Photos

Frog_right

(The dates are when the pictures were uploaded)

2017

South Africa

November 2017

These photos relate to a holiday we had in South Africa. It was basically a standard sightseeing trip with Riviera but we had an extra 4 days at the end in Cape Town, with family friends. The diary entries for each day comprise what Riviera said - followed by what we actually did.

Here's a selection of panoramas (34) to give a taste and if you want wildlife pictures there's a big selection here (100). There are also a few video clips marked below. Finally, here's a list of the wild life we saw, including the Big Five *.

Zebra

Blue ibis

Giraffe

Peacock

Elephant*

Southern Masked Weaver

Buffalo*

Ostrich and young

Impala

Osprey (fish eagle)

Leopard*

Eagle

Kudu

Vulture

Warthog and young

Tick bird (Oxpecker)

Rhino*

Penguin

Hippo

Brown ibis

Rat (or vole?)

Heron

Rock hyrax

Soutern Red Bishop

Lion * Guinea fowl
Crocodile Spotted thick-knee
  Cape Glossy Starling
   
   

 

Date Diary entry

Dropbox photos and video clips

Wednesday 4th October – Day 1

Flight to Johannesburg

You should arrive at the airport to take your overnight flight to Johannesburg.



 

Thursday 5th October – Day 2

Arrival in Johannesburg

After our morning arrival, we transfer to the four-star Indaba Hotel in a prosperous suburb, north of the city. On the way to our hotel we take the opportunity to visit the Apartheid Museum, a truly fascinating exhibition charting the apartheid years and the struggle against it, culminating in the first democratic elections. It is a superbly presented walk through contemporary history using original material, riveting eyewitness accounts, photographs and film. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure.


Arrived, and then went to the Apartheid Museum, and then on to the hotel.  Very wet, but dried later. Had a quick kip then went round the grounds looking at bird life. Then buffet dinner and then got organised for an early start (lovely hotel).

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Friday 6th October – Day 3

Panorama Route

After breakfast we depart for the open spaces and farmlands of the Highveld, following the Panorama Route to Kruger National Park, one of the most scenic drives in South Africa. We follow the spectacular rim of the Blyde River Canyon, an amazing 20-mile long and 2,300- foot deep gorge cutting a vast swathe through the Great Escarpment separating the temperate grasslands of the Highveld and the drier savannah beyond. Deep circular rock formations created by years of erosion and many excellent vantage points offer superb photo opportunities for some of the most breathtaking views in Africa. Our hotel for the next three nights is the three-star superior Hippo Hollow Country Estate, beautifully located in the midst of lush forest on the banks of the Sabie River on the edge of the National Park. It has lovely gardens, two pools, a very cosy bar, an excellent restaurant and an open air terrace overlooking the grounds and river where you can actually watch the hippos! A more relaxing spot would be difficult to find. Dinner is included tonight.


Up very early. Very good breakfast.  On coach via Pretoria and gold-mining area and lots of Boer War battle areas. Stopped for lunch at Harrie's Pancakes – very good. Down the Blythe Canyon – the mist came down but cleared after a bit, enough for views.  Arrived at hotel, Hippo Hollow, c. 5:15. Welcome drink.  Quick shower and change to go to Shangaan Dance evening – excellent, then buffet supper, then get ready for early start the next day.

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Saturday 7th October – Day 4   

Kruger Game Drive

Today we have a full day’s game drive in specially adapted 10 seat 4x4 vehicles. There is simply nothing to beat that rising feeling of anticipation and excitement as we enter the nearby park in the half-light of the spectacular African dawn, surrounded by the noise of a unique ‘dawn chorus’. Which animal shall we spot first? Perhaps an elephant, a family of warthogs or possibly even the elusive cheetah. The experienced game rangers know the best tracks and waterholes whilst their stories will amuse, inform and fascinate you. Most have lived here all their lives, accumulating a vast wealth of knowledge. One minute they can be talking about the constituents of elephant dung and the next about the mating behaviour of hippos or the latest UK football scores!


Alarm at 4 am. Shower and dress. Rusk and coffee at 4:45.  Out on coach at 5.  Into National Park at 5:30.  Had to wait for our 4x4, rather old, then off for game drive.  Damp and cool.  Saw lots of animals, including the big 5.  Back to the hotel by 1:15 ish.  Went to bar to get snack lunch and looked around the grounds.  Then back to room to rest.  Then out to nearby shopping mall to buy PCs.  Back via ponds in the hotel grounds. Shower, then very good dinner.

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Sunday 8th October - Day 5

Kruger Free Day

This is a day at leisure for anyone who just wants to take it easy by one of the pools at the hotel or do some hippo-spotting from the lovely lawn overlooking the river. Alternatively, you could try some elephant encounters, exciting microlight flights or even river rafting (all subject to weather conditions), as well as sunset safaris or night safaris where you can experience the unique thrill of an open 4x4 vehicle game drive by spotlight.

Exclusively for Riviera Travel guests, there are also a limited number of places available to stay the night at a tented camp and go on a bushwalk. Our camp provides a ‘glamping’ experience with comfortable beds, electricity and en-suite shower with WC. Our chef will create excellent wholesome cuisine and you can listen out for any nocturnal visitors whilst sitting around the campfire! You rejoin the main tour on the morning of day 6.


Lovely sunny morning. Chris went off at 10:00 for a micro light flight, back around 11:30, while Sue sat by the pool wrote PCs, and had a swim (lovely but cold).    Collected at 2:30 for another safari trip – weather changed and got stormy – massive in the second half of the ride.  Then went for meal in the grounds of the park. Dark by then – meal OK, but a pleasant experience outside in the dark, hearing frogs and birds.

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Microlight pics and movie clips

Monday 9th October – Day 6

Swaziland and Kwazulu natal

Today we leave Kruger on our way to the battlefields of Zululand. After breakfast we’ll drive south, entering the small but scenically beautiful country of Swaziland. As the road climbs past the interestingly-named Piggs Peak we descend through lush green fields and rolling hills interspersed with small farms and drive through the country’s small capital Mbabane, passing the parliament house and Royal Palace en route. We cross back into South Africa in the afternoon and enter Kwazulu Natal province, staying at the simple three-star Battlefields Lodge for two nights on bed and breakfast basis.


Up early.  In the coach and drove through Swaziland. Lovely countryside.  Got passports stamped. Had lunch at Swazi Candles Mall (bought 3 candles  - not 4!).  Landscape became boring – lots of eucalyptus and pine plantations.  Crossed the border back into South Africa (Zululand). Rough road to start with but got better.  More plantations.  Massive storm ahead – spectacular, but then almost stopped by the time we reached the hotel  - Battlefields Lodge.  Arrived 6.05 pm. Got cases, separated out laundry and headed towards the restaurant. Gave laundry to passing maid.  Had meal – very good.  Walked round grounds and lounge. Some interesting silo shaped accommodation.  Arrived back at room and lady came back with laundry done – 30 Rand! (Gave her 40).  Then got organised for the morning.

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Tuesday 10th October - Day 7

Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift

After breakfast we visit the battlefields of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. Brilliantly dramatised in the films Zulu Dawn and Zulu, these two battles, just a day apart, became a defining moment for the British Empire. In 1879 at Isandlwana, a depleted force of 1,300 were surprised and outmanoeuvred by a 20,000-strong Zulu army armed with cowhide shields and spears. Only a handful survived. The next day just 9 miles away, about 140 British soldiers, some wounded, held off 4,000 Zulus for over ten hours at Rorke’s Drift, an action earning eleven Victoria Crosses, the largest number ever awarded in a single engagement. Isandlwana particularly, remains a haunting and lonely place, with mass graves marked by simple white stones. Our specialist Zulu guide will really make those desperate encounters come alive. We return to our hotel in the afternoon. Lunch is included today.


6:30 alarm call, out for breakfast at 7:00 and departure at 7:45.  Drove to Dundee and then on to Isandlwana.  We picked up Dalton, our local guide, who gave us a good talk about the battle, drawing a diagram in the sand, out in the sun.  Then briefly back in the coach and on to Rorke's Drift. A storm started as we drove which meant we couldn't hear his further talk on the bus.  At the next stop we had our talk in the church, in case the weather got worse. This time he spoke too quickly to be easily understood.  It was dry enough afterwards to look at the monument, before continuing to the Talana Open Air Museum., where we had lunch. After lunch we had time to look around quite a bit before leaving at 3:45 and getting back to the hotel at 4:00. We all felt we needed longer at the museum as there was not enough time to see everything.  We had tea in the restaurant, looked at a bit of a DVD, and then had a walkabout and filmed the sunset.  Then a buffet dinner, packed up and went to bed.

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Wednesday 11th October - Day 8

Mossel Bay

After breakfast we return to Johannesburg airport, flying to George in the Western Cape and at the heart of the gorgeous Garden Route. We take the short drive to the coastal town of Mossel Bay and our hotel, the charming three-star superior Diaz Hotel & Resort with breakfast. The comfortable rooms all boast excellent sea views. Dinner at a local restaurant is included this evening.


Up at 5:30 and left at 6:45.  We drove through the Drakensberg Mountains, past many Boer/British battlefields, including Spion Kop.  We stopped for coffee at a petrol station/mall and saw our first weaver bird.  Then we carried on through boring countryside and arrived at Johannesburg airport at 12:30.  We checked our cases in and then had pizza for lunch – very good.  Our flight was at 2:30 and we arrived at George at 4:30.  We went by coach to Mossel Bay, arriving around 5:30.  We unpacked a bit and reported faulty lighting.  We met before the meal at 7:15, in the bar.  Our table was the last to be served and we both sent our main course back, as they were cold – the service at our table was very poor.

