Travel that broadens the behind : @JakeTheWriter

Hello! This is sort of retired, travel writer and commentator Jakethewriter with today’s Podcast it was inspired by what I call my ‘real travel blogs’ written after I no longer had an editor paying my wages. Ain’t that the truth! . . . . . .

Warning this item may contain some fat related issues. So if you may be offended DONT LISTEN ME!

Travel that broadens the behind

This was motivated by a story that hit the internet recently about a morbidly obese lady who had set up an online begging bowl to pay for her weight reducing operation, new knickers elastic, rubber band or whatever they call it. In spite of being broke and unable to pay for her operation, the National Health Service had now let her down. Her sad story was that the NHS were going to do it but had now decided she didn’t qualify and were refusing to pay for it. She had gone ahead and booked it private anyway for around ten grand. She was hoping her story would touch the hearts of the charitable public.

Her troubles had now got worse, ahh! The media sniffing around for a story that would touch their readers hearts and kick the cruel NHS at the same time, discovered that the fat lady was not singing quite the same song and they discovered that her husband had inherited some cash, about enough to pay for his roly-poly wife to have her desired operation but . . . and here’s the rub, they had spent their windfall, wait for it. . . . . . . . on booking a luxury holiday cruise. Here endeth the fat lady’s tale as far as I am concerned along with her all hopes of a free operation.

I wrote a while back of a travel brochure that broadens the behind; it’s called a Cruise Brochure.  They say that travel broadens the mind but I think that travelling on a Cruise Ship just broadens the backside.

O.K. a Cruise Liner may put on half a dozen lectures, force feeding culture to the masses with classical civilisations and the history of mankind etc. but travelling universities they ain’t.  These lecture rooms are laid on to give a bit of interest to overfed passengers whilst they rest their bloated, sun-burned bodies in a cool air-conditioned theatre, between meals.

When the Liner anchors offshore and crew members help the more adventurous passengers out of their sun loungers, where they have been relaxing after a vast lunch, down the accommodation ladder to sit their fat bottoms on comfortable seats in the ferry boats and then ashore to be helped into a comfortable air-conditioned coach seats, where they can relax as they are taken to view the volcano at Etna or Stromboli (no its Thursday so it must be Vesuvius) from a safe distance.

They then retrace their steps until safely back on board to their cabin to change in time for dinner.  What a dinner? “More larks tongues or perhaps a few slices of roast swan, Madame?”  I don’t pen this as a travel writer but as someone who was fattened regularly on the great Cape Liners and even once on the greatest of the Queens, (I also met a few of them ducky), this particular one was the RMS Queen Mary crossing the Atlantic.  My goodness! I got so sick of eating Italian Truffle shavings and caviar; even now I cannot look a foie gras in the belly.  I even prefer the humble crab to a lobster.

My job as an Extra, Extra, Junior fourth officer was to put my good training as a ship’s navigator to good use by showing the rich, over weight and over fed passengers around the ship, having to flirt with their trophy wives and then join them at their dining table to dine right royally.  Heigh Ho! It’s a hard life at sea.

It was a long time ago and both the Cape Liners and the Atlantic Liners carried richer and fatter passengers than modern day cruise liners but the recipe is the same.  Ask any ship’s steward and he will tell you that most of the sea-sickness is due more to over indulgence than to motion.

The Roman’s had a good idea when they set aside a room next to the dining area which they named a “vomitorium” so that they could binge and purge, “excuse me while I throw up, but tell the waiter chappie, that I’ll have another crepe suzette when I get back”.

Lie back and relax, pass the gin old boy, the sun is over the yard arm somewhere on one of the oceans.  I bet that when Freddy Mercury sang of Fat Bottomed Girls he had met them on a cruise ship.

Going back to my original Fat Lady’s troubles perhaps she can spend her time while laying on the sun-deck (I don’t think that she could fit her rather broad backside into a deckchair) writing further begging letters about her plight after her life was ruined by the rotten Mejia for letting the cat out of the bag and the horrible travel company who wouldn’t let her cancel and give her money back when she was found out.

I know just what she means because as a former journalist and a former travel agent normally we are such suckers for a sob story; in fact we would usually have been the first to donate to GoFundYourself or whatever it’s called.

I’ll leave you with the words of one of my favourite sea shanties “Come all you no hopers, you jokers and rogues. We are on the road to nowhere let’s find out where it goes. It might be a ladder to the stars, who knows” Thanks for listening see you next week.

Wonderful, wonderful, Kobenhavn (Copenhagen) : Jake

Today’s Podcast is taken from one of my mini travelogues entitled

Wonderful, wonderful, Kobenhavn

Travel writers are rather like politicians, although they don’t lie quite as often, they tend to write just what will please their editors.  Every once in a while a politician, usually after he has retired or has lost his seat will publish a book which professes to open Pandora’s box and tell the truth, unfortunately the new revelations are more to sell the book than to tell the truth.  My blogs have no kiss and tell revelations, I just have no longer to please my paymaster, and these are my personal notes on how I really saw some of my destinations.

For the next of my hereto unpublished mini- travelogues for the delectation of my friends; today we go to Denmark which seems to have cemented its position at or near the top of every global quality-of-life survey. Take a look around, and it’s not hard to see…

Denmark has a total population of 5,600,000 and Copenhagen a population of just over half a million. Compare that to the population of London at over 8,600,000 it isn’t overcrowded. Most of the population have bicycles and in fact there are twice as many cycles than there are motor vehicles. So many people cycle because there literally are no hills so it is fairly easy going. This lack of hills also means that when the wind blows it really blows and it seem to be windy most of the time. It also rains or snows for half of the year and that’s not in the brochure.

