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Cruising the Caribbean

Honeymoon Cruise - London to Barbados

sunny 28 °C
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After every wedding, there's a honeymoon. Back in November 2019, we had booked ours. We would marry in July 2020, and four months later (avoiding the hurricane season) in the November, we would head off on a Caribbean Cruise. Then as we all know, a few months later it all went to pot. Covid came, and lingered. The stag do to Riga got cancelled, then the wedding was pushed back a year, and so I postponed the cruise by a further year, to November 2021.

The situation did not improve very quickly, and we had no idea whether the wedding would even take place. In the end it did, and we were fortunate to have delayed as much as we had, as little did we know the previous year, we were just 12 days from having to uninvite most of our guests! However, 6 weeks before our special day, we had been informed that the phased restart to the cruises would mean all on our ship up to and including ours would be cancelled.

Our wedding gift list revolved around our honeymoon, and people had lovingly bought us excursions for trips that were no longer happening! We had to make a decision on what to do about the honeymoon. We had spent a lot of time back in 2019 choosing the right one for us - visiting the places at the time we wanted to go. Either we rebook for a third time to the same cruise and ship, or we do something else entirely - the ship was not returning to the Caribbean for the next two winters, and other P&O cruises would not be visiting Grand Turk, one of the places we had wanted to visit most, but equally we were sick of continually rebooking things only for them to not happen at all.

In the end after weighing it all up, we decided we would risk it again, as we really wanted to go on this cruise, and things were improving! We therefore had to pick some new dates, and in the end we opted for the start of February - where we could get flights for London, and as an extra bonus we would be away for my birthday (making up for the Lockdown 30th the year before).

Then Omicron hit, the red-lists and hotel quarantines retuned and Christmas plans were once again ruined. The run up to the cruise was not fun - there was no excitement, just anxiety as to whether a) the cruise would even run, and b) whether we would be able to dodge Covid to be allowed to go. As the cruise neared, we received more information on the protocols we would need to follow. Barbados is one of the strictest places to visit in the Covid world - not only would we need a Covid test, but it needed to be a PCR undertaken by a medical professional, three days prior to the flight. We would also need to undertake a further lateral flow test at the airport 3-5 hours before our flight. Only if these were both negative would we be allowed to go. Fortunately P&O had been good throughout. They had let us rebook back in 2020, and had either of us been positive in these tests before the trip we would be able to reschedule the whole thing. But with everything scheduled and really not wanting to rebook for a fourth time, we were anxious!

We stayed at home for the last part of Jan, invested in some KN95 masks, and managed to test negatively in our PCR (despite the sore throats we had caused by the repeated lateral flows we'd undertaken all week in paranoia). Our flight was scheduled to leave at at 11:20am, but as we would need to go to an offsite car park for a lateral flow test at 7am, and Gatwick is already two hours from home, we decided to stay over at Gatwick the night before the flight.

Seeing the London sights en route to Gatwick

Seeing the London sights en route to Gatwick

We took the train from Luton on Thursday evening, masked up and seeing some sights as we passed Blackfriars Bridge, before checking in to a Premier Inn outside the North Terminal.

Getting a pretty appalling nights sleep, the next morning after leaving our luggage in our room, we took the bus to get our Lateral Flows. On board we met other hopeful passengers and discussed the mountain of paperwork we had had to fill in over the last few days (with a lack of guidance from P&O) to be allowed to go. Arriving at a marquee in an airport car park we went inside and took our tests. "Are you looking forward to your holiday?" they asked. "Until this comes back negative and I'm on that plane, I don't believe it's happening" I thought.

Thankfully 15 minutes later, no positive line had appeared, and we were finally off on our trip - thank God for that! Could you imagine if at this final hurdle it all went to pot? - later we would hear that for some, it had!

Negative!

Negative!

We then boarded the bus and headed back to the airport terminal - finally being able to get excited about going on this trip! We picked up the luggage we had left in the hotel, and went to check in for our flight. This was the first time I'd ever been on a cruise and P&O had chartered the flight. Therefore when we arrived we headed to a section of desks just for our cruise's passengers. After the pages and pages of documentation had been checked, we were handed our flight tickets and made our way into the departure lounge.

Our plane in rainy England!

Our plane in rainy England!

