A trip to Mallorca

View over Puigpunyent, Mallorca

Hoping to grab some autumn sunshine and warm weather we decided to head for Mallorca (Majorca). My man had done his usual research and found a studio apartment in the small town of Puigpunyent just twenty minutes drive from Palma. It was perfect, very quiet, newly constructed with stunning views of the Tramuntana mountains.

Beautiful views of Tramuntana mountain range
Secluded terrace with beautiful views of the Tramuntana mountain range.

This is a hilly island with a great coastline. Plenty of beaches away from the popular tourist spots and lots of great walks to do. Don’t make the mistake that I did by thinking my little dinky trainers would be fine …they weren’t. I should have sacrificed some space in my case and taken my walking boots, it was a lesson learnt!

Coastal walk from Banyalbufar to Port des Canonge, Mallorca
Old smugglers route from Banyalbufar to Port des Canonge

The coastal hike from from Banyalbufar to Port des Canonge is a popular one. Even in October the car park at the starting point was full but eventually we found somewhere. The hike takes you through pine forest along high rocky crags and after 6km down to the beach to the small port. I’m grateful to the cafe owner for giving me iodine and a dressing for my knee. I was much more careful about where I walked on the way back! It’s a stunning walk but make sure you wear appropriate footwear.

100 year old narrow gauge railway from Palma to Soller in Mallorca and the old tram to Soller Port
100-year old narrow gauge railway from Palma to Soller and the old tram to the Port

Most tourists visiting Mallorca go on this little train, so we did too! Good bus service from Puigpunyent to Palma and cheap too. We found the terminus with minutes to spare and sat back enjoying the 50-minute journey to Soller. No time to look round as the next stage of the trip is to take the old tram so you join the queue with the rest of the tourists. The trams wind their way through Soller before going along the coast a short distance to the port.

Sollar port, Mallorca with old tram by Maggie Booth Photography
Sollar port.

Even at this time of year Sollar Port was heaving. Beautiful weather as you can see. We weren’t too bothered about eating in one the many restaurants along the harbour front or tempted by the souvenir shops so after a short walk and a beer we got the tram back to Sollar. We had an inexpensive lunch in a sandwich shop away from the main square with entertainment provided by the owner who was quite a character. The Japanese tourists just couldn’t work him out!

Near Saint Elm in Mallorca by Maggie Booth Photography
A quiet beach just by Saint Elm.

With the weather still holding we headed the next day for the coast to the small seaside town of Saint Elm. This place is beautiful! We had been tipped off that if we walked down from the town a little way we would find a quiet little beach and we did. Five people including us, it was perfect, as indeed was the lunch we had later back in the town.

The 18th century monastery in Valdemossa and and the gardens The Palace of King Sancho by Maggie Booth Photography
The 18th century monastery in Valdemossa and the gardens of The Palace of King Sancho.
Inside the monastery at Valldemossa, Mallorca with the old monastic pharmacy by Maggie Both Photography
Inside the monastery with the old monastic pharmacy
A decorative tile on a house in Valldemossa, Mallorca by Maggie Booth Photography
One of the decorative tiles on a house in Valldemossa

The guide book on Mallorca says that Valldemossa is the destination of thousands of visitors every year. You can see why it’s so popular. The winding roads up to this mountain village are interesting to say the least and the town is very cute. There are flowers everywhere, decorative tiles on the houses and some great shops! You have to visit the 18th century monastery which includes the pharmacy used by the monks. We didn’t pay extra to go into the rooms used by the composer Chopin. The guides want you to, but we are a bit too shrewd to fall for that. The Palace is interesting too and is included in your ticket.

I think this Blog is quite long enough! Part two on our trip to Mallorca will follow shortly …

Still ‘Up North’!

