Category Archives: Trip notes

Happy isthmus

Llandudno and Snowdonia

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.

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Best thing about Brussels #3: Feeling like a traveller

Brussels-21

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.
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Tram 94, Brussels

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.

Around the Cantal in 10 dishes

‘In France the conversation always comes round to food’ – which is no surprise when the food is of such high quality and presentation as we saw this week.

The payback is that I found the red meatiness, full flavours and multiple courses too rich for my English constitution and, at night in my bed, I frequently couldn’t sleep for the long slow digestion process. Meanwhile the winding mountain roads twisted the knife of queaziness.

But there is no doubting that French food is a gourmet treat (at the time) and so I recorded some of the meals on our ‘Cantal in winter’ trip. Continue reading

Fell in love with a dog at La Roussiere

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La Roussiere is a luxury chambres d’hôte B&B in the Siniq valley in the Cantal. It is ranked top of TripAdvisor for B&Bs/Inns in St Clement.

Christian, the owner, had just taken us on a walk to the Capat waterfall… Continue reading

BBQ duck in a hut

Grilled in a Finnish kota or wooden hut with a central barbecue. Filmed at Camping des Blats in Cantal, France (more on which below). Continue reading

A mountain refuge in the Cantal

It took about an hour to walk up to Meije Coste – one of Cantal’s small, old mountain refuges at 1440m up, near Le Lorian and with views over the Plomb du Cantal highest peak.

I ran low on battery and was huffing and puffing with the effort so I ended up taking stills (more pics below) – but you get the idea of the beautiful natural surroundings. Continue reading