Six word Saturday

A lovely surprise in my Inbox!

I just have to share the generosity of Brian Butler on his blog Travel Between the Pages.  Celebrating 3000 posts over 8 years, he launched a giveaway and I was the lucky recipient.  There’s something very beautiful about old books, and London is a favourite subject of mine.  A publisher and dealer in antique books, Brian often makes me smile.  Sharing the love this Saturday, with just a little more than Six Words.  Not so verbose as Debbie.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Jo’s Monday walk : Regent’s Canal


You might remember that last week I left Judith from London Walks standing beside Hampstead Road Lock.  We were about to plunge into the cornucopia of wonder and excitement that is Camden Market.  Why don’t you come with us?

Judith in the midst of the market

Judith in the midst of the market

It's all about the stables!

It’s all about the stables!

One of the things that I hadn’t been aware of on my previous visits to Camden Market was the existence of The Stables.  Possibly because I am more drawn to the canal than to market stalls.

Before the advent of the motor car, all of London relied on horse drawn carriages for transport.  A huge number of stables were required to house these horses.  Many were associated with the canal trade, and The Stables Market is located in Pickford’s, the hauliers, former stables and the Grade II listed Horse Hospital.  The latter served sick and injured horses which pulled the distribution vans and barges.  The scale of the enterprise can be seen in this excerpt from Camden Railway Heritage Trust.

Today the vaulted arches have been transformed into a number of chic sales units and some of the former stalls are now a party venue.  The power of the bronze horse sculptures dominate the market in a way that is hard to capture. Despite the crowds that regularly throng the area and the numerous fast food outlets, I would urge you to seek them out if you’re in the area.

One of many proud horse sculptures

One of many proud horse sculptures

The Stables Market

The Stables Market

A moving tableau of horses

A moving tableau of horses

I could have stayed taking photos in The Stables Market all day, but the tour was coming swiftly to an end.  I just had time to snatch a last couple of shots.

When I reluctantly left Judith, I hoped to catch the Waterbus for the next stage of my journey, to Little Venice.  At 1pm the food stalls were all heaving and as I shrugged my way through them, I realised that the crew of the Waterbus had also declared lunch hour.  But the sun was still on my shoulder, and the lure of the towpath simply too strong.

Time to escape the crowds

Time to escape the crowds

A spot of lunch might be nice!

A spot of lunch might be nice!

The Feng Shang Floating Chinese Restaurant did look very appealing, but I hadn’t the time.  I did find a very nice empty bench, though, in prime position to admire it.  I rested my tired back and snacked on some fruit as I looked at my canal guide to check what lay ahead.  Not far along the towpath I could see one of the aviaries of Regent’s Park Zoo.

Regent Park's Zoo

Regent Park’s Zoo

I joined the spectators admiring the antics of the birds, and wondered if perhaps I might make time for a look into Regent’s Park.  It’s many years since I’ve been there but, regretfully, I let it go.  How was I to know that Debbie would take me there this week?  For now, I was approaching Lord’s Cricket Ground and the prime real estate of St. John’s Wood and Maida Vale.

Time to choose a mansion?

The wintry trees reflected in the canal

Time to choose a mansion?

Time to choose a mansion?

Even upside down they look good!

Even upside down they look good!

A bench with a view, Jude?

A bench with a view, Jude?

At this point I have to leave the canal temporarily while it burrows through Maida Hill Tunnel. The way ahead is not immediately obvious, but by dint of a couple of roadside maps and checking with passers by, I manage to rejoin it. I’m now just a short distance from my final destination.

Soon I'm back among the boats

Soon, I’m back among the boats

Life on a canal wouldn't be so bad!

Life on a canal wouldn’t be so bad, would it?

One last bridge to pass beneath

One last bridge to pass beneath

The sight I have been waiting for

The sight I have been waiting for, Little Venice

Little Venice is a triangular stretch of water, also known as Browning’s Pool, after the Victorian poet Robert Browning, who lived near by.   It marks the junction of Regent’s Canal with the Paddington arm of the Grand Union Canal.  I am delighted to spot the Waterside Cafe nestled at the canal side and even happier to treat myself to an unexpected pastel de nata with my coffee. The Portuguese custard tart was the last thing I expected to find on an English canal.

Satisfied, I cross over the bridge and look wistfully at the stretch of canal lying ahead of me.  My time has run out and I know that I must leave the Puppet Theatre and the floating art gallery for another visit.  But today I have conquered 5 miles of London’s watery world, and enjoyed having Judith broaden my knowledge of Camden Town.

