Food – Glasgow: Catch West End. It simply has to be the finest fish supper in town!

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Catch West End can be found on Gibson Street in Glasgow. Pic: Google Streetview

The team behind the award-winning fish and chip outlet, Catch, is open once more – and despite the current Covid-19 restrictions, can still provide a fantastic fish supper.

So I decided to support my local economy – goodness knows they need it right now – with a visit to the company’s latest Gibson Street branch in the west end of Glasgow. Located in the student quarter, it was a shrewd move opening up this third branch. What student doesn’t like fish n’ chips?

There’s no car park and limited on-street parking, some of which is metered, but free after 6:30pm. To reach catch it’s on a local bus route or the nearest underground stations are located at Kelvinbridge or Hillhead. The restaurant is then a short 15-minute walk from either station.

Food – Glasgow: The Anchor Line. Worth the inconvenient noise levels for quality steaks.

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The Anchor Line building is an imposing structure.

Sometimes, just sometimes you want a good steak, and although many restaurants advertise the best, I suggest you try the Anchor Line in Glasgow before believing all the hype from others.

Luckily for me, I managed to visit before Scotland went into quarantine over the coronavirus pandemic.

The restaurant is located in a building that dates back to 1905 and was designed by architect James Miller for the Anchor Line Limited, a company established by two Glasgow brothers as shipbrokers and merchants.

The address of 12 to 16 St Vincent St, can be found just off George Square in Glasgow city centre.

Food – Glasgow: Dimora. Neapolitan food with a Mediterranean twist.

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If you’re looking for an authentic Neopolitan restaurant in Glasgow providing a touch of the Mediterranean, then Dimora should be your next stop.

Located on the south side of the city in the upmarket suburb of Newton Mearns, the restaurant is on a bus route, however, it’s much easier to reach by car or taxi.

There’s only a very limited number of parking spaces available, although on-street parking can be found directly outside. But be prepared for a short walk if you can’t find local parking nearby.

Travel: Finland – Apukka Resort, Lapland. A once-in-a-lifetime experience that should be on your ‘to-do’ list!

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Glass-roofed cabins at Apukka Resort

I‘m fairly certain it’s on most travellers bucket list, but a trip to the winter wonderland that is Lapland offers so much more than just the hope the Aurora Borealis makes an appearance.

We travelled with a specialist travel agent based in Newcastle who is renowned for Northern Lights trips – The Aurora Zone. There are a number of specialist providers in the market for trips like these, and although you can organise a holiday like this yourself, I’d highly recommend using an agency who have many years experience rather than having to try and put all the necessary components in place yourself.

For a start, Lapland is not an easy place to get to from Scotland, and like us, you’ll probably have to fly south to start your journey. We flew via EasyJet departing Gatwick on a direct non-stop flight to Rovaniemi.

Travel: Auschwitz-Birkenau. A haunting and poignant visit to Poland.

Six million Jews were butchered during the Nazi regime

1.5 million of those were children

1.1 million were murdered in Auschwitz and Birkenau death camps

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The camp watchtower. For how many would a sunset like this have been their last view?

He was a well-dressed officer with shining boots who uttered eight simple short words, articulated well although quietly, and without any emotion. Eight words which determined whether you lived or died — “Men to the left, women to the right.” It was as simple, and callous as that.

Those words exemplify the utter futility and absurdity of the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jewish race. It has been 74 years since the liberation of the death camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau in January 1945,  where six million Jews were butchered mercilessly – including 1.5 million children.

Accomm – Munich: Alpen Hotel. Family-run for 120 years and in a fantastic central location.

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The Alpen Hotel, Munich has been providing hospitality for more than 120 years, and rather remarkably, even before the trend for a green and healthy lifestyle, the hotel had Munich’s first vegetarian restaurant!

Now owned and operated by the fourth generation of the Bauer family, the hotel has been brought right up-to-date to cater to the needs of a modern guest.

The hotel still prides itself on its eco-friendly credentials, with the green range of bathroom toiletries, towel changes only on request, an extensive bio-food range on the breakfast buffet along with other touches such as low energy lighting and under-floor heating.

Travel – Beecraigs Festive Forest, Linlithgow: A winter wonderland of festive fun for all the family.

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Imagine, what could be more festive than an illuminated forest walk, sipping on a traditional glass of gluhwein and listening to a children’s choir singing carols by a warming open fire.

So, sit back and enjoy for this is Beecraigs Festive Forest. It’s a new venture for 2019, organised by local company Rowen Events and assisted by the team behind, what has now become one of Scotland’s most successful music festivals, Party at the Palace.

This West Lothian sound and light spectacular encourages guests to take a stroll along a 1.5km path while marvelling at the special effects and lighting – and some surprises along the way – which brings the forest alive.

Travel – Munich Christmas markets: How to inject a festive flavour to December.

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For those who like to inject a shot of festive spirit into December, there’s nothing like a trip to the Christmas markets in Germany, Austria or Switzerland to do just that!

This year it was Munich for us. Having previously been in Basel, Vienna, Berlin and Cologne. Read on for an honest account of how we found this European city’s festive offering.

We flew from Edinburgh to Munich via EasyJet after having originally booked flights with Lufthansa from Glasgow airport. Unfortunately, Lufthansa changed the route advising they were dropping the Glasgow to Munich direct service for the 2019/2020 winter season They then expected us to fly via Glasgow – Düsseldorf – Munich instead. Needless to say, when you’re only visiting for a long weekend you just don’t need the hassle of changing flights so we cancelled.

Food – Pathhead: The Stair Arms. Going in hungry is a good plan – portions are huge!

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It’s fair to say, there’s one thing you can generally rely on from a chef –  and it’s that they don’t oversell their products! And such is the case with the Stair Arms in Pathhead.

It promises good old-fashioned wholesome homemade pub grub with the odd nod here and there to a more modern style, just to shake things up a bit.

And one of the best things about it all is the fact it’s done seamlessly. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had problems with food service. Overcooked grub, cold food, delays, surly staff to name but a few but you won’t find any of these at this delightful country inn.

Accomm – Pathhead: The Stair Arms. A modern chic overhaul is hidden behind an original 1830s facade.

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Located off the main A68 south-east of Dalkeith and within shouting distance of Scotland’s capital city,  The Stair Arms in Pathhead sits high above the River Tyne in an enviable countryside location.

The country inn, a ‘B’ listed historic building –  was built in the1830s as a coaching inn covering the route between the Scottish Borders and Edinburgh. Originally commissioned by the late Lord and Lady Stair of Oxenfoord in 1831.  The venue has recently undergone a complete refurbishment of its main public areas and all 12 bedrooms.

Driving along the mist-shrouded A68, a traditional stone-built building emerged as I drove into the large car park.  I had a pre-determined idea of what to expect inside with dark wood, brassware, tartan curtains and carpets bedecking the interior. What a mistake that was, but more later.