UK – Wales

For my work I went to Wales for a week. I stayed very close to the coast, a few minutes drive from St.Davids. Because the family I work for went by car and the journey is too long to be squished in between the girls car seats, I took the train. I love traveling by train, so I didn’t mind at all. I will tell you a little bit about what I did every day.

FRIDAY
I had the morning to do a little bit of relaxing, to start the day slowly and to get ready. My train was going at 12:30, from Paddington Station. I arrived at the station perfectly on time and I didn’t have to wait too long before we took off. The first part of the journey, until Bristol Temple Meads was a bout 2 hours, then from there to Newport it was only half an hour (though there was a little delay) and the last bit towards Haverfordwest was another 3 hours. Everything went really well and though I left with a grey sky and rain, the weather got better and better. I planned to do some work on the train, but I was too distracted by the beautiful views. Especially when I arrived in Wales, the views were really breathtaking. So not a lot of work done, but a lot of thinking and enjoying. When I arrived at Haverfordwest, my employer was already waiting for me to pick me up. Before going to the cottage, we went to get groceries at a very big Morrisons. From there it was about half an hour to the holiday cottage and in the meantime it got rainy and dark. The cottage was so  lovely. I couldn’t see the outside too well, but the inside was amazing. So much space and proper country side style. Light walls, old dark wooded floors and an amazing big bathroom!! My room was all the way upstairs, with a very cute en-suite bathroom. I shared the top floor with the girls, but they had their own bedroom though. I quickly warmed up some lentil soup and then unpacked my things. I  love doing that, hehe.. The rest of the evening I just relaxed and read a little bit. Just before bedtime I wanted to take a shower, but I couldn’t get the water warm. So I had a very very cold shower, because I just can’t go to bed without a shower.. let alone in freshly washed sheets!

SATURDAY
The bed is so cosy and lovely, I had an amazing sleep. For breakfast I had some fruit and tea and then we headed to Whitesands Bay, a beautiful beach. The tide was in, so we went into the little shop and had a tea in the cafe. After that we could wander around on the beach for a bit, yay! There are always so many things to see on the beach. Beautiful shells, crab claws, seaweed, pretty rocks.. I used to take things with me, but I never do something with it, so now I just admired it whilst I’m there. In the afternoon we went to a close by harbour. When the tide is in you can’t walk there, but it wasn’t, so we could walk at the bottom of the harbour, towards the sea. Was very fun and it was super beautiful there. In the evening I made myself a burger, I did some reading and though my employer got my shower to work during the day, the only thing I got was freezing water. I was too cold to take a proper shower, so I had to splash myself a little to at least feel fresh enough to go into bed. I was sooo cold after!

SUNDAY
When we were in the cafe yesterday, we found out there is a trampoline place nearby. So we went there this morning. It’s called Hangar 5 and it’s a big place full of only trampolines. So much fun! In the beginning I felt a little wobbly, but once I got into it, I was confident enough to do (quite) high star jumps and to really enjoy it. Only a few minutes drive from there was a big restaurant and we went there for lunch. I always prepare to have salad and fries, but to my surprise they actually had quite a lot of vegan food. They even marked it as ‘vegan’ on the menu. It made me so happy. There were things like: Asian slaw, Garlic bread, Spiced cauliflower & kale brown rice, Basil pesto penne, Grilled Harissa aubergine and even an Apple pie for dessert. I went for the Grilled Harissa Aubergine and gave them a compliment for their vegan options. The restaurant is called ‘The Lost Coins’ btw and I had a lovely lunch here. In the evening I was determined to get my shower to work, so my employer took another look and he got it to work within a minute. Turned out that hot is cold and cold is hot and you had to run it quite a while on ‘cold’, before it got hot. At least I had a lovely warm bath that evening, what was so lovely. I really enjoyed that.

MONDAY
Again I had some fruit for breakfast and then we went out to explore St.Davids. It’s an absolute beautiful village. We originally went to do an art workshop with the children, but when we got there it was closed. So we decided to go to the cathedral. Wohw! What a beautiful cathedral. I really loved walking around there. Everything is so detailed and beautifully made. In the back is a little restaurant and we had lunch there. They only did 2 side dishes, but both were vegan. So I had some mixed veggies and roasted potato, with a little bread roll on the side. I filled the bread with the veggies and though it wasn’t a lot of food, it was surprisingly delicious. I felt really content as it made me happy that even here you don’t have to starve if you choose for cruel free. The world is changing! In the afternoon everybody went to the beach, but I stayed at home to cook for the kids. In the meantime I also tidied up and cleaned the kitchen. Because I just can’t stand crumbs and mess, haha! I had some yummy pasta in the evening, with a home-made tomato sauce.

