Category: places we go

A Camping Trip

My brother in law was running in Snowdonia National Park the other weekend so a few family members got together there for some camping. It’s been about three years since Gav and I pitched the tent! Time flies…..

We stayed near Bala and visited the freshwater lake, supposedly the oldest in the world! And saw a steam train.

And went for a slow walk down a country lane my the niece and her niece. (Aka my great niece. Blows my mind saying that every time!)

She’s a cheeky one.

Some rain and some sun. And some lovely light.

Found the most amazing ice cream parlour. It’s worth the 3 hour drive to have another one.

And after all that we were mighty tired….

The Click Tick List – Photograph Duddo Five Stones

I love it when something on my list gets done so easily! When I updated my list last year I added a visit to this stone circle into the mix because I adore an ancient monument and it’s in Northumberland where we visit often, so I figured it would be easy to do. And it was!

We spent my birthday in a lovely country hotel near Alnwick and took a drive to find this 4,000 year old ring of stones.

And although it was very windy the sky was a bright and a beautiful blue with lots of sunshine making the taking of photos a dream.

The position of this circle is up on a high ground so it gives you a wonderful view of the surrounding landscape. To the south are the Cheviot Hills.

The stones are sandstone which has become eroded by the weather over the years leaving the deep cut channels.

There were originally seven stones and you can see the gap to the west of the circle where the two missing stones would have stood.

Oh yes a little dog in the photo too. Gav was hiding behind that large stone because I asked him to get out of my shot but the pooch crept back in….

And of course it wouldn’t be right to leave this place without a self timed photo.

It was only a quick visit but this reminded me of how much I love to do this kind of thing. As long as the walk from the car isn’t too long. We used to trek about all over looking at monuments. Really glad I added this to my list and now crossed it off!

Click Tick List – Photograph 100 Gardens – Orto botanico di Pisa

When we went to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower we also wandered through town and popped into this University Garden. Said to be the first botanical garden attached to a ‘University’ and formed in 1544 although not on this current site.

It was worth visiting but did seem a little run down. The specimen beds seen in the photo below didn’t have many specimens in them and there were overgrown neglected paths and areas.

But like I say worth the visit anyway.

And we came across this very interesting screen…..

Looked like it was protecting this pine tree from the sun!

And there was a small area with annuals and a sweet wildlife ‘hotel’.

Loved that brick gateway.

Not the best we have seen but another added to my total!

Click Tick List – Photograph 100 Gardens – Villa Reale di Marlia

Sharing another wonderful visit to a Tuscan garden today. Full of character, follies, pools and even a disused swimming pool, the gardens of Villa Reale were a treat. And the amazing thing was we only saw four other visitors while we were there.

Even the walk from car to garden was even lined with cyclamen.

Perfect vista looking towards the main villa.

The garden itself was sprawling and beautiful with different areas such as the potted citrus garden below.

The light of course was amazing with that blue sky contrasting the greens and architecture so well.

A pretty knot garden tucked away at the side of one of the many buildings on the estate.

Sculpture and urns, topiary and fountains it was all packed in.

Along with the largest Hibiscus I’ve ever seen!

Truly lovely afternoon spent meandering and of course another added towards my 100!

Click Tick List – Photograph 100 Gardens – Boboli Gardens

Florence. A truly beautiful city packed with culture (and people!) and a garden from the book. So we had to pop along and visit it right?

The gardens stand behind the Palazzo Pitti and have a long history. They are also vast so we took a photo of the map to help us with our orientation.

Home to amazing sculptures, some were part of a modern exhibition, beautiful buildings and incredible architecture.

And the views out onto the landscape were just as pretty as everything inside.

Oh and we became statues ourselves for a moment……. We are the two on the left!

This last area of the garden was our favourite as it was more in keeping with a herbaceous border. Filled with Dahlias and other perennials.  Gav caught me taking this photo with my phone. I let him wield the big camera that day.

A lovely few hours spent in a very lovely Italian garden.

The Click Tick List – Sail on the Grand Canal

This is one of those things that I added to my list because it felt easy-ish to accomplish, after all Italy isn’t too far from me yet it also felt like something that I’d never do. Perhaps this was because I couldn’t see us parting with the money to hire a gondola!

Enter then the Vaporetto. A water bus.

When we were planning our summer trip to Tuscany I added a day trip to Venice into the mix. It is not close but it was closer than Leeds so I thought we could make the train journey and I could cross something off my list.

The ride on the Vaporetto was the main event. And Gav did an amazing job of planning where we should get on and off the bus and then how to spend the rest of the afternoon. It worked out great.

