Culture and Castles in Cardiff

We had never been to Cardiff before but it seemed like a good place for a mini-break. We got a lovely empty train down on Friday night, then spent Saturday exploring the beautiful Cardiff Bay and Sunday in the city centre.

We started our mini-break in the Cardiff Bay area Continue reading

The Biggest Jellyfish I have Ever Seen!

We had a lovely day out in Exmouth, the highlight of which was seeing the biggest jellyfish ever! I literally screamed when it floated went past, even thought I was on the dock and not even in the water! It was like seeing a monster – a massive multicoloured creature, the likes of which I had no idea even existed in UK waters. We saw about 30 in all, and we spent around an hour looking for them and trying to photograph them, shrieking in delight when another one floated past! We are simple people.

The jellyfish were about 2 foot across, and 3 foot long, which is extremely big for the UK. I have seen some scary-looking jellyfish in Florida and took precautions against the super-dangerous Irukandji jellyfish in Australia. So I can imagine monsters like this living in Australia, but in the UK?! Wow. I took photos and looked it up afterwards, and apparently they were Dustbin-Lid Jellyfish, the biggest jellyfish in UK waters. They can grow up to 90cm across, but their sting is only like a nettle so they are fairly harmless. Still – I wouldn’t want to come face-to-face with one of these while swimming! Continue reading

Ooo Devon is a Place on Earth!

We wanted to have a short break in North Devon and opted for Westward Ho! I’ll be honest – I have avoided this in the past as who has an exclamation mark in their name?! It seemed faintly ridiculous, but to Westward Ho! we went. And Wow! We loved Westward Ho! A beach of endless sand, a simple seaside holiday with fish and chips and ice cream – it was just when we needed.

The beach itself was the piece de resistance – at low tide it stretched on, beautiful flat sand. I couldn’t believe we were in the UK – it seemed more like New Zealand! Continue reading

Visiting the home of Broadchurch – West Bay, Dorset

Broadchurch was one of those TV shows I was hooked on. I couldn’t wait to get home to see the next episode, and speculated endlessly about who-dunnit. When I found out it was based in the Westcountry (as Olivia Coleman’s accent suggests), and West Bay in Dorset to be precise, I decided a visit was in order!

West Bay is dominated by large yellow cliffs. The cliffs are part of the Jurassic Coast and there is always a danger of rock-falls. I have seen many stories in the news about tourists who take risks and either stand on the edge of the cliff, or directly underneath it to get the best selfie. The last rockfall saw 1,000 tonnes of rock and debris falling, so you don’t wanna be underneath that! Continue reading

Portsmouth: The Dubai of Southern England?

Portsmouth is a harbour city in Southern England. My Mum had been saying for a while that she wanted to go because of the historic dockyard. I quite fancied being in the sunny south coast with a nice waterfront and Dubai-like sail, while watching the ships pass by. And it was a breath of fresh air.

The Historic Dockyard is quite something. There are various old boats to see, including  the Mary Rose, Henry the Eighth’s boat which sank in 1545, saw preserved in silt at the bottom of the harbour for 437 years (Yes, 437 years!!) before being dredged up in 1982. It is just like the Vasa in Stockholm, Sweden, which was on the sea-bed for around 300 years and is perfectly preserved. There are also ships like the HMS Victory which was Nelson’s ship at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, and the HMS Warrior from 1860 which was heavily armoured so no-one dared attack it and it never engaged in battle. Note: tickets are expensive and confusing – see the travel tips section at the bottom of this page. Continue reading

Drugs, anyone? The alternative community of Christiania, Denmark

Freetown Christiania is an alternative community in Copenhagen. It started in the 1970s  by homeless people squatting in the derelict buildings. They then started a self-governing hippy / anarchist community which is still thriving today.

The main central zone is shops, mostly selling drug paraphernalia, cafes, and an art-gallery. The main street is called Pusher Street, for a reason – it is lined with men selling marijuana and the air was thick with weed. Continue reading

Food in Copenhagen

To be truthful, the danish pastries were the main reason I went to Denmark. I had heard that they were like heaven so I was practically salivating when I arrived in Copenhagen.

We tried several foods in Denmark, including international options (the biggest and one of the best burger I have ever had and a lovely pizza) but the Danish foods we enjoyed were essentially three types:-

Danish Pastries

My favourite food was a Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Snegle. Continue reading

Joining the Cycling Revolution in Copenhagen

I never thought I’d get to Denmark, but thanks to my husband’s enthusiasm we made it there one cold and rainy day. My favourite thing was Nyhavn, a picturesque harbour.

Copenhagen is known for being the worlds most cycleable city, with defined bike lanes, thousands of bikes, and flat ground. So we hired bikes and set off. Normally when i cycle it is just me, a solitary cyclist cycling around my hometown. So it was thrilling to be part of a bike – caravan; at the traffic lights there would be a queue of about 20 of us waiting for the light to change! Continue reading

Seoul Food

Food in Seoul was delicious. It makes me want to still be there, and I wish they’d open up certain chains in the UK so I can eat them all the time!

I should start with the most famous of Korean food: Korean BBQ. This was at once mouthwateringly delicious, bewildering, and hard work. We ordered 2 dishes; beef and mushrooms. We received about 12,000 dishes so it was interesting trying to work out what everything was, but we were pleasantly surprised Continue reading

Gunfire at the DMZ?!

Looking over the Demilitarised Zone into North Korea was surreal, fascinating, and a little scary – especially when I heard distant gunfire! – but more on that later.

The Demilitarised Zone is the zone between North and South Korea. Known as the DMZ – and pronounced the American way, “D M Zee” (if you say “D M Zed” you will get strange looks!). In the Korean War in the 1950s, an armistice was reached in 1953 where both sides agreed not to have any military in the 2km directly in front of the front-line, thereby creating a 4km gap between them. The front-line itself is called the Military Demarcation Line – we got confused over all the terminology! It is fair to say that although the 2km South Korean DMZ is demilitarised, the area just outside of that is heavily militarised. There are South Korean and US army bases there. Continue reading