TUESDAY
This morning I started with yogurt, banana, strawberries and muesli. A good breakfast for a morning at the seaside. We went to the beach they went to yesterday. It was a beautiful beach, enclosed with cliffs. A lady said that people sometimes swim with seals here, so cool! I also found a shark egg, what was so nice. Later I did some research and it turned out to be from a ‘Small-spotted Catshark’. We took some sandwiches with us for the kids and whilst they were eating them around lunchtime I suddenly spotted 2 seals swimming a few meters from the shore! I was so excited to see them!! So I sat on the rocks, closest from where they were and waited for ages.. and a few times they showed themselves again. I actually didn’t want to leave ever again, but we obviously had to head back at one point. In the afternoon we watched a children’s program (Ruff-ruff Tweet and Dave) and they made a rainbow out of veggies and fruits. So when it was finished, we made a rainbow too. We ate the fruit for snack and the veggies for dinner. So much fun!

WEDNESDAY
I had the same breakfast as yesterday and after I helped to get the kids ready I was off for (most of) the day. I took some time to relax, read and work on my blog. I made myself an avocado pasta salad for lunch and after that I prepared some meals for the next few days. I cooked a butternut squash and made it into a pasta sauce, together with some other veggies. It was lovely to do some cooking by myself, listen to music and sing along. So relaxing and fun. In the afternoon I helped out a bit, by playing with the kids outside and I also cooked and gave them their dinner. It was a lovely relaxing day.

THURSDAY
The last day, because tomorrow morning I will catch the morning train back to London. So today we went to the same beach as where we saw the seals last Tuesday. We played on the rocks, explored some caves and looked for treasures (pretty stones, shells, crab claws, shark eggs, seaweed etc). Then 2 dogs came on the beach and started barking very loudly. It turned out, that not far from us was a baby seal in between the rocks. We didn’t see him at first, because his fur blends in with the rocks so well. We went to see him (to make it easy I’m going to assume it was a boy ok?) and thought he might be hurt, because he didn’t move away and started to make noises. So we decided to call an organisation to ask if it was normal. The only thing was that we didn’t have reception there. So somebody went up to find reception and we started to play around again. But then the seal suddenly wanted to go back to the sea. At that same moment the lady who made a call cam back and said we should leave him alone, but he shouldn’t go back into the sea, because he was waiting for his mum there. So we panicked a little, because he was on his way to the sea. We tried to stop him, but it was quite tricky. We decided to make a call to a sanctuary as we didn’t want him to die in the sea, because of losing his parents. Then another lady came onto the beach and said we should probably just let him. But we felt so guilty, because we went to this beach and that’s why it was disturbed. So we decided to take all our stuff quickly and run away, hoping he would stay on the beach if we left. But when we climbed back up to the cliff he did go into the sea anyway. I felt so bad, because if it wouldn’t survive it was our fault. As soon as we got back to the cottage I send the pictures I took to my best friend, who knows a lot about seals. Then he told me that the seal looked old enough to look after himself and that he looked very well too. I was so happy to hear that and felt a lot less guilty. All together it was very amazing to see a beautiful wild animal from so close though. So special! In the afternoon we went to Whitesands Bay again for a bit and when we got back I started to pack an prepare everything for tomorrow. I took a last bath and then curled up in my lovely bed for the last night. I slept so well during my stay. Very deep.

FRIDAY
An early wake, because my taxi was going to pick me up at 8:40 and before that I helped giving the kids breakfast and to get everything ready and packed. The drive to the station was very nice, because I had a very nice taxi driver, who was born and raised in St.Davids. He had an adopted Jack Russel and as soon as we discovered our love for dogs, you can imagine we didn’t talk about anything else anymore. The train journey went very well. I only had to change once at Newport this time and before I knew it I was at Paddington Station again. I arrived home at 16:15 and quickly got some banana and spinach, because I craved a green smoothie after not having it for a whole week.

HOTSPOTS LIST:
Whitesands Bay (beach)
Hangar 5 Trampoline Park – Fishguard Rd, Haverfordwest SA62 4BY.
The Lost Coins (restaurant) – Fishguard Road, Haverfordwest SA62 4BP.
St.Davids Cathedral

I thought I’d type a short story about what I was up to this week, but in the meantime I typed over 2000 words. Oops! Anyway, Wales is beautiful! A lot of times I thought ‘I’m going to come back here’, and I will. As soon as I have my van (read about my van and life changing adventure here) ready, I will make some trips to Wales for sure. It will be perfect for some try outs.

