travel

Tour of Ayrshire and yoga by the beach

Had a really good weekend. Friday evening after work we headed to Troon. Weather was fantastic. Had a wander along the beach, did some spontaneous yoga on the sea wall (pic below), had a really nice curry, and finished off with a round of mini golf.

Saturday we headed into town to the GFT to see the new Anne Hathaway movie, Colossal. It’s superb. Really enjoyed it.

Sunday, Karen’s friend Mia came over, and we jumped in the car and headed to the beach again, this time Girvan. After a wander round, which included a visit to the community garden (well worth a visit), where Karen and Mia bought tomato plants, we jumped back in the car, and headed along the coast to Ayr, for another beach, some ice cream, and a look in the shops.

All in all a good (if tiring) weekend.
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De-stuffyfing

So I’ve decided. I need to be brutal about clearing out. I need to squirrel away as much spare cash as I can. I don’t need stuff, I need to travel. I’m ultimately preparing for when I can stop work and start to travel, and I don’t need stuff holding me back.

Much as I love cd’s, I can listen to mp3’s. Yes, I’ll miss not being able to hold onto something tangible, but I won’t miss the clutter.

To get the ball rolling I’ve got some dvd’s and cd’s to take to the 2nd hand record store later.

It’ll be good to not be mentally bogged down by physical items.

The holiday to Bali seems like it was years ago, when in reality it was only 2 weeks ago I got back. I need to find the calm I had when I was there. I’m back to work and back to reality, and I don’t particularly like it. So I need to plan for my get away, and make that a priority.
I can’t wait until I’m too old and infirm to get away, I need to do it in the next few years.

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Ganesha

Thought I’d share this photo of a statue of Ganesha that I came across on my holiday to Bali.
Ganesha

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Home again, home again, jiggedy jig*

(*bonus point if you recognise the quote)

So I’m back from my travels.  3 nights in Bangkok, 11 nights in Bali and 3 nights in Dubai.
I keep a travel journal, so there will be a link to the site I’ll post that on.  Means that this page isn’t clogged with almost 3 weeks worth of drivel that some people won’t be interested in, but anyone that weirdly might want to read about my travels, can nip over to my Blogger page and read the full story.

As a morsel to whet your appetites, here’s a selfie I took of me in a Balinese sarong (required for all for temple visits, so I thought what the hell and bought one.  Also, there’s plenty of people – male and female – both locals and tourists, just wearing them as everyday wear.)
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Last day

So, last day of work before my trip. Off to Bali, with a 3 night stop in Bangkok on the way out.
I’ve never been to Thailand or Bali, and I’m really looking forward to this.
I’ve just missed the Bali Spirit Fest, which was a couple of weeks ago, so that’s a bit of a shame, but I’m taking a yoga mat with me, so I don’t have any excuses.
Bangkok is going to be a food-fest for me.  It’s great timing as I’ve just finished my diet today.  Lost 6 1/2 inches round my belly.  I need to make sure that I keep to sensible eating now and not get back into bad habits.
Weirdly though, not that I CAN eat bread and sweets if I want, I seem to have lost the craving.  That’s not a bad thing, so long may that continue.

 

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Winding down

As I type this, the last 3D print I’m doing this semester is currently being printed.  This afternoon I’ve got some sensors to start wiring up, and then I can breathe a sigh when that’s done, and just think about the trip I’m taking.

3 nights in Bangkok, 11 in Bali and 3 in Dubai.  I’ve got a couple of trips and a surf lesson booked for Bali.  My recently replaced yoga mat is coming with me so I can get each day off to a good start, and I’m coming off the diet which has seen me lose just under 7″ from my belly, and the sensible eating regime (not going back to eating processed foods packed full of sugar, and continuing to eat salads, which I never used to.  Increasing the amount of excercise (I cut back due to lack of carbs) should keep me from returning to my previously comfortably padded belly.
I’m not deluding myself, I know I’ll put a bit back on, but I need to stick to sensible eating, and only eat junk once a month on games night.

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The great outdoors

Well that was a great wee weekend.

Started off after work on Friday, with a leaving do for one of the other techs who retired.  I only stayed a couple of hours, as I had to get sorted for the next day’s trip, but my line-manager told me he finally left at 11pm, 7 hours after we arrived 🙂

Saturday, we headed to Gartmore House where we were booked in for the night.  After checking in, we hopped back in the car, and headed to Aberfoyle for a wander round, before jumping back in the car and heading to Callander for a while, before finally heading back to Gartmore House and dinner.

The food was excellent (as usual).  This was the third time we’ve stayed there, and the food has always been great.  My wife is coeliac, and there’s Free From bread, and soya milk, so she’s catered for as well, which a lot of more expensive places don’t seem to do.
After dinner, we just heading into the lounge and had  a few games of Ouril.  We’d taken the set that I picked up in Cape Verde along.  Easy game to learn, but I suspect it could take a while to get really good at it.

