Tag Archives: castle

Of Cornish Beaches

I know, that in Malta, we have some breathtakingly gorgeous beaches, but they are crowded with Maltese and foreigners. So much so, that if you are not a proper beach-lover, you do not step foot on any of the beaches during the peak Summer months. In fact, this year, I have only been to the beach once, and this was in September, and only because it was an event which I could not miss – My father’s birthday.

When I mention my love towards the UK, I more often than not are told that in England there aren’t any attractive beaches. Today, I am going to attempt to prove you wrong. This year, in June my partner and I spent some memorable days in Cornwall. We both fell in love with this place, and one of the reasons is the gorgeous seasides.

Lands End
This was quite high in our priority for the very reason that it is the southern-most part of the UK. The coastal views are spectacular and it would make a lovely day out, taking in the surroundings, the wildlife, and why not… a picnic by the sea, listening to the waves, blissfully.

Kynance Cove
If white sandy beaches and turquoise coloured seas are on your list, this beach is just what you are looking for. To top it off, during our visit towards the end of June, there was almost no one around. This makes your swimming experience just a little bit more special. By the way, at low tide, you are able to explore the caves. Sadly, this was not the case when we visited!

Tintagel Beach
By far my favourite – I’d say I am a bit biased by this because of the myths surrounding this place, as well as the extraordinary weather we had and the view of castle ruins on top of the cliff! I admit, this was the busiest of the beach areas we visited, but this did not stop us from capturing several photos of this very photogenic place. You be the judge!

Gunwalloe Church Cove
Admittedly, this bay made it into our Travel Plan because there’s a very cute church and cemetery close by. In order to get to the beach itself, there’s a rather long wobbly walk. The panoramas made it bearable as well as the serenity the place offered once we got there. We in fact, had this beach for ourselves, which was rather surprising.

Poldark fans, Kynance Cove and Church Cove are two beaches which were used as filming locations. Can you imagine walking the same steps as Aidan Turner? Now you can! 😉

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Schloss Drachenburg

Built in the 1880s, Schloss Drachenburg is a fairy tale castle. The architecture is full on romantic Gothic, with spires, the style of a medieval cathedral and a beautiful clock tower. It stands on a hill above the Rhine River, with beautiful breathtaking view of the said river.

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A story from the German folklore says, that Siefried has slayed a dragon up on this very mountain, which the castle gets the name from. Drachenburg, translates to Dragon’s castle in English. The actual story of this castle is however less glamorous as it was commissioned by a rich stock broker. Funnily enough it was built in two years, yet recently a 15-year restoration was completed for 31.5 million euro.

Completed in 1884, the castle started off as a private villa, then was converted into a museum, which later on was used as an “Adolf Hitler” college for boys. To this day, you can still see holes from the US artillery fires, as they smashed the stained glass windows and facade in the last months of the war. It was at this time that the Nazi schoolboys decided to stop resisting against the americans.

The inside of the castle is full of German art and craftsmanship.

See below, some photos I took of a day well-spent in the Dragon’s castle.

Such a dreamy castle!

Tintern Abbey

Tintern Abbey has been in my must-see list for years. The reason it took me this long to visit is because it is in the South of Wales, and I have mostly traveled to the North and Mid Wales as it is more accessible for me, due to Manchester and Liverpool airports being so close to my destination (also I have never driven in the UK, but I probably should…).

I would say that the Cistercian abbey of Tintern is one of the most beautiful monastic ruins, not just in Wales or the UK, but within Europe. The location of the abbey is very scenic, and the village of Tintern is tiny. In fact, after spending hours in this serene place, we walked to the village for a snack. We even watched River Wye which runs behind the abbey and through the village. The river has been an important source of water which sustained the villagers and monks, and is till useful at this day and age.

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The abbey was founded in 1131, by the lord of Chepstow and the building and its surroundings kept growing exponentially until its closing down around 400 years later. In the 13th century, Roger Bigod rebuilt the church, and as a thank you his coat of arms was put in the glass of the east window. This church forms the largest part of what is still remaining today, and is a great example of welsh architecture of the medieval period, even if in ruins.

Although it did not have much importance history wise, what is left of this abbey is a major tourist attracting in the South of Wales, as is Caerphilly Castle, Raglan Castle and Cardiff Castle in the capital city of Wales.

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What’s Up

My blog is a priority to me, however there are times and things that surpass my blogs. Such things are travelling and starting a new job; which in this case are very, very true.

In the last month and a half, I have taken time travel and in total I have visited 5 countries in almost 3 weeks. This has not only led me to learn new things about different cultures and do plenty of sightseeing, but also helped into finding myself again. To me, traveling is the very best thing. It is new and exciting… an adventure!

