Post 14 Just one day in Sydney and two days in Perth!

Our stay in Sydney was reduced to just one day due to a flight change. Arrived in the evening to our Air BnB in Glebe. Tom, our host, recommended a Thai restaurant for supper. It was brilliant… a great meal for £9 pp!

Sadly we couldn’t meet up with Jacquie Broome but we did have a lovely lunchtime with Tania Watson.. super to see you after too long a gap! Oh… and we also squeezed in the lovely 6km coastal walk from Coogee beach to Bondi beach, with a large pod of dolphins swimming offshore for part of the walk!

A walk to visit the beautiful Botanic gardens was rewarded with their new plant wall exhibition, and vast, colourful wildflower meadows full of colour.

Then a tour of the Opera House, with it’s beautiful wooden auditorium.

Plus Valentine’s day dinner at Fish on the rocks!

Temperature hit 37 degrees in the afternoon! . I ❤ Sydney

Next onto Perth.. where we encountered these new Dyson taps.. all automatic. Hands under middle for water, then move out to each side and the drier turns on! Little things !!

We are here to meet up with Elaine and John. John and Chris (and Paul and Pam) were sailing friends back in 1967! We stayed for 2 nights in their lovely home, and met their family.

A gorgeous walk along the coast here enabled us to view the Indian Ocean from a very different compass point to when we were in Sri lanka!

It reminded us how much we loved this part of Australia when we were last here, in 2012. Supper with their lovely family. I want to live in a climate where you can eat all your meals outdoors!

Next day a nice walk in Yanchep National park, where my wish to see more ‘parrots’ was granted in abundance. We also saw Koalas and added some new birds to our list.

Then a paddle in the Indian Ocean with Elaine.

A lovely supper with John and Elaine before an early bedtime… we have a taxi booked for 4.00 am!!

Post 13.. Tasmania part 2!

Pretty early start to beat the heat and catch the wildlife at Narawntapu National Park. Travel tip.. A multi pass for all the parks in Tasmania is $60 for a vehicle and all passengers for 8 weeks! A huge saving on individual tickets. The parks we visited are really well signposted with top quality board walks even in hostile conditions, so we were happy to pay our way. This park used to have a large wombat population, but they have been almost eradicated here due to a type of mange. The good news is that researchers think they have found a solution, so hopefully the wombats will return. We did a long walk and were rewarded with a dozen new birds for our list, Pademelons, wallabies, and close ups with huge Forresters Kangaroos hopping right by! They are huge!

Then we had our first hiccough of the holiday! The engine warning light came on in the hire car and we spent the afternoon being towed to Launceston to be given a replacement car! Every cloud has a silver lining. We got a bigger better car, and had the loveliest tow truck driver ever, who took us on the ‘scenic ‘ route so we didnt miss anything, and gave us loads of great information about local culture and lifestyles!

In the evening we went to Devonport and had a super meal in restaurant Camille!

(We really are in Australia.. you could be forgiven for thinking we are still in SW England with all these place names. The district we are in is Dorset, and we are near Weymouth and Bridport!)

Next day we decided to head west along the North coast to Stanley, a town settled very early on by a land company, and which has a calm, friendly air of yesteryear. Gorgeous early colonial buildings.

We loved it. The highlight is a huge volcanic lump called the Nut.

A very wavy chairlift went to the top… No Thank you! So we walked up the steepest footpaths we have ever seen! A lovely bush walk circuit at the top gave great views and lots of wildlife.

Back in the town we followed the interesting heritage trail, and visited the home of Australia’s first, and much loved Australian prime Minister, Joe Lyons. His wife Enid was a real character, and became an MP herself in 1943. She was an ardent supporter of women’s rights and equality generally, and a lot of her ideas would resonate today.

They also sell the best icecream EVER!

From here, we drove back westwards, stopping at Rocky Cape National Park, with aboriginal caves and great views.

Lastly, an evening riverside walk in Fernglade reserve, where there was an outside chance we might see the elusive platypus. Not today.

Our Air bnb was awesome. A little cabin in the dunes with a path to the beach.

The stars were incredible from here – we could see the Milky Way so clearly in the absence of light pollution. Our host had left bacon and eggs from her ‘chooks’, so we had a great breakfast!

