China and the Holy Mountains

Chinese Alps
Heilongjiang, China

Holy Mountains in China


1 Heng Shan (Shanxi)

2 Tai Shan

3 Song Shan

4 Hua Shan

5 Heng Shan (Hunan)


6 Wutai Shan

7 Putuo Shan

8 Jiuhua Shan

9 Emei Shan

UNESCO Cultural Heritage Sites in China

Lhasa: Potala Palace, Tibet

Mogao Caves, Gansu

Great Wall

Chengde: mountain resort and outlying temples, Hebei

Beijing (Peking): Imperial Palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasties

Get busy shopping in Beijing

Panjiayuan market

– Silk Street Market

– Wangfujing Street

– Maliandao Tea Market

– Sanlitun

– Hongqiao Pearl Market

Beijing (Peking): Imperial Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven

Zhoukoudian: Peking Man site

Pingyao: the ancient city, Shanxi

Xi’an area: Mausoleum of the first Qin Emperor, Shaanxi

Wudangshan: ancient building complex, Hubei

Tai Shan, Shandong

Qufu: temple & cemetery of Confucius and Kong family mansion, Shandong

Suzhou: Classical gardens, Jiangsu

Huang Shan, Anhui

Lu Shan, Jiangxi

Dazu rock carvings, Chongqing

Emei Shan and Leshan Giant Buddha, Sichuan

Lijiang: old town, Yunnan

This would never be
This isn’t me. I swear…

Other Significant mountains

K2 (Godwin Austin/Qogir Feng), China-Kashmir

Kangchenjunga, India-Nepal

Makalu, China – Nepal

Nanga Parbat – Kashmir

Gosainthan (Xixabangma Feng), China

Ararat, Turkey

Ras Dashen, Ethiopia

Kinabalu, Malaysia

Fuji, Japan

Also trending in China:

Shantou, the natural beauty, and charm of this cultural city, without a doubt, make it one of the most stunning harbour cities in China.

Shanghai, bold and bursting with charm, Shanghai is a paradox of the ultra-modern and nostalgic. From art to architecture, the city presents cool icons that are in a league of their own.

Pokhara, Nepal

Away from busy circuits like Annapurna, Pokhara valley – with its spectacular panoramas of the Himalayas – is home to Phewa Tal, Nepal’s second largest lake, and a spot of untold beauty.

24 hours in Shangai

A single day in Shangai is nowhere near long enough to experience the city’s many sides. If you’ve got 24 hours, however, you can squeeze in at least 24 different experiences.

8-11 AM Stuff yourself with Street Eats

11 AM – 2 PM: have a slow bike on to wheels around the Former French Concession

2-4.30: Find street artist’s colorful murals in Fengjing Town


The first step is to get to Fengjinh Ancient Town. There’s a direct bus around every half an hour (12RMB one way, around 45 minutes)

4.30 – 5 PM: hop aboard the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel to Lujiazui

5-7 PM: Grab a drink with a view

7-10 PM: dinner on the bund

10 PM – 3 AM: time to party in Elevator Club

3-6 AM: wind up for some late-night dancing

6-8 AM: Time to dig out your picnic baskets

China and the Li River

Take a day off for a cruise touring and be inspired by the countless scroll paintings. Some of the highlights are the Yangdi and Xingping, the cormorant fishermen’s lanterns bob over the evening river and the quiet Yangshuo. At night fisherman take their tourists out on the river to watch their trained birds dive below the surface for fish. This technique of the fisherman in the village of Guangxi has been practiced for centuries on the shallow waters of the Li River.


The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall leaps from hilltop across northern China’s most rugged terrain, challenging trekkers to keep up. Spring and fall it’s the best time to go as it is hot and wet; snow and ice make conditions dangerous in winter.

Hiking the Great Wall of China must be a fantastic experience. Whether you take a guided hiking tour or make it by yourself.

Highlights in China:

Ancient watchtowers make perfect standpoints over an infinite landscape of peaks and valleys.

