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Archive for April, 2009

The Lake District

Take a walk on the wild side

Lake Windermere

Lake Windermere

The Lake District is the UK’s adventure capital and was voted the UK’s Top Holiday Destination at the British Travel Awards in 2008. As I discovered it’s the perfect location for a long weekend away.

Until the 1780s very little was known about the Lake District. Early travellers regarded it as ‘barren, wild and of no use to man or beast’ and ‘melancholy to behold’. In the early 19th century, writers Thomas Gray, William Wordsworth and William Gilpin began to write ‘Guide Books’ to the Lakes and the first real tourists began to arrive. Now travellers come from all over the world to hike the hills, sail the lakes and take in the gorgeous scenery.

Less than an hour’s drive from my arrival point at Blackpool airport, the village of Windermere, where I was taking a lake cruise, was breathtaking. Even the journey to the lakes from the airport was amazing; the sun was shining on the rolling green hills, open waterways and historic buildings.

Lake Windermere

Lake Windermere

Windermere is England’s largest lake, in the heart of the Lake District. I had the choice of cruises with Windermere Lake Cruises (, lasting from 45 minutes to 3 hours, or I could spend all day on and around the lake with a ‘Freedom of the Lake’ ticket. Even before I left dry land I was having the perfect day out, happily playing with the tame swans and admiring the views in the distance.

No matter where you start your cruise- Bowness, Ambleside or Lakeside- the spectacular voyage gives visitors magnificent views of mountain scenery, secluded bays and the many wooded islands.

Bowness is the ‘heart’ of the Lake District, a holiday village with every sort of shop you can imagine, cafes and restaurants, and just a five minute walk from the pier is the World of Beatrix Potter attraction, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Ambleside is set amongst breathtaking majestic mountains and gentle rolling fells, this distinctive and very attractive Lakeland village is always a popular point to leave the vessel, as I did, before returning on a later boat.

Lakeside, at the most southern point of the lake, is home to the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway. Connecting with the large Windermere Lake Cruises steamers, the railway is on the opposite side to the jetty and takes you by the river scenery of the beautiful Leven Valley. Also at Lakeside is the award-winning freshwater Lakes Aquarium. The aquarium features over 30 fascinating displays and has a large collection of freshwater fish, as well as mischievous otters and diving ducks.

The next morning I literally took to the hills, rambling around Loughrigg Terrace and Grasmere with guides, Pete Jackson and John Nicholls who run Knobbly Stick, a walking and hiking company. I had a wonderful morning with these two characters, who made great companions and taught me about the surrounding area as I walked. The spectacular view really made the early start worth while. (

photos-012Grasmere is a charming village right in the heart of the Lake District National Park. This was once the home of the famous poet William Wordsworth and where he was laid to rest in the churchyard of St. Oswald’s. I went to visit two of his former homes – Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount and also sampled some of the local gingerbread!

Natural environment

Your almost constant companions during your walking will be sheep. The sheep perform a valuable service in keeping the countryside as it is – without their constant munching, it would revert to less attractive scrubland.

You may see red deer in any part of the Lakes, but they are shy, and make themselves scarce when humans are about and blend in well with the colours of the hillside. You will see many birds in the Lakes including England’s only pair of breeding ospreys which return to Bassenthwaite Lake every Spring (from April) to rear their chicks. Check out Osprey Watch where you can view them by video camera at the Whinlatter visitor centre.

Areas of interest

Borrowdale is arguably one of the Lake District’s finest valleys, running south of Keswick and ending at the hills around Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain at 3210 feet.

Ullswater has long been a source of inspiration for poets. Wordsworth’s famous daffodils were on the shore and Sir Walter Scott also wrote about the lake. Coniston is also a beautiful stretch of water where Donald Campbell broke the world water speed record in Bluebird on 23 July 1955, when he reached a speed of over 215mph.

The Coast-to-Coast Walk was the brainchild of Alfred Wainwright, the well-known writer and hill-walker. It crosses three National Parks, and passes through some of England’s finest scenery.

Ancona Italy

I recently had the pleasure of travelling on a press trip to Ancona in Italy. The food was amazing!! The weather was also beautiful – a sunny 27C.  Unfortunately for me I was indoors much of the time, checking out interiors. However we did venture out one afternoon for a tour of this beautiful area.





Australia or NewZeland?

Egypt Adventure

Pyramids of Giza Egypt

Egypt Adventure

I have always wanted to visit Egypt to uncover the history and mystique that this country is renowned for.

Last August I got fed up waiting on friends to decided if they wanted to come. So I booked a trip with Intrepid travel, who I totally recommend! If you ever want to travel but not on your own, fear not, Intrepid ( are the perfect people to take you on an adventure, and best of all you make new travel buddies along the way

Days 1-2 Cairo

This city is like no other. I took a walk and enjoyed the madness of Khan al-Khalili, Egypt’s most famous bazaar. The highlight for me was the impressive Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza. It was hard to believe how old these actually were! I went inside one of the pyramid, which was just like a plain block of concentre! The heat almost killed me going inside. However it was worth it.

The fascinating Egyptian Museum is home to more than 120,000 antiquities and relics. I wandered past the priceless treasures in the huge maze of rooms. I could have easily spent a few days here!


Days 3-5 Aswan/ Nile Felucca

We went to visit a Nubian village for an unforgettable insight into the culture and cuisine of the local people. I took a day trip to the remote ancient temples of Abu Simbel, which after the Pyramids of Giza, is perhaps the most recognized monument of ancient Egypt. They were unforgettable – carved from the rock, huge statues towered over us. These two temples built for the pharaoh Ramesses II have been attracting visitors since Victorian times.

