Priest in the Church of England. Father, husband, son. Keen biker.

Category: travel (Page 2 of 6)

Budapest Itinerary

The plan for the run out to Budapest started as a straight forward dash out and back. But after asking for advice on the Horizons Unlimited forum for places that were somewhere along my route and that I simply couldn’t miss the Stelvio Pass was pointed out to me – how could I possible go so near the pass and not take a run at it? So here’s the final plan – the itinerary that I shall not ignore, that I shall follow to the letter.

I leave Friday 22nd at lunch time for the train over to Calais. Wish me luck. If you spot somewhere I should be going – please let me know – I’d hate to miss something spectacular because I knew nothing about it.

View Budapest July 2011 in a larger map


Horizons Unlimited Tyre Changing DVD – Review

I don’t know about you but the very idea of dealing with a puncture when I’m on the road fills me with dread. When I was running tubeless tyres it wasn’t quite so bad – plug the hole – pump with CO2 cartridges and get to a garage. But now I have tubes…. well I’ve been petrified of how I’ll deal with a flat.

Before I rode out to Russia I took a six month City and Guilds motorcycle maintenance course here in London. We spent two hours dealing with tyres and tubes – on beautiful clean, new bikes – what a breeze! The tyres had been on and off the rims so many times you hardly had to use the leavers.

Fortunately at the Horizons Unlimited meet up in Derby earlier this year I was lucky enough to see Grant Johnson run a tyre changing demo… I was blown away (see what I did there) by the aspects that I simply didn’t know and actually, once you have the know-how, how easy it can be… why on earth was I ever worried?

The good news is that Horizons have produced a DVD which is basically Grant doing his demo – in detail and with notes. I can’t recommend it enough – if you’re frightened of dealing with a flat, or even if you just want to brush up on your skills before hitting the road, this DVD is for you.

It’s available to buy from the Horizons Unlimited Store (you need to scroll down some to find it) for $24.99 US or from people like Traveldri-plus here in the UK (I’m afraid I couldn’t find a direct link so just give Les a call).

Here’s the trailer:

Bacon Curry (bacon optional)

Curry – a basic in most of the world and Britain’s most popular dish – but you can enjoy a great curry on the road without resorting to take-out. Using the most basic of ingredients – tomatoes, celery, bacon (yes bacon), onions & garlic you can create a meal that will leave you full and happy.

Ingredients (4/6 people)

  • 1lb Bacon
  • 2 Large Onions (roughly chopped)
  • 4 Large Tomatoes (chopped)
  • 2 sticks of Celery (chopped)
  • Olive Oil (generous amount)
  • 6 Tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 2 Tsp Chilli Powder (depending on taste)
  • 4 cups Rice (3x cups of water to rice)
  • Courgette (sliced)
  • 6 pieces of Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes


Get your rice going and ‘almost’ cooked – take off the stove and leave covered to keep warm. Pour in your olive oil (a good amount) and then on a high heat soften your chopped onions and garlic. Once good and soft (but not brown) add your tomato puree, vegitable stock cubes, cumin and chili powder – this produces a very dry mix with the onions – but don’t worry it’s exactly as you want it. Give it a good mix and let the onions soften a little more. Turn the heat down a little.

Now drop in your chopped tomatoes, celery, and courgette – mix well and turn the heat right down. Cover and let simmer with occasional stirring for around 15 mins if you’re not adding the bacon.

If you are adding bacon – chop your bacon into thin strips and add to the curry – if you’re using other pieces of meat (like chicken or beef) make sure you brown this off in the pot before you start – with bacon you don’t need to do this as it will cook quite happily in the curry from raw. Cover and occasional stir for around 15 mins.

Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meeting 2011

Stopped in Melton Mowbray for a pork pie and coffeeCamp CashmoreCamp Cashmore & MartinCamping field pre-arrivialIain Harper, in his natural environment.Baby donkey
Baby donkey and mumField up to camp CashmoreField filling upField filling upField filling upSam welcoming everyone
Stace taking up being a ninjaLois doing her thingRapt attention for Lois's presentationGerman BBQ

Wow, just absolutely wow. This was my first Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meeting – it’s like getting your travel batteries recharged and ready for the road again.

As amazing as you think your trips have been there are people who have done something more amazing and are happy to sit at the bar and tell you their tall tales of daring do and adventure.

