I can haz chillies for breakfast?! Really!?

Posted in Travel on July 27th, 2010 by Coffee

(Long overdue catch-up entry no. 3)

For a first step in learning how to relax again since finishing up work and leaving London, we managed to convince Michael and Megan to ditch their kids for a week and come on a week long break in Mexico. It was really hard work to convince them. We kept having to say things like “are you sure you don’t want to go somewhere else where we can take the kids?”, but their replies indicated that that really wasn’t the preferred option! So we booked in for an all-inclusive poolside week in tourist town, and passed through Houston to pick them up on the way to Texas.

It felt weird leaving the heat of Houston to go to a cooler place for a beach holiday. Something about that took just a little bit of getting the head around until the first time that we were slouching around by the pool and it was pretty much the perfect temperature. (Houston didn’t get that comfortable poolside until late afternoon.)

We managed to settle into a routine pretty quickly:

  1. Get up.
  2. Breakfast.
  3. (optional) an after breakfast walk along the beach to work off some of the food we’d just eaten…
  4. Back to the room to get prepared for the morning by the pool.
  5. Morning lounging by the pool, trying to put off the first drink of the day…
  6. Lunch at the buffet.
  7. Afternoon by the pool, spending time trying to catch the eye of the drinks waiters…
  8. Back to the room to get prepared for the night…
  9. Pre-dinner drink at one of the bars.
  10. Dinner at one of the restaurants.
  11. After-dinner drinks at one of the bars.
  12. (optional) Post-after-dinner drink/snack at one of our rooms.
  13. Sleep. Repeat.

From memory I think the only days we deviated from that pattern was 1) took up the invite to a wine tasting with one of the managers of the hotel at the rooftop bar, and 2) when we (shock horror!) left the hotel grounds into the local town for a look. The wine tasting was great. Later afternoon on the rooftop, 4 wines, all matched to surprise plates of some really nice food. Yum! Almost didn’t need dinner that night. Almost! We still managed it, of course! The trip into the local town was interesting, but still didn’t feel like it was the real Mexico somehow. But that’s what you get when you get lots and lots and lots of tourists in one area!

One of the highlights of the week was the ability to have chillies on my breakfast. Yum, yum, yum!! While not being the “real” Mexico, we still had access to some Mexican food in the restaurants at all stages of the day. I wouldn’t want to even guess at what some of it was called, but it was all pretty good!

Then just when we were really getting into the swing of the daily routine, it was back to the heat of Houston. Stay tuned!…

A Yorker of a Staycation!

Posted in Travel on July 21st, 2010 by Bec

(Long overdue catchup entry No. 2)

Hot on the heels of an overseas trip, we thought it only fair that we went somewhere local the following weekend. We’d been told by everyone that York was a great place to visit, and in all our time in the UK we had not managed to quite make it there. So York it was!

After an early start to catch our 7am train we were pleased to see that this time we had well and truly managed to pick a weekend with some decent weather! More than decent really. Almost too hot!

First thing we did was to try to get our bearings in the town. What better way than to look out from the top of the Minster tower. All you have to do to get this view is to climb the 275 very narrow and windy steps to the top (paying for the privilege of giving yourself a heart attack as well, of course!) And let’s face it, it’s not as if you can run up as it is a very narrow spiral staircase. On a fantastic day like we had, well worth the effort though!

Then a visit to the National Railway Museum. This is a great museum with lots of old trains and historical information. It’s amazing to notice that trains haven’t really changed that much, perhaps just the layout of the passenger cars, and OK the technology part. But they are still pretty massive and to me they really do look quite similar, but nowadays just look a lot slicker and don’t have coal to keep them going. Standing at ground level beside some of the engines and carriages gives you a sense of just how large they are. When things just pull up at a platform you never really get to see the real size. Impressive.

After a leisurely brunch on Sunday we had a walk around the city walls. This was a great way to keep up our normal theme of ‘walk, walk and walk some more’ whilst on holiday. You’d think by now all this holiday walking would make us pretty trim. But lets just say those results are yet to be seen. Anyway the walls are quite impressive and the walk was all the more enjoyable in the lovely weather, but at times the sun became a bit unbearable so we would stop for a break out of the sun to try and catch our breath for a bit.

Then late afternoon we jumped back on a train to London, and in true UK style the train was hit by delays on the way. Didn’t bother us too much as we had no where to be.

Another nice weekend away and a great UK place to visit which I would recommend stopping by if you haven’t already.

A (last?) European City-Break (for a while anyway)

Posted in Travel on July 19th, 2010 by Bec

(Long overdue catchup entry No. 1)

We’ve always had a great time in Switzerland, so we thought we’d have one more weekend there a, ummmmm, number of weeks ago. Zurich was the choice this time as it’s easy to get to from London City airport and flying from there is just a bit like going to the shops really. You’re in and out just like that with nothing like the queuing issues and general hassle of any of the other London airports.

Last time we passed through Zurich it was about -5C, snow on the ground, howling wind, and we ended up sitting on a random tram as it went up and down the line just to get our feet warmed up a bit. We hoped that going at this time of year we’d actually get to see a bit more of the city and environs.

We managed to miss the snow, but we did seem to time it right to hit all the rain!

But that didn’t phase us much we managed to walk around the city a bit and take in a couple of sites. We took a train up to the top of the hill to take in the view, but guess what? Just as we got to the top of the hill, it chucked it down and you couldn’t see a thing. So we wisely just got back on the train and tootled back down again. Then a quick visit to the toy museum, which was very small but the very old doll houses and clockwork train and steam engines were actually quite cool.

And just like normal we walked and walked and walked around the town to see what was about, and took in a couple of gardens on the way…

On Sunday we decided to hop on a train and head out to Lucern, where we’d stayed for Christmas about 8 or 9 years ago when we toured through the whole country. And it was extra cool as we got to take the double decker train – I had forgotten about them so it was a bit of a surprise. Lucerne, was still pretty much as we remembered it, except we could remember sitting on the toilet in the hotel and having a marvellous view of the alps all around. This time we got about 2 glimpses of the alps though the very low rain clouds. Oh well. We’ve got the old photos somewhere, I’m sure!

It was a nice break away, it’s just a pity the sun didn’t come out so we could take in some views. Oh well maybe next time!

Falling behind…

Posted in Uncategorized on July 16th, 2010 by Coffee

Well, not too many apologies, but we’ve been falling slightly behind where we should be in terms of posts. And that’s possibly stretching the usual meaning of the word “slightly”…

That’s right. Since we last posted anything we’ve seen a little of seven different countries. That’s a minimum of seven posts owing. We’ll try to get right on it now we’ve stopped making any large movements for a while. We might even do them in order!

Stay tuned!