Saturday afternoon Liam and I went out for a fabulous socially distanced lunch out with his family, where we had some delicious lasagne at Bonnie’s Brunch. A newly opened family run cafe in Plymouth we have all given two thumbs up to. We got back home and decided that even though the promised heat wave wasn’t quite as strong as anticipated, the weather was still far too nice to pass up! We packed up our bags and headed up to Venford Reservoir on Dartmoor, somewhere we had visited earlier this year with Liam’s parents (link). This time however, Liam had something new and exciting in store for me. I couldn’t wait!
After arriving in Jeonju and dropping off our bags at our guesthouse, Emily and I decided to enjoy the last few hours of the day and headed out to see the famous lotus lake at Deokjin Park. A spot for romantic walks with your partner, there were loads of Korean couple enjoying the evening. We strolled around the lake, looking at the mass of brown in the middle. It is of course nearing the end of autumn and all of the flowers are gone! Still, it was a lovely stroll and we got to see loads of lotus pods…
Taking the train from Da Nang to Hue through the Hai Van Pass is something Emily and I can definitely recommend doing if, like us, you don’t fancy the 5 hour ride in the mud and rain, but still want to enjoy the views. We first came across this stretch of beautiful landscape reading Paul Theroux’s Great Railway Bazaar, one of the greatest travel books ever written. Our sentiments echo his and his observations are still true today: “I had been unprepared for this beauty; it surprised and humbled me in the same degree the emptiness had in India. Who has mentioned the simple fact that the heights of Vietnam are places of unimaginable grandeur?”
The start of our journey was still a little gloomy like the end of our time in Da Nang
For anyone who has seen Braveheart, a trip to Stirling has got to be a must if you find yourself in central Scotland. The Battle of Bannockburn, Robert the Bruce and, of course, William Wallace. Amazing characters from a remarkable period of Scottish and English history. From Glasgow it is a short train journey (around 35 mins) and costs less than £9 for an off-peak return. It couldn’t be simpler.
Stirling Castle, or rather just one part of the amazing complex!
Emily and I knew that if the weather allowed, we would take a trip to Loch Lomond and visit the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. Since weather has been on and off showers since we arrived in Glasgow, yesterday when waking up and seeing a clear morning we got ready and headed to our local train station to make the journey to Balloch!
Antony house is quite unusual for a National Trust property in that it is still lived in by the Carew Pole family. Because of this the 18th century house is closed at weekends, meaning that to explore this amazing location Emily and I needed to book time off work. The date was set in stone many weeks back, meaning that rain or shine we were going to visit before we left Plymouth for good. So we settled on June 18th… And it turned out to be raining. Of course. Not that this would stop us – even Emily is a seasoned veteran to the fickle British weather by now. Raincoats on, and after the number 70 bus journey across to Torpoint, we walked to Antony in light drizzle. Arriving at the property we were allowed to borrow an umbrella from the reception staff, before seeking refuge in the house – proof that National Trust always delivers, rain or shine!
Making the most of the sunshine this bank holiday, Emily and I took the train to Calstock. Our plan was an adventure filled day hiking through the lower Tamar Valley and making use of our National Trust memberships at Cotehele House, Quay and Mill. What a day! Amazing weather and the scenic route into Cornwall set the tone. Walking past the impressive Calstock viaduct we started our hike down into the valley and then back up the hill to Cotehele House.
Making the most of our National Trust memberships, Emily and I are visiting the country houses that are local to us this spring. This weekend just past we decided to return to Saltram House now that the property is open fully. We have of course been before, for the winter Enchanted Saltram event, which you can read about here.
For most people in Plymouth, Bristol is probably one of those places we are a little guilty of ignoring when thinking of places to visit. Far enough away to be annoying for a day trip but too close to seem worthwhile having an overnight stay. I know I’ve been guilty of that mentality and recent trips have just revolved around using the airport. With an eye to moving to Bristol in 2020, Emily and I changed that habit this weekend. She has never been, so a visit before moving was of course necessary. Since my redundancy is around the corner it needed to be before our travels in order to make a decision upon coming back. So the perfect time to visit! Once our coach arrived we took a short walk to Stoke’s Croft to explore some of the more hipster areas and start the Banksy trail with the famous The Mild Mild West piece. After a spot of vintage shopping and a coffee / craft beer combo (to become a theme of our visit), we headed to our AirBnB in Montpelier.
The Mild Mild West – one of the many Banksy pieces in Bristol
“Step into the magical world of Enchanted Saltram” – that’s how it was advertised. Thinking we would just be going to see the house decorated and the gardens lit up, Emily and I went this Friday for a bit of festive cheer. It was so much more. Walking up to the house and seeing it illuminated from the outside we were already in love with the magic of the place, but after getting our visitors guide and then taking a tour around the gardens, we knew we were in for a real treat.