Bridge the Travel Gap

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Sherlock Holmes & Cake – London

Who doesn’t love a good murder mystery? Sherlock Holmes Museum and a bit of cake is a great place to start.

Well, if you’ve read my posts about Agatha Christie, then you know I do! You can check those posts out here, here or here.

Sherlock Holmes feels real…

This ‘museum’, yes using that term lightly, as he is a fictional character and doesn’t really have a home, but this started on 27 March 1990. Only 8 years after I arrived on these fair isles! Except that Sherlock was alive and well from 1881-1904, so why so late? Guess it took them a while to acquire the rights to this very expensive piece of real estate.

When you arrive and I suggest you do it 1st thing, as it’s a very popular place to go, you buy your ticket and then queue to go in. Thankfully, the day we went, there weren’t many people yet, as we arrived when it opened. They give you a brochure and in it you can place yourself in 1 of 3 categories – a) beginner Sherlocker, b) intermediate Sherlocker or c) Advanced Sherlocker. I’m afraid I fall into a) – my favourite sleuth is Agatha, of course!

The Space itself…

It’s quite small, but the gift shop is huge, so hence how they can afford the rather high rates for this property. In fact, the gift shop has grown since I 1st lived in this area, but the ‘museum’ itself hasn’t changed much. I can highly recommend this stop if you are a real Sherlock fan, but otherwise, don’t bother – it’s small, hot and crammed full of stuff from his stories, so would have little meaning to anyone if you don’t have some grasp or interest in Sir Conan Doyle.

Let them eat cake…


Bridge the Travel Gap

Double Decker bus tour of London

Yes, please! Whenever I go to London and stay, I always try to do something new and this time, this was it! Yummy! I had been planning this for ages and managed to find a good friend to join me in the cake adventure on a double-decker bus tour of London. This was her 1st time!

It’s taken me over a year to get my act together to do Brigit’s double-decker Afternoon Tour Bus ride – it was well worth the wait.

It was quite a chilly day, so a tip, if you are sitting in the lower area of the bus, best dress very warm, as there isn’t heating. That’s where we had booked, but got ‘bumped’ upstairs, due to a late cancellation – lucky us!

The service was amazing – really! I know London isn’t known for its service, but it was absolutely brilliant. No, they didn’t pay me to say this, I was stum about the fact that I write these travels blogs.

The cakes and tea were excellent, too, plus we got extras, as there were extras to be had! A nice bonus was, well, I can’t tell you that, as that would be giving away the surprise, but we both walked away with a nice souvenir.

What great places have you discovered in London? Elsewhere, that no one knows, do tell below…

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Tunnel turned into Cabaret – Brunels’ Tunnel

Brunels’ Thames Tunnel

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Bust of Brunel junior

Yip, that ‘ is correct there were 2 Brunels involved in the creation of this tunnel. The only monument to have both father and son work together. Sadly, you can’t go into the actual tunnel, well you can, but you don’t realize that is what you are doing. It’s now used to connect Rotherhithe and Wapping on the East London line. , you may have been through this amazing architecture and never As a result, you are likely to have gone through it and never knew it!
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Details of the museum building

This tunnel set these men up as Victorian marvels of architecture by doing something that had never been done before – build a tunnel underwater, that still stands today. Sadly, there was loss of life to build it – Brunel senior almost lost Brunel, junior. When there was a collapse of the tunnel Brunel Jr was trapped by a fallen beam, managed to free himself, but then the rushing water carried him up the tunnel shaft to safety. 6 of his co-workers were not so lucky. After this major leakage, the public lost faith in the tunnel and it started to lose funding. So, Brunel Jr planned a big banquet, inviting all the great – including the Duke of Wellington (Prime Minister). This stunt helped restore faith and finances to help create this amazing architecture!
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1st tunnel underwater

This showed Brunel Jr anything could be done and he went onto build: Clifton Suspension Bridge, Great Western Railway, Paddington Station, Great Eastern steamship and many other engineering feats.

