Mike’s Music Monday #10

OK, pop-pickers, as I think Alan Freeman used to say on UK Radio 1, here’s an oldie but a goodie (and I don’t mean Tim Brooke-Taylor or Bill Oddie or Graham Garden).  This song takes me back to when I was young and hadn’t a care in the world (other than trying to learn ancient Greek at school!) I hope you enjoy! 😊

Plockton, NW Scotland

For our last full day in the NW of Scotland, we drove around Loch Carron to Plockton and treated Jo, Aaron and Jude’s friend, Kate, to a boat ride on one of Calum’s famous* Seal Trips (where you are guaranteed to see seals, or your money back!)  I have covered this village before, but I see that it was almost 3 years ago now, so I think it’s worth another post.  Especially as, this time, Aaron and I went for a short walk to the viewpoint at An Fhrith Aird, where there is an exceptional view of where Loch Carron meets the Inner Sound between the Isle of Skye and the Scottish mainland. (See map at the end of the picture gallery).

*As featured on the BBC TV series “Paul Murton’s Grand Tours of Scotland’s Lochs”.

Windermere cruise, English Lake District

A visit to the Lake District wouldn’t be complete (for Jude anyway) without a trip on a boat.  And since the forecast for the day was a sort of cloudy grey, we opted to catch a ‘steamer’* from the aptly named village of Lakeside to Bowness-on-Windermere.

*Our outward journey would be on the MV (Merchant Vessel) Tern, which was built in 1891, but I’ve since learnt that it’s not driven by steam at all but is motor powered.

After a little retail therapy and a nice lunch, we returned on the MV Teal, which was built in 1936.  (See pic 8).

The boats link up with the Lakeside and Haverthwaite railway, which is only 3.2 miles/5k long but, during the season, (broadly April through to the end of October) mostly runs steam trains to take people back and forth, as you will see from the last few pictures.

A perhaps little known, but useful piece of information here, (for keen UK quizzers or maybe those who holiday in exotic locations by the sea) is that all British owned ships must fly a flag with the Union (Jack) flag in the top left corner.  The remainder of the flag is either red, indicating a merchant vessel (as with the Tern and Teal); white, together with a St George’s Cross, for the Royal Navy, or blue for other ships, which have a special warrant from the Admiralty.

For more information on Windermere Lake Cruises, check out this Visit Cumbria website.

Lac Léman lakeside walk

Today, Judith, her mum, Angela, and I went for a walk along the eastern shores of Lac Léman, (aka Lake Geneva), from Villeneuve to Territet.  The lakeside path passes one of Switzerland’s most famous tourist sites – the Chateau de Chillon, which is a medieval fortress built on a tiny island just off the shore.

When the sun shines, there is no finer place to be, with the mountain views, the many and varied colourful flower beds and passing paddle steamers.  It’s a must for an visitor to the “Swiss Riviera”. 🙂

Various, Corsica

I thought I’d finish this Corsican holiday series with a few other photos which didn’t make it into the main series of posts.  I hope they’ve all given you a flavour of what Corsica is like.

You will also see below that when I get bored on a beach, I resort to the pastime of stone stacking, which I have to say is very therapeutic.   My stacks (pics 26-30) certainly created a lot of interest for the people who were walking along the coastal path.  It’s actually easier to do than it might look.  You just need a bit of patience!  Of course, mine are nowhere near as good as most rock balancers.  Check out some of the videos online, but here is a link to a beginners guide that I found.  Happy stacking! 😊

 

Saleccia beach, Corsica

We deliberately didn’t book any accommodation for the last few days of our holiday in case we found somewhere during our travels where we would like to stay.  But that never came to pass, so we went back to Saint-Florent, which we’d enjoyed very much.  We also had unfinished business there as we had not yet been to the acclaimed Saleccia beach, nor seen the village of Nonza during the day (see post tomorrow).  As you can see from the pictures below, Saleccia is an amazing (kilometre long) beach, with perfect sand which gently shelves away into the clear, turquoise blue water.  Absolutely perfect!

Lotu beach to St Florent walk, Corsica

For our second full day on Corsica we took a boat trip from St Florent to one of the many fabulous beaches at the northern end of the island with the intention of walking back.  We had a choice of either Saleccia or Lotu beach, but the boat company only did return trips to Saleccia, so it had to be the nearer of the two, Lotu.  And thankfully it was closer, as again the guidebook advice was a little optimistic on the walk timings, but we had an excellent walk nonetheless.

Vevey and Tour of Haut Lac Léman

One of the things that both Judith and I miss about living in the mountains is Lac Léman or Lake Geneva.  Our old apartment used to look out over the eastern end of the lake and so for old time’s sake, yesterday, we took the Postbus down to Sion and then the train to Vevey.

After a short walk along the lakeside and a fabulous lunch at Le Rubis restaurant, now run by our good friends Cathy and Lauren, we hopped on one of the fantastic paddle steamer boats which operate all along the lake.   There are 10 boats in total and all look slightly different.  (See pic 3).  As the circular tour of the upper end of the lake unfolds, you can see how the Alps begin to form, as the rolling hills turn into mountains.  (See pic 27).  Most of the individual peaks you see below, both Judith and I have climbed over the years.  It was probably where I cut my teeth and developed an endearing love of the Alps.

If you ever get the opportunity to visit this part of the world, or indeed any of the lakes in Switzerland, I can highly recommend one of these boat trips as a fabulous way to see the country.

Sicily (Part 1)

There’s only so much snow that a person can take and, after 3 months of looking at the white stuff, my wife, Judith, was in need of a break.  In previous years, we’ve driven over the Simplon Pass to the Italian Lakes, but the forecast for that area wasn’t great, so the decision was made to fly further south, to Sicily.

If nothing else, the internet is a fantastic resource for finding accommodation and we booked ourselves into the delightfully peaceful Terra dei Limone agriturismo, near Noto, in the south east corner of Sicily.

As regular readers will know, Judith has a passion for the sea and lighthouses, so it was no surprise that on Day 1 we drove down the coast road to Cappo delle Correnti, which is at the very southern tip of the island and where the Mediterranean sea literally crashes into the Ionian sea. (See pic 21).  On the way we stopped off at the beautiful fishing village of Marzamemi, which was all but deserted when we were there that day.   But it was clearly a favourite destination for the Sicilians too as, when we returned on the Sunday afternoon, it was packed with people parading in their finest designer clothes, as only Italians can do.

After all the snow and icy weather we’ve had, it was great to have the sun on our backs and see green fields and wild flowers everywhere.  Sicily is noted for its agriculture and wine making and we saw ample evidence of that in the fields as well as in the restaurants of Noto during the evenings.  🙂

 

Mornington and Portarlington

The Mornington peninsular and Portarlington sit on opposite sides of Port Phillip Bay, south east and south west of Melbourne respectively.   During our day trip to the former, we stopped at three different places to taste 8 sorts of cheese (made from either sheep, goat or cow’s milk), 4 types of cider and more varieties of wine than I can remember! 😉

It was Aaron’s birthday while I was there and his father, Rod, came down for a few days to help him celebrate and share in the fun.

The following day we drove out to the annual Mussel festival at Portarlington.  The weather wasn’t great, so we don’t have many pictures, but I can confirm that the local craft beers are very good and that it’s a fabulous day out.  This was where I lost my camera, so the below images are, again, courtesy of Joanne.