Last night we lingered over our coffees, watching the sun go down one last time. The lights came on in the waterfall running through the pool, an echo of the one in the atrium. We sat, chatting, watching them change colour from green to turquoise, blue, pink, purple. We both could have stayed sitting there forever. Continue reading
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.
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.
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!
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
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
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
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
The Beaulieu Estate, cars, bikes, historic houses, gardens and a lovely woodland walk
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
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.
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
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
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