31 July 2015

three ways to unclog your travel writing blockages

Today's Sketches post is a little different from normal. In-line with the blogging challenge I'm doing its some advice on how I unclog the cobwebs and blockages that occur when writing about the travel industry. I hope that you will find them useful and enlightening? 

writers block
Having a moment!
Still a baby
I'm still a relative novice when it comes to blogging. It'll be one year in a few weeks time but the thought of having a brain blockage of ideas is always tinkling away at the back of my mind. I'm hoping these tips will go someway to stopping these blockages; think of them a bit like a domestic toilet detergent perhaps!

Tip 1: 
It's not all about destinations. Travel doesn't have to be about visiting a new location, it's an industry and niche that taps into all sorts of areas. Most of us are not lucky enough to go travelling and get paid for it so we need to use our imagination a bit. Think about it travel incorporates lifestyle, fashion, food, drink, attractions, travelling, airports, trains, boats, buses...you get the idea? So why not look at other niches because there will still be a travel element to them. Just look at my Coffee and Travel  or Food and Travel posts or the photo blogs and my creative writing (if you can call it that?) 

Tip 2:
Go fishing. I sometimes get a little pressured if I know its blog post day and I haven't finished or I'm not happy with what I've got already. So why not leave it a few days, move right away from the blogging world. Pick some blackberries (soon to happen here in the UK) or concentrate on your actual job or go travelling, even if its relatively local. The blog won't go away and not doubt you will come back refreshed with a bucket full of ideas. And being a travel person, a few days away should give you plenty of writable material.

Tip 3:
Travel issues. There's much to debate in the travel industry at present from HS2, the third runway in London to Disneyland Paris prices. These have all been in the press recently so why not throw in a few of your own ideas? I'm sure there are emotive subjects you can cover in your own countries. 

So there we go. I know its only a few ideas but hopefully you can share some of your own to help us all, as no doubt I'll need unclogging at some point in the future. 
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30 July 2015

food and travel

Holidays in Eden
Holidays are about enjoying, exploring, trying out new things, finding love, having never-to-be forgotten moments, finding oneself, meeting new friends, losing old friends! Packing too much, losing your inhibitions, losing your money! Chatting, chafing! being stuck at airports, losing your way, relaxing, not relaxing, reading trash magazines and novels you'll never pick up again, buying tacky gifts, wearing clothes you'll never dare to wear at home (Hawaiian shirts anyone?), drinking too much, forgetting your passport, burning your skin, getting married (by Elvis) and of course eating!

Keeping it Fresh 
Travel should always involve trying out local cuisine and speciality dishes of the region. The joys of having fresh fish, caught that morning or a steak that is as tender as can be from a local farmer all add to travels great pleasures. In the final part of the Menorca series we're looking at some of the great choices available (and a restaurant to visit) on this island and if you're into your seafood then I hope this Sketches post will help to persuade you to visit and to think about the importance of eating locally source food and just how much food of all sorts can / will enhance your travel experience. 

seafood
From the prepared to the fresh fish of the market, Menorca is a seafood paradise

The (plaice) to be....
Menorca has some amazing seafood, as I hope the above collage shows? If it's at a restaurant or bought from the local fish mongers you really can't go wrong, its just so fresh. We here in the UK really need to eat more fresh seafood, there really is nothing better. Perhaps we should start a seafood campaign (everyone eat fresh seafood once a week #eatfresh) are you with me?


As fresh as could be

Cafe Balear
One place you really should check out is Cafe Balear in Ciutadella down in the port region. The food here is fresh and beautifully cooked. The mussels shown above were as delightful as they looked and the steak (below) was done perfectly. Both were locally produced and both reasonably priced. But a word of warning this restaurant is very popular, there were queues to get seats on the evening we went. We had arrived just before 8pm and sat right next to the water's edge, and it wasn't long thereafter that the queues started to grow. Although a big queue doesn't necessarily mean good food the majority of people there were Spanish and a local wedding party were having their evening party it seemed inside (perhaps why the queues?). It also features in guide books so they are certainly doing something right. 