After two very enjoyable days in Liverpool we headed off towards Howarth in Bronte country. Gosh what a busy little place and packed with tourists even on a murky day in October! There are plenty of tea shops to choose from but I won’t be putting a hyperlink to the one we chose because it was overpriced and not a good choice. The tea was OK as you’d expect in Yorkshire but the minuscule piece of cake definitely wasn’t worth the money. Still it didn’t matter, we had a train journey to look forward to!

Main Street Howarth by Maggie Booth Photography
The busy main street in Howarth.

The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway has its terminus at Oxenhope which is where we caught the train. This iconic heritage railway reopened in 1968 and is run entirely by volunteers. One of the stops along the route is Oakworth station which shot to fame in the film ‘The Railway Children’. The journey is just over 4 and a half miles long with six stations each reflecting railway architecture of the 19th century. Although the weather wasn’t brilliant we still enjoyed the views and the Victorian stations. The decline of the textile industry in this area though is very evident with several derelict woollen mills lining the tracks outside Keighley.

Oxenhope station and engine 75078 by Maggie Booth Photography
Waiting to board the train at Oxenhope station
Engine 75078 at Oxenhope station by Maggie Booth Photography
Engine 75078 at Oxenhope station
Keighley Station on the Worth valley railway.
Keighley Station retains many of its original features.
Engine 75078 on the KWVR at Keighley by Maggie Booth Photography
Engine 75078 coming back from the turntable
Engine 75078 at Keighley taking on water by Maggie Booth Photography
Almost ready to reverse and connect with the carriages.
Oxenhope to Keithley steam by Maggie Booth Photography
75078 with a full head of steam and ready for the off.

After our train journey we headed off to catch up with friends who live just outside Howarth. We’d not seen them for a while so there was plenty of nattering going on washed down with a few glasses of vino … (ha! ha!). Then the following morning we were off again to see more friends who live near Silverdale Cove which is on the Lancashire Coast.

We hadn’t seen these friends for a while either and this was another lovely catch-up. Their eldest daughter who is eight was a baby when we were last up there and we hadn’t of course met their youngest little girl but we hit it off with them straightaway. Having said that it wasn’t long before the girls left us to our chatting …after all adult talk is so boring!

After mugs of tea and cake around the kitchen table we noticed the sun had come out …it was time to go for a walk. A short drive and we were at the coast and what stunning views to have on your doorstep! Silverdale Cove is beautiful and a great place to explore and photograph.

Silverdale Cove on the Lancashire coast by Maggie Booth Photography
The stunning Silverdale Cove.

We rounded off the afternoon with an excellent pint in one of the local pubs before saying goodbye to our friends and headed to our hotel for the night in Clitheroe. My man decide we’d go along the top road heading for The Trough of Bowland. It was getting dark but light enough to see some of the amazing landscape along the way, avoid sheep in the road, flooded bits and see (to our delight) a barn owl fly past us. If that wasn’t reward enough the fabulous sunset definitely was. Hope the pictures do it justice. This road is not for the faint-hearted with twists and turns and heart-stopping moments in case a car comes the other way. We made it but when we told the receptionist at the Waddington Arms how we’d got there she was pretty amazed!

Sunset going towards The Trough of Bowland by Maggie Booth Photography
Capturing a beautiful sunset heading towards The Trough of Bowland

We had an excellent meal that night in the hotel and a good room and were surprised at how cheap it was compared with prices around here in Gloucestershire. After a hearty breakfast we wandered around Clitheroe on a wet Monday morning before heading south down the motorway and home. It was a great four days away, the weather had been typically British but that didn’t matter and anyway we might find some sun on our next trip which will be to Majorca.

Travelling ‘up North’ to Liverpool.

We’d been planning to visit Liverpool for ages and eventually got round to it in October 2018. As well as spending a couple of days in the city we’d also arranged to stay with friends in Keighley and round our trip off visiting a couple of old Uni friends who aren’t old at all! A lot younger than me but we all graduated together in 2003! They live just near the coast on the Lancashire/Cumbria border.

