TRAVEL: Weekend in Dorset and the Jurassic Coast, UK

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After an epic holiday earlier this year, we were starting to get some itchy feet as our next holiday was not until Christmas time.

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Since work dictates holiday days taken (not all of us are digital nomads or have quit the rat race…yet) We have only weekends to get away.

Bae and I live in London and we knew that we didn’t want to have more than a 3 hours journey from home (especially for just a short 2 day trip). So we focused in on domestic options of which there are plenty to choose from.

I have never been to Dorset myself, frequenting the Devon coast more as a child, but Bae had very fond and lovely memories of his childhood summers spent on the Jurassic coast, with beautiful green rolling hills, thatched roof cottages and pastures that make the English countryside such a dreamy escape when the weather is good.

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I, of course, plan anything and everything, so the research started for a suitable abode. Withe rise of Airbnb and other similar hosting sites, finding holiday accomodation has never been so easy.

We love to stay in the middle of nowhere, must have a wood burning stove, off grid is ok providing there is a hot shower and running toilet (we are not going to camp, we are going to RELAX).  There is something so satisfying about getting out of your comfort zone (for s defined period of time!) and away from all the basic amenities we normally take for granted.

Luckily, the English Countryside has so many cool little places to choose from if you want all the above.

I found an amazing little place called Baba Yaga’s Boudoir – I cannot recommend this place enough.

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We drove by Stonehenge and got a good view this time!

We wanted to be close enough to the coast that it wasn’t a long drive, but for September on the South Coast of England, its going to be windy, so something right on the coast would be too cold.

As we drove through the tiny villages and finally came across the farm we had to turn into, the sun started valiantly shining through (although we wouldn’t see it thing again until our last day!)

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we parked up and walked through a big paddock on to the plot of land where we would be staying

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the paddock housed a lovely black horse called Temptress who came up to us and was so friendly.

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As we approached the deck we could see a lovely small lake and a lovely view of the countryside that provided a fantastic view from our boudoir

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Happy to be here!

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Enjoying the view while the stove gets going

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Right in the middle of the English countryside

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The inside of our cabin was so cool!  All natural materials. with a ladder going up to the lovely plush bed that had a sky light so you could stargaze from bed!

Before we got there, we stopped by a farm shop in Chideock for some supplies, then got the fires going to start cooking.

20170909_181521This is a very handy thing for camping – a hollowed out log with charcoal and wood.  It slows burns for a good 6 hours

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The view from inside the cabin towards the paddock (you can see Temptress in the background!)

We toasted some marshmallows while we gazed at the stars.

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Getting some light reading in before bed

 

Sunday morning and our fishing trip had unfortunately been rained out. (got a call the night before)

 

 

After a little breakfast cooked on the trivet

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Breakfast in front of the fire – lovely start to the day!

Products from the farm – fresh bread, butter, bacon and eggs

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Look at the colour of that yolk!  can’t beat farm food

After a lovely filling farm breakfast, we decided to make the most of the weather that seemed borderline ok

Lyme Regis was the nearest place to us and I found two places that offered fishing trips.   Prices were so much lower than I was expecting, just £10 an hour for mackerel fishing or £30-40 for a 3 hours deep sea fishing trip.

However, since we were rained out, we decided to drive to Char mouth and walk along the famed Jurassic coast

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The net was only a £1!

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Not having much luck though!

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I am reminded of the Napali coastline when I look at the shoreline here.  It has that same prehistoric feel to it.  I mean there were dinosaurs living in Kauai and here in Dorset once upon a time!

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BONUS FIND:  Apparently there is a place where you can camp out, or have dinner on the face of a cliff!  Yes that’s right!

Here is the link for those interested CLIFF CAMPING  I’ve added it to my UK bucketlist though i am not sure if dinner is ample or if staying overnight would be better. (It’s quite expensive but probably because it is so unique!)

If any of you have ever done this let me know how you found it in the comments section!

Since we didn’t book the cliff camping, we saw a big hill and climbed that instead – it was pretty challenging with the recent rain turning it into a big mudslide! This is a photo of Bae imploring the weather to settle down – such a confident man!

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Nevertheless we made it to the top!

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Me being the (much) more unfit one, I was ecstatic that I made it!