Meat anyone?
It's not all about seafood, the freshness in the meat is also something worth exploring from beef to lamb there was plenty of choice and not a naff pizza in site. Cafe Balear really should be a place to visit. From a vegetarian viewpoint I can't really comment. But some of the fresh salads on view looked good and I'm sure there were vegetarian options. 


The steak was locally sourced 
Food and Travel
A good eating experience can be the difference between an amazing holiday experience or a mediocre one. If you are prepared to research, get out of the hotel, if on an all-inclusive and just go for it. There are delights aplenty and it doesn't have to break the bank either. Food and travel, the perfect combination.

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29 July 2015

ciutadella

Travel Diaries - July 2015

Ciutadella
If you, like me enjoy visiting little towns full of charm, have a maze of streets with surprises around every corner, quaint shops, cafes and bars then Ciutadella is for you. The islands second largest town is set on the North-West coastline about an hours drive from Mahon. Ciutadella is a charming Mediterranean town, full of colour and delights around every corner. So if you're about to visit Menorca or have been there and want to relive those memories then this photo guide of my favourite bits is for you.


The Market (Mercat)
What a joy this part of town is. Tuesday to Saturday are the days when its held. Although small it's the colours and fresh fish that will attract you, as well as seeing the many varieties of hanging meats and the smell of fresh coffee. It's also a good place to chill out with the locals in a number of bars and cafes that are close by.


Meats, cheeses and fruit at the Saturday Market


Fresh fruit and vegetables

The Port (Es Port)
Some of the best restaurants can be found here (more about one of them tomorrow), serving fresh seafood and other mediterranean fare. It has a pleasant atmosphere and you can marvel at the mix of fishing trawlers and recreational boats from tiny motorboats to the multi-millionaires yachts.



The Cathedral (Catedral de Santa Maria)
The main church is well worth a visit. For about 10 euros you can combine it with a visit to the nearby convent, Convent and Cloister of Saint Augustine (that's where the real treats can be found). The church retains a simple layout but is nevertheless interesting. The convent has some great rooms around its cloister to explore with art and artifacts to admire and there's the chapel that is all dark and mystical. 


The catedral de Santa Maria


The cloister of Saint Augustine

The Streets



One feature of Ciutadella is the narrow streets and the beautiful colours of the town houses. I'm a bit obsessed with colours at the minute and found the houses just wonderful to look at and peer inside. Especially when the doors were opened to let in the cooler evening air. I loved the fact that the locals would gather outside in their chairs and have a natter as the temperatures cooled. Seems a blissful existence to me. 



On the streets of Ciutadella
Ciutadella 
Many people coming to Menorca may never get here, although bus services do serve the town. Really they should because it's a wonderful town to visit. Walk around the streets is it's greatest joy. There are plenty of boutique shops, cafes and restaurants. There was even an outdoor cinema on one evening which was projected onto the cathedral wall. It has a port and a friendly vibrant atmosphere. So please if you are visiting Menorca try to stop by here, it won't let you down.

Tomorrow in our Menorca series: Food and Travel



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28 July 2015

three beaches you should visit in menorca

Travel Diaries - Menorca July 2015

Take me back to the place that I love....
I love a good beach, who doesn't? The lapping of the gentle waves on the beach. The crystal clear waters. Bronzed people walking around without a care in the world showing their tans off, putting my pale complexion to shame. Ice cream, sand and sun lotion mixing together in harmony. The beach.....and doesn't Menorca do beaches well? So today on Sketches are three favourites we visited. 

The beach at Cala Morell
Beaches
Beach 1Cala Morell in the northwest is quite different from the beaches on the opposite side of the island. It doesn't have much sand for starters, is on the rockier side of the island and isn't that easily accessible. Ideally you'll need to drive there. That however adds to its charm. It's quiet and there are great snorkelling opportunities and the crystal clear water is a massive bonus. Oh and there are some amazing caves to explore the Necropolis de Cala Morell dating from the Bronze and Iron ages. Well worth a look and they're free. 

