31 July 2014

Wolverhampton WV1

Wolverhampton is rising, its had some tough blows but this West Midlands city is fighting back day by day. Negativity is a no for Desperately Seeking Adventure! I visited Wolverhampton's city centre to see how two independent businesses are working it for WV1. Keep posted for the third business because Wolves is definitely the comeback city. Big up WV1!

Hungry? Wolverhampton's newest eatery has something special to bring to turnaround this city. The Hungry Bistro has been serving up something different to Wolverhampton since December 2013. Part of the high street initiative piloted by Mary Portas this Wolves bistro is 'hungry' to attract a new crowd in the city. Located on Lichfield Street, this new wave bistro has a key location connecting its quirky menu with Wolverhampton's bus and train stations. Contrary to report Wolverhampton is England's busiest connector point for rail transport, why not take advantage of Wolves's Hungry Bistro during that time of transition? Haters are going to hate but my philosophy is to empower the people and places that serve up something special! Wolves lacks in premium venues, experiencing the services at the Hungry Bistro proved to be very positive! I had to pinch myself, was I still in Wolverhampton?!

Can you name something that makes Wolverhampton look at cut above the rest? The Hungry Bistro is located just over the road from Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre, the show must go on for both venues, its great to see a good bit of camaraderie! Why not choose the Hungry Bistro for some pre-theatre drinks? Ditch that Greggs or McDonald's for something freshly made at Wolverhampton's alternative cafe bistro, the burgers looked great! Multinational chains make the world go round but lets embrace the 'mom and pop' businesses that do for themselves. Quench your thirst by choosing a speciality beer or a bottle of wine from the collection that's available at the Hungry Bistro? The team at the Hungry Bistro are friendly and welcoming so a attitude free dining experience can be enjoyed with a doubt. Challenge yourself by taking a chance on something new, we have to be part of the change for Wolverhampton if that means having a lovely lunch! Listen up! Yo'um alright Wolves! 

For this ex-industrial powerhouse its hard to believe that the city of Wolverhampton has many sights. Lady Wulfruna, a local noblewoman founded the settlement of Wolverhampton in 985 so she's been serving that realness for a long time indeed. Aside from that strong female this city has a great art gallery that still showcases some remarkable works of art, the council owned building still operates as usual considering the aggressive cuts. Choosing Wolverhampton's Art Gallery to find works of art dating back to the Georgian and Victorian periods and a whole section dedicated to to the city of Wolverhampton from 1850 to 1970. The art from the Wolverhampton section shows that Lady Wulfruna hasn't thrown much shade since she founded the city in 985! I have faith in Wolverhampton's art gallery, I felt a good vibe as I walked around the various exhibitions on offer. Wolves serves culture! 

Call me controversial but I wanted to explore a council owned service in Wolverhampton to seek the development for tourism within the city. I'm a firm believer that there's a market for Wolverhampton and the surrounding West Midlands area, so with a marketing campaign it would be possible to bring some much needed revenue for Wolverhampton? I saw the art gallery in a positive light, its times like these when we have to use what we have got to the best of our ability. Get me on-board, Wolves would be become a tourism hotspot! I wonder if Lady W was a independent woman? If she was I guess the city of Wolverhampton should empower their city centre independent businesses in a second. Veering back towards the art scene I really appreciated the Wolverhampton exhibition, I moved to the region since I was five years old so it nice to see what past influences have been brought through the medium of art at Wolverhampton's gallery. You know I have faith WV!

Wolverhampton, you're no longer a hot mess thanks to the Bond Street Tavern. She can be the queen of your dreams, have a kiki at this premium Gay venue? Seek something different from the norm because we know how to bring it, newly refurbished to a very high spec the Bond Street Tavern serves sophisticated realness. With a inviting atmosphere I was impressed with the Bond Street Tavern for that fact alone. Bond Street Tavern holds a monthly quiz and a fortnightly bingo that are both sure to find somebody victorious, we're all champions! Hungry? A range of freshly prepared meals are served daily from 12pm to 3pm with curry nights appearing during the week. It's too late to apologise! Friday means the Pink Pounder at Wolverhampton's premium gay venue. Cabaret Saturdays make the night! The Bond Street Tavern is a welcoming and entertaining LGBT venue in Wolverhampton city centre.

