the two year holiday

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Hello Cotswolds!

*Norman church in the quaint town of Temple Guiting

*B taking in the memorial for the six members of one family that were all killed in WWI - the biggest single family loss in both wars

*A charming cottage in Temple Guiting - complete with a rose garden 

*B on the green in Temple Guiting

*Sampling the local treats at Cotswolds Sweet Company in Stow-on-the-Wold

*B & Dad in Broadway 

*The mill in Lower Slaughter 

*A & Mom in Broadway - loving the gorgeous flowers and quiet towns

*Picturesque Lower Slaughter

*The high street in Burford 

The Lay of the Land:

Where we stayed: Ellenborough Park.  Gorgeous old manor home outside of Cheltenham at the foothills of the Wolds.  The famous Cheltenham race course is a few miles away which I would love to return to see a classic English hunt race. 

Logistics: Train from London Paddington to Cheltenham Spa (approx. 2.5 hours). Cabs to hotels can be arranged through hotel front desks or taxis at the station.  Transport in between towns is only possible through personal car hire or arranging a driver in advance.  Note that roads are very windy and appear to be one-way but are intended for two cars so pay attention to places to pull off to let others pass.

Bonjour Paris & Versailles  - Part Deux!

*Versailles gardens with Mom & grandmother - such a special day!

*Perfectly manicured gardens and lawns at Versailles

*Mom and her Mom

*Marie Antoinette’s ‘farmhouse’

*Charming Relais Christine Hotel in Saint Germain - highly recommend if looking for a quiet place to stay in a vibrant neighbourhood

*Summer flowers in the Versailles gardens  

Bonjour Paris & Versailles - Part Un!

With my entire maternal side of the family in London last week, we decided to zip across the Channel to Paris & Versailles for the weekend.  It was fantastic to see the City of Lights with my nearest and dearest and enjoy the lavish and feminine palace at Versailles.  Can’t wait for everyone to come back soon!

*The family enjoying delicious French fare at Le Bonaparte in Saint Germain

*The opulent gates outside Versailles prominently featuring the Sun King, Louis XVI

*Swarovski crystal replica of Marie Antoinette’s diamond necklace in the main foyer

*The King’s chapel at Versailles 

*A & S {mom} outside Versailles

*The casual bedroom of Louis XVI 

*Neptune presiding over the 900 hectares of the Versailles gardens

*The black and white French balcony - reserved only for the king and queen and possibly where Marie Antoinette uttered her most famous words 

Hello London! 

With our friends in town, we were properly motivated to check out London’s most famous sight - Buckingham Palace.  As the Queen’s main residence, the palace is as grand as it is functional and oozes rich British history.  It is only open six weeks a year when HRH heads off to Balmoral Castle so get your tickets when you can!

*A & B taking in the regal grounds 

*The Irish State coach

*Buckingham Palace from the interior courtyard

*The Diamond Jubilee coach - travel in style like HRH

*Custom Rolls-Royce Phantom IV - specially commissioned by HRH and the only one if its’ kind

*The Gold State Coach that requires 8 horses and a brakeman to control

Bok Dubrovnik - Part I!

When our friends from the States were planning their visit to London, they suggested we do a long weekend away.  Their only perimeters of the destination was that it was somewhere that they wouldn’t necessarily go if they weren’t already on this side of the pond and alas, we picked Dubrovnik.  Having been fortunate to be a frequent traveller in the last 15 months, I can say wholeheartedly say that this is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.  Dubrovnik is worth the trip - no matter where you’re from.

*Old Town Dubrovnik from the City Walls

*B flying high 

*Delicious dinner with friends at Proto

*Panoramic views of the Old Town from the cable car

*The beach below from our balcony at Hotel Bellevue {not from Pinterest I swear!}

*B taking in the view from Buza II - a small and casual watering hole found through a tiny doorway in the Old Town Walls

*Changing of the Guard in Old Town

*A & B at the top of Dubrovnik following the cable car journey 

*Enjoying a digestif (or 2) at Cafe-Bistro Orlando on the Stradun 

*A & B hiking the City Walls

The Lay of the Land:

Where we ate: seafood! Croatian menus are dominated by creatures of the sea (shrimp, langoustine, mussels, clams, squid and the list goes on…) We enjoyed great meals our entire time in the medieval city and would recommend Lokanda Peskarija for a casual dinner on the harbour {book ahead and request patio table} and Proto for a more formal, upscale dining experience {request a terrace table}.  We enjoyed lunch (2 days in a row) at Oliva Pizzeria where they have a large selection of pizzas and Croatian beer.

What we drank: Croatian wine and beer (Pošip and rose were the varietals of choice) and plum brandy.  Enjoy a pre-dinner drink at D’Vino and start with a wine flight to get a good sampling of local wines.  We enjoyed post dinner drinks at Cafe-Bistro Orlando and might have treated ourselves to a few day drinks at Buza II  - a must do!

What we did: Hiked the Old Town city walls (est. time is 1 hr) and tickets can be bought right before the entrance through the Pile Gate.  Bring water, walking shoes, and go early before the heat. It is more of a walk than a hike but still a number of steps. A must do for the views),  enjoyed the beach at Hotel Bellevue, cliff-jumped at Buza II, rode the cable car to the top of Dubrovnik for 360 degree views, shopped and bopped in Old Town, and bathed in the crystal clear Adriatic Sea.

Where we stayed: Hotel Bellevue.  Great and quieter location about 1 km (15 min downhill walk) from Old Town Dubrovnik.  Each room has a patio to enjoy the gorgeous scenery and one of the few hotels with a {rocky} beach.  Breakfast was included in the room rate.

Logistics: Flew from London Gatwick to Dubrovnik (approx. 2.5 hours + time change). Cabs to hotels can be arranged through hotel front desks but we found it to be double the price if prearranged (€35 one-way) which we did through SunTransfers (est. time from airport is 30 minutes).  We took cabs following dinner as the uphill trek back to the hotel didn’t sound appealing and trip cost €10 one-way.