Page 2 of Mat and Trace Travel Blog Posts


Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Ha Giang July 10th 2009

Mat: I didn't get around to writing about my trip to North Vietnam last July, but thought I would add something here. Better late than never? Trace and I were heading from Scotland to Sydney for a equitation science conference (ISES), then to NZ for 10 days to catch up with everyone after being away for a couple of years. I managed to get a stop-over in Bangkok for an extra £10. Dad had planned a holiday in Vietnam for around the same time, so I suggested that I take him on a ride to an area I had heard about but not visited in northern Vietnam. It was a really special time spending a solid couple of weeks together - something that you just don't do as 32 and 65 year olds. Cao Bang and ... read more
Dad
Dog
East of Ta Phin

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris February 9th 2009

I had a semi-cunning plan. Surprise Trace by taking her to Paris for our anniversary. Well the surprise was a good idea in theory until I mentioned something about taking anniversary photos in Paris about a month before the weekend. At least we had a few minutes of side-aching laughter at my Homer-like ineptitude. Doh. In the end we had a really really good weekend. After a bit of sleep in on Saturday morning we wandered off to the Louvre, which is simply massive. We struck a nice balance of seeing interesting stuff, but not over-doing it. On leaving the Louvre we emerged from the glass pyramid into swirling snowflakes. This continued for much of the day, but this was kind of cool, and the temperature was not any different to that at home. After the ... read more
Oh yes
Eiffel Tower
Arc de Triomphe

Europe » Ireland February 3rd 2009

Mat: Jeremy was back from a stint working in Angola, and was heading to Ireland to catch up with his brother Nick, and sister Cynthia. This seemed like a good opportunity to catch up with Jeremy after not seeing him for a year, and also to see a bit of Ireland. We had four days there, but got quite sidetracked initially by the Guinness. First it was a 12 hour session at his brother's local in Loughrea. Then after heading down to Limerick to meet a second new niece, we had a remarkably big Sunday night with John, Jeremy's brother-in-law. The Irish seem reluctant to let a recession get in the way of a good Sunday night out. However, after two hangovers too many, and in an effort to actually see something other than the inside ... read more
Poulnabrone portal tomb
Roundstone harbour
Aran Island cattle trough - there is enough rain that this is enough catchment for the trough

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » The Highlands July 18th 2008

Mat: Well summer, if indeed you could call it a summer, is over. The leaves are falling, as is the thermometer. We were lucky to have quite a few friends and family visit us here at Lady E’s after our Europe trip, so I thought I would pop a few pics up of our recent Scottish escapades. The day before Trace left Slovenia to fly back to Scotland, she found out that the visa she had been writing an application for was changing - in six day’s time! The new and improved “innovator’s visa” required a £200,000 investment from the applicant, not the type of money we have kicking about. So, upon arrival back home, Trace spend a frantic five days drawing together the application that we had previously been intending to consult an immigration specialist ... read more
The Quiraing, Isle of Skye.
Eilean Donan Castle, near the Isle of Skye
Father and daughter, Glen Coe

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest June 30th 2008

Mat: Budapest was the last stop on our trip, and we were keen just to relax a bit. This approach does not make for a hugely entertaining blog, so this will be short and sweet. We stayed at an awesome little hostel called "Enter Privates". Really - it was called Enter Privates. I think the "privates" part referred to the private rooms, but what possessed the owner to preface this with "enter", I will never know. The owner of the place, Gabor, was a young Budapest local who, despite the misdirected attempt at naming the hostel, was a top bloke. Over the four days in Budapest we had many a good chat about Hungary and Budapest, which was an invaluable bonus to our stay there. As is often the case, one of the best things Dave ... read more
Momento Park
The Museum of Fine Arts
I have no idea what the instrument is on the left.

