Central Park

When you think of New York, one of the most well known places is Central Park.

Appearing in countless films, TV shows and music videos, it’s the quintessential icon of New Yorker’s leisure time.

Central Park is the fifth-largest park in New York City, covering 843 acres and was established in 1857.

It has nearly 50 monuments and 36 bridges as well as numerous paths and trails to explore.

The park is the most filmed location in the world. A December 2017 report found that 231 movies have used Central Park for on-location shoots,

One of the most recognisable scenes however is the boating lake that has been the scene of many a romantic cinematic moment.

Rowboats and kayaks are rented on an hourly basis at the Loeb Boathouse so naturally we have to grab the oars and set off for a ‘gentle’ boating experience.

Above Bow Bridge crosses The Lake and was designed by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould, and completed in 1862. At 87 feet it’s the longest bridge in the park.

Below is another famous bridge – The Oak bride, a more rustic river crossing that you can often find buskers playing to the rowers below.

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You could spend days meandering through the park and just soaking up the atmosphere.

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Captivating Capriccioli

We’re heading to the last of the stunning Costa S’meralda beaches now – the lovely Capriccioli.

It’s a small beach with a length of 200 meters is surrounded by an abundance of lush Mediterranean brush, with olive and pine trees.

The beach is divided into two parts by enormous granite rocks and is a gorgeous stretch of white sand and gently shelving waters.

The waters are very shallow and so very safe for children and other water babies!

As is common with the Costa Smeralda beaches there are lots of weird, weather beaten rocks that seem to have fallen from an alien planet.

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The waters are as close to the Caribbean as you can get just three hours from the UK.

But luckily Sardinia doesn’t seem to have registered on the tourist hit list so far, so rampant development hasn’t happen and it retains a low key, laid back vibe.

With beaches this amazing though, I doubt it will be long before people looking for alternative, cheap holiday destinations start to wise up to this amazing island.

 

 

 

Spiaggia del Principe

Next on our coastal trip around the Costa S’meralda is the gorgeous little sandy spot of Spiaggia del Principe.

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Spiaggia del Principe, also known as Portu Li Coggi, is one of the best beaches of Costa Smeralda.

The Prince’s Beach is aptly named as it was the favourite beach of Karim Aga Khan IV, the playboy prince who fell in love with the stunning Sardianian coastline and founded the Costa S’meralda.

The beach is located near the small village of Cala di Volpe, between Romazzino beach and Capriccioli.

It will take you a good ten-minute walk along a rocky path before you’ll get rewarded with an arc of stunning white sand, lovely clear water and ever-changing hues of turquoise.

Principe Beach is about 250 meters long in total and is divided by rocks in the middle that stretch out into the ocean.

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White, pink, green, emerald green, blue, turquoise and sky blue colours all combine to make this little beach pack a huge punch!

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There’s a small bar that serves lunch, ice cream and cold drinks. Much needed refreshments in the baking heat of the Sardinian sun.

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It’s a definite must for the avid beach lover and a lovely little spot for watching the waves. It gets chock a block in high season though so visiting in October is perfect.

Rough seas and windswept sands

Onwards with our tour of the Costa Smeralda coastline and this time we’re treated to the sea at its windswept best.

The water has transformed into a boiling, seething mass of navy fury topped with foamy white horses at Cala Liccia.

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To get to this empty, wind whipped shingle beach we have to do a far bit of scrambling down rocky paths.

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The beaches in Sardinia are not always accessible but that makes it even more rewarding when you finally arrive on them!

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The navy water contrasts nicely with the weathered orange tones of the weather beaten rocks.

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Onwards in the car until we spot another picturesque spot. The beach at Punta Capaccia.

Naturally I can’t help but be drawn towards the water like a magnet to metal so we end up picking our way down to the sands.

it’s rather blustery now so the effect is slightly less glamorous Italian retreat and more good old Blighty beach!

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Next on our beach day blitz are the stunning beaches of Spiaggia Del Romazzino,  Spiaggia del Principe and Spiaggia Capriccioli.

This island just keeps getting better and better!

Simply stunning

There’s no other words to describe our next Sardinian hot spot – simply stunning just about covers it.

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La Pelosa beach (Spiaggia della Pelosa) with its warm shallow turquoise waters and glittering white sands, is a true oasis of wonder.

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It could easily stand as possibly the best beach I have ever been to, it’s that incredible.

The beach is 300 meters long – and up to 60 meters wide in some spots and is overlooked by an ancient sixteenth century watchtower.

There are two main inlets, each with its own small harbour: The old port is Minori (small) and the new port is Mannu (big)

These unreal azure waters and pristine sands are like a little taste of the Caribbean but just under three hours from the UK!

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The imposing stone tower, the Torre della Pelosa,  used to be part of Sardinia’s marine defense system but now just serves as yet more stunning scenery.

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With it’s shallow waters barely coming up to waist height, this beach is a magnet for families and tourists alike.

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As it’s October we are lucky enough to get the benefit of relatively warm weather but the bonus of sparse crowds. I would imagine in the height of summer this place is thronged.

I could wax lyrical for every and a day about the crystal clear waters with gentle ripples revealing the pure white sands beneath.

The sea, the glorious sea! In places turquoise, in others azure, teal and cadet blue.

 

Soft fine sand swirls beneath our feet as we wade through the shallow waters of the bay.

In short, as close to beach paradise as you’ll likely to come in Europe. No wonder the man is jumping for sheer joy!

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We’ll do our best not to look too smug, but hey! Who can help it when the view is this good!

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If you’re heading to Sardinia then you’d be very foolish not to check out this slice of paradise. But try out of season to avoid the heaving masses!!