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Thursday 12th October - Day 9

Cango Caves and Oudtshoorn

Today we head inland, through stunning mountain scenery of the Ruitersbos Nature Reserve to the foot of the Swartberg Mountains. Here we’ll visit the spectacular Cango Caves, formed over millions of years in the soft limestone and South Africa’s best-known caves. Next we head to the small town of Oudtshoorn, a centre of ostrich farming since the 19th century. We’ll have the opportunity to see these fascinating creatures close up and learn about their habits. After an included lunch, we head back to Mossel Bay.


Up at 7:00 for a change, had a good breakfast and left at 8:30.  We drove in the rain over the mountains then the plains to the Black Mountains and the Cango Caves.  These were excellent.  Next we went to an ostrich farm, where we had a very good lunch, including ostrich (!) – and then had a tour of the farm, which was fine, but we spent longer there in the shop than necessary.  Back in Mossell Bay there was an optional trip to The Point suggested by our coach driver.  We carried on the point, for a very interesting walk about, on the beach and the surrounding area then back to the hotel. We had tea, a hair wash and then went to the bar for a snack.  We had good Indian fishcakes and duck spring rolls with chilli dipping sauce.  Then we paid the bill to save time in the morning.

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Caves

Friday 13th October - day 10

Hermanus

This morning we take the long scenic drive to the Cape’s beautiful Winelands.  We drive via Hermanus, and during July to November is the best time for on shore Whale watching. These gentle giants move in seemingly permanent slow motion and are a truly amazing sight as they playfully cavort in the water. You arrive in the Winelands by late afternoon, staying two nights on bed-and-breakfast at the excellent four-star Devon Valley Hotel, which is a real find. This little property is set on the valley slopes offering breathtaking views, lush gardens, a relaxing shady terrace, a comfortable bar with dark leather armchairs, fireplace and a wide selection of single malt whiskeys.


6:30 alarm, cases out at 7:00 and off at 8:00.  We drove for 40-50 minutes to the Aloe Vera factory.  The products had linalool or limonene in them so no use to Sue, but we had a good coffee.  Then we drove on along the N2 towards Hermanus, another 1½ hours.  Had a quick toilet stop then on through maize fields and saw blue cranes, arriving finally at Hermanus for lunch.  Had a salad lunch overlooking the sea and saw some whales.  We had 2 hours there so we chatted to a S.A. couple and walked along the sea front a bit.  Finally we drove through more maize fields and some vineyards and saw some Sable Deer.  We arrived at Stellenbosch and from there a short way to Devon Valley and our fantastic hotel.  We had a lovely room with great view and we could spread out.  We went for a simple wine tasting on the patio and then had pizza on the terrace, for dinner.

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Saturday 14th October - day 11

Winelands

Today we tour the awesomely beautiful Winelands. Set in a valley backed by majestic mountains, rows of manicured vines and orchards stretch into a distance studded by lime-washed, often thatched, 300-year-old wineries built in the unique Cape Dutch style, seemingly mirroring the undulations of the surrounding countryside. Our first stop is elegant Stellenbosch, established 300 years ago and home of South Africa’s most prestigious university. Period buildings and historic streets reinforce the town’s dignified atmosphere. We have time to explore this delightful town before enjoying a fascinating cellar tour and tasting at the Neethlingshof Wine Estate. After that, we visit the small town of Franschoek, set at the head of a valley. Tonight we’ll enjoy an included typical South African BBQ or Cape Malay buffet dinner at our hotel.


Alarm 7:15. Then an excellent breakfast and left at 8:45.  We headed for Stellenbosch and parked by the museum.  We went into the museum, which comprised 4 different, beautiful (17C, 18C) houses with gardens.  Then we walked down Dorp Street to The Braak (the Green), past the main shops, up Plein Street past the Nelson Mandela statue and back along Church Street to the coach.  We drove through the winelands to Franschhoek.  We had lunch at Café Franschhoek, looked around, and bought a card at the African Market.  There is music and food here on a Saturday.  We then drove on to a cellar tour and winetasting at the Neethlingshof Wine Estate -  we bought a bottle to take with us.  Back at the hotel we had a walk round the gardens and then started packing.  There was complimentary wine and in the bar, then a Cape Malay type buffet - very nice. Then we finished packing our main suitcases.

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Market 1

Market 2

Sunday 15th October - day 12

Cape Town

This morning we visit the amazing Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, located just outside Cape Town and set against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain.

These incredible gardens are some of the best in South Africa, with numerous fascinating endemic flora and orchid varieties. We soon arrive in Cape Town and our hotel, the four-star Southern Sun Waterfront Hotel, staying three nights on bed and breakfast. It is located right in the centre of this bustling city within walking distance of the V&A waterfront. The afternoon is spent at leisure when you can start to explore this beautiful city.


Alarm at 6:20, breakfast at 7:00 and out at 8:00.  Drove to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, on the outskirts of Cape Town.  We arrived in pouring rain, but looked round the greenhouse and the shop till it stopped.  We were given longer to look around so had time to walk up to the Protea Gardens and the Woodland Walkway till about 11:00.  Then the rain started again and we got on the coach and had a tour of parts of the city centre.  We were dropped off at the V&A Mall and had a look at the shops and harbour.  We had lunch (crepes) at the Food Hall after looking around the Craft Hall.  Back on the bus at 1:30 and then on to the hotel, where we had a welcome drink.  We paid for the Township Tour, the trip to Robben Island and transport to the musical/dinner event.  We rearranged the helicopter flight to the Wednesday morning and then did some sorting out in the room.  At 3:00 we walked out with Warwick to a nearby diamond wholesalers, and back around 4:15.  Back to our room to have a coffee and write up the diary. Then went round corner to very nice relaxed atmosphere at the Col'Cacchio pizzeria.

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Big wheel

Monday 16th October - day 13

Cape of Good Hope

This morning we visit the amazing Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, located just outside Cape Town and set against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain.

These incredible gardens are some of the best in South Africa, with numerous fascinating endemic flora and orchid varieties. We soon arrive in Cape Town and our hotel, the four-star Southern Sun Waterfront Hotel, staying three nights on bed and breakfast. It is located right in the centre of this bustling city within walking distance of the V&A waterfront. The afternoon is spent at leisure when you can start to explore this beautiful city.


Up at 6:00, a good breakfast and out on the coach around 7:30.  We drove down the west coast of the Cape Peninsula in the pouring rain, looking at the beaches on the way.  We stopped at Clifton and then again at a viewpoint just before Chapmans Peak, looking down over Hout Bay. We turned off the main road towards Misty Cliffs and Scarborough on the west side then the road went inland to the Smitswinkel National Park entrance.  We drove first to the Cape of Good Hope, and saw whales, ostriches (and their babies), sea lions and seals.  We had our photo taken there. It was drier by then.  We drove a mile or so east to Cape Point by this time the weather was good and sunny.  We saw an eland close by and then climbed to the hilltop where there's an old lighthouse (with very good views).  Then we started our trip back, up the east coast and to the penguin colony at Boulders Beach.  We had lunch first – Sue had excellent baby hake and Chris had Carew stew – all very good. Then we looked at the penguins - loads of them.  The drive back went through Simon's Town, past the Silvermine Nature Reserve and up the M3 (in pouring rain).  Back in Cape Town, the driver took us to the top of Signal Hill, by which time it was very windy but dry enough to get a good view down over the city. Then we went back to the hotel by about 4:30 and said goodbye to our (very good) driver JR!  We had a cup of tea and decided to have a small dinner in the hotel restaurant, which was very pleasant.

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Cape Town

Tuesday 17th October - day 14

Free day in Cape Town

Cape Town, featuring British, Dutch and Cape Malay influences, is simply one of the world’s most naturally beautiful cities with so much to offer the visitor! You could do some bargain shopping at the Waterfront, followed by a sumptuous seafood lunch. Or maybe go people-watching at fashionable Camps Bay? Obviously no visit to Cape Town is complete without taking a revolving cable car ride to the top of iconic Table Mountain which has announced the city to generations of sea-farers. The views are fabulous. You should also visit Robben Island (weather permitting and based on availability), where Nelson Mandela spent most of his 27-year incarceration, and whose visitors since its opening have included Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Bill Gates and even Nelson Mandela himself. Perhaps though, simply wander where your feet take you, or relax a little, taking afternoon tea in beautiful colonial splendour at the Mount Nelson hotel – the choice is yours.


Alarm at 7:00, breakfast at 7:30 and out at 8:30.  Went on the township tour, with an excellent guide.  We started at the District Six Museum, commemorating the community that was forcibly removed in the apartheid era.  We then went to the township of Langa, visiting the cultural centre, a nursery and several slums, looking inside where people were living (they welcomed us in). There was also more modern housing . Where people owned their homes they took pride in them, extending them and some built colonnaded front doorways.  Our Robben Island trip was cancelled due to high winds, so we were dropped off at the waterfront again.  We had paninis for lunch, listened to some music and bought some cards.  Then we took the Red Bus Tour which was open topped and with the sunny weather and an excellent commentary allowed us to see and learn a lot about the city.  It took us up to the lower cable car station, which gave us good views.  Back at the hotel we then took our trip out for the cabaret evening at the Rockwell Theatre, with a good buffet – an excellent end to the day.

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Museum

School 1

School 2

Cabaret - a total of 15 clips combined into a long video (20 minutes).

Wednesday 18th October - day 15

Return Flight

Our final day in Cape Town is at leisure before a transfer to the airport, at the appropriate time, for our return flight via Johannesburg to the UK.


