Tea For Two in Cardiff

Traditional Tea Rooms in the Heart of the City

Finally someone in the refreshment business is prepared to StarBuck the coffee trend. The Pettigrew Tea Rooms are, instead of being a pale pastiche of an Italian coffee house produced on a Seattle drawing board, a traditional British tea room.

David Le Masurier has taken the bold decision to open this marvellous venture in the wonderfully iconic old West Lodge at the entrance to Bute Park. This 177-year-old building has seen many uses over recent years, rented out and more recently used as a canteen for the parks grounds staff but now has been reborn as a classic afternoon retreat.

Along with the tea rooms development of this part of Bute Park there is also a gift shop that provides a home to a collection of old Victorian press clay floor tiles that were originally used to mark out the foundations of the old Blackfriars Monastery site,whose ruins you can also visit in the park.

The tearooms are a perfect jump back in time to a gentler age, sipping proper loose tea; that has been brewed in a teapot and strained, out of elegant porcelain cups. You also have the luxury of dropping your sugar cubes into your chosen brew with tongs while an extra pot of water allows you the opportunity for a second or third cup, should you so desire. Show me a coffee house capable of providing such elegance.

In keeping with the traditional motif, as well as a good selection of teas, you can also nibble on some delicious homemade cakes and scones, or toasted teacakes and crumpets dripping with butter.  But it’s not just the cakes you can sample as they also have a very good selection of light lunches for you to enjoy.

The tearooms offer the weary shopper an idyllic spot to catch their breath or an excellent place to take tea before boarding the nearby river taxi to Cardiff Bay. Bute Park itself is a gorgeous piece of city centre greenery and well worth a walk around. No matter for what reason you find yourself at Canton Bridge you are guaranteed to have your thirst quenched and taste buds tickled at the Pettigrew Tea Rooms. Forget your double decafe, frothy macciato frappuccino lite, this is drinking in complete style and elegance.




An Introduction to New York


Visitors can get their bearings in New York by researching the options for City Tour perhaps a way to get a glimpse of the main attractions before deciding what the priorities are for the rest of the holiday.

If it is just a weekend visit, this is certainly the quickest way to see the landmarks made so famous on film and television.

The best tours are those using double decker buses where tourists can buy tickets with a certain validity and hop on and off at will; it is not possible to hop on and off in the same way with another means of transport that New York uses to introduce itself, the helicopter!

There is so much to see in New York that only the individual will know how he or she wishes to spend their time.  The landmarks are perhaps the most straightforward of the Imageattractions; the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Times Square, Grand Central, the United Nations and Central Park.

However when it comes to the cultural aspects of a visit, it is impossible to list the number and variety of museums that await the visitor to New York so that part of the trip may be best done individually. The Museum of Natural History is astonishing whether the section on prehistoric life, on current birds and mammals or the priceless collection of gemstones, one emerald a particular stunner.

New York is a city of art and once again whether it is the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art, or any other, it’s definitely a case of being spoilt for choice.Image

For those of a nervous disposition there are two other tours to consider; a 15 minute helicopter ride above the City, going over the Bridges on the East River and viewing the famous landmarks of Manhattan is one of them. The helicopter ride of course can give its passengers a whole new perspective of the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty; the pilot takes the helicopter so close it is nearly possible to touch these landmarks.

The other is a virtual reality show within the Empire State building here the visitors sits in a theatre and is absorbed into a virtual reality flight over the City and under the Rivers of New York in a real flight of fancy.

Sometimes the basis for making a decision about a guided tour depends on the constraint of time. Tours can be a single day seeing the main sights or taken over a few days where passengers can jump on and off the buses at places which they want to see in more detail.

Companies also run tours at night time either to experience the attractions at night or perhaps link a tour with a visit to a theatre, a restaurant, or enjoy the general night life that New York has to offer. There are tours for every taste and flexible combinations to help tourists experience the atmosphere of New York at first hand.

This article was written by Steve, a travel blogger for Nycvacationrentalsonline.com, providers of NYC holiday apartments and New York vacation rental apartments.


Asian restaurants in Barcelona

When you go to Barcelona you will find a lot of tapas restaurants. In every street there are more than one. Sometimes you may like to eat something else. In Barcelona there also live a lot of Asian people, therefore you can also find Asian restaurants in Barcelona. There are less of these then tapas bars.  When I say Asian restaurants, you have to think of sushi, noodles, rise, chicken teriyaki and more. The term Asian food is a general term for: Japanese cuisine, Thai cuisine, Korean cuisine, Filipino cuisine, Vietnamese cuisine, Singaporean cuisine, Indonesian cuisine and Malaysian cuisine. This means that Chinese and Indian cuisines are excluded from this term. If you are planning to go to Barcelona, check the list below where you can find good Asian restaurants. Enjoy your dinner.

