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Taking an Open Top Tour Bus Around Edinburgh

Travel to many cities in the UK and around the world and you'll find the 'hop on, hop off' tour buses offering you the option of seeing points of interest from the comfort of a bus with a guided tour thrown in too. Over the years we've done many of these and have often found them a useful way to see a city, especially if we're only going to be there for a couple of days. We typically use them to get an idea of where places are in relation to others, what we definitely want to see and where we want to go back to, all with the idea of maximising our time there. Naturally Edinburgh offers these tours too and we've made use of them a couple of times when we've had visitors.
Whilst they aren't for everyone, Edinburgh (as many of you will know) is a very hilly city, it's built on seven of them! It's a small city so is easy to walk around but those hills can also pose a challenge if you perhaps aren't quite so mobile. We've hosted a few guests w…

Penang Hill, Penang, Malaysia

We decided to go a little further afield whilst staying in Penang and to the west of Georgetown, our base for our visit, is Penang hill. The hill was mentioned in all the guidebooks we read so we got our guest house to book us a taxi and off we went. Once you arrive at the base station where the taxi dropped us off, to get to the top of the hill you take the funicular railway. It's fun but is quite nerve-rackingly steep and you seem very exposed on the hill as it climbs up to the top. We went mid-week and reasonably early but it was still insanely busy at the ticket booths, I can't imagine what it's like on a weekend or a public holiday so probably best to avoid those times if you can. To ease the queueing a little you can pay more for a fast lane ticket at the ticket counters, once you get to the front of that queue! This means you can then skip the next queues for the train both on the way  up and on the return journey down. It also means you get priority boarding so you…

The Blue Mansion, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

The one place everybody told us we had to visit whilst in Penang was the Blue Mansion (Cheong Fatt Tze's mansion) in Georgetown. Although I'd heard of it and seen photos on other blogs etc. I knew nothing about it prior to our visit but being told it was an absolute must do it went right to the top of our agenda.
Being pretty central and that fantastic blue colour it's very easy to find on Leith Street or Lebuh Leith. This was a street name that amused us now we live in Edinburgh, although it was actually named after George Leith the Lieutenant Governor of Penang from 1800 to 1803 and has nothing to do with Leith, Edinburgh. The mansion is only open at certain times in the day and can only be accessed by guided tour so make sure you check the timings before heading off or have an alternate plan to fill time if you do need to wait (there isn't a lot of shelter from the sun in the immediate vicinity). When we visited the tours were timed at 11am, 2pm and 3.30pm with gates…

Nanyang Malaysian Restaurant, Edinburgh

Having lived in Singapore for over five years we couldn't help but fall in love with the food there and this was one of the things we always knew we would miss a lot when we left. Whilst cooking up our own versions of these dishes (or rather my husband cooking up these versions) isn't the challenge it would have been once upon a time, thanks to the ease of getting the key ingredients nowadays, it's also nice to be able to enjoy a taste of that part of the world without doing it yourself. When we first moved here we guessed that we should surely be able to get some pretty decent interpretations of this food somewhere in the city, and so began the search. As luck would have it one of my husband's former colleagues was a Singaporean based here and was able to recommend a few reasonably authentic spots to him for us to try, one of which was the Nanyang Malaysian restaurant.

We've been here quite a few times now and it's pretty good, especially when we are craving so…

Spring has Sprung!

After what seems like forever, despite me really enjoying my first winter back (even though we didn't get any snow like this snow deprived lady was hoping for) Spring has finally shown its face here in Edinburgh. Daffodils, snowdrops and bluebells have bloomed and blossom is everywhere with its scent wafting on the breeze. The days have certainly got milder and the sun has returned, you can't help but feel good and want to get outside again.
Having shared some lovely Autumn photos on my blog previously I couldn't resist sharing  just a few from Edinburgh in the Spring too.

Exploring Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

Whilst returning to Singapore for a holiday was lovely we decided we couldn't travel all that way without going somewhere else too, preferably somewhere we never got to whilst we were living there. As I've mentioned previously we can be a bit last minute when making plans, so much so that we didn't actually book our trip away until we were in Singapore! Therefore we needed to choose somewhere where we didn't need to worry about visas and, yes I know most can be sorted online in a few days, but playing it safe as we weren't at home we figured we wouldn't chance it. Luckily that didn't mean our options were that limited.
My travels to Malaysia were actually pretty limited, perhaps somewhat surprising given that Singapore is literally next door! During the time I lived there the only part I went to was Kuching and then only for a blink and you'll miss it visit. Yes that's right I never got to Kuala Lumpur, any of the many beautiful islands (I've lu…

Arthur's Seat, St Anthony's Chapel and St Margaret's Loch, Edinburgh

Visit Edinburgh and you can't miss Arthur's Seat looming over the city, the now extinct volcano stands out from vantage points all over and is the main peak in the group of hills that Edinburgh is built upon. Let's be honest, if you've ever visited, lived or live here you can't fail to have noticed just how hilly a city it is.
I've done the climb/walk a couple of times now and whilst I wouldn't say it's the easiest, it's certainly steep in places and I have questioned my sanity as I've been doing it, the end result is well worth it. I confess I'd never really appreciated you could just walk up it until moving here, I suppose in my head I thought it was only climbable with specialist gear. Well you don't need anything like that but do wear sensible walking shoes or trainers and go prepared for it being windy and perhaps cooler when you get to the top. Both times I've done it have been stunning days giving incredible views across Edinb…