A Travellerspoint blog

Heading to the Welsh Coast

semi-overcast 6 °C

Tracking eastward towards the Welsh coast today, stopping for breakfast along the way. Then onto Saint Asaph, called a city - only because it has a cathedral (even though its smaller than Llangollen). We come over a rise, greeted by salt air and ocean to the horizon. Out off the coast in the water, giant wind generators are churning out renewable energy.

We race along the motorway [I'm surprised how fast your allowed to drive] heading to Colwyn Bay, stopping at local markets. Lynn buys some new tights, lined for warmth, soft and comfortable. She also snags a bargain pair of wool lined leather gloves ($10), much cheaper than $160 at the airports. All the markets have the most delectable fudge, but so many choices and we have not yet succumbed to temptation, but it is only a matter of time. IMG_0518.jpg

Roads are good, some winding, very narrow through villages, through beautiful countryside and equally stunning little villages more quant and picturesque than you can imagine. Arriving at Conwy we experience a burst of sunlight one minute then cloud and drizzle within seconds. The sight of an amazing castle meets us, seemingly engulfing the town, but the beaches are nothing like ours, we’re way too spoilt.

Lynn thought she might keep tabs on the local constabulary just in case they were up to no good. IMG_0532.jpg

We returned home calling in to a Welsh food centre with everything you can imagine. It is dark by 4.00pm so we’ve been eating early (dinner by 5.30).

Tonight we try the Abbey Grange Hotel just outside Llangollen that has a nice carvery (again the lamb melts in the mouth and hard to resist ordering).

Posted by BioC12 09:08 Archived in Wales Comments (0)

Bishop Trevor House

semi-overcast 5 °C

This beautiful 400 year old yellow house wedged between the pub and antique shop - deserves a little blog all of its own to do it justice.

The house was named after the man who built the stone bridge across the River Dee to the Llangollen town area.IMG_3596.jpg
Looking back across the bridge toward town.

IMG_3590.jpg At night the bridge is lit for Xmas - great walking out the front door and enjoying this.

Late afternoon view from our second floor bedroom with some sunshine, the house uses space well and sleeps six people.

The next series of pictures will give you a fair idea of what the little house offers. I’m astonished how in good shape this building considering its age. Renovated with all the mod cons you’d expect nowadays. Lynn likes the personal touches the owner Trisha has done, leaving different perfumes in each bathroom or on a small ledge somewhere in the house. Like bumping into little surprises.
We step in from the street to this front lounge area. The timbers throughout the house are gorgeous.

The entrance from the front room to second inner lounge is nothing short of amazing with original woven sticks plastered on one side with horsehair and cowhide. Timbers feel rich and earthy. The inner lounge is beautiful and warm – especially once the fireplace is lit and a cup of hot coffee brewed. Then we step into the kitchen and dining area

We were fortunate to arrive to the streets filled with people celebrating Xmas festival. There were Choirs singing and groups of traditional Morris dancers. Yes, John was in his glory as he loves Morris dancing. However he loves Rugby more so we missed the dancing to chase the rugby, but unfortunately Wales were playing South Africa, so no-one wanted to see Aus v England.
I had a chat to one of the dancers who explained their costumes which were black jackets with long tails, black hats covered in yellow flowers and this group had their faces painted black also. This tradition goes back to when the locals would cross the border into another county to dance and as they may have been the local doctor or magistrate and didn’t want to be recognised in case a patient or person appearing in the dock might be dancing for the opposing group.IMG_3585.jpgIMG_3584.jpg

We met a young local couple who had left their kids for a night out so they were good company and met up with them again when we had dinner at the loud and packed pub next to our house. There are many sheep farms through Wales and we are enjoying the lamb dishes on the menus.

Posted by BioC12 06:03 Archived in Wales Comments (1)

Hay-On-Wye Here We Come

semi-overcast 7 °C

My body clock needs adjusting – 1:30am (UK) wide-awake - 11:30am QLD time.

I try an e-sleeping pill - a few games on iPhone – works well. I wake at a respectable 7:30am. But LL is in a deep sleep, enjoying the darkened room and soft bed. Unfortunately, time to rise and hit the road for Hay-On-Wye and their annual food festival.
LL takes another TOOFIE at the Holiday Inn before leaving.

Breakfast this morning is via a roadside diner, great choice; we pick up Starbucks coffee, fruit salad, and a punnet of delicious diced coconut cubes (what a good idea the latter is). Eventually we leave the motorway and run along hedge-lined roads to the festival – many quant villages on the way and spot an old maroon coloured Morris Minor 1000 for sale by the roadside.

This is where our trip merges between holiday and business research. As biocultural diversity consultants we’re eager to see and learn from different cultures in how they innovate and create new social, economic, environmental and cultural development opportunities in their communities and regions. We’ll be looking at this through UNESCO’s cultural diversity lens – how the spiritual, material, emotional and intellectual features of a society play important roles in cultural sustaining people and their landscapes.

Overcast and nippy, we think this will be a norm throughout our trip. Parking the car we walk up the road to a township, full of fabulous old buildings and lots of little shops, and a tented section showcasing local products from meats, ciders, cheeses, organic vegetables, cakes, breads, blown glass and all manner of pies. IMG_3566.jpg

Lynn says my sisters would love it here (I agree) - lots of antique shops smattered through the town – some with nice old bone china tea settings.
IMG_3568.jpg IMG_3575.jpg

Spotted a great old pram in immaculate condition for its age.

