Goathland, situated in the county of North Yorkshire, England
I first visited Goathland as a young child, aged around eleven as part of a school trip to Whitby. It included a few hours stop over at Goathland.
It was the early 1960s and we had travelled by train to Scarborough, and then on to Goathland.
As a child my memories from the day are of steam trains, plenty of wide open spaces and far too many sheep. I had assumed that Goathland would be full of goats and was somewhat disappointed with this turn of events.
We ate our picnic lunch outdoors at Goathland, ran about in the sunshine and generally let off steam before travelling on to Whitby. I cannot remember if the last part of our journey was by train or not.
These days daily operational trains do not run to Whitby and neither do they run to Goathland. However, steam trains do tourist trips around this neck of the woods and still pass through Goathland and nearby Pickering. In high season these trains will be more frequent.
People in the U.K. may be familiar with images of Goathland as it was the location for the successful television series Heartbeat which aired from 1992 until 2010 and is still repeated.
Heartbeat was set in a bygone somewhat nondescript age. Certainly there were many hints of the sixties in the program. One of the most memorable aspects of this series remains the music. Heartbeat will be remembered as much for its pop music as its action. Despite running for many years the times hardly moved on and Heartbeat seemed stuck in a pleasing time warp.
Of course, the next memorable Heartbeat positive is the scenery.
Set in and around Goathland, with views of Whitby occasionally and the Moors, the scenery was spectacular.
Hubby and I had visited Goathland a few times before Heartbeat was filmed on location. Tourists increased when the series was being filmed and some changes followed. Now that filming has ceased hopefully things have gone back to normal.
Here are some of my Goathland memories
When we stayed over in Whitby we travelled to Goathland by the local bus. The fare from Whitby is quite reasonable and the journey not long. However, it does take in some beautiful scenery.
You can take an old steam train from Whitby if you prefer but it costs a little more.
Goathland has very little in the way of tourist attractions. It has an old train station and steam trains, a handful of local shops, a hotel, cafe, beautiful scenery and lovely walking areas. The latest tourist attractions include memories of Heartbeat the TV series such as Cripps garage.
That may not appeal to all readers but it will to some. Even though Hubby is not a lover of walking and usually only under duress on holidays he enjoyed mooching around Goathland. We followed a trail which initially looked like the proverbial road to nowhere but we encountered many treats.
Beckhole was picturesque with a quaint pub. The bridge was pretty and there were ducks living here. The pub is a perfect place to sit outside on a sunny day and watch the world go by, or the world does not go by in reality. There was little more than other walkers, ramblers and birds.
Walking on we came into a wooded area and happened upon a pretty waterfall [Mallyan Spout]. This shaded area was cool and welcome away from the unusual hot British late April sun.
A visit to Goathland will not set you on fire in many ways but it is perfect for thinking, chilling, relaxing, walking, exploring, bird watching, fishing or even painting. For those who visit by car the North Yorkshire Moors are but a spit away.
If you happen to be in this neck of the woods drop by. I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised.
North Yorkshire Moors Railway timings and fares
Just where is Whitby?
Let's start by making sure that we know where Whitby is. I gather that there are other towns with same name around the world. The Whitby in question here is in the North East of England on the River Esk.
It is close to seaside resorts such as Scarborough, Bridlington and Robin Hood's Bay. However unlike some British seaside resorts it has retained much of its charm and has limited its modern development. This means that, unless things have drastically changed recently, you will not find masses of amusement arcades and the like.
Whitby is primarily a fishing town but has much to attract visitors.
Whitby is easily accessible by road either by car or bus.
From where I live in Yorkshire Whitby is not very far. However getting there can be a little tricky unless you have your own vehicle or are able to hire one. There is a train link but this only takes me as far as Scarborough; then I have to travel by bus. This can make the journey a little long for a day visit. However there are coach trips which are much better for a day visit. If I visit by my local bus service it would take over fours hours to get to Whitby, without local travel counted in, and the same for a return journey; it is much better then if we visit for a short or long weekend.
Trains do visit Whitby but only from certain places and some are not direct.
Whitby is good for short breaks as it has many Bed and Breakfast, B & Bs, that are perfect for short or long vacations.
