Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Off to Cordoba shortly, via the Alhambra palace. Weather is lovely in the South of Spain, which is a nice change from other parts of the country. Sounds like all airports are gradually opening in this pat of the world, so I won´t be stranded in Spain (bummer).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Seville - city of shoe shopping!

Real Alcaza - Royal Palace

Buenos dias :)
I've just arrived in Seville (Se-vee-ya) after 6 hours on the road. Our tour leader has told us that this is the city to buy leather shoes and hand bags, so now I'm unsure if I should leave the hotel at all! My luggage is heavy enough. Tonight we are off to a small Andalusian palace for an authentic dinner. However, now I've seen how they prepare their pork I'm not sure I'll want any. Went into a grocery store yesterday and hanging from every inch of the ceiling were pigs legs...eww.

Yesterday we were in Salamanca, which was a very busy student city. Lots happening in the town square and thousands of people out enjoying the sun. The Cathedral there, built in the 13th century, has an intriguing carving among other religious carvings on it's facade, and we were set a challenge to find it. The carving is of an astronaut...which unless they had time machine in the 1200's seems a little odd. Managed to find it after circumnavigating the cathedral twice...THEN the heavens opened and everyone got saturated on the way back to the hotel.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lost in a maze of streets

Today we drove from Burgos (don't bother visiting it) to Salamanca. On the way we made two stops, firstly to Sergovia and then in Avila.
Sergovia has an amazing roman aquaduct which dates back to the second century; thought dad would be amazed by the construction. Unfortunately I will remember this city for different reasons...getting lost! I made one wrong turn and it was a wee while before I realised my mistake. I couldn't find anyone who spoke English to help me, must have asked 8 different strangers. Finally I came upon the Church of Saint Estoban and anyone who knows Jim Batty will know he has a special connection with this name. So a quick prayer here and 20 minutes of running got me back to the bus! Everyone else was on board and had been waiting a good ten minutes. However when they saw my frantic exhausted face all was forgiven. Phew!
Avila city is completely enclosed by a medieval wall. I walked part of the wall, although sadly it was raining and this time returned to the bus early.
Tomorrow we head to Seville for two nights - but I'd certainly like to come back to Salamanca once day, it's beautiful.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I thought there were no internet cafes in this city but turns out I´d just walked past it three times! Barcelona has been a blast. Today I walked up La Ramblas and went to view the incredible architecture of Antoni Gaudi: Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila and Casa Balto. Unfortunately no time to download photos tonight as free time flies by over here.
I´ve figured out why so many spaniards smoke... to prevent them from smelling the city gutters. Saw a funny sign yesterday which I still haven´t figured out. It said ¨Catholic Fluid" with an arrow pointing down a street. Any ideas?
Tomorrow we drive to Pamplona which means many hours on the bus. PS I forgot to mention that we got flashed by a dirty old bum tonight...unfortunately/fortunately I wasn´t wearing my glasses so I didn´t see much.
Anyway Adios for now. Jess

Monday, April 12, 2010


All going well here in Spain. Currently in Valencia (Baa-len-thea). Climbed the church tower this morning and had tapas for lunch. Will write more later but don´t have lots of free time. So much to see and do. Bye for now.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Goodbye London town

Last 24 hours in London...spent the day at Covent Gardens market. Thanks to Amanda's careful instructions I managed to catch the right buses and tubes today without getting lost once. Also had to post ANOTHER parcel home as I feel the need for a half full/half empty suitcase as I head off to Spain.
Drunken dinner out with Amanda tonight but am still able to type this...still finishing off a bottle of spanish wine and reminiscing about old times. Lucky baby was with us and could guide us home from pub! Leaving for Madrid at 11am tomorrow.
Farewell London town - it's been a pleasure ;)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Catching up with Friends

Luke and Leonarda enjoying a cuddle at the Lighthouse pub. We had a lovely meal here and did lots of catching up.
Lele is unsure how she's going to finish the whole glass.

Me with Ed and Cass (and Lily the dog). Dinner and drinks at the Fox and Hounds. Great food, wine, port, atmosphere and of course - company!

Fresh out of the Van Gogh exhibition at the Royal Academy. This spring sunshine has been glorious.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring sunshine

Lots of wonderful spring sunshine here today. Amanda, baby Lele and I went shopping in Northcote Rd. I had to visit the Post Office to post two parcels back home (they're coming to your place mum! ) in order to make more room for purchases :)
Amanda made the dangerous decision to leave me in the shopping district with directions on how to get back to her place. I managed to avoid buying more shoes, however my jewellery collection has been boosted.
Have just spent the last hour playing peepo with Leonarda and watching a squirrel in the back garden.

