Saturday, December 31, 2016

5 Unusual Ways to Spend New Year's Eve

Are you tired of stressing out trying to find something awesome to do on NYE and need some inspiration?  Why not do something a little out of the ordinary and check out some of the weird and wonderful events taking place across the globe.

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Madrid, Spain:
Why not hop a flight to the Spanish capital, hitch a ride to Puerta del Sol and spent Nochevieja (NYE) in the company of Cava drinking, grape eating Spaniards? All you need is twelve grapes, to be consumed one by one by the chimes of the clock counting down to midnight, and the ability to fiesta all night and you'll fit right in.  

The tradition comes from the belief that eating grapes on New Year's Eve will bring you a year of health and happiness. Also: this will totally start you off on the right foot on January 1st by covering one of your 5 a day, no?    Eating healthy in 2017: check!  

The street party is not just limited to Madrid, however, there's also a massive party held in the Plaza de Cataluyna Square in Barca, where even more Spaniards join together for the Twelve Grapes and to celebrate the coming of the New Year. 

12 Grapes, Spanish New Year
I prefer them when they're squashed in to liquid, but I could manage 12.

Allendale Tar Barrel Festival, Northumberland:
The village of Allendale is generally a quiet and peaceful place, but come New Year's Eve and all hell breaks loose.   No, really.   The men of the town have been keeping up the tradition of "Tar Barl' for the past 160 years, in which they wander down the high street at midnight, in fancy dress, with barrels on their heads.   And the barrels?  Well, they're on fire...obviously.   


It's certainly a novel way to keep warm on a Winter's night.   I hope the men take proper precautions so as not to roast their chestnuts.  


Fire Festival, Allendale
I am the God of Hellfire and I bring you....
Quito, Ecuador:
On the 31st December each year, the good people of Ecuador get together to set stuff on fire.   Why, I hear you ask?   Well, why not?  The townsfolk head out into the streets, armed with dummies representing famous faces, politicians, their mother in laws, etc, and proceed to douse them in whatever kind of accelerant (petrol?? tequila??) one would use for such a ceremony.    

It is a widely held belief that the symbolic gestures will bring you good luck for the year ahead and, let's face it, anything's worth a shot.    I know I'm not short of a person or two I'd like to set fire to (not literally, obviously) at the stroke of Midnight.


Ecuador Festival, New Year
Burn 'em...burn 'em all..
Comanesti, Romania:
The Dance of the Bear is a traditional festivities that take place across the former Soviet State on New Year's Eve.  Romanian Gypsies dress up in bear skins (mostly fake now...damn animals and their moaning about not being shot and worn at NY) and wander round the streets in the festival of Ursul.  

Bears are thought of as a sacred protector in Romania and the wearing of their skins is to ward off evil spirits for the year ahead. A procession of 'bears' take to the streets and celebrate the passing of the old year into the new.  
I imagine they don't walk too far, though....who needs to be carrying all the extra weight?  Still, I imagine it's quiet the terrifying spectable if you just happen to rock up at New Year and had no idea it was all going on.   OMG BEARS...BEARS EVERYWHERE!

Dance of the Bear, Romania
I'm sorry, you want to do what now?  Yeah, no, totally not going to happen. 

Stonehaven, Scotland:
Man, there's a lot of fire starting around the world on NYE and my home nation is not one to be left out, no Ma'am.  We don't be setting fire to puppets OR any barrels of tar, no - we like to swing large fireballs around our heads.   Because, when else in the year can you get away with this without someone calling the Police?    OK, so maybe in Greenock, but certainly not anywhere else.   

The aptly named Fireball Ceremony will leave no one in any doubt about the premise of the night, so I suggest you check out your nearest assembly points and dig out your high vis jacket well in advance.     

The actual firebally flinging thingy starts at 12pm, but if you want to see it in all its glory, best get to Aberdeenshire before 11pm.   You don't want to miss out on catching fire now, do you?   I jest, of course, it is a very well organised and very safe event.   Also: Stonhaven is a beautiful little coastal village, so if you DO catch fire, you're really close to the sea.    Result!


Fire, New Year
The remains of Stonehaven from last year's Festival.  

As for me, I won't be doing any of these things because I'll be having a drink with LT in the comfort of my lounge because I'm way too introverted to do any of the things I've written about.... 

What are you getting up to on NYE?  Whatever it is, I hope you have a great night!