Up at 6:00 and out at 7:15 for our helicopter ride down the Cape Peninsula. Sunny day and great visibility.  Flew over Pat & Pete's marina. We got back and packed up and left the suitcases downstairs while we went for a walk.  We said goodbye to the rest of the group and Pat arrived just after that at 12:00.  We drove down the west coast of the cape to Camps Bay, for coffee.  Then we went up to the cable car station again – the weather was great, so it was packed out with people who had been unable to go up in the few days earlier.  We then went down to Hout Bay for more sightseeing.  Then we went across to Marina Da Gama and Pat's house, stopping off at the Pick and Pay for some shopping.  We took the dog (Shimba) for a walk on the marina island. Pat cooked bobotie for supper (a South African dish of spiced mince with an egg-based topping), which we ate fairly late with all the family. – Alistair and his son Hamish who were staying with Pat  – and daughter Kirsty and Steven who lived next door.

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Helicopter take off

Helicopter - Marina Da Gama

Thursday 19th October - day 16

Had a leisurely breakfast. Met Gigi, a good friend who lived just round the corner - a delightful and most interesting lady.  Went to the local shop to order food for later.  Then went on to visit the Constantia vineyards (Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia, Constantia Glen) and ate a late lunch at the last one. (Sue lost her hat somewhere!).  On the way back we picked up the ordered frozen food in Muizenberg and more food at the local Pick-and-Pay.  We had sausage and chips – some ate next door and some at Pat's.

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Friday 20th October - day 17

Had another late start and walked the dog.   Then we went down the east coast, via Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek, Simon's Town and to the penguins, again at Boulders Beach. On the way back we stopped to see seals at Fish Hoek and to see Duncan's restaurant.  We came back via High Constantia and Pat pointed out her previous house and where some celebrities lived.  We called in on Tammy, Rob and lovely baby - Charlotte.  Alistair cooked for us, beef bourguignonne, which we ate next door at Steven and Kirsty's.  The girls were busy watching Crocodile Dundee.

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Saturday 21st October - day 18

Up latish again.  We looked after Hamish while Alistair made work phone calls.  Around 12:00 we set off for a long trip, up to the north of Cape Town, to Langebaan following instuctions fom Gigi on the best route through Cape Town.  Then it was a very long straight road most of the way.  We stopped off at an amazing café, with many caged birds and wood sculptures and had bacon and egg sandwiches and coffee. We got to Langebaan and walked onto the main beach, where there were lots of kite-surfers – many learning.  We walked along the beach a bit and back.  Then we drove to a beach a little further north, to the Mykonos Casino area for ice cream at the waterfront.  We back drove down the coast road this time, to get view of Table Mountain.  We had a meal at Findlay's on the Bay, near Blouberg, after sunset.

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Weaver bird

Kite surfers 1

Kite surfers 2

Sunday 22nd October - day 19

Up at a leisurely pace.  Pat looked after Hamish while we walked on the beach with Shimba at Muizenburgh, where there was a big car boot type market.  The weather was great.  We came back and sorted out our packing.  Then late morning we went to (son) Duncan and Lorean's house on another part of the marina, for coffee.  We heard their plans for a small pool in front of the house. Again – lovely people and a lovely house and position. After we got our packing done we had a late lunch in the garden and then went off to the airport around 4:00.

Courting grebes

 

Cornwall

27 June2017

These photos relate to a week's holiday we had in Corwall (mostly) and Devon. Here's a selection of panoramas to give a taste. There are also a couple of YouTube video clips marked below.

Date Diary entry

Dropbox photos

Wednesday 14th June – Day 1

Travel to Falmouth

We drove down to Falmouth, stopping for a picnic lunch on the edge of Dartmoor. On arrival we unpacked and then walked along the coast road and round Pendennis Castle. We ate at the beachside cafe/restaurant across the road from the Anacapri Guest House, where we were staying - all the formal tables were booked but the barbeque offering was fine. After that we walked east along the coastal path to Swanpool and backl.

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Thursday 15th June – Day 2

From Falmouth

We drove to Glendurgan Gardens (NT) and walked down the valley to the village on the river. After that we went on to the neighbouring Trebah Garden (private). We had soup there for lunch. We continued along to Helford Passage, parked, and took the foot ferry over the estuary for a short walk along the opposite bank. We came back and sat at the Ferryboat Inn and watched the world go by.

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Friday 16th June – Day 3

From Falmouth

We parked in Falmouth and took the foot ferry across to St Mawes.We did a circular walk of about 5 miles (from Walkingworld) and back to St Mawes for a pub lunch. Then we took the much smaller ferry across to Place, had a short walk to the church and then back. In Falmouth they had started a weekend festival of sea shanties. We popped into a church for half an hour and listened to a ladies' acapella choir - terriffic. We wandered around the town a bit and found a Greek resturant - a nice change.

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Acapella ladies

Saturday 17th June – Day 4   

Travel to Charlestown

On our way to the next hotel we visited the Trelissik Gardens (NT). We used another Walkingworld route to explore the area around the site. In the afternoon we took the King Harry (car) ferry across the river. We went through a maze of small roads to reach Mevagissey and then on to Charlestown, in time for an evening meal at our hotel (the Pier House). After the meal we had a short wander round the harbour area.

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Sunday 18th June - Day 5

From Charlestown

We spent a long time exploring the wonderful Lost Gardens of Helligan. Later on in the afternoon we carried on for another look around Mevagissey and ate mussels at the Harbour Tavern. Then we came back to look around Charlestown again.

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Mad dog

Monday 19th June – Day 6

From Charlestown

We started by paying to go into the museum area of the harbour in Charlestown and looked around a "tall ship", from Talinn. Then off for most of the day to the Eden Project. Given the hot weather, the Mediterranean and Tropical biomes were very hot. After lunch and a bit more exploring of the outside gardens we drove on a little way to Fowey and walked around the harbour area.

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Tuesday 20th June - Day 7

Travel to Ipplepen

Having packed up we first drove as far as Looe. We parked in a riverside carpark and took a small ferry over the main river to explore and have a coffee. On the way to Plymouth we went to look around Anthony House and its grounds (NT and still lived in by the Carew Pole family). After lunch there we took the Torpoint Ferry over to Devon and on to Bulleigh Barton. We got there about 6pm, had a swim and then a cream tea.

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Wednesday 21st June - Day 8

From Ipplepen

We had pre-booked a carpark slot at Greenway (NT - Agatha Christie) so visited that . A guide gave a 30 minute introduction, which set the scene very well. We then went on to Coleton Fishacre (NT - D'Oyley Carte). We had been before but loved the 20's house and the garden. We went back for a swim and then ate at Combe Cellars, on the banks of the Teign.

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Thursday 22nd June - Day 9

Travel home

Since Sue had an arthroscopy scheduled for the next day, we didn't dawdle but went straight home - arriving about 2pm.

 

 

Ecuador and the Galapagos

26 March 2017

These photos relate to a two-week holiday we had in Ecuador and the Galapagos, arranged by Mountain Kingdoms.

Date Diary entry

Dropbox photos

Friday 24th Feb – Day 1

Travel to Quito

Taxi to Heathrow at 4.15 a.m . Very quick drive to Heathrow. 50 mins to Amsterdam, plane packed. Long walk in transit. Economy Comfort not full so able to spread out. 12-hour flight. Arrived 4.30 p.m. local time. Met by Fabien (Freire) who sent us on in a taxi to hotel as another couple were arriving later.
Booked in at Hotel Reina Isabel. After 1½ hours went down to meet Ian and Claire who had booked the trip too. We had a light meal in the hotel then bed.

Saturday 25th Feb – Day 2

First day in Quito

Good breakfast then met the boss of Andeanface (local trip organiser) at 10a.m. for a chat about the itinerary, with a slide show. Had a short rest then walked around the eateries area of the locality looking for the recommended restaurants. We bought water and had a snack lunch at the Magic Bean, which was O.K.

Met Fabien at the hotel at 2p.m. to drive to the Old Town. We parked at the Basilica and looked at that, climbing the tower to get a good view of the of the town below us (it was a 4-day Carnival weekend so there was plenty to see and very good) and around it for some time, then got on the public bus back to the Basilica and drove to the hotel.
We went out to eat with Ian and Claire at a restaurant serving local cuisine (Mama Clorinda). It was raining slightly, later there was heavy rain. (We walked down into the town)

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Sunday 26th Feb – Day 3

Walk round and into Pululahua Crater, then to Mitad del Mundo

Breakfast, then out with boots and sticks to Pululahua crater - weather hot and dry. This is the largest cultivated crater in the world (diameter 8 km). There were wonderful views from the top. Walked down a steep rocky path to the bottom 300m below, with locals on foot, horseback and mule coming up. Walked round the perimeter of the base for about 2 hours on good paths – it was lovely.  Sue found it very hard work climbing back up but Fabien got Sue to walk very slowly pacing her so that she didn't need to stop. It took 45mins down and 1 hour 10 mins up.

We then drove on to Mitad del Mundo – centre of the world as estimated by team of European scientists/explorers. We took photos then had a late lunch of -  Achiote. We found a quiet corner – Sue had some very good steak and Chris had lamb stew on rice in a plantain ring followed by cheesecake.

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Monday 27th Feb – Day 4   

Cochasqui Pyramids, Peguche and Hacienda Pinsaqui

Started out at 9.00am – lots of roads closed as yesterday, for the festival. Picked up a large picnic from the office then drove towards the Cochasqui Pyramids and llamas site, picking up bread on the way. The site is in a beautiful setting with lovely views but the weather was warm and it was a bit hazy. The pyramids are pre- Inca and very impressive and there were lots of llamas and alpacas.  We picnicked in the countryside then drove on to Peguche but because of the festival and everyone having a fun time with water fights and foam there were crowds of people and blocked streets. We decided to drive on to the Hacienda Pinsaqui and visit the falls in 2 days time. We arrived in rain – it had been a very wet afternoon - there was a leak in the roof of Ian and Claire's room. The hacienda was an amazing place, full of history. The rain stopped and we explored the beautiful grounds. (Simon Bolivar stayed there to sign the peace treaty between Colombia and Ecuador in the 1700s).
There were 2 coach parties arriving so we had a special welcome drink in the great hall with live local band too. The hacienda had been family owned for at least 6 generations. We had supper then a quick walk up to the main road then bed in our fantastic bedroom – it was cold but staff had put the fire on for us.

