Category Archives: Europe
Twelve miles north of Liverpool, Formby is a town with a beautiful coastline. Wide sandy beaches are backed by windswept sand dunes that shelter pinewoods, home to the rare red squirrel. I recently took a bracing winter walk in this National Trust protected area.
The Middlewood Way is a 10 mile traffic-free trail created from a former railway line in Cheshire. This footpath passes by my childhood home and over the years I’ve spent many hours walking, cycling and horse-riding up and down the track. This weekend during a visit home I took the dogs for a walk along Middlewood to admire the late autumn scenery of orange leaves crunching underfoot.
If you ever find yourself visiting a Welsh popty, that’s a bakery to non-Welsh speakers, here are two delicious, traditional recipes you have to try. And while you’re learning the word popty, you may as well learn the best word in the Welsh language – popty ping. It means microwave! You’ve got to love the onomatopoeia at play there. It’s more of a slang term, the official word is popty microdon, but I think popty ping is gaining popularity with the younger generation in Wales.
First built in 1106 this castle in Mumbles has been destroyed in numerous battles and then rebuilt as it passed from owner to owner. The current picturesque ruins which sit in a small woodland with views over Swansea Bay are popular with tourists and locals alike. Haunted by a ‘woman in white’, she has been seen wandering around the exterior walls of the castle while crying inconsolably. The young lady’s white robes have been ripped open to show bloody lacerations across her back. It is said that she was a medieval prisoner who was whipped to death in the castle’s dungeon, where the whipping post can still be seen today.
1. Plaza de España
You might recognise the Plaza de España from movies such as Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars or The Dictator because they all featured this impressive square. My favourite sight in Seville was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition World’s Fair, the building itself now houses a handful of government offices. To reach the huge semi-circular pavilion you must first cross over one of the four bridges spanning a small moat, each of which represents an ancient kingdom of Spain. You’ll then find numerous tiled alcoves, one for each Spanish province. Rowing boats are available for hire if you want a different perspective of this spectacular place.