Powys Castle, near Welshpool, Wales
I visited on Easter Friday. The castle is set in beautiful countryside, I’d forgotten how red the sandstone is, and how beautiful the gardens are.
Yesterday was my 2 year blogiversary, so here’s a round-up of my weekend. It’s been a quiet and lazy couple of days, I’ve done very little of what I’d planned… but I managed to do a bit of all of the random things I usually dump on my blog for want of a better recording system so it seems like a good enough celebration 🙂
Blog content type 1: random photos of random nice places, such as this view across Derbyshire viewed through the bus window on my way home from Nottingham.
And yesterday’s dramatic sunset.
Blog content type 2: post! I was in a postcard sending mood yesterday, so I replied to a postcard pal in USA, and sent postcards through Postcrossing and Postcard United to Russia, Sweden, and Japan. I’m missing receiving lots of cards at the moment, but I’m frustratingly at more received than sent on both sites, don’t like it when that happens. The bottom right card is an image of a fruit fly nervous system, they wanted to receive weird cards!
Blog content type 3: sewing, quilting, generally making stuff. And also Swap-bot swaps 🙂 I’ve now made the quilt block to match the one I sent out as a swap, with a minor change because some of my central strips weren’t long enough…
And tomorrow is the start of a new week, let’s see what happens next…
At the beginning of April I spent a long weekend in Palma de Mallorca for a relaxing break and some sunshine. A destination mainly chosen due to the cheap Ryanair flights from East Midlands airport, I didn’t realise the city is so beautiful or that there’s be so much to see and do, we easily filled 3 days. I’m not much of a travel blogger but here’s a quick breakdown some particularly nice places.
Where to go and what to see
The old city centre is fairly compact and easy to explore on foot – the map makes it look much bigger but nothing is too far apart. It’s a lovely city to just wander around finding hidden churches, little squares and surprise views. There’s a lot of nice Art Nouveau and early 1900’s architecture to admire, nice bars to relax at with a drink, and some very tasty bakeries 🙂
Some of my favourites places…
Le Seu (the cathedral)
A huge elaborate structure reflected in the water of the Parc de la Mar, built on a staggering scale with stunning stained glass, definitely worth a visit. There’s usually an admission charge but for about an hour over lunch between services on Sundays it’s free to wander around the main cathedral. The buildings are so crowded around the cathedral that it’s impossible to get a full view of the front of the cathedral, in the alley ways around the back you lose sight of it completely, quite an achievement for a building that size! There’s a section of old city walls near the Modern Art museum with good views across the roof tops, go in the afternoon for the sun to be shining onto the facade, or later on to watch the sun set behind the hills.
Castell de Bellver
The aptly named ‘Beautiful View Castle’ is on a low hill to the West of Palma, reached by a set of steps from the edge of the city or up the road by taxi or the City Sightseeing bus. We took the bus, it looks like a bit of a hike on foot. The castle is a lovely structure constructed all at once using mathematical principles and contains a few nice museum sections. The best part is the view from the roof across the harbour, city and mountains. And free entry on Sundays 🙂
Hort del Rei
A small park at the base of the palace the far side from the cathedral, it’s a calm oasis that’s stayed in my memory for the wonderful smell of the orange blossom and as a lovely place to sit and enjoy the sunshine.
Where to eat
The 5th floor cafe of El Corte Inglés on Avenida de Jaime III – the food was nice but the view is amazing!
It’s probably because at the start of April the tourist season hasn’t really begun but we didn’t find a lot of restaurants open late. There’s a cluster of nice restaurants in the Plaça de la Llotja, next to the stunning Llotja (the old merchants hall which is open until 11 and looks wonderful inside when lit).
Beyond the city
A popular day trip from Palma is the old train ride to Sóller, followed by a tram ride down to Port de Sóller. At €30 for a round trip it’s not the cheapest day out but I had a great time. The old train used to transport oranges and lemons through the mountains to the city but now gets packed full of tourists – even in early April the train was nearly completely full. There’s not a lot of legroom but in the front carriage there’s a first class section with sofas which we ended up in by climbing into the nearest compartment as massed tourists attempted to board the train home, all much more luxurious!
The town of Sóller appears to be mainly the church, a few shops and cafes, and some wonderful views of the nearby mountains. Port de Sóller is a small beach resort and harbour reached by a tram that travels along the sea front. There’s a few view points around up the hills and some nice fish restaurants by the harbour. I suspect in the summer the beach will be packed but in April it was fairly quiet and a wonderful place for a stroll along the edge of the water. I had a great day out – fun transportation, lovely views and a relaxing time by the sea.
I’ve properly got the travel bug at the moment, I seem to be surrounded by people heading for exotic places… I need to start planning to next trip now!
I’m doing my second ever sewing swap on Swap-bot! It’s for a striped quilt-as-you-go block, so fabric sewn directly onto the backing fabric/ batting which I can see would be a really quick construction method. The requirements were that it’s constructed on a thin backing (I used a white cotton) so it can be sent as a letter, and to use at least 6 fabrics. I haven’t done a block like this before and underestimated the size and amount of fabric needed so my block uses 11 fabrics all drawn from my stash. My swap partner likes bright fabrics and I have plenty of those! The idea of the swap is that it will be held approximately monthly to slowly create a full quilt. My plan is to make myself a matching block every month to remember what I’ve done and build a quilt more quickly.
I like being able to spot bits of other projects in this block – my first quilt and several different gifts I’ve made in the last couple of years.
Now to wait and see what I receive…
I’ve recently been getting back into drawing and painting, and I also agreed to start writing to a new penfriend who loves watercolours and butterflies, so why not combine everything into a watercoloured butterfly envelope?! It’s good practice without worrying as much about shape and colour, and a nice space to experiment. I’m not sure about the butterfly stamp shape, maybe next time I’ll raid my used stamp collection for something that suits the theme… I’m posting it in off along with a butterfly postcard and stickers in a clear envelope to protect it from any rain on its journey. I’ve got a big list of creative things I want to do at the moment, I think most of my letters will look much more normal and boring!
All of a sudden I have a stack of postcards and letters to reply to! I’m slowly working my way through, but my message board is still full of letters…
Today I have a set of postcards to send (to Turkey, India and 2 to Russia), and a letter heading to Australia I meant to post before I went away for a few days. I had to open it up again and add another note and a postcard from Mallorca 🙂 I didn’t send any cards when I was away as I only had a few days to explore, so I’m sending a few from home instead. I’ve realised now I should have bought more cards, there’s only just enough to send to everyone I’d really like to… Also heading off soon are a couple of postcards accompanying a letter to Pakistan (once I’ve written the letter!).
And the postcards I’m replying to:
Flowers and a monastery from Russia; a postcard from the Postcrossing meet-up in Bangalore, India; and a view of Antalya from Turkey.