Category Archives: Around the World

Travel reviews and notes

Üzümlü break September 2016

Some photos of our trip to Yasiluzumlu, Fethiye, to stay with our great friend Barbarra

For the paragliding video click here

Knockagh Knuts Marbella Trip, October 2015

Another successful outing for the Knuts this year. As usual thanks go to Geoff Pearson for organizing the trip and to John Lynas for running the competitions.

The weather was good to us with temperatures of around 25° – 27° throughout.

The hotel, NH Marbella, was extremely good. Comfortable beds, for the time we actually spent in them, and excellent breakfasts. It was also located a five minute walk from the beach and 10 minutes to the nearest bar!

We played two courses: Santa Clara first, where the greens were rather poor to say the least. This was followed by Rio Real, which proved to be much better all round.

Winners of the silly trousers were Dylan O’Neill for day one, Philip McCrery day two and the overall winner was David Winning.

I hate Leny Henry – BUT – Premier Inn Gatwick Airport

I really do not like Lenny Henry but we staged through Gatwick on our way to and from Egypt for the 2015 New Year and again on our way to and from Turkey in March, staying at the Premier Inn, adjacent to the North Terminal, on all occasions and, as the advert states, one gets a good nights sleep.
Not only that but one gets a reasonably spacious and immaculately clean room; friendly, helpful staff; and a first class restaurant all at very reasonable prices.

Solar Ship at Giza

Great to learn something new. During our visit to the pyramids our guide asked if we had heard of the Solar Ships. These were ships dismantled and buried in pits adjacent to the pyramids. One has been excavated and rebuilt after nearly 5000 years.
This particular pit is 30 metres long and covered by 41 blocks of stone each 1.8 mtrs X 4.5 mtrs X .85 mtrs weighing 18 tonnes. The are remnants of the ropes and bindings and one original oar. The reconstruction is amazing.

Castello Bruno, a gem in Castleknock, Dublin 15

Not a million miles away from central Dublin this family restaurant on the Main Street of Castleknock village was introduced to me my good friend Joe Griffin who lives a medium stones throw away in Dunboyne.

We called in for lunch in-between meetings at the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation in Brunswick Street North and Castleknock College; as one does!

It has a pleasant and comfortable atmosphere and a staff to match. I had intended to have a snack but the menu was far to appetizing and, on top of that, they were offering Chicken Puttanesca, breast of chicken in a piquant sauce containing chilli and anchovies (I’m a sucker for anything containing anchovies). We both chose this and added a portion of fries between us to accompany it. In for a penny in for a pound we rounded off with an excellent Tiramisu and coffees. Add in a bottle of Peroni and the bill was €53.60 – great value for money as well.


Market Place Restaurant, via Borsieri 21/a, Como, Italy

We picked this restaurant from a recommendation on eating out in Como in the New York Times; sent to us by an American friend.  It is not a classical Italian Restaurant by any means but the service is very good and professional and food is definitely different.  It is intimate with about a dozen tables and for this reason it is advisable to book.

There is an  à la carte menu or two “Tasting” Menus, one “Classic” and the other  “Gourmet”.  “In for a penny in for a pound” we chose the Classic: 

Market Place Menu

This started with Marinated Bream and Panzanella, a Tuscan Salad and was followed by A pochet egg (a poached egg yolk) on spinach with chanterelles and Parmesan foam. Believe it or not it was really tasty even if the pochet was lost in translation)

Then came the really Italian course: Lasagna with potatoes, leeks and a Parmesan pesto – Yum.

There was a choice of “mains”, the meat option being a rack of pork with roasted peppers and endive cream or a Trancetto (if you can find a good translation please comment on this page – my best guess is “slice”) of barbecued Umbrian fish. We chose the pork which was delightful.

To finish off there was shortbread and chocolate and vanilla ice cream.

I have included the menu above as some of the courses are, for me, quite difficult to translate, but I am sure there are some cunning linguists who can offer an explanation.

We had a very nice bottle of Italian Red, a Trentino Pinot Nero DOC 2009 “Forte di Mezzo”, Maso Cantanghel Pinot Nero which is a very fine sounding name and probably explain the price tag of €28.

The evening was wrapped up with an espresso and a grappa as usual.

