Tag: tourist spots

Walking around Vic-Sur-Aisne

The Eurocamp where we stayed at for ten days was located at the La Croix du Vieux Pont at Berny-Riviera, which was conveniently located right beside the very quaint French town called Vic-Sur-Aisne in Picardy (about 100 kilometres northeast of Paris).  The husband specifically chose this site because of its location – not that far from Paris and Disneyland.  As for me, the location was perfect because I was more interested in the French countryside.

Come and have a little walk with us around this very pretty little town:

 First stop:  A little patisserie and boulangerie.  There’s little T pointing at the huge meringues by the shop window.  It was too big for her, she never finished it!  We bought very delicious and the softest croissants I’ve ever tasted in my life.  Sorry folks, I can never be a food-blogger – when it’s in front of me, taking photos is far from my mind.  Eating is more important!

The Chateau de Vic-Sur-Aisne dominates the town with its very presence.  Unluckily for us, it was a bank holiday Monday, so we couldn’t go inside to have a look.  So instead we just took some photos outside, which actually was enough.

Would’ve loved to try out this restaurant, but it always seemed shut!  One thing I’ve noticed, they don’t seem to open really long.  I’m wondering how businesses survive in France with what seems to me, very little opening hours?

 I love walking through small towns in France, everywhere you look is pretty and quaint.

Love the shutters and flower-boxes.

And there’s little T of course, doing her funny dance in the middle of the plaza.

The Town Hall.

More shutters and flowers….

Even this rusty shutters look pretty!

We kept walking until we reached the Vic-Sur-Aisne French War Cemetery.

This is another moving WWI cemetery/memorial where hundreds of French soldiers lay buried.

I didn’t notice, until my husband pointed out to me that the crosses were actually back-to-back.  Two graves, not one.

And if you look closely at all the names listed here, most of them died really young – men in their late teens, early 20s.  My husband said that just like the Somme, the place, Vic-Sur, was also a frontline in both WWI and WW2.

I find it so surprising that inspire of being ravished by both wars, somehow France still managed to preserve so many of its lovely and historical buildings.  Thank goodness for that.  Like I mentioned on this post about the war memorial in the Somme – the sad and frightening thing about all this, is that war is still happening today as I type this.  As if we have never learned our lessons from our past. Will we ever?

The walk ended in a lighter note as little T spied a playground near the woods.  Of course we had to stop and she had to play.

This post is linked-up with #CountryKids

And also:

 Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend!

N is for Notre Dame

Completed in 1335, the Notre-Dame de Paris is certainly a sight to behold.  According to my historian husband, during WW2, Hitler ordered the destruction of Paris, but the Commander in-charge (probably thinking of the Notre Dame, Eiffel and all other beautiful historical buildings in Paris), just wouldn’t or couldn’t do it.  Thank goodness for that!

We spent a manic day in Paris and since it was peak-season, it was just sheer-utter madness and chaos.  The queue to go inside the Notre Dame was probably a kilometre long.  None of us had the patience to wait, especially in the heat.  Yes, you heard it right.  By then, the weather improved and summer was back with a vengeance.  I’m used to heat, in my country 30C is the norm and I’ve also lived in Ghana where it’s even more humid.  But that – the heat almost rivalled Manila’s temperature!

I’m not really sure who these greenish statues are, but I just love the contrast against the Cathedral’s otherwise brownish facade.

I was really content just taking photos of the famous Cathedral by the river Seine, far from the maddening tourist crowd.

A day in Paris isn’t enough.  But the next time we visit, it definitely won’t be in the summer!  Will do a different post on our rather un-pleasant experience in Paris.

Linking this post-up with PODcast’s #Alphabetphotographyproject.  Do check out the other lovely photographs in this link-up.

N is for Notre Dame.

Exploring the Chateau de Compiegne, Picardy, France

We woke up to grey clouds and the sound of rain.  For awhile, I thought we were back in England, then remembered that we left the UK actually in very good sunshiny weather!  I stumbled out of our bedroom, the sight of authentic French croissants on the table didn’t even lift the disappointment I felt.  “Everyone said it was warmer and sunnier in France!”  I whinged to the husband, who raised an eyebrow and said. “Missing England already dear?”  I growled at him and grumpily ate a very delicious and the softest croissant I’ve ever tasted in my life.  Admittedly, that definitely made me feel better!

Not to be defeated by the weather, we decided to explore the very historical town of Compiegne.  I was just so glad that even though I packed mostly summer outfits, I did manage to bring rain coats and even little T’s wellies which I chucked in the car at the last-minute.

