The finest sequoia avenue in Britain, and a fantastic cafe from where you can see the red squirrels.
The cherry ferry across the Firth of Clyde
The start of the glorious gardens of Argyll and a gateway to the west coast.
South of Bideford on the other side of Clovelly is this dramatic coastal location with its lighthouse, beautiful cliff-top paths and a small shipwreck museum!
Join the A39 from Bideford heading south until you see the turning for Hartland Point
About two miles west of Ilfracombe - as the crow flies - lies this small gem of a seaside village. It's set in a very deep 'combe' or valley and is one of those places where you genuinely feel as though you've stepped back in time. The village can be reached by road where you can experience the vertiginous descent through narrow lanes or by footpath across the cliffs from Ifracombe with wonderful sea views.
Once there you can enjoy a variety of pleasures - visiting the Fuschia tea gardens or the Grampus pub, taking one of several excellent walks, or just enjoying the wonderful little rocky cove and beach which for many is the highlight that really provides Lee with its charm.
From Ilfracombe take the B3231 passing through Slade valley and Lincombe then descend into Lee.
The Sierra de Gredos, which forms part of Spain's Sistema Central, is approximately 140 kms in length running from Cerro de Guisando in the east to the Sierra de Bejar in the west, and boasts glacial cirques, mountain rivers and falls, and peaks reaching nearly 2600m.
Every season has something to offer in Gredos – from winter snow and ice, through the verdant and flower-rich spring to the pleasant temperatures of summer and the beautiful colours of autumn.
For those who like to be active, the Sierra offers walking for all abilities, climbing and scrambling on both rock and ice, cycling, mountain biking, paragliding, horse riding and both cross country and extreme skiing.
For others, there are rivers to swim in, historical sites and cities to visit and many beautiful natural spaces rich with an abundance of wildlife and nature to discover and explore.
Get the train from Exeter to Teignmouth, walk from the station to the seafront, and walk towards the ness, along the beach, around from the channel to the mouth of the river Teign, then walk along the river beach - you will be opposite Shaldon, and see Dartmoor up the River Teign.
Get the Teignmouth ferry to Shaldon, walk up to the ness, go through the smuggler's tunnel on to the beach. Return to Teignmouth on the ferry, and continue walking along the river beach, you will pass a row of original fisherman's cottages, and come to the Ship Inn, buy a pint and watch the sun setting over the moors.
Plaza del Triunfo is a great square sandwiched between the Giralda and Alcazar Gardens to sit on a warm sunny day with a good book watching the world go by. If you follow the Cathedral wall you come to Plaza Nueva where Seville's elite gather in the evening. The square is surrounded by boutiques and nice eateries and bars and is a good place to get a taxi.
Beware of the restaurants surrounding the Cathederal and Giralda as they are over-priced and will produce a different menu for the tourists!
Try and visit the cobbled winding streets of the Santa Cruz quarter where you will find traditional tapas bars, senors playing the guitar and flamenco dancing.
Seville is all in all a beautiful place to visit.
An isolated and atmospheric pebble beach with one of the most geologically impressive cliffs in the world. Lovely on a sunny day; awesome when it's stormy. Walk to the far end for total peace and quiet (but don't get cut off) then head to Crackington for lunch.
On the singletrack road between Widemouth Bay and Crackington Haven. From the viewpoint south of Widemouth Bay drive down 30% incline to the valley bottom where there is space for a few cars.
Venice is my most favourite city in the entire world, but when you are fed up of being jostled and barged into, when you become invisible to the ocean liner troupe let loose in the city for a few hours, where can you go?
Take the vaporetto or ferry from the Fondamente Nouve stop on Venice’s northern shore and travel 10km north-west across the lagoon to the tiny, windswept island of Torcello.
Deep channels run between the mud-banks and are marked by bricole, wooden poles lashed together and emerging from the water. The channels are busy with all sorts of craft - rushing water taxis, vaporetto ploughing along full of city workers, huge dredgers keeping channels clear and fishermen looking for shrimp.
