The capital of Poland is a very different scale to any of the other cities in the country, all of which are under a million people. The population of “Varsharva”, as the locals pronounce it, is over 3 million. This makes it the 8th biggest city in the European Union, and it has one of the highest numbers of sky-scrapers.
Continue reading Warsaw
As Felicity’s mother’s family lived in a town just outside Lodz before they emigrated to the UK around the turn of the 20th century, we decided to see what we could learn about the place while we are visiting Poland. Lodz (pronounced Woodge) is the country’s third largest city, with a population of around 700,000.
Continue reading Lodz
For our last full day in Krakow, we booked a tour of the nearby Nazi death camp followed by a trip down a salt mine. I can now appreciate why the government here recently passed a law which forbids these camps being referred to as Polish. Continue reading Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine
We enjoyed our walking tour of the Jewish Quarter so much that we decided to do another walk around the old town with the same company. This time our guide was named Dimitri, and he was a student of linguistics, working part time to help pay for his studies.
Continue reading Krakow Old Town
I’ve spent the last couple of days exploring the area around Krakow on a hired mountain-bike while Felicity has been at the WONCA conference. Many Poles ride bikes, and there are bike trails all over the place.
Continue reading Biking around Krakow
On our first day in Krakow we set off from our apartment at Stradomska 5 (marked on the map below), and walked into the old town which is very close. The surrounding green park is just outside the city wall. When we arrived at Rynek Glowny (the main market square), the first thing we spotted was a group of tourists about to depart on a walking tour of the Jewish Quarter, so we decided to tag along. Continue reading Kazimierz – Krakow’s Jewish Quarter
On our way to Europe for a couple of months, we stopped for a couple of nights in Tokyo to break the trip. We were very lucky to have a fine sunny day, which we spent walking through some of the city’s parks.
Continue reading Tuesday in Tokyo
For what is probably our last kayaking trip for the summer, we decided to take advantage of relatively windless conditions and make another attempt to explore Kawhia Harbour. Last time we were here the waves were just too big for us to feel safe, but today the conditions were perfect. Continue reading Kawhia Harbour South Coast Kayak
Akaroa is a famous French settlement on a harbour at the southern side of Banks Peninsular near Christchurch. We parked for the night at the boat ramp, planning to go for a paddle first thing in the morning. Continue reading Akaroa Harbour
Because I wanted to visit my aunt in Alexandra we decided to stay for the night at a place just south of Roxburgh called Pinders Pond. To our astonishment there were already two Explorer Navigator motorhomes parked there side-by-side so we joined them. Continue reading Pinders Pond and Waihao Box
A few kilometers down the Clutha River from Millers Flat there is an old ghost town named Horseshoe Bend. At the height of the gold rush in 1863 it had a population of several hundred people. Today there are only a few signboards to mark its existance. Continue reading Horseshoe Bend
There is no freedom camping around Manapouri, so we parked for the night at a motorcamp in town. I spent the late afternoon catching up on some work while we had good internet. Continue reading Lake Manapouri
Lake Monowai provided us with perfect kayaking conditions today – flat, glassy water with beautiful views of the Fiordland mountains. It was created to supply one of the South Islands first hydro-electric power stations in 1925. Continue reading Lake Monowai
In between the town of Monowai and the South Arm of Lake Manapouri is a 45 km 4WD road across the Hunter Mountains that was built in the late 1960s to install power pylons connecting the Manapouri Power Station to the National Grid. At the far end is a campsite from which we hoped to launch our kayaks. Continue reading Borland Road and Mt Burns
Directly inland from Dunedin is the town of Lawrence, just outside of which is an area known as Gabriels Gully. Nowadays it is a DOC reserve in a pretty tree-lined valley, but its claim to fame is that in 1861 a bloke named Gabriel Read discovered gold there, and the Otago gold rush began. Continue reading Gabriels Gully
A little way south of the Catlins River is a place named Jacks Bay, which has a spectacular blowhole. We set off to visit it straight after breakfast while the tide was high. Continue reading Jacks Bay and Nugget Point
Because the weather was forecast to be wet, we planned to head out for a day trip and return to Curio Bay, but we changed our minds about mid-afternoon and ended up at Pounawea instead. The motor camp is on the edge of the Catlins River surrounded by mature bush, and there is more bird song than we have heard anywhere on our trip so far. Continue reading Catlins Coast to Owaka
If I had been asked a week ago where the southernmost point of the South Island was, I would have guessed Bluff, but in fact it is a place called Slope Point, a bit further east on the edge of the Catlins. Continue reading Waipapa Point and Curio Bay
At the Glenorchy end of Lake Wakatipu there are a couple of islands that you see from the highway, and we have always wanted to kayak there to explore. When we arrived in Queenstown yesterday and saw that the lake was flat and glassy we decided to take the opportunity. Continue reading Pigeon Island – Lake Wakatipu
At the top of the Matukituki River, which runs into Lake Wanaka, there is a track up to a lookout where visitors can admire the Rob Roy Glacier. The local tourist information center claims it is “one of the best half-day walks in NZ”, and I reckon they are probably right.
Continue reading Albert Town and Rob Roy Glacier