Real “Tardis” Police Boxes in Glasgow, Scotland
Have you ever wondered what the deal is with Doctor Who’s Tardis? What is a Police Box anyway?
Police boxes were real and graced the streets of Britain from 1923 when the first one was built in Sunderland. They reached the streets of London from 1928. The purpose of their construction was so that Police officers could keep in touch with headquarters. Some were also for use by members of the public for calling the Police in the event of an emergency. While almost all of the original boxes are now gone, less than ten remain nationwide with most of them (like this one) on the streets of Glasgow, Scotland.
The Iron Men of Crosby Beach, Merseyside
We found ourselves at Crosby Beach in Merseyside, England on a particularly blustery day. We staggered our way up the steep sand dunes that separated the beach from the neighbouring parkland with sand blowing directly at us, scratching our cheeks and stinging our eyes. It was almost as if the beach didn’t want us to see the unique art installation that it housed.
At first, it’s difficult to find them. The tide was out upon our visit, so the beach was vast and the sand in our eyes only hampered us further. As we braved the sandy onslaught though, their presence became more apparent. 100 iron men, spaced liberally across a 3.2km (2 mile) stretch of the beach, each identical and emotionless, each facing out to sea.
The statues, part of an installation called ‘Another Place' are cast replicas from the artist himself, Anthony Gormley. Whilst the presence of the statues have caused some local controversy, we were intrigued and somewhat moved by their motionless stoicism.
Satisfaction Guaranteed at Mak’s Noodle, Hong Kong
Leaf through any guidebook to Hong Kong and you’re almost guaranteed to find a mention of Mak’s Noodle, home to what is touted as the best Wonton Noodle Soup in the city. But then, don’t all the restaurants in Hong Kong say their wontons are the best?!
I can’t say I’ve visited enough restaurants in Hong Kong to say that Mak’s are the best, but they’re certainly very satisfying and tasty. Unfortunately, over time, the popularity of Mak’s has led to portion sizes decreasing and prices increasing. Compared to what you’d expect to pay in Europe, Mak’s is still good value, but it’s a relative rip-off by Hong Kong standards. That said, a visit to Mak’s is still (just about) a Hong Kong must.
Like every food outlet that gains some popularity, there are many critics of Mak’s, most of whom say the food is overrated. I found my steaming bowl of soup matched my expectations exactly. The wontons were just as plump and delicate, the noodles were as perfectly al dente and the soup was just as stocky and rich as all the descriptions made out. The dish was small but it served as a mid-afternoon snack and the free tea that came with it was a nice extra.
There are a few branches of Mak’s Noodle dotted around Hong Kong (with a branch in Macau as well). I visited the branch at the top of Victoria Peak in the Galleria shopping arcade.
Here To Geneva is now on Instagram
Here To Geneva is now invading your Instagram feed (if you’ll let it). So now there are no excuses for not keeping in touch. Search for ‘heretogeneva' or head to http://www.instagram.com/heretogeneva to start following.
And don’t forget, we’re also up in your Facebook (/heretogeneva) and Twitter (@heretogeneva) feeds too! Yay!
Bread Meats Bread Meets Face
Recently in the UK, there’s been a noticeable surge in the number of restaurants specialising in American-style burgers, hot dogs and barbecued meat. Glasgow, Scotland hasn’t escaped this trend and leading the way is a small place on St Vincent Street called Bread Meats Bread.
We ran in from the persistent drizzle and joined the small queue for tables at this popular eatery. We were immediately hit by a wall of meaty aromas and a hubbub of chatter from the young, trendy patrons. The restaurant is small, so to make best use of the space, a long communal table runs down the centre of the room. We didn’t have to wait too long for a table of our own and we were soon sipping on Irn-Bru and perusing the extensive and calorie-filled menu.
Clearly the management didn’t like the idea of having only one type of beef burger. Three types are on offer with up to four variants of each. There’s also pulled pork and chicken, cheese-steak, gourmet dogs, poutines and grilled cheese sandwiches to name but a few of the dishes on offer. I went for the ‘Smokey Burger’ (pictured), a house-blend beef patty, Swiss cheese, smoked beef brisket, purple slaw and tangy BBQ sauce, while Jade decided upon Pulled Pork served inside a brioche bun. Both were excellently meaty and juicy with loads of flavour. Each ingredient was clearly of a very high quality as we could taste each one with every mouthful. Accompanying our burgers was a portion a caramelised sweet fries, something neither of us knew existed but something we will be seeking out to try again. We love the fusing of savoury potato fries with a sugary coating. It made them extra crunchy and super moreish.
We can only hope Bread Meat Bread have plans to expand and move south of the border so that we can sample their meaty treats more often. The rest of the country deserves to know how good American barbecue cuisine can be.
Head to the Bread Meats Bread website so find out more and to drool over their full menu.
The Cathedral and Abbey Church of Saint Alban
At the weekend, Jade and I popped into The Cathedral and Abbey Church of Saint Alban for a guided tour. The majestic beauty of the exterior is matched inside, perhaps even surpassed, made more so by the warm welcome we received. What struck us most (and what isn’t terribly obvious in the photos) was the mixture of architectural styles. Since its inception in 1077, the cathedral has undergone major extensions, structural collapses, and aesthetic tweaks creating what stands today, a massive cultural and historic jigsaw. Even today, decisions are being made about new installations and additions to existing structures.
