Tag: trips

Norfolk Mini-Series: A Yurt and an Orchard

Tolkien once said:

Not all those who wander are lost.

That is so true.  It was way past lunchtime after our visit to Castle Rising.  We headed for the cafe there near the church.  It looked promising at the beginning, but just as we sat down, they announced that they weren’t serving food anymore, which we found a bit mind-boggling since obviously there were still loads of customers coming in, it’s like they didn’t even care!

By this time the three of us were getting a little bit grumpy – tired and hungry.  My husband though, ever the optimist, decided that we should just drive by the coast and see where it would take us.

To be fair, we did enjoy the scenery, but I guess he noticed that we were getting more and more quiet, luckily for us, we were headed for a lovely surprise just around the bend.

The husband noticed a sign to what looked like a farm-shop and we all know that they always serve good food, don’t they?  He turned to us and asked if we wanted to stop.  T and I both said yes, we were that hungry.  And as we parked, I noticed a Yurt that looked like they were serving food.  I quickly went inside and was welcomed by a very friendly-smiley-waiter.  I asked “Are you still serving food?”  He smiled and said “Yes!”.  I swear I could’ve kissed him when he said that.

T ordered a fish-finger sandwich from the kiddie menu.  We were expecting a few fish fingers stuck in a bun, but was pleasantly surprised when this arrived:

Does this look like a kiddie meal to you?  Admittedly, she needed help, which her dad gladly did.

I ordered a mixed-seafood noodle dish, not really knowing to expect.  Wasn’t too sure about it when it arrived and I saw an egg on it.  But absolutely enjoyed it.  I don’t know whether it’s because I was starving, but it was really good and filling.

I give this restaurant  five stars for food and service.  Their waiters were all lovely, friendly and accommodating.  Apparently, at night they also have live music so if you’re in the area, do visit Shuck’s Restaurant at Thornham.  Click here if you need directions on how to find them.

After a delicious meal, the three of us were definitely energised and decided to have a little poke around Drove Orchards.  There weren’t just apples, but there were also pears and other fruits as well.

After walking around the fruit orchard, the three of us headed for the farm shop and decided to buy more than a couple of bottles of fruit juice from this lovely orchard to take back home with us.  They were all delicious!

Thank goodness for Shuck’s Restaurant and Drove Orchard for saving the day!  If you’re looking for good food or like orchards, do give them a visit.

A Country Mouse Roams the Streets of Bristol

I think Bristol is my favourite city here in the UK.  I like the way it doesn’t really feel like a city in some parts, and it somehow makes you feel that you also live in the countryside.  I love the restaurants and pubs, especially the Old Duke and of course, this is also the place where the Historian and I got married many moons ago.

Before T was born, we used to come here a lot, especially since once of our oldest friend lives there.  That didn’t change when she arrived.  But of course all that stopped, when she became of school age.  Occasionally, the Historian still has scheduled lectures for the OU in Bristol and when that happens, T and I usually tag along and that’s exactly what we did last weekend.  It was a chance for a brief city break for the country mice.

We left Cornwall right after picking up T from school and drove straight to Bristol.  That night, we had a lovely dinner with our friend and strolled a bit around The Old Duke before heading back to our hotel.  It was absolutely packed.  The next day, we strolled by the quayside and had a lovely breakfast at Mackenzie’s restaurant before my husband headed off to his lecture and T and I met with our friend.  We decided to visit the Bristol Aquarium.

And I’m glad we did.  T enjoyed it so much as well as the adults too.  The place isn’t too big, but we spent more than a couple of hours just watching and looking at the different species.  We were also in time for the feeding, which was really interesting to watch.

After a quick-lunch at the very busy Stables, we decided to mooch around the city just to kill time before it was time to meet T’s dad.

Since it was a Saturday, there were a lot of stalls in the streets and T had fun just looking at all of the knick knacks on the tables.  We went to our favourite St. Nicholas Market and just poked around the stalls not really buying anything, but just looking.  We also stopped at a bookshop and just looked around.

