Tag Archives: midlife traveller

Vigo and beyond

6th August 2013

Looking back over my emails from this time I see this is the point I started looking around for a tour to join. I still hadn’t recovered well from my bouts of sickness that started in Paris and I think home-sickness was playing a large part in my feeling a bit lost.

The train journey from San Sebastián to Vigo passed through fields of what may have been wheat or barley and looked just like home at times, then I spotted the towers, so not Australia, lol. It’s fascinating to wonder why the train lines run where they do, sometimes almost on the beach, or running along a river and other times through small hills instead of around them. This trip was particularly interesting, farmland, mountains, a river with pretty garden plots, and a dam with its gates open.

Perfect weather in Vigo Spain

Perfect weather in Vigo Spain

I wandered aimlessly around Vigo for a day or so while trying to decide where to go and what to do next.All the same, it’s a pretty city and I was never lost for new and unusual things to keep me interested.I stayed near the waterfront quite close to the old part of the city, the cruise liner docks and even a shopping centre – the first one I’ve seen for weeks!

Jules Verne riding an octopus in Vigo Spain

Jules Verne riding an octopus in Vigo Spain

Did you know that Jules Verne set a part of his book 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in the Bay of Vigo and he visited the city in 1878 on his yacht? Neither did I, but there’s a fantastic statue commemorating this on the waterfront!

The architecture is a mix, with huge ornate gothic looking buildings along side plain square block of offices and apartments. I saw several  unusual building details too, they looked like closed in Juliette balconies or window seats. I just love all the little quirky things you see, like a derelict building with a few of its outside wooden blinds still hanging as if new, or an old building finding a new purpose in life and still retaining its original gorgeous and unique features.

Loving this building in Vigo

Loving this building in Vigo

I sat and sketched in the gardens, watched a guy in the plaza entertaining kids with a bubble blowing contraption made from two sticks with a piece of rope tied to each end and a bucket of water and soap suds, and googled tours endlessly.









Filed under Mid-life travel, Solo female travel, Spain, Travel

Getting to Ashby’s Gastropub, Portsmouth

This post is having it’s second coming – I had written it, was trying to add a couple of pics and I have no idea how I did it but I lost the whole thing. So here we go again, maybe this time it won’t take me an hour or more.

Why Portsmouth? Because it’s on the way to the most south westerly part of England; and I’m not sure why I’m heading there either, except maybe because I like the sound of the name, Lands End. It’s a bit like Timbuktu isn’t it, just sounds like somewhere that would be cool to go. Also, this having no plans is good but it does help to keep moving in one direction – so, off to Portsmouth.

In London I caught the tube almost to Natalia’s doorstep, when I arrived in Brighton I wussed out and caught a cab to the BnB from the train station. Being there almost long enough to be considered a local (just joking), I caught a bus back to the station when I left and on arriving at The Hard at Portsmouth I decided it was time to start walking from the train station to my new place.

How hard could it be, the maps thing on my phone said it would take 8 minutes. So, off I set, me, my big backpack (the 60 litre version), it’s little brother (5 litre zipped on to the big one), shoulder bag and phone with the map showing my route. Five minutes down the road I had to stop and de-robe, it’s amazing how hot you get walking and carting all that stuff around. So, stop, put phone in jeans pocket, take shoulder bag from around sling position and balance on top of backpacks, take coat off, add it to the pile, take fleece off, put coat back on while clutching fleece between knees, put shoulder bag back in sling position, retrieve phone, hang fleece over arm, grab backpacks and off we go again – makes you tired just thinking about it.

I really didn’t have the hang of following the maps directions, had a few scenic detours along the way; but thank goodness for the little flashing blip that showed me wandering away from the blue line, oops, wrong turn, oh well, we’ll just take the next one instead, and there you go we’re back together again. BUT, I think there might be a problem, I’ve been going for about 15 minutes and I’m nowhere near the end of the blue line and it said it would only take 8 minutes – took me a while to work it out, but that was if you were fortunate enough to be travelling by car! Well, the wonderful feeling you get from exercise or maybe it was stubbornness made me keep going, but after another 20 minutes or so I was certain I’d gotten myself hopelessly lost when I was almost there according to the bloody blip and the blue line; I just couldn’t seem to find the last little bit.

