Posts Tagged With: Travel

Japlanning! pt 1

My trip to Japan has been booked for May 2019!  We’ll be there for 18 nights, and are visiting Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. We’ve been talking about going to Japan for a long time so it’s very exciting.

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Everyone keeps torturing me by telling me how pretty the cherry blossom will be BUT we are going after cherry blossom season.  It devastates me as I love cherry blossom more than anything else in the world but it would have been difficult to guarantee a decent cherry blossom sighting anyway.  It also would have been busy and, I think, harder to take off work. But May should bring warmer weather and some other pretty flowers.

I did a lot of planning before we even booked the trip.  If we were talking a shorter trip to Europe we could just book it and wait until nearer the time to think about what we wanted to do.  But with longer trips, that are more ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ I think it’s necessary to plan it before you book.  I did the same with the three week trip I took to the US in 2014.  Before we booked the flights we needed to know how long we wanted in Japan in total, and before we booked accommodation we needed to know how long we wanted in each city.  This required me to come up with an itinerary well in advance.  Well I think so anyway…Japlanning

I started with mad googling ‘what to do in Japan’, ‘what to do in Tokyo’, ‘vegetarian Tokyo’, etc to bring up the top or most popular things to do. I also bought a Japan guide which helped to narrow down where in Japan we wanted to go.  Tokyo was a definite but we wanted to get the most of our trip by visiting as many places as we could.  So once I’d hit on Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka I also did some research to make sure it was easy enough to get to each city.  I also made a list of anything in the guide book that sounded interesting and then did some more research online later on.

I marked them on map of the cities we’re visiting (using Google maps).  I also did a lot of searching on Google maps to find things in the vicinity of major attractions.  For example, Tokyo Imperial Palace is a major attraction that pops up on lists of top attractions in Tokyo.  So using Google Maps I looked in the area to see if there were any restaurants or shops nearby we might want to visit whilst we’re in the area.

CaptureMarking things on the Google maps is really helpful as it shows where things are in relation to one another.  This helps plan out your days and showed us how many days worth of activities we had and therefore how many days we needed in each place.

The vegetarian searches are also really important, and I do it before I travel anywhere.  Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka are all known for their food but, unfortunately for me, it’s very fishy.  I know I can find things to eat in Japan but I’ll struggle if we just try to wing it and wander into restaurants and eat street food.  I need to look online at their restaurant website, blog posts, and happycow.net.  From this I can find places to eat and then basically plan my day around the vegetarian restaurant I’ve found.  People who think this strategy is nuts are people who haven’t spent many hungry hours wandering around Paris, or Dubrovnik, or Barcelona, or Gdansk looking for food getting increasingly hangry.

Anyway, come back next week and I’ll share more of my Japlanning!

 

 

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Categories: Asia, Japan, Random | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Packing for Glasgow

It’s coming up to Christmas (I’m scheduling this in advance!) and I’m making my annual trek to Glasgow!

Not much of a trek as my mum is doing the driving but the whole journey is about 5hrs.  So we’re setting off on Thursday afternoon, stopping overnight on the way and then completing the rest of the journey on Friday morning.  We’ll have Friday afternoon and Saturday in Glasgow and then spend Sunday driving back. That means I’ll be away from home for three nights.  And the weather has got a little chilly!

Packing For Glasgow

So here it is.  I’m taking a thick green hoody from Naketano, and a blur stripey jumper also from Naketano.  I love Naketano.  They no longer have a webshop.  This saddens me. I’ve also got an enjoyably flowery shirt from Monki (also like me some Monki).  I have a red long sleeve top, and a pink one. my blue jeans, PJs, tights, socks, and underwear.  I’m also taking my big infinity scarf, gloves, hat (not pictured), my keys, phone, purse.  I’ve also got a couple of Christmas books, one is a non-fiction history of Christmas and one is a Christmas murder mystery.

Non-picture is my Blacks 30l rucksack that I always use now to carry my stuff.  My little day bag (always take a day bag).  And a bags and bags of presents!

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Lake District- Mr H’s, Ambleside

Should you find yourself in Ambleside ambling along (see what I did there?) you could do worse than stopping at Mr H’s for lunch.

