A city called Eidyn

You might have read our journey to the South Island of New Zealand here. Because there is similarly a city named Dunedin located in a beautiful spot along the coast. If you had read our article or are from New Zealand, you would know that the city was named because of the influx of Scottish immigrants, or so we were told.

So where’s the inspiration come from to name this city that far in the southern hemisphere? The answer is obvious. It must had been the city in Scotland itself!

So here we are, in a continuation of the last handprint story where we had left the lake district. The drive was north as the crow flies, though we traveled further than the bird could in a day. And we ended the day searching high and low for a place for the night. For as you might have read previously, we drove without a plan (of places to visit or sleep) with nothing but a map and hope…

Great stuff right?

But having survived the night we were in Edinburgh, and we had to make to the mandatory sights on the then brochure at the tourist center. We did as much as we could along the tourist trail. And with precision we left as soon as we were done. Find out what we did in Edinburgh in just one day here. Yes we know we ought to have stayed longer and we do regret that.

What would you recommend if we were to return to this city?

Lake District and the northern “frontier”

This is a continuation of our reminisce – ie our blast from the past series on the UK. The last time we set foot on the UK was in 2010! But lest you think it was just 8 years ago, read on. In the last handprint post, we shared that the road trip that began in Wales.

Well now we had to make a choice.

You see back then we did not plan out an itinerary to follow. We simply rented a car, bought a motoring atlas (of the UK) and began driving making it up as we went along. Heheh… we have since progressed a long way from that!

In some ways that was exciting at that time, a few younglings packed into a rental and having the freedom to roam as they wished. On this occasion we simply drove north and made a sharp left into the lake district, incurring the admonishment of the local traffic cop as we exceeded the speed limit a little… heheh. Read about it here.

You might notice from the essay link that we pieced two parts of our journey back together. One at the lake on the way north somemore, and then back down. For you see we wanted to keep the article focused on England. To pique your interest somemore, let us tell you that Great Walls weren’t proprietary of the ancient Chinese. The Romans did the same too in the UK.

Do you know the names of the two “Great Walls” in the UK?

How about a road trip in Wales?

One of the places in Europe where the Celtic language and traditions remain alive is in Wales. Because it is so distinct from the rest of the UK, it was one of the places we determined to explore very early in our soujorns to the the British isles. And that was well over 20 years ago.

So today is yet another reminisce. A flashback as some would call it.

For this was the first road trip that Mel and Suan took together on the open road. Basing out of Birmingham, the rental would bring us not only to Wales, but today we start here. For the drive gave us a sense of history so long past, well into the times before even the Romans came to the island.

From the train station with the longest name, to the numerous burial mouds of Celtic cheftains, this last vestige of independent Celtic entity tells us an intriguing story of struggle. Now this drive was only the northern half, so there would be yet more in the future. We look forward to having the privilege to repeat the drive, albeit in a different direction (the south that is) someday.

Indeed no words can describe our journey. Read all about it here. Have you been to Wales? What experiences have you to share?

Barcelona is art city indeed!

You might have read our previous posts where we reminisce our honeymoon in Madrid and journey through to the south of Spain. Having made a circular route that included Portugal, we were back in Madrid. There we bade farewell to tour mates from the trip, some of whom we are still in touch after so many years.

But our honeymoon was far from over.

For an hour’s flight later we had arrived in the city of Barcelona. Distinct in language, customs and traditions, Barcelona had always been an artful city in our minds. This is because its most famous son is Antoni Gaudi. Now before we were there the impression we had was the mosaics. For aside from the Sagrada the only other thing we knew about back then was what WE call the “Salamander”… el drac as it might be otherwise be called.

How long did we stay in the city?

A week! And we took it slow. While we did not visit all of Gaudi’ iconic buildings, we did see quite a few of them. And next time take the lift when you are at the Sagrada. It’s definitely easier on the knees and a whole lot faster too unless you had time like we did. Heheh. People spend a few hours here. We were almost here the whole day, peeling off only for lunch at the nearby tapas restaurants. Read all about it and more of what we did here.

We wrote about the city becoming really congested and overwhelmed by tourists. How would you recommend managing this much love from tourists?

Driving across Spain

Did you know that the Roman emperors Trajan and Hadrian were both born in present day Spain? It was considered one of the most important provinces of the Roman empire. How about the fact that most of Spain was under Moorish rule until the late 1100s before the reconquista gradually regained most of the peninsula?

Well, we were on a tour that would take us due south from Madrid.

Through the cities that inherited moorish legacies coupled with a Spanish resurgence. Especially during the 16th century as Spain established colonies in the Americas and exploited resources far beyond the dream of other sovereign states in Europe. You just need to be there. And for those who were, are or about to, we are sure you will enjoy the journey as much as we do. Read all about ours here.

We’ve read about many others who have explored these beautiful cities. And we do regret that it was a group tour that did not leave us a lot of time to dig deeper. Unfortunately all we had were snippets of the country, though an excellent introduction for which we will use as foundation when we find a way back.

Where in Spain have you journeyed to and touched?

Madrid over the millennium weekend

Where were you on the eve of the 21st century?

Did you recall what you did on 31st December 1999? Were you too “young” to recall anything? Heheh… we jest. You might recall that the run up to this date was full of trepidation, in the tech world and all industries impacted by it. Which was almost everything…

The “millennium bug” was a phenomena of oversight from Mel’s view as an electronics engineer. For you see, back in the early days of computing there was limited memory in electronic systems. In vey simplfied terms, to represent the years the ‘registers’ in the integrated circuits used only the last two digits. Now that worked fine in the late 80s (when Mel first dabbled with it in school), but it proved to be potentially problematic as the world hutled towards the year 2000. Will the systems recognize it as 1900 or 2000?


While the systems folks were busy ‘patching’ things up (as they still do now), Mel and Suan had dropped all of that and was enjoying the start of marital bliss in Madrid. Yep. We had flown across the world to Spain to enjoy our honeymoon. Read all about our Madrid reminisce here.

You cannot imagine how much cash we brought in case the E-payment options were knocked out… heheh… And back then the Euro was not in notes yet, just in government accounting form… so we had notes of all kinds… Do you still have the old currencies of Europe before the Euro?