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Articles with the category: Trips & Visits

Cinc Sentits

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 02:21PM

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Two weeks ago I went to Barcelona for a quick break. I’m a wee bit partial to fine dining and from December last year we decided to always eat at a Michelin starred restaurant (where possible) in whichever city we were holidaying in. For Barcelona, we picked Cinc Sentits for three reasons: firstly it wasn’t all fish based (Catalonia seems to be a bit obsessed with fish), secondly it wasn’t fully booked as you can only booked up to 2 weeks in advance and thirdly it was authentic Catalan cuisine. I don’t see the point in going to a fancy restaurant if they aren’t going to serve you food from the region, or at least hints of the area.

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Kilimanjaro: Day 7

Sun, 16 Oct 2011 04:27PM

Day 7: Another 5 hour walk down to the Mweke gate. The path turned hideously muddy and steep downhill, so the pace was very slow so we wouldn’t fall over and get absolutely covered in mud. Going downhill was more painful than uphill; your knees, toes, thighs ache with every steep, slippery step. We saw a lot of cute monkeys with very bushy tails, called Colobus monkeys.

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Kilimanjaro: Day 6

Sun, 09 Oct 2011 06:48PM

Day 6: Down to Mweke Gate. Since there was no longer a rush to get to the camps at a certain time, day 6 was much more relaxed. Taryn and Lorena slept on a bit, so we set off before them to Mweke camp. My altitude sickness went away very quickly, I felt completely different to the day before.

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Kilimanjaro: Day 5

Sun, 09 Oct 2011 06:01PM

Day 5: summit day. In the morning my nausea was worse, and managed just tea for breakfast. At this point I knew I wouldn’t be able to make the peak, so made it my challenge to reach the base camp, Barafu, 4633m. Although the walk here was only 4 hours – again to reach the camp by lunchtime – this was an exceptionally tough 4 hours. The start was almost rock climbing – scrambling up very steep rocks with hands. Being quite short, I needed quite a few pushes to get up some of them! Once the first steep part was done, it was fairly flat until the final steep hurdle to the base camp. Every step was harder for me as I was totally exhausted and still not eating much; I managed a piece of toast with peanut butter on it for snack, and some soup for lunch when we eventually got there. I think this was the only day that I didn’t enjoy myself.

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Kilimanjaro: Day 4

Sun, 18 Sep 2011 01:40PM

Having opted for the 7 day route, we used 2 days to get the base camp instead of 1. Normally today would be the day to reach Barafu camp at 4600m, however we went half way and stopped at Karanga camp at 3963m. Whilst again not being much higher than the previous camp, the walk started off with a steep climb, followed by flat/downhill to the camp. It was a short walk, so we arrived at the camp for lunch at 1.30pm. Other groups continued to Barafu – another 4 hours away. They would then do the summit (another 8 hours) this evening, followed by another 5 hours down the following day…21 hours of climbing in a 36 hour period. No thanks!

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Kilimanjaro: Day 3

Sun, 18 Sep 2011 12:55PM

Day 3 and when we opened up the tent, we found a scary vulture-raptor staring at us. Despite being told they were only big white-necked ravens, these were quite intimidating with their massive beaks. Later on in the day, when we had a snack break, Taryn managed to coo one of the ravens over, and had a 10 minute conversation of crowing and hooting, much to the amusement of our guides, who by now thought we already a rather strange group of people.

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Kilimanjaro: Day 2

Sun, 18 Sep 2011 12:12PM

Our first morning on the mountain. Breakfast consisted of porridge, toast, fruits, eggs and sausages - but the porridge was no ordinary oat porridge. This was ragi porridge: purple-grey, lumpy and formed a thick skin if you didn’t eat it quickly enough. However, it was deliciously sweet and filling. It you ignored the colour and texture, I found it a wonderful start to the day.

