Sunday in sunny Lucca


After a hectic few weeks, I have escaped to the sun in Tuscany.
The family are here too and are busy finding the mercado asI sit with my feet in the pool, just chilling.
As I haven’t written much lately, I thought perhaps you’d like to know that nothing is wrong and I’m enjoying a weeks rest and relaxation, though my 2 year old granddaughter may have other ideas.
A few photos to share

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Vacation in Las Vegas & electing a President


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This is the view from the window of our hotel in Las Vegas. We were here last 25 years ago, my husband had heard so much about the changes that had taken place during that time that he has spent ages planning a return trip.

Well, the city has certainly changed and grown since we saw it last, but apart from the dazzling lights and razzmatazz of The Strip there’s a lot of buzz here about the forthcoming election.

The buzz we have got has mostly been from taxi drivers who are very keen to tell us how they feel.

One summed up what most of them had told us, “the politicians all shaft the working man, so best vote for the one who will shaft us the least.” (He said his vote was for Obama).

I laughed with him at what he told us, but reflected that I could have been talking with a taxi driver back home, or anywhere else in the world for that matter. The sentiment would have been the same.

I will watch the results with interest and be thinking of Joe the taxi driver, he will be working but listening to his radio.

Inside – weekly photo challenge


Inside – looking out

We rented a house on Ile de Re.  We were there out of season and had a lovely holiday recharging our batteries. Our house was charming and this is a view from our room which overlooked the square.  The trees were just coming into leaf, it was quite cool so no-one sat outside the little cafe; the locals huddled inside dipping warm croissants into steaming bowls of hot chocolate.  Most mornings we joined them.

 

A pool with a view


This was the view from our holiday house in Majorca. It was breathtaking, the blue of the pool stretching out towards the blue of the bay below.
The weather was gorgeous, such a lovely change from what we had left behind at home and we all looked forward to enjoying both the pool and the sunshine for the next seven days of our family holiday.

Unfortunately, my baby granddaughter was taken ill with a virus on the first day we were there. The local doctor was marvellous, but it wasn’t until three worrying days later that she started to eat and drink again properly.  When she was on the mend, I started to feel ill and although I didn’t need the attention of the doctor, I did feel sorry for myself and longed for my own bed.  There’s nothing like your own bed when you feel under the weather is there?

We did manage to visit a few places towards the end of our stay.  We drove to Port Soller and caught the little train from there to Soller.  It was a lovely experience travelling through orange groves behind the houses on the sides of the tracks.

In Soller, we stopped to have lunch and enjoyed this wonderful view of the church.

We also went to Palma, where we all marvelled again at the wonderful cathedral standing guard over the entrance to the city and towering over the ships in the port.

The evenings were lovely and much cooler, ideal for a walk down to the bay. We found a nice little place where we could sit and have a drink and watch the sunset.

We are home and all feeling much better.  The baby had a sore throat for a few days and I had a few days in bed shaking and shivering, but recovering, thanks to the antibiotics prescribed by my doctor for my swollen throat.  We all loved Majorca and the area around Camp de Mar it is so peaceful and unspoilt – I hope it stays that way.  In the words of someone famous “We will be back”…………..

Just a quick note….


Topography

Image via Wikipedia

I won’t be posting anything next week, we’re taking a family holiday the first one with one of our granddaughters so I am rather excited.  We all try to get together at least once every two years to unwind and enjoy some different scenery.

This time we are going to Majorca, the weather promises to be kind to us, unlike the so-called “summer” we have had here in the UK. We are all looking forward to a relaxing break and most of all I’m looking forward to spending a whole week with the baby.

I hope you all have a great week, I look forward to catching up when I get back and will hopefully have some great photos to post.

Take care

A busy weekend in Spain


We spent a lovely weekend in Estepona, an unusual choice perhaps,but we were looking for somewhere a bit different and off the tourist radar.  The hotel Kempinski backs onto the beach and was a lovey place to stay. After a day out and about, it was great to come back to a relaxing spa treatment before leaving later in search of some local food.

The local people were very friendly and welcoming, the food in the local restaurants was amazing.  We had seafood platters ladened down with everything you could wish for, fresh bread and olives, delicious tapas dishes and some very drinkable local wine.

On Saturday we  had decided to visit Gibraltar and whether you agree or disagree with its’ownership, it is well worth a visit.  We joined the long queue of traffic snaking out of Spain waiting to cross into Great Britain (weird) and once we found a car park we set off to epxlore.

The main shopping street was crowded, bustling with people looking for duty free bargains and there were loads to choose from,  Cameras, wine, spirits, makeup, tobacco, electrical goods, practically everything you could think of.

We decided to leave the crowds and head off up the rock.  Before we had gone too far, we found the Barbary Apes, or rather they found us! Stealing crisps and chocolate and running off with their prizes was quite good fun it seemed. The views from the rock were stunning and well worth the climb. If you don’t feel up to the long walk, you can take the cable car to the summit.

