Page 5 of GregCath Travel Blog Posts

Europe » France » Champagne-Ardenne » Epernay January 3rd 2013

Writing a bit after the fact now. You know how it is. Once back at home, work and life take over and it gets hard to finish the blogs. We were together with our daughter Elise and arrived in Epernay by train from Paris. Champagne was the primary target consumable. We started with a tasting selection at one of the little bars in Epernay: small and Grand houses. Wonderful and diverse. Next two days we hired a car and drove around the district. Limited crowds is the joy of winter travel. Small wineries and the pride of the vingeron! Crispy baguettes and camembert. Stayed in a B&B in Epernay which provided wonderful breakfasts and local guidance.... read more
Hotel de Ville
Hotel de Ville
Gardens of Hotel de Ville

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris December 29th 2012

Taxi to the station at 0730. A bit of a shock to be back in travel mode. We took the train, but flooding saw it diverted through Reading to London, Waterloo. Lots of luggage in the aisles as people returned to London after brief holidays with family. Elise headed into work near Leichester Square. Our own luggage is already over 20kg each, and now the endless stairs of the Underground. Found our little flat in Cartwright Gardens. Catherine and I agreed that it had about the same space as our modest sailing boat back home. An epic lift of the luggage up four flights. Still it was very well located and warm. We slipped in a visit to the Royal Academy of Art to see an exhibition of Constable, Turner and Gainsborough landscapes. Brilliant collection and ... read more
Comparing notes
View from our apartment in the Latin Quater
Inside the apartment

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Oxfordshire » Oxford December 24th 2012

Catherine's aunt Berenice has a lovely home in the inner suburbs of Oxford, and we gathered there for the days leading up to, and following Christmas Day. Berenice cooked a wonderful traditional dinner, including an eight kilogram turkey cooked on an AGA stove, and we shared the day with Charlotte, Imogen, Tarrant, and James Hoyle. Duncan Anderson, Christine and boys, Theo and Toby coming over in the evening. We had two brief sojourns from the house over the two days, despite the rain. Firstly a brief walk past the stately homes of Banbury and Woodstock Roads. On boxing day we wandered for a few hours past the collages of the university and had a few beers at the Victoria Pub on Walton Street. Hexhamshire beer and a Guiness! the right weather. Tarrant has recently enjoyed ... read more
Turkey carving
Charlotte and Elise
Berenice the chef

Europe » United Kingdom » England » West Yorkshire December 22nd 2012

The beautiful city of York won the lottery to host the girls weekend. Grovley! We got there by an early trip on the train from the other company (note to self – always check the train company name on tickets as they all look the same – but by sweet smiles and polite Australian we saved ourselves another fare of £98 each). We checked into our cute B&B just outside the city wall, and then wandered the cobbled streets of York. The banks of the river had broken so the only way to walk to town was via the road. The B&B proprietor suggested that we had to go the Betty’s tea shop, but in fact there were two Betty’s in York and either would be wonderful. Alex must have seen the pattern. Betty’s was very ... read more
York shambles
Scary knight
The Viking museum

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London » Covent Garden December 21st 2012

While Greg had been to London a few times since his first visit in 1979, Catherine had not been outside Heathrow since 1981. But the most wonderful change was seeing Elise, and seeing London through her eyes. We were in London a total of three times and this chapter is a merge of those times. Elise walked out of the lift at her office block in St Martins Courtyard, Leicester Square and Catherine was there. The screams filled the lobby. The anticipation had built with Elise posting on facebook ‘In 12 hours my mum will arrive and I will tackle her with more love than she’ll know what to do with. A year without parents is far too long’ (52 likes). After a lengthy breakfast near Elise’s work, Elise had to work for the rest of ... read more
Roman wall in central London
St Pauls
By night

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Oxfordshire » Oxford December 20th 2012

Our daughter Elise has been living in the UK for a year now - London to be specific. We could not let another Christmas go by with catching up. Catherine travelled across before me, and we all met up at Catherine's aunts place in Oxford on Christmas eve. Catherine and Elise started the adventure with an excursion to York. Greg arrived in Oxford after a long, but uneventful flight from Australia. The long leg from Singapore to London is tiring, but a lot more efficient than the routes that go through an intermediate middle eastern stop.... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu August 9th 2012

El Camino Inca (the Inca Trail) The Inca Trail had been on our respective bucket lists forever. And it completely lived up to our expectations. The climb was hard, but the rewards magnificent and experience unforgettable. What follows is a more complete commentary than for other places we have visited. We hope you enjoy the story. Inca Trail day 1 As planned we were on the Peru Treks minibus by 0540 and we were the first. We then wound our way through the streets of Cusco picking up fellow trekkers, the guides and some of the porters. It was quite cold and everyone’s gear was piled into the bus. Around Cusco clearly many others were going through the same process. Some buses more luxurious, many trekkers going further down market. At various key spots, the cook ... read more
On top of the Andes
The easy way to Machu Pichu - by train!
Setting out on the trek

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco » Cusco August 5th 2012

On the TACA flight from Lima to Cusco, I (Greg) pondered why I ended up with this wanderlust. Perhaps spurred on by the impending completion of another of my bucket list entries (Machu Pichu, after Galapagos) I thought about those things prior to entering university that really whetted my appetite: once uni started there were a hundred things. I came up with three things that my parents provided: the Time/Life series on countries; Sir Francis Chichester’s book on circumnavigation; and repeated entreats to “see the world before settling down”. Catherine remembered her Father always encouraging her brothers and sisters to look for what is “just over the hill” rather than sticking on the main road. The flight was packed with tourists. Many – probably most – were significantly younger than we four. We flew past a ... read more
Ready for another climb
Central square, Cusco

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz August 3rd 2012

We decided to take a day trip to Lake Titicaca from La Paz. It happened to be Friday the 3rd of August which is a day of celebration by Bolivian students and teachers. The streets were choked with parades and demonstrations, leading up to Independence Day (the 6th August). We were picked up early by the minibus and made our way back up the hill to El Alto, the sprawling con-urb above La Paz. Crowds were gathering even before 8am and our driver wound his way through all the back streets and alleys in order to keep us moving forward. People were dressed formally. The kids in dress uniforms. We crossed the relatively barren plains outside El Alto and towards Copacabana. The first sight of the lake was over low marshy country. The Totora reeds grow ... read more
Private barge on Titicaca
Copacabana from the high land

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz August 2nd 2012

We made an early start to the bus station and onto the Diana tours bus. There were lots of travellers milling about and half-burnt diesel in the air. The bus driver was separated from the passengers by a door, that is locked in transit. Luckily the promised video presentations did not eventuate - no more violent movies thanks. We made many stops for more passengers, almost all locals. The approach of the bus was heralded with few beeps. Passed what seemed to be a toxic waste dump – not very well contained. Passed over a mountain pass that must have been 5500m – certainly could feel the lack of oxygen. Made a scheduled ablutions stop that was rich in sights and smells. On the positive side, despite little large vegetation, the colours and textures of the ... read more
Sucre street juicer
Liberatad museum
Joan of Bolivia

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