Sunday, 31 August 2008

The Williams Arms

This is where we started our last day of the school holidays jaunt yesterday. The Williams Arms is a very popular pub/restaurant in Braunton. You can't miss it (although my husband did nearly drive straight past in his usual I'll-just-follow-the-car-in-front mode), it's to your right just as soon as you enter the village from the dual carriageway. What you see in the photo is the pub half of the building and the restuarant is off to the right on a right angle. The restuarant was fulled booked today so I'd advise booking if you want to eat there.

We arrived fairly early at 12.30 and were able to get a table in the bar, by the time we left it was squashed standing room only as people waited for tables and ours was nabbed very swiftly. In the bar you are able to order from the bar menu and eat from the carvery in the restuarant. We all had carveries. My teenager moaned at this so I only ordered her a children's plate at �4.95. Half way through the meal she then decided that this was OK after all and wished she'd had the adult plate in order to fit more potatoes on. However, when asked which they prefered English roast or French creperie (we've just come back from France) she was the only one to say French creperie!

Friday, 29 August 2008

Launceston Steam Railway

Photo courtesy of Leslie Nicholson. (Many thanks)

This is straying somewhat out of the realms of North Devon, but I thought I would blog about it anyway. Launceston is in Cornwall, but only just! It took a while to get there this morning but eventually we made it and three generations of us boarded the steam train. There were three carriages on the train and we opted for the fully enclosed one. The train runs from Launceston to a hamlet called Newmills and the journey takes around 10 mins through leafy green countryside. Tickets are �25 for a family (2 adults and up to 4 children - a much more sensible number than 2) or �8.25 for adults. This allows you unlimited rides on the train, you could go up and down all day if you wanted to.

At the Launceston station there is a cafe and a museum (old barn with cars, bikes and things steam engine related). At Newmills there is a farm, entry to which is �10 for a family ticket. This farm has nothing to do with the Steam Railway other than its shared location. There is lots to do here for small children and my two youngest ones and thier small cousin had a great time there today. There are trampolines, a slide, lots of ride around trikes, swingball, a badminton/tennis net and racquets, lots of picnic benches, a cafe, and lots of wasps. This last caused lots of hysterical squealling from the two youngest members of our party so a visit planned for earlier in the year might be advisable.

Another big hit at the farm was the pets corner where my two spent ages cuddling the baby rabbits. We spent about three hours there, and did a bit of celebrity spotting (Tamsin Greig from Love Soup was there with her family - another photo I lost), then caught the train back again. This time we went for the open carriage which was very nice and to be recommended as long as its not raining - which just for a change it wasn't!

Still majorly annoyed about losing half of my photos - this is the only one of Newmills that survived.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Mount Everest -Dreaming With Open Eyes

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Maybe you are dreaming climbing the mount Everest as I do. Maybe you think the best in the world is to stay on the pick and to sleep there. But you know, it's unpossible. Even if I had so much money and could buy this event for me, it could not be real. In any case. It's not for everybody.

Wait! Maybe not everything is lost?... Before you disperate read this:

Here are some ufficial dates about the alpinist season on the highest mountains this year.

The oldest person this year was a man from Nepal that had 76 years, other from Japan 75.
There were 9 women from 9 different etnic groups from Nepal.
One alpinist family from Canada -father (57), mother (56) and their 3 children (20,23,25).

Maybe you don't know it, but there are 14 mountains that are higher than 8000 m.
One alpinist reached the 14-th of for him pick this year and there are now 14 persons in the world that climbed all 14 mountains. But this man was the 7-th that did it without the additionaly ossigen and he is the first from South America.
one alpinist, Juanito Oiarzabal, is the only man that did this climbing 22 times (8000 m).

The black side of this beautiful dream is that the men that climb mountains remain there sometimes.
This year 6 alpinists fall from their dream-mountains. One of them was a legend of the alpinism, from Spain (1967) that had 12 climbings on 8000 m picks in his life.

We will be more prudent. We will lookat the world around us from the top of the mount Everest directly from our PC. Visit this panoramic photo to do it.


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Wednesday, 20 August 2008

What Do You Need For Your Vacation

I read today an article telling about the things a person has to take when preparing a vacation. There were necessairs, bottles, boxes, pillows... "A sensitive person has to think to create comfort when she/he is going for a trip." It is a publicity and education of us to buy more and more, to create more and more comfortable life for us.

