Showing posts from 2017

Clove Hall, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

Our stay in Georgetown was only brief, though we seemed to fit an awful lot in, but of course we also wanted to stay somewhere memorable too. As I've mentioned previously we were quite last minute in booking this part of our holiday and our stay in Singapore and Penang coincided with Chinese New Year. We deliberately did this as we had always enjoyed this time of year in Singapore and all the festivities associated with it. Whilst it wasn't the actual public holiday part of the CNY celebrations when we were in Penang it was only a few days after and as anyone familiar with this part of the world will tell you it's a popular time to travel and as a result hotels can be hard to come by or else very expensive. In the end this luckily didn't prove too much of a problem and we struck gold with our choice of Clove Hall.

First things first Clove Hall isn't a hotel, it describes itself as a private residence and with only six suites is a far more personalised and unique exp…

The Ghost Bus Tour - Edinburgh

If you know anything about Edinburgh you'll know it has a gruesome side to its history, think Burke and Hare and Deacon Brodie to name just a couple of the city's less savoury characters from its past. There are many, many tours taking in lots of different aspects of this ghastly side and a lot of ghost tours too, indeed we've done a couple since we got here ourselves. Not long after I arrived in the city though I spotted that Edinburgh also had its own ghost bus tour too.

Years ago I went on one of these tours in London and I gather there is also one in York too, anyone done that one? Anyway the one in London was lots of fun so I figured the Edinburgh version was bound to be pretty good too. So tickets were booked, making sure that by the time our tour left (we went on a Saturday evening so chose the 9pm option) it would be dark, what's the fun of a ghost tour in the daylight?!? Obviously if you know Scotland in the summer you'll also know that it is still semi lig…

Old Protestant Cemetery, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

If you read even just a little of what I share here and on my other forms of social media you'll know I have an interest in cemeteries and the history within them. So you can imagine my excitement when the Protestant cemetery in Georgetown came recommended by a friend as somewhere worth a visit. There was no choice for my husband, it had to be visited.

Although disused now it is listed as a Class 1 Heritage Site and has a lot of very important people from Penang's colonial past buried within it. The cemetery was established in 1786 and was the first cemetery to be consecrated after Captain Francis Light founded the Prince of Wales Island settlement, later to become Penang Island, in 1786. The oldest recorded burial was in 1787 but the exact location of this grave is now no longer known. The oldest actual surviving grave stone dates from 1789 but again the exact location of the grave itself is unknown, the stone having been moved to a wall of the cemetery. The last burial in the…

A Change Would do You Good

Anyone who uses Facebook will be familiar with the memories feature. It's great for those, 'wow, was that really x years ago??' moments, the good times and obviously the not so great ones and, in my case, the mundane and the frankly quite random memories that I no longer even recall what I was talking about. A lot of mine tend to focus on big news, often a change of some kind that excites me and that I want to share with friends.

Recently the memories coming up from a year ago have predominantly been about my husband who was in the process of relocating up to Edinburgh for a work engagement, a change after returning from Singapore and temporarily being based in Kent. Memories like this certainly remind you how time moves fast. I can't believe that was a year ago and whilst Edinburgh is still our base a change has taken place again since then in that my husband is now working on a project that has taken him to Dubai and Saudi Arabia. This isn't actually as out of t…

Tunnel: The Archaeology of Crossrail, Museum of London Docklands

I spent a few days down in Kent recently for my Dad's birthday celebrations (which were lovely by the way) on the way down to Kent we spent a night in London and so I got to spend a touristy day there. I pretty much made up my mind before we left Edinburgh that I'd go to one of London's many museums and also try and get to one I'd not been to. I had a few on my list, sadly one of them I decided to remove after discovering there was a quite considerable entry charge just for the regular exhibits. This did come with the caveat that the ticket could then be used as much as you wanted for the next year but when you don't live in the city I wasn't really convinced I'd get my money's worth or if I'd even want to go back there again and again. Although I got used to paying entry fees for museums in Singapore I'm far more used to the free entry with the option to make a donation that is pretty much the norm in the UK at most museums and only specificall…

Penang Hill, Penang, Malaysia

We decided to go a little further afield whilst staying in Penang and to the west of Georgetown, our base for our visit, is Penang hill. The hill was mentioned in all the guidebooks we read so we got our guest house to book us a taxi and off we went. Once you arrive at the base station where the taxi dropped us off, to get to the top of the hill you take the funicular railway. It's fun but is quite nerve-rackingly steep and you seem very exposed on the hill as it climbs up to the top. We went mid-week and reasonably early but it was still insanely busy at the ticket booths, I can't imagine what it's like on a weekend or a public holiday so probably best to avoid those times if you can. To ease the queueing a little you can pay more for a fast lane ticket at the ticket counters, once you get to the front of that queue! This means you can then skip the next queues for the train both on the way  up and on the return journey down. It also means you get priority boarding so you…