20170910_113636It is colder and windier than it looks

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The rocks around here were made of a weird clay type material – we saw a lot of people with hammers cracking open these rocks in the hope to find some Jurassic fossils

Disappointed with the current weather situation, we cut our long walk a bit short and head back along the beach towards Lyme Regis, and took in the quaintness of this lovely seaside town.

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There is a great formal restaurant called Hix that does a mean cocktail – at the top of the hill.

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We spied a fish shop, and thought hey, since we couldn’t go out fishing ourselves lets pick up some fresh fish and cook it on the BBQ at our cabin. We got some mackerel and a few big prawns and headed back.

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Instead of going back on ourselves, we were encouraged by a local to walk up the stairs through the gardens which made for a blustery but beautiful walk back

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A lovely view of the coastline – with typical English weather!

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Since there were so many blackberries I actually picked some and made a pretty nice (tangy) coulis for the mackerel

Literally everything that evening we cooked over our outdoor trivet fire

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Monday Morning and still full from the night before, we do a little light yoga on the deck before going on a long walk around the cabin and grounds.

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If you have never been to Dorset or the South Coast, I recommend a trip down there!  So much to see!  We went for a relaxing, unplugged type holiday, but you can do family, romantic, adventurous, relaxing, foodie – whatever break you like!

Explore the countryside!

 

Let us know what you think in the comments section!

Trip of a Lifetime: Day 25 – All good things have to come to an end

Wow what a whirlwind this trip has been! I’m sad that it’s our last day and we want to make the most of it, but unfortunately I am feeling under the weather. So after Bae kindly goes and gets breakfast in bed for me in the pouring rain (I know! he’s definitely a keeper!) we wait for the rain to stop (that would definitely make it more tolerable) and say a quick goodbye to our Airbnb hosts before setting off to Centraal station so we can unburden ourselves of our luggage and explore the city some more.  Our flight is not until 9pm, so we have lots of time to relax before getting to the airport.

We finally get back to the flat around 10:30pm, feeling satisfied, exhausted, relieved to be home and sad that it’s over. Well…until the next time!

Total cost for flights for this entire trip was £1200 per person – not bad for 9 flights!  Watch this blog for a later article detailing how I did it!

Keep Tuned in for our future adventures and other travel hacks, tips and scoring the best deals so you can encircle the world without breaking the bank or quitting your job!

 

Trip of a Lifetime: Day 23 – Bangkok to Cologne to Amsterdam

Our original plan was to fly from Bangkok to Cologne on a 08:05 plane, arrive into Cologne at 15:25 and take a 17:00 train to Amsterdam.

Bae not happy about leaving Asia

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Since Eurowings changed our flight time, to depart at 12:05, arriving at 19:25, we realised that we had about 1 hour 20 minutes to get from the plane to the train station – it was going to be tight. I was stressing about it the whole time.  BKK Airport is pretty efficient, although make sure you have a paper boarding pass – they won’t let you through without one.  I managed to see a nice Thai dance performance in the airport before we boarded our 12 hour flight.

Not this – this is just a cool sculpture as you go through security at BKK

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Eurowings is a low cost airline, so I wasn’t expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food and the size of the seats. Considering we paid £164 per person for this flight I was very happy.  You can order food and data and movies from your screen and the pilot got us there about 30 minutes early (love German efficiency!)

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We arrived in Cologne airport and since it is such a small airport, it took us about 20 minutes to get out of the plane, get through immigration and pick up our bags – amazing!

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We hailed a taxi and it took about 15 minutes to get to the Cologne station – enough time to grab a coffee and take a rest break.

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The train journey was not great for me, but only because I was supremely tired. Luckily I got an hour or so, and even though I was like a zombie when we got to Centraal station – the brisk cold of the Amsterdam evening was enough to shock me into a pleasant state – ahhh how I missed the essence of a cool breeze!

We booked a really pretty little apartment in Jordaan and very trendy and arty neighbourhood (although most of Amsterdam can be described as such!)

We took a 7 minute tram ride then a 5 minute walk to our apartment – getting in at just past midnight.

We were also ravenous. Decided to leave our stuff and go for a quick walk.  Found a little coffee shop and they guy there recommended a Turkish kebab shop nearby.

