Page 4 of colvinyeates Travel Blog Posts


Europe » Estonia » Tallinn August 25th 2012

If it's a one stop shop for all things medieval you're after and you can ignore some questionable authenticity, then look no further than Tallinn. The buildings of the old city of Estonia's capital look as though they've been lifted straight from the pages of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. 500 ish years young, Tallinn has received the full makeover. A nip and tuck, breast implants, Botox and the old boiler scrubs a treat. It's not only the structures that are easy on the eye. You want a job in the service industry here? 3 criteria will give you a decent head start: "Young, female, good looking". The minds driving Tallinn's tourism industry have decided sexing up the "if you build it they will come" ethos was a sure fire winner. And come they do. On ... read more
Estonia giving Russia the boot!
Old town's pastels
Russian holdover

Europe » Sweden » Stockholm County » Stockholm August 19th 2012

Remember those police shows on TV where 2 officers would interrogate a crime suspect under the glare of a bright light in a small room trying to bleed a confession? One cop would be the good looking guy with the soft features and in an equally soft voice would offer all manner of possible compromises and positive ramifications if the bad guy was prepared to cooperate with the authorities. Meet Officer Stockholm. The other cop was the crusty, no frills tough guy threatening the suspect with a right royal thrashing via a phone book and making things tough on his family if he didn't fess up. That's Officer Gothenburg. Sweden's big 2 cities have plenty to offer visitors but with completely different approaches. Stockholm has all the silicon, Gothenburg all the "what you see is what ... read more
Stockholm Royal Guard
Stockholm Old Town
Gotenborg

Europe » Norway » Western Norway » Bergen August 13th 2012

The t-shirt in the shop window said it all: "If we had dolphins we'd kill them too". Hewn into that same t-shirt was a diagram heavy on the graphics. Norway takes some pride in its success at turning the cold shoulder to world opinion on whaling, right down to selling great chunks of whale meat in heavily touristed waterfront fish markets. Snubbing their collective noses at anti whaling lobbyists, Norwegians state: "Don't like it, don't come" In reality, Norwegians don't need our tourism bucks anyway, there's oil in them thar hills. Via that oil, Norway is rich, the perennial top dog in polls centred around the world's most liveable or the highest standards of living.The reasons why Norway is placed on such a lofty pedestal aren't exactly covert. Public wealth manifests itself in an ultra slick ... read more
Geiranger
Bergen houses
Pulpit Rock

Europe » Denmark » Region Hovedstaden » Copenhagen August 4th 2012

Copenhagen may not be as dolled up as some of its Scandinavian contemporaries but it takes up the slack with more than its fair share of spunk. There's still plenty to admire in her looks and Danny Kay wasn't whistling Dixie when he declared Copenhagen wonderful wonderful. Without knowing the lyrics to that song, I'll bet they were referring to the architecture, social scene and location location location. Copenhagen sprawls over a myriad of islands interspersed by dozens of narrow canals conjuring up images of Amsterdam. The bike culture augments that Amsterdam feel. There are equally as many people weaving the streets via pedal power as there are in cars. OK, perhaps not quite as many but you get the point. This city is tailor made for 2 wheels, being as flat as the form of ... read more
Marble Church
Royal Guard
The Little Merman

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg July 30th 2012

Russia is near enough to the final European nation that still enforces visa restrictions on most foreign nationals. It's like a Soviet hangover, as if they still have the shivers from the Cold War and maintain a 1000 yard stare across the border to those western capitalist pigs. Neither is getting your hands on a visa a walk in the park. The reddest of tape needs to be negotiated first. Got a month up your sleeve and a spare 400 or so dollars in your back pocket? We didn't. There are a couple of back door options, such as.........A single click of the payment button on the "Vacations To Go" website and hey presto, we had jumped from DIY tourists to cruising for a bruising. For a relatively economical up front outlay, we latched onto a ... read more
Main Plaza
Canalside residences
Nice view from your apartments balcony

