Posted on Leave a comment

THE MEGABUS GOLD EXPERIENCE


The first time I traveled on Megabus Gold I was not really sure I would travel with it again even though I can’t remember much if I liked it enough or not to write about it. However it is my second trip travelling from Dundee to London having another Megabus Gold experience. The bus is completely full this time and the person sleeping beneath me has smelly shoes which he took off before getting into bed. 

I learnt after my first trip with megabus Gold that although the luxury of this ride is the bunk beds you can actually also travel sitting down on the seat that can be pulled out which is placed on one side of each upper and lower bunk so you can sit on it.

I missed the opportunity to enjoy changing my leg positions on my first trip but heck, I did not on my second trip😉. I made sure I laced the seat with my pheromones for about a good 30 minues when we started the journey and so I looked on at the gentleman who was the occupier of the  bunk bed below me get on my chair comfortably onlivious to my my fillings of angst, bitterness and bile and for all of the 10 minutes he dared sat on my seat to take off his shoes and prepare himself to dive on to his own bed.
However I luckily got the chance to compensate my bruised emotions by sitting on my seat another two times around 4.00am and around 7.00am before falling into a deep sleep  before we arrived at London Victoria coach station at 8.00am our final destination. 😱

Comparatively, tickets for this journey are cheap compared to riding on the train, flying or even from Stage Coach the three alternatives for travelling from London to Scotland. The luxury and hospitality offered on Megabus Gold also does not end just there, all passengers are handed small generous bottle of water and a bland muffin with no brand name (but in all honesty the taste and texture might  suggest it is healthier actually compared to a regular muffin). As you disembark the crew also hand each passenger with a packet of looked like crisp which I politely refused for myself in the morning after chomping the muffin out of boredom and relief from the purpose of my journey this time to and from Scotland which this time involved apearing before a Dundee sheriff court.


If I have forgotten to mention so far the crew which is so far made up of two male drivers who rotate after every 3 or 4 hours from my estimation are NICE on this trip and indifferent on my first journey and uninterested on a regular Megabus journey. You can expect any of these three types of driver slash crew on a journey.
The bunk beds are suprisingly comfortable even though they look like luxurious hammocks that have been layered with an extra layer of a quilted blanket. They are nicely made with easily ruffled white bedsheets I suspect are not fancy 100% cotton, one small pillow and a blanket.  But I found that the beds itself (I’ve slept on 2 so far) are wide enough to sleep on eithet your stomach or flat on your back for a regular size 10/12 UK female person. The space above your head is about 3/4 of so a rough sleeper cant toss and turn several times.

During booking, you have the option to select either an upper bunk, lower bunk or a double bunk for a couple or family but you do not get allocated either upstairs or downstairs so you are free to pick the floor you prefer.  I have noticed the aisle downstairs is much wider compared to the aisle upstairs and the best bottom bunk is the one on the left hand side to the driver as it is the widest with no upper bunk bed.

Over all, Megabus Gold is convenient and budget conscious friendly. It was also my best option for arriving from London to Scotland in the morning travelling in the least disruptive way.

Posted on Leave a comment

WHEN YOU ARE OVERWHELMED 

Rob Bell in his podcast below talks us through how to find inner peace and calmness when we are going through a wave of situations that makes us feel under pressure. He uses an example of his personal experience recently where lost control whilst surfing and found himself caught in a big wave.

 What I liked most listening to this particular podcast, Episode 18, It comes in waves from Rob Bell is when he shares that usually with plane crashes what happens is that the pilot would make a first mistake and in the panic that pursued they make another one and another under frantic decisions. This shows that when we are under pressure and a lot of stress it is very important to try and become calm.  Try to not make decisions about revenge or even try to understand what has brought us to the point where we are.

This is a must listen if you are going through any situation that makes everything look bleak and it seems there is no way out. Try the techniques he talks about to help you remain calm whilst waiting for the storm to pass.