At Jinshanling, the wall soar’s along with high ridges and is visible for miles in either direction.

Climbing the Stairway to Heaven, the Tian Qiao rewards with a beautiful view over Beijing with a guide Be safe, always!


  • Get 15$ reward if you use this link while booking a hotel.
  • If you plan to visit China get inspired by browsing this travel guide. You’ll find literally everything!

Events and celebrations in the Netherlands

February and March: the Carnaval in Breda; Maastricht and’s Hertogenbosch.

Amsterdam held the silent procession in March.

In March and May, a visit to the National Floral Exhibition in Keukenhof is mandatory.

In April the 30th the Queen’s Birthday is the most beautiful celebration. The colour orange is symbolic here.

From the year 2000 and every five years, the Passion Plays from May to September.

The Holland Festival in Amsterdam in June

In the city of Hague in July the North Sea Jazz Festival takes place.

August in Scheveningen the International Fireworks Festival.

In Utrecht also in August, the festival of Ancient Music.

In September, the Floral procession from Aalsmeer to Amsterdam. Still in Amsterdam and also in September takes place the Jordaan Festival.

October the 3rd the historical procession in Leiden.

From mid-Nov St. Nichola’s official entrance. The Dutch people give presents to friends.

In December the Candle Festival in Gouda. A good chance to delight ourselves with the traditional cheese.

  • Get 15$ reward if you use this link while booking a hotel.

You might be interested:



Top 10 Historic Walks

From Imperial Beijing via Victorian London and to kaleidoscopic Istanbul, relive the past as you stroll around the world’s great cities.

1 Tallinn Old Town, Estonia

Top 10 walks into the past: Tallinn
Top 10 historic walks

2 Dubai, United Arab Emirates

3 View Carre, New Orleans, Louisiana

4 The Red Fort (Lal Qila), Delhi, India

Top 10 historic walks: New Delhi
Top 10 historic walks

5 The Old Town, Istanbul, Turkey

Top 10 historic walks: Istanbul
Top 10 historic walks

6 Whitechapel, Jack the Ripper’s London, England

Top 10 Historic Walks: London
Jack The Ripper’s

7 Freedom Trail, Boston, Massachusetts

Top 10 historic walks: Boston
Freedom Trail, Boston

8 The Loop, Chicago, Illinois

9 The Forbidden City, Beijing, China

Besides its massive scale and historical significance, the Forbidden City strikes any visitor by its design.

Top 10 historic walks: Beijing
The Forbidden City, Beijing

10 Quadrat d’Or, Barcelona, Spain

Top 10 historic walks: Barcelona
Top 10 historic walks: Beijing, Dubai, London…

Top 10 Elevator Rides

From the National Geographic book Journeys of a Lifetime

This lavish volume reveals National Geographic’s top picks for the world’s most fabulous journeys, along with practical tips for your own travels. Compiled from the favorite trips of National Geographic’s travel writers, this inspirational book spans the globe to highlight the best of the world’s most famous and lesser known sojourns. It presents an incredible diversity of possibilities, from ocean cruises around Antarctica to horse treks in the Andes. Every continent and every possible form of transport is covered.

A timely resource for the burgeoning ranks of active travelers who crave adventurous and far-flung trips, Journeys of a Lifetime provides scores of creative ideas: trekking the heights of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania… mountain biking in Transylvania… driving through the scenic highlands of Scotland… or rolling through the outback on Australia’s famous Ghan train… and dozens of other intriguing options all over the world.

Journeys of a Lifetime also features 22 fun Top 10 lists in all sorts of categories. What are the world’s top 10 elevator rides, bridges to walk across, trolley rides, ancient highways, or underground walking adventures? Readers will love evaluating and debate the selections.

Each chapter showcases stunning photography, full-color maps, evocative text, and expert advice—including how to get there, when to visit, and how to make the most of the journey—all packaged in a luxurious oversize volume to treasure for years to come.

