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Hesperia Cordoba Hotel, Cordoba 14/09/2015

My View on Cordoba from Hesperia

Hesperia Cordoba Hotel, Cordoba This wasn't our first visit to Cordoba. We'd been there a few years ago and had stayed right in the heart of the old town across the street from the Mezquita, which was nice. So, this time we decided to stay at a different hotel. Parking is practically non-existent in the old town, so if you're arriving by car (which we were), and you don't intend to drive around the mainly pedestrianized area (which we weren't), and you don't want to spend almost as much cash housing your car as yourselves (which we didn't), then the thing to do is look for something more suitable. Which we did. So we booked the Hesperia Cordoba and it all worked out really well. Let me tell you about it.... Where it's The Hesperia Cordoba is in Cordoba (no surprises there). But wait, there's more. The beauty about this little hotel is that it's located directly on the opposite bank of the Guadalquivir river from the old town with access to the town and its attractions via the Roman Bridge. The hotel sits around 100m from this pedestrian crossing with the Mezquita a further 1-200m on the other side. This part of Cordoba for some reason is strangely quiet and parking, of which there is no shortage in the surrounding streets is actually free. In fact most of the tour busses park at this side and tourists then walk across the bridge to the town proper. If that's too much walking for you, several open top busses stop all around here and will take you around the city. It's the best of both worlds. ...

Glayva Liqueur 14/09/2015

GLAYVA - It's Very Good...apparently

Glayva Liqueur I'm not big on whisky. I'm not big on most spirits. But I do like the odd tipple now and then and when I do indulge, I like trying new and exciting concoctions...that is, whatever someone gets me as a gift or something that's on special offer at the supermarket. Classy. To prove the point, as if I have to, I was poking around under the stairs the other day (as you do) when I discovered a dusty old bottle of Glayva hidden away from last Xmas. It didn't stay undiscovered for long. The Glayva story begins in the docks of Leith in Edinburgh in 1947 when Ronald Morrison, a local wine and whisky merchant, decided to produce a warming and comforting liqueur for his customers. As, at the time, Leith was a busy port, he had Based at a busy port in Leith, Morrison had access to a fairly exotic range of ingredients that could be mixed with malt whisky for an unusual and interesting flavour. Allegedly, the name Glayva originates from the reaction of one of his workers who proclaimed “Gle Mhath”, which, as everyone knows, translates from the Gaelic as “Very Good”. Hmm. THEY SAY: "Glayva is created from an exotic fusion of the finest aged Scotch malt whiskies, a carefully selected range of spices, tangerines, cinnamon, almonds and honey. Surprisingly smooth and sweet, it really tastes like nothing else! " Glayva pours a deep and dark orange colour, a lot darker than a whisky, but still a warming, enticing hue. The aroma is sweet and spicy. There are hints of honey, zesty orange, a ...

Disaronno Amaretto 14/09/2015

Dishing the Dirt on DISARANNO

Disaronno Amaretto Apparently, Disaronno Amaretto first saw the light of day way back in Renaissance Italy when in 1525, a Saronno church commissioned artist Bernardino Luini, to paint their sanctuary with frescoes. In search of a model to depict the Madonna, he came across a young widowed innkeeper, who allegedly became his lover. The lady wished to give him a gift, so she soaked apricot kernels in brandy and presented the resulting beverage to the artist. Sounds plausible enough. But it wasn't until much later, around 1900, that this liqueur was put into full production using the same secret recipe that's still in use today. Not completely secret though, because their website tels us that "an infusion of apricot kernel oil, neutral spirit, caramel, and essence of 17 herbs and fruits" are used. Amazingly, according to the Disaronno website, their amaretto contains no almonds, and is in fact nut-free, making it safe for people with nut or related allergies. On to the taste test... Disaronno pours a deep and dark amber colour, almost rubyesque (if there is such a word/colour). It's very warm and inviting. The aroma is all about almonds. Biscuity and fruity with hints of cherries, but overall, a marzipan-like feeling of crushed nuts (not going there). There's also a little spice on the nose, but it's quite faint. As for the taste, there are hints of vanilla and a definite apricot fruitiness but it's not long before that marzipan, bittersweet almond flavour takes over. It's almost ...

