Posts Tagged ‘travel’

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Somerset Christmas

January 2, 2017

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

cathedral sanctuary with vaulted ceiling and scissor shaped arch

Wells Cathedral

We had a very pleasant Christmas week in Somerset. It wasn’t snowy, but we did get a couple of frozen days with fog and frost. Rupert took us to Bruton and Wells.

coastline and wooden pier

Clevedon Pier

We roamed around Clevedon on Christmas day.

poster for theater performance

Pantomime

Boxing Day involved going to Weston-super-Mare to see the pantomime. The cast was talented, but a pantomime is an acquired taste. I think you have to grow up watching them to find them enjoyable. Per Wikipedia: “Modern pantomime includes songs, gags, slapstick comedy and dancing, employs gender-crossing actors, and combines topical humour with a story loosely based on a well-known fairy tale, fable or folk tale. It is a participatory form of theatre, in which the audience is expected to sing along with certain parts of the music and shout out phrases to the performers.” It also involves popular songs with rewritten lyrics and a baking skit involving pie in the face.

TIntern Abbey medieval stone ruin

Tintern Abbey

We went up through the Wye River valley stopping to see the Tintern Abbey. It was a very cold day and everything was beautifully frosted.

medieval cathedral on a foggy day

Hereford Cathedral

We stayed overnight in Hereford meeting with more friends. The next day we were off to Ledbury and caught a train to Oxford. One night in Oxford was too short, but we tried to make the most of it.

medieval church

St Michael at the North Gate, 11th century

Photos:

Somerset – part one – 109 photos

Somerset – part two – 76 photos

Somerset – part three – 14 photos

Tintern – Hereford – Ledbury -Oxford – 328 photos

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Wandering East London

December 24, 2016

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

four story brick building

Spitalfields Market

If you have followed our travels previously, you should know that we tend to wander around neighborhoods just to see what we can see, instead of following a typical tourist itinerary filled with museums and touristic sights. We stayed in Whitechapel, but did not bother with the Jack the Ripper tour.

This trip was heavily influenced by the fact that Daddybird has been following the Spitalfields Life blog, so many of the buildings and places we sought out are historical places mentioned in that blog.

neoclassical church colonnade and spire

St Leonard’s Anglican Church, Shoreditch 1740

We wandered into the Shoreditch neighborhood and happened upon St. Leonard’s Church which had a sign announcing a carol service that evening at 6 pm, so we made a point of coming back in time for a bit of Christmas music.

red stone building with arched windows

The Jamaica Wine House – used to be the first coffee house in England ca 1652

Daddybird’s itinerary included buildings like the one above which was the first coffee shop back when coffee was the new, exotic drink.

root beer float

What have we been eating? (surely you wonder about this) Our breakfasts have been English, but all other meals have ranged from Turkish to Pakistani to American. I generally don’t drink soda/pop/cola (whatever you call it), so having a root beer float was a pretty fantastic blast from the past.

fried chicken and waffles

I had not had fried chicken and waffles before, but now I understand. I understand.

See Day 1 pictures here. (129 photos)

See Day 2 pictures here. (89 photos, 3 videos)

See Day 3-5 pictures here. (131 photos)

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Bullet Train to Beijing

April 1, 2015

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

My intention was to do a blog post for each day of the trip, but that has not worked out. Uploading pictures via the hotel wifi is a time consuming project and I do like to sleep occasionally, especially when exhausted. So, now that it is day five in our seven day trip to Beijing, I am staying off my feet, hanging around the hotel room, and can get a blog post up.

train and train platform

It is spring break and we haven’t traveled outside of Shanghai since we arrived, so decided it was time to hop the bullet train to Beijing. This is actually a pretty easy thing to do, except for buying the tickets. DaddyBird went to the train station to purchase them, because he wasn’t able to do it online. Apparently, to purchase online you have to be a Chinese national. If you go in person to buy the tickets you can only buy “three days in advance” which when pointed out on the calendar includes the day of travel, so it is really only 24 hours in advance for all practical purposes. So, we left Shanghai with departure tickets only, no return tickets. Leap of faith. Since then, DaddyBird has been able to get a booking service to obtain our return tickets for us. This was important, because the tickets were selling out.

green field

The bullet train is a very smooth ride. There was a lot of farmland to see out the window. It was quite flat most of the way. It became a bit hilly around Nanjing, but flattened out again before Beijing.

green field with randomly placed conical mounds

In the picture above, notice the mound in the field. This was very common and appears to be burial mounds. Some had grave stones and some had miniature buildings (as shrines I suppose). The information I have read online about Chinese burial rites says that they prefer to bury on hills, but there just aren’t any hills for miles and miles.

a group of trees with several grave mounds

There were also sites like the above where a large number of grave mounds appeared.

lot full of CAT heavy equipment vehicles

It appears that we also passed the Caterpillar (CAT) factory.

There really wasn’t any area that I would call “wild.” It was all being cultivated. There were frequent villages and every once in a while a city. I saw lots of roads, but very, very few vehicles, even parked around houses. There were a few vans, trucks and tricycle carts, but very few cars.

We are staying in a nice hotel in a historic area of Beijing. The neighborhood consists of long lanes called “hutong” that branch off of one main lane that goes through the center. The lane is lined with vibrant businesses, restaurants, and bars. We spent the first two days roaming around the hutongs.

