Europe – Start of my last trip, Hull to Rotterdam via the Ferry.

Very comfy bed in a double room cabin

I have to admit, normally I prefer DFDS Ferries, but this slightly older P & O one was perfectly fine, though it was packed with families and their kids.

We had stayed the night before in York (blog soon!), and then caught the evening (early, almost missed it!) ferry to Rotterdam, from Hull. I prefer this, rather than going to Amsterdam, as I’ve always felt (perhaps wrongly) that it is easier to get out of Rotterdam.

And the room was plenty big enough, though it did not have a window. Not really bothered, as I was really only in the room to sleep and shower. Also, there was even a “desk”, though the Wi-Fi was simply too expensive to pay for; I believe it was 9 euros for 3 hours.

The partner in crime had the top bunk, whilst I took the bottom bed, and yes the pillows looked and were, not my cup of tea, but two of them together were just firm enough for a good night’s sleep.

And speaking of showering, it has always amazed me, just how much “kit” there is in one of these ferry’s bathrooms!

Complete, even with shower gel.

Next will be the road trip to the Black Forest.

CB

Edinburgh Fringe; but first the Yotel Hotel, Edinburgh


Having stayed at the Yotel Hotel in Schlipol Airport, Amsterdam, earlier in the year, this was a welcome return to see just how they do, when it comes to something larger.

A Yotel double bedroom

Yes, it was pricey due to the festival taking place, and it would therefore be quite interesting to see just what the “normal” prices are; but compared to our friend’s choice at the Travel Lodge just down the road (ours included breakfast; an excellent one if I can add); we had a bargain.

A couch & bed combined; the bed comes down

I can only say that whilst it was quite busy, it was still clean, orderly, and had very friendly, efficient staff. You check-in yourself, though we had a small problem which was sorted out quite quickly.


I don’t know why more places don’t do this? It was very easy to check-out, and leave the card.


The breakfast was excellent, and did NOT have watery scramble eggs! A bug bear of mine. And had a full-surround of Edinburgh on the walls.

The room was more than spacious, and had everything positioned, with the exception of having the towels hanging in the toilet cubicle?!, correctly, with a certain minimalistic style.

I would probably go back, if in similar circumstances.

CB

What a lovely, trad place; Glasgow Central Hotel, City Centre, Glasgow

I’ve been here before, and after a recent BBQ at my bit, someone had the nerve to say that it is just so old-fashioned and out of date?

Really? They’ve overhauled this place some time ago, and now it not only is modern, but fits its place that it is trying to do. Our very own Ritz, if I may add!


We were there for tea and cake, but the design, service and accoutrements were brilliant – linen serviettes. The view was perfect for not only people watching, but also to see the piano players, hitting the plastic ivory.

Various internal shots of the Cafe

Even the food was class, with a pink cheesecake chosen for me.

It seemed to me, that this is primarily known and used as a bar / champagne bar (its title), but whoa to be had, with just a little walking around the city centre.

They even had a collection of photos from previous stayers at the accommodation in its heyday; ranging from Roy Rogers to Gene Kelly; though I did not see the photo of Diego Maradona, from I believe 1979.

CB

Portugal – Part 3, Lisbon Centre (Alfama), food, some notes . . .

After settling into my hotel, and having a overnight sleep, tried out the breakfast; but in this case, there was none? Hence, decided to go around the corner to buy some croissants, etc.

I found a metro market called Auchan – which is actually a French based shop, and noticed one or two peculiar but helpful things.

Order / Collect – Interesting Idea

One was the ability to order and then collect your food in an area at the very front of the entrance. I know there are shops here who do this, but maybe not to this detail; completely in English also!

The other was some bizarre (apologies for the black & white photo) chart on the wall at the entrance, describing something? Ah, the French strike again.

Instructions?

After this and some work, did a wander downtown, mainly to meet up with family in the Alfama region, of the city centre.

If you haven’t been here before, it’s a maze of hills, restaurants, yellow trams and tourists! OTOH, it is brilliant! Just go for a wander here, you CAN NOT go wrong.

Here, I walked by the coast and then by several places (Maritime Museum and a Taylors Port tasting room), that I will save for another day. BTW, the weather was awful, I seriously thought it was going to snow!

After this, I had a simply wonderful meal at one of the hundreds of places to choose from.

Restaurant in Alfama

Afterwards, used the metro to return to my hotel, and loved some of the wallpaper.

Lisbon Underground

CB

Portugal – Part 2, Breakfast, 1st Class train to Lisbon, Lisbon walk & Curry

The next day, after a sound breakfast, which was interesting as the hotel was just opening up from lock-down, I caught the train to Lisbon, via first class (which was quite reasonable – only about £45 for a return).

