Countries, Cruising, Europe

France, somme-nous déjà-la?

And it is the question every English Francophile child in Dover is asking: France, somme-nous déjà-la?

Only we doubt whether improving their French is top of the prep just now.

And for those who do have any French they’re more likely to shout: bâtards Francais.

Because nothing turns you against a country more than waiting hours and hours to get into it.

Do the English hate the French?

Francophobe: Rees-Mogg

 

Of course the Francophobia is there already… in spades.

With Dickens character Jacob Rees-Mogg weighing in.

Even suggesting that the French want to make life difficult for British tourists?

Pourquoi?

Now where once the favourite car game was I Spy now it’s phoning in your radio station to Bash the French.

This is a quintessentially English obsession, a neighbourly dispute which sustains both but which disrupts the hood.

Good neighbours

Tres bien Monsieur Bean: Franglais

My own wee country of birth, Scotland, has a historical alliance with the French, the Auld Alliance.

Born out of mutual interest, to be fair, and a suspicion of the neighbour.

As is the case with those across the road, the Irish, who have often let the French in, to try to oust the English from their plot.

The mad thing though is that if the English dislike the French so much why are so many flocking to get over there.

Walking on water: In France

There are, of course, a multitude of reasons why there’s such gridlock in the English ports.

And no one party is to blame.

Maybe though if it’s possible not everyone head for the coast at the same time.

And if it’s because of school holidays, well, you don’t have to go in the first week.

Camp brand new

Plain sailing: And at least the boat is moving

The good news is that when you get there.

And your Stena or Brittany Ferries crossing will be smooth, comfy and good value, you’ll get a fab break.

France, particularly Nord, Normandy and Brittany are all about La Famille.

And their campsites are a long way from the basic scrub land we tried to pitch a tent in back on that post-school break to Saint-Raphael.

So the kids may ask France, somme-nous déjà-la?

But it will be worth it when you can say Enfin.

 

 

 

America, Asia, Australasia, Canada, Caribbean, Countries, Europe, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

The ten homes of whisky

It’s the golden seal every country strives for, to be the home of something… so where are the ten homes of whisky?

You’d probably not to be surprised at the top five.

And so it’s more of a case of shuffling that pack to see who is tops.

The next five though is a bit more surprising.

So on this World Whisky Day join me for a distillery tour.

But do me a favour please, don’t ask about distilling or the mashing process.

It just holds us up on our way to the sampling.

Scotch Wahey

Fergie’s dram: Sir Alex’s bottle in his cabinet near Aberdeen

Scotland: And the reach of Scotch (just whisky in Scotland) became clear when the distillers held a whisky-tasting in Barbados.

Now we can blind you with science and stats… 44 bottles of whisky are exported from Scotland every year.

There are five designated whisky regions… Cambeltown, Highland, Lowland, Speyside and my own fave Islay.

They’re all heavenly and 

But my No.1 is Laphroaig. It’s so peaty, just like a bowl of water in an ashtray but stick with me here.

After all you have tried haggis.

United Nips of America

Mark of a whiskey drinker: Kentuckian Mark, Cath and Mum

USA: And, of course, when the Scots left home they took their whisky and its secrets with them.

And adapted it to the new world of America and went on to produce nectar such as Kentucky’s Woodford Reserve bourbon.

But US whiskey isn’t restricted to the Deep South… branch out to Oregon.

Where Westward Whiskey have released a reimagined single malt for World Whisky Day.

Green, malt and gold

The oul’ sod: The oldest distillery in the world

Ireland: And Teeling only made it into our Barbados tastings.

While Bushmills lays claim to being the oldest distillery in the world, established in 1608.

They were also responsible for the extra ‘e’, well the Irish are the masters of using two words when one will do, and more letters too.

Land of the Rising Suntory

Made in Japan: Suntory

Japan: Now this is a love story that drams are made of.

And is the result of a relationship between a Japanese chemistry student at Glasgow University Masataka Takaretsu and Jessie Roberta Cowan.

Masataka had been dispatched by the Settsu Shuzi liquor company.

A love Suntory if you will.

Maple leaf

We’re in the Club: Canadian Club

Canada: Right, we’re told that Canadian whisky has its origins not in its big Scottish diaspora.

But because the natives, the First Nations, got a taste for what they called the traders’ firewater.

It was a meld of rum and ‘high wine’ which developed into Canadian whisky, of which Canadian Club is the most recognised.