The beach at Cala Santa Galdana
Beach 2: Cala Santa Galdana
Like most beaches on the island Cala Santa Galdana requires a car to reach it unless you're staying there. You come to it by going down a steep hill and what you initially notice is that it's in a bay with beautiful cliffs on either side. You're also notice this is a major resort, so don't expect it to be quiet. There's a hotel right next to the beach (pumping out Jazz music) and a number of restaurants line the promenade (do you call it a promenade in other countries?) and there are other shops and a water park close by. The waters are shallow and very safe and what a view you get. So a resort beach but one that has a certain charm. There are other beaches close by that are quieter and unspoilt (Cala Macarella / Cala Macarelleta) but you'll need to trek to them. 

Our beach at Cala en Bosc

Beach 3: Cala en Bosc
This was our "home" beach so had to give it a mention. Perhaps not as strikingly beautiful as the other two but what it lacks in features its sands and clear waters more than make up for it. If you're in the area then it's an easy walk and from observing Cala en Bosc was also accessible by bus. There is a little marina close to the beach which has plenty of restaurants (some better than others admittedly) and entertainment so that adds to its charm and will keep the kids amused.

Facilities 
Every beach needs a good cafe/bar/restaurant, oh and a toilet. The beaches featured all offer a place of sanctuary for a snack, drink or food and a piddle if required. Yes they are all a bit touristy but that doesn't stop them from being a great places to visit. They will keep young and old entertained, you'll get a tan and they are also great for a quick dip. What more do you need? Have you visited any of these beaches? Or do you have a favourite to share? Please feel free to share them and we can all wallow in the beauty of these places. 

Coming tomorrow in our Menorca Week: Ciutadella



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27 July 2015

menorca

Travel Diaries - July 2015 

Menorca
Welcome to the Menorca series, a look at all that's great about the smallest Balearic Island. For some unknown reason the Balearic Islands have missed me out. Must have been gallivanting elsewhere. Now I've finally made it to one of them. And was I glad we chose here. It doesn't have the hedonistic attitude of its cousins but what it may lack in nightlife it certainly makes up for it in many other ways. So this week Sketches takes you on a tour of the little island in the sun; Menorca, with tips and hints and photo's to share. Today three places worth a visit.


menorca
Menorca - crystal clear waters and tiny beaches
For Starters
I'll save the beaches and Ciutadella for the coming days, so let's look at some of its other delights. Monte Toro dominates its centre and makes for a great starting point to get your bearings and view what this island has to offer from its 358m vantage point. You'll need to hire a car or join an island tour to reach it. The journey up the winding road is well worth it and the views aren't bad either. There's also a convent and restaurant so plenty to keep you occupied for an hour or two.


Mt Toro
Monte Toro

Monte Toro
On top of the mountain is a church / convent 

A Town called Fornells
Finding a great town that has character is always a travelling pleasure and one such place is Fornells. All white washed villas and apartments but also a great place for water sports. Oh, don't be put off by the name (it does sound like a department store!) Restaurants line the port area and are a great way to get out of the scorching sun. It also had a real festival feel about the place and seemed more laid back than other places. Time standing still. 


Festival in Fornells
Festival time in Fornells?

Fornells
The white villas of Fornells

Mao (Mahon)
We were based on the opposite side of the island so our time in the islands capital was short and to be honest I preferred where we were but more of that in the coming days. Mao is still worth a wander, it has some great little streets to explore and shops to browse in. So don't leave it out on your travels, perhaps go there as your final stop before catching the plane home? That's what we did.


Mahon
The Port area in Mao


Finding the tiny streets of Mao is part of its pleasure

There's so much more
Although a small island there is plenty to see. We were there nine days and didn't see half of what we wanted. Isn't that the way with any trip? So this is just my personal favourites that I think you should check out. Tomorrow I'll feature three beaches I'd recommend visiting. Have you been to Menorca? Where would you recommend? Would love to know your thoughts and tips. 


