Page 4 of rrruss Travel Blog Posts

Africa » Tanzania » North » Tarangire National Park December 19th 2018

The first national park on our safari with Joash Africa Wilderness Insight was Tarangire, chosen as it was closest to Arusha and had the largest concentration of elephants in the world. After an early start, Josh picked us up at our hotel in Arusha and drove a couple of hours to the visitor centre at the entrance to the park. There we were able to use the facilities and wander around some of their informative displays whilst our guide sorted everything out regarding park fees. There were also some excellent stained glass windows showing the park in both wet and dry season. Soon enough we were on our way along bumpy park tracks around the baobab trees and acacias, looking for animals and birds. They were not hard to find! It was very soon into the ... read more
Stained glass window

Africa » Tanzania » North » Arusha December 17th 2018

Our African adventure is under way! We left sunshine behind us in Alicante on a much delayed Transavia flight (they got the wheels off the ground 5 minutes before we would have been due any compensation!) and arrived in Amsterdam in freezing fog. There was snow on the ground and we couldn’t see over the road so we didn’t venture far beyond the NH Schipol Airport Hotel.That’s not to say we didn’t leave the hotel. We did actually cross the road to the Best Western, but like the hotel where we were staying, the restaurant was closed to cater for the multitude of passengers stranded due to the weather. We had some great schnitzel in the nearby Bastion hotel then turned in for an early night with KLM awaiting us the next morning. A welcome McBreakfast ... read more
Museum Entrance
Natural History
Natural History

Europe » Portugal » Lisbon & Tagus Valley » Lisbon April 22nd 2018

The train down from Porto was very comfortable. Halway towards Lisbon it clouded over and by the time we arrived at Oriente station it was raining. We negotiated the metro down to Cais de Sodré where we were able to store our bags while we waited for our friend to finish work. We got there a bit early so we popped over the road and had a quick drink in Hennesey's, an ex-pat Irish style pub with very expensive beer! The after work buzz was good though, and it's not something we often get the chance to do. Once we met up with Kev, he took us (via the Metro) to a traditional chicken grill restaurant, Restaurante Primavera. It was cheap and cheerful but an authentic Lisboa experience - just go easy on the fiery piri ... read more
Cristo Rei
Cristo Rei
The view from Cristo Rei

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto April 19th 2018

Porto. Wow! What to say? Porto, or is it Oporto? Well it would appear that the latter pronunciation is both English and Spanish, but the former is Portuguese. The success of the local football team, FC Porto, has led to much greater usage of the shorter name, so that's what we will use! This was such a cool city that we actually abandoned the plans to visit another friend on this trip and extended our stay for an extra day. The bus down from Viseu was plain sailing and it wasn't too bad a walk from the bus station to our hotel. Our initial thoughts on the Vera Cruz Hotel were very positive. So much so in fact that we thought immediately about staying an extra night. We asked at reception and were given a pretty ... read more
Porto trying some port
Porto - empanadas

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Viseu April 16th 2018

Viseu was a place we had never heard of until a friend moved there to teach last year. It's taken a bit of coordinating but at long last we managed to find convenient dates and we had the pleasure of Lucy showing us around her town. Forgive the title of this blog - all will become clear soon! Set in the hills about two thirds of the way between Lisbon and Porto, Viseu is a beautiful place with stunning views all around. Yes, it's a bit on the chilly side at this time of year, but it's nothing that a decent jacket can't cope with. There are some coach trip tourists during the day but in general visitor numbers are minuscule compared to Portugal's more popular places. It's best to start at the highest point, around ... read more
The Horse's!
Viseu Chocolates

Europe » Portugal » Lisbon & Tagus Valley » Lisbon April 14th 2018

It's hard to believe its four years since we last visited Lisbon. We fell in love with the city then, so the chance to go and spend a few days with friends and then travel around the country a little was too much to resist. Imagine then, being able to sit out on a rooftop terrace and drink a glass of wine as the sun went down. We fell in love with Lisbon all over again! Having done most of the walking around and main tourist sights last time, we had a very specific list on this visit. It began with a trip to the fabulous tile museum. Now, this may not sound like the most incredible experience but it was. Inside we learned all about the history of tile making in Portugal. It came from ... read more
Lovely streets

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Nay Pyi Taw January 17th 2018

Many people think Yangon/Rangoon is the capital of Myanmar/Burma. Well, it used to be but in 2005 the administrative capital of the country was moved to a brand new city, Nay Pyi Taw. But for our friend Joe, who is working there at the moment, we probably wouldn't have bothered visiting. This is especially so after reading the handful of blogs that are out there where the bloggers found a deserted city devoid of much interest to the casual traveller. After spending 4 nights there, we beg to differ! It's not difficult to see where the myth of an empty city comes from as it is incredibly vast in relation to its population, and many government and military workers divide their time between work here and family elsewhere. When you stand in the middle of a ... read more

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan January 13th 2018

Leaving Bagan we were taken almost 50km away to the magnificent setting of Mount Popa. Without Joe'staxi service (!) we would never had gone there but we are so pleased that we did. Day trips go from Bagan which for many people is the only way of getting there. Our first stop was the stunning Popa Mountain Resort where we sat on their wooden deck and drank ridiculously expensive coffee admiring the view over the plains, and the nearby volcanic peak topped by Taung Kalat monastery, our post-coffee destination. The coffee was most welcome because we had been up so early to see the sun rise over Bagan's temples. It also gave us the necessary kick to begin our climb! Back down the hill we began our ascent of Taung Kalat. As ... read more

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan January 12th 2018

Bagan is truly breathtaking. There's no doubting what an amazing place it is. However, the problem with an amazing place is the crowds it attracts, and Bagan is no exception. It's not difficult to escape them though, and we managed to do so with remarkable ease. Our journey from Mandalay took three and a half hours thanks to our lovely lady driver. I wish she had given me a card so that I could share her details! The alternatives were a long day on a boat or a long day on a bus, and we just wanted to get there. The big advantages of a private transfer were being able to stop whenever we wanted, being dropped off directly at our hotel, and avoiding the US$25 tourist entry ticket (read tax!) which you'll pay if you ... read more

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Irrawaddy River January 11th 2018

A tour of the west bank of the Irrawaddy from Mandalay has to be one of the most amazing day trips you can do. For just 40,000 kyat (US$30) our wonderful lady driver helped us move hotel, and then took us out to various places on an excursion that lasted the entire day. The Irawaddy is also confusingly known as the Ayerarwaddy. Not to worry, we stopped at the bridge to have a good look at the river and its surroundings. There are two bridges - one built by the British in 1934 and the new one completed in 2005 which we were crossing. The views across the river are spectacular and seeing the myriad temples, pagodas and stupas on the hillsides of Sagaing was quite spectacular. It would take several day trips to try to ... read more

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