My man had booked a hotel right in the middle of Liverpool with the rather quirky name of The Nadler. Yes I know there’s something funny about it but it was a really nice hotel and not expensive. We were chatting to the helpful guy on reception who asked if we had any specific things we planned to do and of course we mentioned the usual tourist things which you’ll see we did quite a few of them. He asked if we’d thought about going to Port Sunlight and when he told us a little about it we decided to go.

Reproduction of John's :ennui's White room where he composed 'Imagine'.
Different examples of Arts & Crafts architecture are everywhere in the village.

The village of Port Sunlight is on The Wirral and was founded in 1888 by William Hesketh Lever to house the workers at his factory, Lever’s ‘Sunlight Soap.’ It has 900 Grade II listed buildings which were designed by 30 different architects and is an absolute gem of a place and well worth a visit.

The variety of architecture and the layout of the parklands in Port sunlight is stunning.
As well as designing houses the architects created memorials and monuments set in 130 acres of parklands and gardens.

We spent a very pleasant afternoon there walking round and visiting the Museum, popping into the Victorian schoolroom and one of the worker’s cottages. The star of the visit for me was the Lady Lever Art Gallery with so many pre-raphaelite paintings – what a find! We’d planned to go back on the ferry but we were too late so we got back to the city by the very efficient train service using the Walrus card. (Unique to Liverpool).

Next day was overcast and chilly but we had one heck of a schedule so a bit of seasonal October weather wasn’t going to get in our way. The first stop was just up the road from our hotel, St Luke’s Church which is commonly called the Bombed Out Church. It’s a ruin but has been revived recently and is used as an exhibition space and arts venue. Shame we couldn’t get inside but I loved the sculpture outside of the British Tommy shaking hands with a German soldier with a football at their feet. I took a few pictures and then we were off to to the next iconic Liverpool church, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest Catholic church in England. In the city it’s affectionally known as ‘Paddy’s Wigwam’.

Bombed out church in Liverpool
A short-lived truce
Metropolitan Cathedral
You can probably see why its known as ‘Paddy’s Wigwam’

What an interesting building! Loved the design with no supporting columns in the main body of the church so a clear view wherever you sit. The Lutyens Crypt is interesting too which is accessed from a relatively new staircase co-joined now from the upper building. No photography allowed here but I managed to sneak a quick picture of the font with the sun on it and the ‘spider’s web’ window in the background.

No time to hang about though, we had another cathedral to go to! What a morning! This time as we rounded a corner to the Liverpool Cathedral we both felt disappointed. Yes it’s big but definitely not the prettiest of churches on a grey day … inside though is impressive. If you go there be sure to walk right to the back of the building where there is a second nave in the oldest part with some very interesting stained glass. There’s lots of things to photograph and a lot of walking to do so it wasn’t long before we headed for the cafe and a sit down. You get a great view from there which was even more interesting as they were setting up for a venue that evening with trolley after trolley of food arriving from a large lift which appeared to rise up from underground! The lighting technicians were busy too getting some great effects around the chancel area.

Great lighting effects
The older part of the Cathedral

Some great architecture.

After our quick lunch we headed off in the direction of the Royal Albert Docks. It just so happened that on our way there we passed that traditional boozer with its cellar-brewed ales, the Baltic Fleet pub. How could we go past the door without popping in for a pint?! So we did. I ‘lift’ here a couple of sentences from their website which says it all …

The Baltic Fleet, dating from the mid 1800’s is a traditional pub in the heart of Liverpool. Ask any of the 3 ghosts that inhabit the pub and I’m sure they’d agree that the Baltic Fleet is part of the very soul of #Liverpool.

With 2 secret tunnels leading from the cellar to the docklands and another leading to the old red light district of Cornhill, the Baltic Fleet connected crews of the square rigged ships with their two most fundamental needs, beer and ladies of the night.

We didn’t see any of the ghosts and although we were tempted to have another pint, we had a rendezvous with The Beatles.

