Friday 29 June 2012

Dorset & Normandy - Day 7

You know, there must be something particularly special about drinking French wine in France, because the next day dawned without a trace of a headache. After the previous evening's festivities, I was a little bit surprised! Another surprise was that I was actually hungry for breakfast after such a big meal.

So another meal and then we went for a walk around Lillebonne. Wednesday is market day for the city and so everyone was out and about, the city square filled with stalls for just about everything imaginable from fruit and veg to meats and cheese to clothes and cosmetics.  The biggest surprise for the Siards was running into one of Stephen's former teachers from when he was here for grade school - Madame Laplace. Having retired from teaching, she was now running a farm and had lots of her own goats cheeses for sale. She was so surprised to see Stephen grown up, but not at all surprised to learn that he makes his living with computers and mathematics. Some things never change I suppose! We also ambled by a really fantastic wine shop to pick up some host gifts, though I expect to go back and pick up a few rarities later in the week. Right next door to the wine shop was the (fairly well kept remains of) a Roman coliseum. Unfortunately the visitors entrance was closed, so we could only really peek our noses over the fence. Patrick was an excellent guide though, pointing out the various interesting parts and telling us much of the history they've uncovered from it to date. After nosing about the coliseum (or the best we could) we walked up the hill, through a lovely little garden, around the remains of a castle built by William the Conqueror (though only one round tower remains) and over to the Siard's old house on the Rue de  Château (so called because it is around the corner from the old castle).

After a lovely little lunch prepared again by Peggy (sandwiches, though not quite as most Americans would know it - freshly baked baguettes filled with locally sourced ham, gruyere cheese & an herbal dressing), we popped into the car and took the scenic route to the "gîte" run by old family friends of the Siards, where we would spend the next few days. Our route took us through the old city of Lisieux (but no stop alas!) and then on to the Château de Saint Germain de Livet. Fortunately, we arrived in time for a tour (en français!) that gave us a sense of the history and architecture of the place - even better was that I understood most of it!

Another little drive and we were at the gîte! Set deep in the countryside, I'd been told it was an old farm, but the Siards' friends Thierry and Carole have put a ton of man hours in renovating and the place is stunning. Very modern, but extremely comfortable. The main house has a room that they let on a bed & breakfast basis, but the real draw is the gîte - a two room split level 2 bedroom house that can be rented weekly. We are lucky that it's not let at the moment because it means we get to stay there! The whole place is surrounded by lovely gardens, several with wildflowers, a pond and a huge veg and fruit patch. In the pond though, there are quite literally hundreds of frogs. I remember early in my courtship with Stephen, we had a conversation about what animals "say" in different languages and I found it hilarious that the french sound for frogs was "croa croa" rather than "ribbit, ribbit". Now having heard a veritable chorus of french frogs I can attest they indeed croak! Yes, ladies and gents, even the frogs speak in a French accent.

We spent a lovely evening not only listening to the frogs, but enjoying Carole's fantastic cooking and the general conviviality of our group. We did more of the conversation in French since Carole's mother doesn't speak English, and it went much easier this time. But then again, everyone has been so indulgent with my mistakes and putting me right when I get confused. I feel so blessed to be here, and Gib & Cherrie's friends have really taken us all under their wing and have been amazing hosts. I hope to someday be able to return the favour for them!

But alas, these sorts of evenings never end early (nor without having emptied a few bottles of wine), so it was another late night, but a happy one.

Thursday 28 June 2012

Dorset & Normandy - Day 6

We all managed to survive the night couped up in our little cabin together and even all get ready for the day ahead. Disembarking the ferry was a bit bizarre (a bus to take us 50 yards, really?) but we got through immigration, collected our bags and right outside the door was Peggy, Gib and Cherrie's longtime friend and, along with her husband Patrick, our host for this part of the trip.

After settling in, a spot of breakfast and a nap we all bundled into the car for a trip to the city of Rouen. The Normandy countryside is beautiful, green and lush like its Englush counterpart, but also more compact feeling.

We only got a little bit of time in Rouen, but it was enough to see the Joan of Arc church, le grand horloge, the Notre Dame Cathedral (yes, another one!) and walk a bit through the old city. I also managed to convince the group to let me take a mini maccaron pit stop for "goûter".

