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
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
The Seoul Lantern Festival was of the main reasons we wanted to come to Seoul. And it exceeded expectations spectacularly. I absolutely loved it.
The Lantern Festival is set up along Cheonggyechoen-ro, which used to be an underpass for traffic. Happily, the city of Seoul has transformed it into a strolling park, with a stream running down the middle and a footpath either side. Every so often it is landscaped with a small bridge or stepping stones across the stream. So even without the lantern festival it would be a nice place to have a walk. But of course the Lantern festival makes it incredible! The amazing handmade paper Lanterns are placed down the middle of the stream, on small platforms. Continue reading
I was pleased to move back North of the River to Myeongdong. This is known as the centre of Seoul and is popular with locals and tourists alike, with buzzing pedestrianised streets, shops, cafes and restaurants all adorned with neon signs.
In an effort to reduce pollution Seoul has transformed one of the overpasses (which used to be choked with traffic) into a pedestrianised walkway filled with flowerbeds, and even a paddling pool, a trampoline and a piano! It was like an urban park for strolling or sitting. We strolled over one evening and I tried out my camera settings photographing the rather grand Seoul Station. Continue reading
This blog is about the old, historic parts of Seoul, in case you were wondering! There were plenty of Temples which many visitors explored while dressed in traditional costumes – which gave them free entry to the temples.
We started with Gyeongbokgung Palace where we saw the changing of the guard, Continue reading
Did you know that “Gangnam Style” (the amazing catchy song by Psy) was based on Gangnam, the area south of the river in Seoul, South Korea? When I heard this, I knew we had to go while we were in Seoul.
There is a permanent tribute to Psy’s Gangnam Style in the form of a stage where you can go and show off your moves in the middle of the city! We also explored the bustling and brightly lit back streets, full of cafes, restaurants and shops all vying for attention in bright neon. Continue reading
As if World War Two wasn’t bad enough, with concentration camps, the Holocaust etc. Oh wait – there’s more. Comfort Women. Now this isn’t a nice thing to hear about, especially on holiday, but I feel we have a responsibility to hear about it. So I took my husband along to the War and Women Human Rights Museum to find out more.
The War and Human Rights Museum which was a fascinating and horrifying look at Comfort Women; a system whereby during WW2 predominantly Japanese soldiers used predominantly Korean Women as sex slaves, or “comfort women”. Continue reading
After an exhausting 27 hours of travelling since we left home (3 trains and 2 planes), we went to bed feeling grimy, exhausted, and uncomfortable. But what a difference a good night’s sleep makes… we awoke the next morning bright and early, feeling amazing! The sun was shining, we had safely made it to Seoul, the hotel was nice, and we treated ourselves to a buffet breakfast in our hotel which was divine. All was well with the world!
We strolled around Hongdae which we quickly found was a lovely place – safe, with lovely autumnal leaves, quirky little shops and cafes everywhere, a student-y vibe, and a plethora of Animal Cafes. There was a Cat Cafe, a Meercat Cafe, a Sheep Cafe etc. Continue reading
The Kimchi festival wasn’t widely publicised but I stumbled upon it online before we went. A festival? Thousands of people making Kimchi at the same time? We are there! We shifted the holiday forward a couple of days and found flights via Italy so we could get there in time. That’s dedication for you.
So what is Kimchi? Kimchi is cabbage fermented in spices. Normally the spices used are chili, garlic, ginger, onion, fish sauce, salt or similar. After the cabbage is rubbed in spices it is packed away to ferment. Kimchi is made in the autumn to preserve the vegetables as we head into winter. Continue reading
When I read about Les Plus Beaux Villages De France (the most beautiful villages of France) I was intrigued. France is pretty beautiful at the best of times, but it seems they have selected the cutest little chocolate-box villages to promote for tourism. We visited Beuvron en Auge in Northern France.
We had to take a real detour to get there through country roads, but were really glad we made it. And to our surprise there were a dozen other tourists there too, but luckily it was still an unspoilt quiet village. Continue reading