Monday, August 31, 2015

Sunset On Tybee Island, Georgia

On our recent USA road trip, we spent a few days in the glorious Georgia city of Savannah.  Being close to the waterfront and the beautiful Talmadge Memorial Bridge, we set off one evening to try and catch the sun setting on nearby Tybee Island.  

Tybee is a city and Island in South East Georgia, has a population of several thousand people, and is a popular retreat for locals and tourists alike.   Tybee played an important role in the American Civil War, when Union soldiers laid siege along the North Coast, which, ultimately, aided their capture of nearby Fort Pulaski, and saw the first use of rifled cannons in the conflict. 

Scenery between Savannah and Tybee Island

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Plas Brondanw Gardens

In our quest to keep discovering our new home region of North Wales, we hit up Google and tried to come up with an idea for something to do that was fairly close to our home in Harlech.   After searching for things to do in Porthmadog, I stumbled across Plas Brondanw Gardens.   After reading that it was the home of the man responsible for the design of nearby Portmeirion, I bundled LT into the car and forced him to drive there.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Nant Gwrtheyrn

Located just outside the village of Llithfaen on the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales, Nant Gwrtheryn is perhaps best known for its Welsh language school.   That was certainly the only reason I’d heard of it since moving here.   However, as I soon discovered, it also has a Heritage Centre, CafĂ©, Conference Facilities and Self Catering Cottages, amongst other things.   As I also found out on arrival, it’s a very popular wedding venue.  Or, at least I think it is.   I rather hope that fancy dresses and high heels are not regularly worn by the locals in order to take a walk down to the beach.  If they are, I’m going to have to buy a whole new wardrobe.  And here was me thinking it was the Scottish accent that had been giving me away for the past three months…

Monday, August 24, 2015

5 Great Coffee Shops in Shrewsbury

Anyone that knows me knows I love my coffee.  I also love finding coffee shops where I can indulge in my favourite habit.   This weekend, we took a trip into the beautiful Shropshire town of Shrewsbury, where we enjoyed the sunshine and I wired myself to the moon with some serious coffee fixin'.  

Off The Square:

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Awesome coffee, great staff.
This is a lovely little Cafe on Market Street that is, as its name suggests, just off the main Shrewsbury Square.   It's a pretty little location, which is central and easy to locate, as well as being just a minute's walk from the main shopping precincts.   I loved the decor in the Cafe and the waitresses were just lovely. They make a mean tea cake, which was devoured in record time and my cappuccino was a served in a good sized mug and was excellent.   The Cafe also has free wifi and was reasonably priced.  

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Tales from Cadair Idris

Thanks to Suzanne for asking me to write a post on my recent walk for Sightseeingshoes.  This is mainly because she doesn't really like hillwalking and couldn't write about it herself, but Cadair Idris is really too spectacular not to merit its own post.  

I was really lucky to have chosen a glorious day for walking and the weather forecast down here has just as much predictive value as China's stock market! (at the time of writing.)  However, serious walkers shouldn't let the weather stop them in their tracks. 

As with any walk that I'm not familiar with I refer to a 1:50K scale Ordnance Survey map and on this occasion I decided to download the app on my iPhone.  The app itself is free, but you can purchase 'tiles' or 'regions' depending on your needs.  The app is brilliant and incorporates a GPS location service along with a compass.  I could also annotate my planned journey on the actual map and save it.  This is ideal in situations where walks don't have a clear path or, if you're like me, want to avoid the paths where the masses congregate.

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Baaah!! What are you looking at?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Plas Glyn Y Weddw

Situated on the coast near Pwhelli in the town of Llanbedrog, Plas Glyn y Weddw is a huge Gothic mansion which houses a gorgeous modern art gallery, woodland walks, a Cafe with indoor and outdoor seating, and a quite spectacular view of the Irish Sea.

Now, that;s what I call a view!
As we continue looking for places to explore in North Wales, we spotted Plas Glyn on a Trip Adviser list and decided we’d roll on by and take a look.   We arrived on a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon and were immediately taken by the mansion house and beautifully manicured gardens.  

The rhododendrons were a riot of blues, whites and hot pinks and several couples and their lovely dogs were already sitting out on the lawn picnic tables reading maps and newspapers and drinking coffee.   I immediately wanted to go and speak to the puppies, but I’m always worried their humans will think I’m odd, so I managed to restrain myself.  I did stare at them a lot, though. 

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Plas Glyn Mansion House
There is a small car park on site, which is free of charge for the first half hour and only £1 for each subsequent hour.   Given that the gallery and exhibitions are all free of charge, it’s an absolute bargain.

As I’m no use to anyone without my morning coffee fix, I dragged LT into the Cafe with the promise of tea and cake.   The staff was mainly made up of young girls, who were friendly and efficient, delivering their trays of home bakes to salivating customers.   LT wolfed down some sort of raspberry strudel which disappeared in a matter of seconds.  If that’s not confirmation of how tasty it was, I don’t know what is.

