We have come to ‘The City of the Gods’ (which is how Teotihuacán translates) to see The Pyramid of The Sun. 

The pyramid is both very impressive and very large!   A small sign at the entrance informs us that it is the 3rd largest pyramid in the world, and the largest outside of Egypt.

Look closely – those dots on the top are people!!! Long way to go still….

I didn’t expect to be able to climb such an ancient and important site, but that is exactly what is expected of visitors.  It is steep in places and it is hot,  but that is not stopping anyone from climbing to the top.    It is incredible to think this site predates even the Aztecs by about 1,000 years and yet, even with all the people clambering upwards, it seems so well preserved. 

So many steps to the top.

At the top we have a clear view of this vast, ancient archeological site.   In front of this pyramid is a wide avenue, lined with long stone steps which, to my untrained eye, look like high city walls. This avenue was originally 2 miles long and named by the Aztecs as Calzalda de Los Muertos (the Avenue of the Dead).  The Aztecs got it wrong though, as they believed the temples at either end were tombs, but still the name stuck.   Work is ongoing to excavate the whole of the two miles, but believe me, in this heat, there is plenty to explore right now. 


View of the Pyramid of the Moon and the Avenue of the Dead – from the top!

At the other end of the avenue is the Pyramid of the Moon, smaller, but no less impressive.  

Inside one of the temples, is a cave which was considered to be the place where God created the world.   It’s not open to the public, but we didn’t find it anyway!  

Mexico has officially designated special places as ’Pueblos Magicos’.  If this place is anything to go by, I can’t want to see some more. Magical indeed!

Snapped at the very top !  



Extra Information & How get to the Pyramid of the Sun and Teotihuacán

To get there

Buses from Mexico City Bus Station go very frequently. Cost MX$104 return ticket. The bus drops you right at the entrance. We didn’t book ahead. If you are driving, there is a free car park on site.

Entrance Fee –

For foreign visitors the price is MX$70 (and includes visits to a nice toilet!)

Opening Hours –

9am to 5pm. It’s one of the few sites open every day, including Mondays.

Mexico City – If only we had known..

We will be posting more about our current travels around Mexico over the coming weeks, but for now, a taster of our first few days in México City and an insight into some of the things we wish we had known in advance #EpicFails

Continue reading “Mexico City – If only we had known..”

Bologna – La Grassa

Rick Stein, the renowned Cornish chef turned TV Gourmet-Traveller has been responsible for many of our destination choices recently.  It was his influence that fuelled our desire to visit the food capital of Italy and is one of the reasons we head off to Mexico in the next few weeks.  

Before you start to think that we know him personally, we don’t.  It is his TV programs that have ignited a thought or fanned the flame on an already burning desire to visit somewhere new. 

The city of Bologna certainly made for a delicious destination choice.  It’s reputation is well founded – Bologna is a foodie adventure playground. Food aside, there were so many memorable moments – the beautiful medieval city is bustling with excitement – the towers and porticos that define the city made it unique and very, very special.  

bologna porticos1EDF84F0-7AF9-4EE9-83F5-F51F1B09C862

Since the Middle Ages Bologna has  been affectionately known by three nicknames:

La Grassa (The Fat One)

The country’s most famous ragu sauce is named after the city, but did you know that many of Italy’s most important and truly iconic ingredients are produced within 35km of the city walls including Parmigiano-Reggiano, Prosciutto de Parma and the world renowned Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.   

They say people of this region talk more about, eat more and care more about food than anywhere else in Italy.   We did too while here!  I am reliably informed that La Grassa relates to the size of the Mortadella Sausages rather than the waistlines! 


La Dotta (The Learned) 

Bologna is home to the world’s oldest university, founded in 1088 and still occupying some of the medieval and Renaissance buildings within the city walls.  Mozart and Rossini were both students here ; the old palazzo building is still home to the music college. As was literally just behind our apartment we were privileged to enjoythe most amazing music floating through the windows during practice times. 