A last look at the sun dappled water

A last look at the sun-dappled water

Doesn't it look wonderfully peaceful?

Doesn’t it look wonderfully peaceful?

If you were with me for To Camden and beyond last week, you’ll know that I’ve been watching ‘Great Canal Journeys’, with Timothy West and Prunella Scales.  The series ended last night, with the Lothian Canal in Scotland. I’m not so very far from the Scottish Borders and I’m now determined to see the Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies for myself.  If you missed this excellent series you can still find it on YouTube.

You’ll probably find me, walking somewhere, next week.  Please do join me, if you can.

walking logo

Our Easter weather’s been pretty good for getting out and about, so I’m hoping you’ll have lots of walks to share with me this week.  Details of how to join in are on my Jo’s Monday walk page or simply click on the logo above.  Time to settle in with a cuppa and enjoy my shares this week. Many thanks to all of you!


What could be a better accompaniment to this week’s walk?  Perfect timing, Debbie!

Take a Walk in Regent’s Park

The loveliest Robin photo I’ve seen in a while.  Thanks, Drake!  A bird friend?

Out of Nowhere

Lots more street art from Geoff!  Do you have a favourite?

Dulwich Street Art- part 3 

Also featured on last night’s ‘Great Canal Journeys’ was the Antonine Wall.  Many thanks, Anabel! I’d never heard of it before :

The Antonine Wall

Tobias’ offering this week is full of the gravitas of Good Friday  :

Festung Ehrenbreitstein 

And lastly, it’s my very great pleasure to share the amazing graphics of an old friend.  Please welcome Jake!

Roald Dahl

That’s it for this week!  I hope you’ve had a great Easter break and I hope to catch up with you all soon.

Six word Saturday


Just time for a brisk walk!

You know, already, where  this is!

You know, already, where this is!

So much about London is iconic, isn’t it?  This time last week, I was whirling along the city streets!  I still have a canal walk to share with you, but today I’m saying goodbye for a while.

Talking of iconic!

Talking of iconic!

How blue is that sky?

How blue is that sky?

Under Blackfriar’s Bridge next.  I hadn’t walked this part in a long time so it felt new to me, though some of it’s very old.  I love the contrast.

And sleekly modern London

Sleekly modern London in the making

Who can fail to love this bridge?

Who can fail to love this bridge?

Yes, Meg, I know I’m going to be teased mercilessly about rivers and bridges, but how can I not show you London’s finest, in the short time that I have?

St. Paul's, across the Millenium Bridge

St. Paul’s, across the Millenium Bridge

Can you tell that I’m just a little in love with our capital city?  I had a fine weekend, but it’s back to the peaceful life for me. Early tomorrow morning I fly to the Algarve, hoping to find more blue skies.  I’ll probably struggle to reply to many of you today, but hopefully I’ll make it up to you when I’m back.

Don’t forget the 6Friends Theory competition, will you?  You never know what could happen. And, of course, visit Cate at Show My Face to share your week.  I hope it was a good one.


6 Friends Theory- trip of a lifetime!


I had little idea what I was getting involved in when I received my invitation to the 6 Friends Theory event from Mercure Hotels.  A bubble of excitement rose inside me as I read the details and then watched the video.  If I understood correctly, Mercure were planning to send someone around the world!  I needed to know more.

How often have we said ‘it’s a small world’?  The Six Degrees of Separation theory is what lies behind Mercure Hotels initiative.  This suggests that everyone is six steps away or fewer, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world.  A chain of ‘a friend of a friend’ statements can be made to connect any two people, in a maximum of six steps.  Such is the theory set out by Frigyes Karinthy in 1929.  In this age of social media, Mercure are proposing to test the theory, offering one lucky person a round the world trip to do so.

Six Mercure Hotels will host the winner, on an unprecedented 30 day trip, starting in Paris, and scheduled for March 2015.  Could it be you?  I have wonderful memories of Paris last Summer.

Is there a more exciting city in the world than Paris?

Paris, in all its evening glory!

If you’ve watched the video you’ll know that Mercure propose to select an individual, and take them to meet an Aboriginal from the Bundjalung tribe in Australia.  They will meet through the chain of friends, and friends of friends, that connect them.  Exciting?  I’ll tell you how to get involved soon.

First I need to tell you a little about your hosts.  Mercure are passionate hoteliers, dedicated to providing a warm experience in their network of 707 hotels in 53 countries around the globe. Part of Accor, the world’s leading hotel operator with more than 3,600 hotels, the Mercure brand has a strong personal identity.  From the second I walked through the doors of the Mercure London Bridge, I was greeted with warm smiles.  This continued throughout my stay, and everyone from the receptionists to the hotel maids had a friendly greeting for me.

