Saturday, April 29, 2017

5 Budget Friendly Holiday Destinations for Summer

Budget Summer Holiday ideas

Going on holiday needn't cost the earth...

and jetting off on a break when you're on a budget needn't mean lying on a Spanish beach for a week just because you think it's an inexpensive option. The world has tons of reasonably priced destinations, if you know where to look.
Holidays to Eastern European countries have certainly gone up in price over the past decade or so; particularly those who now enjoy membership of the EU. However, in comparison with Spain, Germany and France in the West, they still offer excellent value for money.

Romania is a great option, where decent accommodation, eating and drinking remains extremely reasonable. It, and many other nations in the region, are well served by low cost airlines, like Ryanair, and can offer a bit of culture and history for a fraction of the price you might pay elsewhere.

While neighbouring Thailand can be expensive for a vacation, Cambodia can be really reasonable.  The vast majority of tourists head to Siem Reap, where Angkor Wat Temple is located, and the surrounding area is fairly well developed, with much of the accommodation aimed at the foreign tourist market.

Siem Reap aside, Cambodia has some fascinating history to tell for visitors who like to get off the beaten track, but there's also a ton of beach resorts, should relaxing with a drink and doing very little is more your thing.

The whole EU crisis hit Greece particularly hard and it's still to properly recover.  This makes it a pretty good choice for a cheap holiday as the country has become way more competitive to try to attract visitors it has lost. There are endless flights available from all over the UK to various regions and are generally pretty reasonable.

Whether it be a city break to Athens, or a lazy holiday on one of the islands, Greece has plenty of options for cheap and cheerful vacations. It also has some of the most incredible sights in the world. What's not to love?

OK, so getting there might to pricier than getting to Spain, but the are also some great deals on flights if you shop around. These can be even more reasonable if you end up with a stop between your point of origin and your destination. Unless you're adamant about go straight from A to B, a stop can save you a good chunk of change.

Hotel rooms in the US can be very cheap and eating is also pretty reasonable...

Gas is dirt cheap, so off-season road tripping can actually be a reasonably priced holiday. It's also the kind of trip that has something to offer for every member of the family as you can decide your own route and, should you end up somewhere you don't like, just haul your cases back into the car and go somewhere else.  It's as simple as that.

I include this from a UK perspective, as someone who lives in Wales and has been on several budget breaks to other parts of Great Britain and Ireland. Regardless of where in the country you live, there are tons of options, whether close by or far off, where you can enjoy a budget break.  Granted, the weather isn't always amazing, but that shouldn't stop you from taking off for a trip around your own nation.  

Naturally, I tend to go to Scotland for some of my trips because it's my home and my family and friends are there, but I've also enjoyed exploring sights around the South and East coasts of England, as well as throughout Wales.  One of my favourite spots is around Torquay, Devon and South Wales, where, armed with my car and my AirBnB account, I've stayed in some fabulously quirky places for very little and enjoyed some fantastic budget days out, such as the Agatha Christie Mile in Torquay, Cardiff Bay, and Caerphilly in South Wales. The UK has some truly amazing sights to see and they're literally everywhere. 

What are your suggestions for good budget destinations for Summer '17?

Suzanne x 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Sintra: Fairytale Town

The town of Sintra lies around 25k from the centre of Lisbon, and is just a 40 minute train ride from the city's central Rossio station

When I first looked at the photos of the town’s Pena Palace online, it looked like something from a fairy tale.  With its yellow and pink turrets and towers, and the fact that it was set on the top of a mountain with a long, windy road leading up, I imagined that Rapunzel might be holed up in there, waiting for a dashing suitor to let her hair down for.   

As well as the hilltop palace, there is a beautiful town centre, with lots of little cafés and quirky stores; a Moorish Castle (Castelo dos Mouros); Sintra National Palace; Sintra Mountains AND Sintra-Cascais National Park. On top of that, the area is also designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can’t ask for more than that, can you?   Exactly.  

The town also has the most wonderful winding road that snakes through the mountain side and leads you up to the jewel in Sintra’s crown: Pena Palace. In amongst these gems are other estates and buildings, all of which blend in superbly with the surrounding hillside.  Sintra’s train station is around 1km from the town centre, but even the walk from here to the town proper is picturesque and the atmosphere on our arrival was one of anticipation at what was in store for the day.  Sintra’s train route is the most congested in Europe, as is the road network between the capital and the town. That gives you some sense of how popular the area is.  