Pictures from the Train Ride – click here 118 pictures
Pictures from Day 1 (Saturday afternoon and evening) – click here 74 pictures
Pictures from Day 2 (Sunday – hutong and Qianhai Lake) – click here 239 pictures
Pictures from Day 3 (Monday – hutong) – click here 76 pictures

Day 4 we went to the Forbidden City. It was quite amazing and beautiful. It took a huge toll on my feet, though, which is why Day 5 is a day of rest. We still have the Great Wall to squeeze in before we leave. Hopefully, my sore feet and injured knee will play along for one more day of walking and climbing.

Pictures from Day 4 (Tuesday – Forbidden City) – click here 380 pictures

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Weekend in Muscat

June 9, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

stone fort on top of a hill

For the last six years, whenever we discussed vacation destinations Oman came up, but was always sidelined for other destinations. We are leaving the Middle East in less than two months, so we arranged to take a quick weekend trip before it is too late.

ornate gate

We had a bit of rough start when we missed our Thursday evening flight and had to opt for Friday morning instead. Once we got there, we took a walk through the souk (market). Since we were on a tight schedule, we took the Big Red Bus tour.

lamb in paper thin flat bread with fries

In the evening we had a mini food tour, beginning with shuwa sandwiches at Shuwa Express followed by a traditional meal at Bin Ateeq. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived, they were out of shuwa, so we couldn’t compare.

On Saturday, we went to the Bayt Al Baranda museum. After finishing at the museum we opted to walk to the souk by way of the back alleys.

narrow paved alley

Before heading to the airport, we had a late lunch at Ubhar Restaurant. The food was quite lovely. My steak was delicious as was the frankincense ice cream.

The Omani people were very friendly and helpful. Even walking through and shopping in the souk was a pleasant experience.

Taxis are not metered, so one has to negotiate the price before getting in. One fellow didn’t think our offer was enough, but he accepted it anyway.

All in all, it was a pleasant experience which we should have done earlier and for more than just two days. To see all the pictures, click here.

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Prague – Last Day Scramble

April 10, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

Vltava River through Prague, several bridges

We traveled on many trams today. We walked a long way today. We did many things. We saw many sights. We are tired. I think I may just crawl onto the airplane tomorrow and pass out, if it weren’t for the discomfort of economy class.

We took trams to the base of the hill on which the Vysehrad Park is and walked up the hill. We walked all around the park and took many, many photos. We then walked down the hill and took a tram again. DaddyBird had scoped out a particular pub he wanted to have lunch in, but it was either closed or located deep in the basement. We couldn’t figure it out, so went to the Indian (Native American, that is) themed Baretta Pizza place instead. The whole place was decorated in wild west artifacts and pictures. The food was very good. We recommend.

Then we got on another tram and went closer to the center of town to a bookstore where DaddyBird hoped to find an English translation of a particular Czech book. No dice. Before the end of the day we went to two more bookstores and finally found it at the last one.

Then we went to a touristy trap pub. It is known for it’s surly staff, bad food, but good beer. It is all true. Then, back on a tram to Wenceslas Square to finish our souvenir buying and have a fried cheese sandwich. And, finally, onto another tram to go home to the apartment and collapse.

To see it all, click here.

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Prague – Music, Books, Food

April 9, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

We headed up to the castle hill for a second day. DaddyBird stopped into a music shop to get a couple of Zelenka albums.

rows of compact discs in a music store

As we came out, we noticed that it had clouded up and was raining. There was much rejoicing.

quaint restaurant

We stopped in for lunch at a quaint restaurant.

cobblestone lane

We wandered on down the hill to the castle. We toured the Story of Prague museum display at the castle, but photography was forbidden.

view of rooftops from castle hill

This is what Prague looks like on a mildly rainy day.

tree lined path in a park

Back down the hill, we found another neighborhood park by wandering through a doorway.

bookstore

We stopped in at Shakespeare and Sons bookshop because Daddybird wanted to pick up a few Czech authors in translation.

graffiti on an archway showing a sheep's head

Graffiti is rampant as you may have noticed in some of my pictures, but it is mostly tagging and not artistic. It seems strange in a city so filled with art that the graffiti wouldn’t be artistic, too.

arched wooden door

I took several door pictures.

stein of extremely dark Budweiser beer

We stopped for dinner at a restaurant that was established in 1466. We had REAL Budweiser beer and a lovely meat filled meal.

To see all the pictures, click here.

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Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral

April 8, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.
main entrance to the Prague castle
We took the tram up to the top of the hill and walked down to the castle. (Interesting point of information – the castle is still used as the seat of government and the presidential residence.) Click here to see all the pictures. Click here for a map of the castle grounds.

cathedral spires

Within the castle grounds is St. Vitus Cathedral. To see the interior photos I took, click here. Click here for a map of the cathedral.

stained glass cathedral window

Many beautiful stained glass windows in many different styles.

entrance gate to the Strahov monastery

After touring the castle grounds and walking down the hill to the tram stop, we took the tram back up to the top again so that we could have dinner at the Strahov Monastery.

plate with goose leg, cabbage, dumplings

We ordered goose and duck. The goose entré was the best. The duck was good, but not as tender and lovely as the goose. The chef didn’t seem to know what to do with spinach except cook it to death.

plate with duck, spinach, dumplings

I ordered stuffed gingerbread dumplings with plum sauce. The dumplings were not made of gingerbread, much to my disappointment. I am not impressed with Czech dumplings, whether savory or sweet. They are tough and tasteless. Inside was half a plum and the plum sauce was delicious, so it wasn’t all bad.

dumplings, plum sauce, cream

DaddyBird had the pancakes with beer ice cream. I had a little taste of the ice cream and it was yummy.

crepes, ice cream, whipped cream

The sun was going down and exhaustion was setting in, so we took the tram home and called it a day.

tram rails