Then it was back to Peggy & Patrick's to get ready for a dinner party. They'd invited another 2 couples - Jean-Michel and Jennifer and Grace and Howard - as well as their son Timothy, a few years younger than us. Peggy went out of her way and prepared a veritable feast! A lovely tomato & feta salad, paella, an incredible selection of local cheeses (St. Agur, Pont l'Eveque, Chevre, &  Neufchâtel) served with salad and strawberries with meringue. Patrick curated the wine and again went above and beyond with champagne for an apperitif, a stunning Haute-Medoc with mains and another red I didn't quite catch with the cheeses. All in all it was an incredible meal both from a gastronomic as well as companionable point of view. We kept up a good flow of talk (in 2 languages! though some of us were more successful than others - suffice it to say I could use an immersion course for French) and really enjoyed ourselves. 

Needless to say that kept us busy late into the night and there wasn't much left after that, but to help clean up and go to bed. But we went to bed very happy campers.

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Dorset & Normandy - Day 5

After enjoying our last wonderful breakfast at the B&B and checking out, we decided to try one last coastal walk before the drive back to Portsmouth. We chose a relatively short one along the cliffs near St. Aldhelm's/Alban's head. The walk started from the little town of Worth Matravers, passed through several fields and then through a gap in the ridge down to the sea at Seacombe, where we stopped to scramble over the rocks and enjoy the sea for a bit. From there, Gib & Cherrie went around to Winsprit and then back to Worth, but Stephen and I walked over to St. Aldhelm's before turning back in land. It was a stunning day for a walk, bright sunshine and a cool breeze (only about 10mph!) and being along the cliff edges was wonderful. The path took us through several abandoned stone quarries and many many nesting bird sites. The highlight thought was stopping into the National Coastwatch station right on the point of the cliffs at St. Aldhelm's and getting a little tour and explanation from the station master. I had no idea that this was a volunteer force, and was very impressed by the quality of their equipment and clear passion for keeping people safe while enjoying the sea.

We made a quick pit stop at the Square and Compass pub (great beers, good views, friendly people, horrible food) and then back to the B&B to collect our luggage and drive back to Portsmouth. I slept pretty much the whole way, waking up just long enough to find us a restaurant for dinner (Turkish at a great little place called Bodrum's). After that the only thing remaining was to do the "hurry up and wait" routine that comes with transport. We arrived at the ferry terminal in good time, easily found our cabin once they let us board, and then (after getting some sad news from home) Stephen and I watched the lights fade as we sailed out of Portsmouth into the channel. We were off to France! One more sleep and then the second part of our trip was to begin.

Monday 25 June 2012

Dorset & Normandy - Day 4

Given the activities of the last few days, we decided to take Sunday a little easier. So after a local Meeting for Worship, we headed over the Swanage Railway to take the steam train up to Corfe Castle. As much as intact castles are fun to wander around, I think that ruined castles are even more fun if for no other reason than you get to explore and scramble over the old stones, letting your imagination run wild (or at least my imagination does so). Set up on the top of a hill, it commands really spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. We spent a very enjoyable few hours wandering around and enjoying the sunshine and slightly less intense wind. There was even a little food festival at the bottom of the hill where the moat would have been featuring some local producers. After, we had a little cream tea in the National Trust cafe (I think National Trust cafe's frequently have the best teas) and then back to Swanage on the steam train.

During our pub lunch (yes another one!), we had spotted a poster for a little benefit concert for the Kimmeridge Project featuring a band called the "iFoxes" promising a little bit of jazz, a little bit of celtic tunes, and some surprises along the way. Having nothing else scheduled, we decided that sounded like a perfectly enjoyable evening (and if not at least the money would go to a good cause). We easily made our way over to Kimmeridge, detouring to take in views of the beautiful bay, before heading up to Smedmore House where marquees were set up for the concert. They had a little stand of homemade snacks and cakes for purchase as well as a couple of kegs of the local beer for purchase. The concert itself turned out the be an incredible amount of fun. They started off with a few jazz standards before segwaying into Celtic music - Irish, Scottish and Shetland. I'd never heard folk music from Shetland before and was really intrigued by the unusual lilt and slightly dissonant chord structure. Definitely one to explore more of when we get back home. The second set started off with some Spanish guitar music arranged for trio (violin, double bass & guitar with the odd pipes) an then back into a Celtic groove (adding the piper back in), including a wonderfully fun encore mixing both jazz and traditional Celtic rhythms. As the band is newly formed, they didn't have any of their group cds for sale, but we will definitely keep a look out for them in future!