Could Wolverhampton become the city of the future? Wolves Pride is in its third year, debuting in 2012. Bond Street Tavern will be working with Wolves Pride on the 27th September 2014, supporting the event with drinks promotions and entertainment for the third Pride in Wolves. Contrary to report X-Factor finalist Lucy Spraggan has signed up to headline at the event so its easy to see that the day will be a live occasion! I studied in Birmingham so I became a scene queen, getting well acquainted with the many venues in the Gay Village in Birmingham, resulting in a weekend of mayhem at Birmingham Pride 2014 so Wolves Pride looks like a promising event for the city of Wolverhampton. Visit Bond Street Tavern to understand what I mean because I won't explain this business twice. There's every reason that Wolves has the possibility to be the city of tomorrow! Wolverhampton is returning, she's working on her comeback to give you everything that she's got!

Wolverhampton ... It's Too Late To Apologise!

Joseph Harrison

23 July 2014

BHX - Hello China!

Birmingham does it better! After three years of preparation it was time to welcome the first ever direct flight from China to Birmingham, UK. China Southern Airlines will fly direct from Beijing Capital International Airport to Birmingham Airport return each Tuesday till the 5th of August. BHX isn't it your 75th birthday? Let's hope this Chinese connection becomes permanent! 

Ten minutes before schedule the inaugural China Southern Airlines flight CZ3001 made its final approach into Birmingham Airport. It was a historic moment for it was the first direct flight from China to land at a non-London airport. Being from the West Midlands I stood with pride close to the runways edge as the Airbus A330-200 aircraft touched down at BHX that cool July morning. I was lucky enough to be part of the media team, reporting alongside the television news crews it was a moment I will look back on. The energy was electric, a new era had begun with the arrival of the first direct China Southern flight. BHX knew what was about to happen that July morning! This time around at Birmingham Airport I took my passport to be cleared through the security checkpoint, I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to experience such a momentous event at Birmingham Airport. Fly to BHX!

Fresh from the Middle Kingdom of China, CZ3001 taxied towards Gate 41 on the International Pier to be welcomed to by its adoring audience who were ready and waiting on the tarmac. Water showered the arriving Chinese aircraft, the water cannons welcomed the taxing China Southern Airlines flight like a friendly smile. Snapping like a paparazzo I was fully in blogger mode, after being beside the runway myself and the media team had made our way to the apron that surrounded Gate 41. We said 'Ni Hao' to Birmingham Airport's newest edition the arrival celebrations could begin. Local dignitaries posed for photos at the foot of the aircraft welcoming China Southern. Birmingham Airport's Chief Execuitve Paul Kehoe, Mayor of Solihull Kate Wild, Lord Popat of Harrow the Government's aviation spokesperson, Vice President of Caissa Mr Ren Jun were amongst the welcoming officials. It's been a long time coming but good things come to those who wait! Birmingham's got it!

Now, I for one know that when I disembark from a long haul flight I'm not in the best mood but the passengers of flight CZ3001 from Beijing, China were beaming from ear to ear! It was a joyous and special occasion for Birmingham Airport with the first non-stop service from China, most passengers were taking photos of the festivities as they made their way to immigration control. With the early arrival of the flight from China it gave the passengers the opportunity to make the most of their trip to England, time waits for no one! It was quite a bizarre and crazy experience from one second to the other with the excitable first visitors from Beijing, China. I shall remember the smiling faces of the China Southern passengers the next time when I decide to travel on a long haul flight. Well I flew on a inaugural flight to Bordeaux, France, the reception wasn't as joyous compared to the CZ3001 flight. To China?

I shared a connection with the day for I hope to teach English in China within the next few months. It's now hopeful that if the six flights between Beijing and Birmingham go down as a success we could see a full service being announced in the near future? London doesn't have to be the answer to everything, I believe the catalyst for change for the West Midlands region was when Emirates announced their presence at Birmingham Airport, also the International Pier has opened the opportunity to accommodate the Airbus A380-800 so the beginning of the China Southern charter from Beijing only stands as a sign of progression for the airport and the West Midlands region. Birmingham has been branded the second city but it doesn't mean it should stand in London's shadow! China is a growing market to bring to Birmingham for this West Midland city offers something special. For a graduate like myself its imperative to travel from a local airport. CZ to return to BHX?! Oh my Brum!

