Derwent Hotel Torquay – Family, comedians and Dancing Wow !!

Derwent Hotel Review

We have stayed at the Derwent Hotel on many occasions and over various seasons. We were very impressed by this 3 star hotel and because of the facilities it provides. Most of all it is a very handy walk to the town center and also the beautiful beach of Torquay.  If you’re lucky you might even see some of the amazing sand art, done by a local enthusiast.

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The Gym, swim and spa area in the Derwent hotel were also perfect. There is a large 25 meter pool ideal for swimming lengths and adjacent to it there also a kids pool. The jacuzzi in the same area is very popular. we loved taking a soak and relaxing in the bubbles and warm water that soothed our aching muscles after dancing or touring around.


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The Starlight Lounge !!

Furthermore we love to Dance and the starlight lounge at the Derwent hotel which has superb entertainment with some great comedians. We especially liked ‘Kevin bunclark’ who was absolutely fabulous and had us in stitches with his Irish skits and the many array of hats to fit every comedy act. I was so enthralled I forgot to take a photo !!!. Although I do have one of Terri Topaz the transvestite act and he sang quite well.


Derwent hotel review

The dance floor is a good size for ballroom, jive and sequence dancing and because all the entertainment is on site, it’s only a matter of a walk from your hotel room. This way you can have a drink without worrying about such things as driving etc. We have yet to do an organized entertainment weekend and we will probably look into this. The selection sounds perfect ranging from tribute bands to cabaret acts and Big Band for ballroom dancing.


derwent hotel review

Aztec games room !!

The aztec Games room at the Derwent hotel is a complete compendium of games and activities. There is a 10 pin bowling alley, pool/snooker tables, table tennis tables and also lots of interactive arcade style games. The Sports bar was a welcome relief as we could have a beer whilst playing pool etc. We found it the perfect place if the weather wasn’t great outside or just to while away some family fun hours.


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The breakfast was in a large dining area and consisted of a buffet style help yourself with waitress service for tea and coffee etc. There was plenty of fruit, cereal and a fully cooked english breakfast. It was also very nice !!!

To have a look at Today’s amazing deals on this hotel click here

Just thought I would add a picture of the lovely Torquay Pavilion, undergoing restoration at the moment. We will have a look inside once it’s all done.

derwent hotel review

To see inside the Derwent hotel and all of its facilities, such as the games room ballroom area please check out our video here

If you do decide to stay at the Derwent Hotel Torquay. I hope your trip was as enjoyable as ours was. Happy travels.


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Dance Dance Dance, Play- Adult only Pontins

Adult only Pontins Dance dance dance 

Pontins in Pakefield Lowestoft is a 1950’s revival of the old family holiday parks. Offering Adult only pontins holidays as well as the usual family with children get away.  Updated in 2011, it now has a brighter and fresher look. It is still a cheap and cheerful style holiday as is evident in the pricing. But where can you go these days where there is on site entertainment, food and in a great location?


Adult only pontins


We went in September so the weather wasn’t bad. The resort  overlooks the sea with the beach an easy walk down a grass verge and path. Whilst staying on our pontins adult only week; we walked several times to lowestoft town center. This is only about 20 minutes along the coastline and is a nice amble along the flat beach.


adult only pontins

Furthermore there is also a bus that stops directly outside pontins Pakefield to go to or from lowestoft town center. The bus number 60 and 60A at time or writing and this was handy when we wanted to catch it on the way back in time for dancing !!

Gotta love this big beach chair !! ha ha

Adult only pontins

The accommodation !!

The chalets themselves have undergone a revival, (known now as classic apartments). However they would still be considered at a 2 star level. To see the rooms please visit this link. The rooms in addition are mostly equipped with a microwave, kettle, cups and crockery for snacks and they also provide you with some tea, coffee, sugar and coffee whitener to get you started. There is a shop on site that is quite reasonable and has all the usual, little shop bits and pieces.

adult only pontins

The Entertainment !!

We went for the big band and to dance, the ballroom was great for jive and ballroom dancing. The Ballroom floor located in the cabaret lounge is quite large so dancing around was just fabulous. There was the usual dance tunes for ballroom quickstep, foxtrot, cha cha cha, and waltz and also sequence dancing, so it was just wonderful.

The stage was also easy to see from most aspects of the room. There is a bar which stocks an array of beers, wines and soft drinks. Of course we had the wine, yum yum !!. A pool table for the avid snooker or pool players was also available. If you don’t mind the ogling from the bingo goers, well let’s just say I decided on the wrong time to play and got thrashed. All in the public view of people queuing to get their bingo tickets. ah the shame of it all !!!

