Page 8 of Rat on the Road Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Spain » Castile-La Mancha » Toledo March 2nd 2008

Happy Mother's Day to our Mums! Kate This weekend we decided get out of Madrid and explore some of the surrounding countryside. So we got up early on Saturday morning (for the first time since we arrived here) and jumped on a bus to Toledo. No, not a Seat Toledo, or anything else to do with cars, but to the medieval walled city in the region of Castilla-La-Mancha, about 1 hour South of Madrid. Goths, Moors and Catholics Toledo is known as the 'city of three cultures', because during its history it has been an important Visigothic city (the Germanic tribe who brought us goths, black eyeliner and Marilyn Manson), the main city of Muslim Spain and the seat of the Catholic church in Spain. The blend of such diverse cultures has resulted in a ... read more
The Alcazar
Little castle on a hill looking towards the Alcazar
Cloisters in the Museo Santa Cruz

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid February 10th 2008

So how long have we been here now? Almost 6 weeks maybe?? Doesn't time fly? Well, here's a blog about what we've been up in our spare time. You know you're fascinated... Arty Farty... Now, when it comes to art, I'm more of a Tony Hart or Neil Buchanan (from Art Attack - "This is an Art Attack, This is an Art Attack - this is...Art Attack!") sort of a bloke than a Damien Hurst or Monet appreciator. But being in one of the arty cities of Europe and, perhaps also because the gallery had a free entry on Saturday afternoons, we found ourselves the other week in Madrid's modern art gallery - The Reine Sofia. Here we found a range of expensive pieces - including the thought-proving and beautiful...and then the ones that, you know, ... read more
The Palacio Real and the cathedral
Look! Mountains with snow on!
View from the cable car

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid January 27th 2008

Lar Gorn to Thailand.....TTFN to England.....Hola to Spain! (I'm so multilingual....) So then. South East Asia.... England.... and now Spain. In a single month of December we'd had our fill of English weather and were back on the road to the land of tapas, bullfighting, flamenco, guitars, tacky package holidays and men in big hats. Yes. Spain. I'd have titled this blog "Viva Espana" but I initially thought it had probably been done to death...and apparently it also has fascist I went for the Ricky Martin classic - "Living La Vida Loca". He's not even Spanish. And he's crap. Aw well... We decided on Spain after Thailand for a number of reasons. One, it's nearer home. Thailand is so far away it's almost impossible to get to England for a visit. For a start it ... read more
Monument in Retiro Park
The palacio real
Statues in the palace gardens

Europe » United Kingdom » England January 5th 2008

Bangkok to Manchester (via Abu Dabi) and a case of runny bum... So on the 6th of December we flew home to lil ole England. It took longer than expected as our planned brief plane change in Abu Dabi was delayed and we had to spend 7 hours sitting around the airport. So that was 6 hour to Abu Dabi, plus 7 hours hanging out in the weird circular Abu Dabi airport, then 8 hours to Manchester. It became quite a mammoth trip and made us appreciate how far apart Thailand and England are. To add to the discomfort I (it's Kris by the way) seemed to have picked up my 1st dose of food poisoning since arriving in SE Asia. What are the chances of that???? Of all the dodgy food I've eaten for 13 ... read more
Yum yum yum
Christmas in Peterlee

Asia » Thailand December 6th 2007

Our last 2 nights in Thailand and we headed to our friends at the elephant camp in Pattaya. We didn't actually do much! We just hung out with them and tried to make the most of the warm sun before the cold of England in December! Happy Birthday To The King! Our last day in Thailand was extra special as it was the king's 80th birthday! Everyone was celebrating. We celebrated by goig to Tesco and buying our friends at the camp a Christmas tree and decorations and erecting it in the hallway. Arnon seemed pleased with it! We bought Mrs Noi a special present - a can of Olde English cider from the international supermarket - imported all the way from Somerset! May sound odd - but her daughter is married o an English bloke ... read more
Pattaya night market
Pattaya Walking Street
Singing for the King

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok December 4th 2007

The joy of motorbike taxis After leaving Sukothai we had a bref stop off in Ayutthaya to visit our friends from the TEFL who teach there - Kristen and Jordan. We had planned on seeing some of the sights that we missed th previous year...but instead we did nowt but laze around and then met our mates in the evening for drinks. They're staying on to teach so it could be a while till we see them again. The most notable thing about our trip to Ayutthaya was the motorbike taxi trip.... When we got on the luxury bus in Sukothai (incidentally, luxury means the air con's on full so you're freezing and they hand out plastic glasses of toxic-looking green pop) the woman handing over the tickets told us "bus stops on highway for Ayutthaya". ... read more
Ayutthya taxis
The streets of Bangkok
King shirts go pink

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Sukhothai November 28th 2007

After a brief stop pff in Chiang Mai after Pai we were back on the road bound for Sukothai - the ancient capital of Thailand. Sukothai is set in the central plains of the country and is home to a huge, ancient temple complex - a bit like Angkor in Cambodia. Buy a ticket and you can wander for hours through amazing gardens surrounding gigantic stone Buddha statues and beautiful towering temples. We did just that! Sukothai is also the place to be for the annual Loi Krathong festival (that we spent in Pai - see last blog) - but we arrived just after it had finished. Consequently we were amazed at how relaxed and peaceful it was. Several times we found ourselves to be the only visible people (other than Buddha, obviously) - which made ... read more
Buddha locked up
Temples galore
Another Buddha...

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Pai November 25th 2007

Kris So we finally arrived back in Pai - the little town in the north that we went to last year from Chiang Mai. Infact, we were there exactly one year before - I just checked our blog from then ("Easy as Pai" - a Rat on the Road classic..). We were pleased to find that it hadn't changed much. Still the sleepy little hippy town in the hills where life moves slowly and pressure-free. Thankfully still no new sky-rise hotels and no giant Tesco supermarkets. Just cool bars, restaurants and shops nestled by the river. With the odd late night party, obviously. We set off walking from the bus station to our previous accommodation - a small complex of bamboo huts in the middle of a farm field on the far side of the river ... read more
Chilling in our little house
Kris and Tee
Making curry

Asia » Thailand » Northern Thailand November 19th 2007

Kate Why I won't miss motorbike taxis From Mae Hong Son we took another local bus through more mountains and sunflower surrounded roads to the small town of Soppong. Confusingly, while the guidebook and info we had called the town Soppong, all the signs advertised Pang Manpha, which apparently is the area, but also used as an alternative name for the town. Because traveling in a country where you can't read most of the the signs isn't confusing enough!. From Soppong we found two motorbike taxis to take us and our luggage to Cave Lodge, about 9km into the forest. Now you may be aware that I don't like motorbike taxis at all. I find them very scary. Im sure if I had more an adventurous "now I want to bungy jump and then throw myself ... read more
Our bamboo hut at the Cave Lodge
Bamboo raft entering Tham Lot cave
Baby stalagmites

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Mae Hong Son November 17th 2007

Kate On the long and winding road..... to Mae Sariang The road out of Chiang Mai twists and turns up and down the mountains on the way out to Mae Hong Son, a town in the very north of Thailand near the Burmese border. The road was narrow and on either side the hedges were full of yellow sunflowers. We were on our way around the Mae Hong Son Loop, a road through the mountains of North Thailand that loops to Mae Hong Son and the back to Chiang Mai. We visited Pai, a hippy town on the loop last year from Chiang Mai. We loved the place and the scenery was beautiful so we wanted to explore more of the area. It's an 8 hour bus journey from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son, and ... read more
River views in Mae Sariang
Welcome to Mae Sariang
The lake and temples in Mae Hong Son

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