I had seen it online and it looked like a sweet cafe with a slightly quirky edge, which appealed.  So I added it onto a list of possibilities.  When we got to Ambleside it was the one boyfriend picked out, and he made a good choice.

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I ordered a goats cheese baguette that arrived stuffed with goats cheese! It was good!  Boyfriend got the Ploughman’s from the ‘light lunch’ section and was presented with a block of cheddar, an entire pig, as well as a pork pie, bread, and salad. I also got a nice hot chocolate in a mug with the funny little pig logo.

I also picked up a packet of loose leaf tea called ‘Apple Loves Mint’ which may be my favourite tea ever!  I’ve had it a few times in cafes but have never seen it for sale for home use before.  I don’t think it tastes like apple or mint, but it’s fruity and delicious.

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Lake District- Walk from Troutbeck to Ambleside

P1000692.JPGWe went to the Lake District for boyfriend’s birthday, without much of a plan as to what we wanted to do.  Given the beautiful surroundings we quite like the idea of a walk but, as I hadn’t been feeling great, we didn’t want it to be a long walk.  The B and B that we were staying provided us with a selection of local walks (and maps) and we found one to Ambleside that was 3.5 miles each way.Collages

It was pretty grey when we set off but the sun did eventually peek out in the afternoon.  The scenery around us did not disappoint even in the bleak weather, although I couldn’t help thinking it must look lovely in the summer.  The route was a fairly simple one that was well sign posted.  We pretty much get lost on every walk we go on so this was quite handy!  The walk was fairly easy going but it’s hill country and there were some ups, as well as downs.  I had tired legs the next day!Trip To Lakes Nov 2018

We entered Ambleside near a big garden centre, and I felt the need to wander in and have a look at there Christmas display.  Boyfriend bought some new walking trousers so it was non-stop excitement.  We then walked into Ambleside centre which is a cute, quaint little village full of really annoying people standing in your way on the pavement as they look in the window of shops!  We stopped off for lunch before heading back and were home before 3pm!Collages1

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Blakes- Newcastle

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It was getting later in the day and we were both tired from walking.  With around an hour before our train we looked for somewhere to stop for some tea and cake.  Blakes popped up on google maps as being ‘cosy’.  Which is how they describe themselves on their website, ‘everyone is made to feel welcome in this cosy hipster coffee shop.’

It was actually a little larger than I anticipated a ‘cosy’ cafe would be, and pretty empty (it was about 4:30pm on Friday).  I also didn’t feel overwhelmed by hipster-ism.  They don’t even seem to have avocado on their menu (maybe that’s too mainstream now?), but they do have soup and ‘artisan’ bread.

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Anyway, we weren’t really eating properly and I just got a mint tea and chocolate muffin.  The muffin was good (it had some kind of chocolate goo inside it), and the tea hit the spot.  Although they boast a large selection of locally sourced loose leaf tea on the menu it merely says ‘herbal tea’. So you have to ask what they have in stock. As well as being a bit annoying, it means your choice of drink is partial determined by whether the member of staff can remember all the flavours of tea they stock.

It’s part of a larger pet peeve of mine; when places don’t have soft drinks on their menu. Lucky for Blakes they do put their other soft drinks on the menu, and I wasn’t the one ordering so they didn’t have to feel my wrath.*

Apart from that we found Blakes to be very pleasant!  I was recommend if you’re passing along Grey Street.  Although it did seem that there were quite a few interesting looking places along that road.  Newcastle is spoilt for choice.

 

*My wrath sounds a lot like someone politely asking ‘what types of tea do you have?’

Categories: Newcastle, Random, UK | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Analogue Photos of Glasgow

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On my recent trip to Glasgow I took a disposable analogue camera and got a few cute pictures of my 3yr old niece and baby nephew.  I’m not going to post those photos but, you know, that would be super weird.  But here are a few non-child photos I got.

There’s a few of my trip on train up there, beautiful countryside whizzing past the window.  And a couple of the park we had a little picnic, and I got sun burnt (in Scotland, can you believe it?).  And there were a couple that my niece took, she actually got a nice one of her dad (again weird to put on the interwebs) but struggled with the tiny field of vision you get on an analogue camera so she was getting too close to her subjects.  Still she has an eye…

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Packing For Glasgow

Packing For Glasgow

I took a very quick trip to Glasgow recently to visit my new baby nephew (and some adults).  I arrived lunchtime on Friday and left about 4pm on Saturday, and was traveling by train.  I didn’t need to take too much with me, although I did have a few presents that I needed to cram into my backpack.