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26 July 2015

coffee and travel

Coffee or Tea?
How many of you have had a coffee today? How about when you go travelling? It seems to be a growing trend on these shores, cafes and coffee shops everywhere. Is it really becoming the drink of choice over the good old cup of tea? Sketches is exploring the great taste of coffee and how it should be part of any travelling experience. 

coffee
Cafe Viena in Cuitadella
Lately its a Latte
A latte happens to be my choice of tipple when visiting a cafe. No particular reason, just find it the nicest way to drink coffee, oh and perhaps an espresso. I find the more popular cafes in the UK, the Costa's, Neros ect a bit hit and miss. So my advice if you're visiting the UK; find a good independent cafe.  More often than not they take care in making their coffee and you'll have a much better experience. Most towns have them and don't take much seeking out. Just take the plunge and give them a go.


A good latte needs some froth
Watching the world go by
So you have your drink and what greater pleasure is there than sitting watching the world go by? It seems the older I get the more this kind of experience becomes part of my travel experiences. And when travelling in Europe it seems to be an essential requirement. What better way to understand the culture and atmosphere of a town or city than sitting in a cafe and watching the world go about its business. Watch the locals come in and greet each other like old friends. Bliss.

 Cafe in Chorleywood
Coffee and Travel

So that's how coffee and travel go together. Helping to create those special holiday moments. Although we may not have the same types of cafes and the atmosphere of our European friends, the UK is certainly producing some great cafes that have their own flavour! (sorry for the pun). Cafes with their own charm and most importantly some great coffee. Do you have a personal favourite? I would love to know. I can't say I do, although the cafe featured above in Chorleywood comes close. Happy drinking and watching.
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15 July 2015

best of sketches in travel week 2

Another Week in Planet Sketches
This week we've been travelling around a little, from Berlin to Cambridge and discussing what sweets you eat on a long journey. Oh and we've had a little look at what's it like to eat sushi. So here's the best of the week's posts on Sketches in Travel.


Sweets  
Who doesn't love a sweet? Maybe those that prefer chocolate! A number of sweet varieties were mentioned and...tasted in the making of this post. All in the name of research of course, click the link to find out more  Sweets 




Sushi 
Well sweets and sushi may not be the greatest combination, but on its own there's no knocking this Japanese favourite. We've taken a look at how to eat this most exported of crusines Sushi 


sushi
Sushi

Berlin 

There's a lot going for this wonderful city and in our now monthly series "Old Journeys Through New Windows" we explored Berlin in two posts. If you're visiting the German capital you may want to take a peek. Berlin

The Reichstag
The Reichstag

Cambridge 

A visit to one of the worlds most famous university cities was on the Sketches itinerary this week. Punting and eating formed much of our time there but what a great place to do it. Punting on the Cam and The Pint Shop
  
St Johns College
St Johns College

The passing of one week leads to another
So that's it for another week. Painting mini sketches to fuel the travel burners. Don't miss out on future posts by signing up to recieve e-mails or follow on the other social platforms available at the top of the page. Happy and safe travelling, wherever you go and be sure to share as I'd love to know where you've been or are going too.
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14 July 2015

slimey conversations

On the Trail of the Yellow Fingernail - Part 8


Recap: John smells; a lot! Mainly from a number of misfortunes including falling into a compost heap. Having spotted a church he hopes to seek help from the vicar but comes face to face with his own mother; who in panic flees as she thinks she's just seen a smelly green monster. Dejected and confused our hero then bumps into the Vicar, who states that he's John father! Oh and he's still no idea where the Yellow Fingernail is! 


"You are not my Father" I demanded as he came around after being out for what seemed a lifetime.
"I am."
"You're not." 
"I am."
"You are not my dad. For one he's got a bigger nose than you, secondly he has brown hair and yours is grey, thirdly you are about 2 inches shorter and fourthly you about 20 years older!"
"Oh". The Vicar paused for a moment, clearly he had got things mixed up. Perhaps it was the green slime covering John that had put him off track? Or that he wasn't wearing his glasses. "Well I know your mother, that's something." He came out with after much deliberation. 
"Look I need a wash, I'm lost, confused and have failed in finding The Yellow Fingernail. Can you help?"
"No!" And with that he walked away, muttering under his breath something about wasting his time.