Our final full day. We needed to drive 250 miles, plus we had 2 stops to make. Firstly at the Bonorong Wildlife sanctuary which takes in injured and orphaned native species for medical care and rehabilitation, with the ultimate aim to return them to the wild. To raise money you can book a 10 minute experience with certain creatures. We chose a wombat and a Tawny Frogmouth. It was just the two of us! The tawny frogmouth is a fascinating bird which is nocturnal, and during the day mimics a gum tree branch while it sleeps. We were able to hand feed 2 visually impaired birds who had been in car accidents!

Then, the highlight of the trip for me! 10 minutes with Maria.. a wombat who was orphaned. You cannot pick her up but if she comes to you that’s fine. We were able to feed her. Suddenly she was climbing on my lap. A beautiful glimpse of a lovely animal. Even Chris was smitten!

Did I say lovely? They can run at 40 kilometres per hour. At the base of their spine they have a hard cartilaginous plate. If a predator is chasing them, they run into their burrow and stop, bottom face out. The predator lunges into the burrow and the wombat sharply lifts up her bum and crushes the predators head on the roof of the burrow! How is that for evolution!!

A key role of the sanctuary is helping to save the Tasmanian Devil population, and we got to see some orphans being fed. Ferocious!

Roland the echidna was cute.. he had a foot amputated after a car accident, so lives here now.

A great way to see the native species in an ethical and informative way.

Then back to Hobart for one of life’s coincidences!

When Chris was at Uni in the 1970’s he met Shona, a flatmate of Carols. Shona married Gary and they came to live in Brisbane. They have kept in touch (we stayed with them last time we were in Oz!)

Shona saw my facebook posts and messaged me. She and Gary are on holiday in Tasmania! We managed to make our paths cross for a few ours in Hobart.. and headed for the pub! Great to catch up… so far from both of our homes!

We then headed south to the Huon River valley, south of Hobart for our final night. Oh my… so beautiful. So glad we came to see it.

Our last Air bnb was a room in Amanda’s beautiful house with a 180 degree deck and stunning views across the bay. We want to stay longer!!

Our final morning was spent walking from the house, along the beach, with rockpools and great rock formations.

Then, off to the airport, stopping on route at a community run wooden boat building school, which was fascinating, and apparently thriving.

Very sad to leave Tassie. Exceptionally friendly and beautiful place.

Now off to Sydney!

Post 11 The land Down Under… Melbourne area.

We made it to Australia… yippee! Anne’s second favourite place in the world… after Tresco! (At the airport in Singapore there were hundreds of people of all ages wearing these scarves. They looked like unlikely football fans! I asked them.. and they said they were all muslims on pilgrimage to Medina and Mecca!

Having never spent time in the Melbourne area, we wanted to put that right… and allocated 3 days! We hit the ground running, collecting our hire car and heading east to visit the Dandenong range and Yarra Valley. Beautiful scenery… wooded hills, vineyards and farms. Our first stop was the wonderful William Ricketts Sanctuary. He was a sculptor who had great affiliation and respect for both the indigenous population of Australia, and nature. He wove the two together with incredible wood carvings, which are set in the natural landscape around his home. A real place of contemplation.

We then drove to a town called Warburton.. my maiden name! A laid back, lovely place with it’s origins in the gold rush times, it has a pretty river and some amazing mosaic steps, created by the townspeople themselves, and containing the beautiful hidden message:

‘ Flow through life with gratitude, ease and grace, allowing beauty to nurture, inspire and embrace your soul.’ Your thought for the day!

A drive high into the hills above the town took us to a walk high in the natural tree canopy to admire huge ancient Eucalyptus trees, tree ferns and waterfalls. Gorgeous.

Then a 2 hour drive to Philip island to our beach cottage Air BnB.

Fabulous spot by Woolami peninsula so at sunset we were on the beach watching one of nature’s great spectacles.. although one that is hard to photograph as it is dark! This is home to the world’s largest colony of short tailed shearwater..or mutton birds. Over 1 million migrate here from Alaska(!) to breed each summer. After sunset, out to sea, the sky is filled in every direction with whirling, diving birds.. all waiting. As darkness begins to fall they start their dash for the beach .. zooming in to find their burrows in the dunes. Too dark to see, you are just aware of their presence as they whizz overhead guided by the call of their single chick. Fantastic.

Next day we explored Philip Island. We visited 5 different locations on a birding map I had found. Each one very different habitat. Estuary, mangrove swamp, coast, Freshwater Lake and Bushwalk! We did a walk at each one. Saw virtually no-one but did see an amazing variety of birds and wildlife within a few metres. The echidna was a great spot!

This is what travelling is all about for me.. experiencing things that are different!

