Archive for February, 2014


a like for luxembourg

Wow, what a great couple of days away in Europe it was.

First of all I am well aware that Beady Eye are not to everybody’s taste, the distinct lack of ‘likes’ of facebook show me that! But I find it quite funny that over 50 ‘friends’ clicked on my blog (about 30% of my followers on facebook) over the two entries yet only four people took the time to ‘like’ either of the posts. I’m far from bitter about it, I just think it says a lot about Beady Eye and the image they have with the public than everything else. I can’t think of many other things I’ve posted over the years that seem to be so universally disliked…..

Its a real shame because as a band they were incredible on Friday night – I’ve not seen Liam, Andy, Gem and Chris as a band previously in their new guise, but saw them several times as Oasis. The first time was a sweaty affair at the Birmingham NIA, the second a huge stadium gig at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester in front of 70,000 drunk Mancunians and finally in Cardiff 2008 in front of several thousand – as equally a sweaty occasion as the NIA back in 2002.

Rockhal was the setting for Fridays gig, a new venue in the not very glamorous destination of Esch-Sur-Alzette, a half hour train ride out of the capital Luxembourg City. The arena holds around 2,500 when full and rather worryingly (embarrassingly) with around fifteen minutes till the band were due to come on I would suggest the hall was only 10% full. With imagination amongst the hardcore fans starting to head down the lines of the gig is sure to be called off, the arena filled up rapidly and I’d suggest there were a good 1,500 people watching what turned out to be a very polished performance.

I shared the gig with Robert (a French guy that had seen Oasis fourteen times and BE twice), Fiona (a Scottish girl, proudly sharing her twitter profile picture of her and Liam taken the previous day) and a Belgian lad whose name I didn’t pick up (who seemed to know every word of every BE song) It was great to be round these three who shared the same passion I have for the band and its members.

Anyway, enough of that. What about Luxembourg I hear the readers say after being bored to death of Liam and co for the past few days on social networks…….well it was a pretty cool city, with a surprisingly high number of bars and pubs everywhere you seemed to gaze. The city is separated by a rather striking and pretty unique gorge that is crossed by a number of impressive bridges, high above the ground below. As someone that gets scared of heights with the proverbial two pairs of socks on, it wasn’t the kind of place to look down when descending or climbing from the lower reaches to the upper or vice versa – some of the drops over the cobbled streets into the bottom of the gorge were enough to make me feel a tad queasy, even after a few Diekirch or Bofferding beers!

The main reason for the trip was obviously the gig – but I’d certainly suggest a night or two in the Duchy if you are passing through Belgium, France or West Germany. I’ve not been to a place easier to navigate (with no map I wondered round quite happily without ever really getting ‘lost’) even at night time, the gorge and the neon lighted ancient city walls helped you keep a decent sub conscious sense of direction.

On the first night I tried to find a pub showing the WGC Matchplay Golf but didn’t have any luck in the first boozer, The White Rose. A quick search on google showed a sports bar called The Britannia showed all types of live sport from round the globe – after a three mile hike down and up the old cobbled streets I found it with relative ease, only to find the two TVs showing the same boring football match the previous pub was showing. Never mind, I took a walk along the river and stumbled upon a tiny bar that served some of the best Thai food I have had anywhere in the world – a chicken massaman curry and a Diekirch later, I soon forgot about the golf and took in some people watching.

This was also my first trip abroad ‘by myself’ since I got into a relationship with Naomi a few weeks after I returned from the trip in March 2011. I’d done a couple of breaks away with Fred and had a fortnight in the UAE watching the cricket without her company in this three year period (where has that time gone exactly?!) but this little expedition to Luxembourg was the first time I’d packed by bag again on my lonesome since I struggled somewhat in Vietnam, January 2011.

I enjoyed the experience again of being a lone traveller, especially as it was only a couple of days away from my better half. Any longer though without ‘doing something’ and I’d have certainly been ready to meet up again. We both pack our bags together in a fortnights time for a trip to the Caribbean, some ten years after my first visit there. It will be nice to have Naomi back on my side for this one, as ever an experience is far better shared – especially with a loved one.

So its a big thanks to quirky Luxembourg for a cool couple of nights away – and an even bigger thanks to Beady Eye who made the trip so memorable for me.

Finally to anyone reading this (and I know the stats!!) I’d like to recommend travelling abroad to watch your favourite band, its a bloody brilliant experience.

I’ll even like it on facebook when you do 😉








tickets please!