A Day in Sintra: Sculptures
beautiful old sculptures.
For once, despite the prospect of the walk/hike we had in store for the day, I was really excited about the prospect.    And that’s not my normal response when faced with a day of climbing.  Also, I knew they sold beer in the main town, so I could sit and rest my weary legs later in the evening. 

Sintra Town:
The town of Sintra is as colourful as the Palace, with the main square of Sao Martinho housing Sintra National Palace in addition to a lovely mix of cafés and stores. It's a charming and historic town, nestled in the foothills of the Sintra de Terra Mountain range and has long been a popular retreat of royalty. 

Although not as famous as some of the other sights at Sintra, there is much to see and do here that doesn’t involve the National Palace. For example, the glorious Monserrate Seteais Palace (which is now a luxury hotel) are equally picturesque and worthy of some gawking. I particularly enjoyed working out what on earth was being represented by some of the large sculptures at the side of the road into town. I didn’t know then and I’m still clueless, tbh.   They were very pretty, though.  

Sintra National Palace:

The Palace sits in the main square of Sao Martinho and is the best preserved Royal residence in Portugal

This is largely due to the fact that it was so well used for such a long period of time, meaning that it was also very well maintained. After parting with around 8.5 Euros, you can wander around the palace at your leisure, checking out the interior of the gorgeous white washed structure. Some of the highlights, for me, were working out just what the two massive chimneys were for that I could see from the road (they’re from the Vista de Cozinha or kitchen), as well as the opulent Swans Hall and Magpie and Arab Rooms.  

We visited the Palace in February, so it wasn’t uncomfortably busy and this ensured we weren’t vying for all the good views. Also: it meant we could take lots of stupid posed photographs without enduring quite so many odd looks. Portugal is world famous for tile and, once you check out the decoration on display at the Palace, you will immediately see why. It’s really outstanding and that makes it all the more difficult not to run your hands over it.

A Day in Sintra: National Palace
the iconic chimneys of the National Palace in Sintra town
Castelo dos Mouros:
The Moorish Castle sits on a hilltop in the Sintra Mountains and is at the end of a pretty long walk up a very steep, winding hill.  It is worth the effort, though.   

The North Face of the Castle offers unrivalled views of the valley below its location was key in ensuring the safety of the area and its people from marauding armies.  Plus, to be honest, if you led your guys all the way up that hill, the chances of you having enough energy left to fight were slim and none.  Honestly – it’s knackering – and that was winter.    I can’t begin to imagine visiting in the height of summer.

The castle was built in the 8th and 9th Century during the Muslim occupation of the area and this is very much reflected in the appearance.  It is well preserved, but nowhere near the condition of the National Palace of Pena.  Today, the Castle remains and has been added to somewhat with the addition of wooden panels, which actually fit really well with the original solid stone building. You can wander around the site and visit the Chapel, before taking time out to walk along the outer walls and marvel at the view. 

Pena Palace:
The National Palace was the summer residence for the Portuguese Royal Family in the 18th and 19th Century and was constructed on the 16th Century remains of The Order of Jerome Monastery, which might well account for its remote and peaceful location. I don’t know of many city centre Monasteries.   

A rail track was built between the capital in Lisbon and Sintra in the late 1800’s and, by the mid 20th Centre, the area was a draw for artists (pun intended), authors, musicians, as well as a millionaire or two.  The Palace sits high above the town, on the mountain side and can be seen, on good days, from Lisbon itself.   I didn’t see it, personally, but then again, I have no sense of direction, so would have no idea where to look.   But moving on…

This really is the jewel in the crown of the entire range of Sintra attractions and still functions as a venue for really posh shindigs...

It is also one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal and an UNESCO World Heritage site in its own right.  It’s difficult to describe just how surreal the palace looks on approach and, as I said earlier, it’s reminiscent of something from a fairy tale.  Apart from the design and construction, the different colours of the exterior serve to make it all the more special. The interior is equally impressive, and as with the Moorish Castle, the views from the turrets are outstanding.  