So, I called in to a little pub and asked if they knew where this place was, turns out I was only half a block away. Who puts a photo of the front of a place on all their advertising and gives an address that takes you to the back gate that looks nothing like the front??? Another good lesson learned, check what mode of transport the map is using before making any hasty decisions.

All things considered though, I didn’t do too badly and Ashby’s Gastropub’s a great place; I have a lovely ground floor room, there’s a bar and restaurant and best of all – free wifi! As if getting there wasn’t enough walking for one day I then went out and had a wander around the neighborhood, seems like I’m actually in a part of Portsmouth called Southsea – not far from the ocean and some really nice houses to drool over. The wifi kept dropping out in my room so I spent the evening happily ensconced in a comfy lounge chair out in the bar area catching up on some blogging and researching my next destination – had a yummy Ploughmans platter for dinner and a nice glass of cab-sav.

Off to the historic dockyards tomorrow, think I’ll be catching the bus though!



Filed under England, Mid-life travel, Travel

My favourite parts of Brighton

I loved the Brighton pier, except for the cheeky hot-dog thieving seagulls, that is. I’m pretty sure most of the fascination comes from it being so very different to what I’m used to, guess that’s probably true for most things – they say, familiarity breeds contempt, don’t they.

Anyhow, it’s rather tacky and trashy, the greasy fish and chips, the huge hall full of arcade games and the show ride parts, but it still has that old world romantic air about it for me. I can just see the crowds from the late 1800’s promenading in their long dresses and teeny tiny parasols or the flappers of the 1920’s with their short hair and oh so confident aura, wandering along, smoking and laughing – can you imagine?

Also, the beachfront, it’s quite a way below the road and there’s little shops built into the cliffface? under the road – I didn’t shop (no room), just thought they were cute!! There’s beach volleyball and basketball courts and table tennis tables – all of them being used; and of course any number of cafes and pubs, just for something different! I sat in a sunny spot out of the wind to do some sketching and people-watching. It reminds me a bit of Victoria at home, where people seem to go out to do things more than we do in Queensland, or at least country Queensland. It was really cool to see how people just rocked up at the table tennis tables with their paddles and ball and just played whoever was there. As I left they were that many of them there they started to organize themselves so no-one got left out – there were fair dinkum about 15 of them and it was obvious each person only knew 1 or 2 of the others. Can’t imagine that happening at home..

The old West Pier, or, I should say, the idea of the old West Pier, because it’s no longer really there, except for a mess of steel a little way off the beach and some remnants stacked under what is left of the beach end. I’d love to have seen it in it’s hey-day or even 10 or 11 years ago before it finally succumbed to fire and the sea.

The fact I didn’t feel conspicuous. I know, I know, that has much more to do with me than anyone else or where I am. But honestly, I didn’t feel like people were judging what I looked like or what I was wearing – and no, I’m not 10″ tall or 200kg, but probably just too self-concious for my own good. Maybe the product of our culture where you think you should conform to some crazy unreal expectation. Anyhow, Brighton has a reputation for being “out there” and has a large gay presence so maybe they are used to being judged so are not as judgemental as some.

Enough of the deep and meaningful, hope you enjoy the pics as much as I enjoyed taking them.



Filed under England, Mid-life travel, Travel

London – at last

Wednesday 10th April 2013

I must be getting old, I really didn’t handle the flights very well at all this time. I had a middle seat in a row of three on the first leg so my sardine comment was very accurate. My aisle seat on the Dubai to London leg was great but by then I had a killer headache and nothing apart from strong painkillers and a good sleep was going to fix it.

Even though I felt like s#%t I was thrilled to be able to find my way to Natalia’s place in Leyton via the London Underground.

I always thought the “tube” was completely underground – but, no, it goes under and above ground.. There you go, that’s my piece of useless information for the day.

I also saw may first red double decker London bus from the tube and was all excited.    Then I saw another fifty and it wasn’t so exciting anymore but I would like to try and   sketch one.

Poor Natalia, I felt so bad, I was terrible company and could hardly keep my eyes open once I got here. I finally put her out of her misery and fell asleep after a couple of hours.


Filed under Mid-life travel, Travel