Tinker And Laura

Tink And Laura

Tinker And Laura

Welcome to our travel blogs! These blogs are written to share our experiences travelling around the world to friends, family and blog readers from around the world. Take your time and have a good read! We've split the blogs into the following trips:

India (2008) - A month long trip from north to south travelling to Shimla, Delhi, Agra, Pushkar, Jaipur, Mumbai, Goa and Kerala.

South America (2009) - A month long trip to Peru and Bolivia visiting Lima, Arequipa, Puno, La Paz, Custco and Puerto Maldonado.

South Korea (2010-2011) - A year teaching as a Native English Teacher in Boeun at the heart of South Korea.

Japan (2011) - A two week holiday to Japan visiting Fukuoka, Osaka, Tokyo, Hakuba, Kyoto and Hiroshima.

The Philippines (2011) - A week long summer break to the beautiful island of Siargao in The Philippines.

Central America (2012) - A three month voyage through Central America starting and ending in Panama. Join us as we ventured up through Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras before looping back around via Guatemala, El Salvador and the countries that we'd previously visited!

Dear Blog Readers, The last time Mum and I were having a holiday together was the well-rehearsed Manchester to Vienna trip that she'd been doing whilst I was working there. We were chatting over my birthday weekend about our next trip and there was a deal on British Airways for a return flight to Belfast and a 5-night stay at the Hampton Hilton hotel with breakfast for £594 - bargain! Our recent trip to the cinema to see the brilliant movie of the same name only made us more intrigued to learn more about the city and its history. Mum's trip to Heathrow was anything but easy with the tube strikes meaning by the end of the day she'd traveled on most conceivable modes of transport. Our flight was slightly delayed but went very quickly, felt ... read more

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest February 11th 2022

Dear Blog Readers, A lot has happened since I was on the phone to the holiday insurance company on Friday 13th March 2020 (unlucky for some….us) as I was bafflingly being told we had to fly out to a country who had already closed their borders due to the COVID outbreak. Thankfully, 24 hours later, they’d seen some sense and we then began the arduous process of claiming everything back and have now waited nearly two years for the opportunity to finally do the trip we’d (sort of) planned. Our BA flight out on Friday evening was as smooth as ever. Laura began her week of boozing by getting a glass of wine, and we had the inflight entertainment of a hen-do a few rows in front (they even managed to get the pilot out for ... read more

Asia » China » Shanghai September 3rd 2019

Dear Blog Readers, The 20 hour train ride went surprisingly quickly. We slept really well, relatively few stops and no train conductors getting a free English lesson! We rattled into Shanghai around midday and decided to get one of their Oyster Card equivalents...although it didn't seem to make the journey prices any cheaper. After a couple of metro stops and a confusing walk, we eventually found the lovely Greenland Jiulong Hotel which had a nice view of the city. Unfortunately the weather turned against us just as we got to the outskirts of the city to explore and we'd forgotten our umbrella! We dived into some shopping centres and headed down the main street following the crowds until we got to The Bund. The sight in front of us is nothing short of one of the ... read more
Qibao Temple
Pudong Skyline
Near the Buddhist Temple

Asia » China » Guangxi » Guilin August 29th 2019

Dear Blog Readers, Arriving quite late at Guilin train station after the panda-infested train ride, we nervously waited outside trying to let down the baying taxi drivers down gently. Mercifully, our apologetic pick up from our hotel found us and hurried us to a nearby car park. There seemed to be some singing and dancing going on in the nearby car park - like an overenthusiastic flashmob without the impromptu audience watching. We were soon crashed out in our unbelievable hotel room at the Secret Courtyard Resort Hotel - it had a wonderful view of the mountains with a tea set already lined up. The roof turned into a huge sky-light too so we had the moon and stars beaming down on us as we fell asleep. We had a lovely cup of tea and breakfast ... read more
Red Flute Caves
Entrance to the Beauty Solitary Peak
View from the top of the peak