Europe » Slovenia June 27th 2008

Mat: Have you heard of Ljubljana? Can you point it out on a map? Can you spell it? It was a no, no, and no for me prior to our trip, but after heading there I can tell you that Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia, is smack bang in the middle of the country, and is spelt with two awkwardly placed "j"s. Ljubljana is a city of 270,000 people, but it seems much smaller. The heart of the place is a beautiful old town, nestled around a small river. The river has been channelled through stone embankments, so many of the city’s cafes and restaurants are perched right on the water. This, combined with the summer heat, and optimism of the people, makes for a wonderful atmosphere. Everything is within walking distance, and we whiled ... read more
Ljubljana's Dragon Bridge
At the Lipizzaner stud in Lipica
One of Piran's swimming platforms at night

Europe » Austria » Vienna » Vienna June 19th 2008

Mat: After Krakow Trace took over planning, and we therefore headed towards horses. The Spanish Riding School in Vienna is a Mecca for horsey girls the world over. The elegance, skill, and silly hats of the riders is apparently the ultimate in horsey perfection. The Spanish Riding School has its roots in the military horsemanship of the post-medieval ages when knights attempted to retain their battlefield pre-eminence by shedding their heavy armour and learning to manoeuvre quickly and with great complexity on a firearms-dominated battlefield. The training of the horses at the school also prepared the horses physically and mentally for the rigors of battle. In 1729 Emperor Charles VI had the architect Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach build the incredible white riding hall you can see in the photos. For a time, the riding hall ... read more
Good bit of head-room on this door
There are some grand spots in Vienna
One of the best icecreams ever

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków June 17th 2008

Mat: Dave, Trace and I hopped on a sleeper train on Friday the 13th and trundled our way south and east towards Krakow in Poland. Our cabin was pretty lush, a three bed sleeper. After a couple of "goodbye Germany" beers we headed to our bunks and woke up heading in the opposite direction. Not sure how this worked, but we did arrive in Krakow. Krakow was spared from bombing in WWII, so its beautiful Old Town has survived. Its central Grand Square has been the hub of the city ever since its Old Town developed the present grid of streets in the 13th century and the huge 10-acre square is the largest of all Europe’s medieval cities. Everything in the Old Town is within walking distance, and there are good food spots, and a great ... read more
Looking towards the "Death Gate" to Auschwitz II - Birkenau
"Work Will Set You Free"
Krakow's Town Square

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin June 13th 2008

Mat: Dave my little brother (well no so little, medium maybe, and quite hairy) was travelling to Germany at the start of June to play music at a festival in Braunschweig. Braunschweig is about two hours west of Berlin, so Trace and I organised to meet him in Berlin, and then go for a wander through Poland, Austria, Slovenia, and Hungary. Good times. For today's instalment however, it is all about Berlin. Berlin is cool. We arrived to a sun-drenched city that was topping 30 degrees. Considering we had been excited by a 20 degree day in Scotland before we left, this did our heads in a little. It was pretty much like this for most of our three week trip, and even hit 33 degrees in Slovenia. Suncream, swimming, sunglasses, singlets, shorts, jandals, sweat, cool ... read more
The Holocaust memorial
.
The Brandenburg Gate

Africa » Egypt » Red Sea February 6th 2008

I love my wife. She was happy for me to escape the Scottish winter and meet up with Jeremy for a last minute deal on a liveaboard trip in the southern Red Sea. Islands in the middle of nowhere, big drop-offs, coral-encrusted walls, drift diving, sharks, and two deepish wrecks - bring it on. Jeremy had just come off an offshore job in Qatar and after a transportation nightmare managed to find his way to the remote town of Marsa Alam in southern Egypt from which we were boarding our liveaboard the "M/Y Sea Serpent". For me it was easy, the whole trip was all inclusive so I flew from London straight to within 40mins drive of strange old Marsa Alam. I met up with Jeremy on the dirt shoreline and we were picked up by ... read more
Camel truck
Bearded Scorpionfish
Arabian Picasso Triggerfish




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