Don’t lose your head, but Hever Castle is absolutely mental, in a good way

Last weekend, Ms B & I did what we had been planning on doing for some time: do a day trip to Hever Castle (pronounced like “fever”, not like “never”) in Kent, next to Royal Tunbridge Wells, just an hour’s train ride away from London. Castles and Manors Strictly speaking, Hever is a country house, not a fully-blown castle, ever since its castle-to-manor conversion in the middle of the 15th Century. It is not designed to protect its residents from an attacking army. This is despite the moat and the rope bridge, which remained from the original 1270 A.D. version. However, this is in no way diminishing its appeal as a day trip destination. Cafes and Restaurant Different from most other castles and manors of similar size in the UK, everything is perfectly organised and kept in great shape. There are several cafes and shops spread over the huge premises. […]

Continue Reading

You may also like

Rock-climbing, off-roading and a visit to a Roman gold mine (from Porto)

My Greenway Tours, run by Eduardo Mata together with a business associate, and which, on Tripadvisor, ranks #21 out of 133 tours to do in Porto (the other ones mainly being about food/wine, or tours of the town), invited BSqB to come with them on a one-day outdoor adventure tour while I was visiting Porto (Portugal) last week. My wife, who is writing this blog with me, only joined the following day, so I was accompanied by an old German friend of mine, who spent the whole week with me as my fellow blogger and as part of our customary boyz-only annual celebration of madness. I grew up in a small town at the doorstep of the Bavarian Alps and have done my fair share of outdoor adventures in the mountains, but this was an absolute blast! Eduardo also grew up in the mountains, and clearly was more serious about […]

Continue Reading

You may also like

Douro Valley Tour

While I was spending last week in Porto, CoolTour Oporto invited me to check out their famous Douro Valley Tour (#7 of 133 Tours in Porto, Certificate of Excellence on Tripadvisor). Many people visit Porto mainly with the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Douro valley region in mind, famous for its port wine production (they are the only region that is officially allowed to call their wine port wine, even though some Australians do not seem to have taken notice yet). A bit harsh on the beautiful seaside city of Porto, but once you’ve done this tour you’ll understand the enthusiasm.       An old friend from Germany, who was spending the week with me in Porto, and I were picked up at our hotel at 9:30am. The only other guests were a gentleman in his 50ies from Portland, Oregon, who owned shares in a vineyard and a restaurant that had just […]

Continue Reading

You may also like

Lisbon in a Day

I flew into Lisbon last Friday night and had until the next evening, when my train for Porto (more about Porto here) left at 8pm. I was on my own, as I was only going to be joined in Porto by (first) an old friend of mine and (later) by my wife. Unlike me, my wife had already been to Lisbon, loved it, but preferred to stay in London that weekend and party with her girlfriends. I arrived at the hotel at around midnight and gobbled down a rather rare, but very tasty cheese burger at a nearby bar, before logging off. The next morning I got up at 6am, got myself a sandwich and a coffee to go, then explored the street art near Teatro Maria Vitória, which happened to be walking distance from my hotel. More about Lisbon street art here. Then I took a cab to the […]

Continue Reading

You may also like

#1 Day Trip from Barcelona: Montserrat & Penedes

During our recent visit to Barcelona we did a day trip to Montserrat, 50km west of Barcelona, and the Penedes wine region, approximately 80km to the south west, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Our small group of ten travellers and one tour guide left Barcelona at eight thirty in the morning and arrived at Montserrat, the medieval monastery and eponymous mountain, pretty much straight inland from Barcelona, less than an hour later, even though our van was travelling only slowly. The “saw mountain” (that’s what Montserrat means in Catalan) looks beautiful with hundreds of little peaks, as if it was made from plasticine by some crazy giant who had forgotten to take his medicine. The mountain is 1,230m high (compared with 1,345m of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Britain). Santa Maria de Montserrat, a medieval Benedictine abbey, (the very vast majority of which was destroyed on various occasions over […]

Continue Reading

You may also like