Since it is only half an hour’s train ride from Birmingham, we went to visit the birthplace of William Shakespeare today. The photo above is his actual childhood bedroom. As there is a £5 per person walking tour we decided to start with that and learn a bit about the town.
Continue reading Stratford-upon-Avon
Ten points for any reader who can guess the connection between these two areas of Birmingham without scrolling down the page. Felicity had a 10 am appointment in Moseley, so we decided to catch the bus instead of walking and arriving hot and sweaty. We wondered how we would pay the fare, and were impressed to discover that any credit or debit card can just be touched on the card reader. This technology is coming to NZ over the next few years.
Continue reading Moseley and Edgbaston
When we heard that the medieval town of Ludlow on the edge of the Shropshire Hills is one of the most attractive in the country, it shot to the top of our list for a day’s outing. We had to change trains at Shrewsbury, so it was nearly lunchtime by the time we arrived. Continue reading Ludlow
When we told people where we were planning to base ourselves in the UK, the reaction was almost universal: “Birmingham? Why on earth would anyone want to go there?” After our first few days here, our conclusion is that the city’s biggest problem is its public relations, because it is a attractive and interesting place.
Continue reading Birmingham Central City
We arrived in Pisa by train just after lunch, and quickly realised that we could have seen most of the sights with only one night’s stay. We spent the afternoon exploring the section of town that doesn’t have the leaning town and the cathedral. Continue reading Pisa
Our walk today began in the small town of San Martino sul Fiora, about half an hour’s drive from the previous night’s acommodation. We had just enjoyed one of the best breakfasts of the trip so far – fresh melon, muesli and yoghurt followed by the most vivid orange eggs I have ever seen. The taste reassured me that it was due to the quality of their feed rather than some chemical additive.
Continue reading Saturnia
Our route for the day started by heading out of Pitigliano down the now familiar Via Cave di Poggio Cane, but when we reached the highway we turned in a new direction and followed a couple of roads until we reached the beginning of the Via Cave di San Guiseppe.
Continue reading Sovana
Today’s walk was mercifully quite short, as we are spending a second night in Pitigliano. The town has a population of about 4000 people, and although it was once another Etruscan settlement its name dates back to Roman times.
Continue reading Pitigliano
Vitozza was one of the largest cave settlements in central Italy, and has over 200 dwellings excavated from the volcanic tuff stone. It was inhabited from Etruscan times (around 800 BC) until the end of the 18th century.
Continue reading Vitozza
We were dropped off at the end of a small country road near San Valentino in the early afternoon, so we only walked a kilometer or so before stopping under a shady oak tree to eat lunch. Soon after we set off again, the road petered out into a grassy track and eventually we came to a sign advising us that we were at the beginning of the Via Cava di San Carlo. Continue reading Sorano
Our instructions for getting from Orvieto train station to our accommodation were to take a taxi, because the town is over a hundred meters up on top of a steep cliff. When we asked a taxi driver to take us however, he told us that the road was closed for the day because of a “celebrazione”. Fortunately, there is a funicular railway as an alternative. Continue reading Orvieto
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