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Showing posts from December, 2017

Member NFAA and AFW

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Now excited to be member of international NFAA - Non Fiction Author's Association - and Association of Freelance Writers!

Visit earlier blogs on travel and events 2017

See earlier blogs on India, Thessaloniki and other events earlier in 2017 - go to www.jackiepencoed.blogspot.com

Part 4 of Reports on "Explore" trip Hyderabad to Goa, India

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India - Tombs and Temples and wonderful sights to see

Of course, what you really want to see on this tour of the real India is the tombs and temples, the splendour of the architecture and carvings celebrating kings and gods. And we certainly weren’t disappointed.

You can see Golconda Fort from Hyderabad, so a tour is a must. It is an impressive structure, and I loved the notion of great wooden gates with huge rounded metal spikes at around 12-15 foot height “to repel elephants”. Oh yes, and the moat where crocodiles would repel foot soldiers – naturally.

Nearby are the Qutb Shahi tombs, an excellent example of the basic structure of tombs and mausoleums and superb craftsmanship. Many of the mausoleums were built up to 100 years before the Taj Mahal. The Tombs of the Bahamani Kings were beautiful with exceptional carvings that tell a story of gods and the trials they endured – art lovers could spend days just studying the tombs in this region of India!

earlier blog: Zip World Velocity North Wales

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Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Zip World Velocity at Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda, North Wales – we finally did it!
Was it exciting? Of course it was – it was exactly how you thought it would be, an exhilarating whizz down “the fastest zip line in the world” and at 1 mile long, the longest in Europe. You must book in advance and get there before your allotted time to sign in etc. We were a group of 6 – 4 “zippers”, 1 observer plus 1 who was just 2lb over the weight limit (remember this is with all your clothes and boots on) so couldn’t take part. We were kitted up in red boiler suit, hard hat, goggles and harness. .
I expected the boiler suit to be padded, but it is thin nylon so you must wear warm gear underneath. The staff fit you into the harness to make sure everything is safe, then we walked up a bit of a slope to the little zipper, the first shorter zip wire across to the truck which takes you up the steep quarry to the BIG zip wire!
Basically, you lie down on the platform, they attach your h…

Yummy Yummy - Known as Jimmy's Place in Marsalforn, Gozo

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Yummy Yummy is one of the many restaurants along the sea front at Marsalforn, all with tables spreading across the road near to the harbor wall and each one serving food until very late in the evening. We chose this one as it had a varied menu including Chinese foods. In the end, we chose grilled sea bass, a whole fish perfectly cooked, plus a very pleasant white wine. It is a great location, offering excellent service and very good value. This is what we miss the most in the UK, the opportunity to sit outside on a summer’s evening with good food, company, and a beautiful setting.











There was an interesting mix of customers including a German and Spanish couple, us from the UK, and a table of locals with visiting friends from a tiny island in Northern Germany. So, far-reaching conversation, lots of arm-waving in loose “interpretation”, and laughter especially as we were joined by the owner Jimmy who knew the regulars. We have visited the resort for just a day before, but it is worth stay…
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Maria’s Guest House, Rabat Road, Marsalforn MFN9010
A seaside location for the original guest house owned by Maria and her family, this is a small boutique hotel at the heart of the bay, a lift and some small steps so you need to ask for the special room if you cannot manage steps. The house in Victoria has a purpose-built room with wide doors to accommodate those with disabilities, but no lift. A lovely old building with good air-conditioning system and modern shower rooms.


Our room had two single beds together, with beautiful old metal frames, so was the most comfortable for us. As with Maria’s other guest houses, a great breakfast and all the staff were friendly, professional and welcoming. It is noisy with passing traffic, but much quieter in the winter months. It is perfect for a seaside holiday and although September is very hot, it also means that the sea is at its warmest.


So, we stayed for one night at each of three guest houses in Gozo, all excellent quality accommodation but …

Casa Gemelli, Victoria in Gozo

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Casa Gemelli, 21 Republic Street, Victoria VCT 1012
Newly opened in 2017, this is a beautiful old traditional building in the heart of Victoria (Rabat) and just around the corner from either the spectacular Citadel or the bus station – not quite as spectacular but some great sculptures on the grass area in front. There are 9 rooms, including one specially set up for those with disabilities, with some wonderful antique Maltese/Gozitan furniture plus an excellent modern shower room.

The lounge area outside at the back of the house has big, comfy basket chairs and cushions, and they are happy to supply wine glasses if you want to indulge in a bottle of wine bought from nearby stores. There is also a private balcony, and at the back of the house, no noise from passing traffic – although there are a lot of church bells around the Citadel! Breakfast is freshly cooked, a substantial full English breakfast or choice of items plus continental and, of course, lots of home-made cakes.



