Things to do Near Cologne and Dusseldorf – Zollverein Industrial Complex

Zollverien

Picture the scene.  It’s a lovely Saturday morning and the sun is shining.  Thanks to the thoughtful people in our local church, the melodic (and only slightly annoying) sound of bell-ringing woke us up at 7 in the morning.  They certainly weren’t making any friends that day I can tell you!  With a traditional German bread roll breakfast eaten, it quickly became obvious that lounging round the house wasn’t going to tolerated by the rest of the family on such a fine day. Decisions, Decisions…..What to do? My wife and…

Something Different Near Amsterdam – Lelystad and Flevoland

Aviodrome Visit

So how did we end up discovering the lovely city of Lelystad not far from Amsterdam?  Well, a few weeks ago I found myself in the somewhat new situation of having nothing to do at the weekend.  My wife Trudy was back in Scotland visiting her family while Lucy, our youngest daughter, was visiting her boyfriend in London.  This meant that for the first time in forever it was just me and our oldest daughter Chloe.  We don’t get the chance for some quality father/ daughter time very often so…

Trip To Bruges – The Venice of Belgium

In Bruges

I’m really excited to tell you all about our recent trip to Bruges.  It’s a beautiful city famous for canals, beer and chocolate, what more could you want from a holiday.  As a huge fan of independent businesses, we spent a while hunting for somewhere interesting to stay.   After a bit of research on the internet, we stumbled across a great little bed and breakfast that looked right up our street.  Every review I read about B&B Emma was full of praise for it’s owners.  The mystical Jimmy and…

A Scottish Gin Tour – 10 Independent Scottish Gin Makers

Scottish Gin Tour

When most people think of Scotland, one of the first things that comes to mind is Whisky.  Distilleries have been warming hearts the world over for hundreds of years.  More recently Scotland has begun to make a bit of a name for itself in the world of Gin. When a new Distillery starts it takes a considerable amount of time for the ageing process needed to make great whisky.  Unless they have a huge pot of money to keep things ticking over while they wait patiently for 12 years, they…

Independent Scottish Gin Makers of Central Scotland

Central Scottish GIn

This is the second part of our story of 10 awesome independent Scottish gin manufacturers.  For this post, we head down into Central Scotland and start our journey in Perthshire before going across into Fife.  We then find the next 2 gins in and around Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh before we finish our Scottish gin trip in the wonderful city of Glasgow.   You can find the first part of the story here. In that last post, the 5 Gins featured were all from the Highlands and Islands in the Northern…

Wine and Chocolate – A Global Affair

Hernando Cortez Schokoladen WIne and Chocolate

It’s the first Friday of the month again and that means a trip to Wine and Chocolate at Hernando Cortez Schokoladen in Gertrudenstraße here in Cologne.  Every month Marco painstakingly researches 3 wonderful wine and chocolate combinations, which pairs some amazing chocolate with some fantastic wines. It’s the same procedure every month.  As any British expat in Germany will hopefully know, this phrase is a very important in Germany culture.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about then follow the link (here) and read more about the German phenomenon that…

Independent Scottish Gins of the Highlands & Islands

Harris Pub

The people of Scotland are an imaginative bunch who like a drink or two (no more mind).  It’s the only place where I have been to an inflatable pub in horizontal rain on a remote island.  The feature picture is of my Brother-in-law Iain and I enjoying the Northton Festival on the Isle of Harris. When most people think of drinking and Scotland, the first thing that comes to mind is Whisky.  Distilleries have been warming the hearts the world over since the late 18th century.  However, more recently Scotland…

Tebay Services – An Oasis in the Motorway Desert

Tebay Ducks

The journey on the M6 motorway from the North of England gets prettier the further towards Scotland you drive.  With Preston and the M55 junction to Blackpool behind you, the Lancashire countryside starts to make the drive a little more interesting.  Before you know it, the fells of Cumbria and the Lake District start providing you with some stunning scenery that helps the miles pass more quickly.  At some point you need to take a break and stop at one of the many motorway services.  So where do you usually stop?  If…

The Wonderful World of Michel Cluizel Chocolate

Pralines

If you love chocolate, immerse yourself in the amazing world of Michel Cluizel.  The company make some of the most fantastic chocolate in the world.  So read on and learn all about the, I first came across the amazing chocolate made by the Cluizel family at one of our monthly wine and chocolate evenings at Hernando Cortez Schokoladen in Cologne.   The evenings are hosted by the fabulous Marco.  I wrote about all the different wine and chocolate combinations in our October tasting recently here.  The chocolate in Marco’s first combination…

Beer-Tasting At A Heavenly Beer Shop in Cologne

wolf-beer

I made a fantastic discovery this week.  Just around the corner from Jameson’s, our local Irish bar, I found a heavenly new beer shop that does beer-tasting as well.  I used to be a regular visitor to Jameson’s.  At least I was until Norwich City got relegated from the Premier League.  Now they are in the Championship, there aren’t so many reasons to go anymore. Anyway, if you turn left down the little alley to the right of Jameson’s (looking at the front of the bar) there is a fantastic…