Scottish Highlands

It happened again. I picked up another Tour, (this time only 24hrs notice) to Scotland. The Tour Manager had to go to hospital (Get better soon Lucy) and I got the “Please Help” phone call. The Tour was for Great Rail Journeys - Highland Adventure. Because of the short notice I had to do a …

CircumEtnea

Our final full day so I took my clients up the volcano. We started early to avoid crowds and make the best of good weather. Nearly all of my clients went to the very top - I stayed as base camp Refugia Sapienza. To catch them as they came down and to defrost them (it …

God Paints The Scenery (Again)

The weather Gods are beginning to tire of tormenting us and were able to catch an early morning hydrofoil back to mainland Sicily. We arrived at Milazzo port and out faithful bus driver Salvatore transferred us to Messina for a short tour and a late breakfast. Looking across the Straights of Messina, the Italian mainland …

One of those Tours when I earn my pay

For those of you who believe that my life is one endless stream of basking in sunshine at poolside while being fed grapes by supermodels in skimpy bikinis, well… you are essentially correct. Unfortunately, into every life a little rain must fall, and it’s doing so today, rather heavily in fact. The weather has impacted …

Palermo

One of the things that I love most about being is that here in Italy is that despite the usual Covid precautions, the place still feels like Italy. People are laughing, and talking, and gesticulating, just like They always do in Italy, and it doesn’t feel at all strange. It’s a wonderful change from the …

Scottish Catchup

I'm back home now and I have 3 days to prep for the Sicily Tour. I just realised that I never finished off the Shetland/Orkney. The problem was that the last day was a travel day and the Caledonian Sleeper WiFi wasn't working. What I'm going to do is just put up a couple of …

Jarlshof

Yesterday we visited Jarlshof a world heritage site in the Shetlands where there are the remains of settlement buildings from the stone age, iron age, bronze age, viking period and 16th century, all layered under and over each other. Four thousand years of history in one place. From there we moved on to the lighthouse …

Shetland Breeze

The sun came out… unexpectedly. We were treated with lovely morning Shetland sunshine and a strong blustery wind, which is pretty normal Shetland weather. Scalloway, the old Shetland capital before Lerwick was the base for the Shetland Bus during World War II. The Shetland Bus missions ran between Shetland and Nazi-occupied Norway, running in SOE …

Trains and Boats

So… off we go to Aberdeen on the Caledonian Sleeper train, leaving London Euston at 21:00 and arriving at 07:40. We left and arrived on time. This was my home for the journey. It’s tight, but just about manageable for two people. For one, no problem. I was asleep by 23:00 and slept through to …

Shetland Isles and how to sleep on a Night Sleeper Train

Well, it's happened again. Sadly one of my colleagues has become unable to operate a Tour at short notice and so I'm off to cover for them. This time I've had about 2½ days notice so I have had to work rather fast to get the prep done. It was made much easier by the …

Twilight’s Last Gleaming

Twenty years ago today, on September 11, 2001, the world changed. There are many ways to reflect on that awful day. After 36 years working as Cabin Crew, my thoughts will tend to be directed towards those crew members who lost their lives, but this doesn't in any way diminish the rememberance of all of …

Inclined Plane and we’re nearly done

The WiFi and internet signals are a little hit and miss on this Tour - perhaps unsurprisingly since we’re on a moving barge in the middle of mountains and the remote French countryside. Today is our last full day on the Barge, so this post will be for both yesterday and today, and so slightly …

Saverne and a surprise BBQ

Having moored overnight at Saverne we started the day with a guided walking tour of this pretty little French provincial town. As we walked around Saverne the Church Bells started ringing - I always think this is such a pretty sound, and I was impressed that our Guide had arranged for them to be rung …

Tarte Flambée (NOT Pizza)

My cabin window is very close to the waterline, which doesn’t matter much when you’re travelling really slowly on a silky smooth canal. I woke this morning to see the canal surface steaming gently as the morning sun hit the water (that’s my poetic/romantic moment for the Tour all done in one paragraph). It was …

First day cruising in Alsace

We woke to bright sunshine - there’s not been much of that this year in the UK so it took a moment to recognise the big shining yellow orb in the sky. We took a leisurely breakfast inside and finished our coffees outside because… why not? Our cruise takes us along the Canal de la …

On our way to Alsace

So, for the first time in a very long time, TimOnTheTrain is off on an International adventure. An early start at St. Pancras meant that we had it almost to ourselves, and it never looked lovelier! In recognition of this return to the status quo, Great Rail Journeys had organised a glass of champagne in …

Waterways

Bonjour Everybody. Unexpectedly, I've picked up another Tour after my Italy was cancelled. It's very different to my usual kind of thing, but I'm looking forward to it immensely. I'm going to be French, or actually, to be specific, I'm going to become an Alsatian. Fortunately, this doesn't mean that I'll be entered into Crufts …

Amazing Grace at Sea Lion Rocks

Today, our final full day on the Isle of Man, was a free day for the clients to explore at leisure. As I write, they’re still out at somewhere unknown. Having Fun. Alone and unsupervised! Better hope that doesn’t catch on. I planned out a voluntary excursion for those clients that had nothing better to …

Sheep (probably)

Today was our visit to the top of Mt. Snaefell (2307 feet - 620mtrs) on the Snaefell Mountain Tramway. After some fabulous views, at about 1500 feet we entered the clouds… And didn’t come out! The visibility stayed at about 50 metres, and, since clouds contain the odd bit of moisture, it was wet. None …

Queenies

Today we headed for the North & West side of the Isle of Man. The weather Gods decided to give us all a day off from being drenched after we sacrificed a small child. First stop was Tyndall Hill where the government of the Isle of Man (They’re independent, remember?) meet once a year to …