Journal of Alice

12daysofradness day 1 inspiration

2 December ’15

#12daysofradness - day 1, Inspiration

Inspiration for me comes from airport and train stations, looking up at those big boards listing all the places you can go and visit. It comes from seeing into peoples lives in the cities I’m visiting. It comes from borrowed words and phrases from other languages.

So this photo from earlier in the year is a perfect image of my inspiration to travel. Situated in the southern side of the Korean DMZ, this station was built as a symbol of South Korea’s desire to be able to reunite and be able to run trains all the way to Europe. It’s all ready to go, and there’s even a train in the station. It just can’t go anywhere yet.

york railway museum

21 November ’15

Today we paid a visit to York for the first time in a while.  I’d not seen the National Railway Museum’s new Eurostar train yet, and York’s always a good day out.

We arrived at the railway museum in time for a talk on the Shinkansen given by a rather passionate member of staff.  Some of the history and how it operates was given, as well as how it came to being the only non-UK train in the museum’s collection.

There’s been some heavy rain recently, so some of the riverside paths in York are flooded at the moment.  Despite the amount of time I’ve spent in the city, I’d never actually seen the river that high and we had to climb some flood barriers to get to higher ground.

After some shopping and a trip to the Jorvik Viking Centre, we ended up at the little cafe in the Red House close to the minster for cake and hot chocolate before making our way home.

I’ve no more trips planned until January now, although that’s likely to change next weekend when I can spend my pay cheque on some Christmas travel.

Heysham Harbour

19 November ’15

This post is a little different to the usual travelblog content so feel to skip, and do feedback whether it’s welcome or not.

This forms my second post in the “rail data is confusing” series, this time looking at Heysham Harbour (sic) - started because of a bug on my trains website.

Heysham Harbour is actually two locations, the train station and the ship terminal. (Plus the power station, junctions, etc.)

Naptan uses HEYMST in the Rail reference dataset, which is wrong - it should be HEYSHBR, as HEYMST is the ship terminal. So, depending on where you get your data from - HHB can refer to the train station, the ship terminal or the two combined; and you might even get different results depending on how you request the data on some systems.

Confused? Well we’re not finished yet, because this place has been renamed twice and moved once. So yes, there’s a historic CRS code of HEY that is no longer in use. And network rail data will almost always give you the original name - Heysham Harbour (1904-1970) rather than Heysham Port (1992-current). Oh and what was it named in between time? Well it was closed for a period of time but then it reopened as, that’s right, Heysham Sea Terminal.

I have no idea how to handle the data this place any more.

Escape Room

18 November ’15

A woman in semi undress saunters past. Our guide suggests our lack of attention on him might be a problem and repeats the instructions on use of equipment. And so begins my first encounter of an escape room.

Our team was rather unimpressed at the idea of enforced networking and distraction from our project anyway, so took any excitement they could get from the trip. Once we got into the room though we actually rather enjoyed it, and ended up being the fastest of the day’s 12 teams.

I’m not allowed to talk about what’s in the room, but it involved many puzzles - all leading to unlocking padlocks. It took us 49 minutes of the allotted hour to complete, which is apparently pretty good going.

The place is on the fourth floor of a non-descript office building, and has two separate challenges. We plan on returning to complete the other at some point.

The screaming and half-undressed woman never was explained, but she did come out again at the end to congratulate us on our time.

Guillaume Lehallier on Instagram: “Just a group of tourists visiting Iraq, might be the only one though !!”

13 November ’15

Guillaume Lehallier on Instagram: “Just a group of tourists visiting Iraq, might be the only one though !!”

Throwback Friday to that time we were travelling around Iraq with a Teletubby.