Archive for ‘February, 2023’

And so starts another year, our last in Thailand!

After a full on summer in Europe, we were finally back to Thailand and in need of a holiday. Time to start job hunting, scary time, have to hand in our notices before we have jobs but hey, that is part of the adventure, you never know where you might end up. So exciting but scary and nerve racking all at the same time. We are currently in the process of doing paperwork for Mozambique. Great school and package, fingers crossed it all gets accepted. In the meantime, we are enjoying our last few months in Thailand.

Starting with sunsets or was it sunrise from the plane.
Back on our local beach – Bang Tao, will miss this place!

Due to my ulcerative colitis, we spend a lot of time in Bangkok but before that, here is something at the traffic lights in Phuket!

Selling small bottles of Yakult. No idea….
Rainbow Phuket to Bangkok

Whilst in Bangkok, we decided to explore places we had wanted to visit but for some reason or another had not got round to it. One of those places is the Golden Mound temple. Apparently it is the only hill in Bangkok and 344 steps take you to the top. It was built in 1467, quite old then.

Geoff is still at it!
Bells, bell, bells!
Golden hearts with messages, representing the shape of the leaves of the bodhi tree, the most sacred tree in Thailand

We did a fair bit of walking, Bangkok is great around the old part and the old streets. It really takes you back in time and it is such a contrast to the new skyscrapers, shopping malls, huge advertising billboards, concrete skytrain….

Benjakitti Forest Park – 72 acres!

In September, we added another cat to our family. Sadly, Sherlock Holmes went walk about and there was a kitten in need (isn’t there always…). He was too cute and we couldn’t resist!

Monsoon season starts around end of April and as expected it brings rain and big storms. 2022 was a particularly fierce year for rain. Phuket and other parts of Thailand suffered the worst floods in 30 years. Never seen so much water in my life! It was horrendous, mudslides, floods, roads collapsing… No idea how only 1 person died. There are obviously many photos but these document some of my drives home. There were various floods over a period of a few weeks, so it came and went but the rain seemed to go on forever, months and months.

Our road
Our pool, we flooded 3 times, once it came into the house, then we got sandbags!

We had a glimpse of sunshine and ran to the beach for a sunset, it was not to last but it was a ray of hope followed by another trip to Bangkok.

Bang Tao beach
Jack’s Bar
Bangkok sunset

Bangkok walkabout around the Portuguese and French Embassies. I just love walking around the old streets, away from the concrete jungle and shopping madness.

France meets Thailand at the French Embassy in Bangkok
The river was so full from the floods!
Hindu Temple, Bangkok

Great area for walking about, some good vegetarian Indian eateries and shops and a beautiful temple, always full of life, colour and smells.

All handmade out of fresh flowers! So beautiful.
Christmas lights! Some quite odd ones…. Bangkok goes crazy with Xmas, so many lights everywhere and massive trees.

And it was time to fly off to Portugal for Christmas! Had not been there for Christmas for over 20 years, we were so excited to be spending it with family. Even better to be together with Mazzie, Joshua and Sandra. I really don’t like the long plane journey and the jet lag but it was worth it. We had a lovely airbnb with lots of space and plenty of places to walk to.

Lots of Father Xmas on bikes in Lisbon, no idea…

We had a fabulous Xmas at Leonor’s house followed by another at brother Jorge’s house! So much amazing food and wonderful to be with family. I’d forgotten how much food is eaten in Portugal. Leonor’s Xmas was a feast followed by one at brother Jorge’s house where we had over 12 desserts. This was after eating various starters and main courses! Oh, and a massive Bolo Rei.

Brother Ze Pedro e Dulce

Pre Xmas sunset in Sesimbra! Sesimbra is usually packed in the summer so it was really weird to see it deserted and shut. We struggled to find a cafe to warm ourselves up with a hot drink. The sunset was beautiful and the walk along the beachfront blew the cobwebs away,

We spent an afternoon at the Botanic Gardens in Belem. Peaceful and quiet, met a cat, plenty of birds and wandered about watching peacocks…

We love Lisbon! Our plane was cancelled so get got a bonus day and night to potter around and have another drink with brother Jorge. What a treat. Saw the Xmas lights and watched the sun set over the bridge.It truly is a beautiful city.

The oldest cathedral in Lisbon

Off to England to see friends and family. We stayed in Brighton and just chilled ; literally as it was quite cold although not as bad as we expected. Lisbon was quite balmy and we didn’t even wear coats but the UK was windy and drizzly. We didn’t do much and tended to stay in and snuggle.

I have only one photo of Anne and Grammy! Can’t believe there are no others. Very poor show… Maybe the cold froze my fingers and sadly there are no photos to show.

