Our short series “Undiscovered Ulster” aims to introduce you to a part of Ireland that has had less publicity than Dublin, Cork and Galway. The Ulster region undoubtedly offers some of the Island’s most stunning scenery and is far less crowded. In the first article of the series, we showed you the hidden gems of Nigel’s hometown of Belfast. Now we are taking you to the to 10 places on Northern Ireland’s stunning North Coast. View Post
Mention cities or towns in California and you probably think of Los Angeles, San Francisco or San Diego. There are of course probably hundreds of other smaller cities and towns. It might surprise you however that there are also many ghost towns – approximately 250 of varying sizes. But where once there may have been a thriving community, all that now remains are derelict buildings and some rusting vehicles and machinery.
With names like Grub Gulch, Coyote Lake and Lost Horse Mine, the majority are in such remote areas – often near mountains where people once sought gold – that they are rarely visited. There are some however which have been preserved to a certain degree to allow visitors a unique insight into life in the American West from the late 19th century to the mid 20th century and perhaps the best example of this is Bodie. View Post
We must confess to having a bit of a secret passion for viewing show homes. Sunday afternoon in Northern Ireland tends to be prime show home viewing time and we find it hard to drive past a show home sign without going to check it out. If they happen to be furnished, then so much the better. Martha is an expert at making herself look at home in them to the point where people think she lives there when they see a photograph. She may have even made Nigel believe she lived in a very fancy apartment in Gothenburg when in fact she was actually ‘living’ in a branch of IKEA! Our viewings have extended to many parts of Northern Ireland and even Portugal, where we actually fell in love with the property! This passion was naturally bound to raise its head again in the US. Sure enough, back in 2014 we were driving along the Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu when we saw the sign ‘Open House’. If you’re going to view a property then it might as well be in the Malibu Hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean after all!View Post
Last August saw us making our first visit to Germany since our wedding. Whilst Nigel had been to Germany three times in the past, this was to be his first visit to the region where Martha grew up. Where she lived in Germany isn’t easily accessible from Northern Ireland and often involves two flights followed by a lengthy train journey. Luckily for us on this occasion, whilst we still had to take two flights from Belfast City Airport via London Gatwick, we were able to fly to her local airport in Erfurt (with a local airline called Germania). Naturally this route no longer exists as a future option!View Post
Playa Blanca, which means White Beach, is the southernmost town on the Spanish Island of Lanzarote. Lanzarote is one of the seven islands which make up the Canary Islands and is the most easterly of the islands situated 78 miles / 125km off the Coast of Africa. It enjoys a subtropical desert climate and along with the other Canary Islands is a popular winter destination, which is what led to us deciding to visit in late November. Having endured our poorest summer in living memory, we wanted to feel the sun on our skin before winter really kicked in!
Ironically, after such a poor summer, our Autumn was actually great. On the morning we were travelling to the airport there was some snow on the mountains around Belfast though. The wings of our aircraft even needed to be sprayed with de-icer prior to take off, which was a first for us leaving from Belfast!