Sikh beatha

Basket of goods: Indians love their whisky

India: Or Sikh of life, my twist on the uisce beatha which is Gaelic for water of life and is what Scots call their favourite drink.

And long may the Indians keep up their love affair with whisky which they have been producing since 1948 since Amrut entered the market.

More than half of all whisky drinkers in the world come from India. 

Wizards of booze

Bonzer: Aussie whiskey

Australia: And we should have come to expect this with our ne’er-do-wells sent over there as convicts.

Specifically Tasmania is whisky haven with the best Aussie whiskies Sullivans Cove, the best Single Malt at the world awards, and Lark based there. 

A Swede whisky

That way, Sweden

Sweden: Now here’s something you don’t get at your local Ikea with your meatballs but should.

Mackmyra was Sweden‘s first distillery and the Swedes got it right first time, winning the First Edition Gold Award in 2013.

The Isle of Tai

Gold standard: Taiwanese whiskey

Taiwan: You see what we’ve done there. Yes, Taiwan‘s connections with the West probably plays its part here.

Kavalan whiskey won the World’s Best Single Malt at the awards in 2015 and the island’s distillery produces 9 million bottles a year. 

Ja beauty

Dram busters: Germans on the whisky

Germany: Now some of us have ripped it up in Germany at the Oktoberfest where it’s lager obviously but also schnapps chasers.

The Germans though are open to everything and they have around 250 distilleries and around 130 of them are focused just on whisky production.

So, on this World Whisky Day a big Slainte to the ten homes of whisky.

 

 

 

 

Countries, Cruising, Ireland, UK

P&O no no, Stena’s who to know

We’re loath to diss operators here but there’s no defending torpedoing of staff… it’s P&O no no Stena’s who to know.

Like many of the Fiftysomething Irish-Scots variety I knew my way around a ship long before I stepped on a plane.

And Townsend Thoresen from Cairnryan to Larne were as familiar a transport provider to me as the 44 bus across Glasgow to school.

P&O took over TT in 1987 by which time I had disembarked to England and started flying to Ireland.

A different ship

Land ahoy: But one more for the road

And with Ryanair emerging to fly us at budget prices ferries were reserved for family holidays and house moves.

When Stena had emerged as the protectors of la famille Murty from Scotland to Ireland and back.

Now ships have certainly upgraded from the Seventies when I would run the toy cars on deck which I had bought from the ship shop.

I have been fortunate enough to be hosted by Stena in dock in Dublin, viewed their cabins and cinema hubs, bars and restaurants.

Treat your staff well

Child’s play: Better than running toy cars

I pride myself on the courtesy I was taught by my parents never to look down on staff.

If only the same could be said for P&O.

Stena offers a sample three-day return from Cairnryan to Belfast from £119.

Alas, The Scary One insisted our last Stena trip to Scotland was a single!

If you tolerate this

Big kid: And I’m not getting off

So, if you want to protest against P&O, and in the words of Manic Street Preachers…

‘If you tolerate this, then your children will be next.’

Film on the sea: All the entertainment

Then sail with our go-to ferry company, you won’t be disappointed.

So from us it’s P&O no no Stena’s who to know.

 

 

 

 

Countries, Culture, UK

How many Ukrainians can Buckingham Palace take?

You do the math, but with 775 bedrooms how many Ukrainians can Buckingham Palace take?

The Queen has moved back, of course, to Windsor Castle in Royal Berkshire.

Which means it’s free.

A room for free: For Ukrainian Vlodomir

And even someone of her considerable wealth could do with the £350 per month government payment for taking in a Ukrainian family.

It would all help to pay her second-born’s settlement with Virginia Giuffre.

A day at the palace

Don’t go out on the balcony: The Royals

Of course nobody gets into Buck House for free, unless your titled or entitled.

So it’ll be £30 of your pleb money for a visit to the State Rooms or £55 when it’s Combined with a Royal Day Out.

And that’s the State Rooms, The Queen’s Gallery and the Royal Mews.

We’ve been down this route before flagging up the royal palaces around the UK which you can visit.

With the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the foot of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh an old favourite and former neighbour.

How to explain the British reverence, fascination and obsession for the Royal Family?

It’s a combination of tradition, pomp, ceremony and soap opera.

Tourist magnet

Snap happy: Get your pic how you can

And it is perhaps the biggest draw for tourists to the UK.

The experts, of course, are the guides who have an unrivalled knowledge of the history.

