Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Holidays, holidays, holidays.

I don't know about anyone else but I live for my holidays. That's the only reason I go to work. Well one of the main ones.

I used to be a travel agent and holiday several times a year but once I left this tapered off. After I lost a good friend to cancer a few years ago, I decided that life was for living, so decided I would save and save and we would take as many holidays as we could fit in.

I have been very fortunate this year. Our first trip was to London for World Book Night, so we decided to stay the night and have a couple of days away. London is only an hours train drive away from home, but still a great break, as it is a wonderful city.

Many good books written based on London. For Harry Potter lovers, Diagon Alley lies somewhere along Charing Cross Road, between a book shop and a music shop. Also the train left from Kings Cross station.
Numerous films were made in London. Notting Hill being an obvious one. This is a great location full of little market stalls and wonderful quirky shops. Great atmosphere.

My friend at work has an apartment in Crete, so that was our holiday in April. I combined this with a visit to a very dear school friend. This made our holiday.
Aghia Pelaghia Beach.    

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Crete is a most beautiful Island and home to some well written books.
The Island by Victoria Hislop is one of them, and depicts a beautiful island.
The 1964 movie "Zorba the Greek" with Anthony Quinn, was also filmed in Crete.



May was the month for the Royal Windsor Tattoo, held in the grounds of Windsor Castle. This was another weekend away, this time with my parents too. We stayed in a wonderful hotel in Sunningdale Park near Ascot, which was set in beautiful grounds. The evening was spent at the Tattoo, which is a military festival, with lots of horses involved, and numerous small shops all around the park which mainly related to horses and all things horsey. It was a great weekend. I love going away with my parents as they are good fun.

I haven't found many books written about Windsor or set in Windsor, but Shakespeare did write "The Merry Wives of Windsor".
Not many films appear to have been made here either. Some of the Harry Potter movies were made in the area, along with numerous TV series like Agatha Christies "Poirot".

June was the month of our 10th wedding anniversary. To celebrate we booked a Cruise with Royal Caribbean Cruises on the Adventure of the Seas.

Our itinerary took us to some wonderful places.
We started off in Malaga in Spain, and cruised onto Valencia in Spain where we took a hop on hop off bus tour around the city and visited the wonderful Arts and Sciences building which housed the Oceanographic Aquarium, which is the 3rd largest in the world. It was truly amazing. Fantastic place to take children if ever you're there.
From there we sailed onto the wonderful country of Italy. This was a country I had never visited before and was very excited. We first went to Civitavecchia, and took the train into Rome, where we took another hop on hop off bus which took us around the main sites. We saw the Trevi fountain, the Vatican, The Roman Forum and The Colloseum.

I would love to go back to Rome again and stay for a few days. We were only there for a busy full day and it was very hot!

Many books are set in Rome. The Borgias, Angels and Demons by Dan Brown and many many more. It's a great setting for some good authors. Numerous films have been set in Rome. Among them, Eat Pray Love; Da Vinci Code; Angels and Demons; The Omen; Oceans Twelve.

After Rome we sailed onto Livorno and took a bus into Florence. This has to be one of the most beautiful places I have been. I had a crook neck at the end of the day from all the looking up you do! The beautiful Ponte Vecchia Bridge, the Duomo Cathedral. So many wonderful buildings and lovely architecture. I loved it. Again I'd like to go back for longer and when it's not so warm.

Books set in Florence include, Hannibal; Portrait of a Lady; The Enchantress of Florence. Movies made in Florence include, Portrait of a Lady; Hannibal; Room with a view; part of Under The Tuscan Sun.

We then sailed on to the beautiful island of Corsica. This island has to have some of the most stunning beaches and seas in Europe. Crystal blue water and powder white sand. I felt a little let down by the people we came in touch with as they were not over friendly. I speak a little French and used it when able. My husband doesn't and they just made out they didn't understand English, when they obviously did. I still think it's a beautiful place, but some of the islanders need to learn a few people skills.

A really famous film made in Corsica, was the 1962 version of The Longest Day. It was said that a man approached Daryl F Zannuck, stating he represented the beach owners, and that if he didn't pay him $15,000 they would drive modern cars along the beach. Zannuck paid up to prevent this happening but later discovered it was a scam as there were no private beaches in Corsica! He eventually won damages after an 8 year lawsuit.

The cruise then was almost at the end. We had a day at sea which went so quickly as there was so much to do on board. We arrived back in Malaga and then flew back to Birmingham. I managed to get my husband hooked on cruising which was my intention. He's even looking at the brochures for next year!

They always say "It's not what you know but who you know". I have friends in Texas, USA and one of them works for American Airlines. He gets friends and family tickets on the airline, so we are fortunate enough to be going to Texas in November which I am very excited about. We will be there for Thanksgiving which is exciting. I know we shouldn't celebrate it as Brits, but it's still a fun time nevertheless. I love getting together with my friends over there, so it is going to be such fun. I will be blogging about it when I get home.

Well I hope I haven't bored you about my love of travelling. I must go now as I am off to water my parents garden as they are........ yes you've guessed it, on a cruise! Yes I've got them hooked too!

Enjoy your holidays everyone, wherever they may take you, far and wide. If you are with your loved ones even better.