Page 3 of Mert Travel Blog Posts

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Cornwall July 7th 2012

Well, only two of us, but Ayr Holiday Park charge enough for a large family! Musn't grumble too much as it was a perfect position looking down on St Ives beach and Porthmeor beach. We were nearly blown away, not by the view but by the mighty winds which set the tents flapping in a roundelay as they gusted down the hill. Rocking in the top of the Bongo I braced myself as the rains and wind continued. Do you see a theme developing here? 'Is this Summer yet?' If I heard that one more time I would scream, well not really just feel slightly guilty about my promise of beautiful surfing beaches and white sand in Cornwall. Just like Australia, I said. Foolish, I know. But I do remember the most glorious of days on ... read more
St Ives harbour
The Bongo in situ
Tate St Ives

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Cornwall July 7th 2012

Jokes about the weather grew stale as we set off in rain...again. Those who are aware of Graeme's handyman proclivities will not be surprised that there was a miraculous shortening of another burst hose after the elevation of the Bongo's water temperature made an unwanted stop in an old people's home in St Austell necessary. To fix the Bongo, you understand, not to find a new place of repose! I stood there with an umbrella making occasional unhelpful remarks until the hands were greasy and the water jugs were empty. Temperature back to normal, well the car's anyway, off we headed. Time to whip out the National Trust card again. St Michael's Mount home to the St Aubyn family since the year dot. (1647 actually) Windswept, we strode across the causeway still clad in our wet ... read more
Cork replica
Struggling with the devil
Mizzley Porthcurno

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Cornwall July 5th 2012

For those familiar with the suburbs of Newcastle, NSW they will immediately spot the interloper amongst these. So, yes, we are in Cornwall. Wild camping on the wilds of Dartmoor had been my first night's goal but the lack of easily accessible tracks which didn't lead to some isolated farmhouse was making this dream look next to impossible. This coupled with a cutting wind (this is mid-Summer?) made us shrug our shoulders and follow a brown camping sign. We dismissed the first site at the back of The Plume of Feathers in the middle of a village and pressed on. As we drove away the large, grey, forbidding building which Graeme had mistakenly thought was some kind of factory suddenly morphed into the famous Dartmoor prison – the centrepiece of the village. Prison land everywhere. What ... read more
Cotehele great hall
Down the dell
Tall ships in Charlestown

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Dorset June 18th 2012

Venturing East along the Jurassic Coast we travelled on the X53 bus from Bridport making our destination Weymouth although we found out that we could stay on all the way to Poole. Heading West we could have decided to visit Lyme Regis or even Exeter but Weymouth it was. Sat on the top of the bus, I mused. Happiness is a compilation of small pleasures, little delights and tiny surprises. Often the larger things in life can overshadow the nuances of everyday life. I definitely worship the God of Small Things! (Thank you Arundhati Roy). Hugging the coastline the bus squeezes its way down small roads, dodging parked cars and oncoming traffic for all the world like Harry Potter's night bus. I swear I was thinner at the end of the journey after all that breathing ... read more
Dumb doggy
Cheeky squirrel
The old harbour

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague » Malá Strana June 13th 2012

What a coup! What coup? The Velvet Revolution? No, the mere fact of gathering all three girls and us together on one continent, in one country, in one city and even in one apartment. So it happened in Prague. Engineered; not by happenstance, I might add. So who did we choose to show us around this wonderfully photogenic city? Who would show us some different things and give us some quirky information about this jewel of the Czech Republic? Filip was his name. He was the irrepressible, bouncy, pogo person who we were hoping we would not have as we waited with the Sandeman's free tours group. Enthusiasm I like, effervescence in a guide I was not sure of. But young Filip, born in 1989, the year of the aforementioned Velvet Revolution proved himself to be ... read more
John Lennon

