Extra Stuff

The Gurning Festival: September

Cumbria, England

The Cumbrian market town of Egremont comes to life on the 3rd weekend in September. The Gurning Championship and Crab Fair has run annually since 1267, making it one of the oldest in the world.

Traditional events, such as street dancing and grease-pole climbing are de regular. But the big attraction is Gurning. For those not in the know, gurning is pulling a grotesque face, usually jutting the jaw forward, curling the bottom lip as far over the top lip as possible. Having very few teeth seems to be a bonus in the competition!

To get that 'gurned face', try a tart Lemon Drop cocktail which goes nicely with some buttered crab.

La Tomatino Festival: August

Every year (except this one), on the last Wednesday in August, the citizens of Bunol, a small town in Spain, pelt 120 tonnes of tomatoes at each other,  for fun.


No one is sure where this tradition originated but it has happened every year since 1945. Some think it was a gang of disgruntled youths, others say it was a band of anti-establishment protestors. Who cares! Its the world's largest food fight!


Let's celebrate the La Tomatina Festival with a Red Snapper!


The Red Snapper is Bloody Mary's more fortunate cousin. This bev substitutes Mary's vodka with gin. The botanicals in gin bring out the richness of the spices and tomato juice. 

International Festival of the Month: July


The Festival San Fermin is a week-long celebration that runs every year (except for this year) from the 6th to 14th July in Pamplona, northern Spain. 

 The festival includes craft fairs, street parties, and the Procession of Giants and BigHeads.  During this parade, 25 beloved paper mache characters of kings, queens, coppers, and horses, enchant and frighten the children of Pamplona. The costumes, weighing on average 62 kilos and 4 meters tall, are the work of local artist Felix Flores, commissioned in 1890.

The highlight of the week of course is the spectacle that is the Running of the Bulls. Participants outrun a small group of cattle along a historic route used to transport bulls from grazing land to the bull ring in town.  

In honour of the Running of the Bulls, we present the Bull's Milk Bevy made with rum, cognac, milk, and maple syrup. Yum!

About Us


Fearing the empty nest? Don't! Since my children have flown the coup, I have had time to refocus on my passions of travel, art, and writing.  This little blog is a handy tool that helps me share what I have learned with others.


I grew up in the States, but have lived a large chunk of my adult life in the UK. I now split my time between London and South Africa as well as chasing the sun around the world. 


 When my nest emptied, I began to plan my trips according to my own schedule, indulging in going solo. Once one gets used to traveling solo, it can be a very freeing experience. I seek out interesting, informative and unique experiences, and proffer advice with my network of readers.  I also have a lot of fun!


 Spa retreats and personal growth travel are core to what I do.  If there was a master's degree in the art of booking massages, I would be a scholarship student! I also plan to conquer Europe one city break at a time and with all that effort, I need as many beach holidays as possible. 


So please enjoy reading my tales of travel. I hope you are encouraged to get on that plane and perhaps have a few giggles along the way.


When my large family was quite young, we lived in several international postings. In an age before Google Translate,  I negotiated the grocery stores of foreign countries in search of tasty ingredients. I soon became an expert at discerning information from food labels and also learned to cook healthy, quick meals from local sources. 


From this experience, I became quite the foodie, even before 'foodie' was a word. And now as an empty-nester and devotee of food travel networks, I  interpret those old recipes into smaller, even tastier versions. 


Being an editor and food/wine travel columnist,  I travel the world sampling indigenous recipes which I share on Old Bag on a Plane. I also love wine!


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As we are all not traveling much, now would be a great time to share favourite travel, wellness, and food stories. We would love to include your best tales on this blog. If you would like to collaborate, please email us here at oldbagonaplane@gmail.com

Around this time each year, we would create a recap of all our best adventures from the year just passed. As this is 2021, and there were no adventures in 2020, here is a short video montage of all the things we did while we were not doing anything at all.