Then another lovely drive back along the Purbeck ridge to Swanage, with a short stop to admire the lights in distant Poole coming on in the twilight.

And again we all go to bed thoroughly satisfied with our day! It's hard to believe that 24 hours from writing this we'll be on the ferry to Normandy for part 2 of our trip. We've had such an incredible time so far I have a hard time believing that the rest will live up to what we've done so far, but what would life be without something of a challenge, no?

Dorset & Normandy - Day 3

After sleeping off the previous night's dinner, we awoke to another bright sunlit day, again with 40 mile per hour winds. Another full English breakfast set us up for a full active agenda for the day. We had already scheduled a bike ride (more on that later) for the afternoon over on Portland, but first we headed over to Lulworth Cove. The idea was to either try and rent some kayaks or walk the footpath over to Durdle Door. The wind being so strong, the kayak companies had cancelled their rentals & tours because of the high seas, so walking it was. It was a bit steep in places, but definitely worth it. Since we weren't going further, Gib, Stephen and I all walked down to the respective beaches to watch the waves crash against Durdle Door and the Man-of-War. By this point on the Jurassic Coast the sandy beaches give way to shingle and pebbles, which makes the most amazing sound as the waves recede. We got a bit mesmerised in fact, and ended up back at the car a bit later than originally planned, so we headed straight over to Portland, grabbed a quick bite at the Portland Heights cafe (quite good value considering the quality and location). 

Then it was time for our bike ride! I had come across Marshwood Trails prior to our trip and was intrigued by the idea of "electric assisted" bicycles. I knew that this corner of the English coast wasn't exactly flat, so it seemed like the right spot to give them a try. When poking around on the website, I'll admit that my first reaction was "that's cheating!" but it turns out that "cheating" was not quite so bad after all. Martin was our guide, and he had everything we needed - helmets, gloves, panniers and of course the bikes were all provided. After a bit of riding about to get used to the bikes, we headed off on our tour. We cycled down the East side of the Island first, stopping to see the fomer barracks/current prison, the Verne high angle battery, the pirate cemetary and then down to one of our favourite places - the Portland Bill. We were particularly lucky that day and got to see a seal! At first I thought it was a dog swimming in the water, and then it dived. So fantastic to watch! We were also fortunate that while it had started to rain a little bit, it wasn't foggy and so we got to keep our ear drums in tact. From there, the winds meant that we couldn't cycle down the Western coast path, so we headed down the middle of the island, stopping at St. George's Church (built, apparently, by a follower of Christopher Wren of St. Paul's fame) and then passed through the really incredible Quarry and Sculpture Garden, both of which I would love to come back to and explore in more detail. By then we were way over our time, and with many thanks we parted with Martin, grabbing tea again at the cafe before heading back to Swanage.

At this point we discovered that a Saturday night in Swanage is not particularly hopping. We had originally thought we'd grab dinner at the pub across from the B&B, but turns out they stopped serving at 9. . .as did every other restaurant in town. In fact, the only place open was a Chinese takeaway, which turned out to be tastier than we expected, but then again hunger is the best sauce. :) By that time, it was time to start winding down (and washing our fivefingers - traipsing through seaweed does not nice smelling shoes make) and so ended another fantastic, active day in Dorset! 

Sunday 24 June 2012

Dorset & Normandy - Day 2

On our second day, we woke up to brilliant sunny skies and very blustery wind (40mph). With a lot of hope for a good day outdoors, we headed downstairs for a traditional English breakfast, and then after a bit of time with the OS map, decided to head over to Studland for a walk to "Old Harry's Rocks". Round trip it was about 6 miles, but the scenery from the top was gorgeous.At this point on the Jurassic Coast the cliffs are still mostly chalk, and so it reminded me a lot of some of the rock formations we saw a few years ago on the Isle of Wight. The rest of the walk took us around the point along the tops of the cliffs and then back through some really lovely country lanes back to the parking lot and a very handy pub, The Bankes Arms. home to the Isle of Purbeck brewery for lunch and a sample of their beers. Overall not to shabby though it seemed that they were at the end of the cask for some of them. 