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The food !!

The queen Victoria restaurant, being themed on the QV boat so hence shaped like a boat from the outside it also has some rescue boat-shaped seating area within the restaurant. The Queen Vic has a separate bar area outside the restaurant. The area provides pool tables, a seating area and large flat screen TV’s. It is a great place to just hang out and relax, read the paper or do whatever. The food was abundant and not bad considering the all-inclusive price. It is not fine dining by any means of the imagination but it is in what could be considered home style cooking and served buffet style.

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Want to see more check out our video here for Adult only Pontins

For the children !!

There was plenty to do for children and adults alike, with a crazy golf, indoor heated swimming pool where you can rent water scooters and water zorb balls to play with or water walkers as they like to call them. So much more to do, as well for kids with onsite daily activities. As this is a review of Adult only Pontins I have just added in only a bit about the kids. ( didn’t want them to think I was leaving them out of it completely ha ha !!)

So if you are looking for an Adult only pontins experience this is definitely a must try.

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Where to stay in Oswiecim or Auschwitz ?

We found a great place to stay in Oswiecim. We were a little confused on where to stay in Oswiecim or Auschwitz. In addition we did come to find out that the name had undergone many alterations. This was due mainly to the different occupations and therefore the differing pronunciations. During world war II it was known as Auschwitz due to the German occupation. It reverted back soon after the end of world war 11 in 1945 to the Polish pronunciation Oswiecim. The concentration camp has kept the same name Auschwitz mainly for obvious historical reasons.

Where to stay in Oswiecim  – well the Old Tree or Old tree villa hotel

where to stay in Oswiecim

Perfectly Situated only 4.5 km from Auschwitz concentration camps. The Old tree villa was clean comfortable and with great staff at reception to help with all our hotel and touring needs. The reception being serviced around the clock, which was great especially with checking in late or leaving early morning for touring. As we had our own rented car we found the free car park a great bonus and there were lots of spaces.

where to stay in Oswiecim

The rooms were well equipped with clean towels, flat screen tv, a bathroom with shower and air conditioning in the room. Due to and mainly because we had decided to tour around Poland in September it was still very hot. The air-conditioning in our room wasn’t great, but we didn’t complain. It could have just been a fault in that room !!

where to stay in Oswiecim


The location is perfect and it was quiet and easy to walk around the town and also easy to reach the market square. There was a bus only 500 meters from the accommodation. Hence if you didn’t have the use of a car this is very handy. The railway station is also only 2.5 km so to get to most historical sites it is fairly easy.

Breakfast !!

The breakfast was superb with a continental smorgasbord, therefore having all that would be required to set you up for a day of touring. We had boiled eggs, deli meats, cheese, cereal, juice and a great variety of different artisan breads and baked pastries.

old tree villa auschwitz


After a long day of walking and touring Auschwitz, which in itself is emotionally draining. It was fabulous to have our own balcony and sit with a bottle of wine whilst discussing and contemplating our feelings after visiting Auschwitz.

To have a look inside the hotel click here villa old tree Poland

for more info on where to stay in Oswiecim please check out our video here


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Where is Auschwitz ? The notorious German concentration camp

Where is Auschwitz ?

We had always wanted to visit Auschwitz but where is Auschwitz ?. we later found that it is in the south-western end of Poland and 50 km’s west of Krakow. The name changed during the years of occupation and hence altered in pronunciation and spelling. The official name of the area is known today as Oswiecim. The name Auschwitz continues in use today, mainly due to the historical impact and relevance as a German concentration camp.

Where is Auschwitz


When visiting Auschwitz I the motto ‘Arbeit macht frei’ is displayed above the first and main gate, the english meaning translates into  (“Work brings freedom”). It was known by those who occupied the camp as “The Gate of Death”. There was a prisoner’s orchestra forced to play cheerful music as the workers left the camp and also as they returned. One such orchestra was the Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz.

where is auschwitz


Auschwitz I 

Auschwitz I (German concentration camp) was originally set out to house political prisoners of war. The first to occupy the camp were Polish political prisoners and they arrived in 1940, also the soviet prisoners who arrived in 1941.The estimated amount of polish political prisoners and Jewish poles, evacuated here throughout the entire camp’s existence amounts to between 140,000-150,000 people.