Suzanne x


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Magical Lantern Festival, Birmingham

The Magic Lantern Festival, currently being held at the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham, is the perfect event to get you fully immersed in the Christmas spirit. If, like me, you're a touch obsessed with fairy lights and have them hanging all round your house, this ticketed event will, undoubtedly, fill you with joy.  

I'm not so much a fan of Christmas, but I do love anything that glows in the dark, so after spotting an advert on Facebook for the event in Leeds and London, I conducted a quick Google search with the terminology 'big massive lantern festival in Wales' and, although Wales was not lucky enough to host such an event, it turns out that Birmingham was. I instantly signed my husband and me up for tickets via Eventbrite and started counting down the days.


The Magic Lantern Festival was launched in 2015 and, after huge success, it was decided that it would be expanded to other parts of the country. Well, we can't have Londoners having all the fun, can we?  Indeed. In 2016, Leeds and Birmingham have joined in the action and I though it would be rude not to go along and lend some support in the inaugural outing. With any luck, Scotland and Wales might be included in the line up in future years as we love a lantern, we do.

birmingham magical lantern festival

Anyway, tickets for the event at Birmingham were reasonably priced and you can choose a time slot to attend so that the event isn't overrun with people all at once. We chose a 7pm kick off and were pleased to see the entry area filled with Christmas market type food and drinks stalls, as well as a souvenir gift shop for all things Chinese. The event had no real theme, although clearly Chinese lanterns gave it an oriental feel, there were also lots of child friendly lanterns, which seemed to be making the younger visitors extremely happy. It's difficult to argue with a 30ft Cinderella, I feel.  

birmingham magical lantern festival
this would look SO good in my garden.
On entry, you walk through a 12 metre wide illuminated curved entrance before you start your walk through the gardens to celebrate more than 2,000 years of fabulous Chinese lanterns.  There are classic lanterns throughout the site, as well as modern designs and something local as a nod to Birmingham's wonderful bronze bull.  

The area is fenced off to stop anyone getting lost and it well signed throughout.  This is an excellent thing for me as I have zero sense of direction in the day light. At night, I have literally no chance of finding anything…even if it is a 10ft brightly lit Panda. For two adults, it took us around 45 minutes to walk around the entire site, and this included several thousand photo stops and some slow walking as the event was extremely busy.  

birmingham magic lantern festival
how cute are these little penguins??
There is a great mix of lanterns; some small and some simply enormous and the combination of the pitch black winter nights along with the gorgeous multicoloured displays are really wonderful.  Although the areas are all fenced off to stop people touching the exhibits, it is possible to get a close look at some of them and to appreciated the intricacy of the designs.   Lord only know just how long the lanterns take to design and construct, but I'm wiling to bet it's not a quick process.

The great thing about the Botanical Gardens is that it gives a large area to properly display each piece and keep everyone's attention all the way round the park.  The kids attending with their parents let out a collective gasp every time they spotted something new and colourful and I'm not ashamed to admit that I did a few times, too.  

magical lantern festival birmingham
I love this little guy
magical lantern festival birmingham
Monet would have been so proud
The Magical Lantern Festival is open until January 4th 2017 and is great attraction for all the family.  

Suzanne x 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Rocky Mountains: Mount Evans

Climbing the Rocky Mountains Is Easier Than You Think 
There are few things I hate more than getting up early. There's *nothing* I hate more than getting up early on holiday.

You can imagine my deep loathing when, on our first full day in Colorado, I was prised (literally) out of my peaceful slumber at 6am to go 'up a mountain'. 


I'm a Scottish woman who lives in Snowdonia in Wales, so I'm accustomed to seeing fabulous mountains. Ben Nevis, in my home nation is the highest peak in the UK and Snowdon in Wales, where I live now, is second. Although both are stunning, I much prefer to admire them from a distance. 

The prospect of a Rocky Mountain, without coffee, at 6am, wasn't really a thought that had me leaping out of bed, shouting: 'Woohoo! Let's do it!' But, apparently, this was *exactly* what was going to happen. 

We hit the road for the two hour drive to Mount Evans, getting tangled up in rush hour traffic along the way. The sun coming up over Castle Rock (the area we were staying in) was an angry red and made me relent for a few seconds about being roused at such an ungodly hour.  
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sunrise over Castle Rock, Colorado 
After a half hour or so, we turned on to the I-70 and headed west, taking us into the realms of road signs which read: 'All Truckers Must Have Chains' and 'There Wil Almost Definetly Be Elk and Other Wild Beast Crossing The Road Right In Front Of Your Car, So Good Luck with That'.