I like comfort too. Confess. The first thing I do when I reach this or that place is to create comfort around me. If I need a telephone I buy radio telephone to feel free from the wire. If I need igienic paper I prefere something soft and resistent. And I have a recipient with 40 pieces of it an arm far from the sit. I want to feel cleen hands (and not only them) in any potentially dirty place, so I have all sorts (for every part of the body) of wet cleaning napkins in my bag. Etc etc.

Tell me pls, when you were more happy and the travel was more memorable: in the place with all comodities or when you were a "wild tourist"?

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Tuesday, 12 August 2008

"Norman" Towers Of Salerno

One of the romantic and very attractive things of this region were for me "Norman" Towers. I think you will agree with me if you look at this photo. This is the tower of Vietri Sul Mare, the town situated about 3 km from Salerno. The part of earth that you see on the right is Amalfi Coast.

Once I read about the next on the right tower, the tower of Cetara: the owner wanted to sell it and wanted 2 millions for it. Maybe it was not too much for a building like this.

Interesting is that these towers have nothing common with Normans. They were built after 1537 to protect the coasts from the Saracens and others. The joke of the fate was that they were never more useful.

In these towers lived a corporal and 4 soldiers. They had to guard the sea day and night. If they wanted to eat, thay had to go to the resident persons and ask them for food.
The ships navigated near the coast at that time and on the place in the top of th tower was a cannon to fire transgressors.

The tower over here is in Salerno today. But about 100 years ago the people lived only inside the town-walls. And this place was far from the town.

As you see, the latest owners of the towers use them for different aims. They build houses on the places for cannons. I've seen the plans of some of these towers, they have staircases inside and maybe 2-3 little rooms without windows. So, the only possibility to live there is to build a house on the top.

Incredible, but people in Salerno live in the houses built thousands of years ago.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

What Is So Bad In Tourist Business This Year


Notices of this year are not very good for tourist business.

We went to the beach for 2 days, August 3 and 4, Sunday and Monday, and were surprised to find all the roads and beaches free from the persons. This period, from 1 till 15 of August are the holy days for all the country. All population leaves normally the cities and goes in the places near the sea. It was unpossible to reach any place in this period before, and there were hundreds and thousands persons everywhere.

From one side it's understandable because -normally- in this period the temperatures are too high and it's practically unpossible to live specially in the cities. Even here, on the hills, there is not air to breath, but if you go in a city, there you feel only fire around you.


This year everything is different. Prices of everything are too high. Many beaches all over the Italy are paid beaches. You have to pay from 7 to 20 (and more) for a place near the sea. And there are often not free places there.
People prefer remain home this year. 50% of the earnings in confront with other years. Not only near the sea, but in all the shops too. Specially the aliments.

From one side it's bad, but from other side it's not. Maybe we learn to use only necessary once more. Become less fat without weight-loss products. Learn to walk at our feet. And become healthy as our grandies that have 90 years and are more alive as we at 40-50.

Now I read that Americans segregate themselves in their house too...

That is why the cost of the fuel is some lower.

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Sunday, 3 August 2008

Hartland Point and Lighthouse

We haven't been out for a while and the cobwebs definately needed blowing away after the night before, so out we went despite the weather. I consulted the walkers guide book and Hartland point, it said, was an ideal family walk largely on level terrain. Ha! The walk out of the car park nearly finished me off.

But I get ahead of myself. Hartland is on the edge of North Devon, almost in to Cornwall. The village is some 2 miles away from the coast and directions from the main road to the lighthouse take you around the village on some very narrow, very windy roads - this was most definately the worst part of the journey, especially after the aforementioned night before!

So, having made it down the windy roads, and up a very steep path out of the car park, we then stood on the edge of the cliff for the photo opportunity: beautiful rugged cliffs, lighthouse perched precariously amongst them, Lundy island in the back ground - howling gale and rain! The rain did pass however and the rest of the walk, although bracing, was very lovely. The path takes you down into the next valley and past a waterfall which turned out to be little more than drizzle the size of my bathtaps (apparently there's a better one at Spekes Mill which we will visit on a dry day). We then followed some country lanes, over stiles and through fields and farms until we reached the car park again.

There's a small picnic area in the car park and a kiosk selling lots of yummy food, hot and cold drinks and ice cream. The man at the counter, mistaking me for a mad tourist determined to enjoy her vacation at any cost (as opposed to a mad local who chose to come out when she could have stayed at home and waited for a nice day) gave me a brouchure and told me I should visit Hartland Quay next. The brouchure has a free car parking voucher inside. It also boasted Hartlands Super Service Award as Most Welcoming Community. The two workers inside the Kiosk were certainly most welcoming. I think we might come this way again - perhaps when we haven't haven't had quite such a party the night before.