This is a pe…

Maria's B&B Ghasra, Gozo

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Maria’s B&B, 31 Triq-Il Muxrabija, Ghasra, GSR 1251
Ghasra is a small village in northern part of Gozo. Catch 308 bus from Victoria (Rabat) to Il-Fonal stop, walk to corner and turn left, then right opposite the Ta Fonal Holiday Complex – sounds more complicated and further than it actually is.
This is a beautiful traditional stone building with a large frontage, very small windows, and a very splendid front door. Originally a farmhouse built 250 years ago, it is a stunning building, beautifully restored to retain some fantastic original features. If you are not sure of time of arrival, phone the owners and someone will pop round to open up and hand over the biggest set of door keys we have ever seen!
Primarily self-catering, (breakfast is provided between 8.30-9.30am sitting at tables next to sunny outdoor pool) there is a big fully-equipped kitchen, your own labelled drawer in the fridge, and help yourself to homemade cake whenever you want to. We were only here for one night in th…
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Port View Guest House, Luzzo Street, Marsaxlokk
There is a direct bus every 20-30 minutes from Valletta bus station (and a special service from Bugibba on a Sunday for the Fish Market), very busy on a Sunday as it is the weekly Fish Market along the harbor front. You do not normally associate Marsaxlokk with accommodation, but there is now a growing number of boutique guest houses and we stayed at one of the first to open, newly furnished with modern fittings and facilities.




Port View is just along Luzzo Street from the sea front, or down from the parallel street with the bus terminus, so a perfect location with no passing traffic noise. A lovely friendly welcome – we were early – with the offer to use the facilities to get changed if we needed to, and somewhere to store luggage until the room was ready. They even gave us a key card to get back in and when we came back, our room keys were issued and our luggage already waiting for us in the room.
The accommodation is very nice, plenty of…

Maritim Antonine Hotel & Spa, Malta

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Maritim Antonine Hotel & Spa, George Borg Olivier Street, Mellieha, MLH 1021
This is a beautiful 4* hotel at the bottom of the hill in the main town of Mellieha in the north of the island of Malta. It is on the direct route to the Gozo ferry terminal so is easy to get to. Reception staff are excellent, very welcoming and professional. Although check-in is not until 4.00pm, the luggage room is available when you arrive, and you have a voucher to get free towels for use of pool facilities while waiting for your room.



You also get a complimentary soft drink or coffee when you arrive, so a definite encouragement to go up to 9th floor roof bar and pool – a perfect spot to soak up the sun on comfy sofas or look out to the bay in the distance.
It is a fascinating building, clean and modern d├ęcor, with a tunnel under the road to the opposite A Wing. We were very impressed as this is a seamless transition from one block to the other without feeling like you are being sent to the second-class…

Sunseeker Complex in a quiet part of busy Bugibba, Malta

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Sunseeker Complex – Bugibba
The Sunseeker complex is a mix of hotel accommodation and apartments for long-term stays, all self-catering. The apartments are fully equipped and furnished to a high standard, and a lot of guests are regulars staying long-term over the winter months.
We just stayed for 1 night this time, so in a twin room with tea/coffee making facilities and a fridge. Breakfast is €3 or €5 with help-yourself tea, toast, juice and cereals plus a large full breakfast – two eggs, two thick slices of bacon, two sausages and baked beans freshly cooked to order.
The heated indoor pool is small but very relaxing and the roof-top pool is bigger, so you can get into your swimming stride a bit better although it is cold. With a sauna and fully-equipped gym, it offers a lot of facilities for guests as well as launderette and mini-market so ideal for long-term stayers.



A one-bedroom 2-person apartment is only €175 a week if staying more than a month, so we are trying a two month stay Feb…

Seashells Resort at Suncrest, Qawra Malta

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Seashells Resort at Suncrest, Qawra Coast Road, Qawra SPB 1902
An excellent 4* hotel complex in a popular area of St Paul’s Bay, it has stunning views across the bay from your balcony on the front of the hotel, and provides a range of services for guests including indoor pool and outdoor pool areas across the road. Staff are very helpful, and there is a welcome meeting in the bar for all new guests, including a cocktail drink, where you can find out about the island and book any excursions. Rooms and public areas are well-cared for, clean and comfortable as you would expect from a refurbished hotel part of Ax Hotels group, there is free WiFi, and it is an ideal location for exploring the island of Malta using public transport.



The hotel restaurant serves a comprehensive range of beautifully-presented dishes, including typical Maltese dishes, although you need to book a table beforehand during busy times of the year, and there is plenty of choice for an alternative menu at restaurants ne…