After driving through a pretty little town called Idaho Springs, the scenery changed dramatically and we began to climb long and winding trails towards the visitor centre. Here, the signs changed from warnings about suicidal wildlife to warnings about falling rocks.  
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starting the ascent

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friendly Rocky Mountain deer
Interestingly, it wasn't until we stopped being told about the potential for wildlife crossing the road that two deer bolted out in front of the car just ahead of us before diving back into the mountain on the other side. I can only assume they'd had their morning coffee as they extremely alert.

As we climbed higher in to Rockies, the leaves began to change colour from dark green to brilliant yellow and the roads got progressively narrow enough to merit a 15mph maximum limit. That was absolutely fine by me as there was a chance of being crushed by bits of falling mountain on one side and a sheer death drop down the cliff face on the other. Clearly caution was key to surviving long enough to see my next birthday. Or, at least, my next meal. 



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scenic Echo Lake 

As you pass Echo Lake, which was dotted with fisherman enjoying their last chance to reel one in before the entire road closes for the winter, you also get the chance to see the Rocky Mountain Ducks (I'm sure that's a thing) and they were happily...ducking away (also a thing).

After passing your last piece of civilisation, you slowly ascend the mountain and the views just keep coming. As we visited just before the end of the season, it was completely peaceful, with very few other visitors around. There's a lot to be said for literally feeling like you're on top of the world and even better when it's just the two of you, staring out across the Colorado landscape in wonder.



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the glorious Fall colours in the Rockies
Lake Summit is where the road closes after Labor Day, so the cut off point is here, which is still a very impressive 12,300 feet high. There is spacious parking, toilets, and trails that lead off up to the peak. Although you can't take your car any further than this point, you can park up and walk..if you feel this is necessary.  I didn't. I was still recovering from driving the tiny, windy narrow roads from Idaho Springs. Also: it was cold. Like, Scotland cold, so I felt quite at home at the lake and decided to stay there.  

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beautiful views near Lake Summit

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We made it! A mere 12,300 ft above sea level 
Les, however, took a walk around to take shots and converse with the gorgeous little Chipmunks that were scurrying around on the trails. I wanted to take one home, but not sure how US Customs would have viewed that. UK immigration likely wouldn't have been too thrilled, either, so I bid them a good day and let them be.

Once you've exhausted yourself and your camera, you can slowly (and do go slowly as the bends are quite sharp and there are no barriers in many places) head back down Mount Evans before disappearing off into the Colorado sun. And, quite possibly, back to bed.

Note: there is a $10 charge for a pass to take your car past the visitor centre, which is just North of Echo Park. The pass is valid for the entire season.

Suzanne x

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Los Pollos Hermanos, anyone?

Grab a Burger and Meet a Meth Kingpin in Albuquerque
Anyone that's ever tuned in to Breaking Bad on TV will be all too familiar with this iconic eatery, frequented by Walt and Jesse during their dealings with evil meth manufacturer, Gus Frings.

Los Pollos Hermanos (The Chicken Brothers) was a main feature of the show and filming was done on location at Twisters fast food outlet, outside Albuquerque city centre.


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different sign, same place. 

The brand colours and interior are instantly recognisable to fans of the show and pulling into the parking lot, like you watched Walter do on so many occasions, has a surreal feeling to it.

The LPH signage obviously isn't above the doors as it is on the show, and the exterior signage is for Twisters but, the second you walk inside, there's a large LPH poster on entry, so you can have your photos taken while you randomly point at it (like I did...).  


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Possibly the best sign in the world

Although the location was a massive part of Breaking Bad, Twisters doesn't make a big deal about it. If it was *my* store, I'd be erecting neon flashing lights outside and dressing up as Heisenberg to get people in.

Twisters, however, has the large Los Pollos Hermanos sign on entry and a paper sign above the booth that Walter White sat in. A paper sign, people! Mine would be gold plated, but maybe I like the show a little too much and don't have to deal with Scottish tourists screaming with glee when they come in the door. I imagine that gets real annoying, real quick. Sorry, guys, but it was SO exciting! 


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The location where all those dodgy deals went down... 
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When Walter met Gus
As well as grinning from ear to eat and pretending we were meth dealers, we also had lunch at Twisters. Obviously, we ordered chicken. The fare is typical South western fast food and offered a range of burgers, enchiladas and fries. It's like a far more exciting McDonalds. Obviously, I sat in our booth, trying to work out if the Manager of the fast food joint actually *might* have been a secret Meth dealer, but he looked far too friendly and happy for that kind of thing.