Posted on Leave a comment

HIKING IN KAKUM

Just as we entered 2015, I wanted to take my staff on an experience that would excite them, require them to confront their fears and also experience something different. We headed to Kakum national park the magnificent undisturbed rain forest tucked away just a few minutes from the very busy center of Cape Coast.  Kakum national park has thick green forestry, the tallest trees I have ever seen in my life and is home to real wild life such as leopards, elephants, snakes and other undocumented animals.

the famous canopy walkway at kakum park
the famous canopy walkway at kakum park
The canopy is attached to gigantic trees in the forest, raised about 40 meters from the forest floor

Kakum forest was previously a source for timber felling before 1994 when it was thankfully taken over by the government and other stakeholders to be conserved and protected. It has since become one of Ghana’s biggest tourist attractions for eco tourism.

When you visit Kakum forest, it is poorly run and not maximized for its income prospects but nonetheless, there is several basic enjoyable opportunities. You can pay to go on the nature walk, we had an amazing foot guide with a lot of knowledge of the ecosystem, plantation, hunting and traditional practices native to that part of the country. He shared interesting stories of how he could see and communicate with spirits. He was eccentric enough to convince me. He also said that his late father a spiritualist opened his eyes and ears spiritually so I half believed him.

He pointed out trees such as the frankincense tree and many others on the walk to us. There is also the option to stay in the tree house with a guide over night to watch the animals at night or early in the morning as that the best time to get a good view of the animals as they shy away from close to the camp because of human disruptions. The tree house is secure(see picture below) and sits on top a very big tree which gives a good view of the forest.

our guide showing us various plants on our botanical tour in kakum
Ghana plant fiber tooth brush tree
this is plant that is beaten into plant fiber tooth brush in Ghana

 

kakum over night stay tree house
kakum tree house
balcony of kakum tree house
kakum forest tree house sits 40 feet above the ground giving a good view of the forest and its inhabitants

The park has wildlife species such as forest elephants, buffalo, leopard, bongo, yellow backed duiker, red river hog and primates as well reportedly over 200 species of birds, reptiles and amphibians.

Posted on Leave a comment

ETRUSCAN NECROPOLIS IN TARQUINIA

Tarquinia is town which is 92km north of Rome and just 5km from the sea in an area known as Northern Lazio. What is unique about Tarquinia which is a medievial town is the well preserved Etruscan Necropolis with several of the tombs restored so visitors can see the magnificient tombs with fresco paintings on the walls.  The Etruscans were Italy’s first real civilization, to settled in the Lazio, Tuscany and Umbria. Tarquinia which was one of 12 Etruscan cities later became a Roman colony.
The necropolis is now UNESCO listed with many of the tomb’s fresco paintings fully recovered. The tombs are all several feet below ground level so you reach them by climbing down a flight of stairs and can peer through a glass window to see inside. Inside all the tombs, there are light bulbs fitted in which visitors can put on from outstide to get a proper view of the fresco paintings on the walls which all depicts various fantasies the people buried in each tomb would have held of the after life.
Visiting the necropolis in Tarquinia is truly one of my most wonderful experiences whilst travelling. It is amazing and a wonder to be able to admire the work of art from thousands of years ago. The illustrations on the walls depicts a reflection of what life was like for the Etruscans. There is also near by an Etruscan museum that you can visit coming out back to Rome.
To get to Tarquinia: The town can be reached by train from Rome or from the coast towns on the Roma-Ventimiglia line. Modern Tarquinia has very good restaurants, a beautiful square full of medieval and Renaissance sights that will pique the interest of both the young and the old. It is also a romantic destination for couples with an information centre where you can also pick up information on various craft workshops, B&B’s and guided tours around the town. 
Each tomb has a description of the stories featured in the paintings on the walls. The Etruscans are credited with developing an urban civilization that dates back 9 centuries prior to the birth of Christ. These cluster of amazing tombs are monumental as they provide us with substantial evidence of Etruscan residential architecture. Also, the necropolis of Tarquinia, Monterozzi, contains 6,000 graves cut in the rock and famous for its 200 painted tombs with the earliest dated from the 7th century BC.