Have I been so careless not to mention that the lucky few who landed on China Southern flight CZ3001 were in for a treat? Through the joint partnership of United Travel and Caissa Touristic both arriving and departing passengers will be able to enjoy guided tour packages in England and China, acting as an added cultural exchange to the current program. It was really inspiring to see the once used drop-off and pick-up zones outside the arrivals busy with at least five waiting coaches, ready to show the excitable Chinese passengers what our amazing region is really made of. Working with Shakespeare's England shows that Shakespeare still makes that paper! Amongst the busy environment that could be seen from the front of the main terminal building the presence of media was turned up one dial or so, emphasising on MG Rover Group and Nanjing Automobile Group to keep trade in the West Midlands. Yes!

Several members of the team from Birmingham Airport would agree with me that the sight of the coaches reinvigorated the area that overlooks the Birmingham Airport logo, who knows if this sight could become a everyday thing at BHX? The morning had been full of excitement and trepidation, as much as I love blogging I'm a self-confessed aviation geek so being beside the runway that morning to see the Airbus A330-200 touch down was something else! Central News and Midland's Today had made their recordings, interviewed the necessary officials like Chief Executive Paul Kehoe. There was also a string of Chinese media on hand to catch their scoop. Looking back it was quite amusing to see the onlookers who were sitting at Costa Coffee with their morning cup, its all about attracting the right attention. I have every faith that BHX will bring another long haul route to the regions own international airport, did someone say Biman Bangladesh? More future Chinese routes, please?!

It was time to bring the celebrations to the 'Hello China' event that was held at Birmingham's Council House, Victoria Square. Networking events as such are still quite new to me but I spoke to the right people. Let's just say the contacts that I made will hopefully have a positive outcome. The two officials from China Southern Airlines made their humbling speech's, both officials expressed the positive's of securing Birmingham Airport as successful route outside London. Amongst the translations the words 'Beijing' and 'Guangzhou' sounded promising so BHX has a fighting chance to be a front-runner with the Chinese-UK business and leisure market. Praise was given to Caissa Touristic and United Travel for their extensive work to cement the program for the summer charter. The 75th birthday celebration for Birmingham Airport signified the opening of a new long haul market for Birmingham Airport. 

My time spent at 'Hello China' broadened my awareness of the success that Birmingham Airport will have with the new Oriental opportunity. Lunch was lovely, we had a selection of starters and mains that were served with a range of wines. At my table I spoke to two representatives from Turner & Townsend, the construction company that built the £40 million runway extension at Birmingham Airport. I have every faith that Birmingham Airport has a list of announcements to make in the near future. One lady who I spoke to said that China is like a lotus flower, it has been closed for sometime but as time moves forward the flower starts to bloom to become a beautiful open lotus flower. From the early start when I saw the flight touchdown onto Birmingham soil to the 'Hello China' event it was an amazing day that made me realise that my passion to work in an airport environment, hasn't left me completely! Thank you BHX for inviting me to be a part of a new era. Hi China!

The Only Way is Beijing! 

Joseph Harrison

17 July 2014

Blackpool: A Beautiful Sinner?

Looking for a sweet escape I booked up a weekend to Blackpool. I wanted to see what the Vegas of the North had to show me! Blackpool if you only saw what I saw, you were meant to be! I saw with brand new eyes that Blackpool is a town with hidden depths so I changed my name and left my dignity at the coach door as I stepped closer to the Promenade. I'm ready!

Why Blackpool? I wanted to celebrate, after receiving my degree results I just wanted to party! Say what you want, say what ever you like because I had a plan! Captured to the left is the Blackpool Tower that sits along Blackpool's historic promenade, I'm usually a foreign traveller but I like to switch things up every now and then. Blackpool just talk that talk to me! The shorts were out, with the sun blazing I checked into my hotel and hit the pavements of Blacks to see what was going on that Friday afternoon. I don't drink in the day so I left that trick for later. Blackpool has that individual feeling, its dubbed the Las Vegas of the North but I've been to the real thing and I saw some similarities for sure! Past the Stratosphere to find the vintage part of Las Vegas to learn why this Lancashire seaside town shares some of those full on antics. Surprisingly it looked like a holiday mecca, Two coaches for Blackpool? 