Details

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8th Wonder of the World

Museum/Cabaret Brunel Museum Opening times: 10am – 5pm – 7 days a week It’s run by volunteers and runs on donations. Cabaret nights details can be found by clicking here.  Facebooktwitter

Why do I need a cat sitter?

I get asked this question all the time. ‘My cat is independent, it doesn’t need someone there all the time. Why do I need a cat sitter?’

In my opinion, cats require someone when you go away more so than dogs. Why? Well, here’s my reasoning and experience:

Have you ever had to take your cat to the vet? Here is a case in point where a cat is having it’s environment change – like when you move house. They don’t want to go into the box, they can howl the whole time on the way there and back.

That’s the worst case scenario of a change of environment for a cat, but this can apply when you leave your home. Cats aren’t big on change. They like security, consistency and the ability to relax comes from being surrounded by the familiar sights, sounds, and scents of their own environment.

It’s true they don’t show the same anxiety as a dog can if you leave them for long periods. They aren’t so appreciative about you being there, as a dog may be. They do want there to be a human and a routine that they are familiar with. It helps them stay calm while you are away. I’ve had clients say over and over, it’s like they never left because their cat is so normal and happy.

At Feline & Friends we like to know all the details of what your feline friend likes and dislikes, so we can keep the cat in as normal a routine as possible, so they have less stress and you return to a happy cat.

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Ghosts be there… Hampton Court Palace

Can’t believe it’s been a year since I went to this amazing place – Hampton Court Palace. I’ve lived in the UK over 20 years and it too me that long to go there. I’d heard about it over the years, but it isn’t in the city centre, but it’s worth the trip there! Glad it’s not taken me as long to write this blog post about it.

Great day out for the whole family or solo…

I was on assignment – as a cat sitter. I’d taken this one, just because I was determined to go to Hampton Court Palace. I was in walking distance. The things I’ll do, just to do something I’m curious about. Well, I’m so pleased that all the hype I’d heard was worth it! This is a great place to spend a very full day with or without your family. I was solo, which made navigating crowds on a beautiful sunny April day easier in the busy parts. My suggestion is going early and do the Henry VIII apartments 1st when there are less people, then go through the rest of the palace. Do make time to see the whole palace. I say this because, you actually get 3 palaces in 1! This is what I found so amazing, you really get to know some history periods which were all influential, but you may be surprised as to why and how.

3 in 1 Palace

Actors

Actors playing their part as some of the wives of Henry

I enjoyed the Henry the VIII parts, they were pretty much what I expected with live performances by actors, which are good fun to watch and the corridor where there are ghosts. I’ll tell my tale further below. The history is very familiar with a few parts that really surprised me. They were about the period long before all the changing of the wives – the oldest part of the buildings. Where a lot of England’s stable monarchy started, it had little to do with Henry, more to do with his 1st wife and his 1st advisor. My favourite parts were the William III and Georgian parts of the palace. Now these monarchs I knew less about and it was great to see the changes they made, not just in the palace, but to England’s rich history. So, make sure you do make time for these areas.

Kitchens worth a look…

Now the old kitchens are worth walking through and getting an idea of how large the staff would have been in these amazing kitchens. Oh and don’t forget to stop at the cafe where you can have the traditional steak pie for lunch which they bake right on the grounds.

Gardens worth a gander…

If the great outdoors is more your thing, then a walk around these gardens is worth it. They also reflect the different monarchs who lived within this amazing series of buildings. They weren’t as big as I had expected, so very manageable to get around or there is always the buggy and horse ride (at an extra cost).