I love this town, especially the very remarkable-gothic looking town hall which was built during the reign of Louise XII.    We all loved the Bancloque or the ancient clock which dates back to 1303, where three Picantins sound the clock.  Little T and her dad actually stood in front of the town hall, just to wait for the three little men to come out. Too bad I wasn’t able to catch a photo of them!

Then we headed to probably one of the most famous Chateau’s in France, the Chateau de Compiegne, which was built for Louise the XV and restored by Napoleon.  How to describe this very grand palace?  The words that come into my mind are garish and ostentatious.  But of course, it is still a lovely place to explore, especially since it holds so much history behind every single nook and cranny of that magnificent palace.

One of the few hallways inside the palace.

Little T monkeying around the staircase, I’m not sure Napoleon would be pleased!

Little T listening to the audio in Napoleon’s bedroom.  How on earth did he fit on that bed?  Is that why he developed a complex?

Shh mum, I can’t hear!  

Little T and her dad, doing a little dance in the very grand and long ballroom of the Chateau.

Would you want this very gaud looking gold-plated (?) furniture in your home?  I know it was probably stylish during their time, but uhm… no thank you.

Apparently it is said that “Chateau de Compiegne speaks of Napoleon as Versailles does of Louise the XIV” , oh dear.

And of course, the grounds and gardens were equally grand.  One can almost imagine someone like Marie Antoinette parading in her jewels and gowns, along with her many ladies-in-waiting.

T with her disheveled hair wanted to explore more, but it was getting late and our feet were getting  weary from touring one splendid room after another.  It was time to call it a day.

This post was linked-up with #CountryKids.

And the Tour Finally Ends

All tours of Britain MUST begin or end in London.  So after about ten days of showing our close friend J around Cornwall, a bit of Wales and a bit of England, we ended our trip in London.

This is T gazing at the London Eye as we waited for J at the Tattershall Castle restaurant, a lovely boat moored along the Thames.  When the weather is good or during summer, I can imagine this place packed at night.  It has lovely views of the Thames, Big Ben and of course the London Eye as seen above.  Just make sure that you don’t get too tipsy and fall over-board – the water will be cold!

A little bit of history:  It was built in 1934 and was used to ferry passengers between Hull and New Holland.  According to their website, the boat was also used during the war and was the first civil vessel to carry a radar which was crucial in the foggy Humber.

By the time we’ve finished our drinks with our friend, it was lunch-time already.  So we decided to head off and eat at the famous Sherlock Holmes restaurant.  Yes, I am a fan.

The restaurant used to be an Inn called the Northumberland Arms and tourists visit not only because of the name, but mostly I can imagine to see the replica of Holme’s and Watson’s study in the famous Sherlock Holmes series.

The study of the famous duo:  Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson

From there, we went inside the palace of Westminster. As expected, security at the House of Parliament was like airport security, but I have to commend the staff, they were all nice and friendly, nothing like the brusqueness sometimes security people are known for.  They were all ever-so-helpfull, especially when T needed to have an emergency wee inside.  Without any hesitation, they took T to an off-limits passageway to get to the toilets.

Take a look inside the historic Westminster Hall built during the middle ages (1097).  This gothic hall has witnessed many famous coronations, and trials of Kings over hundreds of years (i.e. Charles I).  The centuries old beamed roof are still very much intact.  Since T was only three, she wasn’t allowed inside the House of Commons to see how the MPs do their debates, so our friend and the husband went in without us.

Diamond Jubilee Stained Glass window.

Big Ben as seen by T who was by now sitting on her dad’s shoulders.

Sight-seeing around London is not for the faint-hearted.  You have to wear the right comfortable walking shoes and must also ensure that you are geared-up for rain.  We didn’t have much time to go around, especially since we had a late start.  Good thing J was able to do some sight-seeing on his own the day before, so we only covered what he hasn’t seen or been to yet.  By the time we arrived in Buckingham palace, it was late afternoon and drizzling.

T posing infront of Buckingham Palace.

By now we were utterly exhausted and decided to ride the tube back to Leicester square.  We cut across Green Park where you could see deck-chairs scattered around for weary tourists to rest on.  If not for the grey clouds hovering, I would’ve loved to have taken a seat and just watched the crowd.

If you look harder, you’ll see the deck chairs I’ve mentioned above.

And all sight-seeing tours must end in a lovely nice cozy-cafe.   Here’s T having her own baby-cino, (which really was just milk with froth), before we hugged our friend J goodbye and jumped on a train back to my in-laws.

It’s been a blast going on this mini-tour around bits of the UK with our dearest friend J who is really more like family to us.  But it was also lovely to head back home to our little bubble by the sea.

T and the Gothic Cathedral of Salisbury

Here are some important facts one should know about Salisbury Cathedral:

1.  It is was once known as the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

2.  This lovely cathedral is considered one of the best examples of early English architecture.

3.  Unlike other ancient cathedrals in the UK which were built over hundreds of years, Salisbury Cathedral’s main building on the other hand, was made only within 38 years (1220-1258).