If you're a fan of Breaking Bad, or just fast food, it's definitely worth a visit. I promise you'll instantly recognise the location the second you pull into the lot and will be desperate to go home and cook crystal meth. I jest, of course - please don't do that. Just eat your food and behave yourself.  
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Los pollo es muy bueno... 
Suzanne x 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Around The World on The Las Vegas Strip

From Paris to Rome via New York and Egypt

Las Vegas is famous (or infamous, rather) for its nightlife. However, you don't need to be shut away in a casino, throwing your life savings into a slot machine, or gambling your kids' college money away on red or black, to have fun. It is perfectly acceptable to go to Las Vegas and NOT gamble. I've done it many a time and enjoy the atmosphere and lights outside more than being inside. he exception to this is when there'a a cocktail bar nearby, obviously.

I have no objection to gambling, you understand, I'm just not that interested in doing it. I like to get outside and, well, wander. And, although you may not think it, Las Vegas is an excellent place to do this when the sun begins to go down.  


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The MGM's fantastic golden lion, gleaming in the fading sun
The Strip is always busy, so there's always a pleasant atmosphere and there are lights and amazing structures, quite literally, around every single corner. In fact, quite often you end up twisting and turning, working out where to focus your attention first.

Another excellent thing about Las Vegas (although I daresay it gets a bit riotous at times) is that you can take your drink outside with you. So, like me, if you pick up a frozen cocktail at one casino and then decide to hit The Strip, you don't have to finish up your drink before you head out. It's perfectly legal to drink in the streets. This has a lot of advantages and you can conduct your own frozen slushie tour around the city. Who could ask for more? It's like taking a world tour on foot. You can visit Egypt, Paris, Rome, Venice, New York and a whole host more in the space of an hour. AND you can get legit exercise at the same time.

Starting at the North end of Las Vegas Boulevard, you'll find the Luxor hotel, with its massive glass pyramid and fabulous Sphinx, obelisks and wonderful hieroglyphics. If you love taking selfies as much as my husband, you've come to the right place. Seriously - there was a queue of people waiting to snap themselves in the middle of the desert, kissing the Spinx or touching the top of the Pyramid.

We didn't do that. Mainly because I didn't want to risk spilling my blueberry cocktail. I have my priorities.  
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Just like the real Pyramids, it's in the desert and it's really hot. The similarities end there, though.

Not far from the Luxor is New York, New York Hotel and Casino, which has a series of buildings outside which represent the classes BY skyline.  This includes the iconic Chrysler Building, Empire State and Grand Central Terminal, amongst others.  

The casino is impressive inside, but I do love the outside more.  It loos fantastic at night, but also with the setting sun glinting off the rear views of the facades.  

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The hotel that never sleeps?
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Not a bad replica at all, is it? 
As the sun begins to fade on another day and the lights begin to illuminate The Strip, Las Vegas completely transforms. It's hardly sleepy in daylight hours, but it comes alive even more (if that's at all possible) at nightfall, when groups, couples and individual spill on to the street to see what the evening brings.  


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The sun fades and the lights come up... 
Generally, evening equals madness in Las Vegas, but you can rein this in or go full whack; it's entirely up to you. Me? I just love walking around the city when it's transitioning between day and night. There's always, always a sense of the unknown and it's undoubtedly at its best (in my opinion) when the crowds have gone home to get changed and are just starting to emerge for another crazy night.


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Planet Hollywood getting ready for the action

If you continue to walk down The Strip you will, without a doubt, spot the Eiffel Tower. This structure, attached to the Paris Hotel and Casino, is exactly half the size of the real thing and is lit up just as impressively as the original. The tower looks good during the day, but that's nothing compared to watching it twinkle in the dark.


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Ooh la la!
Once you've marvelled at this little engineering gem, you can continue south towards the Roman themed Caesar's Palace. Aside from the hotel and its romanesque pillars, it also has a fantastic double of the Trevi Fountain, which is incredibly detailed and seems quite peaceful, despite its city centre location. Much like the real one. Caesar's also has an impressive range of other fountains in its complex.

