Marazion has touch of magic
Just where is Marazion and St Michael's Mount?
Maraziom is well placed on the south side of West Cornwall. St Michael's Mount sits majestically in the waters offshore.
This unusual resort come village is perfectly placed in Cornwall.
It is easy to visit nearby resorts on the south coast from here, but also Cornwall's northern side.
There are local coach excursions which take in Marazion or simply hop on a local bus.
My first experience of Marazion
When I visited Cornwall with three other giggly schoolgirls we were all aged just sixteen; our first holiday without our parents was relatively mild, by today's standards, but it was fun.
Marazion was not far along from our base in the pretty village of Helston and so it was one of the places that we eagerly visited.
Jumping on the local bus we realised that none of us knew quite how to pronounce this word. I drew the short straw and after much consideration asked for four tickets to Mar-A-Zion. The bus conductor (ticket collector) fell about laughing so much, whilst he repeated my pronunciation, that inevitably everyone on the bus howled with laughter.
However this, meant that the correct pronunciation has stayed with me for life. It Is Mar-Azeon.
The other most vivid memory of this lovely Cornish village is our attempt to walk across to St Michael's Mount. At low tide it is possible to literally walk through the sea. However the timing needs to be right. As we set off the tide was already moving in. Many passers by warned us not to attempt the walk, but hey we were 16 and knew we could do it. Not quite halfway across the water was way passed our knees and we had to make a hasty retreat.
My already short mini-skirt shrunk with the sea water and by the time we headed back to Helston was not much more than a large belt. Still at least we knew the name of where we had visited.
My more recent visit to Marazion
By the time I visited Marazion again, more recently, more than 40 years had elapsed. It was very strange as those years fell back and memories of that teenage holiday returned.
Our visit was brief but gave me a yen to return for an extended Cornish visit. Hubby loved Cornwall and there is so much new for him to explore.
The village of Marazion incorporates a steep hilly climb.
At the top the views across the bay to St Michael's Mount are simply breathtaking. Of course you will need clear weather in order to receive the best view. The island can be seen
in the near distance from Penzance but Marazion is the ideal place to Island watch.
St Michael's Mount
There is an almost twin sister island, Mont St Michel, across the sea on the coast of France. I recently watched a TV show about the famous mount which appears to rise out of the seas off Cornwall and was interested to see the Lord and Lady of the Manor, who currently reside there. What a beautiful place to live. The gardens alone are worth the visit as they are spectacular and, due to the climate, all manner of strange plants survive here that would, no doubt, die on the mainland.
Here is a little advertising information re St Michael's Mount, from the linked website:-
"Stroll across the causeway where a legendary giant once walked. Follow the footsteps of pilgrims. Boat hop to an island where modern life meets layers of history. Discover a medieval castle, a sub-tropical paradise and a close-knit island community. Delve into the history of a fortress, a priory, a harbour and a home.
Stray from the mainland on foot or by boat and get up close to the beguiling beauty of the castle-topped isle standing proud in Mount’s Bay. Come ashore for a family outing, a tour of the castle or a garden visit. Scale the fairytale turrets for dazzling views. Listen to live music on the village green. Tuck into fresh local food in the Island Café or the Sail Loft Restaurant"
Sounds lovely and a "bucket list" must see next time.
Marazion has a long sandy beach with beautiful fresh clean air all around. There are quaint shops dotted here and there but it is not commercialised at all. Buy one of the giant ice creams made with creamy Cornish cream and simply sit and take in the views.
Whether you visit Marazion for a day, use it as a base for exploring Cornwall or choose to vacation here you should have a lovely time. It is a perfect destination for families, especially those with young children.
The Cornish climate is kind but remember it is still England so pack accordingly.
Cornwall is a fascinating place to visit. With lush green fields, a warm climate, quaint villages with peculiar names, such as Mousehole (pronounced Mousel), and was the scene of old smuggling activity and its larger than life characters in years gone by.
This county does however have its modern side with water sports, The Eden Project, festivals and more.
In fact it has something for everyone.
Godshill Isle of Wight
Monday September 5, 2016, our first full day visiting the Isle of Wight and it was a drizzly start to a week's vacation.
Our coach driver took us to the small village of Godshill and it was a very pleasant surprise.
It was a humid day and by late morning the rain had stopped and the sun tried to show its face.
The coach driver told us that the village had a selection of shops, cafes, tea rooms, old thatched cottages, a church at the top of a steep road and a model village.
