Aug 12

Glastonbury: place of Arthurian legends and healing waters

2013-08-09 14.48.12This weekend we decided to continue our adventures finding out more about legendary places and objects like Avalon or the Holy Grail. Staying at the George & Pilgrims Hotel, we travelled back in time to 1539 when Henry VIII witnessed the destruction of the abbey from this very same building, getting a quirky and medieval feeling from the whole experience.

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Getting to Glastonbury from London without a car is not an easy task, although you can always take the rail to Bristol, Bridgewater or Taunton and get a bus from there.

In the evening we walked up to The Tor, a mountain full of myths including fairies, druids, Morgana and Arthur and even UFOs. You can go up from more than one location although we decided to take the shortest route by Chalice Hill and White Springs. It is not a bad ascent, since there are stairs going up and you can reach the top in less than 20 minutes. There is word about a labyrinth although we didn’t seem to see it. Perhaps if you take the way up from the road to Wells it is clearer. We shall find out at another time!

 

In the valley between Chalice Hill and The Tor, is where in theory the Holy Grail was buried: Chalice Well Gardens, a picturesque garden where the water is supposed to have healing powers.

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The following day, we couldn’t leave Glastonbury without visiting the place where legend says that King Arthur was buried. The ground of the abbey that remains was supposedly the same place where Joseph of Arimathea built the first above-ground Christian church in Britain.

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Glastonbury is such a mystical and legendary place, with other exciting and nearby locations left unexplored, that we shall return in the near future!

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Aug 05

Madeira: little paradise in the Atlantic

This summer we have visited a Portuguese island, Madeira. Its amazing landscapes and vegetation along with its chilled out tourists and locals made the perfect escape to unwind from busy London. The first day, we walked from Alto Lido to Funchal in order to start our ascend to Monte by cable car.

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On arrival, we wandered through the top, taking a look at the sledges to go down and the tropical gardens. Unfortunately the sledge runners don’t work on Sunday so we have to console ourselves with this video:

A lovely German couple in Madeira. Watch out for the car at 3:29! :)

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Afterwards we visited the botanical gardens where we saw not only plants but animals also such as lizards and talking macaws :)

Next day we went on a catamaran to watch dolphins, whales and sea turtles. What an experience that was! We were also able to take a dip in the ocean overlooking cape Girao, the tallest cliff in Europe.

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Our final day we explored one of the highest peaks in the island: Pico do Arieiro (a real walk over the clouds) and the east side of the island passing by Santana, Ribeiro Frio, Pico do Facho and Machico.

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It was a great mini holiday but having left the west of the island unexplored, and the descent in baskets undone, we must go back at some point!  Madeira is a precious island and will always be in our hearts!

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Apr 02

Gothic Yorkshire

PhotoGrid_1364904142500This Easter weekend we had the opportunity to visit one of the largest gothic cathedrals in Europe: York Minster.

But York is not just a cathedral. Cobbled streets, slanted houses, cosy pubs and great commerce adds to the magical atmosphere, making it a very special place.

Walking down the streets and climbing up the walls of this medieval town makes you feel in another time and at only 2 hours from London it is quite convenient to get to.

Regarding food, we had a bit of everything from hog roast to fish and chips as well as fantastic seafood.

Since we spent three days there and had a taste for the old ages, we decided to visit Scarborough and Whitby (within an hour from each other).

 

Scarborough is the oldest seaside resort in Britain and continuing with our medieval mood we went up to the castle to enjoy its great views of the town, steep cliffs and sandy beaches and came back down to the old harbour.

This lovely walk down the sea side make us want to come back on a hot day when you can actually have the pleasure of swimming in the sea or join one of the boats for a day of fishing!

 

 

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Whitby, an excellent place for fossils and fish, is the smallest of the three towns we visited but completely worth our while.

We especially liked its abbey and the romantic way up with its 199 steps and its wonderful views of the town and the sea.

Expecting to meet the likings of Dracula or James Cook we spent the evening walking around its tiny streets and long pier and had excellent fish for supper!

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Dec 01

Climbing Big Ben

Yesterday we had the privilege of going up to the most beautiful clock in the world and hear Big Ben from up close. It took some time to book it, since you have to contact the MP in your area and send an email the first of the month for visits taking place in three months time, but it was well worth it!

The climb up the 334 steps to the belfry is done at a casual pace, stopping three times along the way making the climb very instructive (our guide was excellent) and relaxed. When you reach the top, you stand just at the back of the clock itself, making this experience an unforgettable one. The only pity is that cameras are not allowed but that’s probably why they give you a certificate at the end :)

Big Ben MP Tour - Side 1 retouched

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Oct 30

Halloween 2012

This Halloween we continued our tradition an we carved Jack II. Behold!

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We also did some culinary experiments: we roasted the seeds with olive oil and salt and we made two cheesecakes. Slightly different from last year. Check the cheesecake recipe here.

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