The travel stories sound great but… did you tan?

I was with three German friends yesterday, they were travelling from Stuttgart to Newcastle for a weekend break. They underestimated the Scottish sunshine as I watched them come back from a day trip to Edinburgh. It’s there and craves attention from time to time. One of them came back more red than a Stuttgart away shirt.


Of course, the featured image isn’t northern Europe. It is Belém, Portuguese for Bethlehem. I loved this city and the regions around it, if I was in danger of sunburn it was this place. It is a shame, I used to tan so well. Maybe it was the parental guidance as a child and my clear lack of self reliance to apply enough sunscreen. I am fine with this though, it isn’t the main focus of my holiday.

It seems to be the main focus for so many people. When I arrive home after a trip, more often than not my skin colour will be the topic of conversation. Whether I tanned or not, I have to go through the cliche who-has-the-browner-skin competition.


I have five right arms. Great for carrying groceries, terrible for balance.

For many Brits, holidays abroad are simply for the sunshine. To be able to sit down outside with a beer and do nothing. To get a great tan and show everyone back home. It seems like this is what is perceived of my reasons to travel too. Not the stories of what I did or where I went, what food I tried and how much of the language I learned. Just how hard I tried to sit still to get brown enough to prove I went away in the first place.

I do often come back with a little colour, but this shouldn’t be the only evidence that any journey was worth it. If anything the lack of tan may prove I was busy doing other things, venturing away from the hotel pool from time to time. If I go all that way I want to make it worth it. I want to take this opportunity to do what I cannot back home and sample a new experience that my great grandparents were not able to.

I wonder if I went back in time and visited my great grandparents, would they take any interest in my change of skin colour at all, considering the huge amount of curiosity they must have gathered knowing I had travelled overseas? Or would they spend the whole day sitting down with me asking what such an experience was like? The smells from the restaurants, the appearance of the natives, the warmth of the rain and the height of the mountains.

The tan fades. Experiences don’t.

Edinburgh knows how to Christmas!

Hello Edinburgh, it’s been a little while. 

What I love about this visit is the Christmas vibe. I know it’s still early on, however with the Christmas markets and unavoidable below freezing temperatures I cannot help but get in the mood. 

It goes well with the historic architecture, like being in a fiction novel. A bit magical, a bit old-worldly. 

Sometimes a 90 minute journey is enough to escape reality, and we all need that once in a little while.

British weather makes it damn hard to plan ahead

Should I take a thick coat and gloves, or a thin t-shirt and shorts?

This was going through my mind recently before a work trip to Edinburgh, on route from Newcastle by rail. The journey up the east coast was a beautiful mix of blue skies and blizzards in five minute bursts as we pierced through the weather systems at high speed. The weather provided a warm welcome when I did walk out into the busy streets of Edinburgh.

When I arrived at the hotel I found myself gazing at the rolling hills on the horizon, watching as the snow slowly engulfed them.

Can you tell I love weather watching? Ever since I was a child I have loved the way nature changes, especially in extreme cases. I was fortunate to witness a waterspout a few miles out to sea off the coast of Majorca when I was 11 or 12 during a family holiday, back when video cameras were pretty big, too big to take to the swimming pool that day. Oh how I wish we did!

And now, I’m at home, reading The God Delusion outside in the heat thinking what difference a week or so can make.

Edinburgh: Haggis cheeseburgers anyone?

As you may be aware I have been absent from WordPress today (sorry!), I had a 6.30am journey to the train station en route to Edinburgh to spend a day with family.

It’s now just after midnight and I’m one cold, tired blogger.

Edinburgh is a beautiful (currently freezing) city. 


Very multicultural however there was one thing on the menu I had to try…
A cheeseburger with a top layer of haggis, it was as delicious as it was filling. 

Well I thought so.

As I type this I’m realising I forgot to grab a deep fried Mars bar whilst I was up there, I’m sure it will be worth the train journey back again.

Have any of my readers tried any interesting foods? I haven’t been the most adventurous in comparison to the food blogs out there but there isn’t much I will turn down. Frog legs and salt and vinegar flavoured crickets are probably the best example of interesting foods I’ve tried. Any vegan/vegetarian examples?