If you can, try to join one of the free guided tours as the stories you’ll be told will really reveal the cathedral’s fascinating history.
Official Commonwealth Games Haggis Anyone?
Last night, the twentieth Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland drew to a close. Nearly 5000 athletes from 71 Commonwealth nations and territories competed in 18 sports and what has been hailed as a successful and "pure, dead brilliant" games.
I dropped by on Glasgow a week or so ago to soak in the atmosphere (and the rain) and found a friendly, energetic city bursting with history but also keen to express its modernity. I have lots of photos to share with you, but let’s start with this one I took in the Games Superstore on George Square. As well as the normal array of tat you’d expect of a souvenir shop of this nature, they were also selling official Haggis. An amusing and uniquely Scottish touch.
Scoops of Happiness in Sunny London
What better way to celebrate it being a Wednesday than with yet another gratuitous food post from Here To Geneva
With the weather still rather on the warm side here in London, people’s minds have turned to seeking out ways to cool themselves down. Air conditioning isn’t especially prevalent in the UK, so more often than not, people have to make do with cold drinks and ice cream.
My special trick to stay cool in the weeks of Summer is to hide in the back room of my house until Autumn arrives. For some reason, it stays cool regardless of the temperature outside. Occasionally though, I do head outside and when that happens, I seek out my favourite ice cream places.
Top of my list at the moment is Scoop (40 Shorts Gardens, London). Just a short walk from Covent Garden tube station, Scoop specialises in making thick and richly flavourful gelato made with natural ingredients from around the world without preservatives. The flavour list is large with several unique varieties including Amarena (Sicilian black cherries and crunchy meringues) and Malaga (Chilean sultanas aged in Sicilian Marsala wine and sugar). Alongside those are varieties of stalwart flavours such as Cioccolato Fondente (with Gran Cru pure single origin cocoa) and Vaniglia (with single origin Planifolia and Tahitensis organic vanilla pods from Madagascar) which are both to die for. Each variety I’ve tried so far is incredibly thick and scrumptious - a real treat and well worth the asking price considering how large the scoops are and the ingredients used. My favourites are Tiramisu, which tastes ridiculously similar to an actual Tiramisu and Caramello, which contains pasteurised Channel Island milk and caramel sauce. Expect my loyalties to change though as I continue to work my way through the menu. I’m pretty fickle when it comes to ice cream!
Explore Scoop’s full flavour list and read their philosophy towards their gelato on their website and if you can, drop in!
Do you have a favourite ice cream/gelato place? Where in the world is it?
Vietnamese Food at Stratford City, London
It’s been two weeks since I’ve posted photos of delicious food for you to feast your eyes upon. This is an unacceptable truth that I intend on fixing this very moment.
The Westfield shopping centre in Stratford boasts a large world food hall among its more traditional restaurants. Stands selling Chinese street food rub shoulders with outlets selling massive chilli beef burritos. It’s quite easy to work up a hunger simply walking from stand to stand perusing the menus.
On a recent visit, we dropped in on Pho, an outlet specialising in Vietnamese street food with branches all over London. We ordered two dishes to share between us; the first was Cari, a Vietnamese curry of chicken, vegetables and mushrooms, topped with nuts and a sweet & very addictive curry sauce, served with fragrant broken rice. The second dish was Goi Bap Chuoi, a fragrant banana blossom salad. The dish mainly consisted of room temperatures noodles, some crunchy, some soft accompanied by tender beef, peanuts and star-fruit. The dish was zingy & fresh and the different textures made consuming it a very enjoyable experience. To wash both dishes down, we had a home-made ice tea which was an unusual but refreshing mix of orange and mint.
We really relished our chance to sample Vietnamese cuisine and we’re sure we’ll be heading back to one of Pho’s multiple locations soon. You can check out the rest of Pho’s menu and plenty more on their website.
Introducing Granary Square, Kings Cross
It’s getting rather warm here in Britain, particularly in the southern half of our fair isle. Indeed tomorrow, it’s set to become even warmer with temperatures expected to reach the dizzying heights of 32°C. Alas, it can’t get warm here without the atmosphere exploding shortly after in the form of thunderstorms, so the population is enjoying it while it lasts in the only way they know how; by complaining about how warm it is.
Earlier in the week, I set out to enjoy the warmth and to take some photos in the bright sunlight. The new, funky King’s Cross area behind the station of the same name was where I headed. I’d not been to this area of London before, but the forest of cranes and the shiny new buildings that have sprouted from the ground called to me. There’s not masses to see at the moment, but what is there is an attractive mix of new and old architecture. Eventually, this will be another thriving business, residential and leisure district of London, serving different groups of people at different times of day. For now, you can head up to the viewing platform or grab a deck chair and see a sneak preview of what is to come.
I’d write some more about what I saw, but these photos tell the story pretty well. Besides, I have to go outside now and frown at the sky. We Brits don’t know how to behave in weather like this.
Head to the King’s Cross website for find out more.