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British Summer

This British spring/summer is currently wet and cold, exactly what I hate.  Grrr…

But I am here to get things done.  To grow my business.  So I just focus on that.  The sunshine of southern Europe, Asia and South America will be there in the future.

Not travelling is an important part of travelling.  

  • I have rediscovered old hobbies, not possible when travelling.
  • I have got good at cooking again
  • I have streamlined my lifestyle
  • I am building my business, which will allow better travelling in the future.

I do have a few trips planned

  • A quick trip to Bradford – not very exciting, but it is to see the UK premiere of the amazing Samsara
  • A long weekend in Cornwall for a wedding
  • The Belgian F1 GP
  • And hopefully a few campervan tips this summer too
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I Know Why I Travel

I’ve had a bit of a moment of clarity.  I know why I long to travel so much:

I haven’t found anywhere I like enough to spend the rest of my life there.

So this had lead me to constantly roam, looking for something new, looking for somewhere to explore and live.

I’ve recently moved to Brighton.  I’m enjoying it here, and I’m bound to enjoy it more as the summer sets in.  There is a big problem though, the weather.  It’s cold.  Much colder than Cornwall, a few hundred miles away, where I grew up.  

I think about my chances of buying a property in Brighton, and using it as a base whilst I continue to explore the earth.  But it’s the weather that makes me think, no way, too cold. 

So weather is a major factor…. That’s all for now….

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Istanbul

Istanbul

Described as where Europe meets Asia, and as cliched as that is, it’s a great description of the experiences you’ll find in this fascinating city.

Where to stay
Read the normal guides about the city to determine where you want to stay. My recommendation is Galata. Perched high on a hill, the views are amazing, it has a great atmosphere, and is only a 20 minute wall across the Galata bridge to the old city. The bridge crossing is fantastic and worth the daily crossing. Galata also has trams connecting it to the rest of the city.

 

Highlights
Aya Sofia – a once beautiful church transformed into a more beautiful mosque. My favourite building on earth (stealing the crown from La Sagrada Familia).
Whirling Dervishes –

Markets Istanbul was the meeting point of so many if the old trading routes. This has lead to a fantastic choice of spices and other lovely things. These are all on show on the markets. The Grand Bazaar is the biggest and a wonderful experience. The Spice Bazaar is equally good though and worth the visit.

Haman – visit one of the traditional bathing establishments for a scrub and pulverising massage.

Nargile escape the hustle and bustle of the city by sorting in a nargile cafe drinking tea and supping a water pipe. The standard is apple scented and does not contain tobacco. Tobacco is available. After an hour you’ll be feeling very relaxed.

Something different
Get lost in the sidestreets around Galata. There are many traditional homes and businesses hidden in the hilly lanes. It’s easy to find your way back to isitklal.
Explore the Asian side. There is a quite different feel on the Asian side of the Bosporus river. People are going about their everyday lives, and there are no touts or even signs of tourism. Explore the area around the ferries including the market. There’s some great food in there. Then take the long walk to xxx fweey terminal to get back to xxxx.
Golden horn walk – spend several hours walking amongst the streets leading down to the riverside, north of the ferry terminals xx. Although geographically close to the city it feels a million miles away as children play in the street, men play cards and washing hangs out to dry. Try and catch the street markets. The mosques are compact and beautiful here.

Food and drink

Kebabs (kebaps) are the national dish and come in many shapes and sizes, as well as prices and quality.

Mezzes. Small portions designed for sharing, like tapas, normally drunk with Raki. Well recommended as there are some really fantastic dishes out there.

Baklava. You’ll find an enormous choice in Istanbul and it’s Worthing trying some different ones.

Simit. These bread rings are sold all over the city. Very cheap 1TL and fresh. Great when you’re waiting for a ferry or need something on the run

Turkish tea the staple refreshing millions every day.

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Moving to Brighton

After 6 years of travel, I have decided to take a little break.

I run an online business, and that is not so easy to run out of a backpack or from my campervan.

So, Abby and I are moving to Brighton for a while.  Maybe a few years.  There will be travelling in that time.

Stay tuned….. and happy travels….

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Portugal, again

We’re currently travelling around Portugal again. We’ve come away on a 6 week trip in the camper van. Down to Portugal, and probably into Spain for a few weeks.

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The weather is great. We’ve come down to get away from the bad weather in England. We’ll go home a week or so before Christmas.

We’ve had great weather. We did have a cloudy and showery week, with a massive thunder storm. But it’s like summer again now.

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Nomadic lifestyle makes life easy

I have moved 5 times this year

1. From house in Truro to house in Redruth – January 2011.
2. From house in Redruth into camper van – February 2011.
3. From camper van into house in Redruth – July 2011.
4. From house in Redruth into house in Blackwater – August 2011.
5. From house in Blackwater into house in Truro – October 2011.

And one more will happen. In November I will pack my belongings into my camper van and head south towards Europe.

Having a nomadic lifestyle, with no house of my own means I can go where I like when I like.

Of course there are big downsides. I have few places to store my things, and nowhere to really call my own.

But, whilst I have travel in my veins, the scarifies are worth it for the life of easy travel.

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Cycled 20 miles today

Abs and I have been slowly cycling more and more miles. Most days we about 6 miles. Some days only 4, and some days as much as 12 miles.

Tonight we are staying at a lovely free aire (French camping spot) next to a lake. We decided to go for a little bike ride. We found ourselves close to 10 miles, and decided to go all of the way to 10 miles, and then back again to the van.

It wasn’t hard. We’ve become fit and strong. We see lots of French people cycling here, including many retired people. Their cycle paths are fantastic.

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JFK vs Heathrow

No contents, hands down Heathrow is the winner.

I used to think that London Heathrow airport was a bit shabby. I was a bit embarrassed that the UK’s biggest airport was this way.

However, having just flown JFK to Heathrow, my option has changed.

JFK is slow, the staff are most unhelpful and plain awkward. USA the land of customer service? Maybe in a diner, but not at JFK.

The USA security staff take their jobs very seriously. OK, they should, but it’s frustrating when they don’t give you all of the information, then treat you like a terrorist for not following the rules they haven’t given you.

Also, USA immigration is OK. Canada is terrible. They just assume everyone is a horrible terrorist. But at Heathrow, we were through in minutes.

Good job UK 🙂

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Landmark 435 Guest House, Harlem, NYC – Review

The Landmark 435 guest house was one of the cheapest places in Manhattan that I could find to stay. The cost was £79 per night, for 2 people including breakfast.

The guesthouse is old, and whilst it has lots of charm is in need of desperate refurbishment. The facilities did work, but only just. The bathroom is shared and a bit funky.

The guesthouse comprises of two brownstone houses, right next to each other. They are run by a nice lady, and her small staff. The staff could have been more friendly.

The bedroom had tired and random furniture. The bedclothes were old, but did seem clean. Our bedroom had an air cooler, sticking out the window, just like in the movies. However, it was so loud we had to turn it off at night. It was fine before going to sleep though.

The breakfast was very basic, just bagels with suspicious butter.

Getting to the hotel is easy using an A Subway train, then a simple 2 block walk to the guesthouse.

The area is a little edgy. Some people might feel uncomfortable. The guesthouse owner told us too not hang around outside after 10pm. This is as the police like to keep the streets free of people, which goes to ensure that there is less crime.

In summary, whilst this is a cheap place to stay, it’s not in good condition, and does feel a dirty. It’s a quick ride downtown, and so not a bad place to stay when you consider everything. Worth staying at if you can’t find something better. If you don’t care about staying downtown stay at the Comfort Inn on Staten Island for nearly half the price.