Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category


Saturday morning and  here we were having yet another discussion about money. This morning’s went something like this……

MBH   “Do you think that investment fund is secure? 

Me      “Err not sure………..probably……err…..we should probably call them and find out…”

MBH    “Ok….. we’ll call them on Monday…….. let’s go to the beach and check out the waves” 

The beach was pristine, the sun came out as we arrived, the water was glassy as there was no wind and the waves were rolling in nice and steady……. perfect.  

Sliding down the face of a wave and hurtling towards the beach in the white water as it falls away and then builds again is pure and simple joy and its good for the soul.

We were alone out on the waves, and there were only a handful of people in total at the beach. Playing in the ocean is free, it’s healthy and it doesn’t hurt the environment or the climate so where is everyone? 

Shopping? Sulking? On the phone to the bank? I’m hoping for more waves tomorrow.


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Enough of the US election, Wall Street disasters and other world problems, it’s time to take the Monster for a blast in the hills.  

Ducati Monster In Cafe

Ducati Monster In Cafe

Inland from the famous Costa Brava beaches there are hills, forests, medieval villages,  curvy and quiet roads. Quiet apart from farmers on their tractors and hay trucks, it is one big secret chunk of paradise.

 After filling up at the gas station I immediately got us into the adventure and found a “new” road to Palausator, that is I got us lost but I prefer the word adventure. Thru Bisbal up to Cruilles, Monels and on up to Madremanya, only 20 miles but plenty of twists and bends to give the bike a work out. Madremanya has to be in the Top 10 Old Villages List. It’s a cracker.

Madremanya Spain

Madremanya Spain

 It sits up on a hill, has crooked streets, crooked houses with overflowing veggie gardens, pomegranate trees laden with big ripe fruits and an enormous, not crooked, scary looking church.

 It also just happens to have a stunning restaurant/hotel Placa, there’s a Tancat sign hanging on the gate (closed in Catalan) so in we went and found the owner working in the garden

“Ola, Blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah” in Catalan. Huh? 

This could mean “Bog off you biker hooligans, don’t you know what Tancat means?”  or “Good afternoon, what would you like?”   We opted for the latter.

“Dos cafe amb llet por favor”  which is “2 coffees with milk, please”  our favourite Catalan expression.

Success, 2 fresh hot kick ass coffees arrive along with “Bla blah blah blah blah blah ” which could mean something like “I’ll be in the garden if you need anything else”. 

Sitting in the courtyard with MBH in the afternoon sun all is good with the world…


Photographic note. The Monster photo above was taken a few months ago in a cafe in Estartit, there are absolutely no red, orange and blue plastic chairs in Madremanya.

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On Hiatus

On Hiatus

It wasn’t a planned break just a wire coming loose in the creative writing corner of the brain. Interestingly, or maybe not so interestingly it happened as we came into land at LAX and it reconnected when I was in Paris last week. 

Whilst on hiatus we had a wonderful family wedding, very special youngest daughter tied knots in New Hampshire to very caring, cute, surfer dude and long time boyfriend. 

We visited with our Millie Joule, the most amazing Dalmatian ever who has chosen to stay in the US while we’ve been trekking around the world. She is way too wise to leave her little slice of dog heaven in California. She was a Buddhist Monk in a former life. 

I bought an Apple Macbook and I love it.. more on Macs soon. 

My Travel Tip of the Month is Go to Paris in August. Most of the locals are away on their own holidays and the high price of the Euro means that there were very few visitors. No queue to get into the Louvre and easy to get a table at all the best Cafes.  

In contrast to Paris Catalonia in August is a full house. There should be a sign at the border saying “standing room only”.  It is so popular because the Med in August is great. It’s sunny every day and the water is warm and blue with jolly good windsurfing and a few tidgy waves to surf as an added bonus.

A cooling summer drink called Horchata has become a new favourite when we go into town. It is from Valencia and made from Tiger Nuts, no not Tigers Nuts, that would be a environmental faux pas.  More on Horchata de Valencia very soon. 

It’s good to be back, I hope everyone is having a great summer or if you are in the southern hemisphere I hope that the winter storms are not too bad. 

Bye for Now Thursdays Girl

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Next week we are off to California and will be working hard on our surfer dude Beach Boys impersonations. US FlagThe trip is inspired by a wedding, MBH’s little girl has grown up and is tying the knot with her long time love and very own surfer dude.

Its 6 years since I lived in the US and I’m wondering how the US and I have changed. A lot has happened to us both, maybe we wont recognize each other, maybe we wont get along like we used to, or maybe we will be like old friends and take up exactly where we left off. Clearly I have questions.

-Will I meet a Super Delegate and what do Super Delegates look like?

