Muscat Fish Market – A Photo Essay

An early morning visit to the new Muscat fish market in Muttrah was a fascinating glimpse into ‘life behind the scenes’ in Oman.

Earlier this year Muscat fish market moved into a new purpose-built hall. I wondered if ‘health and safety’ and, you know, basic consideration for the comfort and well-being of the men working there might have made it less atmospheric and photogenic, but I still jumped at the chance of an early morning visit. Continue reading “Muscat Fish Market – A Photo Essay”

Wadi Shab – A Spectacular Gorge Walk in Oman

I didn’t get time to explore Wadi Shab fully, but the bit I saw makes me want to prioritise a revisit next time I’m in Oman. However, there are some things I need to do first. Like improve my swimming.

A Wadi is a dry riverbed that in times of rain can quickly become flooded and inaccessible. As it doesn’t rain very often in Oman this is unlikely to be a problem if you want to visit. However, if it has rained do take advice before visiting.

Wadi Shab is about 90 mins drive from Muscat on the road to Sur. The entrance is spoilt by the modern highway bridge that straddles the two sides, but it doesn’t take long to lose sight of it once you start walking into the gorge. Continue reading “Wadi Shab – A Spectacular Gorge Walk in Oman”

A Night at the Royal Opera House Muscat

One activity that needs to be high on your ‘must-do’ list if you visit Oman is a night at the Royal Opera House in Muscat.

On my first visit to Muscat four years ago, I wandered round the outside of the white building, but couldn’t get inside even for a brief glimpse. Of course, what I really wanted to do was get in to see a performance, but I never got the chance. Continue reading “A Night at the Royal Opera House Muscat”

An Afternoon in Caldea Spa, Andorra

Caldea is Europe’s largest spa. When I found myself passing through Andorra on a road trip I couldn’t resist the opportunity to relax in its pools and hot tubs filled with water straight from Pyrenean hot springs.

The first thing I came across when I started researching ‘What to do in Andorra’ was the Caldea Spa. And as soon as I came across it I knew I had to go there.

I love a good spa. I haven’t been to many, but I’ve really enjoyed the few I have been to and at 6,000 square meters this is Europe’s largest. How could I resist? Continue reading “An Afternoon in Caldea Spa, Andorra”

Andorra in Sculptures

Andorra is usually known for its ski resorts and its duty free shops. I think it should be known for its street art. There were sculptures everywhere. Even a Dalí. Walking the streets felt more like walking through a giant art gallery.

Last month I got to visit Andorra as part of a road trip from the south of France to Bilbao in Spain.

I wasn’t sure what to expect as the blogs I’d read on Andorra hadn’t been too enthusiastic about it. Not that there were many. Unless you’re a skier it seems to be a bit of a forgotten destination. Continue reading “Andorra in Sculptures”

What I Read in September

Each month I look back at the books I’ve read and write a very brief review. This is what I read in September.

September was a bit of a strange month (strange in a good way!) I came back from one holiday (Shetland and Orkney), was home for a day and then went off to Norfolk for the weekend. Came back from Norfolk, fitted a bit of work in and then flew out to Beziers for a road trip through France, Andorra and Spain.

Consequently my reading was as much all over the place as I was. Though I did manage to finish four books in September, I actually read more than this,  but because I haven’t yet finished any of the other books I started reading I haven’t included them here.

Read on to find out more about what I read in September. Continue reading “What I Read in September”

What I Read in August

Each month I look back at the books I’ve read and write a very brief review. This is what I read in August.

This month I felt like I was getting back to my old ways as far as the number of books I read went. I used to average two books a week, but haven’t managed that for years. This month I read seven books which, whilst not quite two a week, was the best I’ve done in a while.

My tally for the month went up mainly because of my discovery last month of Marsali Taylor’s ‘Cass’ books. I read the first in the series last month, had another couple of paperbacks in the series with me in Shetland and quickly downloaded the rest on my Kindle. I then spent the first few weeks of the month ploughing through them.

Of course, being on holiday the entire month in Shetland and Orkney also gave me plenty of time for reading.

Read on to find out more about what I read in August. Continue reading “What I Read in August”

Walking to Fethaland

A sunny day provided the perfect opportunity for walking to Fethaland – the remote northern point of Shetland Mainland.

Fethaland is one of those ends of the earth places.

It’s at the northernmost tip of Mainland in Shetland (Mainland is the name of the main island in the archipelago), miles from anywhere. You drive (there’s no public transport) along narrow single-track roads, winding along the coast until you come to Isbister. Then you walk. Continue reading “Walking to Fethaland”

Why I’m Going to Shetland and Not Walking the Camino

I’d planned to spend the summer in the sun walking the Camino de Santiago. Instead I’m sitting on a ferry taking me to Shetland and all the weather the North Atlantic can throw at me.

Note: I wrote this post on my way to Shetland several weeks ago, but due to dodgy internet haven’t been able to post it until now. I haven’t changed the wording – this is what I was thinking as I sat on the ferry sailing out of Aberdeen on the eve of my birthday.

I’m typing this sitting in the cafeteria of the Hjaltland peering out at a grey sea and a grey sea mist. On the drive here hailstones battered my van; small ones, but lumps of ice none the less.

I should be on a plane flying to the Pyrenees and preparing to spend a summer in the sun. Yet once again I’ve packed my fleeces and my waterproofs and headed north. Continue reading “Why I’m Going to Shetland and Not Walking the Camino”

What I Read in July

Each month I look back at the books I’ve read and write a very brief review. This is what I read in July.

I read a bit more than I have been doing in July, partly because my workload was less intense, but mainly because I didn’t work at all in the last week and instead headed up to Shetland to spend time in my soul home where I can sit in my favourite conservatory and drink cups of coffee and read to my heart’s content. Read on to find out what I read in July. Continue reading “What I Read in July”