Page 2 of Mert Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế January 18th 2017

I'm out of the habit. It's a bit like yoga. Do a little every day and the practice is flowing and beautiful. Stop for a while and you are stiff, the words don't come and the writing is laboured. So forgive me for a less than stunning piece of writing. As the weeks go by I shall be more entertaining I promise! Soft sleeper they said. I rolled over in my bunk nursing a sore hip and wondering what the hard sleeper was like. Thuyet our pregnant nighttime companion lay in the lower bunk, her back rubbed by her faithful husband Vun. This was their first, she had told me. They were going back home for the birth, she leaving her sales manager position in Ho Chi Minh city. They gifted us some lychees and some ... read more
2 cycles and three people in one of these!
Lantern night
Sleeping on the job

Asia » India » Kerala » Kumarakom January 19th 2016

Kerala’s backwaters We negotiated our way through the family holiday like the boats through the famed backwaters. Mostly calm and placid, gently drifting, sometimes swerving to avoid the clumps of water hyacinth a pest and potential hindrance to the centuries old way of life practised here. We navigated the varied tangled relationships, mother – daughter, father-daughter, sisters, sister-stepsister, aunts, cousins, step-cousin, mother-stepdaughter, father-stepdaughter, mother -son-in-law (actually out of law)and came out smiling. This was to be a family holiday extraordinaire with family members travelling over varying seas and continents to meet exactly halfway, 5 ½ hours ahead for the London contingent and 5 ½ behind for the Australia mob. Our daughter and her partner had truly chosen a magical spot for our get-together and I don’t think even they realised how extrao... read more
Famed towel art
Water lilies
Ready for New Year's Eve

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane February 10th 2015

But here we are in Vientiane smooth as silk and happy to be landed safe and sound, Air Asia's woes receding into the background. That seamless early morning journey found me sat next to a Lao diplomat from the consulate in Brunei. Educated in Economics and Politics in Moscow, a polyglot speaking Lao, Russian, English, and Japanese. Those were the ones he told me about. Not on official business he said. After a few days he would be driving home to Luang Prabang to see his elderly father. A return to where he grew up. Conversation flowed onto the Laos state of political affairs. He said that promises which the government had made to the Asian Economic Community (AEC) to increase the standard of living for the Lao people by 2020 have caused the government to ... read more
Restaurant views
Peoples' Cultural Hall from the National Museum
Wat scene

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane January 10th 2015

You know it’s going to be difficult when people can’t even agree on how to pronounce the name of the country. ‘Lao(s) ‘, I had said confidently with the silent s until I heard others say Laos. So, ‘We’re going to Laos,’ I said to the next inquirer. ‘Where?’ she said, ‘Oh, we just loved Lao(s)! And there it was again, the silent s. It’s difficult to strike a happy pronunciation medium between the two so we continue the struggle. Wiengchan instead of Vientiane. We shall be linguistically challenged every step of the way. Difficult too was our mode of arrival. We had rather hoped that after a flight to Kuala Lumpur we would make our way by train up through Malaysia down along Thailand to Bangkok and up to Nong Khai and into Laos. It ... read more
Offerings for the
Roasting chestnuts
Something hot on this rainy day

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Big Hill November 13th 2014

It was that time again for another uni meet-up. Big Hill at Delicate Nobby near Crescent Head was chosen not for the groaning innuendos but the superlative white sand beach stretching from Crescent Head to Point Plomer. Our botanist friends tell us there is a spectacular walk at Limeburner’s Creek and go off to check the access in between arranging a cake break. In fact the whole stay revolves around accommodating sufficient tea/coffee and cake breaks. After all we don’t want to miss valuable cake-eating time. So, on the cake menu we had: Baklava: our Greek friend outdoes himself with probably the best baklava I’ve tasted. Flaky but still crisp layers of pastry, honeyed nuts, chopped pistachios and just the right amount of nectar left on your fingers without dribbling onto your second cleanest shirt! Macadamia ... read more
Actinotus helanthi - flannel flower
Those boots!
Towards Big Hill