Plas Glyn Cafe copyright sightseeingshoes
The lovely surroundings of the Cafe.  Check out the cakes on the left... 
The entrance way to the main gallery is really impressive, with high vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows.  It was brilliant to see so much local art and, as this is the first time I’ve been to a gallery in Wales, I was really impressed by the talent on display.   

Obviously, I also managed to sniff out some Scottish artwork in the shape of piggy banks.  I think this helps to reinforce the stereotypes about Scots and, shall we say…their love of not spending money.   Clearly, this isn’t true as I spent a pound on the car park.  A WHOLE POUND.  I feel I’ve made my case.

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stained glass and vaulted ceilings
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lower gallery
We spent an amiable hour, happily wandering through the floors of the gallery, stopping occasionally to gaze out of the upper windows at the green seas in the distance.   After looking through the ‘Haf’ exhibition (Welsh for summer), we took ourselves down the gallery shop to stick our snouts in the locally made candles and ooh over the hand crafted handbags (well, I did, anyway) before heading back out into the sunshine to check out the woodlands walks. 

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Solomon's Trail 
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exterior sculptures
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colourful rhododendrons in the grounds 
There are several walks to choose from, each marked with the cutest signpost (as pictured below).  The woodlands surrounding the mansion are lovely and, as we walked towards the main bulk of trees, we noticed that the outbuilding towards the car park also has a roof terrace, which visitors can use as a further open space to relax in.  

‘Haf’ runs until the middle of September and will no doubt be replaced with some other fabulous exhibition that I’ll have to go back and see.   These are some of my favourite pieces from the gallery.  One of them is a dog (because, obviously…)

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Scooby Doo! 
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I couldn't agree more
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Scottish piggy banks 
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Wales, baby!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

City Guides: 8 Free Things To Do In Liverpool

Aside from my love of the accent, I think that Liverpool is one of the friendliest cities in the UK.  Everyone always seems to be happy.  As LT is from just across the Mersey in Wirral, I've been lucky enough to be able to regularly spend time in Liverpool (and Wirral) when we visit his family.   These are my favourite free things to do in the city: 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Cup Cake Cafe, Torphichen, Scotland

Sometimes, there are cold, wet, miserable days (I'm from Scotland, so this happens quite a lot), where all we need is a little pick me up. On these days, I find that cake does the trick.   Luckily for me, roughly half way between mine and my parents home is Cup Cake Cafe.   This means that, not only do I score points for visiting on a Sunday afternoon, I also get to stuff my face afterwards to reward myself for being such a wonderful daughter.  It's a selfless act.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Day Trippin' in Hawarden

I was trawling through Twitter on Friday night (as I do from time to time) and happened upon a tweet about William Gladstone.  Please don’t ask me what I was looking for, as I really don’t know.  Honestly, I don’t usually spend my Friday nights researching ex-Prime Ministers.  I’m way too much fun for that*   

Anyway, I found the tweet and Googled the good man only to realise that he lived in North East Wales.   I live in North West Wales and, well…. it’s not really that far, is it?   I checked out the local area and found that it had several attractions that interested me, so I signed up LT and we headed off bright and early (well, early) the next morning. 

Friday, August 07, 2015

The Travel Bug's 3 Fascinating Facts About Melrose, Scotland

While helping out his humans on a day trip to Melrose, these are the facts TTB uncovered:

Aargh...get me down from here!  TTB visits the top of Melrose Abbey.
  • The heart of Robert the Bruce, once King of Scotland, is buried at Melrose Abbey.   The rest of him lies in Dunfermline Abbey in Fife.

  • Melrose is home to Scotland’s first Teddy Bear Museum.

  • Melrose is the birthplace of Scotland’s famous Rugby Sevens competition, which is contested every year.  

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Day Five: Remortgaging My House and Heading Back to Miami

I was pleased to report that I was over the worst of my Norovirus (it’s absolutely no fun at all) and managed a full hour of sunbathing in the Caribbean sunshine.   I had successfully managed to avoid my fellow passengers by being sick for the most part and was left with a bit of cabin fever (pun intended).

Monday, August 03, 2015

Day Four: Avoiding Chicken Feet and Buying Herbs From Strange Men in Jamaica

I managed to scrape myself out of the cabin and down to one of the restaurants for some breakfast.   I kept a slice of toast and sip of coffee down before having a dip in the Jacuzzi in an attempt to ease the all over pain I was feeling from being sick for 14 straight hours   The Jacuzzi wasn’t actually on, so I was really just lying in a big public bath.  After exhausting myself sitting in some water, I headed back to bed in the hope that I’d feel a bit better by the time we docked in Jamaica.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Day Three: Grand Cayman and Norovirus

Raring to go and desperate to put my feet on firm ground, I was a happy girl when I finally spotted some land from my balcony window.   After a full 24 hours sailing, we’d made it to Grand Cayman.  The Carnival Victory is way too big to actually dock there, so a number of tenders were sent over to pick up the passengers and ferry them to the island.