Later, we set sail down the Nile on a magical overnight felucca journey(Feluccas are sail boats that have been used on the Nile since antiquity), sleeping on deck under the starry sky.

Days 6-7 Luxor

Known as Thebes to the ancient Egyptians, Luxor is home to amazing treasures. Once known as the Place of Truth, the Valley of the Kings holds more than 60 burial chambers. I took a donkey ride to the valley and went to visit three of the well-preserved pharaonic tombs, that includes the tomb of Tutankhamun.

Valley of the Kings

Valley of the Kings

Valley of the Kings

Valley of the Kings

I enjoy a traditional local lunch back in town then wandered through the spectacular temples of Karnak. Karnak are not to be missed when you travel to Egypt. Karnak was the most important place of worship in ancient Egypt -every god and goddess of that civilization was represented over a period of about 2,000 years here.

Day 8 Cairo

An early-morning return to Egypt’s pulsating heart heralds the end of this Egyptian adventure. I took a roam through the walled citadel for wonderful views over the city, where I picked up some exotic trinkets at one of the many markets. Then I escaped the hazy chaos of the inner city with a promenade along the banks of the Nile

Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel


Munich Hops Farm

This a bit random but the only time I have been to Germany was to visit a Hops farm with Budweiser…. Perhaps I should go back and visit the rest of the country???


The Hallertau region of Bavaria, north and east of Munich, is the largest interconnected hop-growing region of the world.  There are approximately 2,000 producers on 40,000 acres in the area, ranging from large to small farms with fields no larger than a couple of acres.  The average size of the German hop farm is only 16 acres.  These are independent farms that offer their hops for sale on their own.

Malta – Gozo

I spent a few relaxing days here just before the madness that is Christmas!

malta GozoGozoGozo, an island situated north of mainland Malta, is one of the most romantic, rustic settings in the Mediterranean, with its dramatic coastlines, sandy beaches, winding roads and sleepy villages nestling on top of hills.

This idyllic island is slower and more peaceful than the main island and preserves all the natural beauty and charm you would expect from this part of the world as well as offering plenty of activities to enjoy; diving in the clear warm waters, taking boat trips and relaxing on the beaches. Tours around Gozo itself, Comino, with its famous Blue Lagoon and Malta, by land, boat or helicopter are also available.

An interesting fact: Gozo, which is only nine miles long by four miles wide, has about 45 different churches on the island!

Canada: Vancouver and Whistler

Vancouver CanadaWhistler

Vancouver was fantastic! It was one of the most memorable cities I have been to. I must say if the rest of Canada is this great then I have to go back to Canada!

Lots of sightseeing and interesting places to visit in this city and a great nightlife!

Vancouver Island is beautiful!

I took a bus and headed up to Whistler where I got some snowboarding lessons! I had 2 and the instructor told me I was natural! Think he just wanted rid of me lol. Anyway went up to the top and away I went. A few bruises but not as many as I first anticipated. After a great day boarding, a great nights craic was had in the village!

Its official Snowboarding is now one of my favourite sports! I am dying to go again. Although I will be hard pressed to find somewhere as exciting and beautiful as Whistler! I will be glued to the Olympics when they are held here.

Part 5- San Francisco USA

I spent a brilliant week seeing the sights and partying hard in San Francisco. I went to some really awesome bars and saw some funny comedy shows and cool bands.

The city has such a diverse culture and all the neighbourhoods reflect this. Different areas include; China town, little Italy, Little Mexico, the hippie suburb and then there is the retro city in between.

It gets foggy in San Fran a lot, so I had to jump at the chance of any good days to go sight seeing. The Golden Gate Bridge is as amazing as everyone says it is! I walked the 1 1/4 miles long each way. The breathtaking views were unreal. I also took the ferry over to Alcatraz and did a tour of the prison and Island. The audio tour was told by ex guards and prisoners which made it almost come to life. Just in case you were wondering there were never any sharks surrounding the Island, this is a big myth. But 3 men did escape!

Two of the things I love most in this world are shopping and wine! I did a lot of both. I took a trip up to Napa Valley wine country which ended in a sunset cruise around San Fran Bay. Needless to say I drank more than all the sissy Americans who were afraid that they would get drunk haha

San Fran

San Fran

San Francisco

Part 4 Los Angeles USA


Landed in the L.A and having a great time. I stayed on Hollywood Blvd right next to the walk of fame and the hand and footprints of the movie stars! I must admit that Hollywood itself is not glamorous and it’s such a shame that the walk of fame is surrounded by dingy buildings and trashy sex shops!

I took a tour of L.A city which was great. I went to Venice beach and the famous Baywatch beach near Santa Monica Pier. We also drove to all the exclusive areas such as Beverly Hills, Rodeo drive, Bel Air, Mullholland drive (where i had a great view of the Hollywood white sign in the mountain) and went spotting Movie stars homes…I know where Mr J.T lives! Leo DiCaprio has the most amazing mansion I have ever seen.

As for famous people, well I saw more tourists than stars! However I did see Jack Nicholson on sophisticated Rodeo Drive! This place is a shopping heaven, providing you have over 2 thousand dollars to spend! So I just did some wishful window shopping outside all the designer clothes and jewellery stores.


NZ pics

Franz Josef

Franz Josef

New Zealand Rotorua

New Zealand Rotorua