OMG I thought I had nice kebabs before, maybe it was the long journey, or the lack of sleep, or weird meal times, but this was the most delicious kebab I have ever had.

Happy and full, we hit the sack early.

 

Tune in Tomorrow!

 

 

Trip of a Lifetime: Day 22 – Bangkok

Woke up pretty early and set off via taxi to get to the Temples, which was our main destination for the day. River taxi is the way to go and we were dropped off right by the pier. 

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The river is pretty dirty but doesn’t smell.

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We got an individual boat for us to get to where the temples were a bit north up the river. 

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Lots of cool buildings traditional, to colonial to modern all dotted the riverside

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Once we landed we found a place to eat a quick nice Thai breakfast then headed into see Wat Pho, where the Golden Reclining Buddha is located. 

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Chicken Pad Thai

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Spicy Garlic and Basil Chicken

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Wat Pho is part of an extensive complex of temples and palaces in the grounds of the Grand Palace. 

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After you enter through the turnstiles after you have bought your ticket, there is a small room with a few shrines that you pass through – here you will see a few locals doing their prayers

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A scale model of the temple complex – there is a lot to see!

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We started by paying alms and banging a huge gong before heading to the main attraction

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This thing is HUUUUGE! I mean, you can’t even fit the head in a picture. 

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 It is a wonderful site to see, not least because even amidst the throngs of tourists in each temple there was a respect and calm you saw a lot in places like this. 

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Huge feet!  The whole thing spans for many metres

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 We wandered into one temple where there was a priest giving out blessings.  He beckoned for us to come over and as we knelt in front of him, he sprinkled some water (holy I assume?) on us and tied a white piece of string around our wrists (right for Bae, left for me)

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Lots of these guys all over the place obvs

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After feeling reasonably spiritually cleansed, we walked around until we got to he souvenir shop.

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The former late King – sorely missed by all Thais, who revere their King to almost godlike status

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Bae spotted a man making bracelets and asked him to fix the string on his bracelet.  In the meanwhile, I saw a fortune teller, and being into that kind of thing, I suggested we try it.

The old man was 88 and had milky cataracts that just added to his clairvoyant image. He took our birthday and did some birth chart interpretations and then read our palms.  We have similar fortunes, which I found pleasing, and while some of the information could totally be passed off as generic, there were some things he said that rang true for me.  He was very detailed, going through 2-3 year periods of our lives and how we should avoid certain things or do certain things.  I take this stuff with a pinch of salt, but as I go to them quite a lot, I like to compare the things they tell me, and there have definitely been some recurring themes in my fortune.

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We strolled around the grounds of the Grand Palace – never seen so many golden Buddhas in one place!

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We then took the river taxi back over to Wat Arun, another smaller temple complex

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After the temple we cooled down with an iced coffee then took the river taxi to the BTS line.

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We were heading to the MBK centre – a shopping haven in Bangkok and recommended to us by a Thai friend.

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This place is bigger than a big shopping centre, and is stuffed full of stalls selling everything you could ask for – I was on the hunt for designer replica bags. We spent about 4 hours in there and I got some amazing deals – haggling is not really tolerated much here unlike in other street markets, although we got offered discounts.  I hate haggling anyway so this was great.

IK don’t have any pictures because they really don’t like you taking picutres of their stuff there!

They do have an amazing food court (more like floor) here, but when I spied a branch of KyoChon, I knew we had to eat there. I really don’t know why they don’t have a branch in the UK, it would do so well here, would blow every other chicken shop here out of the water.

A busy day today and we collapsed on our hotel bed for a good nights rest!

Tune in Tomorrow!

Trip of a Lifetime: Day 20 – Uluwatu

Our last full day in Bali! 20170604_100602

It’s a pretty lazy day all around, with a lot of sleeping in, dips in the pool and snacking by said pool.

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Breakfast is served!

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Finally we get up off our arses and decided to head to Uluwatu temple.  This is one of only a couple of water temples in this area, but this one is by far the most magnificent.

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LPT get a sarong as you can visit the temples as you will need to be modest when entering holy places.

