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It has been quiet on athomeinthehebrides for a couple of weeks as I had my parents up and then spent a bit of time in Austria and Slovakia.

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The Uig-Tarbert ferry bringing my folks across.

Although offset slightly by the mountains of debt, my globe-trotting youth has left me with a stack of travel related books which means that when I do leave for a new destination I usually have a guidebook to cover it…

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On the Stornoway-Glasgow plane

The picture above makes me happy not just because of the frugality it encapsulates (free refreshments, re-used guidebook, reduced fare courtesy of the Air Discount Scheme for rural folk like me) but because I am so often tormented on the shorter flights to Barra and Benbecula where no refreshments are served. This is not a diva-esque complaint; I would be quiet fine to sit on a plane for 30 minutes without refreshment but for the fact that shortly after breaking the news there will be no refreshments the air hostess promptly makes herself a brew with enough time to dunk two packets of biscuits in!

The trip to Austria and Slovakia was for an Uncle’s birthday and it brought together family and friends from New Zealand, North America, UAE, South Africa, Sweden and other parts of the UK. Given the relative proximity of Austria to the Outer Hebrides I was a little surprised my total travel time was one of the longest.

Vienna was stunning…and although I don’t think I could go back to living in a big city full-time, I certainly enjoy being able to walk round them, stopping off for local tastes along the way…

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The place where I stayed in Vienna was also home to one of my favourite writers for a period too…

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While I am not a huge fiction reader his books about youthful adventure hold great appeal. I also find the various quotes attributed to him amongst my favourites…

Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.

A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.

It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not to deserve them.

Slovakia was a quite incredible experience that was heightened by the extravagant accommodation at Chateaux Bela ( not featured in my guide to Europe on a Shoestring!).

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While the fairytale surroundings and good living in Slovakia was ideal given the long hours I have been putting in a work since arriving up here, I did return to the Stornoway with a renewed vigour for exercise and healthy grub!

Lucky I have some of the most beautiful runs literally on my doorstep…better go!

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