“Avalon, island to which Britain’s legendary king Arthur was conveyed for the healing of his wounds after his final battle. It is first mentioned in Geoffrey of Monmouth’sHistoria regum Britanniae (c. 1136), while the same author’s Vita Merlini (c. 1150) described it as “the island of apples [‘Insula pomorum’], called fortunate.” It was ruled by the enchantress Morgan le Fay and her eight sisters, all of them skilled in the healing arts.”
As you know Glastonbury is a place close to my heart having grown up and gone to school quite close to there, but it never fails to surprise and amaze whenever i go there. For many years i have wondered what the name Avalon means (for the life of me ive no idea what took me so long to look it up) however my curiosity peaked today and i remembered to check it on the internet once i got home (see above quote).
It was not entirely to my surprise that Avalon relates to the times of King Arthur as i learnt much about this from school and parents as a child and i have always been aware that the lay-lines which run through Glastonbury and the Tor have many healing properties and why in my opinion it is such a relaxing place even when its busy on halloween/last friday of half-term.
Although i had no idea of its connections with apples but i guess it would make perfect sense due to Somersets link with cider….
Of course no trip to Glastonbury is complete without a trip to the crystal man and a raiding of the 50p treasure box got some lovely ones although my friend managed to do even better….
After a trip to the charity shops and much success with both a scarf and a cardigan it was back home through various chaotic traffic jams.
After an auspicious start, a bus journey plagued by accidents on the motorways and meaning that I got to the Eurostar terminal with literally 5 minutes to spare before I jumped on the train it was a quiet journey along the Highspeed track and a reassuring redress in the balance of the holiday.
Le Neufchatel, Bruxelles – A very nice off-centre city hotel and a comfortable start to the travelling with simple yet interesting decoration.
The first ‘bought’ morning coffee of the trip, noteworthy because when it was made the guy that made it didn’t need a stencil for the pattern…an impressive trick I thought.
Then a walk past the most random shop I have passed in a while, a blue gorilla and an animal fur print pet bed!
The Palace of Justice – in the process of some structural work by the looks
Egmont palace – has a beautiful park open to the public for picnicking and
they also have a café should you so wish to have a coffee
Eglise Notre Dame du Sablon A wander round the centre of town produces pictures of the main square and various other random shops/museums
One off the bucket list, a dinner of moules et frites washed down with (a few too many retrospectively) Belgian beers and a near trip to a local gig which was somewhat impeded by the allure of beer and people watching.
Belgium was a nice start to the holiday although the trilingual issues with street names and map reading somewhat alluded me coupled with the Belgians not being as friendly as expected marred the overall experience, I think it would be best to return with other hapless people in tow to enjoy the experience more
When mum messaged me earlier in the week to ask if i wanted Sunday lunch in Porlock this week because she had left her jacket there the night before i agreed on the basis that i was meant to see her anyway at some point this just happened to be an interesting change.
I had forgotten how long and winding the
road is up to Minehead and meandering along the coast down to Porlock Weir, and what beautiful countryside you have to pass through…it makes the journey significantly more bearable in my opinion.
Due to several wardrobe malfunctions (and an incorrect weather forecast) this morning it unfortunately meant that i was not dressed appropriately for the cold wind which was blowing along the seafront however this was not a huge failure as i purchased a very nice scarf to take the chill off.
We headed into The Cafe for lunch and were placed at a window table with a beautiful view of the bay which was an absolute treat, it was fortunately warmer inside as well.
Roast Beef on the menu and it was no brainer frankly after my coffee to warm me up. It arrived with the tallest Yorkshire puddings i’ve seen in a while and was excellent right down to the potatoes. Possibly against better judgement i opted for the creme brulee as well which was frankly greed on my part, but you have to live a little some times!
Had the weather been a bit kinder and we been more warmly dressed we both agreed we would have gone for a walk along the beach unfortunately it turns out that neither of us managed to dress warmly enough so we headed on back to Taunton in lieu of nothing else to do.
Having decided an arcade and a 2p machine was how i wanted to spend my Saturday it was only fit to go to the seaside as well, having not been for some time and in the interim time the pier being upgraded i was unsure as to what to expect when i got to Weston Super Mare.
Thinking about it i think i have only ever been once in my life.
The new pier is quite a spectacle also off-putting as they now charge you to enter even before you’ve been on any of the rides/games/fast food which is readily available.
Walking into the town centre you can see the summer trading start to wind down and the plethora of Wetherspoons drinking establishments scattered about the place. The usual collection of coffee shops/cafes and a large number of Fish and Chip shops (which you would expect)
The small bits n bobs/books/random tat type market is a fairly interesting cave of small unconsidered trifles although nothing intriguing enough to buy.
A short but claustrophobic trip to Saltrock yielded a new hoodie and a dress at bargain prices so not to be sniffed at.
An obligatory trip to Caffe Nero to quench my thirst with a chai latte and a water and a failed attempt to purchase fish and chips resulted in a sunny walk back to the car.
It struck me how pretty the buildings are at Weston and i wonder how many people even take it into consideration..or are they more interested in the large expanse of muddy beach which lies before them.
Once i had decided i was going travelling and that i was determined to go to Skopje in Macedonia (an inexplainable feeling but one that had to be followed) there was the question of how i was going to get there. I didn’t want to just fly…where was the adventure in that? The next logical thought was trains (my desire to drive went out the window the moment the petrol prices went up not to mention the thought of driving all that way) or a bus…then it was a case of where to start and where to go in between?
Much time spent on rome2rio.com and many frustrating hours arguing with various travel websites and i had a rough idea of how i was getting there, it then prompted me to by myself a map as this was infinitely easier than using google maps to aid me.
As i wanted to go by train my best plan was a train to Brussels which pleased me as i had wanted to go for some time, as the Eurostar leaves from London it did mean a bus journey from my home town but this was not wholly expensive (although distressingly slow it turned out due to unforeseen circumstances)
Where to next was an interesting one, inspired by the Eurostar website and my desire to go Cologne was next on the agenda less than 3 hours on the train.
Next stop Frankfurt and thanks to the brilliant Flixbus only 7euros which not only had wifi but was comfortable for the 3 or so hours I was travelling.
After Frankfurt a cheeky diversion to Prague via train a quick clean and efficient service which involved a train and a coach both fully equipped with wifi.
Prague to Vienna by train is beautiful because you get to see the gorgeous countryside in between the places you are travelling from and to, a clean efficient service not the newest of trains but it had phone charging facilities at least.
Vienna to Budapest was another EC Czech trains which served us very well, limited wifi and phone charging facilities were useful although i did sleep most of the way.
Budapest to Belgrade a special offer meant that the train was only 15euros even if it was 2nd class it was a complete bargain considering the distance i would be covering, the compartments were compact but i had some interesting conversations over the 6 hour journey.
Belgrade to Sofia – due to departure times and a desire for safety over everything else i opted to fly considering i booked the flight at 2 days notice it was less than £100, a bargain in the scheme of things.
Sofia to Skopje – Travelling by bus seemed to be becoming a theme with this trip but as there were no trains and the flights were extortionate, plus the bus was only 16euros it was hard to argue with that logic.
How to get home you ask? Having arrived at my destination of choice i could have flown straight back home from Skopje, this might have been a cheaper idea but i still had time left from the month allocated…i searched for flights back on my last day…Ryanair from Treviso for 45euros it had to be done, although it meant a slightly expensive detour but it was also an excellent excuse to go to Venice, fortunately the flight from Skopje to Treviso was also cheap so that went some way to justifying my detour (other than i will do as i please)