Friday, November 5, 2010

The Internets Bright Young Things

Do you think you have the inside lane when it comes to finding the webs next big thing? Can you spot a good idea a mile away and then accurately predict whether it will be successful or not? Can you read minds??

I can do none of these things. I would like to be able to them all.

I am currently working for and what I'm trying to do is create a little bit of buzz and get more people aware of our website. As things stand I've got a presence on twitter, blip and (just now) bebo yet these few little grains are lost among the huge dunes of sand around us. 

What I don't want to do is approach random people with friend requests as I, for one, despise this type of lazy and tedious self promotion. So here I am, starting a blog (my first blog) with the hope of learning some tricks and sharing some thoughts.

What I won't do is talk just about For example I hope to share some cool applications and sites that I've come across over the past few months in this job, here are a few: - store all your photos, music, videos online! - photoshop in your browser (works best with Chrome) - an alternative to Google (not that you need one really) - the webs best offer every day - all of your music collection, anywhere in the world! - a place to find and store all of your social media - a place to find and share all of your travel news - OK it's a game, but a damn good one!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Football Cities: Buenos Aires

Passion for football doesn’t really get any more intense than in Argentina, and Buenos Aires is at the beating heart of it all. The city has more football teams than any other and rivalries make certain areas pretty combustible places when two big teams lock horns and both sets of fans form huge swarms of flag waving, whistle blowing, confetti throwing armies!

Football here is important; it is one of the few things that can bring such unbridled joy to so many people in times of political and economic turmoil. The biggest teams in town are River Plate, Boca Juniors and Vélez Sársfields and these are followed by huge amounts of passionate supporters depending on the area of the city they live. In fact, it is said that over half the country supports either Boca Juniors or River Plate such is their history and success.

Derbies between Boca and River are called the Superclásico and tickets are like gold dust with locals queuing outside the stadiums for an age in order to guarantee their attendance. The importance of this game cannot be underestimated and its effects have been soaked up into the local culture. An example of this would be that after such games street signs cover the city of Buenos Aires with humorous jokes about the losing team. At the games themselves there are fireworks, confetti, flags and riots within the stadiums as the stands actually bounce to the rhythm of the jumping fans! 

River Plate (Los Millonarios) is actually a giant sports club in the area of Núnez whose most successful team is the soccer team. Rivers home ground is the 65,000 capacity Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti (El Monumental) which is also used by the national team and played host to the 1978 World Cup finals. One of Americas most successful teams the club has won countless titles and cups and their rivalry with Boca Juniors is known the world over due to the intensity and drama of their games. Ticket prices vary depending on the opposition but you can expect to pay in the region of €40.

Boca Juniors (Los Xeneizes – to do with the clubs Italian founders) is the other giant club of Buenos Aires and the second half to the Superclásico alongside River Plate. Boca Junoirs play their games at the Estadio Alberto J. Armando (La Bombonera) which crams over 57,000 fans onto some of the steepest terraces known to mankind! The area that Boca Juniors calls home is the neighbourhood of La Boca which is a mostly working class society compared to the Los Millionarios of River Plate. The club is also one of the worlds most successful teams and some fans devote their entire life to the club, even being buried in the official Boca Juniors cemetery! Tickets for games are around the €40 mark. 

Vélez Sarsfields (El Fortín) may not be as widely known as River Plate or Boca Juniors but they still have a massive support and are a good option if you can’t get tickets for the bigger two teams! Their stadium is the Estadio José Amalfitani (rugby fans may also know this as the home to the national rugby team) which has a capacity of 49,000 people. Situated in the west of the city in the suburb of Liniers the club doesn’t actually have any close rivals yet success in recent times has ensured large crowds and good football! Tickets will set you back around €30.


For information on the best places to stay in Buenos Aires check out 

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Football Cities

Football ruined my weekend. There I said it. Football ruined my weekend because my team (Manchester United) lost on Saturday afternoon and I never really recovered from this disappointment. Some people might think this is ridiculous but when you, like me, have your life consumed by a passion like football you end up taking these things pretty hard. I’m not alone in this, there are great masses of people who feel the same; in fact there are whole cities that reverberate with the sounds and sights of football.

In the first part of my look at the worlds top football cities I’m going to check out what London has to offer the beautiful game.


