13 Jul
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 ‘food

4 January 2020

Tea country

22 December 2019 We left Kandy at a lazy 10am and started down the winding mountain roads to Ella. It turns out to be an almost five hour drive, excluding breaks. This is quite different to driving in the UK or, for example, the USA because you have to keep your concentration on the road » » »

4 January 2020

Restaurant de leech

21 December 2019 My little offering to the Buddha’s tooth seems to have improved the weather. No rain today! So we wandered the Royal Botanical Gardens for hours, hoping to spot some unusual squirrels but not getting any luck. The gardens are handsome, though. We took lunch at a posh hotel up in the hills, » » »

4 January 2020

Chital yawn

15 December 2019 Lunch has rectified the food situation. More good daal, but this time with an astonishingly good beetroot curry and a pork curry and an okra curry and a dish of sour stir-fried veg and chunks of roasted river fish. All ace. We went out in the afternoon for another game drive, and » » »

4 January 2020

Good smells, good flavours

14 December 2019 Yesterday’s blog covered today too, but since it all passed in a bit of a blur I’m going to fill in some of the more pleasant gaps. One thing I remember is the scents of the Sri Lankan dry zone forest. So many amazing smells. My best attempt at describing some: spicy » » »

3 September 2017

A cool part of Spain

26 August 2017 There’s a really cool part of Spain that I don’t think many people are aware of. Right across the north of the country are some amazingly wild mountains, starting with the Pyrenees but running right across to the Portuguese border. And when I say wild, I mean that these mountains are still » » »

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 » » »

3 November 2015

Touchdown in Japan

3 October 2015 So we’ve landed in Japan, Osaka airport. And after a huge long day of travel, including our first experience of Japanese trains to get us to Kyoto, I’ve only got the energy to offer up a few first impressions… They love using cartoon characters here, on everything from signs on loo seats » » »

16 March 2015

Madeira Madeira

14th February 2015 So I just realised that I haven’t said anything about Madeira! The wine, not the island. And probably the original inspiration for coming here. For those who don’t know, Madeira is a style of fortified wine (so: related to sherry and port) only produced on the island of Madeira. It became very » » »

16 March 2015

Driving and walking and chestnuts

13th February 2015 More whacky weather. It was astonishingly clear this morning, so we deviated from our plan and drove back up to Pico do Arieiro, where we got magnificent vistas of the whole island in all directions, scarcely a cloud in the sky. Contrast with the soupy whiteness behind Maureen in the photo a » » »

16 March 2015

Hotel breakfast, why?

11th February 2015 Bored with breakfast now. Why, when the guidebook says “Madeirans like to start the day with a short cup of coffee and a pastry,” does our hotel insist on bread, ham, cheese, eggs, fruit, carton juice and a big jug of insipid filter coffee? It’s not them, really. There’s an international standard » » »

16 March 2015

Changeable Madeira

10th February 2015 Really, England’s weather is consistent and predictable. I mean, let’s say you’re driving up a hill. When you get onto the other side of the hill, what will the weather be? The same, right? Drive up a hill on Madeira in golden sunshine with a few distant fluffy white clouds, and you » » »

16 March 2015

Levada in the mist

9th February 2015 We managed an early start, in spite of the cold, and drove up and up and up onto the Paul de Serra, the high plateau, to a place at the end of the road called Bica de Cana. There was bright sun and patchy cloud, but the thermometer in the car read » » »

16 March 2015

Mountains in the Atlantic

8th February 2015 We’ve got a first taste of Madeira’s changeable weather. Hopping in the car after breakfast, it was sunglasses and warmth, better turn the fan on cool ‘cos the car will be baking! Stopping at a viewpoint to gaze into thick, impenetrable mist in the afternoon it was back down to 7C and » » »

12 October 2014


Over four days in Budapest and Esztergom we’ve encompassed pretty much the gamut of eating options that you might expect to find on any given city break. Some good, some less, but I’m going to say that on average Hungary seems to be a resoundingly positive place to look for good food, especially given the » » »

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

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 » » »

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 » » »

25 December 2013

Pizza in San Jose

23rd December 2013 So yesterday afternoon was a blissful unwind at Finca Maresia to shake off the rainforest (just don’t ask about the confusion over the payment to the tour guide company). Juan is a wonderful host. Turns out that in a previous life he was a tax lawyer in Valencia, but now spends four » » »

