Chronicles of one girl's journey to London - from conception to eventual migration.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

CYMRU . . . WALES

This one was a spur of the moment thing. One minute Jayne, Julainne and I were talking about spending a girly weekend together, the next I was booking a room for 2 nights in Wales. As you do . . .

We drove there from London on Good Friday and I can say with utter confidence that this was a terrible idea. Because everyone else had the same idea. A 2 and a half hour journey took us almost 6! Granted, we did stop for a leisurely 2 hour lunch at one of the best pubs I have ever eaten in! It's called the Old Barn Inn and is in Newport, just as you cross the England-Wales border. They have a cake selection that rivals most bakeries and their meals might just have been the highligh out of trip!

Best food in Wales

We stayed at Llanerch Vineyard in Glamorganshire, a little village just 20 minutes away from Cardiff. I highly recommend it - and it came recommended to us from Julainne's friend Leah - if you like peaceful places to stay and those with the slight family touch. Breakfast is included in the price of the room and is amazing!

Once we settled in, we went for a nice long walk around the countryside. We tried to play with some sheep but they weren't interested. The country roads have no light so we scrambled home during sunset to make sure we didn't get lost.

SHEEP!


On Saturday, we drove into Cardiff's city centre. Well, actually, we drove up to the Park and Ride and took the shuttle in so as not to worry about finding parking. It cost just £3 so bargain!

Cardiff is built around a castle, aptly named Cardiff Castle, and it is a beautiful little city. The shopping is similar to London for high street stuff but they have many more indie shops where the prices are incredibly low compared to what we are used to in London! We found the nicest vintage shop with some amazing pieces, and nothing cost more than £20. Vintage in London means £100 tops usually . . .

Cardiff Castle


That evening, we dressed up and went to Retro, Cardiff's 90s bar and it is amazing! We only had one complaint and that was the DJ who talked far too much during his set. Less talk, more music please.


Sunday was the most exciting day! We checked out of Llanerch and then drove to Castel Coch (the Red Castle), which is high up on a mountain and looks like it belongs to Rapunzel. After a quick tour through there, we drove to the Big Pit. It is a coal mine that you can tour. You aren't allowed cameras down there (and if you go you will see why) so we have no pictures from underground but I can say it was the best sightseeing thing I have done in a long time!

Castel Coch
 On the drive back, we stopped at Old Barn Inn again and were treated once more to the best food we have had in ages.

Wales is one of the nicest places I have ever been. The people are genuinely lovely and helpful and Cardiff is a delightful city. Put this on your list of places to visit!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

DEJA VU - PARIS AGAIN

Qas has taken me on a lot of great holidays in the last couple of years. I have finally been able to return the favour by taking him to Paris for his 28th birthday.

We went via Eurostar - a first for both of us - and I have to say it is one of the best ways to travel. It takes just under 2 hours and we had absolutely no trouble at all.

In the interest of keeping this post a readable length, here are the 5 highlights of Paris:

Catacombs
The catacombs house the bones of about 6 million people and most are pre 18th century. We toured these on Friday afternoon.



The line to get in was not too long and it costs just 8 to get in if you are over 26 and a mere 4 if you are 26 or younger. The walk is 2 km of creepiness but a very cool experience. It is one of the best sight seeing ideas we have ever had.

Top of the Eiffel Tower

This is going to cost you 13, which I didn't think was too much to pay at all for an experience like that. Qas and I went on the Thursday night so the line up wasn't too bad. It will definitely be busy but could totally be worth it for you! I'll let the view do the talking though.






Montmartre 

Just past the Moulin Rouge and up a hill lies the Sacre Couer. It is a beautiful Roman Catholic church and also has stunning views of some of Paris. Obviously, it is free to see inside but you aren't allowed photos. And we did try to take some - the attendants will shoo you away for getting your camera out when inside.



Just a little further down the hill from here is the famous Le Consulat restaurant. I tried frog legs here, and let's be honest, they're nothing special. They don't even look that cringy on the plate! And they really do taste like chicken . . .


Batobus

The funnest way to tour Paris is not in an open bus. That is for boring peope. The funnest way is on the Seine in the Batobus - their boat tour. It costs 15 per adult for the day and stops at 8 famous landmarks: Musee d'Orsay, Tour Eiffel, Hotel de Ville, Louvre, Champs Elysees, Saint Germain des Pres, Jardin des Plantes and Notre Dame. In the summertime, these tours run till 11 pm. In off-peak it is only 7 pm. I have done this on both visits to Paris and it's still fun!

Sunshine

Yes, this is very generic . . . but Paris in the sunshine is wonderful. Like any holiday in the sunshine really. We had the benefit of some beautiful weather and it made it that much better.

Ah look at that lovely blue sky!