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales May 5th 2014

I lie face down breathing in oceans of memories crushed as are the shells and sand ground from discarded oysters and limpets collected along the shore. A lone surfer takes in the early morning swell. My yoga practice ends in rumination. Remember that picture book popular in the 80s that I read to my children? Jeannie Baker’s wonderful Where the Forest Meets the Sea? A wonderful compilation of photos, paintings, Claymation and drawing; a palimpsest of indigenous and contemporary life here on the antipodean continent. This is it, in real life. A badly drawn history clarifying and gaining detail as my companions chat about the famed Shelley Beach here at Angourie. Forty years and a lifetime ago they spent an indolent summer here. Four months of beach shack living, building a kitchen, trapping a wobbegong shark ... read more
Back Beach
Angourie pool
Rock formations

A shorter version of this piece was featured on ABC 500 word project. url= We nearly miss the whole walk. The pilot’s garbled message yesterday hadn’t penetrated our holiday brains. ‘It’s a disaster, the bus has left us! Lord Howe is half an hour ahead.’ But the bus returns and we are on the trek, one of Australia’s best day walks. ‘We still need to challenge ourselves as we get older,’ Margaret, one of the walkers tells me. 'Yes, but we also need to know our limits,’ I retort as we scramble up through the forest- covered Mount Gower. Whatever made me think I could do this? Clinging to the cliff face, helmet clad. Why did I lis... read more
A petrel at home
It sure is spectacular

Europe » Czech Republic » Karlovy Vary Region » Bozi Dar March 23rd 2013

Bozi Dar a small town almost straddling the old Czech /East German border is not known for its culinary specialities. Family friendly skiing, inexpensive lodging, cheap beer and a somewhat more Bohemian experience shall we say, are amongst its most endearing qualities. Our late arrival at the old Zeleny Dum or Green Hotel narrowed our choices to a gigantic pork hock with dumplings or for the vegetarians, fried cheese. This was clearly not going to be a low cholesterol holiday! Neither was it going to be a late night hot spot as we were thrown out of both dining rooms at 10pm in order for the staff to set the tables for breakfast. We sheepishly trooped across the lobby sadly devoid of skis and sat and giggled in our room making plans. Unseasonal warm and rainy ... read more
Cakes and wafers galore
If you can't ski, eat!
Rolf's marvellous moustaches!

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona February 18th 2013

Barcelona – history and history in the making. Swingent cuts to education and health due to the economic crisis in Spain gave rise to a well attended nighttime protest outside city hall. The Christmas decorations and lights lent a surreal touch. The Catalonians are not that happy at propping up the rest of the country. They are campaigning strongly for secession. Historically Catalonia was unified first with Aragon and then Castile. Ferdinand and Isabella had a summer palace here but otherwise did not do much to keep the Catalans happy, introducing a form of the inquisition which drove the Jewish merchants out of the town taking all their money and business acumen with them. Seven centuries later they once again wish for autonomy; flavour of the month in the world today. But the protest we witnessed ... read more
Hotel Vela
Out riding
Homage to Barceloneta

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona February 8th 2013

No, there is no such thing as eco jet-setting. I remind myself of this and squirm slightly in my Easyjet seat en route to Barcelona. We had managed to traverse most of the globe by train on our outward journey to England from Australia but now we were once again seduced by the cheap flights to 'must-see' European destinations. The best way to see a city certainly must be with a bicycle tour, a miniscule recoup of emissions, in a city so bicycle friendly as Barcelona. The bikes we see everywhere for rent aren't actually for us as travellers and tourists. You need to be resident to use bicing and used they certainly are. Cyclists whizz past the traffic, whizz along the pavements, bike trail or no bike trail, up the lanes and alleys, dodging pedestrians ... read more
Bicing and biking
Gaudi's lizard
Reflections of Gaudi

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