We visited Venice on another day trip about 20 years ago and I admit that I didn’t like it all that much. Yes, it was beautiful and quirky but oh so crowded. Still I wanted to go back and take that boat trip and I am so glad I did because I fell in love with the quieter streets and the bridges, oh the bridges!

But this story is not about the bridges. This story is about the canal and all its beautiful buildings lining the waters edge. We hopped on board at the train station.

Loved that traffic light in the picture below!

Seeing the city from the water was perfect and I guess this is how it should be viewed.

Managed to snap a reflection of us while we were docked.

After thirty minutes or so we came to the San Marco basin where the canal opens up into a bigger area of water and where we disembarked.

The building in the below photo is the Doge’s Palace with the domes of San Marco’s Basilica in the background.

And to finish us off one of the perfect little bridges. Oh yes, the large white bridge at the top of this post is the Rialto Bridge a spectacular and grand example which has shops actually on it!

So there we go a memorable trip on a water bus that can be crossed of the list!

Travel Time

Just popping in to say we are in Tuscany enjoying cappuccino and gelato! Be back soon.

The Click Tick List – See the Terracotta Warriors Exhibition in Liverpool

I stumbled on the information for this exhibition quite by accident earlier in the summer. Somewhere in the depths of my memory I knew I’d heard of this archeological find but didn’t know much about it.

We headed off last weekend to see what it was all about.

This was the first time in over ten years that the Warriors (they have been called the Terracotta Army too) have come to the UK and the curators at the World Museum in Liverpool have put together a stunning exhibition.

Both breathtaking and terrifying we walked alongside the stories of how the sculptures were made and buried with the Emperor to protect him in the afterlife.

The detail was remarkable, each figure lifesize and unique. They estimate that there are 8,000 soldiers plus horses and chariots. They are still excavating this tomb that was discovered by chance in 1974.

I would love to see them in situ (just search instagram or the internet for an idea of the scale of this tomb) but I know I’ll never go so this will have to do.

Well worth the visit.

The Click Tick List – Photograph 100 Gardens – Kew Royal Botanic Gardens

Anyone who has been here a while knows that we love a trip to London so when my colleagues bought me afternoon tea at Kew Gardens as my leaving present we couldn’t have been more thrilled.

We wanted to visit in the summer to get the most from that world famous garden so went at the beginning of June. I’d been once before with my sister when my older niece turned sixteen…. she’s thirty two now! SO a revisit was almost like going for the first time.

We were not disappointed. In fact Gav was downright impressed. Here are a collection of photos from that afternoon.

The Palm House.

The rose garden was amazing. Here is Gav wandering onto one side of it. Above is Rosa ‘Lady Salisbury’.

Didn’t get the name of this one……. But is is so beautiful.

Rosa ‘Gentle Hermione’. Love how it fades with age.

Rosa ‘Wisley 2008’.

And Rosa ‘Jubilee Celebration’.

We meandered over to have our afternoon tea in The Botanical restaurant. It was delicious.

And then a general mooch about. There is so much to see you can’t do it all in a day so we headed to what interested us most.

They have a vegetable garden and also a very clever and interesting area set out in plant families. The photo above is the Euphorbiaceae bed. Some families have surprising members and it was an enlightening walk.

Some of the flowers had there muslin bags over them I’m guessing to protect the fertalised flowers. Ingenious yet pretty and it make you realise how much planning and looking after these kinds of gardens need.

The Rose Arbour.

Tomatoes.

The we went to climb up to the treetop walkway. Another clever idea.

And the view from the top was great. You can see the newly restored and recently re-opened Temperate House.

And before we left for the day we stopped inside that glasshouse.

Absolutely amazing place and we will be back again I’m sure. So worth a visit.

The Click Tick List – Watch a Shakespeare Play at the Globe

At the beginning of April I wrote about hoping to cross four items of my list this year. I made profiteroles, that was one and now we can cross another off because Gav and I headed to the Globe Theatre when we were in London last month and watched As You Like It.

So what was it like watching a play in an open air reproduction theatre then? Magical. That’s what. It was helped considerably by the play itself which is one of Shakespeare’s more light hearted works and apparently a favourite with audiences of which we can concur.

Luckily for all those folk standing, it didn’t rain.

All I knew about this theatre was that is was supposed to be a replica of the original Globe from Shakespeares time. I should have done my research before going but instead I have just done it and must say it makes interesting reading.

Here is the story of how it came to be built and here is the main web site for the theatre.  (Click on that second link for some great video shots of the building).

Although Gav and I are fans of the theatre and getting out there to see things we don’t go as often as we should. But now I’ve been once to this great place I can us popping along to see something on every trip to London. I may even give the standing up a try!