Getting from Hereford to Luxembourg in a day was never going to be a complete walk in the park – especially without stepping foot on a plane. I’m writing the first part of this as I pull out of a rather grim, miserable looking Brussels train station, slightly embarrassed thanks to a schoolboy error that kind of sums up the difficulties faced travelling across the continent on such a tight itinerary.

Stepping off my first Eurostar experience in Belgium I quickly scanned the departures board and saw a train to Luxembourg departed in fifteen minutes time. I had planned to have a couple of hours in Brussels but the dull weather coupled with the fact I’ve been on the go since 4.15am this morning (some eight and a half hours ago) means I’m just keen to get to my destination, a three and a bit hour direct train from the Belgian capital and pitch up in a bar for some grub and a few pints.

I looked around for an ATM – no joy. What about a ticket desk? Nope, couldn’t see one. Thinking how hard can it be to use the French/Belgian language automated ticket machine I searched for ‘Arlon’ (the last stop in Belgium) to ‘Luxembourg’ tickets. Not difficult, even in a foreign language…..very true, or so I thought. As I entered my pin code and confirmed the purchase I had a moment wondering why exactly was the ticket mentioning Bruxelles Zone when I wasn’t buying an actual ticket to or from that station? I’ve already got my ticket out of here to Arlon thanks to Eurostar so Bruxelles or Brussels or whatever the ticket machine wants to call the place can keep out!

After a quick mull over whether or not I had made an error (clearly I had, but I can be quite stubborn and needed five minutes to admit defeat) I ran downstairs and suddenly located a busy departure lounge full of ticket sales people to all corners of Europe including ones to Luxembourg that now departed in just under ten minutes.

I tried to bargain a refund/exchange with a couple of different people but I was clearly not going to have any instant joy – I’d have to go to another desk to claim any refund for my foolishness. A kind woman sold me a bargain 10.80 Euros Arlon-Luxembourg ticket with the leftover Euro change I had in my bag from previous trips and I sprinted up the platform, slightly red faced and 20 something Euros out of pocket.

That’s not been the only small drama of the day. At 7.30am this morning somewhere near Swindon the National Express driver pulled over thanks to a faulty windscreen wiper. Some 45 minutes later we departed and finally arrived in London just over half an hour late. I’d been frantically searching for flights out of London to Luxembourg that afternoon as a back up plan but I need not worried. With google maps on my phone I located Earls Court Tube station thanks to a fifteen minute jog and got to St Pancras with just minutes spare before I’d have missed my train to the continent.

So as the train heads through Central Belgium and pulls into Ottignies (where?!) its time to sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery*

*the scenery so far seems to be flat, grey, industrious, damp and ever so bleak. A bit like Cwmbran-Pontypool on Arriva Wales West.





rockin’ all over the world

In my formative years the only thing I knew about Luxembourg was that they had a really crap national football team. As I played subbuteo with my football loving mates, it was the running joke of ‘Unlucky! You’ve drawn Luxembourg’ which basically meant the match would be fixed to ensure you lost by seven or eight goals. Only San Marino were more of a laughing stock amongst the 1990’s youthful football fans, playing out imaginary World Cup qualifiers during many sleepovers.

Fast forward to 2014 and I’ve booked a couple of nights in one of Europe’s smaller, lesser known countries.

The opportunity to visit somewhere new has become a bit of an addiction of mine over the past couple of years since some wise arse (I actually forget who it was, but I remember the conversation vividly) pointed out how great it would be to visit 40 countries before I turn thirty. As Luxembourg will be the 38th, that target has been amended up to 50 countries.

I want to go to places for a reason though. Whether it be for a relaxing holiday, a sporting event, a ‘must see’ sight or to visit a friend or family member. Or in Luxembourg’s case, a rock concert!

When one of my favourite bands, Beady Eye (Oasis minus Noel, see I told you I was a 90’s kid) announced their European tour I couldn’t help but scan the tour dates to see what new places I could potentially visit on a whim. Three stood out – Paris, Switzerland and Luxembourg.

Now as a kid I had visited France which kinda’ counts towards the half century and besides, I like the idea of saving Paris to go with the missus one day. Once that was ruled out I looked at Zurich in Switzerland and decided that flying in and out of a venue would be pretty unadventurous. Luxembourg meanwhile was very reachable overland, via bus and train and in a day.

So on Thursday morning I set off on a mini adventure to mainland Europe, via London, France and Belgium before watching Liam Gallagher and co. in the well known destination of Esch-Sur-Alzette (!) on the outskirts of Luxembourg City on Friday night.

Rock n’ roll……

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