Archive for the 'Travel' Category

Dune sledding

I haven’t said much about our summer holiday this year.

Admittedly I’ve been a bit off the radar for a lot of things. If you’re not related to me and follow the blog at all, we went to New Mexico this year for our yearly big holiday. I suppose someday I’ll catch up and share with everyone how wonderful our time was in New Mexico. Seriously, we had a fabulous time. It was Paul’s first real American road trip which didn’t include a  family visit (we DO love you guys, but you don’t need to be at the center of ALL our holidays!) and it was a first for me as well – I had never been to that part of the country. We thoroughly enjoyed it, and as with all of our good holidays we think we should revisit at some point. There are just too many wonderful things in this world. Anyway, while we were in New Mexico, we visited the White Sands area. Paul was only really aware of the missile connection with White Sands and because of this, wanted to drive by. Being indulgent to my foreign husband (aren’t I always!) I of course said, “Missiles? Really? Are you sure you want to go there?” But of course we wanted to visit White Sands. Not only is it a national monument, but it has some of the prettiest scenery I’ve seen in a long time. Besides, where else can you sled down pristine white sand dunes in the blinding sun?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJPbjOvZ9k4

I wouldn’t miss it for the world! I totally think the best bit is Paul’s cackle at the end – he’s clearly delighted with himself!

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Tunisia

Paul and I recently went to Tunisia for some fun in the sun, North African style. We spent 10 days there, and enjoyed it immensely, despite the last three days in which I was dreadfully ill. (Yes, I needed the drama of “dreadful” ) But I’m over that now. We went mainly for a relaxing beach holiday, and Tunisia being on the Med promised that. But it also promised a bit more.

We enjoyed the Med and the pool, spending the majority of the holiday there. Here’s a pic from the casbah in Hammamet.

The Med - Tunisia

But we also enjoyed the desert. While we were in Tunisia, we spent two days of trip exploring the country. I believe I’ve seen 75% of that country now. We even spent a night in the desert, under the stars in tents! Pretty nice, I think.

The trip took in El Djem, a well preserved coliseum, and then went on to show us some cave dwellings and places which were Star Wars. We also took in a camel trip, which Paul and I opted out of, but Paul did get some nice Camels for me. 🙂

The best part was seeing the sun rise on the Sahara. Yes, yours truly was up at 4:30 am in order to see the sunrise at 10 past five in the morning. And it was worth it. Check it out:

Sunrise over the Sahara

Isn’t that beautiful?

Our trip in the desert ended that day, seeing a beautiful oasis featured in The English Patient.

It was a good trip overall, lovely weather and much more to see than anticipated. There are even more photos in the gallery, if you’d like to gawk a bit more. 🙂

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Glasgow, dear Glasgow

The first thing that struck me when I got off the train at Glasgow Central Station was the number of warm coats which greeted us. That and the distinct lack of tartan, shortbread tins, heilan coos, Scottie dogs, Nessies and any tourist tat in general. It was a bit of a novelty for me, and surprisingly refreshing. Although, I did wonder a bit at what country I had landed in. Surely this wasn’t Scotland!

Walking through town to our hotel (we stayed in the Hilton Glasgow! I’d recommend it, but the drinks were overpriced!) the banter around me instantly reminded me that I was indeed in Scotland. 😛

Graffiti Glasgow

We checked in and then headed out to discover the town. We had a few hours to kill before heading down to Glasgow Green to see Radiohead, so we made our way up to Sauchiehall Street. Sauchiehall Street is Glasgow’s big shopping street. It’s where you can find all the shopping malls, etc. We spent a lot of time on Sauchiehall Street while we were in Glasgow, and while shopping there I experienced some of the best customer service ever in the UK. I was very impressed and would love to go back even just for that!

We didn’t do a lot of touring in Glasgow, but we did see a few things other than Sauchiehall Street and Glasgow Green. We made a brief stop in The Barras, which is Glasgow’s market. That was an interesting wander – it certainly wasn’t Camden, but we enjoyed it! We also had a look around the People’s Palace, a museum about the people of Glasgow.

We also took in some Charles Rennie Mackintosh while we were in the city. We didn’t see as much as I would have liked, but we found we ran out of time. On our last day, we stopped by the Willow Tea Rooms for our lunch. The Willow Tea Rooms were designed by Mackintosh. As industrial as Glasgow’s history is, it is an artistic city, and evidence of this is everywhere.  Street musicians were found all over the place (and I only saw one person playing bagpipes!) and numerous music and art shops all over.

The best bits about Glasgow were definitely the banter, the customer service and the sheer fact that it’s undeniably Scotland – even without all the extra tartan! It was a brilliant place, but almost a polar opposite to Edinburgh. It’s definitely the place to visit for art and music, but if you’re looking for kilts and shortbread, Edinburgh’s the place to go.

