Category Archives: European Break

On Monday 26th of July the Government of Ireland relaxed Covid-19 restrictions throughout the country and for me it was a day of joy as it meant people from the UK who had received both doses of the vaccination could visit the Ireland without having to self-isolate for 14 days. Oh, and also on that date the pubs could serve alcohol indoors which was an added bonus.

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Hello Bratislava!After weeks and weeks of lockdown it was finally time to pack a bag and get on a plane however unlike previous flights this was a new experience, flying under the “new normal”.This flight started the same as previous flights, a trip to the park and ride and bus number 747 to Edinburgh Airport, but unlike previous trips travelling on the bus meant you had to wear a mask and you had to distance yourself from the other passengers. Fortunately at 4 am there wasn’t too many other passengers. I did however recognise one of the passengers on the bus. It is not unusual for me to meet someone I recognise when travelling, it happens often but this time was different I hadn’t seen this person for over 40 years but I still recognised him, a little older, but he had not really changed since my schools days. It was…

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Tuesday didn’t start well, heavy rain battering down along with thunder but no lightning. The rain continued for a few hours but within minutes of it stopping the streets were dry so it was on with the sightseeing. The old town of Bratislava is similar to old towns I have seen while in Kaunas and Tallinn but that is not to say it isn’t worth seeing because it is. It’s lovely and well worth visiting. Compared to the others it is smaller and has a spectacular castle atop a hill watching over the town. From the castle you get fantastic views of the city and beyond. According to the information board the castle burned down but was rebuilt in 1956. On my visit the central courtyard was set up to stage a play that was to take place later that evening in front of a paying audience. I should mention…

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Bratislava is situated in southwestern Slovakia and its location on the border of Austria and Hungary makes it the only national capital that borders two countries. It is only 11 miles from the border with Hungary and 37 miles from the Austrian capital Vienna so I decided it was too good an opportunity not to visit these countries too. Gyor is not on many people’s list of cities to visit, many people will probably never heard of it but it is the sixth largest city in Hungary and surprisingly a nice place for a day visit. Gyor is only an hour away by bus and well worth a visit. I last visited Hungary in the mid eighties when it was a Communist country. Stepping off the bus in 2020 I felt like I had gone back in time to Soviet times. The bus station and the the area immediately surrounding…

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February probably isn’t the best time of the year to visit Gdańsk however one positive about visiting in February is there aren’t any crowds of tourists and this, of course, means no long queues at any of the attractions. The city is in north Poland and lies on the Baltic coast which made it an ideal place to have a shipyard. I flew to Gdansk with the airline Wizz Air. I hadn’t used them before so here’s a quick review of Wizz Air. It is the Hungarian equivalent of Ryan Air. Sell your seats cheap and get more money from your passengers through over inflated add on’s. The planes are decent enough but there is little legroom so anyone taller than me (5′ 9ish) is going to be uncomfortable. Fortunately my flight was under 2 hours so it wasn’t really a problem for me. My apartment was in the old…

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September 2019 was my month for travel, not content with Tallinn and Stockholm towards the end of the month was off to Dungloe in Co Donegal. County Donegal is a bit of an anomaly. In terms of size it is the 4th largest county on the island of Ireland and the largest county in Ulster. These days a lot of people, wrongly equate Ulster and Northern Ireland as the same place which is not the case. Ulster is made up of 9 counties, the 6 of Northern Ireland and 3 from the Republic of Ireland. These are Co. Cavan, Co. Monaghan and, of course, Co Donegal.As well as being part of Ulster Co Donegal is where you’ll find the most northerly part of the main land of the island of Ireland, Malin head. Malin Head has been used in films such as Star Wars:The Last Jedi and also in the…

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Stockholm was an unplanned trip but one I had to make in order to get to Tallinn. To cut a long story short I turned up at Edinburgh Airport the day previous for the flight to Tallinn only to discover I didn’t have my passport. So I wasn’t allowed to board the flight to Tallinn. After pulling my lip back in I returned home and spent the next few hours organising another flight to Tallinn but the only way I could get there was to fly to Stockholm and from there catch another flight to Tallinn. However, it meant I had to spend around 6 hours in the city. Not too bad an option I thought as I could spend this time exploring the city. I arrived at Skavsta Airport not knowing that it is one of four airports that serves Stockholm and is an eighty minute bus journey to…

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Early September I was off on my travels this time to Tallinn in Estonia. Tallinn is situated on the coast of the Gulf of Finland of the Baltic Sea. Helsinki, the capital city of Finland is a two hour ferry journey away and for some Fins it is easy and cheap to nip across the sea for weekend of cheap drinking. I did run into a good few Fins who were 2 sheets to the wind!! Like most European towns and cities Tallinn old town has a town square with lovely buildings which today are mostly cafés and bars. Unlike most other town squares though this one sits atop of a large hill. The area is know as Toompea or upper town and offers great views of the city. As well as many cafes and bars the old town has many places of worship all of which dominate the skyline.…

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Kaunas probably doesn’t appear in the top ten places to visit in Europe for many people but it is a lovely city with very friendly inhabitants, most of whom speak excellent English. Kaunas is the second largest city in Lithuania and has a population of around 330,000 people. Kaunas has an old town and a new town. Within the new town is this lovely boulevard which leads up to the Church of St. Michael the Archangel. The day I visited the church there was some sort of rehearsal going on. Around 20 people most of the young people were singing and dancing their way around the church. I never did find out what they were rehearsing for but it was good to sit and watch them. Above, inside the Roman Catholic Cathedral Basilica of apostles St. Peter and St. Paul of Kaunas. The old town is just how you’d expect…

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