Ghosts…

Ghost

Corridor where Catherine Howard still walks

Well, there was only 1 part of the palace which was very cold, and it didn’t matter how much sun was streaming into it or the heaters were working. It was freezing. It’s a small corridor which leads between rooms. Catherine Howard – beheaded for adultery – was locked out the day Henry III decided to execute her. She had been locked into her room but managed to get out and got as far as this corridor. Now, this isn’t explained when you go into the room. After, when I mentioned this cold room to a friend… Well, that’s when I shivered, she had said the story that this is the well-known spot where Catherine still walks and screams to speak with Henry. Plus, it’s always cold, doesn’t matter how warm it is outside. It’s always cold in that corridor. I know the day I went in – not knowing this – it was hard for me to stay in that little corridor, I found it so cold.

Pictures

Below is a gallery of photos of what I saw and what a perfect early April day. It was so nice to be out in the sunshine and discovering yet another part of London and it’s never ending opportunities to enjoy history and new things. Facebooktwitter

Brooklyn, New York

Why?

Brooklyn, New York is a great place to visit. I was pleasantly surprised when I awoke after my very late arrival. Where I stayed is really easy to get around and find local places to eat.


My fuzzy friend Wally

Now I know Brooklyn isn’t the place that most people think of going to in New York, but I’m glad I landed here.

I’m a house sitter and I got to look after Wally, the gorgeous chihuahua. Having 2 of my own at home, it meant that I got to have a fuzzy companion while on holiday – always brilliant!

I ended up in a very jew orthodox area, but that, also meant a very safe part of the city – great for a single female traveler.

My stay was for about 1 week and this is what I got up to….

Food


Great place for original cookies!

1 thing you must do is eat in Brooklyn. A lot of what we think of as New York types of food originate in this suburb of New York.

1st thing I would suggest you do it book yourself on the Neighborhood Eats Tour: Brownstone Brooklyn. It is a great way to introduce you to the neighborhood and some of it’s rich history. This tour is definitely well worth the money and I suggest you book before you go, as it can sell out in peak season.

While on the tour, I felt like I was really introduced to the reason so many people love New York. For that multi-cultural friendly neighborhood vibe. Brooklyn just seems to ooze that sort of charm. It doesn’t feel like a big city, it feels like a big neighborhood. Where people know each other and stop in the street to ‘shoot the breeze.’ Plus, there are foods on this tour which, well you can’t find anywhere else in the world or you can find the whole worlds ethnic foods, probably run by 3rd generation immigrates from that country or religious slant.

Hotels

1st Hotel


Great black and white photo on the wall of the old subway line

I stayed in 3 different hotels while in New York, due to my travel plans. So, my 1st hotel I stayed in, before my house sit, was the RL Brooklyn Hotel.

It’s a hotel with a boutique feel, very modern and friendly staff. I would say, do not get a room on the 1st floor, as the walls/floors allow a lot of bled of sound. The cafe/restaurant area and stairwell can be very noisy to be near. Make sure you book yourself higher up in the rooms with the quietest at the back of the hotel.

There is a subway which runs in front of the hotel. Personally, the subway and street noise don’t tend to bother me, but noise from other guests or the bar area does.

It’s an excellent location, less than a block to the subway and some great eateries very close by – esp. fresh bagels for breakfast – Little Skips and BK bagels all walking distance from the hotel!

Excellent fresh bagels with some great twists on the fillings.


Great place for lunch or dinner

For a great neighborhood lunch, also walking distance from the hotel, try Mary’s Coffee Shop and Restaurant. Wonderful staff and food for very reasonable prices. Loved it there, it’s a great place to watch the local life walking in and out.

2nd Hotel

On my way out, I had to stay near Newark for my flight and I managed to get a good price for the Newark Liberty International Airport Hotel. Check in is easy, room is very quiet and clean. Perfect for my 1 night and my early flight.

I didn’t take a taxi and saved myself a lot of money and tolls. To do this from Brooklyn, you need to take the subway, train (from Penn Station) and the Airtrain Newark at the airport. If you are downtown already, you can skip the subway.

Make sure you have the time to take this suggestion, as public transport in New York isn’t the most reliable. I would recommend this way to get there, just for the experience to ride on an American train. The hotel has a shuttle to pick you up from the Airtrain, just make sure you get off at the right stop. Ask 1 of the staff who are usually walking around. Plus your train ticket includes the cost of the Airtrain.