4.  It has the tallest spire in England.

5.  Inside the cathedral you’ll find one of the world’s oldest working clock ( AD 1386)

6.  Lastly, the Cathedral of Salisbury has the best surviving of the four original copies of the Magna Carte.

Inside the magnificent Cathedral.

Old regiment flags on display inside the Cathedral.

In every old cathedral or church I visit, I always take time to look at the people buried on the church’s floor.  It doesn’t matter whether they are famous or not, like this grave of a doctor buried in 1696.

And of course this being a well-known cathedral, you’ll also find effigies of famous people like Lord John Cheney who was the brother of the Dean of Salisbury and was also the bodyguard and chief henchman of King Edward IV, Richard III and Henry VII.  He was knighted by all three.

Can you see the medieval vandals on the effigy?  I wonder though what they meant?  You can make out some letters but not really any words.

T trying to peer at the model of the Cathedral with other kids.  She was actually tip-toeing.  Poor kid.

I love the arches of this gothic cathedral.

T actually wanted to play on the grass, we had to explain that it was off limits to visitors.

Fine she says, planting her little bum on one of the nearby benches.

Salisbury Cathedral is definitely worth a visit.  When we were there, since it was a sunday, a mass was about to begin, but I was too hungry to wait and when I’m hungry, I get really grumpy.  So for everyone’s sake I thought it was best to leave and hunt down a place to eat.

This is the part two of A Visit to Salisbury post and even though technically, Salisbury is a city, it is also known as the city in the countryside,  hence the reason for linking this up with Coombe Mill’s Country kids.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Exploring an Ancient Village

If we see men and women dressed all in white, I’m out of here!  

I said to no one in particular as we got off the car in the early evening of the first few days of September.  It wasn’t warm, and it wasn’t really cold either, but the temperature definitely dropped so I wore my cardigan and zipped up little T’s hoody as she asked me –

Why mummy?  

I wondered then how could you explain the wicker man to a three-year-old?  So I just said that mummy is just being silly.  But there was certainly a bit of an eerie and mysterious air in the atmosphere as we trundled along to find the ancient village of Carn Euny.

After the hunt for the Merry Maidens, we decided to do more exploring, so  J armed with a map and a book of Cornwall’s archeological heritage directed us on our little quest.  Don’t ask us how we managed with an American guide, let’s just say, we didn’t exactly end up where we wanted to, but the final destination proved to be even better than the original one.  After all, stumbling upon an old hamlet of the Iron Age and Roman-British period isn’t exactly a regular occurrence  in one’s life right?  I didn’t think so at least …

There is still a lot visible in Carn Euny, you’ll find lots of remnants of ancient house walls in a circular and a window like this one:

See how thick the stones are?

I wonder though if it was thick enough to protect the inhabitants from whatever harsh weather conditions they had at that time.

Is this where they grind their corn?

Entrance to underground stone-chamber, T not sure whether she wants to go in.

I guess the most remarkable structure that can be found in this Ancient village is the underground stone chamber which was probably used as storage.

In the end, she couldn’t resist her curiosity and happily went in.

and out, in and out.

Can you imagine what it must have been like in the Iron Age?  I’ll tell you what it was like, peaceful.  Imagine the absence of the sounds of technology, transportation and other 21st century noise pollution.

Bliss.

That’s what it must have been like.

So if you’re in Cornish countryside, come around and visit Carne Euny, an ancient village.  For directions on how to get there, click here.

This post was linked up with Coombe Mill’s Country Kids.

The Hunt for the Merry Maidens & other news

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but one of the good things about having visitors, especially visitors from abroad is that you have an excuse to turn into a tourist too.  After visiting St. Michael’s Mount (will save that for another post), we went on the hunt for the Merry Maidens.

The Merry Maidens is like a smaller version of Stonehenge.  I’m not sure if they are older, but these ancient stones go back to the Neolithic period (starts at 10,200 BC and ends at somewhere between 4,500 and 2,000 BC).  These mysterious stones can be found near St. Buryan in Cornwall.  Thanks to our American friend, we finally had the chance to hunt for it.  So if you find yourself in this neck of the woods, it’s certainly worth visiting!

Legend has it that nineteen maidens were turned into stone all because they decided to have a little fun and dance on a Sunday.  And there’s my little girl, doing a little dance … thank goodness we didn’t go on a Sunday … or did we?

