We've sold the business, got no kids, got no worries, got no time frame.
Time to throw on the back pack and "start livin' the dream".
For those of you that know us, we will spare you the usual dribble about our start of the trip via Bali, most of you've been there done that.
This trip is something we've talked & dreamed about for quite some time, hope we don't bore you too much & hope for some of you it will inspire you to follow your dreams & for others we hope it will rekindle some old memories.
July 9th 2011
Voted the most scenic rail journey in the world, the West Highland Rail link from Fort William to Mallaig cuts through brilliantly colourful glens and glistening lochs. Today we have opted to follow this line by road. From our humble abode, Ingrid and John shake their head again at the time we are leaving; we head north to Fort William before hanging a left onto the A830 and meander our way west along rocky crags and skirting the many lochs that border our journey. The day has once again turned out to be mild with a few scattered clouds. The forecast is for heavy showers, reducing to thunder storms. The Scottish open is currently underway (or should be) in the city of Inverness, several hours north of us and we are aware of the trouble they ... read more
July 8th 2011
As per usual we take our time hitting the road with John and Ingrid questioning whether we have left our departure time too late to be able to see The Isle of Mull. The weather has again changed and we are bathed by a warm and sunny sky. From the lodge we head a couple of kilometres north and take the free Corran car ferry across the loch, turning left we wind our way towards Lochaline where we will catch another car ferry to the small port of Salen on the Isle of Mull. It is easy to underestimate how long driving in this area will take. Most of the roads are nothing more than single tracked lanes with passing bays strategically placed every hundred meters or so. It doesn’t take us long to understand the ... read more
July 7th 2011
Today, we have planned a full days drive north, into the Highlands and are booked into Creag Mhor Lodge for the night. The weather starts out promising enough as the light rain we have had for the last couple of days burns off and though the sky is still overcast we do have glimpses of blue and some sun. The road we have chosen is good driving despite having to pull over, on a regular basis, to allow the trucks that ride our bumper to pass. As we start to climb into the Highlands we are amazed at the number of people using bicycles to tour the countryside. The rain has started again, this time with more intensity and the temperature has dropped to single figures. We stop at the top of one pass, for a ... read more
July 6th 2011
There has been a change of plans, instead of Ireland we have travelled into Scotland, this might account for why my backpack has gone to Paris. Ahh, the joys of flying with budget, low cost airlines. So, instead of only spending the night in Glasgow before heading off we will need to hang about until my bag turns up. “should be tomorrow” we are informed, “but don’t hold us to that!!” – grrrr. We arrive at our hotel, dump (I was going to say “our” bags) our stuff and head down to the bar/restaurant as the hour is getting late, for a beer and a bite to eat. When we get back to our room we are over joyed by the fact that the toilet system won’t stop running and is making a hell of a ... read more
July 3rd 2011
Close your eyes and open your imagination as to what old world rural England would look like. Now open your eyes and if the image you are looking at is what you imagined, then you are probably in The Cotswolds. An incredible area of natural beauty, encompassing around 2000 square.km, there remains some debate as to the meaning or origins of the name “Cotswolds”. Mind you one generally agrees that the term “wolds” relates to the term “rolling hills” – and there are plenty of them. We have opted to use the expertise of a long established tour company – “Mad Max Tours”. Established twenty years ago by Maddy and supported by her faithful dog, Max (now departed) we will enjoy a day full of visual delights and jovial, yet informative narratives on the current and ... read more
July 2nd 2011
The scenery from the train, as we speed across the southern English countryside is as one would expect. Rich green fields, in dispersed with rough looking regional towns. Rustic looking farm houses and terraced town homes compete for our attention. We arrive in the beautiful ancient town of Bath and here will stay at Belmont House, with Annie and Archie as our fabulous hosts. Belmont house is a traditional Georgian dwelling and very cosy. No sooner have we dropped our bags then we are out the door. Bath is one of those places that is truly tourism focused and it works well. One of the welcoming features is the free walking tours, organised by the local tourist board, both informative and fun. For several hours we stroll the streets and receive a detailed explanation of how ... read more
July 1st 2011
After our run in with the Immigation Officer from hell (English in Paris) we had a relatively easy train trip into London. The assistants at the station were a great help, as they were in Paris. Due to Wimbledon taking place and our lack of pre planning London is virtually full. We choose a small hotel, The Euro in Hammersmith, for a nights lay over before moving on to Bath (on the south western side of England). A quick orientation of the Thames is all we really have time for. It is whilst we are here that we find out that Josh (one of our mates from Wollongong) is also here so we contact him and arrange to catch up for a drink before we and he head in our different directions. I think we have ... read more
June 30th 2011
We have been constantly bombarded by one and all, even the French, on how rude the Parisians are. Well maybe we were in the wrong Paris, as we found the Parisians to be among some of the friendliest and most helpful anywhere we have travelled. Mind you we did attempt to speak French and the mock horror and expressions of “please STOP, you are butchering our language, we will speak English” may have had something to do with it. The train and subway system to Montmartre and Hotel du Square d’Anvers is quite simple and we find getting around the city a breeze. Our room sits, virtually, on the top floor with glimpses of the Eiffel Tower and overlooks the garden and leafy area of Square d’Anvers. It is easy to walk to Sacre Coeur Basilica ... read more
June 24th 2011
A quick train trip from Amsterdam and we are in Brugge, Bruges. Next to the train station is an Etap Hotel, a typical Etap, similar to our Formula 1 or Ibis Hotels and only a fraction of the price of the other hotels in Brugge. Brugge, like Venice and Amsterdam is a canal based city and at one time was considered the commercial hub of the world. Historically, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there doesn’t appear to be any evidence of mankind prior to the fortification of the Old City in the first century. This took place just after Julius Caesar’s victories of the Menapii. Since then a myriad of conquers have lined up to claim Brugge as their own, from the Franks, Napoleon and the Germans used the port, during the First World War for ... read more
June 22nd 2011
Again we crisscross Germany and enter Belgium, the weather is fine until we hit Antwerp. We are absolutely drenched getting from our car into the hotel. Why Antwerp, you ask?? You may well remember I mentioned a couple we met in Venice, Jan & Peggy. Well it seems that they are heading Down under, with their good friends (Chrystal and Sanders) and their boys, Jef and Silas Well we had arranged to meet up with them at their home, in Antwerp, for dinner and give them some information on Oz and then Bali. (By the time I finish this blog they’ll probably be back home). What a wonderful evening, we are very fortunate to have met two warm, fantastic families. We stayed at the Sir Plantin a lovely, friendly hotel, in a dodgy area yet close ... read more