Portsmouth: The Dubai of Southern England?

Portsmouth is a harbour city in Southern England. My Mum had been saying for a while that she wanted to go because of the historic dockyard. I quite fancied being in the sunny south coast with a nice waterfront and Dubai-like sail, while watching the ships pass by. And it was a breath of fresh air.

The Historic Dockyard is quite something. There are various old boats to see, including  the Mary Rose, Henry the Eighth’s boat which sank in 1545, saw preserved in silt at the bottom of the harbour for 437 years (Yes, 437 years!!) before being dredged up in 1982. It is just like the Vasa in Stockholm, Sweden, which was on the sea-bed for around 300 years and is perfectly preserved. There are also ships like the HMS Victory which was Nelson’s ship at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, and the HMS Warrior from 1860 which was heavily armoured so no-one dared attack it and it never engaged in battle. Note: tickets are expensive and confusing – see the travel tips section at the bottom of this page. Continue reading


Gunfire at the DMZ?!

Looking over the Demilitarised Zone into North Korea was surreal, fascinating, and a little scary – especially when I heard distant gunfire! – but more on that later.

The Demilitarised Zone is the zone between North and South Korea. Known as the DMZ – and pronounced the American way, “D M Zee” (if you say “D M Zed” you will get strange looks!). In the Korean War in the 1950s, an armistice was reached in 1953 where both sides agreed not to have any military in the 2km directly in front of the front-line, thereby creating a 4km gap between them. The front-line itself is called the Military Demarcation Line – we got confused over all the terminology! It is fair to say that although the 2km South Korean DMZ is demilitarised, the area just outside of that is heavily militarised. There are South Korean and US army bases there. Continue reading

You’re such an Old Seoul.

This blog is about the old, historic parts of Seoul, in case you were wondering! There were plenty of Temples which many visitors explored while dressed in traditional costumes – which gave them free entry to the temples.

We started with Gyeongbokgung Palace where we saw the changing of the guard, Continue reading

Comfort Women: The Untold Darkness of WW2.

As if World War Two wasn’t bad enough, with concentration camps, the Holocaust etc. Oh wait – there’s more. Comfort Women. Now this isn’t a nice thing to hear about, especially on holiday, but I feel we have a responsibility to hear about it. So I took my husband along to the War and Women Human Rights Museum to find out more.

The War and Human Rights Museum which was a fascinating and horrifying look at Comfort Women; a system whereby during WW2 predominantly Japanese soldiers used predominantly Korean Women as sex slaves, or “comfort women”. Continue reading

I ♥ Seoul: Happy to be in Hongdae

After an exhausting 27 hours of travelling since we left home (3 trains and 2 planes), we went to bed feeling grimy, exhausted, and uncomfortable. But what a difference a good night’s sleep makes… we awoke the next morning bright and early, feeling amazing! The sun was shining, we had safely made it to Seoul, the hotel was nice, and we treated ourselves to a buffet breakfast in our hotel which was divine. All was well with the world!

We strolled around Hongdae which we quickly found was a lovely place – safe, with lovely autumnal leaves, quirky little shops and cafes everywhere, a student-y vibe, and a plethora of Animal Cafes. There was a Cat Cafe, a Meercat Cafe, a Sheep Cafe etc. Continue reading

When in Rome… exploring the Ancient Heart of the Roman Empire

Rome is truly a smorgasbord of history – find a panoramic point and you can survey architecture through the ages – literally. From the old Romans ruins to the grand domes of the Basililicas. There are countless beautiful piazzas (piazzi? piazzae?). I was quite glad we had left Rome until last to visit – had we visited Rome first then other European cities may have seemed less impressive, but Rome was certainly the crescendo.

We explored the Roman Forum which is the amazingly complete ruins  (well, they ARE ruins, but some bits are still standing and it gives you a glimpse into what a Roman city would have looked like – nay not “a Roman city” but the very heart of The Roman Empire!). I tried to imagine being alive in the roman empire and going into town to meet your friends on a Saturday morning, and this is your local town centre! Continue reading

Rome for Lovers

We have always saved Rome for our honeymoon – partly as my parents went there on their honeymoon so it’s a bit of a family tradition, and partly as it’s meant to be a romantic city so sounded perfect! And so yes Rome was our Honeymoon, and yes, we have got married!! We had a simple registry office wedding with close family and a meal in a restaurant afterwards. It was perfect for My Husband and I (ha ha! still sounds so strange!!). But enough of that – on to Rome!

Our favourite place was the Trevi Fountain. This surpassed our expectations as we thought it would be a small fountain but its sheer scale and magnificence surprised both of us. (That’s a person, bottom right of the photo, and a building on the left of the photo!) Caution, this is swarming with tourists at any time, day or night, so it’s difficult to get any space or a good photo without heads or limbs in it.

Needless to say, the Spanish Steps are also very touristy. Continue reading

Horsing around at the Haras National du Pin

When I read of a large stud farm comprising a beautiful chateau, where the royal horses are bred, where you can tour the stud farm (and visitors apparently studiously ignore the stallions mating!), I was immediately keen to visit – we love doing things which are different, and this certainly sounded different!

This place is known as the Versailles for Horses due to its grandeur! It used to breed the Royal Horses, but today hosts stallions owned by private breeders. Continue reading

The Best Port in Port En Bessin

After our WW2 landing beaches tour we needed to get back to reality so we stopped at the pretty little fishing village of Port En Bessin. My BF and I climbed up a hill to watch the sunset and, after I had fended off a scary looking cat, it was a perfect moment.

Port En Bessin has a lovely harbour so we spent some time just sitting by the sea. We spotted a seal in the harbour so we were hoping he would come closer. Continue reading