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík July 21st 2012

"Ooh it's fresh outside". Funny about that Penny. Had we been exiting the airport terminal in Hotandhumidland, an expression of surprise would have been appropriate with the mercury tipping 10 degrees. On the other hand, even if you knew Jack diddly squat about Iceland before arriving, with a name like that you really should have some fleece locked and loaded. The touchdown in Reykjavik was perfectly synchronised with a glowing sun nudging the Atlantic horizon, right on cue at 11.40pm. The light pink hues of that sunset morphed 2 hours later into a soft, pastel orange as the sun poked its head back above that same horizon. In between, the sky never turned completely black. At 66 degrees north, the days are long come July in Iceland. Those long daylight hours sent our body clocks into ... read more
West coast
Oops. Skogarfoss again
The horses are hairy

North America » United States » New York » New York July 13th 2012

When you've racked up as much game time as I have in New York, over a week now, you have a right of passage to take on Manhattan vernacular in workaday conversation. "Hey Penny, how's about we swing by NoHo, SoHo or Nolita for a cuppa joe before we jump the subway for some art at MoMa then zap to the Top of the Rock for a boydseye of de Apple." What can you write about New York that hasn't been scribed a squillion times before? In a word, nothing. So here's my take on nothing. We had our digs in the East Village, colourfully described as "newly gentrified". A few neighbourhoods fall under the banner of "newly gentrified", a term which was eloquently translated by a black comic at the East Ville Comedy Club one ... read more
Central Park real estate
Hey Bubble Boy, was Spain invaded by the Moors or the Moops?
Grand Central Station.

North America » Canada » Quebec » Montréal July 7th 2012

Position Position Position. I can visualise the real estate spin now had our Montreal apartment been up for sale. It even spells the same in French. The apartment was advertised as "a 30 seconds walk from the festival de jazz". I timed it at closer to a minute, more if you include the locking and unlocking of the front door. "Homer Simpson, this is the worst case of false advertising since The Never Ending Story." Get the picture? Montreal is Ground Zero for the jazz world this time of the year and we were headquartered within smelling distance of the prime action. For lovers of music, the Montreal Jazz Festival is anything but the sole domain of bebop savants perched in their pseudo "too cool for school" ivory towers. Nor will you be rubbing shoulders with ... read more
So why the long face?
Cheaper than a shower.
The Rollin Houndogs trumpeter

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago July 4th 2012

The King is dead. Long live the King. Stand aside San Fran, you've been supplanted as my fave US city. Chicago can be different strokes for different folks but being cultural omnivores we hit the ground running to cram in as much diversity as humanly possible into 5 glorious days. RED # $5 Chicago merlot from Chateau de Supermarket. # The sauce base for "the world's best pizza", Chicago deep dish. Penny may argue the world's best claim but it is heart stopping food, metaphorically and literally. # Ketchup on my Italian sausage dawg at the ball game. Ask for tomato sauce and you may as well have 3 heads judging by the look on the hot dawg vendor's face. # The flames of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. # Baked bricks that are the ... read more
Sears Tower in a puddle
Young ladies' handstand reflected in "tThe Bean"
Busker


For weeks we layered up and bunkered down against the crisp, cool air, absorbing any window of sunshine in an attempt to give the bodies a snippet of respite from the bracing conditions. This week it's been shorts, t-shirts and the quest for shade from the sucking heat. Admittedly we drove in the right direction but the Wyoming/Utah border was like a barrier between winter and summer. I don't know what happened to Spring but it must be stuck somewhere around the 41st parallel. A few days in the south of Utah the mercury hit 42 degrees. The 2% humidity made it bareable but the extremes can reek havoc with the body thermometer. Prior to entering Utah, a smidgen of pre planning needed to be addressed. Trying to snavel a drink in this state can be ... read more
Bruce Canyon hoodoos
Long and winding road into Kolob Canyon.
Queens Garden, Bryce Canyon




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