China town and the Baltic Fleet and now the Royal Albert Docks

I can’t imagine anyone visiting Liverpool and not going to ‘The Beatles Story’. It’s in the Albert Docks and is a museum about the ‘fab four’ and their history. If you grew up with the Mersey Sound then a visit to this museum is a must. We thought it was done very well and the replicas of Mathew Street and The Cavern were particularly good although it was ‘The White Room’ which brought a lump to my throat. Standing there listening to ‘Imagine’ brought the memories flooding back.

Afterwards we decided to walk to Mathew Street which housed the original Cavern Club and what a tacky street it is now! Loads of bars with guys outside touting for your business. I took a couple of pics including one of the statue of Cilla Black before heading quickly round the corner to get away from the crowds and the blaring music.

Mathew Street

And just around the corner is the iconic figure of Eleanor Rigby symbolising homeless people everywhere. More relevant today than ever …

Eleanor Rigby

The afternoon was drawing on but we’d not finished yet. If you’re still reading this Blog, well done! It’s going on a bit but there’s so much to do in Liverpool and we still hadn’t gone on the ferry across the Mersey. It had to be done! It’s the only way to see The Three Graces properly. They define the skyline and consist of ‘The Royal Liver Building with its two Liver Birds on the top, The Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building. They look a little grey in the picture below but they still look impressive, if slightly at an angle. (Blame the photographer!).

The Three Graces.

So that was our day in Liverpool finished off by an excellent Italian meal that evening which we thoroughly deserved! If it spurs you on to visit the city then my enthusiasm for Liverpool has come through in this Blog. We had a great time and I’m sure we’ll go back.

The beautiful Bernese Oberland

When I was twenty I went abroad for the first time. Yes it was quite a while ago but I still remember how I felt when I saw those beautiful Swiss mountains; The Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau, it was breathtaking!

On that holiday we drove over from Interlaken to Grindelwald, a pretty village in the mountains, in the heart of the Bernese Oberland. It’s a popular ski resort as well as a perfect place to hike from, so many walks start from here. One of the things we did there and it’s the only thing I remember, is going on the chairlift up to First. In those days it was an open chair, two seats side by side with a canvas top and sides that rolled up. Somewhere I have a picture of myself sat on the chairlift and dare I say …looking a little like Julie Christie? I know, it’s hard to believe now! My first trip on a chairlift and I loved it! Now sadly the chairlift is no more having been replaced by a cable car. I’m sure it’s a good way to get up to this minor summit if you’re not able to hike, but I can’t believe it’s as much fun as the open chairlift. Health & Safety hey?!!

A couple of years ago we went back to Grindelwald staying at Hotel Tschuggen which is run by Robert & Monica. It’s a small hotel on the main street and from the back you get a magnificent view across the valley to the mountains. It’s an excellent place to stay with comfortable rooms and a delicious breakfast with home-made yogurt and of course a range of locally made cheeses.  The owners are lovely and are so welcoming and very helpful. We loved the town and the area so much and the hotel and the pizzas at Onkel Toms that we went back to Grindelwald again this year.

One of the things we wanted to do for the second time was to go on the Mannlichen Gondola cableway. It’s the third longest in the world and it’s just an amazing experience. We love the little gondolas which hold up to four people but guess what …this is the last season they will be running. From next year the little gondolas are being replaced by a cable car. Its a shame but for the operators they can get more people up there in a quicker time. Easier for skiers too.

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The summit at Mannlichen complete with a very large wooden cow! Great fun climbing inside and playing the cow bells.

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The drop below to the Lauterbrunnen valley didn’t seem to bother this chap!

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We’re all ready for the hike. Had to take a view of the Wetterhorn and of course the Eiger. Not a cloud in sight!

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If I didn’t stop to take pictures we would easily get to Kleine Scheidegg in two hours. It’s a simple, short hike with one of the most beautiful backdrops in the world. A fantastic view of the mountains, Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau.