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Tuesday 28th Feb - Day 5

Cuicocha Crater

Got up early for breakfast at 7. Out at 8 to Cuicocha (guinea pig lake ). Got permits, made picnic on trestle tables put out for the market stalls.  Climbed anticlockwise high above the lake up to 3456 metres, sometimes through bits of mist.  Sue found it hard but was getting used to pacing sensibly.  Had picnic 4/5 of way round (Sue felt slightly sick so didn't eat much). The walk took 5¾ hours including picnic stop. The weather was dry – there were clouds on the peaks but lower views were good.

We had another look at the views then looked at the exhibition in the visitors centre before driving on to Cuicocha town, famous for its leather goods (there were beautiful handbags, shoes etc in the shop windows). We had excellent coffee and a brownie at a café in the square, which Fabien frequented, then back to the hacienda. We had drinks by the fire and chatted (Fabien joined us a bit later). The coach parties had left in the morning so there were only a few guests left. We had dinner at 7.30 – soup, trout and babaco. Packed a bit then bed – there were hot water bottles in the bed.
While at the hacienda Sue chatted to a lady from Vancouver – she was a nurse and part of a team from Canada who came out for a fortnight to perform orthopaedic operations on poor people – borrowing space in a Quito hospital – they gave up their holiday time to do this. She and her friend were having a few extra days sightseeing at the end of their session.

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Wednesday 1st March – Day 6

Peguche Waterfall, Otovalo, Cotopaxi and Chilcabamba Lodge

Packed, breakfast at 7.30. Left at 9.00 for the Peguche waterfall. The weather was good though it was damp under foot. There had been plenty of rain so the falls were spectacular and the setting beautiful. Then we drove onto Otovalo market. Fabien showed us how to bargain. He could also smell the difference between alpaca and other fibres and helped Clare buy 2 alpaca cardigans. He helped Sue to buy a silver pendant bargaining down from $35 to $26. We wandered round the market but didn't find anything else quite right for our ideas, then drove on towards the Cotopaxi region. We stopped at one of the numerous Biscotti bakers in Cayambe in the rain and watched them making the biscuits – we then sampled their biscotti with caramel sauce - very good - and had coffee - all during a torrential thunderstorm, enough to cause leaks in the roof!

The rain continued and we stopped in St Raphael village at the St Louis Mall (a large modern indoor shopping centre like ones in the UK). We had lunch at a Spanish café then drove through more torrential rain with roads like rivers. Near our destination we had to back and detour through a farm to avoid being swept away by the water raging across the road. (The Rio Pita flows alongside the cobbled road).
We arrived at the Chilcabamba Lodge at 4.30. We had a beautiful room supplied with ponchos and a wood-burning stove. Chilcabamba is within the 15 km radius warning zone for imminent eruption of Cotapaxi, so on arrival we needed to read the evacuation instructions. The comparatively recent eruptions had cut tourism to the area with property and accommodation forced to close.

We had a hot welcoming drink in the main building; the setting was wonderful with volcanoes in all directions (we were now on the 'paramo' a high moorland plain at about 3600m). We had dinner at 7.30 – pumpkin soup, pork chop and fig and cheese in syrup – all excellent.
Got back to room to find towel singed on chimney. Sorted out clothes for Cotapaxi then bed.

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Thursday 2nd March - Day 7

Cotopaxi

Up at 7 - breakfast at 8 - very good fruit juice, fruit granola, yoghurt, scrambled eggs, croissants and jam.
Out at 8.50, starting with a short drive to the paramo area of the Cotapaxi national park. Practised walking at altitude along a fairly flat road, then drove higher and did the same. Ian felt a bit woozy and faint.

We then drove to the highest car park – about 4600m. The weather was misty and damp with no views. The route to the refuge (Jose F Ribas) at 4810 m was up very steep moraine. It would have taken about 45mins - 1hr. We all decided owing to the weather to abandon the climb. Instead we had a trip back through a flat paramo area with large boulders in it – there were hailstones everywhere. We then headed to the Tambopaxi restaurant within the national park for lovely empanadas - they tasted quite like pancakes – we also had biscuits with caramel from yesterday.

Then there was a massive thunder and lightning storm. At the park gates the warden said the route to the Inca ruins was impassable because of flooding, so we headed back. The rain had almost stopped so decided to walk a lot of the way back – still storms around, eventually it got too wet and we got a lift with Fabien.
We started getting our clothes dry and had a rest, then went over to main building for cup of tea.
We had a superb meal of potato soup, steak with spaghetti bolognese and salad, followed by cheesecake with a blackberry sauce.

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Friday 3rd March - Day 8

Lake Pimpiopungo, Ambato, Rio Bamba, Chimbarazo Base Camp Hillstar Lodge

After a good breakfast we left by 9, going back into the national park to Lake Limpiopungo. We had a lovely walk around the lake and saw lots of birds on and around the lake and some interesting wild flowers. We had a short drive then a 20-minute walk down the side of a spectacular gorge through a nature reserve (unfortunately it was very misty so we didn't get the best views of it). At the end of this there was a building housing an exhibition about the volcanoes.

We then drove on a long way stopping at a bakery/cafe in Ambato for a very good sandwich lunch.
We travelled on to Rio Bamba, getting stuck in great traffic because of road closures, due to Carnival/political parades, as we approached the town. Fabien dropped us off at the cathedral in the town square – unfortunately the main part was closed but we saw part of it and the other buildings in the square. We watched the end of the parade as we walked towards the railway station where Fabien had arranged to meet us.
We found Fabien beside our jeep with several people who were helping him to open it (he had locked the keys inside). The station had an exhibition of old railway equipment etc and also a model of the Devil's Nose Track where trains have to zig zag up changing direction, moving the engine from one end of the train to the other.

We then continued on to the Chimbarazo Base Camp Hillstar Lodge – a fantastic building and setting with llamas in the distance. There were wonderful views of Chimbarazo from the main building as the sun set; our food was more basic here.  Accommodation was in a separate building across a small stream. We had comfortable rooms but we were kept awake by barking dogs (chasing wolves?) and the altitude, 4000m, which made you very conscious of your breathing rate.

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Saturday 4th March - Day 9

Chimborazo, Ambato, Quito

Got up early to finish packing, breakfast at 7.30, out at 8.30. Met our local Indian guide with his motorbike then drove through the mist towards Chimborazo, spotting lots of beautiful vicunas on the way. We joined our guide in the jeep at the gates to the park and we had a 'hairy' drive through the mist to the base hut and car park at about 4800m. We saw a Caracara on the way up. We walked slowly up through snow to the Wymper hut on a good but steep track. The mountain was clear of mist – we stopped to offer thanks for the mountain and its surroundings etc., repeating line by line after our guide spoke the words, when we were in sight of the hut and the peak. We stopped briefly at the Wymper hut (5020m) to have a break and take photos before descending carefully on slippery snow.

Having dropped off our guide at the park gate we drove on to Ambato for lunch at the same café as the previous day, then back to the north side of Quito to the lovely hotel Jimenita. The rooms were amazing. We had a farewell drink with Fabien in the garden then had a walk in the gardens and grounds, chatting to the owner. After a bit of a sort out of our clothes and shower we had a very good meal.

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Sunday 5th March - Day 10 (cruise day 1)

To the Galapagos

Up at 5.30 for breakfast at 6. A coach party were occupying the tables so breakfast was late.  Chris didn't feel too well – cough and sore throat. Left at 7 with Xavier for the airport. Short flight to Guayaquil (45mins), waited on plane then continued with about 1½ hour flight to St. Cristobel (Chatham) island , landing at the capital, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.

We were met by David and Carlos, the two Naturalists from Ecoventura – our guides for the cruise. We arrived about 12 but had to wait a bit for the bus to take us the very short trip to the quay, then a short wait for the 'pangas' (RIBs) to take us to our boat, the Letty – all wearing life jackets.
After a late lunch we got fitted with wetsuits and snorkelling gear plus numbered bag for snorkels and flippers. Sue opted to try snorkelling from the panga – for a short time before getting tired - while Chris stayed on the boat to look at the scenery.
We then returned to unpack and dress for the Captain's cocktails at 7.00 followed by dinner. Our cabin was very close to the mess and engine room so very noisy at night – had to ask the crew not to chat outside.

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Monday 6th March - Day 11 (cruise day 2)

Wake up call at 7, good breakfast at 7.30. En route we went in the pangas to an arched rock formation in the sea called Cathedral Cave, passing through it when the waves and swell were right.  We landed from the panga at Cero Brujo beach then walked along the beach to the main white coral beach past marine iguanas. We walked along the beach for a while then went kayaking from 10.30 to 11.00, followed by a swim. Back to the boat for a 12.30 lunch and afternoon siesta while the boat travelled on to Punta Pitt at the NE tip of St Cristobel.

About 3pm we left the boat to take a walk, spotting lots of blue-footed boobies close up and red-footed boobies nesting in the shrubs.  There were plenty of sea lions as well as other birds - it was a very good walk. We had a quick swim then returned to Letty for shower at 7:00pm briefing then dinner c. 7.30pm.


(Each day when we returned to the boat Claudia hosed down our feet and footwear separately, to ensure we did not cross contaminate the islands. We then returned our lifejackets to the deck above where Gonzales was always ready with drinks and snacks).