Have you been to Wales yet? Or are you really excited to go now? I would love to hear about your trip and experiences! I would also really appreciate some recommendations for when I will go again. You can leave a comment below or you can show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

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UK – Bath

roomFor work I had to go to Taunton. After that I was off and because Bath is quite close, I decided to go to Bath. I always wanted to go there, because everybody always says it is such a great city. I was very excited to go. When I got out of the train it was already dark, but when I was heading to the AirBnB where I was staying, I already starting to love Bath. The lights shining on the old buildings, the Bath Abbey, the water. It’s so beautiful! I couldn’t wait to see it by daylight. I arrived at my AirBnB 10 minutes later than expected, but the hostess was very lovely and welcoming. She also had a very sweet and brave dachshund and I was just delighted to be in a house with a pet. The hostess showed me my room and it was so perfect. Within 2 minutes I knew it was going to be hard to leave, haha! The room was very stylish and the bathroom very modern, I loved this surprising combination. She gave me the key, we had a little chat and then I left again to have dinner somewhere. I say ‘somewhere’, because for the firs time I didn’t plan every minute of my trip.

mcI really enjoyed walking through Bath, even while it was dark. It was quite busy on the streets, probably because there was a rugby game going on. I walked and walked until I saw the Odeon cinema. Then I thought it would be nice to watch the new ‘Bridget Jones’ movie. So I quickly popped in and it turned out I had a good half an hour to find something to eat before the movie started. Not too far back I saw a Mexican place, called ‘Mission Burrito’, so I went there and asked if they could do something vegan. You could choose whatever you wanted and so it was possible. I chose a rice bowl. What is rice and all the (vegan) toppings they had, what meant: black beans, vegetables, salad, guacamole and a dressing. The presentation wasn’t great as it was all hsjust thrown into a plastic container, but I must say that it did taste nice. The rice was perfectly cooked and the whole combination was rather delicious. It was a perfect meal before the cinema, because there was still some space left for popcorn. YUM! I love popcorn! When I was sitting in the cinema I heard Dutch people behind me and I had a little chat with them. They just moved here. How great! The movie started and I was very looking forward to it as I heard it was hilarious. And it was! OMG! I laughed so much, it was a very good movie. It’s been a while since I laughed about a movie this much. I’d love to watch it again. When I got back to my BnB I took a quick shower, listened to some music, decided where I wanted to have breakfast the next day and then fell asleep in this most fantastic bed. It was like sleeping on a cloud.

rcThe next morning it was only a short walk to ‘The Green Rocket Cafe’, but on my way I discovered this really nice shop, called ‘Grasse’. It has a lot of unique stuff and it’s really worth to take a look inside. It was a lovely walk to the cafe, as it was a beautiful sunny day. ‘The Green Rocket Cafe’ is a super nice vegetarian cafe, with lots of vegan options. I chose the English breakfast (vegan option) and a cleansing juice with beetroot. It was so tasty! Very filling as it was quite a lot, but it was a very good start of the day. Like I said before, I didn’t plan anything and I didn’t do too much research before I came here. I robadecided to just go with the flow and see what it will bring me. I started walking and went into some lovely little shops. I especially liked the art gallery ‘Imagianation’ (beautiful art!) and ‘Arcania’, with the salt lamps, buddha’s, incense and much more. The shops led to the Bath Abbey and I took some lovely pictures. Behind the Abbey there were the ‘Roman Baths’ and I went inside to look at the ticket prices. They were £15 and I knew this was going te be something I will really like. It wasn’t busy at all and so queued up. I was right, I had a lovely time over there! I loved to learn about the baths and their history. In the end you could also taste the water. It wasn’t very tasty. It was warm and had a very strong taste. A bit earthy or something. But the minerals were very high, so I drunk 3 cups! Haha! I spend 2,5 hours in the Roman Baths and I can say that this was really a highlight of my trip.

waAnother great thing about Bath (and I think that everybody who visited this city already agrees with me), it has an amazing shopping centre. It’s very divers. There are big streets, little streets and narrow alleys. Full of shops, common high street shops, local shops, hand-made stuff, it’s like there is no end. I popped into FatFace as they are an ethical shop. (If you want to know more about this, please take a look at their website.) I saw very cute pig socks and whenever I see socks with pigs on it, I buy them. So I did. A little later there was a man raising money for the ‘Bath Cats & Dogs Home’. An organisation who caferescues and re-homes cats and dogs. I gave him some money and had a cuddle with the adorable Golden Retriever who kept him company. The man gave me some treats to give her and it was so lovely, it made my day! Not much later I bumped into a sign what said ‘Art Cafe ->’. I remembered I read about this cafe and that they did some vegan things too. I was really craving a cup of tea and so I went there to get one. It’s a cafe under a chapel and it very nice. I chose a chai tea with soy milk on the side and a yummy looking piece of chocolate cake. And it was yummy! I had a lovely little break there before I did some more shopping. I got some donice things and also I did find some very good Xmas presents for family and friends. Of course I had to go into Lush (did you notice that I’m a fan?) and I bought my favourite bubble bar, ‘Rose Jam’. Then I headed to a health shop I read about, called ‘Harvest Natural Foods’. A very nice health shop you can compare with ‘Portobello Wholefoods’. I bought a new shampoo and  conditioner and some chai tea. On my way back I discovered an amazing department store, called ‘Rossiters’. You have to go here! You can buy so many amazing things here. Lovely gifts, cookery stuff, dishes, interior things and só much more! I found a very sweet and soft little bag with a dachshund on it and I bought it for my hostess. I wanted to thank her for a lovely time, for being a beautiful and kind person and for being one of the best AirBnB’s I stayed in.