Head & Shoulders Anti Dandruff Hydrating Smooth & Silky Shampoo 14/09/2015


Head & Shoulders Anti Dandruff Hydrating Smooth & Silky Shampoo Just washed my hair. Hey, I like to wash it every couple of months or so...whether it needs it or not. I used an anti-dandruff shampoo called Head and Shoulders Anti Dandruff Hydrating Smooth & Silky Shampoo (phew!). Strange really, as I neither have a dry scalp nor suffer unduly from dandruff. Still, the way I see it, although I could be wrong, shampoo is just soap for washing your hair and all those hydroplipomenes and styralacetatethingummyjigs are just marketing ploys. So, if I doubt the validity of their claims, and even if it lived up to said claims, I don't really need it, why in the name of flaky, snowy scalps, would I use the stuff? Because it was there. (Actually, it was bought because it was a totty-wee 75ml size bottle which is handy for travel.) You don't need me to tell you how to use it, but even if you are so intellectually challenged that you need instructions, there's some on the label (assuming you're not so intellectually deficient that you're illiterate) along with a muckle-big list of unpronouncable ingredients. Hmmm. Anyway. After thoroughly rinsing my hair, I fumbled with the flip-top lid and squeezed out a generous, goopy dollop of creamy, off-white goo. It looks strangely familiar, but I can't quite say why (not on a family site anyway). It's pretty rich and thick and it lathers up fairly well. Unusually for an anti-dandruff type of shampoo, it doesn't smell 'medicated'. On the contrary, it has a fragrant, decidedly fruity aroma - ...

Bavaria Pilsner 14/09/2015


Bavaria Pilsner Bavaria Pilsener is made by the Bavaria Brewery which, paradoxically, is located about as far from the Alps as is possible, situated an inch and a half above sea level in the North Brabant region of The Netherlands. It's been around since 1719, although not this particular sample...I hope. It's widely available and quite popular but I think its popularity has more to do with the price than its quaffability. As the name suggests, it's a pilsener lager (although the name also suggests it's German). Contradictorily, pilsener was first brewed, not in Germany, not in the Netherlands, but in the Czech Republic. Speaking of the Czech Republic... A Czech goes to the optician who shows him a card with the letters: C Z W X N Q S T A C Z "Can you read this?" the optician asks. "Read it?" he replies, "I KNOW the guy." Back to the beer... THEY SAY: "Our very own classic! Beloved because of its exceptionally pure taste. It’s always fresh and never too bitter." BAVARIA pours a peely-wally, light yellow colour topped with an initially large pillow of white foam that disappear quicker than a Scotsman on the bell. There's not a lot of lace, just enough to dirty the glass. There's not a great deal of enticing aroma to tempt either. It's pretty standard euro-lager with some husky grain and a touch of floral hops. It's not unpleasant, just not much anything. It's light-bodied and not too heavily carbonated which gives it quite a smooth mouthfeel. The taste is initially ...

Aperol Liqueur 23/12/2013

It's SPRITZ time

Aperol Liqueur Last time, I spoke about how I liked Italy and...what do you mean you never read it?! I don't know why I bother. Anyway, I like Italy. One of the things I like is Spritz Time. It's when many Italians, especially in the North East in the Venetto region partake of an aperitif. These aperitifs can take many forms but what always struck us was the one that seemed most popular. A deep orange concoction served in a balloon glass with ice and a slice of orange. We were sure it was Irn Bru! We had heard people order a 'spritz' but when we ordered a couple for ourselves, we were dismayed to be given a white wine spritzer. But, after a bit of pointing and cajoling, we were soon dished up with what the waiter told us was Aperol Spritz. Of course, nowadays, and several gallons of spritz behind us, we just mumble 'aprlSpritz' in the manner of a local and it works a treat. Appearance-wise, it really is an attractive drink and we find these days that people (when they realise you speak English...after a fashion) often ask us what it is...order one themselves, and thoroughly enjoy it. Aperol originated in 1919 in Padova, where it was launched by the Barbieri Brothers who thought it a good plan to produce an aperitif with an alcohol content of only 11%. According to their website, this idea was 'revolutionary'. Their words, not mine. It didn't really become popular until the 1950s and is still pretty hard to come by in the UK. Aperol is now part of the Campari group. THEY SAY: " Bright ...