On the way home

Charming I thought.So much for caring for the poor and unfortunate and the smelly! I had wasted an hour with the "not my dad" discussion and the green slime was started to set. I had to get washed, quickly. Clearly there was a road up ahead as mother had made her exit that way. So picking myself up I started down the gravel track. I decided to try and head back to Leyhill and admit defeat to Mr Kiln (The Parish Councillor and all round bigwig). I had brought shame on the village. Rival villages would pour scorn and abuse, we would be the laughing stock of the county and I would be finished (again) as a detective. 

False Beards, again

I had been following the gravel track, kicking stones for about an hour, head held in shame. I passed what looked like an old man with a white beard sitting by a tree. Saying hello as I walked by. A high pitched mutter cam back in reply. Seemed a bit strange for an old man to have such a high pitched voice. I turned and looked at the old man who on closer inspection looked like a young boy in a false white beard but I couldn't be sure in the dimming light and the hardened green slime. As I was still lost I thought I'd ask him for some directions and whether he'd seen either my mother or a strange person with a yellow fingernail. He mumbled something (high pitched again) and shook his head from side to side. I was about to say thanks when I heard a voice in the distance.

"Son, your dinners ready". And with that the old man sprung to his feet. Rather sprightly for my liking. 
"Are you sure they're calling for you old man?" I asked. He nodded and with that he was gone. 

My first thought was it that his mum must be at least 100! Confusion then turned to realisation.Was this a devilish trick by the Yellow Fingernail? Using what looked like a decoy to delay me further? Although I couldn't get much more delayed, what with being a day late or was it two? Clearly I was dealing with a master criminal or I was stupid? 

The Note 

I started along the gravel path once more, not letting the situation get the better of me. I hadn't got very far when I noticed a note a few feet ahead. Maybe the old (young) man had dropped it? I picked it up and read.

Go To ThE baRN at THe End Of thE FieLD near The FaRM

I scanned the horizon for a barn, noticing one across the field in the distance. That must be it I thought. It seemed the hunt was back on. All was not lost. And with that I set off, a slight spring in my step, although the dried compost wasn't helping. The Yellow Fingernail maybe playing games with me but I was up for the challenge. 

Coming Soon: Part 9 - Meeting at the Barn. 

 




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13 July 2015

3 reason why you should visit the pint shop

A Pint in a shop

Fancy a quality pint of beer and good food? Well read on. We recently took a jaunt up to Cambridge, see yesterday's  Punting down the Cam and this was to be our culinary stop-off, The Pint Shop. It doesn't sound much like a restaurant but don't let that put you off. You're in for a treat. It's set right in the heart of Cambridge city centre (Pea's Hill to be exact), not far from the central market. Which makes it easily accessible. Always handy after a bout of touristing in the nearby colleges or punting down the river. So you're already onto a winner.





It's about the Beer

Once you've headed through the front entrance you're greeted with the bar and the drinks menu. Now if you are a lover of local brews in the ale, stout and bitter variety then you could be a while choosing. Next to the bar is a list of choices (10 beers on keg, 6 on cask). The list gives you key information such as strength, the brewery name and place and cost. Although not cheap (around £4.20 would be average) for a pint, you have to remember you are paying for a beer that is lovingly made and will taste great. There are a couple of lagers but if you're after normal pub standard lager types, forget it. Wine and spirits are also available, the wine served in decanters, not the bottle.

A pint of Oak (From Norfolk)

The Food wasn't bad either

Beer in hand it was a short wait for the food. Probably because we were a large group (19+) we had given our choices a few hours in advance. I'm sure if you were to just turn up it wouldn't be too much hassle or wait. They have a lunch and dinner menu as well as light snacks, so plenty to choose from. I plumped for the mackerel (below) and it was wonderfully cooked. Fresh and herby with a fennel salad to compliment it. Add to this the house chips and you have a tasty lunch. Spot on. Others in the group had chicken, pork or the vegetarian choices and from what I can gather not a bad word was said. There is also a children's menu and pudding (not tried; unfortunately). 


The mackerel


Three reasons to visit (just for starters!)

So why should you visit? Well here's three reasons to wet your palette or appetite or both.

