High Days and Holidays

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

After a particularly bad week weather-wise we decided to make the most of the sunshine forecast for Saturday and head off to the coast. This was probably a bit of a gamble considering the rain we'd had all week and the fact that at the prospect of just a couple of hours of sun, half of East Anglia gets the same idea and clogs the A47 from Hunstanton to Peterborough with overstuffed cars and of course, the dreaded caravans. We'd decided to visit beautiful Burnham Market then motor on to Brancaster to spend the afternoon on the beach and incredibly there wasn't too much traffic so we arrived in good time.

Burnham Market was heaving (at weekends you can't move for people Up From London and yummy mummies) so we just stayed long enough to have a quick look in the shops. Last year we stayed there over Easter weekend - my attempt at a romantic mini-break which was all but ruined by the fact the heavens opened on the way down and the rain, sleet and gales didn't stop for three days. Obviously we tried to make the best of it but as our planned activities include walking, more walking and a boat trip we didn't get much done - and surprisingly there is a limit to how long you can sit in a pub before it gets tedious. In the sunshine, however, Burnham Market is glorious and bustling - if a bit touristy these days and full of people trying to spot Stephen Fry (and Naomi Watts, whose mum runs Miv Watts Design from the village). My parents stayed there at the Hoste Arms last summer and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

We drove to Brancaster (about 5km away) and spent the afternoon enjoying the sun, having the obligatory paddle (not swimming as many people were, even with the sun the water seemed pretty chilly), eating ice cream and going for walks. Predictably the beach was busy but it has such a relaxed vibe and people-watching is a favourite past-time of mine so I didn't mind at all. We pitched up next to a family with a spectacularly hyperactive dachshund puppy which had to be constantly restrained. Occasionally it broke free and charged off up the beach - four children running after it, arms outstretched. North Norfolk is such a beautiful part of the country and so peaceful; we're planning to return fairly soon to go camping at Deepdale Farm. For a lot of people the go-to place on a day out is Hunstanton but it's well worth driving a bit further along the coast to explore some of the tiny villages and pristine beaches there.

And as a great end to a lovely day, we even managed to avoid traffic jams on the way home!


Monday, 20 July 2009

In June we went to Crete for a couple of weeks away from the daily grind. I can't believe how much more relaxed, positive and happy I felt after just a fortnight away from it all - sightseeing, swimming, snorkeling, reading and eating loads of delicious Greek food. To be honest that 'relaxed' feeling has all but gone after a couple of weeks back at work but it was nice while it lasted.

I would definitely recommend Crete for a holiday. In my opinion it needs a two week visit. We hired a car which we definitely didn't regret as it gave us the freedom to visit towns all over the island and explore the countryside too, including the mountains nearest to our resort which were stunning and well worth braving the hairpin bends and sheer drops for. Without the car I don't think we would have bothered going right across the island to Chania and Rethymnon, which were two of the most beautiful places we visited. Having never gone snorkeling before I was proud that on the last day of the holiday, I went out for around an hour to a depth of about 12 metres (and saw loads of amazing creatures).

I also managed to read four books while relaxing on the beach and by the pool which was awesome as I always feel like I have very little time to read these days. I was so glad I picked up The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing on a whim a couple of days before we went because it's one of the most absorbing and inspiring books I've ever read. On holiday I was really inspired to be more proactive about blogging so hopefully this place will see a lot more in the way of posts pretty soon. I plan to update my list of links and sort out the design of the blog this week.

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