Birra Moretti Lager 23/12/2013

Birra No Moretti For Me

Birra Moretti Lager I like Italy. I like their food, their wine, their culture and many other things that are too numerous to list. Not so keen on their beer though. I've drank a few different Italian beers (mostly when in Italy) and generally I've been underwhelmed and overcharged. Still, when the sun is scorching, and you're as dry as a weegie's bath mat and have a drouth like a pregnant camel, needs must. And to be fair, if it's ice cold, wet and beery, it'll disappear quicker than a smackhead's giro. One of those beers, is Birra Moretti. According to their website, Luigi Moretti's beer and ice factory was founded back in 1859 in Udine, in the Friuli region of Northern Italy. They tell us it's a quality beer made in the traditional way almost unchanged since the first brew. They brew around six beers but this one is by far their most popular. Birra Moretti are now part of the Heinekin group. Meanwhile... Whats the big deal with China spending millions to land their Jade Rabbit on the moon ? I bought my wife a £30 quid Rampant Rabbit and she's OVER the moon. Back to the beer... THEY SAY: "The best raw materials are used to make Birra Moretti, as well as a special blend of high quality hops that gives it a unique taste and fragrance, enhancing its perfectly balanced bitter taste." This beer pours a clear, pale straw colour with lots of rising bubbles to form an off-white half inch of foam that doesn't last ver...oops, it's gone. Hardly any sticky lace on the glass not ...

Limoncello Luxardo Liqueur 23/12/2013

LIMONCELLO - May Contain Lemons

Limoncello Luxardo Liqueur If you've ever been to Italy, and I have, you may have noticed a popular liqueur which is widely available almost everywhere you look (unless you're in a book shop...or a train...or). What I mean is there are literally thousands of varieties (figuratively speaking) weighing down the shelves of the supermarkets - from gut-rotting cheapos for a few euros, to high quality offerings for a lot more. Every bar, café and restaurant will stock it too. That liqueur is called Limoncello. But fear not dear reader, you don't have to go all the way to Rimini to taste the citric delights of sunny Italy. Not a bit of it. A quick stroll around the aisles of Sainsburys will lead you to a bottle or two of Limoncello Luxardo...unless you're in the aisle that sells books etc. Luxardo are a family business dating back to 1821. They distil a variety of liqueurs like grappa and Sambuca. But wait, you don't want to read a corporate history, or if you do, just google it. THEY SAY: "Obtained from the infusion of lemon peels in alcohol, Limoncello is one of the most world-renowned Italian liqueurs. It stems from an ancient tradition which enhances the natural aroma and fresh taste of lemons from southern Italy." Limoncello pours a deep and vibrant yellow colour, not unlike the colour of lemons (picks self up off floor). It's slightly translucent and, well, really yellow. If you swirl it around the glass, it kind of leaves a coating. The aroma is dominated by...go on, take a Lemons. ...

Inbev Belgium Jupiler 14/11/2013

Jupiler? Sounds Like it's Close to Uranus

Inbev Belgium Jupiler With all the fantastic craft beers available from Belgium, why would anyone be drinking a macro brew like Jupiler? ...Anybody? Ach, I'll drink almost any beer me. What can I say? Sometimes, especially with the summer we had this year, a cold fizzy one is just what you want and it's nice to vary the brand occasionally. Having been around for about 60 years, Jupiler is Belgium's best known and most popular beer. They also sponsor Belgium's top league and the national football team. On the downside, they are owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev - so ancient brewing crafts won't be discussed here. THEY SAY: "This delicious lager is brewed with the finest ingredients (malt, maize, water, hop, yeast), Jupiler has an outspoken image of masculinity, courage and adventure." Maize? sigh At least it's a 'manly' beer I suppose... Meanwhile... My wife phoned to ask me what we needed from the shops. I said, "Beer." "No we don't," she moaned. "What do we really need?" I replied, "Bleach, I suppose." If she won't let me drink, I might as well kill myself. Back to the beer... Jupiler pours a very pale yellow colour topped with a smallish white head of foam that doesn't last too well but still manages to leave a little lacing on the glass. The aroma is initially of bready malts but there is a light floral note in the background. It's not the headiest of brews. It's pretty light bodied and as for taste, again it's the malt that's to the fore with grainy, bready and biscuity flavours ...

