Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal
What a trip! Visiting Bath & Stonehenge was one of the best weekend trips in England I’ve ever had. The weather was fair, our hotel was small & charming and I fell of my feet from all the sightseeing we did in Bath. It was in July in 2009 and I’d gladly return to Bath one day to see it all again.
After arriving to Bath in the afternoon and settling in our hotel my friend and I decided to go out for a meal. The city center was just a short stroll away from our hotel but we had lovely views of the lush green hills to enjoy on our walk down to the center. Our evening walk gave us a glimpse of the beauty that Bath had to show us.
The next day was sunny & warm and we visited the Roman Baths. Probably one of the most famous Roman sites in Britain the Roman Baths are truly impressive. There are four parts: the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath House and the Museum. I listened carefully to my free audio guide as I walked around the Baths and marvelled at Roman sculptures and other artifacts. I even tossed a coin in the wishing pool. At the end of the visit we were given a glass of mineral water at the Grand Pump Rooms where you can have an afternoon tea too. Unfortunately, the Bath Abbey was closed when we walked by it twice so we only got to see it from the outside. I guess my visit to Bath coincided with the school holidays because there were a lot of school children around and a lot of tourists as well. Some of them were watching numerous performances by street artists at the square near the Abbey.
It was such a cool weekend trip (in more ways than one). I need that Oslo’s coolness now to help me survive this incessant heat. Oslo’s city center is quite compact and walkable even though the city itself spans across 40 islands too. I liked very much the bricked City Hall and the modern Opera house. We’ve also explored a few museums but my favourite by far was the Viking museum with the Vikings’ ships. To read more about my Oslo adventures in 2014 check out my old posts here, here and here.
Brazil beyond Rio de Janeiro
When people talk about Brazil, usually, the image that comes to mind is a place like Rio de Janeiro or the Amazon. But did you know that Brazil is so much more than that? That there are actually MANY places to visit, especially beaches that offer lots of adventure. But our trip here through Brazil’s secrets won’t start at the beach. It will start with a geography class question. What is the capital of Brazil?
If you said Rio de Janeiro, or São Paulo, you got it wrong. The capital is Brasília.
Brasília attracts visitors due to its beautiful modernist architecture. Inaugurated to be the new capital of Brazil on April 21, 1960, the city had its main buildings designed by the great architect Oscar Niemeyer. The good part about visiting Brasília is that pretty much all of the most interesting things to see in the city are close to each other.
Brasília is loved by the people who live there for its sky. The city doesn’t have a beach but it is said that “The sky is Brasília’s sea”. And the reason for that quote has many colors.
July. It was a bit slower paced month than June. Some beach time, a lot of ice-cream and of course my husband’s 34 birthday! Also, we got a rather surprising gift from some gaming friends, not that the gift was a surprise but the occasion, to be honest we still don’t know why we got it! Was it a birthday gift or a baby gift or just a gift..Anyway, it was a board game Key to the city-London! My two favourite things in one: board games & London!:) Furthermore, the baby’s room is finally done (painted in a lovely shade of blue). I’m all right, just the heat is sometimes overbearing but I can manage it. Two more months to go before the arrival of our little traveller 🙂 After a long time I wrote another London post which made me very happy. I’m always happy when I think of London 🙂
Published posts in July
I’m Grace Hughes, and I love writing, traveling, and everything outdoors. I’ve been writing about my travel experiences plus more on my website since 2004, and hope to have many more adventures with my husband Kevin in the years ahead.
My husband Kevin and I love to travel, and in the almost eleven years that we’ve been married we’ve taken some wonderful trips.
We live in Springfield, Illinois, right in the middle of the United States, and because it isn’t cheap to cross the Atlantic, we haven’t been on a lot of overseas vacations. Yet.
The year after we were married, in 2007, we took a cycling vacation along the Danube in Austria. It was a fantastic way to see the countryside close-up, and two years later we took another bike trip, this time in some remote areas of Scotland. Because I didn’t start exercising much until I became an adult I don’t think of myself as particularly athletic, even though I now love working out, especially outside. I was hesitant about biking along the Danube, but Kevin pointed out that it’d be pretty flat, which it was. But Scotland? Very very hilly, and this was, according to the travel company that booked out trip, an “easier” ride. Yikes. But it was beautiful and wild and I loved every minute of it, even though it was an especially wet summer and the hills were so very hilly. I learned the “power of one” – staying in first gear on the many steep climbs.
For a change of pace we tried hiking on our next trip in 2015. We chose the coast of Wales because Kevin discovered he has some Welsh ancestors, and we’d never been to Wales, and we’d loved the parts of the UK that we’d already seen.
Our cycling trips had been self-guided tours – a company arranged the route and the lodging and transported our bags from hotel to hotel, but we were on our own out on the road. We enjoyed that, and found a company called Macs Adventures that offered many choices of self-guided hiking trips in Wales. We chose the “Best of Pembrokeshire” – the Pembrokeshire Coast Path is a national park, roughly 193 miles long, and we certainly didn’t want to walk the whole thing. The section we hiked was supposed to be the most beautiful; it was an eight-night, seven day trip, but we actually only hiked for six days. We started at the tiny town of Dale in the south of Wales (it’s so tiny that Welsh people we met had never even heard of it) and ended up in St. David’s, the “smallest city in Britain.” In addition to planning the route for us, Macs Adventures also sent us a guidebook all about the Pembrokeshire Path as well as a detailed hiking map.
This is the lovely old inn where we spent the night before the hike; it’s called the Allenbrook B&B, and it turned out to be the most charming place we stayed. It was old and sprawling, with peacocks and chickens out in the yard, plus a beautiful garden.
We walked into the center of town for a pre-hike dinner. Since there are only about 200 inhabitants, there weren’t a lot of dining options. Like I said, very remote.
We had dinner in a pub where I had freshly-caught fish, a glass of pear cider, and for dessert a chocolatey ice cream creation called a chocolate knickerbocker. Yum!
The best things in life are free. Do you agree? This saying also applies to London which is otherwise a very expensive city. Luckily, there are plenty of free activities in London such as visiting world-class museums like the British Museum. Furthermore, you can walk around London and enjoy beautiful vistas without charge. Here’s the list of 5 best free views in London according to my humble opinion.
The South Bank
A stretch of land in Central London by the Thames River from the Westminster Bridge to the Blackfriars Bridge. This is nowadays an entertainment and commercial district full of different activities and attractions. From the The London Eye (which is a great attraction but rather pricey) and the London Dungeon to the National Theatre there’s something for everyone here. Free activities include watching the street art performers and enjoying the view of the Westminster and St Paul’s cathedral. Magnificent view no matter the time of the day or the weather! And it’s never the same! I’ve been visiting London for the past 10 years and I’ve witnessed significant changes in London’s skyline. There are new skyscrapers now around St Paul’s jostling for a good position.
Top tip: Go for cocktails at Oxo tower and enjoy the night view of St Paul’s
If you want to look down on the Tower Bridge and the historical Tower of London as well as be smack right in the City of London this is the place for you. There are several cafes at this location as well as a garden (kind of) but the biggest draw of this skyscraper are the beautiful views. It’s completely free but you have to make a booking online. For more information check my post here.
Top tip: visit during the week, right around the opening time to avoid the crowds