Uetliberg

The final part of my Swiss adventure involved a trip to the top of the mountain which overlooks Zurich: Uetliberg.

IMG_0719.JPG

From our base at the wonderful Hotel Atlantis by Giardino, it was an easy walk downhill to the train station, passing this cute little troll house on the way (no idea what its purpose was as it was deserted).

IMG_0722.JPG

The trains in Switzerland all run on time and this cute little mountain train was no exception. We passed through fields initially, then little villages, until finally reaching the forest.   I was delighted to see that the cows do indeed have bells in Switzerland.  I think this one was a bull actually.

IMG_0731.JPG

From the train station final stop, it was a steady 15 minute uphill walk to the very top.  I’d like to say the view of the city was amazing, but as we were above the clouds we saw precisely nothing.  It was worth it for the walk in the forest though!

IMG_0703.JPG

On our descent we decided to go into the station café for a bite to eat.  I confidently ordered from the menu in my schoolgirl German, only to be presented with something like a weiner schnitzel.  Not what I ordered but no matter – I need to brush up on my language skills.

IMG_0712.JPG

On a clear day you can see for miles from the station we were told, but to be honest, we really enjoyed getting out into the fresh air and into the beautiful forest.

IMG_0704.JPG

 

 

 

Review: Nissaki Beach Hotel Corfu

DSCF2754

This was our first time back to Corfu in about ten years and nothing much seems to have changed.  In some ways this is delightful: countryside, wildflowers, seaside tavernas, fresh fish, and in others frustrating : the airport (let’s not go there), sanitation in general – we only ask for locks on the doors and to be able to flush the paper.   However, we had a fabulous week at the newly refurbished Nissaki Beach which we booked for a steal as it had literally just opened, and to be honest wasn’t quite finished.  Every day some new furniture or fittings would arrive, and it was obvious that our bathroom had been finished as a bit of a rush job as there were no tiles and the shower didn’t work.  Still, no matter, these are the best bits!

  • The view from the relaxation areas was fantastic: right on the beach

DSCN0797.JPG

  • Lovely restaurants for lunch and dinner (including breakfast outside on the terrace)
  • Sparkling white décor with a hint of Marrakesh

DSCN0792

  • Wonderful Greek food
  • Peace and quiet (it’s adult only)
  • Secluded (lots of walks along the coast path)
  • Across the bay from Corfu Town so cruise ships passing by daily
  • Plenty of shady spots to read

If we get the chance we will go back again.

DSCF2753

 

Less Really Is More at Collingwood House

I’m not sure how exactly it’s happened but I seem to have managed to achieve a sense of calm.  We’ve been on holiday to Menorca, staying near Es Castell, in the 18th century Collingwood House.  There are strictly no mod cons at this place (no TV, no aircon, very basic food), although you can get wifi in the main reception.  We read books, played scrabble, went for walks and enjoyed the wildlife (lots of lizards and big bugs).  There are places to eat out within easy walking distance, but for the most part, we kicked back and relaxed.  At bedtime it was very dark and very quiet, great for a good night’s sleep.

DSCF2416

It’s only a two star hotel, once the home of Admiral Collingwood, second in command to Admiral Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar.  The interior has been lovingly restored by the current owner who has been adding to his collection of artefacts since 1961 and the style reflects how it would have looked in Collingwood’s day.

DSCF2412

Although not far from Mahon, we heard that the owner had bought the surrounding land to prevent development, so you have the feeling of being in the middle of nowhere.

DSCF2406

Being in such a calming place has really made me think about stuff.  And I do mean literally ‘stuff’.  We were very happy with the simplicity.  Logging on once a day to check emails and happily ignoring social media.  I read a couple of great books and indulged in time frittered away.  There was no dressing up and no putting on make up.

DSCF2420

It made me think about why we feel we need so much stuff in our lives.  In fact, the first thing I’ve done this morning is drop a load of clothes off at the charity shop. I also realised just how much time I spend on social media and have to ask myself, does it really benefit me, or is it just a drain on my internal resources?

So with a rethink on the cards, I’m re-energised and ready for the run up to the winter solstice.  Can’t say I’ve thought about giving up blogging though….I spent loads of time scribbling notes in my little yellow diary instead.  Can’t live without committing my thoughts to paper…it’s the habit of a lifetime.  Happy Days!

Fifty Plus Style: The Kaftan

2008 fuji 011

Now I don’t know about you, but not many holidays go by without me acquiring a new kaftan, usually from a local market.  I have so many of these,  it’s a bit ridiculous, but each one reminds me of a holiday somewhere hot and sunny and I don’t like to part with them unless they’ve been to Manchester Airport and back at least a few times.    This one I picked up in Alcudia Old Town, Mallorca.  They’re great for chucking on over a cossie (I’m not one for exposure and burn easily too) and for a casual night out you can wear them with  jeans and a heel.

In some ways, for me, they’ve replaced the sarong – I  often take a couple of sarongs with me and they  languish unloved in the suitcase.   What do we think ladies?  Are they a useful item in your wardrobe?

