Yes, it has been a while, hasn’t it!
Time flies when you’re having fun, working, travelling or throwing the clock out of the window.
Yes, the clocks changed here last night, but Caroline and I have two more time changes to come over the next two weekends…
Where are we off to?
All will be revealed upon our return, but rest assured, we haven’t planned a trip like this one.
The last big trip mentioned on here would be our visit to Isle Of Man back in 2017.
Since then both of us have new jobs, we’ve made flying visits to North Norfolk, Suffolk and Newcastle-upon-Tyne and also made two road trips around Andalusia too.
I’m back in retail for the first time since 2013 and it’s been an interesting move to make, especially since it’s working for a company whose clothing I’ve been wearing for over thirty years now – Rohan.
As this could be seen as a potential conflict of interest, I’ve taken the decision to not mention product names in any future pieces on what Caroline and I take with us when we’re travelling (even though we do use items from other brands from time to time) and use more generic references to items i.e polo shirts, t-shirts, travel jeans etc.
Given that there has been comment in the mainstream media concerning promotional products being mentioned and photos appearing on social media, I think that this is a sensible idea to adopt regarding product mentions on wisepacking.
There’s a lot to do over the next week, but I may be checking in again later this week!
Yes, we’re back again
And we’ve been back again!
Malaga and Seville that is, but with added stops in Ronda, Cadiz and Jerez as Andalucia beckoned to us once more.
Planes to get there and back again and feet, buses, bikes and trains to get around sights, bars
Tapas, wine, beer, coffee, ice cream at the tables and bottles of water close at hand to with temps hitting the heights of 37C and plenty of outdoor eating as a result.
Oh, and 45 minutes of rain too…
More soon – and plenty of new pics to go with the words!
Here’s to 2018!
Nothing has been firmed up yet for 2018, but there are a few ideas in the melting pot that may (or may not) reach the fruition stage later in the year…
Clues? Where we’re going, we don’t need clues!
Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not. have been to a few places that were rated by guidebooks or websites that were not as good as described.
Now tend to lump descriptions such as ‘Art Deco’, ‘Cosy’ and ‘Quaint’ into other categories – ‘In need of renovation’ or ‘Requires redecoration’.
Chuggers, lavender/selfie stick/sunglasses sellers, timeshare touts
Usually have an avoidance mechanism that’s more nimble than a rugby player heading for the touchline in order to score a try.
Always amuses me when sunglasses sellers approach those already wearing sunglasses – either specs that have Transitions lenses (i.e. mine) or those wearing Ray Bans…
How hard is it for accomodation to provide good coffee at breakfast time?
We’ve lost count of how many times we’ve had bad coffee at guest houses, hostels and hotels – even at U.S. based name chain hotels or five stars!
Mind you, a few cafes that have had business from us following bad coffee mornings, usually just after we’ve left our accommodation.
Or when guidebooks get it wrong. We’d checked two guidebooks about the opening times for a leading museum earlier in the year and both said that it was closed on a Monday.
It wasn’t, as we found out when we walked past it and found an open door and a full set of opening times that looked like it had been there for a while…
We’ve found that this usually means you go a shorter way around into security to find that there’s a long queue at security because other passengers haven’t bothered to read the does and don’ts of what they can or can’t take in their hand luggage.
Note to self – stop booking Fast Track and use the money to get a coffee or a meal deal at either WH Smith or Boots when airside and in need of something to eat that doesn’t cost the earth at airport bars/cafes/restaurants or cost twice as much as it does on the plane.
Yes, it’s those jobsworths who are determined to put a spanner in the works when it comes to shopping, visiting a museum or wanting to put your bags in left luggage lockers.
Step forward that supermarket in Paphos and the museum in Belem who wanted me to deposit my day bag and the bloke who didn’t know what had happened to the luggage lockers, even when we were at the office that a sign on the wall had pointed us to!
Yes, those irritating people who walk along the street glued to their phones who are oblivious to everything else that’s going on around them.
Blocking the pavement or other walkway is one irritation, trying to sent a text whilst pulling a wheelie bag along is another and then there’s those who insist on taking selfies or photograph their food before eating it.
One phone user did come unstuck earlier in the year whilst visiting the Alhambra in Granada. She was so intent on taking a photo whilst walking forward that she didn’t notice the step down.
Cue scream and a badly damaged/potentially broken ankle… Ouch!
It rained four days out of seven whilst on Isle of Man last week.
We’d gone prepared as we’d taken decent rain jackets, but it did put a dampener on proceedings. Had the same problem in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Portugal and Spain too!