Taking an Open Top Tour Bus Around Edinburgh

Travel to many cities in the UK and around the world and you'll find the 'hop on, hop off' tour buses offering you the option of seeing points of interest from the comfort of a bus with a guided tour thrown in too. Over the years we've done many of these and have often found them a useful way to see a city, especially if we're only going to be there for a couple of days. We typically use them to get an idea of where places are in relation to others, what we definitely want to see and where we want to go back to, all with the idea of maximising our time there. Naturally Edinburgh offers these tours too and we've made use of them a couple of times when we've had visitors.
Whilst they aren't for everyone, Edinburgh (as many of you will know) is a very hilly city, it's built on seven of them! It's a small city so is easy to walk around but those hills can also pose a challenge if you perhaps aren't quite so mobile. We've hosted a few guests w…

The Blue Mansion, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

The one place everybody told us we had to visit whilst in Penang was the Blue Mansion (Cheong Fatt Tze's mansion) in Georgetown. Although I'd heard of it and seen photos on other blogs etc. I knew nothing about it prior to our visit but being told it was an absolute must do it went right to the top of our agenda.
Being pretty central and that fantastic blue colour it's very easy to find on Leith Street or Lebuh Leith. This was a street name that amused us now we live in Edinburgh, although it was actually named after George Leith the Lieutenant Governor of Penang from 1800 to 1803 and has nothing to do with Leith, Edinburgh. The mansion is only open at certain times in the day and can only be accessed by guided tour so make sure you check the timings before heading off or have an alternate plan to fill time if you do need to wait (there isn't a lot of shelter from the sun in the immediate vicinity). When we visited the tours were timed at 11am, 2pm and 3.30pm with gates…

Nanyang Malaysian Restaurant, Edinburgh

Having lived in Singapore for over five years we couldn't help but fall in love with the food there and this was one of the things we always knew we would miss a lot when we left. Whilst cooking up our own versions of these dishes (or rather my husband cooking up these versions) isn't the challenge it would have been once upon a time, thanks to the ease of getting the key ingredients nowadays, it's also nice to be able to enjoy a taste of that part of the world without doing it yourself. When we first moved here we guessed that we should surely be able to get some pretty decent interpretations of this food somewhere in the city, and so began the search. As luck would have it one of my husband's former colleagues was a Singaporean based here and was able to recommend a few reasonably authentic spots to him for us to try, one of which was the Nanyang Malaysian restaurant.

We've been here quite a few times now and it's pretty good, especially when we are craving so…

Spring has Sprung!

After what seems like forever, despite me really enjoying my first winter back (even though we didn't get any snow like this snow deprived lady was hoping for) Spring has finally shown its face here in Edinburgh. Daffodils, snowdrops and bluebells have bloomed and blossom is everywhere with its scent wafting on the breeze. The days have certainly got milder and the sun has returned, you can't help but feel good and want to get outside again.
Having shared some lovely Autumn photos on my blog previously I couldn't resist sharing  just a few from Edinburgh in the Spring too.

Exploring Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

Whilst returning to Singapore for a holiday was lovely we decided we couldn't travel all that way without going somewhere else too, preferably somewhere we never got to whilst we were living there. As I've mentioned previously we can be a bit last minute when making plans, so much so that we didn't actually book our trip away until we were in Singapore! Therefore we needed to choose somewhere where we didn't need to worry about visas and, yes I know most can be sorted online in a few days, but playing it safe as we weren't at home we figured we wouldn't chance it. Luckily that didn't mean our options were that limited.
My travels to Malaysia were actually pretty limited, perhaps somewhat surprising given that Singapore is literally next door! During the time I lived there the only part I went to was Kuching and then only for a blink and you'll miss it visit. Yes that's right I never got to Kuala Lumpur, any of the many beautiful islands (I've lu…

Arthur's Seat, St Anthony's Chapel and St Margaret's Loch, Edinburgh

Visit Edinburgh and you can't miss Arthur's Seat looming over the city, the now extinct volcano stands out from vantage points all over and is the main peak in the group of hills that Edinburgh is built upon. Let's be honest, if you've ever visited, lived or live here you can't fail to have noticed just how hilly a city it is.
I've done the climb/walk a couple of times now and whilst I wouldn't say it's the easiest, it's certainly steep in places and I have questioned my sanity as I've been doing it, the end result is well worth it. I confess I'd never really appreciated you could just walk up it until moving here, I suppose in my head I thought it was only climbable with specialist gear. Well you don't need anything like that but do wear sensible walking shoes or trainers and go prepared for it being windy and perhaps cooler when you get to the top. Both times I've done it have been stunning days giving incredible views across Edinb…