Monthly Archives: December 2010

TOP TEN IN 2010 – my travel highlights of the year

The end of the year is nigh, so it’s time for looking back to see what little lurks in the deep recesses of my failing memory.

Three continents, fourteen countries, some excellent meals and some terrible coffee are in there somewhere. Most of the many queues, airports and train stations have fortunately been forgotten, though an October night sleeping on the carpet at Singapore’s Changi Airport was memorable for the wrong reasons.

Here, in no particular order, are ten experiences I intend to remember for a long time… Continue reading


Filed under Cycling, Hiking


Photo - Sydney Morning Herald

We’re rather discreet, tasteful and minimalist when it comes to Christmas decorations at the Casa Tulloch. The same can’t be said for our neighbours, particularly Mr Bonifacio, who lives round the corner in Frazer St, Dulwich Hill.

Every year he spends six weeks making a display which families travel far across town to see.

He made the front page of today’s Sydney Morning Herald.

We enjoy his work too, though I think I prefer the exhibit sent over from Western Australia by my correspondent Damien Jameson. Thanks Damien, I love it!

Merry Christmas to all!


Filed under Travel-Australia

RIGA, LATVIA – the travelling university of life

Riga’s spectacular art nouveau Alberta Street is crammed with clumps of senior tourists, trailing behind leaders who hold aloft ping pong bats with numbers… 15, 9 and 27. Every morning monster cruise ships dock in the harbour, and each disgorges tour groups for a quick whip around Riga’s main attractions.

I’ve often regarded such tourists with patronizing pity – those poor old people (or foolish young ones) who are too lazy or ignorant to organize their own travel. But now I’m one of those poor old people myself, having joined a 20-day Odyssey Travel bus tour , ‘The Emergence of the Baltic States’. It’s been an eye-opener, with my fellow travellers and the trip’s organization challenging my preconceptions.

I always assumed that package tourists got only sanitized, superficial experiences. They gawked at architecture, but didn’t understand it. They met few local people, had no interest in local culture and they preferred McDonald’s and Starbucks because of the familiar food and clean toilets. In short, their travel didn’t teach them much about the world. Continue reading


Filed under Baltic, Travel- Europe

DUTCH BIKES PLOUGH ON – riding in Amsterdam just got cooler

It’s a bit cold in Amsterdam at the moment, but cyclists still have to get around. Though nobody’s wearing lycra.

The trams are having trouble too... (Photo: Parool)

...but shopping must still be done...

..and kids need to get to kindy... (Photo: de Volkskrant)

...and a nice ride in the park is always wonderful exercise! (Photo: de Volkskrant


Filed under Cycling, Holland


It has been a busy year on this site, during my first year as a blogger. I’ve enjoyed the challenge of doing some writing every day and picking over it for highlights worth publishing. I suspect I’m not alone among bloggers in enjoying days when I get lots of ‘hits’, and watching the monthly visitor figures steadily rising has kept up my enthusiasm.

About half my visitors have been referred here while doing a websearch of a topic or keyword. On my DASHBOARD page I get a little report telling me what topics attracted their interest. It’s no surprise when someone searches “Amsterdam cycling” or “Tasmania hike”, then by the magic of Google is sent to RT’s LOTR for my expert advice. However there are some weird ones too, and checking to see what some readers entered is a daily source of amusement to me.

Searchers were referred to this site by looking for:

“castles in dreary places with purple ski” If this is a typo, what did the writer intend it to say?

“penis korea” and “naked in bus” I don’t think they were looking for travel articles.

“tortoise broken finger” and “rabbits fighting” I don’t recall writing anything about such animal activity.

Nor do I remember ever inventing the poetic phrase “beside the pond was a flat carpet of sun”, but somebody, somewhere in cyberspace was out there looking for it and I was the beneficiary of another ‘hit’.

I hope, dear strange web-trawling visitors, that you found something of interest anyway, and that you will come back and see me some time. Come back soon. Come back often!


Filed under Travel

SYDNEY OPRAH HOUSE – sorry if we’re overexcited!

G’day Oprah,

Welcome to Australia. We don’t have enough American celebrity talk-show hosts visiting us, wearing Akubra cowboy hats, cuddling koalas and Aboriginal kids and telling us how they love coming Downunder because everybody is so natural and friendly. I understand we Aussie taxpayers have invested about $1,500,000.00 to get you here, so we’re naturally very excited to see what our money has bought. Please excuse us if we gush a bit.

I was at first a little disappointed not to be included on the interviewee list for your shows in the Opera House, but I consoled myself by remembering that Nicole Kidman needs the publicity more than I do. I can always talk about myself on this blog. Continue reading


Filed under Travel-Australia

GREAT VIC BIKE RIDE – a week in another world

“Where have you been the past ten days?” dedicated fans of RT’s LOTR are asking. The answer is, I’ve been doing the Great Victorian Bike Ride, joining 4500 other lycra loonies, including my son, in a 590km spin across the lovely state of Victoria, from Yarrawonga to Dookie, Euroa, Nagambie (you have to love Australian place names) and eventually to Marysville.

It was often a challenge, even for the young, fit and thin. So imagine my pain.

The organisers bill it as ‘a week in another world’ and it’s true that, though there was mobile phone coverage everywhere we went, internet access was too limited to post anything from the road. I didn’t have the energy for it anyway. We rode, we pitched the tents, we socialised, we ate, we drank, we went to bed. The following morning we pulled on clammy cycling gear, queued for the warm toilet seats, crawled back onto the bikes and did it all again. Continue reading


Filed under Cycle touring, Cycling, Travel-Australia