A Travellerspoint blog

November 8 2010

A look around Suffolk

sunny 15 °C

Glorious sunsine on waking on Saturday, so we decided to head off early to Flatford Mill which John Constable used as inspiration for many of his paintings. The curator in the small Bridge Cottage exhibition was really informative and explained how the famous Haywain painting should actually be called Logwain since one of Constable's friends sent him a requested sketch of a logwain instead of a haywain (the cart)

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We then drove a few miles to Sutton Hoo, a very famous archaeological site where burial mounds were excavated just before the war, revealing a ship-burial of an Anglo-Saxon King. This helmet was found along with many other artefacts:

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One of the burial mounds with the Anglo-Saxon guardian sheep:

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Then it was onto Woodbridge for lunch:

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Guy Fawkes night was a complete wash-out at Melford Hall, so on Saturday evening we headed into Bury St Edmunds and watched a marvellous fireworks display in the Abbey Gardens:

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Posted by kforge 09:46 Archived in United Kingdom

November 5 2010

A short drive through 3 counties

rain 16 °C

Jeni has just about recovered from her cold so today we picked up a rental car in Bury St Edmunds; I can't believe we managed to get hold of a diesel, they're like gold dust (a 1.4 Ford Fiesta for $200 for a week)

So off we drove towards Ely in Cambridgeshire, heading through Thetford Forest in Norfolk and then through the Methwold Fen

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Ely town is charming and a lot smaller than I expected. The cathedral is truly spectacular but it is very annoying to be charged an entrance fee (GBP6 in this case) - elsewhere in Europe, you can get into churches and cathedrals without paying and then if you want to see other areas such as the crypt or tower, you pay a small fee

The Cathedral Close with the Bishops Palace in the right foreground. this Palace is for sale, probably for apartment development. Also in the Close is a house that Oliver Cromwell lived in for 10 years when he was Ely's MP

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This stone doorway was built in the 13th century

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It's hard to believe but there is actually a plaque proudly stating the name of the "artist" who produced the hideous blue sculpture

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And, of course, a small lunch in the Almonry where they distribute alms (well, snacks) to weary travellers for a small charge

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Posted by kforge 10:32 Archived in United Kingdom

November 3 2010

News of Tiger

semi-overcast 15 °C

For those of you who don't know, Tiger passed away last week. He had been suffering from cancer of the jaw for some time and unfortunately his time had come. Dee and several other people kindly organised everything and the vet even came out to the house. Dee tells us his passing was accompanied by a flock of pussy angels and we are eternally grateful for her care and the serendipitous timing that brought her back from Sydney to be at his side.
He was a very good friend to Jeni and I for over 15 years and was at least 19 years old. He had a good life and definitely enjoyed the last 7 years in Federal and Coorabell. Tiggies is now monitoring activities from his resting place under the lemon tree. Vale Tiggy Two Shoes: hope you have now met up with good friend Marvin.

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Posted by kforge 02:09 Archived in United Kingdom

November 1 2010

So what did I think about the eastern Algarve

sunny 20 °C

The coastline is apparently very different to the western Algarve. In the east, the coastline is tidal mud flats and low sand islands - very much like Leigh-on-Sea in Essex. I liked it. The Portuguese were very friendly and relaxed and the prices were very much the same as Australia, perhaps a little more expensive than we were expecting

If you're a vegetarian then the eastern Algarve (and probably most of Portugal) is a culinary wasteland. The Portuguese don't seem to eat vegetables in restaurants so I can only assume all the vegetables bought at the markets are eaten at home. But if you can survive on spaghetti, omelettes and the odd pizza, you'll be fine

The best Vinho Verde I have ever drunk is Muralhas:

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They have these amazing mobile-tower artifical trees, many of them with branches all the way down the pole:

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Posted by kforge 15:58 Archived in Portugal

October 31 2010

Our last day in Portugal in Faro

all seasons in one day 17 °C

Raining again but we decide to head to Faro, leaving Jeni and her cold at the apartment. It had an interesting old quarter but the whole town looked like aliens had abducted the entire population. It was a holiday long-weekend but only a couple of cafes were open - maybe everybody has holiday homes on the Ilha de Faro where we spent a pleasant couple of hours watching the ocean over a long lunch

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Posted by kforge 15:51 Archived in Portugal

October 30 2010

Loule

rain 17 °C

Today we headed off in rain to the market at Loule, about 40 kms from Cabanas

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Jeni's happy because she has her two favourite things - a bottle of wine and a siege machine

