As you wind up the driveway to The Barony Castle hotel in Peebles passing the Alpacas in the fields on the way up, you come across the castle around a bend in the road, with its white towers bursting into the sky, you may feel like you had arrived at fairy land or some lost Alice in wonderland backdrop. The turrets standing on the white towers show a brilliance of architecture as does the medieval looking wrought iron work on the windows and surrounding gates . As you park outside the Barony castle hotel, the next thing that strikes you almost with a foreboding message is the wording above the door. ” Prepare to Meet Thy God”
I guess we should have known then, that our stay was not going to be the best, or that we where going to be enlightened by something or someone ha ha.
The receptionist was very friendly and helpful so we put our trust in that, we were going to have a good stay. We checked in and then took the lift to the 3rd floor which seemed to think it was doing a high-rise jaunt as it took, what one would consider an awful long time to make its way up. We got to our room which wasn’t bad and the bed seemed very comfortable and we did have 2 very good nights sleep due to how comfortable both the bed and pillows were.
As the Barony hotel Peebles is quite far from any town or other restaurant we decided to eat at the hotel. We were told that we could only reserve a table up to 7.30 pm which we thought was very early but we really didn’t have any other choice. We changed and went to dinner at the respective time of 7.30 pm and were put into the corner of The Blu Dug restaurant, as it appeared there was a coach group in and they took most of the other part of the restaurant. We ordered our food and to be honest it was very disappointing, my starter was very dry and I had ordered pasta which was swimming in oil and not pesto sauce as had been described on the menu. We got the feeling that the Barony hotel Peebles was more suited or should I say catered more, for groups and weddings than for individuals wanting a special dinning and hotel stay experience. On our second night we dined again but in the bar area, again I ordered pasta and this was superb, I guess there must have been one chef for fine dining and one for the bar area, I know which one we would choose !!
The receptionist explained to us that there was a famous landmark know as the polish map of Scotland in the Barony hotel grounds, so we decided to investigate and took a walk to its location, we went over the bridge, which was over the river and was lovely and then came across the Map (under restoration) I think in its time of development it would have been spectacular, however it is more something that could be appreciated by air due to its size and from the ground it didn’t seem that impressive. It was obviously made with great feeling and heart due to the Polish having been based there during the war. So just for that fact you would have to be awed by it.
We did use the swimming pool at the Barony hotel Peebles but it was a little cold and the spa was part of the pool so the water was the same temperature. I am not sure we would stay at the Barony castle hotel again but it was great for a good night sleep, if you are only looking for a bed for the night. So I guess this is a hotel rant and not a Rave, which is sad because the look of the hotel screams Alice in wonderland but was more ” prepare to Meet thy God” If you would like some more information on the Scotish borders area please click the link
Great dining experience at the Tikka Tikka Restaurant Scarborough.
Whether we are on Holiday or on business we are always on the look out for great places to eat, we found the Tikka Tikka Restaurant Scarborough, whilst staying on an overnight trip to Scarborough’s coastal area. The Tikka Tikka restaurant didn’t disappoint it had amazing food and at a reasonable price too !! The starters are priced from around £3 and the main meals are all around £6, unless the main contains seafood then you are looking at around £7-8 at the time of writing this.
The menu was varied and had some great meat and vegetarian starters and main meals. We had the chicken tikka to start with and followed this by a Bhuna Chicken curry ( a hot version) and I had the Madras Vegetable curry I also asked for paneer to be added and they accommodated my request. We ordered a bottle of white wine called the waddling duck which was perfectly crisp and dry with gooseberry overtones, absolutely great with our Indian dishes. we had the fried rice and some great peshwari Naan.
It is located so that you have street view and the decor is very stylish with comfortable seating. The staff were very helpful and friendly and they have excellent table service without being overly pushy. At the end of the meal we were given complimentary drinks of a warm Brandy for sir lancelot and I had a baileys. We always think a good sign for a restaurant is if there are at least a few tables of people eating when we arrive. As the night went on it filled up very quickly and this was a week day, so we expect on the weekend you would need to book to secure a table. We would most definitely go back to the Tikka Tikka restaurant in Scarborough again. Happy dining !!!!
The Ambassador hotel Scarborough was a Joy to stay at from start to the finish of our stay. Located in the heart of Scarborough in the center of the Esplanade and opposite the beach and cliff face, with easy walking distance to the main shops and restaurants. When we arrived we were greeted by a very friendly reception staff and checked in very quickly. Our hotel room was very clean and overlooked the sea front and we could see the harbour in the distance so was a perfect view whilst sitting in one of the comfortable chairs looking out of the window.