Yesterday, after a substantial breakfast, we got a map of local forest walks from the reception, checked out, and went for a nice long walk before heading back home.

Great weekend, and getting out and doing something, rather than slobbing out with Netflix, was great (Not that I’m averse to the odd box set binge 😀  )

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Not posed for at all pic of me by a wee stream

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Bike ride to Balloch

On Wednesday, I’d taken a day off work after checking the weather forecast, and decided to cycle the 21 miles from the house to Balloch.
I’d been wanting to do this for a while, but the weather and the timing had been off.  On Wednesday, everything just clicked.

I’ve not done this before, but getting from the house to join NCR7 was simple enough and I joined at the Bells bridge at the SECC before heading for Balloch.
The route takes in Clydebank, Yoker, Dumbarton, Renton and Balloch following the Forth and Clyde canal.

It’s a really nice ride once you’re out of the city, and I completely lost track of time.  Before I knew it I had arrived at Balloch and Loch Lomond.
I was getting a lift back from my wife, so I gave her a call, and while I was waiting I grabbed some breakfast.

So a great wee morning out.  Really enjoyed it and will definitely do it again, but extend the ride to finish at Luss

 

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Boats moored at Bowling

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The Maid of the Loch

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Loch Lomond

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The trusty steed at Loch Lomond

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Missing out

Today I was supposed to be going to Arran with a couple of friends from work, one of whom is going to climb Ben Nevis in later in the year to raise money for charity, and we were going to climb Goatfell, which is a hill I’ve always wanted to do.
EXCEPT, this week my left foot has been giving me gyp.  No idea what I’ve done to it.  On Monday morning I was hobbling about.  By yesterday it was a bit achey if I was on my feet for too long.
Today, it’s fine, and I reckon I would have been ok to do the hill, but with it still being a bit sore yesterday, I never took today off work.

To rub salt into the wound, the weather is stunning, and I’ve already had one text saying that it’s absolutely glorious weather down at Ardrossan, where they’re catching the ferry to Arran. By now they should be in Broddick, and I’m stuck at work, and the weather is stunning, and I’ve still not climber Goatfell.

Ach well, maybe next time.

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They call me the wanderer….

Not posted for a while.  Been away on my travels.

We booked a trip for my 50th* to Vietnam via Hong Kong on the way out, and Dubai on the way back.  Vietnam has been on my bucket list for years, and now I can tick it off, BUT I really would love to go back, it’s a fantastic country.

First stop was Hong Kong, which was initially a bit overwhelming, as there are masses of people everywhere.  By the time we had to leave 3 days later, I was starting to get my head round it, and I want to go back.  I think we had too short a stay and tried to cram a lot in, so it seemed a lot more hectic than it was, but it’s still one hell of a busy place.
Managed to squeeze in a trip to Macau as well.

Next stop was Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh city.  Wow!  Fantastic place.  Very busy, but easier to handle than the crowds in Hong Kong.  The traffic on the other hand!  Red lights only seem to apply to cars.  You get a green man to cross the road, and have to dodge the hundreds of scooters and mopeds for whom road rules don’t seem to apply.
Red light?  I’ll ignore that.
One way street?  I’ll ride against the flow unless it’s really busy, then I’ll ride on the pavement.
It’s all a bit nuts, but once you get your head round it and just accept that’s how it is, it’s not really a problem.  When crossing the road, just keep walking, the bikes will go round the back of you, but don’t stop and don’t step back. That’s when you’ll have an accident.

The war museum is a must see.  Some very harrowing photos from the war, and the Chu Chi tunnels which were used by the Vietcong, is another must visit.
For a great atmosphere, head to the backpacker area where you can eat and drink really cheaply, and if you fancy a fake Rolex, head to the market and start haggling.  The watches look decent quality, and you can haggle down to about a third of the price if you’re determined.

On to Hoi An, and we got there in time to see the Full Moon lantern festival which was beautiful.
The town itself is easy enough to navigate, and if you get lost, taxis are easily available, all run on a meter, and are very cheap.
Look out for signs saying “fresh beer 5,000”.  You can get a half pint of beer for 5,000VND (about £0.17) or you can splurge for a bottle of Tiger for about £1.00.
We ate mostly in the market, where there are lots of little kitchens with benched seating round them.  Sit down, order, and minutes later you’re tucking in to some really excellent street food, at a fantastic price.

After Hoi An we had a couple of days just vegging out poolside in Dubai before heading home.

Finally, here’s a picture of the largest rubber duck I’ve ever seen.  It’s in Macau.

 

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(*I’m not 50 for a couple of months, but if we’d waited till then it would have been the rainy season)

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