He said the legend goes that the church was due to be built lower down in the village but nothing went to plan. Each time the building equipment was left on site in the village it ended up on higher ground. In the end the villagers took it as a sign from God and opted to change site. Our driver however said it was more likely a farmer or villager and a land dispute to blame.
For us the icing on the cake was the model village.
We mooched along a lane popping into village, tourist and quirky shops along the way. One area had lovely "magic" gardens to wander through with gnomes, toadstools, a pond and much more. Free to view we opted to respond to the request for a small donation.
We wandered on toward the post office where the road up to the church lies. One side has a slope the other steps and we opted for the slope up and steps down.
As promised a handful of beautiful thatched cottages at the top of the slope before you enter the churchyard were worth a visit.
The church was much like others in the area with a graveyard full of old tombstones. But it offered some nice views.
Our coach had only stopped at Godshill for a couple of hours so next we made our way back to the coach stop along the opposite side of the road making our last stop at the model village.
Having visited similar model villages previously we knew what to expect but we were mistaken.
The model village is a treat from start to finish.
The details are spot on. In one or two cases the scale of the mini-people looked a little off but overall it was excellent.
And yes there was a model village of the model village of Godshill in the model village!
Would I visit Godshill again? Yes probably.
Would I visit the model village again? Absolutely!
Travel diary Cyprus
Cyprus is often in the news in the 21st Century due to its useful strategic location for British military forces overseas but it remains a good holiday destination.
Cyprus is the third largest Island in the Mediterranean Sea. Due to its location it has a climate that is sufficiently warm to support an all year tourist industry. However if you visit from November to around March the weather may be a little unpredictable. However, on the whole the temperatures should be warm and definitely much warmer than in the UK.
Our two-week vacation
We visited a few years ago now. Our holiday began the last week in January and was for two weeks. We picked this time of year as Hubby's work, at the time, had meant working through all of the Christmas period.
The added bonus was the holiday price which at £149 each for a two-week self-catering stay, including flights, was a bargain basement price, with the resort and accommodation allocated on arrival.
Imagine our shock then when, talking with two elderly ladies, they informed us that their 8 week holiday had cost only £129 each!
Of course prices will be more expensive now, but you should still be able to get a great deal if you want to visit Cyprus outside of what is normally thought of as the main holiday period.
Bear in mind though that those prices do rise a little over the actual Christmas Holiday week.
So what did we make of the Greek half of Cyprus?
Of course we loved it and here is why.
Cyprus or as it is known in Greek, Kypros
First let me say that we have always been lucky when we have booked holidays that have the resort and accommodation allocated on arrival. The apartments where we stayed were away from the bustling centre of Paphos and on the road that leads to The Tomb of The Kings and Coral Bay.
Our apartments were not luxurious but for what we paid they were more than adequate. The apartment owner was a lovely eccentric Greek Man. By day he was a Bank Manager in the city. By night, as the hotel owner, he would serve drinks behind the bar and entertain guests. His party piece was dancing with a tea towel on his head. So what I hear you say. Well on top of this piece of material there were bottles of booze and glasses balanced. It made the film Cocktail look pathetic by comparison.
Arriving on the island of Cyprus
Our flight into Cyprus was fairly unspectacular, until the last few minutes.
In order to land at the tiny coastal airport the pilot had to bank the plane over sharply. So much so that we were almost upside down. The views over the Med were stunning but not everyone thought so.
As I looked across, to get the best view of the sea, I saw that the female passenger opposite me was sat with her opened book held tightly over her head, as if she was trying to disappear.
The short landing strip was surrounded by water but we soon made it down safely.
After an efficient meet with the travel rep we were on our coach and heading to our allocated destination, Paphos. It was the January 26 and the temperature was a pleasant 56F although it was only early in the morning. The sun was shining and all was definitely right with the world.
Paphos, especially in recent years, has become quite developed. However, out of the main tourist season it was a great place to visit. It is quite a sprawling area and so we would walk into the main harbour area or the town.
Paphos has a wealth of shops, some of which can be found at home in the UK however. The locals are fluent in speaking English but still enjoy the odd Greek word if you can manage it.
There are some four star hotels near the sea front of Paphos but they can be a little pricey. However getting around and shopping on Cyprus is not too expensive.
We travelled around on the local buses a few times and also booked a couple of tours through local agents. These were good value and interesting. We visited Coral Bay, Limassol, Nicosia, The Troodos Mountains and Polis.