The one thing you have to remember is that as Whitby is in the North of England the weather can be a little cooler even in summer. However we have always been lucky when we have visited. At times Whitby does suffer from sea fog but this makes the place all the more atmospheric with its Dracula links.
As a child Whitby was one of those places that we visited but only occasionally. As it was a little further than resorts nearer home, such as Scarborough, Hornsea and Withernsea, Whitby was a special destination. As we still do not drive it is still a little off our beaten track.
The last time we visited we took the Northern Rail train from Kingston-Upon-Hull to Scarborough. This journey took just over an hour. We then took a bus from Scarborough to Whitby which was around a half-hour journey. This bus journey is lovely as you travel over the moors. At some times of the year the landscape is bare but at others it may be lush or even full of wild growing purple heather. The journey takes in the quaint resort of Robin Hood's Bay and then you make your dramatic entrance into Whitby.
The bus travels over a high road bridge, Scarborough Road Bridge, from which you can see Whitby before you. The Abbey, the harbour, the boats and the sea front are all visible as long as there is no fog.
We usually choose one of the B & Bs that sit at the top of the cliff near the whale bones. These huge bones are stood on the cliff opposite to Whitby Abbey. The Crescent here has a range of tall old buildings which make for a great base. If you choose to walk and explore you can set off along the cliffs. If not you can walk down to the town or across to the other side of the bay. The beach is just a short distance in front of you. Across the bay you will get a splendid view of Whitby Abbey.
There is no escaping steps so if you do not like walking or are less mobile research Whitby further. We heard a rather large young lady shout in no uncertain terms to her guy that she was "NOT WALKING UP ANYMORE BLOODY STEPS" last time we visited.
The abbey is accessed via 199 steps or a steep road. You can take a more round about means of visiting but will have to walk further. Take the steps and stop for breathers if necessary to take in the beautiful view. The red roofs of Whitby, the harbour, bridges, boats and, in general, the scenery is lovely.
There is an entrance fee to enter the Abbey but you can just wander around the church, the nearby ancient seafarer's cemetery or take a picnic on the cliffs. We chose to take a long walk along part of the Cleveland Way to Robin Hood's Bay. At 7 miles it is rather long and at times precarious but it was a beautiful sunny day. Approaching Robin Hood's Bay along the cliffs you are treat to a view that has been painted many times by various artists.
The shops around Whitby used to be full of black Whitby Jet. These days it is a scarcer commodity and, although still sold, is a little pricey and rarer.
With people's fascination with Dracula, Whitby has decided to utilise its links. Stoker's book has Dracula landing at Whitby in England. From our accommodation, looking across to the Abbey ruins at night one can almost believe it for real.
Many Goths now visit Whitby and there is a Dracula museum.
Whitby also has a Captain Cook Museum. It is housed in an old house where Cook lodged when he was an apprentice back in the 1800s. This museum is at the side of Whitby where the Abbey is. It is quite central and well sign-posted.
Cook's first sea journeys were out of Whitby. Running between the old houses there are more steps and little alleyways. As you explore it is easy to envisage a Whitby of the past with people such as Cook milling around.
Attractions and events
Whitby has a full program of events throughout the year. Some of these are simply tea dances at the old Pavilion but there are craft fairs and the like.
For many years now Whitby has held a folk festival at the end of August. This is usually well attended and it can be hard to find accommodation at short notice. However there are plenty of campsites if you feel like roughing it a little.
In 2017 the festival runs from August 18 for one week.
If the festivities are held later, as they are some years, remember the last Monday in August is a Bank Holiday and so public transport may be less frequent. Also shops away from tourist areas may be closed. As it is the last weekend, almost, before children return to school expect Whitby to be busy.
Whitby has a large park set high above the main town of Whitby. It is arranged beautifully on the slopes and so offers yet more great views of the town, the harbour and more.
Nearby places of interest
I have already touched upon Robin Hood's Bay but there is much more nearby.
Goathland is within easy reach of Whitby. In recent years this has been the setting for Yorkshire television's Heartbeat series. However now this program has finished Goathland may become quieter again. It is a small village that is set in beautiful countryside with lots of sheep, rolling hills and long nature walks. You will encounter small villages such as Beckhole, stumble across natural waterfalls and just feel at one with the world. It is a beautiful place.