18 May 2013

The local food problem

16th May 2013 Relaxing final day exploring Dubrovnik old town at leisure, dodging rain showers. Just like in France, the weather is hinting that it’s time to go home. When I travel anywhere in the world I like to try local food. Not just sample specialities, I mean that I prefer to eat my dinners » » »

18 May 2013

Balkan landscapes

12th May 2013 We’ve been through a steadily changing series of Balkan landscapes today, winding north from Split up to Slovenia. This is a part of the world I’m totally unfamiliar with and we keep discovering curiosities that beg further exploration. Our first brief stop was the coastal town of Senj, somewhere I had thought » » »

18 May 2013

Late supper, Dubrovnik

9th May 2013 Even if you’re planning on finding accommodation as you go along, it’s always a good policy to try and book your first night in advance. You’ve been on a plane flight, you’re arriving in a new place with new rules, it might be after dark, the last thing you need is to » » »

6 November 2012

Wine tour de France

It wasn’t planned that way, but we certainly ended up touring our way through a handful of France’s well known wine regions (as well as a short detour into Switzerland). Here’s a scattering of photos from the trip. Related Images:

5 November 2012

Full circle, full glass

2nd November 2012 Remember that bottle of special Vendanges Tardive wine that got broke back in the Switzerland episode? Well, I’ve got another one. Yes, Alsace was a bit of a detour on our way back to Calais but where’s the point of a completely unplanned holiday if you can’t change your itinerary on a » » »

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

Winding and windy

27th October 2012 There’s a gale blowing outside and it’s icy cold on the streets of Aix-en-Provence. It was warmer in the Swiss Alps! Stupid cold front. But at least we’re back in our hotel room and nicely full of a very nose-to-tail dinner. By which I mean that Maureen had a delicious dish of » » »

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 » » »

5 November 2012

Two different days

23rd October 2012 Well, I love Alsace. This is how wine tasting is done. You start in Obernai, near Strasbourg, and you meander along a winding road through vineyards of autumn gold, in the lee of the misty, wooded Vosges, passing through a series of medieval villages and towns of ever-increasing picturesqueness until you reach » » »

5 November 2012

Vive la différence

22nd October 2012 Funny little differences between nations. Every guidebook and piece of travel health advice I’ve read says that after a bout of diarrhoea you should rehydrate yourself, and I always (well, except for this trip) pack a few sachets of rehydration salts just in case. Yet once I’d struggled to explain my need » » »

5 November 2012

Overdidit Sunday

21st October 2012 It has to be said, Épernay is essentially a crummy town. In England it would be Bracknell, or Basildon. It’s surprising really, you would think that the very heart of Champagne country would be an immense tourist draw with plenty of facilities for oodles of international visitors. Mais non. It’s a bland » » »

5 November 2012

The Marne valley

20th October 2012 Today we hopped in the car and toured around the vineyards of the Marne Valley, all turning yellow and amber in the late October sun. We stopped off for some tastings, our favourite being M. Alain Suisse at his tiny one-man independent champagne house in the village of Cumières. Although he spoke » » »

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 » » »

1 October 2012

Tasty geyser

17th September 2012 All around the world people who visit tourist destinations are left with a terrible impression of that country’s cuisine. I remember visiting Paris, years before we started dining Michelin-style, and leaving with the impression that French restaurants are horrible places where steak comes as a scrawny piece of leather and hollandaise sauce » » »

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 » » »

10 August 2011

List mania

Who doesn’t like Top Ten lists? Or top five, or top three. We certainly whiled away many quiet moments in our year putting together idle lists of our favourite and least favourite things that we had encountered on the way. I’m putting them in the blog to help us remember all this stuff, and also » » »

3 August 2011

South America budget update

Written by Maureen Chile We spent just over three weeks in Chile. We had heard that Chile was an expensive country to visit compared to the rest of South America and, in our experience, this is probably true. On the other hand, Chile is a developed country with good infrastructure and we felt very safe » » »

3 August 2011

Ecuador nutshell

Ecuador has a handful of really cool things tucked into a small country, although the two main draws – the Galapagos and the Amazon – cannot be visited cheaply. It’s got an attractive capital city, friendly people, half-decent food and lots of scenery. It is also fairly warm, as you’d expect from a country straddling » » »

24 July 2011

Motmot in Mindo

22nd July 2011 I feel a bit sick. More on that later. Well, we are definitely not birdwatchers. This morning we went out with Julia, a local bird guide, into the cloud forest reserve above our lodging and spotted 56 species of birds in just over five hours. By ourselves I think we might have » » »

