Page 4 of TWtrips Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Belgium » Limburg September 9th 2017

I went along to this festival as a guest of my sister who plays a tenor drum in the Essex Caledonian Pipe Band. The journey over there on a coach was extremely slow due mainly to a road accident and delayed ferries after earlier bad weather. We were staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Hasselt and on arrival (after 8) only had time to drop bags in our rooms and meet in the lobby to go out for dinner. The man who organised the trip knew of a restaurant from previous visits and led us across the town to it. It was probably nearing 9 when the restaurant staff agreed that they could accommodate us and they recommended 3 dishes - chicken stew in a pastry (turned out to be a vol-au-vent), beef casserole in ... read more
warming up
Essex Caledonian Band
Welsh Guards

Europe » Belgium » West Flanders » Ypres August 12th 2017

I visited this town because P&O provided a bus there from the port of Zeebrugge. Normally the ferry runs daily from Hull but the Pride of Bruges was out of action so Pride of York was going on alternate days. Only 7 people got on the bus with the rest of the foot passengers heading to Bruges on two other buses. The fare was a good deal for a single traveler and even cheaper for two as it included a cabin and the bus. Food onboard is pricey so it is wise to take a picnic for an evening meal. I read up on what to do and decided that with 6 hours at most the Menon Gate and Flanders Museum, In Flanders Fields would be my priorities. As it happened, the bus driver got lost ... read more
IN Flanders Fields
Museum interactive band

I had really wanted to see this town after a friend visited a couple of years ago and told me about the street art. As our flight was the same day as the ship's arrival there was little time for sight-seeing and the transfer to Santiago airport. I arranged with Tours by Locals for Leoncio to collect us from the port, tour specific areas of the hills then take us to the airport. We had expedited disembarkation as we had heard horror stories of hours to get out of the port but were first through and half hour ahead of our schedule. Leoncio arrived right on time with a comfortable vehicle and stowed our luggage in the boot. First he drove us up into the Cerros to the ones I particularly asked to see - dropping ... read more
Wall art

South America » Chile » Los Lagos » Puerto Montt March 5th 2017

This was our penultimate stop on the cruise and I was eager to see if the weather would clear to show us the views of volcanic mountains for which the region is reknowned. We did see the ones behind Puerto Montt as we sailed away but from a great distance. Only a couple of months before our trip there had been eruptions but we weren't planning to go that close. Plus there had been a severe earthquake on Chiloe Island. We had booked the full day tour that included a boat ride in the National Park around the other side of Mount Osorno to Puerto Varas (City of Roses) hoping for a close view but the clouds hardly cleared so we saw only the lower slopes. However, en route we saw the devastation caused by the ... read more
Petrohoe Falls
Mount Osorno

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Torres del Paine March 2nd 2017

We sailed through the Straights of Magellan to reach Punta Arenas for 2 pm and it was a murky day so not much to see. From there we headed to Ushuaia with the morning cruising through Glacier Alley. This is a channel with many hanging glaciers visible whenever the clouds / rain lift. Glimpses of them were sufficient to get photos. In all we had 3 days at sea. The first was a trip around Cape Horn. We reached there just before dawn and I was thrilled to see the Rock out of our porthole about 5.30. I woke Paul with this exciting news only to receive a grunt so took myself up to the back deck where others had gathered to film as as we sailed by. Around 6 the captain announced that we were ... read more
Cape Horn Close
Glacial waterfall
Cape Horn from porthole

Journey to the end of the World, or the road in the park at least. We were again in luck being able to dock whereas the winds had prevented NCL in the morning. Like so many ports in South America the itinerary is weather dependent. This was another shore excursion from HAL and we chose the coach rather than train as I think it went further into the National Park. I'd hoped to see more of the town as we drove out but the ship docked on the west side so there was just one small street out - at least we saw the new builds happening. Our guide told of the history of Ushuaia and pointed out the original settlement of what looked like huts to the west of the current port. From the webcams ... read more
The end of the road Lapataia Bay
sign at the end of the world
Lapataia boardwalk

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas February 28th 2017

Our only goal in this port was to see Magellan penguins and from the ferry and on the island we also saw dolphins, petrels, skuas, cormorants, kelp gulls and small starling-like birds. The weather was intermittent rain but that did not affect our enjoyment of the trip. We had heard that cruise line companies charter the ferries so booked with them although speedboats with independent travelers did arrive whilst we were on the island. Loading and unloading the ferry was a tedious affair with a single file stairway and walk from the entrance to the seating area and almost 200 people doing so. Chile does not allow any foodstuffs to be brought ashore so lunchbags were issued as we boarded containing a sandwich, mini biscuit pack and drink. Boredom on the ride meant that we ate ... read more
Magellan penguins

South America » Falkland Islands » East Falkland February 26th 2017

This port was the main reason my husband chose the cruise and we were both well aware that only 60% of the ships scheduled can actually tender into the port of Stanley. Luckily we could anchor out of the headlands and tendering began by about 8am. We had expected tender tickets to be unecessary for the time we left but even after 10 had to get one. The ride was about half an hour to the jetty and we had an informative chat with the immigration chap who was in the tender with us. Landing at 10.55 we were just in time to see the eclipse of the sun viewed through scudding cloud and very clear for seconds. There was a 90% coverage and it made an auspicious start to our day on the island. The ... read more
Stanley Church
King penguins

South America » Uruguay » District of Montevideo » Montevideo February 23rd 2017

Again we took a cruise ship tour to get a quick and easy overview of the city. I had not read the itinerary in detail but the part that grabbed my eye was the market. First we stopped at the mandatory city square, then drove up the coast appreciating beach views. Next stop was a stand of trees full of squawking parakeets. At last we headed to the market. Yes it was colourful and yes there were stalls of local produce including from farmers. However it was rather clinical with all the goods in very ordered booths and as it took less than 10 minutes to walk around it was also very small. The best thing that can be said is that we were able to exchange US dollars to treat ourselves to ice cream. Our ... read more

South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires February 22nd 2017

As my husband is not keen on cities we booked this excursion with HAL expecting to see the countryside. The drive north was about an hour and quite quickly we left the city although for more than a mile we drove past the water treatment facility! Not really a fascinating site but our guide talked about it as if it was. There was a brief stop for coffee or ice cream but we did not have cash so missed the treat. On arrival at the Paraná river we joined another coach load to go aboard a river cruiser. The boat took us for an hour viewing summer homes that are only reached by boat. We saw some wildlife in the form of birds, mainly cormorants and there were residents on some jetties but it was not ... read more

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