After a few hours, we were boarding the plane. Leaving a rainy and cold England, for the next two weeks we would be enjoying a brief bit of summer. Looking at the other passengers, the demographics were as expected - lots of grey hair, and no kids (as they couldn't be doubly vaccinated, they wouldn't be able to join). We managed to get the whole row to ourselves and after taking off and enjoying some on board movies, the trolley service came around a little later. Did we want any drinks? Well as we had finally allowed ourselves to be excited about the trip, lets have some alcohol! After hearing what they had on offer we settled on a white wine - two please. We were then given two white wines - each! Having skipped much of breakfast so as not to invalidate my LFT, this went straight to my head, and in the end I only had one, which was a good job as when they came around to give us some lunch, Chis knocked his over and it leaked over our trousers and the floor! He could finish my other wine, as we tucked into some food and sobered us up.

The flight to Barbados was around 8 hours, but as they were four hours behind we would be landing in the late afternoon, and so our later food offering was a light snack, so not as to ruin our dinners.

Almost there!

Almost there!

Eventually we landed in a lovely warm Barbados, where after disembarking the aircraft, we immediately boarded the plane, not even entering the terminal building. We would be driven across the island straight to the port, where we would show our final bits of paperwork, go through a security check and then finally board the ship.

Our Cabin

Our Cabin

We headed to our cabin, which we had selected in advance - a partially obstructed non-balcony room, giving us a view outside without costing us a bomb! We met the housekeeper who let us know about where to find our life jackets etc, and waited for our suitcases. In the meantime we went for a walk around the ship. Sussing out where we are, what's what, and where we needed to go. It was still a large ship, but others in the fleet are larger. Nevertheless there were 17 decks, four pools, various pubs, bars and restaurants. However it was clear that the planned refurb in April 2020 had not yet been carried out, particularly in the cabins.

The Atrium

The Atrium

We headed down to the reception to ask about the Covid protocols in port. We had prebooked some excursions already but wanted to know what the deal was. We wanted to explore every port, but were unsure where there were restrictions how much would we be able to see? Would we be able to explore the ports, or would we need to book excursions to even get off the boat? Every fortnight P&O produced a Covid guide on their website, advising of the current protocols. However when asking at both reception and the shore excursions desk we got conflicting information - there are no restrictions other than Grenada... right that's not what the website said. What about testing? Some ports needed us to Lateral Flow before we could explore... "well, if you need a test, go to the medical centre" - that's not the same, surely that little room isn't going to be testing the majority of the ship at once? It seemed the actual situation was completely different. Of course changeable, but generally we wouldn't need to test and would be free to wander around the port, and most of the landside too each day. I guess we will see what happens, but in the meantime, if there's tours we want let's book as it'll be easier!

In light of the Covid world, an online web portal had been developed, in which we could sign in, and book tours, activities and dinner slots. We booked some bits for our trip and then went off to grab some dinner in one of the buffet restaurants. Things (I guess) were different from usual - hand sanitizer stations everywhere and the buffet food being served to your plate

By now it was getting pretty late on a very long and busy day, so we headed back to our cabin for the night and finally received our suitcases a short time later. Normally we tend to live out the suitcase rather than unpack, however as we would be here for 2 weeks, and had a lot of stuff with us we actually did for once!

The following day, unsurprisingly we woke a little earlier than planned due to the jet lag, and after enjoying our first buffet breakfast on board, got ready to head out for our first day of exploration.

We headed down to Deck 4 to disembark, using our cruise ID cards to check out of the ship, and then walked alongside it towards the cruise terminal.

The Ship

The Ship

As we had undertaken a PCR and Lateral Flow to fly into Barbados, we did not need to do a test to get out of the port, however we did need to do a temperature check. Scanning our foreheads and getting a normal result, we then walked past all the shops and eventually made our way out of the port. We then took a left turn around the back of the huge port towards an unassuming residential street.

Rihanna's house

Rihanna's house

It used to be called Westbury New Road, however in 2017 it was renamed Rihanna Drive. We wouldn't see Rihanna, but we would get to see her childhood home.

Rihanna Drive

Rihanna Drive

We then made our way into the centre of town. It wasn't particularly big, but Bridgetown did have a few sights around National Heroes Square, with the parliament buildings, the bridge the town is named after, and the Independence Square.

Bridgetown

Bridgetown

After a little look around, we then headed towards the beach, which was absolutely beautiful! White sand and turquoise water, it was just as you imagine the Caribbean to be.

Brownes Beach

Brownes Beach

We spent some time swimming in the warm water and doing a bit of sunbathing, staying for around an hour or so before heading back. It was only 11am, but we were already feeling tired! The early start, jetlag, and lack of outside exercise for weeks at home meant this was exhausting!!

In the Sea in February!