Philip Island is famous for it’s Penguin Parade which is undoubtedly a spectacle but has been turned into a huge commercial operation that caters for 2000 visitors a night! We avoided that and walked the boardwalks at the Noddies… and saw….

A great day on a beautiful island.

An early morning dash to return the hire car, then a day in Melbourne city – a young and vibrant place with a big arts scene. The Old gaol was a fascinating insight into the history, and punishment systems of Old Melbourne.

Ned Kelly, their most famous outlaw turned cult hero, was hung here in 1880. His alleged last words ‘Such is Life’ have become a much used phrase here in Australia.

I, sadly, will now be forced to continue this trip alone.

We then took a great walking tour which introduced us to the historical sights in the city as well as the street art and ‘lanes’ culture. Some gorgeous shopping arcades dating from Boom time in the gold rush. Then a great view of the city from across the Yarra River.

A super dinner in a modern chinese fusion restaurant ended our stay here.

Tomorrow Tasmania!!

All along the Algarve!

From the SW corner we have travelled east through the Algarve. We confess to thinking this would be the least enjoyable part of our trip, with images of endless tourism development. Well we were so wrong. The development is concentrated in the cities of Lagos, Albufeira, Porto Maio and Faro, but in-between are beautiful beaches, stunning coastal scenery, and, amazingly, some superb wetlands with great birdwatching.

We played tourist to visit the glorious rock formations at Ponta da Piedade. Wow!

Then a hot but splendid cliff top walk from Praia de Marinha to Benagil, followed by a wonderful night at Lagoa dos salgados. We were parked at the lakeside and our only companions were the myriad of birds including flamingo, glossy ibis and spoonbill. Sunrise across the lake was enjoyed while still in bed… lazy birdwatching indeed! 

Sunday saw us walking to Praia Salgados, then meandering to the riverside town of Santa Luzia for an Octopus based lunch.. their specialist dish.

 Another walk then onto Camping Rio Formosa to get organised ready for the journey home. Good campsite where we met lots of people who had just arrived and would not go home until March! Standing in shorts, in the warm sun, it seemed like a jolly good idea!

Our last day in Portugal was a cracker. We visited the charming town of Tavira before meeting Luiz, the owner of Pernatur, who runs guided birding walks. He took us for a superb walk around the Rio Formosa wetlands near Faro. The highlights were an Osprey with a huge fish, purple swamp hen, and a Little bittern, which posed briefly before slipping back into the reeds. A great end to our stay in Portugal. Then a quick getaway to drive across the border for a lovely visit with Maria-Luisa in Seville…..   and a real bed for the night. 

Heading south…. wonderful scenery!

3 great days meandering south down the west coast of Portugal. Temperatures 28 -30 degrees☺ 

Firstly a visit to Monserrate Palace near Sintra. Wow! Created by an Englishman in the 1750s who employed the Head gardener from Kew, and laid out massive English style gardens on the steep hillside. House was in the arabic style and has recently been restored.

 

We decided to bypass Lisbon and Sintra on this trip, and so headed south before visiting a super bird reserve at  Lago Pequena, then driving through the beautiful scenery of the Parque natural da Arrabida, where we camped in the ecopark near Setubal.   8 euros with full if simple facilities and electric hook up, and facing the sea.

Day 2 we headed for the south-west coast of Portugal. En route we saw the great sight of storks nesting on pylons! 

Remote, undeveloped and with the best scenery… we loved it. Our first objective was a local seafood restaurant… restaurant Azenha do Mar –  getting our priorities right! It was in the middle of nowhere at a tiny port. We arrived at 12.00 and just got a table. It reminded me of our favourite places in France. Great home cooking and packed with locals and artisans. We chose the local speciality… rice with crab and king prawns. The crabs were brought in from the fishing boat while we were there! Beer was 1 euro!  Fantastic meal for the total sum of £12 per person.

Then we explored the stunning coast with great cliff top walks,  before watching the sunset at Cabo Sardao and spending the night at the excellent camping Villa Park Zambiyeira.

Zambijeira was a lovely coastal village with a stunning beach.

Day 3 we continued exploring coastal spots and walking wherever possible. Migrating birds were frequently passing overhead, the highlight of which was great views of a booted eagle.

Our 2 favourite spots were Odeceixe, and Bordeira beach near Carrapateira.

Finally we arrived at the very southwestern tip of Portugal and continental europe. We free camped on the headland at Sagres, and watched the sun set into the sea. Then a chance find of Mums restaurant in Sagres…. a small cosy place catering for vegans, vegetarians and Pescatorians. Best meal of the trip so far. A great sleep then up to watch the sunrise, because this headland faces east towards the Mediterranean as well! Fab!