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Tuesday 7th March - Day 12 (cruise day 3)

Wake up 7, breakfast 7.30 left wearing boots for a dry landing at 8.30 on the island of Espanola at Punta Suarez, then we walked along rocky terrain, finding sticks useful, looking at the red and green coloured marine iguanas, the sea lions and the flat area of the albatross nesting site (wrong season to see them). We saw a hawk and Nazca boobies and Darwin's finches. We also watched the waves at the blowhole in the rocks. Also saw brightly coloured Sally Lightfoot crabs and Galapagos doves – all very interesting.

After lunch and a siesta Sue joined other to do deep-water snorkelling at 2.20pm while Chris stayed in bed. Then back to the Letty before there was a wet landing at Gardener Bay. Sue walked along the beautiful beach for a bit then had a lovely swim before returning to Letty.

After the 7pm briefing we had an enjoyable dinner with Karen and Steve – the prawns were amazing.

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Wednesday 8th March - Day 13 (cruise day 4)

Wake up 7, breakfast 7.30. We had a wet landing on Floreana at Punta Cormorant – a green sand beach. We walked in sandals on a sunny day to a brackish lagoon to watch the flamingos - they were very pink, supposed to be the pinkest in the world because of their diet.
We then followed the trail to a beach backed by dunes where the sea turtles lay their eggs. On this beach there were lots of stingrays in the shallows.
Just after 10 we were back on the Letty. About 11 Sue did an easy deep-water snorkel at Champion Cove, wearing life jacket rather than uncomfortable wet suit. She swam amongst smaller sea lions seeing loads of beautiful fish and baby marine iguanas etc.

Lunch was at 12.30 followed by siesta time. Later in the afternoon we had a long panga ride looking at sea lions and turtles etc – also chasing some tiny Galapagos penguins and watched baby sea lions playing in the shallows. Then we had a wet landing at Post Office Bay. We had written a post card to Jen so we left it there and picked up one for West London. The beach wasn’t the best but Sue did a bit of swimming and Chris a bit of snorkelling and saw a sea turtle and other things. Meanwhile the crews from Eric, Letty and Origin played their traditional inter-crew football match on a basic flat sandy pitch just above the beach.
It started to rain about 5 so we headed back to Letty slightly earlier than planned for a shower, presentation / briefing at 7 followed by dinner at 7.30.

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Thursday 9th March - Day 14 (cruise day 5)

We arrived at Santa Cruz. Wake up 7, breakfast 7.30.  We had a dry landing at Puerto Ayora. We took a bus into the highlands, where the vegetation was quite lush, to see the tortoise reserve at Las Primicias, where the giant tortoises were in their natural habitat. We changed into wellies before walking round spotting them. On the same site we took our torches and walked through a giant lava tube, which was very impressive. Then we tried out their locally grown coffee, it was expensive so we didn't buy any.
We were slightly late getting back to Letty so we had lunch at 12.30 followed by a short siesta - then there was a briefing about Friday, about 2.45.

At 3.30 we had a dry landing to visit the Charles Darwin Research Centre. It was a very hot day. We looked around the area where they were breeding giant tortoises etc and saw some of the indoor exhibits, also we bought flannels for Tilly and Isaac in their gift shop and we got our passport copies stamped.
After that we went into another gift shop where there was Wi-Fi and bought some postcards but they didn't sell stamps. We walked back to town looking everywhere for somewhere that sold stamps, eventually finding some on the 2nd floor of the supermarket near the port. We got back on board late at 6.30 and had dinner slightly later than planned. Then we went on the top deck to view the lights of the town, it was very attractive but photos were not successful.

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Friday 10th March - Day 15 (cruise day 6)

Up and breakfast as usual. Left in pangas at 8.30 for a dry landing on the island of Bartolome wearing swimming costumes. Bartolome is relatively young, so we climbed up 380 steps over amazing lava fields to a high peak. David explained the origin of the landscape with its lava cones, cinder cones etc. At the top there was a lighthouse and there were spectacular panoramic views. We then went in the pangas round to a beautiful beach near pinnacle rock. Here we snorkelled from the beach – it was wonderful.  We swam among great shoals of large fish and had penguins diving down under us (the most enjoyable session) . We also just swam from the beach, avoiding the stingrays in the shallows.
We returned for lunch later than planned, around 11.30, then lunched at 12.30. As it was a very hot day we had a longer siesta before setting off in the pangas about 4.00 for a ride out past some lovely beaches then into the mangrove swamps consisting of a series of coves. Here we spotted lots of young sharks of varied colours, sea turtles and a beautiful spotted ray and quite a lot of birdlife.
At 6.15 we returned to Letty for a 7.00 briefing followed by dinner. It was a very good day.

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Saturday 11th March - Day 16

Up and out as usual at 8.30 wearing sandals for a dry landing at South Plaza (one of a pair of islands to the east of Santa Cruz). In fact the steps were very slippery from the sea lions. We watched lots of sea lions playing in the shallows and bulls basking, walking along a lower ground through Opuntia cacti where there were lots of land iguanas - they were feeding off the cactus leaves, climbing up onto them. We walked across to the cliffs where the views were good. We saw lots of swallow-tailed gulls and tropical birds, but there were no dolphins!  
Back to Letty 11/11.30 for lunch at 12 followed by siesta time whilst we travelled to North Seymour.  Deep-water snorkelling was offered but we started packing for the long trip home. At 4.00 we had a dry landing on North Seymour, Chris was still feeling ill so rested instead. It was very rocky at the start so Sue wore trainers and used a stick. The trail took us close to large numbers of land iguanas and blue footed boobies (males were displaying their feet to woo females). There were also large numbers of Frigate birds nests, often with several males close together (the largest colony in the Galapagos) putting on an amazing display of their inflated red throats desperately trying to woo the females. We watched their antics for some time.  When we returned to the panga at 6.00 we noticed there was a big swell on the sea, but it wasn't a problem.
We had a quick change before the Captain's farewell drinks party. We hadn't seen him during the trip and evidently he had been ill the whole time.  This was followed by a slide show presentation by David and Carlos. They asked for feedback verbally and later we filled in their form too. There was a briefing for Sunday, followed by a really hard sell on tipping – they wanted $250 per guest. We thought this outrageous and ignored it giving what we thought appropriate.
At dinner we sat with Michael and Peter and had a fascinating conversation, then packed for an early start on Sunday.

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Sunday 12th March - Day 17

Up at 6.00 and finished packing, as luggage had to be in the lounge area by 7.30, including rucksacks, passports and immigration cards. Breakfast at 7.30 as usual then we left in the pangas with our carry-on luggage to disembark on St. Cristobel. There were lots of large sea lions basking on and under the benches on the pier – it was a very hot day. We took a bus for the short trip inland to the interpretation centre which was modern and set in a park like area. Here we could see an overview of the natural and human history of the islands. Next we went off to the airport to check in our bags but there were big queues so Carlos hadn't been able to get ahead with that so it took some time (the reason became apparent later).
We returned on the bus to the port area, which had quite a long promenade. As we walked along David showed us a café where we could get a sandwich and good ice cream and where we could use Wi-Fi. We wandered along the waterfront promenade, which was pleasant but hot. On the way back we looked in the shops for some possible souvenirs and managed to find a chart of Galapagos animals, fish and birds for Isaac.
Then back to the café where we joined Joanne, Scottie Mary and Robin. We had coffee and ice-creams. We walked over to the bus about 12.00 for the 2 minute ride to the airport.
There were huge queues as Guayaquil airport was flooded (along with much of Ecuador, Peru and Colombia) so lots of flights, including ours with Avianca, were delayed or cancelled as planes couldn't get out to the islands. We sat around and filled up the time looking at the airport shops and managed to find a colourful woven bag for Tilly.
After some time David managed to get seats for Ian, Claire and ourselves on a TAME airline flight to Guayaquil as one of their planes had managed to get in. The rest of the group waited for the Avianca flight, as they didn't have connecting flights to catch.
At Guayaquil airport there were horrendous queues at baggage check in and security – it took 1½ hours. Ian and Claire, who were on a flight 2 hours later came through just before we boarded. People for our flight were being called out and given transfer cards and put in a separate queue. The plane was pretty full and it became clear that people with the transfer cards had been booked on flights that had been abandoned or delayed.
We didn't get much sleep but watched films to while away the time.

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Monday 13th March - Day 18 We wandered round Amsterdam airport for a bit and bought a fridge magnet and biscuits for Sam and biscuits for Maggie.
The flight to Heathrow was on time, luggage arrived quite quickly, the taxi driver was waiting and a quiet M4, so that bit was very easy!
 

 

2016

Krakow

14 October2016

These photos relate to a weekend sightseeing holiday we had in Krakow, arranged by Riviera Holidays.

The diary notes are not comprehensive - just to give context to the photos.

Date Diary entry YouTube clips

Dropbox photos

Friday, October 14th

We arrived after lunch, and the afternoon was described in the brochure as "free". However our guide, Karolina, offered to take for a familiarisation walk into town from the hotel. She took us to the main Market Square of the Old Quarter, and then left us to wander, explore and make our own way back.

We walked into the impressive St Mary's Church, through the Cloth Hall (with stalls all along the inner walkway) and then south to Wawek Hill and the Castle area. We then walked back along the riverbank to the hotel.

Church interior 1

Church interior 2

The Market Square and town centre

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Saturday, October 15h

The morning was taken up with a comprehensive tour, covering a similar path to the day before, but with a detailed commentary from Karolina. We finished up in the castle (and had a simple lunch there) and then made our way back to the hotel via the market - checking out possible Xmas presents and food to take back.

In the afternoon, we chose the optional tour of the Salt Mine at Wieliczka, a short coach ride from Krakow. We had a specialist guide, for this particular experience. You start by going down 54 flights of wooden steps .... to the first floor ... then it gets really interesting. Some of the vast excavated "rooms" are supported with beams - but the chapel is a huge unsupported cavern. Then down some more steps, but luckily we got a lift back from the second floor to the surface.