Click on any photo to see it enlarged. 

The bedroom was fully equipped, with tea and coffee making facilities and a plate of delicious fresh fruit.  The first thing I did was to kick off my boots, put the kettle on, and check out the free high speed Wifi connection, which worked to perfection.  Slippers and a towelling robe beckoned, and a full range of toiletries in the bathroom.  A hot shower, and London waiting on the doorstep. What could be better?

The reception area has sleek modern lines, with inviting vases of sweets on almost every available surface.  I don’t know how I restrained myself!  Perhaps the prospect of supper in nearby Borough Market?  The 4 star hotel is situated on Southwark Street and is just minutes from the London Bridge or Southwark Metro station.  I have yet to visit beautiful Southwark Cathedral, but I thoroughly enjoyed my tour of Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, just around the corner on Bankside. Tate Modern and the London Eye are a wander away, while St. Paul’s Cathedral is just across the river.  The area is also perfect for a romantic evening stroll.

St. Paul's, across the Millenium Bridge

St. Paul’s, across the Millenium Bridge

I think it’s probably time I got to the competition details, don’t you?  Of course, it involves social media.  Mercure are interested in the question of human bonds in the digital era.  A societal study of friendship is being conducted alongside the Six Friends Theory operation.

To take part in the competition, you need to post a 60 second video on Facebook.  In this, you should describe your personality and motivations, and explain why you think you are the best person to undertake this trip.  As one of the judges says, ‘The candidate will be the nice friend everybody would like to go around the world with’.   Is that you? You have until 10th February to convince everybody and pull in the votes on Facebook.  Follow this link for full details.  It just remains to wish you good luck, or ‘bonne chance’!

Mercure were kind enough to invite me to their promotional event, as part of a group of bloggers, but all photos and opinions are my own.



Jo’s Monday walk : London by Moonlight

The Golden Hind on Bankside

The Golden Hind II, on Bankside

I had a brilliant time in London this weekend, staying at the Mercure London Bridge hotel for a 6 Friends Theory event.  I’ll tell you all about it later in the week, but first things first- my Mondays always start with a walk.

You can imagine the amount of walking I did in London!  Let’s just say, my boots need re-heeling.  Friday saw me striding out along South Bank, the air crisp and bright!  On Saturday I took to the canal paths, sandwiching this with a superb guided walk round Old Camden Town. Judith, from London Walks, had a merry twinkle in her eyes as she shared stories of the neighbourhood- everything from George Bernard Shaw to George Melly!

I’m a little short on time to do those walks justice, so I thought I’d do something a bit different this week.  How about a moonlit stroll?   It’s not often that I get to see our capital by night, and it’s a glorious sight.  I had to cut it shorter than planned when the skies suddenly opened!

I've always loved a Tall Ship, and this one's so colourful!

I’ve always loved a Tall Ship, and this one’s so colourful!

Golden Hind II, an authentic replica of Sir Francis Drake’s ship, has resided in her berth at St. Mary Overie Dock, Bankside since 1996.  She’s had her share of colourful adventures and has cicumnavigated the globe and featured in four films.  These days her chief activity is to provide living history lessons about Elizabethan maritime history.  The children can swashbuckle a little and dress up as Tudor sailors.  Details of her voyages, along with Drake’s own round the world trip, from 1577 to 1580, are provided in this Wikipedia link.

I love boats and rigging

A complication of rigging!

I mentioned moonlight, and the night was clear and crisp when I left the hotel, on Southwark St., for a short walk to Borough Market.  At Fish the food was delicious!  I needed a stroll afterwards.

From Borough Market, I headed through Clink St. towards Bankside, and lingered by the dock. The lights from the towering buildings and the bridges danced playfully on the water.

Southwark Bridge and St. Paul's Cathedral

Southwark Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral

A shock of colour in close up!

A shock of colour in close up!

The air was turning damp and it seemed a good idea to head back towards Clink St.  A familiar shape loomed overhead.  It’s London’s latest landmark, The Shard.

The Shard is visible everywhere!

The Shard- visible everywhere!

Beads of rain blurred the sign

Beads of rain speckled the sign

The remains of Winchester Palace

The remains of Winchester Palace

The rain was gathering conviction and I hastened my steps, though still held in London’s night time spell.  Hood pulled up, it was time for my camera to retreat to safety.  Just a last couple of shots, then it was time to step out swiftly, back to the hotel.