Finally… a proper Bimble in Boris. Hurray!

Chris restaurant Le VeyWe are finally doing a proper Bimble in Boris.

As usual, we waited until 24 hours before departure to decide on a destination. Our choices were the Isle of Man and Ireland, or Brittany. Long range weather forecasts are notoriously unreliable, but although things looked more promising for South and Eastern England, the northwest was cool and unsettled. So… France won!

June 8th/9th/10th 2017

Thursday night saw us having the most amazing evening out with some of the family. We went to Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant, the Fat Duck for Dinner. Oh My. We loved it. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but for us – Definitely the best dining experience EVER!

Dinner finished at Midnight, then it was a 2 hour drive home (thanks to road closures), bed at 3am with the alarm set for 6.00am. Up we got and set off for Poole to catch the Barfleur ferry to Cherbourg!

So glad we booked a cabin! We slept for 4 hours and were fairly refreshed on arrival.

With no set itinerary we decided to head for an area in Normandy that had always intrigued me – Suisse Normande.

It did not disappoint. An area of deeply cut river gorges about 40km Southwest of Caen, it was charming, beautiful and best of all, fairly quiet despite it being a summer weekend evening. We found a fantastic Aire just outside the village of Pont d’Ouilly (prizes awarded for correct pronounciation!). Aires are the super system of cheap or free areas for motorhomes across France. It was on the riverbank, with pitches separated by hedges. Electricity and water included for the grand sum of 9 euros. It was SO peaceful.  We went for a walk along the pretty river Orme and then slept very well…not waking up until 8.45 – very unusual for me!

Next morning we drove to La Vey, a pretty village near the river cliffs. Our objective was to climb Sugar loaf Mountain (Pain de sucre). This was quite a pull uphill but the views from the top were splendid. We walked along the ridge, past a paragliding launching site, marvelling at them leaping off the top. We weren’t tempted by the offer of a tandem flight though!

After working up an appetite, and achieving my desired step count by lunchtime, we found a lovely café by the river, Au fil de l’Eau, and reacquainted ourselves with the ‘Menu du jour’ – 3 courses for 16 euros. Excellent – no need to cook in the van tonight!  We sat by the water on a flower bedecked terrace sipping “une pression et un panache” and watching birds, boats and canoes!

I should point out that our decision to head to France was now totally vindicated – a lovely French lunch and the temperatures were around 25 degrees so I was happily wearing shorts and a short sleeved blouse. The fleeces were packed away – for now anyway!

After lunch, Chris could hardly contain his excitement… I had discovered that in the next village, Clecy,  there was one of the largest model railways in Europe! We walked up to see it. Even I was impressed. It was HUGE. 350 square metres of layout and half a kilometre of track  with so many beautifully crafted scenes. Lots of locomotives whizzing round, moving scenery AND they put the lights out and it was illuminated for night time!

Oh Dear… Chris has now got even grander designs, and wants a bigger cabin for his train layout!

Then we said goodbye to Suisse Normande and headed for our main objective – Brittany. A beautiful early evening drive across country for 2 hours, hardly seeing anyone else, brought us to Nozay, north of Nantes and on the edge of Brittany. We were aiming for another aire, again with water and electricity, but just 8 euros, and alongside 4 lakes. One of the lakes was for watersports and we spent the lovely sunny evening watching the automated tow machine taking wake boarders around the circuit and over the jumps – some more successfully than others. Again we slept like logs!

Easter Bunny Bimble – East Anglia

The urge to get on the road again was too great, and we found ourselves with a week off at Easter, so at 22.30 on Friday night we decided to go away for a week in Boris. The advantage of a campervan is that we keep Boris 80% ready to go, so 2 hours of adding water, toilet cassette, maps, clothes and food, and we were ready to leave at 8am the next morning! As usual, we looked for the area with the best weather forecast! Nowhere was great, but East Anglia was driest!

Places Visited:   Cambridge, Kings College Chapel, Oxburgh, Norwich, Norfolk, Suffolk, Hickling Broad, Minsmere, Dunwich, Strumpshaw Fen

(Summary of Campsites, Parking, Activities etc is at the end of the Blog!)

After a day visiting Margaret in Sussex, we headed north over the Dartford Crossing (Remember to pay in advance online or by phone – no paying at the crossing anymore), and aimed for our first Britstop south of Cambridge 216 – a tiny, very old pub next to a river with a Pizza oven! Excellent stop – faint noise from the M11 but it didn’t disturb us.