Restaurant rip offs
Step forward the place in Cordoba that tried to charge us for bread, even though we hadn’t asked for a bread basket and hadn’t eaten anything from it.
Same place claimed that they weren’t doing tapas, even though there was a rather well done set of tiles outside with the word tapas at the centre.
Restaurant or tour touts
Those who try standing in front of you as a means of getting you into their cafe, restaurant or onto a tuk-tuk.
Answer is always ‘No’ and if they don’t take the hint then it’s ‘No, no, no, no, no and no!’.
Which really brassed off one bloke in Malaga in March this year.
We walked passed that establishment later on and there weren’t many in it.
Down the avenues and alleyways in Cordoba..
As you may have gathered, Caroline and I have bought a few bits and pieces from Rohan over the years and regularly use their clothing along with items from other brands when we’re off travelling or even when we’re just mooching around Yorkshire.
My recent Spainpacking post from wisepacking has been posted on Rohantime this morning along with a trio of photos that you may recognise…
Thanks again Sarah!
The links to Rohantime and Rohan’s sites…
Choosing what we took with us on our road trip around Andalucia was determined by several factors.
There was the little matter of the size of hand luggage bags on Ryanair… some 5cm less on the depth of the bag compared to other airlines we’ve flown with since we bought our Osprey Farpoint 40 packs.
There were other considerations – the differing types of accommodation, the need to cover up in some of the places visited (Seville’s Cathedral and Mezequita in Cordoba) and expected weather conditions after looking at ten day forecasts (warm to hot during the day, cool on a night were among our expectations).
Pack size rules were adhered to as we chose items that could be washed and worn, used as layering pieces for cooler nights and we also packed long sleeved shirts for when we visited places that required arms to covered.
So, how did we stick to around 7.5kg each in the hand luggage?
My North Face hooded soft shell has now bitten the dust, but it was worn on the plane rather than packed. It looked a bit worse for wear, but it has seen some action and has been proofed a few times to provide extra protection.
It had deep zipped pockets that took an iPad Mini, the Lonely Planet guidebook, my Nikon camera and the old Samsung dumbass phone when going through security, passport control and checks at the boarding gate.
The power adaptors for the tech mentioned above were in an IKEA pouch that, along with my wash bag, could be easily pulled out of the Farpoint for security checking and then pushed back in with the clothes, travel towels, booking printouts, bus tickets and meds.
Clothing included the usual mix of Rohan items – two pairs of Goa trousers, a Microgrid Crew Jumper, three Progress polos, two long sleeved polos, a few pairs of Cool Silver Trunks and some M&S Freshfeet trainer socks.
Worn items included that TNF soft shell, a Rohan Stronghold shirt, a Rohan Merino wool based t-shirt and another pair of Goa trousers. On the feet were ventilated Salomon trainers, the only footwear I decided to take.
Caroline’s choices also included a mix of rapid wash/dry and wear items such as Rohan Ultra Silver Camisole tops and briefs, a couple of their vest tops, two Stria long sleeved tops, Rohan Travel Jeans, Travel Linen trousers plus a Pathway Cardigan and a Royal Robbins shirt/jacket.
Her footwear comprised a pair of Ecco pumps and Ecco Mary Jane shoes.
Did it all work? Yes is the answer because most items had been used on a few travel trips now or even on a day to day basis. Respective day bags were from Rohan’s Stowaway line-up (a pack for me, a handbag for Caroline)
And in the wash bags? Well both Caroline and I use shower gels by Lush on our travels and she’s also using their shampoo bars.
I also packed a small bottle of tea tree oil that was used when I shaved with a disposable razor whilst sample size toothpastes from our dentist came in handy. The ViaSonic battery toothbrush stayed the course, even though I’d forgotten to put a new AAA in it!
Other items in the wash bag included some travel wash to do the clothing wash and wear thing, a small Nivea SPF30 suncream, a bottle of clove oil and a tube of Bonjela (both in case of dental problems…).
With two out of the four choices of accommodations providing shower gel and shampoo in the bathroom/shower areas, the above choices only needed to be complemented by the local purchases of Axe (aka Lynx) body spray and packs of baby wipes to cope with the after effects of street food on the hands or melting ice cream hitting clothing.
Other things? My iPad Mini has the Kindle App on it and loads of books, so the iPad was used for reading rather than surfing whilst Caroline had her classic Kindle. Both of us had mobile phones too.
Mine was hardly used, whilst Caroline’s did see some action as family members called or sent texts to her.
