Mowgli’s Wye Valley Adventure – Day 2

It is day two, after an amazing breakfast at our lovely BnB we are ready to head off.  We jump in the car and head off to Monmouth to have a little explore of the village, we walk to the river Wye, and visit the famous bridge, we do part of the tourist walk and see the Judges’ Lodging and old Market Street.

The weather starts to clear so we head to Usk Castle in Usk.  Usk Castle is privately owned and free to enter during the day, with donations requested.  It is dog friendly, so we wander around the remains,  it is quite beautiful with well tended gardens and lovely views.

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Usk Castle

Next we head to Tintern Abbey.  The ruins of the cistercian abbey are impressive and vast.  It is of course, dog friendly as long as your friend is on a lead and you make sure you pick up after them.  Its £6.90 for adults and free for dogs.  The ruins are well preserved with lots of information boards around the site.  The Abbey is one of the oldest tourist sites, and reported to be one of the first package holiday destinations.  More Information here.

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Tintern Abbey

We follow the Wye river path to the old mill and wander the art and craft shops before heading out of Tintern.

On recommendation we make our way to The Miners Arms in Lydney for dinner.  This plain looking local pub turns out to be one of the best meals we have had in a long time.  The coconut and pumpkin soup is amazing,  the pork belly is tender and all the food is locally produced.  This really is a great find!

 

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Tintern Abbey

I have enclosed below a small part of a poem by William Wordsworth which I find very beautiful.  Please do read the rest, I think it evokes the beauty of the area and brings the ruins to mind.
Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798
– William Wordsworth
“…And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought,
With many recognitions dim and faint,
And somewhat of a sad perplexity,
The picture of the mind revives again:
While here I stand, not only with the sense
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
That in this moment there is life and food
For future years. And so I dare to hope,
Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first
I came among these hills; when like a roe
I bounded o’er the mountains, by the sides
Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams,
Wherever nature led: more like a man
Flying from something that he dreads, than one
Who sought the thing he loved. …”

Mowgli’s Wye Valley Adventure – Day 1

It’s time for a weekend away, so we’re off to a BnB in the Wye Valley.  We decide to stay at a small BnB near the little village of St Briavels.  More information on the BnB here it is dog friendly so Mowgli is coming with us.

We drive from London and enjoy the winding drive to through the countryside.  On the way we stop at the Salutation Inn and enjoy their lunch time deal.  The Inn is a lovely snug spot with great food and a local selection of beers for those not driving and is dog friendly.

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The Salutation Inn

We arrive and check in at The Green Gables, then we head off on a walk to the village of St Briavels.  The Castle is in this little village is actually a Youth Hostel that you can stay in.  You can walk around the inside and there is a little guide at the desk which talks you through the history of the Castle and the grounds.  We wander around and enjoy the view.  The George pub (also a dog friendly pub) serves great food, the stroganoff was particularly yum.

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St Briavels

We walk back, Mowgli meets some sheep for the first time.

 

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Sheep

 

Lantau Island

We’re off is most famouon our final Hong Kong adventure to Lantau Island.  There are lots of ways to get to Lantau.  The cheapest is on the underground and bus. But, the most iconic transport is the cable car.  You can pay extra for a private cabin, or a cabin with a glass bottom.

Flying across the mountains, watching the forest go by is serenity tempered with by fear.  It really is an experience.

Lantau’s biggest attraction is the Big Buddha.  As you fly over the hills the Buddha appears between the lush trees.  Serenely sat atop the mountain, the Buddha  is 26m tall and bronze.  When you arrive at the terminal you will be in the created village, pass though this and follow the path to the steps to the Buddha.  There are 268 steps to the top.  You ascend these looking up a Buddha.  When you reach the top there are magnificent views of the surrounding areas.

Lantau Island is also home to Po Lin Monastery.  You are able to wander though the different areas of the temple and view the golden Buddhas within the temple.  The area is full of birds and the sound of water.

A lovely, calm day out.

Elf in St Albans

If you, like us, want to escape the city summer heat for the day, head to St Albans.  St Albans is only a short drive or train ride away from London and has a beautiful village feel to it.

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With a lovely Cathedral to admire and Roman ruins to discover there is actually quite a bit to see.  St Albans also has a lovely shopping area and great food on offer, one of the most famous eateries is the Waffle House.  Be prepared to que at the Waffle House on the weekend, but once you are in there are savoury and sweet options to choose from.  I go for the salted caramel with peacan nuts….ooooo it is yumo!

We walk off our waffles wandering though the Verulamium Park, named for the Roman city outside who’s walls St Albans is built.

Shek O Beach

Today we are ready to get away from the hustle of the city and so are off on an adventure. We’re in search of a beach so we decide to head to Shek O.

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Shek O can be reach via bus from Hong Kong Island, head to Shau Kei Wan Station and take bus 9. The drive it’s self is beautiful with sweeping views of Hong Kong’s shoreline, taking you up and over the Dragon’s Back. For the fit and unafraid there are brilliant hikes along this area.

We alight the bus at its last stop head down to the beach. There are changing rooms, showers, bathrooms and so on. The water is lovely, cool and clear. The beach is beautiful and it feels like a little slice of tranquillity.

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We wander through the town and enjoying the winding streets. The look out over the peninsular is beautiful. We decide to have lunch at the café by the roundabout, the food is fresh and yummy.

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Shek O might just be my favourite bit of Hong Kong.

Eat: Hong Kong

Soooo….this is a love hate post.  We embark on a walking food tour of Hong Kong.  The tour takes place on Kowloon side, we head to Temple Street Night market, which is the place to head to for street food in Hong Kong.

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There are many things that we experience on our couple of hours of food adventure.  I won’t tell you them all and will definitely keep some secret so you are as surprised as we were.

We did try the famous stinky tofu,  which I actually really enjoyed.  It has a very strong flavour and is deep fried, served with chilli sauce.  Also along the way we try some very unusual things…like snake soup….gluttonous…but not too unpleasant, though I was not super keen on the live snakes kept in the shop. 

Over the evening we tried over 15 different things.  Some good, some really not good (in my opinion), I would definitely still recommend the experience.

There are lots of options for food tours and lots of different ways to experience the Hong Kong street food, you can absolutely do this on  your own as well!

 

Make sure you try before you leave Hong Kong:

Stinky tofu
Bubble waffles
Dim sum
Pineapple bun (the one at the top with the slab of butter)
We enjoyed all the bakeries and baked yummy things, there are so many options.

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Enjoy!