Solo Travel

21 Apr 19
The Scottish Sun
AS I stood in awe under the granite monolith that is El Capitan, I realised the scale of daredevil Alex Honnold’s achievement. The American took on a gruelling four-hour unassisted climb of the 900m vertical rockface in Yosemite National Park in documentary Free Solo — but seeing it from the ground was enough for me. Although I’m not too scared of heights, cruising past sheer drops to the valley floor as we made our way into the park was breathtaking and made my legs a little bit wobbly. After half an hour of driving, my partner Chris and I found ourselves surrounded by unsurpassable views. El Capitan, and the other giant mountain faces, loomed over us as we manoeuvered through tunnels and windy roads. We stopped off at so many breathtaking sights. Waterfalls that left a crick in your neck as you gazed up at them and river rapids thundering by as the California sun started to melt the snow. Luckily, we didn’t run into any bears — the park is thought to have 500 of them — but I did fill a large shopping bag of bear-related memorabilia to take home. ‘Woke up to sound of gentle stream’ We were only in the park for one day, and didn’t even take in a quarter of the stunning trails and sights to be seen. Both of us were desperate to see the ancient giant sequoias — trees over 300ft tall — but due to a bad snowfall the week before the road was closed. But it was part of a marvellous adventure in California’s High Sierra, where hundreds of thousands of tourists flock every year. After an exhausting day of hopping in and out of the car, walking to each beauty spot and giggling with excitement at each new place we discovered, we headed off for a hearty meal at Rush Creek Lodge. In true American style, the portions were huge. And with both of us being vegetarian, we were slightly apprehensive about the choices available. However, every place we visited had great options — and the cheese platter at Rush Creek was one of the best I’ve tasted. I was slapping Chris’s hand away as he tried to steal some of the deliciously potent goats cheese on my plate. He chose a garden board, filled with antipasti and hummus, which was equally delicious. Best of both worlds with wintry getaway to ski resort Residence la Berangere in Grenoble We then both devoured the buttermilk-fried cauliflower drenched in a sweet and sour sauce — as only two people who haven’t eaten real chicken in years would. Add on top of that a curry vegetable tagine and crispy, yet fluffy, fingerlicking potatoes and we were almost rolling out of the door back to the BMW 4 Series convertible we were cutting about California in. You can’t go to Tuolumne County without having a car. The area is so vast that you could drive for hours and not see another soul — not good for anxiety when you are constantly trying to make sure you’re on the right side of the road and going in the right direction. But it was easy. The roads signs were simple enough to understand while having an automatic took the stress out of furiously changing gears. Highway 108 is a magnificent sight, and led us on many adventures. We stayed at McCaffrey’s Bed and Breakfast just off the highway, a quaint and homely inn that owner Michael and Stephanie built from scratch. We woke up every morning to the sound of a gentle stream coursing past our window, and stunning pine trees glistening in the sunrise. Faces of Scottish Instagram flock to Coachella in incredible festival fashion Stephanie cooked up a bespoke breakfast and our morning catch-ups with her in the beautiful dining room became a highlight as she was always happy to give us advice on where to grab a quick bite to eat or what we could do in our downtime. The inn’s dog Ollie would also greet us every morning with a waggly tail, while the house cat Granite remained more aloof. On our first morning we grabbed our waterproofs and headed for a ski lesson at Dodge Ridge, where we were put through our paces by instructor Bruce. We quickly got into the swing of it, although once we were sure-footed enough to head up on the ski lift on the easy slope, I did end up with a face full of snow on more than one occasion. We were officially bitten by the ski bug, and spent two days skidding around and sweating in the California sun. Wearing three layers was a mistake, as one of the staff members pointed out “It’s still California!”. We were dressed more for the bracing weather of Glencoe back home. We refuelled with a fantastic dinner at CiBo. An Italian restaurant in Twain Harte that sources all of its organic ingredients locally and makes the bread, pasta and some cheeses in house. Again, I was batting Chris’s hands away from my bruschetta that came with a hearty tomato paste deep with flavours, while he demolished a focaccia. We gorged on house-made pasta, a baked fontina cheese with cranberries and a bowl of olive and chillies which owner Charlene described as a “pot luck”. This led to riotous laughter when Chris stuffed a blisteringly hot chilli in his mouth and immediately started to splutter. Our final day at Leland Snow Play was the perfect way to end our trip with a high dose of adrenaline. The premise is simple — grab an inflatable tube, get pulled up the mountain on a winch and then fly down the huge slopes at speed. We were instantly turned into children, screaming our way down as the tubes turned around halfway and sent you skidding to the end of the run. [article-rail-section title=”MOST READ IN TRAVEL” posts_category=”33″ posts_number=”12″ query_type=”popular” /] The speed of the wind sent my hair flying everywhere as I gripped tightly onto the tube. If we didn’t have a 160-mile drive back to San Francisco Airport that day, I’m not sure Chris would have been able to drag me away. The High Sierra was an adventure of a lifetime. We pay for your stories and videos! Do you have a story or video for The Scottish Sun? Email us at scoop@thesun.co.uk or call 0141 420 5200  
21 Apr 19
Mainly Miles