Asia » China » Sichuan » Chengdu August 24th 2019

Dear Blog Readers, The people have spoken and both readers have commented on the lack of toilet thus far. I was going to save it for the the stomach issues faced in Guilin (spoiler alert) but I'll comment on thoughts so far on the bog front. In general, very impressive facilities - numerously scattered about the towns, especially in Beijing, where the houses in the hutongs rarely have their own toilet so the public ones are used. Often clean and we must have experienced some shockers as sometimes it was the locals that were disgusted with the facilities rather than ourselves! You must bring toilet paper - it's a luxury if there is some provided (often at the entrance rather than in the cubicle. Talking of cubicles, it wasn't uncommon for there not to be door, ... read more
Pandas chilling out after some breakfast
Trying a 'mild' hotpot
Chairman Mao overlooking Starbucks & KFC

Asia » China » Shaanxi » Xi'an August 24th 2019

Dear Blog Readers, The first sleeper train was a pretty restless night for me with the cough keeping me tossing and turning. Laura slept well and we woke up to the biggest city in the Shaanxi province, Xi'an. Having got out of the train station, the queue for the taxi rank was huge and we didn't really have a clue where we were going. A few locals guided us to the nearest metro station which was a good 20 minute walk away. Once there, the ticket machine we were using did have an English translation option...but seemed to only translate the word for 'Line' into Line 1-4 but not the station names. We'd downloaded an app called Amap before we came out because Google Maps doesn't work so relied on some screenshots of the hostel to ... read more
The Tandem is back!
Drum Tower lit up at night with fountain displays
Terracotta Warriors in Pit 1

Asia » China » Beijing August 21st 2019

Dear Blog Readers, Back to toilet reading business! 3 weeks exploring the wonderful sights and sounds of China await. Untypical of us, we have squeezed in the tightest itinerary we could fathom and our first two stops are Beijing and Xi'an. But first...a bit of life admin to cover off first for those thinking of travelling to China! Firstly, for us in the UK and most countries around the world you're going to need to get a visa before going to China. This can be done initially online (https://bio.visaforchina.org/LON2_EN/) where you complete the extensive application form (it'll take a good hour). You'll also need to have booked everything in advance as you need to prove this at the face-to-face appointment. We managed to get flights for £450 with the luxury Ukrainian Airlines and did all our ... read more
Drum Tower Performance
Mutianyu Great Wall of China
Llama Temple Incense

Europe » Austria » Vienna October 13th 2018

Dear Blog Readers, It’s been an uncomfortably long time without a blog, and an uncomfortably low number of requests for an update. However, perseverance is the secret to all triumphs so settle in for a whistle-stop tour of a wonderful summer in Vienna! The sweltering heat of Japan and Korea acclimatized us well for the summer heat of central Europe. On one of my wanders around Oberdobling, I stumbled across the beautiful Turkenshanz Park which is worth a trip out of the city centre to see. It has a fantastic lake with huge fountains and an old lookout post in the centre. Sky now has exclusivity of the Austrian Bundesliga football, so we were treated to go and see the opening game of the season – Austria Vienna vs Innsbruck. Prior to the game, we stopped ... read more

Asia » South Korea » Chungcheongbuk-do July 14th 2018

Dear Blog Readers, Our new-found sumo wrestling knowledge made the footage of the latest Grand Sumo on the ferry back to Korea much more interesting! Once shored in Busan, we headed straight to the station and picked up our suitcases from the luggage storage there – highly recommended to save lugging around everything and only about £5 a day. It was the return of trying to find something that we wanted as we fancied getting some of our favourite Chinese food in Korea – jajamyeong and tansuyuk! It took about half an hour to find a restaurant in downtown Busan…I swear there is normally one every other restaurant! The food was superb and worth the find! We had a nice wander around the city in the evening and Laura found a place to buy some trainer-socks ... read more

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto July 9th 2018

Dear Blog Readers, Leaving Hakone was a breeze considering what we’d been through trying to get out of Tokyo a couple of days before. To catch our bullet train, we needed to get the rush hour subway at 7:30am to the central station. Ladened with our bags and suitcases, we started queuing for the next train. My only prior horrendous rush hour commuting experience was waiting for 6 tubes at Waterloo and City before being packed into the carriage. I guess we were probably about the same distance from the train this time around…however, once the doors opened, the scramble to get inside began. Once the doors started to close, a guard suddenly appeared, arms flung wide, he proceeded to physically heave another 10 people, us included, onto the coach. Packed like sardines doesn’t do it ... read more

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