Neptune’s Grotto

Join us as we descend into the underworld now with a trip to the natural wonder that is Neptune’s grotto.

Heading to the protected marine area of Capo Caccia we’re surrounded by incredible cliffs and rock formations, one of which conceals the incredible cave we’re destined for.

We took the easy route via boat and docked in the slippery cavern but you can come via foot down a vertiginous set of 654 steps!

The incredible stalactite cave was discovered by local fishermen in the 18th century and is a mammoth space full of weird and wonderful formations.

The dim lighting adds to the unearthly feeling as tortured rock formations look like alien bones straight out of a Ridley Scott film.

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The incredible limestone formations date back around two million years ago

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Apologies for the slightly naff photos – they are all on my phone! Will try and find some decent ones to post.

Setting sail

Next up on our Sardinian odyssey is heading to the open seas to check out a natural wonder – Neptune’s Grotto.

As we head to the marina I’m distracted by colourful doors and prancing horses while the man is more excited by vast vending machines full of caffeine!

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I am also rather too excited by this Willy Wonka style sweet shop complete with psychedelic mushrooms and candy cane trees.

The historic centre with its honey stone is decorated with cycling based items that are a hangover from the 2017 Giro d’Italia which started in Sardinia .

Finally we arrive at the busy marina and board our vesssel, ready to head for the open sea.

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We love boats and try to hop on board at least one each holiday. Even better if the sun lets the pro tanner get his body out!

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The rugged coastline has some pretty impressive monolithic cliff faces and rock formations to enjoy on-route to the cavern.

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Take a trip with us into the heart of a cavernous wonderland next as we descend into Neptune’s grotto!

The earth moved . .

Having so far had a fantastic time in Kos, the fates had not forgotten our unusual stroke of luck earlier in the holiday and were about to pay us back – big style!

In the early hours of Friday 21 July Kos and the surrounding area was rudely and terrifyingly awoken by a 6.5 earthquake.

Never having experienced anything like it before it is hard to grasp what on earth is happening. It was pitch black and I had been dreaming that I was being violently shaken by the shoulders.

For the first few seconds it was hard to tell if I was still asleep or not, as I gradually realised that the bed was literally moving from side to side as if we were on a bucking bronco. In the dark I could just make out the room’s ornate chandelier swaying wildly back and forth.

Then the shouts and screams started and that is when I woke the man – by screaming myself! I had until that point always wondered how I would react in a crisis . . now i know that I wail like a girl . . .

After taking a look outside the man prepared to go back to bed, I however was not convinced as our room was almost underground and we didn’t know if it would happen again.

However the decision was taken out of our hands as we stated to hear the hotel staff shouting for everyone to get out of their rooms immediately.

For a while we sat in shock near the pool, gallons of which had slopped out over the poolside lounger area.

In the end we were allowed to go back to our rooms but I refused to sleep there, inside we, and many others, grabbed our duvets and dragged sun loungers to the tennis courts, the most open area of the hotel and away from any buildings that could potentially come crashing down.

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The day after we ventured into Kos town, one of the places worst hit by the earthquake and only ten minutes from our hotel.

Tragically two people died in the town after a nightclub roof collapsed on people.

The damage is all too clear to see. From the huge cracks in the pavements to the harbour side which had actually ripped away from the surrounding walkway.

As we venture further into the old part of the town the damage is even more apparent.

The beautiful mosque that we had visited earlier in the week suffered huge damage with its minaret toppled to the ground.

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The ancient dome where Hippocrates sat to teach his students has also been extensively damaged.

Apparently the damage was actually far less than usually expected for a quake of that size.

The US Geological Survey said it was a very shallow quake – the focus was only six miles (10km) below the seabed – off Marmaris in Muğla province, Turkey.

To put it in context, a smaller, 5.9-magnitude quake in 1999 tragically killed 143 people in Greece.

But even if we got off lightly, seeing the floor literally split open, and feeling the ground beneath your feet buckling and rolling is a horrible feeling.

There were over 100 aftershocks in the following days, even as we were eating a meal the evening after you could feel the rumbling and the earth shifting under your chair.

I was quite glad that we only had one night left as I was wary of going back into the room.

Indeed for several days after, even when safely home, if the man turned over in bed or made any move my heart would start racing as if the movement heralded another quake.

Glimpses from the train

Bright and early we’ve hopped on the Shinkansen heading out of Tokyo and towards our next destination – Takayama in the Japanese alps!

As we leave the dazzling, frantic cityscape the scenery becomes more and more rural.

There’s tumbling rivers, rice fields and verdant forests whizzing past us at a rate of knots.

The countryside offers us tantalising snippets of a life that we’ll never experience.

Below you can see the endless yellow of the rice fields and several rice drying racks.

The fields are interspersed with quaint little villages, full of traditional houses.

There’s more rice drying racks alongside every road and village, we can even spot people beavering away harvesting it.

Above and below farmers scurry around getting their harvest in before rain showers scupper their plans.

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Keep your eyes pointed to the blog as we rock up in the gorgeous town of Takayama next!

Slapton sands and naturists

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After the hustle and bustle of touristy Dartmouth we had a complete change of scene at the wild and empty beach at Slapton Sands.

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I found an impressively huge piece of sculptural driftwood on the beach. More of a drift truck really!

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Cue a lot of pictures of the tree from a varity of angles . . .

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We had the expanse of beach virtually to ourselves. Very serene and peaceful.

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Word of warning, Slapton does have a spot for naturists! So don’t be too alarmed if you see people letting it all hang out . . . thankfully it was a little too cold for anyone to be nude when we visited (I wouldn’t know where to look!!)

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