A Travellerspoint blog

Bodant Gardens -Wales

Botanical beauty

overcast 55 °F

Spent a couple hours here! So beautiful!

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https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/autumn-colour-wales?campid=PPC_Wales_Google_2019Autumn-Gardens-IA-Bodnant-Garden-Exact&dfaid=1&gclsrc=aw.ds&&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIsYDTsbuH5QIVBbTtCh2GrgSXEAAYASAAEgI3Q_D_BwE

Posted by dianeski4 04:03 Archived in Wales Comments (0)

Wales

Beautiful and stunning scenery!

semi-overcast 46 °F

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1sr full day in Wales.
First stop Snowden where we hiked Penny Mountain. Our guide told us we didn’t have time to make it to the 2nd lake. Ha! Doesn’t know me. Another guy and I made it, and made it back to the bus in time. Our guide told us it wasn’t raining. That is was mist. Lol. It was just like rain. Therefore I have wet jeans 3 hours later. It’s sure chilly here. It was beautiful.
We drove past slate mines. I bought a beautiful slate piece of artwork.
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Next stop. Caernarfon Castle.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caernarfon
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Interesting story from another tour guide. They didn’t build the back of the castle and were attacked and taken over. Opps.

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Our last stop of the day was to Fferm Ty’n Yfan, a farm run by Gareth Wyn Jones and his wife.
Search gareth wyn jones farm on YouTube!
I was one of the lucky ones to get a ride up on his 4 wheeler. He never even slowed for a speed bump or other cars on the one lane road. It was quite the ride!
We learned some facts about his amazing sheep farm.
This Farmhouse been running for 350 years.
They graze the sheep on 27000 acres of public land. They usually have about 4000 sheep and 300 head of cattle.
Each male takes care or services 70-100. Sometimes they die on the job! Yikes

Wool is only worth 30 pence now per piece. Used to be in the old days that each summer they would pay off a mortgage with all the wool from that harvest. But now they are trying to find different uses for the wool.

He chose 3 volunteers to help herd some sheep with him and his sheepdog. That dog was amazing. Finally they got them in a corner and Gareth grabbed one and they hauled it to the barn where he sheared it.

We listened to a harpist playing Welsh music, and then had a big BBQ dinner that included lamb and all these fresh salads and vegetables from their garden. His wife had also made fresh bread.

They are hoping their sons will take over the farm. As he inherited it from his 84 year old father who was running around like a 50 year old. He was also a crazy 4 wheel driver.

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Posted by dianeski4 12:29 Archived in Wales Comments (0)

England

Avebury, stone circles and Blenheim Palace

sunny 45 °F

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First stop today-West Kennet Long Barrow. All over the Country side are ancient sites from people that lived here over 5000 years ago. We could look around the hillsides and see mounds where there were ancient burials. Farmers generally leave this hills alone. We hiked up a hill through a sheep pasture to visit a tomb from Bronze Age. About 42 people were buried here. It again, like Stonehenge, used large rocks that were somehow moved up the hill to create a hedge of rocks.
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Next stop was Avebury World Heritage Site. Here we visited a mile long circular hedge with a large ditch surrounding it. A quaint village was located inside the circle. It was interesting to watch the worshippers praying to the rocks.

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Our final stop of the day was to the Blenheim Palace. A beautiful and fascinating place. Winston Churchill was born here. Here we wandered through only part of the Palace and grounds. It was
Freezing inside. I can’t imagine living there and trying to keep it warm. There was a library with over 10,000 books. A very large exhibit about Churchill.
And a temple dedicated to Diana Goddess of Hunting. Supposedly who I was named for. Don’t know why my parents left of the a.
Blenheimpalace.com
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Your text to link here...

Rick Steves Itinerary
This morning we'll take a walking tour through Avebury's mysterious, prehistoric stone circle. Then we'll drive north to Blenheim Palace, touring this gilded mini-Versailles that was the birthplace of Winston Churchill. We end our day in the charming, flower-boxed Cotswolds market town of Stow-on-the-Wold, where we'll sleep (2 nights). Bus: 5 hours. Walking: moderate.

Posted by dianeski4 13:48 Archived in England Comments (0)

Myanmar

Our last vacation stop

overcast 80 °F

Yangon Day 1 June 26, 2018

Myanmar is amazing. From the beautiful scenery, to the food and the kind people, it's a stop worth making!