My husband jokingly called Coral Bay a one cat town. This was because as we approached the resort it was small and almost had tumbleweed tumbling around. However it has a great sandy beach which is sheltered by low cliffs. Despite visiting in January it was warm enough to wear swimwear and sunbathe on this beach. Not warm enough to venture into the sea though.
Limassol is a large coastal town which has many hotels. We enjoyed our visit but were glad this was not our resort. There was a medium sized zoo here which we felt uncomfortable visiting. For one thing there was a huge Tiger prowling a tiny cage which seemed to have nothing more than a weak catch holding him in. None of the animals looked unwell but their surroundings were less than ideal. Perhaps these days this zoo has improved. I certainly hope so.
We enjoyed our two visits to Nicosia. As the capital of Cyprus it certainly lived up to its title. Here you can actually see the Green Line and glimpse the Turkish half of Cyprus. Nicosia is a vibrant city and well worth a visit. We visited the Archbishop Makarios Palace in Nicosia. This is now called the Byzantine Museum. There was an impressive huge, and formidable, statute of Makarios in the grounds. In 2008 this statue was replaced with one that was a little more conservative as its predecessor was now deemed an eyesore.
Nicosia has a strange diversity of architecture which includes Turkish mosques and more.
The Troodos mountains
The Troodos Mountains are in the interior of Cyprus. The scenery is breath-taking and here you will experience many traditional Greek Villages, sights and sounds. Even in summer it can be cool in the mountains and so you need to take suitable clothing with you. One young man on our visit, in early February, wore sandals, shorts and a T Shirt. He shivered the whole day as there was snow in some of the highest parts we visited. Thankfully we had enough scarves and the like to help him out. There is skiing in the mountains in winter.
Polis and Latchi
Polis was a largely unspoilt place with much to offer. I would imagine it would be a great place to stay.
With such a diverse history there are many other attractions to visit around Cyprus. The baths of Aphrodite,The Tombs of the Kings, Aphrodite's Rock and more.
If you enjoy a lively night-life Ayia Napa may be for you.
The restaurants serve a good mixture of Greek and English dishes. For those who are unadventurous there are burger bars, English pubs and the like. However if you look around you will find that there are plenty of traditional Greek Restaurants or tavernas. The speciality is often Meze which includes small amounts of many different Greek dishes. This is a great way to find out what Greek food you like and is ideal for sharing. It is also good value.
Brandy Sours are the local tipple and use locally made Brandy. They are served in huge glasses and include:-
50 ml Brandy
25 ml Lemon squash
2 dr Angostura bitters
1 slice of fresh lemon
At the end of a meal, more often than not, the waiter will bring you a complimentary Brandy Sour or a Schnapps drink. When I declined a Brandy Sour, due to my medication, the lovely waiter kindly returned with a huge glass of ice cream, which he said was for the ladies.
Cyprus adds a tourist tax onto the price of food and dining out. You will see this added onto the bill in restaurants, for example. I think the money raised helps those citizens who were displaced when the Turks invaded in 1974.
Some places also add a tip which you have no choice about. It is up to you whether or not you leave an additional tip.
If you visit out of season you may find that the tourists tend to be older. Many older visitors travel to Cyprus for the winter and stay for extended periods of time.
Some of our fellow holidaymakers looked at buying a holiday home on Cyprus. You need to exercise caution though as this Island still has a lot of problems. Until the problems between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots are resolved remember you could easily end up in a conflict or lose your property.
Some of those who have already bought homes on the Turkish side of the Island have recently lost their homes. The properties that are for sale are often those which were left behind when Greek Cypriots fled during the Turkish invasion.
The Greek Cypriots are a lovely people. They are warm and welcoming and positively love children. Children are made welcome in restaurants and the like. In the busy tourist areas you may come across some Greeks that have become cynical due to the tourists. However, it is easy to step back in time in Cyprus and meet genuine local folk.
Please note: - The Turkish and Greek Cypriot problem is not detailed here as this is a travel journal. However the links supplied will lead any interested reader to a little of Cyprus's troubled history.
We visited in the early 90s so expect some changes although our experiences will still act as a rough guide to Cyprus.
Day trip to Sicily and Mount Etna
A day trip to Sicily might sound a bit strange to those who know me a little as after all I live in the UK and Sicily would be a long way to go for a day's visit, unless I was very wealthy of course.
My day trip to Sicily though was taken during a two-week vacation on the Island of Malta a few years ago. The day trip to Sicily was to begin with a sea-trip on a high speed catamaran with promised views of dolphins plus a smooth fast journey.
At the time the price of the day trip to Sicily was not cheap but we felt it would be worth every penny.
