IntroductionThis page is a collection of comments and pictures relating to places and countries I have visited over the years in the European countries. For the full list, see the travel index.
BelgiumMost of my visits to Belgium were by ferry from England, travelling from the English port of Felixstowe , and arriving in the Belgian port of Zeebrugge . From there, most visits either headed south (into France) or north (into Holland). However I did visit the city of Bruges For more images, try this Google image search
BulgariaI've only visited Bulgaria on one occasion, in the 1980's. The vacation was a package deal, which was unusual in that the cost included meal vouchers. It turned out that these could be used for paying for meals at any of the restaurants in the resort of Varna (assuming the restaurant had any food left). One memorable meal had the dessert served before the main meal, and featured a waiter who claimed to be a famous soccer player (but looked and sounded nothing like the real player).
Tours included seeing a petrified forest at Pobiti Kamani (which looked like a field of rocks) and an ancient wall carving at Madara , along with an overnight stay in a reconstructed medieval mountain village at Ettur . The buildings in the village were fascinating, but the beds came complete with some sort of swarming insect and rough blankets. For more images, try this Google image search
Canary Islands (Spanish)The Canaries are a popular travel destination from many parts of Europe, and normally they offer temperatures much higher than that found in the mainland areas of Europe. This is mainly due to their location, 100 miles or so west of the southern border of Morocco, in North Africa. I've visited Tenerife and climbed 12,000 ft Mount Tiede , Gran Canaria , Lanzarote (with it's volcanic landscape at Timanfaya and Fuerteventura . For more images, try this Google image search
EnglandI was born in the city of Coventry, in the Midlands region of England. Coventry's claims to fame include the soccer team ( Coventry City Football Club ), Lady Godiva , and its two cathedrals (the old one was bombed during World War II, prompting a new one to be built adjacent to the ruins).
Near to Coventry is the town of Kenilworth, in Warwickshire, where I lived for a few years. One route from Coventry to Kenilworth is via Kenilworth Road . Kenilworth has a castle which dates back to the 11th century. Part of the old town remains, just opposite the castle. Slightly further away is one of my favorite pubs, the Virgin and Castle
About 30 miles south of Kenilworth is the town of Stratford-upon-Avon , known to most people for its links with William Shakespeare . One of my favorite locations near Stratford is Shakespeare County Raceway (formerly known as Avon Park Raceway and Long Marston Raceway). The other dragstrip that I frequented was Santa Pod Raceway.
In the south west of England is the county of Cornwall. Many childhood holidays were spent at Penzance , and the surrounding areas, including St Michael's Mount , Newlyn , Mousehole , Sennen Cove , Looe Bar , St Ives and Lands End . The journey to Cornwall was always made by train, arriving at Penzance Station .
On the eastern side of England is the county of East Anglia. I spent many weekends in the city of Norwich , and the nearby coastal towns of Sheringham , Cromer and Great Yarmouth. For more images, try this Google image search
FranceFor many Brits, the appeal of France is the low cost of beer and wine, so many visits were simple trips to one of the French ferry ports ( Calais , Boulogne , or Dunkirk) to raid the local hypermarche.
Other visits were more adventurous, and included visiting the Breton region in the northwest, and the towns of Brest and Quimper, then progressing south along the west coast through La Rochelle to the famous wine region of Bordeaux . From there the journey back passed through Le Mans and on to the Normandy Beaches, before returning to England by boat from Caen. For more images, try this Google image search
GermanyMy experience of Germany is very limited. I once spent a few hours marooned in Frankfurt Airport whilst flying back to England after a business trip to Italy. My only other experience was a road trip from Holland to Cologne , which struck me as being very similar to a large English city, except for the different language. For more images, try this Google image search
GreeceGreece is a country of two halves - the mainland cities such as Athens , and the Greek Islands . I've only spent a few hours in Athens, waiting for a connecting flight to one of the islands. However I've spent many vacations on some of the islands.