Hotel Ms Maestranza, Malaga 11/11/2013


Hotel Ms Maestranza, Malaga I've used Malaga airport many times but for some reason never visited the city itself, I expect like many others. Perhaps it's generally seen as only a gateway to the beaches of the Costa Del Sol but on doing a little research, I found the city to have some attractions of its own. So, this year we flew to Malaga and instead of picking up a car and zooming off to places unknown, we hopped on a bus and stayed in the city itself for a couple of days. Malaga has, as you can imagine, no shortage of hotels to suit all pockets, but after a fair bit of research, we decided on the Hotel MS Maestranza. The four star MS Maestranza is situated slap bang in the heart of the city, between the bullring, the Alameda Gardens, the Alcazaba (citadel) and the new Malaga port, Muelle 1. Not only that, it's around 100 metres from La Malagueta beach and right next door to the Paseo del Parque. As if that's not enough, a five minute stroll will take you to the city's museums, Cathedral and shopping areas. If you're arriving from the airport, it couldn't be easier to get to the hotel. An express bus leaves from the front of the terminal building and 5 stops and 20 minutes later, turns at the big roundabout at the end of Paseo del Parque. All you have to do is cross the road at the roundabout and you're there. Checking in was swift and painless (though I can't think of a painful hotel check in experience). The reception area was decidedly small, especially for a 4 star establishment, but as we ...

Penis Pasta 10/11/2013

A Mouthful of Penis...Pasta

Penis Pasta "Would you like a big bowl of penne pasta?" asked a smirky Mrs p. Well, I have to admit, it's not my favourite type of pasta but hey, ya gotta eat. So of course I said yes. So, imagine my surprise when I was presented with a mouth-watering dish of little yellow boabies swimming in a creamy, cheesy white sauce. When I say yellow, they were more of a flesh very, very authentic. Oh how I laughed. " That's no penne pasta!" I protested, " it's, well, it's something entirely different altogether." "So it is, so it is." She laughed. What she'd dished up was, in fact, Penis Pasta. Little penis shapes of pasta in an angry, ready for business state. Apparently, she'd got this pasta at one of those parties (I've heard of Tupperware and candle parties, but never pasta ones) and thought it would be a jolly wheeze to give me a taste of my own medicine, so to speak. I was still laughing. Well, once I stopped laughing I'd have to start eating and something about this whole scenario just didn't stand up. Looking at these little wangers, I thought it was going to be hard on my self respect. But mrs p doesn't give a for my self respect so there was little sympathy in that quarter. Oh well, being a little bit peckerish, I soon swallowed my pride and dove right in. Actually, if you closed your eyes, it was just like eating any other type of pasta which as it's made with 100% durum wheat, I suppose it would be. I can't really comment on the taste as pasta doesn't ...

Dentyl pH Smooth Mint Mouthrinse 08/11/2013


Dentyl pH Smooth Mint Mouthrinse Let's face it, nobody wants to have bad breath, but what can you do to prevent inflicting your obnoxious, bacteria-laden halitosis on an unsuspecting public? Well, short of wearing a bag over your head (don't do this at home kids - it's dangerous and not always flattering), a wise precaution is using good dental hygiene practices - brush your teeth regularly etc., and maybe gargle with an alcohol-based mouthwash. Unfortunately, beer doesn't count. You don't have to use an alcohol-based one though (hurrah). According to the label, DENTYLph is alcohol-free (a description that never seems to fit yours truly). Although my breath is usually as fresh as an Alpine meadow, albeit an Alpine meadow awash with wild garlic...upwind of a brewery which is next door to a curry house just along the road from the fish processing factory. Be that as it may, although having sweet smelling breath isn't the first thing I think of in the morning, because I have to use steroid inhalers (neigh steroid jokes, please), it's recommended that I regularly use a mouthwash to prevent thrush. Of course, sometimes gargling with a mouthwash is a good way to combat a dry mouth - that's right, when you're spitting feathers. Anyhoo, what's this stuff like? Firstly, it has an innovative look about it. A thick, viscous layer sits atop the 80% or so of clear and thin, minty green liquid - it comes in a couple of different 'flavours' but I'm describing the smooth mint version. The idea is that you give ...