Hippie Chic In Mallorca: Fifty Plus Style

Once a year, I indulge my love of boho fashion with two weeks in beautiful Mallorca.  It’s time to kick off the shoes, read a few books and wear stuff that doesn’t see the light of day in the UK.

DSCF1740

I just love these harem pants which I bought in Lanzarote and they are so comfy and cool for the beach.  DSCF1872

I’m a cover up girl – all factor 50 and fake tan, so you won’t catch me in any bikini shots any time soon!

DSCF1815

I have a few favourites from East, including this navy batik sundress which is great over your cossie.

DSCF1799

I also love this silk skirt, also from East, which is years old (and don’t tell anyone, has a tear in it) but I can’t bear to part with it.

DSCF1801

This year, we travelled with friends, so I’ll be sharing some of my friend Linda’s fashion style on the blog soon!

I Think We Should Talk

DSCF1467

The countdown to the summer holidays is on and I’ve been brushing up on my Spanish.  I dearly wish I’d studied Spanish to A level instead of French as I wouldn’t find myself embarrassed by my limited knowledge of the beautiful language of the country I visit several times a year. It’s not that I haven’t tried you understand.  I’ve been to adult education ‘Beginner’s Spanish’ and even ‘Level Two Spanish’, but still I find myself struggling to string a useful sentence together.  I guess it comes down to what I would like to say.  I’m no intrepid traveller.  I just like to go on holiday. A lot. I like to try new food and buy local products.  I also like trying new hotels – especially where crisp white sheets, fluffy towels and rainforest showers are involved.  So, you could say I want to get by socially and as a consumer. Here are some examples of phrases I’m likely to need:

May I try this on?

Do you have this in a smaller size? (Wishful thinking!)

I have a reservation

Would you call me a taxi please

I’d like to order some olives with my martini please.

Thank you, you’ve been so kind

The food was delicious

Are you on Twitter?

I don’t particularly want to say:

My grandmother’s name is Lucy

I have a cat and a dog

It is sunny today, or raining, or whatever.

The year is 2015

Bored with evening classes, I’ve picked up what I can as I go along, learning the odd word or phrase here and there, so I was very interested when EuroTalk asked me if I would like to try one of their courses.

EuroTalk is a language learning company which covers over 130 languages from all over the world.

Their language courses range from beginner to advanced and are available via apps, downloads and USBs.  I decided on a download as I like to learn from home, with my trusty notebook in hand.
You simply log on via the EuroTalk icon which you download onto your computer and choose a subject from the menu.  Subjects include shopping, emergencies and at the hotel, all of which are geared more towards the normal day to day things a traveller would need to know, rather than much of the stuff that you learn in adult education beginner Spanish lessons which can be very family, weather and home oriented.  There are options to listen, learn and speak to check your pronunciation.
I’ve spaced my learning over a few weeks and working at my own pace, feel I now have a few more phrases under my belt.
I was given the course for free in exchange for my honest opinion.  EuroTalk is offering my readers 20% off anything on their website.  Simply enter discount code FPL20 at the checkout.
I’ll let you know how I get on in real life very soon!

Reasons to Visit Torremolinos

DSCF1729

When you tell people that your holiday destination is Torremolinos, you tend to get one of two reactions.  Either ‘oh, isn’t that high rise, fish and chips and British bars?’ or ‘we love it there too!’.  At a risk of letting everyone into the secret, I have to tell you that Torremolinos is very authentically Spanish and a fabulous place to spend a week out of season.  This is why I recommend it:

Parrots

Parrot

I just love these little guys.  My holiday starts as soon as I see a flock of them flitting from tree to tree chatting to one another.  Their presence is controversial as they are not an indigenous species, but they are very cute!

Chiringuitos

DSCF1718

If you like to spend an afternoon eating and drinking with a sea view, then you won’t go far wrong in a chiringuito, or beach restaurant.  There are dozens to choose from, all with a huge selection of fish dishes.

Hotels

DSCF1485

Over the years we’ve stayed in every class of hotel, from the charming one star Cabello, to the elegant four star Riu Nautilus (don’t think there are any five stars). Last month we stayed at the newly refurbished Sol House which has a bit of an Ibiza vibe going on.  There’s something to suit all budgets. We usually book our flights and hotel separately through Alpha Rooms as it saves money and gives us more choice of flight times.

Beach

DSCF1723

The beach is huge, well kept and clean.  Still lots of traditional fishing boats knocking about.

People

DSCF1747

These very kind people let me try out my Spanish when shopping and don’t smirk when I get it wrong – they are happy to chat to help improve your conversational Spanish skills too.

Sun

DSCF1727

It’s not called the Costa Del Sol for nothing! We go out of season March, April, October, November and it’s usually 20 degrees plus and sunny.

Shopping

DSCF1739

So many shops, so little time! I always come back with unusual pieces of jewellery.

Food

Best fresh fish you can get anywhere at a reasonable cost.  This whole fresh turbot cost e25 for both of us.  Less than a tenner each.

DSCF1449

Anyone else been to Torremolinos?  I’d love to know what you thought!