Rob Hoskin


Rob Hoskin

Another trip of a lifetime! How many ‘trips of a lifetime’ can I have?
I'm walking the Pennine Way in England and Scotland, driving from Edinburgh down to London then training through France and Spain through Northern Morocco to Marrakech before heading back to Madrid. From there a few days in Doha on the way home.

Middle East » Qatar » Doha October 9th 2019

It’s always good to have a plan. Let’s go to Katara Village, see the sights, the works of art, the bird houses and the amphitheater then get the taxi to take us the long way home via Pearl Island, along the Pearl Boulevard, around the man made islands, the Venetian Canal and the Oyster. Good plan. But even with a map to show the driver where we wanted to go all he heard was ‘Souq Waqif’ (our final destination) and off he went. Very efficient but in the wrong direction. So pleased with himself for understanding English and happy to get us there in good time but... There are some shots from Katara and it’s a good idea place. Sort of a home for traditional arts and crafts and a display space for artists, particularly sculptures. ... read more
Bird towers and mini minaret.
 More impressive angle for the minaret.
Sculpture at Katara Cultural Village.

Middle East » Qatar » Doha October 9th 2019

Plan A has well gone. The heat or something has got Lee a bit and despite the fact she slept quite well last night she’s having a little snooze as I type, swim, type, swim, doing nothing, type, swim... As much as the heat, and the ‘feels like’ temperature has risen above 40 degrees, I think just knowing we head home from here means Lee is thinking about that and about winding down rather than getting that last little bit out of the experience. I was planning to go the Museum again and then to ‘village and pearl’ but that too may need to be reconsidered. Not a big problem as it is more than OK by the pool. The complex of hotels, I think there are 9, sends as to number 5 as our hotel, ... read more
Then myself and 2 others walk the streets of Souk Waqif.
Not Lee’s favourite. Still just me walking the streets.
And then....pool time.

Middle East » Qatar » Doha October 8th 2019

Sort of an instant replay of last night as I thought Lee would come on the tour but she wasn’t quite up to it. I went again as I said I’d help another woman here in the hotel if she needed any assistance but she too was a no show. I went along anyway as last night I didn’t have my ipad for photos (and I’m the only person in the world without a phone that they use as a camera) but this guide was hopeless and imparted so little information that I actually left mid tour which is something I’m reluctant to do in normal circumstances. I did see the falcons and horses and camels again but didn’t pick up any useful information. I went and learnt to play damar, a checker like game that’s ... read more
Principal character in the Bird market, Doha.
Bird market, Doha?
Spice market, Doha.

Middle East » Qatar » Doha October 8th 2019

Ooo aaah! Lots to look at in Doha. Sure it’s hot but as soon as you get anywhere it’s air conditioned and comfy. And that includes the underground walkways that funnel pedestrian traffic (and not many walk here!) below the busy roads to the waterfront Corniche. They reminded me of the Moscow subways, all cool marble and with lighting that is almost chandelier like. So you leave the souk area and emerge looking at the sleek and modern skyline of DECC, the Islamic Museum of Art and some of Doha’s 5 star hotels that dot the Corniche. There’s some homage to the past with a giant oyster shell and pearl and some boats that still take leisurely motoring cruises on the bay but the overall impression is one of modernity and of some form of ‘creature’ ... read more
Breakfast soup.
Do I have to eat this?
It won’t hurt.

Middle East » Qatar » Doha October 8th 2019

Just a bit of in flight musing. We have flown Qatar partially because we have been with Emirates before and don’t really want to go back to Dubai. I know the UAE states are basically identical in their treatment of their work forces and their environmental practices but we were quite put out by Dubai last time and we make this small but significant philosophical stance. The indoor snow field and the building that incorporates artificial sea shore as a selling feature we think is too much of a price to pay and just because you can doesn’t make it OK. So it’s Qatar and into Doha because fuel is cheap and air fares low (ish). Doha is certainly the little kid of the Emirates family behind Dubai and Abu Dhabi but we hold out expectations ... read more
Very good!
Our local restaurant and bar.
Beer, wine and not exactly up market tapas.

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Braojos October 6th 2019

If you read the blog title, date and location details (you’d be the only one) you would know we have moved a little from central Madrid to the outskirts of Madrid and quite near the airport. We found a cheapish but nice place 5 minutes from the airport with a free shuttle bus that will get us to the airport as the desired time. They must be pretty used to shuttling guests as it’s part of their check in procedure and they had the desired check in times for all the airlines, what terminal they departed from... Despite the tourist season being in full flight here (I assumed based on the sheer number of tourists in central Madrid) and the fact that it’s 30 degrees the hotel has declared ‘busy time’ over and closed their pool ... read more
Surprise, surprise, it’s beer o’clock.
5 beers fit €4. Remember this place.
Some fried calamari, sardines and fish balls!

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid October 5th 2019

How quickly Madrid has managed to seduce us. We have slipped quietly but surely into later and later evening meals, later and later breakfasts and beer with any meal or snack other than breakfast! We even sit and watch in the European manner that sees us linger in cafes for an hour or so just having a single drink. The only Spanish tradition we haven’t succumbed to yet is their predisposition to smoking! We are continually surprised by the number of smokers, particularly young women, and the arrogant and blatant disregard they have for non smokers. One meter from the entrance/exit of almost any building is a scattering of butts and that is despite the fact that there are street sweepers (people not machines) and cleaners almost continuously going about their duties. In most cafes and ... read more
Tapas just looks good all the time.
Hams in the market.
Just love the street name signs.

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid October 4th 2019

Things are looking up. So I thought I’d include looking up photos exclusively. That’s not a bad as it sounds as here in Madrid the architecture rewards looking up. The shots are from the hop on hop off bus which we spent a deal of time on. We almost completed both routes but hoped off a little early and the Plaza de Mayor because it’s interesting and more accurately because it’s near the Mercado de San Miguel. It’s very touristy and a bit pricey but it has numerous tapas style offerings and all Spanish as opposed to where we go at night which is quite local, well priced but has small dishes from numerous destinations most decidedly non Spanish. I then did a walking tour which I always find interesting. The facts and figures and stories ... read more
Looking up in Madrid.
Looking up in Madrid.
Looking up in Madrid. Real Madrid Stadium.

Europe October 3rd 2019

Us and a million other tourists are in Madrid. Although the souks and medinas of Morocco are busy things seem busier here but almost everyone is a tourist here. Judging from the accents, cameras, the hop on hop off tickets you see clutched in hands or the fact that each husband has a map in hand and a partner in tow everyone seems intent on doing tourist things. Even the supermarkets here know what tourists want with water being a big seller. The train here was really good but I covered that in my previous blog entry. Our new home is fine, functional and fit for purpose but it isn’t a riad! We’ve been spoilt and are now paying the price. But it will more than suffice for 3 of the 4 nights we have here. ... read more
Córdoba Station.
The green wall, Madrid.
This is one of the best cities to look up at. Great features.

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid October 3rd 2019

We are ensconced aboard the Transmediterranea Malaga but still in Port almost an hour and a half after it should have sailed! Not good for us but nothing we can do. Much Spanish spoken here, none of it sounding that friendly at the moment but again not much I can do about that either. I’m not sure who is directing traffic here or who is responsible for navigation or who for passenger boarding as everyone in any kind of uniform seems to be engaged in the animation discussion that’s going on around us. Lee has just remarked on the fact scenario, sounds busy but nothing is happening! We are comfortable in the saloon here but I’ll go for a meander soon hoping for some views and fresh air as the Malaga has that distinctive ferry diesel ... read more
We were early, the ferry is late.
Bye Morocco.
Bye Morocco.

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