The landscape opens out as you enter the lagoon. It’s often misty, often mysterious. The sky and water merge. Brine laden winds caress you. All at once the quiet of the lagoon becomes unearthly. A feeling of deep relaxation is within you, which can be strangely energising.
This silent island was the first in the lagoon to be settled by Veneti after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and Germanic invasion. It was virtually impregnable and became an attractive refuge for merchants and tradesmen. The population once exceeded 20,000 but by the 12th century the lagoon had silted up and Torcello became inaccessible and malarial. The inhabitants left, and literally took their fine residences with them, leaving a littering of architectural debris.
Just a handful of residents remain in this tranquil backwater. The two churches of Torcello stand in magnificent isolation around the overgrown piazza - the church of Santa Fosca alongside the oldest building in the lagoon, the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta founded in the 7th century. Its exterior is devoid of splendour, yet within are Byzantine treasures - the 13th century Madonna in the apse and the west wall decorated with a huge 12th century mosaic depicting the Last Judgement. The massive stone shutters of the windows turning on huge rings of stone cause the whole building to resemble a retreat from the enemy rather than a house of God.
The roughly crafted campanile is to be climbed in the early evening, up strangely sloping ramps. The throat catching beauty and loneliness of the lagoon becomes apparent. John Ruskin called it, “a waste of wild sea moor of a lurid ashen grey”. The mudflats and marshes are choked. The silted-up waterways are now homes to herons and egrets. Trees, reeds and broom grow over what was once a settlement. With imagination, this place is timeless. Just rest and sigh. Enjoy this place with an open mind and a willingness to get lost.
As you speed back to Venice for your evening meal, take a moment, turn, and catch that ‘Turneresque’ light. Watch the buildings of the island melt into the lagoon.
Torcello is the perfect antidote to glamorous Venice. There’s time for quiet contemplation, which too often nowadays can elude you in Serenissima.
Stay at the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion if you like quaintness and history, stay at the g Hotel if you prefer hip and contemporary lodging.
Also, tour the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, eat at the Gurney Drive food stalls and sample everything.
Don't try to take out illegal CDs or DVDs. Read The Star. Visit Kek Lok Si temple. Take the cable car, but arrive early: the lines are awful. Walk the canopy walk. Buy a Makansutra food guide. Indulge in a MacWaffle at Red Garden.
Trip report, with photos, at www.travelmusings.net
Trip report, with photos, at www.travelmusings.net
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion:
g Hotel: www.ghotel.com.my/
As well as the more obvious Dylan Thomas connections, there are a number of beautiful walks around the village.
If you visit St Martin's Church, cross the footbridge into the new graveyard, where Dylan Thomas is buried, walk up to the top, and go through the gate into the lane. Turn to the right, and follow the track, this takes you into the village, by the entrance to Glan Y Mor, at the beginning of the cliff walk to the Boathouse. Lovely views of the village, and peace and quiet.
If you walk out to the boathouse, continue walking along the path on the cliffs above it. This path will take you on through some woods (slightly spoilt by the access road to the yacht club) which have bluebells and a romantic ruin, lots of wildlife!
You come out into fields, and can continue walking, up above the estuary, and towards St Clear's. You can circle back round to St Martin's, or retrace your steps. Take an OS map!
Another nice walk is from the car park at the Grist (village square). Rather than go beneath the castle, walk the other way, towards the sewage plant (it's only small, and looks just like a stone wall). Just before it, take the path going up. It's a climb, but worth it for the views at the top, of Laugharne, and the other way, of the Burrows, and across to Worms Head and Pembrey. Lots of birds and flowers too!
Finally, the bakery. Just round the corner from Browns Hotel, in Victoria Street. Excellent bread and pasties/pies, but the best thing of all, the butter buns. Get there before ten, as they always sell out, delicious warm, take them on your walk!
There is an hourly bus service from Carmarthen, if you are driving, take the A40 to St Clears, and follow the signs for the boathouse. Parking at St Martins Church, and off the Grist (tidal!).
