I have added some new advertisements to the travel and money sections.
In this process, I implemented a simple advertisement rotation system that selects a proper advertisement for the page and the location. I have to add support for providing alternative ads for Google AdSense, as I have some decent ads that have the same geometry as Google banners.
Currently, the set of ads is quite limited and you don’t see much of a rotation. This will change in the future as I’ll go and hunt some new affiliations that suit the site. If you have any good ideas, please let me know.
If you think that the ads are too obtrusive, please send email to me. I’ll provide a contact form (again, any century now) to help sending feedback.
The hotel is conveniently located near Earl’s Court tube station, at the edge of Zone 1. The neighbourhoods are very quiet, but it’s only five minutes walk to busy high street with shops, restaurants and grocery stores.
The room was not that roomy, but enough for two people. All basic amenities were in place and the towels were fluffy. The hotel is of boutique size, only a few rooms per floor.
The breakfast is excellent, compared to the normal London hotel offerings. And it is served in a sort of winter garden room.
Directions: Near Earl’s Court tube station. Take Exhibition exit, turn right at the station, and after hundred or so meters, turn right again to go to the square.
Price for double room: €80-120.
www.twentynevernsquare.co.uk, 20 Nevern Square, Earls Court, London, England SW5, +44 20 7565 9555.
DoubleTree Boston Downtown is a bland hotel in all aspects. The lobby and the bar could be in any other hotel, the staff is polite but impersonal, and the rooms have all amenities but nothing special. This can be also thought as an asset, you are not paying extra for any bells and whistles that you don’t need.
The hotel is clean, the bed is good and hot water is readily available in the shower (the shower itself is the common American type, one knob for controlling both everything and unadjustable head)
The location is quite good, near the theatre district and chinatown, from walking distance of Boston Commons and shopping areas — at least for European, maybe some Americans would prefer car or cab…
Price for double room: $80-120.
www.doubletree.com, 821 Washington St, Boston, +1 617 956 7900.
On Friday afternoon I called to SAS EuroBonus membership services are reserved seats to flights from Shanghai to Singapore and back for the Christmas time. I managed to get the last two seats for the return plane, so fortunately I called then and not today.
The price for these flights were surprisingly low. The flight is five and half hours, so it’s comparable to flying from Helsinki to northern Africa. It’s still only 30,000 points per person. This amount takes you in Europe from Helsinki to most parts of Europe, but nowhere else. The taxes were also quite low compared to European standards. Well, I don’t complain.
The next big task is to find a decent hotel. It seems that even luxury hotels are affordable during that season, so we’ll have to try to find the next excellent deal… Singapore is easy, as I’ve been there for several times and I know the place and can thus select good location, but Shanghai is still quite white spot for me. Need to get to Akateeminen Kirjakauppa (Academic Bookstore, the biggest bookstore in Scandinavia) to browse some Lonely Planet guidebooks.
Parish Cafe is a combination of bar, restaurant and cafe near Boston Common. The place is renowned by the huge, inventive sandwiches (from a selection of local chefs) that are really delicious. The price is steep, but the taste (and the size) are really worth of every penny.
The cafe is located on a vivid shopping street and food and drinks are served also to patio, so sunny days are well spent eating and watching people passing by.
Try something from the sandwich menu. If you can’t choose, ask the waiter to help. Note that the sandwich menu is renewed from time to time, so your past favourite may not be available anymore.
361 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts, + 1 617 247-4777
Stockmann, the biggest department store in Scandinavia, has twice a year four days discount campaign “Hullut Päivät” (Crazy Days). Usually so solemn shopping experience turns into wild frenzy when everybody looses their dignity and hunts for bargains. Every day something new is set on sale and after the last day you can’t get any of the items discounted.
There is a long tradition of selling airline tickets and readymade holidays. This year the selected airline was Finnair and there were several deeply discounted prices with quite good conditions and long travel period.
As some of you may remember, I’ve been pondering on being away on Christmas — and now I can happily say that we are leaving to Asia, Shanghai in fact.
Buying the tickets was not very easy exercise, as there were a whole lot of people. We had a devious plan that I would go to Stockmann store in Tapiola and Sanna would try her luck in the Helsinki centre. The doors open at 8.00 and I was there fifteen minutes before. A small queue was already formed in the best location, just next to the ticket office. This entrance is not widely known, so most of the people were standing two floors down, near the escalators. When I got in, these people just flooded in and the ladies handing out queuing numbers were having real trouble keeping all us eager travellers in order.
I got number 23. Sanna got number 10. I really don’t know how she did it, as there must have been more people in the central store and you have to rush to the fifth floor from the ground floor, there are no shortcuts as in Tapiola.
To cut the story short, she got the tickets we wanted, in extremely good price. When I left the ticketing office (something like 8:20), there were already more than hundred people in the queue.
Now, the next item is to call SAS and book bonus flights from Shanghai to Singapore. Hopefully that goes as well as the first leg.
I just upgraded to WP 1.2.1. Seemingly everything is working, but I cannot be that sure. The migration was not very pleasurable experience, I really don’t get much kicks checking several files with diff to see whether I have to edit the file in WP 1.2.1 to have my own patched functionality or not.
I’m really afraid of migrating to WP 1.3, as there are several changes that are not that easy to migrate. This time I could just copy these files as WP 1.2.1 didn’t have changes on them. I marked all my changes with PHP comments, so I’ll be able to spot them later.
Hopefully some of my fixes — such as having the calendar start weeks on Mondays — are available also in WP 1.3. If they aren’t, I should consider submitting some of my code to the codebase. But this brings some responsibilities, and I really don’t have too much of extra time currently.
Gullfoss is one of the most splendid nature wonders in Iceland, a set of waterfalls nearby the geysirs. You can walk next to the gurgling water, something that would cause several lawsuits in US… Anyhow, remember to be careful. The waterfall also spreads a lot of mist, so prepare to get wet or have some protective clothing, such as Goretex jackets or similar. Remember to protect your camera, too.
The water is greyish due to minerals, but the view is extraordinary during sunny days and quite breathtaking on duller days, too.
There is a combined caf’é and tourist shop next to the waterfall for having a snack or sending postcards.
Gullfoss is part of Golden Tour tours and it is reachable with a normal car, too. Get a decent map, you’ll need it.