Available online in paperback and for Kindle right now!
In the USA:
In the UK
Shandypockets is excited to announce a new publication. Essential Travel Hacks is a round up of over 200 ways to stack the odds in your favour when you travel. The book will help you put yourself ahead of the crowds, from when to book to how to make your hotel room more luxurious to negotiating airports with maximum comfort and efficiency. Buy it and be in the know whether you're at the beach, on the ski slopes or out in a tent in the wilderness. These essential, easy-to-follow hacks will help you no matter what your travel plans are.
Available online in paperback and for Kindle right now!
In the USA:
In the UK
Apologies for the radio silence over the last couple of weeks, but we've been as busy as beavers (well, ravens, I guess?) working on the latest publication from Shandy Pockets, and it's out now.
You know how Game of Thrones looks all spectacular and panoramic and dramatic? Well, it turns out not all of those shots rely on a sound stages and special effects teams. No. You can go and see these places for yourself. King's Landing, Winterfell, Dorne, North of The Wall - these places all exist in the real world, and you can find them in Croatia, Iceland, Malta, Morocco, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Spain.
So we thought we'd put together a guide to the best of the Game of Thrones locations and tell you how best to see them. Even if you're not thinking about actually exploring, there's hopefully enough information, quotes, interviews and photos to bring these places to life.
Game of Thrones: An Unofficial Travel Guide is out now in PAPERBACK and FOR KINDLE. If you know nothing about how the show is filmed, this definitely is one way to fix that.
Apologies for Shandy Pockets radio silence, we've been working hard getting ready for our book launch tomorrow for New Orleans Historic Hotels, which, if you're in New Orleans, you should definitely come to!
To whet your appetite, here's a short excerpt:
In the mid-19th century, peer-review websites were, of course, the stuff of a madman’s dreams, but luckily we have the published diaries of affluent travelers (surely the travel blogs of the day) to give us some insight as to how the older hotels and boarding establishments operated. Lady Emmeline Stuart Wortley, an English poet and writer, stayed at a hotel called The Verandah in 1849. She wrote about it in a book which documents her travels in the United States between 1849 and 1850, a book which bears the unswervingly literal title of 'Travels Within the United States During 1849 and 1850'.
Here’s what Lady Wortley had to report: “We are at a very splendid and comfortable hotel called The Verandah. It reminds me of a Parisian one. The St. Charles is the largest of all the hotels in New Orleans but it is much crowded, and we were recommended to try this, as it is quieter, and thus pleasanter for the ladies.”
Lady W. goes on to praise the St. Charles at some length, implying that she actually would rather be staying there, then damns the Verandah with faint praise and ends with a complaint about the price: “The attendance at [this hotel] is admirable, and all the arrangements excellent. But the charges are much higher than usual in the States.”
She then relates a rather tedious story about being harassed by “a little Swede” at dinner (someone from Sweden, not the root vegetable). In any case, she is by and large quite impressed by the place, especially the “airy apartments” as they saved her from “an early termination from these frying- pan temperatures.” She was being dramatic then, of course, but her early termination sadly did come just five years later, when she died of dysentery while traveling in the Ottoman Empire, an unfortunate case of out of the frying pan and onto the pyre.
You’re obviously way too young (or too American) to remember the series of soft-core “erotic” capers committed to film in the UK in the 1970s. They were entitled ‘Confessions of…” and went on to portray the cheeky misogyny of ‘a window cleaner’, ‘a pop star’, ‘a driving instructor’, etc. They all starred rutting sex chimp Robin Askwith (typical filmography titles include Queen Kong and Let’s Get Laid).
Eugene Salomon is no Robin Askwith, so let’s be thankful for large mercies. He has, however, driven a cab around the big apple we call New York City for about 30 years and, like every cabbie the world over, Has Some Stories.
Thing is, Eugene has seen it all in the teeming Petri dish of NYC. Not in a ‘having to drive surly warlords across landmine-strewn urban battlegrounds’ way that you might get in this book's Serbian equivalent, but he did start up in the pre-Giuliani murkiness of a Manhattan untroubled by its less convivial activities, so his tales are actually of some worth, and are not just another, “Oh, I had Courtney Love dry heaving all the way to Brooklyn” kind of thing.
Salomon is a somewhat coy story-teller, but his interactions with people of note and fame don’t suffer from any star-struck over-praise. Even though one chapter is called ‘Paul Simon’s Warmth’, he doesn’t gush about the guy, just tells us how he tries to persuade him to buy the Yankees (“I don’t have that kind of money,” Simon says. “You should talk to McCartney.”)
He nicely breaks down the type of customer he gets into the following categories, which seem to apply to all-comers, including celebrities, hookers, fugitives, lawyers, gangsters and business people alike:
People who look strange but act normal, people who look strange and act strange and people who look normal but act strange. Apparently Manhattan is bereft of normal looking, normal acting people. At least, these people don’t get cabs.
Of course, the most sensational parts of the book are about how far people will take their physical expressions of lust. There are a few tales of bawdy backseat behaviour, and also an unusually touching reminiscence of when Salomon himself was thrust into a potentially erotic situation. It’s here, with Salomon expressing his own humanity rather than just the faceless driver up front, that he’s at his best.
The stories are all no longer than a New York, as they say, minute, so even just dipping into the book has the sensory effect of jumping into a cab for a few blocks.
In any case, fans of the NYC-living mythology will find it fascinating and yes, it includes a story about Woody Allen, don’t worry. To misquote the Manhattan-loving director, the book is so interesting you’ll barely be able to keep your eyes on the meter.
Buy the book from Amazon HERE.
Welcome, strangers and bumpkins to New York City. The year is 1920 and there's a lot of crazy going down if you don't know how to navigate this daunting metropolis. Luckily, Valentine's City Guide is here to help with a full rundown of New York's attractions and this handy guide to how to behave in the biggest of apples.
Our favourite picks from the list of advice are as follows:
"Don't ask a pedestrian where a street is. They will be too busy to stop. And if they have time to stop, they won't know."
"Don't gape at women smoking cigarettes in restaurants..."
And the crowning glory:
"Don't buy the Woolworth Building, Brooklyn Bridge...or any other prominent structure because a stranger happens to want to sell it to you for a few hundred dollars..."
You can read the entire thing HERE - skip to page 364 for the run down of rules for visiting hayseeds.
"I would rank them right up there near the top of my all-time list of back-seat kissing fools.”
NYC taxi driver Gene Salomon doesn't, as well you might expect, suffer idio gladly. Hey, it's part of the reason we all go to New York, isn't it? To be addressed like a putz by disgruntled service industry workers?
Anyway, Salomon has been keeping notes on his most interesting customers for decades, from the sex-crazed to the fame-touting to the general wackos that make up any single day in the enormous fruity metropolis we call the Big Apple. And now he's published his observations in a book, "Confessions of a Taxi Driver", which may sound like a soft porn film from 1973, but is a fascinating catalogue of his vehicular encounters.
You can find out more about Mr Salomon and his best stories HERE.
Copyright © Shandypockets and the individual authors, 2013, 2014 and 2015. All rights reserved. Online travel magazine, travel features, travel reviews, travel interviews, travel funnies, hotel reviews, product reviews, travel photos
In the course of writing features, we will sometimes be hosted. Where appropriate, we will indicate this within the article. For all queries regarding Shandy Pockets, see the CONTACT page, above.