Was that the case? Well, yes and no.
Let me try to explain and then any visitors to Malta who may be faced with the prospect of this day excursion can make an informed choice.
The boat leaves Valletta Harbour very early in the morning and so the first thing to bear in mind is that this excursion is a long day. I seem to remember we had to rise around 4.30 in the morning in order to travel to Valletta and catch our early morning boat.
Memories of our day trip to Sicily, and in particular our visit to Mount Etna, sprang back to mind with the travel chaos caused by the fairly recent Icelandic volcanic eruption.
Mount Etna is an active volcano that erupts fairly frequently although often the blasts are not classed as major eruptions. Over the years local residents have faced the threat of Etna erupting on a fairly regular basis but this has not deterred them and people still live quite close to Mount Etna.
Although we did not visit Etna to 'Volcano watch' our Sicilian trip did include a visit to the slopes of Etna; not right to the very top but as far as coaches are allowed to travel.
What were we thinking? Heaven only knows
Within a few months of our visit, Etna came alive and a massive eruption occurred. I guess it could have happened when we were there although, these days, scientists seem more able to predict such things.
My overall memory of Etna was that it was rather like a huge coal slag heap; you know a huge pile of coal, cinders and the leftovers of a fire.
The coach stopped where there were some shops and I was fascinated as these were all wooden and on wheels. This meant that these shops could be moved easily and quickly when the need arose.
I had thought that we would go right to the top of Etna and look into the molten lava.
Etna was smouldering when we visited and actually some of the best views of it were as we travelled to and from the volcano and from Taormina. On the slopes of Etna it was rather cold and all we could see for miles was a scene that looked like something from another planet; it was barren and harsh.
The Day Trip
Having made the early start from Malta we expected to be in Sicily quite early. Life is never simple though is it? The weather was windy and the sea became choppy. Our oh so smooth journey to Sicily was anything but. To this day Hubby always recalls, to anyone asking about our day trip to Sicily, that we saw no flying fish or dolphins just one huge wave after another and fellow passengers throwing up.
As one, the travellers on our trip became ill. Some managed not to throw up but looked ghastly. Others spent the whole journey in the toilets. The expected 90 minute journey became almost three hours long as we diverted to avoid the worst of the weather.
But we disembarked in Pozzallo in the south of Sicily to a lovely September morning.
It was still reasonably early in the day as the coach began its meandering journey to the north for our visit to Taormina, Catania and Mount Etna. Initially the scenery was pretty bog standard and this was a problem. With everyone having been sickly, plus the early start, it was hard to keep your eyes open on the warm coach as it sped along a motorway. I had been really looking forward to our day out but unfortunately snoozed most of the way across Sicily.
We stopped at Taormina for a light lunch before visiting Etna. Taormina is a charming place but pricey. We were to discover that shopping, be it snacks, meals, gifts or what you will is expensive on Sicily.
Hubby and I settled for a cold drink and hot pies which we decided to eat in the warm sun. We both sat fascinated as the congregation and guests of a local church wedding spilled out onto the streets in a scene that appeared to be from the Godfather gangster movie.
You can climb to an amphitheatre at Taormina which is worth the effort especially for its fine views of Etna.
From here our coach began the climb to Etna and up its winding slopes. We could see the evidence of previous eruptions. Houses and villages were buried under a pile of ash and debris.
Etna was worth visiting despite our visit not being as I had imagined. Whether I would want to do it now, I am not sure. For those wanting to reach higher there is a train which takes you the final lap before the last climb. I guess for us time was short.
Our coach tootled down to Catania which is a beautiful city but we were warned to be vigilant as pickpockets were rife in this city.
We had a final stop above a lovely looking resort where we bought the tastiest and most expensive ice cream I have ever consumed. The resort below looked so tempting too.
Pros of this day trip
The full itinerary depends upon who you book this day trip with. It does vary slightly. Of course the Mount Etna visit depends upon that volatile volcano.
When we visited we also had to take our passports with us from Malta and this may still be the case.
The Euro has made the currency easier when you are abroad in Europe.
If you are visiting Malta and fancy a hop over to Sicily go for it. Bear in mind though that it is gruelling in some ways and will not suit everyone. If we had known the timescales we probably would not have visited.
On the whole though I did enjoy Sicily and still have a couple of cinders from Etna's slopes in my garden.
England is divided into counties. These have changed a little over the years, with successive governments. Sometimes it has been a change of name, as when part of the East Riding of Yorkshire became North Humberside, and other times it has been a change of boundary line.
