things? It's never good to tell porkies! But this method certainly pushes down the cost of a standard flight ticket! It's never been a bad thing for me, I have been able to fly out of my local airport in Birmingham on one occasion and then from East Midlands Airport to a primary airport in Poland. Bergerac was the only secondary airport that I have flown into with Ryanair but that was necessary for me. Skavsta or Stockholm its still an airport!

I have traveled with Ryanair three times, my first flight was to Krakow, Poland. My most recent flight with Ryanair was a few days ago from Birmingham to Dublin, this flight only took fifty minutes! In May 2011 I flew from East Midlands to Bergerac in France. During my French flight I believe that the Ryanair cabin crew gave the best customer service I have experienced with this airline so far! I would have to say that all three of my Ryanair journeys have been super cheap! The Birmingham to Dublin return flight that I took only cost me £45.98! I'm flying with Monarch Airlines to France this time around, sorry Ryanair but you don't fly to Bordeaux from Birmingham! From the freezing temperatures of Poland to the vineyards of France and also Ireland's capital of Dublin I have found a low fare seat to fly me to my desired destinations! Be kind to my local airport, keep serving BHX! Add some more routes, please RY?

Flying with both Ryanair and Southwest Airlines has hopefully given me a well rounded view on this type of airline. You could say that customer service is not of paramount importance when a ticket is price so low, I learnt this when I traveled with Southwest Airlines. I noticed that Southwest Airlines shares the same 'Low Fare' mantra that Ryanair swears by, taking pit-stop turnarounds and charging a premium for checked baggage. But one difference stands between these budget airlines is their approach to up-selling and customer service. Southwest Airlines cabin crew conduct their in-flight duties with a sunshine smile, I might have been on their first or fifth flight of the day but their demeanor was always bright. I'm not complaining about Ryanair, believe me they could learn a lesson from their American cousin! But when the times comes for me to travel to America again I will be booking a flight with Southwest Airlines, they are playing the same game! Buckle up!

Keep It Ryanair!

Joseph Harrison

10 March 2013

Happy 1st Birthday... Desperately Seeking Adventure!

Exactly one year ago my blog Desperately Seeking Adventure was born! It's astonishing that this blog has enabled me to capture every single moment throughout my American adventure and beyond! Will this blog continue past one year? I hope so because I have a whole new chapter to experience. Desperately Seeking Adventure will be here to stay! Happy Birthday!

Desperately Seeking Adventure' was created by accident, I honestly had no intention of starting this blog but since the 10th of March 2012 I never looked back. Living in Newark's Ironbound proved to be a life-changing experience that provided my first blog publication, capturing my first thoughts of life stateside and my expectations for the year ahead of me. 'My Month In New Jersey' originally made its debut on Facebook within the journal section that I had created but I soon discovered the ease and versatility of Blogger, I guess that's where the concept of Desperately Seeking Adventure sprouted from? My original blogs from March 2012 through May 2012 were almost like diary entries until I fully realised the potential of this blog. May you ask how I conjured a blog title like Desperately Seeking Adventure? My unforgettable trip to NYC's Battery Park planted the seed for my blog.

Referencing to the movie 'Desperately Seeking Susan' obviously gave me the idea for this blog. Madonna had to be my inspiration but the 'Adventure' part was taken from the challenge I set myself at the beginning of my internship so I wanted to seek 'Adventure'. I was intrigued yet hesitant to explore the Downtown District in Newark, I should of never listened to my co-workers because their words somewhat deterred me from taking that risk. I want to return one day, but something tells me the hipsters may well have killed the ratchet vibe of Newark's Downtown District! Blogging about the most insignificant day out now gives me life, reading about my day out to Philadelphia and that unplanned day when I met the Statue of Liberty! Lafayette and Van Buren were streets that didn't mince their words, I respected the way of that Ironbound neighbourhood through this blog. Desperately Seeking Adventure made it to its first official year, there's no stopping me!

When things turned up a notch during my visit to Las Vegas, Nevada my blog was there for me to piece things back together so I had something to look back on once my placement year had finished. I flew with Southwest Airlines from Newark to Las Vegas via Phoenix where my journey's turned out to be fueled with Tequila and Gin, so my flight blog fared to be utterly shameless! I blogged about my fabulous day at NYC Pride and the delights of the March where I saw Cindy Lauper as Pride ambassador! Work was hard sometimes in the respect I would have to be awake at 3 am in the morning for a shift so I found blogging as an escape to keep myself positive. I made it to Washington, D.C. during late July, this trip provided a blog that was filled with Obamarama chic and the opportunity for me to express the impact of my friends Tom and Paolo who were leaving America at that rocky time. Yes, I was loving life Bish! 