A sky resort mainly, but there are some mountains you can climb and other trails you can follow.
A local told us you can follow a trail from Puerto de Navacerrada back down to the town of Cercedilla which takes about three hours.
Absoutely amazing views on top of the mountains of Madrid and Castilla y Leon. Makes for an amazing day out.
Take the train from Nuevos Ministerios, Atocha or Charmartin to Cercedilla where you change to take the train up the hill to Puerto de Navacerrada. Takes about two hours in total from Charmartin.
From there, follow other hikers up the hill and the various trail signs.
Havana is too big to see on foot. Take a ride in a horse and carriage, the driver is a proper tour guide.
We had a two-hour drive up to Plaza de la Revolution and back, stopping where we wished for photos and finding out lots of local knowledge.The funniest part was the driver chatting up girls walking along the street while we trotted along beside them.
Central Havana, we found Leonardo and Picasso outside the Hotel Inglaterra where there is a bar where you can sit and look out on the busy street.
In summer the temperatures in Amsterdam, like in any city, can get quite unbearable. Hire a bike and head for the green Bijlmermeer in the south-east of the city, only half an hour from the centre.
On summer weekends there is the Kwakoe Afro-Caribbean festival, which makes Notting Hill look like a family picnic. Football, food and kaseko and no multicultural pretensions.
When you get really hot and even the ginger beer doesn't work, take a dive in the sparkling clear waters of the Gaasperplas.
metro 53 or 54: station Bijlmer/Arena or Gaasperplas
This is a really good place for a walk or a relaxing afternoon with a book. And it's not only because of its bookish atmosphere. It's so much more than a university library. The building has a garden on the roof with some exotic plants and a small waterfall as well as many benches where you can sit and read in the sun. From a small balcony in one of the garden's corners, there is a view on the Vistula River and some of its bridges. Since the building is partly made of glass, the roof is a perfect place to watch students as they rush up and down the stairs.
It's by the Vistula River within a walking distance from the Old Town in Warsaw. Dobra 68/70, 00-312 Warszawa
A jewel in the Aegean, the easternmost of the Cycladic Islands, it has an evocative beauty, and is remarkably unspoilt. Swimming and plenty of remarkable walks, which give you views to the smaller Cycladic Islands to the north and west. It is a dreamy place, a place to rest and let yourself be taken by a traditional, intimate and quiet life of the island.
Dherinia lies on a hill, north of Ayia Napa in south-east Cyprus, on the edge of the no man’s land, which marks the border between the divided north and south.
One sunny, windy Easter-week day, we drove there and paid a tiny fee to climb steps from the haphazard garden of what is not much more than a shack, to a viewing platform where, through telescopes, you can scan a desolate and abandoned townscape of Famagusta, deserted during the conflict of 1974.
Our five-year-old son loved the telescopes and running round the platform, pointing out windmills and the sea, whilst our three-year-old daughter played happily (and safely) in the garden below, full of fig trees, plants and flowering bushes, feeding leaves to the giant tortoises that slowly ambled around a wire enclosure. We were mesmerised by the site of the empty buildings and houses, imagining the scenes on the day they were left amidst the violence and uproar.
Afterwards we sat in the garden at the wooden tables painted cobalt blue, having fresh, warm banana cake and tea, provided by the elderly, handsome owner, speaking grammatically perfect English - somehow a human embodiment of the region’s past. He has also lovingly curated a mini-museum to his country's sad history, with yellowing newspaper cuttings, photographs, signs and testimonies displayed. You are gently urged to write a comment in the visitors’ book before leaving.
The kids came away talking about their adventure and the fantastic cake. We adults found it an intensely moving, eerie and evocative experience.
Signed once you reach Dherinia, north of Paralimni in south east Cyprus.
Hotel Phillip Island is centrally located in Cowes on the esplanade with simply one of the best views from any eatery I have been in. The food is good with a quite extensive menu with plenty of seafood listed.
Quite a nice spot to while away the time with a drink, a meal and the view.
11-13 The Esplanade
Phone +61 3 5952 2100
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