Monday, 27 February 2017

Travel Photographers. Return Visit. Really? Unbelievable - Corinthia Palace Hotel and Spa

They say never go back.  We rarely do.

It all began here ... 

We had barely returned home in November 2016 and the next thing I know ....

Malcolm: 'd'you fancy going back to Malta in February?'
Me:  'really, but we always say we won't do a return visit anywhere?  And we're travel photographers, remember?'
Malcolm: 'got a good deal on flights and we loved the place, think of it as a holiday'

Well, of course, it didn't take much persuasion ... we did love the place.  We loved Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa and loved Malta too and there was so much more to see!

Malta here we come....

We flew British Airways, as we always had in the past.  And to be perfectly honest this flight was a total disappointment.  You always pay a little more for BA for some preferential treatment.  

Well, not any more!  Sadly their standards have dropped.  It was a shambles.  But I'm not going to spoil this 'feel good' blog with a bad experience.

Mount Etna

Wow!  As you know I'm not a fan of flying and definitely not looking out of the window, but when Malcolm pointed this out I made the exception to the rule and opened 1 eye. 😉
Now that's definitely a need for 2 eyes! Awesome as my grandson would say.

Anyway, always glad to get my feet back on the ground once more... we pick up the hire car and make our way to what has become a favourite place to stay.

Blue skies with fluffy white clouds welcome us and .....
a very happy smiling welcome from the concierge ..
Kevin met us at the door.  Before we knew it our luggage had been taken from the car and the car parked.

Just a minute ..... had we actually been home at all?  This all seemed so familiar.

Ah .... looks like one of us was a little thirsty and couldn't wait for the picture to be taken 😊
Who could that be I wonder?
Yes, me a very happy person .... and I didn't remain in long sleeves for long either.  It was much warmer than I had ever imagined it would be.

Rewind back to the blog about What to Wear in Winter in Malta pack similar clothes in February!
and that'll be my magazine for later - yes getting settled in now ....after all Malcolm did say the word 'holiday' didn't he?
Apparently no time to read yet ... a stroll round the grounds.
The pool is not on the 'to do' list this time as don't think it opens until later in the year.  

Is Malcolm looking at it in the hope of a swim or maybe glad it's closed? It does look inviting though doesn't it?
However, the Spa is definitely on the list!
a quick peek in to familiarise ourselves ..... we visited several times and can recommend it for sure.
We love the Caprice lounge too.  
Warm and soothing colours and luxurious deep sofas and chairs just right for relaxing with a drink.
This takes you through to the Rickshaw Restaurant, a favourite of ours and we, of course, ate there once again.

Once again a delicious meal.  The lovely Eliena remembered us and as always ensured we were well looked after.

Two evenings we ate in The Villa.  Wow.  An amazing room (would so like to take more photos of this room) and, of course, only what you'd expect, delicious food.

We both had a flambe experience.  Trust me this is an experience. Tyron and Dillon cooked for us at the table in complete harmony.
Both meals delivered to the table exactly the same time.  These two are quite something to watch and for me, The Villa Restaurant wouldn't have been the same without them. 😊
We had a bit of a chill out day on the Saturday ... went for a stroll through the Palace Gardens and back to the Hotel for a light snack ...

Oi!  Not yet Malcolm!  Picture first 😉  Yummy sweet potato chips .. ah and you noticed a drink, well we were a little dehydrated after the walk.

And a stroll through the hotel back to our suite.  

I always seem to take photos of these lights.  They are beautiful, I love them.

Home from home ....

Well not really.  Our house is nowhere near as grand, of course, but the staff here give you such a warm welcome it makes you feel like you are going home. 

And it's not just one member of staff it's all of them, it makes you want to mention them all.

And actually I wanted to know why this Hotel makes us want to go back for more.  Why is it they make you feel so special?  Well, I think from reading this article The Corinthia Hotels ensure they take on very special people.  

Believe me, at Corinthia Palace Hotel and Spa the people are very special.