I look back at this quarter of my blogging and placement experience to think that 'Desperately Seeking Adventure' acted as a form of therapy to guide me through a rough time. During 'Desperately Seeking Adventure's' first year I felt myself changing as a person, I become a reporter of some sort but more like a blogger who would make a story out of the smaller things. My numerous visits to New York's Chinatown and Downtown districts encouraged me to investigate and experience places that I would not usually think of going to, those blogs would be the first of many that would be honest and frank about what I saw and the atmosphere of the place because as I have learnt that there's no point sugarcoating things that aren't good for people to hear about a place, its all about being real and honest in my blog! Blowing out those first birthday candles reinforces the immense opportunity that I was given, I seriously underestimated the impact of my year in America. Oh Gurr!

Six months into the life of blogging my momentum of posting blogs on a weekly basis was becoming second nature to me. You could easily say that my blogging habits were keeping me going. September allowed be to write my 'MDNA Madonna Tour 2012' publication, which I had the great pleasure of experiencing the superstar's latest world tour at the Yankee Stadium deep in the heart of the mysterious Bronx neighbourhood. The month of September also brought many other adventures that I took the care of documenting. Taking a break in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico was amazing, that entire trip was captured in 'Puerto Rico - La Isla Del Encanto'. I traveled many times throughout my eleven months in America, taking the liberty of critiquing each and every flight I took. I must admit that this blog helped me secure my experiences and achievements through the medium of words and photos. Me encanta PR!

As my first year of blogging welcomed the final stage of my placement it was time for me to seek Canada, I traveled to Canada twice, visiting Toronto and Montreal obviously blogging about my trips once I had arrived back to Newark. I was reunited with friends, made new ones and embraced a whole new country. I had no sick days left and I even received an email to say that I no holiday time left! December happened to be my final month of producing organic American blogs as I would return back to England in January 2013. I successfully captured my Christmas experience and my final few escapades after I finished work saw me travel to New Orleans and Orlando, those final two trips helped me develop real-life material for my Delta Air Lines blog. I wonder where I will go before the next blog birthday for Desperately Seeking Adventure? I hope to be so meticulously carefully to blog about all of my future travels! When things quieten down I do love a flashback blog post!

Christmas had gone by, 2013 had arrived to see me working my final few shifts in the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Newark Liberty Airport, I would be blogging about that fabulous hangout in time. Packing my bags it was time to go back to England, but would I be leaving my blog in the United States of America? No! Revving up the first UK published blogs from the final stages of my Industrial Placement felt really strange, the show had to go on and the new university term beckoned. Finding something new to help the transition of this blog was thankfully easier than I had previously imagined, I chose Birmingham as my experiment because apart from a few flashback posts I had not explored in England before to then create a blog post! My February 2013 blog publication 'My Industrial Placement... One Year On' provided me with the chance to have some closure regarding my American experience. B, this blog was born in NJ!

Moving back to Birmingham has pushed me to look at Birmingham with a whole new perspective to create new blog posts that reinvigorate my love for my student city. I should really be focusing on my assignments and looking to get good grades in-order to pass the year, but this blog stole my attention without fail! 'Back To Life, Back To Reality' introduced Birmingham and my return back to my student city in a way that I never realised would look so good, I don't care! You could say that Birmingham has replaced my magnificent New York City, I plan to seek a different type of adventure whilst living in Brum this time around. From Macy's to the Bullring! How my life and blogging has changed! Last year was a big part of my life, but I feel that its now the perfect time to move on. Desperately Seeking Adventure will provide me with the opportunity to cherish past events and capture new happenings. Of course my accidental blog in March 2012 will lead me to greatness! Go!

Happy Birthday! 

Joseph Harrison

7 March 2013

National Express: Empress Of The Motorway!

What's your favourite mode of transport for a long trip? My personal favourite has to be flying and then second the train, but I broke that vow recently. Will I ever be forgiven? I decided to take the National Express coach from Birmingham to Huddersfield but the trains via Manchester Piccadilly were scandalously expensive for my slimline student budget. I'm ready!