I think T is planning a holiday on her own 😉

Not long after this.  I received a text from the Historian saying that he was done and will meet us back in Mackenzie’s.  Let’s just say we were a tad bit late 😉

We did enjoy our trip and we’re hoping to be back soon.  This time with some family members in tow 🙂  What about you?  What’s your favourite city here or elsewhere?

Have you planned your Summer Holiday?

I’m sure by now a lot of families out there have planned if not booked their summer holiday already.   If you’re one of those lucky/organised ones, well done, you guys.  When going abroad, we like to book ours well ahead of time too.  As you know, it’s cheaper that way.  Sadly, we haven’t done any bookings as I type this all because little T and I have to renew our passports, which we hope to get sorted out next week.

As for plans, oh we have loads of those!  After all, planning is free right?  At the moment, we have a few choices up our sleeves.  It’s nice to have alternatives, in case, the first one doesn’t pan out right? Here’s ours.

PLAN A: Spain-Portugal

Go on a road trip again.  The first time we ever went on a road-trip as a family, was when we drove all the way to a remote cabin in Scotland and absolutely loved it.  The second one was a road trip to France (with a day-trip to Belgium).  We stayed in a Eurocamp and did day-trips to Disneyland and Paris, as well as  trips around the beautiful French countryside.  Ah, that was bliss.

This time though, the plan is to drive to Plymouth to catch a ferry to Santander and drive all the way down the Spanish coast to Portugal – doesn’t that sound dreamy?

We love doing road-trips.  I guess one of the reasons is that you can stop anytime, especially if you see something that catches your attention.  It’s easy to just stop and roam around and experience the local culture without having to worry about your schedule too much.  And if that doesn’t work, there’s ….

PLAN B: Train-trip to Eastern Europe

Ever since reading “The Historian” by Elizabeth Kustova, I’ve longed to travel by train to Hungary and Romania and yes, visit Count Dracula’s castle in Bran.  I would love to watch the beautiful countryside/mountains of Eastern Europe.  When I mentioned this to my husband, I was pleased  to know that he’s always wanted to do it too.  But I’m wondering though whether T is too young to appreciate a trip like this one, though I’m sure she’ll enjoy travelling by train.  And then there’s …

PLAN C: Homegrown

This is the easiest and if I’m honest, the most feasible plan.  I have family from the States who might come over this summer and of course, it’s only right that we show them around the UK.

I’ve always wanted to explore Wales, since we’ve never really had the chance apart from staying in Hay-on-Wye and doing day-trips from Bristol.  A close friend who regularly camps in Wales has been inviting us to go with her, so this might just be our chance.

And of course, there’s still so much of the UK that I haven’t explored.  What better way to do it when you have guests right?

As you can see, our plans are still up in the air and I know that time is indeed running out, hopefully we’ll be able to finalize our plans soon.

What about you?

Have you booked your summer holiday?

*This is a sponsored post.

A Country Kid’s Post: A Morning in Dartmoor

Walking in Dartmoor

We like driving up to Dartmoor even if it’s a bit of a drive from where we live in Cornwall. On a whim, one late January on a weekend, we decided to drive to Dartmoor and was pleasantly surprised to find it covered in snow.  Little T and her friend had a lovely day building snow men and having snow fights.  It was just absolute bliss.

And I’m glad we were able to do that again over the summer break.  And just like before, we were in for another lovely surprise.

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Dartmoor in all its glory, on a beautiful summer day.

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Little T ready to go on a little hike.

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From afar, I spied a little river running through the moor.

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We came across this little stream and T decided to have a dip in the water and after more walking, we hopped in our car to drive some more.

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And then we saw a cluster of medieval looking stones, but it wasn’t the stones that caught my eye.  Can you see?  The famous Dartmoor ponies!  The husband quickly parked the car and T and I went out to look at the ponies.

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She wanted to come closer, but those two horses looked like they were having a tender moment, I told her we shouldn’t disturb them.  She said “Are they getting married mum?”  Kids, where do they get these ideas?

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After watching them from afar, we went back to the car and moved along. I’m wondering, why are they called ponies when some of them are obviously fully grown?

“It’s time to go to search for that pub!”  The husband announced.  Friends of ours mentioned that there was a lovely one just in the moor and he was on a mission.  Did we find the pub, no. But we found another lovely one and had a good lunch.