Whether they’re the Beefeaters at the Tower of London or the guides at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

And while your Beefeater is stiff and proper there’s a twinkle in the eye of your Edinburgh guide.

A bloody royal tale

Maneater: Saoirse Ronan as Mary Queen of Scots

And he will cheerfully walk you through the story of the murder of Mary Queen of Scots’ favourite David Rizzio.

You’ll be invited into the Queen’s Chamber where the Scots lairds (that’s lords) killed the Italian in front of the queen.

And wend your way down the spiral stone staircase where the guide will point out to you and the impressionable American and Asian party…

Of the blood embedded in the stones.

I swear I saw a brush protrude from his satchel.

Haggis farms

Winging it: The haggis

Us Scots are noted for our dry deadpan wit and another example springs to mind of how the guides play with their party.

When Stevie apologised to the Irish party I was with in Aberdeen.

That we were running late and would not be able to visit the haggis farm.

And I had to prompt him later to put them right in case they wrote about the haggis farm in their articles.

Armoured and dangerous: And knowing smiles

So maybe it’s best to leave that question I set at the outset to the guides who know as much about the royal residences as the queen.

How many Ukrainians can Buckingham Palace take?

 

Countries, Deals, Europe, Flying, Ireland

Ryanwhere is Scotland?

Ryanwhere is Scotland? A question asked by one of its staff to a Polish family returning to Scotland from Portugal.

It was all to do with different Covid regulations applying to Scotland and England.

And fair’s fair because it’s complicated too for those of us who share this island of Britain.

It is of course an occupational hazard of being one of Jock Tamson’s Bairns (that’s being a Scot).

And on my first visit to America nearly 40 years ago the young people I’d meet would ask me if Scotland was in England.

The capital of North Dakota

Sign of the times: Ryanair staff

It irked me then until my American History tutor I learned under when I got back and studied in Aberdeen asked me what the capital of North Dakota was?

And like all lessons in life it’s stuck: Bismarck.

All of which ramblings brings us to Ryanair‘s flash sale which ends tomorrow, midnight, Sunday, January 30.

Michael O’Leary’s empire, of course, is built on a model of flying to out-of-the-way destinations to cut down on prices for the punters.

And so Scots (and non-Scots) have had to become educated in towns we’d never heard of before.

Some of them are also in the same country as the destination we want to visit.

Some out-of-the-way places

Suits you sir: Legoland

For our Ryanair pal Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, which is the northern country of the island of Britain.

And it, and Scotland’s largest city Glasgow, is €9.99, from my old stomping ground of Dublin (Ireland that is, not Ohio).

But like Geography Gio we had to look up the map to find some of these others.

Billund in Denmark is the cheapest destination on offer at €7.99.

The good news for kids (and big kids alike) is that Billund is Legoland.

The bad news is that if you wanted to see Copenhagen then you’d have to island hop and it’s 261kms away.

Eindhoven, 122kms south of Amsterdam, too comes in at €7.99.

And while I’m sure that Eindhoveners are very friendly, their centrepiece the Philips Electronic Museum is always going to be a hard sell.

Do you know these cities?

A Star in Hamburg

Happy Hamburg is in the same price bracket and is instantly recognisable for anybody who has seen the map of Europe more than once.

Now I’ve had the good fortune to attend the German Travel Mart in Dresden and stay abreast of most of what is going on in Deutschland but Memmingen? Sorry.

Well, the old Roman fortress town is 116kms west of Munich and is clearly a smaller airport than the Bavarian capital which you can get lost in (trust me).

Pole star: Lublin

We dare say too that in Lublin‘s fair city the girls are so pretty.

Only it’s pronounced Looblin and is in Poland, 170kms south-west of capital Warsaw.

And you can get there for €12.99 where film buffs may recognise if from the film The Reader.

So the next time an airline worker asks you Ryanwhere is Scotland (insert your own country) then take five.

And reflect on the fact that we don’t all know where each other live.

And it’s all the more exciting when we find out.

MEET YOU IN THE AIR

 

 

 

Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, UK

Yappy 150th Anniversary Greyfriars Bobby

Yappy 150th Anniversary Greyfriars Bobby, the loyal dog who slept by his dead master’s grave, and let’s put more animals on pedestals.

There were pipes and prayers to mark the milestone in the Edinburgh kirkyard.

And I dare say a whisky or two in his memory at the local inn, named after the West Skye Terrier who Walt Disney brought to the world.

Bobby’s statue is, of course, the best in the Scottish capital, nay the world.