So, I found and booked my super cheap round-trip coach journey with National Express. Why do train tickets have to be so damn expensive?! Maybe I might get to see more of the country en-route to my destination? Variety is the spice of life! The phrase 'beggars cannot be choosers' springs to mind, but my trip to Huddersfield was well worth the coach fare. BB was forced to be trapped with the common people, I was but it wasn't that bad! Reporting bright and early to Birmingham's Coach Station for my epic journey to Huddersfield via Sheffield Interchange was naturally the first phase of my mammoth journey. NX320 was scheduled to depart for its second leg from Cardiff to Bradford, it was stopping in Birmingham first. 08:40 am brought the on-time departure of my coach, which I would be leaving at Sheffield Interchange. Would my National Express trip be smooth? Yes, I had faith!

Speeding cross-country my first coach service passed through Lichfield, Derby, Chesterfield then arriving into Sheffield Interchange within the scheduled time. Pulling in and out of the various coach bays made the first part of the outbound journey go by quite quickly if I'm honest. I chose to travel on a Sunday morning and found that the traffic was non-existent, a benefit all round because I had a lengthy journey ahead of me. I would have preferred to have took the train because I personally feel that taking this mode of transport makes the journey seem faster, I personally think its the illusion of places flashing past in a super speed motion but I'll let you be the judge of that!? Huddersfield was getting ever closer but as I looked on my iPhone to see where on the map my coach was driving around the Peak District, I wanted that National Park to disappear for a little minute so the journey didn't contain so much countryside, it's not good for the mobile internet signal!

Taking a break from sitting on a coach, Sheffield Interchange was my place of transit for two hours. Driving into Sheffield's city centre was an interesting experience, if truth be told I could have done with another hour to have a look around the area further than the bus station. As the time pushed forwards I saw a coach that shared the same number as my next coach to Huddersfield. Being curious I asked the representative where the said coach was departing on-wards to, I shouldn't of bothered because the tone of the answer was blunt and rude. I only asked you a question! That NX564 was bound for London, I would have been going the wrong way! I would of had a look at Sheffield's city centre but I didn't want to miss my coach. No!

Onwards to Huddersfield the motorways disappeared into winding country lanes for the best part of the second leg of my outbound journey, Huddersfield was calling! I had arrived in Yorkshire as my National Express coach passed through the small towns of Wakefield and Barnsley, well I literally saw the coach stations and they didn't look to shabby! Overall, the first two sectors of my outbound journey had passed without any hitches. Maybe if the train fares are still high when I'm next looking to take a trip, could the coach be a serious choice? National Express, I could actually be persuaded to take another trip on your coaches! Apart from that certain person I was sort of enjoying my coach experience, I'll be brutally hones because it felt much longer than a train would! Oh, I loved it B!

Forgive me for my sins, whilst I was travelling in America and Canada I did choose to take the coach a few times. Trains are fiercely priced in America and almost non-existent in Canada, it must have something to do with the shear enormity of these two countries. I choose the Bolt Bus from Newark to Washington, D.C. The fare was very reasonably priced and amazingly got me to my destinations on-time! Coach Canada transported me from Toronto to the Niagara Falls area during my trip to Toronto last October. I completely missed the coach station so I did not make my coach at all, thankfully my ticket was changed so I caught the next coach! Moving back to the U.S I took the Amtrak up to Boston and chose to take the Megabus back to New York. My return trip on the Megabus back to New York was swift but due to traffic around the Connecticut area my arrival time was later than expected. I'm sorry NX!

Moving back to my current National Express experience I did encounter a slight delay on the inbound leg of my journey back to Birmingham. I suppose arriving twenty minutes late back into Birmingham Coach Station wasn't too bad? When all said and done I encountered a relatively good journey for a fantastically low price compared to what the trains were charging, the coach might well be my next mode of transport for a long distance trip? My time in Huddersfield was short but great still and didn't cost me the earth because the coach fare was under £20.00 return so I had enough money left over to enjoy myself. I unintentionally saw a new place if it was for only three hours spent at Sheffield Interchange. I can sort of put Sheffield on my tick-list of places that I have been to but I'd like a weekend out there. As for the bus station in Huddersfield well that's an experience all by itself I tell you! Now, could I call the National Express the empress of the motorways? Honey, I just did!

Take The Coach! 

Joseph Harrison

6 March 2013

Huddersfield: Intern's Reunited

I had to go and see my friend and fellow intern Paolo, it had been a while since we had last seen each other during our placements in Newark, New Jersey. Keeping my promise I packed up for a short trip to Paolo's university city, Huddersfield would be my destination when I took the long coach from Birmingham! Huddersfied wasn't ready for our reunion! Let's go B!