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a bit of Roman class in the desert

If the sights of ancient Rome aren't enough to wear out your camera, continue walking towards the south of the boulevard until you reach the Venetian. This might be my favourite of all the themed hotels on The Strip as it really does go the extra mile. The Venetian boasts a gorgeous copy of the Rialto Bridge from the watery Italian city. And if that wasn't enough, it comes complete with canals. I'm not even kidding. You can actually hop a gondola (if you're a resident) and glide on down to the bar (hopefully) with your very own stereotypically dressed gondolier.  

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I want to go on this to everywhere

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This is right in the middle of the desert, people
Once you've finished that frozen cocktail you purchased way back up near The Luxor (remember that?), grab yourself another one and finish off your walk with the piece de resistance of lights, water and magic on the Las Vegas Strip by stopping off by The Bellagio, leaning against the railings and taking in the fabulous fountain show. I first saw this at the end of Ocean's Eleven, which is my barometer for everything I want to see in LV, and it made me want to rob casinos so badly. I jest, of course, I just wanted to watch the fountains in the company of George Clooney. That's not too much to ask, is it?  

Apparently, it is, so I watched with my handsome hubby instead.


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The perfect spot to relax after emptying casino vaults, allegedly

Suzanne x

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Little Chilli Shop, Beaumaris

Blow Your Mind at The Little Chilli Shop
On the Isle of Anglesey at the north West tip of Wales lies the beautiful seaside town of Beaumaris. It has a fabulous castle, a jail, a pier, walks, runs, galleries, cafes and shopping (to name a few), but, if you're that way inclined, it also has a location where you can go get your face melted off. And who doesn't want to do that on a crisp Saturday morning in October? No one, that's who.

Sitting, unassuming, on Church Street, with its pretty pastel pink fa├žade and it's very friendly (and not at all fierce looking) cuddly dragon guarding the door, The Little Chilli Shop quietly entices innocent passers-by into its spicy realms with the promise deadly heat. Not literally deadly, you understand, but figuratively speaking. No harm will actually come to you by visiting the premises. Or will it...?

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Don't be fooled by the exterior...
This gorgeous little emporium is stacked from floor to ceiling with an eye-popping array of chilli from around the world and also has homegrown beauties Welsh beauties, which blew my own kitchen garden attempts right out of the water. And mine were pretty hot.

The shop is the brainchild of owners, Tim and Suzanne, who obviously quite like spicy food and want to share this love with the good people of North Wales and beyond.

Walking into the store was my idea of Heaven. I am the woman who orders vindaloo curry and always, ALWAYS gets a bit of side eye from the waiter who wants to check if I really know what I'm doing. Finding a shop that stocks so much chilli that it makes vindaloo look like vanilla ice cream is clearly somewhere I need to be.

There are dozens of jars and tubs across the shelves, reminiscent of an old curiosity shop and, as well as selling the raw ingredients, the guys also produce their own range of award winning products. These are all packed in eye catching jars with fiery red writing and some of the best names I've ever seen. 


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It's like a retro sweet shop for spices

The couple even go as far as to tag some of their brands under the label 'hot stuff' - like it's not ALL quite spicy. This stuff is clearly not for the casual chilli eater...this is for those with a constitution of steel and a passion for watering eyes and running noses. In other words: me.

A chilli sauce called 'Bad Boy' informs you that it'll heat you up, whilst 'The Beast' chilli sauce is potent from across the room, and will almost certainly separate the experienced from the, quite frankly, weak. These people are commonly, in my household, known as 'Husband". I very much like to think of myself as someone who could handle The Beast, so to speak.

As well as sauces, the shop does a range of chilli jams (I'm going to stop mentioning chilli now because I think you probably have the gist of the main ingredients...), ketchup, mustard, a range of pickles and chutneys (including a fabulous beetroot pickle). Basically, if you can put chilli in it; they've got it.


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Beware....

What the owners also have is a lovely tasting plate. This lets you (if you're brave enough) try the produce before you buy. Some of them are mild and others are...well, the furthest thing away from mild that you can possibly think of. While I was in the shop, I was standing behind a Scottish tourist who had just tried a tiny amount of something that should, evidently, have come with a warning, as she could hardly respond to me when I asked her if it was hot. In the end, she just nodded her head and went outside, presumably, to drink large volumes of water from the Irish Sea which is helpfully situated just a street away.

As I left shortly afterwards, I bumped into one of the owners, who was coming back from town with a tray of chilli chocolate, which looked amazing. I thought it rude to mug him in the street, so I left him be. I'll be back, though.

If you love all things hot and spicy, this little treasure is well worth a trip across the bridge for. 
 
