Friday, August 31, 2012

Back in the Engadin.

I was excited as soon as I touched down in Zurich, not only because I knew what was coming, but because my spirits rose at the mere fact of being in this wonderful country. Taking one of the most spectacular train rides in Europe didn't exactly dampen my mood either!

The weather was amazing, so from Tiefencastel I  hung my head out of the window like a happy dog. Christ, you'd better watch out though, as there's not room for your head, hand and camera as you go in to the tunnels!

Tantalizingly close.

16:58 arrival 17:58 weisen! 

Renata greeted me at the station with a perfect plastic lei and we made more noise at seeing each other than the rest of the disembarking passengers put together! While she got organized for an appointment with a client, I dropped my suitcase off and promptly proceeded back out the door with Mel. We took a brisk 40 minute walk from our nest in Champfer around the lake and ordered the beer we had been planning on for months. 

No photograph I've yet taken has caught the magical beauty of this place (though you might want to double click on this one). It's special and has a potent and tangible energy that I feel in full affinity with.

If you have to be a cow, you'd be hard pressed to pick a better spot to graze on.

As we sat on top of the world, my hostess and wonderful friend Renata pointed out all the places she has hiked, skied and climbed in her last 25 years in the Engadin Valley. Let me tell you, she's been a busy girl and knows this place like the back of her hand, yet is still is enthralled by it's magnificence and finds new trails and peaks to explore. Suffice to say I'm in good hands.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Relaxed and ready.

More walk-abouts, more tea, more lunches, more naps.  It's simple routine and I've rested an inexplicable part of me that needed restoring. Yet while I've been nourishing on the one hand, the other has me chomping at the bit to do more, but there will be lot of time for that later. 

And talking of nourishment, my plan to gain some weight while here is working nicely. Guinness, shepherds pie, trifle, repeat.

It was dusk as I left 'The Fox' and after a cheeky half I almost went double or nothing and became a  customer at 'The Village Chippy'.  Despite already having eaten dinner - the thought of buying a bag of chips arose, not because I wanted them, but because I could....but I couldn't!

These boys look like they pulled an all nighter at the Leeds Festival.  Though standing at the bus stop outside The Mexborough, I was unsure exactly where they'd scrubbed up......or maybe they hadn't?

The Leeds Quicksliver store-classic. Well this place had me fooled, and there I was thinking I'd snap up a new pair of board shorts!

Blimey-you're just as liable to draw blood on your neighbors ankle as break your own in these! I'm so out of any kind of fashion loop it all looks like fancy dress to me (or perhaps that's just my age)? 

There is one more element I forgot to add the lovely tea, lunch, nap, repeat routine which is that of taking lots of photo's. It was impossible not to over snap all the copious plants, shrubs and trees at the lovely gardens we've visited.

The routine is working, I've added a few pounds and feel more grounded for it. I've learned more about my G11 (thanks to my bro above) and spent lots of time running after my Mum who had a blast with her new found mobility freedom.

I've talked to the animals....

.....and swung from the trees, but now it's time to move on. Toodles for now!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Knaresborough and the birds.

With an afternoon to spare, I took myself off to Knaresborough. It's a picturesque little town dominated by the 14th century castle ruins that overlook the viaduct.

These Ravens were hand reared from a pair at The Tower of London. They're approachable and one of them can evidently swear like a trooper!

Supposedly they're free to fly off, despite their loose tether which might suggest otherwise.


Rowing is fun, but less so at five pounds a person!

As I walked around in a picture postcard setting, it started to drizzle and I succumbed to a '99', a soft whipped ice cream with a chocolate flake stuck in it, proclaiming it's status as the Rolls Royce of all Mr. Whippy's treats. The first few bites were so worth it, but as I ate the last bit of cone I confess I felt slightly sick. We used to come here when I was a kid and go to the sweet shop for a box of Jolly Jelly Junglies....Jesus, thank God I didn't find those or I'd have vomited.

And talking of gipping, any one for a spam fritter butty?!

I think this poor chap must have nibbled on one, as he sat in the middle of the road waiting to be run over and put out of his misery! Ahhhh bless.....

I also popped into Leeds for a quick afternoon walk-about. Despite this snap, it's a busy bustling place, but I'm always happiest on the outskirts with it's calm green canvas backdrop and local inhabitents.

Slightly pigeon toed and no tether here.

Happy duck.

 Swan lake (nice background duck dive).

Ginormous signets.

And just incase you had an incurable thirst... this hose is clearly not for you!

Enough gallivanting, back to my chores.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Up, up and away.

Two days before, arriving in San Francisco I'd once again been overpowered by the sheer volume of concrete. Flying out over it, it was easy to see why, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it's still one of my favorite cities.

As I kicked back for my haul across the Atlantic, I had a moment of thanks to American Express for their milage program and Virgin for their Upper Class cabin!

I landed in London on the last day of the Olympics and my concerns of delays traveling across the big smoke were ill founded. In fact, it was one of my quickest transfers from Heathrow to Kings Cross, providing time to puzzle over these people standing in line in front of a sign saying 'Platform 9 ¾' and a sawn off shopping cart! Evidently, if I was a Harry Potter fan, I would have been in line too.

As I took my seat on the train for the last leg up to Leeds, we'd barely left the station before there was a mass cacophony of crinkling crisp packets and fussing cellophane as sandwiches and snacks were released for consumption. The Brits do love a picnic.

You know you're heading North when the refreshment announcer proclaims “Starbucks coffee, Yorshire tea and Cadburys hot chocolate are available in the buffet car. We apologize that the drinks trolly cannot serve any hot beverages as due to electrical difficulties with the hot water” ” (cue collective chuntering). We might be able to throw a successful Olympic Games.....but some things never change.

As I stated to nod off, the conversation from the two women in front of me drifted my way. “You know, he's a bit dodgy that one is ” said the first lady in a conspiratorial tone, “I think the word you're looking for is knob head” said the second, bold as brass and not skipping a beat. And the next thing I knew I was in Leeds.

I'm staying with my bro and as any good sister would, day one - just as he'd got his post work comfy's on, I grabbed him and we cycled all of three minutes to the local for a swift one. Priceless.

The village of Thorner is a perfect hub for me. Two pubs (The Fox and The Mexborough), a post office, a village shop and St. Peter's dominates the landscape. Two minutes up the hill you're in the countryside and public footpath heaven.

Luverly juberly.

In the UK days are ruled by taking advantage of the weather. Mum has discovered a mode of transport that allows her to romp about with me when the sun is out. Most of the local parks offer motorized scooters for free and lordy lord she's in heaven! It's a winning combo as I love to get out and about in all the local fabby green space and she can now join me while getting the wind in her hair.....or not!


A taste of things to come, concentrating on my three point turn.

Roundhay Park on a quiet afternoon.

Sunshine and flowers-shocking!

The local wildlife.

Full speed ahead, there's no stopping her now, must dash!