UK

Weekender Llŷn Peninsula Gwynedd North Wales

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (1) by David Keegan Photography

August Bank Holiday 2016 Llŷn Peninsula Gwynedd North Wales

The Llŷn Peninsula extends some 30 miles into the Irish Sea and I am told on a very clear day you can see the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland. In my humble opinion its a place of outstanding natural beauty. Being on the gulf stream this is also one of the sunniest places in the UK. From glorious blue, to broody grey, the changing light adds to the drama of this stunning landscape.

Day 1

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (2) by David Keegan PhotographyCraggy rocks atop a hill afford a view through purple heaters and fading grassy mounds to mountains beyond.

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (3) by David Keegan PhotographyBeetle on lichen covered rock. This one has some really cool twists!

On a visit to The Llŷn peninsula in Gwynedd Wales over the August bank holiday weekend I couldn’t help thinking how much the landscape and topography reminded me of Cornwall. That set me to thinking that somehow this area of Wales is missing a trick. This was my first visit to this part of Wales and to be honest it was never really on my radar prior to this, nor had I heard very much about it. In fact it was a small feature in the Sunday Times travel supplement that caught my attention and made me do a bit more research, eventually leading to a desire to visit. What is missing is the crowds one would expect in Cornwall and although the weather was superb over the bank holiday weekend nowhere was what I would consider packed. Yes Abersoch may well be the exception to that rule and is firmly set on the Cheshire radar but even here what’s on offer is nothing special, and is in fact the one place I would avoid as it’s a bit trashy if I am to be totally honest, as well as being probably the least interesting destination that this area of coast has to offer.

 

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (4) by David Keegan PhotographySweeping views through rusted bracken and purple heaters across fields of verdant green to oceans blue and green to the tip of the peninsula and on to Bardsey Island.

 

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (5) by David Keegan PhotographyThe village of Rhiw and location of the B&B we stayed at, details at bottom of post.

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (8) by David Keegan PhotographyViews from the hills, shepherds cottage to left of picture and out to the curve of Porth Neigwl,  or more commonly known as Hells Mouth Beach to the right of the picture.

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (9) by David Keegan PhotographyWondrous rolling hills and fileds divided by dry-stone walls

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (10) by David Keegan Photography

You can pretty much drive around small and winding country roads without too much traffic delay or stress. Dotted with charming villages, old churches, fabulous beaches and breath-taking coastal walks, all in all this place has it all. What it doesn’t have in most parts is Wi-Fi nor people constantly stuck to their mobile devices, tablets and iPlayer. Another reason it may not be more popularly on the radar is, it doesn’t have any big name celebrity restaurants to draw the crowds as in Devon and Cornwall, nor does it seem to have any big name celebrity second homers, or if it does, they are staying remarkably quite about it. As I said in the intro I initially thought North Wales Llyn peninsula is missing a trick, but in hindsight it’s not, its perfect just as it is, as in its a place that has humans doing simple stuff like walking, talking, swimming, laughing and generally enjoying a carefree atmosphere. One local person I spoke to said it reminded them of a simpler life 30 years back. As a result it’s a great place to spend some time relaxing and escaping the pressures of city life and entrapment’s. Here you can build sandcastles without the worry of your email, or Pokémon.

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (11) by David Keegan PhotographyEchoes of the past, the remains of an old farmhouse, you will find many of these dotted around the landscape and far from being a sign of decay they are usually the result of prosperity. Similar to what happened in many parts of rural Ireland, as farmers became more prosperous so they abandoned the old and in their place built new bungalows, sadly often with poor aesthetic, whilst original stone built dwelling were left to crumble.

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (12) by David Keegan PhotographyAberdaron, I spotted this Heron using the chimney on the old cafe as a vantage point to survey the river below for fish.

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (13) by David Keegan PhotographyY Gegin Fawr Cafe,  originally a communal kitchen where 13th century pilgrims could claim a meal on their way to Bardsey Island.