Somewhere to run to? I was astounded by the sheer number of Hen and Stag groups going about their way, but I encountered more raucous Hens with their bride to be attire! Blackpool I fell for you! The day was almost as important as the night, seriously who am I kidding?! I booked up last minute to stay at McHalls Bed and Breakfast, located on Lord Street I was right around the corner from all the bars I had my sights set on! Breakfast was included within the price of single room for two nights, I crawled down to breakfast on the Saturday morning but there was no chance on my final morning but I won't reveal to much about that right now. Back to Blackpool! I felt like I was in a time machine, it was almost like time has stopped in Blackpool's town centre because it served British seaside realness! Pie and chips had to be on the menu for I wasn't going to find a salad in Blacks! Stupid! I had no second thoughts or regrets about choosing B'pool! Who was that sinner?! Oh, no Amy! 

I went to Blackpool as a young boy, I loved the penny arcades and the Illuminations but this time I wanted nothing more than a pint of Cider and to watch some razor sharp comedy along Blackpool's North Pier. I got ID'd everywhere in Blackpool, I took that as a compliment but this time I was old enough! It was a full house at the Merrie England Bar, home of the legendary comedian Joey Blower. This blog is all over the shop, when time is involved nothing went by a time ordered fashion in Blackpool that weekend, I just took what I saw as and when it happened! I had been informed by a friend that the comedy was more of a tourist thing, I didn't care I wanted in! Sipping my pint I was nursing a shocking hangover from the previous night, I braced myself for the blue jokes and risky chatter of Joey Blower's comedy! Joey Blower made everybody laugh with his punchlines and banter! You know I only got on stage Brit!

Being the ringmaster of his own circus Joey Blower called the shots, telling jokes and making an example of certain members of the audience one lady reacted like a firecracker! If you ever attend his show, be prepared because you know who calls the shots! Just take a joke please, its Blackpool after all! If you must know I achieved a 2:1 degree so I will be graduating with honours, so I had a duty to celebrate one way or another! The weather was hotting up so that left one thing, I just had to get a drink but I kept composed because I wanted to be classy! Say what you want about Blacks, the British seaside has had it tough over the last few years but after watching a documentary a few years ago called 'Blackpool Lights' the Las Vegas of the North was still alive and kicking, now isn't that good! Joey Blowers jokes were too much for me to go into right now but I was laughing without fail so that adult only comedy establishment on the North Pier is a must! Who is that beautiful sinner!?

Girl wanted to have fun! Blackpool's leading lady invited me to a evening of elegance and campery, I even got a selfie with DJ Zoe! Funny Girls had just celebrated its 20th anniversary, with a show dedicated to the very occasion I had to be a part of that celebration! Betty Legs is a now a Diamond, serving for 15 years at Blackpool's premier cabaret venue, each queen has her moment to shine! The Hens were out in full force, I became a honourary member of a lively group from Fleetwood. Funny Girl's served a medley of everything Cabaret, the Sound of Music and healthy serving of River Dance, concluding with a fabulous Spice Girls finale! The beauty of Funny's Girls is that drinks can be ordered throughout the show, no waiting in-between acts so its really easy! DJ Zoe entertained us all with our song requests, really entertaining her audience! From that curtain call my Friday night in Blackpool began! Yes!

Blackpool's Gay scene happened to be a hype of activity the two nights that I turned it up! I didn't need to know a lot about the bars and clubs because it was all about having a great time! Dressed to impress I lived it up Friday night at the Flying Handbag, ending the night at Kaos to find that my hotel was just in the right place! Feeling like dancing I dusted myself off and got back on it, Blackpool wasn't going to judge me! Meeting with one of my friends from uni who lived close by we hit the scene once again! Yes, that's where I saw Amy! My alter-ego 'Britney' was out to cause a load of crazy business, I'm no angel so we'll keep it that way. The Handbag served the music and we brought the moves, as my final night progressed the morning approached so we made it to Kaos for the final time. Don't ever! I want that applause! I loved the nightlife! Kaos was something else, I slayed whilst looking good and feeling fine! I have a confession, Blackpool you are the beautiful sinner!

Blackpool ... You're My Beautiful Sinner!

Joseph Harrison 

16 July 2014

England: Bath, Bristol & Salisbury

What makes South West England tick? Bath, Bristol and Salisbury all have unique qualities that make them stand out for sure! I have visited those three places in England amongst two others that I shall remain in due course, remember patience is a virtue! The Roman Baths, Harbourside cities and Neo-pagan Stones won't be waiting for any of us!

