Thursday, 6 February 2014

I like to travel and see new things . . .

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“Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you've never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground.”  
~Judith Thurman

 I was sitting here yesterday thinking that we had not really taken a road trip or gone anywhere together for a long time.  The weather has just been so horrible.   Nobody wants to tramp around in the rain, and of course finances have been a huge problem.  Petrol is so expensive that we really need to pick and choose where and when we go places . . . and paying out a huge price on petrol to sit in the rain is a no go from the start!

We've been really blessed however, to have seen some really lovely places over these past 14 years and not all of them have been abroad.    These British Isles are filled with gorgeous places to visit without having to get on a plane, and a lot of them are well within an easy driving distance of wherever it is you happen to live here in the UK.

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The last really big holiday we went on was in July of 2010 when we went to Austria.  It's hard to believe that was almost four years ago now.   We had gone on a Sound of Music coach tour, and we had a lovely time.   We made some good friends that we are still in contact with and saw some really stunning and beautiful scenery.

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LOL I was looking through photographs yesterday and this one made me laugh big time.  It was a selfie I had taken of myself in Austria.  Not the most flattering angle I have to say, but we did have such a great time on this holiday that it shows!  The food at the venue we were staying was pretty horrible . . . so we did end up eating outside the hotel most nights and we always ended up in this Hotel Rainer most evenings with our friends where there was live music and dancing.   You haven't lived until you have heard Elvis Presley songs sung with an Austrian accent!

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Another stunning little place we have been which is not too far from where we live now is a village in Wales named Betwys-y-coed, which is Welsh for "Little Chapel in the Wood."  Most welsh town names have a meaning, or so I have been told.   It was an area of stunning beauty . . . nestled into the welsh hillsides . . .

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With a beautiful river and old buildings and a railway museum which we really enjoyed going through.  You can also have dinner in an old dining car, which was an unsual experience.   They get a lot of hikers visiting the area as there are a lot of great hillside walks for those who are so inclined.   The day we were there they were having a rummage sale in the village church, which we also really enjoyed having a boo through.  I do love a good rummage sale, don't you?

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We've been to Blackpool, the great holiday destination of the North with the Blackpool Illuminations each autumn and the Blackpool Tower etc.  At one time it was "the" destination for sea-side holiday makers.  IF any of you are Coronation Street fans you will know that Blackpool is often a place the characters go to for the day and was a much beloved holiday destination for Vera and Jack Duckworth, and it was in the ballroom on the top of the Blackpool Tower that Haley wanted to dance when she and Roy went there shortly after she found out she had cancer.

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Of course Blackpool is where our friends that we made on our Austria trip live and Phil used to be the mayor of Blackpool so we had excellent tour guides when we went there.  It was a really nice trip.

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Another place we love to go is Llangollen (pronounced Clan-Goch-lan) which is in Wales.   There is no prettier place on a sunny day.  With it's old steam railway and canal boats, river walk and rapids, quaint little shops and tea rooms, and lots, lots more it is a stunning place.   We never tire of going there.

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It is a place of great beauty.  I could not count on my hands the number of times we have gone there.  We just love it.

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Of course we always end up at The Horseshoe Pass whenever we go to Llangollen.  It's not very far away and the scenery is absolutely fabulous.  You can look out over the Welsh Valley's for miles and miles.   It's pretty sparse up at the pass, but there are lots of these . . .

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They are all over the place, wandering about freely.  I can still remember the first time we went up to the pass together.  There was a lot of their droppings, literally everywhere.  I tried so hard not to step on them . . . I soon gave up.  Aside from the sheep there is also a large cafe/gift shop at the pass and it seems to be a real favourite with bikers as there are always tons of them there resting up at the cafe.

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Another place we have visited a couple of times in this part of the country is Chirk Castle, which is in Wales also.   It's a wonderful place to spend a day.   The castle itself is very interesting . . .

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The gardens are stunning, especially on a sunny day . . .

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I do haved a tendancy to get all artsy with my photographs.  I can't help myself.

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It just happens.   I suppose it is the artist in me that just has to find it's way out and if it's not being done with a pencil and paint . . . it's being done with the camera's eye.

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Cumbria is another favourite destination of ours . . . with it's fells and valleys, and of course the Dales and the Lakes . . . Pendragon Castle (that's the picture).  The place we stay each time looks down on this castle ruin and we love to walk around it's stones.    There is a special feeling there.  The River Eden runs by it . . .

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The lakes are simply indescribably beautiful.  It is no small wonder that Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter found such inspiration here . . .

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We never tire of this magical beautiful place . . .

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Then there is Erddig, also in North Wales.  This is a wonderful example of Upstairs/Downstairs life.  It's all pretty much been kept in wonderful shape and you can get a real sense of what life must have been like for an Aristocrat or as a servant back in the good old days.   Not quite as grande as Downton Abby, but close . . .

