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Posts Tagged "round-up"

Six Cycle Friendly Cities of Europe

Six Cycle Friendly Cities of Europe

On Yer Bike; On two Wheels Cycling is a popular, affordable and environmentally friendly way to see a city. In many European cities, it is positively encouraged. City planners are realising the benefits of cycling as a mode of transport and are providing cycle-paths, plenty of parking for bicycles, automated bike hire facilities, smartphone apps and bike-friendly public transport. Not all cities are equal in their provision of cycle-friendly facilities. Many provide facilities aimed solely at the commuter and not the visitor. I have picked out several of Europe’s cities that are best explored on two wheels. Each of the six have excellent facilities and infrastructure specifically aimed at the cyclist. Copenhagen The Danish capital has been at the forefront of making a city cycle-friendly. They have been so successful at it that the word, “Copenhagenization”, defined as urban planning…

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Tenby: Top Ten Experiences

Tenby: Top Ten Experiences

I first visited Tenby as an eight-year-old with my parents and still have very clear memories of my time there. Then, when my own children came along, I visited a second time and they experienced many of the things I had done twenty years earlier. Now, thanks to Coastal Cottages, I was able to visit again. I stayed in an apartment just a few hundred metres from the Old Town Walls. Cheriton View was conveniently located to explore Tenby on foot. So, during our stay, we explored by walking everywhere. However, Tenby is a great base for exploring further afield too. You can read my review of Cheriton View in another post on this website. Visit the harbour For me, the attraction of Tenby has always been the harbour. One of the more picturesque harbours around the coast of Great…

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The Impressionists in Normandy

The Impressionists in Normandy

It was a visit to the Royal Horticultural Society’s Hampton Court Flower Show that inspired me to visit Normandy. Among the show gardens was one celebrating the Impressionists in Normandy that included the best-known elements of Claude Monet’s Giverny garden. In my research, I soon discovered that the group of artists known as the Impressionists were attracted to Normandy. Impressionism was less about detail and realism in paintings and more about an accurate depiction of light and its changing qualities. This was best done outdoors where they could capture the transient effects of light on a subject. The Impressionists were among the first group of artists who took painting outside en plein air. The advent of the railways along the Seine Valley from Paris to the coast, the quality of the light and the variety of landscapes all contributed to…

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My top places to go to see cherry blossom

My top places to go to see cherry blossom

Cherry blossom is very transitory. The clouds of delicate flowers in all shades from white through pastel pinks to the gentle magentas are at their best for only a few days in spring. Wet and windy weather in boisterous March often ensures the season is short. Most often associated with the culture of Japan cherry blossom features in several Far Eastern cultures. To the Japanese, the blossom of the cherry tree is an important symbol. The flower’s brief appearance symbolises the transience, and fragility of life. The blooming season is celebrated with hanami, a family picnic under the blossom-laden branches in the many parks all over Japan. However, Japan is not the only place to see cherry blossoms en masse. As the list below shows there are some surprising places to see the mass of flowering cherry trees. Japan – Osaka, Tokyo and Kyoto…

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Golfing in Europe

Golfing in Europe

Golf is a truly international pastime and with few exceptions, you can play in almost any country in the world. There are so many courses to choose from across the globe it is hard to choose. Below I have highlighted five of the best destinations to consider for a golfing break in Europe with suggestions of some of the top courses to play. Portugal The Algarve is considered as the home of Portuguese golf and is, in golfing terms a relative newcomer. The first golf course was built in Portugal in 1966. Designed by Henry Cotton at what is now the Penina Hotel and Golf Resort it still sees plenty of golfing action. Over 50 years on and the Algarve is awash with golf courses and resorts. Many of them have two or three separate courses to play. Some of…

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Pembrokeshire highlights for a short break

Pembrokeshire highlights for a short break

Four days in the South Wales county of Pembrokeshire is not enough to experience everything it has to offer. I realised that it was foolish to even try so I chose a select few which I felt gave me a sense of what Pembrokeshire is all about. Pembrokeshire is the peninsula sticking out into the Irish Sea in the southern part of Wales. Surrounded on three sides by water – the Bristol Channel, Irish Sea and Cardigan Bay it has a long and varied coastline. You could spend a fortnight exploring the long sweeping beaches, the quaint little coves and the rugged cliffs populated by sea birds. The Pembrokeshire coastline is blessed with Britains longest coastal footpath from which you can explore these delights. However, with only four days this kind of expedition was out of the question. Here then are my highlights. Tenby…

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Golfing holidays

Golfing holidays

A version of this post first appeared in the Avanti Travel Insurance blog which I write for on a regular basis. You can read more of my work there by clicking on this link. For many people holidays are a chance to indulge a hobby or a passion somewhere a little different. If your passion is golf then you are certain to find a golfing holiday that suits you. There will be somewhere to play in almost any part of the world. Deserts have been greened, wild moorland tamed and wasteland made attractive in the name of golf. You can even play golf on ice in Greenland. Golf is a truly international pastime and with few exceptions you can take a golfing holiday and play in almost any country in the world. Below I have highlighted five of the best European destinations…

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10 Wildlife Experiences: Up close and personal

10 Wildlife Experiences: Up close and personal

Wildlife experiences I have had many wildlife experiences but the walking safari I took in Gonarezhou National Park is the one that remains most deeply etched in my memory for a close encounter with a leopard that I never even saw. My guide suddenly stopped and slipped his rifle off his shoulder. He pointed to the path along which we had been tracking elephants. There in the soft earth was the spoor of a leopard with a blade of dry grass gently rising up from where the big cat had trodden perhaps no more the 10-15 seconds previously. We never saw the leopard but sensed he could see us from no more than a few metres away. It is experiences like that that make wildlife encounters so memorable. On my travels around the globe I have had many close encounters with…

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European city breaks off the beaten track for 2017

European city breaks off the beaten track for 2017

London, Paris, Vienna, Venice and Florence, cities of the Grand Tour have always been popular and remain so to day despite the hordes of tourists and the high prices. Then there are the trending, or trendy, cities like Reykjavik, Tallinn, Barcelona, Prague and Amsterdam. Below are six cities I would recommend for 2017. I have included three or four highlights in each case but there is much more to see in all of them. Cologne Cologne sits on the banks of the Rhine and is dominated by its cathedral or Dom. At one point its soaring spires made it the tallest building in the world. After only nine years it was locked off the top spot by a tower of girders built by one Gustav Eiffel. The cathedral is said to house the relics of the magi who visited the…

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Sicily Unpacked: Active in San Vito

Sicily Unpacked: Active in San Vito

Under the waves lapping on the rocks in the sheltered cove of Sicily’s north-western tip it was a completely different world to that above the waves. Seaweed in all its myriad forms covered the rocks. Flashes of silver revealed where tiny fish were feeding. On many of these submarine rocks clusters of black spiny spheres of sea urchins lay in wait for their prey. A thousand flashes of light reflected off a shoal of fish twisting and turning pretending they were larger as one than they were as individuals put in an appearance. A brightly coloured rainbow wrasse as colourful as any tropical fish was feeding on algae from the rocks. Even a lone harmless jelly fish put in an appearance… Snorkelling is not the only activity around San Vito lo Capo, a small town on the peninsula in the…

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