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Not long before you get to Kleine Scheidegg station there just happens to be a watering hole on the route, Berghaus Grindelwaldblick. My man decided a beer was called for and I went for a Swiss wine from the village of Yvorne. We had stopped at the village crossing over from France a couple of days earlier and had spent a pleasant hour on a Sunday morning tasting a selection of their wines.

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I just wasn’t ready for all the alpine flowers which were growing everywhere. This alpine hike has everything!

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Although there’s no denying that Switzerland is an expensive country, if you can, do go. The scenery in the Bernese Oberland is wonderful …it’s breathtaking and unique. Pictures can’t do it justice. It’s pretty much unspoilt and hopefully it’ll remain so. I do feel very lucky to have done several hikes in this area and hopefully my man and I will be back before too long.

 

 

Beautiful sunset for our night by Lake Geneva.

Although we were sad to leave Provence we were so excited about staying in Switzerland for a few days. On the way however we’d booked into an inexpensive little hotel right on the shore of Lake Geneva in a village called Meillerie.

Quai de Meillerie
Meillerie by Lake Geneva

Is there anywhere by this beautiful lake that isn’t amazing? The views are stunning and the scenery …breathtaking. Meillerie is on the French side of the lake just a spit away from the Swiss border. It isn’t posh like Evian and the hotel, Les Terrasses certainly wasn’t expensive. The bathroom was smaller than our double-wardrobe at home but it had everything squeezed in there so no complaints and the breakfast was very good. The room even had a  little balcony looking over the lake.

Beginning of a sunset over Lake Geneva by Meillerie
The start of the sunset

We’d already booked a table at the lakeside restaurant just down the road as it had very good reviews and deservedly so. We had also stopped there just for drinks two years earlier when we were travelling from Switzerland to Provence. Le Restaurant du Port  is a really busy place and is only open between May & the end of September. This is the place to get perfect fish …of course.

Beginning of the sunset over Lake Geneva by Meillerie with swan
And then to complete my picture a swan arrived.

By luck we’d been given a table right by the side of the lake and even more exciting was the sunset that evening. I cursed that I hadn’t got my camera with me but my mobile has done a pretty good job. What I couldn’t understand was why  I was the only one bobbing up and down taking pictures?!

Maybe the reason was that sunsets over the lake happen quite a lot and I guess most of the people at the restaurant were locals although definitely not all.

Sunset over Lake Geneva by Meillerie quay
Spectacular sky but the sunset effect is disappearing!

My man is quite understanding about me taking pictures; he’s used to it so he didn’t mind me jumping up and down to take yet another one. He knew I wouldn’t ignore a sunset as good as this and anyway the meal hadn’t arrived yet and he was tucking into the wine, so that was okay!

Sunset over Lake Geneva by Meillerie
Sunset is looking good again!

Beautiful sunset over Lake Geneva by Meillerie
Doesn’t need a caption does it?!

Beautiful sunset over Lake Geneva by Meillerie
As sunsets go, this one was breathtaking.

Sunsetting over Lake Geneva by Meillerie
Over all too soon.

What a night! A fantastic meal, a superb setting and an unforgettable sunset oh and the wine was pretty good too!

Switzerland, here we come!

Two weeks in Provence.

I guess we’ve been visiting Provence for almost thirty years. It’s all down to the T.V. chef, Keith Floyd. He was doing a cookery demo in the pretty town of L’isle-sur-la-Sorgue chattering on as he used to do with a glass of wine in one hand whilst stirring a dish in the other. The camera panned round to show the river, one of the many waterwheels and the Provencal town houses …we were hooked. The very next year we were there and the magic has never gone. We love the town although it’s a lot busier than it was all those years ago.

L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Venice of Provence.
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Venice of Provence.

