Three Things Thursday; UAE top three

Happy 2017 readers! And with a short crimbo holiday under my belt to aid in the recovery from finally completing my studies (huzzah), I brought in the new year with three…

…fun things to do on a trip to the United Arab Emirates. More


Three Things Thursday; ancient things of Oman

Q: What do you do if you’re a fast-developing oil economy with outrageously beautiful natural resources caught in a slowdown ?

A: Turn to tourism and hope you can successfully diversify in time to stop it all going down the pan.

Winter Is Coming. And in Oman this is time for great celebration. We can finally venture out of the house during daylight hours without the fear of being burned up like vampires. The Eid holiday at the start of September gave me an opportunity to take advantage of this and head through the Hajjar mountains and into the Interior for a couple of days. In my inimitable “explore-by-random-accident-rather-than-any-conspicuous-planning”style, what I encountered was glorious and wholly unexpected. Wonderful for me, problematic for the country unless it seeks to dramatically expand its capacity and infrastructure for tourism.

With few road signs and little in the way of a comprehensive guide to reaching and enjoying the best of Oman, I cobbled together a great couple of days’ of exploring. In the spirit of sharing, here are three…

… wonderful ancient sights in Oman. More

How to travel through the Balkans by bus


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

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’


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.


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?


Busan or Bust: epilogue

Or, “Things my bike has taught me.”

In which I reflect on beginners’ lessons about bikes and parts, packing for a cycling trip and how to cycle long distances comfortably, and also include links to all the useful information that helped me along the way.

On the way in Hangang park

On the way in Hangang park

About parts and packing:

Busan or Bust: Days 6 and 7 ~ setbacks, surprises and the End of the Road

In which my body is falling apart, the bikes are falling apart, but we finally make it to Busan and THE BEACH

Day 6 ~ 남지 to 양산 (Namji to Yangsan) 70km

Day 7 ~ 양산 to 해운대, 부산 (Yangsan to Haeundae beach, Busan) 40km

You can also navigate from Yangsan to Busan Seomyeon station using Jan Boonstra‘s live Google Map.

The end of the trail

The end of the trail

The story so far
Day 6 started in high spirits with a lie-in until 8am and fine weather. We trotted merrily down to pack up the bikes in the parking garage below our motel and disaster struck. Wonderboy’s valve blew, and I discovered that, despite meticulous bike parts planning, I had neglected to pack, or even acquire, a spanner.

Busan or Bust: Day 5 ~ ‘will I make it out of this alive’ day

In which I discover trick hills and trick trail signs and am aided by a longed-for tailwind

Day 5 ~ 대구 to 남지 (Daegu to Namji) around 100km

4Rivers guide here.

The story so far

It was great to be back on the road after our day off in Daegu. Prepared for the worst, but hoping for the best, I strapped on newly purchased ankle supports, lowered the bike seat a little further, and hit the road.



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