20 July 2011

Deluxe in Quito

18th July 2011 Wow. Stuffed again. Our last three course meal was back in Santiago, our first night in South America. Today for lunch we went to Theatrum, a fine restaurant attached to the main theatre in old colonial Quito. I had some lovely grilled octopus tentacles and then some nicely grilled grouper to follow. » » »

20 July 2011

Chile nutshell

Chile wasn’t the most satisfying country to visit. It has some wonderful landscapes, truly breath-taking, but it sometimes feels like you get developing world quality for developed world prices. The Chilean people make up for this by being wonderfully friendly and helpful. For the prices below, exchange rate was 750 pesos to £1 when we » » »

28 June 2011

Eating Chile

27th June 2011 Well that was a grim dinner. It turns out that on a holiday Monday about the only restaurants open for dinner are Chinese, although rather unexpectedly this one is staffed entirely by Chileans. And they are gloriously crap at producing Chinese food. Although our set menu boasts “Special Chapsui” and “Mongolian chicken” » » »

26 June 2011

Up high again

23rd June 2011 Grr… stupid Hertz. That’s definitely the last time I ever use them. For definite. This time they had our reservation wrong. We went on-line a few days ago, following our Puno delays, and changed the rental dates. But something is obviously squiffy in their systems, because the Arica office only had the » » »

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

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 » » »

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

Australasia Budget Update

“A descent into budget anarchy” or “How not to budget” Written by Maureen, ex-Financial Director of M&M Disclaimer: This budget post-mortem contains explicit despair. So… what went wrong? A: Australia is expensive. B: The exchange rate is lousy. C: It’s a whole continent and we only had a few weeks D: A complete failure in » » »

3 June 2011

Chepu on Chiloe

29th May 2011 Chiloe is a singularly beautiful place. Or at least it is when the sun is shining, which we have been blessed with today. Perhaps that’s why it reminds me a little of Scotland. The first town on the island you find after the ferry crossing is Ancud, and here we stopped for » » »

29 May 2011

Sleeping beauties

27th May 2011 We eventually got to sleep at 6am, so inevitably we were a little late getting up the next day. In fact we finally got up at 6pm. Not really applying ourselves properly to conquering this jetlag. Still, Chileans like to go out late for their evening meal and this suited us ideally. » » »

23 May 2011

Australia nutshell

Australia isn’t a country, it’s a continent. On the other hand, vast areas of Australia are pretty much empty. There’s plenty enough to see but it can take a long time to get there. Civilised but expensive is the way to describe travelling through Australia. In fact in most ways its comparable in price with » » »

23 May 2011

Aussie grub

21st May 2011 Australia is a very good place for food. Apparently it wasn’t always so; just like Britain they have spent the last couple of decades dragging themselves away from dour meat-and-two-veg meals and into thoroughly modern cuisine. Whereas we tend to blame the privations of the war for our culinary Dark Ages, I » » »

16 May 2011

Eating rubbish

14th May 2011 There are only a handful of places to stay in the vast open spaces of the red centre, and boy do they know it. You pay four-star prices and get a room that has all the charm of a bog standard motel but with better bathroom tiling. And the food is both » » »

16 May 2011

The rock

13th May 2011 Today we visited what is indubitably the most famous rock in the world, Uluru. Still referred to in a surprising amount of tourist literature as Ayers Rock. We rolled the remaining 100kms to the Yulara village just outside Uluru and started our day with some brunch. The baguettes we chose would have » » »

15 May 2011

Wine sans wombat

10th May 2011 Well, we didn’t see the dratted Hairy-nosed Wombat this morning either. It’s one of those cases where reality and expectation clash. Before we went to the Flinders we were under the impression that the Yellow-footed Rock-wallah was rare and hard to find, so we were delighted to spot two in the evening » » »

9 May 2011

Sealion blues

5th May 2011 We weren’t sorry to leave Flinders Chase Farm, not only freezing cold but home to rather over-familiar mice. One visited me in the bathroom, and another scampered onto the kitchen hob to see what we were cooking. The other special mammal species on Kangaroo Island is the Australian Sealion, this being the » » »

9 May 2011

Cold comfort farm

3rd May 2011 Kangaroo Island is expensive to visit. Not only is the 45 minute ferry ride a total of roughly £250 return for us in our hire car, but all the accommodation is 30% more expensive than back on the mainland. Which is why we find ourselves in an en-suite backpacker room on a » » »

1 May 2011

Bitty day

30th April 2011 So, haha. We went to the Park Info Centre for the Grampians and the nice lady there gave us a photocopied list of all the mammals found anywhere in the park, told us that she had no clue where or when to be looking (“they could be anywhere, but I wouldn’t know”) » » »