Did our packing choices work? Yes has to be the answer, even though there was more rain than we anticipated in Malaga. We sat that out in a hotel foyer until it was almost time to get a cab and head down to the bus station for our journey to Seville.
The coolest nights were those in Granada, but the layering choices worked to keep us warm as we wandered around in search of food. My only regret was not having another pair of shoes, but as plans to buy an extra pair failed due to cost issues, I didn’t worry too much about that.
When we left White Nest Hostel in Granada, we were already discussing where we would go to on our next Andalucian next road trip.
With flights more likely to be in and out of Malaga than Seville, the likelihood is that our destinations will include Ronda, Cadiz, Jerez and Seville.
We’d probably also top up on the places we visited in Malaga too.
Some were closed on our first full day there whilst the morning after was a complete wash out thanks to the rain storm that hit the city and lingered until after we’d got our bus to Seville.
When we reached Malaga, returned to the Ibis for another night, found our room, the bags hit the floor and we sat down, put the television on and started flicking.
As one might expect, the Spanish channels were first up on the menu, but the pictures onscreen were very familiar to us as we’d been in Westminster a month beforehand and had taken photographs around the Houses Of Parliament and that end of Westminster Bridge.
The news about the Westminster incident had obviously broken as it was on all of the Andalucia channels. We found CNN and heard what had happened from both the news anchor in the States and a reporter on the ground in London.
As repetition set in as it always does on rolling news channels, we flicked once more and were surprised to find one of the channels we’d viewed a few minutes beforehand broadcasting some very raw images of what had happened on Westminster Bridge.
Should that footage have been shown? Probably not (in the UK at least) unless some pixellation had been applied to protect the injured person’s identity (our suspicion though was that images being shown were of a body rather than and injured person).
So, there was a bit of a dampener put on the end of what had been a rather enjoyable road trip around Andalucia. We decided to do some pavement pounding in search of coffee and a handbag that Caroline had seen on that first day in Malaga.
Malaga was in festival mode as it was the Malaga Film Festival. We walked the red carpet laid along one of the main streets, dodged displays of an Audi SUV and tried to work out which of the films we’d actually seen.
We didn’t see the local boy made good who was picking up an award (clues to his identity – he’s played a Mariachi, an animated cat with hat, claws, swordplay and the ability to sing Living La Vida Loca alongside a walking, talking donkey plus a few other roles too).
After coffee etc, it was back to the hotel for a shower, change and out in search of food. One place that wasn’t trying to pull people off the street was Ciao, an Italian place that had its menu outside and quite a few people eating inside and outside.
Yes, it was full, but if w’ed care to wait for a while, we’d have the next available table was the gist of the conversation we had with a member of staff. We wandered off in search of somewhere else, but went back, had another chat, took a couple of seats and received as complimentary glass of wine to help ease our waiting time.
Eating at an Italian restaurant has become of a bit of a last night thing for us as we’ve ended up having pasta or pizza on several last nights now in Malaga, Lisbon, Oslo, London and Glasgow.
Ciao was definitely on a par with our favourite Italian eating place in Lisbon – Restaurante da Vinci. Fine pasta for Caroline, a larger than expected calzone for me plus wine, coffee and a dessert ensured that we needed to walk some of the meal off before heading back to the hotel. So we did.
And got temporarily misplaced (or lost if you prefer that term!). The street map was back at the hotel, but after twenty minutes of wandering, I spotted the cafe we’d had a meal in on that first day in Malaga.
We backtracked a bit, headed up one of the side streets and spotted other cafes or shops that we’d passed before. After about fifteen minutes, we spotted the sign on the Ibis hotel and headed in that direction for one last drink before bedtime.
The following morning ticked all the usual boxes – breakfast, pack, check out of the hotel and walk to the station to get a train to the airport. Getting through security didn’t take long and neither did finding an overpriced sandwich and drink for lunch.
The airport shopping bill was a small one – one bottle and a pack pocket size black bull. Caroline rolled her eyes once more, but the bull stayed in the basket, was paid for and has a new home on my desk… And why not?
The best part was about to come though. We’d booked priority boarding with Ryanair and were ushered through the boarding gate with several other priority bookers.
There did appear to be something missing as we waited to board the plane.
I’d spotted that you could see a fair bit of the airport through the windows by the ramp we were waiting on, so it wasn’t a total surprise when one of the check-in crew announced that we would have to come back up into the gate area because the plane had been told to park up by a totally different gate…
We eventually boarded, got to Manchester and then got the train and a cab home from what had been a very enjoyable trip…
We’ll be back, but where did we go to next – that will be revealed next week once we’d covered the wisepacking angles from this trip!