And, yes, those no-name figures of Empire should be taken off their plinths.

Replaced by popular and cultural figures of our age and recent memory.

Pets on plinths

Pups: An earlier Jimmy, and Bobby

And let’s be radical here… women.

And animals.

So here’s our menagerie of all creatures great and small.

And on the grounds that we’ve got the best wee doggie, here in Scotland.

And that all God’s creatures have a place in my choir let’s sing the praises of…

The Puck stops here

King of Ireland: Puck

King Puck, Killorglin, Ireland, Now we’re not acting the goat here.

And I’m all about the goats, from my time racing them in Tobago.

In Kerry, in the south of Ireland they have been crowning a goat and throwing a festival around it since the 17th century.

When a goat alerted the village of Oliver Cromwell’s coming.

King Puck is in truth a better fit than any of the chinless wonder monarchs England imposed on them.

Before they broke free a hundred years ago.

On the Bosfurus

Turkey treats: For Tombili

Tombili, Istanbul: And no, I’ve not lost my dictionary… and if I had I’d always return to the book section of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.

How Bazaar: Cats in the Grand Bazaar

Cats have a special place in the hearts of Turks, and none more so than diva Tombili.

Tombili became a global hit after she was photographed reclining on a pavement… give her some Kite-Kat turkey treats.

Bear with us here

Bear hug: The Winnipeg statue

Winnipeg the Bear, Canada: The silly willy-nilly all stuffed with fluff is, of course, more prone to napping than scrapping.

This is the real Winnipeg, a Canadian military mascot bear cub, whom AA Milne and Christopher Robin visited at London Zoo.

The Wolf of Rome

Suck it up: The Wolf and the Babes

Capitoline Wolf, Rome: And where’s a she-wolf when you need her?

Rome, that’s where. And lucky that she was for Romulus and Remus.

Because she rescued the babes from the Tiber and they went on to found Rome.

The Romans have never forgotten, and you’ll see fountains adorned with wolf taps around the city.

While they’ll wish each other well with the time-honoured greeting: ‘In bocca al lupi (in the mouth of the wolf).

Those wacky Germans

On the shoulders of giants: Bremen

The Town Musicians of Bremen, Germany: And why celebrate one when you can have four?

The story goes that four old domesticated animals, a donkey, a dog, a cat and a rooster, escape their mistreatment.

To go in search of their fortune in Bremen as musicians, obvs.

They get distracted by a house robbery, take over the gaff and live there happily ever after.

And so as we say Yappy 150th Anniversary Greyfriars Bobby and all your furry and feathered friends.

All of whom are deserving of being pets on plinths.

 

Countries, UK

Wu Wu, how Scots do Christmas

Well this Scot will be working (small violins) but Wu, Wu, this is how Scots do Christmas.

Yes, the wonderful Wendy Wu is visiting, or her devoted experts and customers are.

With her Christmas in Scotland nine-night tour from £2,615pp from Sunday, December 19-27.

Now I’ve done the oul’ living in Scotland (and am back doing it) while I’ve been a visitor in my own land too.

When I first started this travelling and writing lark one of my first trips was an overnight train journey from London,.

And a stop-off at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh.

Where the clock always runs three minutes fast to allow people extra time to catch the train at Waverley.

And then a whizz around the Royal Mile and a barrel ride inside the Scotch Whisky Experience.

Before much more whisky was taken at the end of Scottish fare.

Murray’s mint

He’s got rhythm: Andy Murray

Down at the country estate, Cromlix Hotel, Kinbuck, Perthshire, presented on a converted bathchair drinks trolley.

Of course all this I enjoyed way back in the late 80s when Andy Murray had a rattle rather than a tennis racket.

The locals: Dad and lass

The best recommendation though is that the two-time Wimbledon champion chose Cromlix House.

And he spent some of his millions on, when he bought the demesne in 2013.

All of which is a diversion from the Wendy Wu tour so let’s get back on track here.

And hear from the woman herself

Christmas Extravaganza Experiences

*Enjoy an extra special Christmas Eve performance of The Nutcracker by the Scottish Royal Ballet

*Join your Wendy Wu touring family for a Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day lunch at the Intercontinental Edinburgh, followed by a fun-filled festive party.

*Sip champagne and embark on a private, out-of-hours tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia, exclusive to Wendy’s guests.