Tony Macaroni's Restaurant, Livingston 01/08/2013

Bangers and Mash - Macaroni

Tony Macaroni's Restaurant, Livingston Tony Macaroni is a chain of Italian restaurants in central Scotland with branches in: Dunfermline, East Kilbride, Edinburgh, Glasgow (4), Largs, Motherwell and this one, in Livingston. But, before you all go flocking to Tony Macaroni to satisfy your craving for delicious, creamy and yellow Mac'n'cheese, let's get one thing straight. Although Tony Macaroni's has an extensive menu as long as a wet Tuesday in Blantyre, one thing they don't serve is, macaroni. Go figure. As I said, they have a huge menu which, you'll be glad to know, I'm not going to list (if you need to know, check their website). A quick summary is all you're getting from me: 22 starters - from £3.95 to £11.95 7 bruschetta and crostino - £3.50 to £4.95 6 focaccia - £3.75 to £7.95 3 salads - around a tenner 19 pizzas (with tomato sauce base) and 8 pizzas (without tomato) - £6.95 to £10.95 23 risotto and pasta - £6.95 to £9.95 3 burgers - £8.95 10 meat dishes - £12.95 to £18.95 5 fish dishes - £9.95 to £14.95 and around a dozen desserts for a fiver. Oh, and they also do 21 tapa dishes at £3.95 or any 3 for £9.95. If that's not enough, then they also have a presto menu Monday – Friday 12noon – 6.30pm for £4.95. And...they do different specials on different evenings. Choices, choices, choices. But no macaroni. Tony Mac's is but a short walk from my house which means no driving which means being able to have a little refreshment without worrying about taxis etc. Did I mention they also have a bar? ...

Ibis Charleroi Airport, Charlero 01/07/2013

Ibis Charleroi Airport - a good bye?

Ibis Charleroi Airport, Charlero I've used Ibis hotels many times, especially in France where they are quite prolific. They're not exactly luxurious, but they offer a good standard of accommodation at affordable rates. I've yet to enter an Ibis room and think it was unclean, or tatty. They're almost always located either in city-centres, or close to motorway junctions. All their hotels offer "a 24-hour reception desk, a cosy bar area, snack service at any time day or night and usually a varied choice of restaurants." At least that's what they say. They also promise to solve any little problem you have within fifteen minutes - if not, the room is free. Booking an Ibis hotel online is simple - the Accor website is well laid out and easy to negotiate. Just type in your destination, click on a particular brand of hotel (or any/all), list your dates, fill in your details, and three clicks later the room is booked. If you should need to cancel, and I have frequently changed my plans and done just that, it's a matter of typing your confirmation number, click cancel, click confirm, and that's it. You can cancel up to 4pm on the day of arrival. Ibis Hotels are part of the Accor group which includes the chains of Sofitel, Mercure, Novotel and Etap, among others. . "'Ibis Charleroi Airport"' The hotel (a 3-storey building constructed in 1999) is in the village of Fleurus, North-East of Charleroi city, and 5 Km from the airport - they have a shuttle service. Take Exit 15 on the E42-A15 motorway, and it's 300m ...

Astoria, Bled 18/05/2013

ASTORIA BLED - A likely bleeding story

Astoria, Bled When looking to book a hotel in Bled I was quite put out by the prices. Slovenia is not an inexpensive country as regards hotel accommodation and it seemed that to get anything decent we wouldn't be getting much change out of €100. Finally, after a bit of searching, we managed to book the Hotel Astoria for what turned out to be a very reasonable €80 from those nice people at expedia. So we duly booked. Getting There, Checking In etc. The hotel is situated 300m from Lake Bled and the park, and 500m from the town centre. It's also quite close to Bled Castle. On arriving in town it's relatively easy to find, situated at the far end, close to the bus station. It's well signposted anyway. The hotel doesn't have a great deal of parking but it seemed to me that they cater for a lot of bus tours and not so many guests arriving by car so we never had a problem parking our car almost right at the door. What's more, the parking is free. The hotel building couldn't really be described as attractive, not even by fans of 60's style architecture, well maybe by them, but not by me. It wouldn't have looked out of place in Lloret de Mar. On the plus side, the hotel sits a little way up the hill from the lake and with five floors we were hoping for a decent view over the lake from the balcony. The reception area was quite roomy and welcoming but a little old-fashioned with the restaurant occupying a large proportion of the ground floor. The staff were efficient and friendly and we ...
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