Thursday, 28 June 2018

Islandmagee - A to Z of Places I have Visited


I am writing about some places I have visited in alphabetical order.
Still wondering what I will do for the more unusual letters like Q and X etc. but maybe I will have a brilliant idea later.





A few years ago we went on a little birthday trip of a couple of days around some places in the Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland (which is part of the Causeway Coastal Route)




and on the drive home we passed signs for Islandmagee.

I had always heard of this name before and just assumed it was a town somewhere in Northern Ireland but on this day I discovered it wasn't a town it was a peninsula.  So since then I have thought someday we should go and drive round to investigate what it is like.


So that day finally came on Monday of this week.





Ok so yes one of the reasons we went this week was because I could not think of anywhere I had visited that started with the letter "I" but it has been absolutely splendid hot sunny weather here with unusually high temperatures and we had previously agreed to try to take one day or afternoon out somewhere each week for relaxation and exercise.


So off to Islandmagee we went for the afternoon on Monday.

Parts of it are owned or at least looked after by the National Trust and we had become members last year but where we went in Islandmagee on this first trip we only saw their sign once and there were no fees or car parking to be paid for so being members was of no advantage to us there.

We do love the Antrim Coast but have not visited that area as much as we should have in the past and driving along beside Belfast Lough along the route to our destination was just beautiful with the sun gleaming off the water.

The most famous part of this peninsula to us was The Gobbins Cliffs which we had heard a lot about in the past few years due to the work that had been done in making a complete walking path around them.

There are good signposts for The Gobbins Visitors Centre which is attractive from the outside





and also on the inside and is free to go in to find out about the Gobbins Trail,



have something to eat in the cafe or have a look around the gift shop.  This is where you book for the walking tours which must be done in advance and you need to be aware of the health and safety considerations before you decide to go on the walk.  Not for the fainthearted or anyone with any fitness problems.








The thing I noticed most about the Centre was the family friendly atmosphere both inside and out with a couple of things to specifically amuse the children while the grownups would be reading and finding out more about the area and a good play park outside.




After looking around here we drove along some of the wider roads and followed Google Maps directions on the phone for Port Muck.  This took us on to some rather narrow roads as we got closer to our destination.

The advantage of these narrower roads was the great view out to sea and we found an ideal spot to stop and take a huge amount of photographs as we were on the height looking down over the land and sea.

Fred was trying to get a panoramic picture of the coast and the Irish Sea while I was taking individual pictures.





We spied a rocky headland jutting out into the sea




and I tried to zoom in more




but the distance was too great to give a true picture of it.

But I'll come back to that later.


We drove on down to Port Muck Harbour which you can see on the map above is on the NE of Islandmagee.

Again it was time to take a lot of photographs.

It consists of a little harbour with some sand,





rocks and more rocks





and more rocks which we love - there is just something about rocky coves in Northern Ireland it is hard to find better ones in the rest of the world that I have been to (or am I just biased?).





People were fishing from the jetty, sitting on the jetty, sitting on the grass area and some on the small beach.  It was not crowded and felt very peaceful.


Other people were going for walks in two different directions from the harbour both led uphill the first with steps and the second on a grassy hillside path.





While I was taking pictures of the harbour and sea Fred was already on the steps waiting for me to come for a walk.

At the top of the steps there was another set of steps to take you down to some rocks but then we spied the headland we had seen earlier - I did say I would get back to this.



Islandmagee - When is an Island not an Island?

The headland wasn't a headland it was an island





but is it an Island that is at certain times connected to Islandmagee?




When the tide is low could anyone walk across?

That is the big question I have yet to have time to investigate.









If you missed any of the previous places in this series just click on the Titles below:

A for Alicante
B for Bratislava
C for Calpe
D for Durbuy
E for Ennis
F for Florida
G for Gran Canaria
H for Hong Kong





Wednesday, 27 June 2018

A Hug is a Great Gift - A Dose of Encouragement


I have lots of pictures and other things that I always intended to put up on the walls of our home.






Of course we have had several homes in different countries and yes some of these items have been seen at some time to be on some of those walls.

There are many that have only once or twice been given a space on one of our walls and some that have never been up on any wall.

For quite a few years there were some that I intended to get up on the walls but there was always something else to do or we would say "what is going where" and not make up our minds but sometimes it was Fred saying "I don't feel like getting out the big electric drill" but when we got the Takker there was no further excuse as it was so easy to use and we started putting up things in different rooms like the Guest room our Ensuite and our bedroom.

So now in our bedroom there is an item that was also in the bedroom of our last home in Belgium, it is a wooden wall hanging in the shape of an angel which also has a little phrase that starts with the words of the title of this blog post.





A hug is a great gift
one size fits all
and it's easy to exchange.






Yes I do believe that a hug is a great gift from one person to another.


Who do we hug?

Our families




Our close friends





People that we have not seen for a long time.





Perhaps like us you hug many people at your church as a general greeting each Sunday.



And then there are the hugs that are for that special someone in your life, the one you share everything with, the one who cares in the good times and in the bad - the love of your life.





Have you ever thought about how a hug is given or received 
and the difference it might make to someone.


Here are a few examples of when a hug was given or not given in the last few weeks.