Monday, April 5, 2010

London has welcomed me with open arms

Have enjoyed my first few nights in London so far. Eating lots of delicious food and partaking in gin n' tonics the spring sunshine. Today Amanda and I queued for an hour and a half to see the Vincent Van Gogh exhibition at the Royal Academy of the Arts. Well worth the wait (and big thanks to Luke for looking after baby Lele). Vincen may have led a tortured existence towards the end but his work never suffered and the collection of letters between him and his brother were as enlightening as the artwork.
Tonight we've returned from the Lighthouse pub, where we enjoyed a delicious meal and now we're preparing a night cap and an easter egg feast.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


The Knaresborough Viaduct

House in the rock - excavated from the crag by Thomas Mill
in 1770. Originally known as Fort Montague and owned by
the Mill family until 1997.

The well worn steps of the Knaresborough castle.

Chapel of Our Lady of the Crag - In 1408 this chapel was excavated as a shrine by a local mason in thanksgiving for his son being saved from a falling rock. Permission for the shrine was granted by King Henry IV

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Friday, April 2, 2010

Shopping in Leeds

Had a great time today shopping in Leeds. Bought three pairs of shoes (one pair of heels, one pair of keds and one pairs of sandals), so I'm sure Shelley and Kiri will be proud. Also spotted these fun purple ones - but kept my purse in handbag and walked away quickly. I know they're silly but I love them! Back in Harrogate now and off to 'Clash of the Titans' later.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A day in York

The huge York Minister which took 215 years to build.
Went inside and said a prayer for all my wayward friends :)
but vicar said I was wasting my time.

Stumbled upon the birth place of the famous
bonfire man ...spooky!

Below: Not Guy Fawkes just some random weirdo that told me
to pinch his behind.
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Monday, March 29, 2010

Woodhall Spa

Woodhall Spa - the venue for Tracy and Andy's reception. There are only 40 rooms in this exclusive venue and as you can see from the photo of my room, they are gorgeous.

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Wedding pic

Mr and Mrs Shuttleworth - the very happy couple
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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wedding of the Year

Thanks to Tracy and Andy for inviting me to their beautiful wedding. The day was so thoroughly planned and everything went smoothly. Everyone ate, drank and got merry...Ian more than most :) Not only was I privileged to be included but was shouted a night at the exclusive Wood Hall hotel and spa (by the bride and groom).
Now Ian and Nicole inform me that their wedding will be in Cyprus June 2011, so no new car on the horizon for me :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Nostell Priory

Nostell Priory monastery buildings were converted into
a dwelling in 1654. The Winn family have lived there ever
since. The main house (in background was built in 1735.

Can't believe Gary was allowed inside after he scaled a
locked gate into their back garden and encouraged me
to do the same. Luckily we were not apprehended.

Said gate...which apparently lead to the 'Pleasure
Garden' which we could not find.
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Friday, March 26, 2010

Manchester baby!

Flight to Hong Kong was uncomfortable but spent the 12 hours watching three movies. Got to Hong Kong at 10pm and had a fabulous massage which sent me to sleep (on seats in the terminal). Hong Kong still looks like the most polluted city in the world, though last time I was here (when I was ten) all I cared about was conning my folks into buying me a Princess Leah doll...which I still have :)
Flight from Hong Kong to Munich took another twelve hours and I slept most of the way, which was surprising as I was seated next to Hong Kong's version of Mr Bean. Hilarious watching him blow up and adjust his neck pillow over a 40 minute period, then ditch it altogether.
Gary collected me from Manchester, seems like only yesterday we were touring Italy. Hit the tourist sights then enjoyed a meal with him and Paula in the evening.
Today Gary and I spent the day at a Priory (name escapes me) and climbed a locked gate to locate a 'pleasure park' within the priory grounds - best not to ask! Finally got to Harrogate (after Gary's GPS sent us to Scotland and back) and now preparing for Tracy's wedding tomorrow.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hello blogspot - it's been a while!

It's been a while since my last blog but that's because life has been too busy to blog. Can't believe it's only three more sleeps now until I leave for UK and Spain - so thought I'd get this page fired up again. The deal is that I'll blog whenever I get a chance instead of sending postcards. So ears and eyes open folks :)