Cornwall has stayed pretty much in tact.
Cornwall is a county that sits at the far south west corner of England. As such, it has one of the best climates in the UK. Cornwall benefits from the Gulf Stream, which means it enjoys milder winters and hotter summers. Of course, it is still part of England, and so the weather will always be unpredictable.
Cornwall has plenty in its favour though apart from just its weather.
Due to its lovely climate Cornwall is green and lush. Its inner areas feature gently rolling hills and beautiful scenery. "Picture postcard" is the only way to describe Cornwall. Lizard Point on the south of Cornwall is the southern most tip of England. On a blustery day it is a wild place to visit, but one that is good for the soul.
The coast has resorts dotted around it. The north side of Cornwall is different to the south. Traditional harbours and coves are interspersed with bustling resorts on each side though.
Penzance, on the south, is not for those who want a beach resort. It may be close to the sea, but it is more a market town. It's a great place to shop, have lunch and visit the gardens. Marazion, close by, has a perfect, long sandy beach. Across the water is St Michael's Mount.
If you time your visit right, you can walk along the old Roman causeway to the Mount. Time it wrong, and you could be washed away. The tide rolls in, and the Mount is only accessible by boat. If you are planning a visit, check the tide times.
In the same region is Falmouth, which is more of a fishing town. Fish and chips would make a great lunch here. Porthleven has a good harbour area, and you can walk to Helston easily. Helston is a pretty village, which has expanded over the years.
To the north side of Cornwall discover St Ives, with its many beaches, a Tate Art Gallery, a local art community and so much more.
Carbis Bay, a short distance from St Ives, offers peace and tranquility plus a stunning beach. There is little there except these simple attractions. However, it is a short walk into St Ives or you can take the train for a five-minute journey. Of course, there are lots of other resorts both large and small.
Land's End could be a letdown for visitors depending what they are expecting from a visit.
It is the furthest most tip of England. Like many other tourist attractions, it is over commercialised. There is a sign where you can have a photo taken, for a price. The sign can be personalised to show just how far you are from home. A tourist shop and a few attractions complete the visit. However, just go for the walk along the coast and enjoy the stunning views for the best visit.
As the supposed birthplace of the legendary King Arthur, Cornwall has plenty to fire the imagination. Tintagel Castle still exists; it is the previous occupier's existence that is questionable.
Whether or not King Arthur existed you can still enjoy a visit and learn a little of the legend. Cornwall also has a wealth of museums, gardens and galleries to explore.
Cornwall has a multitude of attractions on offer. Research those available before you visit. Some may have seasonal opening hours.
The best place to stay could be a B&B (Bed and Breakfast establishment). Small hotels will also be competitively priced. Choose to stay somewhere like the middle of St Ives and it will be pricey. A good option is to share a cottage. The rental is usually for the cottage, for say two weeks and, if there is a small group or family, it will work out good value.
In high season, Cornwall can be very busy, but there are many small villages, caravan sites or camping sites where you could base yourself. That way, when you have had enough of other tourists, you can enjoy some peace and quiet.
When you visit the city of York in the heart of Yorkshire, Great Britain, the Minster dominates the skyline.
As a child in Yorkshire who had a Christian upbringing visits to the Minster were not rare. Living an hour or so away, via train, Sunday School and Church Pilgrimages often ended at the Minster. These days, in common with many other religious places of worship it costs to enter the Minster. It is a fine building and even viewed from outside is worth a look.
For us during our recent four-day stay it was a good landmark.
Once we found the Minster it was easy to retrace our steps back to our bed and breakfast accommodation.
Be warned though we did get lost on our first day. We left the middle of York via an ancient gateway thinking it was the one we had entered by. It was not. Lesson learned. There is more than one historic entrance in the old walls of York.
If you go to the Minster in time for the Sunday Service you are able to enter the service part of the church for free. Other than that charges apply.
Hubby is not in favour of pay to enter churches believing it goes against the grain of Christianity. For me as I say I have visited many times before.
There is an on site shop but it is pricey. Outside the Minster there is a nice green area, shops, statues, a craft fair on a weekend and more.
The Craft Fair is free on a Sunday. It is held in the historic building of St William's college close to the Minster.
In the right weather the Minster park is a lovely picnic area. Nearby bustling streets buzz but you can have some peace and quiet gathering your thoughts in the small park.
If you are visiting York;
Check out visiting the Minster here
Where in the world do you want to go today? One Woman uses personal experiences to show you some of the best places to visit in the United Kingdom and beyond. Enjoy!