1 Empire State Building, New York City

Top 10 Elevator Rides: Empire State Building, New York
Empire State Building

2 Hammetschwand Lift, Burgenstock, Switzerland

3 Baiyoke Sky Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

Top 10 Elevator Rides: Bangkok
Baiyoke Sky Hotel

4 Burj Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Top 10 Elevator Rides: Dubai
Burj Dubai

5 Westin St. Francis Hotel, San Francisco, California

10 Top Elevator Rides: Westin St Francis Hotel, San Francisco
Westin St. Francis Hotel

6 Suur Munamagi, Vorumaa, Estonia

Top 10 Elevator Rides: Estonia
Suur Munamagi
Top 10 Elevator Rides: Suur Munamagi, Estonia
Suur Munamagi

7 CN Tower, Toronto, Canada

Top 10 Elevator Rides: CN Toronto, Canada
CN Tower

8 Maritime Museum of British Columbia, Victoria, Canada

Top 10 Elevator Rides: Maritime Museum of British Columbia, Victoria, Canada
Maritime Museum of British Columbia

9 Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Top 10 Elevator Rides: La Tour Eiffel
Top 10 Elevator Rides

10 Taipei 101, Taiwan offer the largest selection of accommodation online, with more than 23 million bookable rooms in over 1 million properties, from hotels and homes to trains and tree houses.

After booking you’ll unlock a personalised travel guide to your booked destination! It’s packed with the top attractions, interactive maps, and transport tips.

Use my unique referral link. After your stay, you get € 15 back on your credit card! (And me too!) Thank you.

Taipei 101
Taipei 101

The Balkan food and culture

Albanian food Stuffed Peppers Speca të Mbushura
The Balkan food and culture

The cooking seems to have been almost the only thing in which the Balkan countries were united. In the whole area many dishes are identical and many others are variations on a theme adapted to local foods, preferences or religion. All Balkan peoples drink Turkish coffee, and all share a love of sweet things.

Turkish coffee
Turkish coffee
Balkan Countries

Countries on the Balkan Peninsula, a region in the southeaster Europe, are bounded by the Adriatic and the Ionian seas in the west, the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas in the south, and the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea in the east. The peninsula includes Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Greece, and European Turkey.

Principal characteristics of the Balkan food and culture

The food culture of the Balkan Peninsula depended upon the historic, geographical, climatic, social, and religious elements. There are three main food culture areas: the Mediterranean, the Continental lowland, and the Continental Mountain areas.

The food culture of the Balkan Peninsula displays Asian as well as west European influences. Even though the Oriental influence has been very strong in the last several centuries, ethnic characteristics and traditions have been preserved.

Dishes consumed in these regions contain many similar elements, but may also greatly differ from each other. One of the most characteristics shared by most is the use of numerous spices, onions, garlic, tomatoes, parsley, paprika, and capers.

You will see paprika everywhere in Budapest
Very popular in Hungary and Portugal

People of the Balkans like meat dishes. However, in the past, meat did not play a central role in the food culture of the Balkans. In those parts where there is a large Muslim concentration – mainly Albania, parts of Macedonia and Turkey – pork is not eaten; in other areas where Catholicism prevails fish is the Friday and Lenten dish.

The Gourmet Atlas

explores the origins of foods and traces their movements throughout the world. Learn where tomatoes were first eaten and what medicinal qualities the Egyptians thought certain spices had.
Albania is the least interested in dishes and this may be because so much of it energy has been devoted to war, mountain banditry, guerrilla warfare and family feuds.

See all 4 formats and editions Used from $2.00

Cuisine of the Balkan region

Croatian cuisine can be divided into some few regions and every region has its own distinct cooking traditions, characteristic for the area and not necessarily well-known in other parts of Croatia. Its modern roots date back to ancient periods and the differences in the selection of foodstuffs and forms of cooking are most notable between those on the mainland and those in coastal regions. Mainland cuisine is more characterized by the earlier Slavic and the more recent contacts with the more famous gastronomic orders of today – Hungarian, Viennese, and Turkish – while the coastal region bears the influences of the Greek, Roman and Illyrian, as well as of the later Mediterranean cuisine – Italian and French. However, most dishes can be found all across the country. This is also why the varied cuisine of Croatia is called “cuisine of the regions”.