An interesting experience at €110.50 but probably a little way out for our tastes.

Cambodia 2010 – The Final Days

Our last night in Siem Reap was spent at the Apsara theater where we had dinner and were entertained by the traditional Cambodian dancers. The trestles and benches, no chairs, are sunk into wells so the table top is at floor level and the dancers and musicians are on an elevated stage. Definitely a different experience.

 The following morning we set off from Siem Reap for the final two legs of our journey back to Phnom Penh. The first stage was to Kratie, a small town on the Mekong River and home to the surviving Irrawaddy dolphins.


Nagas a tthe high temple

Nagas at the high temple

Apart from a detour to climb another pagoda,some 530 steps up, the journey was a little tiresome.  The red dust and poor road not conducive to rest.  Probably tiredness had something to do with it.


We finally arrived in Kratie in the mid afternoon and were taken to the best hotel in town.  This boasted cold and cold running water, no lift and an electric system that ensured that if the fridge was on the fan (no air conditioning) went off. We settled in after a fashion.

We made an excursion out on to the Mekong to see the dolphins however they proved somewhat elusive and after about two hours of paddling up and down with ne’er a dolphin in site we returned to the hotel.

The next morning was uneventful and we continued our journey back to Phnom Penh in relative comfort.

Follow this link for a selection of photos for this part of our journey.

The queen crowns King Puck

Puck Fair 400th Anniversary – Killorglin August 2013

With the 401st Puck Fair already over I suppose it is about time I published my resume of the 400th anniversary celebrations in 2013!

If you want to party for three days and generally have a time to remember then Killorglin, Co. Kerry, is the place to be between the 10th and 12th August any year you choose.

Of course this year was different as an extra day was added to celebrate the 400th – yes hundredth – anniversary of the granting of a charter by James 1 of England.

Nobody is quite sure of the true origins but, for as long as anybody can remember, they have been crowing a goat as King Puck and he rules over the town for the three day extravaganza known as Puck Fair.

With John & Catherine at the Bianconi

With John & Catherine at the Bianconi

Thanks to our good friends John and Catherine McGrath we were able to get a room in the Bianconi Inn right in the centre of town.  This is the best accommodation in the area by far.

We arrived on Friday evening which was, on the whole, pretty quiet and the bars only had extensions to 2 a.m. rather than 4 a.m. which is the norm for the rest of the festivities.

Over the weekend there was the Horse Fair,



the horse fair

The horse Fair

Cattle Market and a myriad of events for all ages  in the square.  The evening concerts on the main stage at the top of the town were packed to capacity.

The St John’s Mill Theatre Company held performances of The Tempest at Ballykissane Pier and it was undoubtedly a perfect setting for the best amateur performance I have seen.

All the photos are at this link Puck Fair



The Blue Mosque

Istanbul stopover

We stopped for a day in Istanbul on our way back from Nepal.

What a contrast, wide dual carriageways lined with flower beds and central reservations crowded with daffodils and tulips.

The overall impression was of a modern and spectacularly clean city.

We were booked into the Amiral Palace Hotel, a stones throw from the Blue Mosque.  This is a really nice “boutique” hotel and our only reservation was the size of the room.  For an overnight, or possibly a couple of nights it was quite adequate but if one has a couple of cases and a few changes of clothes it is a bit tight.  The staff were friendly and helpful and duty manager suggested that, as we were only in the city for one night we must take a Bosporus Dinner cruise.

After a stroll around the local souk we took a couple of hours nap and were then picked up by the minibus to take us to the jetty.

On arrival we were a little apprehensive as to how the evening would progress as we we were shown to a table the occupants of which were at least 30 years our junior.  We need not have worried, there were three Algerians, three Moroccans, a couple of Indians and a lone Japanese/American lass, all of whom immediately made us welcome.

The dinner was very good with a choice of local fish or chicken as the main course and there were a couple of large glasses of wine included.

The cabaret also turned out to be quite a class act with a belly dancer providing the main turn.

There was not too much commentary on the passing sights but nobody really noticed. Altogether a very pleasant evening.

The next morning we walked up to the Blue Mosque an around the square before our taxi arrived to take us back to the Airport.

We will be back I’m sure.

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