Hay-On-Wye has given us some ideas for creating different micro-economic opportunities for Indigenous peoples. One inventive farmer here has value added by creating different salami types, including Duck & Orange, Wild Boar, and a Blood, Wine and Chocolate Chorizo to name a few.

A rugby match beckons – so we begin our drive to Llangollen and our base for a few days at Bishop Trevor House.

Posted by BioC12 05:22 Archived in Wales Comments (0)

Waking Up Above The Desert


Woken by 4am in-flight PA announcing breakfast before we start descent into Dubai.

Sands to the horizon, and we get a peep at the Burj Kalihfa (seen in Mission Impossible movie). Lynn’s gets to see the building her brother Bob (engineer) oversaw with entire lift installation, an astonishing number of lifts along with amazing travel speeds. If I remember correctly I think he mentioned the building broke new ground on a number of different engineering fronts with people flying in constantly from across the world to see what was happening during building phases.

Our Airbus A380 parked, being detailed and refuelling at Dubai while we stretch our legs for an hour or more before heading onto London. IMG_3560.jpg

In the air again we begin a track that takes us across Iran, Iraq and Turkey - vivid white snow capped mountains glisten in bright winter sun – outside the plane - the temperature is showing a twig snapping minus 56 Celsius. I rumble around in my knapsack hoping I’ve bought on board thick scarf, gloves, beanie, and emu oil. IMG_0496.jpg

We arc across Germany and France, and start our dive for London (Heathrow) as we cross the English Channel. The Qantas crew will be happy to get the crazy woman and her husband in the seats behind us, off the plane and into someone else’s care. Lynn (Sherlock) Locke has been following this drama since we took off from Melbourne – Mrs Crazy is apparently discriminating as the other woman in their row is on the bigger side – so crazy woman strides to the front and demands changes. Cabin crew politely offers bigger woman a seat far from these two ignoramuses – hopefully in premium economy or business.

Not long before we’re on the ground and through customs, and heading for the rental car company. After a longer than expected rental process, we finally get a third car (Toyota Avensis Wagon) that has a working SatNav. IMG_3663.jpg

Drive begins with impatient tooting of horns behind us, LL thinks its hilarious (probably is), but I’m a bit frazzled on unfamiliar (busy) roads and with a constant voice (SatNav) barking left here, right there, at the next roundabout take the third exit. For someone who’s spatially intelligent I’ve never been a fan of constant chatter from a woman I don’t know, and over and over reminds me she has to recalculate. I finally get the directions right, but make a mental note that SatNav systems need to move to a heads up display for the driver so the voice makes more sense with a visual.
The time delay getting the car puts us back a little, and the trip toward Wales lengthens as our speed crawls to a stop. Delays due to three accidents on the M6 motorway – after the long flight and longer than expected car trip – we settle for a night at the Holiday Inn (Walsall). Good to be in a bed - and not fighting traffic and fatigue.

We’ve decided on a trip change – instead of Llangollen in the morning – we’ll be making a beeline for the Hay-On-Wye Food Festival first and then Llangollen later in the afternoon. Good choice!!

Posted by BioC12 05:20 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (0)

Qantas Kangaroo A380 Melbourne-London Heathrow

overcast 22 °C

Start of our European holiday, very excited for a number of reasons. (A) a holiday with my best friend, and (B) immersing ourselves in places off the normal well worn paths, enjoying the culture and warmth of small villages and towns as we drive across Wales, Scotland, Ireland, England, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and France. A holiday designed so we learn as much as we can about local people, their cultural landscapes and how these provide an explosion of localised foods, knowledge, technology, and creativity. Our consultancy business is about people, landscapes and biocultural diversity

First up a quick trip to Stella Maris Primary School to see our grandson Cooper Jay receive an end of year leadership award for his Prep D class. A little man we are very proud of, doing well growing his knowledge and leadership skills at a very young age. With big kisses and hugs, we say our good byes and head to the Sunshine Coast airport with his little brother Maddox riding shotgun in the back seat. Baby brother Hudson is following a few car lengths back with his mum and dad. The Maroochy River looks great as usual in warm summer sun, yet our mind are on stepping of the Qantas A380 at Heathrow and walking into a very cold winters day.

Maddox offers me his baggage services from the car park, and helps load them onto the conveyor for weighing. I'm going to miss his mean banana, apple, dates, cranberry, coconut, and honey smoothie. Inside, with cup in hand, he and Nannie have a last yarn together before he fires off one of his trademark winks at the appropriate time. IMG_3552.jpg

A new Boeing 737NextGeneration jet still sitting at the local airport, maybe Clive Palmer MP has bought himself a new toy to whisk back and forth from Coolum and Canberra. Talking jets, trip across the planet is now only a few minutes away. First, Jetstar from Sunshine Coast to Sydney, on arrival some good news - given earlier flight to Melbourne. So two hours in the Qantas Club spent doing a few last minute work emails and a little online Xmas shopping. I’m hoping mother, sisters and brother enjoy my choice of Christmas presents this year.

Arriving in Melbourne Lynn and I are a bit stunned at how old and tired the International airport looks, needs a big renovation job. Qantas Business Lounge suffering a similar dose of old age, but always good for relaxes in relative comfort and quietness.

Before we know it we’re in our A380 seats and hurtling down the runway for Dubai. Flight chocker, everyone in our section buzzing with excitement, and Qantas tries us all with their new in-flight menu, three choices of main, a dessert, coffee and complimentary beverages. Thumbs up from us. Time to settle down into some serious movie time, before snoozing in some surprisingly quite comfortable seats. See you all next blog.

Posted by BioC12 07:45 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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