Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Taking a walk in Birches Valley Forest

I have made  google search for some interesting places to visit which nearby to my home.  Found that Tixall and Shugborough are beautiful places that worth a visit.

We follow the satnav which surprising using country lanes  and roads to Stafford. Along the way to Tixall, we came to the countryside full of birches trees. All the surroundings turn to orange and red colors and immediately we look for  a parking space to park our car so that we can take some photos.

Birches Valley Forest covered hundred of acres of lands. Especially in Autumn Season all the trees become flowers and the surroundings valley forest became a beautiful sights. We took our times to walk into the birches valley forest but unfortunately, we didn't have much times to spend on here as we need to go to our next destination.

Along the country roads to Tixall, the surroundings around here are so beautiful with old country farm houses. About 20 minutes we came to Tixall Farm House, and it was beautiful but we didn't go into the town centre. We enjoyed an hour taking photos and had our lunch.

After our break we carried on the journey to shugborough and suddenly mother's nature was giving a beautiful show on the surroundings, with the sunset rays shinning down on the rolling fields and farms. I have never seen something like this before and wanted my husband to try to find a spot where we can park our car to take this beautiful sight.

Unfortunately. due to while we trying to find the best spot to take this beautiful sight had wasted the precious minutes driving around and at last, we found a lonely farm track leading to rolling fields.  By this times,  the sun rays getting weaker and the sky getting darker. We have missed this chance to take some beautiful shots of this sight.

So we carry our journey to Shugborough but when we reach the Shugborough Hall, they was closed and have no choice and will go to this place again another day.

Places: Birches Valley Forest, Tixall and Shugborough
Photos: by Catherine Suen
Scored: 7 stars

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Trip to Venice - Day 3 on 16/10/12

We have our breakfast and get ready to take a bus to the Old Venice. Reached the water bus station to take a ferry to Murano Island but unfortunately all water bus ferries were cancelled that day due to high tides. We have to change our plan to visit this Island tomorrow.

At a lost of what to do in Venice, so we took a ferry to St. Mark's Square.  I am totally amazed to see that St Mark's Square was flooded in the freak storm from yesterday. The Square was flooded but it can't kill the tourists' spirits. Concrete slabs were in place for tourists to walk so that they can visit St. Mark's  Basilica. Some of the tourists enjoying themselves dancing on the flooded water while other enjoying playing with the water. The flooded water created beautiful reflections of the St. Mark's Square.

After  two happy hours clicking my camera, we went to the visit the Doge's Palace. The Doge's Palace is the second most attraction in Venice after the St. Basilica. It worth to pay for the hefty admission fee to tour the Doge's Palace. It most famous tour is the Bridge of sighs. You can take photo from the outside of this bridge without buying the ticket. It worth to walk on this bridge as part of the Doge's Palace tour.

We pay for $68.00 euro for family ticket and there are 12 different museums where the price were included and this ticket valid for 6 months.  The Doge's Palace museum was so big and there were lot of great old artists' works hanging in the rooms and halls of the old Palace.  Three hours happily walking in the old Palace and then we went for our lunch at the centre of the town. This time we decided to go for  Chinese food for our lunch.  We were happy with the service and foods and the prices for the foods were good value without so many different taxes and charges.

After lunch we wandering around in the centre enjoying a peaceful walk along the alleys and street market. Walking around the small little shops and Trixie purchased some little gifts for her friends and also bought a leather wallet for me.  Around 5.00 p.m. and Trixie wanted to go back to the hotel and rest before we go out for our dinner. We shopped for some fruits at one of the super store and then back to the hotel to rest.

We went for our dinner around 8.00 p.m. and have Chinese dinner at one of the restaurant in the town centre. Luckily the value for foods was reasonable and we had enjoy our dinner. It cost us about $30.00 to 35.00 euro to have dinner or lunch and I think this is the reasonable value for a meal for 3 persons.

Place: St Mark's Square and Doge's Palace
Scored: 9 stars
Photos by:  Catherine Suen
Dated: 16/10/12

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Trip to Venice - 2nd day on 15/10

Oh! I totally can't sleep last night, our hotel room was on 1st floor, requested for a change  for a higher level but they only able to change for us the next day. The noises from the staff working at the ground floor causing my sleepless nite.

Woke  and ready for my walk around 7.30 a.m. and went for a walk around the park next to the hotel. Unfortunately due to the morning dew and can't walk further into the park as my shoes were totally wet. So took another path to walk and this lead to the train station. The posh detached houses dotted on both sides of the road. It took about  20 to 25 minutes to reach the train station. A little town centre next to the station. Some small shops open  for business but I didn't have much times go around for shopping around.

Reached the hotel in time for my breakfast as they finished at 10.00 a.m. and we went to a small newagent shop next to the hotel to purchase our bus ticket. The bus and ferry ticket for 3 days cost $35.00 euro per person. The bus stop next to the hotel and there is a direct bus to Venice. It took us half an hour to reach Venice. To see Venice at the best is to get lost in Venice. So we wandering aimlessly through its streets and alleys for 3 hours.

After our aimlessly walk then we saw a church so we went to get a chorus ticket for the family at $20.00 euro for a day and this ticket can visit all the 16 churches in Venice in one day.  Most of the churches here were not allow to take photos inside of the churches. The churches worth a visit as most of them have ancient paintings on the ceilings or walls with rare mosaics or tiles.

We took our lunch at the square but it was expensive and very lousy cooked food so avoid the  restaurants where they have tables and chairs displayed outside the restaurants as they charge and add 2 or 3 different services charges to the bill. After our lunch and it was raining non stop for the day, we stopped at a 4 stars hotel and ask for direction to Saint Mark Square. The receptionist was very helpful and wrote down what ferry to take to reach there. We were also given a proper map with the St. Mark's Basilica  outlined out for us.

It took us 25 minutes walk to St. Mark's Basilica but there was a long queue so we went to the Campanile first. Campanile also known as bell tower and to go to the top of the tower the entrance fee is $8.00 euro. We took  the short elevator ride to the top of Campanile and the views were so beautiful. We can see the close up look of the big bells and the roof tops of the houses in the city. Unlucky for us, it was raining heavily and with strong wind that a person can hardly stand still. My daughter and husband had given up of staying up there to enjoy the views.

We went to queue at St. Mark's Basilica even with heavy rain but the tourists' spirits were great and all happily queuing in the rain to view this grand church. We did not visit the museum next to this church and the entry fee is $5.00 euro.

After visited the St. Mark Basilica we decided to call it a day as it was still raining and we went back to our hotel to rest for a while and then we went out for our dinner at the same restaurant as the night before.  We have a wonderful day even it was raining non-stop.

 Place:  Campanile and St Mark's Basilica
Photos by: Robert Suen and Catherine Suen
Scored: 8 stars
Dated: 15/20/2012