It was very hot when I went up there, but this heat wave has been so unprecedented it was hard to believe that it would stay warm, in Scotland of all places. I went up there in my jeans and long sleeve dino top, the air conditioning on the train made that an OK travel outfit.  But on arrival we sat in the garden and it was very necessary to shorts up.  I threw in some new shorts (not pictured), as well as shorts to sleep in (which it was far too hot to wear)! I also took some fluffy slipper socks which my niece quite enjoyed stroking and grabbing hold of.

My non-clothes items were fairly minimal; some toiletries, sunglasses, sun block, a book to read on the train, a day bag (which sister had bought me and my niece pointed to and said ‘we bought that’), my purse, and then I also took my phone and camera.  It was fairly successful packing I’d say!

 

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Analogue Photos of Beamish

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Durham Scrapbook

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We took a mini city break to Durham over the Spring Bank Holiday, and I’ve done a mini scrapbook for it.  I used a random little note book I had been giving free at an old job, I think it was just a little sample we were sent, but it’s fun because all the pages are different colours.

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I’ve got a new(ish) printer, the Canon TS8152 which I do like quite a lot.  I bought some new photo paper from W. H Smiths which I’m not crazy about as it’s quite thin so tears a bit when I cut it.  And this little scrapbooks are quite hard to work with because you have to print out tiny photos.

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I used some of the ephemera I had collected over the weekend, such as note paper from the hotel, receipts, and train tickets.  I also used my 1 inch circle hole punch and went to town on my Durham Cathedral brochure.  This time around I left a sensible amount of space to write in as I never really have much to say, but feel I should write some stuff!

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Leeds 10km Run

I did it!  I completed the Leeds 10km!

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It was tough at times, it was very hot and we were under the direct sun for much of the run.  The last 200m was quite enjoyable though, I’d run through the finish line of any race!  I’m very glad I did this, I feel like I’ve achieved a goal that a few years ago I would have thought impossible for me.  I also raised over £200 for St Gemma’s Hospice which supports people with terminal cancer.  And I got a little medal!

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I signed up in December (or possibly early January) when it all seemed very far away and tried to start my training.  It was difficult to know how much training to do, but a 10km is a walkable distance and I was running about 5km a few times a week so I was in better shape than a lot of people.  Winter was cold and rainy, and there’s an annoying lack of street lights where I live. I managed to maintain a reasonably consistent regime.

I struggled in Spring as the weather was still terrible, with regular heavy rain but slowly increased the distances I was running and did a few 10km before the race.  I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to go the distance.

In the run up to the big day I felt that there was a lack of information coming from the race orgnisers.  St Gemma’s sent me a fundraising pack and said the event organiser (Run For All) would send my race pack.  My ‘race pack’ turned out to be my bib (the race number I needed to pin to my top), with no accompanying letter or instructions.  Two days before the event I received an email from them with some more details about when to arrive and where to go.  But, to me, that’s too short notice.

For the most part it was fairly obvious, but we had been split into three groups based on estimated finish time and each group had a different assembly point and start time.  In the ‘green’ (slow poke) assembly area there were many reds and blues hanging around and people didn’t seem to have got the message about the different groups.  We were also told to get to our assembly points at 8:45am, but we didn’t cross the start line until 9:40 and it was never clear what you were supposed to be doing for those 55mins.  After going to the toilet there wasn’t much to do but stand in the hot sun.

Leeds 10km

I feel like I’m complaining a lot, these are small issues but they annoyed me.  As a first time runner I needed some more clarity in what I was to expect on the day.

But I am very glad I did the run.  I got my medal, and a goody bag with some protein bars, cheapo chocolate, and protein drink all courtesy of ASDA, the chief sponsor.  We were also given a free T-shirt. No fitbits though, shame.  I received a tank top to run in from St Gemma’s so that’s what I wore on the day.  Once that’s gone through the wash I’ll frame it along with my medal and bib.

Categories: Leeds, Random, UK | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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