En route … to a small but charming ancient English village

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Street in Bibury

In the UK there are 2 bank holidays in May. I have used one of these days to visit a village which was mentioned by a friend of mine.

This is a village in Gloucestershire, England, it is on both banks of the River Coln and it’s called Bibury.

It is a small village with a fish farm. You will think that there is nothing special to see, but if you happen to hold a British passport, then the inside cover picture depicts Arlington Row from Bibury. The cottages were built around 1380 as a monastic wool store to be converted into cottages for weavers in the seventeenth century. The area is a nationally notable architectural conservation and is one of six places in the country featured in Mini-Europe, in Brussels. On the Arlington (west) side of the village is Arlington Baptist Church, where a congregation has been meeting since the 1740’s.

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Swan Hotel’s garden

If you want to stay overnight, then there are 3 hotels which are ready to great their guests. I have seen the Swan Hotel and it looks very very nice. I am sure that the Old Farm Cottage and the Old Byre are equally nice and comfortable.

The predominant honey color of the seventeenth century stone cottages with steeply pitched roofs are another reason why people come here.  

While tourists are coming here from all over the world, Japanese tourists have a particular interest because of Emperor Hirohito, who had stayed in the village on his European tour.

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Someone’s garden

 

If you have watched Stardust or Bridget John’s Diary, then you will most probably remember the scenes from those movies.

You probably will find a lot of websites which will recommend you what to see and what to do, I have decided to recommend you just 3 of them:

 Images can tell substitute words, therefore, I let you admire the beauty and decide if this village will make it to your travel list:)

4 days in Wales

Tenby, Wales
Tenby, Wales

Wales… only when I think about it makes me close my eyes and dream about a beautiful land with great people, delicious food and superb sunsets.

I wanted to visit this country for some time, but for various reasons could not find the right time to go there, so finally last August I have spent there 4 days there and it was far from being enough!

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St. Catherine’s Island with the derelict Napoleonic Fort on top

Where have I been?

I have started with Tenby, a small town with cute colourful houses facing the ocean. The streets are narrow and packed with shops and cafes of all tastes. It is a touristic attraction and it an be crowded if you go there on bank holidays or summer.

Tenby is known for its clean waters and amazing beaches. If you walk along Tenby’s South Beach toward Giltar Point, you’ll be awarded by a picture perfect view of Caldey Island.

While walking along the harbour, I have seen people feeding the Seagulls and many signs forbidding this activity.

For those who have more time or stop in Tenby, you can board one of the cruises in search of the wildlife of this South West coast of Wales.

You can find more information about upcoming events, places to stay or what to do in Tenby, here.

After Tenby my and my fiancé drove North towards St. David’s.

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Ramsey Island – one of the many caves

 

St. David’s is known as the smallest city in Britain, but doesn’t lack historic monuments and beaches with fine sands.

If you’re hungry and want to have something fast, there is a fish and chips shop (we did not really enjoy it, but maybe other customers did). Sandwiches and hamburgers are another option. If you want something healthier:) then you will find several restaurants serving local foods. One of these restaurants is just at few meters distance from the Saint David’s Cathedral. However, do not expect a very wide range of restaurants or cafes. The option is ok just to make you feel comfortable to choose from.

Observing seals at Ramsey Island
Observing seals at Ramsey Island

We were surprised to see a lot of tourists here. And the questions is, what are they doing there?

Tourists, painters, photographers and curious minds are drawn here by the beautiful landscapes, beaches and by the wide range of outdoor activities provided by local companies. If you are an active person and you love the sea, then you probably will chose one of the following activities: coasteering, sea kayaking, climbing or surfing. If you prefer different types of activities, then you may want to take a boat/cruise trip and watch the wildlife. Whale and dolphin watching trips and gathering of gannets nesting site on Grassholm Island trips  are most popular in the summer. You could also take a boat trip to one of the largest islands – Ramsey Island. Here you’ll see the seals. Muffins are another attraction, and for that you must travel to St. David’s between May – July.

St. David's Cathedral
St. David’s Cathedral

Curious? Click here for more details or even book your expedition.

