Grand Tour #47; The North Coast of the North
I picked up my friend the reclusive poet and we headed west. Towards the setting sun. Towards where the sun was supposed to be setting. We couldn’t see it. So … Continue reading
Grand Tour #46; Death and Grannies.
Grannies and Death. I used to live here. I was born here and I left. I have an incurable infection with the Travel Bug. But my mother doesn’t. Neither does … Continue reading
Grand Tour #45; The Art of Travel
The Art of Belfast. It is there. You can find it if you look. When we travel we go to markets. We go to all sorts of markets. Lots of … Continue reading
Grand Tour #44; A Great Big Sewer in Dublin
It was the last day of a huge Medical Conference in Dublin called SMACC and frankly I had had enough. I was tired. I was emotional. Dr Kass Thomas had made … Continue reading
Grand Tour #43; Inverary & Loch Fyne
It is our last day in Scotland and I am not happy. Scotland has been a treat, a real treat. It is not as if I didn’t know that it … Continue reading
Grand Tour #42; The Caledonian Canal or Avoiding the Wrath of Cape Wrath.
It was mostly pouring rain. We had some nice country to look at when it wasn’t pouring rain. When it was pouring rain we washed ourselves of the smell of … Continue reading
Grand Tour #41; Building Bridges. Loving your neighbours.
After Applecross, the pass of the Cattle, lots of fish/chips and a very long days driving we headed for a local Bed & Breakfast The owners were negative Christians who … Continue reading
Grand Tour #40; The High Road or The Low Road in The Highlands.
Scotland is heaven. I know it’s not heaven for most people. For those that think it is heaven it’s really not that close for most of the year. I need … Continue reading
Grand Tour #39; The Holy Island of Lindisfarne
Way up north, past where the north is genuinely north, up where northern England is further north than southern Scotland, there is a little island. A holy island. It is … Continue reading
Grand Tour #38; Rainbows in Hebden Bridge.
Rainbows in Hebden Bridge After a day on the Regents Canal and a hilarious night with old friends in Angel we had to move north. We had planned to stay … Continue reading
Grand Tour #37; Grand Re-Union Canal
I used to live here. A lifetime ago. For 5 years I lived on a Narrowboat, in Kingsland Basin, in London’s inner North East. I lived in an area called De … Continue reading
Grand Tour #36; Hip Hipster London
London has portrayed itself as “Hip” ever since it was hip. That was a while ago. It’s really not that hip anymore. It is huge. It is moneyed. It has … Continue reading
Grand Tour #35 Legoland Windsor; More Sith than Jedi. (Including 13 Tips to defend yourself against the Dark Side.)
Kids Bucket Lists. It seems a little wrong for an 8 or 10 year old to have a bucket list but still we had lists. And on that list was … Continue reading
Grand Tour #34. Right. Rights. Right of Way.
Borders. Boundaries. Rules and Roads. Rights of way. So this is England. I used to live in England. And on my return I have friends to see and people to … Continue reading
Grand Tour #33; Looking at a submarine disaster with your Children.
Getting in a train and going to another country under the sea should be fun. Right? We got up early. Too early. For a three hour drive to Calais. Cormac … Continue reading
Grand Tour #32; Champagne Moments; Celebrating France.
Champagne Moments. French Culture is great. French food is great. French wine is great. The greatest french wine might be Champagne. Champagne is weird. (Entirely appropriately.) Its a funny drink … Continue reading
Grand Tour #31; Violence in France.
I am against violence. I’ve lived and worked in countries experiencing civil wars. I’ve visited others. I’ve been affected by terrorism campaigns. I’ve been “racially profiled”. I have been targeted … Continue reading
Grand Tour #30; Musée du quai Branly. Why and where from?
Paris. We walked. We talked. We reached our destination. Musée du quai Branly. Quai Branly is a Museum. It is an interesting Museum with an interesting story behind it. A … Continue reading
Grand Tour #29; Sarkozy, Clichy and Justice for all.
There are few inevitable things in this world. We have death. We have taxes and we have the seeming unstoppable wave of gentrification that spreads inexorably outwards in the capitals … Continue reading
Grand Tour #27 One Dozen Travel Tips for crossing continents with kids. Or “How to Fly your family around the globe and not hate everyone/everything!”
Overnight. Long Haul. Intercontinental. Cattle Class. Kids. Hell. The Grand Tour leaves Vietnam and heads to Europe. Oh Oh! Here’s some background. 8 years ago my family tried to travel … Continue reading
Grand Tour #26 Drop me in the water
I was in the sauna for the 4th time when it struck me. I had bathed myself 12 times and swam in the pool 4 times in the last 24 … Continue reading
Grand Tour #25 Dazed and Confused on the backstreets of Saigon.
It is 06:00 am. We’ve trundled through the night on another epic train trip. Our last in Vietnam. I had one too many cold beers staring out the window, watching … Continue reading
Top Ten Travel Tips for Families on Overnight Trains in Vietnam (Grand Tour #24)
Top Ten Train Travel Tips for Families in Overnight Sleeper Trains in Vietnam. Hue to Saigon. We are off again on our fifth sleeper experience. This has become a family … Continue reading
Grand Tour #23 Looking Out. Looking in.
Looking out. Looking in. There are temples, there are graves. There are boats, there are waves. My daughter, Aoife, and I left the rest of the family behind for a … Continue reading
Grand Tour #22; Museum. Peace.
