Category Archives: Food

Travels in Croatia – Gradac to Hvar

After a drive to Mostar in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina we returned to Croatia to the seaside resort of Gradac and booked into the Hotel Marco Polo that was located directly on the beach and had a room with a balcony and a view of the perfectly blue Adriatic Sea.

After settling in we walked along the seafront looking for a bar with a view of the sunset but as the town is situated in a bay and faces south this proved stubbornly illusive. We found a nice restaurant that was entertaining a noisy birthday party and we agreed that this looked good for later on.

When we returned the party had gone and it was much quieter but I think the staff were worn out and weren’t in the mood for doing any more cooking because most of the menu was unavailable and the waiter presented us with a choice of fish starter, fish soup and fish of the day. This turned out to be a real bonus because the octopus salad starter was delectable and the fish was succulent and delicious.

Read the full story Here…

A to Z of Windows – R is for Riga in Latvia

I know that with the lowest average wage it is officially the poorest country in the EU, and for that reason tens of thousands of Latvians have left for England where they can earn as much in a week as they earn in a month back home but this place was lively and vibrant, the food was excellent and inexpensive, and the customers seemed affluent and happy.

Read the full Story Here…

Trees in Threes

I like these trees, I can’t explain why, I just do!

Travels in Croatia -Šukosan and Zadar

 

It was getting dark and the sun was sinking but the drive to the nearby village of Šukosan just outside the city of Zadar was surprisingly easy with a nice straight road and with only a little difficulty in the gloom finding the location of the Apartmani Vilma, which was tucked discreetly away behind the main road on a quiet residential street.

This was a curious place, not really a hotel at all but more like somebody’s house with some rented rooms attached.  The owner had been waiting for us to arrive and showed us immediately to a clean, basic but adequate room.

Read The Full Story Here…

A to Z of Windows – M is for Marrakech in Morocco

This was quite unlike anything I had ever seen or visited before and it was everything I had expected but more with a riot of colour and frenetic activity that was exciting and vibrant.

I have never taken mind altering drugs but I sort of imagine this would be what it is like.

My head was spinning and overflowing with new sights, sounds and sensations as we walked through the square in a northerly direction and eventually arrived at what most people concede is the biggest Souk in Africa and we slipped into the labyrinthine maze of covered but sun-dappled market streets

Read The Full Story Here…

 

The Days Before Christmas

“Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all thirty feet tall.” Larry Wilde

Read The Full Story Here…

People Pictures – Waiting at a Ferry Port

When it comes to taking pictures I like doors, statues, balconies and washing lines, Kim on the other hand likes people pictures so I thought I might share a few of them with you.

This one was taken at the Croatian ferry port at  Trpanj .

the picture rather intrigues me, eight men having a beer but none of them in conversation, as if each is lost in his own private thoughts,

What are they thinking I wonder.  Any ideas?

Read The Full Story Here…

A to Z of Windows – K is for Korcula in Croatia

The ferry docked efficiently just outside the medieval city and we drove the short distance to the old town and after a bit of parking confusion found a perfect spot just outside the harbour and we set off to explore.  Immediately it was obvious that Korčula isn’t very big and so, because we had all day there pencilled in for tomorrow, we decided not to do too much of it today.

We walked around the outside of the town and restricted ourselves to the main street that runs through the middle and then found a pizzeria with a table overlooking the sea and the Pelješac peninsular.  We choose a speciality pizza and the waiter asked if we wanted it cutting into six or eight slices, we said six because it was a big pizza and we didn’t think we could manage eight.

Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

Read The Full Story Here…

 

Aysgarth Falls, Middleham Castle and Leyburn

The next morning we planned to drive a route along Wensleydale as far as Hawes in the west and set off early and stopped first at Aysgarth Falls about half way along the route.

Aysgarth Falls is a natural beauty spot where thousands of gallons of water in the River Ure tumble, leap and cascade over a series of boulders and broad limestone steps.  Sometimes passive, sometimes aggressive and sometimes playful like today.

It was featured as the location for the fight between Robin Hood and Little John in the film ‘Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves’ and in 2005 it was included in a BBC television list of seven best natural places in Northern England.  The other six were The Lake District, River Wear, Whin Sill, River Tees, Holy Island and Morecambe Bay.

I had visited Aysgarth Falls before, around about twenty-five years ago with my children…

And five years ago I visited with my grandchildren…

Middleham describes itself as a township; smaller than a town but bigger than a village and it is a very fine place. Less frantic than other towns in Wensleydale but blessed with history and a magnificent castle, almost as big as the town itself. We parked the car (free parking) and found a pub for lunch inevitably called ‘Richard III’.

Richard was the last Plantagenet and House of York King of England, the last King of England killed in combat, at the battle of Bosworth in 1485, and succeeded by the victorious Henry Tudor of the House of Lancaster.  Before he became King in 1482 he lived for a while in the castle here in Middleham.

After lunch we walked to the castle.  Between us there were mixed opinions about paying the entrance fee but with my new castle enthusiast pal, William, eager to climb the battlements everyone finally gave in and we went inside.

