24 Feb
Days adrift.  Click here to see our best and worst experiences so far.
Number of flights.  Click here to go to the itinerary page.
Bus, train and taxi rides.  Click here to see all posts relating to transport. (56 posts)
Miles walked.  Click here to see all posts relating to walking and trekking. (43 posts)
Countries visited.  Click here to see what we think of them. (14 posts)
Number of species spotted.  Click here to go to our wildlife page.
Photos taken.  Click here to go to the photo gallery. (105 posts)
Rainy days.  Click here to find posts relating to the weather. (50 posts)
Number of times scammed.  Click here to read all about it!  (2 posts)
Otters spotted.  Click here to go to our website about otters: amblonyx.com
...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

Posts Tagged ‘city

21 May 2018

Tirana, Albania

27 April 2018 I rather like Tirana. It’s quite hard to say why. There’s nothing magical or ancient about the city itself, no great historic centre or charming residential neighbourhoods. Drivers and pedestrians mingle on the roads in a sort of dangerous ballet. It’s kinda flat, and the only river running through it looks like » » »

24 April 2017

Welcome to Slovakia

31 March 2017 Slovakia, the country that tourist guidebooks forgot. None of the major guidebook publishers produces a book on Slovakia, although some of them did up to a few years ago (when they presumably decided that being complete-ist wasn’t cost-effective). Generally you find they have a book covering eastern Europe with a single slender » » »

4 November 2016

Can you have too many canals?

29 October 2016 The main memory I have of visiting Amsterdam as a teenage student was that it was a big, untidy, boring city with no real redeeming features apart from the strength of the beer. With hindsight, it was probably Belgian beer. Also with hindsight, I suspect that I never left the very centre » » »

22 May 2016

Pavement Pounding Day

29 April 2016 Today we took a long and winding route through many neighbourhoods into the middle of the city. Our trek took us from the very lovely areas around NoPa where we’re staying, and Hayes Valley with all its trendy shops and cafes (we made sure we started late enough for the shops to » » »

22 May 2016

Superior skunk day

27 April 2016 Well, I’m calling this Superior Skunk Day ‘cos strictly speaking this is the day we got great views of a nifty little skunk. The only other animal likely today was the Sonoma chipmunk at Muir Woods, but although we had a nice walk there and hung around the picnic area a while, » » »

12 October 2014


Just spending a few hours wandering around Budapest between arriving from the airport and enjoying a top-notch evening meal, I’m liking this city. It has a very obvious heart, and that is the gigantic artery of the River Danube (or Duna here in Hungary) over which many of the grandest buildings perch to show themselves » » »

3 August 2014

That’ll do

29th July 2014 Gnuuuur… it’s still stinking hot. Flapping along the pavement under a 30 degree sun with sticky clothes and energy levels so drained by the heat that when you do wander into a shop you just can’t summon up much interest in the contents. No wonder the Swedes all sod off to the » » »

3 August 2014

Stockholm in summer

26th July 2014 Stockholm in summer is hot. It’s easy to forget about Britain’s unique maritime climate and, associating Sweden with snow and ice, think that visiting in July will “at least be bearably warm” (which is what we said to ourselves when planning the trip). Well, in spite of being at the same latitude » » »

31 December 2013

Last bit of mammal-watching

30th December 2013 Maureen much better, we rented a car for the day and went out to explore. First stop being the famous Milaflores locks on the Panama Canal. I have to admit, it’s a jolly big canal and those are jolly big ships going through jolly big locks! An impressive piece of engineering and » » »

29 December 2013

City of Panama

28th December 2013 We left Bocas today after a relaxing morning of doing nothing. And I will make no mention of falling out of my kayak after the short paddle over to breakfast at the Garden of Eden. At least I somehow managed to keep my entirely un-waterproof watch out of the water during my » » »

18 May 2013

I like

13th May 2013 Something I like, which I suspect nobody other than a gardener would understand, is visiting other countries and finding the wild versions of garden plants. The Himalayas in Nepal might have been the most exotic example, with wild berberis, pieris and azalea, but just today while hiking up Mostnice Gorge in the » » »

18 May 2013

Roman city

11th May 2013 Lots of driving today. Left Perast at 9:30am with nowt but an espresso inside me and reached Trogir at 3:30pm with no breaks and a couple of in-car biscuits. One of those things. Didn’t help that Croatians have a habit of putting road signs up before they’ve finished building the road, and » » »