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (14) by David Keegan PhotographyChurch Bell, Aberdaron

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (16) by David Keegan PhotographyThe path down to Porthdinllaen beach

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (17) by David Keegan PhotographyWhats also missing along this fine stretch of coast is any sense of pretension, or snobbery, here they use ubiquitous and sensible land rover defenders to tow their boats to the beach, or maybe even the odd red tractor! This looks to me to be a revamped Massey Ferguson .

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (18) by David Keegan PhotographyGlorious views across Porthdinllaen beach.

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (19) by David Keegan PhotographyTaking this picture reminded me of the words from a Nina Simone song “Feeling Good” Birds flying high, You know how I feel, Sun in the sky, You know how I feel, Breeze driftin’ on by, You know how I feel, It’s a new dawn, It’s a new day, It’s a new life, For me, And I’m feeling good, I’m feeling good.

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (20) by David Keegan PhotographyView to Porthdinllaen with the famous Ty Coch Inn to the center of the picture. Voted one of the top ten beach bars in the world it not hard to understand why once you have visited, the views are spectacular, the atmosphere relaxed.

When trying to find on map or satnav look for Morfa Nefyn

Day 2

We head to another famous spot along this stretch of coast and the join the coastal path by Whistling Sands beach. There is a large car park here run by the National Trust, which @ £4 for the day is good value.

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (21) by David Keegan Photography

Wispy wands of cloud drift lazily across a clear blue sky.

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (22) by David Keegan Photography

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (23) by David Keegan PhotographyThere is a carpet like softness to the textures, contours and colours of the sloping cliff sides

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (24) by David Keegan PhotographyThis deserted and tiny beach is easily accessed at the far end of Whistling sands beach.

Top tip 1: There is a great little beach side cafe/restaurant to the  left of the entrance hill to Whistling sands beach, also serves excellent coffee and staff are very friendly.

Having explored this section of the coast its back in the car and off to the opposite side of the peninsula, passing through, and by, the infamous Abersoch, we head instead for Plas Glyn-Y-Wedd arts center.

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (25) by David Keegan PhotographySpectacular, parts of the Welsh coastal path can be accessed directly from the car park at the arts center.

Top Tip 2: The cafe/restaurant at the arts center serves fantastic good quality food and drinks at very reasonable prices, making this is a great destination to head to for lunch. Whilst all the other car parks along this stretch of coast were full, and had ques, we found space here. The first half hour is free, with each subsequent hour @ £1. With proceeds going to the upkeep of the arts center this is a great place to visit. There was also a fascinating arts exhibition on when we visited.

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (26) by David Keegan Photography

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (27) by David Keegan PhotographySpectacular views framed by trees growing along the woodland path and leading to the coastal path at the arts center.

Day 3

Leaving our B&B Moel Yr Wyn in Rhiw we head through more rolling hills and breathtaking scenery towards the center of Wales en-route to Lake Vyrnwy for late lunch at the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel and Spa.

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (28) by David Keegan Photography

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (29) by David Keegan Photography

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (30) by David Keegan Photography

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (31) by David Keegan Photography

Abandoned church and graveyard.

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (32) by David Keegan Photography

Trick of the light, sunshine before the downpour.

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (33) by David Keegan Photography

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (34) by David Keegan Photography

Light, shade and resting sheep.

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (35) by David Keegan Photography

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (36) by David Keegan Photography

Crystal clear waters, stream runs through the valley floor

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (37) by David Keegan Photography

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (38) by David Keegan PhotographyTop Tip 3: The Tavern Brasserie offers mostly the same food choices on its menu as the  main hotel restaurant, but at a fraction of the price and with the same stunning views, the atmosphere is also a lot less stuffy than that of the hotel.

 

Places of interest and info links 

Wales Coastal Path, more info click this link

Whistling Sands Beach, more info click this link

More info on Aberdaron, clik this link

Ty Choc Inn, Porthdinllaen, voted 3rd in the top ten bars in the world, more info on Ty Choc click this link

Porthdinllaen, more info on this by National Trust  clicking this link

Plas Glyn-Y-Weddw Arts center and grounds, more info by clicking this link

Lake Vyrnwy, more info on the lake and the surrounding areas click this link

Lake Vrnwy Hotel and Spa, more info click this link 

Staying there

We stayed at Moel Yr Wyn a great B&B run by husband and wife team Kevin and Chris. I can highly recommend this place.