Museum Piece. Museum. Peace. There is no shortage of museums in Vietnam. They have buildings. They have history. They have exhibits. They have largely been set up by the vestiges … Continue reading
Grand Tour #21; Fear of Food. Fear of Tours.
A Fear of Food. A Fear of Tours. After nearly four weeks in Vietnam I got over my fear of tours. The Tour I was willing to risk was a special … Continue reading
Grand Tour #20; The Only Way to Travel.
Travel by rail in Vietnam is easy. It really is. You only have to do it once or twice before you start getting a feel for it. Number one tip … Continue reading
Grand Tour #19; Gardening in Tranquil Tra Que
It took an hour of dragging the kids out of bed and out of the bedroom but we got there. We got there later than I had hoped and it … Continue reading
Grand Tour #18; Take me to the River
Rivers. Take me to the river. Drop me in the water. Or drop me in a little boat anyway. Everywhere I go I am attracted to rivers. When I walk, … Continue reading
Grand Tour #17; A Night in The Museum.
My name is Doug. I am a tourist. It’s an admission that one has to make. Tourism can be good and it can be bad. Tourism can bring much needed … Continue reading
Grand Tour 2015 #16; The Dirty Dozen Travel Tips for families on Vietnam Sleeper Buses.
There is a first time for everything and if you’re thinking it’s the first time for a sleeper bus experience in Vietnam it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Here’re … Continue reading
Grand Tour 2015 #15; The Sleeper Bus Episode; One long, long journey into the night.
The kids were excited. I was a little bit scared. 16 hours in a space designed for someone about 16 inches shorter than I was one thing. 16 hours of … Continue reading
Grand Tour 2015 #14; Easy Rider, Top Gear & Pedestrianism.
Easy Rider. It’s more than a movie. It’s a brand. It’s a brand in Dalat anyway. In fact it has become a brand all over the place in Vietnam. Everywhere … Continue reading
Grand Tour 2015 #13; Dalat & Hipsters without Beards
Dalat is Cool. It’s all kinds of cool. It has cool architecture. Cool climate. Cool history. Cool overload. With cool overload comes hipsters. In truth Dalat had much more Vietnamese … Continue reading
Grand Tour 2015 #12; Wet Bikes
It rains in Vietnam. It properly rains. We missed the serious wet but we still caught some brilliant downpours. Kids loved it. I loved it. Its like the world going … Continue reading
Grand Tour 2015 #11; The Real Train Station in Dalat
We stayed in the Dalat Train Villas. This isn’t about the accommodation. This is about the Train Station which is a fabulous piece of Art Deco Architecture. Its not connected to … Continue reading
Aoifes Opinion. Accommodation Review #4; Dalat Train Villas.
We took a four-hour bus to Dalat from Nha Trang. It was quite a busy ride but not bad. We stayed at Dalat Train Villas. It is called “Dalat Train … Continue reading
Grand Tour 2015 #10 & Microdaventure #3; No Room at the Inn in Dalat.
Plans Change. You have to adapt. There was a huge public holiday on in Vietnam over the last few days. It was not only the 40th anniversary of the end … Continue reading
Grand Tour 2015 #9; Nha Trang.
Nha Trang is a well established tourist destination on the south coast of Vietnam. It’s just not the sort of place we go. Maybe I am a snob. It’s a … Continue reading
Cormacs Comics #2; Toothpickman (& Associates)
Cormac is back with his wild and wonderful world of heroes and comics. This is a behind the scenes peek into how these characters are created. Cormac can spends seconds, … Continue reading
Grand Tour 2015 #8; Another World
Nha Trang. Its brave new world of long established russian tourism, a great big beach and a lot less rubbish. Backpackers and parties. Cocktails and sun and sand and kite … Continue reading
Grand Tour 2015 #7; Joining the main stream
Good Night to the sun. And hello to the next phase. We left our two faced world of Ho Tram Beach; rubbish and fishermen versus luxury and protected community. I … Continue reading
Grand Tour 2015 #6; Fishing Villages & Tourist Beaches
Ho Tram Beach. A very real Vietnamese fishing village with very real Vietnamese Fishermen, fishing boats and indeed fish. And rubbish. Lots of rubbish. Then there is the surreal. There … Continue reading
Grant Tour 2015 #5; Seafood or Sealife
A working Beach. A beach that is worked. Not a beach that is stared at and enjoyed as an aesthetic thing. Not a romantic notion. Working beaches have boats dragged … Continue reading
Grand Tour 2015 #4; Sea Creatures (Them and Us)
Food. One of the most amazing things about Vietnam has been the food. People rave about it. There are TV shows about it. My beloved absolutely adores it. But its … Continue reading
Road Schooling #1; Bad Day at School
Some things are hard. Teaching is hard. I think being a good teacher is one of the most difficult and one of the most valuable jobs there is. I couldn’t … Continue reading
Aoife’s Opinion; Accommodation Review #2 “Hotel Majestic”
For our first two nights in Vietnam we stayed in Hotel Majestic in Ho Chi Minh City. It was built in 1925. It is very “cheesy” though. They seemed to … Continue reading
Grand Tour 2015 #3; The Route So Far
The hair is getting big. The Chilli tolerance is growing. The bags are getting smaller. In fact we are already chucking stuff out. Turns out we could go lighter. We … Continue reading
Big Hair #3
Its Monday. This trip is only one week old and the hair is getting big. Dominique cleverly tried to minimise her hair before this trip. Thats the spirit; LessBaggage Less … Continue reading