18 May 2013

Balmy day, Kotor Bay

10th May 2013 I can’t imagine walking the walls of Dubrovnik in the middle of the day in summer. It was hot at 9:30 in the morning in May, and by the time we finished at 10:30 there were a few people-jams starting to form at the narrower points and the steeper stairs. In the » » »

5 November 2012

Enforced Avignon

29th October 2012 We are now having a short break in the city of Avignon, circumstances having forced a bit of Provencal laissez-faire on us. Yesterday after driving out of Aix towards the pretty villages of the Luberon I briefly wound down the driver’s side window and then found it wouldn’t wind up again. It » » »

5 November 2012

Provencal market

28th October 2012 This morning we went back into Aix-en-Provence for breakfast and a little stroll around. Still very blustery, but no longer likely to throw Citroëns at us. Aix is definitely a handsome city but I guess the towns and cities of France are beginning to blur somewhat together now: narrow streets, tall buildings » » »

5 November 2012

In the mountains

25th October 2012 Bern was drizzly, the rest of Switzerland was covered in damp mist and low cloud, but as soon as we rounded the end of Lake Geneva and crossed into France the sun came out! I would also like to put our last Swiss stopover, Lausanne, into the same bucket as Fribourg; it’s » » »

5 November 2012

Castles and Aliens

24th October 2012 Budget hotel France: tiny room, basic bathroom, no frills, £35. Budget hotel Switzerland: huge room, nice shower, no frills, £102. Not to mention £10 to park the car overnight. That aside, I have much better feelings about Switzerland today. We walked around Bern in the morning. The centre of the Swiss capital » » »

3 October 2012

From Denver to Denver

A photographic ramble through our trip across the Wild West and Yellowstone. Scenery, wildlife, hikes and towns. Related Images:

2 October 2012

Last lunch

28th September 2012 Right on the cusp of leaving (I write this on the plane home) we finally had some memorable eats in America. Denver is certainly a big enough city to have a modern restaurant scene, but last night we found the first couple of hot spots we tried to be full and so » » »

2 October 2012

Hitting Denver

27th September 2012 Our journey back to Denver has been through small town America. Very small town America. “Population 135” read the sign on the way into one scattered cluster of tumbledown clap-board shacks and rusting mobile homes, and I’m fairly convinced the sign was over-estimating. Move away from the handful of tourist spots or » » »

7 April 2012

Damp squib

We had one last day in Copenhagen, as our flight wasn’t until almost 8pm. Alas, the clouds had come to play and by lunchtime it was raining. It wasn’t any warmer either, nor was it less windy, so Copenhagen seemed to be doing its best to tell us to go away. Probably because I said » » »

7 April 2012

Today was lunch

Today was all about lunch, at Noma which is currently voted the “world’s best restaurant”. And so of course there’s a whole post about the meal at http://saltyplums.co.uk just across the road. We arrived at 12:30 and didn’t leave until 5pm, so really I’m just filling in the gaps here. Is life the same for » » »

7 April 2012

Copenhagen night 1

So we’re off for a short break to Copenhagen, Denmark. Various bits of today touched off recollections of our year of travelling. Hoisting a backpack onto the shoulders. Disgorging metal objects into a jacket pocket for the airport metal detectors. And yes, sitting down in front of this glowing screen in a little hotel room » » »

24 July 2011

Sunny day Quito

20th July 2011 Argh! How frustrating. This morning the skies are beautifully clear and blue, and the old city of Quito shines with crisp light and shadow. Yesterday the sky was mainly overcast with the odd glimpse of blue, and the city was muted and leaden. But it was yesterday that we climbed the perilous » » »

20 July 2011

Old town

19th July 2011 This was a nicely fulfilling day of exploring old Quito. There is indeed a grand amount of colonial architecture here, with virtually no modern buildings and everything stitching together into a cohesive whole. There are some beautiful churches amongst the secular architecture too. One of the finest is the church of the » » »

8 July 2011

Kicking around

6th July 2011 So we’ve spent three days kicking around Valparaiso, not really doing very much, mainly recovering our depleted energies and enjoying the relaxation that staying in the same place for four nights brings. We made a mistake in choosing our B&B. It’s a friendly place and the room is warm (hurrah) but we’re » » »

5 July 2011

Valparaiso impressions

4th July 2011 Dodging dog shits. What can I say? We took a walk into the city today and my clearest recollection is the sheer number of dog shits that we needed to avoid on the pavements. Been in a lot of different cities this year, never seen anything close to this amount. There are » » »

23 June 2011

Arequipa day

21st June 2011 We phoned up the local agent Joel who handled our Peru itinerary and twisted his arm to get us an additional night in Arequipa and to defer our bus back to Chile for another day. Good man, he came through for us and so we had today at leisure instead of jumping » » »