Have you seen the Dartmoor ponies?

Do share.

A Country Kid’s Post: A Day Out in Dartmouth

Dartmouth along the river

As mentioned on the previous post, we arrived in Dartmouth via the ferry from Totnes on a camping trip a few weeks ago.  It actually felt like we’ve gone abroad and weren’t in England anymore.  It felt more like we were in the South of France, or somewhere else in Europe.  For one, the weather was absolutely warm, don’t remember how high the temperature was, but it didn’t feel like the UK at all.

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Little T and I enjoyed looking at the colourful houses across the river.

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Loved this big imposing blue Victorian house in front of the river.  Look at the intricate design by the door, and the lovely big windows.  They must have stunning views of the river.

 Cobbled Stones and a boat

I love cobbled streets although they aren’t exactly easy to walk on.  I’m glad I was wearing sandals that day.

We headed for Darmouth castle.  It was a bit of a walk from the quay, but the views were stunning and in spite the heat, we really enjoyed just walking and stopping, taking photos or just breathing in the air.

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The view of the river Dart was just amazing.  Who wouldn’t want to stop for that?

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I just loved the abundance of colour whether it was found in the flowers around or the houses. Everything just seemed so vibrant and teeming with life that day.  Wouldn’t it be great if everyday life was just like that?

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We finally reached the 13th century castle and church, although it really looked more like a fort than a castle.  The oldest part dates back to 1380 and was built to protect Dartmouth harbour from a French attack.

Dartmouth cemetery

I love old cemeteries by the river.

Entrance to Dartmouth Castle

Entrance to the castle.

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T and her Dad inside the castle.

There really wasn’t much to see inside, although I can imagine it would appeal to young children, especially the long dark corridors and rooms.  If not for being English Heritage members, I probably wouldn’t think it was worth it, unless I guess you’re a historian like my husband.  T wasn’t really into it.  Thank goodness we found a small beach near the castle and she had a chance to have a little dip and play in the sand. By then it was lunch time, we took a small boat back to the harbour to have a very late lunch.

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 Dartmouth castle as seen on the boat.

We asked the guy who was manning the boat for some recommendations of where to eat in the area.  He recommended the Floating Bridge for seafood which we were all craving for, I guess i had something to do with being so close to the river.  And I’m so pleased that we asked even though it was a bit of a walk from where he dropped us off, it was still so worth it.

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While waiting for our food, we enjoyed sitting by the river and I managed to take a photo of the steam train running across the river.

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That sea food platter was just absolutely delicious and it disappeared not long after it was served.

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 After licking our plates clean, it was time to head back and wait for the ferry back to Totnes.

Have you been visited Dartmouth?

Do share.

A Ferry Ride along the River Dart

Have you learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time? – Herman Hesse, Siddhartha

When they told me that the ferry trip to Darthmoor from Totnes was going to take an hour and half, I was worried that little T or even I would get bored and impatient.  The German poet was right of course, time does not exist when on a river, not even on a ferry.

As mentioned in a past post when we went on a spontaneous camping-trip just outside Dartmoor, we had the chance to go exploring around the area.  Our friend suggested that we go on a ferry ride and in spite hesitating at first, I’m so glad that we did.

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Little T enjoying the ferry ride.

The onboard tourist guide also kept us entertained with information about the river Dart and important landmarks found along the way.  It also helped that he was funny and gave little anecdotes along the way.

Small Hamlet along the river dartThese three houses, apparently is the smallest hamlet along the river.

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Dramatic ruins on a steep hill set against a background of grey skies.

Cormorant on a branch

And if you’re a bird-watcher, you’ll feast your eyes on the variety of amazing birds along the river Dart like this Cormorant on a branch.

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There were a lot of interesting looking houses, like this lovely thatched cottage.  Of course, one can imagine how expensive these houses must be!

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Apparently this one, has an indoor pool compete with a bar in it.  I have no idea whether the tourist guide was joking – I can’t even imagine a bar in a pool, but it must be very nice and convenient to have one.

house by the river

Now this was our favourite house by the river Dart.  Isn’t it just idyllic?  Just imagine waking up to the sound of the birds and water.  Beautiful.  Now don’t burst my bubble and mention flooding or storms please.