In the Sea in February!

After stopping at the nearby supermarket to get some soft drinks, we headed back to the cruise ship. Temperature and security checks again, then in the cruise terminal we bought ourselves some souvenirs, before checking ourselves back onto the ship.

We then went and grabbed some lunch from the buffet, before heading outside to sit by the pools, and enjoy a Piña Colada. It didn't take long to overheat in the burning sun, so after around an hour or so we headed back to the cabin to cool off.

Piña Colada time

Piña Colada time

That afternoon we went for another explore of the ship, watching the other half of the ship's new passengers arrive from their afternoon flights, before we headed for a dinner in one of the A La Carte restaurants. Later that night we went to join in the pub quiz (no, we didn't win), as the ship left the harbour and began it's two week journey sailing around the Eastern Caribbean.

Posted by kmmk17 17:53 Archived in Barbados Tagged honeymoon beach caribbean swim covid Comments (0)

Summer At Last

Maspalomas

sunny 29 °C
View Maspalomas on kmmk17's travel map.

As we all know, Corona has ruined the 2020s so far. It also caused us major disruption, firstly by cancelling our Egyptian trip with just a few days to go, but also by completely ruining our Wedding plans. The whole thing had been moved backward by 53 weeks, but with Covid still in full swing a year later, there had been no Stag Do, no fun lead up, no Mini-Moon, and from a fortnight before the wedding, also no Honeymoon either.

2021 was also a pretty miserable year weather-wise. The summer in the UK was pretty cold and wet, with just a handful of decent weeks of sun and heat. After having moved home, and spending a year decorating, by the end of Summer 2021, having been on just two UK holidays in the last 2 years, and having not been abroad this decade, we were desperate for a week to relax and enjoy some sun and heat.

With things starting to stabilise, and having been vaccinated, we decided to finally get away to the Canary Islands and finally have a break. This wasn't our honeymoon, or even a mini-moon, this was just a well overdue relax. We decided to go to Gran Canaria, where things looked good Covid-wise, and there wasn't too much we wanted to see, so we could just settle in the hotel where it was safe, without feeling like we were missing out on local sights.

The testing regime was a nightmare to get our heads round. At the time we travelled there was a three category list of countries which changed every three weeks, and there were different rules for those who had been vaccinated or not. Spain was looking like it would not move to the dreaded Red List (where expensive hotel quarantine would be required), and we deliberately chose to go during a week between announcements so we could be sure it would all be fine once away.

But even booking last minute, we still didn't manage to avoid all the potential drama, as a couple of days later, La Palma started erupting. This was 150 miles from Gran Canaria, but that hadn't stopped Eyjafjallajökull in 2011, and this is the volcano that is predicted to collapse into the sea and cause a massive tsunami, flooding even the south coast of England. Maybe a hotel on the beach wasn't such a great idea after all?

Arriving in Spain required a form to be filled out. Staying in the hotel needed confirmation we were vaccinated, and then we would need to pay for tests two days before flying home, and also two days after as well as fill in a form to arrive back home.

After getting everything prepped, we were finally able to get away, and on Saturday morning we headed to the airport. Once inside it was the start of a long day wearing a face mask. Dropping the bags off took ages as everybody was subjected to a document check - forms, vaccine certificates, boarding passes, passports etc.

After breaking the machine, we had checked our bags in and headed up to the Departure Lounge to grab some drinks and magazines before our long flight. The airport was busy, and there was little social distancing. The airport is simply too small for the amount of people that were there. In an effort to try and give us more space, as we arrived at the gate, they only processed half of us until we were actually boarding the aircraft. Of course, there were still many who weren't fully prepared. Mostly those who had hand luggage only and so hadn't been checked at bag drop off. This included an old couple who had printed out their Spanish health form, not understanding that only digital versions were permitted. The boarding staff decided to help them, and started filling in the form on their behalf. Once complete it needed email validation, but the old couple had no idea how to get to their emails so just sat there claiming blankly "I don't know how to get to them". Well good luck getting to Spain then - no one else is going to know, Doris!

It would take over four hours to reach Gran Canaria, so as we boarded the plane we used the opportunity to lower our masks, and get some fresh air - but instead all we got was Kerosene for a few seconds before being masked again for the duration of the flight.