A Day in Sintra: Pena Palace

A Day in Sintra: Pena Palace
this is actually real

Parque de Sintra:
There is a LOT of walking to be done within the confines of the national park, and you’d be hard pressed to find a more stunning setting to do it in.  I knew there would be a few miles in the day, so put on my MapMyWalk app for the duration. By the time I returned to the train station late afternoon, we’d clocked up 12.5 miles.  And that was just from wandering around the town and making it up to Pena Palace and back.  And, I might have taken a few wrong turns, but whatever… 
On a clear day, the views are breath taking and when your walk ends high in the mountains, at least you know getting back down won’t be half as difficult.  

A Day in Sintra: National Park
Even the swans have impressive castles here
If you can manage it, it’s a great experience and there’s so much to see on the way up the mountain.  It is very steep in parts, though, so do be mindful of it on your way up.   On the way down, you can console yourself, as I did, with the knowledge that there’s a plentiful supply of red wine in Sintra town, just awaiting your arrival.  It’s amazing how much more energy you can suddenly muster up when you know you’re only half a mile from the nearest bar….

Suzanne x  

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Prague: Six Sights Saturday

Prague: Six Sights Saturday

Prague is one of those cities in which it's virtually impossible to run-out of things to see and do. However, if you, like me, often take short breaks across Europe, you'll need to identify the things you literally can’t live without seeing and then squish 'em in. If you have a day or two to spend in Prague, these are my suggestions on six must-see sights:

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Top 10 Things To Do in Riga's Old Town

Top 10 Things to do in Riga

The entire area of the Old Town in Riga is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and, by any standard, is a must-see if visiting the Baltic city. The colours, sights and sounds are wonderful and it's handily compact and very easy to see on foot. There are hop on tour buses and trams, but, if the weather is decent, wrap up warm and hit the streets.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Six Sights Saturday: Krakow

Six Sights: Krakow

This week, we're jetting off to Poland for another itinerary for a quick city visit; this time to the fabulous city of Krakow. These are my six must-see sights: 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Six Sights for Saturday: Istanbul

Six Sight Saturday: Istanbul

Istanbul is the most highly populated city in Turkey and has the interesting quirk of being located in both Europe and Asia.  It is situated on the Bosphorus River, which connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara. Around 64% of the population lives in Europe (the Thracian side) and the remainder in Asia (on the Anatolian side). 

If you have a day or two to spend here, these are my must-see sights:

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Travel Bug's 3 Fascinating Facts about Riga

The Travel Bug has dusted off his walking boots, bought himself a new winter coat, and embarked on his first adventure of 2017 to the beautiful Latvian capital city of Riga. He read all his guide books carefully; used lots on online bug chat forums, and these are the fascinating facts he uncovered:

TTB Riga Latvia
Me outside the House of the Blackheads in the Old Town
Born in Riga as Jakobs Jufess, and later known as Jacob W Davis, this tailor was asked by a customer to design strong trousers for her husband, who worked as a woodcutter.  Jacob's answer was to come up with the basic formula for jeans.  He later teamed up with Levi Strauss to patent the product and the rest is history.  

Riga Balzams:
The city is home to a rather powerful blackcurrant liqueur called Black Balzams. It's made from a combination of 24 different herbs, as well as some extremely strong pure alcohol vodka.  According to stories, Catherine the Great once visited from Russia while full of cold and was cured after a shot of Balzams.  TTB's humans tried it and can confirm that it does, indeed, kill off any bad bacteria in your body.

Riga is home to the largest market in Europe, which is located in Old Town and is housed over five massive zeppelin hangars by the side of the Daugava River. Each hangar is dedicated to a different product; such as meats, fish, cheeses, spices and fruit and veg, and it has plenty of fresh carne for hungry little bugs.... 

Do you have any other fascinating facts about Riga to sure with The Travel Bug?

TTB xx

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Top 5 Sights In Palma

I'm the first to admit that Spanish Islands never feature in my list of travel targets as I tend to,  rightly or wrongly,  associate them with drunk British tourists and family holidays.  I know this means I'm missing out on all the history and culture that lies beneath the surface,  so I thought I'd check out to historic city of Palma in Mallorca and see what sights it had to offer. 

la sue cathedral, palma mallorca majorca
the magnificent Palma Cathedral
La Seu Cathedral:
This Gothic Roman Catholic gem sits in the centre of Palma's historic old town and has taken pride of place since the early 1600s, looking out over the Mediterranean sea and the popular Parque de la Mar. 

