Page 4 of John from Totnes Travel Blog Posts


Europe » United Kingdom » England » Buckinghamshire November 11th 2011

Day 1 - Overton Hill near Avebury, Wilts to Fox Hill near Bishopstone, a distance of about 16.5 miles. Walking along the ridge the views that we had been promised in the guide book were obscured by the thick mist and damp conditions. The walk, which was mainly along the ridge passed through Barbury Castle and Liddington Castle (both formerley Iron Age Forts). No point in taking any photographs as weather too inclement Day 2 - Fox Hill to Bury Down, near West and East Isley, a distance of about 17.5 miles. Again a day of ridge walking but with the weather improving during the day. We stopped at Wayland's Smithy, a Neolithic long barrow and shortly after that passed Uffington Castle, another Iron Age Fort, and its famous Uffington White Horse. The castle and horse ... read more
Bridge over The Thames
Clive at Goring Bridge
John at Goring Bridge

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Dorset » Dorchester June 20th 2011

Spent a delightful week in Dorset with Lynne and her sister, Jayne. We stayed in a olde worlde thatch cottage on the Athelhampton House Estate, not far from Dorchester. Being so near the coast I did a couple of days walking two stretches of the South West Coast Path. The first stretch was from West Bay to Charmouth which entailed a hike up two very steep cliffs; the first Thorncombe Beacon and then after recovering from that a steep hike up Golden Cap, the highest point on the South Coast at 626 feet. As you will see from the photographs the views were spectactular from both especially on such a sunny day The weather on the second day of walking was pretty miserable and the walk from West Bay to Abbotsbury was a bit tedious during ... read more
View from Thorncombe Beacon
Seatown from Thorncombe Beacon
The long climb up Golden Cap

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence May 31st 2011

We have spent the last four days of our trip visiting the delights of Florence and believe me you need all that time to appreciate all that the city has to offer. It is a triple 'A' city - Art, Architecture and Atmosphere and they all come in abundance. The Art is everywhere - the galleries, palaces and churches and it is predominately from the Renaissance period which has its roots in the city. The largest gallery is The Uffizi with masterpieces by Botticelli, Michelangelo, Titian and Leonardo da Vinci on display. There are marble and bronze scultures not only in the galleries and museums but on display in the piazzas with the Piazza della Signoria having some of the finest on show. The Architecture in the form of the churches, the cathedral and palaces are ... read more
John by the Baptistry and Duomo
Joggers by the Duomo
La Maddalena by Donatello

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Lucca May 27th 2011

Lucca, situated in Northern Tuscany, is one of the few cities in Europe to have its centre completely surrounded by a wall. The massive wall built in the 16th and 17th centuries is predominantly made of brick and provides a traffic barrier giving the city its special character and atsmosphere. It is a peaceful city with narrow cobbled streets shaded by tall old buildings on either side. Most motor traffic is banned and the cycle reigns supreme. A wonderful view of the city can be obtained by climbing many steps to the top of the medieval tower known as Torre dei Guinigi. The top of the tower is shaded by several holm-oak trees which were planted there many years ago and they appeared to have survived with regular watering. The local hero is Puccini, who was ... read more
Torre dei Guinigi
Top of Torre dei Guinigi
View of Lucca from tower

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » San Quirico d'Orcia May 26th 2011

Spent 4 days exploring and discovering the delights of Central Tuscany and the rolling countryside and hilltop towns basking in the sunshine are a delight to behold. The first stop was MONTERIGGIONI which is a beautifully preserved medieval hilltop town totally surroundeded by high stone walls with 14 heavily fortified towers. We were based in SAN QUIRICO D'ORCIA , another hilltop town and from our hotel we had an inspiring Tuscan panorama. Not too far away was the town of PIENZA again on a hilltop and having the distinction of being completely redesigned in Renaissance times by Pope Pius . On our second day we walked from our hotel to a small medieval spa town called BAGNO VIGNONI. The walk, being about 10km took us up and over rolling countryside , in and out of woods ... read more
The fortified walls of Monteriggioni
The large pool in the centre of Bagno Vignoni
Lynne with Guelda and Olwyn, both from Australia