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 » » »

21 April 2011

Georgian comfort

19th April 2011 My image of Australia, far less Tasmania, didn’t remotely include a rambling old Georgian farmhouse set in rolling green pastures with a perfect cottage garden gently decaying into autumn browns and an old stone-build barnyard along the side. But that’s where we are tonight, in the old buttery which has been converted » » »

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

New Zealand nutshell

In reality this is a South Island nutshell, as we’re only going to be stopping three days on the North Island. We spent four enjoyable weeks here. New Zealand is a very civilised country, small enough to be manageable, majoring in natural beauty and outdoor activities but with a strong supporting cast of good food » » »

27 March 2011

Saved by the wine

26th March 2011, Picton Today began rainy and continued rainy, so I’m glad we decided to arrange our trek on the Queen Charlotte Track for a couple of days time to give the weather chance to clear. Who am I kidding. We’ll see. Anyway, we decided to spend today visiting the Saturday market in Nelson » » »

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 » » »

11 March 2011

Choose your fjord

11th March 2011 No doubt anticipating my critical review, it seems that Toni’s Restorante included some bad mussels in Maureen’s dinner yesterday as an act of vengeance. Both she and my dad, who tried one, got sick in the night. Do not give bad reviews to precognitive fake Italians! Anyway, they were both feeling better » » »

8 March 2011

Bali nutshell

We can’t write an Indonesian nutshell, but having spent four weeks in Bali and visited the north, west, east, south and central parts of the island we can probably do a pretty good nutshell here. Bali really is a holiday paradise, with accommodation and food both available for all budgets and of a good quality. » » »

4 March 2011

Back in the groove

1st March 2011 This evening I cooked up spaghetti with a tomato sauce; onion, garlic, mushrooms, white wine and plenty of pepper. It could have used capers and fresh herbs, but that’s the kind of stuff not worth buying if you’re on the road. We spent the day hiking a section of the Bibbulman Track, » » »

26 February 2011

Wine break

26th February 2011 Enough chasing about in the baking heat for furry critters and driving hundreds of kilometres through scorched desert in search of wilderness adventure. Let’s drink some wine and have a huge lunch! We chose the Swan Valley wine region for today’s diversion, as it’s scarcely an hour from Fremantle. I can report » » »

26 February 2011

Images of Bali

We leave Bali exhausted from difficult driving, exhilarated by lovely countryside, full of good spicy food and delighted by the coral reefs. Within the four weeks we have actually explored pretty much every corner of the island, though of course not in great depth. So this is a round-up of stray images from all over. » » »

22 February 2011

Fruitless trek

18th February 2011 If we are unlucky on a wildlife trek and don’t see very many animals, at least there is the pleasure instead of a fine walk in beautiful natural surroundings. Unfortunately in Bali Barat National Park we didn’t see much and the walk was hot and uncomfortable. Our guide Gede was very good, » » »

22 February 2011

Happy Birthday Maureen

17th February 2011 For Maureen’s birthday we took a trip to Gunung Batur, the volcanic mountain in the middle of Bali. The guidebook warned us that the touts and guides are so avaricious and persistent around here that many people leave vowing never to return. What a birthday treat! In the event we only picked » » »

16 February 2011

The restaurant that fell to earth

11th February 2011 This evening we ate at the restaurant next door. This doesn’t sound very peculiar, but I’m at a loss to understand what it’s even doing there. Lemme explain… Our hotel has six rooms and lies 3 kms out of town, on a dusty road with nought but shacks and banana plantations on » » »

2 February 2011

Oleh oleh

30th January 2011 Duck eggs and donuts. Today we ambled our way back from the far east Amed coast to Denpasar and grandma. There is a tradition on Bali called “oleh oleh” which means that when you visit someone (or return home) you bring small gifts with you, and your hosts also give you gifts » » »

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:

1 February 2011

Durian Durian

27th January 2011 In Indonesian words can often be doubled to emphasise their meaning, so for example “besar besar” means not just large but lots of large. I’ve had my first experience of eating fresh, ripe durian and it’s such an amplified fruit experience in every way that it really ought to be doubled. Durian » » »

27 January 2011

Half way in

26th January 2011 A pessimist might say we’ve already finished half our travels, but I’m an optimist so we still have half our travels to go. Today we drove out to Tirta Gangga in the east of the island with grandma, Putu and her baby son. We were visiting Putu’s family, something she hasn’t done » » »