Breakfast

After a short walk through Faro to the station, I noted that it seemed quiet, but that there appears to be some renovating and modernising going on about here.

Faro shots

After this, I arrived at the station, where I was very pleasantly surprised by the state and style of the train.

First Class section of Portuguese trains

The station was clean and though at first, I thought I would be the only one there, it filled up quite quickly, with many tourists from North America.

Station shots

With my carriage having one of those “old fashioned” type of doors, which I personally, find reassuring.

Old?

We got in to Lisbon Oriente, with it’s stunning ceiling, that looks better at night, if truth be told.

Lisbon station Roof

After disembarking from the train, and leaving the station, I decided to go for a long walk (about 2 hours) along the east side of the city, that included the Marvila section, to arrive at my hotel (via the underground).

The first part was severely modern, though like most major cities nowadays, has rental bikes.

Marvila area and bikes

The next part, appeared to be under renewal, and can only be a positive thing for the city.

Marvila renovations

Finally, after I reached a point just north of the Alfama Old Town section, I got on the very modern underground, to go to my hotel that was only a few stops north.

Lisbon Underground

After I arrived at my room, a very utilitarian one at that, I was starving, so I

went around the corner, and was pleasantly surprised to find a curry house! I must say, it was lovely and had food that was served slightly differently than the places I’ve been to in the UK.

Curry with an attention to detail

CB

Portugal – Part 1, the flight and a stay in Faro

First of all, I decided after looking at the ridiculous prices of flights from Glasgow and Edinburgh (direct flights) to Lisbon, to go from the little used Prestwick Airport on the west coast of Scotland on a flight to Faro. They mainly only serve Portugal and predominantly Spain, but at very reasonable prices.

Shot of Prestwick, direct from the Bus stop arriving

Firstly, it is so easy to get there, whether by bus (above) or train (below); much easier to get to than Glasgow Airport; still with no train link, though this was tried in the past.

Prestwick Train Station

Inside, the airport is very empty, short queues, and there’s even a wall bar (apologies for the photo), to commemorate Elvis Presley’s only stop in the UK, back in 1960. Though he may have had a secret trip (earlier) to London.

Various shots of Prestwick Airport

The flight was naturally with Ryanair, where I had one of their “deals” with tea.


Once in Faro (for the night), I stayed in a relatively inexpensive (50 euros) hotel, the Hotel Alfonso, that had the typical spartan, tiled look – all I needed!


It was interesting to be in Faro, as the centre of the city has seen better days, so with my late arrival, I had few choices to find a restaurant; though the one I did find (after hotel advice) was perfectly adequate; even with a large screen for the late football.

Sto. Antonio restaurant

The Sto. Antonio (?), if that is what it’s called, served a variety of dishes, mainly Portuguese, but it was a gentle introduction to the cuisine I would be eating for the next few days.

Salad and Gazela green wine

With even the little things, like presentation, quite different to what I am used to. I had one of the “green” wines that the Portuguese do so well – In this case, it was a Gazela wine, and at only 9%, it was quaffable and not too heavy.

Wine and table water

CB

This week; Birnam, Scotland (Beatrix Potter land) and other observations, cafe’s, etc.

What a week, more being in the hospital recently, but it makes you even more grateful when you are not there!

Birnam Hotel, Birnam, Perthshire, Scotland

Had another Perthshire trip in the bag, this time to the sister “city” of Dunkeld, Birnam. Maybe it’s the poorer little relation, but still has something, particularly the home / place / whatever of Beatrix Potter, author of the Peter Rabbit books.

Birnam Hotel, Blue Plaque

The hotel was right out of the 19th century! I love these type of things and I came across a “floor light” or whatever it’s called? I’ve never seen one of these things. But if you looked above it, to the roof, maybe it was a proto-type skylight? Who knows?

Skylight from the 19th century?

Also, there seems to be a little bit of money in this place, as various rooms looked completely up to date, which can only be a good thing.

Various shots

And it was only opposite, where there were various Potter types of elements, and also a theatre, museum / café dedicated to her memory.

Various things a la Beatrix Potter

Where the attendant was nice enough to let us have a look, even though they were officially closed.

CB

The Week Ahead – More trips (St Andrews) from New Year, more cafes, more whatever.

Yes, we are back into the swing, though will have to be back in the operating theatre quite soon.

View from my Hotel Room

Finally have been travelling a bit and will look at my recent two day trip to St Andrews in Scotland (Ed; Again?), where I stayed at none other than the Old Course Hotel! A fine place indeed.

Where the room were spectacular and the history, even on the walls, was superb (below).

Photographs from past champions in 2019, men’s & women’s, on your hotel room’s wall

In addition, some random notes from around Glasgow, some cafe & restaurant reviews and other trivia.

CB