En Route

En Route

As the time zone was the same in the Canaries at home, and our hotel was an hour from the airport it was going to be a long day. We also realised that the local shop would be closed the next day so we wanted to get to the hotel as soon as possible. This was our first trip to Europe since Brexit, and so we would be entering the slow queue, and as we were at the back of the plane, we were one of the last to disembark. Once we were off we tried to get through as quick as possible. But this was actually not necessary. In what was the slowest baggage claim I'd ever seen, twenty minutes after the last person got through immigration, the carousel as finally switched on. With just 5 minutes until the bus we needed was due, we expected we'd end up missing it, and so we planned to head to to the shop in the airport before boarding, rather than wait until we were at the hotel.

However a stroke of luck, our bag was the very first one to come out. We grabbed it and headed to customs, where they quickly scanned our health form, and we were free to continue our journey. We had four minutes to get to the bus stop, so we ran. With a mask still covering our faces we ran as fast as possible for what seemed like ages. Along corridors, up escalators and more corridors, we then found the right exit, headed outside and arrived at the bus stop with a minute to go. We could finally lower our masks, get some air and have a drink. It was hot already, and it was quite a shock to the system. Not knowing whether we had missed the bus (it was stopping here en route down the east side of the island) we waited. Just a few minutes after arriving, the bus showed up. We put our masks back on and then boarded for the long trip down to the south end of the island.

An hour later we arrived in Maspalomas. Just a short walk away was the hotel, and after arriving at reception they did a temperature check. Although hot and sweaty it obviously didn't cause too much concern as they let us in anyway. As a large Irish group was already being processed we had to wait a while.

Views from the Hotel

Views from the Hotel

Eventually we were checked in and able to head to our room. As this was Covid, we had to book slots at the restaurant, so we decided to book for 45 minutes time, at 8:30pm. This gave us chance to head over to the supermarket, next to the bus stop, get back and freshen up for dinner. Bearing in mind we had left home at 10am, and Covid has made us lazy, we were already pretty tired!

When we headed down to the restaurant it wasn't too busy. And thankfully they still had a large buffet dinner for us to enjoy, just as normal. After eating a bit of everything, we headed back to the room, and finally got to chill after the long day!

Delicious Puddings

Delicious Puddings

The following day after having our fill with a large buffet breakfast, we had a chill day. We spent all day sitting around the pool, swimming and sunbathing. It was amazing. After the last 18 months this had been long overdue, and getting sunburnt and needing After Sun was a pleasure!

In the Pool

In the Pool

I never normally like to go on holiday, and then spend the whole time in the resort. But with the risk of Covid stopping us getting home, this time we made an exception. Maspalomas was the perfect destination. Hot, sunny, and only a few things outside the resort to see.

On Monday we headed over the the Dunes. It was around a half hour walk down the coast, passing many other hotels and the lighthouse.

The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse

After an easy walk along the pavement, once on the sand it was a different story. We headed east, where it was quieter, passing the family bit, the nudist bit, before reaching the gay bit. By now we had had enough of walking and it was starting to get quieter, so we sat down and watched the sea. I then decided I wanted to head up the dunes, so climbed up the nearest empty one, took some pictures and then slid down it.

On the Dunes

On the Dunes

We then headed back to the hotel, and after popping to the supermarket to replenish our supplies, we went for another dip in the pool.

At Playa del Inglés

At Playa del Inglés

The following day we also headed out of the hotel, taking the bus into Maspalomas, and Playa del Inglés. There wasn't much there but it was nice to have a look around. Upon returning back to the hotel we once again chilled by the pool.

The hotel has a kids club, and a mascot - Daisy. But with there being almost no kids in the hotel, the entertainers were clearly kind of bored and so instead walked around talking to the adults. "Do you know Daisy?" they asked. "Yes I do" I said. Daisy was the same mascot the hotel chain had when I was a kid myself in 2003!

With Daisy

With Daisy

I asked if I could take a picture with Daisy and they were quite happy to. Then I sent it to my family chat an we all had a laugh at the silliness.

Being part of the hotel's member club I not only got a large discount when booking, but also get a free drinks token. As tonight was Flamenco we decided to use it, and headed down at 9 to watch.

Free Cocktails

Free Cocktails

Not that Flamenco is actually traditional to the Canaries - it's actually Andalusian. But they know what the foreigners want and unsurprisingly the crowd was pretty large.

Flamenco

Flamenco

Half an hour later, they were done, and as nightclubs were still not permitted, that was the end of the entertainment for the night. Spaniards must have been appalled at this early hour - Siesta only ended a few hours ago!

After two days out, we had another lazy day, spending it all in the hotel. That night we headed to dinner and found for the fifth day and ninth meal in a row, we were once again served by Raquel. Is this woman not allowed out? Is she a human slave? By now she knew what we wanted - two still waters thanks!