The hotel has a free shuttle and they run early, so you can get there at any time you need.

3rd Hotel

The 3rd hotel was for my flight back to London, UK which left from JFK Airport. The hotel I found was the Five Towns Inn JFK. It’s not all that close to the airport, but they do have a free shuttle and the staff were friendly.

The 1 thing I will warn you, as I had a late flight, so had all day to stay at the hotel, which was OK in the lobby – the wifi is good and there is free tea/coffee and snacks. It’s not the nicest of areas to walk around, but I did manage to find a nice pub/bar which is a good place to eat and has a nice view of the water.

Be warned, taxi drivers struggle to find the hotel, as it’s not in a normal place for JFK hotels.

It is very clean, quiet and no problems with leaving my luggage behind the desk, so I could go and eat some lunch before my late night flight.

Do book your shuttle time, as it can get busy and you don’t want to miss your flight because you didn’t book the shuttle at the time that works for you. You can only book the shuttle when you get to the hotel.

It is the least glamorous of the 3 hotels I stayed in, but it was great for 1 night.

Home of Cheesecake

I love cheesecake, so I was so pleasantly surprised to have stumbled upon the birthplace of this incredible dessert!

Right here in Brooklyn at Junior’s where you can also have a huge, huge lunch and a luscious piece of cheesecake.

There are Junior’s across the city, but the 1 in Brooklyn is the original!

Plus there is great shopping. Which is way more reasonable than in Manhattan, so if you want to be in a high street area, but with more reasonable prices, this is the area to go.

Best cheesecake in New York

Worth a visit, even if it’s only for a chance to sit in that very booth like restaurant, which doesn’t look like it’s changed it’s decor since it opened.

Loved it! Feels a bit like going back in time.

Service is great, too!

Brooklyn Bridge Park

There is, also, a very active night life in Brooklyn. In fact, I only went into Manhattan to meet people or travel through to where I needed to go or buy souvenirs.

Actually, I just didn’t need to leave Brooklyn, there is so much to see and do just there.

Brooklyn Bridge Park was suggested to me. This is an excellent part of the waterfront and a brilliant new theatre space called – St. Anne’s Warehouse Theatre – is located here. I managed to get a ticket for a sold out performance of a new edition of Oklahoma – it was excellent – they even served chilli in the interval!

Oklahoma

If you want to go to see what they are doing at this rebuilt black box type theatre, then book before you go. I got lucky, as I was a solo traveler and someone did a return and I got that 1 ticket.

So, there is a great theatre, but there is also the recently renovated waterfront. It alone is just great to walk along, get great photos of the Manhattan sky line and ride on an old carousel – very cheap, too!

Awesome and very affordable ride

There are excellent restaurants and some boutique type shops all along this waterfront promenade, so take some time to walk through the Brooklyn Bridge Park.

You walk above the traffic

If the weather is good and the winds aren’t too strong – walk across the Brooklyn Bridge or vice versa – walk from Manhattan to the park. I did the walk to Manhattan, as the views are stellar, especially at sunset!

Taxis

Other than Newark, you have to take a taxi to or from the airports. New York hasn’t quite got it’s act together for public transport, even the Newark transport is well known for not being reliable by New Yorkers.

I want to give you a heads up. It’s expensive.

At the time of writing this, my trip from Newark to JFK was $100 because of the tolls. It’s ridiculous and definitely a monopoly situation, but it’s what it is, so you are now warned!

You can use Uber which will be slightly cheaper fare, but I wasn’t able to pre-book and I felt better with a taxi I knew was going to show up.

Plus, they expect a decent tip. On my trip from JFK to my 1st hotel on arrival, I had an argument with the taxi driver as he said I should give him more.  My nose got out of joint, as I see a tip as my choice to give, not be told to give it. I didn’t give him more. I wouldn’t advise doing what I did, but I was tired and didn’t know how the taxis worked in New York. Luckily, nothing worse happened and I got safely to my hotel. As I spoke with some New Yorkers about this later and this is standard practice to pay a 15-20% tip on your fare.