Some expressions from typical Croatian menus:
  • Specialities from the grill are called roštilja or ražnja
  • pečeno means roasted
  • prženo means fried
  • pod pekom means that the dish has been put into a stone oven under a metal cover. The cook puts hot coals on the cover so that the meal is cooked slowly.
Typical food delicacies and meals 
  • Mesos tiblice pork ham from Međimurje county
  • Janjetina – lamb garnished with Mediterranean herbs
  • Odojak – roast pork
Odojak, Croation recipe
Odojak, Croation recipe
  • Fresh game from Dalmatia
  • Visovačka begavica
  • Veal steaks stuffed with ham and cheese and grilled with breadcrumbs
  • Turkey with mlinci (flat, sour dumplings)
  • Kaninchenbraten
  • Leg of lamb à la Pašticada (rolled pieces of Pršut in white wine sauce)
  • Leg of venison the count’s way
  • Wild duck with sauce
  • Roasted pheasant
  • Kotlovina from Samobor (kettle with knuckle of pork and other meat and sausages)
  • Boiled fillet of beef haunch with Sauerkraut
  • Escalope à la Baron Trenk
  • Goose Međimurje (filled with buckwheat)
  • Goose Turopolje (corn semolina as a side dish)
  • Purgerica Turkey (Christmas dish from the bordering region to Zagreb, turkey filled with chestnuts, apples, bacon, lemons, etc.)
  • Bosnian ćevapćići, grilled little sausage-like meats served with onions, pita bread and possibly ajvar
  • Krvavice, or blood sausages, made of blood and kaša
  • Hladetina, a particular type of head cheese

For Christmas, Croats traditionally eat bakalar (cod)

Some seafood and fish eaten in Croatia
  • Squid – Croatian: lignje,
  • Octopus salad – Croatian: salata od hobotnice
  • Tuna
  • Shrimps – Croatian: škampi, Italian: scampi
  • Common mussels – Croatian: dagnje
Gastronomic events and festivals on the Balkan countries

Istanbul in February 2018

Gastronomical festivals in Croatia


Gastronomic events in Slovenia

I fell Slovenia (things-to-do and events)

The Gourmet Atlas

relish in the history and rich detail of the foods we encounter every day. Satiate your appetite for knowledge about food with The Gourmet Atlas.

50 beautiful, full-color maps depict the history of major foodstuffs, tracing their movements across the world.

• Numerous and extensive A–Z listings detail the backgrounds and uses of major food groups, including herbs and spices, fruits and vegetables, types of grains, and much more;

• More than 300 lavish photographs and drawings tell the story of food throughout history;

• Authentic recipes featuring the highlighted ingredient bring you closer to the food’s native and regional flavors So whether encountering an unusual ingredient or a common, everyday food, with The Gourmet Atlas you’ll be able to answer the questions,

“Where did this come from and how did it get here?”

Top 10 long distance trails

Top 10 long distance trails

Don your hiking boots, take out your map, and follow these trails through areas of outstanding natural beauty.

1 The wind River Mountains, Wyoming

2 The Milford Track, New Zealand

book it online as having a reservation is essential through the Department of Conservation’s website

3 Concordia Trek, Pakistan

situated on the boarder of Pakistan and China, this is a 14 day trek from Askole to K2 base camp.

Concordia Trek, Pakistan. Top 10 long distance trails
Top 10 long distance trails: Concordia Trek, Pakistan
4 The Pindos Traverse, Greece

usually nice and safe from May to October.