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For more photos of my travels and my endeavors please follow me on Instagram: SteffiWorld.

After making it back to Malta, I have spent a few days catching up with friends, doing the laundry and relaxing. This is because two weeks ago, it was time for me to change my job. This time, my role is Reporting Specialist, which is highly focused on reporting – gathering data and specs, creating the reports and reconciling. It is a very exciting role as there are a lot of changes going on, and my role is a part of it, and in two years time, I am hoping to see myself in a managerial position. I have been aiming for this for some time, and it has gone unnoticed in my past job, so I am very happy to be in this position now.

I have noticed in the past weeks, that my followers on WordPress have been increasing exponentially which is great to say the least. While I would like to welcome you all to my humble blog of anything that comes to mind, I would also like to excuse myself for the lack of writing, and hope that going forward I will have more energy to entertain you!

Travelling Abroad With Kids

 

Family holidays are what memories are made of; fun in the pool, ice creams and sand castles on the beach. But taking young children on holiday requires a fair amount of planning and consideration. To keep your holiday fun-filled while keeping safe and everything running as smoothly as possible, here are a few things to bear in mind.

planeTravelling with kids (pic 1)

 

Get Vaccinations Up To Date

You won’t always need specific vaccinations when you’re travelling abroad depending on where you’re going. However children should be vaccinated with their regular childhood immunisations. Ideally they will be vaccinated at the routine times for their age, although if you are due to travel abroad it’s likely that these will need to be done more quickly. It’s important be be aware that not all travel related vaccines are effective in infants, and in some cases they may not be recommended at all due to the risk of doing more harm than good. Making sure your child’s regular immunisations are all up to date before travelling is important, for the full list of jabs they need check out this.

 

Hire a Car

It’s no secret that young children get restless quickly. Instead of lugging them (and all of their stuff) onto public transport you might find it’s easier to hire a car. You can load everything into the boot before you leave each day, and you have much more control of getting from A to B. Most car hire companies will offer hire of children’s car seats and booster seats too, giving you one less thing to pack.

car.JPGTravelling with kids (pic 2)

 

Get The Right Visas

A huge number of countries require Visas before you’re able to enter. For example if you’re from outside the US, you’ll require an American Visa application in order to visit. Both accompanied and unaccompanied children no matter what their age require their own independant Visa. It’s quick and easy to do, most are granted online within seconds although it’s recommended that you do this seventy two hours before you’re due to fly. The same applies if you’re an American looking to leave the US, you and the children will require Visas for a large proportion of places- so make sure that’s all sorted in advance. Something to bear in mind when you’re travelling abroad with kids, as they won’t just be covered under your paperwork.

 

Plan Activities

Having a rough idea of what you want to do while you’re away (with the willingness to be flexible) can help to add some structure to the chaotic fun. Don’t try and cram in too much, instead choose a few key activities and assign them to certain days. Leave plenty of time before and after each trip or excursion to relax and rest.

 

Choose The Right Travel Insurance

In most cases you will be able to get cover through a family policy but it’s important to read through carefully, or you could end up out of pocket if you need to make a claim. You will need something with a high level of medical cover, and which includes all of the activities your children will be doing on holiday. This is why it’s worth spending time on the point above and planning some activities beforehand, so you have an idea of what you’ll be doing. Swimming, biking, outdoor games- make sure they are all included. Don’t skimp to get a cheaper premium cost, you’re much better off making sure they’re completely covered.

 

Flint Castle

During my last visit to North Wales in November, my boyfriend who knows how much I adore castles took me to Flint Castle. I did see some photos of the castle before we made way to it, but as soon as I saw the castle up on a green grassed hill, I realised that the photos didn’t do it justice. Although not massive in size, the location and the atmosphere was amazing. The fact that we were the only two people on its grounds made it even more special.

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A little bit of history

The castle has been erect for over 700 years now. In fact the building work began in the year 1277 and was finalised in 1284. It took 1,800 workers and masons to built the foundations and the castle itself. This castle was the first castles to be built after King Edward I invaded Wales. The design of the castle is a mix of Gothic architecture of the Medieval era together with the design of a Concentric castle – making it stronger, bigger and more luxurious than most castles built during the same time. Flint Castle’s unique fortress design was not repeated in any other castle, and as such the layout at Flint remains unique throughout the British Isles.

One important feature of flint Castle is its access to the sea. This not only speeded up construction due to the ability of transporting equipment and building materials by boats, but also helped in the success of the new fortified town which was built around the same time as the castle. This ensured that the town had fresh food supplies and provisions which prevented its occupants from starving to death during the siege warfare.


The castle is located on the North-East coast of Wales, which gives a magnificent view of the shore and Liverpool in the distance.