Working in a place like this they must get used to odd characters. We had noticed them ourselves:

  • Judgey Couple - Who looked down on us getting up more than once per course (don't they know it's a buffet?)
  • Nutty Woman - Complaining about everything from having to pay for drinks (the website does say), to having her plates cleaned. And went to adjacent tables to steal their cutlery
  • Workaholic Man - Who brought his laptop to the table every day, and sent out emails whilst eating, leaving his wife sat there looking bored (are you incapable of stopping work for just twenty minutes during dinner on holiday?)

Workaholic Man

Workaholic Man

The following day, after seeing Daisy at breakfast, we headed back out to the Dunes. They were fun the first time so we thought it might be nice to see them once more before the holiday was up.

The Dunes

The Dunes

After arriving back at the hotel we took our return tests. Thankfully they were negative, and after registering them we received our certificates and could complete our UK arrival forms.

As it was the last day of October, the hotel had laid on an Oktoberfest theme for the guests. The entertainers were dressed up in traditional outfits, and they had brought in an accordion player. They told us to come over as there would be beer and sausages

Say no more, we headed over and they started handing out tonnes of food and drink to everyone: beers, sausages, sauerkraut and pretzels - we weren't even All Inclusive but they didn't mind. There were silly games and silly costumes which made for an entertaining afternoon.

Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest

After dinner we noticed that there were cats eating from bowls in a flower bed by the restaurant. It transpired that the hotel has its own cats and so we headed down to say hello. There were three - a very friendly black one, a very scared and thin baby one, and a chunky one that had clearly eaten too much food. We said hello to the cats and they were very friendly to us.

With Chonk

With Chonk

The next day was our final full day. We spent the day in and around the pool, before enjoying our last fancy dinner, where this time Raquel brought us two still waters without even being asked!

It was still around 30C here, but at home the weather had changed and cooled to around 15C. As this was the last warm evening we'd be getting for months, I decided to take a little walk around the hotel and the beach. En route I got distracted by the cats so in the end I'd been gone well over an hour!

Evening Stroll

Evening Stroll

The next morning we were shocked to discover Raquel had been given time off, and after enjoying a last big meal, we headed back to the room to pack. As we didn't need to leave until almost 2pm, we dropped the bags at reception, and then sat around the pool.

Around 1pm one of the entertainers came round and asked us if we wanted to play the 'Cocktail Game'. "Yes I did" I said - I had been waiting all week to play this game! I asked how we played and it was basically Play Your Cards Right, and the person who gets the longest run of correct guesses wins a cocktail. "But we are leaving in half an hour" I said. "No worries, if you win you'll have time to drink the cocktail before you go", he claimed.

I got a dismal 3, but Chris got an amazing 11. "You're probably the winner" he said. Well let's hope we find out soon, cos we need to go! 15 minutes later he was back. "You won! Enjoy your drink and safe flight home!" As Chris didn't want it, I quickly headed to the bar and ordered a drink. But the waitress didn't take my token. "Keep it and have another later at the Tirajana Bar!". If only she knew I was leaving the hotel for the last time in 10 minutes... what a pity as we'd've loved this earlier in the week!

Free Cocktail!

Free Cocktail!

I downed my cocktail and we headed back to reception, grabbed the suitcase and made our way to the bus stop. After an hour on the bus we arrived at the airport, changed into warmer clothes, and then joined the bag drop queue. This was so slow. After an hour and a half we had finally dropped the bag off, and there as just 45 minutes until we were boarding.

After getting through security we had hoped to grab and eat a meal at the Burger King. It was 5:30 and we wouldn't be landing until almost 11! But after the slow drop off and with a large queue at the Burger King we had to give it a miss. Instead after boarding we purchased a hot meal on board. Thankfully they had started at our end of the plane as there wasn't much available, and those served after us didn't even get any hot food on offer.

After landing back at home, we then found that due to a busy departures hall, we had to get on a bus and be driven to a door on the other side of the terminal. Luckily we had got off the plane quickly and managed to get on the first bus to depart. Upon entering the Immigration Hall, we were at least in front of almost everyone on our plane, even if there were at least two other plane loads in front of us.

They weren't even checking documents other than passports. The reason for the slow processing was because so many dimwits kept their masks on whilst using the e-gates - despite the staff endlessly shouting "Take your masks off". How on earth will they know it's you if half your face is covered... welcome back to the UK...

