Lanzarote – Cueva de Los Verdes

Cueva de Los Verdes

Cueva de Los Verdes

As we lazed about yesterday, we decided we’d do some sightseeing today and, after consulting our Lanzarote guide book, two places jumped out at us, Jameos del Agua and Cueva de Los Verdes, both of which were very close to each other. The problem being they weren’t all that close to us. According to our map both were around twelve miles away, walking distance, just, but not in the Lanzarote heat and not with the huge possibility of getting lost. Continue reading

Lanzarote – Taro de Tahiche

The entrance to César Manrique's amazing house

The entrance to Cesar Manrique’s amazing house

Today’s mission was Taro de Tahiche, the astonishing house built by artist Cesar Manrique in 1968 on the larva fields just outside Costa Teguise. From the rather basic map we had it seemed it was only about six or seven miles. We asked the very helpful concierge if it was walkable and, although he looked a little surprised that anyone would think a six or seven mile was was walkable anyway, he said it was possible, not too hilly, not too hidden away. He even showed us on the map where it was and what route to take. It all seemed fairly straightforward, what could possibly go wrong? Continue reading

Lanzarote – Costa Teguise and the Gran Melia Salinas Hotel

The Melia Salinas, beautiful

The Melia Salinas, beautiful

My first impression of Lanzarote was that people seemed very friendly. A taxi driver, seeing us looking lost as we emerged from the terminal directed us to the kiosk where we needed to pick up our transfer. The Scottish woman working there was super helpful, telling us about the island and what to see, obviously a little in love with it herself. An unfamiliar vista of volcanic mountains, black soil and strange contorted larva mounds beside the roads sped by outside the window of our transfer taxi. The hotel, designed by César Manrique, was beautiful. Best of all there is free wifi, ok so it doesn’t seem to be the speediest or most reliable but the price is good.

We took a little walk to get acclimatised to the twenty seven degree heat and our surroundings. The scenery is stark in comparison to England’s verdant hills and verges but it has a beauty to it, black or red soil dotted with fat trunked, stubby palms and globular spiny cacti, square white buildings and everywhere black volcanic rock. Walls, paths, sculptures all carved from blocks of grey black porous stone. I guess you build with what you have available and on a volcanic island that means igneous rock.

The sun was getting low in the sky as we walked up the hill past little supermarkets, shops and bars, low cloud hid it from view but the clouds were haloed with bright light and beams spread out across the blue sky like something in a painting. Snap, snap, snap went my phone. Strange papery petals in brilliant cerise on the bourganvillia outside the hotel were blowing about so much I had trouble taking a photo. In actual fact the papery petals are not petals at all, but bracts of leaves, the flowers are the tiny white frilled circles in the centre that look like stamens.

The sun, low of the Costa Teguise shops

The sun, low over the Costa Teguise shops

Bougainvillea, if only they'd kept still I'd have taken a better photo

Bougainvillea, if only they’d kept still I’d have taken a better photo

A pre dinner walk along the shore outside the hotel gave me even more beautiful snaps of the sunbeams radiating from a golden cloud turning the waves breaking on the greyish sand to liquid gold. Breathtaking stuff. Then there are the huge black boulders, worn smooth by the waves framing a gold flecked sea and the white buildings of Costa Teguise spread out before us. There will probably be walks along this shore and lounging on this beach tomorrow.

A pre dinner walk along the shore

A pre dinner walk along the shore

Big black boulders, a gold flecked sea, paradise

Big black boulders, a gold flecked sea, paradise

Hunger took us into the hotel restaurant for dinner. Our half board meals are buffet style with a banquet of fresh salads, meat and fish cooked to order, pastas and fresh sauces not to mention the array of fruits and ice creams. With good food like this every day I’m hoping for a nice healthy holiday and not too much extra poundage at the end of it. Mind you the tiramisu ice cream probably doesn’t count as healthy but still, it’s been a long day, with not much in the way of food at all and I am on holiday!