If the weather had been better, I might have followed the Thames all night, so perhaps it’s just as well the rain came. The next day dawned clear and sharp, and I was off again.

But those stories will have to wait.  Next Sunday I’m off to the Algarve, so Jo’s Monday walk will be taking a two week breather.  I already have several walks lined up in the Algarve, so I hope you’ll join me when I get back. (16th February)

walking logo

I am so grateful to all the people who have shared walks with me.  You take me to places I could never reach under my own steam.  I only hope that you enjoy my walks as much as I enjoy yours. Please feel free to share them at any time.  My Jo’s Monday walk page will give you the details.

Time to put the kettle on for a cuppa.  There are some wonderful walks coming up!


Paula has agreed to show us a little of her home city, Zagreb, currently cloaked in winter bareness

A fun walk by the lake

Richard has been a friend for the longest time, and knows the BEST places to go!

The Watergate Bay sunset walk

A walk that I meant to share after my trip to Paris, done beautifully by Debbie.  Thanks for the memory!

Promenading the banks of Canal Saint-Martin

Something I’m very familiar with, but Jude makes it look good!

Wintery Blues

Natural sounds, presented with flair, from Amy this week.  I adore a hibiscus in the rain!

Sounds in Nature

A first for my walks- some wonderful poetry from Esther!  She’ll make you smile, I guarantee  :

Walk in the Woods 

Elizabeth is walking home from work, but don’t feel sorry for her!  I certainly don’t  :

Walking home from work

Is it possible to walk with Drake without smiling?  I don’t think so!

Walkabout in Strasbourg

And Kathryn had me smiling so, with her sweetness.  Let’s go tracking, in the woods!

Monday walk with Jo in mind

Thank you to all my kind and lovely friends!  I’ll try to catch up with you during the week.  Then I may have earned a rest.  Happy walking, everyone!

Six word Saturday


To be, or not to be?

'The Globe' theatre, in miniature

‘The Globe’ theatre, in miniature

This weekend finds me in London, on a blogging event with the Mercure hotel chain.  They are launching a major competition based on the 6 Friends Theory.  More of that to follow!

Just so that you know I haven’t been wasting my time, I popped into The Globe theatre at Bankside and did the tour.  It’s a reconstruction of Shakespeare’s original Globe, and I’ve wanted to visit for years. (another tick in box!)  Now I want to go back and see a play there. Maybe next trip?  The exhibition space was very interesting too, though I didn’t have nearly enough time. Here’s just a glimpse!

You could even be a model for a Shakespearean gown!

You could even be a model for a Shakespearean gown!

Fortunately, I didn’t have time before the bell rang for the tour, but the lady seemed to be enjoying herself.  I was disappointed with my photos of The Globe itself.  With dazzling bright skies (yes, I was lucky again!) and deep shade, I struggled to get clear images, but my memories are intact.  If I had longer I would love to visit the new indoor Jacobean Theatre in the complex. (one off the list, and two back on!)  Sam Wanamaker’s vision and tireless energy in driving the project has finally come to fruition.

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That’s it for now!  It’s time for breakfast and some more sight seeing.  Have a great weekend, and don’t forget to visit Cate at Show My Face to share your six words.  Apologies if I don’t respond to you for a while.  Home this evening!


Cities of Kings

Cities_Of_Kings_Cover_2a.225x225-75I have to admit to being a little nervous when I was approached recently for my views on the above book, Cities of Kings.  I have followed Bespoke Traveller for quite some time and didn’t want to spoil a good friendship.  I needn’t have worried. Atreyee Gupta and Jesse Japitana have done a great job.  Their passion and enthusiasm for architecture and history transmits readily to this self-publication, and I am delighted to be able to heartily recommend it.

London is a city which captured my imagination as a girl, and it has never really let it go.  I visit infrequently these days, but when I do it conjures the same excitement and sense of pride I felt back then.  I delight in the architecture, old and new, and in that skyline, pierced anew by gravity-defying creations.

With Paris, I have only a fleeting acquaintance.  That same starry-eyed girl boarded a plane and wandered the banks of the Seine with the same enthusiasm she had bestowed on the Thames.  Sadly, I have never been back, but reading Cities and Kings I feel the need to return more than ever.

St. Paul's Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge- courtesy of Mike Bradley

St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge- courtesy of Mike Bradley

In the book the two cities are compared and contrasted and their architectural histories told.  Detailed photographs accompany the text, and I learnt many little intriguing facts.  I hadn’t realised how ignorant I was of parts of my own history! The stories of the kings and queens and their passions are expertly woven into the fabric of London and Paris.