A population of 7 million people can’t be wrong; football is London’s most popular sport both for playing and watching. The city is home to 13 professional football teams (with only Istanbul and Buenos Aires boasting more in one city), several of which play at the highest levels domestically and indeed in Europe.

Teams like Arsenal, Chelsea, Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United are famous around the globe for playing in the Premier League (England’s highest league) and draw huge crowds each week to their respective stadiums.

Arsenal (‘The Gunners’) play in the modern Emirates Stadium which comfortably (all seats are padded) seats 60,000 fans. In the past opposing fans used to sing ‘boring-boring-Arsenal’ but those days are long gone and in recent seasons Arsenal have been known to play some of the worlds most attractive football so if you do manage to get a ticket you should be in for a treat! Those tickets don’t come cheap though, ranging from about £35 to £100. This is London after all!

Chelsea (‘The Pensioners’) are relative newcomers to football compared to most other major English clubs, but now they have the chance to cement themselves as one of the worlds most successful modern clubs if progress under a new billionaire Russian oil tycoon continues. Chelsea’s home ground is Stamford Bridge and games are attended by approximately 41,000 fans. Despite its name the club isn’t actually in Chelsea but instead the area of Fulham. Match tickets cost in the region of £35 to £60.

Fulham (‘The Cottagers’) are the oldest professional team in London and play in Craven Cottage with a capacity for 26,000 fans. Usually considered a mid-table premiership team Fulham have struggled in recent seasons to keep up with the large amounts of money being spent around them. Ticket prices range from £25 to £55 depending on the opposition.

Tottenham Hotspur (‘Spurs’) are England’s perennial underachievers; always promising so much but usually failing to deliver. Spurs always entertain, whether the result is positive or not, and there is always one or two exciting players on display. White Hart Lane is where Tottenham call home and each match-day over 36,000 fans don their whites and head to shout on their team. If you’re looking for tickets expect to pay between £35 and £75.

West Ham United (‘The Hammers’) are famed for producing some of England’s finest players, although these players don’t always stick around once a big contract comes from elsewhere. The hammers have a passionate following which makes hearing them sing the club anthem ‘I’m forever blowing bubbles’ (accompanied by the blowing of bubbles!) seem almost macho! The home ground in Upton Park and tickets are in the region of £35 and £65.

There are of course many other teams in London - too many to go through right now! If you're in the city at a time when there are no matches you can always visit each stadium for a tour. Speaking of tours there's also Englands largest football stadium and home to the national team: Wembley! A super-expensive, state-of-the-art, 90,000 seater giant of a stadium that is fast becoming a new London landmark. The tour costs £15 per adult, £8 for the kids!

For information on the best places to stay in London check out and for a London city guide have a look here 

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Friday, November 7, 2008

It's an image thing

- 'So I hear you're going on holidays'

- 'Yeah, heading away for the weekend, can't wait! The place is meant to be lovely, lots to see; we'll be up early every day to get in the sights and then out late each night'
- 'You'll need another holiday once you're through with this one! Where are you staying?'
- 'Some hotel with all the extras - pool, sauna, gym... the whole nine yards'

This is the kind of conversation I've had with certain friends down through the years and it just doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever. Why pay for fancy accommodation when you intend on spending as much time away from it as possible? Why have a pool when you'll never get to actually use it? What's the point in having a flat screen TV in your room with 24hr news stations when you're trying to get away from it all for a while? What's the point in spending silly money when you could be spending it on something brilliant!? 

Next weekend I'll be in Paris and I don't plan on spending too much time in bed. Instead I'll be out and about taking photos, eating good food and dancing the nights away. The hostel that I'm staying in has a great location, a bar next door and is great value! (
I'll be there with friends but I also expect to meet quite a few other people in and around the common room and bar which is always nice. This hostel offers me everything I need - which admittedly isn't much.

I'm not going to Paris for the accommodation, I'm going for Paris. I want to squeeze as much into my time there as is possible. I don't have a lot of money to do that and neither do my friends. This hostel is perfect!

I think that sites like have a bit of an image problem. The first issue is that the name suggests there are only hostels listed which of course isn't true (hostels, apartments, budget hotels, guesthouses, B%B's, campsites,  etc). 

The second issue is that when people go on holidays they want to spoil themselves. The best hotel in town, the finest food and maybe a spot of shopping along the way. My advice for people who want this type of holiday is to go on a cruise - don't take up space in a location you're not interested in! :)

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