There were 10,000 soviet prisoners who arrived in October 1941 and by March 1942 this dwindled to a mere 945 still alive and these were further sent to Auschwitz II- Birkenau. Most died there of starvation or disease.


where is auschwitz


The German army and its leaders had already been trying to find out the best ways of killing on a large-scale. They realized that shooting victims or prisoners of war was having a detrimental effect on their own German soldiers. They also came to realize it was an expensive use of their bullets.

Who else became victims ?

Prior to the killing of prisoners at Auschwitz, the first targeted group had been the mentally and physically handicapped. They were found in and around Poland and Germany and they died in mock-up shower blocks within these institutions.They were generally not Jewish but deemed inferior.

Consequently many died by vehicle carbon monoxide flowing through a room that had its doors, windows etc sealed and the victims died of gas poisoning. This gave the German army ideas on how to perform mass killings during the war. The finding of Zyclon B, which was a pesticide used for fumigation of the prison uniforms was the final result.



The first mass murders !!

The first mass exterminations at Auschwitz took place in early September 1941, in block 11. They gathered 900 inmates sent them to the basement of Block 11, where they were all killed by gassing with Zyklon B.

where is auschwitz This building proved unsuitable for mass gassing, so the site of the killings was then moved to the crematorium at Auschwitz I (Crematorium I). This was in operation right up until July 1942). It was here that more than 700 victims could be killed at once by Zyklon B (a highly lethal cyanide-based pesticide) being dropped into a chamber above. They used Ventilation equipment to remove the gas after all the victims were dead. 

In one failed attempt to muffle the noise, they revved up two motorcycle engines nearby to full throttle. The sound of yelling however could still be heard over the engines. The New gas chambers and crematorium was then moved and housed in Auschwitz II-Birkenau. Below are pictures of Auschwitz I gas chamber and crematorium.

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The different blocks in Auschwitz.

Block 11 of Auschwitz I was the prison within the prison. It was here that violators got punished for not abiding by the numerous rules that were not adhered too. Prisoners had to spend the nights in standing cells. These cells were about 1.5 m2 (16 sq ft), and held four men; all cramped together and they could do nothing but stand. They were then forced during the day to work with the other prisoners. Prisoners sentenced to death for attempting to escape were subsequently confined in a dark cell and given neither food nor water while being left to die. See the pictures below a photo of the standing cells.

where is auschwitz


The construction of Auschwitz II – Birkenau was later built due to the amount of prisoners already occupying Auschwitz I. Due mainly to the overcrowding and the feverish pace set out to eradicate the Jews. Reichsfuhrer SS Heinrich Himmler was to head the new construction in October of 1941. By 1942 Hitler had decided on his final solution to what he deemed the Jewish problem.

where is auschwitz

Birkenau !

Auschwitz II-Birkenau became an extermination and labour camp. The Birkenau Camp had four crematoria commissioned by German SS architect  Karl Bischoff. SS Karl Bischoff’s plans also initially called for each barrack to have an occupancy of 550 prisoners (one-third of the space allotted in other Nazi concentration camps). He later changed this to 744 prisoners per barrack. The SS designed the barracks not so much to house people as to destroy them. Dressed in a thin prison uniform and cramped in damp and rat infested conditions with very little to eat hence disease was rife.

where is auschwitz


Prisoners evacuated from all over German-occupied Europe by rail, arrived in daily convoys. By July 1942, the SS were conducting what became known as “selections”. Incoming jews subsequently went through a segregation process; those deemed able to work ordered to the right and admitted into the camp. Those deemed unfit for labor ordered to the left and immediately gassed. The group selected to die, about three-quarters of the total, included almost all children, women with small children, all the elderly, and all those who appeared on brief and superficial inspection by an SS doctor and deemed not completely fit.

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Gas chambers !!

All these prisoners entered the gas chambers and the doors sealed shut. The SS men dumped in  Zyklon B pellets through vents in the roof or holes in the side of the chamber. The victims were dead within 20 minutes. Despite the thick concrete walls, screaming and moaning from within could be heard outside.

When the prisoners were dead a special squad known as the sonderkommando went in. These prisoners forced to work in the crematoria were then sent in. They had to extract teeth for their gold fillings, collect earrings, rings and also had to remove hair from the bodies. The hair was subsequently sold and made into a cloth. 7 tons of human hair that had not been sold yet, was found at the time of liberation.

