Page 3 of laandal Travel Blog Posts


Europe » Lithuania July 16th 2010

Lithuania is an extremely flat country, its highest point is only 294 metres above sea level and yet during our very brief visit to the country we managed to spend the majority of the time climbing different hills. We arrived in Lithuania by bus from Riga in Latvia, and our first stopover was Lithuania’s best known sight, the Hill of Crosses. The hill, which has come to be an extremely significant monument of Lithuanian national identity, is a stirring sight with hundreds and thousands of crosses and monuments of all shapes and sizes. Its origin is unknown, but prior to Soviet occupation it was a place of pilgrimage for Catholics. During the Soviet occupation the crosses were bull-dozed three times and it became a representation of Lithuanians’ allegiance to their own identity as they protested peacefully ... read more
The Hill of Crosses
The Hill of Crosses
The Hill of Crosses

Europe » Latvia » Riga Region » Riga July 15th 2010

The Russian border crossing took 3 1/2 hour;, sitting in silence on the bus awaiting the return of our passports before lugging our bags off and putting them through the X-ray machines. It was difficult to tell who was more concerned about the crossing, as both the Russian and Latvian border guards went over the bus and all the passengers with a fine tooth comb. We were sad to be leaving Russia so quickly as we both felt that there was so much more to see, but we weren't sad to be leaving our hotel in Veliky Luki which had seen better days and was the kind of room you don't want to touch anything. The warm weather followed us to Latvia, and after an easy drive through the pretty countryside we arrived in the capital, ... read more
Blackheads House
St Peter's Lutheran Church
The Freedom Monument

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow July 13th 2010

Moscow The heat in Russia was surprising, it wasn't that we expected to step into a snow storm, it was just that we hadn't factored in the need for airconditioning or keeping up fluids in Russia. We arrived at Hotel Kosmos in the afternoon after a long drive from Novgorod and our airconditioning and fridge were received with child-like excitement. A decent buffet in the hotel saw the end of the organised parts of the first day and we spent the remainder of the evening peering out our windows at the Space Museum and statues we could see and partaking in one of the joys of travelling, handwashing. We later learnt that during our handwashing exploits some of the guys on our tour got extremely ripped off in the hotel's nightclub paying $50 a drink, which ... read more
St Basil's Cathedral
Space Museum Monument
Vera Mukhina’s Worker and Collective Farm Girl

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg July 8th 2010

St Petersburg & Novgorod And so we departed Tallinn and headed to the most anticipated country of our trip, Russia. From Tallinn to St Petersburg took most of the day crossing flat farmland and pine forests, and included a three hour wait at the Russian border. Our first day on the tour bus was when we realised we wouldn’t have to think again on this trip of we didn’t want to. We received information on each country, a language lesson, details of which public transport to take and suggestions of ways to spend our time in each given city. We did our best to plan our days around what we wanted to see, read up on countries we were visiting and make our own decisions. Despite the long wait at the border our drive into St ... read more
Russian Folkshow
The Church of the Saviour on split blood
Lada and church

Europe » Estonia » Tallinn July 5th 2010

It began rather ominously. We slept straight through our alarm and wouldn’t have made our flight if it wasn’t for our persistent taxi driver. On arrival in Tallinn we managed to get out more money than we meant to and then make my card mysteriously disappear. We had to wait at the airport and buy cokes in order to get change for the bus ride into the city centre and then we walked in the completely wrong direction looking for our hotel on the edge of Tallinn’s old town. We were hoping this wouldn't be an indictation of things to come. Bright blue skies and long twilights proved we had nothing to worry about as we spent the next three days in Tallinn. Tallinn is the capital of Estonia, the northern most Baltic State. It sits ... read more
Graffiti
Door detail
Late night sunset

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague June 6th 2010

......literally. On a Friday night, shortly after I returned from Mexico we flew Hungarian based Wizz Air to Prague and spent a weekend enjoying the sunshine and the sights of the charming capital of the Czech Republic. Prague is one of the most famous Eastern European cities, known for its old world charm and its nightlife. It also has a reputation for being host to numerous stags parties and tour groups, and while we found this to be true, Prague was big enough to get away from both these groups during our time here. We only had a weekend to spend in Prague and being Al’s first visit we realised that this would give us the opportunity to see a few of the highlights and soak up the atmosphere without being able to delve any deeper. ... read more
Old Town Hall Clock Tower
Street performer
Beggar

North America » Mexico » Quintana Roo » Cancun May 25th 2010

Lara: The Travel Gods have not been smiling on us recently. After our newly purchased road-trip car was written-off and our Icelandic trip cancelled due to volcanic ash I didn't really have much hope of actually making it to Mexico for a conference. Plus, it was a conference…not half as much fun as I had in Quintana Roo last time around. Two and a half years ago Al and I were backpacking around Central America (see ) spending time in Tulum cenote diving and visiting ruins before heading west to Palenque. I was reluctant to return to a much-loved part of the world for such a brief amount of time and to be staying in Cancun, package holiday heaven (or hell), in an all-inclusive resort, the kind of place I would normally avoid. It was, however, ... read more
Islas Mujeres public beach
Islas Mujeres public beach
Sunset

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Cornwall April 5th 2010

Eating our way through Devon & Cornwall There wasn't a plan in sight and it was the Tuesday before the Easter long weekend. We had toyed with the idea of driving somewhere but many of the plans were probably a little too ambitious for a four-day weekend. On Wednesday we were thinking of heading for Devon and Cornwall and by Friday we were being joined by another 3 people with another car - our biggest concerns being the weather as it was snowing in parts of the UK, and finding accommodation for 5 people on one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. Our aim for the first day was the northern coast of Devon or Cornwall and after packing the bags and managing our fastest run out of London yet, we managed to make ... read more
Sheep feeding
Widecombe in the Moor
Rainbow

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Dorset March 21st 2010

We had been walking for an hour, with rain dripping from the ends of our noses and the mist so thick there was nothing to see. We had stopped talking and joking about the weather some time ago and our sole aim became getting back to the car and out of the rain. We were in the New Forest, an ancient hunting ground for England’s monarchy, where deer and wild ponies roam freely, and the hoards flock to during nice weather for picnics and walking. Our initial impression of the New Forest was grim and as we climbed back into our car, covered in mud and wet to the core we wondered whether this was a sign of what the rest of the weekend would bring. Using accommodation given to us by Rae & Matt, Al's ... read more
Corfe Castle detail
New Forest
Fossil

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris February 7th 2010

Paris was somewhere we had not yet managed to get to since living in London but is only a short hop across the English Channel by train. Both of us have been to Paris before but almost a decade had passed and Al's previous visit had left him thinking the 'City of Love' was completely over-rated. This weekend would give us the chance to see if we could change his mind and spend a relaxing weekend with good friends from home. Two of our friends, Brendan and Toinette, have recently moved there, and live in a lovely flat near Sacre Couer and Moulin Rouge surrounded by quaint streets full of bars, cafes, restaurants, as well as patisseries and cheese and chocolate shops all filling the streets with delicious aromas. Our arrival, as usual, was early. We ... read more
The Louvre
Dessert with a smile
Moulin Rouge




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