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Posted by kforge 15:43 Archived in Portugal

October 29 2010

Wi-Fi at last!

semi-overcast 21 °C

Today we went back into Tavira and discovered that the Municipal Council Building broadcasts free wi-fi right across the main square. Unfortunately, it took so long to check our emails that there was no time left to update this blog

Crossing the Ponta Romana again, we noticed this memorial to an old battle

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Posted by kforge 15:32 Archived in Portugal

October 28 2010

Cacela Velha

sunny 23 °C

Today we drove just a few kms eastwards along the coast to a charming village of Cacela Velha dating back to the 9th century

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Posted by kforge 15:14 Archived in Portugal

October 27 2010

Into the mountains

sunny 23 °C
View Travel 2010 on kforge's travel map.

Today we headed up into the Serra de Acaria do Cume and then looped back down to Castro Marim with its old castles and the lovely town of Vila Real de Santo Antonio which is on the river border with Spain

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Posted by kforge 14:54 Archived in Portugal

October 26 2010

Ria Formosa Natural Park

sunny 23 °C

We drove through Tavira and then off along some very small coastal roads to Olhao via the Ria Formosa Natural Park, an extensive lagoon area that follows 60km of coastline between Manta Rota and Vale do Loba

At the park headquarters in Quinta de Marim there is a Tide Mill that was in use up to 30 years ago

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This ship is a replica of a caique that sailed from Olhao to Brazil in 1808 without any navigation equipment

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Posted by kforge 10:32 Archived in Portugal

October 25 2010

Tavira

sunny 23 °C

Today we went back into Tavira to take a look around this really lovely town

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And now for those of you who are Spurs supporters, this must be the season for another league and cup double for I have seen it foretold in the Santa Maria do Castelo church (and after watching them outclass Inter Milan on Tuesday the 2nd of November, it may just happen)

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Posted by kforge 09:42 Archived in Portugal

October 24 2010

Ilha de Cabanas

sunny 24 °C

Today we took the very short ferry ride from the village across to the Ilha de Cabanas and spent a few hours sun-baking and walking along the 7km sand island

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Now here's a tip:

When you get a ticket, it's always wise to read what you have actually paid for - we paid our 1 Euro each for the ferry and were given tickets. On the return trip I gave the ferryman 5 Euros for the 4 of us and he gave me 3 Euros back; we were both confused but as my Portuguese is not existant and we were about to leave, I thought I'd leave it until we reached the other side. 2 minutes later I pressed 2 more Euros into his hand; he still seemed confused and even reluctant to take them! Mind you I'm still not sure why it was 1 Euro instead of 1.30 but he probably couldn't be bothered with small coins

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Posted by kforge 09:17 Archived in Portugal

October 23 2010

Bom Dia Portugal

sunny 23 °C

We arrived yesterday evening in Cabanas de Tavira after a reasonable Easyjet flight from Stansted to Faro and then a short 30 minute drive. We woke to a glorious sunny day and really a wonderful view from the apartment across to the Praia de Cabanas island

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After a very long and sunny breakfast we drove the 6 kms into Tavira and ended up in the old part of town which has a bridge of Roman foundations crossing the (occasionally stinking) river

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Posted by kforge 08:59 Archived in Portugal

October 17 2010

Thank you Customs and Excise

sunny 16 °C

Our masterplan of sending coats, boots, fleeces and scarves by parcel ahead of time turned into a disaster

UK Customs and Excise decided that we needed to pay import duty of 43 Pounds on the clothes we sent from Byron Bay even though I listed them as "used clothing for extended holiday in the UK". That was bad enough until we discovered that the 20-day limit had expired just before we arrived and the parcel had been returned to sender!

So Sunday afternoon was spent shopping for some warm clothes in Bury St Edmunds and 250 Pounds later we are ready for the colder weather

Posted by kforge 00:40 Archived in United Kingdom

October 16 2010

London Heathrow to Cockfield in Suffolk

sunny 15 °C

We arrived at Heathrow at 6am and after a very fast exit through immigration and customs found ourselves on the shuttle-bus for Alamo Car Rental. We had booked a car through GlobalCars in Australia at a pretty good price of $A270 for a week which allowed a drop-off at Stansted Airport

The drive up to Cockfield took just 2 hours (even though there are still serious roadworks on the northern part of the M25)

My jetlag was really bad this year and I spent most of the day in a complete daze

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Posted by kforge 10:00 Archived in United Kingdom

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