More info and booking, click this link

#TravelWise #TravelWell #TravelThere With DK-Travelpix.com

Europe

The Long Weekender Oslo, Norway Part 3

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 3 (6)

 

Day 3 Oslo 

Day 3 starts early  with the ferry to the Bygdøy peninsula which operates operates between March to October. More info and links for ferry at the end of post
The trip on the ferry is included in the Oslo pass again making this a fantastic investment for any travel to Oslo.
Departure is every 20-30 minutes from Pier 3 by the City Hall. We caught the first fery at 8:55 as this was to be the last day of our visit we wanted to see and do as much as possible.
Leave the ferry at the first stop  Dronningen and taking about 20 minutes to get there its a very pleasant trip across. (Norwegian Museum of Cultural History/ Folk Museum, Viking Ship Museum and Oscarshall).

 

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 3 (0)

View from the ferry back to City hall

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 3 (1)

Viking Museum

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 3 (2)

Viking museum. Fascinating place full of preserved artifacts and Viking boats and things.

Norwegian Folk Museum

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 3 (3)

For me this museum had to be one of my favorite places to visit as part of my Oslo long weekender. Packed full of fascinating glimpses in Norway’s past, and near past, history all brought to life with full size replicas and originals of the lives and living places of the Norwegians. Fascinating and deserves a good few hours of any visitors time to see it all as the grounds are quite extensive. More info on this at link to bottom of this post.

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Europe

The Long Weekender Oslo, Norway Part 2

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (11)

Day 2: The Long Weekender

Top Travel Tips; Places to See Things to Do

The day starts with a visit to the magnificent Vigeland sculpture park a must see for anyone visiting Oslo and probably the best collection of sculpture I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. This is the worlds largest sculpture park to be created by one sculptor and i don’t think i have ever seen or heard of anything like it before. Containing over 200 works created over a lifetime by Gustav Vigeland in a mixture of mediums from granite, wrought iron and bronze, it is a truly unique place.  There is also a vitality and life affirming charm to the quality and scope of the works that can but make you smile whilst the park itself is a great place to spend a day have a picnic, if the weather permits, weather was great when I visited in May! I have included a link with more info on the park to the bottom of this post.

Vigeland Sculpture Park

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (1)A Statue of Gustav Vigeland stands in a landscaped area at the entrance to the park.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (2)The wonderful vista from the highest point in the park.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (3)Granite sculpture in the park

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (4)Seagulls take flight from one of the water fountains

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Europe

The Long Weekender Oslo, Norway Part 1

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix  Day 1 (3)

9 Top Travel Tips for Visitors to Oslo, Norway

Or put another way, things you may want to consider before travelling to Oslo in Norway

 

The long weekender a 3 part picture post

Day 1

Top Tip (1) For travelers from the UK It’s very expensive, at probably about twice the price of the UK average for food and possibly 3 times the UK price for a drink with a bottle of beer costing about a tenner

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (1)

The Museum of Modern Art as seen from the water, with viewing lift in background. Yopu pay a small fee to ride to the top of this free standing lift shaft which offers pretty good views.

Top Tip (2) If travelling on a budget you may be surprised to find buying in  supermarket is generally no cheaper than eating out, but tap water is free and restaurants quite happy to provide it, even adding sliced lemon and cucumber in some places.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (2)

Picture of one of the current exhibits in the Museum of modern art, pretty funky place and some very interesting pieces as well as some downright bizarre installation including a gold life size porcelain of Micheal Jackson with chimp and a collection of heads of what is supposed to be Tom Cruise but looks nothing like him!

Top Tip (3) If your flight leaves you arriving late at night from the UK, as ours did with Ryanair from Manchester, there is a bus from the Airport to the City and is the cheapest way to get from the airport to the city, but try and choose accommodation that doesn’t involve a Taxi ride to your final destination. We took a 10 minute taxi ride and paid about £25!

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (4)

I particularly liked this pieces which is a shelf of books with books made of thin sheet steel.