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every combination you can possibly imagine is here 

Suzanne x

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Sedona: Mountain Town

This Is City Life, But Not As You Know It...
In between the major cities of Flagstaff and Phoenix in Arizona is a beautiful little city, nestled in the mountains, called Sedona. 

Sedona was suggested to us as a stop on our roadtrip by our Airbnb owner in Phoenix, after he mentioned its quaint beauty and how dramatic its red rock backdrop was. And he wasn't wrong. Sedona is a desert town, with massive red rock buttes surrounding it and a year round climate that makes Wales look like the Arctic.


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the back drop is outstanding

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Sedona isn't what I would class as a classic 'small town' city (American cities can be tiny) but rather a uniquely different city, which is very much geared towards attracting tourists, which it was doing, in droves. It has a lovely arty feel to it and has a ton of galleries and art stores. 
Sedona boasts rows of pretty independent and new age boutiques, gift and souvenir stores, quality restaurants and fast food stops, bars and various helicopter and pink jeep booths to sign you up for a bit of off road adventure, should you be that way inclined.  
The city looks like a quiet retreat from the much bigger cities it sits between and it did provide an atmospheric and peaceful pit stop on the way to the bright lights of Phoenix. It very much has a restorative feel to it and is regarded by Native Americans as sacred. 

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I'm just going to pop in here for a quick sec...
and probably here, too... 
Sedona is surrounded by almost 2 millions acres of forest and had a population of a little more than 10,000 people. Two of its former residents happen to be Senator John McCain and singer/songwriter Michelle Branch, so it clearly punches above its weight in more ways than one.

Given the city's dedication to the arts, it's no surprise that it is home to many festivals throughout the calendar year. These include an International Film Festival, Jazz Festival, Marathon (I'm tired just thinking about running one mile in that heat!), and an International Yoga Festival, which sounds like something for people who are way more bendy than me. 

It really is a wonderful city and I'm so glad we had the chance to visit. You can't beat a personal recommendation from an Arizona native.



Thursday, November 03, 2016

Caffi Castell, Harlech

Coffee and Cakes in Cardigan Bay 
Perched upon a hill at the top of the town of Harlech, looking out across Cardigan Bay, sits the beautiful Harlech Castle. Within this Cadw managed site lies Caffi Castell (Welsh for Cafe Castle)

Caffi Castell opened in 2015, along with the new visitor centre for the castle and is managed by Llew Glas Deli, which sits just along the Main Street from the castle itself.

Llew Glas are known for their delicious bakes and amazing scones and the gorgeous little coffee shop is always busy, so it can be very hard to find a seat during the main tourist season. With the opening of a second location in the town, it's now much easier to find yourself a cosy spot off season and sit back and enjoy the best views in Harlech.

The new cafe boasts floor to ceiling windows and looks directly on to the castle bridge and entrance. To the right and left, you can see the Cambrian Coast and the rolling hills of North Wales. It's one of my favourite places to be on a chilly Sunday morning. You can sit in the warmth of the inside seating or grab one of their woolly blankets and take yourself out on the deck to grab your caffeine fix.
 

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You can't beat the view
Caffi Castell is known for its use of local, Welsh produce and has a varied, seasonal menu. At this time of year (October) you can find hearty stews, Welsh rarebit (obviously) as well as a range of lighter options, such as sandwiches. The ladies at the Caffi are also famous for their cakes, which are amazing. I don't even like cake, but I always make my husband have a piece so that I can steal some frosting. I'm quite mean like that.  

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decisions, decisions...
On this visit, I convinced* my husband to go for a slice of blueberry lemon cake, which looked like it would give him a sugar rush big enough to last into the following week, and we ordered our usual pot of tea and cappuccino. The cafe is one of those places where you can go once and it feels like home. The staff is fantastically friendly and seem to know all the regulars by name.

Even at the end of October and after the main visitor season has been and gone, CC still manages to be busy with a mixture of locals and tourists who are either visiting the castle, or just doing what we do and brightening up a dull Sunday morning, getting ready for the week ahead. 
Just the thing to perk you up on a Sunday morning

As well as operating as a cafe year round, Caffi Castell opened up a tapas restaurant in 2016, which operates from Thursday - Saturday nights. It offers up a fantastic range of classic Spanish dishes with a Welsh twist and the view of the Harlech Castle are just as stunning when lit up against the Autumn darkness. 

*forced

 http://www.weekendnotes.co.uk/caffi-castell-harlech/