I’ll stay on the sidewalk, thanks

As much as I want to do the Harbour Bridge Walk, I just don’t think I’ll be able to. I know the view will be one of, if not, the best I’ve ever seen… It is something that fills me with anxiety more than excitement.

I did a rooftop stadium tour of St James’ Park in Newcastle and that was scary enough. I was protected by a waist high railing (and a hard hat despite nothing being above me and little use if I fell), standing directly over the pitch below. Here it is the same but higher and nothing but a rail on both sides. I would be tied to safety equipment, not that it would cure my fear of heights or make the terrifying ordeal any more bearable.

To those brave enough to do this, I salute you.

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Changi airport, the best for long layovers!

After a long 14 hour journey from London to Singapore, I had an even longer 17 hours in Changi airport. If there was ever an airport that I would want to be stuck in for so long, I can safely say it is this one.


It is very green, that’s what I noticed straight away after entering the terminal. There are plants everywhere! It felt relaxed and that is the vibe I got walking through the airport. Everything was chilled.


I did not realise how quickly my 17 hours would fly by though. I spent the first thirty minutes in the Cactus Garden with a couple of beers, sitting under a fan chatting to the bartender after having a stroll around the differing species of cacti on display.


This of course, made me pretty peckish. I will warn you now, this specific post isn’t for foodies. I grabbed quick bites when I could, on this occasion a chicken and cheese croissant’which from Burger King. Never had one before, and it got me through.

The Sky Train is very convenient, a fast and very frequent way to travel between terminals. The outside of the airport seems to be as pretty as it is inside!


I headed back to my terminal and to the Free Singapore Tours stand. 

This, my friends, is the daddy of all layover actives. 


That, or being made to ride a bike to charge your phone. That is up there too!


But back to the tour. The queue when I got there was probably ten people long but it didn’t take too long to get seen to. I told the lady at the stand that I was given a spot on the 6pm tour after emailing Singapore Airlines before flying, although the 7.30pm show sounded much more appealing due to the light shows displayed after sunset. I was worried about getting back after the 2.5 hour show and to my next flight, boarding at 11.45pm, taking into account the security checks leaving and entering the airport and the possible traffic issues.


After speaking to the lovely lady it was clear that 7.30pm wouldn’t be an issue for getting back to my flight, and that it was easy for me to change times. That I did. 

By this time it was midday. I spent some of the next hour strolling through the airport and taking in the nature.


It was then that a couple of yawns hit me, and that I realised that I probably only had an hour tops of sleep on the flight. If I was to fully appreciate the Singapore Tour, I needed to find a spot and get my head down. I set my alarm for 5pm, enough time to get a decent few hours and make it to the tour before it got too busy.

What a glorious sleep I had. 

So, this 17 hour layover wasn’t a bad one. In fact it was a great one. By the time the tour started it was 7.30pm, by the time I was back I had enough time to grab another bite to eat and leisurely walk to my departure gate. Some airports would have been pure hell for a long wait for my next flight, this turned out to be amazing with some lifetime memories along the way.

That memory was the Singapore Tour, my next post. I’ll see you then!

Your time is now 

Sometimes it is worth looking at trends to determine if a great opportunity lies ahead, wherever that may be at that time. I have such an opportunity at noon on the 10th of August which I do not want to miss.

I have been reading fan comments whilst Muse have been on tour through throughout Europe and the States. I was able to see them in 2016 on their Drones Tour in Manchester, UK, Drones being their most recent album. It was incredible as I knew it would be from the three previous Muse gigs I have attended since 2006, the first being in my home city of Newcastle.

Newcastle, Nov 16, 2006

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My first gig. Ever. Matt the singer/guitarist played part of the song Assassin whilst laid on his back. I also thought that Dom on drums was wearing the Spiderman costume he tends to wear every now and then, looking back at the incredibly pixelated videos taken in 2006 it doesn’t seem so, although it is hard to tell when the video consists of about 50 pixels. Memories can be deceiving.

Leeds Festival, Origin of Symmetry 10th anniversary, 2011

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A truly unique experience as it was the tenth anniversary of Origin of Symmetry, and the first time ever that the whole album was played in its entirety. The stage was set up as if the band were playing inside the album cover, with images from the albums artwork animated onto the giant screen behind. Flamethrowers were used and had to be scrapped later in the gig as the flames were so tall it melted/set fire to parts of the stage. Classic Muse. I took this screenshot from their 360 app, which allows you to control the cameras 360 degrees of the whole set with multiple angles to choose from. This, was a very cool idea.

Manchester (Etihad Stadium), Unsustainable Tour, 2013

Despite the unique stage set in Leeds, this was by far the most impressive stage I have seen from these guys, or anyone for that matter.

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It was the biggest stage I have ever seen. I found this picture over at MuseWiki that helps to give a little perspective of this particular stadium tour.

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Charles the Robot can be seen in the last image, a 16 foot tall robot that sang the lyrics to Unsustainable whilst smoke fired from his ears. Matt wanted the robot to be taller, but was (again) blocked by health and safety. When asked by a fan on Twitter if he was finally able to get a robot to perform on stage, he tweeted:

Better smaller than never, I say!

Manchester (arena), Drones Tour, 2016

I loved this gig because the Drones album (largely relating to the controversial use of drones in war) had a darker vibe, and with this a heavier setlist bringing back some of the rock songs of earlier albums. They also had drones flying about the arena, as well as a huge drone of what appeared to be a black spacecraft or army plane flying around the stage that was in the centre of the arena. After a few beers, I just remember looking up and thinking ‘what the heck is that?!’ as it flew right by. A great memory.

