Last weekend Ash and I went on a trip to cornwall to try a new sport. Cornwall is well known for it’s surf and this has been something we’ve both been wanting to try for a while so we figured why not.
A couple of friends joined us too, they also happen to be the guys we’re looking for a house with once our lease is up in a couple of months and so we decided it would be our first official house holiday (and also a chance to see if we could really live together).
Our campsite was nice, what more do you want other than a field, toilets and a shower really?
As it had been a 4 hour drive it was already afternoon and so once the tent had been set up and food cooked we just chilled out together for the rest of the evening.
The next day we went to Newquay. It was a nice relaxing day playing in the surf, building sand castles and sliding around on our skim board.
Skim boards are designed for very shallow water and literally ‘skim’ the surface. They’re pretty fun and fast but don’t expect to stay on your feet for long.
The next day was far more active as we decided to brave the surf. We had a two hour lesson with a surf school on the beach, there were cheaper ones which did whole day classes but they had all been sold out and actually in hindsight we don’t know what they could have even done with us for a whole day.
Ash was the first of us to manage to catch a wave and stand but I wasn’t far behind.
We found the hardest part was the catching of the wave, the timing and speed were difficult to get right and we were often left behind whilst the wave raced to shore.
We also found that it was extremely tiring, our arms began to ache in the first hour and the constant battling against waves to get out to sea took a lot out of you. But the moment you caught a wave it really felt like you were flying and made all the effort worth it.
We ended up renting our surfboards and wetsuits out for the rest of the day (For only £10! Bargain!) and surfed until we could surf no more! They also had a photographer who took pictures of us surfing and CDs we’re available to buy afterwards for £10, that worked out as £2.50 each as we bought one between the four of us, bargain!
We all slept well that night.
The next day we drove all the way to Wales as my mum was visiting her boyfriend and I hadn’t seen either of them in such a long time.
As soon as Ash saw the first hill he fell in love.
We met with my mum and Andy before going on a nice (steep) walk to see the Welsh countryside and explored and old castle before sitting in a pub for a well deserved pint. Wales really is beautiful country and I’d recommend anyone to go visit, the views are just spectacular.
We finished off the holiday by visiting the Brecon Beacons. We didn’t go far, just found a nice, quiet road for Ash to finally skate on with some amazing views.
All too soon it was time to come back to London. We had a really awesome trip away and we think we want to make Cornwall and Wales a regular thing (although maybe not at the same time)
I know i know, I’m a terrible blogger. I am trying to change my ways, especially now that my family have put so much into my fashion business! But more on that in my next post (It will also be posted today)…first I need to catch you up.
The reason i stopped blogging is because I went to China! My mother and I decided to treat ourselves to a nice holiday abroad, and it certainly was nice. But then I got back and the the idea of writing a whole blog about what i’d done there was too overwhelming. I wish i’d taken time to write bits and pieces when I was out there so that it wouldn’t have been so much to try and remember. Here are just a few of the highlights:
We started in Beijing which meant that we had to go see the chinese opera, the one in beijing apparently being the best in China. Our guide told us that it was ‘a must see once, and only once’. It soon became apparent why.
The music reminded me of the sound of John Cage, only with a tiny bit more structure. It mostly seemed to be just random notes or beats being played with only the occasional section seeming to make up a tune. The singing was…how can I describe it? Like the sound of a cat being strangled. It was quite hard to keep yourself from laughing in the first few minutes, but not long after it did grow quite tiresome, especially after 3 hours of it. I can see why our guide said ‘one time only’.
But saying that, it did have it’s good points. For one, the costumes were fantastic. They were so intricately and beautifully designed that it was hard to take your eyes off them. My particular favourite was the ‘Drunken Concubine’ who wore a gigantic headpiece which was almost blindingly sparkly! The magpie in me wanted to go take it off her head to keep for myself.
The movements were also quit mesmerising. They we’re very precise and often repetitive, but even the smallest part of them seemed to be moving with purpose. They would use tiny hand movements, sweeping arm movements and impressive leaps and always seemed in complete control of their bodies. It was the kind of movement you need to train for large number years to perfect and had me enthralled.
I probably would go see it again, despite my guides words, just maybe with some earplugs.
Of course you can’t go to beijing without seeing the forbidden city! I recommend taking some very comfy shoes if you want to go, I regret that I did not. It was really busy when we went as we seemed to have chosen a national holiday where loads of chinese flock to see the city. Many of these visitors had not really seen westerners before and we were told by our guide that to have a picture taken with us is often seen as good for their reputation. I boosted a very many reputations that day.
The city itself is huge. Just as you think that you have to be getting to the end you round a corner and see more buildings stretching out in front of you. You can’t actually go into a lot of the buildings, which is a bit of a shame, and the buildings you can look inside don’t really seem to have all that much in. There was one room, for example, which just had a giant, golden throne. Very opulent, but also very lonely.
But soon we started on what the trip was all about and over the next few days we walked The Great Wall. We started from the beginning, where the wall starts by the sea. This area is called ‘The Dragons Head’ as the wall is said to look like a great dragon snaking through the mountains. From there on we would walk sections (the longest taking around half a day) in between bus rides.