  Walking through town to the market

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From the market to the castle and back to the hotel

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The Salt Mine

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Sunday, October 16th

Today we visited the museum at Auschwitz, which took all the morning. Much to learn and remember as you look at the buildings and the photos - and take in the story you're told as you go through. Moving on to nearby Birkenau, we only had a much shorter time there. We had another specialist guide for the visit here - Martha - again excellent.

We then accepted an offered trip to the Jewish Quarter and Ghetto of Krakow, in the afternoon, with yet another different guide (a friend of Karolina). We spotted Schindler's Factory and learnt even more about plight of the Jews in Poland during the war.

  Auschwitz and Birkenau

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Jewish Quarter and Ghetto

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Monday, October 17th

Our flight back to London meant leaving the hotel at 11:00, which gave us time to go to the shops for a final search for some pastries and some cheese, to take home.

Photos from the plane window

10

 

Iceland

8 August 2016

These photos relate to a 10-day walking/sightseeing holiday we had in Iceland, arranged by HF Holidays. This trip was a busy time with a really friendly party of travellers.

I have a few dozen (36) Panoramas - all together, but in date order - but the standard photos are separated out into a folder per day, on Dropbox.

The YouTube clips are of varying lengths, and mostly quite short. (Any longer ones are from several clips joined together).

The diary notes are not comprehensive - just to give context to the photos. The day-by-day descriptions have initially been copied directly from the HF Itinerary, since we didn't keep our own diary on this trip. I shall add our own diary notes as we have time to compose them - these additions are in italics.

Date Diary entry YouTube clips

Dropbox photos

Tuesday, July 19th

To Reykjavik - Fly to Reykjavik and begin your holiday with either a soak in the hot springs of the Blue Lagoon (payable locally), or a short mountain stroll on Thorbjorn, before heading to Reykjavik and dinner at our hotel, the Fosshotel Reykjavik (1 night). 

We did the walk, which ended up at the Blue Lagoon, so we could see that as well as those who chose to bathe).

The Blue Lagoon

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Wednesday, July 20th Thórsmörk - Explore this popular walking area with its gorges, glaciers and protected birch forests, including the moss green gorge of Stakkholtsgjá, before continuing to our evening's accommodation at Hotel Hvolsvollur (2 nights). Stakkholtsgjá Gorge

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Thursday, July 21st

Landmannalaugar - Travel over the black volcanic sands of Hekla volcano and walk in this volcanic zone with contrasting colours and rock formations. It’s possible to relax in the natural hot springs after the day’s walk.

Walking on the moon (at Domaladur)

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Friday, July 22nd

To Skaftafell - Journey along the south coast, with a stop at the dramatic seashore of Reynisfjara. We continue along the south coast passing the small village of Vik and the black sandy plains south of the Mýrdalsjökull glacier, before reaching Skaftafell National Park. Afternoon arrival at the Fosshotel Skaftafell for 3 nights in a great location on the edge of the national park.

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Saturday, July 23rd

Glacier Lagoon - Skaftafell - East to Glacier Lagoon, Jökulsárlón and Breidarlon. Our walks disover the wilderness desert region of Öræfasveit, and tour Breidarlon. There's also plenty of time left, for some optional visits including: boat tours among the icebergs, and slightly quirky birdwatching tours to Ingolfshofdi Cap by tractor-drawn wagon!

We did both these extra trips.

Glacier Lagoon

Trapped icebergs

Puffins

Haywagon ride

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Sunday, July 24th

Skaftafell National Park - Stunning walking in Europe’s largest national park, with views on a clear day of Iceland’s highest peak, Hvannadalshnúkur, and trails across Skaftafell moor to a lookout over the immense glacier. We include the impressive Svartifoss (black waterfall) in our trip.

 

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Monday, July 25th

To Selfoss - Heading west again we stop at Fjadrargljufur canyon and Skogar to admire the Skogar waterfall, at 60m high, one of the highest in Iceland. Afternoon visits include Thorvaldseyri, where we learn about the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull. We spend the evening at Hotel Selfoss (1 night).


Skogar waterfall

Skogar waterfall - from behind

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Tuesday, July 26th

The Golden Circle - A day of amazing sights in Iceland’s ‘Golden Circle’. See the regular eruptions of Strokkur geyser and Gullfoss, one of the world’s most dramatic waterfalls, with walks in the Thingvellir National Park. Evening arrival at our hotel near Borgarnes, the Fosshotel Reykholt (2 nights).

Waterfall at our lunch stop

Geyser (from a distance)

Geyser (close up)

Gullfoss Falls

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Wednesday, July 27th

Snæfellsness Peninsula - Today we visit the peninsula and the National Park area around the glacier. This is a day of excellent walking in an area that is said to resemble a mini-Iceland.

Fun for kids

1)   2)   3)   4)

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Thursday, July 28th

Borgarfjordur & Hvalfjordur - Beginning our day at Grabrok, we visit the must see waterfalls of Hraunfossar and Barnafoss, before driving along Hvalfjordur (fjord of the whales), to begin our hike to the beautiful Glymur waterfall. We return to Reykjavik for our final evening.

Hot water at Reykholt

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Friday, July 29th

Reykjavik & departure - transfer to Keflavik airport for your return flight home.

We walked into the town centre in the morning, past the harbour and the two cathedrals.

Take off from Keflavik

38

 

Sri Lanka

16 March 2016

These photos relate to a busy 2-week walking/sightseeing holiday we had in Sri Lanka arranged by HF Holidays. This trip was a busy time with a really friendly party of travellers.

I have a couple of dozen Panoramas - all together, but in date order - and the standard photos are separated out in one or two folders per day.

The diary notes are not comprehensive - just to give context to the photos.

The YouTube clips are of varying lengths, as indicated. (The longer ones are from several clips joined together).

Date Diary entry YouTube clips

Dropbox photos

Friday, February 19th We flew to Sri Lanka overnight (arriving the next day).  

 

Saturday, February 20th Arrived about 12:30, then to hotel by 2:30. About 3:30 off for a walk round Victoria Park (the gardens near the parliament buildings) which gave us a chance to stretch our legs, and to get to know our Sri Lankan guide, Sam.  

17

Sunday, February 21st

We had a long coach trip to Anuradhapura.The route took us north up the coast through Negombo and as far as Puttalam and then north-east. On the way we broke the journey with a gentle stroll round a RAMSAR wetland nature reserve for our first bird watching walk.

Unfortunately we left later than planned and so we arrrived late, stopping only to pick up some snacks en route for lunch, the scheduled walking tour of the city was postponed to the next day. Instead we had a very short walk from the hotel to the nearby lake. We were now in the Cultural Triangle where the key ancient sites are to be found.

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Monday, February 22nd

We took a short ride to Mihintale and climbed the many steps to the plateau at the top. We then made our own way to one or more of the rock with the highest viewpoint (a long queue, so didn't bother), the (modern) buddha and the Mahaseya Dagoba.

In the afternoon we had a walking tour of the old city of Anuradhapura, visiting the Brazen Palace, the rock temple of Isurumuniya, the sacred Bo Tree and the Great Stupa, with its guardian elephants. The city centre was packed with people taking advantage of the holiday.

(This was a full moon day - so no alcohol!).

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Tuesday, February 23rd Today we moved on to Dambulla. On the way we stopped at the large carved stone Aukana buddha. On our way to our lunch stop we had a jeep ride, a bullock ride and a canoe ride across a shallow lake and river. Lunch was at a small farm, served on lotus leaves - very tasty. Some then went on an elephant safari by jeep, while many of us just went back to the hotel.  

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Wednesday, February 24th

Today we visited two significant sites. In the morning we went to Sigiriya. A number of series of steps took us through the water gardens, the boulder gardens and the terrace gardens. Then the hard work began - first up to the mural of the Sigiriya Damsels and then up to the top of the Lion Rock. Coming down was almost as exciting! Anyone with vertigo would need to keep their eyes closed.

After lunch at the Gunners Club, we went to Polonnaruwa - much less climbing involved here, with many scattered temples in various states of repair. On the way back we saw some elephants in the lake, close enough for a good view of them.

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(am)

28

(pm)

 

Thursday, February 25th

Today we started on a southwards journey to the hill country of Kandy. Halfway there we reached Dambulla and explored a series of five cave temples.

We then carried on to a Spice Garden at Kawudupalella for an explanation of their plants and products (and a couple of massages). A nearby place was convenient for lunch, before carrying on to Kandy and our hill-top hotel.

32

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19

(pm)

 

Friday, February 26th

In the morning we had a walk round the impressive Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. We had a stop at a gem gactory - the hard sell didn't work for us! Before lunch we went to the hills on the south of the city, overlooking the Bogambara Lake and visited a Batik factory. Because of a coach ban during school leaving time, we took a tuk tuk back to town.

In the afternoon we had some free time, so after lunch in the Queens' Hotel we walked along the northern lake side. Around tea time we attended a cutural show of varied energetic traditional Sri Lankan dances and finally visited the Temple of the Tooth and its museum.

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35

(pm)

 

Saturday, February 27th

We started with a very short nature walk from the hotel - up the hill behind it. This ended at a ruined building. We had to spend some time circling the city centre in the coach while the leader picked up some urgent medication, so had no free time.

In the afternoon we had a longer walk, from the Embekke temple to a second one at Lankatilake (being late we decided to skip this one). This walk was through villages and paddy fields, giving us a wide variety of views of the countryside and the people living there.

 

41

Sunday, February 28th

For a change we had a leisurely start so we took ourselves for a quick walk up the hill behind the hotel and a local employee showed us a route to the hill top, for a view.