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Dover. It’s about time. Really.

Well, I’m finally getting around to enlightening everyone on our trip to the Southeast coast of England. We wentDover Castle in April, for our anniversary.

Now, we didn’t go to Dover, but went to a place just outside of the town, in the country. We’ve been to Dover before, and it’s not a spectacular town. It’s a port, and so it isn’t the best, certainly not much to write home about. But, you can’t beat the idea of seeing the White Cliffs and so we stayed a lovely hotel outside of town in the countryside. The hotel was Wallet’s Court, a hotel and spa. We didn’t do much except get away from home on the Saturday. I think we spent the majority of the day eating. We had a nice cream tea when we arrived, and then because we weren’t going into town, we had a wonderful dinner there. Seriously, the dinner was gorgeous, and we were able to take our time with it. Normally when we go out to eat, we always are rushed through the meal, only to have to wait ages for the check toWhite cliffs of Dover come. It was actually refreshing to be able to take our time, especially when the whole point of the evening was to spend some actual real time with one another. It was lovely.

The next day, we drove down the road and had a lovely view of Dover Castle. We didn’t visit the castle on this trip. However, we did walk by the cliffs, and I was able to get some pictures, which I’ve been wanting to do for ages. This walk, I have to say was breathtaking, and a big highlight. We live so close to Dover, and I’ve seen the cliffs from the ferry, but to see them so close was amazing. The walk takes you right along the top of them, all the way to a lighthouse.

The weather, as usual in England, was a bit unpredictable. When we started the weekend out, it was sunny and just warm enough to get away with a heavy sweater. Then, it cooled down quite a bit while we were away. It Paul in the White Cliffsstarted to snow (of all things!) while we were walking, so we turned back after we were about halfway. Paul had left his coat in the car, thinking his sweatshirt would keep him warm enough. Unfortunately, he was wrong, and we had to turn around so we could go get him warm again.

It didn’t help that we had just cut his hair, so he had nothing on his head to keep him warm either!

And that just about sums up our trip to Dover. It made for a very nice weekend trip away, and it was a very happy anniversary for us.

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Normandy

Ok, so I’ve been sick, and haven’t been in much mood to post anything lately. But, I’m finally feeling normal again and have found some time to write about our recent trip to Normandy.

Paul and I decided to go to France at the end of January pretty much on a whim. Yes, we knew we would end up in France

some time this year, but this was a random decision we made one afternoon and before you knew it we had booked the

weekend. I guess maybe because I was between jobs and had two days off that we felt we couldn’t

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waste the time. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter, because off to Normandy we were headed.

To begin with, the weather wasn’t great, and we were soon happy that we had decided to take the car on the train instead of the ferry this time. This is the train which allows you to go to

Calais with your car, which was far easier and faster than the ferry. And, considering the weather I was certainly happy to be below the sea. I think we definitely be doing that again.

dsc_0051We stayed at a lovely hotel called Ferme de la Rançonnière, where we had a gorgeous room and great service. As you can see from the picture, we had a massive bedroom, with beautiful furniture and a canopied bed. The only downside was that the hotel had clearly just opened back up after the holidays and the room was freezing when we got in. It took almost our entire stay before it became a comfortable temperature, but we can’t really fault it. We weren’t in the hotel for very long anyway, as the restaurant was still closed as well. This has been one of our best experiences so far with hotels and France, and I think we may very well stay there again if/when we go back to Normandy.

dsc_0022The main thing Paul wanted to get out of this trip to Normandy was to see the D-Day beachesto and the surrounding historical spots. As you can see, we got to see large guns left by the Germans, and to the right here you can see a shot of Omaha Beach. I would have a picture of Utah Beach as well, but it was dark by the time we found our way there.

We also visited the town of Ste Mere Eglise , which is where the paratroopers landed, and on our way home we stopped by and took in Pegasus Bridge. They had a nice museum there along with the original bridge. We didn’t see everything though, and there are other things in the area that we would like to go back and see. For instance, it would be nice to go closer to tourist season, and make a point to taste some calvados and local cider.

dsc_0057While I enjoyed the trip, I was thoroughly all warred out by the end of my three days and was quite happy to be able to take some pictures of a pretty French village. I don’t have the name of the village with me – but it was a pretty little place.

Also, I guess I would be misleading you if I let you think the whole of the trip was focused on the D-Day landings and WWII. While a large majority of the trip did focus on this, we did see the famous Bayeux Tapestry – you know, the one which depicts the story of why the Normans invaded England in 1066. It was pretty impressive.

And that is Normandy in a nutshell. I’ve uploaded a few more pictures which can be found under European travel in the Gallery.

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