The sections of wall varied in difficulty dependant on whether it had been restored or not. We often found ourselves creeping along a narrow crumbling path with sheer drops on either side. I actually found the un-restored parts were a lot easier to walk than the restored parts. I had assumed the restored parts would be easier with their nice smooth paths and even steps, but actually this proved far more taxing as we were using the same muscles over and over. The un-restored areas forced us to scramble in sections, often using our arms just as much as our legs, giving our thighs a nice helping hand.
It was very interesting seeing these ruined and run down sections and then moving on to the tourist filled areas with kids running up and down as though this amount of steps was nothing to them. Personally I much preferred the quieter areas where I was free to look out to the scenery and relax at the serenity of it all. Very easy to do with scenery as breathtaking as it was. I would go back again just to see the rolling hills with the wall winding around them into the distance.
Another reason I would definitely go back would be for the food! As it was quite an energetic holiday I assumed I would at least lose a bit of weight…Nope. I ate so much food it definitely made up for all the exercise I was getting. Every meal seemed to come with rice and was just delicious, their crispy duck was moist and fatty, their sweet and sour crispy chicken was far better than the things we get in take aways over here (although you could taste the similarities). Everything we tasted was a treat, the only problem I had with the food was the lack of puddings.
However the food in Xi’an (pronounced Shi-an) was different. Theirs was more noodle based than rice based, but just as mouthwatering, and they had dessert!
On the last night we went to a dumpling feast which was accompanied by a show containing music and dance with some truly stunning numbers, and again with amazing costumes. All the dumplings were handmade and shaped (see above) to let us know what was inside and extremely tasty!
Whilst in Xi’an we went to visit the famous terracotta warriors. I think these are definitely a must see, but It’s doubtful that i’d go again.
The warriors themselves are very impressive. There’s so many and they all have unique faces which makes it really is quite fun looking around and trying to give them all their own personalities. There are 3 warehouses, number 1 is the biggest and i’d recommend seeing that one last. We went to number 1 first and were astounded by the numbers of warriors in there, to then go to the smaller warehouses seemed a bit deflating. I’d much have preferred to build it up gradually. There is only so much wondering around warehouses you can do though, and this is my reason for not wanting to go again. However, if they somehow manage to preserve the colour on the warriors that haven’t been dug up yet, I think I would be very interested in seeing them for a second time.
All in all the trip was amazing. We went as a part of a tour group with a company called Explore, this was actually my 5th trip with explore and so I even got a discount (it was my mums 10th and she got an even bigger discount)! I really do love explore trips and it saddens me that I might not be able to afford another trip with them for a long while. This trip was definitely one of the best i’ve been on. The guides were brilliant, the group were lovely (not even one person I could say something bad about), and the country just amazing. I would recommend it for any budding adventurer.
Of course there is so much more that I just didn’t have time to mention but was just as amazing.
If anyone is interested in actually going on the trip I took then it is on the Explore Website and Called ‘Walking the Wall’, here’s a link for your convenience.
Until next time 🙂
So this weekend, as i mentioned in my last post, i went to Wales. The weekend pretty much consisted of sitting in pubs or exploring castles, both of which, it’s safe to say, i enjoy.
On Friday we went to Cardiff. It was raining for most of the time we were there but as we rode on the Barrage Crossing train thing, the sun started to come out, and a pretty cold day became suddenly boiling! Naturally this meant it was ice cream time.
Later we went to a nice pub and i ate far too much. It rare that i feel full, never mind eating so much i felt ill, but somehow i managed it. It made me happy.
On saturday we walked across fields to a nearby village, sat in a pub for a pint, and then went to a posh house that had been on some kind of tv program. The house, especially the gardens, was pretty run down, and the tours were extortionately priced, but it was quite nice i guess. Wouldn’t go again though. Then we walked to another nearby village and had another pub lunch! I didn’t eat quite so much this time though.
As we had walked there we had to walk back but, at about 11pm with no street lights and with a few beers and bottles of wine in us, this was proved rather difficult. The sister and I ended up making ‘bat noises’ to try and find our way. Shame it didn’t help in the slightest, but at least we had a giggle.
On sunday we found a massive castle that was still open and had some kind of knight event on! We saw some medieval dancing, I even joined in, and then the knights all fought each other which was exciting. The castle itself was huge and quite fun to wander around. Plus the weather was amazingly warm! Then we went home and cooked probably the biggest leg of lamb i’ve ever seen, i have trouble believing it was actually a lamb and not a fully grown sheep. Was very tasty all the same.
Monday we decided to look around a pretty little church and another castle, of which all that was standing were two small walls, before yet another pub lunch. By this point we were pretty much all addicted to Butty Bach, probably one of the nicest beers i’ve tasted. Very smooth. Then we drove to Newport and threw my sister on a train to go home (she lives in london) before the mother and I drove back up north.
Now i’m sat on my floor avoiding doing the dissertation by writing this. Skills.
I guess i should actually do some work now.
Till next time! Stay happy!