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The temple complex is pretty spread out, with a lot of walkways along the cliffs with absolutely breathtaking views

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We walk around and jump over an old stone wall out of curiosity and come across an agriculture garden/café/agro farm being built called Malini AgroFarm

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We find someone to give us a tour and we learn about the recent movement to move away from GM crops and focus on organic, healthy locally grown vegetables.

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The passion here is evident in the people who work the land for future generations.

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An incredible natural structure where the cafe and educational information will be located

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Everything here is sustainable with no carbon footprint.

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We were shown a multitude of vegetables fruit and herbs they were growing.

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It is a great experience and we try some amazing fresh juice before we head back to the temple area.  (Spicy and delicious!)

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One thing to note that it might be better to come by when it’s not as busy.  It almost ruined the serenity of the temple as it was literally overrun by tourists.

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After we had had our fill, we decide to find a place to have a drink and eat something. Sy was told about this amazing restaurant that has the best sunset so we head there.

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The table we sat at (we didn’t end up eating there) faced right on the edge of the cliff and you had the most spectacular 180 degree view of the cast.

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This, I thought, was a perfect time to sprinkle more of my dad, who lived in Indonesia and frequented Bali a lot when he was younger out form the cliff and into the sea.

 

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Our friend said a lovely Buddhist prayer for my dad about the beauty of the circle of life, and I felt calm as I spread more of dad’s ashes along a cost of a land he spoke so fondly of.

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You can’t help but feel connected to nature and the world up here.

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You could see birds and bats flying around as the sun set – I love nature!

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After the sun set and much contemplation by each of us – separately and together, we started to get peckish and decided to drive around following our nose.

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Our noses settled on …pizza lol. It really was delicious as well!

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Trip of a Lifetime: Day 19 – Ubud to Uluwatu

Today we leave Ubud and set off for the South Coast and is our last day at the lovely Tjampuhan hotel and Spa

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Beautifully carved sculptures are a recurring feature in the hotel

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The drive itself is very pleasant

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It takes about an hour to drive there.

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Our accommodation is right in the middle of nowhere. That being said, it’s a pretty sweet place to stay.  It’s basically a villa with our own private pool, garden and Jacuzzi.

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We go for a quick dip before heading for the beach. The nearest beach to us is Padang Padang beach, a popular beach with surfers and tourists alike.

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By the time we get there the sun is just starting to set, so we get some swimming and Frisbee in before watching the beautiful sunset descend below the waves.

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Busy beach but very nice!

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I snap some pictures of the horizon and it is just breath-taking!

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Enjoying our sunset time after a quick dip in the ocean

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This beach is very pretty – when the tide goes out some parts of the beach are inaccessible

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For dinner we want to eat some nice seafood.

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It takes a while before we find a good spot, but end up at a swanky resort and enjoy the chef’s tasting menu, which consisted of some lovely fresh seafoo

Greens with crab and edamame

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Every course we had was a surprise from the chef, using the freshest local ingredients and a heavy emphasis on fish

A nice whitefish with a lobster cream sauce

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Gorgeous plump prawns with cauliflower salad and puree

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Having a great time!

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An innovative panna cotta dessert that played with different temperatures and textures.

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We eat by the sea (although it’s dark so you can’t see much) and head back for some rest (but not before we chase a frog and a massive spider out of our room lol

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Tune in Tomorrow!

Trip of a Lifetime: Day 17 – Cycling down Mount Batur

One of the excursions we had looked at while in Bali was going to mount Batur – a still active volcano in the north of the island. Bae had found an interesting tour that allowed you to cycle down the volcano on bikes with an informed guide as part of a small group– my last experience of a cycle tour became hell after 4 hours and 5 cenotes (let’s just say wet swimsuit and bike seat and cycling for mile in Mexican weather s don’t mix  This one, Bae assured, would be downhill and we would have a van following us in case it all got too much.

We started early, met our group at 08:30 at the hotel. We had 7 people total in our group – 2 Germans, 1 English, and 2 Australians.

Our tour guide is Wayan (told you) and he is such a bubbly, knowledgeable tour guide with an obvious love and appreciation for his country, culture and the long term conservation of Bali.

As we drive up to Mount Batur we stop by the tiered rice paddy fields and get some fresh young coconut (which I am told is great for stomach ailments) and take some pictures of the farmland. 

