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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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Now that Lockdown has been eased in Scotland it was time for a day trip and it was to one of my favourite Scottish coastal walks Arbroath’s spectacular Seaton’s Cliffs. The red sandstone cliffs face out to the North Sea and on a clear day you can see the Bell Lighthouse on the horizon. The lighthouse has been keeping vessels safe for over 200 years and was designed by Robert Stevenson, who as well as being famous for building lighthouses was also the grandfather of Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of books such as Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde amongst others. The walk begins in the Victoria Car Park and is approximately 7 miles long if you take in Auchmithie and apart from the initial climb at the start of the walk it is a relatively flat walk. There are some fascinating rock…

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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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For only the third time in my life I am not only out of Benarty but also out of Scotland for New Year, twice I been in Australia and this time it is the English Lake District. My plan is to do a bit of walking and a bit of sightseeing however when arriving on the 30 of December 2019 the weather wasn’t that great. However, I won’t let this put me off. On Hogmanay I decided to walk Vellhellyn, a 950m hill or 3,117 feet in old money. Unusual for December, it was a lovely sunny day as I drove to the Swirls Car Park at the foot of the hill. The route from here is fairly straight forward or, so I had read!! The path to the summit is easy enough to follow as it has been laid out with rocks and boulders which means you are basically…

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Happy New Year!!I hope 2020 is a great year for you.Today I had a walk in the woods to visit the Cathedral Quarry in Little Langdale. The weather wasn’t very kind to me today as it was dull, damp and foggy, as can be seen from the photos below. However, I didn’t let it put me off. My route was, mostly, on well made paths which seemed to have a gate every two hundred yards. I was hoping to visit the quarry and the caves but I couldn’t find the caves!!I was hoping to use a navigation app I have on my phone but when I got to the walk there was no phone signal nor Internet so the app was useless. Message to self, download the map beforehand.I did mange to find the quarry using map I had downloaded earlier but although it showed the quarry it didn’t show…

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For my last full day I decided to visit the city of Carlisle. I have visited before and really enjoyed my time there so this visit gave me the chance to relive those memories. Carlisle was originally part of Scotland and this is why there is no mention of it in the Doomsday Book. However, William Rufus, son of William the Conqueror, invade the region and Carlisle became part of England. William Rufus built a castle there that later held Mary Queen of Scots prisoner. Over the centuries Carlisle changed nationality a few times until the Jacobite Rising of 1745 when the city was recaptured by the Duke (Butcher) of Cumberland. The city’s cathedral is small by cathedral standards but is well worth a visit. As it has very detailed stained-glass windows and a hoard of church treasure is stored in the basement vault. These days the city is like…

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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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20/21