Travels and changes

How much can change in six years? Well, it turns out pretty much everything. Hair colour (used to be kind of brown-and-blonde, now obnoxious red over far too much grey), goals (didn’t really have anything specific in mind other than ‘travel’ and ‘have adventures’, now aiming for early retirement somewhere warm with a farm and a goat), hobbies (used to be dancing at every opportunity, now brewing tropical ciders in my broom cupboard and tropical compost in my garden) and a host of other superficial and more profound things.

A younger me in pursuit of adventures. Shortly pre-CELTA

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Run day Monday: Worldwide WordPress 5k (wwwp5k)

The start of the WordPress community’s Worldwide 5km community blog n’ run coincided precisely with this month’s runday Monday, so rather than a new route, I did an old route at a new time of day and hit the road early.

MSQ 6kmMap courtesy of Mappedometer.com. Route 539820.

Well – early-ish. I intended to set out by 8am but eventually got out there at 9.30am. The temperature already read 31°c and humidity was at around 75%.It was pretty hot, but nowhere near as bad as the height of summer. More

How to travel through the Balkans by bus

skopje-statue-wonderland

Let’s go!

Last month I wrote a dedicated guide to Albania on the same topic, because bus travel in Albania deserves a post all of its own. This month is a quick guide to the rest of my bus route through the Balkans. More

Three Things Thursday; Nguyen tombs of Hue

I’m reading northern blogs hinting at the signs of the end of the summer and the first signs of autumn with hopeful anticipation. Temperatures have teasingly dropped a little here at the south east corner of the Arabian peninsula, but the ferocious summer shows few signs of letting up just yet. So while I wait for a glorious winter to roll on in and allow me to showcase the best of Oman, I’m reaching back to the archives again for this month’s Three Things in order to share Three Nguyen Tombs…

…you can reach under your own steam in Hue, Vietnam. More

Stop all the the Locks!

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Love locks at Namsan

When did fences become a magnet for juvenile declarations of love? Is there a moment in recent history when a film depicted someone visiting a hardware store in search of the perfect vehicle for their declaration of undying devotion, coming across a padlock, and thinking, “At last! I’ve found the messenger I’ve been searching for! Now, where’s my damn engraving pen?”

Well apparently yes, there is. More

Run day Monday: MQ (Madinat Sultan Qaboos) 5.5km

Neighbourhood run around MSQ: 5.5km

MSQ 6km

Map courtesy of mappedometer.com. Route 539820.

It’s hot, it’s humid, and the beach is just too darn short. Time to eat dust and work out a gritty run around the neighbourhood. More

How to navigate the bus system in Albania

Or: an Ode to global Bus Travel

Chatting with some fellow travellers in the middle of my recent Istanbul to Zagreb ruins-and-beaches hop, I discovered how odd my choice of vehicle seemed to many others undertaking a similar trip. The idea of European train travel popularised by films such as Before Sunrise and enjoyed by countless students every summer revolved around railways and the (nowadays) phenomenally expensive Interrail ticket – or the even more expensive Eurail pass for non-European citizens.

The two women I was speaking to had hired a car for their journey. This is another popular choice, although if you’re travelling in a line rather than making a circuit fees for different pick-up and drop-off points kick in, and once you start to country-hop these can ramp up quite fast.

Nope, you can save your trains and cars. For me, the most economical and frankly most interesting way to travel a long distance relatively quickly is the humble public bus.

“But I can’t do that. I’m travelling through ten countries, none of which speak a language I’m familiar with!” I hear you cry.

Fear not, linguistically baffled traveller, for here follows my common sense guide on how to navigate any bus system, anywhere, but with particular reference to Albania.

Berat museum city

Berat ‘museum city’

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Three Things Thursday

This month for your added-value delight I present…

…three more great museums in Seoul.

After a period on peculiar working hours in my last job, I found myself with three months of Friday afternoons going spare and undertook to visit a different museum every week. My top three museums were wrapped up in a Three Things post that proved enduringly popular, but there were other, equally interesting and beautifully put-together museums, three of which I’m sharing here.

This time, it’s a combination of ancient and modern history which, taken together, furnished me with some invaluable cultural reference points and a much greater appreciation for a number of aspects of the national psyche. It also gave me a lot to talk about with Korean friends and students who appreciated the interest in their history, culture, and language. More

Three great waterway runs in the Balkans

My journey through the Balkans brought me a lot of sights, Brexit, and a homesickness for Europe that I’d forgotten. It also brought a bunch of fantastically beautiful places to run, so I’m sharing a summary of my Pick of the Trots.

Still nursing unreliable knees from last September’s half marathon, and not hitting my stride yet in the heat of the middle-east, this holiday gave me the fresh cool air to get me back out on the track by running little and often in the true spirit of runsploring each new town. More

Three Things Thursday; three shades, none of which are grey

One thing travel involves a lot of is colour; whether it’s colourful individuals (we’ve all encountered ‘colourful characters’ in a hostel), colourful language (as in “f*@! this sh?#, why the hell don’t the buses work here?!?!?” or a number of other travel frustrations which can build up on a long journey), or in this case, colourful architecture and some creative protests.

This month I’m sharing some recent and not so recent colourful places from north Thailand and the Macedonian capital, Skopje.

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