The Pindos Traverse, Greece. Top 10 long distance trails.
Top 10 long distance trails: The Pindos Traverse, Greece
5 Haute Route, Corsica, France

Top 10 long distance trails. Haute Route, Corsica, France
Top 10 long distance trails: Haute Route, Corsica, France
6 Haute Route, France / Switzerland

from Chamonix in France to Zermatt in Switzerland.

Top 10 long distance trails. The Haute Route.
Top 10 long distance trails: Haute Route, France / Switzerland
7 Pyrenean Haute Route, France / Andorra / Spain

the best time to go is usually in July and September.

8 The Southern Upland Way, Scotland

9 The Pennine Way, England / Scotland

the trek stretches 340 km from the old fishing village of Portpatrick to the North Sea cliffs of Cockburnspath.

Top 10 long distance trails. The Southern Upland Way, Scotland.
Top 10 long distance trails: The Pennine Way, England / Scotland
10 South West Coastal Path, England

it takes about 8 weeks to do the entire walk.

Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips

“Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips by National Geographic

This lavish volume reveals National Geographic’s top picks for the world’s most fabulous journeys, along with practical tips for your own travels. Compiled from the favourite trips of National Geographic’s travel writers, this inspirational book spans the globe to highlight the best of the world’s most famous and lesser known sojourns. It presents an incredible diversity of possibilities, from ocean cruises around Antarctica to horse treks in the Andes. Every continent and every possible form of transport is covered.

A timely resource for the burgeoning ranks of active travellers who crave adventurous and far-flung trips, Journeys of a Lifetime provides scores of creative ideas: trekking the heights of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania… mountain biking in Transylvania… driving through the scenic highlands of Scotland… or rolling through the outback on Australia’s famous Ghan train… and dozens of other intriguing options all over the world.

Journeys of a Lifetime also features 22 fun Top 10 lists in all sorts of categories. What are the world’s top 10 elevator rides, bridges to walk across, trolley rides, ancient highways, or underground walking adventures? Readers will love evaluating and debating the selections.

Each chapter showcases stunning photography, full-color maps, evocative text, and expert advice—including how to get there, when to visit, and how to make the most of the journey—all packaged in a luxurious oversize volume to treasure for years to come.

The Sunset Between Two Continents – Welcome to Istanbul

Google says that I've walked 43 km last month.

Source: The Sunset Between Two Continents – Welcome to Istanbul

Some Websites to guide you through based on my experience:

How I’m funding travelling while working & teaching in Vietnam

The Hill, George Town, Penang, Malaysia. A fabulous destination!
The Hill, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

International TEFL Academy

Ready to experience the world? Discover Booking bets destinations and get 15 Euro discount.

Turkish Riviera Hotel Booking

My experience in Turkey gave me the chance to do what I like. Since then I've traveled, worked and researched. I've been to Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. It's worth to click and read.
My experience in Turkey gave me the chance to do what I like. Since then I’ve traveled, worked and researched. I’ve been to Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia.

21 Classic Summer Cocktails

Port Wine Portugal

21 classics with glamour!


Gin Cocktails

Whisky Cocktails

Brandy Cocktails

Vodka Cocktails

Rum Cocktails

Tequila Cocktails

Champagne Cocktails

Fizzes & Slings

Wine Cups & Punches

Non-Alcoholic Cocktails


Cocktails have become extremely popular over the past few years, but they are not a 1980s’ invention. The cocktail as we know it today certainly existed in both the U.S.A. and Britain in the early nineteenth century, but the ‘cult’ of the cocktail dates from the 1920s.

In America, Prohibition banned the production and distribution of strong liquor. No doubt the need to disguise the awful taste of ‘boot-leg’ spirits which resulted accounted for the enormous variety of drinks enlivened by liqueurs, syrups and fruit juices. By the time Prohibition was repealed in 1993, the fashion for weird and wonderful concoctions was established on both sides of the Atlantic.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the cocktail fashion was mainly confined to America. But today it has happily returned to Britain and hundreds of cocktails bars have sprung up all over Britain.

