travel

Kilt and castles

Had a great weekend.
On Saturday, we headed to Kinneal House in Bo’ness.  The house is only open to see, on select dates throughout the year, and this wasn’t one of them, but there are 200 acres of grounds to explore.
It’s on the John Muir way, the footpath that crosses Scotland from east to west.

After that, we headed to Blackness Castle, which is one of my favourite historic sites, and one used in the filming of Outlander.

Just for the hell of it, since I haven’t had any actual reason to wear it this year (no weddings or anything) I wore my kilt.  The tourists seemed to like it.img_20191116_115526img_20191116_124726img_20191116_132442img_20191116_132655img_20191116_134039

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Back again

Not been about in a while.  My bad.

I did the 108 Sun Salutations, and raised £106 for the charity.   It was a challenge, but I actually enjoyed it.  There was an energy in the room that just swept you along.
Really nice nibbles and a choice of a bucks fizz or non-alcoholic alternative.
I really enjoyed the whole thing, and definitely want to take part again next year.

The travel plans for this year is a bucket list trip for me, Cambodia.  We’re heading out via Singapore, as my Karen has always wanted to go there as it’s apparently a foddie’s wet dream, and she loves trying new foods.
After Singapore, it’s a few days at Siem Reap for the temples, then on to Sihanoukville to relax, before heading home via Bangkok and Dubai.
Really looking forward to this.

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Abu Dhabi doo!

What can I say about Abu Dhabi? It’s fantastic.

Dubai gets all the attention, but it’s really Abu Dhabi that the place to go. It’s a real city. There’s a downtown you can walk round that has actual shops, restaurants, cafes, and it’s not just a huge sprawl that you need to use a metro, taxi or shuttle bus to get from hotel to mall.
Yes there are malls, but it’s easy to get round, taxi’s are cheap and plentiful, there is a bus network – you can pick up a travel card at the airport, and top it up again at the bus stops if you need to – and you can actually walk, unlike Dubai.
There’s also a bike hire system in place if you fancy cycling round.

We stayed in the Sheraton Resort, which is on the edge of the downtown area, and 100 yards from the Corniche, so it’s in an ideal position.

If you’ve been to Dubai, but are put of by how artificial it is (and let’s face it, much as I like it, it isn’t like any other city) then you should seriously consider looking at Abu Dhabi.

(pics to follow)

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Life of late and travel plans

So, after last week’s yoga/pilates binge, this week has been a total drought class-wise.
No Tuesday lunchtime, went Tuesday night, Wednesday lunchtime was cancelled, and I’ve got my usual class to go to tonight.
I’ve got a half-day at work tomorrow, so I might manage the pilates class, but there’s things to do before I head off on holiday for a week, so I’m playing it by ear at the moment.

Saturday morning we’re up and out the house at stupid-o’clock to get to Edinburgh airport, then it’s Abu Dhabi for a week. Got the travel mat sorted, so yoga will not be abandoned.
Before that though, I’ve still got to pack, and get the cats over to my mum’s house.

Urgh, stress!!!

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Does it still count as a bucket list entry if…

….you’ve been there before?

When we were in Thailand recently, we spent a few days in Chiang Mai. Basically we arrived, had a day to ourselves, the second day we did a trip, the third day was a half-day trip and half day to ourselves, and the fourth day we left at lunchtime to fly to Bangkok.
We had absolutely no idea how much we would love Chiang Mai, so, now we know we want to spend longer there, is this – “Knowing what I now know about Chiang Mai, can if legitimately go on my bucket list, since, I’ve already been. Can you count a repeat trip as a bucket list entry?

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Back from my travels

So after three weeks in Thailand, I’m back. What a trip! It was amazing.

We started off in Phuket, which was ok. Hotel was good, and we were in a quiet part, next to the the Phuket Aquarium – well worth a visit – on a road with a few places to eat/drink, but which had a wee night market that popped up, and was the best value for eating, although we did find a local place about a ten minute walk from the hotel, that was excellent for food.
The hotel ran a courtesy bus into Phuket town, which we visited a couple of times, and on one occasion, it coincided with a street food festival, which was spectacular.
We also went into Patong beach one night. That was an experience!!

From Phuket, we moved on to Chiang Mai. If I’d known how amazing this town was, we would have spent more time here and less in Phuket!
The hotel was about a hundred yards from the night market, so food and drink (and cheap t-shirts) were minutes away from the hotel.
The town itself has a fantastically laid back hippy vibe to it. We spent ages just wandering round visiting temples, and sitting in little coffee shops, drinking the best coffee I’ve tasted in ages.
We also visited the women’s prison, where there’s a shop selling handicrafts that have been made by the inmates, and if you want a massage, you can get one from inmates who are learning massage, to give them an option when they get released.
We did a couple of trips as well, one to the highest point in Thailand, and also to the King’s Pagoda and Queen’s Pagoda, both of which are spectacular. The Queen’s in particular has a stunning ceiling. Well worth a visit.