Horse Back Riding in Brooklyn

When I heard I could go horse back riding in Prospect Park, another beautiful, huge park in Brooklyn. I jumped at the chance. Apparently, there are 3 city parks you can do this in, but Prospect Park’s is the most affordable and to be honest, is a bit of a Mom and Pop’s operation. Meaning it’s run by just normal people, not touristy, possibly like the ones in the other parks.

I was really lucky when I went which was a weekday in October – it was like late summer weather. I was on my own with a private tour and the park was empty, so it was like it was all just for me.

It’s great fun and they are very generous with their timing! I was told it’s not normally that quiet, but I got lucky on such a beautiful late fall/autumnal day.

Give yourself plenty of time to find the stables, as it’s not the easiest place to find because it’s not so commercial.

It really is a stable, so when you get there, don’t wear pretty shoes or clothes, they will just get ruined. Unless you like horse pooh on your shoes!

Plus, it’s a stable, so there is only a porta potty for a toilet, perfectly fine, but I am just stating, this isn’t for the glamorous. It’s riding as it should be.

The Kensington Stables is open year round, yes, that’s right. You can ride a horse in snow in the city – that alone would be worth it! You have to call them to book, so you may have to wait till you arrive and call from your hotel. They don’t take online bookings.

Subway

I got a week pass for the subway which meant it was easy to get around the entire city. I felt safe. There was 1 time when I was by myself on train heading in from Brooklyn to Manhattan and someone else in my carriage was shooting up. I just got off at the next stop and went to the next carriage which had more people on it.

I even went out to the Bronx with the subway….

Crowning Triumph

Why did I go there? Well, I had been looking for a crown for my Shirley the Middle Aged Siren cabaret costume and found someone on Etsy who made the perfect crown. She is based in Queens, so I thought I would ask her if I might pick up a crown from her.

Good thing I did, as she can’t ship overseas, but we had to meet the day before my flight and make the exchange… I made a joke about it looking like a drug deal and she laughed nervously, that the area is known for that. I’m used to walking all over London feeling safe. I can forget how not all big cities are as safe. She suggested we not hang around the area. We arranged a precise time to meet and make the exchange.

I’m pleased to report, that nothing untoward happened and she is incredibly nice and this was a crowning moment for me (bad pun, I know!)

Crowning glory

Here’s a photo of Shirley in her gorgeous crown and jewels – what an amazing trip and I encourage you to explore Brooklyn, it’s safe, friendly and I feel I barely scratched the surface of what is possible to do there.

Have you stayed in Brooklyn? Tell me what I missed, so I can go back and check that out as well.

Comments welcome below!

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Chattri Memorial – South Downs

Chattri Memorial on the South Downs a place worth visiting.

Debbie Bridge

Chattri Memorial

It was a glorious Sunday! Really a perfect sunny day and I finally got myself organised, so I thought.

For years, I had been planning and wanting to go to that 1 day in the year here in the UK where the Indian soldiers are remembered from WW I.

We are unique here in Brighton. We have the only memorial of this kind in the UK isles. I’m a big one for remember the WW’s and what the cost was. Once a year they hold a memorial service is held at the Chattri Memorial. I found out about it many years ago when the local paper did an article on it. Naturally, I kept it to try and go. Literally, every summer, it would be pulled out. For some reason or another, I couldn’t make it or missed it.

Getting there…

So, this was my year, I am going! I am going to the service at the Chattri memorial. I’d heard it was hard to get to, but when I looked on google maps. It looked very straight forward by bus. (Someone is laughing in google land at me right now.) Let’s just say, it’s no where near the bus stop and I’m pleased that the farmers and their animals did not try to kill me as I made my way in the rough direction and, then, eventual direction of the Memorial.