March 2013 brought the time that I ventured up north to Huddersfield to see Paolo, our time in Newark and New York City had been a blast and it was now to time to reunite for three days. I'm not one for coaches but due to the trains fares being sky high in price I had to resort to taking the coach from Birmingham to Huddersfield via Sheffield. Enough about the journey because that shall be mentioned at another time. Huddersfield! Here I am! Not loosing any time we got our provisions for the night ahead, you need we need those pre-drinks! Huddersfield proved to be a interesting place. As captured to the right we made it to 'Castle Hill.' You can see that I was in the heart of South Yorkshire, I get about a lot! The cold spring air was more than cold to be honest, my first day had been eventful and quite tiring so it was time for a curry and a film. Officially in Yorkshire, everybody spoke with a strange accent!

Choosing Huddersfield did not take a lot of thought because that's where Paolo is currently at University, studying Airport Transport Management. In Paolo's words he will always believe that his degree subject is a proper degree compared to my fake choice of Hospitality and Tourism Management, I would have to disagree but that has nothing to do with my trip up to Huddersfield. Being back from placement has been an adjustment so it was nice to share the same feelings and notions with Paolo, no one quite knows what its like unless your a intern! I had a breakdown of some sorts when Paolo and Thomas had departed from Newark for they had shown me so much about the life of an Intern in Newark, I was ordered to book a mode of transport and get to Huddersfield quick snap! So enough of the chat, lets take a moment to see how crazy, mental and disgusting my Yorkshire weekend pans out, for I truly didn't know how bad I would be feeling the coach back to Birmingham!

Huddersfield is a town that's sure got character, but in what respects I'm currently finding it quite challenging to put into words. Kelly's Cafe had provided us with a champion full English breakfast, a great way to start my second day in Huddersfield. I cast my mind back to the times me and Paolo would have crazy adventures to New York City or even to the local Brazilian Restaurant in Newark, for those thoughts I felt blessed to be in Huddersfield for that notion. Paolo had to take care of University matters, so I decided to discover the many delights that this post-industrial town had to offer. Getting my hair cut at one of the barber shops was an absolute bargain as it only costed £4.00! Yes, I enjoyed checking Huddersfield out!

Making the most of my time in Huddersfield town centre I stumbled across 'Queensgate Indoor Market'. Similar to Bilston's Indoor Market this market would have fitted better back in a previous decade, I like retro but in this situation it was not appreciated. This market and other sites in Huddersfield made the contrast between the postmodern points of interest to the original stone buildings that made this town look like a question mark, something that's unanswered as I have no words to describe this part of this town. With Paolo's duties taken care of we took things easy for the rest of the day, we both knew that things would be getting crazy later on. Let's just say my short pursuit of Huddersfield was insightful and opened my eyes to a place I hadn't thought about visiting. 

'Funday Monday' had arrived, we got sorted and got our drinks poured for the night ahead would be suitably shameless! With me and Paolo ready to go my intoxicated self phoned Tom Johnson, our fellow intern and friend. By this time I had consumed a bottle of Sainsbury's budget Gin and some Tonic so I was sozzled, my actions couldn't be accounted for that conversation. Tom couldn't make this trip due to work but my drunken self never took that into consideration, Britney had too much Gin! Nevertheless, it was great to talk to Tom and will hopefully mean a visit to Northampton will be in order soon. I shall be booking that Northampton bound coach or train very soon Mr. Thomas Johnson! I needed another drink and a taxi to the Camel Club where the next part of our night could get messy! Yes, It was 'Funday Monday' and that can only mean one thing! Yes, I needed to get to the Camel Club already B!

Paolo being Paolo had his connections so a cheap night was had for us both. Camel Club! I have honestly never been to a place quite like it for a night out! At one point I thought I was hallucinating because I could hear 90's Eurovision gold 'Just a little bit' by Gina G! Was this true?! I was 100% correct as this song was played at full volume! I loved the Camel Club! The small hours of the morning had arrived so it was time to call it a night. What a night it had been! With a Big mac meal in hand Paolo got us a taxi home, we were in one god-awful state!! So, this is where my Huddersfield weekender comes to an end! Somehow I don't think I'll be forgetting Camel Club for a long time! Packing up my stuff it was time to get back on that National Express coach back to Birmingham, accompanied with my hangover I just wanted to be back in the West Midlands! Huddersfield showed me great trip and it was amazing to spend some time with Paolo! The next stop will be Northampton!

Until Next Time Huddersfield...

Joseph Harrison