The rest of the time was dedicated to walking along the coastline. I have to say that it is amazing and it’s worth all the effort. We have been to Aabereiddy and Abercastle. We have seen a beautiful double rainbow and red-orange sunsets.

Next time in Wales, I want to sleep outdoors as well. Camping sites are all over the place. Make sure you book your place in advance, especially if you travel in summer or holidays.

Some of the sources of information, I have found (and rest assured there are many more) are:

We have staid at a very nice B&B. The owner was a very nice lady passionate about yoga. I have lost her contact details. I hope to find them in my collection of tickets and visit cards and post it later.

The beautiful coastline
The beautiful coastline

 

I hope that you are curious about nature, landscapes and country life:)

More posts will be written, more memories shared but until then

Travel safe and wise!

Visiting the city with the old English name – Escanceaster

 

Cathedral Close, Exeter

I am living in the UK for a bit of time. A bit means a real bit, since Christmas 2014 and I have been to several cities, one of which is called Excanceaster or Exeter.

I have to say that after Bracknell, Exeter looks very nice. Bright, with large streets and countless of shops. The most impressive part of the city lies in the old town. You have the cathedral and surrounding houses, witnesses of the old and glorious times intertwined with newer ones.

The history of Exeter began as settlements on a dry ridge ending in a spur overlooking a navigable river Exe. The discovery of coins from the Hellenistic Kingdom is an evidence of a settlement trading with the Mediterranean in the 250 bc.

Locals, as well as visitors, can see and touch a portion of Exeter’s city wall, formed of both Roman and medieval stones. The wall is one of the few constructions to be preserved by this date in Exeter and it was part of the fort built on 42 acres. The Roman fort had a surprising impact on the local communities, locals started to move around the fort where they have formed, with Roman soldiers, an unplanned civilian community.
The Exeter Cathedral had launched a bid to restore the baths and open an underground centre for visitors if you can and want to donate some money to this beautiful cause. More information about the Foundation Project, you will find here.
Some other ruins which, can be seen today in Exeter, are the ones of the Rougemont Castle and the medieval Exe Bridge, built around 1200. The Rougemont Castle was built by King William. A lot more information about its history and events to be held here. If you’re a foodie and love to explore new things and try new foods, then save 21st of April for a day trip to Exeter. On this day, a food festival will be held and you do not want to miss it.:)
More details about this festival, the castle and many more you can find here.
If you’re not into food but you’re definitely a fan of Elton John, then 19th of June should be high in your agenda. Check Viagogo website for tickets, venue and prices.
Another good source of information is Heart of Devon website. You’ll find the latest news about the city, events and other useful information.
That’s it for now:)
Travel safe and wise!

It’s been a very long time

Hello everyone, it’s been a long long time since I last wrote something on my travel blog. I am a little busier than usual with travels and work. And if none of the above, then it’s my fiancé, cats or wedding planning that’s taking all my time.

What would you see coming in the next days and weeks?

A post about new countries I have been to, jut to name few of them: Singapore, the Philippines and Estonia. The UK and other European countries are charming and I cannot wait to write about these experiences as well. Tropical Christmas – done! It was nice, unusual and fun.

Do not collect clothes or overpriced branded stuff, collect memories and experiences! :)

Will come back with a new post ASAP.

Stay tuned but until then Travel safe and wise!

 

 

 

Flowers and color explosion at Keukenhof!

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Tulips at Keukenhof Tulips at Keukenhof

Today I decided to write about my last year experience at Keukenhof. Some of you might know about this amazing park but there may be some people out there who never heard about this place before. Regardless of what your knowledge about this place is, I want to write about my experience and maybe one tip or two: when to go, how to reach that place on your own and not through an agency and things like that. Remember: every time you call an agency to help you with something, you’ll pay a % as agency fee!!! Sum all those amounts and you’ll get a quite a decent amount spent for something you could spend on something else or just save it😉

Some of the residents Some of the residents

Now, what is Keukenhof and WHERE it is?

