Page 5 of laandal Travel Blog Posts

Europe » United Kingdom April 10th 2009

"I want to be having lunch in the Wye Valley in Wales tomorrow" were Al's last words before going to sleep the night before our planned road trip. Everything was organised, our hire car booking was checked and all that we needed to do was go and pick it up, stick the bags in the back and get going... in theory. The reality turned out to be extremely different. We arrived at the car company to pick up our rented car only to find that the company had gone into administration a month earlier and had failed to tell us or make our internet booking invalid. The car company next door told us they could get us an Astra for £500 for the week or we could have....a van. The Easter weekend is a popular time ... read more
Snowdonia National Park
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Europe » Slovakia » Bratislava Region » Bratislava March 30th 2009

Slovakians don't speak Spanish....Now this won't really surprise many of you, and yet the number of times we started conversations with an Hola or threw a por favor on the end of a sentence surprised even us. After so many months of speaking Spanish it is still our first resort when faced with uncomprehending locals. Thankfully English tended to be widely spoken and we stuck to that after mumbling a few words in Slovak that we weren't really sure how to pronounce. We flew from London Stansted directly to Bratislava airport and had organised to be picked up by the owner of the apartment we were staying in in the Old Town. And thankfully there was a young man holding a sign that said 'Lara Craig' on our arrival in the unassuming airport. He drove us ... read more
Old Town
Bratislava Old Town
Bratislava Old Town

Europe » United Kingdom » England » East Sussex » Brighton March 15th 2009

The sun was shining, it was the warmest day in a long time, what choice did we have but to go to the seaside? And where else but Brighton? Renowned for its pebble beach, Pier and Pavillion as well as a vibrant pub scene and some fantastic places to eat, its a perfect place to spend a lazy, warm Sunday. Although Lara had been to Brighton a few weeks ago she didn't get to see anything as she was on an outing with friends and Al hadn't been to Brighton for almost 10 years so it was a perfect excuse to get out in the long awaited sunshine. We took the train down from London and in just over an hour we were in the heart of Brighton. We wandered through the cute little lanes filled ... read more
Pebbles on the beach
The Pier

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London February 2nd 2009

Driving back to London from a weekend away in Cheltenham we received an unusual call from our flatmates who were just checking to see how we were. We thought this a little odd as they hadn't shown any particular concern regarding our whereabouts before, and on getting into Central London we realised they were worried we had been stuck in the snow. We had heard that there was supposed to be a huge snow storm coming off the Russian Arctic but except for a few flakes we hadn't really seen any and put it down to the British media being melodramatic. The further into London we got the more snow there was but thankfully we made it back without any trouble and like the children we really are - we got out our cameras and played ... read more
Winter Wonderland
Phone box in the snow
Hyde Park Corner

Europe » Spain » Canary Islands » Gran Canaria January 4th 2009

The Canary Islands are a haven for middle-aged northern European holiday makers on package holidays, a place where they can warm their pasty bodies and eat food from their homeland. Does it sound like somewhere that we'd like to go? No, but the call for sunshine was too much for us and after ruling out our preferred destinations (Morocco, Egypt etc) as too expensive, off we headed to Gran Canaria and I must say we were pleasantly surprised! We arrived in the early hours of Sunday morning, had a big sleep in and then tried to work out what we should do during our week of sunshine. We realised the important thing to do would be to get out of the resort areas of Playa del Ingles (Beach of the English) and Maspalomas where there is ... read more
Puerto Mogan

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Isle of Wight December 27th 2008

Christmas in the UK is completely different to the beaches, BBQs, sunscreen and ice cream kind of Christmases that we have always known and loved. It is cold and miserable but does its best to get you in the Christmas spirit with the lights, carols, food and parties that you couldn't really avoid even if you wanted to. Christmas time over here is a lot more about Christmas than it is at home, possibly because everyone in Australia is already excited about summer holidays and the great weather and Christmas is just seen as an bonus. An Irish doctor told Lara that once the Christmas lights come down and everyone has spent all their money the weather becomes "suicidally depressing", which was something to look forward to! So we decided it was best to enjoy the ... read more
Al and Lara
Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland

Europe » Ireland » County Dublin » Dublin November 24th 2008

Lara and her crazy need to have at least have one holiday on the horizon. This time she spun the globe around and her finger landed on Dublin, Ireland. Convenient really, it was just a quick Ryan Air flight away... at least on paper; the train/bus tickets to get to Luton airport cost more than the flights themselves, which had Al scratching his head with disbelief that a 'London' airport could take more than an hour to get to from London itself. We packed our bags and headed off for the weekend. Ryan Air was basic, but arriving early made the experience completely pain free and we left freezing London on a Friday evening to arrive in freezing Dublin an hour later. We were exhausted on arrival and headed straight for bed and even managed a ... read more
Guiness Storehouse
Guiness Storehouse
Guiness Storehouse

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney November 3rd 2008

What a tour! We really didn't think that after one year we would be returning to Australia with so many memories, and so few things! We also didn't think that we would be going back separately, due to Al getting a job in London and me unable to change my leave at the last minute. Al set off immediately after returning from Rome, which came as a surprise to his family when he turned up on their doorstep unannounced! We were both just excited about the prospect of a family visit so returning home separately was a small sacrifice to make, although it was very strange spending so much time apart after having been almost attached at the hips for the past year! Al was picked up in Sydney by his brother, Dave (the only family ... read more
The beginning of Al's trip
Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome September 29th 2008

So, with some juggling of flights, we managed to secure return flights to Rome for a long weekend away. It could have been our last trip of th round-the-world tickets but the day before we went Al managed to secure a job and a quick trip back to Oz before he started. We decided to shrug off impending financial doom and the craziness of the next few weeks, and went to spend Euro's instead of pounds for a few days! We stayed in a delightful new little bed and breakfast in the Roman suburbs, a short bus ride away from the centre of Rome and spent the next few days looking around. We started with the Colosseum which was completely packed, headed to the Roman Forum, before stopping for a quick pizza break (when in Rome...) ... read more
Somewhere in Rome
Palazzo dei Conservatori
Imperial Fora

Europe » United Kingdom » England September 10th 2008

Leaving Spain was when reality really started to kick in, our travels were really over and it was time to buckle down and find somewhere to live and some way of supporting ourselves in our new home. Before getting to grips with apartment hunting and job searching we did manage to have a little fun! On our arrival at Heathrow we headed straight to the Witherspoons (well it is an English icon of sorts!) for dinner with Lara's aunt Jill. Jill was flying out the following morning so Heathrow was the best place for the meal and it was lovely to see her. We'd stayed with her in Maryland 10 months ago and it was great to see her at the end of all the travels. Lara's Dad was also in London on his cricket tour ... read more
The London Eye
Lara and her Dad
Little Tew

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