We left our Kandy hotel for the train journey east. We used the old train station at Peradenya Junction, in order to pick up the fast train from Colombo. Our lunchtime departure took us to Nanoya, the nearest station to our next hotel at Nuwara Eliya.

27

Monday, February 29th

After an unpromising start, with an uncomfortable minibus ride in the misty early morning, this turned into one of the best days of the trip. By the time we got to the Horton Plains carpark, the morning had turned warmer and sunny. We walked for some time along the circular route past Baker's Falls and World's End, at a leisurely pace and with great scenery and wildlife.

In the afternoon we took ourselves for a walk past the shops in town, then took a round trip back to the hotel - chatting to the guard at the Prime Minister's House and having an unexpected guided tour of the Hill Club Hotel.

25

(am)

26

(pm)
Tuesday, March 1st

Another good long walk today, this time from the hotel into the hills, to the San Pedro tea plantation. We saw the workers at close range. After crossing the dam of a reservoir we found our bridge across a small river had been washed away. Some ingenuity enabled us to be helped across. Luckily the bus came for us to make up some of the lost time and we visited a tea factory and had a great conducted tour.

In the afternoon we changed and went for tea at The Grand Hotel. We shared a table and chatted with two interesting girls from Taiwan. We had a short walk out of town to see the race course.

63

(am)

26

(pm)
Wednesday, March 2nd

Back now to the coast. A long trip but we stopped to see a couple of waterfalls and for coffee at the "Bridge over the River Kwai" cafe in Kitulgala.

Got to our Mount Lavinia hotel around tea time, so we could explore the pool area and have a wander along the beach before dinner - and saw some "team building" activities.

 

28

Thursday, March 3rd

Unexpectedly, a trip to Galle seemed to be included, not an optional extra. Including an interesting visit to a turtle sanctuary the trip took 4 hours - rather more than expected. Nearing Galle we also saw a memorial to the 2004 Tsunami victims.

Galle was very hot but an interesting old town. We found a good cafe for lunch and visited the old Dutch church. The trip back on the expressway was quite a bit quicker. We had a very good (non-buffet!) seafood meal on the beach area.

35

Friday, March 4th Left around 9:00 for the airport and had a reasonably pleasant trip home.

7

2015

Burma

31 March 2015

These photos relate to a busy 2-week walking/sightseeing holiday we had in Myanmar (Burma) arranged by Mountain Kingdoms. This trip was a great, busy time with a really friendly party and a terrific guide - thanks Joseph !

My Top 30 is of course very subjective .... I hope there are some you find interesting.

(These days I tend to use Dropbox for my photos, rather than slideshows on my own web, because they can be viewed on an iPad. The YouTube clips are all very short).

"Top 30"

Dropbox - no Flash required - good for iPads !

People/faces

Dropbox

Cats

Dropbox

Panoramas

Flickr - no Flash required

Date Diary entry YouTube clips

Dropbox photos

Sunday, February 15th In the evening, after booking in to the Savoy Hotel in Yangon, we got stuck into our first pagoda visit, the impressive stupa of Shwedagon.  

34

Monday, February 16th An early morning flight to Yangon; then a coach to Pyin Oo Lwin. We stopped at a flower market on the way and when we arrived had a horse and cart ride, taking in the Candacraig Hotel and a church. After lunch we had a walk though the countryside, visiting a monastery (Sae Ta Lone), a strawberry farm and a brickworks.

49

Tuesday, February 17th

To the railway station - but the train was delayed for many hours. So we switched the afternoon cave visit (Peik Chin Myaung) to the morning, then had lunch and then drove to a later station (Nawghkio) to catch the train. We crossed the famous Gokteik viaduct and got off at Nawngpeng. Being late by then, we ate at the same roadside restaurant on the way home.

52

Wednesday, February 18th In Mandalay, we visited the National Kandawgyi Gardens and the Aviary. After lunch we visited the Royal Palace, the Shwenandaw monastery and "the world's largest book" at the Kuthodaw Pagoda. We finshed with a truck ride to the top of Mandalay Hill, for the view of many pagodas.

73

Thursday, February 19th Stopping briefly at a riverside jetty, we then toured Mandalay to see stone carvers and gold leaf makers. Next we had a visit to the Mahamuni Pagoda. After lunch we we went up into the Sagaing Hills for views over the more pagodas. Finally off to Amarapura to catch the sunset at the U Bein Teak bridge.

101

Friday, February 20th Today was the full day river cruise to Bagan. It was scheduled as 8 hours in good weather, but longer if the water level was low. We did in fact run aground and ended up taking 13 hours, ending up with searchlights guiding us to the final jetty.

33

Saturday, February 21st After a tour of the local market we visited the Shwezigon Pagoda and the Ku Byauk Gyai and Ananda temples. We also met a couple of "long-necked" ladies. After lunch we walked amongst the multitude of pagodas, scattered across the plain. We visited another village and had our first "Bagan sunset". The dinner was in a large restaurant with a band accompanying a puppet show.

78

Sunday, February 22nd This morning we had a walk within the walls of Old Bagan and on the way we were lucky enough to see the procession of an inititation ceremony. Lunch was at a restaurant high on the river bank with a great view. Afterwards we went to a shop selling a great variety of lacquerware. In the afternoon we had a horse and cart ride and our second "Bagan sunset", this time from the Shwesandaw pagoda.

62

Monday, February 23rd On the way to the airport were saw a flock of balloons, and then took an early morning flight to Heho and then on by coach to Kalaw. In the afternoon our walk took us to a Nepali home, with a nice family and a herd of dairy cows.  

42

Tuesday, February 24th We visited Kalaw station briefly before setting off for a walk in the countryside. We saw ladies harvesting sesame seeds. The walk ended at the Myin Ma Ti Pagoda and we entered the limestone caves. We visited a parasol making shop on the way down to Inle Lake, at Nyaung Shwe. Here we boarded three boats to take us to our hotel on stilts, passing some conveniently handy leg-rowing fishermen.

65

Wednesday, February 25th A walk today amongst the rice fields and the village of Thalee Oo and then lunch at a restaurant with a cat sanctuary. Next we had a visit to a weaving place and then the Phaung Daw Oo pagoda with five strange gold buddhas, and some golden barges. On the way back we took a close look at a floating garden, with green tomatoes.  

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Thursday, February 26th First we went up a long channel leading off the main lake, to a market. A walk from there took us to a partly ruined pagoda comples (Shwe InnThein Paya). We saw local life anong the river bank on the way there and back. We had a walk through villages and fields, being invited in by the kind family of a photographer (and barber !).

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Friday, February 27th We had a final boat trip to the head of the lake - back to Nyaung Shwe. We had a visit to a monastary before catching a plane back from Heho to Yangon. In the afternoon we had a walk in downtown Yangon, after last minutte serious souvenir shopping in the Bogyoke Aung San market. We saw the local rush-hour boat frenzy across the river. By now dark, we went to the Bogyoke Aung San park and the floodlit ornate surreal Karaweik floating restaurant.

32

Saturday, February 28th Some people had by now left: others were leaving today. We had time for breakfast and then a rest by the hotel pool before our flight left - via Kuala Lumpur and then home. What a great time we'd squeezed in to our two weeks in Myanmar !!

11

2014

St Lucia with HF

27 November 2014

Fauna

Dropbox - no Flash required - good for iPads !
Slideshow

Flora

Dropbox!
Slideshow

Panoramas

Flickr - no Flash required - good for iPads

YouTube videos Castries Cathedral Anse Louvet beach Gros Islet Jump Up Gros Islet Jump Up 2 Water taxi Font Latisab sawing demo Font Latisab dance demo
Tuesday, November 11th Minibus to start of causeway to Pigeon Island. Walked across the causeway, into the park, up to Fort Rodney, across to Signal Peak and back to the bus for lunch. We walked back though Gros Islet, to see the church and the harbour.

37

Dropbox photos

Wednesday, November 12th Minibus to the bird sanctuary of the Millett Trail. A 3 mile circular walk and back for lunch from the minibus. Brief walk through village. On the way back visited an egret habitat, by the shore at Point Seraphine.

13

Thursday, November 13th

In and around Castries, starting with the Vigie Lighthouse and the National Archive. Then via the WW1 exhibition at the Pyramid, the market, the Derek Walcott Square and the cathedral before going up to the Pink Plantation for lunch. Then via the Inniskilling Memorial before a trip cross country, skirting Castries to the east, back to the hotel.

39

Friday, November 14th On the minibus almost to Dennery, then off at La Caye to Au Lion in the hills. Then walked down to the coast at Anse Louvet. A long lunch hour under the coconut trees before a warm walk back up the hill to the bus. Back by 4pm and out for dinner at nearby Laurel's and then to Gros Islet for the Jump Up.

19

Saturday, November 15th At leisure .... Walked through the local estates to check out the malls and supermarkets. Rained on and off all afternoon - watched tennis on the TV. Too wet for Beach Buffet - so "normal" buffet.

3

Sunday, November 16th By minibus to Micoud and the Mamiku Gardens. Escorted by Gilbert, the head gardener, round a circular walk. Had lunch there (with icecream) and then toured the orchid garden by the house. On the way back detoured to the Sankofa Rainbow Roots Farm, to hear from herb expert Elijah at this Rastafarian Farming Cooperative.

18

Monday, November 17th Shortish ride and shortish walk, to the north-east coast. Good views from the coast. Early lunch spot on the coast - saw horse rides in the sea. Not nice enough to swim. Returned via the cricket ground and back by 12:30.

22

Tuesday, November 18th Minibus on the main road to Micoud and then inland to the Des Cartier Trail, in the Quilesse Forest Reserve. Then back to Micoud (stopping for a cliff-top view) and then the Dennery/Errard/Sault waterfall). Finally into Dennery to see the harbour. The evening meal was at the hilltop Stoney Hill Villa restaurant. This excellent spot overlooked the town and the garden was all lit up.