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Gigs that were never to be.

Madison Square Garden, Resistance Tour, 2010.

I was in NYC, and my hotel was honestly right across the road from MSG. I could see the main doors to the venue from my window. Not just that, Muse were performing that night. I went over to see if I could get a ticket, very optimistically and remember one of their songs was playing in the lobby. There were no tickets. On the bright side, I did get to do a stadium tour that day, which granted me access to the venue to watch their stage being set up. This was another unique experience that I am chuffed I managed to have. Apologies for the grainy image, this is all I have. I don’t know why I had such a terrible camera back then.

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As we were lead into the Knicks changing rooms, I couldn’t help to notice Muse kit boxes along the corridors. I remember feeling a sense of excitement as I could walk around one corner and bump into them at any moment. Sadly, I didn’t.

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There was one room. A room with two people standing outside of it, as if something was taking place inside. To this day I am convinced the band were being interviewed inside, however I may never know…

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What are they doing in there? I have a right to know…
It was a weird feeling knowing that they could have been right there and all I could do is walk on by. 

Watching the gig back on YouTube, the light show was incredible.

Sydney, 2017?

At noon AEST, I have the opportunity to buy tickets for one of two Australian gigs they have recently announced. Sydney and Melbourne are the first Aussie dates since 2013, I knew it was inevitable from the amount of Australian fans desperately wanting a chance to see them, begging for some tour dates all over their social media. Sadly, I missed it on the pre sale so I will just have to wait for the general sale, but what great timing it will be with me moving to Sydney in September.

Roll on noon on the 10/08/17… I’ve bookedmarked the local timezone for maximum preparation.


I hope my Aussie friends don’t mind as I try to steal a ticket from their beautifully tanned, Muse deprived hands… I’ll make up for it somehow, I promise.

I love Singapore! (And I haven’t even been yet)

The journey to a destination doesn’t have to be the boring part. Apparently there are adventures between connecting flights and I’ve found a great one with Singapore Airlines.

It makes me sad that we often miss out on these, I for one have made this mistake and I’m trying to avoid doing this on future travels. I want to squeeze as much experience out of life and travelling 35 hours from London to Sydney is a heck of a long time to see nothing but in-flight movies and airport terminals.

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I’ve just got back from my mums, I went back to see my goddaughter and felt it would be a good time to take some of what I won’t be taking to Australia back to her place. That is probably 99% of all things I own. Judging by how messy my flat can get I assumed I had a lot of stuff that needs emptying before I leave. It turns out I don’t have too much stuff, I am just messy.

I’ve also learned that I have been stupidly paying more for my train journeys than I should have been. Instead of buying ‘off peak’ on the touchscreen ticket machines, I should have clicked ‘more options’ and purchased a specific time. This is my own fault, as my train journeys are roughly every couple of months it is something I haven’t thought about. Now that I need money more than ever, that extra couple of quid each way is welcomed.

Here I am waiting for the train yesterday. Drifting off topic a little, I have an ever growing fascination with castles. They never bore me, a constant reminder that the closest we can currently get to time travel is looking at what has been left for us. It seems from this view that the line runs right into the castle. Very platform 9 and three quarters, that. It doesn’t, the Victorians didn’t seem to care how close to the castle they got, clearly appreciating a carriage with a view.

Whilst all this was happening, I emailed Singapore Airlines as I was told that they offer hotel packages for travellers with long layovers. What did I have to loose? With the good customer service I was told to expect from this airline they emailed back pretty quickly, offering to book me in for their Ambassador Transit Hotel, paid for in 6 hour blocks. This didn’t really appeal to me, however they also offered to book me onto one of their Free Singapore Tours (FST), offered to those with long layovers. How cool is that? It can be found on their website, by clicking the link or heading for Plan Travel- Privileges- Free Singapore Tour.

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One of two tours can be picked. The Heritage Tour or the City Sights Tour. The Heritage Tour seems to be more of a tour of history and culture, taking us through areas of historical importance and the ethnic enclaves of Singapore. The City Sights Tour seems to be more of the modern sights, such as Marina Bay and the amazing Avatar-like Supertrees. I love the historical and cultural aspect of any place I go, however as each tour is 2.5 hours, I feel I will be able to digest the sights a little easier than the history. Also, the City Sights Tour is only offered to those with a six hour layover or more, the Heritage Tour is available to travellers with a 5.5 hour layover. As I will be there for a whopping 17 hours, I was lucky to be offered both. The City Sights Tour appeals to me a little more with this in mind, like a forbidden fruit. Sorry, 5.5 hour layover people!

Reading the descriptions it seems like they may cross paths, which wouldn’t be a bad thing. I struggle with choices of this nature. I have decided on the City Sights Tour and have been booked in. It seemed very quick and efficient, all I have to do now is experience it first hand. Afterall, I can always book the same airline back and choose the other tour!

For the time being, my blog will be focused on my travel planning. It helps keep me organised. After I arrive in Sydney, I will mix it up a little with my usual inputs on anything and everything. Whatever reason you decided to follow my blog will hopefully be justified with a post you can relate to. Of course, travel and photography will play a huge part.

Which of the tours would appeal to you? If you have ever been, I would love to read your stories and if there is anything I should look out for in particular.

Photo by Mike Enerio on Unsplash

 

 

Sweaty palm time

As fearful as I am of heights, this didn’t stop me from enjoying the wonderful views. You can make out some of the stadium seats and corner flag through the walkway.

It did make me stop and think about just how crazy construction workers must have been way back when, many of the historical buildings can be seen from here.   

 Very cool.