We made it to Yangon, Myanmar! Another check off the bucket list. It was another early morning flight and after a 2.5 hour flight, and an hour long drive from the airport to the Chatrium Hotel on the Lake we were exhausted. This hotel has a beautiful view of the lake and the
Shwedagon Pagoda. Too bad it was raining we couldn’t swim in the beautiful pool. They let us check in about 10 am, and we took a power nap.
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Then it was off for adventures. Grab is super cheap here, and you can Grab one so quickly. Sometimes it’s a little difficult to meet up, but so far it’s worked out. We went to a market looking for all the gems they supposedly mine here. We thought we could pick up some gifts for friends and family really cheap. NOT! Small, like really small rubies were in the hundreds. Of dollars. The most interesting thing about the market was all the small children that were dressed as monks coming around the stores singing. The store owners would give them rice or money. Each one would carry a pot to put the donations in. So many of the children are orphans. Sad to see.
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Another interesting thing is the powder that is worn by most of the women, and some of the men. It is called Thanaka. They rub this powder from a piece of bark and make a yellowish powder which they rub on their face, especially the cheeks. Apparently it protects them from the sun and makes the skin more beautiful.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanaka

We looked at the food at the market and decided we didn’t want to get malaria or sick, so we headed to the local mall for lunch. Steak and baked potatoes.

We then headed to a store called Hla Day. It featured so many local products made by people with disabilities or mothers trying to stay home with their children.

We headed back to the hotel and then walked to the Shwedagon Pagoda. This is the largest temple complex in the world. And the oldest. The largest pagoda is plated with gold. The grounds were immense and because we came at night the lights were beautiful. You do need to walk barefooted, so it’s a little gross on the feet.
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We took another grab to the San Yoe Yar Restaurant for some yummy and flavorful food from the Shan State. We had stir-fried Marrow leaves, Stir-fried Pork with sour bamboo shoots, and for an appetizer Steamed Chicken and onion leek wrapped in banana leaf. We topped it off with some sweet mango for dessert. The food was rated highly on trip advisor, and deserves the top rating. We were treated so well.

It was off to the hotel and some rest.

June 27 Wednesday

We got up and made some airline and hotel reservations to head to HeHo airport and Inlee/ Inlay Lake. Walked around the lake for a bit and had some lunch at the White Rice Restaurant. When you order a dish, just beware it serves more than one person. We had a prawn sweet and sour dish, asparagus, rice and lime juice. There were leftovers, so we gave them to the guards at the gate, who looked at us a little funny. But we couldn’t take it with us.

It was a small plane to HeHo airport from Yangon. Then we got a taxi for a set price of 40,000 kyat, or about 30 dollars for a 2 hour ride out to the lake and our resort, Amata Garden Resort. It’s really a once lane bumpy road with all sorts of traffic, including herds of buffalo walking. We finally made it about 8 pm. We had opted to pay less for a deluxe room, but when we got here they said they wanted to upgrade us to a villa. And what a beautiful room. Large entry way, very large bedroom/living area, nice patio, and a huge bathroom. All surrounded by beautiful gardens, with a whole orchid area, and including many banana trees. Tourist season runs from November-April, and we totally missed that memo. So, because of that we are almost alone. There are 5 guests here. During the high season, this hotel and villas can hold 250 people. But the restaurant and spa are open. They are just waiting around for us to come.
We had some dinner and settled in for the night.

Thursday June 28 we got up early, had some breakfast and went to meet our tour guide at the hotel’s dock. Our tour guide’s name was Sai, pronounced sigh. He was wearing the traditional longi, the long “dress” that both men and women wear. His English was really good, and he was super informative about the trip.

We saw the famous fishermen who paddle with one food, while balancing on the other while putting out nets and catching fish. And the guy caught one while we were watching.
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We traveled thru the tomato floating gardens where they produce all the tomatoes for Myanmar. The process of obtaining the land by cutting up land from the other end of the lake, and floating down to this area is amazing. There are 7000 acres of gardens. They have 2 crops a year.
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We visited a building where the Long Neck women live. They are originally from Thailand, and I was able to see them there last year. Still can't understand why they would do this to themselves. For life.
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We visited the silver making shop, and picked up a couple of items. After making our own jewelry in Bali, we appreciated how much effort it takes to make it now.