For the last five years we’ve stayed at Mas de Miejour which is just outside the town of Le Thor not far from L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. The little cabin known as Le Cabanon, (small house in Provencal), feels very much like a home from home although where we live is bigger and a few centuries older! Le Cabanon is tucked away in the extensive grounds of the Mas de Miejour

Fred & Emma own the 19th century farmhouse (le Mas)and have several B & B rooms, cottages and the little cabin which is just perfect for us. It’s quiet, even the chickens don’t disturb us and we love their eggs for breakfast. The swimming pool is great and the area good for walking and cycling …very flat!

Mas de Miejour, le Cabanon
Le Cabanon at Mas de Miejour

The first Sunday we were there we decided to go along to the cherry festival in Venasque. The tourist info. on the village says ‘Venasque is perched on a rocky outcrop’, well they’re right about that. We parked at the bottom of the hill having decided we didn’t need to take the bus and by the time we’d walked up to the village we were definitely in need of a beer! The cherries were of course delicious as was the local wine however once the speeches started we went to explore the village. Not surprisingly it’s rated as the 126th ‘most beautiful village in France’.

Cherry festival at Venasque
Annual festival of cherries in Venasque

On Mondays we always go to Cavaillon. No it’s not rated beautiful but we like it because it’s not touristy. The market is very much for the locals and I know my espadrille man will be there and I always need to stock up for the year. Oh and the local butcher sells the best merguez anywhere.

Cavaillon Cathedral, the cloister.
The Cloister in Cavaillon Cathedral.

I can’t remember which day we went to Monteux but as this isn’t meant to be a diary it doesn’t really matter. I was in my element in this town, particularly the old part. The website mentions all kinds of festivals including a spectacular firework display but nothing I could see that mentioned the wonderful murals everywhere, many in the ‘Trompe-l’oeil’ style. The picture on the top right for example shows arches with windows inset but it’s all painted to ‘deceive the eye’. I did of course take loads of pictures but the girl in the red dress painted high up on a building in one of the square’s was my favourite.

Some of the murals in Monteux near Carpentras
The pretty painted village of Monteux near Carpentras

Arles is another of our favourite places. Built in Roman times by the great river Rhone it’s often described as the gateway to the Camargue. It’s a vibrant city famous for the Amphitheatre although there are other examples of Roman architecture which get overlooked. Never mind the Romans, there are some interesting shops here, art galleries, usually a photography exhibition or two and lots of places to eat and drink and watch the world go by. And we found a parking place near the college which was free!

Amphitheatre in Arles & The Rhone
Arles amphitheatre and the wonderful Rhone river.

Walking the back streets of Arles is just as interesting as the main thoroughfares and less crowded too!

Around Arles
Some of my favourite features in Arles.

We couldn’t stay in Provence without visiting the Luberon and especially the town of Lacoste. I think everyone must head for Bonnieux or Menerbes as Lacoste is usually pretty quiet. We always pop into the church and then walk up to Pierre Cardin’s place which is a large 11th century chateau which dominates the village. A feature of the village is the narrow streets and the old stone houses and the stunning view across to Bonnieux and Mont Ventoux. It isn’t me in the picture in the bottom right, I just liked this shot of a very French lady looking out across the valley.

Lacoste village in the Luberon, Provence.
Lacoste in the Luberon. The chateau previously owned by the Marquis de Sade now belongs to M. Pierre Cardin.

Cottage in Lacoste
My favourite corner of Lacoste

I could hardly finish this Blog without mentioning lavender. The lavender season hadn’t quite started apparently but it looked stunning to me. In the background you can make out the summit of Mont Ventoux. It’s the highest mountain in the region and has gained fame due to the Tour de France cycling race. Yes it is very windy and murky at the top but on a clear day it looks very magical.

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As usual we were sorry to leave Provence but we had Switzerland to travel to next …

 

Ayutthaya,Venice of the East.

It’s hard to beat Ayutthaya for the number and variety of temples within the old city. As I mentioned in a previous Blog you can get ‘templed-out’ but here they are very impressive, many set in extensive grounds and the city itself is a pleasure to explore. We walked a lot, took the ‘noddy’ style tuk-tuks and went on a boat trip on the river. Many tourists hire bikes but I wasn’t tempted …too much traffic around!