This restaurant has a few outlets in Barcelona, where you can get mainly noodles. Of course you can also eat here rice and other things, but if you like noodles you should go and try this restaurant. Most are located in the ´Eixample´ district. They also have a very nice interior, every restaurants looks almost the same. The locations where you can find them are: Princesa 23, Consell de cent 323, Avda diagonal (in shopping mall L´illa), Tallers 69, Avda diagonal 208, Gran Vía de les Corts Catalanes 545-577 and Avda diagonal 3-35. Most of them are located in the centre, so if you went shopping you can have a nice dinner there.

Sushi Express:
Here you can get all kinds of sushi. If you like sushi this will feel like you are in heaven. You can eat it in the restaurant, but you can also take it away. If you call them, they will deliver it at your house or even hotel. They also arrange catering service. So if you have a party or something else and you want sushi, they can arrange this. They use the best ingredients; therefore it’s not very cheap. You can find sushi express at Consell de cent 255. They are open 365 days a year.

This restaurant is again something different, but also an Asian restaurant. The food you get here is more Vietnamese (as the name suggests). The prices here are much lower than in the other two restaurants. Every country has at least one signature dish. Vietnam´s dish is ´pho´. This is a noodle soup. If you like soup I would definitely recommend this. Here they also provide a catering service. Check their site for more information.  

Enjoy your stay in Barcelona, because it´s a great city. Are you looking for vacation apartments in Barcelona or accommodation in Barcelona, you can find them on the Internet.

This article was written by Silvie, a travel writer and blogger for apartime.com

Early Women Travel Writers

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Nowadays we are totally familiar with the image of lone female travellers, each night there are overseas reporters from the BBC and CNN, travel correspondents in exotic locations and game show hosts traipsing through thick jungles. However, even 100 years ago the sight of a lone female traveller in foreign climes raised eyebrows. Despite this, there were still adventurous women prepared to take on a challenge and discover the world for themselves.

Previously many of the early female travel writers were often nuns, aristocrats or diplomats wives that kept their husbands company on foreign missions. By the nineteenth century it became more common to find women with their own fortunes, these pioneers were intent on seeking strange lands and exotic countries without accompaniment and writing about their discoveries or publishing journals along the way.

One of the earliest recorded female travellers was the pilgrim Margery Kempe (1373 – 1438) whose works were only uncovered in the 1930’s and tell of her travels to Rome, Spain and Jerusalem. Another early author who changed the travel writer genre was Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689 – 1762). Her “Turkish Embassy Letters” whilst accompanying her husband, the Ambassador in Constantinople, gave an enlightening first hand account of the private lives of women in Islamic society.

French adventurer, Mary Catherine le Jumel de Barneville, Countess d’Aulnoy (1650 – 1705), she spent 20 years travelling through Spain and England writing fairy tales which were based around her travels. While Celia Finnes (1662 – 1741) in her notes “Through England on a side-saddle” describes her many journeys on horseback through England and Scotland accompanied by two servants.

Mariana Starke (1761 – 1838) redefined travel writing and is credited with being the creator of the first true European travel guide in 1820 covering France and Italy. Previous books had dwelt principally on art and architecture, whereas Starke’s book offered advice on passports, hotels, and food prices, it also included an exclamation mark rating system too.

Marianne North

Colour was added to the journals of Marianne North (1830 – 1890), who after her father died in 1869 decided that as a woman of independent means she would travel the continents. Between 1871 and 1885 she went all over the world producing beautifully rich paintings and articles of native plants flowers and fruits. North’s painting trips took her to, amongst other places, Canada, Brazil, Japan, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Seychelles. Her vast collection of paintings was donated to Kew Botanical Gardens, where they can still be seen today, exhibited in a specially constructed gallery.

Lady Blessington

Letter and article travel writing were also a popular pursuit during the eighteenth century and travellers such as Lady Marguerite Blessington (1789 – 1849), Mary Wollstonecraft (1759 – 1797) and Lady Anna Riggs Miller (1741 – 1781) all had accounts of their European journeys published in book form. Elizabeth Craven – Turkey 1750 – 1828 noted for her exotic lifestyle and direct, no nonsense, editorials added to the travel writer’s armoury with her 1789 travelogue “A Journey Through the Crimea to Constantinople.”

