Monthly Archives: April 2008

The 3 days in Majorca

Yesterday we got back from our 2 night trip to Palma.

Thursday evening I’d planned a visit to Abaco for drinks before dinner. Where can you be charged 20 quid (that’s US$40) for a half pint of beer and a Gin Fizz, yet leave with a huge smile on your face? Abaco! :-) It is an old palace in the narrow streets of the La Lonja district. The door from the street is rather plain but as you step in you gasp. You enter a grand palace with wonderfully worn stone floor and walls, everywhere there are massive piles of fresh fruit on the floor as if they are to be the subject of some huge still life, enormous flower decorations, hundreds of candles, statues, crystals dripping everywhere, antique rugs, paintings with red velvet drapes around them. Totally over the top, baroque kitsch ….. but truly wonderful. There is a courtyard too filled with bird song from all the exotic caged birds around the walls. And all the time classical music is playing in the background. If you go to Palma DO NOT miss this place. Photography is prohibited in Abaco but I did find a couple of pictures on the ‘net. They don’t really do the place justice.

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Dinner afterwards was at Asador Tierra Aranda, Concepció 4, off Av Jaime III. Here we shared some grilled morcilla de Burgos (black pudding) which was very good and then we shared half a suckling pig which had been cooked in the wood fired oven. It was absolutely superb. Wonderfully tender, moist, meat with fresh herbs which had been added by a constrained hand. The crackling was divine.

Friday lunch was pa amb oli, simply country bread rubbed with garlic and topped with chopped tomatoes and black ham, drizzled with a good olive oil, and served with olives. A terrific peasant lunch.

In the evening we’d booked to go to Koldo Royo and took a taxi. When the taxi pulled up I was horrified. How could, what is claimed to be one of the best restaurants in Spain, Michelin starred etc. be in a terrace of premises jammed between a Burger King and an Irish Pub full of Brits on holiday in Majorca? The meal was OK but not worthy of any special acclaim. One course was carpaccio of prawn, I’d not had raw prawn before and wasn’t much taken with it. The main was veal cheek with a red wine sauce. The sauce was burnt!! Of course they’d never admit it, “it’s because it’s reduced”. I know how it reduces and I know that if you go to a certain point it’s
reduced so far that an acrid burnt flavour takes over and this was a reduction too far.
Anyway they whipped it away and then offered me an exquisite piece of beef, perfectly rare and with a very nice (not burnt) jus. Overall, the place is OK but it’s not worth a Michelin star and all the acclaim it gets. Without that, and with a consequential 20% price reduction, the place would be acceptable.

Saturday our flight left at 13:30 so rather than have to buy food at the airport we visited a bakery and bought some small pies to take with us – one with white fish and vegetables in small pastry case. This one, and a meat one we also bought, looked outwardly similar in size and style to Brtitish pork pies. We also bought a tiny, tiny egg and ham flan and a spinach filled ‘sausage roll’ if you know what I mean. These were placed on a cardboard tray which had a doyley on it, wrapped neatly in paper and then tied up with red tape knotted into a bow at the top :-) As we enjoyed these absolutely superb nibbles before the flight I had to snigger when I noticed that the ‘meal deal’ in the airport of one pizza slice from the microwave, chips and a drink cost more for one person than our meal had cost for two!

So long…farewell…auf weidersehen goodbye…

We were informed today that the last Megabus service to be operated by Stagecoach Winchester is on Sunday 18 May. From Monday 19 May the Megabus services to both London and Manchester will be driven by Stagecoach Portsmouth drivers!

So I, and the other 8 Megabus drivers on the rota at Winchester, aren’t needed on Megabus any more. We now have a choice of driving around Winchester either 4 long days per week or 5 slightly shorter days per week, or ……. we can quit.

Welcome to ‘another day on the buses’ the blog of an EX-megabus driver. Not that I have much desire to change the theme and direction of this blog :-( Things may go quiet now.

Bye

Churros

Only a few days now before we fly to Palma, Majorca for my birthday celebration. I mentioned before that the flights with Ryanair are booked, I’ve also booked this hotel for 2 nights and dinner on Friday at the Michelin starred restaurant here.

Food is a keen interest of mine and whilst the hotel includes breakfast I’ll still be looking for a churrer�as. Churros is a deep fried dough, not quite doughnut dough but near it. The dough is extruded and then deep fried. You dip it into Spanish hot chocolate which is much thicker than normal hot chocolate, it has the consistency of whipping cream, and enjoy. I only found a churrer�as on our last day in La Palma in February so I doubt I’ll find a local one to the hotel this time. If I do though I’ll give the hotel breakfast a miss so I can enjoy this Spanish treat. Here’s a picture of the churros I had in La Palma.

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At last we know

The changes which occur to our Megabus duties on 28 April. Duty 97 which previously started in Winchester and then went to Birmingham city centre and back via Oxford, Coventry and Birmingham airport has changed. After we leave Oxford we cut across country on the A43 to join the M1 and take the Megabus to Watford Gap services. Here we hand the Megabus over to another driver and await the arrival of a Megabus from Liverpool which we take over and drive to London. We get a short break in London before driving back to Watford Gap, handing it to another driver, and waiting for ‘our’ Megabus to come back from Manchester so we can drive back to Winchester.

We’ll see how well that works :-(

There has been no mention yet of route learning. For my part I have only 5 more working days before the rota says I drive Watford Gap to London Victoria. On every other route we’ve had to learn we’ve been allowed two trips with another driver to learn the route ….. but, we don’t have a single driver who has driven this route yet so there is nobody to go with anybody!

Sounds like fun!

I came across the name nakedbus which sounds like fun, so I went to nakedbus.com I expected to read that passengers were not permitted to sit on the seat without first covering it with a towel which they must provide! But no, there was no such requirement. In fact the site looks pretty mundane and nakedbus appears to be no more than a Megabus clone. Here’s a picture of a naked bus

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Ticket types

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This poster has appeared in our depot and details the ticket types which are valid on Stagecoach Winchester buses. That looks like an awful lot to remember!