Sunday, March 12, 2017

Ski Amade 2017

Third year with Specker Ski Trip to Ski Amade in Austria. Again a great trip and ski resort. Ok some early morning Ryanair flights to negotiate but all went smoothly. I would describe the weather and conditions as two very sunny days, two snowy days, and 2 mixed days. A massive ski resort with many different runs to do, and outstanding scenery. Overall it was quite warm and on the sunnier days some of the lower slopes were quite sugary and slushy, but overall some excellent skiing was had. Most days finished off with a Coffee and Cake across the road, sometimes still in ski boots still on. Dave and Eileen and Seigi Tours arranged things well for us, and Hotel Post fed and watered us very well. Good company with stories and laughs as usual. A good night with a sing song and laughs to see is off, I promise I must learn some songs for next year! he says presumptuously, and I look forward to going again.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Well a trip to Iceland was something which I always wanted to do. I alway wanted to see the weird landscape and in preparation for the trip my checklist of things to do and I attained them and much more. The land of fire and ice, I would add waterfalls and roundabouts. Hiring a car is a must and dealing with some quirks of driving in Iceland takes a bit of getting used to but is easy enough, many of the main things to see and do are within a day trip of Reykjavik, the golden circle, with Geysir, gullfoss and much more is a must, the blue lagoon, where the 2 continental plates meet, the waterfalls, volcanic sites, and glacier on a southern drive is amazing, another route we took was north west and round the fjords which is amazing. For me the highlights were the geysir, walking behind a waterfall, and walking on glacier.
visited 19 states (8.44%)
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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Surf trip to Westport

Went for a surf trip with my comrades Ivan and Lee, after attempting surftrips to Lahinch, Bundoran, and Strandhill, for a change we choose Westport, and surfing in Carrownsky, Louisburg, Co. Mayo. Was my first time in Westport which is nice quite touristy but a lot to do and places to go. We stayed in Westport Harbour a brisk walk for 15mins into Westport. The self catering appartment, was nice and clean, and nice living room, where we were able to watch the rugby (New Zealand v Wales and South Africa v Ireland), and soccer (European championships) We had booked surf lessons with about a 30min drive west from Westport Harbour, and a little bit beyond Louisburg. The conditions were mixed for both days we booked, the instructor was very good, and the boards were excellent. Saturday we were lucky to be the only ones so a lot of personal instruction and Sunday was busy and we had a lot of waves which was tiring somewhat but still great fun.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Ski Amade, Salzburg Skiwelt 2016

Again this year I went skiing with the guys on the specker trip to Ski Amade, Salzburg Skiwelt, in Austria. It is a massive resort and a good variety of runs etc., testing enough for the likes of me. The weather was a bit better than last year there was two sunny days one very cold and one very snowy day, and two ok days. The last 3 days I found skiing totally different than the previous day (for ice, to powdery snow to slushy). I found the lift people very helpful and considerate to the guides and VI skiers and most other skiers were understanding and very interested.
The resort was full of dutch people? apparently one of the weeks of the dutch mid-term, and the dutch downhill championship was on this week. Dutch Skiing Championships!!!!! for a country without a mountain I hear you say. Maybe we should have the Irish championships there next year;). The gang was the usual faces a good gang, and good craic was had, a couple of nights of sing songs, and other nights of cards, and the usual cabal who practice the dark art of “Shot Dice” a mystery to me, we all found ways to have a laugh and fun. Skiing with Mick my Phibsboro Chess Club colleague (who got me involved with this gang originally) was good fun but for someone unfit like myself the former para-olympian left me wrecked after a week of trying to keep ahead of him. My Skiing is not improving, but my enjoyment of it, and this trip each year seems to grow. The guys in the Hotel Post, and from Siegi Tours treated us well and I would highly recommend them and many thanks to Dave and Eileen and Pete and Eveyln and Caroline and Peter and Windy for their organising etc.(sorry if i left anyone out). I hope to go again next year, my skiing is not improving, but my enjoyment of it, and this trip each year seems to grow.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Ski Amade Austria - Ski trip

After a late decision I enlisted to go on the Specker ski trip again this year, and again it was amazing (super-cool to quote the Siegi rep.) holiday. While the weather wasn't great only one full day of sun on the slopes and a couple of days where there was white outs for a long time still it was a great trip, and the under ski conditions were excellent. We only covered a fraction of the Ski Amade region, and I would say it is a place I shall return to. Guiding was quite easy and fun for me this year, since i was guiding a VI skier who followed me, I had a full day effectively free skiing when i just followed another guide an excellent skier. Over the week it seems i guided for about 100km and skied freely for about 30. The lift workers were very nice, and helpful especially when you were with a VI skier. A couple of nights sing song as well as an interesting Austrian culture night we had some craic. The hotel was fine and the food excellent, I like German/Austrian food, they were also very helpful in the hotel and with the group. One thing about the ski-amade region is the engineering of the ski-lifts, the gondolas and chairlifts were impressive, but the g-link was an amazing feat of engineering. My flight to saltzburg was at some inhuman hour but had to be done, the saltzburg airport was pretty basic especially behind at the gate, one coffee shop, and 4 euro for a coke... I suspect i will end up going again.. and hope to do so.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Gdansk-Sopot and Hel

My 2nd trip to Poland, still struggle with even the token pleasantries in the language.
Sopot nice sea side resort, with a long pier, while the weather was very good, the town had an end of season feel, and that its rumour party reputation was not as evident as you would have thought.
Gdynia and Hel, I like travelling on trains when I am abroad, and the trains in Poland I found quite efficient but our venture into Gdynia was cut short by us missing the train, and while promised to return later, our prolonged trip to Hel put paid to that.
Hel I found very nice, the end of a long bar, spit of a peninsula poking out into the Baltic Sea sand, sea, sun, seals and schnitzel. The Seal Sanctuary I am not sure about, they looked pretty lazy languishing in an artificial place for them.
Gdansk was a real surprise, the old town is a must see if your in that part of poland, how the buildings survived or were revived is testament to the spirit of the poles. The history of the war, of the communist era and of the shipyard strike. Everywhere from churches to the shipyards you see pictures of the Pope now St. John Paul II, the pride and respect they have for their pope and what he represented and gave to them during the final years of the communist era is tangible. There seems to be a lot of investment and development going on and time will tell if it is being well spent, so far they seem to be doing a good job.
It is a place I hope to return to some day, i missed the chance to get over to see Kaliningrad/Koingsberg but maybe next time.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Oberjoch Specker Ski trip 2014

Well I decided to go again on the Ski trip to Oberjoch in Germany. The weather was very nice maybe too nice the area could have done with more snow, however the slopes were finely pisted and good skiing was had. I had the new experience of guiding a blind skier for 4 days, and calling the turns from a few meters behind him, eventually we worked out a pattern and we traversed the mountains easily enough stopping off for the mandatory currywurst, hot choclate, Ski wasser and goulash on occasions.
For two days i was with a V.I. skier who followed me trusting soul he is. Had a few burns on my own which was when i had my traditional couple of spills, thankfully no one there to witness these;) Also the mandatory couple of visits to Josefs had to be done.
Good restaurants as I have always found in Germany, and evenings such as the mad frenchmans restaurant, Schnitzel Night as well as a couple of sing song nights, a few musical darkhorses there, as ever if invited i promise to learn a few songs for next year. A big thanks to the Dave and Eileen for organising, much appreciated.