Top Tip (4) If there is one must see destination for the short break weekender in Oslo and there are quite a few noteworthy places to visit it has to be the sculpture park, it’s unique and outstanding.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (5)

To the foreground of this picture is a small beach where locals go swimming when the weather permits brilliant public space so close to the city.

Top Tip (5) Whatever budget traveler you may be get an Oslo pass, worth its weight in gold as it includes all public transport, entry to various museums and attractions, including the ferry to visit the Viking museum.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (6)

I loved this tidy and uniform display of Violas against the outside wall of the museum.

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UK

The Roaches, Staffordshire, The Peak District

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Day Tripping in The Peak District

Having lived in Manchester for many years now and having spent any spare time, and nice weather weekends, exploring the Lake District and The Peak District I felt sure I had found, visited, and seen, pretty much every place of note. How wrong was I. Recently whilst preparing for the visit of some friends from London I fired off an email to Geoffrey, one of my visitors, asking where himself and his partner Alan might like to visit, should the weather be favourable.

My suggestion was either to be the Lake District, or The Peak District, both being a comfortable drive from Manchester for a day trip. When Geoff replied saying he would like to visit The Roaches I was slightly confused, initially thinking he had friends he wanted to visit. Inquiring further, he told me it was a place in The Peaks he had visited with his brother some 20 years ago on a bike trip around the UK. Needless to say I was intrigued, and more so, stunned, when we visited. A breath-taking and beautiful piece of landscape steeped in fine history.

The Roaches

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On a clear day like this one the views across the countryside to as far as Cheshire and a wondrous sight.

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Weather worn gritsone stands sculptural amid this landscape

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This is also a very popular spot for mountaineering with many climbers using it for training purposes.  The British Mountaineering Council also lease the Don Whillans Hut used as accommodation for its climbers.

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Geoff a dance movement therapist in London likes to connect with the landscape find out more by clicking the link at the base of this post.

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Europe Ireland

The Road To Lough Dan, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

The Road To Lough Dan, A Picture postcard by David Keegan (1)

The Road To Lough Dan

Day Tripping in The Wicklow Mountains

Hidden away and down stony lanes, over grassy hills, banked by screens of bracken fern, walk through the verdant ever changing weather and vista to reach the quiet shores of Lough Dan in Co Wicklow, Ireland.

The Road To Lough Dan, A Picture postcard by David Keegan (20)

Along the path, snatched glimpses of the Cloghoge River catch the eye, until it banks curve and wend to greet you as you arrive at the lake shores and the abandoned and forlorn white house. Meanwhile in the fields below herd of Sika deer pause to look before returning to graze.

 

The Road To Lough Dan, A Picture postcard by David Keegan (2)

The Road To Lough Dan, A Picture postcard by David Keegan (3)

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Asia Malaysia

Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia.

Langkawi Malaysia in pictures by DKTravelpix (8)

The Archipelago of Langkawi Malaysia

The Island of Pulau Langkawi is a tropical paradise located some 30 kilometers off the northwest coast of Malaysia. Considered the jewel in the crown of the state of Kedah it is in fact an archipelago of some 104 island in the Andaman Sea, with Pulau Langkawi being the largest inhabited in the Archipelago. Many refer to it as the Hawaii of South East Asia, but to me that title does not do it justice and having visited both I prefer Langkawi for the diversity of it landscape, wildlife and rain-forest. Mainstream tourism tends to concentrate around Pantai Cenang beach area and although this is a good base when visiting the island, being close to all the best eating and drinking establishments, there is so much more to explore and see not far beyond and all within short driving distances. I would recommend if you intend visiting Langkawi that you hire a car for at least some of your stay, if not all, as this will allow you to explore the Island more fully and freely. Driving in Langkawi is also a much easier and safer experience than what you might experience on mainland Malaysia. Being a duty free island expect to find lots of cheap tobacco, booze and chocolates.

Langkawi Malaysia in pictures by DKTravelpix (16)Offering a range of accommodation types from the cheapest budget places Langkawi also plays host to some top class and secluded luxury resorts, with the most highly rated probably being the Datai and closely followed by the Danna and the Four Seasons Langkawi. Links to all can be found at the end of this post.