27 January 2011

Grilled fish

24th January 2011 Bali is going to be a very two-sided place, I think. Up until now I haven’t seen anything to fall in love with, which apparently you’re supposed to when you arrive on this pearl of Indonesia. I’ve seen towns that look much like those of Malaysia or Cambodia; ramshackle little businesses and » » »

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 » » »

24 January 2011

Journal entry 20/01/2011

20th January 2011 We keep a daily journal of notes, both to cover all the details we might forget and which don’t make it into blogs, and also to remind me of details if it’s a couple of days before I actually put a blog entry together. This is pretty much today’s journal entry (with » » »

16 January 2011

A day on Penang

13th January 2011 Today we started late and had some memorable meals and a pleasant encounter. Lazily leaving the guest house at twelve-ish we strolled to the Eastern & Oriental hotel for a posh luncheon. This colonial bastion and precursor to the Raffles of Singapore is certainly the place to be seen in Penang. There » » »

7 January 2011


6th January 2011 The sea kayak is not like a normal kayak. It’s actually a big air-filled yellow banana with dimples in the top for two bums and four heels. And yet it is surprisingly stable and floats a treat. We went paddling out off the beach to a nearby speck of an island, a » » »

31 December 2010

Cambodia nutshell

I like Cambodia, even though things don’t work quite how they’re meant to, the traffic is chaos and the country is clearly very poor. My warm feelings may in part be due to the nice accommodation we stayed in, but getting an enormous plush villa by a pool for the price of a cosy shoebox » » »

28 November 2010

Theme of laid-back

It’s night-time at Cave Lodge, the lights are surrounded by swarms of incredibly stupid flying bugs and a huge gecko just jumped from the lampshade to the table with a thud like a dropped bag of sugar. So what have we been up to since Loy Krathong? We spent four days in Chiang Mai eventually, » » »

25 November 2010


Loy Krathong, the festival celebrating the Thai people’s close connection with water, is said to be celebrated best in Sukhothai and Chiang Mai – we were lucky enough to coincide our travel with the last night of the festival in both places. Related Images:

25 November 2010

Loy Krathong

The unofficial slogan of Loy Krathong (the Thai festival of lights) in Chiang Mai seems to be “Play With Fireworks!” We’re on the main bridge over the river Ping, and people are cheerfully lighting firecrackers and fireworks and flinging them out over the water, up into the air, or if their aim is bad back » » »

18 November 2010

Nepal nutshell

The main reason to visit Nepal is for trekking in the Himalayas – even then, you need to be the right kind of person to enjoy it. Nepal does have friendly people, it is cheap, there are some great cultural sights, and compared to most of Asia it is hassle-free. But the squalor and chaos » » »

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

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 » » »

19 September 2010


We saw the most awesome thing today. Snake-eating ants. Seriously. We saw a big deep hole with ants going in and out. A snake goes into the hole looking for food, but the ants blind it then kill it and devour it! We saw snakeskin scattered around the hole like discarded candy wrappers. Also rat » » »

14 September 2010

South Africa nutshell

South Africa is a stunning country for wildlife and scenery. As though there weren’t enough guidebooks already, here’s our brief lowdown on the country for travellers. For prices below, the exchange rate was about R10 to £1 when we visited. Accommodation You can get a good, comfortable, spacious room in a B&B or guesthouse for » » »

12 August 2010

Hiking and wine tasting

Today we hiked up Table Mountain, via the Platterklip Gorge route which goes straight up the Cape Town face of it. I guess it underscores our “outdoorsy” nature that we much preferred the knackering hike up to the cablecar trip down with 40 other people. Cape Town is described as a beautiful city, but these » » »

8 August 2010


I must be a softy, because wading through meadows carpeted in myriad flowers is one of my favourite things so far. It’s hard to do justice to the display in photos, but we took hundreds (but only ten made the gallery!). Namaqua is an arid region, baked to bare sand in the summer but exploding » » »

30 July 2010

We begin!

I’m sitting in the shade of a tree at Marrick Safari in the middle of the Karoo, which means we must have started our travels. It feels strangely like any other holiday right now – I’m sure that will change as two days stretches towards a month. Air whinge. We selected two great seats (window » » »

19 June 2010

Fat Ducks

We had a memorable meal at the Fat Duck last week, which for those who don’t know is Heston Blumenthal’s whacky Michelin-starred restaurant in Bray. This led us to thinking about how much we love good food, and the kind of “foodie” things we won’t be doing for at least a year. So here’s a » » »