La Rossa (The Red)

This nickname relates to the terra-cotta coloured buildings, which glow red in the sunlight. The left-wing, revolutionary tendencies are sometimes referred as La Rossa too.  And I did hear a cheeky comment that it could relate to the abundance of red wine produces around the region.  


We had so much fun discovering the many difference sides to the wonderful city that is Bologna. We climbed medieval towers (some leaning precariously), enjoyed picnics in medieval bars and spend ages trying to find the best gelato.  Finding the mortadella men  proved a little easier.  Finding Spaghetti Bolognese proved impossible.  Why?   Well we will share all these tips and more over the next few posts. 

Dozza Day Trip

One of our favourite day trips from Bologna is a charming medieval village called Dozza.   Officially recognized as one of Italy’s ‘most beautiful villages’, we were truly dazzled by Dozza.  

Our nieces Laura and Alice were visiting us for a week and loved the instagram opportunities and colourful artwork offered in this impossibly pretty place, declaring the visit to be their favourite day-trip. 

A dramatic entrance through an archway leads to the village. Very few tourists venture here, except during the biennial  Art Festival when national and internationally renowned artists are invited to the town to paint on the walls of these ancient homes, creating a permanent, open-air art exhibition for all to see. 


The streets were empty apart from the occasional resident walking the cobbled lanes.  At weekends Dozza greets a few more visitors who come to enjoy not only the art, but also the views, the restaurants and the stunning castle.

We felt like VIPs in the castle as we had the entire place to ourselves – no tourists, no staff, just us and the freedom to wander at will throughout.  The apartment rooms had me fantasizing about moving in (although the torture rooms and dungeons had our toes curling in horror!).    

We have seen a lot of castles in our travels and this one is certainly up there as one of the prettiest we have seen and in one of the prettiest villages to boot! 

It is so easy to walk around the streets looking all all the art.  You just can’t get lost. You might get hot and a neck-ache from looking up, but it will be worth it.  Trust me.

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The artwork and the castle are fabulous, but if you enjoy a glass of wine (or two!), you won’t be able to resist the beautiful cellar in the castle vaults.  Here you will find the Enoteca Regionale, where more than 800 wines from the Emilia-Romagna region are stored.  Lunch and wine tastings are available !    Just in case you wondered, Sangiovese is my favourite red wine of the region….but more about food and wines of the region later.

The castle even has its own quirky art gallery in one of the towers.


Dozza is just 35 km from the centre of Bologna.  To get to Dozza from Bologna by bus,  the  tourist office warned us that buses were run by prior request only and that even if we were successful in our request, we would actually need two buses and some hiking boots!   

We hired a car for less than €50. An easy drive –  the route took us alongside fields of vines and of sunflowers.  The nearest town is Imola (home of the F1 motor racing circuit).  

As Dozza is so small, half a day is really enough time to see everything.   Deciding to make best use of the car we also visited both FICO (The largest agri-food park in the world) and the Sanctuario di San Luca on our way back home, but you could easily drive onwards to Ravenna, Florence or Ferrara, all of which we visited separately.  More about those day trips (and others) will be posted soon.

As you may know, we like to travel slowly – we stayed a month in Bologna, falling in love with the city and the region almost immediately. Has a place ever had that impact on you? If so, let us know where!



Packing Light for Longterm Travel

How to pack like a Girl

We have been living out of our carry-on backpacks for over 10 years.  Airports, bus stations and the like are a breeze!   We travel light, but not ultralight.  Light enough to trot off to our hotel and not wait in a long taxi queue.  Small enough to keep with us on a bus/train/boat trip.  I cannot imagine how having more stuff would be any better.  So finally, after lots of promises and much procrastinating, this is how I pack….like a girl.

Luggage and Packing 

My backpack is ancient now but it is near perfect for me (strong and with a good zip opening – all the way around for easy access).   I don’t want wheels or extra padding for laptops,  but I quite like a mesh pocket.  I am faithful to my old backpack and have, so far, resisted trading up for a newer model.