We traveled thru a floating village and saw the school, where the parents had built up the land so the kids could have a place to play. We watched as women washed their clothes and dishes in the lake. Many people were bathing and even brushing their teeth from the water. Sai told us that they do bring in bottled water to drink and cook with. But the toilet water does flow back into the lake.

We stopped at a village and toured the Indein Village and Pagodas. 1065 of them. `
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https://www.renown-travel.com/burma/inlelake/indein.html
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Bought some handicrafts from the locals. One man had two arms that were not formed correctly, but he was using them to engrave these drawings. Melissa bought some jewelry that he said his brother made.
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We had some fresh fish, rice, and tomato/tea leaf salad for lunch at a floating restaurant.
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Then we continued to on to a floating weaving factory. Here we watched them making lotus leave threads from the stalks of lotus plants, and then weaving it into scarfs. The process is incredibly time consuming. And we watched the many women weaving, making about 200-300$ a month. Melissa got herself a nice lotus scarf.
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It was an incredible day.

Friday June 29.

We decided to have a down day today and enjoy this beautiful resort. And it is so beautiful and peaceful. We had breakfast and went for a bike ride. No electric motors on these bikes, unlike Bali. And it was hard work. We pedaled for an hour and didn’t find any reason to keep going. So we turned around and stopped at an elementary school we had passed by. They had grades K, 1, 2, 4 and 5. The younger kids sang songs for us. They are learning English. The teachers live at the school in these barrack things. Sai told us they make 150$ a month. Their retirement has now changed and they get 50% of their salary a month. These people live on next to nothing.
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We came back and swam in the lovely pool, and then relaxed and worked on videos and blogs. Shared some tomato soup and cashew chicken for dinner. Tomorrow we are starting our journey home. It's been an adventure!

Posted by dianeski4 06:34 Archived in Myanmar Comments (0)

Bali

Part 3 of the summer adventure

overcast 78 °F

Part 3. Bali

Day 1
June 19 Happy Birthday to my mom, who would have been 95 today. I can’t imagine how they traveled with 5 children all over the world, I can barely take care of myself somedays. Another long travel day. Flew to KL and then onto Bali. Then a 2 hour car ride from the airport to Ubud where we finally got to the Healing House at 10 pm after leaving at 6 am. The not so fun part of traveling.

The next morning, as we looked out over the beautiful rice fields and swimming pool, and watched as the rain poured down, we realized that our plan of sitting by the pool all day wasn’t going to work, not just because of the rain, but also because we really had only 2 days in Ubud. So it was off for some adventures.
Healing House

Healing House

Healing House

Healing House

Healing House

Healing House

First off we went to Studio Terka, for a jewelry making class. We were able to design our own pendant, ring or earrings. I chose to make a heart pendant. The teacher, who has been making jewelry for over 17 years helped with the soldering, and other minor details, and told us what to do, but we had a big part in designing and making our pieces. Melissa is into pineapples and she made a ring, earrings and a pendant. Jane and Lisa made leaf pendants. They turned out pretty professional looking and we loved it.

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Next it was off for a little lunch, Indonesian curry and avocado smoothies. Then we headed for a couple hours at the spa, and what a treat that was.

Helena, our friend who lived in Bali for years recommended Nur Salon and Spa. It was the most beautiful setting ever in a Balinese garden with so many beautiful plants and water features. So peaceful. We started by getting undressed, in front of the lady, which was a little weird. Then we had an hour massage that was one of the best I’ve had. Followed by a full body scrub. Then we were rinsed off with warm water, and finally we soaked in a tub filled with rose and frangi pangi petals. It was so relaxing. It was about 30$ for the treatment, and well worth it.

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We left, wanting to stay all day, and did a few more minutes of shopping, and then decided to go for a facial. 5$ We went into what looked like a family home and they had a spa upstairs. Lisa and Melissa had some young girls work on them, and I had a mother, who had been holding the cutest baby earlier. More relaxation.

We then did more shopping for jewelry, and I picked up some nice pieces for my sisters and daughter-in-laws.

And then off to dinner for more Indonesian curry for me, with an ice-cream for an appetizer. Yum!

Day 2 June 20 Adventures in Ubud.

