Sunday, 30 June 2013

The Battle of Waterloo. Again!

I went to the re-enactment the The Battle of Waterloo last week. It takes place in June every year on the historical battlefield just a few kilometers from Brussels in the Belgian province of Wallonia and has a cast of over 600 actors watched by thousands.
Napoleon before it all went wrong (c) Andy Mossack
Much of this historical landmark has been preserved exactly as it was after the battle in June 1815. Napoleon and Wellington's headquarters and the battlefield itself (although the giant Lion's Mount erected a few years after by the Dutch King William to mark the spot where his son the Prince of Orange was wounded in the battle used some of the earth from it - significantly altering the sunken ridge which was Wellington's master stroke).
Me and my buddy the Napster. (c) Andy Mossack
I had the honour of a personal audience with Napoleon on the eve of the "battle" joining him with his elite battalion bivouacked at his HQ. Joesphine was there, with her maidens all looking suitably splendid, sipping tea from elegantly crafted teapots, and his generals were milling around him their boots shined and swords sharpened.
A squad of Wellington's finest (c) Andy Mossack
It was towards this somewhat fearsome gathering that I, a lonesome Englishman, approached and, after being ushered into Napoleon's tent, at the very heart of the enemy lines stood in front of the Emperor and asked him in flawless French "Do you speak English?"  Perhaps not my finest journalistic moment.
He looked at me as though he had just trodden in something soft and smelly, curled his lip in total disdain, spat out "Merde" and turned on his heel and marched out.

Not the best opening to an interview. Perhaps I should have wished him luck first.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Belgians bid to break golf world record

Golf fanatics Alexander Hautekiet and Kasper De Wulf plan to beat their own world record by playing and completing  9 golf courses in 9 countries in 24 hours on the 24th June! Ambitious? Most certainly. Insane? More than likely! I am pretty tired after walking one round let alone nine.
This is all the more audacious because they have to walk each course and hole every putt, but the good news is they have the use of a helicopter to ferry them to their next destination.
Their previous record was accomplished playing 8 courses in 8 countries so I suppose they know what to expect having done it before, but even so it's not something your average golfer could attempt.
The timetable kicks off in Tarviso, Italy  at 2.30am, Slovenia, 4.35am, Austria 6.50am, Czech Republic 10am, Germany 12.50, France 15.40, Luxembourg 18.15, The Netherlands 22.00 and finally Damme Golf Club in Belgium at midnight.
All I can say is good luck and good health!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Geoguessr makes my where in the world a doddle!

As someone all too familiar with the concept of "where in the world am I" it makes my heart glad to see a new online game which complements me perfectly. Geoguessr uses Google Earth to plonk you somewhere in the world using street view, and you have to guess where you are using as few moves as possible.
It's very addictive, trust me. Created by Swedish IT Consultant Anton Wallen simply as a way of using Google's street view as a bit of fun, it throws up all kinds of learning opportunities for teachers to use or just to expand your knowledge of our world.

The Epic Sana Algarve - New 5 Star Hotel Opening Defies Portugal Crisis

I've been in the Algarve this week checking out a just-opened 5 star hotel - The Epic Sana. This latest opening brings Sana Hotels' portfolio up to 15, with no less than three luxury hotels launched in the last 6 months- two in Lisbon and this one in the Algarve. An impressive statistic by any stretch of the imagination, but this is a Portuguese company we're talking about here, operating in a country gripped in economic free fall, with seemingly no end in sight.
In the midst of all this doom and gloom, it is amazing to see how ambition and single minded determination can achieve something practically no other company even dare attempt here. Some might call it foolhardy, but spending time here, seeing first hand how serious they are at creating contemporary high end hospitality, it made me think how it just might be possible for Portugal to drag itself out of this mess. The Algarve is blessed with wonderful weather, fine cuisine, and some incredible scenery. All the ingredients for the perfect holiday. What it needs now is to re-establish itself as one of Europe's finest destinations, by showing us what it is capable of. After all, if Sana can achieve success then why not other Portuguese entrepreneurs?