Photo of the Week – Life on the Canal

This week's photo comes from my home city of Birmingham. One of the well known landmarks in the city are the canals. As I may have mentioned before the citizens of Birmingham will tell you there is more miles of canal than in Venice.

The canals were built to transport goods across the country. Birmingham was one of the major industrial centres of a booming Great Britain. Today, as the photo shows it is now used for more leisure pursuits.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.



Photo Essay – Sarajevo

This is another in the series of photo essays. This features the city of Sarajevo. I loved my time in the city. It was the favourite stop in my Balkans trip last year. As a city, I feel that Sarajevo is up and coming and that more people should visit. I hope you enjoy the photos.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.



Day 13, 20 September – The Longest Day

Waking up at 5am while holiday seems a hardship but it was necessary as my coach to Belgrade leaves an hour later. Back in the UK I am used to coach drivers wearing uniforms. The drivers on this coach looked like they had come from the film Taken.

I used the journey to catch up on some sleep. It was not spectacular, the highlight being the border crossing from Bosnia into Serbia. These were the first stamps in my current passport.

Stamp Collecting

I arrived into Belgrade around lunchtime and I had no Serbian money and I could find a ATM. So I was going to have to find my way to the hostel by foot. Despite turning down the offer of a taxi, the driver was kind enough to point me in the right direction. The day was hot and I felt it while struggling with my backpack. Eventually I arrived at the hostel. I slept some more. It was a good opportunity as it was quiet.

When I awoke there was more life around. After doing some laundry and a shower I was feeling hungry. Fortunately others in the hostel were feeling the same. The hostel recommended a restaurant which was over the road. Serving typical Serbian fare I was sorted. However, they struggled to cope with the vegan in the group. She was happy to accept stuffed mushrooms. It is the tradition in Serbia to finish your meal off with a shot of Rakia. Expecting a small shot I was handed what looked like a small test tube with wings. I embarrassed myself by not being able to down it in one. It was only later that I was told I was drinking it correctly.

After the meal we headed over the road to a typical Belgrade bar which we were told to check out. This was very much a local hangout. It was lively as well as packed out. There was a great atmosphere with a band playing traditional folk songs. Everybody was getting ready for the night out. For me, the day had caught up with me. I needed my bed. (Must be my age.)

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.



Coventry Cathedral (Cathedral Church of St. Michael)

On 14 November 1940 the launched 'Coventrate'. The target was to destroy the city of Coventry. As well as killing over 800 people it destroyed various areas of the city. The most famous building destroyed was the Cathedral Church of St. Michael. Dating from the 14th century all that remained was the shell of the cathedral.

The new cathedral was designed by Basil Spence. He decided against rebuilding the destroyed cathedral but build the new one along side. The new cathedral was consecrated on 25 May 1962.

Walking around the ruins on a cold Sunday morning gave off a eerie atmosphere. However, rather than left feeling sad I was left feeling hopeful. The theme of the ruins is reconciliation. Did you know that during World War II Coventry became a twin city with Stalingrad in solidarity with the Red Army defending the city. One of the items worth seeing inside the ruins is the wooden cross.

Originally constructed from two wooden beams that were found lying on the floor a replica is now on permanent display. There is another cross made from three nails from the original roof. Another cross of nails was sent to the Kaiser Wihelm Memorial Church in Berlin as a act of reconciliaton.

Overall the cathedral is worth spending time to visit. A good place to come and gather your thoughts.

For further details visit

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.



Day 12, 19 September – Oh, I’m Half Way There

I did not feel like getting out of bed today. It had been a good night, perhaps too good as I was feeling slightly fuzzy. When I managed to drag myself away from the bed I realised that I had missed breakfast. So I was going to have to venture outside into the old city. After much walking I found a restaurant. I ended up ordering a soup/stew concoction which for the like of me cannot remember the name. However, it filled the gap in my tummy.


The weather was not looking too good and soon it started to rain hard. I decided it was best to make my way back to the hostel. The street vendors in Sarajevo were doing a roaring trade in umbrellas. When the rain stopped out came the fake sunglasses. Enterprising lot the people of Sarajevo.

The rest of the day was spent dodging the showers. I met up with Andrew who I had met in Mostar. We shared a Bosnian coffee while we discussed future travel plans. Sarajevo marked the half way point of my trip. Tomorrow I would be leaving for Belgrade. As I purchased my coach ticket I noticed the coach would be leaving a 6am. An early start, it is going to be a long day.

I am sad to be leaving Bosnia Herzegovina. It has a lot going for it. Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.



Photo of the Week – Reconciliation

This week's photo was taken in the ruins of Coventry Cathedral.

It is a statue called 'Reconciliation.' The city of Coventry was heavily bombed during World War II. The cathedral was destroyed.

The statue was erected in 1995, the 50th anniversary of the end of the war. It shows the act of forgiveness and reconciliaton. Since the end of the war Coventry has established realtionships with Dresden and Hiroshima. A copy the statue was sent to Hiroshima.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.



Travel Plans for 2014

After much deliberation I am happy to finally announce my travel plans for 2014. Like most of my trips it will be limited to Europe.

Lisbon – This trip will take place at the end of March. I have never visited Portugal so I am looking forward to see somewhere new.

Istanbul – I am planning to celebrate my birthday in this city. I have heard some good reports and it looks an exciting place to visit. Also I know somebody out there.

Baltics – The tour of the Baltic cities will take place in September. I am looking to start in Helsinki followed by Tallinn, Riga, Kaunas and finishing in Vilnius. This will be the main trip of the year.

Budapest – I wanted to see the New Year away from home. After much research I have decieded to return to Budapest. I loved the vibe of the city. The first accommodation booked for 2014 was Budapest.

I would appreciate any tips on what to see while on my travels. I better start saving.

Until the next post, stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.