Then, a brief detour to Manor Farm for some homemade ice cream (including playing with a lovely old sheepdog) before heading back to the car and in turn for a short country drive back to the B&B for a nap. From there we took a meandering drive over to Beaminster for dinner. We arrived a bit earlier than strictly needed and so wandered the town for a bit, stopping into the local church, St. Mary of the Annunciation. Come to find out we were one day early for the big local music festival, and the organ was in the middle of being tuned.Their instrument was actually brand new,  built only about 4 years ago by a Slovakian organ maker - the first of the kind in England. We waited around for a bit to listen to the acoustics (beautiful and full) before resuming our wandering of the town.

Unfortunately the rest of town was pretty much closed for the evening, and tea/pre-dinner drinks can only last so long. Fortunately, the lovely staff at The Wild Garlic managed to fit is in ahead of our scheduled reservation. I've been keen to try Matt Follas's cooking ever since my friend Kavey posted about her foraging trip with him a few years ago.This was something of a late Father's Day dinner for Gib (who is something of a gourmet himeself), so we all decided to have the tasting menu and really give Matt's cooking a full evaluation. The current menu featured: 

  • pesto popcorn
  • ham terrine with black pudding crumbles, sundried tomato bread, candied apple and apple sauce over greens
  • chili prawns (complete with finger bowls)
  • amuse of sweet potato and onion (tasted more ham?)
  • for mains, Cherrie chose the pork, the rest of us had venison (incredibly tender and served very rare) over potato and turnip mash, young carrots and blanched nettles
  • finally, a dessert trio of brownie, vanilla custard and lemon crème brûlée
Being more red than white drinkers, we chose a 2009 Beaujolais, which went with almost anything (the chili prawns being the biggest stretch). All in all, it was a fantastically enjoyable meal. The ham terrine, scallops with scapes (I adore the scallops that originate in this region of England) and the respective mains. As it was, I was quite glad we moved our reservation forward as it was nearing 10pm by the time we left, although being midsummer the light was still lingering. On the way home we caught just the tiniest hint of a fingernail moon amidst the fading sunset. 

A wonderful first day!

You can read Cherrie's post about our day here

Saturday 23 June 2012

Dorset & Normandy - Day 1

Our first day of vacation started at a fairly reasonable 8:30 taxi pick up to take us to the train station. Our taxi driver was rather more colourful than normal (a bit testy, probably from being up all night, but made rather ineffectual efforts to amuse), but we made it to Waterloo with plenty of time to spare. This let us pick up a few bits and pieces forgotten in the midst of last minute packing. The train ride to Portsmouth was uneventful and although with each additional stop we picked up more and more people clearly intent on camping. Considering it was raining off and on we really should have guessed it was for the Isle of Wight Festival. But the signs in Portsmouth tipped us off in the end. Considering the forecast for the weekend, I was pleased our plans included sleeping indoors.

We found the car rental place with ease and our upgrade turned into something of a mixed blessing as the trunk was rather less spacious than the hatch-back originally planned for, but we managed to fit in all four suitcases plus the four of us with a little creative space management. We didn't linger long in Portsmouth, instead heading straight out into the countryside. We chose a route to Swanage that took use straight through the New Forest, someplace that Stephen and I have been wanting to visit for a while, but hadn't gotten around to it yet. A bit of googling popped up The Oak pub just outside of Lyndhurst, which seemed an ideal stop for lunch and a leg stretch. The setting was stunning and the service friendly. It was a Fuller's pub, so didn't have anything local on tap, but what they did have was well kept and reliably tasty. Lunch offerings had some surprisingly creative touches - wild mushrooms sauteed in garlic with rosemary ice-cream, baked camembert with blueberries, scallops and shrimp with bacon served over mixed lettuce with a citrus vinegrette, pork belly with mushrooms and creamed leeks, wild rabbit over gnocchi. They even served proper loose leaf tea, brewed in individual pots. We lingered over lunch, starting to catch up on all that's been happening in our lives since Christmas, and then decided to take advantage of the lull in the rain to head off on a little walk before getting back into the car. The walk wasn't remarkable in and of itself, but the air had a delightful heady freshness and the forest was a vibrant green. We caught glimpses of the famous New Forest deer, but none of the ponies, sadly.