We found a lovely spot by the pool

We found a lovely quiet spot by the pool

Part of being on holiday is relaxing and the next day was a chill out day. After breakfast we wandered round the pool looking for some sun beds that hadn’t already been nabbed by the early morning towel brigade. Luckily, as it’s out of season and the hotel is by no means full, we managed to find two beds in a quiet corner by a little pool with tinkling fountains and a fringe of umbrella plants. We set out our blue towels and Commando settled down to sunbathe. Continue reading

Southampton, the connection with the Mayflower and the Pilgrim Fathers

The Mayflower Memorial Southampton

The Mayflower Memorial Southampton

Today was another wet one with another use of my bus pass to cross the Big Bridge. Along the river bank the water was very high and, apart from a lone duck, a water filled boat, a very friendly dog and owner and a nice sunset on the way home the day was uneventful. So, instead of waffling on about nothing, I thought I’d tell you about something else altogether. The story of the Mayflower and her connection with Southampton Continue reading

Eastleigh to Southampton – the Itchen Navigation Path

The Itchen Navigation Path

The Itchen Navigation Path

Back when I did my first ever Moonwalk training I attempted to walk the Itchen Navigation Path from the Southampton end. It leads all the way from the White Swan at Mansbridge to Winchester. At the time I found it tough going, quite overgrown in places, a bit muddy but, more importantly, frightening because it was so lonely. These days lonely, off road paths don’t scare me. As I stood there wondering whether I should give it a try, a dog walker came out so I figured it must be passable. Continue reading

London – The Moonwalk marathon, what a way to see the city at night!

Heading for the Big Pink Tent

Heading for the Big Pink Tent

The London Moonwalk is an annual event and this would be my second one. It’s a tough challenge to walk twenty six point two miles but when you don’t start until midnight and you’re dressed in leggings and a decorated bra it is more like torture and should probably be banned under the Geneva Convention. Still, it is to raise money and awareness for breast cancer and it’s a novel way of seeing London. Continue reading

Southampton to Winchester, via Eastleigh and Twyford

Well, I made it to the river and the swans at least

Well, I made it to the river and the swans at least

Walking a marathon is not as easy as you might think but my training for the London Moonwalk took me through some interesting places that I might otherwise not have seen. This is the story of my final training walk, the full twenty six miles from Southampton to Winchester and back again. When I got up the rain was teaming down. Just a shower I thought, the forecast was for showers so I was under no illusion about it being a nice dry sunny walk. Then the morning TV weather forecast came on, showers all day, heavier ones later with thunder and possibly hail! Is someone trying to tell me something? Showers I can cope with, I don’t like them but I can live with them, but thunder, hail, rain all day? It wasn’t a very enticing prospect. Continue reading

Southampton – Netley and Weston Shore

Netley Castle

Netley Castle

Sunshine greeted me when I walked into the gym this morning, well a bit of sunshine between the clouds anyway but I’m taking what I can get. Of course it was walking day but only a short one. The plan was to do thirteen miles, a nice little half marathon to get me warmed up but, as they say the best laid plans… Continue reading

The New Forest – Lord Montague’s Beaulieu Estate

The Beaulieu Estate, cars, bikes, historic houses, gardens and a lovely woodland walk

Regretfully leaving the Easter Egstravaganza behind, but the scales will thank me I hope

Regretfully leaving the Easter Eggstravaganza behind, but the scales will thank me I hope

Beaulieu (pronounced Bewley), for those who don’t know it, is a tiny village on the banks of the Beaulieu river, no more than one street of quaint little houses a few shops and a pub, The Montague Arms. Even so, it attracts masses of visitors being home of the famous National Motor Museum, Palace House and Beaulieu Abbey. Large swathes of Beaulieu are owned by the eccentric Lord Montague, Palace House is his home and the Motor Museum houses his massive collection of cars and motorbikes. Continue reading

The New Forest – Lyndhurst and Matley Woods

Water, water everywhere

A wet Sunday walk from Lyndhurst to Matley woods and back

Lyndhurst is the administrative capital of the New Forest, where the district council and the Court of the Verderers are based. The many interesting little shops, cafes, pubs and even art galleries make it very popular with tourists. Even so it’s a relatively small village with only around three thousand inhabitants. There are some great walks around Lyndhurst across the heathland and into Matley Woods and on one cold, damp November Sunday recently I tried one out.

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