Europe » Germany » Schleswig-Holstein » Reinbek August 10th 2017

Got to the station reasonably early to get my ticket to Hamburg. And of course, it cost about 20 euros extra. Crap. But this holiday has already completely broken the bank so I guess it's pointless ruminating on it. Stopped briefly in Groningen, which has an interesting art museum on the canal by the station shaped like a boat. I'd like to explore the town more some day. Then a replacement bus took us to Leer just across the border in Germany. I was expecting some kind of border check but nothing materialised. At Leer, you get the train first to Bremen and then change for Hamburg. Then the S-bahn out to Reinbek, with Waldhaus Reinbek just a short taxi trip away. The hotel is attractive and I got a good last-minute deal on a spacious ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » Friesland » Terschelling August 8th 2017

A reasonable night's rest and a mediocre breakfast (although can't complain for the price) and I was ready for my Waddenzee adventure. Turned out to be a calm one but as I'm winding down my holiday, that seemed like a good idea. Bought a ticket that included both train and boat and made my way past the cows to the coast. Took the lunchtime fast boat from Harlingen and sat next to a guy who quickly realised he was on his way to the wrong island. Luckily, you can island-hop here so he wasn't too stranded. As I only had a few hours on Terschelling, I went to the tourist office to ask what they recommended. They told me about the nearby beach, which I wanted to see anyway. And I was so blown away that ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » Friesland » Leeuwarden August 7th 2017

Woke after a reasonable sleep on the boat. Had a look around as I hadn't yesterday - pretty standard set-up but a nice idea to have a room dedicated to North Sea wildlife, and in fact you could have gone to a lecture about that during the voyage and then tried to spot whales and dolphins from the outer deck. But I was glad that I rested. On arrival at IJmuiden port, I got on the transfer bus that took us to Amsterdam central station and after faffing around getting tickets and coffee, I set off for Leeuwarden in Friesland. The train trip took a couple of hours through the flat, green countryside with its canals, wind turbines and herds of Frisian cows. Was still very tired when I arrived at my hotel in the centre ... read more

I had ordered breakfast at the inn and I was very impressed to see that they had taken my message about being a vegan seriously and bought some soya milk. So I had a lovely full English vegan breakfast. The staff were very friendly and I had a quick chat with the lady about Sweden and travelling before I left in my taxi. So the Shoes in Durham is a good place to stay if you're ever in the area. The short train ride to Newcastle (about 20 mins) took me past Antony Gormley's sculpture The Angel of the North, which you can see clearly from the train when passing Gateshead. I was supposed to be taking it very easy due to still feeling ill but I just had to go down to the riverside to ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Durham County » Durham August 5th 2017

Checked out of my guest house and headed to Costa to get breakfast, mainly because I knew they'd have plant milk. Then off to the station to get the train across the breadth of England to Durham. Some very pretty scenery between Preston and Leeds, another part of England that was unfamiliar to me, the southern part of the Yorskshire Dales. So much left to explore. A rowdy lot got on at Leeds, complete with alcoholic beverages. Squaddies and possibly a stag do. Changed trains at York, and my friend who I was possibly meeting couldn't make it but he said he might stand in the field behind his house and wave at my train. I think he missed it though. In Durham I decided to have a quick walk around, despite being rather worse for ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Lancashire » Blackpool August 5th 2017

Still not feeling physically great, all this travelling is doubtless taking its toll. But the main aim for my day at Rebellion Festival was to see favourites The Outfit. Anything else would be a bonus. Woke up pretty early as usual and took it easy in the morning until it was time for breakfast. Found a Vegas-themed restaurant on the promenade and ordered their avocado on sourdough. The avocado was rock-hard so I sent it back. No point paying for something you can't even cut into. And it turned out they did have soft avocado in the kitchen, which makes me wonder why they thought they could fob me off with a hard one like that. Not good, but the banana smoothie was some compensation. Shame because it's a nice-looking American-style diner. I then got in ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Lancashire » Blackpool August 3rd 2017

Still a bit sniffly but my friend drove me to Peel in the morning for my last few hours on the rock. I'd been there before on my last visit about ten years ago but remembered very little. Wandered around this little coastal town with its sandy beach and multitude of cafes and charity shops. It has some cute alleys and houses in the local style, and the three-legged emblem of Man is ever-present. Had a quick look at the free exhibition in the House of Manannan museum on holidaying in the Isle of Man. It used to be a popular destination from the Victorian era until its decline in popularity in the fifties and sixties with the advent of package holidays to the sun. I think with the right marketing efforts it could become popular ... read more

Europe » Isle of Man » Port Erin August 2nd 2017

Spent the morning yesterday chilling and then my friend's partner and I headed out to the Sound on the southernmost tip of the island for a cuppa and a look at the Calf of Man, another small island. Saw a few seals basking in the sun. Man is surprisingly hilly in the southern part of the island. Then we had a walk along the seafront at Port Erin, where I tried in vain to find vegan sorbet. Beautiful sunny day. Today, my friend had the day off so we drove through the pouring rain to Ramsey, the largest town in the north of the island. Had lunch at a cafe and pottered around an art exhibition in the church where we got to vote on our favourite piece. Bit of a mixed bag in terms of ... read more

Europe » Isle of Man » Port Erin July 31st 2017

Got up early to have a little walk around the Albert Dock area, but in my half-asleep state I misjudged the amount of time I had before the ferry so I actually could have spent longer there. Better than the other way around, I guess. The fast catamaran left around 11:15 and we sped over the waves to the Isle of Man. Had a little breakfast at the beginning of the journey because I knew that the Irish Sea would get choppy later, and so it was - wasn't even easy to stand up and walk around. So I snoozed in my seat instead. My chums met me off the boat and we sped off again in their car, along the winding country lanes to St John's, where my friend works. It's the site of the ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London July 30th 2017

After an interesting sleep (for some reason we had a double rather than twin room and my friend is clearly a wriggler), we had breakfast at the hotel, which had plenty of vegan options including the all-important beans on toast. Then off to South Kensington to the V&A. We had fun attempting to try on corsets and crinolines and getting told off for taking photos of the jewellery. A spot of lunch in the museum and a trip to the shop later, we wandered over to Waitrose at Gloucester Road so my friend could buy some English delicacies. Then, after a quick stroll around the outskirts of one of London's many private gardens and being staggered by apartment prices in the area (all over a million pounds), it was time to say our goodbyes. I then ... read more

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