Category Archives: travel

Ghent

October 26, 2016

Bruges | www.lauramulkerne.co.uk

(^ except this photo was taken in Bruges).

But oh my goodness, get yourself to Ghent. It is beautiful, and dreamy, and everyone should do the free walking tour with Fabian (except maybe not because then we’ll hear the same stories and you might write that novel before I do).

Belgian golden hour, Bruges | www.lauramulkerne.co.uk

Bruges canals | www.lauramulkerne.co.uk

But then do nip to Bruges for a day trip and some more chocolate and stepped rooves and about 5 billion types of Belgisch biere (if you can drink it) and one type of red wine (if you can’t).

the stepped rooves of Bruges | www.lauramulkerne.co.uk

In the evening, speed on back to Ghent and your impeccable air BnB and feel glad that you’re escaping the 5 billion tourists drinking the 5 billion types of biere. Nip into Pols instead and try as many types of Jenever as you can handle.

Pol's Jenever, Ghent | www.lauramulkerne.co.uk

Pol's Jenever, Ghent | www.lauramulkerne.co.uk

Pol's Jenever, Ghent | www.lauramulkerne.co.uk

If you’re here in the autumn, wander out to the castle in the mid-morning mist and imagine the Stropdragers parading their ghostly selves through the town…then hole up in a pub to warm up and toast your 11 years of coupledom and all the years of exploring to come.

Belgian flag from Ghent castle | www.lauramulkerne.co.uk

Ghent fog | www.lauramulkerne.co.uk
Dank je Ghent for a beautiful weekend; I can’t recommend you enough!

Sri Lanka: rewind to Sigiriya

May 16, 2016

Sri Lankan train

Let’s rewind these Sri Lanka posts back to the beginning…well, not the very beginning. That was Heathrow, and an old guy who proceeded to jab his finger into the little tv screen in the back of my chair for the entire flight to Doha. And it’s not the ‘beginning’ after that, our first hotel in Sri Lanka, where we sat at the bar on the shoreline and revelled in the colonial splendour of the hotel with a Lion beer (Sean) and a cocktail that wasn’t anything like it sounded in the menu (me), with its rapidly melting ice cubes and a perfectly sherbet sunset.

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Tea for Two

April 28, 2016

Ella gap sunrise, sri lanka

From Dambulla/Sigirya (which I haven’t even blogged about yet, so that’s fun) and a two-hour chunder bus later, we made it to Kandy. And after a pleasant night involving the Temple of the Tooth, some interesting Kandyan dancing and yet more excellent curry, we headed on to Nuwara Eliya/Ella…

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Coeliac travel: Sri Lanka

April 25, 2016

travelling sri lanka as a coeliac

Before we departed for our [uhmazing] honeymoon, I scoured the internet for advice about travelling around as a coeliac. Most of it seemed a bit panicked: “no-one knows what the word wheat is! It could be everywhere! I stuck to plain rice and chicken!”

As a consequence, I went out with a toiletries bag that was probably 60% pepto bismol and immodium tablets…but thankfully came back with (nearly) all of it. Oh, and the food is hella tasty. Here’s a few things I found on the trip:

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Ethiopia

February 24, 2016

Recently back from Ethiopia, where I was lucky enough to see the work of my organisation in action. More about the heat and the dust and the delicious food soon, because I’m knackered now – since I came back I’ve been struck down by a rubbish stomach bug, which is v-e-r-r-r-y slowly abating. I would give many things to be shot of these cramps, and be able to comfortably drink a cup of tea again.

Roll on the weekend, that’s what I say…

Paris.

November 14, 2015

Notre Dame de Paris

Just two days ago, this post would have been made under much better circumstances.

I would have talked about a blissful weekend, rounding off our wedding month. Would have talked of demis of vin rouge and beautifully-presented gluten free food, being deftly looked after by considerate and friendly waiters, wine, cheese, and late nights. Just talking and tasting and enjoying the luxury of it all. 48 hours of surprisingly sunny walks in early November, with a nod to the most famous of sites without feeling the need to repeat the tourist trips we made years ago.

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The world turn’d upside down…

November 1, 2015

HAMILTON]
After a week of fighting, a young man in a red coat stands on a parapet

[LAFAYETTE]
We lower our guns as he frantically waves a white handkerchief

[MULLIGAN]
And just like that, it’s over. We tend to our wounded, we count our dead

[LAURENS]
Black and white soldiers wonder alike if this really means freedom

[WASHINGTON]
Not. Yet

Anyone who has been around me in the last month or so knows I’ve been obsessively listening to the Hamilton soundtrack. I probably know it backwards at this point. We did try to get tickets before we left but the theatre gods weren’t with me on that one (well, we could have thrown $400 a piece at resale tickets but I think even my new husband doesn’t love me that much…)

Instead we returned to the Saratoga Inn where we he had whisked me off to after proposing. It’s all gorgeous turret rooms and real fires and oh my god, where do they get those bed sheets because they feel like heaven on a stick. (It’s called Union Gables, should anyone be in Upstate New York at any point and feel the urge to stay there. The breakfast is also delicious, by the way).

So instead of immersing ourselves in the greatest rap musical ever made about a key figure in US History…we immersed ourselves in the land it talks about instead.

The battlefield trees were on fire with colour. The air was crisp, the day sunny. Perhaps it had been this pleasant when British soldiers were being forced ever backwards by a fierce US Revolutionary militia. There is little, if anything, left to demarcate lines of bloodshed any more… but poles hve been placed and fake firepits to show where the soldiers would have camped on farmland and fields. There is still an old wooden farmhouse to build impressions of tents and mud and horses around.

Occasionally a sign with an audio story will actually work, and that makes all the difference in helping you imagine the way the battle was waged…in fact, the visitor’s centre has a really great LED visualisation of the way armies surged and retreated across this vast swathe of land. Which is pleasant enough now, driving down the tourist track in our rental car…but then?

saratoga-7

Pause, and you might hear a twig snap underfoot of a blue-coated soldier as he reconnoitres the land. It could also be a squirrel, but when you’re lucky enough to be as alone in a National park as we were, anything is possible…right?

Our relaxing post-wedding 36 hours in Saratoga also took us to the Monument, which stands at the site where British soldiers, their wives and children retreated and camped, and finally surrendered. Not as famous as the battle of Yorktown, this however was the turning point of the US revolutionary war – France and Spain sent ships and aid, and the US ‘experiment’ gathered momentum. It also took us into a winery (oops, hic) and past General Schuyler’s house, which was sadly closed, but we did do a bit of peeking around the outside…

The world burned and turn’d upside down then, but there is nothing but crickets and silence now.