Category Archives: travel

Vienna

Hi friends!

Now, if you haven’t read my last two blog posts on Budapest, Prague and Vienna, where have you been?! Only joking 🙂 Welcome, and I’m glad you have joined us. Check out my ‘Travel’ tab and you will find the posts there, with an explanation of this little ‘series’ of posts.

So onto today’s instalment! 🙂

Vienna:

Vienna is Austria’s capital city, and is also the country’s largest city. It is located on the east of Austria, along the Danube River.

Vienna has been known as both “The City of Music”, and “The City of Dreams”, due to its cultural legacy of composers and musicians (such as Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Bruckner, Haydn, Mahler and Strauss), but also because of the well known psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud who entered the University of Vienna at the age of 17 (although he was born in the Czech Republic).

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https://pixabay.com/en/vienna-violin-statue-1303429/

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https://pixabay.com/en/panorama-vienna-austria-city-view-427929/

As mentioned in my previous posts, I’d love to hear of your own experiences of any or all of these places, so do please feel free to share your recommendations or memories in the comments below.

Much love, xx

Prague

Happy Friday, everyone!

Following on from my introductory post on my upcoming travel adventures (https://livingfully2017.wordpress.com/2017/07/13/budapest-prague-vienna-lets-go/), here is my first fact in the series about Prague.

Prague:

Prague is the capital city of the Czech Republic, and is known as ‘The City of a Hundred Spires’, based on the count (103) of the Czech 19th Century mathematician Bernard Bolzano.

Today, it is estimated that Prague is now the city of over 500 spires! I wonder how many you can count in this picture? 🙂

 

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Image courtesy of freeimages.co.uk

https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-prague-sunset-beautiful-city-image38348058#res336036

 

Budapest, Prague & Vienna…Let’s Go! :)

I love to travel. I have had the privilege of sampling a taste of a number of different countries including India, USA, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sicily, the Netherlands, Belgium, Guernsey, and probably other places that have presently slipped my mind. With some of these countries, including Austria, I have only passed through while en route to other places.

However, large parts of the world remain uncharted territory to me including Eastern Europe. So this year, I decided having worked hard, and saved hard, to venture out into this new and exciting and as yet unexplored part of the world for me.

Next month I will be, God-willing, visiting Hungary, The Czech Republic and Austria, and in particular spending time in their capital cities of Budapest, Prague & Vienna.

I have to admit that my knowledge of these countries is at present fairly limited, so I thought it would be a fun thing to do to bring you along on my adventure in preparation for my travels by finding out and sharing an interesting fact about these places each day.

I also realise that many of you are far more proficient ‘globe trotters’ than I am, and that you may have ample experience and knowledge of these countries and capital cities (you may even live in one of these places!), in which case you are more than welcome to be tour guide and share your recommendations, experiences, anecdotes, ‘must see’ places, and places to avoid in the comments below. The more the merrier! 🙂

In the meantime, here is my first discovery:

Budapest:

Budapest is the capital city, and also the most populous city of Hungary, and is also one of the largest cities of the European Union, with a population of over 1.7million people.

Budapest was formed in 1872 or 1873 from the merging of two cities on opposite sides of the River Danube, Buda (the original meaning of which was probably water) and Pest (a Hungarian word meaning furnace, oven or cove – I wonder if this is due to the hot springs?).

Here is a beautiful picture of the Danube river intersecting these two sides of Budapest:

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Image courtesy of Stock Free Images (TM).

 

 

 

 

The Greatest Train Journey in The World!….

Now, I don’t know whether that is strictly true, having limited experience of great train journeys, however that’s how it was advertised, and I decided that it might just be the mini travel adventure I needed.

I have travelled on trains in a few countries including India, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and America. All of these journeys have been memorable for me in some way or another whether that be the insights into different cultures, breath-taking scenery, or simply the novelty of travelling in a new country and unfamiliar environments. One particular train journey in India will stay with me throughout my life, as it involved an accident and me coming face to face with death, for the first time.  But that’s too deep to explore in this post.

There is something so nostalgic about steam trains – a piece of the past, and one unknown to me at my age, right here in the present.

So I decided to go for it: “AAAALLLL AAAABOARD!! The Jacobite Steam Train from Fort William to Mallaig, in ‘Bonnie Scotland’.

The tour however, which was by bus, departed from Glasgow (just a few days ago on Friday 7th July 2017), which meant travelling up to and spending an afternoon and an overnight in Oban before setting off for the Fort William departure by train the next morning.

A Whistle Stop in Oban:

Now Oban itself is a lovely harbour town, with interesting walks, Oban Whiskey Distillery https://www.visitscotland.com/info/see-do/oban-distillery-visitors-centre-p418591, McCaig’s Tower https://www.visitscotland.com/info/see-do/mccaigs-tower-p255141 , boats and more boats, and plenty of nice eating places, including those where you can sample some delicious Scottish chips!

From Oban to Fort William to Mallaig:

The next morning I awoke to a beautiful view of the sun on the water, followed by a bus journey from Oban to Fort William where I boarded the Jaobite Steam Train for the first time, and made the journey from Fort William to Mallaig and back again.

It was definitely a memorable adventure, and a great opportunity for a spot of photography. Here are some photos that I took on my trip. I hope you enjoy! 🙂

P.S. I have plenty more photos of my trip – if you would like to see more, whether of Oban, Mallaig (which I haven’t posted here), or the Jacobite Steam Train and the Glenfinnan Viaduct, feel free to let me know and I can create a subsequent Gallery post.

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Travelog – A day in the life of a solo female traveller….in Amsterdam!