JetBlue was one of the first to install flat-bed Business Class seats in single-aisle aircraft. Their ‘Mint’ product might well still be the best.

21 Apr 19
Glossop Record Club

Glossop Record Club is back On Thursday 9th May at Glossop Labour Club for a session dedicated to soul legend Curtis Mayfield. We’ll be playing his 1970 solo debut album in full, alongside key tracks from his time with The Impressions in the 1960s, a few cuts from the album he produced for Baby Huey & […]

21 Apr 19
Stabroek News

How much do you know about self-care and what it means for your mental health? The term “self-care” is self-explanatory and it’s a practice that can do wonders for the mind, body and soul. Too often we get caught up with the frustrations of work and life in general and we become easily irritated when […]

21 Apr 19
The Deaf Traveller

Finally showered in my hostel and with a new change of clothes, I wandered out into the busy evening, the streets a lit with neon lights and the warm glow of street food vendor fires. I was absolutely starving and the best way I thought to spend my evening recuperating was to grab some food […]

21 Apr 19
Saddlebagsally

My complete guide to backpacking Vietnam with all of the travel tips I’ve learned. Including: how to get a visa, how much money to budget, where to go, how to get around, what to pack, and more. Watch my whole Vietnam trip! https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLU_lUDBq5HMwsGqslMJeq8y1oh_jYAkGU Help keep me on the road by buying some stickers! http://marijohnson.info/shop MY […]

21 Apr 19
Luxury Travel Diary

Emirates is a world class airline but which are the best Emirates lounges at Dubai International airport and is it worth paying to use the Business and First Class lounges? The best lounge is obviously the First Class lounge at Dubai airport and you can read why below. You can also read why we don’t […]

21 Apr 19
This Amazing Planet

perfect day in the central highlands. Always so good to spend a few days solo hiking in the amazing place.

21 Apr 19
Chamber of Secrets

It really seems like every square inch of out holy planet earth has already been observe, discovered and thoroughly analyzed. But believe it or not, there are many places around the world that remain largely uncharted and full of mystery. It’s actually so intriguing that these places your about to see actually exist, making out […]

21 Apr 19
The Travelling Bee

All nations have there own personalities it seems to me. Taken Directly from the Rough guide to NZ 2009 and summarised, I liked these notions. ‘The Maori have never been marginalised like native Americans or Australian Aborigines’. ‘There is considerable intermarriage between Maori and Pakeha (those of European descent) a fact that led to one […]

21 Apr 19
Egypt and Beyond

Istanbul is worth the visit if only for Hagia Sophia, Turkish coffee, and the beautiful architecture you see all around you. Today was my big religious sightseeing day. I woke to rain, WTF Istanbul! But I wasn’t going to let weather dictate. The Hagia Sophia is one of the most visited sites and I didn’t […]

21 Apr 19
Pretty Healthy

Do you remember your first ColourPop product? Mine was the Kathleen Lights Lippie Stix collab in Lumiere. Come to think of it, that was also my introduction to watching anything; beauty related or otherwise on YouTube. That $5 (now $6!) lipstick has led to countless orders, many converts, and a few holy grails. As it currently […]

21 Apr 19
Archy news nety

When I reached the age of 25, I had managed to annoy my education, my career and every decent relationship with a woman I had ever had. My only working prospect at the time was to be a solo singer in an Oasis tribute band that was living enough to buy beer and drugs every […]

21 Apr 19
2loud2oldmusic

For My Sunday Song #140 and the final of this 10 song run of Kiss songs, we are discussing “Rocket Ride” by Kiss.  The song is one of the five original songs on the classic live album Kiss Alive II.  For the second live album, Kiss stepped it up a notch and added some original […]