*Tuck into a champagne afternoon tea and overnighter on the Fingal

*Sample festive flavours with a paired chocolate and whisky tasting at the Aberfeldy Distillery

*Shop under the dazzling lights of Glasgow’s Christmas markets.

Savings on the way

And so let’s boil this down further…

*A carefully handpicked selection of 4* hotels.

*All meals including a sumptuous Christmas lunch on Christmas Day.

*Exceptional local guide with you every step of the way.

*All daily tours, sightseeing and entrance fees.

Book by 15 November and save £75pp on this tour.

Yes, there you have it, Wu, Wu, this is how Scots do Christmas.

 

 
Adventure, America, Asia, Caribbean, Countries, Europe, UK

Craig Sera Sera

Craig Sera Sera, that’s a wrap from the 12th Bond.. and he’ll sure miss those exotic missions.

So which countries has 007 visited most, other than England where he works?

Well of the 50 he’s been to, Italia would seem to have been his favourite with the spy having touched down in Il Bel Paese eight times. 

Pasta Master

Venice: And let’s catch a gondola back to Padova

Rome, Venice and Como have inevitably been stick-on locations for any filmmaker and international man of mystery.

And this time it’s the European City of Culture for 2019, Matera, which is getting its place in the sun this time. 

With its houses. built into caves, cobbled streets and high arches a dramatic backdrop for the opening scenes.

And Felice Giorni for Matera with the town’s mayor, Raffaello De Ruggieri, predicting its association with Bond will be worth $20 million to the local economy.

In truth this is probably the highpoint of the movie, and all before the credits and Billie Eilish’s disappointing dirge of a soundtrack.

As Daddy’s Little Girl rightly pointed out the best bits were the locales. 

Live and Let Spy

Love a duck: At Epcot Centre, Florida

With Britain and America enjoying that much feted special relationship it is unsurprising that The Oo Es of Eh is his next favourite stop-off.

And we particularly enjoy his forays into Florida and its keys… whose pleasures I had to put off on the outbreak of Covid but where I intend to fulfil just as soon as.

Ski another day

Like an Alpine skier: In the Austrian Tyrol

Next up might be less predictable, Austria, but then we have to remember its stunning snowscapes and Bond’s love of winter sports which of course we share.

Although we have never seen him on the slopes of Soll while we have enjoyed skiing alongside some dapper fancied-dressed folks.

And we look forward to seeing a penguin-suited Bond on the piste some time soon.

For Bond anoraks it’s an easy question but which is the only country in a film title?

The spy who came in from the Red

Dance away: Russia

Yes, the old Soviet Union, or Russia as we knew it in shorthand.

And as well as the titular film From Russia With Love, Bond turns up in Fabergeland another three times.

Turkish crossroads

Hamam bam: Istanbul

It has been the crossroads for espionage since first the first looked out over each other at either side of the Bosphorus.

And, of course, Istanbul, has been an ideal backdrop for Bond’s adventures… and yours, and mine with three films taking in Turkey’s biggest city.

Three’s a charm

Limber up: The next Bond?

And among those countries where Bond has a trio of visits is Hong Kong, Spain, the Bahamas, Scotland, his homeland and Jamaica where Ian Fleming penned the books.

And the West Indies’ biggest island is where we first fell in love with Bond on the Laughing Waters beach in Ocho Rios.

Or Sean Connery to be more precise, even if you were a red-blooded bloke, you actually wanted to be him.

Wear a swimsuit: Craig as Bond

And be with Ursula Andress.

There was much fuss too about Daniel Craig with his take on coming out of the water, ripped and in a pair of budgie smugglers.

Only thing is a budgie has more charisma.

Craig Sera Sera… whatever will be, will be.

 

 

 

Adventure, Africa, Countries, UK

Tale of elephants in Edinburgh or Africa

You probably wouldn’t expect to bump into elephants here but I aim to please so. read on for this tale of elephants in Edinburgh and Africa.

Lulla-Bye certainly wasn’t there the last time I traipsed through the Princes Street Gardens.

But the two and a half tonne sculpture is a welcome addition to the gardens.

And is a poignant tribute to a much-regretted part of Edinburgh’s story, the Mortonhall Ashes Scandal.

The ashes of hundreds of babies were buried or disposed of secretly at Mortonhall Crematorium over decades.

Despite parents being told there were no remains of their children.

Edinburgh’s elephants

Lulla-Bye: A poignant tribute

 

It would seem that Edinburgh has somewhat of a history with elephants.

And that as well as the elephant in the Zoo there used to be one who lived in the best accommodation in town, Edinburgh Castle.