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The belongings of the arrivals were also seized by the SS and sorted in an area of the camp called “Canada”. Named Canada due to the idea that Canada idealized as a land of Plenty. Many of the SS at the camp enriched themselves by pilfering the confiscated property.

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Experiments !

For the Prisoners that remained alive another macabre fate lay in store for them. This was either in the form of hard work to the death or medical experiments. The German doctors performed a wide variety of experiments on prisoners at Auschwitz. SS doctors tested the efficacy of X-rays as a sterilization device . This was also performed by administering large doses to female prisoners. Prof. Dr. Carl Clauberg injected chemicals into woman’s uterus’ in an effort to glue them shut. It was a place where any mad or sadistic doctor could perform all manner of atrocities and medical crimes. Dr Mengele was one of those sadistic and cruel men who performed all kind of experiments on twins.

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As part of the overall liquidation of the evidence of crime, crematoria II and III together with their gas chambers were partially dismantled in late 1944. They were then blown up in January 1945. Crematorium IV was partially burned during the Sonderkommando mutiny on October 7, 1944, and later dismantled. Crematorium V functioned until the very end, and on January 26, 1945, they blew it up, the day before the liberation of the camp.


Where is auschwitz

Check this out !!

Want to know where to stay in Auschwitz areas please click here

Take a walking tour or Auschwitz watch the video here


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Wawel Castle Krakow or cracow Poland

Wawel Castle some history and facts

On our way to Auschwitz we decided to stop of at Krakow or Cracow and pronounced krakuf and visit Wawel castle. It is one of the oldest cities in Poland and has a real charm about it. It is also dreamed one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, can’t argue with that !!

Wavel castle

The Gothic Wawel Castle built in Kraków for its first Royals to inhabit and built by Casimir III the Great. He reigned from 1333 to 1370. The castle consists of a number of interesting structures enclosed within a central courtyard.

SAM_6791Wawel Royal Castle and the Wawel Hill are culturally and historically one of the most important sites in Poland. For centuries it has stood for polish statehood and the residence of the kings of Poland. The Castle now houses one of Poland’s famous art museums established in 1930.

Wavel Hill !!

Steeped in history Wavel hill dates as far back as the Paleolithic age. Initially bieng inhabited by people some fifty thousand years ago. The settlement was apparently bustling with trade, from local farming to arts and crafts. Hence more people began to settle on Wawel Hill and the area around it became well-known for its trade. The polish rulers also took up residence on the hill. Until the 18th century it was still a royal castle. Also st John Paul II celebrated the first mass in the chapel. There is a lovely monument to him in the courtyard area.

wawel castle

World War II

On a darker note after the invasion of Poland at the start of World War II, Kraków became the capital of Germany’s General Government. The Jewish population of the city became exiled into a walled zone known as the Kraków Ghetto. It was from here they were deported to German extermination camps such as the nearby Auschwitz never to return !! and other Nazi concentration camps like such as Płaszów.

Oskar Shindler arrived in Krakow to profit from world war II, he joined the Nazi party primarily to elevate his position and to help his own course, and it was here in a factory that he arranged to have a Jewish workforce.  He becomes an unlikely humanitarian and saves many Jews from being exterminated when the Nazi decide to focus on the Krakow Ghetto for extermination. He protects his Jewish workers mainly for his own benefit but realizes that he is saving many innocent lives as well. A profiteer turned good guy so to speak !!

Wawel Chakra !!

On perhaps a different spiritual note: The Wawel Chakra or as they say in (Polish, czakram wawelski).

SAM_6744wawel castle and wawel chakra

In the picture above in my oh so trendy boots and great tourist look !! To the right of where I am standing  is the area assumed as the location of wawel chakra. You can see the dirty mark where people have rubbed or touched the wall. As you enter the courtyard of Wawel castle turn left  under the arch and you will find the location of the chakra in the far corner. It is not an object as such but believed to emanate a powerful spiritual energy.

Deemed in spiritual belief as one of the world’s main points or centers of spiritual energy. The wawel chakra  much like a human chakra in the body functions on esoteric energy.  Therefore this spot is universally believed as one of the main places of the energy of the earth’s system.  The Wawel Chakra, according to new age thinking is one of the few places of power on earth with the strongest energy.

