Just come back from the new Winchester Waitrose. Upsides are: Large; decent selection of food. Looks like usual upscale Waitrose food quality. Pleasant, well-turned out, professional staff (Sainsbury’s Winchester, I’m looking at you here). Clean and well-presented store (once again, a glance in Sainsbury’s direction). Downsides: It’s too far out of town. OK, it probably isn’t if you have a car, I admit. I’m in the minority by avoiding one for cost reasons (which might cause one to question why I choose to shop at Waitrose, so it probably works for most of their customers).
Decent Hamburger restaurant in Kensington. Well worth a try. Another similar option is Tootsie’s, nearby.
I generally consider myself to be a pretty liberal guy (in the old-fashioned sense). However, 24-hour doughnuts are testing my patience. Lots of London Tesco Express stores now seem to stock delicious Krispy Kremes, and to compound the evil, they do it at all times of day and night, just outside the hotels I tend to stay in. I think they are following me. They should clearly be banned.
Being as I travel so much these days, I tend to eat out far more often than is good for me (quite literally). London, where I’m currently holed up for a few months, is generally an excellent location for a good selection of good places to eat, although it’s still challenging to find a good (and quick) meal every night. However, my hotel for this week and last (the above average Hilton Kensington) doesn’t exactly seem to be replete with places to dine.
Two good restaurants in as many days. Raunheim is yielding some worthy secrets. Restaurant Donna Maria is definitely worth a visit; a decent Italian in an area full of questionable ones.
With all the travelling I’m doing in my new role, I’m actually having more meals in restaurants than not. This isn’t as exciting as it sounds; particularly here in Germany, where even the smartest-looking Italian restaurants (which seem to be the largest ethnic food group aside from German restaurants themselves) serve up cheap, uninspired food. So I was delighted today to find the nice (and not so cheap) Corner Steakhouse - not on the corner, but in the middle of Raunheim.
… find good food in Madrid? I’m obviously doing something wrong. I’ve been in Madrid for just over a week now. My first mistake was to assume that restaurants would be open when I wanted them. Unfortunately, it appears that the local convention dictates that you don’t eat till about 9pm, so most don’t even open till 8.30pm. It took me a few days to give in and toe the line.
I’m home for the weekend after spending last week with an IBM customer in Zürich - I return on Monday. It’s my first time to the city, and my impressions are certainly mixed. Swiss efficiency is present throughout (with the exception of the so-far variable Swiss airline), with trains exhibiting to-the-second precision and an airport devoid of queues (Heathrow, you have a lot to learn). But my supposed 4-star hotel is a little lacklustre, and the city itself rather concreted and dull.
Got back from Rome - I had a great time with Laura, Minder, and Nick. Some photos and some impressions: Don’t go there if you don’t like Italian food. Do if you do, it’s delicious. Don’t go there if you like breakfast. Do if you don’t mind a half-arsed croissant. Don’t go there if you like modern architecture. Do if you like crumbly stuff a few thousand years old. Don’t go there if you like your shops to be open and accessible (grumble, continental Europe, grumble).
Some photos from Oslo today. I’m not sure what is about this city, but I’m really not gelling with it. Apart from the ludicrous expense attached to everything, it seems to lack much definition, centre, or character. The food, often a highlight of travel for me, is sorely lacking (with the exception of the bread - dark and flavourful). Having seen some of the Norwegian countryside whilst staying in Drammen this week, I suspect I’d much prefer rural Norway to the city.