In a country with as much rain as Wales – Snowdonia is the wettest area with average annual totals exceeding 3000 mm, according to the Met Office) – you may as well make the most of a downpour. On our rainy holiday there last week, we detoured down the Llanberis Pass to visit the abundant Swallow Falls, near Betws y Coed. It was in full eddying, thrumming, spraying glory following the rain, as you can see in the video below. Marvellous! Continue reading
Did you know the UK has seven isthmuses – narrow strips of land connecting two larger masses of land? Llandudno in North Wales just about qualifies. It sits on a strip between Little Orme and Great Orme, with the Irish Sea on both sides. We stayed on Gloddaeth St, just seen in the photo above, where you can just about see both horizons and easily walk to both shores. On the north beach, there’s a view out to Llandudno Bay; on the west, the mountains of Snowdonia and a rather nice sunset spot.
A. Far from the madding crowd but not exhausting long haul. I’m in the process of putting together a trip to this awesome-looking island. Ten points if you can name it (clue below).
Clue: it is the choice of hikers and many a New Age German but not too far from a major package holiday destination for the Brits. And that green bit in the middle? It’s a rainforest. Answers on a postcard (or in comments)…
1. Papagayo beaches. You have to negotiate an unpaved road to get there – and clean your hire car before returning it – but it’s well worth the bumpy ride. Three euros entrance price per car into this national park area. Go to the third beach along for the best snorkelling. Continue reading
Brussels is a great city for travellers and Paris is a great city for tourists – as announced subjectively by me in a previous post). The bottom line is that Brussels, like my home town of Birmingham, takes some work to fully appreciate.
In which case, it is useful to have a local guide. I recommend Spotted by Locals: Brussels – this site pointed out some quirky or less usual places that seemed to suit our style more than the official Brussels tourism site. Here are three of the tips we followed, with the Spotted By Locals links for details and location maps.
One of the things that makes me feel more of a traveller and less of a tourist is getting to grips with local public transport. It beats resorting to costly cabs or, at the other extreme, getting tired from endless walking. So here is just a little lo-fi video of what it’s like to ride the Brussels tram, from Louise to Stade (near the Atomium). Our ride on tram line 94 took about an hour, with plenty of sights at the start before it headed into the suburbs (equally fascinating in their own way).
How to get a ticket
You can either buy a Brussels Card, which gives free transport and lots of tourism discounts for the validity of the card. Or various travel cards and single tickets are available at main stations; there are also individual ticket machines at tram stops. With all of these you have to validate your ticket when you board or enter the transport system.
Surely Brussels’ Atomium is on a list somewhere of the world’s top 10 most astonishing buildings. Hand-riveted bolt by bolt in the 1950s into the shape of a 102-metre-high iron molecule, this is a building that only a photo can do it justice. So here’s a couple more…