Friday, 1 December 2017

Review of EVA Air Royal Laurel Class

Since we had the British Airways flights from hell last winter, we decided to splash out and spoil ourselves this year.

EVA is a Taiwanese airline.

EVA Air Homepage

Royal Laurel Class

My Tripadvisor review

London to Bangkok - the flight was about 11 1/2 hours (13 on the way home).


The food was excellent!  My main course was one I chose ahead of time online - beef bourguignon and mashed potatoes and veggies.  There was an option of steak and lobster but I was leery of having seafood on a plane, even if it was in business class.

I took some photos but they weren't that great.

Cheesecake, cheese, fruit for dessert

One of the appetisers.  The other was unknown to me until we looked at the menu after we'd eaten them - foie gras (which I object to ethically) and something else which had a sprinkle of caviar on it. 


5 star!!  There was a high ratio of flight attendants to passengers.  Extremely efficient and friendly and helpful!  Very personal service and they usually used your name to address you.


Can't tell from this photo, but the area was quite a good size.  Lots of places to put your stuff.  I'm wearing the slippers they give you to keep.  They also give you pajamas which I found really comfy and soft and which we also are allowed to keep.  When we want to sleep we get a mattress pad that a flight attendant puts on for you.  Also get a duvet (at my feet), and the pillow is bigger than normal airplane size.  The seat is easy to adjust and just one button puts it into flat bed.  I slept for a few hours but not well because my stomach was a bit queasy from overindulging the day before and day of the flight.  I skipped the meal which was served a couple of hours before landing because of my stomach.  I really missed out.  Danny said it was delicious.

The seats are 1 - 2 - 1.  The way the seats are configured means you feel you have a lot of privacy.


The only thing that could improve was the choice of movies, etc.  There could be a much bigger selection.  I've been used to Emirates where you get a choice of more than 300 movies.

Airport lounges:

In London we were allowed to use the Air Canada business/first lounge as there isn't an EVA Air one yet.  Bangkok airport has an EVA Air lounge which we will use on the way home.

We hope to use this airline again next year.  The price this trip was just under £1,700 each.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

More info about Orkney

From previous post, info on the Churchill Barriers:

At my hotel I had scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on the 3 or the 4 mornings.  So delicious!

The Italian Chapel was my first stop when I arrived on Orkney, but while there I learned about a heart on a floor and on my way back to catch the ferry at the end of my visit, I stopped into the chapel again to see it.  

"The beautiful rood screen and gate was made by Palumbi out of wrought iron and took four months to complete. There is a tiny metal heart in the floor under the gates – a symbol of Palumbi’s love for a local girl. He already had a wife and family back home in Italy, so he left his heart behind. The rest of the chapel was now looking a bit drab, so Chiochetti covered it with plasterboard and painted it so that it resembled brickwork and carved stone. At this point he received help from a painter from another camp."

Future plans:

I plan to return to Orkney in the future and visit some of the other islands like Westray, Papa Westray, and Hoy.  I will stay at the same hotel.

One more video:  Along the North Sea on the A9

North Sea drive

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Leaving Orkney

Videos from my GoPro that I had attached to the windscreen.  

From the drive up:

Loch Lomond


On the A9


On the A9/99

On Orkney:




Photos at Churchill Barriers - WWII wrecks

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Day Four - Isle of Rousay


Orphir round kirk (church)

Forgot to add the detour I made yesterday. I hadn't planned to go as it was a long detour, but I had extra time....

Isle of Rousay

Another brilliant day! Except for about 20 minutes of showers it was sunny all day!

I had planned on either hiking or cycling around this island, but decided to take my car instead. I can see a lot more without having to rush, and I'll be able to carry heavy or awkward equipment without getting sore shoulders from a heavy backpack! Got binocs, tripod, camera and lenses, GoPro, spare shoes, rainsuit, etc. 

Rousay has been called the "Egypt of the North" as a result of the density of it's prehistoric sites.  

The island has been inhabited for over 5,000 years and there are five well presented monuments which are maintained by Historic Scotland and freely open to the public

The island has evidence from every stage in the history of Orkney, with a Neolithic settlement at Rinyo, Bronze Age burnt mounds, Iron Age crannogs and brochs, Viking boat burials, remains of a medieval church and the stately home at Trumland.

On Rousay - walks to ancient sites:

I only visited Mid Howe and not the other sites. It was quite a hike as it's down a steep hill and quite a hike to come back up. I was extremely impressed with the broch - so well built.

The island is gorgeous and I drove all the way around, about 13 miles I think.

Weather today:  About 16 or 17C, sunny except for about 20 minutes of light showers

Sunrise/sunset:  4:34/21:43 (9:43pm)

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Day Three - Ancient Sites

A brilliant day! Except for a short shower mid afternoon, and about 5 minutes of drizzle early evening, it was sunny!

Unstan Chambered Cairn

Underwhelming, but's a cairn.  

Stones of Stenness
Step back in time over 5000 years at what may be the earliest henge monument in the British Isles. The enormous Stones of Stenness are all that remains of a great stone circle on an ancient ceremonial site.
There was a guided tour at 10 a.m.

Barnhouse Neolithic Village
Didn't walk down to see it. 
Ring of Brodgar
The Ring of Brodgar Stone Circle and Henge is an enormous ceremonial site dating back to the 3rd millennium BC.

Ness of Brodgar (covered over until the archaeological dig begins again in July)

Skara Brae
Long before Stonehenge or even the Egyptian pyramids were built, Skara Brae was a thriving village. Step back 5,000 years in time to explore the best-preserved Neolithic settlement in Western Europe.
First uncovered by a storm in 1850, Skara Brae remains a place of discovery today. Visit a replica Neolithic house to see how its full interior might have looked. Then follow the path that overlooks the ancient buildings, imagining what life was like for the farmers, hunters and fishermen who lived here. The prehistoric houses still contain stone ‘dressers’ and box-beds.



Stromness is lovely!  Great to wander around.  Stopped in at the Mariners Museum. 

Brough of Birsay

Low tide this evening is 7:28pm. So I had from 5:28 to 9:28 pm to walk across to the island and not get stuck. People were impatiently waiting for the tide to recede and some didn't wait...taking off shoes and wading across. I stayed for nearly 1 1/2 hours. Gorgeous! Sadly, didn't see any puffins.

Reach this very special tidal island by causeway to explore Pictish, Norse and medieval remains. Brooches, rings and dress pins found on the Brough of Birsay suggest that it was a Pictish power centre.
The Norse settled the island 200 years later, in the 9th century, but may have lived peacefully alongside the Picts. It’s still possible to make out the remnants of Norse houses, barns and even a sauna. Later, a small church and monastery were built on Birsay.

Weather today: Gorgeous!  Warm and sunny.  Showers for about half an hour mid afternoon.  Drizzle for about 5 minutes just before crossing to the Brough of Birsay. Showers in evening as soon as I got back to hotel.  No complaints!

Sunrise/sunset:  4:36/21:41 (9:41pm)