20 June 2011

Birthday irony

18th June 2011 Why ironic? Because a week ago I was cursing the protests in Puno for making us miss Lake Titicaca and fly from La Paz to Cusco. And here I am today looking out over Lake Titicaca because the same protests have stopped our bus going all the way to Arequipa. Why birthday? » » »

20 June 2011

Cusco moochin’

16th June 2011 Free day in Cusco, and with our legs still feeling the burn from Wayna Picchu we weren’t going to be doing anything strenuous. In fact, we really had no plans at all. So we mooched. To try and make the most out of our tourist tickets we stopped at three different museums » » »

11 June 2011

The new Peru

9th June 2011 And so via the rather un-travellery approach of hopping a short plane flight, we have arrived in Cusco. Tourist capital of the Andes by anyone’s account. So we’ve missed Lake Titicaca, which is a shame, although it was visible out of the window of our 737. Cusco is very different from La » » »

9 June 2011

Bolivia in brief

We only stayed four days in La Paz, with one excursion out to see Tiwanaku on the high plateau. Even with this brief glance there’s lots to find fascinating about Bolivia. Related Images:

7 June 2011

La Paz

6th June 2011 Hurray for the little old women in the tiny bowler hats! They look splendid and lend yet more idiosyncrasy to this unexpected city. Llama foetuses, blue potatoes and bowler hats. The predictable headache, shortness of breath and racing heartbeat resulted in a complete failure to sleep so we just decided to mooch » » »

6 June 2011

Up in the air

5th June 2011 Don’t worry, we were nowhere near the volcanic eruptions in Chile. We could have been, if we had stuck with an earlier plan and stayed a few more days in the south to visit the Chilean Lake District; these volcanoes are in that area. Either an opportunity missed or a danger avoided, » » »

29 May 2011

Santiago fails to thrill

28th May 2011 Our flight to Puerto Montt wasn’t until nearly 7pm, so after checking out of our room we left our luggage and went to explore Santiago. A long ramble and a couple of cafe stops later and I’m pretty unexcited about the capital of Chile. It has the feel of a typical southern » » »

20 May 2011

A town like Alice

17th May 2011 Alice Springs is kinda depressing. For starters, it’s an entirely unattractive town with a town planner’s grid of streets and nothing at all to centre them on. A river runs through it, but as with most rivers up here it is simply a very long sand pit. The town centre is cluttered » » »

28 April 2011

Melbourne is nice

24th April 2011 We’ve abandoned the stupid trams and have been walking around Melbourne instead. Which is great, because the centre of the city is compact and attractive and has plenty of grassy spaces around it. There are no important must-visit sights in Melbourne so you can just explore. It’s Sunday today. Not only that, » » »

28 April 2011

Experience the difference

23rd April 2011 One repeated theme of this year is noticing how varied people’s impression of a place can be, based on their own experience of it. Mum and dad visited Melbourne before meeting up with us in Perth, and they enthused about the city and particularly the convenience of “just hopping on a tram » » »

24 April 2011

Unlucky Hobart

22nd April 2011 You’ll recall our first day in Hobart was spent largely in a crummy backpacker room listening to the rain nailing down the roof above us? Well, it was mostly dry on our return but it was also Good Friday. It seems that in Australia that’s akin to Christmas Day and so absolutely » » »

16 April 2011

Heart of Sydney

Sydney is a big, friendly, colourful city with a lot going on, and a lot going for it. We definitely felt it deserved more than six days, which is unusual for us in a city. Related Images:

12 April 2011

Sydney Opera House

11th April 2011 I’m really delighted by the Sydney Opera House. Every big city should have one. Not exactly the same, obviously. But every big city should have a venue for the arts that is: Central and impressive from afar, providing a focus for the cityscape Unique and ambitious, to astonish the first-time visitor and » » »

9 April 2011

My poor feets

8th April 2011 There’s very much a fixed list of what is appropriate to eat at breakfast and what is not. It changes around the world of course – I’m unlikely to find the calming rice soups I enjoyed in Thailand popping up in the cafes of London any time soon. So even though we » » »

8 April 2011


7th April 2011 To my surprise the Sydney Opera House is every bit as beautiful and engaging to the eye as the hyperbole would suggest. To say it gives a focal point to the harbour view is an understatement. To my mind it makes the harbour view. I tried to envisage Sydney’s harbour without the » » »