  • With one person I was hugged one day and then not the next time - in fact the person shook my hand instead.  This left me questioning my husband as to what could have happened between those two greetings (only a few days apart). 
  • With another person it was a hug to say I still love you and please don't misinterpret something that is going to happen but you don't know about it yet.
  • With another it was an I have missed you hug with someone we do not see on a weekly basis any more but we do miss them.




What are the results of these types of hugs?


  • Well the first one has still left me wondering what caused the difference in the way I was greeted and a bit of concern over how that person may be viewing me at this moment.
  • The second immediately resulted in my asking if the person wanted or needed to talk to me but were holding back and this was indeed the case and after a short conversation everything was fine again.
  • The third one resulted in two smiling faces mine and their's and a lovely chat.  The rest is still to be seen but I'm praying that this one will result in this person returning to church where they will have more support for the future.



Then of course there are the hugs between my husband Fred and I which can mean all manner of things ranging from I hope you feel better soon to I just love being with you to I really missed you when you were away travelling on work this week.


Every hug should express something!

I think that every hug should mean something and we should not just hug someone because it may look like the right thing to do.  We should have some feeling of care or concern or love for a person and that's what should be shown in a hug.


We should be letting each other know that we love them with the love of the Lord, and through us His love should be evident.

That song comes into my mind perhaps you know it too


God loves you and I love you
and that's the way it should be


and of course John 13 v 34





They say a picture paints a thousand words.


I think a hug expresses a great gift of love and care 
so we should use it to encourage and bless others. 








Thursday, 21 June 2018

Hong Kong - A to Z of Places I have Visited


I am writing about some places I have visited in alphabetical order.
Still wondering what I will do for the more unusual letters like Q and X etc. but maybe I will have a brilliant idea later.






I have always wanted to see Hong Kong but never thought I would.

Then it was given back to China and I definitely thought I would never visit it.

However when you have a daughter who decides to go to teach English in South Korea things change and your travel plans change immensely.


She went off in February 2013 and we started making plans to go to visit her that summer.  Then of course when we were going to go that far we decided to take a little trip from South Korea to Hong Kong because it would in the same area in the world.

So 4 days were allocated to Hong Kong in our itinerary and we could have enjoyed even longer.

You can read some more about our trip to Hong Kong here & here because I actually blogged while I was on that whole trip.


HOTEL

This was definitely not the best hotel we had during our whole trip in fact I think I may just be honest and say it was the worst.




This was the view from our hotel room.


I was depressed immediately because we really had not done enough research into Hong Kong to know the better parts of it.

The room was small but it was clean and as Fred always reminds me we were not going to be spending a lot of time in the hotel.

Hong Kong is made up of different parts - 
Hong Kong Island, The New Territories and Lantau Island.

We were staying on Hong Kong Island and it is very built up and by far the better area of it to stay in would is probably closer to the sea separating it from The New Territories as you can see in the screenshot from my ipad below.  The part of the Island where the hotel was is way off the map because the metro system does not extend on throughout Hong Kong Island.







EVENING VIEW

The first thing we did was to go see the skyline that is famous which is along the sea front.

Here is the view of the New Territories sea front taken from Hong Kong Island.




Fred managed to get a panoramic photo of it.






MORNING VIEW

The next day we went back to the sea front to see it in the daylight and walk along the Avenue of Stars.

We did not recognise many of the names of the stars but here is one that we did - Jackie Chan




It is a lovely walk but it was so sunny that we had to try to keep in the shade a lot of the time however I did come out for my action call by the director






BUS TRIP

We had a nice relaxing walk the following day as well, this time around a little beach area.

Not just so sunny so we were out longer.












THE CABLE CAR

I love Cable Cars and we have been on a few different ones in various parts of the world but none have been as long as this one.

We  travelled over bridges




and over the sea




and over the land



The route we took can be seen on the metro map just follow the orange line from Hong Kong Island to Lantau Island passing over part of the New Territories on the way.


This fantastic journey took us to an area up the hills that is all about a Buddah - I think, we didn't go up the steps to the Big Statue while we were there.




Fred found a very large tea pot in the village there which is just a tourist trap of shops.




It was a better temperature there so we quite enjoyed walking area the large area and seeing the colourful gardens.


THE PEAK

Well you cannot go to Hong Kong without going up the Peak.

This is what everyone says so we did but I didn't even know why or where we were going until we got there.


You must go up the Peak!

You queue up for a train that takes you up the hill to the peak and you wait and wait for your turn.




It is quite a pleasant place with showcases and pictures etc. on the walls to help you pass the time while you wait.




It is worth it for the view on the way up




to the Peak where we had something to eat and walked around the tourist attraction that is there with quite a few areas inside it and again a great view but the best view







is the one you get over the two skylines of Hong Kong.



Although we had a problem finding places to eat near where we were staying the food we did get was delicious but it does take more time out of your day than meals do in other places.


There were also a variety of markets on Hong Kong Island so if you are thinking of making this one of your holiday vacation spots then do look up about the markets which are on most days of the week.

We chose to go to only one but we spent a long time in it and I have to say the ladies selling on the stalls all seemed to be very helpful to my husband Fred.

We will not mention the incident about the belt will we Fred?

We still laugh about that now.





If you missed any of the previous places in this series just click on the Titles below:

A for Alicante
B for Bratislava
C for Calpe
D for Durbuy
E for Ennis
F for Florida
G for Gran Canaria