Eventually we got through, grabbed our bag and headed out into what felt like blistering cold. My brother had come to collect us, and after heading home via McDonalds, our trip was now over.

Two days later we posted off our arrival tests, and somehow had managed to avoid Covid despite the chaos at the airports.

Despite the agro, the holiday was well worth it. We needed the break and the heat. Now just 6 months of winter to get through....

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 16:15 Archived in Spain Tagged sea beach hotel sand summer sun swim swimming pool entertainment flamenco Comments (1)

Completing Cornwall

Cornwall - Land's End, St. Ives & St. Austell

semi-overcast 21 °C
View Cornwall on kmmk17's travel map.


Managing to get some sleep the previous night, we awoke for the second full day of our trip. After a busy first two days we decided to try and take today a bit easier, and after a lie in made our way to the Eden Project near St. Austell.

Although it didn't seem far on the map, it still took us an hour to get there. Upon arrival at this former quarry pit that has been converted into an ecological attraction, we made our way down the slopes and after entering gained view of the two biomes and surrounding landscaped gardens.

Eden Project

Eden Project

We started by exploring the gardens, which contain plants from the local area and the country as a whole, before making our way to the Tropical Biome. In here, there are an array of tropical plants, and a few animals that live in a tropical climate, kept at 28˚C and at the correct level of humidity.

Inside the Tropical Biome

Inside the Tropical Biome

After viewing the interesting alternate climate, we crossed the bridge and entered the Mediterranean biome. Less interesting as we had seen this climate for real many times, it was still clever how the plants can survive outside their natural area and it was very well kept.

Eventually we headed back to the car to continue our journey for the day. Our next stop was not far away - the small fishing village of Mevagissey, around 20 minutes on the other side of St. Austell.

Mevagissey

Mevagissey

We didn't stop long here, but enough time to wander around and get a feel for a real Cornish fishing village. Our next stop was Falmouth, which still took almost an hour to reach. Here we would stop at the Pendennis Castle, with views over the estuary where many small boats are moored.

By this time it was getting late so after driving back through Falmouth, through some of the streets that felt like they belonged on the other side of the English Channel, we headed back to our hotel.

Streets in Falmouth

Streets in Falmouth

After having dinner at the restaurant next door we chilled for the evening when a sore throat started to come on! The following morning after a nice rest the sore throat was still there but nevertheless we progressed with our final full day in Cornwall.

We first started at St. Michael's Mount, a tidal island located off the coast near Penzance. Wanting to be able to walk along the causeway we checked the tidal times and thus went there first thing.

St. Michael's Mount

St. Michael's Mount

After parking we walked along the beautiful causeway and walked into the port where the shops were beginning to open. It was a very small quaint place and after buying some souvenirs we continued with today's trip by heading down to Land's End.

Although it didn't seem far on the map, again it took much longer than expected. After about 40 minutes we arrived at the very commercialised attraction, bought some souvenirs, and took in views of the last point on Great Britain.

Land's End

Land's End

The next place on our list was the Minack Theatre, located just around the corner. This theatre is built into the cliff face and has beautiful views of the sea and nearby beaches. At the time we were there, rehearsals for the next play were taking place so we got to witness a performance without having to pay for it!

Minack Theatre

Minack Theatre

After this we headed down to Lizard Point, the southernmost point on Great Britain, and the only bit located below 50˚N. Unlike Land's End this was not as commercialised, but still had stunning cliffs.

Lizard Point

Lizard Point

On our way back from Lizard Point we stopped off at Loe Bar, a tombolo which has created a lake in a former estuary.

Loe Bar

Loe Bar

After walking along the Cornish coast we had just one more place to visit whilst down here, and that was the town of St. Ives. By this time however I was fed up of the other tourists, from being downright inconsiderate to the worst of what England can offer. It's almost as if all the manners that English people have suddenly disappears the moment they are on holiday. Everytime we saw some nice people, they turned out to be foreign!

Upon arriving in St. Ives it was a mess. Car parks were located all around the town, which was completely incapable with coping. It has small winding extremely hilly streets which end up on the main promenade, full of people who couldn't care less if they were about to be ran over. And yet there is no way around it, as there is a one way loop. When you eventually end up where you need to be it turns out the car park is full anyway. What the town needs is a large car park outside that can cope with all visitors, with a bus/footpath into the town. All roads beyond this point being pedestrianised and for locals only. The amount of money that the council make from car parking could easily fund this but simple disorganisation and mismanagement prevents it.

To make matters worse, when we finally found a car park with spaces, the machines went down preventing anyone from buying a ticket. However as the town did look beautiful we went out of our way in order to pay it a visit.

