The resort of Bad Gastein sits at the top of the Gastein Valley about an hour from Salzburg by car. With a permanant population of less than 6,000, the resort is heavily reliant on tourism, which has historically come in two different ways. Skiing has taken off in the area since 1958, when the world championships were held in the area. Subsequent developments of the Sport Gastein and Skizentrum Angertal areas have sustained tourism since the 1980s.
2011 has been an odd year. I’ve ‘explored’ 62 new locations in 5 different countries, admittedly a much lower haul than 2010, but probably a more exciting and intense one. Marc, Gary, Neb and Patch appear to have been my main ‘partners in grime’ this season, but notable mentions need to go to Dan, Brad, Otter, Chris, John and NC Kapita for their involvement, particularly in getting abroad to Norway, Hungary, France and Austria and biting the bullet when we needed to in these places.
The advent and growth of the LCC has provided support in various ways and the open communication that appears to be evolving has made exploring in this country a joy again. Thanks of course due to all that’s been involved. We’ve slept in several bizarre locations both home and abroad and had various interactions with the police and other authorities – all part of the job.
Below is my list of personal favourites, taken solely from places which were new to me in 2011. Read the rest of this entry »
Buk put together a long awaited explorer gathering and dubbed it Londonsplore. With the derelict location and expectation of an all-nighter , the event echoed other enticing social urban experiences from the previous 12 months or so. Somewhere along the line somebody had said that having more parties would be a good thing and everybody seemed to gain an experience from this one. I don’t know what kept us waiting so long really – complacency maybe? Read the rest of this entry »
Three days ripping up Budapest while barely sleeping took it’s toll, yet somehow we made it to Vienna alive. NC Kapita and Marc slept in the car as I drove and despite a 2 hour blitz for info while connected to the McDonalds free wifi at Gasometer City, we were left with plenty of time to take a look at the delights of Vienna. Read the rest of this entry »
Not a very sexy drain, Teh Ditch. It was probably once ‘really nice‘, as Siologen’s pictures show, but we had been warned it was something of a slippery sludge pit. It was also identified that there is a 10 foot waterfall at some point in the middle of the drain. Concrete lining had occurred relatively recently, but at parts deeper from the outfall the eternal wash of Hungarian poo had exposed the brick on the floor again. Hence, it’s a bit of a mess. We entered from the infall, which Siologen kindly pointed us in the direction of, and slowly made our way downstream.
When it snows, go in Drains. A few Gentlemen and I decided to participate in COTS in December 2010, having seen a few delightful pics of the system online. This section of Collossus of the South was everything I was expecting it to be, more impressive even than Hastings’ Stinger storm drain, with a deliciously different feature; the plughole that leads down from the Victorian sections.
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The Szechenyi (Chain) bridge is a chain suspension bridge across the Danube in Budapest. We arrived around 1am on a Saturday night and as we were walking up to the bridge, the lights on the city went out like somebody had just flicked a switch somewhere. Myself and NC Kapita walked up to the top of the chains after waiting for a lull in traffic. Read the rest of this entry »
Charleroi has 6km of disused by completed metro line, incorporating 4 stations and connecting to the existing metro. Don’t get too excited however, this isn’t a veiny network of tunnels under the city like Antwerp’s premetro, nor is it a line genuinely under construction. It’s simply a railway that was built in the 1980s, connected to the metro lines and unfeasibly, never opened. Read the rest of this entry »
Dark, smelly and not high enough to walk in without stooping, the access to Last Bastion is a five foot diameter sewer pipe which eventually diverts to the Northern Low Level sewer. Upon passing the diversion, there is perhaps fifty metres of ankle deep half sludge, half shit, which is amongst the most unpleasant sections of sewer I’ve had the pleasure of navigating. Read the rest of this entry »
Line 4 of the Budapest Metro has been under construction for over 5 years now, but consistent delays mean that the opening is still not scheduled until 2014. The train manufacturer has apparently failed to produce the break system in line with the instructions, and as such, there are now 10 stations under various states of construction waiting to proceed. Read the rest of this entry »