Nearby Pickering is a larger village, perhaps a town. It has shops, lovely old world pubs and at times old working steam trains. It is possible to book a journey on one of these trains.
Walking along, the opposite direction from the Abbey in Whitby will bring you to tiny Sands End. This small village is literally at the end of the sand. It is quiet, and peaceful with a nice pub where you can drink or lunch and watch the world go by.
Hopefully this diary has given you a taster of Whitby and its local area. Whitby attracts visitors of all ages and tends to be loved for being different by youngsters but still enjoyed by older people for its quaint charm.
There are local restaurants which serve dishes such as local trout with almonds, without charging you an arm and a leg (Yorkshire saying). Alternatively there is one of the best Fish and Chip shops around where you can buy locally caught fish and eat it either in the shop or sit at the harbour, and go thoroughly British as you eat your meal out of the paper.
Many of the local pubs have a great atmosphere and also serve lovely, good value pub meals. Wander away from the main streets to find the best value and food.
At night Whitby is lively but not too much so. I guess it depends what time of year you visit. During the annual Folk Festival week everywhere will be overflowing with tourists. However, visit in late spring and you will find that there is plenty of room to breathe; just bear in mind that the weather could be inclement at such a time of year.
If you visit out of season, and the weather gets foggy, you may hear the constant droning of fog horns, throughout the night, which can be very annoying.
We had visited Menorca and its capital city Mahon a few times before we realised that the city's cathedral held lunchtime organ recitals during the summer months.
The Church of Santa Maria in Mahon, Menorca, has a prime position. It is close to the traditional fish market and the indoor market now housed in a former convent and other fine buildings. A cafe offering panoramic views over Mahon harbour is a great place to take in a snack, coffee or beer as you watch the world go by.
During the tourist season the Church of Santa Maria holds daily organ recitals (except Sunday).
In 2014 the recitals cost 5 Euros per person, began at 1pm and lasted around 40 minutes.
We popped in to one session when the midday sun and toasting temperatures became too much. The calm cool atmosphere of the church was perfect. The organ recital soon broke the peace though, albeit in a tuneful way.
The huge organ sits high above the congregation. It was impossible to see the musician responsible until the recital ended. He spoke in Spanish but whether you know the classical pieces he plays or not it will be a stunning performance.
Here is some information about the church via Menorca Live: "Built in the 18th century on the site of a 13th century gothic church this impressive building creates one of Mahon’s chief landmarks.
The interior is of neogothic style but of great note is the monumental organ that has great instrumental and artistic quality. It was commissioned in 1806 by the rector Gabriel Alenyar from the masters Franciso Otter and Joan Kiburz who lived in Barcelona.
It took three years to make and when it was ready there were problems with its transportation not only due to the fact that the Napoleonic war was on but also due to its immense size. It has four keyboards, 3006 organ pipes – 197 of which are wooden and the rest are metal. Eventually it was inaugurated in 1810 and its artistic ornamentation was carried out by the Menorcan sculptor Francesc Comas."
An interesting place to visit but the organ recital is the icing on the cake.
Its central location means it is easy to visit when you are in Mahon.
In June 2014 when we visited the church bells went into overdrive to celebrate a new King of Spain.
Church from 07.30 to 12.00 and from 18.00 – 20.30
Office from 18.00 to 19.00
In May 2017 we enjoyed a brilliant sun-filled vacation on the Balearic Island of Menorca.
But the small and perfectly formed Island of Menorca can experience bad weather in particular when it is slightly off season.
The main tourist months are May to October with the hottest and driest months usually July and September. You can get very hot weather in May and June if you are lucky and September though rarely in October.
However each month has its own charm and usually fairly good weather.
But when it rains boy can it rain.
Here is a report come diary entry from a few years back relating to one particularly wet afternoon.
"A late vacation to the small but perfectly formed Balearic Island of Menorca was unexpectedly hot for October. However just to keep us on our toes there was one wet, wet, wet day the first week and a mega-windy one the second.
Neither really brought cold temperatures but both were predicted.
If you holiday on the island of Menorca check out the local weather forecast online or at hotel reception. Either can usually tell you exactly what days wind or rain is likely to occur. This is done with much more accuracy than in the UK.