We didn't stay overly long, with the skanky tourists, the harassing seagulls starting to grate, as well as the time getting on, so after a walk around the town and relax on the beach we headed back to the hotel for dinner and a chilled evening.

St. Ives

St. Ives

After breakfast the following morning, we got the rest of our bits together and headed on our way back home. Again this would take hours, so we made a few stops en route.

After an hour we still hadn't reached where we left the main road to the Eden Project, but the further we got out of Cornwall the better the roads tended to get. We branched off as we got to the Cornwall/Devon border and headed into Dartmoor. Again many winding roads, but as we drove through the moorland we did see lots of scenery and wild animals.

Cow on Dartmoor

Cow on Dartmoor

After a brief stop at the visitor centre we continued the long drive through the winding roads of Devon, before eventually making it towards Exeter, and onwards home. Managing to dodge an 90 minute traffic jam by whizzing around the local roads near Salisbury we eventually made it home just before rush hour!

850 miles in the last five days, but we had managed to see such beautiful scenery. Had the other tourists not lost their manners it would have been more enjoyable but it was still a nice trip away.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 03:15 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged animals nature beach scenery island cornwall Comments (0)

Beyond Britain

Cornwall - Salisbury, Shaftesbury, Camborne, Penzance & Isles of Scilly

semi-overcast 19 °C
View Cornwall on kmmk17's travel map.

Just ten days after getting back from Lithuania, our next holiday was upon us. We were going to take a road trip down to Cornwall, similar to the one we took back in 2016 to the Bristol area, although this time it would be longer.

Avoiding the upcoming school holidays, which would add even more travel time to this already long enough journey, we travelled down on Thursday morning after rush hour with plans to stop off and break up the journey en route. After around 2 hours we reached the first stopping point - Salisbury.

Salisbury is an old traditional city in Wiltshire, and has a couple of sights. The first we planned to stop at was Old Sarum - the old hilltop where the city was previously located. However when we arrived we changed our minds about entering - it seemed very overpriced and we weren't going to stop for long, so instead we got back in the car and headed to the centre of the city.

We then stopped at Salisbury Cathedral, one of the most impressive cathedrals in the UK, and also took a look at one of the surviving copies of the Magna Carta which is on display here.

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral

Dodging any traces of Novichok after walking past the Zizzi's restaurant, we had a look around the city centre before heading back to the car to drive across Cranborne Chase, to our next stop in Shaftesbury.

Shaftesbury is a very small town in north Dorset, which we stopped at due to the beautiful Gold Hill, a steep cobbled street made famous by the Hovis bread advert.

Gold Hill

Gold Hill

After a short stop viewing the hill, we then carried on with our long drive, stopping off at the odd service station before finally entering Cornwall. Not long later we made it to Bodmin Moor, where we stopped off at the Jamaica Inn, a traditional coaching inn with a history of smuggling.

Jamaica Inn

Jamaica Inn

Eventually after spending all day driving down to Cornwall we arrived in Camborne, where we would be staying for the next four nights. However we still needed to grab dinner and food for the weekend, so we quickly headed back out to grab a quick meal. Whilst there we stopped by a local tin mine that had been converted into an attraction, before stopping by the local supermarket to buy supplies and fill up with petrol.

Mine

Mine

The time driving between home and Exeter and that of Exeter and western Cornwall was almost the same, despite the latter being a much shorter distance. Although the roads in Cornwall were not as bad as I had been expecting, they were certainly substandard with many bottlenecks, even on the major arterial roads. By the time we had arrived I had already taken the view that we should see everything now so we didn't need to come back and visit for another 25 years!

Having been a long day today, and with an early start the following morning, we took an early night. Annoyingly though I couldn't sleep, and in the end I must have got less than two hours all night - not ideal!

Nevertheless as the morning progressed I didn't feel quite so bad, so we continued with our plan to visit the Isles of Scilly - there would still be time to turn back, but ultimately this was unnecessary, even though I did start to develop gum/toothache.

Penzance Harbour

Penzance Harbour

We had arrived nice and early ready to board the boat for our 2hr45m journey from Penzance into the Atlantic. Having napped during the boat trip, eventually arriving at midday we had four hours to wander around Hugh Town, the largest town on St. Mary's - the largest island in the archipelago.

Hugh Town

Hugh Town

The sea around the islands is a luscious blue, and there are an array of more tropical plants growing naturally than can be seen on Great Britain. It had a mix of a Mediterranean feel, mixed with traditional English buildings. We started by taking a walk up the hill to the west of the town, before walking around the town itself.