Agatha Christie's House by the river Dart

And then we spied  the Greenway House, famous novelist Agatha Christie’s house by the River Dart,which is now owned by the National Trust.  Apparently, the author and her husband occupied the house till their deaths in 1976 and 1978 respectively.

Can you spot the man waving by the house?  When I first took the photo, I didn’t even see him waving.  I only noticed when I downloaded the photos to my computer. Looks a bit eerie doesn’t it?

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 We also sailed past Sharpham Vineyard famous for their English wine and cheese.

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Loved that everyone waved to us from their boats as we sailed past them and of course we waved back at them too.

Dartmouth

And then before we knew it, we were fast approaching Dartmouth.  And just like that, the ferry ride was over.

Have you tried the ferry ride from Totnes to Dartmouth?

Did you enjoy it too?

Do share.

A Fun Filled Day at Weymouth Sea-Life Adventure Park

As blog ambassador for Weymouth Sea Life Adventure park, we had the pleasure of spending a lovely day at this fun-filled theme park in Dorset last Wednesday.  And luckily, the sun was out that day, making the experience even more pleasurable for us.

If you’ve been following my blog for some time now, you will remember F, little T’s first best-friend, while she has a number of new best-friends, F will always remain special to her, so it wasn’t really surprising when we asked whom among her friends, she would like to take to go on an adventure with her to Weymouth, she chose him.  After all, when on a fun-day out, it’s always best to enjoy it with a friend right?

We left Cornwall about 8a.m. and after countless of “Are we there yets” (that started around 8.20), we finally arrived at 11am at Weymouth Sea-Life Adventure Park with two excited 5-year-olds.  There was already a queue when we arrived and we also had a bit of a delay going in,because of some miscommunication between the Sea-life Adventure park and their marketing department, but when that was settled, we were finally in.  And much to the delight of the two kids, they had a “Finding Dory trail” to do (they’ve just seen the movie).

T and F had fun gazing at the different species including the famous clown fish and blue tang fish first made famous by the movies Finding Nemo and Dory.

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And then they spied the Splash Zone and wanted to play in the water just like the other kids.  I’m glad I listened to one of my blogger friends who advised to bring their swimsuits.  It was a warm day, so playing in the water was actually a welcome idea.

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And also for the adults to have a little rest, while watching the kids have fun in the water.  As you can see, it was a total hit with T and F.  We had a bit of a hard time convincing them that there were still many things to do and see at the Sea-life adventure park.

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They did the trail, had fun touching the star-fish at the rock-pools, loved the New Ideas Zone where they learned which creatures used electricity to hunt or feed and also enjoyed looking at the blue luminous coral.

And of course, an adventure park won’t be one without the rides …

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All in all it was an enjoyable experience for the kids, especially for young children like T and F. Prepare to spend a whole day to be able to experience all what Weymouth Sea-Life Adventure Park has to offer.

Was it worth driving all the way from Cornwall to Dorset?  Definitely!  The look on the kids faces, don’t lie, do they?  Watch the short video below and you’ll see what I mean.

If you’re in the area and have little ones, it’s certainly worth a visit, especially during the summer. Click here for more information about Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park.

Have you visited? What do you think?

*As mentioned, we are a blogger ambassador for Weymouth Adventure Park, but all views in our posts related to them are ours alone.  Also, all photos taken are also by yours truly.

W is for Wall

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This is Clovelly’s 14th Century Harbour wall.  Apparently they started building it in the 13th century and then extended it in the 16th, and lengthened it again in 1826.

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For those who aren’t familiar with Clovelly, it is a small village in Devon, the county beside Cornwall where we live.  What makes it different from the many sea-side villages here in England?  Well for one, it’s the only village that is privately owned and has been associated with only three families since the 13th century.

So yep, you can’t buy a house here in Clovelly, nor rent.  I think you have to apply to live there (that is, if there are any vacant houses at all!), and be approved by the custodian of the village.