acI wanted to have dinner in the ‘Acorn’, what apparently is the best vegetarian restaurant in Bath. Every time I mentioned I was visiting Bath for my blog and hotspots, the restaurant ‘Acorn’ came up. When I found it, it wasn’t open yet, so I decided to wait in Starbucks and have a small tea. When I then walked into the ‘Acorn’ I  must say I had a very good first impression. The atmosphere is great and it all looks lovely. Luckily they still had some space for me and I ordered a cauliflower dish and a chocolate cake. They gave me very nice complimentary bread with olive oil and a seed dip and it was very very delicious. Just like the rest baof the food. The chocolate cake was possibly the best I’ve ever had. It was very filling, but the taste was just define! As it was Bonfire Night I was just in time to watch the fireworks outside. It was very cold and though the fireworks were quite nice, I didn’t think it was that spectacular. When I got back to my BnB, I made myself a cup of tea, put on some music, run a bath and popped in my RoseJam bubble bar. I had the loveliest bath ever. It was so relaxing and I just felt so happy about my weekend. Everything was going so well and I just had such a good time. This bath in Bath was a perfect end for an unforgettable day.

brThe next day it was hard to get out of bed, knowing this was the last night. I really appreciated this BnB, a lovely break from daily life. I thanked the hostess and gave her back the key. I had breakfast at ‘The Green Rocket Cafe’ again. This is definitely my favourite breakfast-hotspot in Bath. This time I chose the yogurt with granola and a green juice.. it was perfect. After that I thought it would be nice to learn a little bit more about Bath by going on the HopOnHopOff bus (so touristy, I know..). There were 2 tours for 1 price. I paid £14,50 to go into the hills and overlook Bath and to go around Bath busitself. It was quite cold that day, so I pulled my hat so far over my head that I was just able to see something. I still don’t know how I survived being in an open-top bus though. It was freezing! It was also very nice. Those buses might be touristy, but I think it’s a fun way to learn about a city. When I got off I started to walk to ‘Beyond Kale’, but on the way I bumped into some other lovely shops. ‘Timber Treasures’, where they sell hand-made wooden gifts, which are ethically and sustainably sourced and ‘Pink Art’, a lovely gift shop with so many nice things.

bkI was very happy when I could warm myself up in Green Park Station. This used to be a train station, but now it’s a place with different markets, events, shops and cafe’s. To see what market is on, on what day, click here. One of those cafe’s is ‘Beyond Kale’. This is a 100% vegan cafe and it is amazinggg! I chose to have the tortilla, what came with al sorts of incredible salads. As I was so cold I chose to have a chai latte too and it was the best I’ve ever had. I know I said that about the chai latte in Rotterdam as well, but this one was just perfection. For dessert I had a little peanut butter cake, yum yum! It was all so tasty, I really loved my lunch. A good end to my Bath adventure, because after this incredible meal, I headed to the station, back home to London.

HOTSPOT LIST:
AirBnB
Mission Burrito – 4 New Street, BA1 2AF
Odeon cinema – Kingsmead Complex, James St West, BA1 2BX
Grasse – 3 Argyle St, BA2 4BA
The Green Rocket Cafe – 1 Pierrepont St, BA1 1NY
Imagianation -5 Terrace Walk, BA1 1LN
Arcania – 7 Orange Grove, BA1 1LP
Roman Baths – Stall St, BA1 1LZ
Chapel Arts Cafe – Lower Borough Walls, BA1 1QR
Lush – 8 Union St, City Centre, BA1 1RW

Harvest Natural Foods – 37 Walcot St, BA1 5BN
Rossiters – 38 -41 Broad St, BA1 5LP
Acorn – 2 North Parade Passage, BA1 1NX
Hop On Hop Off bus
Timber Treasures – 5 Abbey Green, BA1 1NW
Pink Art – 9 York St, BA1 1NH
Green Park Station – Green Park Road, BA1 1JB
Beyond Kale – 4 Green Park Station, BA1 1JB

selfieI had one of my best weekends ever in Bath and I’m sure you will have an amazing time there too. Please let me know if you decide to go there or to tell me about your experiences with Bath. You can do this by leaving a comment below or to show me on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

rb

Roman Baths!

rob

Roman Baths!

nh

Lovely streets, parks and shops!

pig

Autumn in Bath!

mon

Roman Baths!

ma

Green Park Station, Antique/Vintage Market!