It was once a massive castle, one of the biggest in Northern England built on a site previously garrisoned by both the Romans and the Normans and deep within the labyrinth or towers and walls is a statue of Richard III and for those who say he was evil he looked arm less enough to me!

Next we drove to the town of Leyburn which was horribly busy and after we had secured a much prized parking place I gave in to the demands of the others and visited the shops.  Actually, I rather liked the shops in Leyburn  and the reason for that was that there were none that I recognised.

Usually in England every town has the same shops, there is practically no individuality in the town centres.  Every shop that I can expect to find in my home town can be found anywhere else.

These are not shops that interest me a great deal in Grimsby where I live so it was completely unlikely that they would do so elsewhere.  To make it worse, in a typical English town there is an over-supply of banks, building societies and pay-day loan money lenders and the trouble with financial service providers is that they simply cannot make their window displays interesting and except for a different logo all they can display is a list of lending and savings rates most of which are exactly the same anyway.

This, I am happy to report was not the case in Leyburn where there were an abundance of traditional shops owned and run by local traders and I rather enjoyed an hour or so looking around.  Please don’t spread that around too much, it might get back to Kim.

Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

A Viaduct, Wensleydale Cheese and a Castle

After a second hearty Yorkshire breakfast we settled our account at the New Inn at Clapham and began our journey east across the Dales.

One structure that I have always wanted to see is the Ribblesdale railway viaduct and as it was conveniently close by we (I) took that route and we arrived there after about thirty minutes, high up in the Yorkshire Dales with a fierce wind that filled our lungs, tugged at our clothes and rearranged our hair.

The Ribblehead Viaduct or Batty Moss Viaduct carries the Settle–Carlisle railway across Batty Moss Valley and was built by the Midland Railway a hundred and fifty years or so ago, it is 28 miles north-west of Skipton and 26 miles south-east of Kendal and is a Grade II listed structure.

The land underneath and around the viaduct is a scheduled ancient monument. Because it was so far from any major settlements the workers and their families lived in three navvy settlements called Sebastopol and Belgravia and best of all Batty Wife Hole – there is an appropriate monument to commemorate them below the arches.

It may just be the most famous railway viaduct in the United Kingdom just because it is so panoramic but at four hundred and forty yards it is by no way the longest because that distinction belongs to the London Bridge – Greenwich Railway Viaduct which is an three and a half miles long.

At one hundred feet high it isn’t even the tallest because at seventy feet higher that is the Ballochmyle Viaduct in Scotland which carries the former Glasgow and South Western Railway line between Glasgow and Carlisle.

It may not be the longest or the tallest but it is almost certainly the most photogenic, a fact that requires car parks to be provided close by, thankfully without charge. On a blustery mid morning in October the car park was surprisingly full but I when a steam train comes through and amateur photographers descend upon the place in their droves then I imagine finding a parking spot might be very difficult indeed.

There were no theatrical steam trains today but we were delighted to see a scheduled diesel service obligingly cross the viaduct for us.

Moving on we drove east now into the heart of the Dales towards the town of Hawes in Wensleydale. The Dales is one of the twelve National parks of England and Wales. The area is so called because it is a collection of river valleys and the hills in between them. ‘Dale’ incidentally comes from a Viking word for valley.

Most of the dales in the Yorkshire Dales are named after their river or stream, Swaledale, Wharfedale, Ribbledale etc. but not Wensleydale which is named after the small village and former market town of Wensley, rather than the River Ure, although an older name for the dale is in fact Yoredale.

The Yorkshire Dales rivers all run west to east from the Pennines draining into the River Ouse. The Ouse is in fact a continuation of the River Ure, and the combined length of of 129 miles makes it (after the Severn, the Thames, the Trent, the Wye and the Great Ouse) the sixth longest river of the United Kingdom and the longest to flow entirely in one county. The Ouse eventually joins the Trent to become the Humber Estuary and drains away into the North Sea.

It was around about now that we started to have difficulty with the car satellite navigation system that began to make some very unusual route choices that led to some demanding driving conditions and a lot of cussing.

It is a new car and it subsequently turns out that Volkswagen have problems with the car software operating systems including the satellite navigation which apparently works well if you are in the Black Forest but not in the Yorkshire Dales, or anywhere else in the UK it seems. 

I have returned the car several times in the four weeks that I have owned it but so far no fix.

Hawes is a charming little town and we stayed for a while, walked along its quaint streets, bought some local produce from independent retailers and finished at the famous creamery and stocked up on Wensleydale Cheese.  I like Wensleydale cheese it is especially good on cheese on toast.

We were heading now towards our weekend accommodation near Leyburn but we found time to take a look at Castle Bolton where Mary, Queen of Scots was held prisoner for six months in 1568. There wasn’t time enough to visit and there was an inevitable car parking charge so staying true to being a skinflint we just moved on.

After all, I had visited Castle Bolton before, around about twenty five years ago with my children…

… and then again five years ago with my grandchildren…