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Kilimanjaro: Day 1

Sun, 11 Sep 2011 02:39PM

On Sunday28th August, Steven and I started our Kilimanjaro adventure. We were told to meet in the garden area with our bags at 8am. It took me a long time to realise - the whole trip in fact - but time is rarely kept to here, and we should use “African time”, which Silvano our guide noted is anywhere between the actual time and an hour late. We met up with Silvano for the first time, who introduced us to the other two people we would be trekking with: Taryn and her mother Lorena from Canada. Our big rucksacks got put into blue plastic bags and hauled on top of the minivan which would take us to the park gate. The porters carry these bags for you – on top of their heads, so all you need is a small day pack with your water, snacks and extra clothing layers.

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Kilimanjaro: Arriving in Tanzania

Sun, 11 Sep 2011 02:26PM

On Friday 26th August we set off from Switzerland to begin our Kili adventure. This was quite a stressful day, as we found out during our Swiss holiday we couldn’t fly directly from Geneva to Amsterdam to catch our KLM Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro airport flight. Our travel and medical insurance stipulated that the holiday must start in the UK, so we had to rush around and get another two flights...one from Geneva to Gatwick and then Gatwick to Amsterdam, just so we could set foot in the UK to have valid insurance. Total farce, but nothing we could do about it. We stayed overnight in an Amsterdam airport hotel and then set off the following morning on the 8 hour flight.

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Dean Village

Sun, 31 Oct 2010 12:35PM

Dean Village is arguably one of the most picturesque parts of Edinburgh, with its windy cobbled streets and Victorian buildings, and is situated right next to the Water of Leith. It used to be a grain milling hamlet just outside of ye Olde Edinburgh, but became engulfed by the growing city and now lies just above the West End. All of the quaint mills, warehouses and cottages have been converted into modern flats on the inside, but the village has kept it's old historical look and feel on the outside, making it a highly desirable residential area. Surprisingly Dean Village was an area of poverty up until the 1960s, and gentrification and recognition in the 1970s have made it what it is today.

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An Corran - Dinosaur Beach

Tue, 27 Jul 2010 11:09AM

Steven and I went for a three day trip to the Isle of Skye last weekend, and went to a beach near the village of Staffin called An Corran, made famous for not only being the oldest Mesolithic human hunter-gatherer site (~6500BC) on Skye, but also a place to see dinosaur footprints embedded in the rocks!

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Gullane

Mon, 24 May 2010 03:55PM

Gullane is a village about 20 miles east of Edinburgh which has an awesome beach called the Gullane Bents. It was quite a hassle getting to it when I went yesterday as I forgot the Edinburgh marathon was on so all the main roads to Gullane were shut. The beach is about a mile long and has lovely golden sand, with big rocks and rock pools at either end. It was surprisingly clean given the number of people and lack of bins.

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Istanbul

Sun, 18 Apr 2010 11:27PM

Steven and I went to Istanbul for 4 days last weekend. Luckily we managed to dodge the whole volcanic ash chaos on the way back, but unfortunately my flight from London was cancelled and I had to get a train. Not such a big deal compared to being stuck somewhere and having to pay for a hotel!

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Woodilee Mental Asylum

Sat, 23 Jan 2010 01:52PM

I travel on the train from Edinburgh to Glasgow every weekday for university, and just before the train zooms past a village called Lenzie, there are these beautifully haunting ruins in a field right next to the train track. I always assumed they were separate buildings – perhaps a church, a town hall and some sort of bridge thing – that were abandoned years, if not centuries ago. There didn’t seem to be any roads up to it, and the whole place looked dead and forgotten.

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High Tea at the Balmoral

Sat, 24 Oct 2009 04:15PM

Sorry I haven't posted in ages - I got the flu for a week and a bit. Possibly swine flu, but since I never got tested it could have been ordinary boring flu. Swine flu sounds more impressive, so I'll stick with that.

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Ben Nevis

Tue, 01 Sep 2009 01:44PM

Over the weekend Steven and I went to Fort William and climbed Ben Nevis. I had never been to the Highlands before and so was keen to compare it to Switzerland, where I've spent at least ten summers climbing mountains over 3000m.

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