The Hotel has a pool, spa and also a bar and restaurant located on the ground floor. We couldn’t wait to use the pool as we could see it whilst entering the hotel when going up the steps on our arrival. After getting comfortable in the room and all sorted, we made our way down and found that we had the pool to ourselves yippee we thought !! we got some towels from the spa area and located the pool, which also has a steam room and sun loungers in case you wanted to relax around the pool and read a book.
The pool is a great size for doing lengths so we set about trying to improve our fitness levels, ha ha. We also found the button after a bit of searching to start the jacuzzi located on the wall on other side of the pool. The jacuzzi is actually in the pool not a stand alone hot tub but had benches provided mmmh love to feel those bubbles. After about an hour of swimming and fooling around we got out and used the showers just near by which were the rain forest type ( large round shower heads that are suspended from the ceiling) We had a long warm shower and then changed and headed back to our room.
After a bit of lounging around and viewing the sea from our hotel room window. we put our glad rags on and went in search to find some food. We checked out the restaurant hotel menu which seemed adequate but we fancied an Indian meal and went to find one. The walk along the Esplanade from the hotel was improved by the fact the weather was warm and not too windy as it can be sometimes in coastal and especially the Scarborough coastal area.
We found a great little restaurant called the Tikka Tikka and if you would like to find out more please head over to this link
We love to dance and on our travels we are always on the look out for places that we can ballroom, Jive or generally dance. When we were in Alicante just recently we found they had dancing in Kaktus Albir hotel which is located in the area of Albir close to Benidorm, well a 10 minute drive anyway. Dancing in Kaktus Albir allows us to try out our moves to quick step music, foxtrot, jive and many others. As it is in a hotel there is no entry fee and there is a bar next to the dance floor. They do have dance classes during the day but however as they are in Spanish we just go to the evening entertainment part.
On the weekend they usually have a cabaret of sorts which is very professional and a great deal of fun. We also went into Benidorm which has its usual rave nights, which we also enjoy but for a very different dancing experience. The music in kaktus Albir normally starts around 7-pm-8 and finishes at around midnight. The drinks are reasonably priced and they also have waiter service. The hotel itself looks directly out to the beach and has a long veranda to sip a cocktail and watch the sun go down, just fantastic !!
Albir is a low rise town quite different from Benidorm and it has a huge cafe and restaurant culture, and is also a great place to swim in the sea, but bring your crocs or flip flops as it is a pebbly beach and if your anything like me I don’t like the feeling of stones under my tender feet ha ha. The drive to main central Alicante is about 40 minutes. It is well worth going to Kaktus Albir Hotel even if it is just to watch the cabaret, you don’t have to dance if its not your thing. If you want to find out more about the hotel click the link here
We just finished a great trip to Villa Joyosa in the Costa Blanca, our mains reason for being in the area was because, we went to fix up the house in Finistrat and we where able to go to the beach at Villa Joyosa everyday. Before going to the beach we spent some 4 hours each day on painting, plastering and general cleaning of the house in Finistrat to try and get it sold. The house has no electricity or water but we made do and in the most parts it was very Romantic, sitting by candlelight and having breakfast on the Veranda and due to the house proximity to the mountains we had great star gazing, not to mention a huge lighting storm.
We made the 15 minute car journey to the lovely beach at villa Joyosa and soaked up some rays. Villa Joyosa is far from the madding crowd of the Benidorm beaches and has some lovely Spanish style houses and apartments painted in all different colours overlooking the sea. There are also lots of great little restaurants and cafes. As we didn’t have any water we collected water from the foot showers on the beach in 8 litter bottles so that we could have a shower at night, we left them on the beach whilst we went swimming to get warm. We were a picture with our 8 liter bottle with holes in the cap for a shower faucet, one on the ladder, the other under the bottle pretending it was the best shower in the world. The beach at Villa joyosa made it all worthwhile.
Villa Joyosa houses
We managed to get a nice holiday and didn’t have to pay for a hotel for most of the stay.
villa Joyosa Beach
We decided near the end of the week to stay at El Mercat, actually I was surprised as my partner booked it before we left good o’l blighty as a little treat, very nice !!. El Mercat is situated near the Square in Villa Joyosa with easy walking distance to the beach and restaurants.