Sitting and listening to inspiring stories, or instructional presentations on how to sort a badly mangled tyre or sort your carnet out…. invaluable. I hope next year to run a presentation on why it’s your responsibility to share you travel stories as well as a cooking demo with Danny Taylor of roadkill cookout fame.

I did manage to get one cooking video shot (bacon curry) and will get that edited and up here in the next couple of days.

Can’t wait for the next one.

Travel – you have a responsibility to share.

When I first started working for Lonely Planet (who I left last year), in fact in the first week, I posted on this blog a rather scathing criticism of the Trades Union Congress who had called for a boycott of Lonely Planet:

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘The very existence of a travel guide to Burma encourages people to visit a country they might not otherwise consider. We want to see the travel industry drop Burma from their list of destinations and taking the Lonely Planet guidebook off the shelves would help enormously. If enough people sign our petition and stop buying Lonely Planet guides, we hope we can encourage the BBC to think again.’

That post caused a 2am phone call from the then CEO of Lonely Planet asking me – very politely – to remove it as it was an exceptionally sensitive issue and Lonely Planets stance on it was to not comment beyond the statements made by Tony Wheeler (founder). The issue turned out to really be about the fact I’d provided a detailed way for people to tell the TUC what a dim witted and stupid thing they were doing. To tell the TUC quite how fantastically moronic they were being – I provided tools (a pre-written letter complete with email, fax and postal addresses) in order for other travellers – who I thought would flock to my flag – to tell them what they thought. The post wasn’t removed or rewritten, but the tools were taken down.

I’m raising this again now, not because I want to have another go at the TUC, but because it highlights something that is crucial in the understanding of our world. Particularly at a time when we are seeing an increase in troubled areas that could quite easily get thrown in the pot with Burma. I want to attack the premise that if we don’t agree with what a government (or dictator for that matter) is doing – then we should not ‘support’ that authority by travelling there. You Have Got To Be Kidding Me.

Travel is the single best way to support people of any country where the government is less than, shall we say, supportive of the general populous. By buying from the local stores to paying for the bus you’re helping people earn money and most importantly you’re doing two other things.

  1. Helping them see something of a world they may not be allowed to see.
  2. Letting you see the reality of that country unhindered by a media lens.

The second point is the most important, but only if you share that understanding. What happens when you come home? You tell a few friends, you maybe do a talk somewhere about this amazing journey – about what you got out of it. Perhaps you’ve even posted photos and short updates from the road on Facebook to your friends. But we now live in a world were you have an absolute responsibility to share not only what you learned on a personal level – but also what that country and its people are like at the ground level – to as wide an audience as possible.

You’re not a citizen journalist, you’re not an author, you’re not a journalist from a large media organisation ‘on the ground’. You’re a real person, coloured with prejudice and misunderstandings – you’re just like the rest of us. That view is vital to the broader understanding of the realities of the country you’re visiting.

I’m sure I don’t need to go into the various ways you can share what you’ve learnt, your journey of discovery, with the rest of the world – but please do consider the next time you take a trip – start a blog, create a public facebook page, start a twitter stream, shout from the rooftops – anything to let people know what the world is really about, and let us learn from each other – warts and all.

Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011 – Photos

Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011
Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011
Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011
Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011

The photos – a very quick post to show you the photos from the Adventure Travel Film Festival down in Devon this weekend.

These shots are from Thursday and Friday – for some reason the camera didn’t come out on Saturday, but Stace did have his out so I’ll add those as soon as he’s back.

A more detailed post to follow with full review – but for now – massive congratulations must go to Austin, Lois and the team for organising what was quite easily one of the best shows I’ve ever attended – a fantastic atmosphere and that rarest of things… an event I walked away from with more friends that I went with.

Simple Noodles

Noodles are pretty much the perfect on-the-road food. Packed with lots of energy giving goodness they’re also incredibly cheap, easy to get hold of and fabulously versatile.  In the past we’ve taken a look at Wokkered Noodles – in this recipe we explore the simplest of noodle options – sausages, packet tomato sauce… that’s it. Thanks very much to Sandered over on Horizons Unlimited for the recipe.

Watch on YouTube.