And, yes, I know this was a holiday but how can we not take photos? We are, after all travel photographers and doubt we'll ever go anywhere without taking photos, especially when we stay in such beautiful surroundings.  It would be rude not to! :)

Will we go back for a third time?  Return visit, really?
Now ..... you'll have to wait and see :)

Thanks for visiting ... coming soon more of our favourite eating places in Malta, Classic Car Museum and more .....

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Photos to Tempt You to the Lovely St Vaast La Hougue Normandy Region of France

To be perfectly honest with you it is a few years since we visited this lovely place in France.

We were first invited there by some friends who then had a house very close by.  They have now moved to their UK home, but we have many happy memories of this beautiful place.

And although I don't really know much about the history I do know that it is situated in the North of France in the Manche Normandy Region.

And a little more info taken from Wikepedia 

'Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue is situated in the Manche département, in the Basse-Normandie région. It is in the Quettehou canton, of the Cherbourg arrondissement. The town had a population of 2,097 in 1999. The island of Tatihou forms part of the Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue commune'
So now you know and so do I :)  Actually if you are interested in history, there is quite a bit that may well interest you here

I didn't know that St Vaast La Hougue is twinned with Bridport in Dorset, which isn't far from us in The New Forest.

Good weather always helps

On the occasions we visited, we were lucky enough to have good weather.

At least it meant as we wandered around we could take some photos without getting wet or blown away.

A great place to visit for a short break and if you go for a longer break, there are many places to visit close by like Barfleur.  According to the Travel Guide there are plenty of tours you can do too.

Now some photos to tempt you to visit the pretty St Vaast La Hougue
Ooh think I may well have tempted myself.  We may have to go back for another look.

Thanks again for visiting.... and remember you can feature here.

Until next time, safe travels. 👜📷💼

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Photographs Open Doors Into the Past ... Which Reminds Me ....

I'm really not sure why my mind went back to this ... but it did and I'm glad it did because I would have hated not to tell you about this fabulous place.

Marsascala (or Marsaskala)

Actually whilst in Malta for 5 days, we kind of wanted to see as much as we could but what we thought would be the most interesting.

So on day 4 we did a touristy thing and got out the guide book. We liked the sound of this....

'Marsascala is an ancient fishing village in Malta, with a picturesque bay, located in the southeast corner of the island'.

And that's where we ended up!

A walk to the headland

It was a beautiful sunny day so we found somewhere to park the car and went for a walk along the promenade. 
 and looking across the water it looked so pretty.
this is such a beautiful place.  Once we had walked to the headland, we would just have to get over to the other side for a little light refreshment.  Of course, we always have to sample the local food and drink!  More later.
We stood for a while and watched the locals fishing.  It seems to be just a normal everyday thing to do here.
Ah yes, and that brings me to the ....

Salt Pans: 

As you look down from the promenade to the shore you will see the beautiful saltpan system.  It is still being used today.

A little history for you

According to remains found in the area, Marsascala was inhabited thousands of years ago.  Roman baths as well as Christian catacombs found kind of suggest that it was once a Roman port.

New houses

Apparently, Marsascala is very popular with the Maltese and many of them have holiday homes here.  This is evident from some of the newbuilds.
And this property certainly wouldn't be out of place in Sandbanks in the UK.

And here right on the edge a surprise indeed.

As we walk further around the headland we got the surprise of our life and spent ages just taking it all in.
Eeek ..... spooky.

On closer encounter we find it's a derelict hotel.  What a shame.
Lots of graffiti, which actually is incredible considering the size of it .... and how on earth do they do it?
On returning to the Hotel we did a little online research on the iPad and found some information on Wikapedia.

Abandoned Jerma Palace Hotel

This had been the largest hotel in the south of Malta.
When it opened it contributed to transforming Marsascala from fishing village to resort.

It closed down in March 2007.  Sold to Jefpet Ltd in 2008 for 18.6million euros. Wow!

In 2009 the Tumas and Gasan Group wanted to transform the hotel but didn't come to fruition.  Then the Montebello brothers planned to turn the former hotel into apartments, yacht marina and 5 Star Hotel.