We woke up today and the girls decided they wanted to see The Monkey Forest before we went on our bike trip. We walked out from The Healing House and found a taxi. Of course they tried to charge us more, but we got them down to about 5$ and we should have booked him for a ride back, but thought we could catch a ride. There weren’t many people there, and the monkeys weren’t jumping all over. Although one did get into someone’s backpack and steal a bag of tissues. This place is best if you go early in the morning before too many people come.
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We couldn’t get a taxi back, but this nice older guy let us in with him and we got back to the place and hurried and packed up. Ebikes Bali picked us up and in large golf cart and off we went to meet the bikes nearby. The golf cart carried all our things and followed us the whole way. These bikes have electric motors and you don’t have to pedal at all if your don’t want to. It was nice as there were lots of hills. We mostly stayed on the roads in the country and spent a lot of time in the beautiful rice fields. We were able to go into a Balinese home and see the “compound”. We went into a cemetery where they bury the dead, and then when there are enough people to do a group cremation, dig them up again. The tour guides told us that it’s not so bad if they have been buried for a few years, but if its only been a couple of months it’s quite “tramatic” was the word he used. Only the rich people can be cremated just after they die, as it’s very expensive. Very interesting custom, and I can’t see myself digging up my relative.
We had dinner near a temple and were able to catch the end of a parade where they were going to a ceremony. The weather forecast has been super rainy, unusual for this time of year, but luckily it held off for our ride. And no one fell or got hurt. This is where I believe the true beauty of Bali is. And after watching the amount of work it is to grow rice, every grain is precious.

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We got a ride into Sanur and stayed at Villa Bunga, and airbnb. We walked out after putting our stuff down and got some dinner at a nearby restaurant.
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Day 3 June 21 Double ice- cream day. There is a fantastic ice-cream shop in Sanur with 30 different flavors of gelato. We passed it on the way to Villa Bunga, and walked back about 20 minutes to get it. My friend and I stayed at this Airbnb Villa called Villa Bunga last year in March and loved it. The house is lovely, there is a pool and it’s walking distance to the beach and shopping. And Surpani, the housekeeper lives here while the owner lives in another country. She cleans and cooks and takes care of the place. Her food is delicious and the price is perfect. It’s a great place to stay, although it’s a little noisier that I remember from before. And the dogs are barking more often.

Day 4 June 23
Uluwatu Temple

It was one of those 5% days. We spent a lot of time in the car. First the driver took us to this dance show, the costumes were unique, but it rather long and expensive. We then went to this temple on the cliffs. Uluwatu Temple We watched a monkey steal a guys cell phone. Luckily the worker there threw food at the monkey and he finally dropped the phone and got it from him, but it was next to the cliff and very dangerous. This is a rather small temple, but overlooking the beautiful ocean on high cliffs.
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We finally went Pandan Pandan beach to swim. The beaches were super dirty because of a strong storm, so we wanted to go to a different beach to swim. There were lots of people there. It was a long long day, I think we are all tired. Traveling is exciting, but it’s not always easy.
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;June 24 Sunday

Today Lisa and I attended church in Bali. We were able to catch a Grab for about 5$. Finding the church in another country is always tricky, but so far I have always been able to do it. Today it was a little tricky to find it as Lisa stayed with with the driver while I went and asked at a hotel. One thing I have learned is not to let the driver go until I find the place I want to go, it’s not fun getting stuck in the middle of nowhere without transportation. Anyway, the hotel knew where it was and it was in the back in an alley. There were about 40 people there, and most of them were visitors. In fact, they told us there are no Balinese members, and missionaries are not allowed in Bali. Seemed a lot like my branch, where there are few members and you help with many things. One guy played the piano, passed the sacrament, and even did some of the translating.
It was a good meeting and Lisa and I were asked to give the prayers. When I asked the branch president how he even knew we were LDS he said he could see it in our faces.

Today we had Surpani make us her curry for dinner. It came with rice, corn cakes, vegetables and fruit and this crispy rice/shrimp crackers that are so gross. They have them in Malaysia too. But the rest was delicious. We played a little cards, golf, and headed to bed early as Melissa and I had a 4 am wake up for the trip to the airport. A day in KL and then off to our last stop, Myanmar.
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Posted by dianeski4 04:11 Archived in Indonesia Tagged waterfalls beaches monkey forest spas Comments (0)

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