Beach

Beach

After having lunch at a local restaurant we headed towards the west end of the town, sitting by the beach as well as waking up the hill.

Views over Hugh Town

Views over Hugh Town

By now it was almost time to head home, we boarded the boat and found it much busier than the outward bound trip this morning. Being a Friday afternoon there were lots of returning school children headed back to the mainland. Unfortunately we got stuck amongst them, and one group (with their ringleader 'Ella') proceed on shouting "Merry Christmas" to every passing peer. After three hours this became quite tiresome, especially as she was dressed like a slut parading around with tiny shorts and a massive hoodie.

Finally we arrived back in Penzance, and after squeezing past all the parents waiting for their annoying children, we made it back to the car and headed back to the hotel, where hopefully I could get some sleep tonight!

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 03:38 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged islands boat beach summer cathedral cornwall Comments (0)

On the Amalfi Coast

Limoncello Adventures - Capri & Positano

semi-overcast 19 °C
View Limoncello Adventures on kmmk17's travel map.

During the planning for this trip, the Amalfi coast was originally overlooked, however after seeing how beautiful it was, we decided we simply had to make room for it amongst the trip.

After our first evening in Sorrento, we arose early for breakfast, before heading down to catch the ferry over to Capri, which was now running on a winter schedule.

Capri Harbour

Capri Harbour

Just 40 minutes later we had arrived on the small touristy island, and quickly bought our tickets for the island tour that was leaving shortly after, and then boarded the small boat. Like a duck we had spent little time on land so far!

Cliffs around Capri

Cliffs around Capri

Moving around and settling on back row seats, we then headed out of the harbour clockwise, past the cliffs and grottos before we made it to the Faraglioni - sea stacks just off the coast, through which we sailed.

Faraglioni

Faraglioni

We then headed around the south of the island, taking in the November sun, and with views of the south side of Capri town and the hills of Anacapri.

South side of Capri town

South side of Capri town

We then headed in to the Grotto Verde, which had beautiful blue water, before heading around the lighthouse towards the northern side with views of the Bay of Naples and Vesuvius.

Grotto Verde

Grotto Verde

After heading past the Blue Grotto, which was closed due to the high tide and rough seas, we then landed back in Capri harbour and explored the town.

Capri Town

Capri Town

Walking up the hill, being thankful we didn't visit in July, we eventually arrived in the town square, which was full of people. After walking around and viewing the beautiful views of the island from the vantage point around the corner, we then walked back down the hill before catching the ferry back to Sorrento.

Sorrento from the ferry

Sorrento from the ferry

As we had headed out early, we had enough time to spend the afternoon on the Amalfi coast. We therefore headed quickly through the town to the station to catch the bus to Positano, which we boarded not long later.

The bus headed up through the winding hills with beautiful views over the Bay of Naples, before long we were over the top of the hills and heading back down the hillside with views over the Amalfi Coast. The roads were once again windy, and along the coastline they were particularly spectacular, also being perched up on the cliff side.

Cliffside roads

Cliffside roads

After a beautiful drive we soon arrived on the edge of Positano, where we left the bus with views over the beautiful town's gorge, which we then started to head down. Numerous staircases later we entered the heart of the town, where even in November it was full of tourists. Being on the south coast it had glorious sunshine, where there were no mountains to hide the winter sun.

Steep staircases of Positano

Steep staircases of Positano


Positano beach

Positano beach

We took a walk down to the beach, where the scale of the mountains becomes evident, before walking back through the town and on to the bus stop for our return to Sorrento. The buses were pretty busy, and as we arrived at the point where the winter schedule skips a bus, by the time it showed up it was full! Luckily we got a space, but it meant standing room only all the way back to Sorrento.

After almost an hour, the lack of room and constant turns started to give us both travel sickness, but in the nick of time we arrived back in Sorrento and into the fresh air. With today being a busy day we decided to grab pizza from a pizzeria so that we could then chill for the rest of the day. However as it wasn't yet 6pm, there was almost nowhere open!

After walking all around the town, we eventually found a take away close to our hotel, but they wouldn't be ready to serve for another half hour. Therefore we headed back to our hotel for a rest and to drop our bits off, before collecting the pizza later. Eventually grabbing dinner, we then spent the rest of the evening chilling before more excitement tomorrow.

Posted by kmmk17 10:15 Archived in Italy Tagged hills boat coast beach island limoncello Comments (0)

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