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.

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Algarve Elf

Catching the train from Lisbon to Albufeira takes about three hours and takes you cross country until you can just glimpse the sea before dropping back down between the hills.  The trains are comfortable and easy to navigate.  We caught the morning train and bought our tickets on the morning that we travelled which worked well.  There are no announcements on the train so you will need to keep your eyes open the closer you get to your final stop.  Also, the tickets give you an allocated seat and cost just over 20 euros each.

13731510_10157367824900314_2645628244588734118_nAlbufeira is an interesting place a sort of multinational resort.  We stayed just outside in a town called Villamoura which was much the same on a smaller scale.  Villamoura is surrounded with beautiful public gardens and paths filled with colourful flowers so we decide to hire bikes and ride around to enjoy the area.

We also cycle up to another town nearby and then back down the paths along the beach.  The beach is beautiful, sandy and clean.  The water is cold but nice after a hot bike ride.  There are families enjoying the day together, all round lovely place to sit and to swim. (The beaches are lifeguard patrolled as well so its great for kids).

The Algarve area is perfect for driving around and pottering amongst the beautiful towns and wonderful coastline.  We hire a car and stop at a local market in Faro and walk along the old town walls and into a free museum which is lucky open on a Sunday (most things except the cafes and restaurants are closed on Sundays). 13700111_10154315321391069_9141328938881568161_n

On another day we drive to one of the most picturesque beaches I have ever seen beliche beach.  The steps down to the beach its self are steep and drop you down between the cliff faces of the coastline.  There is nothing here except a small shack that sells cold drinks and BBQ chicken.  We are told by locals that he shack is not always open so take your own water and snacks just in case.

The beach is…. just wow.

Not to be missed.

French Elf

France!  Wine, cheese, bread, sophistication, Nutella!  Sounds glorious!

A group of us are desperate to get away for the bank holiday weekend so we book in to a beautiful big house about an hour drive from Calais.  We look at all the options for travel and decide on driving across using the Eurotunnel in two cars.  It is something none of us have done so we are all up for an adventure.

You have to arrive a minimum of 30 minutes before the departure time, so naturally we are all terrified to be late so we head off early and remember to fill up the cars with petrol before we head over because of the strikes there are fuel shortages.  I recommend doing this if you are planning to be driving over in the near future.

The trip over in the Eurotunnel is strange!  A very different experience to drive directly into the train.  But it is very quick and we are through and driving along the French motorway in no time.

The house is beautiful.  Just stunning and the owner meets us herself, shows us around and in no time we hit the supermarket to stock up on essentials.

The surrounding countryside is stunning.  Green IMAG1774and delicious!

We are lucky that the house we have chosen to rent has a fully functioning kitchen so we cook up a storm using local ingredients and sample the wine.

The next morning is sunny so we head out to the local market in Montreuil Sur Mer.  Now this village is just wonderful, the streets are full of pretty houses and lovely wisteria blossoming everywhere.  We wonder the streets and look in the beautiful antique shop windows eventually making our way into the market.  We buy local cheese, sausage, fresh cherries and apricots and try the pastries.

received_10157182381525314I very much recommend Montreuil Sur Mer, if you are visiting make sure you take time to walk through the little streets.  The village walls are lovely and the colours are just perfect if you enjoy a bit of photography.  It is very romantic and sweet.

It is still sunny and warm, in fact we have to stop to buy sunscreen, again I would recommend bringing your own as there was a limited choice in the supermarket in town.  We decide to find the beach and so we re-group and drive to Le Touquet which is the nearest beach.

Le Touquet is delightfully tacky along the beach front but in a lovely childhood memories sort of way.  We sit in the sand and have a drink at one of the cafes on the beach.  There are kite surfers and children running about.  It is not the prettiest beach but it is fun and we enjoy our afternoon.  We potter off home for dinner which we make at home with all the lovely produce from the market this morning.

The spend our last day walking in the countryside and enjoying the big log fire inside when the weather gets damp.  Then unfortunately it is time to leave and we are off to the Eurotunnel all too soon.

The website we used to find the rental properties is www.ownersdirect.co.uk

The Eurotunnel website is www.eurotunnel.com/uk/home