1) Great choice of British made beers
2) Nicely presented and well cooked food
3) Decor is pleasant and the restaurant also displays local artists (link to their website The Pint Shop)


Meat. Bread. Beer

I can wholeheartedly recommend this restaurant for either a pit stop or is that a "pint stop", lunch or dinner. Great food, pleasant surroundings and friendly staff. Sounds about perfect to me. Bravo The Pint Shop.

The restaurant has very pleasant decor and furnishings

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12 July 2015

punting on the cam

Travel Diaries: 09th July - Cambridge


There are two places in Britain where punting is an essential part of any visit. In this adventure it was the River Cam in Cambridge. The other place of course (whisper it if you're in Cambridge), is in Oxford. So on a sunny Thursday we climbed or was that clambered into our punt for the hour long journey to grab a glimpse of the colleges, gardens and...other punts that Cambridge offers.

Anyone for a punt?


Do it yourself?

Yes you can, no we didn't! Well sometimes its best to leave it to the experts. In our case Knowledgeable Nic (more about our guide shortly). That's him in the picture below by the way. Why not do it yourself? Well it's more relaxing and with someone in the know with regards to punting you get further and also have their local knowledge to draw upon.

Knowledgeable Nick


There's a lot of history out there

When punting it's good to know what you're looking at, and with our punter (I assume that's what you call them?) we were certainly given an in depth overview of the various colleges, bridges and other tit-bits, all delivered in the easy going, informative manner of knowledgeable Nick (if you get the chance to go, ask for Nick, he's great Lets Go Punting). Throughout the 60 odd minutes he gave us plenty of history to get our teeth into and was always responsive when we asked stupid questions. He did ask for volunteers to try punting (I've done it before so passed this time), a couple of colleagues did and Nick was always on hand to help when they started going off course.

St John's College

All it needed was..

It turned out to be a great hour and the perfect way to enjoy one of England's most famous cities. It also helps to get your bearings if you haven't headed into the city to explore the individual colleges, shops etc. Oh and all it needed to be an absolutely perfect hour was a glass of wine (which we could have had if we'd have known).

Don't they have the same bridge in Venice?

Give it a punt

So if you happen to be visiting one of the world's great educational establishments then take the time to go for a punt. The weather helps but to catch a glimpse of Cambridges' famous colleges then there is no better way. 
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11 July 2015

what's it like to eat sushi

Travel Japan

Think of a food that represents Japan and you are more than likely to come up with sushi. Raw fish or vegetables on a bed of rice or perhaps wrapped in rice. To some the thought of eating raw fish sounds disgusting. For others it's pure gastronomic pleasure. So for this latest what's it like to...we're looking at sushi.

Kappa Maki

Sushi
If you were to walk around London's streets say 10 years ago you would have been hard pushed to have found a sushi bar or restaurant. Move forward to now and sushi is the food of choice, with restaurants aplenty. On the one hand sushi is almost a fast food, quick and easy to eat. On the other hand it takes years of dedication and practice make them properly and become a sushi chef. Watching them make it seems easy but is far from it. So make sure to treat the sushi you eat with respect. If it's good it's been lovingly made.

Tuna is a popular choice

Which type and what's it like?
So what type should you eat? The most popular varieties are Nigri sushi (raw fish on top of a bed of rice, see below) and Maki sushi (rolled sushi, see above). With Nigri you can swallow it whole or in a couple of mouthfuls, the better the fish the easier it slides down the throat, almost melting as you do so. Its an incredible taste and hard to describe, fishy! Add a little soy sauce and wasabi (hot green mustard if not already added) and you have a taste sensation. Don't be afraid that its raw, it tastes better for it. Try them all; tuna, salmon, squid, octupus, the list goes on.
  
The real deal

What conclusions can we make?
The majority of my sushi eating experience has come from living and re-visiting Japan on many occasions. From my experience its not quite the same in other countries but its a food that needs to be tried. I suppose it's a bit like where to eat the best fish and chips. It has to be in the UK, doesn't it? Wrapped in paper and eaten whilst sitting on a beach! So although we have made a fair crack at it, sushi in the UK has a long way to go before it comes anywhere close to the Japanese variety. So my conclusion is go visit Japan, not only will you eat great sushi but also you're experience a country full of many other culinary pleasures.
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10 July 2015

Sweets

Whats your favourite travel sweet?

