Parga / Greece

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Going on holiday with a group of girl friends is a kind of rite of passage thing that everyone seems to do when they're 18/19/20. I missed out on those fun and games, and it took me until this year to have my first 'girls holiday'.

I went with Georgia and Emma (yes, same name), who are friends from university so we've known each other a fair few years now. We all live in different parts of the country, which means we don't get to see each other very often, and when we do see each other we spend all our time catching up, rather than truly enjoying each other's company. This holiday was perfect because we got our catching up done within the first day or two and then we could actually talk. About serious things, and silly things, and about people we know, and just life in general. It was so lovely to be able to do that.

We went to Parga in mainland Greece, which was a really fun area considering none of us had heard of it before we started looking for where to go. Something we all wanted from the holiday was to be able to relax on a beach, read and take long naps. Oh, and drink cocktails. We managed to do all of those things quite successfully.

We also went on some day trips - we did a trip to a Greek oracle and the Acheron river (which is supposedly the basis for the river Styx of Greek mythology), a day trip on a ship (a Boney M playing pirate ship no less!) to the islands of Paxos and Antipaxos, and we went to Valtos beach via a castle and a VERY steep hill (or maybe it just seemed steep in the heat ...).

We also did a lot of eating - plenty of feta and halloumi cheese! Lots of restaurants gave us shots of ouzo to start, as if it's perfectly normal to start your meal with alcohol. Hey, when in Greece ...

It was such a fun holiday that I can't believe I waited this long to do it. It was just the right mix of busy and relaxing, and quality time with friends.

Castell Coch

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Castell Coch (Welsh for 'red castle') is in an iconic position on the hillside above the A470, nestled in trees in Tongwynlais. You can see just enough of it for it to be intriguing, and it's somewhere that every child growing up in South Wales visits at least once.

My parents joined Cadw (Welsh for 'to keep') at the end of the summer, which is the Welsh government's service for preserving Welsh history and heritage. When they suggested visiting Castell Coch, I had to tag along - I hadn't been there for so long and was keen to go back. When we got there my mother offered to buy me Cadw membership as an early Christmas present - so of course I said yes!

Castell Coch was owned and created by the Third Marquess of Bute, who also created the Cardiff Castle that we know and love today. Both castles were designed by William Burges, who shared a love for medieval English design and architecture with the Marquess. Castell Coch was built on the remains of a 13th century Norman castle, and looks like an extravagant Gothic version of a stereotypical castle - complete with drawbridge, portcullis and arrow slits. None of these things were actually necessary, though - the castle was built in the nineteenth century, and was hardly used. It was a creation of untold wealth and creativity, rather than ever intended to be a family home. Not sure that's what I'd do with my excess money if I had any, but hey!

I don't often go for a day out with both of my parents, so it was nice to spend time with them. We even had a cup of tea in the little tearoom afterwards, because my mother can't go more than three hours without a cup of tea.

There's some lovely walks around the area that I need to get back up there and do before winter sets in and it gets too cold to be outdoors for long - or I suppose I can go back next year, since I now have my Cadw membership!

To visit Castell Coch, take a look a Cadw's Castell Coch page as a good starting point.
To find out more about joining Cadw, and all of the excellent castles and other historic sites that it protects, visit the Cadw website.

Rhossili Bay

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

At the beginning of summer, my friend Chris and I went on a day trip down to Rhossili Bay in the Gower, near Swansea. Rhossili Beach has been voted by Trip Advisor as Britain's best beach, and the 9th best beach in the world. When you think about how many beaches there are in the world, that's a pretty damn impressive accolade.

Still, it isn't too difficult to understand why this area has had such praise heaped upon it.The beach is a gloriously unspoilt sandy beach, with a cliff top walk above that stretches out into the sea.

Chris and I mistakenly thought it would be easy to find such a well known beach, but we ended up almost going into a caravan park not once but twice. It didn't help that the area was basically the middle of nowhere so Chris's phone's GPS was less than helpful. Eventually I convinced him to resort to the good old traditional map (which, like all good drivers, I always have in my car), and we realised that we'd gone straight ahead when we should have turned left quite a way back down the road. In fairness to both of us, even once we were on the correct road it still seemed unconvincing!

The day that we went was one of those days where it seems warm but becomes chilly because of the coastal breeze. Luckily I'd taken a pair of leggings that I added under my skirt - both for warmth and to avoid the embarrassing moment when the wind decides to make me flash everybody nearby. 

We walked along the cliff top, where we made friends with some sheep (or tried to ...), then Chris scrambled down some rocks while I make the decision to, uh, not.

We had a light lunch in a cliff top pub, then went down the path to the beach, where we had an obligatory paddle in the - surprisingly not that cold - sea. And took some selfies, just because.

On the way back we managed not to get lost so that was something of a triumph!

For more information on visiting Rhossili Bay, have a look at these links:
National Trust*
Visit Swansea Bay

*The National Trust car park is pay & display, but free if you're a National Trust member (like me!) with the car parking sticker.

The Beginning.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

I've had the idea for this blog for a while - it's had a name since the beginning of summer but existed as a nameless idea in my head for a few months before that - and it seems time I actually got around to starting it.

The concept for this blog is a simple one: I go on fun adventures, whether they be local day trips, further away mini trips, or proper holidays, and blog about it. Because I like to believe that every day is, or can be, a mini adventure. At the moment I post a picture or two of my outings on Instagram and I have people say to me 
"You always seem to have such fun days off!"
Well, yes, I do. Or at least, I try to. I love feeling as if I've achieved something with days off work. Don't get me wrong, sometimes I love a day of being lazy, especially when I've worked til 2am the night before and have work at 7am the following day (yes, my job is just that joyful sometimes). And sometimes I have to have days to get normal life stuff done. But the days when I've done something interesting or exciting or just different with my day always feel the most satisfying when I lay my head on my pillow at night.

So, this blog is to make sure I do things with my days off, and keep doing things. And because I take so many pictures on days out/holidays, I need an excuse to share them somewhere!
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