Page 3 of Mat and Trace Travel Blog Posts

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » The Highlands July 18th 2008

Mat: Well summer, if indeed you could call it a summer, is over. The leaves are falling, as is the thermometer. We were lucky to have quite a few friends and family visit us here at Lady E’s after our Europe trip, so I thought I would pop a few pics up of our recent Scottish escapades. The day before Trace left Slovenia to fly back to Scotland, she found out that the visa she had been writing an application for was changing - in six day’s time! The new and improved “innovator’s visa” required a £200,000 investment from the applicant, not the type of money we have kicking about. So, upon arrival back home, Trace spend a frantic five days drawing together the application that we had previously been intending to consult an immigration specialist ... read more
The Quiraing, Isle of Skye.
Eilean Donan Castle, near the Isle of Skye
Father and daughter, Glen Coe

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest June 30th 2008

Mat: Budapest was the last stop on our trip, and we were keen just to relax a bit. This approach does not make for a hugely entertaining blog, so this will be short and sweet. We stayed at an awesome little hostel called "Enter Privates". Really - it was called Enter Privates. I think the "privates" part referred to the private rooms, but what possessed the owner to preface this with "enter", I will never know. The owner of the place, Gabor, was a young Budapest local who, despite the misdirected attempt at naming the hostel, was a top bloke. Over the four days in Budapest we had many a good chat about Hungary and Budapest, which was an invaluable bonus to our stay there. As is often the case, one of the best things Dave ... read more
Momento Park
The Museum of Fine Arts
I have no idea what the instrument is on the left.

Europe » Slovenia June 27th 2008

Mat: Have you heard of Ljubljana? Can you point it out on a map? Can you spell it? It was a no, no, and no for me prior to our trip, but after heading there I can tell you that Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia, is smack bang in the middle of the country, and is spelt with two awkwardly placed "j"s. Ljubljana is a city of 270,000 people, but it seems much smaller. The heart of the place is a beautiful old town, nestled around a small river. The river has been channelled through stone embankments, so many of the city’s cafes and restaurants are perched right on the water. This, combined with the summer heat, and optimism of the people, makes for a wonderful atmosphere. Everything is within walking distance, and we whiled ... read more
Ljubljana's Dragon Bridge
At the Lipizzaner stud in Lipica
One of Piran's swimming platforms at night

Europe » Austria » Vienna » Vienna June 19th 2008

Mat: After Krakow Trace took over planning, and we therefore headed towards horses. The Spanish Riding School in Vienna is a Mecca for horsey girls the world over. The elegance, skill, and silly hats of the riders is apparently the ultimate in horsey perfection. The Spanish Riding School has its roots in the military horsemanship of the post-medieval ages when knights attempted to retain their battlefield pre-eminence by shedding their heavy armour and learning to manoeuvre quickly and with great complexity on a firearms-dominated battlefield. The training of the horses at the school also prepared the horses physically and mentally for the rigors of battle. In 1729 Emperor Charles VI had the architect Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach build the incredible white riding hall you can see in the photos. For a time, the riding hall ... read more
Good bit of head-room on this door
There are some grand spots in Vienna
One of the best icecreams ever

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków June 17th 2008

Mat: Dave, Trace and I hopped on a sleeper train on Friday the 13th and trundled our way south and east towards Krakow in Poland. Our cabin was pretty lush, a three bed sleeper. After a couple of "goodbye Germany" beers we headed to our bunks and woke up heading in the opposite direction. Not sure how this worked, but we did arrive in Krakow. Krakow was spared from bombing in WWII, so its beautiful Old Town has survived. Its central Grand Square has been the hub of the city ever since its Old Town developed the present grid of streets in the 13th century and the huge 10-acre square is the largest of all Europe’s medieval cities. Everything in the Old Town is within walking distance, and there are good food spots, and a great ... read more
Looking towards the "Death Gate" to Auschwitz II - Birkenau
"Work Will Set You Free"
Krakow's Town Square