El Mercat Hostel
El Mercat is a Hostel and is clean, comfortable and very central. It could easily be classed as a small hotel and even has self catering apartments to make the stay cheaper. We would definitely recommend it. 😉 If you want more information on this hotel check it out here
Situated a Mile from the City center, is the York cold War Bunker, surrounded by a suburb of houses the setting feels sort of strange as you are greeted by a huge green building, hiding below the steel structures in the ground are the operations rooms and living quarters. It can only be seen on a 1 hour guided tour, which is fab because you get to ask as many questions as you like. The York cold war bunker was built in 1961 at the height of the cold war and when public fear of nuclear war was at its height this was exacerbated by the uncertainty over the soviet intentions and the building of the Berlin wall and later by the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.
York Cold war Bunker
The main and most important part of the Bunker is the operations room. This room received information from the observation posts around the country and these were plotted and displayed, so that damage and fall out levels could be assessed and then the appropriate civil, public and military authorities could be warned. The operations room or head quarters would receive information from the 20 other observation posts around the country and from here they worked out to triangulate the blast’s location and calculate the power of the blast and its radio-active fallout’s spread and its impact.
Down below in the operations room
Inside the operations room is all sort of geeky weird and wonderful equipment, It has all sorts of antiquated bits of stuff ( with the only AWDREY on display in the UK to analyze data), there are perspex maps A and B and if you where left handed you would be assigned the B map to plot what was on A as you could see it clearly at this produced a mirror image on the plotting boards . Other stuff included telephones, the old fax machine and a computer (nothing like what we have today)
Display board to plot blast
The staff that where to man the york cold war Bunker where The Royal observation Corps or ROC for short and they would be summoned and would have to stay in the bunker when called for a period of 30 days should a nuclear attack be immanent. The quirky bits that we were told was that although the door would close and all the ROC corp be inside, one had to leave every 8 hours to go on top of the building and change the radio active paper. On arriving back they would go through the decontamination zone where there are 3 sinks and hoses attached to them, the idea is that you take of your clothes and put them in a hot box, and then wash to remove any radiation and then join the rest of the crew ( still radio active one would assume 😉
There is a brief video that explains the history of the cold war and also the effects of fall out, the effects of a nuclear explosion with light blast and thermal radiation which would devastate the immediate vicinity to ground zero. After the video you enter the dormitories where the crew would sleep and also the kitchen with its dried and very unappetizing foods as explained by the guide.
The Cold War can often seem a remote possibility today but The York cold war bunker was in use from 1961 right up until 1992 when the disintegration of the Soviet influenced Eastern bloc and the opening of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the eventual stand down of the ROC on 30 September 1991. What’s even more remarkable is that the York cold war bunker, and all the others across the country like it, were staffed almost entirely by civilian volunteers. A great place to visit !!!
Having been to York on several occasions we are always looking for great Indian restaurants in York, the first we went to was Akbar’s, the food was lovely as was the atmosphere but we were both queasy afterwards so never went back again even though the food was very tasty!! a shame really !! . We also visited The Raj in Bootham, it has a very Indian style kitsch and bling feel about it which, we kinda like more than the Indian restaurants that try and look European, the food was great as was the service even if they where a little pushy, on us getting some more wine with our meal. It is more what we consider authentic Indian style and a little less continental, there isn’t a great deal of vegetarian options which I like (doesn’t make me vegetarian though !!) But the menu was still good. After we finished the meal we were given a card with an array of drinks like whisky, sambucca, port etc and we could pick one as a complimentary after dinner drink, which we thought was a nice added touch. Their address is 21-22 Bootham, York, YO30 7BW, Tel: 01904 612017.
Another Indian restaurant was Viva Goa and is Traditional southern Indian food prepared by Goan chefs, the food was vibrant fresh and the staff were helpful, attentive and not pushy their address is 7 Fossgate, York, YO1 9TA, Tel: 01904 622688.
We also visited the Mumbai lounge, they have an array of different dishes, are always busy. It is rather a more modern style Indian restaurant so it depends on what kind of dining experience you want. we wouldn’t pick it as a great Romantic type venue due to its size and layout. The food was great, especially the lime pickle and the Naan breads. Good vegetarian option and they will also make up a dish as you request to suit your palate. They serve Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine and are very popular. Their address is 47 Fossgate, York, YO1 9TF, Tel: 01904 654155. We will be looking for some more Great Indian restaurants in York and will add them to the list. If we were to pick the best on dining and overall experience we would pick the Viva Goa.