A few years ago I was able to purchase a small British sportscar, of a type that I had always really liked. An 8-year old MGF convertible in British Racing Green, with a beige leather interior. Two seats, central engine, rear wheel drive (meaning I couldn’t safely drive it in winter). When owning a British car there is only one country in the world where you truly experience the classic English sportscar feeling: England! As a member of the Dutch MG club I had the opportunity to join British MG events, the most famous of which is organized every year at Silverstone, the home of British motor racing! In 2007 and 2009 I attended this MGLive event, making it into a very cool road trip from home to Silverstone and back! The best of Britain in a British roadster! Continue reading
I am writing this at home, on a rainy Sunday afternoon. A good moment to write about rainy travel experiences. For me personally, weather has never been a primary concern when making travel choices. My main drivers are curiosity for unknown places and a desire to stay off the beaten track as much as possible. One of my bucket list destinations was Cornwall, in southwest England. In 2012 we decided to make Southern England our family summer vacation destination, starting with a week in Cornwall, exploring kid-friendly and adventurous sights. Despite the weather, it turned out to be a great outdoors family experience. Let me take you on a virtual tour below, listing our top-4 family attractions. Best watched on a rainy day… Continue reading
The Scots are a fearful people. So fearful that they should be kept out of the empire at all cost. At least they were in Roman times. Known simply as the ‘Barbarians’ to the Romans, like all people outside their large empire, the Scots were a bridge too far. Emperor Hadrian built a wall to protect the Northern end of the empire from the Scots, just north of the Tyne river, around the year 122 AD.
I blame this shipmodel on board the DFDS ‘Princess Seaways’. I saw it at the deck 6 lounge of this modern ferry a few weeks ago. It is a scale model of the “Prince of Scandinavia”, a 1975-built ferry that sailed for DFDS Seaways from 1981 to 2003. One of my oldest childhood holiday memories is of this ship, which was originally registered as MS ‘Tor Britannia’, sailing for Tor Line in 1979. I still have a postcard that I got on board that ship, as an eight year old kid.
What is it with people on the side of a river? Is the grass always greener on the other side? The two opposite cities of Gateshead and Newcastle upon Tyne are linked by as many as seven bridges within less than two kilometers. These famous Tyne bridges were once a symbol of British industrial engineering. Now they make great landmarks in a new tourist destination in Northern England, that forever shed its coal dust in favour of science and great nightlife. The bridges still dominate the cityscape, where they carry party goers and football fans from one side of the river to the other. Remnants of a rich industrial past, now functioning as pillars for a rich future. Continue reading
Social media have brought me to all kinds of special places around the world. I have been invited to conferences, expositions and even space launches, meeting the most wonderful and passionate people you can think of. I am really lucky to live in a vibrant online community, where my virtual friends are also my real friends. It was through one of these communities that I received an invitation to visit Stonehenge in England, several months ago. I had been to Stonehenge before and remembered it as a crowded place, where tourism had taken over from magic and history. A tourist trap, hardly recommendable to traveling friends. This invitation was different though. It was for an after hours visit in a small exclusive group of social media friends. And even more special, it was outside the season where they normally organize these VIP visits. So obviously I accepted, but still without fully realizing what this meant. Continue reading