The nineteenth century saw a number of independent, intrepid women take off and record their adventures, such as Isabella Bird’s (1831 – 1904) worldwide exploits and May Crommelin’s (1850 – 1930) travel stories in Idler Magazine about her trips in the Andes, the Caribbean and North Africa. Swiss adventurer, Isabelle Eberhardt (1877 – 1904), converted to Islam and travelled, posing as a man around Tunisia and Algeria. Her exploits were published posthumously after her untimely death at the age of 27 in a flash flood in Algeria.

Nellie Bly

Elizabeth Cochrane aka Nellie Bly (1864 – 1922) was an investigative journalist with the New York World Newspaper. She became the first person to travel around the world in less than 80 days, while re-enacting Jules Verne’s famous novel, meeting the author on route. Armed with one set of clothes, a small travel bag, £200 and a quantity of gold she set off from New York in November 1888 arriving back some 72 days later.

These and many other such ladies who took risks, chances and with their articles, letters and publications helped bring a new, personal perspective to the whole genre of travel writing and in doing so opened up opportunities for others to follow in their footsteps.

Top Ten Travel Destination Songs

As I worked on some travel destination articles and listening to the radio I suddenly realised that many places have famous music tracks written about them and so started to compile a top ten of classic destination tunes.

 The remit was that the song had to have the destination in the title, be relatively well-known and a destination somewhere worth visiting. As always with these things the choices are going to prove contentious and there are bound to be tracks of which I am either not aware or forgot
(or hate with a passion, remember music ended in 1995 when the likes of idol, X Factor and Talent poluted the music scene) but please feel free to post me your suggestions.

10) China Girl – David Bowie 1983  

While Chinese tourism is a relatively new concept, the country has thrown itself headlong into embracing visitors. New theme parks, golf courses and regular colourful festivals and tours of ancient temples are the norm nowadays in this enigmatic and still relatively unknown country.

9) California Dreamin – Mamma’s & Papa’s 1965  

The summer of 68’ and everyone’s ideal of taking a holiday in California. From surfing to skiing you can have the time of your life in Cali. There are the sights such as the Golden Gate Bridge, San Diego Zoo or a trip around the studios of Hollywood. Wherever you decide to spend your time on the west coast state you are guaranteed gorgeous weather and beautiful people.

8) Scarborough Fair – Simon & Garfunkle 1966  

Taken from a traditional English Folk ballad the song perfectly summarises the gentle rolling Yorkshire countryside. The town itself has an old ruined Norman castle, quaint church and sandy beach to stroll along. Scarborough provides a holiday of simple pleasures, ice cream, tea and cake and a colourful tea towel but sadly no longer a fair.

7) Woman from Tokyo – Deep Purple 1973  

This pounding rock beat, bounces around like the neon lights of its title city. Tokyo is a wild fast paced city with a techno pulse, but it also has its serene, quiet moments such as the many stunning Japanese gardens and temple sites. Tomorrow’s World junkies will love the crazy, zany aspects of this strange, yet familiar capital.

6) Fairytale of New York – The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl 1987

Shopping, skyscrapers and yellow taxis are probably the strangers view point of New York but a city this size is bound to appeal to all. Plenty of museums and galleries to wonder around, singular attractions like the Statue of Liberty and Central Park, while view from the top of the Empire State Building is spectacular.

 5) Girl from Ipanema – Astrud Gilberto 1964  

Chic, stylish and very 60’s sound to the seaside resort on the southern side of Rio de Janeiro. Rio is most famous for its lively carnival and a sexy samba on streets, its Sugarloaf Mountain and statue of Christ are synonymous with the city too. It also has massive tropical jungle parkland in the centre of its urban sprawl that is well worth exploring.

4) Parisienne Walkways – Gary Moore 1979  

Haunting classic that begs you to sit outside a Paris corner café in the Champs Elyses. The Notra Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, drifting down the River Seine or manically negotiating Le Arc de Triomph as all well documented Parisian pursuits. The romantic, surprising moments though are to be found in the little streets, the quiet plazas and the small boutique stores.

3) Night Boat to Cairo – Madness 1979  

Cairo like the song is a crazy, wild place, full of people milling around, busy bazaars and strange dark stalls. The Pyramids on the outskirts are probably the most popular of Egypt’s attractions with Nile cruises not far away.