Roman Britain can be found in a few select locations across England but after reading a blog about Bath Spa my visit was decided. I really wanted to get to know Bath Spa the best for I wanted to capture the opulent settings that the Romans left behind them, creating a lasting impression. I reached Bath Spa in January 2014 via Bristol for it posed to a convenient route for me to take. Bath Spa has a feeling that makes everything else make sense; the stone buildings that line the small winding streets complement each other just right. The original Roman Spa to the left was crafted during the Roman reign of Julius Cesar, dating back to 60-70 AD dating back 300 years, Bath Spa's Roman baths  haven't lost it at all! If your visit to England happens to be your first I would stress that a whistle-stop trip to Bath Spa must be on the list of places to visit in England! Nothing can touch this Grade I listed bath!

Moving away from the Baths I would say that Bath possesses a grand Royal Crescent that was constructed from 1767 to 1774 as a Georgian housing complex. Comprised of thirty regal houses that definitely have their own grand personality with each front window has a room with an exceptional view of Bath's city-scape for the Royal Crescent shares its foundations with the Royal Victoria Park, a hot property then and now for sure! Now that's how the other half live! I visited Bath when I was still a student in Birmingham but Bath had a very different feel. It's no secret that Bath has a regal past but the here and now looks just as good for the original features around The Circus is a distinguished environment, I need to change my address. Places of worship appeal to me whilst I'm exploring somewhere new, Bath's Abbey ticked that box of curiosity its first foundations of the Abbey were laid during the 7th Century. Bath's Roman occupation looked beautiful in the end! Let's big up Bath Spa!

Starting over again, Bristol was the second place to visit during my south west England trip. I reveled in the hidden charm of that southern city. Following my trip to Bath I justified a day spent in Bristol before returning to the Midlands. I had been to Bristol before but its was for a shameless party so seeing such a cultural and intriguing city I loved Queen Square. Bringing back Victorian realness I strolled through Queen Square to be acquainted with a calm and orderly part of Bristol's city centre. Tell me all of the things that you want to do?! Getting to Bristol doesn't take too long from the Midlands I took the Megabus for £5.00, without any hitches Bristol was in my sights the previous day. From the quiet alcove in Queen Square the Central Promenade joins Bristol's Floating Harbour and city centre together with a care in the world. Bristol's got a quality that reminded me of Baltimore! Serving realness B!

Opened in 1809, Bristol's Floating Harbour paved the way for Bristol to become a serious contender to bring trade from the growing points of the British Empire to our shores. Opening markets in India and China this Bristolian city sailed its way to bring precious goods and a healthy economical gain for the city. I took my time to get to know Bristol's waterfront, I really didn't know it existed but I love a good surprise! Just look at Liverpool, they also steamed ahead as a industrial port of commerce I saw that Bristol served that as well! It's not all work for the Floating Harbour because the surrounding docks harbour trendy bars and restaurants that are housed in the original warehouses, just look for the Central Promenade and Pero's Bridge. Mentioning 'Pero' flashes back to the days of the slave trade, grim as those days were it did happened but time has moved onwards and we can keep our lives. Bristol fooled me first time so I'll keep my word Bristol, you're secret safe B!

Stonehenge must be one of those places people put on their bucket list? It was easier said than done but I planned my day down to see those pre-historic rocks in Salisbury for myself. I don't want the best but I want a good life to have the opportunity to see things, making the most of my final student loan I returned to the south west of England to Salisbury. Travelling via Bristol I firstly saw Stonehenge on the bus tour, not being able to drive left me with no other option to just go with it. Dating back around 2000 BC the now designated stones looked amazing, its one of those sights I just wanted to see before I jet back off again to somewhere new! Moving through the ultimate English Heritage trip I chose to see Old Sarum, Salisbury's first foundation stood on top form looking over modern Salisbury. From a Neo-pagan sites of worship to a Norman settlement, It was a 'Priscilla Queen of the Desert' moment!