And so, 2022 draws to a close. A year of ups and downs! Marianne left home to go to uni, my illness flared up again, we decided to move, had two amazing trips to Europe to spend time with family and friends. Lost one cat, got another cat, had many trips to Bangkok, witnessed some awful floods, and so it goes on… We are grateful for our friends and family and for the experiences we continue to have. A new chapter awaits and with it some different blogs and scenery. Let’s hope 2023 brings everyone lots of joy and happiness. Miss you all!

Wanderings around Europe Summer 2022…

It has been a while…. Not sure, not had the inspiration to write… A lot has been happening and time flies. Marianne left for uni in the UK in August, we went to Europe for the first time in 3 years, we decided to move on and have been job hunting.

First stop Lisbon in the Summer. What a beautiful city and country, I never tire of it. We had not seen anybody for so long, it was amazing to make connections again and to feel part of something. Living so far away, with such a different lifestyle, it can be easy to feel a loss of connection with those we are close to. Covid further created

Castelo de São Jorge, Sintra
Brother Jorge!
Discoveries monument, Lisbon
At the top!
Yay, Joshie and Sandra have arrived!
Recycled art at the Oceanarium
At the castle, on top of the world!
Expo site cable cars
Riverside in Lisbon
Just love jellyfish!

Sadly we all got Covid during our stay in Portugal! Just before, we had a fabulous family reunion in a beautiful area in Minde. Thank you Leonor for organising this.

Glacial river! After the warm water in Thailand, this was way too cold for us.
Wherever we go, Maz finds a horse to ride!
And Sandra finds cats…

There was one thing I have wanted to do for years, to walk the Passadiços do Paiva, 8 km of steep wooden walkways along the bank of the Paiva River with scenic views. Provides a walk “untouched”, surrounded by unique beauty of landscapes, in an authentic natural sanctuary with waterfalls and rivers. The route extends from the river beaches of Areinho and Espiunca, lying between them, the Vau beach. A journey through biology, geology and archeology. Sadly, between having Covid and one of the hottest summers in history, we were not able to do this walk as it was closed due to the danger of fires. Instead, we chilled in our own schist village in Arouca. Very isolated and raw natural beauty!

Room with a view
We had a river close to the house, not cold at all.

I had not been to Coimbra before and I absolutely loved it! What a beautiful city steeped in history. I could easily have spent more time there. We visited the old university, of course.  It was the first Portuguese university in 1290 in Lisbon and relocated to Coimbra in 1308, making it the oldest academic institution in the Portuguese-speaking world. Its historical buildings were classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2013. The library, built in 1717 is simply stunning and considered one of the most beautiful in the world. You are not allowed to photograph inside so these are not my photos. Oh, and the books are protected from insects by a colony of bats!

The library!

We visited the Cabinet of Curiosities in the Science Museum of the university. These cabinets were popular in 17th century onwards and were mainly created by the European nobility, who tried to gather in these rooms a set of objects, such as exotic pieces, in an attempt to recreate the work of God. The aim of these cabinets was to display rare, exotic and even bizarre objects, so as to amaze the visitor and simultaneously show the cosmopolitan vision of their owner.

Cabinet of curiosities
The main square

The rest of the city was great for walking and we did some exploring although by this stage we were all pretty sick and spent the next two days in the hotel recovering.

Bordalo graffiti in Coimbra

It was time to leave and visit out friends and family in the UK where the weather was also fabulous. Don’t you just love the British seaside… and Brighton! Here are some typical seaside scenes, you wouldn’t expect this in such a trendy city but there you go.

As we were in Brighton we decided to go up on the i360, a 162 m moving observation tower with, as the name suggests, 360 degree views! Fabulous, highly recommend it.

Duke of York’s cinema, Brighton

We spent some time exploring London with Mazzie, Camden Market was her fave place. We found Peaky Blinders over there!

We couldn’t even remember the last time we saw each other! So, so long ago… We had a great time in Portsmouth, pottering about like tourists. We went up the Spinaker Tower, what a view at 170 meters high with a glass platform, not for the faint hearted.

Back to Brighton once again and it is time for Pride 2022! The city is full of colour and rainbows, such a happy, carefree atmosphere.

It is always a pleasure to spend an afternoon in Lewes, wandering around the old lanes, sitting in the cafes and what a wonderful summer of sunshine to do this in.

Anne and Grammy kindly let us stay in their beautiful house. We were very lucky to also look after Sam who is a truly lovely doggo. Mazzie and I enjoyed taking him for walks up on the hills, beautiful views and sense of freedom up there.

Brighton grafitti
Fancy finding Pickard here…

And it was nearly time to go back home. Time to leave Mazzie who went on to America to work at a stables in North Carolina. It was so hard to say goodbye… Before she left, we went to Barcombe Mills for a swim but it was full of algae and not safe for swimming.

Thailand here I come! Another school year about to start and time to start job hunting for our next adventure.

%d bloggers like this: