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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

The thing about blogging…is if you miss a few weeks, or even few months…you have LOADS to share. Too much for one post! So forgive me but it’s coming in dribs and drabs – probably be done by Christmas! So I’ve finally returned from my travels, the trip I just could not stop mentioning most of this year!! We spent almost the whole of October (four weeks to be exact) in the USA, splitting our time between Orlando (Disney of course!) and Naples (Luxury of course!) Naples is one of those places that you tell people about and they either assume Italy, have never heard of it, or just think it’s incredible. It is. I have so many Photos to share and we’ve been back a week so I have some Autumnal shots to share as well! But for now…let’s talk Weather…

We arrived in Orlando to rain, thunder, lightning and flash floods. The little hire cars were floundering as they left the airport, in our beast we were fine though! The weather was just incredible. We were in Orlando for the lead up, and the day of, Hurricane Matthew. The preparation was intricate. We weren’t allowed out the day the Hurricane made (almost) landfall and we sat in the apartment from 11pm the night before until 2pm on the day, staring at our bottles of water and googling…

It’s strange being in a different country when a disaster is due to hit. The way that the Hurricane was portrayed on American media was very different to how the UK journalists were handling it. We were going to die. People, were going to die. I do get that there was a lucky escape with the Hurricane barely grazing the coast for most of Florida. I also get that other’s weren’t so lucky! But in a country foreign to your own, it’s hard to know just how worried to be. When we phoned the resort (huge resort by the way, hundreds of properties) for queries, nobody was there. Just hours before they had left automated messages saying ‘We’re here for anything you need…’ But nope! Lots of guests around us made the decision to head home (to other US states) but we stayed and it was okay. Kudos to America for your planning though – alerts on all our phones leading up to the event, lots of shelters prepared, it felt a lot more secure than if something big was happening in the UK.

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From England To Wales in a few short days!

So the short weekend break is over and I have a huge amount of photos to share. I’ve tried to whittle them down a little to avoid bombarding – but I’m so excited to share some of them that it’s just unavoidable that there are a fair few! I’m going to break it down a little though and explain the areas that we went to and the views that we captured.

Day 302: England -> Monmouth and The Kymin

We traveled to Monmouth via Birdlip, a rather notorious viewpoint, unfortunately not just for the views though! It was actually the coldest place I’ve been in all year but the views were worth it even though I kept dashing back to the car for a hit of warmth.

Birdlip was our first stop before heading into the Forest of Dean and then down into Monmouth in Wales. Monmouth is home to Monnow Bridge which is a medieval stone gated bridge – the only one of its type remaining in Britain.

The Kymin is a place I first visited back on the 20th of April this year. It’s a hill overlooking Monmouth and at its highest point is 600ft tall. The views are amazing and definitely worth the rather precarious trip to the top – narrow lanes and lack of passing places!

I just knew that the Autumnal prospective photos would be worth a re-visit and it’s completely transformed since the rainy day last April when I dodged huge droplets of water to get my shots. The sky was clear, the air crisp and the leaves a pleasing hue of orange!

The Roundhouse on top of the hill just adds to the wonderful scenery. It was built in 1794 but looks incredibly new and well kept now. The claim is that nine counties can be viewed from the roof of the building – we didn’t like to attempt it to see if that was true!

There is also a Naval Temple at the top of the hill – plenty to see on The Kymin! The Temple was constructed in the 1800s to commemorate the second anniversary of the British Victory at the Battle of the Nile.

Day 303: Hay-On-Wye to Symonds Yat Rock

Hay-On-Wye is the town of books! Every other shop is a bookshop. And a delightfully quirky one at that. It made a change from Andover where every other shop is a charity shop or card shop… Anyway! Hay-On-Wye was buried far away from where we were staying so it was a delightful trek to get there. One that included stopping in the road whilst¬† a herd of sheep were driven down it. Country living! Sadly I had no camera available at that time. There was a scary moment when the sheep spotted the car and seemed to rush at it!

Cobbled Streets, funny named shops and lots of Autumn leaves adorning houses were popular in Hay-On-Wye. There was also a window with a goat sort of deer animal peering out of it. I managed a shot of that weirdness at least! Browsing the bookshops was amazing, especially the rennovated shop owned by Richard Booth, the man who made Hay-on-Wye famous for its second hand book trade.

The book shop was the biggest and most welcoming that I’ve been in, in this country. America has some fantastic bookshops where you can browse, drink coffee and sit and leaf through books to your hearts content. Here in England we have to satisfy ourselves with an overcrowded WH Smiths or a Waterstones – nice shops, but just not the same. So I was in heaven!

From Hay-on-Wye our next adventure took us up the winding roads to Symonds Yat Rock – a mistake to do at dusk it seems! Or ever…It was worth it for the views, despite it getting dark. But the road up and then back down was quite narrow, and cars did like to come the other way at exactly the wrong moments. Nevertheless we made it up and did the short walk to the viewpoint where we looked down on the River Wye…

Day 304: Symonds Yat – Tintern Abbey

The final revisit of the weekend was to Tintern Abbey. I had been back in the Spring so it was nice to see the season change. But lack of sleep due to a very lumpy bed meant that I didn’t have much energy to appreciate it this time! That and the prospective 100 mile + drive home… Nevertheless, there are some shots to share from today, Day 304!

Tintern is my favourite Abbey, for the location that it’s in. Nestled cozily into the Wye Valley, it’s surrounded by trees, lots of trees! Autumn was well and truly there as well which made the trees just that little bit more awesome.

Thus concludes a short but sweet visit to Wales! I now have a couple of weeks of annual leave to explore some more local places and see what interesting shots I can come up with to fill more blog days…

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