So, where have I been?
Before Anita and I met I’d been on a few family holidays and my first was Tunisia (never again), Crete (beautiful place and people), Magaluf (foam parties and brawls) and Fuerta Ventura (drunk family and burnt bottoms). Then Anita and I met and she really taught me how to enjoy travelling and seeing new places.
Lets begin pre-celiacs, our first holiday together was Corfu, 2008. It was all inclusive and it rained…a lot! We were also stuck up a mountain with no where to go and the holiday rep got more than she bargained for when she tried to rip me off! We went back with family October 2010, that was a nicer experience.
Corfu 2011 (taken by us)
After that little semi-disaster we decided to take Anita’s wonderful Nan to Venice (2008) (it was on her bucket list so we had to), that was an experience. From her whacking people with her walking stick, talking to flies in the night, badgering us to get a bottle of Baileys on a Sunday (shops don’t open on Sundays) to her walking in the opposite direction to the flow of foot traffic and not understanding why no-one moves for the elderly. Never mind that the local elderly readily hop onto a push bike to make their way around. We did manage to get her to want to go up the tower in St Marks square even though she had to walk up the steps (her face was a picture before we told her there was a lift).
Needless to say we went back a second time (just us, 2009) saw all the sites and ate and unholy amount of ice cream for breakfast followed by kebabs and AMAZING Italian pizza any other time we felt a twinge of hunger. We were lucky to catch the free international art festival, sit in the sun and watch the world go buy and see some fabulous nuns feed the pigeons.
Venice 2009 (taken by us)
After this we spent our Christmas 2008 in Romania (Poiana Brasov), my first time skiing. I had the best time ever. We visited Dracula’s castle, ate some weird things, played games with icicles and got to ride in a one horse open sleigh as the snow fell. The only worrying part was the coach driver…
Romania 2008 (taken by us)
Then we went to Egypt (2009), where I got accused of being part of the mafia, had some big guy try to get me to eat peanuts out of his hand, went desert quad biking and almost got kidnapped in Naama Bay. All of this before getting a gun shoved in our faces for trying to have a wee in the airport (not on the floor if that’s what you’re thinking). It wasn’t all dodgy though, we made some good friends, got an extra night in the Hilton when our flight was cancelled, got to see the colours of the beautiful vibrant fish of the sea and watch the most amazing sunrise.
Egypt 2009 (taken by us)
Then I found out I had Coeliac disease, so no more all inclusive and gluten containing foods. This is where self catering and putting food in your suitcase comes in rather handy (thanks Rose for teaching my things I’ll never forget). We had the delights of Gran Canaria in May 2010 (we went back late December 2011), the Spanish are pretty on form here with gluten. Especially the Las Vegas steak house in Puerto Rico (we all highly recommend the steaks in this joint). We climbed the mountain to the cross in Arguiniguin, burned our feet on the sand dunes of Maspalomas and stumbled (literally) into the nudist beach (I was not mentally prepared for the “things” I saw that day, nor will the experience ever leave me) but I wont add any pictures from there.
Gran Canaria 2011 (taken by us)
Followed by Portugal 2010. Portugal was a personal favourite of ours, we picked figs from trees, crushed peppercorns, made aloe vera masks (to help with my reaction to cheap suncream), cooked sea weed (VILE), spent days asleep on the beach, got chewed by the turning tide and did some brilliant trips (the Santa Bernada pirate ship was intense and a must if you stay near Portimao). Gluten free in Portugal is easy, just as with Corfu, once you find Lidl you are on to a winner.
Portugal 2010 (taken by us)
That brings us to this year 2012, firstly we went SC to Bulgaria to Ski. Only my second time and the slopes were amazing I spent as much time as my exhausted body would allow me to up the mountains in Bansko. My favourite memories are with the kids (nieces and nephews), especially catching the last lift to the top and skiing down empty slopes with heavy snow fall and only the sound of a whoosh and tree avalanches. Absolutely perfect.
Bulgaria 2012 (taken by us)
Then off to Berlin in March for my birthday, Anita’s grandad is German and it was worth going just to see his smile when we told him that’s where we were off to. We had an amazing time in this hectic city, we saw memorials, visited museums, visited a concentration camp, trudged the path of the Berlin wall (Anita’s grandad helped remove this back in ’89), took in the sights of the magnificent architecture and almost got accosted by Scientologists (although we were more afraid of the masked anti-scientology peaceful protesters).
The most interesting experience was the hostel (the Metropol Hostel, which we would recommend the location is fab and the breakfast is not too shabby either). We shared a room with a naked French man who drank red wine with a heart monitor attached to his chest hair, the one legged man who frequently disappeared without said leg and accompanying special shoes, the Japanese student trying to find out why Turkish people move to Berlin, the German nurse man who reminded us of an asylum doctor and a very unsavoury Turkish man who did not so nice things to himself in the middle of the night!!!
By far the best thing about Berlin was Simela, a very unique pizza bar in Savigny Platz. They serve Gluten Free, vegetarian and a whole host of other pizza options..and cheap too. Beautiful place (the loo is like an art gallery) with a comfortable atmosphere, it just feels effortlessly chic.
Berlin 2012 (taken by us)
Finally our last trip together was Brussels in August, it was a last minute thing that cost just £170 for flights and a 4* hotel next to the European Parliament for the 2 of us, YES the TWO of us (thanks Travel Republic!). We already had euros left over so we just booked it an left the UK for 3 nights. We went to museums, made some homeless friends, went to the flea market, bought jewellery off street sellers, watched a lot of talented buskers, went to the Brussels music festival and got very drunk on some very good Mojitos. Perfect little weekend away.
Brussels 2012 (taken by us)
So that’s it…
Other than some fabulous times in Wales mackerel fishing, star fish rescuing, child burying, cow petting, dog walking and fire starting this is where we have been so far in our travelling life together and we hope you will enjoy reading about our shenanigans to come.
A few from Wales (taken by us)