Ellie (my name for her) was the mascot of the 78th Highlanders who brought her back from Sri Lanka in the 1830s.

It seems she made herself well at home drinking beer, just like the locals.

That’s nailed it

Some nails on that: Our elephant friends

Her toenails are now on display at the National War Museum on Castlehill.

Of course, elephants belong in their natural habitat and that’s Africa and Asia.

One of schoolkids’ favourite animal questions they like to stump you with is how you can tell the difference.

And the obvious answer would be that if you’re in Africa which I was (Eastern Cape) it’s an African.

And if you’re in Asia then it’s an Asian.

But, yes, Africans have much larger ears while Asians have smaller, rounder ears.

Ears looking at you: Definitely African

Of course such beautiful creatures are favourite ornaments and you can easily bump into them in your lodge in South Africa.

I’ve heard too of destinations where they roam freely through the lobby of your hotel which is as it should be…

After all, they were here first!

All of which heavy thumping around the subject brings me to an important matter in hand, their protection.

And a very important initiative being run by Holly Budge.

Holly is the founder and director of the non-profit international organisation How Many Elephants which has been heralded by none other than Sir David Attenborough.

The elephant’s friend

Taking a snooze: The gentle elephant

Holly has raised over £400,000 for environmental projects.

She truly is the elephant’s friend and it is no exaggeration to say that without hers and others’ efforts their very survival is at risk.

Ninety-six African elephants are poached every day for their ivory, and at this rate, they’ll be extinct within a decade.

Herd about their plight: Elephants on the move

Holly’s global travelling exhibition displays 35,000 elephant silhouettes to show the annual poaching rate in Africa.

She can’t do it all alone, of course and that’s where Margot Dempsey comes in.

She launched World Female Ranger Day to support female rangers on the front line of wildlife conservation.

And she speaks passionately about the subject which again you are best checking out online.

Lest we forget and famously elephants never do… they were here first.

And it warms the heart, this tale of elephants in Edinburgh or Africa.

 

America, Australasia, Countries, Europe, UK

North South Seas and Treasure Island

So what do the North Sea South Seas and Treasure Island share in common?

The author Robert Louis Stevenson who I’ve got to know these last 18 months.

Since moving to North Berwick, south of Edinburgh.

Where his grandfather, the eminent Scottish engineer of his time (also Robert) made his mark.

Robert’s piece de resistance was the Bell Rock, the world’s oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse, built on an outcrop of the Inchcape reef and accessible at low tide. 

Young Robert might have expected to follow in the family lighthouse design business.

The real Treasure Island

Treasure Island: Long John Silver

Robert Louis (originally Lewis) though did base his Treasure Island on the Fidra Island in the Firth of Forth.

Where David and Thomas Stevenson built theirs which has been automated since 1970.

And which the Scottish Seabird Centre has its cameras set on to keep an eye on its seabird population.

Travel bug

Wall art: In a North Berwick alley

It was here then that Robert got his Travel bug which would see him circumnavigate the globe.

Stevenson’s love of Travel was both lyrical and practical as he sought warmer climes more conducive to his bronchial problems.

And he would say: ‘We are all travellers in the wilderness of this world.’

That and. his marriage to American Fanny Van De Grift led to him seeking out many of the familiar, but also the wildernesses of this world.

Travel books

Samoa the merrier: A recreation of RLS’s rooms in Western Samoa

 

And so he gave us a rich legacy of Travel books as well as his bumper fiction books. 

With his entry into this world showing what a master he was with his 200km hike in south-central France, Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes.

A passion we both share for Southern France and hiking. And Robert was to return to France and Belgium for another venture, canoeing this time, in An Inland Voyage. 

The Amateur Emigrant, Across the Plains and the Silverado Squatters covers RLS’s American peregrinations and there is a museum there too in the Napa Valley in California

And then we get In the South Seas, a celebration of Samoa where he set down roots and lived out his days.

RLS truly loved the South Seas island of Samoa and championed their rights in the face of exploitation from the super powers in letters to The Times.

In RLS’s footsteps

From the author’s mouth

And the West Samoans loved him back erecting a museum to the man they called Tusitala ‘Tale Teller’ on the 100th anniversary of his death in 1994.

Check out their excellent site with its Following in the Footsteps of RLS.

Western Samoa is a three and a half hours flight from Auckland, New Zealand

So let’s hear if for North South Seas and Treasure Island.