It’s been nearly 2 months since my last post. Time for a little update!
In early July, as a little gift to myself, I bought a hop on, hop off ticket for Uber Boat and basically stayed on the River Thames all day, stopping in Greenwich, Surrey Quays (a good Decathlon store there!) and continuing to Westminster and then back to the Tower pier. If around 9 am there was hardly any queue, by lunchtime I struggled to hop back on, as there was only 1 seat left on the boat. That said, the next one arrived in 30 min or so. The Tower – Greenwich stretch, where the boat actually went pretty fast, was the most fun! And with a budget picnic in Greenwich Park and a nice little walk around the docks near Canada Water, my day was very pleasant indeed. I also had a sneak peek at Superbloom at The Tower of London. A moat filled with wildflowers, £13.20 entry – I chose to admire it from above. Adult all zone River Roamer costs £18.90:
During my mid-July staycation I visited Church Stretton and the Carding Mill Valley at last. I was very interested in that area, an alternative to Welsh hills, and yet only an hour by train from Chester. On a weekday morning the town was virtually empty, art galleries and cafes shut. Some opened later in the afternoon but the impression I got was that of a very sleepy town. It didn’t matter though, I quickly found a path through Rectory Wood and headed uphill, following very well waymarked trails. I had toyed with the idea of staying overnight, but eventually only spent a day, making the most of every minute. Sadly the popular waterfall was barely there and the little streams dried up…I stopped for a nice cup of coffee at the National Trust cafe – a handsome building,with a bit of Switzerland vibe I thought. Other than 2 school trips, I met very few people and I absolutely loved having these gorgeous views to myself. I’ve discovered yet another hidden gem, hidden to me anyway, and to most people who drive to Wales from the South overlooking such a beautiful and unspoilt area.
I had been to a lavender farm once before. It was a small place in Hampshire, and when I heard of the one in Hitchin, I wasn’t too keen initially…How wrong was I! It turned out to be a lovely place, just a right size: it took me 45 min to circle the entire main field, and then another hour to pick many different varieties of Lavender and Lavandin. Not only their shades vary from almost blue to purple, pale lilac and white, they all smell different too. Some are very camphoracious, some gentle, powdery and sweet. It was a true Zen experience. Entry is £5 and the charge for picking lavender is £3 per one small paper bag. I came back dizzy from the scents but in a blissful state of mind:
Rumour has it that Sir Paul McCartney was seen on the West Kirby beach a couple of weeks ago, surrounded by his grandkids who at some point demanded ice cream. Apparently he declined £5 ice cream from a nearby van and took them all to Morrison’s supermarket instead. Unfortunately I didn’t see any McCartneys on said beach, but I paid a visit to the very same store before catching my train back to Chester. I woke up rather grumpy that day but as soon as I found myself on that enormous beach, all was well again. I walked to the Red Rocks and back, and once the tide was low enough, I walked across to the Hilbre Islands. It was very muddy and slippy, but once I reached the third island the ground got drier and the sun came out again. It’s only from the islands that we can actually look towards the sea:
I walked barefoot most of the way back, avoiding the jellyfish.
I’m gathering strength for my trip to Tatry mountains in late August. When we suffered from 40 degrees heatwaves, it snowed in those mountains and the temperature in the town of Zakopane did not exceed 12 degrees. I will be packing both summer and winter gear it seems!