Keukenhof or the “Garden of Europe” and is…

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One of the coziest and coolest cities in the UK

I’m in the UK since Christmas and I find this country charming. The best thing of all is the fact that I understand everything and I can make myself understood without any particular effort. It is a while since I was longing for something like this:)

After living in the Netherlands for 2 years, I see this new country as a fresh an exciting beginning. So, what is this post about?

Some days ago I decided that on weekend I’ll go to visit one particular city, where (accodring to some belifs) only the offsprings of the most privileged members of our society have the luck to live and study – Cambridge.

Last weekend the weather was very nice, sunny and almost no wind, BUT the sun lost the fight with the cold air, I am afraid. Was freezing and on Saturday morning it was snowing for a very brief time. I was happy like a child and wanted to run out from the dinning room to catch some snow flakes, to let them fall in my hair and to taste the winter. I had only a thin sweater and this stopped me from going outside.

One of the libraries in Cambridge
One of the libraries in Cambridge

The host was a wery welcoming lady, called Sue. Me and my boyfriend were lucky to have her as our host. Sue is running a BB in Royston, a town at just ~22km away from Cambridge. You can book a room or simply read about this place here and here.

So, what so nice about Cambridge and why are there so many tourists?

First things first. From the train station to the city center it’s a walking distance (you can also take the bus if you don’t like to walk).

On the way to the downtown there are few interesting sites, such as: Mary’s chatholic church, various restauants and shops and universities.

From Monday to Sunday, in the old market square you’ll find an open market with lots and lots of great produce. There you will find Thai noodles, Caraibean bread and sweets, high quality fruits, local meats and cheese and artisan bread. I love bread. I can eat it all the time, with almost everything, that’s why we bought some. More information about this market, go here.

Outdoor market in Cambridge
Outdoor market in Cambridge

Besides various shops and restaurants, one stands out – Jamie Oliver Italian restautant. If you would expect it to be expensive, then you;ll be surprised that actually is not (based on UK prices) and instead of having a hot dog and a Cambridge crepe or Costa, Starbucks coffee and pastry, better have a very nice meal or tea time at JO.

Walking along the streets, you can admire the old buildings that are one more beautiful than other.These buildings are where those privileged students are spending their time and where many other dream of becoming a student. I think that it’s understandable the high fees that one must pay to study there. It is not only about the place, but it is also about the quality of studies, facilities and other services that one student here will get. Not to mention the prestige and the easiness with each a graduate here will build his/her career.

Corpus Christi College in Cambridge
Corpus Christi College in Cambridge

There are several Tourist Information Centres, but apparently they do no offer a free map. Therefore, you can buy one for 1,95 pounds or use your mobile to guide you to the most interesting places in the city. On the banks of the river Cam you will see some of the most beautiful college and universities buildings. To mention some: Great Saint Mary’s, Trinity College, King’s college and Queen’s college, King’s Parade, punting and the Round church. For more suggestions, visit Lonely Planet website and Virtual Tourist website as well.

Trinity College
Trinity College

I know that this was only my first trip there and many will follow….I am waiting for some warmer days to come:) Until then, I will try to explore more of the surroundings I am staying now and will keep writing about it😉

Round Church
Round Church

Travel safe and wise!

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Sedgwick Museum of Geology
Sedgwick Museum of Geology
Cambridge city Hall
Cambridge city Hall
King's Parade
King’s Parade
King's college
King’s college
Corpus Christi College in Cambridge
Corpus Christi College in Cambridge
Queen's College, Cambridge
Queen’s College, Cambridge
Trinity College
Trinity College
Trinity College
Trinity College
Trinity College
Trinity College
Trinity College
Trinity College
Trinity College
Trinity College
Trinity College
Trinity College
Trinity College, Chapel
Trinity College, Chapel
Trinity College, Chapel
Trinity College, Chapel

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Mysterious Christmas and New Year’s Eve

Happy snowmen. White snowmen. Fluffy snowmen.

Christmas and New Year, two of my favorite holidays of the year! I guess the cold, Christmas markets and the decorations make December a month full of mystery, hopes and joy.