That's the question we're posing today so let's set the scene. You're on a long journey, a drive down the motorway, 3 or 4 hours of boredom and crap radio. Perhaps a traffic jam to add to your woes. Kids screaming in the back that they're bored. How are you going to make that journey just a little bit better, sweeter (hint!)? The answer; sweets. What would we do without a trusty sweet to take our minds off the long journey ahead?

Liquorice allsorts
Liquorice Allsorts - if only they were that big!

It's not just for the roads

A motorway journey is not the same without chewing or sucking on a sweet. Their usefulness doesn't just apply to the motorway. They play a huge role in helping people get through those moments upon takeoff and landing, you know when your ears start pop, pop, popping. Shove a sweet in and somehow all is right for a brief moment or two. 

strawberry bon bons
Strawberry Bon Bons 

What to choose?

With so much variety out there, what with different countries offering their own unique flavours the critical decision is what sweet? So here's my choices. There is no scientific background to this, just my opinion. Your's I'm sure will be different. So the answer all depends on the type of journey. For me a trusty lemon sherbet is the perfect tonic when driving. That little buzz of sherbet hitting the tongue is one of life's little pleasures. Liquorice Allsorts (see above) are great to munch on when doing shorter trips. Why are the round ones always the best? And for the plane, well you can't go wrong with a bon bon can you. Can you? 

lemon sherbets
Sherbet Lemon anyone?

What's your sweet of choice?

Where would we be without our humble sweets? Whatever your choice, one thing's for sure, they help to put the sweetness into any trip. They take your mind away from the rigours of that long drive. They help to stop the pop when flying. If you ask me, the most essential item in a suitcase other than a change of clothes has to be the sweet. 

So which sweet does it for you? Helps you through those moments of boredom on a long trip? Gives you and the kids a few seconds of peace and quiet from the complaining. "Are we there yet?"
Drop us a comment and let me know. 

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9 July 2015

bounding around berlin

East meets West
Old Journeys Through New Windows recently looked at Berlin. This sister post follows in its footsteps showing some of the familiar but also some more of the unusual parts to this wonderful city. Berlin is full of history and however tainted by tourism your visit should always incorporate visiting Check Point Charlie.The gateway between East and West. At best it should remain a symbol of what it was used for and the contrast of each side is clear to see. Certainly from a architectural point of view. As with any major attraction there are tacky tourist shops close by but that aside its still a place worth visiting.

Check Point Charlie

Close to the check point is a small museum (Mauer Museum) that looks at the history of the Berlin Wall, with stories and images and memorabilia. I found it hard to read some of the tales and look at the images like the following. That aside however it's a fascinating glimpse into this period in history.


Artwork that needs no explaining
Not your average chapel
In a strange way I always find it hard to snap away in Cathedrals! Not sure why but when you see some of the ornate paintings and alters, like this one, well I just had too.


Inside the Cathedral
At the seat of power
The Reichstag is an amazing building and I just loved the fact you could look right into the seat of power.


Looking down on Power
A time of quiet reflection

On the outskirts of Berlin is the concentration camp of Sachsenhausen. Although a difficult place to visit it is a place that everyone should. You can easily spend 4 or 5 hours here and every second is worth it. The silence of all the visitors walking around the camp is something not forgotten as they pay their respects. A haunting but powerful experience.  

Entrance to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp


Memories of the past
Sporting History
Finally in our look at Berlin if you get the chance, a visit to the Olympic Stadium and its accompanying tour is well worth the energy. Standing looking down on the track below you feel a real sense that history was made here when Jesse Owens won gold at the 1936 Olympics.
The Olympic Stadium
So there we are, another Old Journey Through New Windows. Berlin is a city of extremes, of great celebration and dispair. I hope these photos and those from the pervious post on Berlin go some way to conveying that? Have you been? Would love to hear your tales.

Next month in our Old Journeys Through New Windows series: Shanghai

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