Here comes the rain
We took a bus from Mahon station to Ciutadella during the morning. Mahon is the capital of Menorca and in the east, and Ciutadella the old capital and in the west.
Mahon has the deepest natural harbour in the world and was useful to the occupying British many years ago.
These days cruise ships and ferries utilise the port.
We arrived back in Mahon from Ciutadella after lunch. The skies were cloudy but the first few drops of rain only appeared as we reached our hotel a short walk away. By the time we arrived in our room the heavens opened and the rain set in.
The place looked deserted as other guests opted to sleep through the wet afternoon.
It rained and rained and rained until late evening but that was it. The next day the sun shone in clear skies and the temperature soared to 31 C, very hot for October in Menorca.
It was only afternoon during the downpour but the hotel lights automatically kicked in with the rain giving a dismal feel to the day.
I had rung reception but there was no reply as they were all busy closing windows and making sure the place was safe and dry.
Just as we thought we would have to go to reception the "cavalry" appeared in the shape of the hotel maintenance man.
We shot the footage below from outside of our room.
It includes the hotel maintenance man Augustine who was dispatched to lift drain covers and remove dead leaves from filters to prevent guest rooms flooding. (The other guy looking on is husband - the mutterings are Hubby and I)
We have visited Menorca many times but it never ceases to amaze or appeal.
And most days it is the sunshine that dazzles."
Turkey was not for us as we chose the wrong resort and hotel and visited at the wrong time of year, for us that is!
My sister-in-law who with her husband accompanied us on our two week vacation to Turkey fell in love with the country. As she wrote on her postcards home "Well I have to say that Turkey is a delight to me" which was a clever and probably pre-planned pun on the sweet treat consumed in Turkey and around the world namely Turkish Delight.
Looking back down the years, and through rose coloured glasses, Turkey was a great place to visit as it has stunning scenery, beaches and at the time of our vacation the local currency went a very long way.
I guess the problem for me was that I was having medical treatment which made me moody and depressed at time during our vacation. We visited in the middle of June, as that was the only time my sister-in-law could get leave from her work. This meant that the weather was hotter than hot; in fact it was positively sizzling. Finally our resort was not really for us and the accommodation laughingly called 'Hotel Best' was dire.
As someone who usually tries to get the best out of any vacation I just found it hard to feel enthralled all of the time. This holiday had its good moments but more than once I actually wished that I was home. I never do that on vacation and this was the only summer holiday that has left me with such a feeling.
Let me share with you then The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of our two week vacation to Marmaris, Turkey.
Where is Turkey and Marmaris?
Turkey is a large country that straddles Europe and Asia. Take a look at the image to the right for its exact locaion on the globe. Marmaris is in the south west of Turkey along with quite a few other resorts.
Turkey has some similarities to Greece, but both countries would be appalled to hear that. However, for a visitor, both countries welcome tourists, offer similar fare and have lovely beaches. Turkey and Greece have not shared a happy co-existence though. At one time if your passport had been stamped from a visit to Turkey, it was doubtful if Greece would let you enter their country.
Greek Islands, such as Rhodes and Symi, are very close to the Turkish coastline which means that day trippers will in effect swap a day in Rhodes for a day in Marmaris and vice versa.
Our two week vacation in Marmaris, Turkey
We flew to Turkey from Humberside Airport in the UK.
At the time this airport was even smaller than today and there was absolutely nothing to do as we waited for our flight.
Friends had already warned us that we would need to pay £10 each for a visa at the Turkish airport check-in. This was duly handed over but you do not receive a visa or in our case a smile but the Turkish guard let us in. Hooray.
The airport is very modern and large; it is truly an international airport which we have not always found when travelling to countries around the Mediterranean.
The journey to the hotel was fairly unspectacular but I was struck by the rural beauty of Turkey. In my mind's eye I had envisaged sand and a barren wasteland; I am not sure why but I had. Instead I was faced with greenery, roadside Oleanders in full blossom and mountains or large hills.
We had almost picked Marmaris by sticking a pin inthea holiday brochure. We all knew that we wanted to visit Turkey but that was the extent of our demands; budget was also a consideration.
As we approached Marmaris it is was plain to see that although the area was still very beautiful it had been over commercialised, in order to please, especially the British, tourists. In doing so they had sucked Turkey out of this resort. Of course this would make it ideal for some British holiday makers but it did not for me.