Packing Light for long term travel

These days, prefer one simple packing cube for my clothes and a few ziplock bags which I use occasionally to keep items separate and to keep my ‘posh frock’ clean and flat. Trousers are rolled and secured with a hair band. Vacuum bags and compression bags do save space, but (& I can’t believe I am saying this!), I have space to spare.

48902A6A-3BD0-4477-9E07-6FB014087901 Packing Cube –  inside are all my tops, skirts, undies, a dress, and a sarong.  Space to spare for shopping bag, hairbrush and my sunglasses too!



T shirts are for sale everywhere – Clive replaces his frequently as we travel, but I am more quite fussy about fit and fabric.  I want something a bit more fitted (ie flattering!) and stylish, so I pack an extra top or two….it’s my guilty secret.

Tops and Dresses

  • 2 summer dresses 
  • 3/4 T-Shirts
  • 2/3 Cotton blouses (1 long sleeve)
  • 1 Cardigan (lightweight silk/cotton)


  • 2 Skirts (reversible, fine cotton doubles the options/wear, without being bulky)
  • 1 pair of trousers suitable for trekking, but nice enough for city wandering
  • 1 pr Capri trousers

Underwear and Swimwear

  • 5 pairs of knickers
  • 2 bras plus 1 sports bra (for exercise and/or very bumpy road trips!)
  • 2 pairs of merino socks (to wear with hiking shoes or as slippers)
  • 1 swimming costume


  • Sunhat – with a strap (which has saved it many times!)
  • Sarong – doubles up as a sheet, beach towel, scarf, privacy curtain, modesty (long) skirt 
  • Sun glasses 


Just one pair of each !

  • Walking shoes/sandals, 
  • Heels 
  • Flat(ish) sandals


  • Waterproof jacket (rarely taken and ONLY if it is going to be both cold and wet).

Packing light for long term travel

If it rains, I do as the locals do – buy a disposable rain poncho and wear with sandals! 



I will confess to packing two airport size liquid bags as I give one to Clive to carry through airport security. One or two of these items are shared use anyway!


  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner 
  • Body lotion
  • Moisturizer
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste
  • Shower gel
  • Sanitary products (2 month supply)


Most of the miscellaneous items here are packed in a small lightweight bags (see photo in ‘Little Luxuries’ section).  Other items will stay my handbag, or a pocket of the backpack.

  • Small hairbrush
  • Tweezers and foam nail file
  • Spare electric toothbrush heads
  • Zip lock bags in different sizes, couple of empty spare 100ml bottles.
  • Pen,  retractable pencil and notebook
  • Duct tape, small roll.  (Ideal for instant repairs/holes in mosquito nets etc)
  • Mini torch (batteries in upside down)
  • Mini sewing kit
  • Day bag – use a folding totebag if you are going mainly city, but a backpack style if you are planning on trekking.   Either should be not much bigger than a pack of cards when packed. 

Little Luxuries

It really helps to have a few little lightweight bags for groups of things.  

  • Make up – just a few basics (mostly sample or mini sizes) 
  • Heavy duty sunlotion : 100ml from the airport, i.e. 8 hour, 30+ factor, waterproof
  • Handbag –   washable/wipeable and relatively lightweight.  To fit iPad, bottle for water and camera. At least two zip pockets. 
  • Jewellery – just a few bits! 
  • Extra purse for spare cards, currency, keys etc.

015E3B3D-08C8-411E-B5BB-9AE62EB8A52EPhoto : These are my mini bags for make up, jewellery, cash and cards etc

Optional Extras

None of the following are essential and all can be picked up easily as you travel, but if I have a long flight or will be somewhere remote for a while, I might include them to make the trip a more pleasant. 

  • Empty 500ml water bottle (fill after airport security)
  • One reading book (Use book swaps for variety)
  • Earplugs – only important if staying in hostels or going on really long bus trips in South America! 
  • Phrasebook/teach yourself language book 


I just take my iPad and an electric toothbrush with the appropriate chargers. Perhaps a phone, but we often share one.  Clive takes all the other electronics! Sometimes I will pack the camera. 