From Chiang Mai it was onto Bangkok, where we visited Wat Pho where the reclining Buddha is, Khoa San Road (had to be done), the medical museum (fascinating and a little bit gruesome!) and the Royal Barges Museum.
Out hotel was 100 yards from the Train Night Market, so once again, eating and drinking, we were spoiled for choice.

Finally, we flew to Dubai for 3 nights, to break up the journey home. After the great value that was Thailand, the usually expensive Dubai seemed even more expensive, but you can usually get great deals, so a couple of days at the beach on the way home was just what was needed.

I’ve taken a horrendous amount of photos, so once I’ve have a chance to sort through them, I’ll post a few.

We probably won’t go back to Bangkok for a while, as it’s not a relaxing place, but definitely want to re-visit Chiang Mai.

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M Train

I’m currently reading M Train by Patti Smith. A while back I picked up a second hand copy of Just Kids, and loved it. I loved the story of Patti and Robert Mapplethorpe, I loved the way she wrote. I loved her tales of meeting Warhol, and William Burroughs, so I really wanted to read this book too.
It isn’t disappointing. It makes New York sound like an amazing place to live. The artists, the cafe’s the music scene.
Yes, Glasgow has these too, and I know I’m romanticising NY in my head, but…..

This weekend I’m off travelling for three weeks. Thailand. Phuket, Chang Mai and Bangkok, then a stop off in Dubai on the way home. I can’t wait. There’s changes at work, and I need to switch off from them.
I’ve picked up a travel yoga mat, and I’m going to have some me time. I’m taking Lord of the Flies, and The Godfather to read. I’ve not read LotF since I was at school, so I’m looking forward to that, and I’ve never read The Godfather.

I’m planing of having a digital detox too, so I won’t be posting anything until I get back.

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Imminent trip

In two weeks I’ll be off to Thailand for three weeks, and I can’t wait.
I’ve got a travel yoga mat ready to go. Rolls up really small but is actually heavier than a regular mat, but really grippy. My wife is using one on top of her regular mat which has lost it’s grip, and loves it.

I picked up what was going to be be one of my books to take, M Train by Patti Smith. The other was going to be Dirty Kids: Chasing Freedom with America’s Nomads, BUT I usually take books to read that I don’t mind leaving behind/passing on, and I don’t want to do that with these, so I’ll have a look in a charity shop and see if anything catches my eye.

I’ve been looking forward to this trip for months. We’ve got 10 days at Phuket, where I’m hoping to take some more surf lessons, after taking some in Bali last year. After Phuket, it’s on to Chang Mai, Bangkok, and finally a couple of days in Dubai on the way back.

I’m hoping to come back a calmer person, and be able to blitz the piles of dvd’s etc that I still need to clear out. I’ve been slacking on the downsizing front lately and need to get back on it.

I also have to get in touch with the tattooist to arrange to get more ink when I get back. I’m planning to go and see him before I leave to talk over the design, and book a date for getting it done.

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Course finished

So the Introduction to Ashtanga course I’ve been doing for the last six weeks has finished, and I loved it. It’s given me a structured practice that I can do at home, but I did miss not going to the class last night, so I might have to find a guided class that I can go to. Despite what the teacher said, I don’t feel that I know the routine well enough to go to a Mysore class, and I don’t want to be constantly asking “Does “X” come next or is it “Y”?”, so yeah, I think a guided class is the way forward for the moment, and as luck would have it, there’s a guided class on a Tuesday evening that would fit in time-wise, with finishing work.

Yoga aside, the weather has finally got reasonable enough that I have started cycling to work again. As well as being healthier for me and the environment, it’s healthier for my wallet to the tune of £57 a month, so that’s a good reason to do it.

Next thing I’ve got to look forward to is our trip to Thailand in a little over a month. We’re away for three weeks, and are taking in Phuket, Chang Mai, and finally Bangkok, with two nights in Dubai to break up the flight home.
I’m hoping I can try surfing again in Phuket. I took some lessons in Bali last year as it’s something I’d always wanted to try (I used to skateboard, and I snowboard intermittently) and I finally got to try it and it was as amazing as I’d hoped. So I really want to do it again.

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Throwback Thursday

Back to last year when we visited a Buddhist temple in Bali (and lots of Hindu ones too).

Bali temple

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