I love it when enthusiasm for a subject shines through as it does here.  I don’t want to reveal too much and spoil a good read, but you can be sure that you will be taken to The Tower, and stroll in the gardens of Hampton Court.  In Paris, I particularly enjoyed my visit to the Louvre, and to the lesser known area of La Defense.

The book is concluded with a practical section on visiting and getting around in the twin cities.  All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable read.  You can purchase the book on Amazon Kindle or at the Apple iBookstore.  I think it would make a rather good Christmas present.

Meantime I’m thinking that Paris would make a fine destination for our Silver Wedding next August.  What do you think?

Sunday Post : City

When I was 18, all I wanted was the city.  And what a city it was!  London- fun, fashion and the centre of my universe.  Jakesprinter has reminded me of that, with his theme for the Sunday Post this week, City.

Covent Garden, where the entertainment’s always good

The Fan Museum in Greenwich, such an unexpected treat

The skyline with it’s newest addition, The Shard, climbing upwards

As I grew older, it didn’t seem the place to raise a family.  I returned to my northern roots.  But the city was never too far away, whether I needed culture, or just a place to crane my neck to look up at the sky.

Note Newcastle’s moody northern sky

Still, you couldn’t want a finer cityscape than Gateshead’s Millenium Bridge

A city with more serenity- Durham, clad in its Autumn colours

But not lacking for a spectacular, and cultural event- Lumiere 2011

Life can be quixotic, and for me this came in the form of my Polish family, rising from the embers of the past.  The cities it brought me to explore were survivors, and especially beautiful for that.

Coach and horses in Krakow’s mighty Rynek

All of Krakow’s history is on display on Wawel Hill

Talking of survivors, where better than Warsaw’s Stare Miasto?

Or the Rynek (market square) in Wroclaw

Wroclaw has cultural humour too, with its army of gnomes

I don’t truly consider myself a city person any more, but just sometimes I lose my heart to a city.  (You knew there was a song in there, bursting to get out, didn’t you?  Yes, I always did want to see San Francisco, but I haven’t made it there yet)

I expect you know the city I’m talking about.  I’ve talked about nothing else since I got home.

It’s a city full of colour







Amazing churches

And azulejos, of course

So yes, I have lost my heart to a city by a bay, but it’s not San Francisco.  It’s Portugal’s fine northern city, Porto.  As usual, I have Jake to thank for allowing me to share these memories, old and new.  What does a city mean to you?  Jakesprinter’s bound to have lots of great examples.  Follow the links or click on the flying dragon logo to share.

Sunday Post : From a Distance

How did Jakesprinter know that this was to be my 100th post, and that I hoped it would be a bit special?  I’m not at all sure, but he’s right on target with this week’s Sunday Post theme, From a Distance.

I’m starting with the words of Bette Midler :

From a distance
There is harmony
And it echoes through the land
Its the voice of hope
Its the voice of peace
Its the voice of every man.

The Ria Formosa from Cacela Velha

This photo speaks to me of harmony and peace.

In writing this, I’m far distant from the Eastern Algarve shoreline that I love so much. Of course, Jake is talking about distance as in perspective and long range photography, and I will try to select my photos accordingly.  Still I can’t help but yearn for faraway things.  It’s part of my “restlessjo” nature.  I sometimes wonder if the Algarve would be so dearly loved if it were everyday and familiar.  Someday I hope to retire there, and then I’ll find out.

One of those irresistible Algarve beaches, wandering off into the distance

Looking out from the town walls of Elvas on the endless plains of the Alentejo

The far distant Silver Coast, seen from Sintra’s Pena Palace

Nearer to home, but still a view from afar, I spent a great few days in the company of my lady friends, in riot torn London in August 2011.  Looking at this peaceful shot, who’d have thought it?

The Royal Naval College at Greenwich with Canary Wharf on the horizon

The peace and serenity that accompanies me when I’m out walking is precious.  My restlessness is soothed in wide open spaces.

Ambling downhill towards Robin Hood’s Bay

Distinctive landscape and a far off lake in Upper Teesdale

The pier at Whitby and a group of walkers, from a distance

I’ll finish with Bette :

From a distance
You look like my friend
Even though we are at war
From a distance
I just cannot comprehend
What all this fightings for
From a distance
There is harmony
And it echoes through the land
And its the hope of hopes
Its the love of loves
Its the heart of every man

It’s one of those songs that leaves a lump in my throat, so I hope that Jake doesn’t mind me sharing it in this post today.  Jake and Sundays.  They’re a winning combination.

