Monthly Archives: April 2010

Stuck in Turkey as the ash cloud swells

Monday morning in Istanbul. Chaos reigns at the airport and the messages from home are increasingly concerned.

But us? We’re fine. We’re the lucky ones.

Copyright Peter Mallet

Close shave

This time last week I spent the morning getting a good shave at the local barber, drinkıng tea on the banks of the Bosphorus and tucking into a particularly succulent chicken kebab.

We had arrived late the previous night into Istanbul from Antalya after a week of hiking trails and documenting rural village life. No phones, no email, no stress.

But that soon all changed wıth the reality-check airport experience.

Asia bound

Luckily we had a secret weapon: the ability to trust in the great Turkish hospitality.

A phone call to a Turkish family friend on the Asia side of the water and, one hour later, we were speeding through the crescent-moon Turkish night to a family house in the Umraniye district of the city.

The Ozgur family took us in, gave us dinner and a bed for the night on sofas in their lounge.

We were tired, slightly dazed and thousands of miles from our families, but suddenly we felt right at home. We watched the TV news the next morning wıth slack-jawed horror as the full gravity of the situation started to dawn on us.

Our next move was still unclear. Sit it out, or make a break for Spain?

Copyright Peter Mallet

Long way home

In the end we flew to Paris, slept in the airport and made a day-long odyssey via Lille, Calais and Dover back home.

But, unlike thousands of stranded others, Turkısh hospitality saved the day for us.

Being stuck was truly a Turkish delight.

And – hopefully – Hit the North resumes normal service next week.

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Hit the North is away on assignment this week

Normal service will resume April 20th.

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Anglesey rocks says Lemmy

Just back from Anglesey. Book research across the island, the Red Boat ice-cream parlour in Beaumaris, Kyffin Williams just outside Llangefni, and discovering probably the nicest away-from-the-crowds beach in North Wales.

Not telling. Okay, go on then: Church Bay.

Ann's Pantry, Moelfre

Ace of Spades

But of the many angles I was researching over the last few days, the strangest must be an unlikely tourism ambassador for the popular holiday island: Lemmy.

Yes, that’s the one. The Jack Daniels-swilling, bass guitar-pounding, heavy-metal-wildman lead singer of Motorhead.

A new film highlights the fact that young Lemmy (then just plain Ian) lived near Benllech and went to junior school in nearby Amlwch.

Iron Fist

A crew for the forthcoming Lemmy – The Movie was recently on the island, filming scenes at his former school, Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones, and raising eyebrows in the process as BBC Wales reports.

The station, Llanfair PG

Of course Lemmy lives in California these days but maybe here’s a golden opportunity for Anglesey to fuel a new tourism boom with Motorhead fans making the pilgrimage to the rural idyll that shaped a rock god.

Is Anglesey proud of its heavy metal credentials, or is the man behind Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers a step too far for Anglesey?

No sleep till Beaumaris, then.

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Manchester vs Liverpool: the great debate

Interesting piece on the Times website this weekend. Read it here before the paywall ensures we all stop reading the travel section for good.

Well, I say interesting. The story, written by Northwest tourism stalwart, Stuart Maconie, is more of a puff for his new book Adventures on the High Teas: In Search of Middle England.

But the comments at the end of the piece make for some fascinating reading and an insight into an age-old debate.

So, to keep the discussion going, it’s time for Hit the North’s first poll. Your votes please.

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Filed under Liverpool, Manchester, Tourism