Photos of Lake Bled∼ Slovenia

 

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There are few sights more beautiful than Slovenia in the autumn! Here are some photographs I took on a wonderful day out in Lake Bled, before attending the Alibi International Crime/ Noir Festival in Slovenska Bristrica. This was my first ever trip to Slovenia – but it certainly will not be my last!

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Next Stop∼Tallinn

This was my first visit to Tallinn, and indeed to Estonia!  It was not at all as I imagined because I think I expected something a little less colourful and austere.  The architecture in the old centre was beautiful, a mixture of romantic pastel coloured prettiness and stately gothic splendor. The Town Hall Square had a lovely mixture of restaurants and bars offering excellent quality food, and it was a great place to spend the day people watching and taking in the friendly atmosphere.

I was surprised at how contained the tourism was, the shops were not full of tacky, mindless rubbish you see in some places, it was more hand knitted socks, homemade handicrafts and really amazing amber jewelry – which of course I couldn’t resist! The town is famous for its markets, which have been happening since the 11th century; unfortunately, I didn’t catch one, but still managed to come away with lots of pretty amber pieces.

This was a quick visit but I wanted to mention it as it was so nice to roam around the beautiful old buildings, some of which date back to the 15th century. The centre had a lot of charm and the oldest coffee shop, the Maiasmokk Café, was gorgeously old fashioned as well as being very popular!

As well as the historic areas, Tallinn is actually a hub for IT and communications, with many major companies having development centres in the commercial part of the city. Tallinn is not only beautiful, historical and friendly, but is a surprisingly innovative and modern city too! ∼

Last Cruise ∼ Turkey

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After the stunning Santorini our next port of call on The Thompson Spirit was Marmaris in Turkey.  I hadn’t been there before and I must admit that my expectations were not that high. I had imagined a pleasant enough seaside resort, filled with budget bars, and shops in which you were hassled to buy stuff you had merely taken a passing glance at (my experience of Turkey years ago when every second shop sold handbags and if you dared to venture into a shop you would be lucky to get back out without buying anything).But I was in fact, very surprised at what I found.

The resort itself is gorgeous. There is a cosmopolitan feel to the place, with upmarket shops restaurants and very nice bars with clean toilets (another of my personal gripes from previous years). The area of the Datça Peninsula has a distinct lakes and mountain feel to it, which I had not expected, and it was really beautiful!

The town was quite vibrant, even for this early in the season, and had we had more time we would have visited the recently restored castle of Suleyman the Magnificent, which was only short bus ride away. I was on a bit of a shopping mission as the textiles in Turkey are amazing and the prices unbelievably low, and I bought a wonderful silk scarf a and cashmere pashmina; both of which are lovely.

Turkey is only a short flight away from us in Cyprus, so yes, I would definitely visit Marmaris or our second Turkish port, Alanya, which was also a very attractive seaside resort, with one of those cute miniature trains that transport you around areas of interest in the resort(for two euros amazingly!)

I would definitely recommend a boat trip from Alanya; ours cost only ten euros and for just over an hour on a very smart boat and it was wonderful experience in the sunshine, viewing the smugglers caves and a special “love cave” (heavens you would have to be desperate!) set deep into the cliff face, which a local young boy climbed up to, doing an extremely high dive back into the sea: to the delight of the tourists on board various sized boats, many of whom were having on board barbeques and having fun dancing.

It’s really sad that the Thompson Spirit will no longer be docking in Limassol, Cyprus, after the end of this season. The companies docking rites are due to expire. There have been rumours that the ship will dock at my own nearby town of Larnaca; but that was more of a case of wishful thinking on our part, unfortunately…∼∼∼

Kylemore Abbey, Connemara ~ A Doomed Romance

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It all began with a romantic honeymoon visit to the beautiful lakeside at Connemara in Ireland in 1850. This area of natural outstanding beauty captured the hearts of Mitchel Henry and his new bride Margaret Vaughan. Margaret fell in love with place and so Henry, in an incredibly romantic gesture, purchased the 15,000 acre estate as gift for her and went on to create one of the Republic of Ireland’s most treasured and iconic castles in her honor.

The couple went on to have an impressive nine children and enjoyed a carefree, charmed existence in their amazing home. Unfortunately tragedy stuck on a holiday to Egypt in 1874 when Margaret contracted dysentery on a train journey to Cairo. She died a mere 16 days later, having never reached her holiday destination.

Margaret’s body was returned to the castle in Connemara and entombed in a specially built mausoleum, which still stands in the castle grounds. An impressive Neo–Gothic Church described as “a cathedral in miniature” was built on the state by Henry as a heartfelt, lasting memorial to his beloved wife.

Kylemore Abbey is currently home to a community of Benedictine nuns who arrived after the destruction of their own Abbey in Ypres, Belgium, which was destroyed in WW1. The Benedictine Community opened a boarding school for girls and began restoration work on the Abbey, Neo-Gothic Church and stunning formal gardens, which have been beautifully restored and are currently open to visitors.

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Beautiful Barcelona!

Just back from my holidays, where I enjoyed a city break in Barcelona. The temperature, as you would expect at this time of year, was very hot and the humidity was also high – even for a visitor from sunny Cyprus! Despite the crowds, the atmosphere was relaxed and the city was in full bloom…

There was so much to see, and I will be doing a couple of blogs to celebrate the art, architecture and beauty of the city, but I am beginning with a general selection of my photographs, and hopefully you will find the views as interesting as I did!

View from hotel balcony
View from hotel balcony
Placa Catalunya
Placa Catalunya
Statue in Placa Catalunya
Statue in Placa Catalunya
La Rambla
La Rambla
 Indoor Market at La Rambla
Indoor Market at La Rambla
Barcelona Cathedral
Barcelona Cathedral
Interior Placa Catalunya
Interior Barcelona Cathedral
Interior Barcelona Catherdral
Interior Barcelona Cathedral
Habor view from cable car
Habor view from cable car
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
Balcony La Pedrera
Balcony La Pedrera
Placa Reial
Placa Reial
Cheers!
Cheers!