On Sunday, we were up early to go up to Ronda. It is short drive north of Marbella and we were last there about 15 years ago. I am glad to say that it was still as beautiful as I remembered it. The drive up to Ronda and view looking back down into the gorge, is incredibly hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t been there.

Ronda was one of the last Moorish cities to fall during the re-conquest of Spain by the Catholic Monarchs.  In 1485, the Crusaders took one look up the cliffs and decided it would be impossible to attack, so they cut off the water supply instead.  Once the garrison guarding the water was taken, the city fell in 7 days. The town is now a must on the tourist trail, but it is so worth the effort to go there.  A truly wonderful place.

Packing my bags and missing The Election!


We are leaving shortly to go on holiday and, as usual, it has fallen to me to make sure everything we will need for the next 10 days is securely stowed in the two very large bags we are taking with us. That they have seen better days, is not in question, that they will be replaced any time soon with something new and modern is a question I ask every time I drag them out to start packing. The OH thinks that spending a lot of cash on things you use three or four times a year, if you are lucky, is the eighth deadly sin! This trip he is even more tight lipped about the whole holiday.

I have folded shirts and tops, pressed trousers and skirts, gathered up all the toiletries I can find, spent an absolute age deciding which shoes to take, before chucking in a pair of black strappy sandals for evening wear, a pair of trainers in case we go mad and decided to go hill walking, two pairs of flip-flops, just couldn’t make up my mind which were more comfortable and, of course I couldn’t forget the pink mules because, well……………just, because!

The main issue though, bubbling away just under the surface, has nothing to do with packing for the holiday.  We will miss THE ELECTION and my OH is very miffed. I on the otherhand am quite pleased that I will be away.  I am happy to forgo five nights of political debate by the often rude and self opinionated interviewers, grilling some politician to within inches of doom, whilst seeming to think that is what is required by the viewers, while listening to the OH shouting his comments back at them and getting more and more frustrated into the bargain. 

So, while he is hoping for Sky in our room so he won’t have to miss much, I am hoping for another kind of sky – a blue one with a large yellow sun in it, a seat on a shady terrace with a nice cool drink and a good book.  Cheers!

Down the Nile in style!


For years we talked of taking a trip to Egypt – it’s been on the list for ages, you know the “let’s write down all the places that we want to visit and see how many we get to”  list.  It had to include a trip down the Nile though, to fulfill all those childhood tales of pharohs and pyramids, of desert and mystery!

After reading lots of brochures, talking to friends who had done similar trips and hearing their tales of things that had gone wrong, we decided to push the boat out (no pun intended) and we booked a holiday with Cox and Kings. We flew to Cairo and had two nights at the Mena House Oberoi hotel in Giza, I was told that I would be able to see the pyramids from there and was disappointed when we arrived to find I couldn’t see anything. “Wait till morning ma’am” said Mohammed our guide,” you’ll see pyramid”.  As you will see from the photos, he was right and then some!

The Mena House is a fabulous hotel, standing in 40 acres of beautifully tended gardens, in the shadow of the great pyramids.  I was proudly told by the duty manager that the hotel had entertained countless heads of state and many, many film stars and, looking around me, I could quite believe him.  I had hoped that we would have a room in the old part of the hotel, but our garden wing room was just lovely.  The staff were kind, courteous and very friendly and were delighted when they saw how pleased we were with everything.

We had a trip to the pyramids and learnt again all the things about them that we thought we already knew; the Museum in Cairo was unbelieveable.  They have more artefacts stored in cupboards, cellars, spare rooms and under benches than they have officially on display. I have never seen so many ancient, beautiful treasures anywhere before. There is no air conditioning, or if there is it wasn’t working the day we visited and because of all the hundreds of people milling around, the place gets very, very hot.  Then on the The Citadel. Standing on top of a limestone crag, looking out over the city of Cairo, the building takes your breath away. It was a governor’s pavillion many centuries ago, built to take adavantage of the cooling breezes that wafted round the hilltop; then Saladdin fortified it to prevent attacks by the Crusaders. Today, it houses many museums and is home to the Mohammed Ali Mosque.  The views from the walls are quite spectacular.

Leaving Cairo behind, we flew to Luxor to join our boat the Oberoi Zahra . We were told that we would cruise the Nile in luxury and we did! The cabins were amazing and so was the freshly prepared food.  There is a spa on board and a swimming pool on the top deck. There are just 25 cabins and 2 suites all with panoramic views of the Nile, the service was outstanding.  An Egyptologist travelled with us and he led the daily excursions to the Temples of Luxor, Karnak, Dendara, and the Valley of the Kings.  For seven wonderful days, we cruised from Luxor to Aswan, before flying back to Cairo for one night and then home. It is one of the best holidays I have ever had, that I would go again tomorrow says it all I think. 

Pyramid from gardens of Mena House hotel

The Citadel, Cairo

View from the sun deck of Oberoi Zahra

 

Row of Sphinx at Luxor Temple

 

View of the Nile

 

Street market Luxor

 

Street market Luxor