2) Vienna – Ultravox 1981

Mysterious narrow cobbled streets and cosy café bars make Vienna and ideal destination for a romantic weekend away. Most of the video was filmed in London but the grave shown is of Carl Schweighofer, a notorious piano maker buried in Vienna.

1) London Calling – The Clash 1979  

While the Clash portrays a side of London most people never wish to see, the less anarchic image of the Tate, St Paul’s and Buckingham Palace is the more normal requirement. However you could let your hair down enjoying a pie and a pint in a lunchtime pub or walk the streets eating fish and chips wrapped in newspaper.

Here are some other of the many notable classics that just missed out because I had to draw the line somewhere were:-

Vegas Two Times – Stereophonics

Kashmir – Led Zeppelin 

Breakfast in America – Supertramp

Guns of Brixton – The Clash 

LA Woman – The Doors

Harlem Shuffle – The Rolling Stones

Kingtson Town – UB40

Don’t Cry for me Argentina – Julie Covington

Lost in France – Bonnie Tyler

Copacabana – Barry Manilow

Sweet Home Alabama – Lynard Skynard

Is this the way to Amarillo – Tony Christie

 Africa – Toto

Five Classic Holiday Road Trips

One of Hollywood’s endearing holiday tourism themes, in films, is the iconic road trip. Cult classics like the 1969 “Easy Rider”, the “Smokey and the Bandit” series in the 1970’s, The Gumball Rally, Thelma & Louise in 1991 and more recently “Wild Hogs” all epitomise the unexpected thrill and excitement of travelling the open road.

The popular BBC car series “Top Gear” regularly undertakes road trips, touring in old sports cars, towing caravans or with provocative phrases sprayed on their cars in America’s deep South. Film stars Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman also produced two excellent road trip series in the “Long Way Round” between London and New York and the “Long Way Down” from John O’Groats to Cape Town.

Ever since Bertha Benz invented the road trip in 1888 people have been looking for more challenging and imaginative routes to ride. So what are the most interesting and popular road trips you can take?

1) Bertha Benz Memorial Route – Distance 120 miles

While this is not the most daring of rides, it is the world’s first recognised road trip. Karl Benz’s wife, Bertha, undertook it in August 1888 when she fancied a trip to visit her mother. Until then cars had only been run for short distances but Bertha took the car on a 120 mile round trip between Mannheim and Pforzheim.

The journey takes in the beautiful countryside of Baden and passes Heidelberg, stops at the first recognised petrol station, a chemist in Weisloch where she bought some Ligroin solvent to fuel the car. The return trip is a little longer as frau Benz wasn’t too enamoured with the hills and so followed the River Rhine back, passing Maulbronn Abbey and Hockenheim where today’s World of Motorsports Museum can be found.

2) Route 66 – Distance 2,448 miles

This has to be one of the most talked about road trips ever, the epitome of long car journey’s on the open road, wind in your hair and nothing for miles and miles. The original Route 66 starts in Chicago and finishes on the West Coast in Los Angeles. The route was officially declassified in 1985 but enthusiasts have kept the memory alive marking and travelling the route each year.

3) London to Monte Carlo – Distance 900 miles

This vintage car rally was made famous by the silver screen in the hit movie “Monte Carlo or Bust.” This again is another journey fraught with risk, challenge and possibilities, particularly if you make it in a classic car. As this may not be possible for most people why not try picking up a cheap second hand car in London and add to the excitement of getting to the South of France.

4) Mille Miglia – Distance 1000 miles

The Italian road race that was run between 1927 and 1957, starting in Brescia in the North of Italy, down to Rome and back, following a figure 8 course. The race was briefly revived between 1958 and 1961 but since 1977 it has been known as the Mille Miglia Storica, a historical rally featuring pre-1957 cars. The tour is run over several days between May and April each year and is well supported by locals and visitors along the length of the course. While you can follow the route of the course yourself at any time, the best option is taking part in the run or at least cheer on the competitors as they wend their way through the gorgeous Italian countryside.

5) Ho Chi Minh Trail – Distance 9,940 mile network

The Ho Chi Minh Trail was the route of many trails made famous during the Vietnam war, whereby the north Vietnamese Army brought weapons, supplies and food down to the front line. This is definitely a road trip with a difference and stretches from Hanoi all the way down to Hoian, covering a vast range of landscapes and vegetation. Due to the tough and unforgiving terrain you cross, from rugged mountain to thick jungle, the most popular way to make this trip is by motorbike. It is a trip well worth making, full of history, ancient temples and tranquil towns, a challenging road trip through an unforgettably beautiful landscape.