The 27 inhabitants of this medieval borgo (hamlet) reckon it is the oldest in Italy. It is definitely one of the best preserved in Tuscany. Towering above it is the rocca, which is a fortified tower. For over a thousand years it repelled numerous military assaults, but by the middle of the 20th century it was threatening to collapse onto the town. Continue reading Castelnuovo dell’Abate to Rocca d’Orcia
We spent today doing a tiki-tour of one of the more touristed areas of Switzerland. Interlaken is a town between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz in the Bernese Oberland region of central Switzerland, and is surrounded by high mountains. The Aare River river connects the two lakes and flows through the center of town, making it an important crossing point. Continue reading Interlaken and Berne
We have been on a real mountain hike today, climbing 750 meters up out of a valley to the top of an amazing cliff, then descending back to the start and a further 100 meters down a gorge. Altogether we have covered over 20 km so we are both feeling rather tired. Continue reading Le Creux du Van and Gorges de l’Areuse
After spending the last couple of days sitting in a conference, Felicity was keen on some exercise, so we have spent the day walking, mostly in a couple of Prague’s many parks. Continue reading Petřín Hill and Divoká Šárka Nature Reserve
When I looked out the window this morning the sky was blue and the sun was shining – ideal conditions for a bike ride. After breakfast I walked over to the Holiday Inn to meet up with Barry, and discovered a coffee shop just around the corner that makes an excellent brew – an auspicious start to the day. Continue reading Karlštejn Castle
I had planned to meet up with a friend and hire bikes for the day, but just as I was about to leave I looked out the window and noticed it was raining steadily. The forecast suggested it would get worse, so we decided to wait for an hour or so and reassess. Continue reading Rainy Day in Prague
By the time we arrived at the Vysehrad hotel in Prague last night, Felicity’s colleague had got tired of waiting for us in the lobby and had decamped to a pub across the road. We dumped our bags and met her there, where we enjoyed a delicious and cheap glass of Czech beer. Continue reading Vysehrad Fort to Prague Castle
We spent most of a day packing our gear, departing Norwich and travelling to Oxford, but we had a couple of hours to wander around the town with our hosts Ros and Peter before heading home to their house. All of this university town is fascinating, but I thought the most interesting stop was the Weston Library, which is part of the Bodleian Library. Continue reading Blenheim Palace Oxford
Up in the north-west corner of Norfolk is the town of King’s Lynn, which in the 14th century was Britain’s most important port. Until about 1100 it was known just as Lynn, which some locals still call it today. For the next few hundred years it was called Bishop’s Lynn, then after Henry VIII the official name became King’s Lynn.
Continue reading King’s Lynn
Just under a hundred kilometers to the west of Norwich is the city of Ely, which we have already passed through on the train a few times on our way elsewhere. As it had been recommended to us as one of the best preserved medieval towns in the area we made a visit today.
Continue reading Ely
When I first learned we were coming to Norwich, the thing I wanted to do most was to kayak on the Norfolk Broads. A bit of research taught us that the best place for small boats is on the rivers, higher up than drunken tourists can drive their huge rented launches.
Continue reading River Bure
Out on the coast just south of Great Yarmouth is the town of Lowestoft, which is where trains travelling over the swing bridge at Reedham end up. I managed to pry Felicity loose from her keyboard late morning and we hurried to the station just in time to catch the midday train.
Continue reading Lowestoft
Although we have already visited Yarmouth on two occasions, we hadn’t explored the town or seen the beach, so we caught the train out to the coast this morning to see this famous “resort”. Sadly, we discovered that it’s heyday was about a century ago, and that the town seems to have gone steadily downhill since then.
Continue reading Great Yarmouth
Felicity went to visit a professor at Cambridge University today, so we went for a long walk through the interesting city afterwards. Unlike Norwich, the central part of town is swarming with tourists, and there are students from all over the world making it a much more cosmopolitan place.
Continue reading Murray Edwards College Cambridge
Today we completed the final section of the Wherryman’s Way, so we have now walked the whole distance from Norwich to Great Yarmouth. We started by catching the midday bus to Chedgrave, and disembarked outside the White Horse Pub where we had ended our walk on our previous visit.
Continue reading Wherryman’s Way – Chedgrave to Reedham
When I looked for places to visit near Great Yarmouth, the first place that caught my attention was Burgh Castle. It isn’t actually a castle, but instead a Roman coastal fort that they called Gariannonum.
Continue reading Burgh Castle
Travelling by bus to Surlingham from Norwich took us about 10 minutes, which was a lot easier than the almost two hour trip on foot in the other direction last week. For the first part of our walk we were sharing the path with about a dozen other people in a group which was a bit frustrating because every time we stopped to look at anything they would pass us then block the track when we got going again. Eventually they turned off and we could walk at our normal pace.
Continue reading Wherryman’s Way – Surlingham to Chedgrave
We decided to spend a day in the countryside for a change today, and took a train to Reedham on the Wherryman’s Way. We would have gone back to Surlingham to continue where we stopped last week, but it is a bank holiday here in England and the normal bus service is not running.
After my big mission yesterday I was hoping for an easy day exploring the city, but Felicity was keen to start walking one of the long-distant trails leading out towards the coast, so we spent another exhausting day of touristing. Wherries were barges with large black sails, used to transport goods up rivers to inland towns, and played an important part in the history of Norwich.
Continue reading Wherryman’s Way – Norwich to Surlingham
Intimidated by the dire warnings about Cyclone Cook, we changed our plan to go away this Easter and were at home on Friday and Saturday. When it became obvious that the storm had almost completely by-passed Auckland, we loaded the kayaks on the motorhome and headed north on Sunday.
Continue reading Maungaturoto and Mangawhai