I have a number of Danish friends and have visited many times, they seem duty bound to put a positive spin on their harsh environment.  They seem to be united in turning lemons into spiced mulled wine; they call this cultivated cosiness ‘hygge’. And is considered the major weapon in combating the dreary darkness that befalls the Nordic countries over the winter, where the sun shines fewer than seven hours during the length of the winter solstice. I personally found it hard to adopt ‘hygge’, and felt it perhaps a good reason for the high alcohol intake among the Danes. They are however a happy people with a sense of social support, freedom to make life choices and a culture of generosity

One of the main attractions I find is that although they speak a peculiar “Harf’n’harf’n’harf “lingo among themselves they all speak far better English than what I do.  What is more everyone understands what I am saying; I don’t even have to shout.

Copenhagen is a gorgeous city filled with beautiful people, but has two over-hyped and most disappointing attractions that most people will have heard of before arriving. The first ‘attraction’ this wonderful city has, is this statue dedicated to the famous fairy tale written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen in 1837. The Little Mermaid statue, as you’ll read in your guidebook, was unveiled in 1913 and is most famous among locals for all the times her head and arms have been sawn off by vandals.

Your expectations will naturally build as you take the surprisingly long and out-of-the-way walk along the harbour, and your only real clue that you are getting close is the crowd of bewildered tourists assembled who are taking their own photos and asking each other, “This is what we walked all the way out here for?”

The Little Mermaid statue is about 4-feet tall and looks more like an ad for bad posture than a city’s proudest landmark. It was built by the owner of the Carlsberg brewery and is not quite original.  She has sat on her boulder since August 23, 1913, but has had a very turbulent life, with at least eight vandalism attacks. She has been dowsed in paint numerous times, had her right arm amputated, been decapitated three times, and even pushed from her rock in 2003. Fortunately, the sculptor made a mold so the Little Mermaid’s “parts” have been reattached from the original mold.

We then read about the Tivoli Gardens, the most famous and the greatest attraction in Scandinavia and one of the world’s best known amusement parks.  However it is also the most expensive with a charge of around £15 entrance fee and every ride costing a little over £2 it’s not the place to go if you have a lot of kids although kids under 8 get in free.  It is also renowned for being jam-packed with people queuing for cheesy rides.  I cannot vouch either way because no-one mentioned that it is only open between April and September.  I read about the gardens being lit up at night-time with 120,000 lights and the evenings come to a close with a spectacular firework display.  One day I must go when it isn’t shut.

The city itself is truly a wonderful city and I love it, go and see the rococo Frederiksstaden district and its royal palaces and on neighbouring Funen is Odense, the hometown of storyteller Hans Christian Andersen, with a medieval core of cobblestone streets and half-timbered houses; but take my advice, you can give the Tivoli Gardens a miss along with the Little Mermaid.

I could certainly see why the current tide of immigrants invading Europe would find Denmark an attractive target especially for the economic migrants with the reputation of its government being people friendly. However the Danish parliament has backed a controversial proposal to confiscate asylum seekers’ valuables to pay for their upkeep. Police will be able to seize valuables worth more than 10,000 kroner (1,340 Euros; £1,000) from refugees to cover housing and food costs. All I can say is jolly good for them and the Merkel’s of the world can go hang.

The internet is full of stories of complaining migrants. One of them is Baraa Jehad, currently accommodated in the abandoned hospital in Helsingør, now a Red Cross reception centre for asylum seekers and refugees. He says that he is very unhappy with the government’s plans to give Syrian asylum seekers a provisional one-year residence permit without the possibility of bringing the family to Denmark. .”If I had known this, I would not be fleeing,
if I knew about these rules before I left Lebanon, I would have stayed there. If this one-year rule comes true, I would rather go back and live with my family,” Some asylum seeker! There you are, away you go then.

If this had been one of my sailor’s yarns instead of a mini travelogues I could tell you of the time I spent over 3 months here in Copenhagen, when my frigate on leaving harbour was blown off course (I told you about the high winds) and into the Danish Royal Yacht whose bow we sliced off and then proceeded over its anchor cable chopping off both our screws. But that’s another sailors yarn so I will keep that tale in my locker for another time.

Right, that takes care of the Viking marauders with their silly horned hats, “Skål”.  Now who can I upset next?  The world is a book – and those who do not travel read only a page. Thanks for listening.

Australia The Fair : Jake

As a freelance travel writer sometimes writing articles for newspapers and magazines, I needed to write what the Editor wanted to hear. For example if I had been writing commentary on Venice as a great place to hold a wedding, it would not have gone down well if I had included; that sometimes on certain tides the canals took on the look and smells of an open sewer. However once I retired and I no longer had a paymaster to call the tune I decided that my blogs would be more open. This is one of my “Real Travel Blogs” that I called:-


Snakes, spiders, crocodiles, sharks and drunken white males

I have been robbed at the point of a machete in Demerara; mugged in Barcelona; caught up with rampaging Millwall football fans in Peterborough and bar fights in Mexico and Gibraltar; had my pocket picked in Singapore, Cape Town and Sierra Leone.

Source: My Real Travel Blogs |