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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
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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)

Finally Meeting the Penguins

In Search of the Penguins

all seasons in one day 5 °C
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After a pretty rough crossing yesterday, today we finally made it to the 7th continent - Antarctica.

Waking, the difference in the water was already clear, a little bit of bobbing still, but nothing compared to the the previous day. After breakfast I went for a wander, visiting the bridge, which on this ship had an open door policy, before attending the mandatory briefing on rules in the continent.

Bridge

Bridge

After collecting boots and having items vacuumed for biosecurity, we began to see our first icebergs in the distance, as well as birds and whales. It wasn't long then before lunch and a talk on penguins followed.

Penguin Island

Penguin Island

Having raced out of Ushuaia to avoid the storm, we were ahead of schedule and therefore able to enjoy our first landing already! This would be at Penguin Island in the South Shetland Islands - an active volcano that although snow free had a wide range of wildlife.

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

The process for getting out on land wasn't quick. Being called in groups we arrived in the mudroom already in thermals and our parka coats, put our boots and lifejackets on and then swiped out before walking down the steps to get on a Zodiac dinghy to sail to shore.

Boarding the Zodiacs

Boarding the Zodiacs


Seals

Seals

Once at the beach we got off and walked around past Seals and Chinstrap Penguins and up to the hill for a hike to the top. Although around 5˚C outside, in the thick clothes hiking up quickly became hot and sweaty. The brief snowfall was therefore a welcome relief to cool us down before it cleared up for views around the area.

Chinstraps

Chinstraps

Walking back down to spend a bit of time with the penguins before heading back to ship was a welcome treat and gave us a taste of what to expect in the next five days.

Back at the ship I left my dirty and wet items in the mudroom before heading back to the room to change out of my thermals where I found an envelope with my name on it. Opening it up I found a letter from Jim & Christine, with whom I had travelled with in Central Asia in the autumn. Coincidentally they were travelling on the tour immediately before mine and so had left me a little note for me on board - a really beautiful gesture!

As we had now reached Antarctica, we had a welcome drink in the lounge to celebrate with the captain before dinner. This was followed by an evening documentary as we sailed through the Bransfield Strait at sunset en route to the mainland of Antarctica itself tomorrow.

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Antarctica Tagged boat mountain penguins seals penguinhunt antarcticcruise Comments (0)

The End of the World....?

In Search of the Penguins - Ushuaia

overcast 10 °C


Having made my way to the airport in Rio and transferred in Buenos Aires, where I would return in around 10 days time, I eventually made it to Ushuaia, at the bottom of Argentina for the real part of the holiday to begin.

Flying over Tierra del Fuego

Flying over Tierra del Fuego

Getting from the airport to the hotel was pretty quick as the city was rather small, yet it became immediately clear that 'summer' here was much more like a Scandinavian summer than it had been in Brazil.

After having met some new travel companions already, I settled in for the night after a long day of travelling, prepared for the new adventures ahead.

The following morning I left my suitcase in the lobby before having breakfast and enjoying views over the city from the hotel restaurant, perched on the top of a hill. With embarkation not until 4pm, I then headed off for my exploration of the city, beginning with a walk to a vantage point along a harbour road for views of the city with mountains in the background.

Then I headed towards the Plaza Islas Malvinas, where a big square had been converted into a memorial for the Falklands War thirty five years previously. Curiously (or not?) a man constantly sits in a box watching the square all day. Can't think why.....

Plaza Islas Malvinas

Plaza Islas Malvinas

Continuing, I made my way to the information centre, where I obtained a certificate for having reached the southernmost city in the world. However like most things Argentinian, this is debatable. The city of 70,000 is located on Tierra del Fuego, an island south of the continent itself; whilst there are also settlements on the southern (Chilean) side of the Beagle Channel such as Puerto Williams which are only classed as "towns" with populations of approximately 3,000.

At the End of the World sign

At the End of the World sign

Nevertheless I took the certificate anyway and continued towards past the harbour stopping at the End of the World sign and having views of the ship I would be boarding later on. The next stop was the End of the World museum, for some history on the city, before turning back and heading to the gift shops and supermarket eventually returning to the hotel to wait for the transfer at 3pm.

The ship

The ship

Enjoying my last drops of internet, we then all boarded the coach getting to know each other whilst we travelled, eventually making it to the port to board the ship. Getting a swipe on/off card, we had our photos taken and there we were - on board ready to set sail for Antarctica.

Entering Port

Entering Port

Having paid for my trip well in advance, I bagged the cheapest tickets for which I was required to share a Quad, and I soon met my travel companions - Cameron from the USA (who I had shared with the previous night), Gary from Canada and Bastian from Germany.

The Room

The Room


Staff Introductions

Staff Introductions

Not long after boarding we had an introduction with the staff of the ship in the lounge, which included the safety drill, testing our life jackets and even getting to sit in one of the covered lifeboats.

Safety Drill

Safety Drill


Goodbye to South America

Goodbye to South America

The ship then set sail and not long after we had our first dinner in the restaurant, where over views of the channel I got to know more people on the boat, which was made up of about 30% equally Americans, Brits and Australians, a with a handful of Canadians, and a scattering of others from Europe and Asia making up the rest of the numbers.

It quickly became clear that many people had the same ideas as me, booking this trip well in advance to secure the cheapest rooms! Isn't it always fun to meet people who have done the same thing?

Collecting my nice thick parka coat that would keep me warm for the duration of the trip, I then settled in for the night before tomorrow's rough crossing of the Drake Passage.

A great start to an unforgettable adventure.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Argentina Tagged mountains boat scenery war penguinhunt antarcticcruise Comments (0)

The Dam '16

Amsterdam

sunny 13 °C
View Amsterdam 2016 on kmmk17's travel map.


After coming back from Copenhagen late on Sunday night, on Friday evening after work I returned to Luton Airport to take a flight to Amsterdam where I would once again visit the Eurovision in Concert with my Dutch friends.

Being met at the airport briefly by Sandy and her boyfriend, I eventually made it to my hotel and took a long lie in after the busy week before meeting Sandy again on Saturday afternoon in the city centre.

On a Boat Tour

On a Boat Tour

Having been to Amsterdam four times previously, I was not too fussed about seeing that much, as the holiday was mostly about having a nice catch up, but nevertheless, we still took a lovely boat tour around the canals with Roel and some of his other Eurovision friends, before visiting the concert itself in the evening.

Hosts with Greta from Iceland

Hosts with Greta from Iceland

As ever, the concert gets just over half the acts of the year coming to perform their songs for an excitable crowd of fans, with some of the acts better than others. It was an enjoyable evening as always, and a nice taster of what to expect on my next holiday to Stockholm for the real event in a few weeks time.

Jüri from Estonia

Jüri from Estonia


Keukenhof

Keukenhof

The following day I once again met up with Sandy and we went over to the Keukenhof Flower Garden, where each spring the gardens are laid out beautifully with tulips. This gave my holiday a real nice feel as not only was the weather the entire weekend great, but I also got to experience some new Dutch things despite having been to the country many times previously.

Clogs

Clogs

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Netherlands Tagged boat flowers friends eurovision Comments (0)

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