Beezie was one tough lady. She lived in sweet isolation on Cottage Island, a former leper colony, in the middle of a lake near the town of Sligo, Ireland. She rowed herself ashore to swap her potent home brew for produce at the market right up until she passed away. There was a joke that the fish stall would be empty the next day; the trawlers would not set sail as the fishermen would all be suffering a dreadful hangover. As we gently paddled past her former home I admired her tenacity and grew envious of her tranquil residence.
Cruises. Massive floating cities with thousands of passengers that spend short amounts of time in multiple destinations. So what’s so wrong with that? Lots of people love cruising but not so many cruisers know what kind of impact the cruise is having on them, where they visit or how badly it can end up. Here are just a few reasons why taking a cruise is the worst way to travel:
Utrecht is the classic hidden gem, the ultimate understudy, the overshadowed sibling, a forgotten wallflower to cousin Amsterdam. This, however, turns out to be Utrecht’s unique selling point: a charming medieval canal town that is blissfully crowd-free. Only a short train ride away from Schiphol airport, I decided that although Utrecht may not have some of the big name attractions as A’dam it still had enough allure to entice me to visit. I started with an evening mystery light show.
So you have chosen your destination, booked your trip and packed your bags. You are ready to travel, right? Not quite! There are quite a few things you need to do before you leave for your travels. Luckily, there is a comprehensive checklist right here, so you are fully prepared.
‘When you compare the price of a hand painted, made to measure kimono to a Western designer dress it is quite reasonable’. I had to agree with Sonoe, £1000 for the stunning silk gowns did seem like a bargain. She adjusted the kimono jacket I tried on, showing how I could wear it in two different ways. It was from her vintage collection and had a lovely pink tweedy style pattern, circa late 1960’s to 1970’s. Luckily, it was a tenth of the price of the bespoke ones.
When you catch a man accidentally admit out loud that a display of flowers is ‘so beautiful’ then you know that it must be pretty phenomenal. Tulips are synonymous with the Dutch and I’d been given rave reviews about the floral shows at Keukenhof, but had also been warned off, with someone else’s advice that it was only for flower lovers. Curious to know the truth, I devised a plan for a thorough investigation.
Independent travel is empowering, liberating and builds confidence by the bucket load. When you are travelling alone there’s no:
tour guide acting like your mom, telling you what to do, where to go and for how long,
irritating friend who was previously up for anything but now seems to prefer staying indoors,
group weirdo who wants to be more than friends for the entire two week trip, despite your efforts to explain how that isn’t going to happen. Ever.
You can spend whatever you wish, your itinerary is your own and spontaneity is your middle name!
But it can also have its downsides, and after a while, wandering as lonely as a cloud can make you feel like a real ‘Billy no mates’. So here’s my tried and tested list of ways to instantly banish the ‘toute seule’ seclusion, the ‘peke yako’ blues, the ‘all by myself’ moments.
What do you do with twenty-four hours to kill in Dar es Salaam? The pseudo capital of Tanzania doesn’t normally feature on the tourist trail other than an entry, exit or transit point, a small blip on the itinerary in between safaris, summiting and sunbathing. It’s a dirty, hot, humid, chaotic conurbation; one of the world’s fastest growing cities. But behind this facade what does the metropolis offer the stranger on a layover? I’ve taken on this challenge many many times, so here are just a few suggestions of how to turn Dar es Salaam into a highlight of your trip.
What is the most romantic food? Is it falafel? One of the show’s characters came over to ask us for our opinion as we settled into our seats, taking notes of our suggestions.
This was just one of the interactions we had as part of the Galway International Arts Festival (GIAF). It has been a cultural catalyst since 1978 and attracts over 200,000 visitors to the city every July. For two weeks there are over 200 amazing events in Galway including theatre, music, dance, opera, comedy, drama and street extravaganzas. It features international and local acts, many critically acclaimed artists, writers and performers, and has helped the town win European Capital of Culture in 2020.