Friday Fancy – Portmeirion

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Portmeirion courtesy of Google Maps

To say I lived in Wales for five years, I never visited much of the place whilst I was there. I studied in Swansea and the furthest I ventured was Worm’s Head on the Gower Peninsula. A few day trips to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff for a rugby match or a concert were among a few other excursions, but when you’re a poor student with no car, exploration isn’t high on the agenda! As a result, there are a few places in Wales I want to get to and hopefully, in the upcoming months, I might be able to cross some of these off my to-do list. One of those places is Portmeirion.

Portmeirion is, according to my guidebook, a bizarre little village that was purpose built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. It is a mixture of building styles and designs from around the world where most of the buildings have been painted in bright colours, giving the impression that the village has been lifted from a fairy-tale. I want to see it!

One of Portmeirion’s claims to fame is that it was the set for the 1960s television series, ‘The Prisoner’. I never watched the program, but Iron Maiden wrote a song about it on their ‘Number of the Beast’ album. The place is also famous for its flowered pottery, but I don’t think Iron Maiden wrote a song about that.

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It’s a Small World

Whenever I bump into someone I know on my travels, I’m met with the question ‘What are the chances of that happening?’ I’ve been asked that question on quite a few occasions over the years, so I would say quite high! Let me give you some examples… Continue reading

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Dry Tortugas

travels-from-overend-dry-tortugas-fort-jefferson-7There’s a National Park in America that is 98% underwater. It is the home of Fort Jefferson and is situated two and a half hours away from Key West (via boat). The park in question is Dry Tortugas and it is situated on the end of the Florida Straits. If you like your fortified buildings and marine life, it is definitely worth a look. Continue reading

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Friday Fancy – Chernobyl

 

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Chernobyl courtesy of Google Maps

I don’t know why, but there’s something about visiting a disused nuclear power-plant that I find intriguing. It must be the engineer combined with the dark tourist in me…

Disused is probably not the right word to use when describing the Chernobyl nuclear power-plant. Although technically true, destroyed is a closer fit. Google Maps states it as closed (see above) which might just be the understatement of the evening, but again, they’re not lying.

When buildings are getting knocked down or ripped apart, I can spend ages looking at all of the wreckage and destruction with the twisted metal and bent steel supports strewn all over the place – I’m fascinated by it. Sometimes I plan climbing routes to get to the top of whatever the bulldozers haven’t attacked yet. I think it’s this fascination that lures me to Chernobyl. I would love to spend hours looking at the wreckage, but alas, there are two reasons why I can’t do this. The first is that they have just completed entombing reactor 4 and the crumbling sarcophagus inside a new curved megastructure. The second is that if I was to spend hours that close to the wreckage, I would probably get enough radiation exposure to knock a few years off my life (and the ones that remained in those twilight years would probably have some complications). Trust me, I’m a radiation protection supervisor (at work, not in my spare time).

Another reason for my longing to visit is to see the ghost town of Pryp’yat just to the north. The town was evacuated not long after the nuclear reactor blew up and everything has been left how it was back in 1986. I want to have a peek back in time. I imagine it would be similar to being in a horror movie, a deserted town with an eerie quietness to it surrounded by buildings that should be full of hustle and bustle, but instead have long been left. The giant, rusty ferris wheel would creak in the background as the wind blows and the howl of a wolf would be heard in the distance.

When I tell some people that I want to visit, they think I’ve gone mad. I suppose they have a point. A colleague asked me what my fascination was with visiting places that could potentially get me killed. “It adds a bit of excitement, doesn’t it?” was my response.

Continue reading

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February 2017

Welcome to February everyone, and thank you to everyone who has been reading! You may have noticed a few extra pages popping up last month – each one is a mini contents page to make things easier to find!

More travel stories to come this month from near and far with an American tale coming up after this post.

The Lotus is currently in the garage getting a new head gasket fitted which is very unfortunate, but I’m glad the problem was caught when it was instead of finding out about a faulty head gasket halfway down the M55…

All the best for February, and thanks for stopping by!

 

Liam

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The Lotus and the Lochs 2

A few weeks ago I wrote about a Scottish road trip my partner and I took in the Lotus one summer (click here for ‘The Lotus and Lochs’ – part one). As promised, I bring you the concluding part to that road trip in all its glory…

falkirkwheelAs we left Fort Augustus, we set about on our way to Loch Lomond. We continued following the Caledonian Canal all the way to Fort William. I have been to Fort William a couple of times in the past to climb Ben Nevis and on both occasions, I never saw the top of the mountain due to all the low lying cloud. Today was no exception and all I could see of the mountain was the grassy bits at its base! I’ve been told the views from the top are breath-taking but I am yet to witness them! Continue reading

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Friday Fancy – Transporter Bridge Bungee

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Teesside Transporter Bridge courtesy of Google Maps

Hello, and welcome to another Friday Fancy (even though it is Sunday). This week, something on my bucket list which I’m in two minds about whether or not I want to do it – a bungee jump. The bungee jump I have in mind it the UK’s only jump from a bridge in Teesside.

I lived in Teesside for three years and I knew about the bridge bungee but I never got round to doing it. The transporter bridge is still in operation today and you can only do the jumps when they shut the bridge on a Sunday. I’ve watched a few people jump off the bridge over the years (in a controlled manner) – when it’s over you get lowered into a boat and returned to shore (probably an optional extra). It’s only £75(!) for a go and all the details can be found by clicking here.

The main reason why I haven’t done this jump to be honest, is the fact that I don’t really want to throw myself off a perfectly good bridge – it’s not in my DNA! I’m fine on rides that drop you straight down and roller-coasters etc. but the thought of stepping from a ledge into nothing fills me with dread. Some days I think – ‘yeah, I’d love to do that’ and other days I just politely run away and wave my arms about.

I should really get it done one day. It can’t be that bad, can it?

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