Recently I took a short break to Amsterdam. As I do most of my travelling ‘alone’, I often make use of coach tours, mainly for practical reasons such as saving money and my own personal safety, as I find with coach tours there is less to worry about as transport, accommodation and food is on the whole taken care of. Some people don’t like the idea too much as they perhaps view it as something older people would do  – admittedly I do tend to find that I am generally the youngest person on these tours, but that is not always the case. Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter too much to me, as a person’s age does not matter and I like to meet new people of different backgrounds and life experiences, and I do not tend to categorise people as much as I take people as unique individuals, so it works for me. Added to that, you do have the freedom to just ‘do your own thing’.

Travelling this way also has its drawbacks in that I’ve found that I have got used to it as a ‘safe’ way of doing things. I guess I would like to branch out a bit more as a solo traveller, but really I don’t know where to start. I’m hoping that over the course of my blogging adventure, I will be able to discover new and innovative ideas from you and others I come across who are more experienced in travelling.

Anyway, back to the story! 🙂 I took a short break to Amsterdam not long ago. Two full days were spent travelling by coach and by ferry. It was a good opportunity to relax, and get to know other people a bit, and to catch up on some films on my Kindle Fire!

That left less that one full day in Amsterdam. However, I have been there once before, several years ago as a child. This time I was alone as I adventured through Amsterdam on my own as we each dispersed our own way from the coach. I had longed to visit Anne Frank’s house, but unfortunately I didn’t realise that you had to book well in advance in order to be guaranteed entry. Thankfully, I was able to walk the street where she lived, along a canal, hear the nearby church bells ring, and remember the vivid scenes from my childhood/teenage imagination after reading her published diary when I was around twelve or thirteen years old. Amidst the noisy queues of tourists I took a moment to appreciate the many freedoms that I had that day that Anne and so many other victims of the holocaust had snatched away from them.

I also enjoyed a lovely canal boat cruise and tour, similar to the ‘hop on, hop off’ bus tours with audio commentary that there are. It was lovely seeing the city from a watery perspective! There are some beautiful ornate buildings, and of course lots of bridges and lots of bikes!! 🙂

I’m having trouble uploading photos just now, so I will create a subsequent post with photos from Amsterdam…watch this space! 🙂

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Where your feet may tread…and the fine art of ‘Staycationing’

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Good Morning lovely people,

At least it is the morning on my side of the world! 🙂  It is a beautiful bank holiday Monday, which means I can have a relaxed start to the day, a welcome novelty from the usual ‘Manic Monday morning rush’!

Recently I decided to try something that I hadn’t done before. I realised that if I wanted to really pursue my dreams, then I would have to make a thoughtful and concerted effort to make time to do so.

Like many people, I work full time, and although I enjoy my job and make time in the evenings to relax and be creative, over time stress and the issues of other people can build up and creativity becomes a leisure activity that we indulge in ‘when we have the time’, and therefore that deep focussed immersion of ourselves into a creative ‘headspace’ as it were doesn’t truly happen amid the interruptions and myriad voices and commitments vying and calling for our attention.

So, I did it. I took a few days off work and rather than go on holiday (or ‘vacation’), I decided to create my very own ‘Staycation’ and creative retreat at home.

I can write more about the process of this and what it looked like and how it took shape and what I did, if there is interest. However, initially I had set aside the time for the purpose of a creative ‘Writing Retreat’.

Writing is a passion of mine, and I am working on a couple of novels – my first. One of which I have been working on for a good few  years now, and is dear to my heart, and is an expression of my life and faith journey in an allegorical form – if you like adventure, interesting characters, deep thinking, and profound expression of life’s deepest experiences, then this is a tale that I am perhaps telling for you, as well as for myself 🙂

My second work is more lighthearted, but I’ll save that for another post.

What I found happening, for this particular time set aside at least, was that the scope of the purpose of my creative retreat both broadened and deepened.

It became a time for me to be still, to commune with God, my Creator (I am a person of faith), and to hear my own thoughts.

The solitude and freedom from the usual demands of a ‘9-5’ routine gave me a beautiful opportunity to slow down, to take time, to walk at nature’s own pace, and to dwell deeply in a creative space.

The focus was not so much on ‘producing’, but on being. Even if the creative endeavour was the feeling or thought itself and the expression of the heart in just one line, that in itself was profound – a deepening connection, and a being present and unhurried.

I found a joy in the simplicity of taking time to be, to pray, to find droplets of healing and understanding through this time. I enjoyed unhurried walks by the riverside, knowing that I did not have to ‘clock watch’ or fit myself into the boxes of the world’s schedules – at least, not for this set aside time.

I wrote, I cooked, I sang, I took photographs, I drew and coloured, and enjoyed the time, in a childlike way, simply to be. I also limited my time and engagement with technology, and I found that this was a balm and a barrier against the modern syndrome that is ‘FOMO’ (the Fear Of Missing Out), and at last I could hear myself think, and that was enough in itself.

I feel that it is an important thing to take time to listen and to be, if and when we get the chance. We live in such a fast paced and hurried world that we are often drained of the vitality to be our best selves and to truly enjoy the gift of the life we’ve been given.

Going back to work I did feel refreshed, but just as soon as I got back, I was immersed in the noise of other people’s ‘stuff’, for want of a better word. And yet, I believe that taking time to take care of ourselves helps us ultimately to be more patient and kind and compassionate to other people.

I wandered through and out of my retreat with the thread of thought that on ‘re-entry’ into the world 😉 I would continue to make small and consistent life changes to ensure that although I generally do not have vast amounts of time to take to ‘retreat’ from the daily busy-ness of the world, I can make my daily life calmer, more peaceful, more creative and meaningful.

It is definitely a step worth taking.