Stop all the the Locks!

P1020746

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’

More

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.

More

The red shoes – a tale of twelve countries

On starting work and getting to know new classes, a favourite game is two truths and a lie. Everyone has to think of two true (and preferably interesting) statements about themselves, and one lie, and their new classmates can ask questions to find out which statement is false. It’s a great icebreaker for the group and, if you do a demonstration as the teacher, the group gets to know a bit about you, too, which helps in building productive rapport.

Recently, Wonderboy played this game with a new class and included the statement, “I’ve been to eight countries this year” as one of his interesting facts. This threw the whole game out of order as no one in the room could believe such a thing could be true! In fact, even for me the last twelve months have involved an epic amount of travel. Travel all witnessed by a pair of cheap pumps which I bought this time last year, specifically to see me through the biking holiday I went on last June.

Here, from the perspective of the Red Shoes, is a photo record of my travel adventures, June 2015 to June 2016.

Red Shoes' first day out - Seoul

Red Shoes’ first day out – Seoul

More

Image

Run day Monday: Bosphorus 6km

Bebek run on the Bosphorus: 6km

Bosphorus 6km

Bosphorus 6km

Map courtesy of Mappedometer.com. Route 530118.

Continuing a theme of finding waterways to run along, this month I’m taking a cross-Balkan holiday and my first stop is the truly incomparable city of Istanbul*. What’s a girl to do but run along the iconic, historic, and fabulously beautiful Bosphorus?

I chose a 6km route along the upmarket area of Bebek.  The path becomes narrow and crowded away from the waterfront, so while villages like Bebek and neighbouring Arnavutköy are well set-up for runners, much of the rest of the coast road is just plain road running. If you’re in the mood for a short run with no hassle, a waterfront 6km is perfect here. More

How to travel through Central Vietnam by bus

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to end up with a spare six weeks on my hands in Vietnam on a single-entry visa, so what better to do than explore the country and travel slow?

More

Three Things Thursday; Food in Oman

I’ve landed in a totally new destination which has confounded all my expectations in wonderful ways. As always, my best settling-in technique is to dive in mouth-first, so this month here are three more…

Dried food

Dried dates, dried bread, dried fish, dried milk balls, dry black lemon powder

…unusual nutritional items.

Amazing Iranian restaurant

Amazing Iranian restaurant

One thing I’m really enjoying about living in Muscat is what a multicultural city it is. This has its perks and downfalls, but compared to the places I’ve lived in the last five years, there’s greater level of diversity, and this is most easily appreciable in the food on offer. The slowly returning Omani diaspora from Baluchistan and Zanzibar bring fusion Arabian / South Asian and Arabian / African dishes. There’s also a wealth of Iranian food from our neighbours across the Strait of Hormuz, famous for their sweets. My nearest cheap meal out is an eye-popping Iranian restaurant which I mistook for a light fittings shop at first glance. And I’m in my personal food heaven as the huge Indian expat community dominates food outlets and supermarket options.
More

Previous Older Entries

Feathered friends

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 147 other followers

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 147 other followers