Spice Islands

Eastwards Ho! Equipment purchased, 10 flights booked and off we toddled to Indonesia. We stayed overnight in Warsaw before our flight to Istanbul in a super little hostel in the new old town of Warsaw. Bunk-beds with all the ensuing claims to sleep up or downstairs. The Cannon was perfect for us.

Flight number one. We flew Turkish Airlines to Istanbul where we had a seven hour lay over. I determined to reduce DVT by walking every part of it, and I can attest to the fact that it is big! Very big!! Then we had an 11 hour flight to Jakarta. The flight was great and the service excellent. Never have so few lavatories been serviced so often, by so few, for so many.

Jakarta. Tired and hung down like overdecorated Christmas trees we trundled into full view of the cab touts. Shouts of Hey Mister, Hey Boss and simply hey assailed our ears. We had originally planned to take  a bus from the airport to the station at Gambir. I had travelled down to Bandung many years ago by train and enjoyed the experience. Sadly our visit coincided with Ramadan and so there was not even room for a slimmed down cockroach. This meant we had to book a hotel, the illustrious Dreamtel Jakarta. Thus a taxi, and the first of many haggles. But to haggle one needs an idea of the going rate. We paid 300,000 IDR for a taxi across town. The lovely people at Dreamtel told us later that it should have been 200,000IDR maximum. Guard up! The hotel was clean with a funky glass elevator that Will Wonka would approve of. The room was good, a double shared with the children. Aghhh…The view was a little less pleasing. A brick wall, although painted off white, about 30cm from our window. Breakfast was very good and the guys behind the counter helpful and a couple spoke good English. Heads up with the Bluedird taxis with meters and asking suitable questions about tolls being included in prices and off we went from Jakarta the next day by plane. The flight was about 3 hours late. About 10 staff behind the counter could giggle flirt with each other beautifully, but giving information was not their forte. We flew up to Sumatra, landed, which was eventful and bumpy, waited 20 minutes and set off for Yogykarta. The flight attendant pointed out a few general facts and asked us to pray to God for a safe flight. That was reassuring for one and all. Yogykarta. Little did we know but we were close to the airport. The taxi driver again charged over the odds. The place we stayed was clean and again we shared with the kids. Breakfast was a greasy mess and the coffee so sweet one shot of it would have given a whale diabetes. We valiantly strolled down the side of the dual carriageway in search of munchies. Amazing to watch whole families, babies included, all perched on weaving mopeds and scooters. Grabbing a taxi, with the meter agreed as arbiter of cost, we set off down town. We spent the evening on Maliobor Street. Locals looked at us as though they hadn’t seen foriegners before, and the long blond hair of the fairer sex realy took the eye.

Whitby Steampunk and Goth Weekend

Travel tips, food and children

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Managed to fly back to England for a long weekend. And quite frankly it exceeded our wishes and hopes. Picked up a slightly pricey hire car and sped from Newcastle down to Whitby. And first impressions played true for the whole visit. Asking a hire car company how to contact our  (different) own company bought an avalanche of Geordie helpfulness and smiles, even making the essential phone call for us. A

And Whitby. Fantastic, simply terrific. The colour and quirkiness of the outfits and the atmosphere was enlivening. True poseurs one and all they submitted gracefully, time after time, to requests for photos.

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There were al variety of costumes and motorbikes fitted out as coffins, all a great laugh and pulled off beautifully by the vast majority. My personal thanks goes to the Dolphin Inn, Whitby, for serving me the most delicious bubble and squeak of my life.

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Up the…

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Whitby Steampunk and Goth Weekend

30200521873_3e16e045a2_o1

Managed to fly back to England for a long weekend. And quite frankly it exceeded our wishes and hopes. Picked up a slightly pricey hire car and sped from Newcastle down to Whitby. And first impressions played true for the whole visit. Asking a hire car company how to contact our  (different) own company bought an avalanche of Geordie helpfulness and smiles, even making the essential phone call for us. A

And Whitby. Fantastic, simply terrific. The colour and quirkiness of the outfits and the atmosphere was enlivening. True poseurs one and all they submitted gracefully, time after time, to requests for photos.

22752049198_58de306778_o

There were al variety of costumes and motorbikes fitted out as coffins, all a great laugh and pulled off beautifully by the vast majority. My personal thanks goes to the Dolphin Inn, Whitby, for serving me the most delicious bubble and squeak of my life.

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Up the old ruined abbey, so photogenic and atmospheric, along with assorted ghouls, vampires and racy goths! The place positively reeked of  history, creaking doors and wonderfully bad intentions.

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After Whitby we trolled off to Scarborough. Across the North Yorkshire Moors, carpeted in violet shrubbery (time for Monty Python quote?) was simply beautiful. The staff at the seafront bed and breakfast fell over themselves with smiles and helpfulness. Just the English breakfast needs tweaking. And the morning in Scarborough bought gale force winds. Problem? No way! It simply added to the ambience and made for a great march, I mean walk by the sea and round the town.

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Thanks goes out to the Scarborough Arms for serving up great Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings. The area was fantastic, the Goth event wonderful to see and Yorkshire hospitality was first class! A great weekend, leant even more character by being out of season.

This week, back to London for ancient pubs, Caravaggio, museums and great clubs.