Clovelly is a beautiful village.  It’s as if time has stopped ticking here.  The streets are cobbled and the old cottages still  stand the way they stood hundreds of years ago.  If you’re in the area and haven’t visited, this is one place you simply have to visit!  Though a word of warning, they do charge and admittedly, I found it a bit of a turn-off they way they’ve commercialised the village.  But that’s just me.

W is for Wall.

#alphabetphotographyproject

Walking around Vic-Sur-Aisne

The Eurocamp where we stayed at for ten days was located at the La Croix du Vieux Pont at Berny-Riviera, which was conveniently located right beside the very quaint French town called Vic-Sur-Aisne in Picardy (about 100 kilometres northeast of Paris).  The husband specifically chose this site because of its location – not that far from Paris and Disneyland.  As for me, the location was perfect because I was more interested in the French countryside.

Come and have a little walk with us around this very pretty little town:

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 First stop:  A little patisserie and boulangerie.  There’s little T pointing at the huge meringues by the shop window.  It was too big for her, she never finished it!  We bought very delicious and the softest croissants I’ve ever tasted in my life.  Sorry folks, I can never be a food-blogger – when it’s in front of me, taking photos is far from my mind.  Eating is more important!

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The Chateau de Vic-Sur-Aisne dominates the town with its very presence.  Unluckily for us, it was a bank holiday Monday, so we couldn’t go inside to have a look.  So instead we just took some photos outside, which actually was enough.

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Would’ve loved to try out this restaurant, but it always seemed shut!  One thing I’ve noticed, they don’t seem to open really long.  I’m wondering how businesses survive in France with what seems to me, very little opening hours?

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 I love walking through small towns in France, everywhere you look is pretty and quaint.

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Love the shutters and flower-boxes.

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And there’s little T of course, doing her funny dance in the middle of the plaza.

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The Town Hall.

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More shutters and flowers….

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Even this rusty shutters look pretty!

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We kept walking until we reached the Vic-Sur-Aisne French War Cemetery.

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This is another moving WWI cemetery/memorial where hundreds of French soldiers lay buried.

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I didn’t notice, until my husband pointed out to me that the crosses were actually back-to-back.  Two graves, not one.

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And if you look closely at all the names listed here, most of them died really young – men in their late teens, early 20s.  My husband said that just like the Somme, the place, Vic-Sur, was also a frontline in both WWI and WW2.

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I find it so surprising that inspire of being ravished by both wars, somehow France still managed to preserve so many of its lovely and historical buildings.  Thank goodness for that.  Like I mentioned on this post about the war memorial in the Somme – the sad and frightening thing about all this, is that war is still happening today as I type this.  As if we have never learned our lessons from our past. Will we ever?

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The walk ended in a lighter note as little T spied a playground near the woods.  Of course we had to stop and she had to play.

This post is linked-up with #CountryKids

And also:

Family Friday

 Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend!

N is for Notre Dame

Completed in 1335, the Notre-Dame de Paris is certainly a sight to behold.  According to my historian husband, during WW2, Hitler ordered the destruction of Paris, but the Commander in-charge (probably thinking of the Notre Dame, Eiffel and all other beautiful historical buildings in Paris), just wouldn’t or couldn’t do it.  Thank goodness for that!

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We spent a manic day in Paris and since it was peak-season, it was just sheer-utter madness and chaos.  The queue to go inside the Notre Dame was probably a kilometre long.  None of us had the patience to wait, especially in the heat.  Yes, you heard it right.  By then, the weather improved and summer was back with a vengeance.  I’m used to heat, in my country 30C is the norm and I’ve also lived in Ghana where it’s even more humid.  But that – the heat almost rivalled Manila’s temperature!

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I’m not really sure who these greenish statues are, but I just love the contrast against the Cathedral’s otherwise brownish facade.

I was really content just taking photos of the famous Cathedral by the river Seine, far from the maddening tourist crowd.

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A day in Paris isn’t enough.  But the next time we visit, it definitely won’t be in the summer!  Will do a different post on our rather un-pleasant experience in Paris.

Linking this post-up with PODcast’s #Alphabetphotographyproject.  Do check out the other lovely photographs in this link-up.

N is for Notre Dame.