Alonnisos is located in the Sporades, roughly half way between Athens and Thessaloniki. It's neighbors Skiathos and Skopelos are probably better known, but Alonnisos has benefited from less over-development. For more images, try this Google image search
Corfu is probably the favorite destination for British visitors to Greece, and offers a wide variety of things to occupy visitors. It is located on the north west side of Greece, just offshore from the Albanian coast. I stayed on the west coast, at Agios Gordios . For more images, try this Google image search
Crete is the largest of the Greek islands, and lies at the extreme south of any of the islands. Towns on the island vary from overdeveloped sunspots to quaint villages and some excellent beaches. For more images, try this Google image search
Rhodes is located in the south east of the Greek Islands, close to the Turkish coast. It's a very popular destination for German, Scandinavian and British tourists, and many of the towns are packed during the summer months. However, located just about 10 nautical miles off the west coast is a tiny island called Halki. Halki has virtually no roads (except Tarpon Springs Boulevard - funded by Greeks who migrated to the Florida town of Tarpon Springs), and just one inhabited town (Nimborio) which doubles as the port, although it does have a Crusader Castle with incredible views . I've visited Halki more than a handful of times, and spent many weeks lazing on Pondamos Beach , snorkeling in the crystal clear waters, before gorging myself on fried kalimari at Nick's Taverna (telephone 45295). Nimborio is located around the edges of the harbor, and has a great bunch of tiny tavernas serving home cooked meals and snacks. Probably the only downside to Halki is it's location, which means the journey there involves a flight to Rhodes Airport, then a bus or taxi ride down the coast to the tiny fishing port of Kamiros Skala , then a 90 minute boat trip across the sometimes rough Aegean Sea to Halki. Me at Kamiros Skala . The view from the boat approaching Halki is best seen as a panorama (the castle can be seen in the center of the picture) . For more images, try this Google image search
Nisiros is located in the shadow of it's more popular neighbor, Kos, but appeals to a totally different type of visitor. It's a very quiet island, but has a handful of towns and even an (almost) extinct volcano , whose crater bed stinks of sulfur and leaks gassy steam . For more images, try this Google image search
Holland (The Netherlands)Holland is probably my favorite 'cold' country (meaning cold climate). Most of my visits have been via flights into Amsterdam's Schipol airport , although I have also driven up from France and Belgium. Just south of Amsterdam is the university town of Lieden , which happens to be where my second eldest brother Mick has lived for many years. For more images, try this Google image search
Leeuwarden is located in the northern region of Friesland, and I've visited there a couple of times. It has a calmer feel than Amsterdam, probably influenced by it's relatively remote location. It's also home to one of the Royal Netherlands Air Force's air bases. For more images, try this Google image search
Utrecht lies south of Amsterdam and features canals too - the most memorable part of the visit was a canal boat trip featuring a guide whose commentary was totally in Dutch. Canal trips in Amsterdam don't have this problem. For more images, try this Google image search
Eindhoven is located close to the Belgian border, and is known as the City of Light. It's the home to the Dutch electronics giant Philips, and the former Philips science museum Evoluon , which is a shaped like a UFO. For more images, try this Google image search
ItalyMy first visit to Italy was a trip to Venice from Yugoslavia. Due to bad weather at sea, the journey couldn't be made by hydrofoil so a lengthy road trip was involved instead. Luckily the weather in Venice was good so I was able to enjoy many of the sights. For more images, try this Google image search
My next visit was a business trip to Genoa in the northern Liguria region, followed soon after by another business trip to Naples , with nearby Vesuvius. This second trip was extended due to severe weather stopping flights out of Naples, and forcing another nights stay. For more images, try this Google image search
Madeira (Portugese)Unfortunately, my time on Madeira was somewhat influenced by terrible weather and a bout of food poisoning. I did get time to see Camara de Lobos with the second highest sea cliffs in Europe, Cabo Girao . For more images, try this Google image search
ScotlandWhen I was a small child, I visited Edinburgh. I was very young at the time, and don't remember much about it at all, apart from visiting Edinburgh Castle . For more images, try this Google image search
SpainMy one and only visit to mainland Spain was a fiasco from day one. The journey to Heathrow Airport should have been a luxury trip in a Rolls Royce, but halfway there the Rolls had to be repaired after a bearing seized. The time spent at the garage meant missing the original flight. After eventually arriving in Malaga , the luggage was delayed as someone had travelled with a can of paint, which had leaked over all the luggage, but after waiting for what seemed like hours, my luggage was still missing, and eventually it was tracked down at Heathrow. The only memorable things were a trip to Marbella , and staying in a villa next door to one owned by 'gangster' Ronnie Knight.. For more images, try this Google image search
United Soviet States of Russia (USSR)While I was in Bulgaria, I took the chance to spend a couple of days and a night in Moscow , out of sheer curiosity. Due to Japanese Airlines Flight 123 flying into a mountain with the loss of 520 lives, flights were delayed for a number of hours, so arrival in Moscow was late at night. The hotel was a multi-storey block, with bland views and black & white television. The next day featured a trip to Red Square, seeing the line to visit Lenin's mausoleum , the GUM department store , and visiting the impressive buildings that make up the Kremlin complex . One feature I didn't know of beforehand was the Metro (underground railway) system, with its ornate decorations in the stations.. For more images, try this Google image search
WalesWhen I was young, many family holidays were taken in Porthcawl , on the south coast of Wales. Porthmadog is a place that I knew of because of a record store (Cob Records). It's also home to the Ffestiniog Railway , the oldest narrow track passenger carrying railway in the world.
Caernarvon is in the north of Wales, and has a large castle . To the west is the isle of Anglesey which is linked to Wales by the Menai bridge . For a while, my eldest brother lived in South Wales, near Kidwelly (another place that has a castle ). For more images, try this Google image search
YugoslaviaMy first ever trip outside of the UK was to what was then known as Yugoslavia. The destination was Medulin , near Pula , in the north of Croatia. Although the weather wasn't great there was lots to see and I took trips to Rovinj , Trieste (Slovenia), and drove into Italy to see Venice . For more images, try this Google image search
The next trip was to Podgora , located in another region of Croatia called the Makarska Riviera, near Split.. For more images, try this Google image search
The final visit was to Dubrovnik , and Orebic on the Peljesac peninsula, adjacent to the island of Korcula . For more images, try this Google image search