A couple of places not to be missed I would suggest are the Langkawi Wildlife Park, and my favourite Gunung Raya.

Telaga Harbour Marina is also well worth a visit with a nice stretch of usually fairly quiet white sand beach just beyond the harbour area, although it’s not great for swimming as the as the base sand is muddy and slimy, I presume from pollution. There is also free parking on the beach edge at this place.

Langkawi Malaysia in pictures by DKTravelpix (1)

Langkawi Malaysia in pictures by DKTravelpix (2)

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Europe UK

Sunset in Picklescott, South Shropshire.

Sunset outside The Bottle and Glass Pub in  Picklescott, South Shropshire
Sunset outside The Bottle and Glass Pub in Picklescott, South Shropshire

Sunset outside The Bottle and Glass Pub in Picklescott, South Shropshire.

I took this picture a little while ago whilst visiting Picklescott of horse and rider taking a break outside the pub as the sun went down. Charming village and pub and great place to stop if you happen to be in that neck of the woods.

More info on the Bottle and Glass can be found by clicking this link 

and about Picklescott by clicking this link

Europe UK

The Jurassic Coast, Devon.

The Jurassic Coast Devon UK (9)

Devon

Jurassic Coast 

A recent road trip to Devon and Cornwall taking in parts of the Jurassic Coast. A UNESCO world heritage site its not hard to understand why once visited. You can read more of its fascinating history by clicking this link.  The plan was to head for Lyme Regis but as the weather was good and a Bank Holiday weekend to boot it was packed. Stopped long enough though to catch a pic along the beach. Heading off we happened upon a quaint and quintessentially English village where i stopped to buy a paper and i reckoned if you want to find where the locals go to avoid the crowds what better than to ask. the shop keeper. Helped by her grandson they both conversed between themselves for a few minutes one suggestion this place and the other that until they both settled on Tyneham.

The Jurassic Coast Devon UK (1)

Lyme Regis Coastline

I had seen no mention of Tyneham on the list of places to see and visit along the Jurassic coast so was immediately fascinated. It turned out to be far more intriguing than i could initially have imagined, or hoped for. It transpired that Tyneham had been evacuated by order of the war office in December 1943. The abandoned village of Tyneham has stood quiet, ghostly and forlorn since. You can read more of the fascinating history of this place by clicking this link. Access is not always available and the entire area around it is still used today as a military firing and practice range. During military  maneuvers the road is closed to traffic, best to check in advance if it is open. Luckily for me the road was open on the day i visited.

As a consequence whilst all other places along the Jurassic coast were crowded Tyneham was virtually empty apart from the savvy locals we joined. A beautiful place and a few pictures below to prove it

The Jurassic Coast Devon UK (2)

Passed this bridge along the way to the Jurassic coast in Devon

The Jurassic Coast Devon UK (3)

The Coastline at the abandoned village of Tyneham

The Jurassic Coast Devon UK (4)

The Jurassic Coast Devon UK (5)

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Uncategorized

Thaipusam festival Penang Malaysia 2016 (post 3 of 3)

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (21)

Post 3 The 10 kilometer walk back from the Temple 

Thaipusam is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February). It is mainly observed in countries where there is a significant presence of Tamil community such as India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia. I was fortunate enough to be in Penang this year when the festival was taking place. The picture post that follows is divided into 3 parts, but all from one festival day. The festival itself lasted for 3 days over a weekend.

Post 3

The final post in this series.

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (17)

Heading back down the steps from the temple to make my way back to Georgetown I am once again caught and carried by the sway and sheer exuberance of colour and sound. Exhausted by the heat and long trek up  I am nonetheless once again enthralled by the spectacle. The Kavadi devotees that come now look even more exhausted by the sheer and relentless heat of the sun.  The pictures will tell the story, as by this point i was exhausted and with little voice or energy other than trance and sway. A remarkable experience and one that will live with me for a long long time i can only recommend it be on all bucket lists.

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (0)

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (0a)

Unity, oneness, joy and celebration, the order of the day!

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (1)

This young girl was clearly having a whale of a time.

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