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

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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

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

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

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Of goats and forts

Fort view over Nizwa

Fort view over Nizwa

Everyone loves a goat. And surely every traveller enjoys a good fort, too. My recent travels have included both, together, in two different countries and very different parts of the world.
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Three Things Thursday; places to see in Da Lat

I recently got to spend an unexpected bonus six weeks travelling around Vietnam – o happy days – so this month I share with you three lovely places…

Da Lat market

Da Lat market

…you can visit in Da Lat, southern Vietnam.

The name Da Lat may ring unhappy bells for news followers. Several days after I was there in February the town hit international headlines for all the wrong reasons when a group of adventure-seekers encountered tragedy at a waterfall. This mountain idyll is a feature on the backpacker circuit of Vietnam because of its adventure sports opportunities, which include waterfall treks, zip lining and biking. Its mountain climate also makes it an attractive getaway for those based in HCMC, following in a long tradition set by the colonial French, who built their summer house getaways there.

Ensconced in the hilly Lam Dong province at 1500 metres, Da Lat is an 8 hour bus ride or one hour flight from Ho Chi Minh City. I picked up a $20 flight with JetStar, having read scare stories online about the bus journey. I later discovered that the people writing the scare stories were probably just unlucky as the bus journey is fine. Not being much of a one for adventure sports, I stuck to pootling around by rented pushbike, and found the town had plenty of more sedate sights to offer.

Thing 1 ~ the Crazy House More

Three Things Thursday; Aged Things

For the first Three Things of the year I’m in my own back yard, for once. So I would like to present for your delection Three Historic…

…cities worth a visit in the UK.

For the first time I’m on a visit home outside of the constricts of work holidays, being currently ‘between jobs.’ This has resulted in a pleasantly extended visit and the opportunity to make a number of day trips. We’ve even fished out the passports and braved the heavily fortified borders of Wales and Scotland for extended adventures.

No, not really. We left the passports at home and snuck over like all the other illegal migrants from England in search of a better life. More

Three Things Thursday

It’s less than a fortnight until I depart Korea and my wonderful home in Seoul for good, so this month I present for you my Top Three Things…

…to get up to in Korea.

Thing 1 ~ cross country cycling

I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of amazing holidays in the last few years, but my cross-country bikeride from Seoul to Busan in June this year was one of my favourite holidays ever. I finally completed the Seoul to Ara Hangang West Sea Lock just last weekend when, after days of frustrating packing and paperwork preparing for the move, we decided to blow off some steam by jumping on the bikes for the 40km ride west towards Incheon and the beginning / end of the full 4 Rivers trail. It gave a nice sense of closure both to our summer adventure and to the wonderful and incredibly active life we’ve enjoyed for our two years here.

The full, day-by-day account of my June bike-venture has all the gory details, which I won’t go into again here. Suffice to say that everyone I have read about or spoken to who has tackled this momentous journey concurs – it is one of the greatest adventures they’ve ever had, inside or outside of Korea. And I think there are several good reasons why, many of which are reasons I’ll really miss this place when I leave.

Firstly, a reason many Koreans give when describing why they’d never move to another country on a permanent basis: More

Three Things Thursday

For your reading and viewing pleasure, here are three …

…museums that are worth a visit in Seoul.

Thing 1 ~ War Memorial of Korea

I’m not a fan of war. Aside from Hannibal and his elephants, great feats of military prowess are lost on me. Weapons, tanks and guns just make me sadder the older I get and the more I see them used around the world, so I wasn’t going to bother visiting the War Memorial of Korea. However, then I remembered that I had been similarly dubious about the Imperial War Museum North before I visited, and that in fact, museums with war featuring conspicuously in their titles are often more of an educational experience to highlight why we should All Just Stop Fighting.

War Memorial of Korea

War Memorial of Korea

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Busan or Bust: Day 3 ~ ‘make’ day

In which I conquer Ihwaryang pass and escape a rainstorm in the nick of time

Day 3 ~ 수안보 to 상주시 (Suanbo to Sangju) 80km

4Rivers guide here.

Day 3

Day 3

The story so far

I started today’s ride with a photo before we set off from the lacklustre Motel Gloria in Suanbo, convinced from other blogs I’d read that today, hill climb day, could be the ‘break’ day for my legs and my suffering bike. Instead, it has definitely been the ‘make’ day, in which I have discovered that I was, in fact, born to bike, and should immediately quit any other line of work and spend the rest of my life on epic cycle trails around the globe.
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