The Magna Carta was on my radar! Completing the fast-paced Stonehenge bus tour I returned to the heart of Salisbury's city centre to seek the 799 year old decree of law. Respecting the no-photography rule I tried to read the Latin parchment of law, sitting within a secure room within Salisbury's Cathedral this trick called the shots. I was tired of waiting so I believe that taking the trip down to Salisbury worked well, don't ever let me walk away from something I want to see. You can chill out in the yard of the Magna Carta for the Cathedral has some lovely grounds, let's just say that the henge can be quite manic with the barrage of tourists snapping away. Salisbury owned itself, a historic city that showed me a brief history lesson in one day! So the Magna Carta isn't just a Jay-Z album, no those laws existed 799 years before his beats! From the Roman Baths that were crafted by Britain's Roman invasion to the city streets of Bristol, I rate Salisbury to be South West's best!

Love England's South-west!

Joseph Harrison

8 July 2014

Deutschland - Städte, Kultur & Bier

April 2014 saw my whistlestop trip to Germany, a five day travel experience that showed me a whole new country in a short space of time. From Berlin to Hamburg then to finish with a day in Bremen I didn't have a second to think about much else. Deutschland deserves respect for what I saw of the country was welcoming and friendly. Duetschland! Danke für alles!

Willkommen in Deutschland! Berlin was the first destination that I visited during that April trip. The Brandenburg Gate is an amazing piece of German architecture, it mirrors the same impact that Buckingham Palace has for London. Capturing my snaps of the gate took some going because the hoards of tourists and locals ruined my view but I'm just picky! Berlin has a vibe that chills you out, my pace of seeing places didn't stop throughout my first two days but I was at one with Berlin. Remember the occupations of yesterday by visiting Checkpoint Charlie to understand a troubled time for Berlin and Germany, I had to pick my time for a snap at Charlie's Checkpoint due to the crowds but all I got what I wanted! I loved Curry Wurst! Get to Curry 36 to try a portion of Curry Wurst, its a must do! Getting around in Berlin was made easy by the U-Bahn, I chose to go underground from start to finish, it's great B! 

Getting to Berlin took some going with my flight delayed I made it to Berlin a bit later than expected! Scout the best fares from Germanwings, I flew direct from Birmingham Airport to Berlin's Tegel Airport. During my first day in Berlin I made it to Alexanderplatz, one of Berlin's central districts that is home to the Berliner Dom and the Fernsehturn TV tower. After checking out the Berliner Dom for a small admission fee I discovered there was a Easter market taking place in Alexanderplatz Zentrum, it was clear to see that Birmingham should take a few pointers for its Christmas German market. Hotels cost too much in-general so I stayed at Check-In Hostel for a cut price deal, ten bed dorms aren't bad when there is a fridge full of beer in the reception for €2.00 per bottle so I was happy with that! I was pleasantly surprised to find a Dunkin Donuts in Alexanderplatz and by the Bahnof Zoologischer Garten! To my delight I found a Lidl store close to my hostel! Yes!

I crave that next experience that takes me out of my comfort zone! I'm my own travel companion, I go solo. What would you do in Berlin? Grab your German Tuesday, head for the Spree to watch the waters past by, love the Tiergarten! Looking back I got that good good by just taking some time to take the views of the Tiergarten, now I miss that. Berlin is the new classic with a blend of old and ultra new sitting beside each other, politics even looks swish with the fresh faced Bundestag parliament buildings. Back to a somber note, get to the world famous Berlin Wall well where the memorial stands today. East used to meet West, I didn't want to be fancy I just took my time to learn about the crazy times people lived through until the wall was torn down. Berlin keeps on turning it up, she  doesn't give a damn! Just choose Berlin already, its a city that bounces with a vibe that's amazing! Love Berlin!

It's no secret that Germany has a colourful past but times and attitudes are changing. From the Berlin Wall to Tempelhof Airport. Berlin's former airport and airbase during the Second World War now serves as a huge park and recreation area, the runways and taxi-paths are now used by bikers rather than aircraft. Remember to stick close to the extensive U-Bahn network because if times of the essence then get underground! Curry Wurst makes a meal and Potsdamer Platz replicates New York City yuppie chic so Berlin has a lot going on for itself. Just open your eyes to a new city, Berlin showed me something raw and edgy but why did I have to leave so soon?! Remember the Jewish souls of yesterday lost their lives during the genocide of WWII at the Memorial of the Murdered Jews of Europe. Berlin waits for no one, have a beer for breakfast like what I did then you could indulge in some high carb treats? Berliners love carbs! I learnt and loved Berlin! Germany is cool!

