Yesterday I took my family to Southsea for the day. The weather was glorious and the people so friendly. The highlight of our visit though, was the couple of hours we spent at Clarence Pier. It has a Wimpy, penny arcades, an indoor kiddie play area but best of all about a dozen amusement rides. We bought a family bag of tokens for twenty pounds and were given another five pounds free. It was a great afternoon and money well spent. I would recommend it to anyone.
Clarence Pier, Southsea
The Latvians call Sigulda the Switzerland of Latvia, which is a slight exaggeration although it is very beautiful and well worth visiting in summer or winter.
The bobsleigh track is Olympic standard and is worth a trip just to see it. Much better though is to go on a Saturday and actually go down the track. In summer they have a wheeled bobsleigh with a driver, and in winter they have a padded one (for visitors!) which goes on the ice.
About one hours drive from Riga - get on to Brivibas and just follow the road.
Also, there is a train direct from Riga.
The bobsleigh track is walking distance from the station and well signposted.
At the Krka National Park, there is a set of waterfalls and cascades called Skradinski Buk. The scenery here is absolutely fantastic and when you arrive at the bottom of the cascades you can take a dip in the freshwater - the only place in the park that allows swimming. A grand day out!
About and 11/2 hour drive from Trogir
Take a trip outside Dublin to Glendalough (glen of the two lakes), a village in County Wicklow complete with lake and an ancient monastic settlement from the 6th century. A very magical place not far from Dublin city.
A narrow gauge railway of Edwardian vintage takes an hour to travel, literally, through the Tramuntana mountains, brooding for all the world like a stage set from The Sound of Music, via tunnels and gorges to the pretty town of Soller.
Along the way the solid mahogany carriages rattle and sway on their narrow gauge track for an hour until they reach a little station which here would be known as a wayside halt. The train takes a short rest while passengers are encouraged to stretch their legs and take a few photos.
Soller itself is pretty with its little Placa where there are some cafes and a church, I think it’s Saint Bartholomew’s, but we cannot find Saint Anthony anywhere inside to give him a few Euros.
Beautiful limes give a coolness of shade in the square to anyone who wants to sit and do nothing. A tiny toast-rack tram trundles through the square every thirty minutes, full of its own self-importance, and takes passengers down to the port. Essentially this was originally for moving oranges and lemons down to the coast, but now shifts crates of tourists instead.
Timetables of departures and arrivals may be printed on pretty coloured brochures, but when it comes to what time the train leaves to go back? Jump on the nearest one no matter what time it leaves. It doesn’t go anywhere else except Palma.
The Lakes and National Park at Plitvice are magnificent. Wooden walkways cross the still glassy clear lakes and at some points you can look down and see a vertical forest of fallen trees. The paths take you close to the stunning waterfalls but are done in a way that doesn't feel intrusive. Great for a days walking as an excursion from the coast.
A couple of hours drive from the coast.
Take a bus from Zagreb main bus station, there was one per hour when I went. Busses back not weren't so reliable, but the service has probably improved now. Journey is around an hour and takes you through the Croatian countryside still scarred by the conflicts.
A lovely out-of-town place with a wonderful pub, The Cramond Inn, which has a big beer garden and parking space, and serves loads of good and traditional food for really good prices and has also drinks from a small, independent brewery Scintilla and spectacular beers and ales.
Its near the wonderful seaside promenade, with about 45 min if walked in full.
The path to Cramond Island is only walkable when the tide is out, so take some water with you in case you'll get trapped there with the tide rushing in.
Nice for doggies, kiddies and their owners as there is a big beach, too.
Take bus no 41 directly to Cramond or 42 to first walk the seaside promenade to Cramond;
Cramond Inn: 30 Cramond Glebe Road, EH4 6NP;
tel: 0131 336 2035;
Leave the madness of Edinburgh Saturday afternoons behind, and catch one of the very frequent trains to Glasgow city centre. Have lunch, walk around, shop and drink to your heart's content, and get back to Edinburgh in time to freshen up for a good night out!
Trains are every 20 mins and take about 50 mins, from city centre to city centre;
Take a trip along these gentle waterways and enjoy the fairytale atmosphere of the quaint houses with their narrow frontages. Hooks high up above the top storey testify to the time when payment of rates of houses was based on the size of their frontages. These were kept as narrow as possible, hence stairs were unable to accommodate furniture which had then to be taken up by hoist.
If you believe in it, you can kiss the Blarney Stone on the top of Blarney Castle, about ten kilometres from the city. The legend derives from Cormac Teige McCarthy who, when he promised loyalty to Queen Elizabeth l, but would not give in to her, got the response from the Queen that he was giving her, “a lot of Blarney.”
If after climbing the Medieval stone staircases, hanging upside down over the edge of the castle you still feel like kissing the stone, well and good. Me, I can’t help thinking about everyone else who has kissed it!
Venture to the west of the county where thunderous surf pounds the beaches around Clonakilty. We stayed in a cottage up a boreen beside a zinc mine with the rustic name of, “Our Lady’s Well Mine.” A pastoral idyll with echoes of Arcady, except for the blast of gelignite every day at noon.
It can be so hot here on the beach that the sand will burn your feet as you walk out to the water. And when you get into the water be careful of the jellyfish the size of dinner plates, to say nothing of the sea urchins…
Not far from Cork is Cobh, or Queenstown which is actually the port for Cork and it was here that the Titanic made the final landfall before setting off on the fateful journey as had many an emigrant to the Americas before.
Take the ferry across the bay (passing Alcatraz on the way!) to the pleasant town of Sausalito, which, with its restaurants, antique shops and galleries, seems to be the place where San Francisco's artists end up when they find the city too hectic. Then if you can, hike past the bridge to the Marin Headlands on the Pacific - it's great for walking or dirt-biking, and has a nature reserve and a small museum dedicated to the Portuguese fishing community that used to live there, and even an abandoned nuclear missile silo!
In the unlikely event you should get tired of San Francisco, Incredible Adventures organise day trips to places like Yosemite or Muir Woods/Wine Country (the latter being particularly recommended). You get picked up at your hotel by a knowledgeable guide driving an eco-friendly van run on biodiesel, where you join the small group you’ll be spending your day with.
Presidente Figueiredo is 100 km away from Manaus. There are three waterfalls there, including the amazing Cachoeira Suframa, where you can swim, and Santuário, which is probably one of the most beautiful in the region. The third waterfall is located right in the heart of the city.
Last Saturday we did a tour to the Pyrenees, which was beautiful and for us (my girlfriend and I) the best day of our two weeks in Barcelona. The thing I really liked was the size of the group. We always do tours like this when we travel, but all the time you have to deal with large groups of 50 people or more. This time we were only with 9 which was much better.
The view I loved the most was at the mountain of Vall de Nuria.
A serendipitous experience is to find a green bus at Victoria Station that looks appealing as to its destination, hop on and see where you land.
I've been in St Albans and through the Kent countryside and have seen parts of England and its heritage I might have never considered or known.
Victoria Coach Station
Salobreña is the weekend getaway for the people of Granada, but despite this, its sandy beach is quiet. The locals are very friendly, and the town itself is pretty, with a castle and a less commercialised atmosphere than nearby Malaga and Nerja.
Regular buses from Granada, which is 80km (50 minutes) away.
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