I remember when I was very young, to have had really white Christmases and winters, We were spending hours splaying with the snow, fighting with snow, building castles, snowmen or sledding. The last activity was the funniest one, simply because I grew up in a monastery and the old nuns weren’t very happy to walk on a very slippery road, that is why they were throwing burnt coal on the ice or snow. This was a quiet war between kids from my neighborhood and the old nuns. At times they were winning, at times we were the ones to succeed…by throwing water on top of those coals.

My childhood winters were cold and white. For some of you, my readers, perhaps unimaginable cold – minus 15, minus 25C.

I still associate Christmas with the smell of oranges, boiled wine and a lot of yummy food – mostly made of meat. We say that Christmas is the satiated (full – in terms of food) and Easter is proud (on Easter we usually cook rabbit or mutton meat – which I don’t like😀 and many many salads, cookies and all kind of desserts).

Now, that is almost that time of the year and people buy presents for their families and friends, I decided to look a bit at some traditions and myths related to this mesmerizing and holiday.

Christmas

It is believed (in Romania) that it’s bad luck to wear new shoes for Christmas.

A clear sky on Christmas announces a fruitful year, if the wind blows on Christmas, it is belived to bring bad luck. If it snows on Christmas Day, it is believed that on Easter will be fair weather.

It is good to have on Christmas table sprigs of mistletoe, for good luck. If you bathe on Christmas day, you’ll stay fresh all year, and if you eat apples on Christmas Eve, you’ll be healthy all the year around.

One should avoid, between Christmas and New Year, to knit, sew or machine wash.  And parents with children born on Christmas or New Year’s Eve will be very happy to know that those kids will be very lucky!

On Christmas Eve, some people sweep the house threshold, for good luck in the coming year.

Women shall put in the water they use to wash themselves a nut and coins. It is believed that this will keep that woman healthy as a nut, and money, to be rich.

Against evil’s eye and spells, one should put, in the four corners of the table, garlic and poppy seeds.

It is said that Santa Claus is not the only one who “travels” rushed across the sky in this special night of December 24, all witches and demons come out of hiding as well.

Cat by the Fireside (credits: http://www.webdesignmash.com/)
Cat by the Fireside (credits: http://www.webdesignmash.com/)

New Year

The second between the years, is believed to have the most magical power. That’s exactly why many people make a wish in that moment:)

Do not clean the house on December 31, otherwise a family member will die in the next year! The only items that you can wash without this adverse consequence are dishes.

The midnight kiss of the year marks not only the feelings that bind us to the people we care the most, but also how our relationship with those people will develop during the year that just started. In other words, it is desirable that at the turn of  the years, loved to be with you.

If you want to be lucky all the year around, wear something red, if you want your partner to find you very attractive, wear red underwear😀 On January 1 dress with a new coat for the same reason.

At midnight, all the doors should be wide open to let the “old” year leave and welcome the “new” year.

It is said that evil spirits are afraid of noise and bright light. Hence the habit of organizing fireworks and to make, in principle, a lot of noise. For the same reason people rang the bells when there is a religious wedding ceremony.

It is good thing if the New Year finds you with some money in your pocket. The meaning is that you’ll know no shortage of money all year. The amount does not matter, it’s just the idea, so few coins are enough. Therefore, make sure to have some cash in your pockets😉

Another superstition related to money is to pay back all your debts before New Year’s Eve. If you enter the new year in debts, you won’t get rid of them in the new year. Also, do not to give money on December 31 or January 1, otherwise you will have financial problems and debts all the year.

In fact, it is said that the object you hold in your hands at midnight, or the one that you touch or hold immediately after immediately after midnight, will be the most important plan in the coming year. So, be careful what you touch or hold!

If you have money in your hand, you’ll have good luck with them all the year, if you hold your lover’s hand, your love life will develop into a harmonious relationship, and if you keep a glass/cup in your hand, will have part of a joyful new year.

It is said that the first person who comes to your house after midnight will influence what happens to you in the new year.

Gingerbread cookies Credits: http://www.webdesignmash)
Gingerbread cookies Credits: http://www.webdesignmash)

For a woman, it would be ideal that the first person to step into your house should be a tall man with dark hair. If the guest brings a sprig of mistletoe, bread and salt, there are all chances that the new year will be the best of your life.