With the exception of few classics – such as the Dry Martini – the recipes in this blog should not be treated with undue reverence. Try them: if you like them as they are, fine; if they’re too dry or sweet, adapt them to suit your taste. Be adventurous – and try inventing some of your own!

Mixing Cocktails

Fans of James Bond will remember that he always insisted his Dry Martini was shaken, not stirred. Since this holds true for most cocktails, the most basic piece of equipment is a cocktail shaker. It can be any size, shape or material but, for convenience, it should have a built-in strainer. This prevents the ice, whose purpose is only to chill the cocktail, from falling into the glass with the drink. Always shake the shaker vigorously with both hands: this is how you bring the cocktail to life.

Fresh ice must be used for each mixing. Always use large ice cubes for shaking, or serving drinks. Never use small cubes as these dilute the drink too much. Some recipes call for the cocktails to be stirred rather than shaken. This can be done in a tall glass jug or shaker, using the long-handled spoon. The ice must be strained off before serving.

Teaspoons and tablespoons are needed to measure sugar, cream and certain liquid ingredients. These spoons should be kept in a glass of water when not in use so that they are rinsed between mixes. Nothing spoils the enjoyment of a cocktail more than the slightest hint of something contrary used in the preparation of a different drink.

Certain recipes call for the cocktail to be blended in an electric blender or food processor. If you have a machine with a facility for crushing ice, this presents no problem, but the blades of most machines can be blunted by large ice cubes; therefore you should put only crushed ice into the blending goblet. Ice can be easily crushed by wrapping the cubes in a tea-towel, tying securely and hammering them into smaller pieces with a wooden mallet on a heavy wooden board.

Many recipes call for fruit, and freshly squeezed juice is always to be preferred; for this, you will need a cone-shaped lemon squeezer. Cartons of fresh orange juice, pineapple juice, etc., are useful for parties. Fruits such as limes are expensive in winter, so if you have a freezer buy and freeze them when they are in season. All citrus fruits can be stored this way for several months.

Some cocktails call for cream; always use double cream. Rinse out the shaker thoroughly between mixes as the remains of the cream will adversely affect the flavour of the next mix.


When measuring the ingredients for a cocktail the important thing is to get the proportions right. It doesn’t matter what you use for measuring, provided you use the same item for each ingredient. The standard measure is called a ‘jigger’ and holds 45 ml. It is well worth to buy one of these if you make your own cocktails frequently.

The recipes in this blog are for single drinks unless otherwise stated. For two people, double the measure; for three people, triple the measure, and so on.

Serving Cocktails

The cocktail connoisseur demands particular glasses for different drinks. Stocking up with all of the various glasses is expensive, requires a lot of storage space – and it is not really necessary.

When the sun is shining, the living is easy, and everyone is busy working up a thirst, a Sumner cocktail refreshes better than anything else. It’s time to relax and recall the last vacation I took with a…

1 Daiquiri

Juice of 1/4 lemon or 1/2 lime

1 teaspoon caster sugar

2 measures dark rum

Shake the ingredients well with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Decorate with a cocktail cherry.

2 Margarita

I 1/2 measures tequila

1/2 measure Cointreau

I measure lemon or lime juice

Moisten the inner and outer edge of the cocktail glass with a slice of lemon or lime and dip in fine salt.

Shake the ingredients well with ice and strain into the glass.

3 Pina Colada

3 measures of dark rum

3 tablespoons coconut milk

3 tablespoon

4 Melon Martini

5 Long Island Iced Tea

6 Mint Julep

7 Mai Tai

8 Mojito


9 Caipirinha


9 Bahama Mama

10 Bella Taormina

11 Bellini

12 Bloody Mary

I measure vodka

2 measures tomato juice

1/3 measure lemon juice

I dash of Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper to taste

Shake the ingredients well with ice and strain into a wine glass. Garnish with celery leaves.

13 Cosmopolitan

14 Cuba Libra

2 measures dark rum

juice of 1/2 lime

Coca-Cola to top up

Half-fill a tall tumbler with ice cubes.