Key thing is, I made it, not without a few people noticing that I was definitely coming from the wrong direction and having to leap over a fence. I was a bit worse for wear when I arrived, managed to lose my sun glasses, so the farmer did gain something from me.

Ceremony

Still it was beautiful to hear the bag pipes from across the fields see the huge crowd gathering for this very special event. I managed to get there, amazingly just as it really started, but barely.

It was a really nice ceremony. It’s a great spot, even if it’s a bit difficult to get to. Best way to get there is really by car and from the Patcham side, even if you decide to walk, there is a clear path that leads that way, do not come from the other side like I did.

There is a welcome address, prayers & hymns, wreath laying, the last post, 2 minutes silence, the Reveille, the lament, address, reply and closing remarks. We had the Indian High Commissioner doing the address and the Lord Lieutenant doing the reply.

Please don’t tell that farmer it was me who was walking all over his fields. He can keep the sun glasses!

Some details:

If you want to make it to next year’s memorial celebration, do check out their website at the beginning of June, just click here for more details.

If it’s a sunny day, make sure you bring some water, it gets very hot and it’s not a short ceremony, but definitely worth it.

Arrive early, so you can hear the bag pipes and just take in the whole feel of the event.

While I wasn’t able to make it, there are refreshments afterwards and there they have a Chattri Exhibition.

P.S.: I refused to go back the way I came. I followed the cars and buses and someone took pity on me and drove me down to Patcham, where I was able to catch a bus back into Brighton – phew!

What an awesome adventure!

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Brighton Pier and Booth Museum of Natural History

Brighton Pier and Booth Museum of Natural History

The famous Brighton Pier is a magnet to visitors to Brighton. It’s the 2nd most visited tourist attraction after the Tower of London in England. The majority of the 8 million annual visitors to Brighton go for a stroll around the Pier to enjoy its attractions and the views along the coast of the town and out to sea. I have lost count of the times I have taken friends to see the Pier. After arriving by train walk down the hill towards the sea until you see, on your left, the infamous Brighton Pier and, on the right, the derelict West Pier. The 1899 Brighton Pier is a must visit. The shops, food and amusement park at the end are all part of the fun in a day trip to the seaside for the English. There is also the beach where you can relax.

What is there to do on the Pier?

There is no entry charge to walk on the Pier. The Pier offers several places to eat which will not be found in any Michelin Guidebook. There are amusements for adults and children to encourage you to part with your hard earned money. Palm reading, sweets and lots of prizes which involve Minion memorabilia. You can enjoy the view along the coast and back towards Brighton on a sunny day. At the end of the Pier are a number of attractions a roller coaster and other rides.
Brighton Pier

Brighton Pier

Booth Museum of Natural History

Debbie Bridge

Booth Museum

The Booth Museum of Natural History is not nearly as famous as the Brighton Pier, however, if you are interested in the history of fossils, birds, butterflies and bones it’s a great place to visit. it’s Brighton’s natural history museum with a huge archive. The museum is free to visit and closed only on Thursday. During the week on Monday to Saturday the opening hours are from 10am to 5pm (closed 12-1:15pm). On Sunday the museum is open from 2-5pm. To get to the museum it’s a 20 minute walk from the Brighton Train Station or you can take a No 27 or 14C bus from Bus stop E outside the station. The bus takes 8 minutes to get to the museum at 194 Dyke Road. The museum is opposite Dyke Road Park which has a cafe and the Boat Outside Theatre. Edward Booth was a Victorian who established the museum with his collections of birds, butterflies, bones and fossils. There are examples of every bird in the British Isles set in diorama as was the custom in Victorian times.
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Scottish Seagulls

Both these attractions are family friendly and we recommend taking in a show at Brighton’s official outdoor theatre – the Boat. That way you can cap off a very nice day in the city for the whole family. You can bring your own picnic to the theatre. Facebooktwitter

Burgh Island – Jewel of Devon

This is a special birthday year, so I decided I’d tick something off my bucket list of places to go – Burgh Island.