Gaudi was famously asked to assist with restoration project but resigned his position after a fall out with in 1914, before many of his ideas were put into place. One of the only changes made was the addition of a large canopy, which remains in place today. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

60 Minutes at La Boqueria Market, Barcelona

60 Minutes at La Boqueria Market, Barcelona

There are several excellent markets strewn throughout the city of Barcelona, but the Mercado de San Josep de la Boqueria (not a venue you should try to your other half after a couple of glasses of Rioja, let me tell you) is arguably the best, as well as the most famous.

Drawing huge crowds of locals and tourists, the market can be entered from La Rambla with the Liceu metro stop less than a minute walk away.  It is also well served by buses.

If you have an hour to spare and want to see a riot of colours and experience a world of aromas; La Boqueria is a must visit location.

60 Minutes at La Boqueria Market, Barcelona

60 Minutes at La Boqueria Market, Barcelona
Ham, far as the eye can see....

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pisa: Piazza de Miracoli

Pisa is world famous for its Leaning Tower, but this makes up just one quarter of the historic buildings within the city's beautiful central Piazza.

Leaning Tower/Campanile: 

Piazza de miracoil, pisa

This 56 metre high tower of beautiful white marble is an iconic attraction that tourists flock to the city to see. Originally used as a Bell tower or Campanile, it was built to accompany the Cathedral that dominates the Piazza.  
The tower has never stood upright, and was already leaning by the construction was completed. This was not intentional, but has gained the building far more coverage than it may otherwise have had. 
The foundations of the Tower have been strengthened over the years, with construction work undertaken to ensure that the soft ground on which the tower was built was shored up to prevent any further tilting. The current tilt is around 4 degrees.
This tilt means that here are 296 stairs leading to the south facing viewpoint and only 294 to the north. The Tower, as part of the Piazza dei Miracoli, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Cathedral/Duomo:
Piazza de miracoil, pisa

Sitting proudly at the heart of the square, this grey and white mixture of marble and stone more than stands up to its more famous neighbour.
The interior of the Cathedral, as you would expect, is no less impressive and contain a number of important historical works, including the Griffin, which, standing at more than 1 metre high, is the largest Islamic sculpture in the world. The pulpit in the building was designed by Italian master, Nicola Pisano.  
Amongst the other Christian treasure within the walls is one of the Jars of Cana, which was the wedding at which, according to The Bible, saw Jesus perform the miracle of turning water into wine.

Pisa Baptistry of St. John:
Piazza de miracoil, pisa This Baptistry is the largest in Italy and stands at 55 metres high. As with its neighbours, it is built with Italian marble, but has a touch more colour in its typically Tuscan style terracotta coloured tiled dome which, when coupled with the interior pyramid shaped roof make the chamber of the religious treasure acoustically perfect.  
The architecture of the Baptistry is a mixture of classic Romanesque at the bottom, with a very Gothic, pointy style towards the upper reaches. This was due to the fact that the structure took quite so long to complete.  
The interior of the Baptistry, when compared to the Cathedral, is somewhat bereft of embellishment. As with the Duomo, the pulpit here was also designed by #Pisano and dates back to around 1260.  
Although the inside might lack some of the wow factor seen the Duomo, the exterior is outstanding, so do try to wander around the outside in a daze while you marvel at the gargoyles keeping watch from their perches above.
Somewhat unbelievably, the Baptistry is actually taller than the Leaning Tower, although because of its width, it certainly doesn't look it. However, it is only by a very marginal distance and only if you include the height of the statue of St John that tops the dome.

Camposanto/Monumental Graveyard:

Piazza de miracoil, pisa

This was the final part of the overall complex to be constructed and is a long building, which took just shy of 200 years to build. Campo Santo means Holy Field and, well, what you see is what you get.  
Heartbreakingly, after a bombing attack towards the end of WW2, the roof of the cemetery building was destroyed by fire and the vast majority of the frescoes, sarcophagi and other artefacts were destroyed. 
There are three chapels within the cemetery and, on occasion, Mass is still held within the Dal Pozzo.   Within the Aulla Chapel is a grander version of the lamp that astronomer, physicist, mathematician and all round brain box, Galileo used to figure out pendular movement. I won't pretend that I've the faintest idea what he was doing, but clearly it was massively important...
Legend has it that bodies of the dead who were buried within the confines of the Campo Santo would rot within 24 hours, such were the powers of the sacred soil which was shipped over from Jerusalem. 