Had we foolishly thought that the name of this hotel suggested quality? Perhaps we had but suffice to say it did not. Of course, some problems cannot be helped. The hotel staff were all warm and friendly and the small layout of the bar and swimming pool were fine. However, we had some problems.
As I came down after unpacking I moved a net curtain on the stairs, in order to appreciate the view. I received three hornet stings on my hand. Back to the room then for basic first aid with help from from hubby. I always take my anti-histammine pills and after bite creams on holiday just in case. This first problem was just one of those things and I was determined it would not spoil my vacation.
The room was very basic. There was a carpet down which is unusual in hotel rooms in hot countries. It was fairly tatty but looked clean. It did make it hard to spot the bugs that came out each night though.
We slept for two weeks with the light on all night; Hubby would sit for a long time before dropping off to sleep reading as he watched out for unwelcome visitors. His large boot was kept busy night after night after night. Cockroaches and many other horrible large bugs would run a riot in our room, and everyone elses I think also.
The hotel was in a good location, in that it was close to the amenities but far enough away from noisy bars so that you could get some sleep, bugs permitting. You will also need an insect repellant plug in order to keep the mosquitoes at bay. We had taken plenty of insect repellant in cream form and you do need to apply this each evening before going out.
Marmaris has a great waterfront and boat area which is lovely to stroll around. However, as we visited in early June and the temperature was often almost 40 degrees centigrade we had little energy to do so.
Along the edge of the water where there are bars, restaurants and shops you need to have nerves of steel. When we visited the saying of the day was "Asda Price" and young Turkish men would stand outside of their cafes and bars trying to entice you in to eat or drink. They would slap their back pocket and shout Asda price. The first once or twice it is funny; however this feeling does not last.
Each time you wander along here you will have to run the gauntlet of these guys. Arms around your shoulder, compliments and more are all used to win you in. This is even when you are walking with your husband or partner and are getting on a bit in years. Young and single people be aware.
Knowing where you want to eat that night will not help. You will still have to run this gauntlet unless you can find a short cut to your restaurant or cafe.
There are also tour salesmen along here and you will repeatedly hear someone shout Turtle Beach, at you.
Here are the pros and cons of Marmaris in my opinion. Of course, you must remember that what is a con to me, may be a pro to you.
One of my fond memories is sitting with my sister-in-law in the bazaar at Marmaris. She and I had decided to do a little tourist shopping. The young man, like all the other traders, expected us to barter. However, if we were prepared to sit on the low stools, drinking apple tea and have an English conversation with him the price would be good. This charming young guy really just wanted to learn what he could about the UK and our language. In the end the Turkish Delight we bought was so cheap he may as well have given it to us.
I guess it is in order to avoid bugs but the cleanliness in restaurants and cafes seems second no none. As you are eating any crumbs dropped on the table are instantly swept away by a waiter with a little brush. If you put a tiny piece of paper in the ashtray it is immediately emptied.
The local transport is the Dolmus. It is a cross between a taxi and a bus. It is a small mini van that does not set off until it is full. You are then given a fun but bumpy ride to your destination.
If you want to visit places in Turkey such as Pamukkale use the local traders as their tours are cheaper.
Icmeler has more German tourists than English. It is within easy reach of Marmaris either by boat or Dolmus but if you are feeling active you could walk. It is developed but has a classier feel and is prettier than Marmaris.
You may see signs of the Turkish army and weapons as you travel around. Take care. You definitely would not want to spend any time in a Turkish jail.
A return visit?
I would love to visit again but this time I would visit in May or September as the weather would be cooler. I would also research the accommodation more and perhaps pay a higher price if the hotel was a better standard.
Oh and I would definitely not choose Marmaris as my destination. You, however, may love to.
Note: Current tensions in the Middle East may affect a vacation to Turkey now and in the future.
Cornwall is that county that covers the south west corner of England. It has a warmer climate than much of the rest of England, has some great beaches and a wealth of history and attractions.
Whether you choose to seek out King Arthur's legendary haunts, enjoy the many water sports, set sail on a tourist fishing boat or simply relax you will find a warm welcome in Cornwall.