As you’ve seen from my previous 2 posts on Torquay (check them out here 1 & 2), I’m a big fan of Devon & Agatha Christie. I just keep coming back. We did stay in Torquay a few days on this trip, but the focus was on Burgh Island. I’ll be posting another blog about what we saw in the areas surrounding Torquay and our recent stay there at a later date.

Burgh Island

Devon

Beautiful place to stay on the Devon coast

It was absolutely pouring rain when we arrived and our few days weren’t promised much better weather – always a risk in late April, but….

Best gifts on birthdays are the ones given to you, but you can’t hold them, instead you enjoy the moment. Like when a butterfly lands on you – can’t hold them or they will die if you disturb the colours on their back, but it’s such an amazing thing when they do land on you.

My gift was the 1 full day we were on the island the weather was perfect – stunningly beautiful! It even started to clear on the day we arrived. Plus, the room I booked – the Cunard Room was stunning! We had the most grand bathroom and balcony with a gorgeous view of the sun rise in the morning.

Our 1st night we explored the beautiful Art Deco Hotel – a favourite style of mine. No TV or Wifi in the rooms(except in the lobby/lounge area), but a beautiful Bush retro radio in the 1930’s style. It all set me back in time because this hotel is all about ambience.

We napped and read our books while enjoying stunning views of the rain from our huge balcony. The bathroom, alone, is stellar. Apples and chocolates were waiting in our room.

There is a turn down service before bed and tea/coffee brought to your room before breakfast. A real pampering!

Dinner

Bridge the Travel Gap

Pulling Out all the Stops!

Dinner is a black tie affair with cocktails in the bar before. I tried my 1st Tom Collins – delicious! Such a great night to kick off our stay.

Our 2nd night included black tie with a trio playing songs from the 30’s with the sun set streaming into the dinning room.

The food is delicious. Dinner is a 3 course event and breakfast has choice of cooked or buffet. Dinner and breakfast are included in the price of your room. Drinks and lunch are extra.

The island isn’t huge, but offers stunning views of the Devon coast. It has it’s own sea feed pool, which you can swim in and there’s a great stroll around it to feel the sea breezes.

Sea Tractor

Burgh Island Hotel, Devon

Sea Tractor

The sea tractor is a great way to get across when the tide is too high to walk or drive across. The hotel has parking on the main land, so you don’t need it on the island.

Oh and for those of you with a helicopter, there is a pad for you to park that on the island. One of our guests was held over the 1st night we arrived, due to the poor visibility, but flew off the next morning – very nice indeed!

Make sure you look at tidal movements to see when the sea tractor might be going over and check with the hotel to ensure it’s up and running, as it can breakdown.

Pilchard Inn

Devon

Pilchard Inn

There is a pub by the hotel, Pilchard Inn, if you want a more relaxed drink or baguette at lunch.

On Fridays, they have curry night, but you need to book ahead, as it’s very popular with the locals.

We were lucky enough to have a chat with the ex-landlord who lives locally. He told us some great stories about his time managing the pub – there’s a pirate face in the fireplace (can you find it?), dog window seat, and there’s a ghost who throws toilet paper around the pub at night after it’s shut. It just wouldn’t be a pub with out it’s resident pirate ghost!

There’s, also, a place in the pub which is for guests only.

You can purchase on book on the hotels history in a nearby village – still have yet to read it, but might need a trip back?!

I just loved my stay here – there’s a spa, snooker table, table tennis, TV room/library, puzzles or you can just sit back and enjoy the views with a good book.

Magical Place

Gary McBar makes the best cocktails I’ve had in a long time.

I bought 1 of the gorgeous wooden puzzles which are not what you expect in a typical puzzle and loved my postcard which I duly sent off to a friend who is also a lover of Agatha.

So, what’s the Agatha Christie connection, well she wrote and set Evil Under the Sun there, as well as stories.

