The New Forest – Deer Leap, the unexplored path

The unexplored pathway at Deer Leap

Deer Leap a woodland walk and an unexplored path

On another walk in the New Forest with my son, Bard and his partner, Boho we had far better weather. We set off after lunch, starting at at Deer Leap car park again. Commando ran off in one direction for his marathon training, Bard, Boho and I strolled off in the other. Inexplicably there were no ponies about today, last time they were everywhere I looked, but there seemed to be a host of cyclists for some unknown reason. We took the odd little woodland path beyond the gate that I briefly explored last time and, dodging cyclists, trotted off to see where it led. Continue reading

The New Forest – Deer Leap towards Lyndhurst

Ponies at Deer Leap

A run and a walk at Deer Leap

The New Forest is one of the largest areas of unenclosed land in the South of England and spreads into three counties, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset, the majority being in Hampshire. It’s not all open land though, there are villages and towns amongst all the woods and Heath and, if, likeyou’re a fan of walking, loads of foot paths and trails. Continue reading

The New Forest – General Hints Tips and Safety Advice

New Forest ponies

New Forest ponies

How safe is it in the New Forest?

The New Forest isn’t like the outback in Australia, in general the wildlife is pretty friendly (with one notable exception) and the terrain mostly easy going. Probably your biggest problem when walking off road will be getting lost so a good map, preferably a GPS one, or a phone app that does the same job, is a very good idea if you plan a nice woodland walk. Continue reading

Barcelona – Ghosts and the steep climb to Parc Guell

The gates of Parc Guell

The gates of Parc Guell

If you only visit one place, make it Parc Guell

If you go to Barcelona this is the one sight you must not miss. It really is worth the walk. It’s free to go in, unless you want to go inside Gaudi’s house and I get the feeling you could go back again and again and see something new each time. Continue reading

Barcelona – No disputing girls like shopping!

Palau Guell

Palau Guell

El Ravel, El Barri Gothic & El Born – The old town Barcelona

Next on our list was a visit to the old town. Everything I’d read warned to be on guard against pickpockets here so it was with some trepidation that we took the metro to Parallel and stepped out onto the corner of Carrer Nou de la Rambla. This is a narrow road filled with traffic and run down looking little shops and restaurants leading to La Rambla. The closer we got to La Rambla the more interesting the buildings became culminating in Palau Guell, a town mansion designed by Gaudi with huge wrought iron gates that carriages used to enter. It is possible to go inside but, yet again, time was against us. I guess it is one more reason for us to return to Barcelona in the future though so it’s not all bad news. Continue reading

Barcelona – Camp Nou, who says girls don’t like football?

Camp Nou, big on the outside

Camp Nou, big on the outside

Who says girls don’t like football? – FC Camp Nou Stadium Barcelona

By Monday morning the rain was gone and we looked out onto a clear blue sky once more. The Camp Nou stadium was our first objective of the day. Commando and I both love football and regularly go to watch our local team, Southampton, play so we thought we’d take the opportunity to have a look at the largest stadium in Europe and see how it compared to our own humble St Mary’s. We took the train to Sants Estacio and then hopped on the metro to Les Corts, which, according to our map was the closest to Camp Nou. Continue reading

Barcelona – Hot feet in the sea and eating tapas in the rain

No getting away from the buildings

No getting away from the astonishing buildings

Hot feet in the sea – Barcelona Beach

By now we’d had enough of craning our necks to stare up at buildings and, being Sunday, shopping was out of the question as the only shops open are cafes, bars, restaurants and big shopping centres. I’m not a fan of big shopping centres, give me little local shops any day. We decided we would round off our day with a few hours relaxation at the beach so we consulted our maps again. We took the metro from Passeig De Gràcia to Estacio de Franca and, despite all the miles wed already walked, decided to walk from there rather than change trains. Continue reading

Barcelona – La Pedera, ice cream temptation and throbbing feet

Round the corner and there it was

Round the corner and there it was

Casa Milà or La Pedrera – Barcelona

The next thing on our list was Casa Milà’ known as La Pedrera or the stone quarry because of the way it looks. This was the last building Gaudi worked on before he devoted all his time to Sagrada Familia. Built as rental flats for Pere Milà Camps it is now the property of Caxia de Catalunya. There is an exhibition of Gaudi and his works on the upper floors but sadly we had no time to see it. Some of the flats are now privately owned. How wonderful it must be to own and live in such a magnificent building. Continue reading

Barcelona – the famous unfinished church Sagrada Familia

First sight of the famous landmark up close

First sight of the famous landmark up close

Sagrada Familia outside and in – Barcelona

The building is impressive, despite all the scaffolding and cranes and has to be seen to be believed. Each side is different and our first view was of the face depicting the crucifiction. This was also where we got our first glimpse of the queue to get inside. Walking round into Carrer de Provença, we stared up at the mass of spires then turned into Carrer de la Marina to gawp at the astonishingly intricate nativity scene built by Gaudi himself. Turning into Carrer de Mallorca, we found most of the building ensconced in scaffolding. Then we were back where we started staring at a very big queue. Continue reading

Barcelona – Passeig De Gràcia to Sagrada an architecture extravaganza

My first glimpse of Casa Batlo

My first glimpse of Casa Batlo

Casa Batlló, my favourite Gaudi building

When I studied art at college I learned about Antoni Gaudi’s amazing designs and I have wanted to visit Barcelona ever since. It took me many years to live out that dream but it was well worth the wait. Barcelona isn’t just about architecture though, there are about eight miles of beaches, some great designer shops, a vibrant nightlife and they have a pretty good football team too. Continue reading