It’s bad luck if you hang the new year calendar before the new year begins.

On January 1 do not throw anything from home, even garbage. On the contrary, it is desirable to receive a gift on January 1, no matter how small and insignificant it may be.

Also on January 1, make sure you do something, some small task related to your work. In this way, you will have successes throughout the year. But beware – do not work full time or spend most of your time working on something, because the effect will be exactly the opposite!

Do not cry on January 1 and avoid to break an object.

It brings luck to eat pork or lentils on New Year. The New Year will be bright and good if you leave a lamp or a candle lit until sunrise. On the morning of January 1st place silver coins in water and wash your face with it.

Unmarried women must put in a pot of water a thread of basil, a branch of apple tree and money (coins), in the morning they should dream the one with whom they will marry.:)

New Year is greeted by a special custom in Italy, which is to throw out the window antiques, symbols of the past year. Thus, furniture and clothes end up in the street.

Christmas market in Aannaberg, Germany
Christmas market in Aannaberg, Germany

The Spanish are also quite superstitious. On New Year’s Eve they usually eat one grape for each of the 12 beats the clock announcing the turn of the year, these 12 grape berries symbolize desires for each month of the following year.

Portuguese are the same, they replace the grapes with figs.

Greeks dedicate New Year’s Day to St. Basil. Children leave their shoes by the fireplace in the New Year’s Eve, to receive gifts from the good saint. Adults eat something traditional, vassilopitta, a dessert in which a silver or a gold coin is placed. The one who finds the coin will have luck throughout the year. In some parts of Greece people take a pomegranate with them when they visit people on New Year’s Eve and smash it on the threshold, so that the household will have good luck

The Dutch “Oudejaarsdag” or “the last day of the year” (31 December) is celebrated by many with fireworks that start at dawn and hold until late at night. As in other European countries, in the Netherlands, it is believed that the first person to enter your house on New Year’s day will, if he be light haired, bring bad luck to you, if dark haired, good luck. The presence of a pair of storks or swallows is also seen as sign of good luck and friendship. Another old Dutch superstition say that whatever you do on New Year’s Day is what you will be doing rest of the year.

Xmas trees. (From: https://i0.wp.com/ywcabanff.ab.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/new-years.jpg)
Xmas trees. (From: http://ywcabanff.ab.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/new-years.jpg)

According to an old Flemish tradition, one should place a coin under once plate at New Years’ Eve to be lucky for the coming year.

In Denmark, people will save their old and broken dishes throughout the year to be thrown on their friends and families doors on New Year’s Eve. It is considered good luck to find thrown dishes on your doorstep on the next morning.

In Latvia, people believe that if you eat fish on New Year’s Eve and put the fish scales into your wallet, then money will keep flowing into it during the year.

In Scotland, New Year is called “Hogmanay”. In some villages are on rolls of tar are lit up and then let to roll on the streets. It is believed that the old year is burned and the new one is allowed to come. Like the Romans, Scots believe that the first person who will enter the house on the New Year will bring either good luck or bad luck. The year will be lucky if a man with dark hair enters the house.

Chinese New Year is celebrated sometime between January 17 and February 19, during the New Moon, “Yuan Tan”. Chinese people around the world take part in processions on the streets, where thousands of lanterns are lit up. They believe that evil spirits are everywhere at the time, and they use fireworks to chase them away.

An image as reminder of what we have to do on New Year's Eve :)  (From : http://beforeitsnews.com/travel/2013/12/new-years-traditions-and-superstitions-2-2459792.html)
An image as reminder of what we have to do on New Year’s Eve:) (From : http://beforeitsnews.com/travel/2013/12/new-years-traditions-and-superstitions-2-2459792.html)

For Japanese the New Year, “Oshogatsu” is one of the most important holidays. In December, families organize “forget the year party” or “Bonenkai” . With this occasion, people leave behind problems and concerns of the year about to end. At the New Year’s Eve. at midnight, families go to the nearest temple to share sake and to assist to the 108 shots gong announcing the turn of the year.

Travel safe and wise!

Merry Christmas and Happy 2015 Year!!!!

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