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Pisa May 21st 2011

After parking in a grotty city centre car park and wandering along an untractive urban street we turned the corner to be met with not one but four splendid monuments. We were in the "Field of Miracles" lying to the northwest of the city centre of Pisa. Not only were we admiring the world famous Leaning Tower but also the Duomo, begun in 1063, the Baptistry, started in 1152, and the Campo Santo cemetery ,begun in 1278. Each has a story to tell. Campo Santo contains earth from the Holy Land also as the rich and famous of the city of Pisa. The Baptistry is still used for baptisms as well as concerts as it has unrivalled acoustics. The Duomo has a glorious facade with coloured sandstone decorated with inticate flowers and animals in inlaid marble. ... read more
The Leaning Tower behind The Duomo
Lynne in the Baptistry
The Campo Santo

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Pisa May 20th 2011

We started our 2 week trip around Tuscany on the edge of its northern borders and based ourselves in La Spezia, a naval port about one hours drive north of Pisa. Our first day of rambling was around the island of Palmaria and here we followed a circular path around the island and we were rewarded with spectacular views of the Gulf of Poets. At the end of our walk we crossed back over to the seaside town of Portovenere. This colourful town is set in a sweeping bay and was once the haunt of Byron and Shelley. Byron has a cave named after him as well as a few restaurants!!!! Standing over and dominating the town is the 16th century castle. The following day we tackled the Cinque Terre Walk starting at Riomaggiore and taking ... read more
Portovenere
Wonderful views from Palmaria
The group of walkers

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Cornwall » Falmouth March 31st 2011

The walk from Coverack to Helford, being a distance of about 12 miles, was slightly frustrating towards the end as part of the walk entails wading across Gillian Creek to St Anthony-in-Menage (land of monks) so as to continue along the coast. As it was high tide this was not possible and so we took the inland route to Helford through woodlands which was proved to be a pleasant Spring walk. The walk that day was concluded with a beer at the Shipwrights Arms at Helford overlooking the river of the same name. The walk from Helford Passage to Falmouth was relatively easy but slightly damp as the weather had changed. To start the walk we caught the bus out from Falmouth, being our base, to Helford Passage and this gave us a preview of the ... read more
George
Gillian Creek
A beer well deserved

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Cornwall » Falmouth March 27th 2011

Drove down to Porthleven from Totnes on Friday and this is where George and I started our short holiday walking the coastal footpath. I had previously walked the path from Lands End to Porthleven a while back and wanted to carry on so as to explore the rest of the South Cornwall stretch. The weather was ideal for walking on Friday; not too hot and with a bit of a breeze to keep us cool. On this first day we walked to Kynance Cove, a distance of about 12 miles. The walking was relatively easy with not too many ups and downs and with wonderful vistas that were most uplifting. On Saturday we walked round Lizard Point, the southernmost tip of Britain and then up to the fishing village of Coverack, a distance of about 12 ... read more
Typical coastal scene along this stretch
Another of George
Church Cove

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi February 25th 2011

Arrived in Hanoi at 4.30am after a bumpy night's ride on the Green Train from Lao Cai. Feeling sleep deprived we had an early check in at our hotel and spent most of the morning recovering before preparing ourselves for an afternoon of sightseeing around the city. Our first stop was Hoa Lo Prison Museum which in the French colonial days served as a detention centre for political opponents of the administration. Lots of pictures of those who suffered and some were even executed by guillotine, which is amongst the exhibits. The prison's claim to fame came about during the Vietnam War as it was the detention centre for those USA pilots shot down. The Americans named it the Hanoi Hilton!!! Lots of pictures of the captured pilots being cared for alongside photographs of the terrific ... read more
Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum
Uncle Ho
Presidential Palace




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