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Interesting facts

– In 1399 Richard II of England was held by Henry Bolingbroke at Flint Castle before returning to London
– During the English Civil Wars which started in 1642, the castle was held by the Royalists. After a 3 month siege it was then captured by the Parliamentarians in 1647. In order to prevent the castle to be used again in a conflict, the castle was set for destruction. It is because of this, that what remains today is ruins.
– Today, the castle is maintained by CADW which is the Welsh government body that conserved and promotes the building heritage of Wales. The castle can be accessed by the public for free.
– In summer 2009 the castle was temporarily closed due to anti-social behaviour as teenagers were drinking and vandalising the castle. It reopened after CADW liaised with police to improve security at the castle.

The Return

Trying to explain how I feel, after I returned back home from a 5-day-long holiday, is near impossible. Although gutted that it’s all over, after waiting for this moment for a good month and a half, my heart feels happy and rather at ease.

In Brief

If you are wondering, where I have been,  the answer is of no surprise to those who know me well, as I have yet again chose to visit my beloved Wales. After being in the South of Wales June/July this year, this time I was back in the North. I have visited the area of Flintshire, which I have never been to before, coupled with Chester (no, this is not in Wales, but it is very close by).

Even before I went on holiday, I wished that in my short stay, I get to see snow again. I did get lucky in this, as not only did it snow, but it did stick to some of the hills we went to (the idea was to go for a walk, but this turned out to be rather of a flop as it was too sloppy). The sight itself, was breathtaking, which made me very happy still.

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While in Chester, we did manage to come across the Christmas Market which was a pleasant surprise! Over there, we ended up spending £20 in cheese… but it was damn worth it… as it tastes godly. The Roman baths and amphitheater were two historic spots we visited while here. On the same day, in the evening we returned to Chester for a rock night and it turned out to be an awesome night; music varied from classic rock to heavy metal which means I was in heaven!

Castles are always part of the plan when I am on holiday. The idea was to visit Ewloe Castle but the area was closed in order to enhance the pathway leading to it. But luckily my fantastic tour-guide improvised and we instead visited Flint Castle. This Castle is in ruins, and from it you are able to see Liverpool in the distance, which was quite a beautiful view.

PS. More info and actual pictures of the places I have visited will be coming up as soon as I write up the related reviews. X

 

Tomorrow, tomorrow…

It still does not feel real that I will be in mid-air tomorrow.

For some reason, even after packing my luggage and I’m officially ‘ready to go’ it still feels unreal.

It could be, because I will be fulfilling five things from my bucket list, or something is just very, very wrong with me:

  1. I will be watching AC/DC live at Wembley Stadium
  2. I will be visiting Cardiff aka Doctor Who hot spot
  3. Going to 221, Baker Street!! (Not sure why it took me so long!!!)
  4. Hampton Court Palace – If you do not know why, you don’t know me at all!!
  5. CASTLES!

So, if you have read the above, it means that I am on my way to Cardiff and London, baby!

Thoughts and Dreams

Last night I was going through my stuff and I came across the leaving card my ex colleagues in England gave me. I reread all the messages and it made think on what could have my life been like if I never left.

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I am still in love with all things British and sometimes I fear I have made a bad decision. I love being close to my family and friends but I miss the green, the nature, the events, the sense of peace and calm in my
stoke life that only that country seems to give me.

With all things going in my life.. especially the house and the cats it should totally feel like I’ve settled down. But truth be told, I wish I could be in two places at once. Or perhaps I can live some of my life here and some there.

But for that to happen I need to be rich or be in a situation were I can work from anywhere in the world and actually afford such comfort.

Now that I have put this on paper I hope that I can put this thought to rest; At least until two months time when I will be travelling to South Wales, London and possibly Kent. God I miss you!

The Majestic Conwy Castle

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When it comes to castles, I have seen quite a few in England and Wales, but Conwy castle has made a huge impact on me. Be it, the fact that it is gritty and dark, and has a very medieval feel to it… Or perhaps because it is the entrance to the historic town of Conwy and of course, the background behind it of Snowdonia.

Look at this image.. you will get what I mean:
Conwy (featuring Castle & walled town) Aerial North Towns & Villages
This is the only photo in this article which is not mine. © Crown copyright (2013) Visit Wales

The castle was constructed under the monarchy of Edward I between 1282 and 1289.

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The wall of this magnificent castle is made up of eight large circular towers and fours smaller towers. The insides of the castle are almost in ruins, but this adds to the grim factor of this castle. There is however enough remains to let you imagine what living in this castle must have been like.

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I have spent hours wandering around in this castle. It is large and fully accessible to the public at a very decent price of £6.75 per person.