Europe » Italy » Campania » Calitri June 5th 2012

Lying in bed. The shuttered door to the terrace is open admitting the warm morning sun and the summoning knell of the church bells. House-martins criss-cross the sky, wheeling and swooping as they carefully bring small gobbets of mud to make their nests under the eaves. Like so many miniature fighter planes they tip their wings and perform a fly past, a flash of a swallow's chestnut breast as it skims the open window. Cockerels crow from the allotments as chickens cackle their achievements. Just another Sunday in Italy. 'Did you put water in the coffee?' An oft repeated phrase denoting the week's holiday. . The pervading aroma of percolating coffee from the 'Verletta' on the hob had been replaced by a distinct smell of burning. The coffee was well and truly roasted, unfortunately not the ... read more
Valle Ofanto
Wine and Water

Europe » Italy » Campania » Calitri May 14th 2012

Gaining access to the castle in Calitri had proved impossible for six years for the cousin and his intended. Thwarted by irregular opening hours they prepared us for the possibility that it just might not happen. A chance meeting at the Manhattan restaurant, where we went for pizza one night and incidentally where the UEFA cup match between Real Madrid and Bayern was being beamed for the edification of local football enthusiasts, with Titti Lampariello ensured that we would have our very own Saturday morning guided tour. Titti works at the Tourist Information Centre as a volunteer and said she would be more than delighted to show us round. The door to the ceramics museum at the base of the castle was open, the main gate was not. The castle caretaker was nowhere to be seen. ... read more
Majolica teapot
Listening to the tales

Europe » Italy » Campania » Ravello May 11th 2012

The Amalfi coast is legendary. So are the crowds and the narrow, winding coast road clogged with traffic. Mid-week, late April, we anticipated that we might avoid the masses. On leaving Salerno it soon became apparent that we had underestimated the effect of a Fiesta day. Tutti il mondo and his wife had decided to head out to the coast before the influx of tourists when the season started in earnest. Our first glimpse was taken as we headed round a bend, sparkling sea, incredibly large lemons in lemon groves, impossibly constructed villas hanging on for grim death onto the craggy hillside. Steep and craggy, my mother said once on a visit to Switzerland, so many moons ago when as obnoxious teenagers we thought it was such sport to make fun of her. Steep and craggy ... read more
Ravello bride
Ravello vines
Which way to go?

Europe » Italy » Campania » Calitri May 7th 2012

After completing auditions for the remake of the Italian Job we dropped down into a mist-laden valley hiding the ski and summer resort of Lago di Laceno. Between seasons, a ghost resort with nary an animal grazing to break the eerie silence. In Summer it is hard to find a picnic spot, competing with vast family groups bar-be-queing, spit-roasting, pasta boiling and generally cavorting. Snaking down through more heavily wooded forests once favoured by Neapolitan mafia in days gone by, we hit the cobbled streets of Bagnoli Irpino. Even through driving rain its picturesque qualities shone through. It should be, said my cousin, the amount of EU money that has been thrown at it. Narrowing into a lane we turned a corner more suited to pedestrians than motor vehicles. The strange purpose built town of Conza ... read more
Melfi cathedral
Bagni Irpino
Spring wildflowers

Europe » Italy » Campania » Calitri May 4th 2012

It must have been a tail wind from England. We find ourselves waiting in a cloudy Sunday searching for some sustenance after our punishingly early start from Gatwick. Two cappuccinos to restore humour. Airport coffee? They were delicious. Don't suppose we'll find a bad coffee in Italy. Croissants and marmelade are fluffy, moist and satisfying even if eaten at a dirty, plastic-chaired airport cafe. Does it feel like Italy yet? Looking out of the picture windows high on the departure level the cars look the same as in every other country we've visited in the last few months – the hoardings, though, display advertising with wording I struggle to translate calling on adolescent Italian learnt before a memorable holiday to Grado in Northern Italy. The local lads taught me quite a few words, none of which ... read more
Calitri doorway
From the old square
Earthquake damage

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