This post, by the way has been sitting on my draft box for weeks now.  I’m so late with my posts but things are slowly settling down a bit in our little cottage by the sea.  Thankfully T’s cough is better and for those who were asking about how it went yesterday…. Things went very well, thank you!  When we arrived to pick her up, she was playing and didn’t even notice that we were there.  E, the lovely woman in charge of her, said she was fine.  We’re trying her out two mornings a week and then when she’s really settled, maybe stay for the two whole days.  She also has her rugby sessions every Thursday with her best friend F.  It’s really mostly running around, with a bit of rugby lessons (how to hold a ball etc…) all fun!  Let’s see how that goes tomorrow.

For those who are reading, hope all is well on your side of the world!

A Rainy Enjoyable First Day in Brighton

T enjoying the train ride to Brighton.  She loves riding trains!  (See the dreary weather outside the window?)

We took a train from Worthing where our friend lives.  It was about a thirty minute train ride into Brighton. As expected, we first saw and experienced Brighton under a persistent rain.  It wasn’t a downpour, more like a steady-heavy drizzle.  The plan was to explore the very colourful, interesting and bohemian streets of Brighton.

Just a few of the lovely street art found all over Brighton.  Take note of the two policemen kissing, a famous Banksy mural in Brighton.

As you  can see, I did manage to take a few photos.  However standing and walking in the rain with a two-year-old who has a bad cough and cold isn’t ideal at all.  So we decided to dive in a cafe and the grown-ups had a lovely cup of tea and coffee.  T had a delicious cake to go with her fruit juice.

No, she didn’t eat all that on her own.  We had to help her of course.

Since it seemed to us that the rain wasn’t really going to ease off, we decided to head for the Brighton Sea life Centre.  We figured that it would be the best place to hide from the rain and at least, T will be happy.  She was … for a few minutes that is.  We’d wander from one aquarium to another, within a minute or so, she would say “I’m done” and head off to another aquarium.  Before we reached the tunnel, she was already exhausted and a little bit whingy.

See the lovely ceiling on the first photo?  Apparently that is the original ceiling of the centre which was built in 1872.  If you peer closely in photo number 2, you’ll see the dates on the wall.

It was a bit manic inside the Sea Life Centre with lots of children and tourists.  The fish and other sea creatures were amazing though.  I enjoyed seeing the manta ray and the sharks.  It was a bit creepy standing under the tunnel with the sharks and manta ray swimming above you.  I kept imagining something happening, you know like in the movies, glass crashing, sharks eating the tourists.  Yes, the kind you see in B movies.  So we headed out after awhile and lo and behold, the sun was also out!

We were all tired and a bit hungry and decided to do one of the things on my list as mentioned here – eat fish and chips!  We didn’t do it on the beach though, instead we ate it on the pier. Feeling better, we went on to explore the rides.  I felt bad for T though because she wanted to try some of the rides, but she was too young for any of them!  She kept saying – But I’m a big girl now!

It was an exhausting first day, especially since I was silly not to wear sensible shoes.  I ended up having blisters on my feet and limping the whole day!  However, that didn’t stop me from having fun and enjoying my first day in Brighton.  I know now why it is a popular tourist destination.  If we lived nearby, we would keep coming back too!

Brighton – Here we come!

We’re going on a trip to visit a close friend. Woohoo! I’m really looking forward to driving off later as if it were a trip abroad. He lives near Brighton, where I’ve never been. Apparently, the place has been popular with tourists, especially Londoners ever since the railways opened there sometime in 1841. My friend tells me it’s very bohemian and arty.  I intend to be a full-pledged  tourist next week.  Yes, I’ll be that annoying woman who stops in every corner, bumping into people all because she wants to take a picture of something.

I want to see the West Pier that is the only pier in England which is Grad 1 listed (meaning, very old), before the rest of it crumbles to dust or is swallowed up by the sea, like what happened in 2002 (a section of the pier collapsed).  I know it’s still off-limits, but it would be nice to be able to take a picture of it.

Picture credit here.

I also want to go to the Brighton Marine Palace pier, I hear it has a fun fair, restaurants and those annoying loud arcade halls.  I’m sure T will also love it.

Picture credit here.

And since I want to do the tourist round, it won’t be complete without stopping by the Brighton Royal Pavilion, though admittedly, I’m not really sure that’s a good idea with a two-year-old in tow.  But you’ll never know…

Photo credit here.

And then maybe ending the day with a relaxing moment on the beach, preferably eating fish and chips or ice-cream.  T will of course will be covered in sand or will head straight for the water.

Picture credit here.

But of course, since this is England, everything depends on the weather.  I don’t like sight-seeing in the rain.  It’s not fun.  So let’s see how things go.  Hope everyone has a great week ahead of them too!  Now before we drive away, we’re off to attend a children’s party first.  Yes, T has a social life, which is nice, because her parents don’t have one.