Then back in the car with us for the rest of the journey to Swanage. It was fascinating to watch the landscape change from New Forest lushness to the scrubby grasslands and rolling fields nearest the sea. The closer we got the more excited we all became, ready to explore the Coast.

After arriving and settling into our lovely B&B (The Castleton - highly recommended), the rain had just stopped again and so we headed into town to see what there was to be had for dinner. Unfortunately for us the weather didn't hold out quite as well as in the New Forest and we quickly found ourselves rather damp, and my spirits at least followed. We grabbed a snack and beer in the back room (away from the televisions) one of the little local pubs to wait out the worst of the rain. After another lull we headed back out, walking up to the nearest look out point over the village, and then back into town to see what there was food wise. I love the way the light lingers this time of year, but it does mean that it can get quite late without you realising it. Fortunately for us, a little Italian place was still open and accepting new orders, so we had a really pleasant light, late meal and some more good conversation. At just gone 10pm we finally headed back to our B&B by way of the sea front, listening to the waves and starting to let the more relaxed pace seep in. Sleeping well proved not to be a problem. :)

All in all, a pretty good first day. I was particularly pleased that we managed to break-up the drive so well, and that our B&B proved just as homey and comfortable as I hoped. I think it is going to be a great base for the next couple of days.

You can read Cherrie's post and see some of her pictures of our first day here

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Next Trip: Dorset & Normandy

Our travel season is now officially in full swing and our next trip sees us off to both Dorset (along the southern coast of England) for 5 days and then over to Normandy, France for a week. And as an extra special bonus, Stephen's parents, Gib & Cherrie, are coming too! They'll also be blogging the trip and you can read their perspective at

For the Dorset portion, we'll be based in Swanage and then in Normandy we'll be finding our way around Lillebonne (where Stephen spent several years of his childhood) and Bezoques with family friends of the Siards. Should be grand fun! 

Monday 18 June 2012

2 Days in Faro

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Dressed for London                vs.            Dressed for the beach!

Despite a few transportation hiccups (almost getting on the wrong flight outbound, flight getting cancelled inbound), our weekend in Faro was just what we needed.

I was super pleased with our hotel - Hotel Santa Maria. Although located on what they describe as "the outskirts" of the city, it was less than a 10 minute walk anywhere we wanted to go including the Old City & The Harbour. It was also very clean and all the staff we encountered spoke excellent English (the Portuguese have a really lovely, comprehensible accent in English) and were kind and helpful. The decor is a bit dated, but otherwise this hotel was excellent value for money. I would definitely stay there again.

On Saturday, we got up just early enough to catch the last of the inclusive breakfast buffet and then headed to the harbour to catch a ferry to the beach. The area around Faro is actually a protected wildlife preserve (Ria Formosa) and so it doesn't have at beaches in town. However there are plenty of options within 30 minutes by either boat or public transport.

After nosing around we decided to head to the Ilha Baretta known more romantically as the Ilha Deserta (the Deserted Island). It's essentially a long sandy spar on the outer edge of the preserve. This means you have a choice of splashing about either on the less protected (but more spacious) Atlantic side or the rather more protected (though limited) inland side. As it was quite windy, we opted for the inland side to layout our beach towels.
The water was a bit too cold for swimming for very long, but perfectly refreshing to splash around to get some relief from the sun. And so, slathered in sunscreen, we just chilled out with the other handful of local families who had also made the trek. Bright sunshine, brilliant blue water, a good book and the love of my life - what could be better?

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We took a late lunch at the lone restaurant (sangria, obligatory!) called Estaminé, which we very much enjoyed. We had an octopus & tomato salad, dry cured tuna to start and shared a huge pot of shellfish polenta that was amazing. Usually shellfish aren't at their best in June, but the waitstaff assured us that in this corner of Portugal they can be eaten and are excellent all year round - we definitely found this to be true during our entire trip.

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View from the restaurant

After lunch we took a bit of a snooze on the beach

Portugal WE-9.jpgSnooze!

and then headed back into town to get cleaned up for the evening.

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pulling away from the pier

We took a bit of a wander through the Old Town before dinner, enjoying the quaint streets, mosaic pavements, and plethora of orange trees heavy with fruit.

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mosaic pavements!

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quaint streets!

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orange trees!

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now we know why all the oranges are out of arm's reach. . .

