Ireland!

I absolutely love Ireland. My ancestors were from Ireland and I always feel like I have come home even though I am from Wales. We have had many long weekend trips to Ireland, usually around Christmas. I find the people so friendly and the country is absolutely beautiful.Ireland 14 dec 2014 (68)

I love Dublin but prefer the countryside especially the Wicklow mountains. We have spent many times driving up the old military road, through Sally Gap and visiting places such as Glendalough with its monastic site. Then driving toward the coast following the map from Dun Laoire to Greystones

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Powerscourt Gardens near Enniskerry is beautiful and the grounds are absolutely stunning. If you are ever nearby please visit as it is worthy to be included in your itinerary.

Some of the Irish countryside views are the most beautiful I have ever seen. I am sure It will not be long before I return to the land of my ancestors, until then I have fond memories.

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Sintra Portugal

Sintra in Portugal is beautiful but so busy! Car owners will need to search for car parking and expect to walk. When entering Sintra we were a little confused in what direction to go in, we found the directions in the area poor but we managed to find what we wanted to when visiting. The shops hidden in the little cobbled lanes in Sintra are quaint and whimsical in design, beware though people were slipping all over the place on the cobbles!

The higher you go the more splendid the view. You will see the Moorish Sintra National Palace with twin chimneys and tilework. There is a hilltop 19th century Pena National Palace.

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We chose to have a very reasonably priced tuk-tuk ride up to the hill top palace. Which was amazing! It added to the experience and the guide was so hilariously funny! I would certainly recommend a tuk-tuk ride!

When reaching the ticket office we decided to walk through the gardens which lead up to the Pena National Palace. The tickets were quite expensive for a family of four so we only paid to go through the garden and not to enter the palace.

IMG_1998Even though we did not enter the palace we felt we did the right thing as the queue for the entry at the top of the hill was over 2 hours long! I know I wouldn’t have had the patience to wait and what we viewed was enough, the experience was still a very positive one. The views and surroundings were beautiful. Here’s to the next time!

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Lively Lisbon

Lose yourself in the hustle and bustle of the many winding streets in Lisbon, perhaps take a ride on Tram 28 (if you can be patient to queue!) Or take a tuk tuk ride!

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One thing is for sure as with all big cities watch your purse & wallet! Keep your wits about you and use common sense.

The streets are filled with bars, restaurants and quaint cafes. Make sure you take time out to stop and people watch.

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I recently enjoyed meandering around the streets of Lisbon, then when too tired to walk I took a ride on a tuk tuk. This was far better than the Tram 28 option which is a tourist go to stop. The queue for this tram was down the street and the people looked mightily squashed into each other’s armpits on the tram! Now I am sure the tram is great and I did want to go on it but no no I don’t think, so off on a tuk tuk I went!!

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The tuk tuk tour took me around all the major tourist stops. There was an opportunity to get off the tuk tuk for 10 minutes at a time to go inside churches or view the beautiful vista of Lisbon from Alfama. The driver was so informative and humorous giving information, history and guidance on Lisbon. It was very much worth the money we paid and it was great fun and certainly one of the highlights of my time in Portugal.

The hill tram – Ascensor da Gloria is worthy of a trip. You can walk it but it’s a good experience  (it is located across the road and more or less opposite from the Hard Rock Cafe) I found the return tickets good value for a family of four (best to have the right amount when boarding). There is always a queue to go up, but not so much going back down.  At the top you will be met by a scenic view of Lisbon. 

Here you will pass legal graffiti artists showing their art work. The street vibe and feel for the city is very much evident.

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I love the country and peace a quiet but even I was taken with Lisbon and will certainly make a return journey there.

Gorges Du Verdon Alpes-De-Haute-Provence

So many times I have visited this region of the South of France, too many return visits and I never tire of the beautiful views. The canyons are considered to be one of Europe’s most beautiful. The surrounding roads and forever winding with beautiful vistas of the canyons and its waters. There are small peddle boats and Canadian canoes available for hire on the lake.

The area is very popular with locals and tourists and it is a must see. If you are in nearby Nice then make the effort and take the drive up to the Gorges, you will not be disappointed.

Fnideq (Castillejos) Tétouan Morocco

Two years ago we embarked on our annual family holiday but with a difference. We had always wanted to visit Morocco but not the more conventional places to visit, more off track and not where regular tourists go. Result was a fabulous life experience and one our family will always cherish.

We visited Fnideq which is town in northern Morocco, on the Mediterranean coast of M’diq-Fnideq Prefecture, situated 31 kilometres north of the city of Tétouan. The town of Fnideq is also known under the Spanish name of Castillejos.

We entered the Country via Gibraltar a British Overseas Territory and headland then onto Ceuta, Spain’s autonomous city located on the north coast of Africa. After a short taxi ride to the nearby border crossing. We chose to enter Morocco by foot, a daunting prospect but we did it none the less. Car journeys are fraught with very long delays and many problems. After filling out the necessary entry / exit forms for the country we were processed without too much delay or problem. We seemed to be hurried through on the basis of our nationality.

 

The market place was full of hustle and bustle with all the locals going about their business, the sights and smells were amazing. There were many cafe’s available where you could stop for a break from the heat and have a little shade. The traditional drink is Moroccan mint tea (good for digestion) but there were many other not so traditional drinks available. Some people spoke French, which was handy for us but not all – so language was a barrier but not too much of a problem.  We found the people very friendly. I blended in nicely due to my complexion and dark hair! My husband and two children stood out with their blonde locks! My son kept having his head rubbed (for luck I think?) but he didn’t seem to mind, however he got a little dizzy from it after a while!!! We seemed to be the highlight of conversation for some. Even though the trip was daunting with two children I am so very glad we experienced the real Morocco and not a tourist hot spot. 08/2015

 

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Niagara Falls Ontario Canada / USA

I have been reminiscing back to July 2005 where me and my husband honeymooned in Ontario Canada and Buffalo NY state USA. We spent most of our time in Canada. What an amazing time we had!

Niagara Falls Canada is amazing – a natural beauty. I loved the Skylon Tower where you can take in perfect vistas of the falls. We also took a boat ride on the falls. A truly amazing experience and one that I would repeat in 2016. Definitely a big tick off my bucket list!

If like me you do not like commercialisation then you won’t be too bothered about Clifton Hill and all the commercialised nonsense: wax works, Guinness book of records, ghost rides etc.  I think it spoils the beauty of Niagara, still worthy to visit but a complete contradiction of what it should be. I much prefer the Niagara Falls USA side in walkable distance just over rainbow bridge. The USA side is a nature reserve so no commercialisation. Perfect!

Further away (3850 Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls Ontario) you can take a ride on the Whirlpool Aero cable car which transports passengers over a section of the Niagara River referred to as the Niagara Whirlpool.  It is quite popular but I would definitely visit if you are in the area.

We Spent a few days in Toronto Canada staying in nearby Mississauga Ontario Canada. A busy City with lots to do and see. The CN tower is a must and there are many places to take a boat trip on the lake or to Toronto Island Park, where you can have a wander around and take in the scenery and if you are into history then you must visit Fort York (located 250 Fort York Blvd, Toronto ON). Fort York is a historic site of military fortifications and related buildings on the west side of downtown Toronto. It was really interesting and educational. 07/2005

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