29

Wednesday, November 19th At leisure .... Went kayaking in the morning. Bought rum and postcards in town and then back for a swim. Dinner was cocktails and a buffet.

1

Thursday, November 20th Early start, minibus to Castries and water taxi to Soufriere. Second minibus to start of Gros Piton climb. Accompanied by 3 guides. First half - main problems were boulders. Sue and Hilary stopped at the mid-point. The second half - many steps but at least handrails helped. A short stop on the summit and then back - almost as long as going up, with the danger of slipping. Mark took a tumble - again. Then in minibus via hospital to beach front bar where we met all up. Late lunch: about 3pm. Water taxi straight from the bar. Back around 6:30, so we postponed dinner to 7:30.

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Friday, November 21st Late start. Minibus to Font Latisab - a creole park. Had a talk and then demos of sawing, dancing and bread making. Then a gentle walk through the country roads ending up at a school and drinks in a little bar.

43

Saturday, November 22nd Final potter into town and back before lunch and the final bus ride back with George to the airport.

13

Mallorca with Ramblers

27 May 2014

Dropbox - no Flash required - good for iPads !
Slideshow

2013

Christmas in Bath, with Sam and Cam

The Abbey
Night time
Day time
The famous four

....... and on YouTube .......

Amazing:
The river - it overfloweth

18 January 2014
Kerala, India with HF / Muddy Boots 29 November 2013

Baltic Cruise, July 2013 (Ramblers)

Copenhagen Panoramas
  Characters
Tallinn Patterns
   
   
   
19 July 2013
Half-term at Wisley 29 May 2013
Isaac's 5th birthday 25 May 2013
Painswick weekend 11 May 2013
70th Birthday 18 April 2013
Tilly's Birthday 13 March 2013
West Wittering - Mothering Sunday weekend - family - seaside houses 11 March 2013

2012

Gran Canaria, October 2012 (HF Holidays) 28 October 2012
Paralympics, September 2012 8 September 2012
Florence, Sienna, Assisi and Rome, August 2012 (Riviera Holidays) 2 September 2012
2012 Miscellany (April to September) 21 September 2012
Derryn's birthday bash - 15th April 2012 21 September 2012

2011

Pre-Christmas 2011 21 December 2011

Vietnam, November 2011 (HF Holidays)

Faces:

Selections:

Video clips:
13 December 2011

Selection 1/4
Selection 2/4
Selection 3/4
Selection 4/4

Cuba, February 2011 (HF Holidays) 1 March 2011
Garden Birds 1 March 2011

2010

Winkworth Arboretum 7 November 2010
Jersey - a week in July 22 July 2010
Stourhead Park 16 April 2010

New Zealand trip, February 2010

The photos from this trip have been divided into these sets, to make it easier:
Outward trip, plus Perth/Fremantle [32 photos]
Adelaide, with the Haysmans [21]
Melbourne (Mornington), with Mick [64]
Christchurch and Akaroa [29]
Lake Tekapo and Mt Cook [14]
Queenstown [48]
Milford Track
»» Going up .... [49]
»» At the top ! [19]
»» Coming down ... [37]
West Coast [10]
Abel Tasman [32]
Nelson, Picton and Wellington [37]
Tongariro Crossing [36]
Hot Springs [11]
Ohope (with Russell) [46]
Ayrlies Gardens [27]
Bay of Islands [33]
Auckland - and homeward trip [29]

26 March 2010
Tilly's Birthday - Marwell and Witterings My Family and other animals - 17th March 2010
Kayaks at Marsh Lock 3rd January 2010

2009

Christmas in York - 2009 28 December 2009
Scotland holiday - June 2009
(Borders, Edinburgh, Fife, Angus, Pitlochry)
28 July 2009
Tilly's 3rd Birthday - Bocketts Farm 17 March 2009
Grandchildren (Tilly/Isaac) - Spring 2009.
These were taken in the last couple of months.
8 March 2009
Lanzarote - February 2009 - Chris/Sue (HF Holidays) 3 March 2009

2008

Howard and Pam's 25th Wedding Anniversary celebration in Liverpool Sue's - 9 Nov 2008
Nigel's - 16 Nov 2008
A weekend in Devon with Dad, Dan and Ruth Chris and Sue's
22 October 2008
A week's holiday in the Isle of Man and Liverpool, with Stee and Derryn Chris's - Sue's
6 August 2008
First pictures of Isaac (and Tilly to be fair) 25 May 2008
Budapest - Chris/Sue/Sam 23 May 2008
Tenerife, February 2008 (HF Holidays)
The pictures are divided into a few sets:
General (24)
Flowers (15)
"Oddities" (10)
25 February 2008

2007

Simon's 40th birthday - what a big boy/girl 2 November 2007
The Scilly Islands, June 2007
The pictures are divided into a few sets:
General (60)
Nature (48)
"Arty" (9)
Funnies (5)
23 July 2007
Ipplepen churchyard 8th June 2007 10 June 2007
Easter 2007 - Nice/Vence/Cannes with Stee/Derryn & Shirley 18 April 2007

2006

Christmas 2006 8 December 2006
Tilly in Berkshire, Devon & Dorset - November 15 November 2006
Tilly at the Bank Holiday weekend - 27th August 6 October 2006
Sam's house
And some video clips (.mov) - all about 2.5Mb Main bedroom   Bed 2   Bed 3  
and these are bigger Lounge   Kitchen   Garden  
30 September 2006
California summer holiday
I've split this up as follows:
San Francisco
Carmel/Monterey/Big Sur
Yosemite
Mono Lake and Lone Pine
Death Valley
Las Vegas
Bryce Canyon
Grand Canyon
Aerial views
22 August 2006
Weekend with Tilly 13 June 2006
Hay-on-Wye 7th May 2006
Morocco and Marrakesh 17th April 2006
Tilly - Sue's pictures plus kitchen fitting out 27th March 2006
Tilly - Jen's pictures 23rd March 2006
Tilly - 6 days old - 19 March 2006 22nd March 2006

Tilda (Tilly) Lucy French - b. 13 March 2006 @ 20:33 - weight 6lb 11oz
First unedited pictures - 24 hours old

15th March 2006
Aunty Bet's do - Sue's pictures - Group photos 22th February 2006
Aunty Bet's bench 20th January 2006
Cat visitors - more (pictures, not cats) will be added later
Movie clips
Windows Quicktime
Lick Lick
String String
Desktop (bmp) - Lilly
15th January 2006

2005

Froghall Drive garden design

26th September 2005

Scotland - Arran and Glasgow - summer 2005

7th September 2005

Nigel & Jan

6th August 2005

Chris' birthday lunch at Tylney Hall

13 May 2005

Chepstow/Wye valley - early May bank Holiday.
A few pictures by Sue, followed by mine

8 May 2005

Egypt (Luxor to Aswan) - February half-term.
With Sue now also digitally snap-happy, we have two sets of pictures.
Sue's set has been selected to minimise duplication, but also contains more pictures of me and/or us and particularly of the creations of our cabin staff, which greeted us most evenings.

Chris - 27 February 2005
Sue - 27 February 2005
Simon/Jen and Mick/Anna - jamboree 17 January 2005

2004

Simon & Jen's wedding

23 November 2004
and 7 December 2004

Canada - Rockies and Vancouver 23 August 2004

Osterley House

27June 2004

Simon's house

16 June 2004

Wokingham/London - Whitsun 2004

5 June 2004

Montgomery/Powys Castle

5 May 2004

Sorrento - April 2004
Top 20, all 80 !, all 80 in a slideshow

21 April 2004

Barcelona - February 2004
Top 16, all 80 !, all 80 in a slideshow

21 February 2004

2003

Christmas, 2003 - and New Year at Chester

4 January 2004

Wedding venue? Yorkshire

22 November 2003

Lille - half term, Oct 2003

22 November 2003

Autumn Colours

22 November 2003

Studio session

27 August 2003

Italy (& Switzerland) - summer holiday 2003.
Top 20
or a mixed bunch of 60

12 Aug 2003

Maz's party and a couple of video clips of the dancing
(if you've got the bandwidth) - #1 (0.9MB) and #2 (2.5MB)

13 July 2003

Flowers for Nigel

3 July 2003

Wales - May 2003

7 May 2003

Menorca - Easter 2003 (a quick selection)

22 April 2003

Mothers Day

31 March 2003

Debbie's wedding

15 February 2003

2002

Christmas, 2002 - Reading, Liverpool & Chester

3 January 2003

Christmas, 2002 -Sophie's

3 January 2003

Apex Plaza - at night

16 December 2002

California FC under-7s

19 November 2002

Holiday in Switzerland - Kandersteg & Weggis - August 2002

18 August 2002

Baume-les-Messiuers - August 2002

18 August 2002

Sophie's wedding - 27th April 2002

30 April 2002

Holiday in Malta - early half-term 2002

24 February 2002

Just too many Simons

1 February 2002

2001

Holiday in Sussex (autumn half-term 2001)

5 November 2001

Mick's visit to England (autumn 2001)

28 October 2001

Becky's wedding

13 May 2001

2000

Grandpa French's 80th birthday

14 October 2000

Holiday in Norway (summer 2000)

1 September 2000

Holiday in Ronda - Andalusia, Spain (spring 2000)

27 February 2000

1999

Christmas, 1999

10 January 2000

Dinner in Liverpool, 1999

6 January 2000

Simon's party in 1999 9 November 1999
Simon's miscellany from 1999 22 September 1999

Holiday in Australia - summer 1999

16 September 1999

Bikes to France - Simon's trip 15 June 1999
Simon's spring bits 15 June 1999