At the time of writing this article there was a change over to new ownership, I do hope they don’t destroy the wonderful atmosphere of what I experienced, it truly lived up to all my expectations and more!

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Krakow Calling

Krakow

In 2013, we and a group of friends decided to take advantage of cheap flights to Krakow and visit it over an extended weekend.

It was a great decision. Krakow is simply a stunning city which still retains its ancient identity. The main town square of 10 square acres is the largest in any of Europe’s medieval cities. It’s great to just wander around and have a coffee in 1 of the many cafes or explore the market in the middle.

Krakow, Poland

Fire Breathing Dragon, on the river bank

Another favourite activity is free to walk around the city wall – it’s free, too! You can visit the castle overlooking the river and with a fire breathing dragon on the shore, why wouldn’t you? Yes, that’s right, it actually breathes fire for free.

Where we stayed
We stayed 4 nights at the Radisson Blu Hotel near the centre of town on the 4th floor facing into the courtyard.
Our taxi from the airport cost us 85 ZLTP for 4 people.
Our room was fine aside from some minor points. It has a comfortable bed, warm shower, but the pressure is a bit low for me. My wife would have preferred a bath, if you want that avoid room 422.
Weird lighting problem in the hallway – if you turned off the bedside light the hall light came on and vice versa. After 2 days of trying to get it fixed, the management gave up and just took out the bulb in the hallway!
Rooms do get warm but you can always turn off the heating or open the window.
We chose not to have breakfast at the hotel, it was expensive and within a few minutes walk you are spoilt for choice at a 3rd of the price.
Staff are excellent and service in the bar is great.
I enjoyed our stay and would stay at the hotel again.
What to do around the hotel…
There is so much to do in and around Krakow. The food and drink is excellent, plus it’s quite reasonably priced. I would, also, suggest seeing some live music – they are excellent musicians!
It’s around a 5-10 minute walk to either the castle or square. There is a park outside the front of the hotel which follows around the centre of the city and back again. It’s a lovely walk and takes about an hour but expect longer if you stop to look at the sights such as the fire breathing dragon outside the castle.

Visit the castle, walk around the old city wall, the nearby salt mines and the depressing Auschwitz.

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Yoga and Wellness Retreats in Brighton

Yoga and Wellness Retreats in Brighton

Not surprising, but it’s the lady of the website who is the specialist in this area.

So, I’m going to share some of the wonderful places I’ve discovered in and around Brighton and Hove, actually to help you stretch and relax!

In no particular order…

1. The Float Spa – doesn’t just offer you the unique experience to go into a dark, damp, pod, so float, but has excellent yoga classes. I’m a member, so I love it there and I’ve tried the floating and it was a very unique and tranquil experience. Just think of that womb feeling and you might get close.

the Salt Space in Hove

2. The Salt Space– this is just as it says, it helps people with all sorts of respiratory problems. I go there when I can for the yoga and breathing – it’s brilliant! (Oh and yes, that is me with my hand on my head in the photo)

3. Hot Yoga – I found this very hot place just outside of Hove, but it’s got small classes and very knowledgeable teachers. You can also do aerial yoga. Into a bit of flying with your yoga? Then this is the place for you!

4. Chris Dance Acupuncture – I’ve been seeing Chris for years and he keeps me well in balance and is a great advisor on all things healthy.

5. Tree of Life Centre – offers everything you could possibly image and with the most wonderful staff. I particularly recommend – Lucy for Cranial Osteo therapy and Martina for massage.

6. Spa Tara – brilliant experience if you really want to pamper and get a good massage.

7. Brighton Metropole Health Club – very nice club with an excellent pool, all of which is open to the public. You don’t have to be a guest to go there.

8. Brighton Bikes – this 1 I’m quite proud of as I was part of their launch both in Brighton Pride (featured photo shows me from the Guardian newspaper) and for their launch party on the seafront. Just love these new bikes and they are a great and easy way to get round the city.

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