On 20th August 2016, requested by the Marsaskala Council, an enforcement notice was issued ordering the hotel owners to demolish the building.  On the very same day the building caught fire and was put out by the Civil Protection Department.

I believe the derelict building was sold at auction in October 2016.

The demolition of the dilapidated hotel buildings is to cost around €1.5 million.

Please don't quote me on any of this information, as I say I gleaned it all from online research.

I'm sure there's more to tell on the story of what used to be a beautiful hotel and when we find out you'll be the first to know. :)

Now for some sustenance

After all that excitement, we head back to try the local food ... and drink of course :)
It's still a beautiful day so we should be able to find somewhere to sit outside.

Oh yes, indeed, The Stuffed Olive looks perfect.

To be honest with you, I felt stuffed!  Such fabulous breakfasts always at Corinthia Palace Hotel I really thought I ought to have something light.  So I chose a green salad and Malcolm went for the fish option. Delicious on both counts.  Great food and really friendly staff too.  

Sorry you'll need to use your imagination on this occasion.  No pictures taken.  Think I was still getting over the scary eyes peeping out of that building.

So, yes, indeed, photographs open doors into the past, whether that be yesterday, weeks, or years images are reminders of what used to be.

So until next time Ċaw għalissa - bye for now 😉

Monday, 6 February 2017

Beer or Ale What's the Difference - A Day at Hall and Woodhouse Brewery

A brewery tour?  Yes, I know, not really one you'd think I even think about let alone enjoy.
The first thing you see when you step downstairs .....
Yes ... indeed Malcolm's kind of chandelier 😃

'Chandelier' meaning of: 
a large, decorative hanging light with branches for several light bulbs or candles.  Well the light bulbs were there lighting up the beer bottles!  

Early arrival

We arrive early so time for a cup of coffee.  Good coffee and a cuppa served very stylishly!  Ooh shortbread biscuit and fudge too.  Never mind the beer, that'll do nicely.

Hall & Woodhouse heritage

The tour began with the history of the brewery, told by Eddie our tour guide.

Before I go on .... my history teacher would have been so proud of me right now, listening to history, but Eddie was engaging and incredibly knowledgeable it was hard not to enjoy what he was saying (doesn't say a lot for my history teacher!) 

The Ansty brewery was founded by a Dorset farmer, called Charles Hall way back in 1777 and expanded rapidly.
In 1847 the founder's son, Robert, took a partner on board.

The niece got married

George Woodhouse married into the family by marrying Robert's niece and Robert went into partnership with George in 1847, hence the company name Hall and Woodhouse.

The Badger logo was adopted in 1875 which makes it one of the oldest marks on record.
A new brewery was built at Blandford St Mary in 1899,  In 2012 a state of the art brewery was built next to the original Maltings.  Now the shop and Brewery Tap.
From here we were taken on a tour around the brewery...
A little malt tasting took place, which was different and interesting.

Any photos taken inside the brewery are not allowed to be published. I really do recommend you go along if you can, soak up the atmosphere of a working brewery and see how the brews are made.

Tours are available all year round. The cost of your ticket includes a drink in the Brewery Tap.  If you're driving you can take a bottle home with you or if you prefer a glass of wine, that's ok too.  Yes, I did have wine. :)

And if you have the time, stay and eat!  We can recommend the Steak and Ale pie!

A family business 

This is still well and truly run as a family business and I found myself wanting to try the beer ..... well I may do soon .... but not yet  .... until that day I have, of course, got a chief beer taster!

How many people know this?

Hall and Woodhouse do an incredible amount of charity fund raising  

And every two years they nominate a charity to support.
And we were totally bowled over by how happy all the staff were. Obviously this is a great place to work.
What do you do with your empty beer barrel?  

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Hall and Woodhouse brewery. 

Malcolm, of course enjoyed the tour and the beer .... as you can see
and ......
it goes without saying .... he took some home!

So, beer or ale?  What's the difference?

Do you know?

Join us on our distillery tour here

If you'd like to be featured on our blog get in touch now.