As alluded to in a couple of recipes recently, I went up to the Isle of Mull to see my parents in September. I have been many times, and every time try to do something different. This time included popping to the idyllic island of Iona (twice, due to poor weather stopping ferries the first time) as well as a walk from Loch Buie to Carsaig (which includes a using a rope to climb down some rocks) and a number of other shorter walks. The trip also featured a 3 day period where we had no running water, as my parent’s pump on their private supply broke. This meant we had to carry about 1000 litres of unfiltered water from the stream up to their house, and we could only really use that for flushing toilets and running a dishwasher. Fortunately we managed to get a pump sorted in a few days, but it was a harsh reminder of why living on an island isn’t necessarily for everyone. This was also the first time I got to meet my parent’s new dog; Meg. She will feature heavily here.
I was sat sipping on a glass of wine, atop a boat sauntering down the Danube, my tour guide headphones discarded as they’d kept changing to Spanish, when I realised our decision to make the trip to Hungary was the right one. The clouds that had been lingering cruelly since we landed had finally parted and played their part in creating one of those sunsets you see on Pinterest or Tumblr, but a lot more real, and a lot less photoshopped. By this time we’d already feasted on a disgustingly cheap but hearty meal in the courtyard at Mazel Tov (Shakshukah Mergeuz for me, Falafel Wrap for her) and meandered around the Jewish District, where our stylish AirBnB was located. The first night of a 4 day trip to Hungary’s capital wound to a close with a few drinks in one of the cities many ruin bars before having an early night (and some chilli cheese bites from Burger King because hey, I’m on holiday) so we could get up early the next day.
It’s just past mid day on a Saturday and I find myself sat on a train emerging from a dark tunnel onto the shores of France, giddy with childlike excitement about what the next 24 hours is going to hold. I’ve already filled up on breakfast at Dishoom in Kings Cross (bacon & egg naan and more bottomless chai than any human should probably drink) and resigned myself to activating the roaming ‘deal’ (in the loosest sense) EE have offered me, which’ll allow me to use data and texts while abroad, in the knowledge that after so many reports of fan violence coming from the south of the country my family will want me to be in constant touch. We’re sat planning how we want to spend our fleeting visit to Paris, which a core focus on football. With the huge increase in security, partly due to the devastating bombings at the Stade De France last year, and now the disgusting scenes of hooliganism, we’re having to build in ‘getting through all that extra security’ time into all of our plans. Before all that though, we’ve got to check in at our AirBnB, actually see a bit of Paris and eat five million pastries.