Ingredients (1 person)

  • Good quality noodles
  • 2 Sausages
  • Single packet of Dolmio Sauce (tomato sauce)


Fast and simple. Boil your noodles according to the instructions – don’t let them boil for too long otherwise they’ll go soggy and starchy.  Take them out of your pot and cut a couple of sausages into small chunks, whack them back in the hot pan and brown them off until they’re cooked. When they’re ready add the noodles back to the pan and pour in your Domio Sauce – bring up to heat and dish up.

As an alternative change the sausages to fish or salami. You could also throw in some onion or some stronger seasoning. For a cheaper alternative just use a tin of tomatoes or 4 fresh tomatoes and cup of water – you’ll need to cook these down before you cook your noodles.

Camp Omelette

First in a new series of three cooking videos we start with the most basic of good food for the road – the Omelette. Incredibly simple to make, and importantly, still good to eat if you mess it up! The great thing about this recipe is that it’s very easy to add to or change – just grab whatever is nearest and throw in with the eggs. Easy.

Watch this video on YouTube


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 Red Pepper
  • 1 Carrot
  • Half an Onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salami
  • Nut Oil


Cut up your Red Pepper, Carrot and Spring Onion into very small pieces, crush your garlic and then slice thinly. Slice your salami into chunks, add as much as you fancy. Mix the eggs quickly with a pinch of salt and pepper, perhaps a little spice in a separate pan.  Pour the nut oil into a skillet or pan and heat until it starts to smoke, pour in the eggs and agitate the mixture on the bottom of the pan to give the final omelette some depth. Add the veg as the eggs start to thicken and harden, drop the heat a little at this point.

Keep the eggs from the side of the pan and as soon as you notice the egg starting the bind and lift easily from the pan consider turning it in half – at this point it really doesn’t matter if you break it up – it tastes exactly the same.

If you don’t want your veg to be on the crispy side consider frying them off before adding the eggs until they’re soft and golden brown.

Breakfast Mess

This is a very simple breakfast – it looks a mess – and frankly it is, but it’s full of slow-release energy and sets you up for the day. It’s also worth pointing out that I rather made a hash of this recipe. It should have been an omelette with a little sausage, bacon and black pudding – instead it’s more a massive pile of meat with a little egg.

Watch this video on Youtube.


  • Sausage
  • Bacon
  • Black Pudding
  • Eggs
  • What-ever you have to hand


Add a little olive oil to your pan and get nice and hot – throw in your cut up sausages and brown off, lower the heat and allow to cook for a few minutes while you prepare the bacon, black pudding and eggs. Cut the bacon into thin strips and add to the pan – chunk up the black pudding and add just before you pour in the scrambled eggs. Now mix – keep the heat high and keep the mixture moving in the pan. Once it’s all kinda brown… pour it out on your breakfast bread.

I should ascribe this recipe to Les @ Traveldri-plus – but I can’t because I’ve fouled it up so badly – so I’ll come back to his recipe at a later date and do it properly.

Flat Bread on-the-road

Last weekend Stace and I headed out to Wales to ‘rough it’ in the middle of nowhere. In the end we managed to get ourselves invited onto a farm (okay it’s not the middle of the forrest) and then into the farm’s barn – which turned out to have beds and a little kitchen – the kindness of strangers is a wonderful thing.

Whilst there we recored two videos, the first (below) was a simple introduction to a camp kitchen and a very quick and dirty recipe for bread on-the-road. To make the bread you just need flour and water – from there on out it’s all about the kneading and squashing – and avoiding the biggest mistake when it comes to bread – too much water. The second was a breakfast mess.

Take two large spoons of flour per person and then dribble in a very small amount of water (you can always add more later if needed) – use your fingers to mash the flour and water together and as the consistency thickens (it will feel quite dry) start to use your fist to drive the mixture together. Slowly it will turn to dough and you’ll be able to put out a little flour on a flat surface and knead the bread into a rough flat shape.

At this point you can add fruit or pretty much anything you like – I prefer to leave my bread plain and add a little jam as a special treat. To cook the bread just heat a pan and dribble in a tiny amount of oil – give it a good spread around the pan and add the bread. As it cooks you’ll notice small air bubbles appear, this is a good indication that it’s cooking well and you’ve not left it too thick. Seeing it’s ready is pretty easy – slightly burnt bits are an added bonus – but make sure you turn it over regularly.

Watch the video on YouTube, or embedded below. A special post on camp kitchens will be coming soon along with a further video with a breakfast recipe suitable for kings!

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