You can see from the pictures that these temples are centuries old . Ayutthaya was a significant city dating back to the 14th century and was once the capital of Thailand. The river runs around the centre and unfortunately serious flooding occurs. In 2011 some parts of the city was under three meters of water. It’s hard to imagine how difficult it must have been for the residents during those three months and the effect afterwards both on them and the historical buildings. Tourism was affected although they have certainly returned in large numbers as we found visiting the temples.

Ayutthaya, Ban Thai House
Ban Thai House

Ban Thai House where we stayed was a good choice. We’d booked their traditional small Thai house which is made of teak. It creaked a little and we eventually got used to the high step between our compact bedroom and the bathroom and enjoyed sitting on our balcony overlooking the lake and the grounds.

Wat Mahathat, The Temple of the Great Relic, Thailand.
Wat Mahathat, The Temple of the “Great Relic”

Wat Mahathat, The Temple of the Great Relic, Thailand
Wat Mahathat. One of the temple’s most photographed features is the head of a stone Buddha entwined within the roots of a tree.

I had to be patient to get these pictures of the stone head as I didn’t want any tourists in the way!

Wat Mahathat. Ayutthaya,Thailand
Wat Ratchaburana.

I took this shot as we came out of a cafe opposite after having a beer. The cone-shaped oblelisk which are called Prangs had turned a golden colour by the setting sun.

Wat Yai Chaimongkhon Ayutthaya, Thailand
Wat Yai Chaimongkhon with its stunning reclining Buddha.

We had an interesting walk to this temple – having paused to watch workers making a sweet desert called Roti Sai Mai (also known as Sweet Angel Hair) which is a speciality of Ayutthaya and we were invited inside the mini factory. They were lovely people, so welcoming and eager to explain the process. They gave us a mid-morning snack of the most delicious Roti Sai Mai which is a bit like candy floss wrapped in a pancake.

Wat Yai Chaimongkhon, Ayutthaya
Wat Yai Chaimongkhon, an active temple where monks still live.

More tourists dressed up to visit the temples. It’s got to be said that not everyone looks great wearing the national costume and modern shoes with it doesn’t help …

Phraya River Ayutthaya Thailand
Visiting various temples on our trip on the river.

This two-hour boat trip was very interesting including visiting a Chinese temple (top picture). The picture of the little girl by the row of Buddhas is one of my favourite shots of the holiday.

Wat Phutthaisawan Ayutthaya Thailand
Visitor to Wat Phutthaisawan looking stunning in national dress.

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Dressing up to visit the temple.

Here are girls who can wear the traditional costume. I would have loved to have taken more pictures, they were just stunning and the light was perfect.

Wat Lokayasutharam, Ayutthaya, Thailand
Wat Lokayasutharam, home to a huge reclining Buddha

The tuk-tuks in Ayutthaya were different to ones we’d seen before, definitely ‘noddyish’. This Buddha is HUGE! 42 metres in length with the head resting on a lotus flower, very impressive. The grounds were beautiful and for once it was very quiet. I’ve added an effect to these two pictures to give an ethereal feel.

New weekend night market in Ayutthaya, Thailand
New weekend night market in Ayutthaya.

If the hotel hadn’t told us we wouldn’t have known about this new weekend market which opened at the beginning of the year. If you go to Ayutthaya you must go here. The food is cheap, varied and delicious. A word of warning, grab a tub-tuk before the market starts to close up otherwise you’ll have to walk back to your hotel. This city shuts early!

Wat Pichai Songkram Ayutthaya Thailand
Our last day and a visit to nearby Wat Pichai Songkram, getting a blessing for a safe journey home.

The blessing worked! We arrived home having had a good trip back. We were sorry to leave Thailand but we’ll be back, that’s for sure.