Page 2 of laandal Travel Blog Posts

Europe » United Kingdom » England » North Yorkshire » York August 28th 2011

Apparently quitting one's job and going to volunteer in Uganda for three months is not a financially savvy move. It took us awhile to recover from what we have been calling the PUFC (Post-Uganda Financial Crisis) and it took me awhile to regain gainful employment. It was only in August that things started to look up for us again - I had been working for a few months and Al had a new job and thus we managed to put a little bit of travel back on the agenda. Our first plan was to celebrate our 10 year anniversary, and having left it late to organise a cheap trip abroad on a bank holiday weekend we opted for something in the UK. This trip was a little different from our usual types of forays in which ... read more
Cliffords Tower
View from Cliffords Tower
York Minster

Europe » Iceland April 26th 2011

"Oh My God I can't believe it, I've never been this far away from home..." As the crow flies, it is 16,600km from Reykjavik to Sydney which is the furthest we have ever been from our home in Australia. I'm not sure if Lara had really recovered from her last couple of months in Uganda when we set off for Iceland. She had only been home for 5 days, had only just done all her washing and got used to having electricity again before heading off. She was not really being her over-excitable self, which made me think Iceland might be too much too soon. Normally at the mention of a holiday her eyes light up, she runs to the book case, grabs the guide book (which she would have bought "just in case") and then ... read more
Icelandic scenery

Africa » Uganda » Central Region April 13th 2011

It has been really difficult for me to write this final Uganda blog, I had trouble summing up the experience in my mind, let alone on paper. Three months in Uganda gave me such a range of experiences, made me question things I didn't think I would and exposed me to great beauty and staggering hardships. I wanted to be able to express everything, without being negative or adversely glossing over anything. After Al's blog on his week visiting me in Uganda I had exactly a month left before returning to London. The atmosphere in our household had changed, and Kristina and I began to feel uncomfortable. In hindsight I think it was due to differing expectations. They have had many Westerners stay with them and give them money, gifts and clothes. Kristina and I had ... read more
Little Miss Grumpy
Our favourite little boy's house
School's message about sex

Africa » Uganda » Northern Region » Murchison Falls NP March 13th 2011

On the face of it, 3 months apart shouldn't pose such a problem. Especially for people who have been together for almost 10 years, and spent so much of that time together - we must be due for some time apart, right? While Lara has been in Uganda I have been keeping myself busy with work and other pursuits (read: PS3 games) but despite all this I have found that life alone in London can get you down sometimes. So after 2 months of living the bachelor life it seemed like a good time to jump on a plane and see what Lara was up to, and take my first trip to sub-Saharan Africa. Seeing as we only had a week in Uganda together we thought it would be best to hit the ground running, so ... read more
Elephants on the Nile

Africa » Uganda » Central Region March 3rd 2011

Washing dust off my feet, handwashing, drinking Fanta Pineapple, having cold showers, making beads, riding in matatus....these are the norms of my life in Uganda. It has been an incredibly interesting time so far, and living in a semi-rural area between Kampala and Entebbe has given me a lot of insight into the lives of those Ugandans around me, and how they cope daily with things Westerners may struggle with. Dust This may not be an issue in all parts of Uganda but where I am living dust invades everything. I have dust on all my clothing, in my hair and I am sorry Al, but also all over our cameras and laptop. It is a daily battle to keep it out of the house, and the compound is swept daily and the floors are wiped ... read more
Mahadi, Giovanni and Nakafori
Maribou storks
Kampala chaos

Africa » Uganda February 10th 2011

It would be difficult to write a blog about Uganda at the moment and not mention the upcoming elections and the recent murder of David Kato, the gay rights activist. The murder of David Kato shocked the Western world but barely caused a ripple here in Uganda. I would not have heard about it if we had not been tuned into BBC news on the radio. In Uganda it is illegal to be homosexual and carries a 14 year prison sentence. There was recently the push to make this more severe – hanging. As far as I can tell this is not the usual punishment for murderers or rapists, however Ugandan society in general does not seem shocked by the severity of this punishment (or that there is a punishment at all). I have had cautious ... read more
Museveni and his hat
More child pictures!
Kampala Old Taxi Park

Africa » Uganda » Central Region January 27th 2011

Sitting under a jackfruit tree in a quiet compound in Kigo, surrounded by 15 women making beads out of old magazines and calendars it was hard to imagine that I hadn’t always been here in Uganda. Village life was continuing uninterrupted around me, people were doing their washing and cooking, and I was just another pair of hands working on the long bead making process. Having gotten fed up with my job I made a snap decision that I was going to leave the black snot of the London underground and spend some time volunteering. After searching through numerous volunteering opportunities I settled on the Women Empowerment Programme run by the International Volunteer Network (Post script - although I loved my time in Uganda - I would not recommend this organisation - check my blog 'Pearly ... read more
Silhouettes in the dust

Europe » Spain » Andalusia October 12th 2010

I was expecting to hate Malaga; I had already decided that it would be a sprawling mass of hotels and apartments complete with Irish bars and fast-food restaurants, part of Spain but not really resembling anything Spanish, a generic holiday town with no soul, built to house the tourists who flock to the Costa del Sol for the sunshine. I was pleased that a Conference forced me to visit, as otherwise I wouldn't have had the opportunity to realise how wrong my preconceptions were. Arriving in Malaga on Tuesday with my work colleague Tom, the same Tom I drove around the Mayan ruins while we were in Cancun for a Conference in May, we spent the afternoon exploring and enjoying the warmth of the sunshine, stopping to have tapas and beers beneath orange trees in a ... read more
Baby Barbary Macaque
Palacio de Ferias y Congresos

Europe » Netherlands August 30th 2010

Our taxi driver from the airport to our hotel in Amsterdam chatted away non-stop, with advice about where to visit, how to get to the centre from our hotel, how German beer is stronger and even told us about his most recent vacations. The friendly conversation was exactly what we needed after a nightmare trip from London. Our KLM flights were due to depart from London Heathrow and with less than 2 hours to go we discovered that they had been cancelled. As we were travelling over the Bank Holiday weekend all the flights were full and they drove us to London City Airport (back past our offices!) before flying us to Rotterdam on a Focker and then busing us to Amsterdam's airport. Our taxi driver's cheerful nature was indicative of all the other Dutch we ... read more
Storm clouds over Amsterdam
Coffee shop

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin July 18th 2010

And so our tour experience came to an end in Berlin. After travels through the Baltic States, Russia and Poland, Berlin was the first place that one of us had been to, and that was more than a decade ago. Arriving in Berlin late in the afternoon, we checked into dorms in the Wombat Hostel, and spent our first night of the trip in dorm rooms rather than sharing a twin room. We had our final group dinner followed by some horrific karaoke and drinks in the Wombat's bar upstairs. No one present would like to relive Lara and Krystal's version of Madonna's 'Like a Prayer'! After some "dancing" in a bar around the corner followed by some amazing kebabs our official Topdeck tour was over. The following morning we checked out of the Wombat Hostel ... read more
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
Jewish Memorial

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