To join in with Jake’s challenge and see what everybody else has made of it, click on the flying dragon logo or any of the links.  I’ve enjoyed post 100, and all of those that went before.  I’m hoping that you have too.  Thank you for reading.

Enjoying all the other posts reminded me that distance always seems to play a part in my relationship with my daughter, Lisa.  I love her dearly.  Many thanks to Gemma at First and Fabulous for this.

My travel inspiration

More excitement!  I’ve been nominated by Suzanne of the travelbunny to take part in Easyjet’s Inspiration Initiative.  Suzanne is a very well-travelled lady and I love her blog, so I musn’t let her down.  Inspiration to travel?  You only need to browse the current dazzling array of travel blogs.  Easyjet would like to know Who, What, When and Where are the inspiration for your travels?  There are prizes!

Who?  Like many others, I have a great fondness for Michael Palin and his gentle way of being in the world, interested but unobtrusive. (unless you count the camera crew, of course!)  His warmth and humour are ever-present, in sometimes quite trying circumstances.

Class 153, Michael Palin at
Cambridge, Wikipedia

I don’t imagine it was much fun battling altitude sickness in the Himalayas, and he’s certainly slept in some strange places.  Still, watching him on TV was the first time I can ever remember thinking “I want that job”.  I want to travel.  Why, he even has two trains named after him!

Living in hostel accommodation in London in my late teens, I explored back streets and wandered the riverside for hours.  I was besotted with the shiny city, so different from my quiet hometown.  Then one of my room-mates announced that she was emigrating to Australia.  The possibility had just never occurred to me!  Tempted though I was, I never made that leap, a new and lustrous relationship keeping me in place.  Who knows where I’d be today if I had, but I’ll never forget my inspiring, adventurous friend, Di.

London Town viewed from Greenwich Park

What?  It’s books for me, all the way.  I can never walk past the Oxfam shop in Durham without nipping upstairs for a peak at the travel section.  Before I know it I’m sunk in an armchair, with a heap before me on the coffee table.  Buddhist temples, multi-hued mountains, languid beaches- the world at my fingertips.

"Lumiere" 2011, Durham City

And planning?  I read everything related I can get my hands on.  I cannot bear to return from a trip and have somebody say “did you see…” and my answer be “no”.

Years ago I used to watch every episode of “A Place in the Sun”, riveted by the snippets of background on each of the destinations.  Every week I was “living” somewhere different.  Little did I think then that I’d fall in love with, nevermind buy, in Tavira, on the Eastern Algarve.

Ponte Romana and the skyline

When?  I still have home commitments and a husband who loves his work, or my gypsy caravan would have worn its wheels down long ago.  I always dreamed of owning a boat and following the coastline into infinity.  The nearest I’ve managed to date is gulet sailing in Turkey, and ferrying between the islands of Greece, but I’m still hopeful.  In the meantime, whenever I can get a well-priced flight the antenna start to quiver.

Where?  Many of my travels are centred in Portugal, but that’s no hardship.  It’s a beautiful country with one foot still a little bit in the past, and I like that.  From its vivid capital Lisbon, inland to the most wistful of castles at Almourel; from spectacular coastline to historic cities, there’s little that Portugal can’t supply.  I’m on a mission to see the Duoro valley this year.  You just can’t take the wanderlust out of Restlessjo, and I’m often to be found with my head in a travel guide.  Moorish Seville, Granada and Cordoba have surrendered, Jerez and Cadiz yet to be conquered.  Did somebody mention “Tall Ships” this year?  It must have been in the Easyjet magazine.

Real Alcazar gardens in Seville

My new found Polish family introduced me to a different culture, whose cities and landscape I find equally beguiling.  Krakow and the Tatry mountains certainly know how to inspire.  Nor can I discount the pleasure of walking on my native North Yorkshire moors, or a visit to my daughter in lively Nottingham.

Balon Widokowy (tethered hot air balloon) over Krakow

These days every morning presents a different trip.  I open up my emails and am transported to Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam, or to play with traditional dolls in Japan, or climb the Great Wall of China.  How much have my blogging friends enhanced my world and inspired me!  Thank you all.

My 5 nominations are:

Have bag, will travel

Bringing Europe Home

Julie Dawn Fox in Portugal

A bit of culture

Travels of a Non Traveller

Good luck and happy travels folks!