After a slow start to the year we finally got started in…
Once a year I generally take a holiday in the UK with my daughter and grandchildren. In previous years I have been to East Anglia, Yorkshire and Wales but on account of the distance never to Cornwall in the extreme South West. An Australian motorist would no doubt consider four hundred miles to be a drive to the mini-market to get a loaf of bread but in England this is generally considered to be a long way and an arduous journey that requires rather a lot of meticulous planning
I like Valencia and this was my second visit, it is the third largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona and just ahead of Bilbao and Malaga and after we had got our bearings we set off to explore the heart of the old city and started first at a tapas bar in the “Plaza de la Vergen” in a gloriously sunny spot overlooking the east door of the Cathedral.
I had considered visiting Berlin several times over the last ten years, there are nearly always cheap flights available but for some reason I have never made it there. I had often come very close to booking flights but then somewhere more appealing has nicked in ahead of the German capital at the last minute and I have made alternative plans. Berlin would always have to wait.
This time I had no excuse not to go because I was invited to a gentlemen’s weekend away (ok, a stag party) so together with my brother Richard a party of boys several years younger than me, I left East Midlands Airport early one morning and two hours later was drinking beer at Schoenefeld Flughafen.
According to official statistics, after London, Paris, Rome and Barcelona, Madrid is the fifth most visited city in Europe (in that order) but I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Compared to London, Paris and Rome it only achieved capital status relatively recently, and there is no iconic building to define it, no Eiffel Tower, no Colosseum and no Westminster Abbey and no famous cathedral or castle either so I was curious about what we were likely to see. Hemingway liked it so I was sure that I would too.
School holidays mean visiting grandchildren so to save the house and garden from being trashed I booked a few days away in a holiday home (caravan) in a part of Yorkshire that I have so far never felt inclined to visit. Tucked away in the south east of the county is a stretch of coastline between the city of Hull and the town of Bridlington and this was our destination. A holiday park at Skipsea Sands
We generally take our main annual holiday in September. Sometimes we go to the sea, usually the Greek Islands which are our favourites and sometimes we travel. This year we decided to travel and we chose to go to Portugal.
In 2017 we travelled through Northern Portugal using the trains but this time we planned to go South where the railway network is difficult or practically non-existent, so this time we were driving. Our plan was to visit the Algarve region and visit the towns and beaches of the south and west and then head inland to the historic towns of Beja, Evora, Estremoz and Elvas and also to spend a few days in Extremadura in Spain.
I have been to the Greek Island of Corfu several times, I have stayed at the village of Kalami several times but this didn’t stop me going again and we travelled on this occasion with our good friends Mike and Margaret.
I first visited Corfu thirty-five years previously and spent a couple of days driving around the island and secretively I had a plan to do so again this time and see what changes there have been over the years.
I visited Berlin six months ago and came away disappointed. After a short period of reflection I came to the conclusion that this was an unfair assessment, I was on a stag party weekend and it is difficult to fully appreciate a city when you only see it through the bottom of a beer glass. This time I liked it a whole lot better – I was right to go back.
All in all, a very good year!