Have you visited Piazza de Miracoli?

Suzanne x

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Grand Canyon: Sunrise Hiking at Horseshoe Bend

There aren't many things in life worth dragging your carcass out of bed at 5:45am for, but this is definitely one of them...

My husband loves taking photos of sunsets. He's not that fussed about where these occur, just as long as he can snap them.  I knew, since we were road tripping close to the Grand Canyon, there was zero chance of me getting out of being dragged into the barren desert at least once during our holiday (twice, actually...) and made to hang around while Les amused himself photographing the fading sun. 
I, on the other hand, spend this time in the desert worrying about all the odd animal noises and trying to decide if coyotes and rattlesnakes are attracted by the smell of apple Chapstick.     
Anyway, my odd fears aside, Les decided that Horseshoe Bend, on the Arizona side of the Grand Canyon, was where he'd like to visit.  Being the agreeable person I am (and knowing I could steal all his photos later on), I agreed.  Also: it was on the way to our apartment in the town of Page, so I didn't really have a choice in the first place. Damn that evil genius and his mad mapping skills. 

Sunset Hiking

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona is a very popular sunset hiking spot and when we arrived around a half hour before the sun faded, the car park was already overflowing. I'm not a huge fan of Other People (Introvert alert...), so I wasn't overly excited about the prospect of sharing a romantic sunset with the population of a small city.  

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Horsehoe Bend (very, very early in the morning)
We quickly decided (mainly due to the look of terror on my face), that we would give up in the whole sunset idea and go for sunrise instead. Surely everyone would be too lazy to get up at 5:45am to come down and watch the sun coming up? Thankfully, they were.  
We drove out in the dark of the early morning, sleepily making out way towards Horseshoe Bend and were thrilled to find just a handful of cars in the lot.     
We strode from the car park and walked the half mile or so down to the rum of the Grand Canyon. There is signage warning you not to wear sandals and these or flip flops are probably not a great idea. The terrain is very rocky and anything that might cause your feet to slide around in your shoes is best to be avoided when hiking. You don't want to be perfecting that selfie and end up taking a long dive for a swim in the Colorado River.

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OK, so maybe it was worth getting out of bed for.  Don't tell anyone I said that, though.  

Hiking Rules
Signs also warn you not to stray for they trail, which is also a wonderful idea. It is very rocky and the trail is clearly identified by being the well trodden path covered in sand. There are no barriers on the rim (would kind of spoil the view and the natural wonder of it all), so do be careful to consider your steps when getting close to the edge.     
Apart from that, and taking water if you're going during the day (it's hotter than hell; even in October), have a lovely time!!  It was well worth getting up at such an ungodly hour to watch the sunrise change the colours of the red rock and watch the Colorado transformed into a green ribbon in the valley below.

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So beautiful
And, in case you were wondering, rattlesnakes and coyotes are not, it would appear, attracted to apple Chapstick. I can't vouch for any other flavour, so you'll have to take your chances.
The USA has so many outstanding beauty spots to hike in (and drive through) which are the perfect escape from the stress of city life. They're also never quite as remote as you think. There's no bad time to visit the Grand Canyon, as well as the Smokies, rural New England (and too many other areas to name), although off seasons is not *quite* as hot as in the summer months and the changing leaves in spring and autumn are absolutely spectacular.

Suzanne x 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

6 Great Robert Burns Attractions in Dumfries and Galloway

I was lucky enough to work in Dumfries and Galloway during my time with VisitScotland and many of the attractions that I graded in the area were related to the life and work of Scottish poet, Robert Burns. The Scots are very proud of their Bard, much in the same way that the English are with Shakespeare and the Irish are of James Joyce.

We’ve carefully conserved his various residences, books, belongings and moved his body from the pretty poor grave he originally had, to a far more appropriate, and might I say, pretty grand, resting place he now lies.      

