Allan W

BigAllan

Allan W

Al and Tess from Brisbane, Australia



Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Midlothian » Edinburgh April 30th 2015

Today's our day for exploring around Edinburgh. It has been clear skies, but cold. The hop-on-hop-off bus systems in these cities are fantastic, we used it today to get a good overview of the city getting out past the botanic gardens and down to the port in Leith. Did you know they have the tallest palm tree in the world growing here? imagine that a tropical plant in this place. Did you know they also have the tallest greenhouse... We found a real gem in the National Museum of Scotland, a beautiful collection of buildings and amazing collection of natural history and Scottish history. I've always marveled at the number of inventions and scientific breakthroughs the Scots have made, and they are all here in the museum. However, the most amazing feature of this museum is ... read more
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Europe » France » Île-de-France April 9th 2015

Have made it into Paris, TGV trains in France are the best way to do longer hauls. Those who have followed our travels know how much we love this city. Tess has done a marvelous job again and found us an apartment overlooking the Seine River, Pont Neuf, the photos tell it all. It has been Tess' birthday while we have been here so a return to the Place Dauphine on Ile de la Cite for dinner at Restaurant Paul was in order. Those who know the photo I keep in my office, we have come back to a favourite spot. I'm leaving Tess to her own devices in Paris while I go north for a bike ride around the Paris Roubaix, I'll share some more on that later. We've had the chance on previous trips ... read more
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Europe » France » Aquitaine » Beynac-et-Cazenac April 7th 2015

Perigord Noir, one of the five regions located around the Dordogne River is a rich tapestry of agriculture, timber, outdoor adventure, prehistoric sites, medieval sites, warm inviting people, delicious food and foie gras - have you ever realised that you have allowed too little time for too much to do?? Let's start at the top before I forget: Arrive at Balcon et Foret (Balcony in the Forest) with our hosts Sandra and Baudouin at lunchtime Day 1 Afternoon 1: Climb to Castle Beynac Walk down to Beynac for dinner at La Petite Tonnelle Day 2 Morning: Visit Montignac Visit Lascoux II caves. Drive through St-Lyon-sur-Vezere, Les-Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, La Roque Saint Christophe, Salat Afternoon: visit La Roque Gegeac and go for a ride on the Dordogne via Gabares Get dressed up for dinner in La Roque Gegeac at ... read more

Europe » France » Aquitaine » Beynac-et-Cazenac April 6th 2015

Sorry for the delay in posting, the long days are suiting us, we are slowly managing to sleep past 6am and it is still light enough past 7:30pm to be out doing things. After the tour of Balcon et Foret, our new home for the next three days, we were straight off through the woods (we are Euro now, no ‘bush’ here) to the village of Beynac that clings to the cliff face above the Dordogne River in the protection of its Castle Beynac. This is the pattern of things along this river, rich or royal families started building strongholds to control access to the river as the trade route from about the 12th century, then they all started to fight over it for the next 600 years. One of the most significant periods of conflict ... read more
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Europe » Spain » Basque Country » San Sebastián April 3rd 2015

The drive down from Bordeaux was much quicker than expected, thanks to the fabulous highways and 130km/h speed limits. Well worth the tolls. First experience driving on the left - glad for the quiet Easter weekend roads. Donostia San Sebastian is a fun city. We’ve hit the Pintxos bars in the old town straight up and found everyone to be relaxed and helpful and very patient with the fact that we don’t speak Spanish, let alone Basque. We are staying in the Londres Hotel, a fabulous beachfront hotel with views on to La Concha Bay, it takes a leaf out of English holiday making style, fantastic friendly service with a great conservatory style bar well stocked with gin and GH Mumm on ice, perfect for elevenses and every hour there after... This town has become a ... read more
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Europe » France » Aquitaine » Bordeaux April 2nd 2015

Ryan Air flight to Bordeaux, good to be moving on but a fairly functional day. Bordeaux is a large port city as the front face of a major agricultural area. The most significant thing we saw was the Bordeaux train station, 14 platforms and all covered. But I must say the most striking thing straight up was the food. Even in the Mercure hotel the oven baked whole fish... Stay tuned, we are off to San Sebastian for some fun. Al & Tess... read more

Europe April 1st 2015

We've taken these two days to go back and cover some ground that we really wanted to see. Highlights have been Stirling Castle and the Falkirk Wheel, the old Closes of Edinburgh and Edinburgh New Town. Stirling Castle and the surrounding region were put in our minds by Mel Gibson in Braveheart, but to the Scots the tussle with the English over the centuries and events like the Battle of Bannockburn are etched in their minds like it was yesterday. The grand hall has been renovated to replace the original style hammer beam oak roof structure and return the palace to the way it would have been used by King and Queen. The Historic Scotland guide could tell us all about its history, even down to the pride he had over James V in 1528 as ... read more
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Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Argyll » Oban March 31st 2015

Today was a driving day for a taste of the Highlands. Out through Dunblane and past Ochtertyre to see the 'gatehouse' where I spent the first part of winter '96/97 with my mate Bill. Not quite as grand as the big house 'Ochtertyre' - wasn't cheeky enough to drive past the guard to see the 14th century estate home, maybe next time though. Scotland was putting on a grand show today, Dunblane - rain, Callandar - sleet, Crianlarich well into the Trossachs now - snow. Keep telling myself it is spring!! The scenery through the Glens and past the Bens More and Lui is spectacular at the best of times but covered in snow with a few glimpses of sun on them and it is sensational. The light off the heather always has a red tinge ... read more
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Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Fife March 29th 2015

After an easy morning across London and flight to Edinburgh its straight into a car - and beautiful sunshine in Scotland!! No, I'm serious, the sun was out. So we've gone the long way around back to my old digs of 1997 in Kincardine village on the River Forth, home while I worked at the power station. This is a small miner's village, the mines operated from the '50s to about 2002 but it still describes the village. My old pub, Garvies is still the same just a different owner. The place was buzzing because the locals were warming up for the trip into town to watch Scotland play Gibralter and the word obviously passed around quickly "...there's some Australians 'ere in th' barrr" (imagine it with a thick Scottish accent). We've taken the long way ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London » Greenwich March 28th 2015

Have arrived in London and made a long cab ride across peak hour traffic on the last day of school before Easter holiday - hectic!! Spent the day with our wonderful friends Leanne and Glyn and their boy Griff. Tess and Leanne are school friends, so a big high to the 'Rita's Reds' back home. A quick bus ride and we were walking across Blackheath parks, down past the Greenwich observatory and to the Old Royal Naval College. Greenwich marks the Prime Meridian, the point everyone bases their navigation of longitude from, such a British thing to claim everything revolves around them but probably understandable when you consider the volume of sea trade at the time. The Old Royal Naval College is now largely a university so the area has a great vibe with markets and ... read more
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