Next morning, just 11 miles to Cambridge. Park and ride excellent, so we were in the city by 9.30 on Easter Sunday morning. It was deserted, and we enjoyed a super walk around this wonderful, compact and historic city before the crowds began to arrive. One of the great charms of Cambridge is the proliferation of stunning buildings and history all around you, but you are just a few steps away from what is essentially a country walk along the river in the area known as The Backs. Added to that, there is an aura of achievement everywhere – here DNA was unravelled, there the electron was discovered. Stephen Hawking works here… Isaac Newton worked there – what a super place to visit. 20160327_112046.jpgWe took a free walking tour with Footprints Tours. http://www.footprints-tours.com . It was excellent – Charlie our guide was both a student and resident of Cambridge, and a mine of information. We were left in no doubt about Cambridge’s superiority over Oxford (89 Nobel prizes to Oxfords 48 – although he did acknowledge that was partly due to Cambridge having more science options!), and we were very glad that Cambridge won the Boat race later that day!

We also learned that in days gone by they had some interesting interview techniques. One professor threw a rugby ball at prospective candidates. if they dropped it they were rejected, if they caught it they were offered a place and if they threw it back they got a scholarship! Another gave the interviewee a brick and told them to throw it through a particularly historic stained glass window! He had to intercept a few throws – they were rejected. if you could argue a good reason why you weren’t throwing you were offered a place but the scholarship went to those who opened the window first before throwing !

Admission charges to the colleges vary, but we had been told that to see Kings College and is amazing chapel free of charge, the best way is to attend evensong, which is open to all.20160327_104505.jpg

We were so glad we did. Because it was Easter Sunday we had the full choir. The chapel is unbelievably beautiful- it’s ceiling and windows have to be seen, but where it surpassed anywhere was with the acoustics. As the choir sang, you were covered in tingly goosebumps! This is the choir that sing the televised Christmas 9 lessons and Carols, and they were amazing. What an experience to end our day in Cambridge. There were lots of places left to explore further – just how we like it. We will be back!

A night at Britstop number  255. This was a super little pub with rooms. The carpark was tiny but sheltered, which was just as well because Storm Katie made her presence felt that night. Its full force hit the south coast, and at 2am we had a message from my son saying that one of our chairs had blown over a 6ft wall into the neighbours garden, and our little plastic greenhouse had broken loose and was now on the study roof! Luckily that was our only damage – other people fared much worse. In Boris we were snug as usual.

Next day the wind and rain were still in full force, so we visited Oxburgh Hall, a super National Trust moated manor, with a priests hole, which was quite a challenge to enter and leave! Highly recommend a visit! There was an EasterBunny Hunt for children – the person setting the trail had a sense of humour – Can you spot the bunny in the 2nd photo?!

By mid-afternoon the sun had come out and we did a lovely walk at Salhouse Broad before heading to Britstop  251 for the night. This pub is attached to the Woodforde’s Brewery, so of great interest to Chris as he uses their Home Brew kits!   Large Car Park and a very peaceful night.

Next day we caught the Park and Ride at Sprowston, into Norwich. It is a real mix of old and new, partly due to extensive bombing in the war, particularly as part of the Baedecker raids, when cities like Bath, Norwich and Canterbury were targeted, having been chosen from the Baedecker guide books as having great cultural significance.

The Cathedral is undoubtedly the jewel in the crown. It is a huge and beautiful Cathedral – started in 1069. The Cloisters are beautiful too, and the cloisters and Nave are famous for the carved and painted ceiling bosses at every junction.

In the city there are lots of old areas of narrow, historic lanes, and interesting shops and restaurants, as well as a newly opened riverside walk. The Catholic Cathedral is also worth a visit, and next to it is a super garden in a quarry pit – the Plantation Garden – a real oasis of peace.

Leaving Norwich, we headed to a campsite so that we could shower, empty the loo etc! After finding the site at Ludham, we drove to Hickling Broad Norfolk Wildlife Trust centre and did a wonderful early evening walk to the raptor roost. November to February is the best time of year, but it was a lovely evening, and we were rewarded with seeing 7 Marsh harriers flying in over the reed beds, and 3 Chinese Water deer grazing close by. A group of small birds appeared and we are sure they had literally just arrived from their migration back to the UK. They were feeding frantically. Then we heard a Chiffchaff calling – the first of the year for us.