Hello Hamburg! Go northwards from Berlin to a new German city? I chose Hamburg because I wanted to add something different to my trip and I found a flight back to Birmingham easy. Trains in Germany are much better compared to England, its cheaper and my trains were bang on time. Check out the Rathaus to be acquainted with opulence, Hamburg's town hall is accessible by a walking tour filled with vast boardrooms and a bathroom designed with onyx fittings. Hamburg stands north from Berlin, my train took around two hours, I arrived in Hamburg at around 10am to get the best of my one day in Hamburg. From the Rathaus its a must to see the Hafencity, known as the port city that is captured to the left. Prepare for gloomy weather during April. Be transported back to another time by the warehouses and canal way painting a picture of Hamburg's industrial beginning. Hamburg it was an absolute pleasure!

Leave the city behind you, take the train to Feldstrasse station to be at one with St. Pauli. Hamburg does 'hipster' in the form of St.Pauli with a maze of kooky streets that house alternative shops and cool cafes, shabby chic never looked so good! Germany is the new Turkey with a tight knit Turkish community in Hamburg, I found a taste of Turkey in St. Pauli. If football is your thing then this part of Hamburg will suit you just fine. Beim Grunen Jager is the street to check out in St.Pauli to find a selection of pavement style bars that give the best view in the area. Stay with Beim Grunen Jager for Kurhaus is a great bar to have a few drinks, chat and watch the world go by. Bikes are more popular opposed to cars in St. Pauli so just embrace the views. Turn it up along the Reeperbahn to find the Wunderbar, I need to revisit on the weekend because it wasn't popping on a Thursday night! Choose Backpackers St. Pauli, its cheap and comfy! Hamburg has its own crazy cool groove! Ja! 

Bremen turns the clock back to the 15th Century, find a maze of darling winding streets. Getting to Bremen only takes 50 minutes from Hamburg by train. I made the most of my day in Bremen. Am Markt, the main square sets Bremen apart from anywhere I had seen in Germany throughout that trip. I wanted a beer from the moment I stepped off the train but I waited this time. St. Petri Dom is a cathedral that will make you stand still in a state of deep thought, I'm not a religious soul but this cathedral made me sit down for at least ten minutes to just think. Five days wasn't enough to cram all the sightseeing I did in Germany because I always want to see more and more! Captured to the right is the Kaiser Friedrich pub for short, a historic German gastro pub that is located within the Schnoor district took me back in time. My hearty German pub food was served with a smile at the Kaiser Friedrich!

Look for Cooper Street well in German obviously, translated to Böttcherstrasse the small winding street has a quaint feel to it with a string of workshops, cafes and shops that line this Bremen street. I'm not to sure about the history of the street but a Glockenspiel is played every hour or so, running just like clockwork. Forget flash city pubs because the winding streets of Bremen are the best places to go for an afternoon drink, I chose one of the pubs close to Böttcherstrasse to have a beer or two. Beer on a Thursday afternoon? Bremen is different compared to Berlin and Hamburg because its a lot smaller than the other two places I have mentioned but it has countless quiet streets that date back to the 15th Century, modernity isn't a common sight in Bremen so this small town feel city makes it shine. Germany has so much more to offer, five days just didn't cut it but such is life I say? I plan to revisit with a small deviation to Austria. Experience Germany? It's so fantastisch!

Germany is Calling! 

Joseph Harrison 

1 July 2014

24 Hours In: Brighton

It's the little things we do, I spent twenty-four hours in Brighton. I ditched city life for the seaside! Experiencing the old and new piers showed me that Brighton has many tales to tell. Everybody has got a point of view but it's nobody's business where I decide to travel to. Get heated up, Brighton's promenade sizzles! Brighton, you know that I can't stop thinking about you!

I had one day in Brighton so I didn't waste one single moment, leaving my Jury's Inn hotel I looked to The Lanes. I'm a material girl from time to time but I didn't want to shop, I could of been persuaded to have done different for the wide array of bohemian shop fronts caught my eye for sure! My new favourite thing to do is find a Bubble Tea cafe, I found Pearls in The Lanes. I choose my usual cold milk tea blend with tapioca pearls. If shopping is on your mind then run wild with your funds, many non-high street purchases can be found within Brighton's individual looking shops. Go against the grain in Brighton because that's just how things are down in the beautiful south. The salty air had me from the moment I stepped off my London train, I spent ten days in the city, I wanted some fresh air! The Lanes include many small pubs and niche cafes that specialise in different blends, Brighton has its own rules! Yes!

