A pause from the accounts of the Great Italian Anniversary Adventure this evening, and a trip down memory lane, with the aid of some old family photographs. The prompt for this slight detour was the news that today, snow fell in Snowdonia for the first time this winter; and tomorrow (Bonfire Night in the UK), the temperature is expected to fall below freezing for the first time since about February. The mere thought of it makes me want to be somewhere warm and sunny, and as that’s not possible in fact, I’m having to make do with visiting through memory and imagination instead.
These first two photos are from a holiday in Cornwall, in the south west of the UK, in 2008. It’s a beautiful county, and if you are fortunate with the weather (which we were for the first week of the two we stayed there this time), there is truly nowhere to beat it for family holidaying. The flower is a close up of one of many thousands of wonderful specimens drawn from all over the world and carefully tended at the Eden Project, just outside St Austell towards the southern coast. If you get the chance, do make the time to visit this amazing place, with its huge biospheres nestling within the cradle of an old china clay quarry. More details here :
This next shot is taken from the headland between Newquay and Crantock, on the north coast of Cornwall. We stayed in a holiday house just above the famous surfing beach at Fistral in Newquay, and this headland was a fifteen minute walk away. On the Sunday of the second week of our stay, we made our way to the National Trust-maintained beach at Crantock, arriving under cloudless blue skies at about ten in the morning, and only leaving when hunger set in at about seven that evening. Dan, Jo and I must have spent about 6 hours if that time body boarding and generally messing about in the waves in sea that never seemed to get cold. It was a truly idyllic day, and one that even now, I bring to mind at times of particular stress or annoyance as a way of calming down and gaining perspective.
Ile de Re
In 2007 we ventured by car and ferry to the west coast of France (my spiritual home, and the place you’ll find me when my Lottery numbers eventually come up!). This next photo is of the harbourside on the Ile de Re, which was about an hour from where we were staying, but was well worth the trip (and the extortionate toll to cross the arched bridge from the mainland). We’d spent the day on what was a beautiful sandy beach in bright sunshine (have you spotted an emerging theme here?), and Charlotte, Jo and Dan had set off along the shoreline to do some exploring and get a change of view. The chronicler of this story was left peacefully dozing in the warm rays of the sun until gradually becoming aware that the softness sand was being turned into something much more abrasive in a howling wind that sprang up from nowhere. It is part of our family folklore that the three explorers returned to find me clinging on for dear life to the beach tent that we’d taken with us, and coated from head to foot in a fine layer of sand! Calling into the marina on our way home that evening, we feasted on the most amazing boeuf bourguignon washed down with a glass of nectar masquerading as local red wine. It was a wonderful day.
Paphos in Cyprus, and probably our most luxurious family holiday to date at the stunning Hotel Athena Beach. Our room was in a block that was literally no more than 20 metres from the sea, and our large, sheltered balcony offered incredible views of the local fisher boats trawling back and forth across the bay as the last rays of the sun disappeared in the evening. What set the hotel apart for me was the combination of an enormous, free form salt water swimming pool, a separate, heated outdoor pool, and access via pontoons to the clear water of the Mediterranean Sea. I spent literally hours bobbing around in the gentle swell of the revitalising salt water, before returning to the poolside to be thrashed at table tennis and mini golf by Dan and Jo!
If you’ve enjoyed reading today’s post, I hope it’s also triggered some happy memories of warm places for you too, as we approach the colder winter months.