I leave all this to Clive too! You could argue that some of my miscellaneous could be first aid items. 


We don’t often choose extreme cold weather for lengthy trips, so don’t always take much to keep us warm.  We can’t resist the amazing natural beauty such as the Bolivian Salt Flats or the vast mountain ranges such as The Andes, which at altitude can be very cold. Watching dawn break to reveal a wonder of the world is worth getting cold for (or buying a local wooly) but for longer periods, always go prepared. My packing list would include

  • Hat (possum or cashmere)
  • Gloves
  • Base layers (merino – it is antibacterial and anti pong!)
  • Walking boots to replace sandals (with extra socks)


Things I no longer take 

Security Mesh for luggage, heavy duty locks, money belt etc

Travel towel – we just don’t stay anywhere that we would need one.

Guidebooks – too bulky for multiple countries. I save maps offline and use maps from tourist information/homestays etc.    Use an online guidebook if you wish, instead of lugging around an actual guidebook (better still ask locals for recommendations).  Spare guidebooks are often on book swaps shelves. 

Fleece –  I have ditched this for layers of merino, which is cosier, more versatile, takes up less space and dries quicker. 



Typically our bags weight between 8-12kg.  We are often over the allowed carry-on luggage weight, (especially with the budget airlines)  but we have never  been stopped for a weight check in the last 10 years. I think it helps that we have only one bag each, check in online, and try look nonchalant as much as we can.

I might be umm… 50ish and have called this a Girls Guide to Packing, but indulge me, I still feel young at heart. Packing for the next new adventure is always fun! 


For more Packing Tips, click here

You might also like  :   How to Pack Like a Man 


Our Travel Plans

We are back in the UK, having enjoyed Christmas with family and spending time with friends since arriving. Our joy of travelling remains and our flexible approach to a nomadic lifestyle has not changed. We have been travelling more or less permanently for over 10 years now and, looking back, although our style of travel has changed, our excitement at living in, and exploring new places remains as strong as ever.

We are currently in Henley on Thames, looking after the most gorgeous dog called Lulu. Walks, in any weather are a delight here, especially along the very picturesque River Thames. The Chiltern Hills, an area of outstanding natural beauty is also on our doorstep. The countryside is dotted with traditional and pretty old English villages, and beautiful 14th century churches and 16th-18th century cottages.  It is no wonder that so many TV and films production companies film at locations around here.

TV locations 2018
The “Vicar of Dibley” church

We have no idea what will happen to our rights to travel in Europe after Brexit in 2019, so we are considering spending much of 2018 in Europe and new (to us) places in the UK. I think we will be quite busy.

Our England Plans

We signed up for a series of housesits in England, all in lovely locations – The East Coast, Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cheshire. We are looking forward to some walking in the British countryside and sitting by some roaring log fires in quaint places.

2018 TV Locations
As seen in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The New Avengers and Little Britain etc


We will also be catching up on those blog posts that we didn’t have time to write, including two months of life in a motorhome in New Zealand.


A European Jaunt

Inspired by a Rick Stein TV programme, we have rented an apartment in Bologna for a month from late June. I fear we will need to watch our waistlines as Bologna is known as the stomach of Italy or “the fat one”.  There are so many food specialities that it will be something of a gourmet trail as we trot around the region of Emilia-Romagna, noted especially for ham from Parma and Basalmic vinegar from Modena – both close by.  From here Florence, Venice, Verona, and even the Adriatic Coast all beckon.

Shorter trips elsewhere in Europe will be squeezed into our schedule.


The rest of 2018

Later in the year we will migrate towards some warmer weather for a while.  Right now we are being seduced by a city apartment in Oaxaca (Mexico), an apartment by the sea in Guatemala and a few Casa Particulares in Havana and Cuba. We shall see…



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