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin June 13th 2008

Mat: Dave my little brother (well no so little, medium maybe, and quite hairy) was travelling to Germany at the start of June to play music at a festival in Braunschweig. Braunschweig is about two hours west of Berlin, so Trace and I organised to meet him in Berlin, and then go for a wander through Poland, Austria, Slovenia, and Hungary. Good times. For today's instalment however, it is all about Berlin. Berlin is cool. We arrived to a sun-drenched city that was topping 30 degrees. Considering we had been excited by a 20 degree day in Scotland before we left, this did our heads in a little. It was pretty much like this for most of our three week trip, and even hit 33 degrees in Slovenia. Suncream, swimming, sunglasses, singlets, shorts, jandals, sweat, cool ... read more
The Holocaust memorial
The Brandenburg Gate

Africa » Egypt » Red Sea February 6th 2008

I love my wife. She was happy for me to escape the Scottish winter and meet up with Jeremy for a last minute deal on a liveaboard trip in the southern Red Sea. Islands in the middle of nowhere, big drop-offs, coral-encrusted walls, drift diving, sharks, and two deepish wrecks - bring it on. Jeremy had just come off an offshore job in Qatar and after a transportation nightmare managed to find his way to the remote town of Marsa Alam in southern Egypt from which we were boarding our liveaboard the "M/Y Sea Serpent". For me it was easy, the whole trip was all inclusive so I flew from London straight to within 40mins drive of strange old Marsa Alam. I met up with Jeremy on the dirt shoreline and we were picked up by ... read more
Camel truck
Bearded Scorpionfish
Arabian Picasso Triggerfish

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague November 19th 2007

Mat: Cousin Lara, Trace and I flew into Prague on a starry skied Thursday evening, and emerged from the underground into a very crisp but beautiful city. The sub zero temperature was fantastic though because there were mulled wine street stalls dotted about the place and the temperature added to the magic of the place. We stayed in a hostel that was formally a grand apartment, with a huge room to ourselves, and a shared kitchen and bathroom. After the incredibly polite and friendly owner of the place had sorted us out and given us a map of Prague we headed out to sample our first Czech beer. They do beer right in the Czech Republic. Although the bigger brands are starting to produce blander quaffers just like the rest of the world, it is still ... read more
Near Prague's Old Square
St Vitus Cathedral
Even the models in the shop windows were showing the cold...

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland October 27th 2007

Mat: The days are getting shorter, we have had a frost, and it’s another 3 months till the middle of winter. Please Scotland, be kind to us. I will not say too much, because I do not have much to say. We have been working and saving. I have been working for Jimmy during the harvest and doing behaviour consults (, Trace has been riding horses and is lean and muscled - no sign of the Cambodian pancakes left. The biggest event for us was a two week visit by Trace's mum Annette and her wonderful friend Ruth. This coincided with the Bs leaving for two weeks to the US, and the four of us house-sitting their 550 year-old tower residence. This worked out very well for everyone because the Bs have 3 dogs and 4 ... read more
Whittingehame Tower
Us at Inchcolme Abby
Annette and Ruth arrive in Edinburgh

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Midlothian » Edinburgh July 30th 2007

Mat: After the horror of dealing with British Telecom we finally have a broadband connection. It took four weeks to get the landline up and running, and a further 2 weeks to get the broadband happening. I can not really explain the inadequacy of BT’s version of customer service, but I am convinced they have a huge building somewhere filled with slightly retarded people whose sole purpose is to forward you on to someone else in the building whose sole purpose is to put you on hold before forwarding you on to someone else in the building who puts you on hold before… SIX WEEKS!!! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhgggggggggggggggg. Now that I have that out of my system, and hopefully before the broadband stops working, I had better tell you where we are and what we are up to. ... read more
Trace riding past our 'garage'
At the top of Traprain Law - an ancient volcanic plug near our house
The gates to the walled garden by day ...

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