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The rice terraces seem to go on forever.

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Another stop takes us to an amazing wood carving shop in a village that is famous for its woodcarvers.

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They have an extensive gallery of pieces, ranging from small handheld trinkets, to 20 foot sculptures that seem like eh stuff of dream and nightmares.

The head of the shop welcomes us and shows us to the workshop, where a few men are carving out the finishing touches to a massive bird. He also explains the culture of woodworking and the craft itself.  Bae buys about 4 pieces all hanging wood carvings that are absolutely beautiful and a really good price too!

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After much admiration we pile back into the van and continue until we stop at a local restaurant for a spot of Indonesian Breakfast.

The place itself was basic but the food delicious and my god, the view! We were sat on the patio overlooking Mount Batur and the gorgeous blue lake that sat below it.  If the sun weren’t so blazing I could have sat out there all day!

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a delicious breakfast of nasi goreng, fried egg, cucumber and fresh squeezed juoce – I opte for Orange – wth a bamboo straw!

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Filled with energy, we get to our meeting point and go over a quick safety briefing before trying on our bikes and helmets for size.

And then we are off! We are told that this is about 22 miles total of cycling and that 95% of it are downhill – well the first 2.5% of that uphill is about 54 minutes in, as we cycle along rice paddy fields.  We cycle through so many villages; stopping at a few so Wayan can talk to us about the people and the village.  Each village here usually specialises in one thing, whether that is growing oranges or carving bamboo.  Our first stop is at an orange grove where we talk to the pickers and try some of the oranges – so juicy and sweet!”

A few villages along we stop again to see everyone in the bamboo village taking their midday siestas and we pole around their shed looking at the pikes of wind chime and other prepared bamboo. That’s when we hear the pigs. Just a little way over, there is a pig sty with 10 of the cutest piglet I have ever seen!  A couple of sties across is their large mother who looks about 800 lbs minimum and is sleeping.  We say hello to the piglets, and some calves that are curious before heading off down the road.  After half an hour of cycling at speed through villages along potholed roads we stop at a house for a longer break and some sustenance.  We are given by fresh young coconuts, passion fruit, bananas and snake fruit – a fruit that has the texture of an apple and the taste of a pineapple – the skin looks scaley hence the name.  We walk around the property to enjoy some mangosteen and other tropical fruit trees before continuing our cycling adventure. I made a point to smile at everyone I passed.  Somewhat selfishly, I love the feeling you get sharing a smile with a perfect stranger and it seems to come easily when you spend the day cycling through a place like Bali.

I was definitely the least fit out of the group, and during some of the rare uphills and flat terrain, I didn’t think I would make it, but I still smiled and it made me feel better and want to stay with the group.

We had a last push of difficult cycling along some very narrow pathways that wound through more rice paddies until we came to some severely rocky terrain where we had to push our bikes for a bit.

Finally though we came to the top of the trailhead,

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where we walked down for about 20 minutes to get to an amazing waterfalls that we stopped at for a refreshing and crisp swim –

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I love feeling the power of a waterfall on my back and this one was less severe than the one in Kauai – you could even go behind it and “hid” form the other people there.  The waterfall is hidden in the rainforest, you really feel like Indiana Jones exploring uncharted terrain and then suddenly, you come across this waterfall that looks like something out of a myth or fairy-tale , the sun shining down, turning the water droplet into tiny flying crystals of light.

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We rested for a bit before heading up the stone stairs and stopping at the ramshackle café that sold fried banana, cassava and something else that escapes me at this moment. Definitely needed after that cycle and hike!

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We continued on the final leg our cycling tour, stopping by a coffee plantation to try some fresh picked cocoa and coffee beans and learn a bit more about the land.

Our final stop was at Wayan’s family house. His family made us an amazing Indonesian buffet spread with all manner of local delicacies – my favourite being the fish wrapped in banana leaf.  As we all exchanged emails and numbers after a fun and bonding trip, we thanked Wayan for his amazing tour guiding and wonderful spread.  Wayan then asked if we wanted to see a black sand beach – how we could say no!?

After a bit of a frolic we piled back into the van and headed back to our respective hotels for a rest!

Tune in Tomorrow!