Add the rum and lime juice and stir well.

Top up with Coca-cola and decorate with lime slices.

15 Garibaldi

16 Moma’s Punch

17 Sangria


18 Salty Dog

19 Vampiro

20 Zombie

Port Wine Portugal Buy at Amazon

Written in 1754 by the agents for the Association of Port Wine Shippers, these words are a justifiable description of the great after-dinner wine known as Port Wine today.

Port, the subject of this short study, is a fortified wine produced exclusively in the Demarcated Region of the Douro Valley in Portugal, where both natural and human elements combined, created one of the most important and unique viticulture in the world.

Port is named after the city it is exported from; however the vineyards themselves are located some 100 kilometres inland on the rugged flanks of the middle and upper Douro valley.

The unique viniculture landscape developed about two million years ago on the schist hillsides along the Douro River Valley, producing an exceptional wine.

21 Port Flip


Standard spoon measurements are used in all recipes

I tablespoon = one 15 ml spoon

I teaspoon = one 5 ml spoon

All spoon measures are level.

A standard measure is called a ‘jigger’. It is equivalent to 45 ml/1/2 fl oz 3 tablespoons.

For all recipes, quantities are given in both metric and imperial measures. Follow either set but not a mixture of both, because they are not interchangeable.

Gin Cocktails

Gin was originally produced in Holland in the sixteenth century from a destination of juniper berries and used as a medicine. In the eighteenth century, it acquired a reputation as a rather vulgar drink, but today it is once more considered respectable.

Gin is the most widely used for all spirits for cocktails; it is the basis for all Martini cocktails and the popular Tom Collins. Beside dry gin, there are others – subtly flavoured with fruit. Sloe gin is the best known of these; it is made from the fruit of the wild blackthorn.

Whisky Cocktails

Contrary to popular belief, the Scots did not invent whisky. The Irish, whose name for it means ‘water of life’, took it with them, along with the Gaelic language, the kilt and the pipes, when they colonised what later became known as Scotland. Perhaps this is why Irish whiskey is considered more mellow than most blends of Scotch. Canadian whiskey and the American bourbon are both corn-based; Scotch comes from malted cereals.

A selection of different whiskies is ideal, but not essential. Scotch can be used in place of bourbon, Canadian or Irish whiskey in cocktails calling for these spirits, although the taste will not be quite the same.

Brandy Cocktails

There are almost as many brandies on the market as there are cocktails. Sone, such as the finest Cognacs and Armagnacs, is too fine and too expensive for use in cocktails. For the novice cocktail mixer, the wisest course is to select a tree star Cognac.

The fruit brandies, such as Calvados (apple), Kirsh (cherry), apricot and peach, are not really brandies but liqueurs; however, they often blend well with brandy in a cocktail.

Vodka Cocktails

Both the Poles and the Russians claim the glory of inventing vodka. For our purposes, vodkas produced in either of these countries, being expensive imports, are wasted in mixing cocktails. They are best drunk neat, accompanied by caviar or salted fish. Vodka produced in this country, with a milder and less distinctive taste, is more suitable for mixing with other ingredients. Incidentally, the Bloody Mary, as well as being a fine drink for the evening, is a great pick-me-up first thing in the morning. The Harvey Wallbanger is perhaps the most popular vodka-based cocktail.

Rum Cocktails

Rum will be forever associated with the West Indies, its true home, and the Royal Navy, its second home. Rum comes in various colours and strengths – and the strong versions are pretty powerful. White rum, which is colourless, was originally known as Cuban rum but, since Castro, it is no longer imported from Cuba.

Rum is an excellent base for cocktails because its flavour blends particularly well with fruit juices and other spirits. It is the base for one of the great cocktails, the Daiquiri.

Tequila Cocktails

Tequila is a Mexican spirit, distilled from pulque which, in turn, is distilled from the sap of the maguey plant, a vegetable similar to a cactus. Tequila is a refined form of mescal, taken by the Indians of Mexico as part of their religious ceremonies.