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The Gardens alone are worth the visit . . . the house even more so.   We love it there.  I love it there.

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Another favourite place we like to visit when we can is Hever Castle, which was the childhood home of Anne Bolyn.   The gardens are stunning as is the castle.   It is fun to imagine Henry the 8th courting Anne here.   One day when we were there, Henry and Anne were there as well. It was interesting and there was a jousting tournament.

Did I ever tell you I am related to Anne Bolyn?   One of my ancestors was Sir John Howard, the first Duke of Norfolk who was her Great Grandfather (as well as the Great Grandfather of Katherine Howard, another of Henry's wives)  and the Great Great Grandfather of Queen Elizabeth the first.  He was a friend of King Richard the third and in fact died at the Battle of Bosworth on the same day as King Richard. History is so fascinating.

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Of course we were recently to Liverpool via the train, twice.   We've actually been to Liverpool several times.  I love going there.  It is a city which has a lot going for it.

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Not the least of which is this . . . birthplace of the Beatles, et al.  I was so thrilled when I got to go there last autumn.   It was a dream come true for me.

Of course there are alot of other things to see and do in Liverpool, but for me this was the best thing ever.  I had been dreaming of this since I was a little girl!

ARE you bored yet???  Bear with me.

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Port Sunlight Village is another favourite destination of ours>  It was build by one of the Lever Brothers (Sunlight Soap) to house his factory workers and is fascinating.   He was a very generous employer and humanitarian, at a time when most factory and industry bosses didn't really give a hoot about their employees.   There is the Lady Lever Museum, beautiful gardens, and a host of other things to occupy you there.  It's a lovely place to picnic as well.

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Regent's Park in London with it's fascinating flora and statuary, and birds is also a wonderful place to visit.  All of the parks in London are just wonderful I think.   And Huge.   They are always very busy places as well, with lots of people out enjoying themselves and tourists and school groups etc.

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Regent's part is filled with unsual statues.  This was just one of them.  Todd is such a good poser.  I love taking pictures of him.

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The Victoria and Albert Museum.  You could spend all day in there and still not see it all. I think this is one of my favourite museums to visit.  It's in London of course, but free to go into.  All museums in the UK are free of charge.  You may have to pay a fee to see "Specialized Exhibits" in them, but for the most part, totally free!

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The city of London itself is a fascinating place to visit.  I never, ever tire of visiting it.  There is so much to see and do there . . . so much history.   And lots and lots of walking.   You could spend a week or two there and still not see it all.   There is so much to drink in.

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I kind of love this quirky photo a passerby took of us the last time we were in London.  That's oru friends Jo and Colin with us.   We did have a lovely time together.

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And I love this one of Todd and I.  He looks so cheeky in it.  I don't know what he is saying, but I am sure it was quite humorous at the time.   He is my sweetie pie.  He has not been to Puerto Rico.  (Just for the record.)

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Kensington Palace . . . amazing.   I met an American woman in the cafe there and we had a lovely long chat.   There was an awful lot to drink in there . . .

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The Natural History Museum.   You could spend a couple of days in there, just like the Victoria and Albert Museum and still not see it all.   Fascinating stuff.

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You could spend hours just enjoying the beauty of the outside of the building before you even get inside . . .

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But inside is pretty amazing to say the least.  I think the children love the dinosaur exhibits most of all.

I have so much more I could show you from our two trips to the Black Forest, our many trips to Bologne in France  . . . the lovely trip we had to the Dordogne in the South of France, Scotney Castle, Chartwell (Winston Churchill's home), Bateman's (the home of Rudyard Kipling) amongst many more places we have been over the past 14 years, but I fear I might bore you. 

I do so love to visit these places.   I never went anywhere really except the places we were posted to with the Canadian Forces the first 44 years of my life.  My father was not one to stop and visit the world's largest ball of string and neither was my ex husband.  I saw all of these things in passing.  It's so nice to now have the opportunity to see more of the world and to have a person to share it with who enjoys seeing these things as much as I do.

A thought to carry with you through today . . .

. .`*.¸.*ღϠ₡ღ¸.✻´´¯`✻.¸¸.ღϠ₡ღ¸.✻´´¯`✻.¸¸.
What we have once enjoyed we can never lose.
All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.
~Helen Keller

 ღϠ₡ღ¸.✻´´¯`✻.¸¸.ღϠ₡ღ¸.✻´´¯`✻.¸¸. ღϠ₡ღ¸

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Baking in The English Kitchen today . . . Almond Crescents.  Delicious little buttery and almondy crisp cookies.   Just lovely.  A gift for a friend.

Have a wonderful Thursday!  (Can't believe it is Thursday already, can you?)

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