The atmosphere was initially sleepy, most streets were empty, but coming into the square just outside the castle was a little mini festival where we stopped briefly to watch part of the Eurocup match between Portugal & Germany being shown on a huge screen.

We got detoured into a particularly horrible restaurant (whose name I've conveniently forgotten - a salad, glass of bad wine each plus bread & olives cost €30! ) but watching the sunset from the docks improved our mood considerably.

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How could you be unhappy after that?!

Fortunately try two for dinner was a considerable improvement. Called Sabores de Se, it served Portuguese cuisine in tapas style portions. We chose to sit inside, now that the sun was down the night air still had a bit of bite. Our server recommended a very pleasant and surprisingly complex white 

Barranco Longo (2010) to go with our chosen small plates:

Amuse bouche - shredded cured ham over the local fresh cheese & honey on toast

Salt Cod Fritters - beautifully crispy on the outside, soft, salty and creamy on the inside. Paired with a tomato & rice dish that was almost but not quite a risotto. Could have done with a bit more tomato, but a wonderful start.

Panfried Black Pepper Squid - not my favourite dish (though Stephen happily finished it off) it was possibly the best squid I've ever eaten - served whole, well cooked without being rubbery with a spicy sauce just enough to be pleasantly piquant without actually burning.

Pork and Clams - when they brought out this dish I couldn't believe it was considered "small"! Served in a mini wok, this did just what it said on the menu, hunks of intense meaty pork cubes seared and then tossed with salty tender clams (in the shell) mixed with fresh cilantro and a butter tomato sauce in which the whole thing was steamed again. The flavour combinations were simply and yet perfectly complimentary.

After all that we were too full to attempt the very tempting dessert menu. The total bill came to just €43! An outstanding value considering the location, quality of both food and beverages, and charming serving staff. Highly recommended! In fact we enjoyed it so much that our biggest regret from our unforeseen layover was that it was announced too late for us to get back here for another meal!

From there we took a leisurely stroll back to our hotel to the echo of the concert that had taken over the plaza.

The next day we also got a bit of a later start, and unfortunately ended up missing the only boat to our chosen beach of the day (Praia de Faro) and the bus system was totally incomprehensible. So we got a taxi instead. Taxis in Faro are pretty good value since everything is quite close. Even the airport is only about €15 from town. We found most drivers spoke enough English and we had learned enough phrases to get where we wanted to go without too much trouble.

The Praia de Faro is definitely a local's beach, and given the glorious weather just about everyone was there. But being (again) another long sandy spar, there was plenty of room for everyone to stretch out.

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Praia de Faro - on a crowded Sunday afternoon

After lunch (sandwiches and ice cream at a beach-side cafe, nothing special), we were even treated to a display of kite surfing, which was great fun to watch.

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Kite surfing!

As the sun started to dip it was time to collect our luggage from the hotel, change clothes and head out to the airport. But we came back to London (when we eventually did make it back) a few shades browner and much more relaxed. Assuming that I can find a different airline, we will definitely go back!

Friday 8 June 2012

Drum Roll Please!

Here we are safely ensconced in the waiting area at Gatwick where we will shortly be taking off for . . .

Faro, Portugal!

Not exactly off the beaten track, but it is easy for us to get to and has *much* warmer weather than London, plus beaches! And a relaxing beach trip is exactly what we need after exams and crazy work projects.

The downside is that this week has been so hectic that in my rush to pack & get out of the house I left my camera on my desk. So iPhone photos it shall just have to be. Better than nothing right?

Wednesday 6 June 2012

After a Pause, We're Off Again

As you all may have noticed, the last few months have been rather quiet travel wise. This was to give us some time to handle family matters back in the US and to give Stephen some space to prepare for his exams. The pause turned out to be well timed as my work has also been rather hectic over the last few months. So we've both beavered away the spring, looking ruefully out the window (not that spring in London has been terribly nice over all).  But that's nearly over and so the travel starts again! 

Our first trip of the summer is something of a surprise treat - I know where we're going, but Stephen won't until I hand him his boarding pass. I'll give you the same clues I've given him, see if you can guess where we're off to:

1. It's within a 3 hour flight from London
2. To an area well known for its beaches
3. The projected weekend temperatures are a lovely 28 C/82 F.

We're off on Friday after work and back on Monday. To say I can't wait would be an understatement. I'll try to pop back in at the airport to give you the answer.