All recipes for tequila cocktails are modern, as this spirit has only recently acquired a respectable reputation in society, being pioneered chiefly in Southern California. Salt is used in the Margarita since tequila is traditionally drunk as a neat spirit with just salt and lemon juice on the tongue.

Champagne Cocktails

Some prefer Champagne at breakfast time, in or out of cocktails; the classic Champagne cocktail – Buck’s Fizz is traditionally enjoyed at this hour. Others feel that the effervescence of this wine, which epitomizes the lively spirit of the 1920s, is more suitable at night. The important thing to remember is that it is not necessary to spend a lot of money on Champagne for cocktails – inexpensive Champagne, or even sparkling white wine, is just as good.

Never put Champagne in an electric blender or food processor – you may end up with your cocktail on the walls!

Go Eco! Visit Kenya

“The Bird Watchers’ Paradise”

Lake Nakuru National Park

On the floor of the Great Rift Valley, surrounded by wooded and bushy grassland, lies the beautiful Lake Nakuru National Park. Visitors can enjoy the wide ecological diversity and varied habitats that range from Lake Nakuru itself to the surrounding escarpment and picturesque ridges. Lake Nakuru National Park is ideal for bird watching, hiking, picnic and game drives.

The Kenya Wildlife Service is worth a visit!

27 National Game Reserves in Kenya

The national park system of Kenya is maintained by the Kenya Wildlife Service. There are two main types of terrestrial protected areas in Kenya: national parks, and national reserves; there are also marine parks and marine reserves.

1 Arawale

2 Bisanadi

3 Boni

4 Buffalo Springs

5 Dodori

6 Kakamega Forest

7 Kamnarok

8 Kerio Valley

9 Kiunga Marine

10 Laikipia

11 Lake Bogoria

12 Losai

13 Lake Nakuru National Park (Hotels)

14 Malindi Marine / Watamu Marine

15 Maralai (National Sanctuary)

16 Marsabit

17 Masai Mara National Reserve Hotels

18 Mombasa Marine

19 Mwea

20 Nasalot

21 North Kitui

22 Nairobi National Park

23 Rahole

24 Samburu

25 Shaba

26 Shimba Hills National Reserve (224 hotels available)

27 South Kitui

28 South Turkana

29 Tana River Primate

Safari Ants, Baggy Pants And Elephants: A Kenyan Odyssey Kindle Edition by Susie Kelly 4.6 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews.

‘Vivid, moving, entertaining. Anybody thinking of taking a safari holiday in Kenya, or who would like to take an armchair safari to Kenya, should read this book.’

“Hemingway wrote: ‘I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy.’ That is how I feel about Kenya. You feel at once insignificant and amazing, just for being here. This magnificent, beautiful country, the birthplace of mankind, the owner of my heart.” Susie Kelly, 2017

Welcome to Africa!


Travel info for travelling to Kenya.

Venice Simplon Orient Express

The Venice Simplon Orient Express History

The original Orient Express service began in 1883 and ran from Paris to Romania, linking up with London in 1889. The Paris-Milan-Venice service began in 1906 with the opening of the Simplon Tunnel between Switzerland and Italy and the routes were later extended to Belgrade, Sofia, Athens, and Constantinople (present-day Istanbul). Reduction of service due to competition from air travel started in the 1950s and the service was discontinued in 1977.

Present service

The present service began in 1982 and the trains now link London and Paris with Venice and Rome, either via Zurich and Innsbruck or Frankfurt, Prague, and Vienna. Trains also fun from Paris to Istanbul, via Budapest and Bucharest.

Luxury Train Journeys

Experience one of Belmonds luxury train journeys aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train and become part of its glorious, ever-changing history.

The classic journeys take you to great European cities, including London, Paris, Venice, Prague, Vienna, and Budapest.

Secret destinations here!

For deals and further information visit Train & Journeys services