St Ives still has a thriving artist community. Years ago artists were drawn to the area because of the quality of light and stunning landscape.
St Ives is on the northern side of Cornwall and is within easy reach of Marazion, Penzance, Tintagel, Land's End and more. Let's face it, the names of such places are magical in themselves.
Visiting Cornwall, with a group of girlfriends, all aged 16 was fun. We stayed in Helston on the South of England. There was no return visits for nearly 40 years and this time the destination was Carbis Bay on the outskirts of St Ives. This is on Cornwall's Northern side.
As St Ives was so near to Carbis Bay we visited this lovely fishing village, come town, a fair few times. St Ives has much to offer visitors, apart from just beaches. It has:-
Water-sports are popular in Cornwall due the warmer climate. Warmer than the rest of the UK that is. The nightlife is good in St Ives without being too brash and over the top. The area is quite hilly but it is still a lovely area to walk around. Alternatively hire a car. take a bus or catch one of the local trains to explore further afield.
St Ives is a perfect location for exploring some of the other attractions available in and around Cornwall. It is also an ideal destination for all age groups. Of course it is in England and, as such, the weather is unpredictable no matter what time of year it is. However, Cornwall does fare much better than other parts of the UK, as far as weather goes, and, if you pick your vacation dates well, you should experience at least some good weather.
St Ives accommodation comes in lots of forms; cute local cottages, hotels, Bed and Breakfasts and more are all available.
We visited in late August and were very lucky to have perfect weather for our visit.
August 12, 2014, news broke that Robin Williams, the star of Popeye and many more movies had died, apparently by his own hand. My thoughts quickly returned once more to Popeye Village Malta and this earlier review of our visit.
Hubby and I had a fun day out at Popeye Village, which can be found near Mellieha on the Island of Malta. The fact that we were two adults, approaching middle age made not one difference to the visit experience.
However, if you visit as a family or with a group of children the experience will be even better. Since our visit, Popeye or Sweethaven Village has grown in size and added many more attractions.
We stayed at the resort Bugibba on the Mediterranean Island of Malta. Sandy beaches are in short supply on this lovely Island and Bugibba has only rocks near the water's edge where holiday makers gather like basking seals.
Mellieha is only a short bus journey west of Buggiba and has a pleasant village, a magnificent church, some hotels and a beautiful sandy beach; this meant that we visited a couple of times during our two-week vacation.
We actually came upon Popeye Village almost by chance.
Being too hot for the beach at Mellieha one day we opted for a stroll. Not far from the beach we saw a dirt track between fields which had Popeye Village signposted. The sign stated the distance and as it did not sound far away, intrigued, off we went.
As we strolled in the hot afternoon sun there were huge gourds at the side of the road. It was September and the crops were rolling in. About halfway along this track we could see back to Mellieha and forward to the coast in the south of the island, where Popeye village is located. This part of the island is so slender that you can see the water in both the north and the south of the island at once; well you can if you look at the right time and you are in the right place.
One thing we learned when we visited Malta is that the island's tourism is ingenious and inventive. Anything that could be even remotely turned into a tourist attraction is! This made for some unusual and fascinating attractions.
Popeye Village was actually the set of the 80's Robin Williams film Popeye.
Ever the opportunists the Maltese had turned this set into an attraction for tourists. These days it is more like a small theme park though.
When we visited the entrance fee was reasonable, so in we went.
The setting was certainly perfect. Popeye Village is set on the coast of Malta where the beach is a soft sand and the waters turquoise blue. There was a tourist shop with the usual gifts such as Popeye tea-towels and numerous items displaying Popeye Village or Malta.
Hubby and I stuck our heads through wooden cut-outs of Popeye and Olive. When I find the old photos, if I ever do, I will scan them and add to this review.
These days the programme of events includes boat trips, mini golf, beach sun bathing, wine tasting, a silversmith demonstration, fun park, cinema screenings and more. There are special school package deals for organised visits. Popeye Village also hosts various corporate events.
The characters and events at Popeye Village will vary according to the time of year.
But I have fond memories of our visit to a less commercialised Popeye Village.
Even if you just briefly visit, like we did, and sunbathe, have a dip in the Mediterranean, stroll around Popeye village and saunter back to Mellieha it is a great day out.
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.
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!
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.
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!