Next day we did a different walk at Hickling Broad, but some of the view was obscured by the reeds which was a shame. However the beautiful Potter Heigham church was a real treat, with a super hammerbeam roof and beautiful embroidered kneelers. 20160330_131337.jpgThen we headed south to  Norwich Camping – a huge camping and accessories shop at Blofield, east of Norwich. Excellent base for supplies! Then onto Strumpshaw Fen, an RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) reserve where we did a super 5 mile walk and saw our first Swallow and sand Martins of the year – Spring and summer can’t be far away! We need reminding of this as the temperatures at night have been around, or below freezing, and in the daytime the windchill has made hat, gloves and scarves essential. But it is dry!!

Tonight was Britstop 246. The pub has new owners who are really trying to turn it around. there was a bit of noise from the road but we slept well.

Thursday we drove to the National Trust carpark on Dunwich Heath and used the Geocaching website to plan a 7 mile circular walk on the Heath and in Dunwich forest. A great walk  (which included spotting a Dartford Warbler), and by finding a sheltered spot we were able to remove our coats and have a picnic on Dunwich beach. A long history of coastal erosion has meant that Dunwich, which was an important, thriving port in Roman times, is now virtually all buried under the sea. At very low tide, remains of buildings etc can be seen and mapped. 20160331_145759.jpg

After the walk, we headed a few miles to the lovely RSPB flagship reserve at Minsmere for an evening walk looking out over the Brackish ponds and scrapes where birds gather to breed at this time of year. Lovely.

We stayed at a small campsite a few miles away at Eastbridge Farm – very basic but just £8 and so peaceful – and a Tawny owl flew right past Boris!

Friday we made an early start back at Minsmere and walked all around the reserve. Lots of different birds but highlights were the Avocets, a close up view of a Cetti’s warbler and 2 rarities – an Iceland Gull, and Mediterranean Gulls. Oh.. and did we mention the wonderful Marsh Harriers hunting very near the hides – great views. They have also created an adder walk, and there were 3 good sized adders basking in the sun – apparently they are quite predictable first thing in the morning, when they need to bask in their favourite spot to warm up before they glide off to start feeding.

Finally, we started the long drive home, but made much more enjoyable by stopping in Beaconsfield to visit Peter and Tracy and have a super dinner in the Thai Rack restaurant in Goddards Green – their treat!! Then we couldn’t resist staying for a game of Diminishing Whist – so home about 1am! A great Bimble!

Car Parking:

Cambridge – Park and ride excellent. £1 to park, £2.70 return on bus. BUT ONLY the Trumpington Park and Ride just off M11 Junction 11 has no height barrier – look for the special lane. All other P&Rs are 2.1m. No overnight Parking

Norwich – Park and Ride excellent. £3.50 return on bus. No parking charge. No overnight Parking

Dunwich – Free car park at Beach. National Trust Car park on heath free for members. No overnight Parking

Minsmere – Free parking. No overnight parking.

Overnight stops:

As usual we made great use of the Britstops Guide – just £27 for 1 year. We stayed at 5 different ones – all pubs this time. Ate a meal in one, had a drink in all the others, so most nights cost us about £5 – and we might well have gone to a pub for a drink anyway.

Tuesday night we stayed at  Ludham – Grove Park Barns, a Camping and Caravan Club certificated campsite near Hickling Broad which was a lovely quiet location, with 2 toilet/shower units. Very clean but not the most powerful shower we have ever had! Still – all freshened up again! We thought £16 was a bit expensive for what you got.

Thursday night, in the absence of any Britstops , we stayed at Eastbridge Farm Campsite – just £8, but you need your own loo! there is a water point, and CDP. Essentially just a field, but SO peaceful and within a mile of Minsmere RSPB reserve.

Places to eat:

Cambridge – very busy but we had an excellent meal at Cote Brasserie near St Johns College.

Norwich – Excellent lunch menu – Soup, Sandwiches, Paninis, Quiche, Jackets etc, but all excellent quality and great value – in the Refectory at Norwich cathedral.

Things to do:

Cambridge – Kings College Chapel, Walk along the backs, Take a guided walk, Visit Colleges – Trinity plus Wren library, St Johns, Granchester,

Norwich- Cathedral, Plantation Garden, Meander the lanes. Excellent Tourist Information has many walks.

Birders – Hickling Broad boat trips, walks and raptor Roost. RSPB Minsmere and Strumpshaw Fen.

National Trust – there are lots of great properties in this region – we only visited Oxburgh on this trip – excellent.