Closing in further towards the promenade I had finally made it to the seaside town of Brighton. I had won a writing competition for Jury's Inn hotels, choosing my complimentary night in Brighton seemed like the perfect antidote to my hectic London trip I wanted to chill things out before returning to the West Midlands. During my day in Brighton I boycotted all major brands to get a honest sense of Brighton for I had heard so much about its alternative vibe. The Lanes showed me that I could shop for fashion fancies without contributing to the high street fashion nasty's. I'm not a mainstream hater but I just embraced Brighton's bohemian scene. Take the train from London Victoria or London Bridge to Brighton's own railway station or choose the National Express coaches from London Victoria, there's no excuse whatsoever to dodge a day in the beautiful south! Forever wasn't over but I knew my 24 hours wouldn't last so I moved on forwards. Book up for Brighton now! 

I felt brand new in Brighton there was an air of freedom that I hadn't ever experienced before. Call me dramatic but that's just how it felt. The Royal Pavilion was next on my sights to experience, I just couldn't say no! First constructed in 1787, Brighton's Royal Pavilion looks more Indian than anything but it was the retreat for the Prince Regent during the early 1800's. Empire was in full force during that time so the influence speaks for itself. Lots of people were taking advantage of the glorious sunshine by lazing in the surrounding gardens of this palatial Brighton residence. I did take some time to capture some photos of the Pavilion and to appreciate its Indo-Saracenic revival architecture but I wanted to keep on moving. It's no secret that some folks have expressed some strange views about the style of the Pavillion in Brighton for its not typically British looking, empire still ruled India that was the way.

Know which way to go in Brighton, I found the streets really easy to navigate because my sense of direction sometimes fails me. Call it pure luck I made it to Brighton, I embraced The Lanes and loved the grandeur of the Royal Pavilion so I could finally appreciate something that had a slower pace compared to the constant beat of the city. The promenade grew ever closer but I didn't want my day to be stressful, I suggest you do the same when you visit this town? Being on a budget is what I do best so I took amusement in discovering the kitsch neigbhourhood of Kemptown. I wasn't in town for a party so I didn't look for the liveliest of venues, I had ran around London for ten days so getting inebriated wasn't my plan. I loved the architecture around the bars and cafes in Kemptown, something made the sea view have a deeper shade of blue. I learnt that having a good time doesn't have to involve getting crazy, I liked being leisurely! Why had I not visited Brighton sooner?

It was inevitable I would bump into Brighton's iconic promenade, I couldn't walk any further south! Swimming wasn't not on my agenda, neither was a short paddle but I made the best of the promenade and even took a stroll along the beachfront. I dodged the seagulls that dived through the skies along the beachfront, I'm not a fan of those birds but it's there home turf! The sun was shining, everything was sweet! I didn't appreciate the main Brighton pier, it was just too much, the area around it on the beach was jammed pack with too much nonsense. You might like but I wasn't a fan of it! I didn't want that judgement to mar my opinion of Brighton's main point so I looked for the original pier that can been viewed in the photo to the left. I loved that side of the beach, even though the original pier has seen better days it blended well with that section of the beach in Brighton. Of course I don't sugarcoat things!

I chose to eat something close to the original West Pier, I didn't dream of going back to the newer Brighton pier for I wanted to stay with the bohemian and alternative hype that Brighton does best! It's your life so you have the freedom to decide!? I found a no-frills beachfront ice cream cafe that served hot food, I didn't have breakfast in London that morning so my hunger was growing. I enjoyed my hot dog very much, let's just say I would have spent twice as much for the same thing at the other side of the beach so I had made the right decision in my eyes. I don't get to many beaches because being from the West Midlands its the canal or bust in that landlocked part of England! Brighton had served up something extra compared to previous seaside towns I had been to before that day. I was on team sober! When I go back to Brighton I will make it my duty to buy a sweet chocolate treat from Choccywoccydoodah, I suffer from tunnel vision when I'm on a day trip, I do miss things!

Brighton ... The Beautiful South!

Joseph Harrison