24 March 2011

Following the rain again

23rd March 2011 I see now that we were really very lucky with the Routeburn Trek, having two days of almost totally blue sky for the best days of the walk. Because typically the whole of New Zealand remains covered in a thick woolly blanket of clouds, which occasionally dispense either a glimpse of blue » » »

18 March 2011

It ain’t Scotland

17th March 2011 Or is it? Today we parted company from my parents (thanks for a lovely holiday and a fantastic trek, see you in four months or so!) and picked up our rental car for a three week tour around South Island. It’s a bit of an old bucket with balding tyres, but it » » »

13 March 2011

Welcoming Queenstown

12th March 2011 New Zealand has just the same problems as Australia with wildlife conservation. They have oodles of natural wilderness, plenty of pristine habitat, and a population that is dead keen on conservation. But at various times in the brief recent history of the country people have introduced rabbits, red deer, douglas fir, brush-tail » » »

26 February 2011

Fremantle squawk

24th February 2011 I’ve always thought Fremantle has a cool name. It’s a cool town too. There’s a good mixture of shops, restaurants, pubs and cafes in a compact centre with plenty of attractive old buildings. If you ignore the 37 degree daytime temperature it could almost be an English market town. We had a » » »

2 February 2011

Singapore snaps

The release of this gallery was postponed due to the need to surprise Tim and Vanessa with Maureen’s new hair. We hope our readers will understand and excuse the delay. Related Images:

24 January 2011

Singapore impressions

21st January 2011 Four days in Singapore is hardly enough to summarise the city, but I did get some good impressions and in truth I liked the place a lot. Singapore is akin to London in having plenty of attractive old buildings juxtaposed with impressive modern architecture. The difference is in the ratios, which are » » »

20 January 2011

Not being tourists

18th January 2011 No photos to attach to this blog, ‘cos we didn’t take any. Today felt more like being back home. We got up late, we went out and had breakfast. First stop was for a haircut, long overdue. Then the serious business of going shopping. This is the first time we’ve “gone shopping” » » »

20 January 2011

Georgetown, Penang

Georgetown was pretty much just what I expected an ex-colonial provincial city to look like, but with the addition of strong Chinese and Muslim influences. The other half of Penang island is still largely wilderness, where the resorts have not crept in. Related Images:

12 January 2011


11th January 2011 Georgetown is the main city of Penang and was recently made a UNESCO World Heritage Site; we seem to bump into a couple of these in every country we visit. I can see why it would be, as the mixture of cultures here is fascinating and goes back a long way, influencing » » »

18 December 2010

Bangkok busy

17th December 2010 How lazy is this? A four day gap since the last blog. But it’s easily summarised. On the 14th we made one last (failed) attempt to watch for small-clawed otters, then said farewell to Jan and Tu boarded the train at 2PM. Rattle, rattle, rattle, at 3PM on the 15th we stepped » » »

1 November 2010


Bhaktapur feels like what Kathmandu may have been 30 years ago. Parts of the city still feel positively mediaeval. We like it. Related Images:

16 October 2010

Chinese Takeaway

The Chinese have ruined Lhasa – that was my thought as we drove into the famed holy city of the Dalai Lama. The postcards are all lies; the great Potala palace sits forlornly in the middle of a bustling modern Chinese city. To give you an idea, take Edinburgh Castle, remove it from its renowned » » »

7 October 2010

Kathmandu in pics

So here are the pictures hard-won from the streets of Kathmandu. Despite the hard work, it is a city full of arresting sights. Related Images:

7 October 2010

Kathmandu goes BEEP

Sight-seeing in Kathmandu is an endurance sport. The whole city is clogged with motorbikes, pedestrians, tiny Suzuki taxis and other random obstacles, which might be okay if the roads weren’t barely one lane wide with shops and street pedlars spilling out onto them. Crossing a road is like walking across the dodgems ride at a » » »

5 October 2010

City of frowns?

Written by Maureen After meeting such friendly people on our trip so far I found the people of Hong Kong at best… indifferent. Perhaps this is big city syndrome, but I really don’t remember getting that impression from other cities. For example, on our last day a kind Chinese lady explained that we needed exact » » »

5 October 2010

Big City

Hong Kong is a busy, busy city – we only spent three days, and we didn’t see (or eat) enough of it. Related Images:

5 October 2010

City of Five Senses

We only had a three day stopover in Hong Kong, but still got a taste of this epic city. Of course, we also had a number of chores to do, buying contact lenses and getting haircuts. I was mauled cruelly by a Hong Kong hairdresser and am now sporting a “Nigel Kennedy”. So how about » » »