-Have all Americans turned into pulpit screaming crazies or is this just an image portrayed by CNN?

-Might I be renditioned? If so please do not rendition me to a ship, as I get seasick.

-Do all women in the US now wear pantsuits that don’t fit around the tummy?

– Will I be finger printed, retinal scanned and phone tapped?

And the big question, what if I no longer fit in?

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Another rainy day in Catalonia, time to indulge my own private travel porn fetish. I recently heard the phrase food porn used to describe a TV cooking show and travel porn works for me as a term to describe travel websites, shows and magazines where the destinations are very much in the realm of fantasy.

My favourite beach in the world is Injidup Beach in Western Australia and it falls head first into the travel porn category. It is a 4-hour drive South of Perth in the Margaret River Wine region of Western Australia.Injidup Beach

We found it when we were searching for a surf break that I had read about, which is exactly how many great things are found, when you are actually looking for something else. If you don’t look you wont find.

Injidup is totally unspoiled, there is one mega mansion being built by a Brit (bloody typical) and a small low-rise unobtrusive spa retreat.

The sand is clean, pure white and fine with a massive dune in the corner, excellent for working off some excess energy or doing Lawrence of Arabia impersonations. The water is crystal clear, there is no pollution and in the summer it is warm.

There is no café; no hotel and no gift shop only the most magnificent natural beauty that you could imagine.

There is a car park with steps down to the beach or you can sit at the top of the steps in the lookout area and watch the dolphins playing in the surf, the humans playing in the surf or on a no swell day simply lap up the natural beauty.

Many days you will be alone on the beach unless the swell is up and you will have a bunch of laid-back surfers for company. The surf break is a point break and needs some swell to get going, it is usually uncrowded.

Flies can be a problem in the summer, more specifically if you do go on a day when there are flies they can be unbearable. Luckily most days are no fly days and the Aussies are working on a dung beetle program that apparently should reduce the number of flies?

If you are in search of natural beauty this is the beach for you.

PS I will post some more photos on the photo link.

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On Monday morning the Ryan Air Girona to Blackpool flight was a full 15mins late and this is the reason that they are still my #2 favourite airline. The 15-minute delay was the difference between missing it and catching it and there was a life lesson to be learnt along the way.

Torrential rain, mud on the road from 3 days of rain (I don’t think we can have a drought here in Catalonia anymore) and Philippe Massa style driving resulted in the inevitable car smash completely blocking the Pals to Girona Airport road at Celra (not an uncommon event here). We sat and waited, ate a chocolate feradura (a pastry), waited and after 20 minutes turned around. We had to retrace our tracks and make a large detour. The trip normally is a 1-hour drive, now we were 1 hour in to it but with 1-¼ hours to go, thus using up all our spare time allowance and more.

I did my best Lewis Hamilton impersonation and got us to the airport pronto. The new plan is for me to drop off MBH outside the terminal as he needs to check in (I have done the online check in), park the car, meet and go to the gate.

We are now at take off time minus 35 minutes and I remember that Ryan are supposed to be horribly strict about check in deadlines. I run into Departures and there’s no sign of MBH, no Blackpool check in desk which is a really bad sign and still no MBH.

After a short headless chicken impersonation I find MBH casually checking in at the Ryan Air ticket counter with a lovely, friendly, helpful Ryan Air employee. There’s no line at security, no time consuming inspection of our laptops and we arrive at the gate just as the plane is landing and board a few minutes later.

The lesson to be learned this morning was….. Never give up. Your luck might change and you might catch your flight. If you give up you will never catch it…whatever it is you are trying to catch.Never Give Up

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It had hardly rained here in Catalonia all winter and our reservoirs were running at 20% capacity so a rainy weekend is technically good news for us. Meanwhile the rest of Europe is having great weather so we are off to visit Mama and Papa in sunny Carlisle, England tomorrow morning.

We are flying Girona Blackpool with my # 2 favourite airline Ryan Air at a cost of 100 Euros roundtrip including all taxes and priority boarding. There aren’t too many airlines where you can book the day before and still get such a low fare.

Girona (listed at Barcelona- Girona on their website) is a hub for Ryan and has a great choice of destinations including Marrakech (wonderful place), Paris, Dublin, Fez, Rome and Venice. The terminal has been revamped over the last few years and is clean and modern, worthy of comment because it used to be old and dirty. The airport is small, easy to get in and out of and has a very low hassle factor. Having said that…I would avoid it like the plague in August where the whole world, France and the population of several other universes descend on it for some fun in the sun.

I am super excited (if the US election has super delegates I can now officially be super excited) to be heading to the UK the land of Marmite, hills, lakes, daffodils and my Mum’s home made cookies…mmm.

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