Anyway whatever your belief ! On any given day you will find folk surrounding this area and soaking in the energy. There are a few as seen in the picture to the left of me 😉

Castle and old Town walk video please visit here

Wawel castle and town are easy to walk around and there is history and great architecture. Have fun and happy travels


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Schloss Branitz Park and Lake Pyramid ( Tumulus)

Schloss Branitz Pyramid (Tumulus)

Schloss Branitz pyramidSchloss Branitz located in branitz park, is probably one of the most visited parks in the Cottbus area. The Park and Branitz schloss are stunning with lots of very interesting areas of designed landscape. Most prevalent are the beautiful reflective canals and expansive lakes with an array of  different decorative bridges. The park was initially Created by Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau in 1845 and the pyramid is now the site of his burial.

schloss Branitz

The harbour and canal network have been lovingly restored, and now it is possible to take a Gondola ride through the amazing waterways. The trip starts at the Branitz plant nursery and makes its way to the lake Pyramid ( Tumulus). The pyramid has recently been brought back to it former glory. Prior to Pucklers death he requested having his body embalmed like an egyptian pharaoh and being buried within the pyramid as a mausoleum. The boat trip then loops back to the lovely Orangery.

During the Autumn period the leaves of the meandering vines turn a shade of scarlet red which ultimately showers the pyramid in a blanket of fabulous colour. These were newly replanted in 2015 in an effort to increase the growth and to add to the magnificent effect.

schloss branitz

The castle or Schloss !!

The Scholss Branitz ( castle) has an eclectic and somewhat french baroque feel, due in part to its design. It has a definite sense of Asia meets middle east which adds to the fusion of influences. This is mainly attributed to the many overseas travels that Puckler enjoyed so much and therefore brought back his extravagant ideas. There is a richness in every room and some amazing detail; from the opulent gold and Moreno glass chandeliers, to the fabulous wall and curtain fabrics along with lavish furniture. It is clearly obvious that money was not an issue or factor in the design process.


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Above are pictures of the Merano chandelier in the Red room and the Gold chandelier in the Music room.

SAM_6662 Schloss Branitz

The Amazing schloss Branitz is easy to walk through and each room leaves you with a feeling of awe. They have all been restored to how Puckler would have had them in his day. All rooms and all the fixtures and fitting are a wash of colour and vibrancy; From the Music room to the bed chambers. Each room now restored using the original fabrics and decor to a time when it was first created.

If in Cottbus the Schloss Branitz and park is a must go to place for a tranquil walk or gondola ride. Time permitting enter into the schloss and feel the marvelous creation of Herman von Puckler.

For more pictures and video please visit here

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Castle Park Brody Poland pforten

When we made a recent trip to Castle Park Brody in Poland. We were pleasantly surprised by both the park and castle. We arrived at the best time of year, in late summer and the weather was perfect.The castle was in a state of regeneration but showed many signs of decline from the previous years. Due to this we needed to use our imagination and view beyond the present state; and try visualize how it could look after restoration. After observing the many statues and structure of the dilapidated buildings you could imagine the castle in an era of bygone days and hence assuming a more opulent presence.


Castle Park Brody


The Castle park Brody situated on the western border of Poland and very close to the German border. Located around 45 minutes from the city of Cottbus in Germany. It is in the Polish province of lubuskie in the village of Brody, the closest city is zielona Gora. The below picture shows how the Castle and park would have looked in its glory days.


Castle park brody


The castle Park Brody was the possession of a saxon statesman; Heinrich Von Bruhl and his tomb is in the grounds, however it is in a bad state of repair. As seen in the below photos.


Castle park brody

The park grounds !!

The grounds are lovely with some tree-lined avenues breaking out into some lovely vistas of the lake. During Henrich von Bruhls time, he had a Baroque Palace built; which was unfortunately confiscated during the 7 years war with the Prussians who subsequently claimed it for themselves. During the 2nd world war it became part of Germany and it was only returned after the war. The Bruhl Palace was constantly being invaded over the differing years, through wars and changing times. The last to invade was the red army before it was eventually handed back to Poland.

Castle park Brody

Today the building is more a skeleton than a palace, but it has “good bones” as they say. It has great structure and some great architecture that just needs some tender loving care. The Palace requires plenty of money spent on her and a lot of time to achieve the magnificence she deserves.


castle park brody


The Members of the European Park association; being the official owners of the Castle park Brody has a plan set in its sights, for now and for the future. The plan is to complete the rehabilitation of the Historic castle and the grounds. Also proposed is a showroom or museum to depict the history of the castle and to show the life of Count Heinrich von Brühl.

More pictures of Castle Brody click the link

If you’re in that area, Brody and the castle park are well worth a visit even just for a space of peace and tranquility.

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