Burns Sandstone, Dumfries
Dumfries is full of tributes to their most famous resident. 
As far as Dumfries goes, it is synonymous with Burns’ life and work, in the same way that Ayrshire is.  Burns lived in the town centre, as well as owning a cottage in the countryside, and his remains lie in the local graveyard.  Even the pubs he frequented wisely choose to remember him.     His long suffering wife has also managed to find herself the subject of a beautiful statue in the town which, after putting up with his inability to be faithful, in my opinion, she thoroughly deserves.    

Burns worked as a modern day equivalent of our deeply beloved HMRC’s tax/VAT inspector and he would ride around on his trusty steed, making sure the locals were paying the correct amount of tax.  He must’ve been wildly popular during business hours.   

In anticipation of Burns Day 2016 (which falls on 25th January), these are the fabulous Burns attractions you can visit in the D&G Region:

Burns Garden, Dumfries
Burns House, Dumfries:
Conveniently located on Burns St (because obviously), in the middle of the town, this is the 18th Century building where the Scottish national poet spent the last years of his life.     

The chair Burns used to write in, plus the famous Kilmarnock edition of his work, is prominently displayed in the building.   One of the best features of the small house is Burns’ carving of his name in the upstairs window.  

If you venture just outside the house, there’s also a beautiful garden area, full of flowers and stone carved excerpts from his most famous works.   Burns House has no admission charges.   

Burns Mausoleum, Dumfries
Rabbie's grave 
Burns Grave, Dumfries:
After his death in July of 1796, Robert Burns was laid to rest in St Michael’s Churchyard in Dumfries.   His original grave was unimpressive, so his body was moved to a more appropriate area of the yard 20 years after his passing.  

Burns and his family now have a beautiful Mausoleum in the corner of graveyard, which is much more fitting for a person of his talent and fame.    

You can visit the outside of the grave on your own, but you can also link up with a staff member from Burns House, who conduct free tours of the Mausoleum and hold the key to allow you inside.   

Burns Mausoleum, Dumfries
The interior of Burns' mausoleum
Burns Cottage at Ellisland Farm:
Ellisland Farm is situated around 7 miles North of Dumfries and is in a beautiful setting on the banks of the River Nith.  The peaceful surroundings give you a sense of what it might have been like to find inspiration in the whitewashed cottage and well-tended grounds.   
Many of Burns’ possessions remain in the cottage and there are several walks and trails along the riverbank.    

Burns moved to Ellisland with his family when he was 29 years old and the cottage was where he wrote ‘Red, Red Rose’ and ‘Auld Lang Syne’.

The Globe Inn, Dumfries:
Standing proudly on the High Street since 1610, The Globe was the preferred watering hole of the famous Bard during his time living at Ellisland and, latterly, in the town centre, from where it must have been much easier for him to stagger home.  

The Globe has kept Burns’ favourite drinking seat (all Scots have one of these) and you can have a wee dram from the comfort of it.   I’m actually not sure if it that comfortable as it’s really, really old.   However, once you’ve had a few whiskies, your read end will be numb so, who cares? 

The Globe also has a small museum and gift shop on site, to fulfill all your Burns related needs.   

Statue of Jean Armour, Dumfries
Bonnie Jean.
Statue of Jean Armour, Dumfries:
Jean Armour was the long-suffering wife of Robert Burns and, if there were living in this day and age, she’d probably have divorced him a long time ago.   However, despite her husband’s continual indiscretions, his love for Armour was clearly strong and the couple remained together.   Armour bore nine children with Burns and that, as far as I’m concerned, is deserving of a statue in itself.  

Jean’s influence on Burns’ writing over the years was great, and he wrote many love poems about her, one of which is ‘O Were I On Parnassus Hill’, which was penned on the farm at Ellisland. Burns also wrote many poems for his other women, but he always returned to Armour’s side.

Jean outlived her husband long enough to see his work gain global fame.  She ws buried in the specially commissioned Mausoleum at St Michael’s after her death in 1834.   

The River Nith flowing through Dumfries
The River Nith, Dumfries 
Robert Burns Centre, Dumfries:
Set next to the old bridge on the banks of the River Nith at Mill Street, RBC takes you through the 8 or so years that the poet spent living in the town. As with many of the other attractions, this small museum is run by team of dedicated volunteers who have a genuine love for the life and work of the Bard.

This gorgeous old water mill features an audio guide, as well as original papers and manuscripts belonging to the famous poet.  The building also houses a gift shop and café and has no admission charge.  

Suzanne x