placesI am ever so blessed to be able to travel and explore amazing places…  Here are just a few…

(and btw, the image left is from Shem’s Creek in glorious Mt Pleasant, Charleston, South Carolina, USA)

Exploring Historic Dunster, Minehead and more…

Prince, my beloved convertible, and I headed off for a day of exploring and working, heading north from the English Riviera toward the Bristol Channel… When we arrived in historic Dunster, I thought I would check out Dunster Castle and Water Mill, however when I discovered that one would need… Read more

Leigh (Bella) St John

Champagne Reception at Downton Abbey

After a lovely night in Derbyshire, I set out under a veeeery strange sky toward Highclere Castle, home of the famous Downton Abbey. The sun was an eerie red colour through the clouds – and at one point, the whole sky turned an unusual colour – well, unusual for the… Read more

Leigh (Bella) St John


Topless Prince (my trusty convertible) and I went a-meandering today…  No actual destination in mind – just seeing where we ended up…   Read more

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Fabulous day exploring a foundry, two castles, a Saxon village, a 13th century pub and Egyptian mummies!

What a magnificent day!  I needed to go for a drive to clear the cobwebs out of my head and managed to find and explore some fascinating places!  I needed to be home by around 3:30pm or just a little after to take care of a bunch of work and… Read more

Leigh (Bella) St John

Steam Trains, Owls and Abbeys

Yesterday, a friend and I went exploring on the South Devon Railway Buckfast Abbey and back via beautiful Devon countryside.  So, where does the owl come in?  You’ll just have to scroll and see… Somehow a man checking his smart-phone doesn’t really fit the image… I love old newspapers, and… Read more

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Fabulous Fishy Fun

Yesterday morning I was up when the sparrows were still in their pajamas…  Now, if you know me at all, you know I am not a morning person – so why the sudden urge to be up before dawn? This was my phone as I walked out the front door… Read more

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Visiting Doc Martin’s Fishing Village

Have you seen the TV program, “Doc Martin”? Well, today we (my friend Karen who has been visiting from Hastings) went exploring and decided to find the fishing village where the series is filmed on location. The village is Port Isaac and is located in Cornwall – or as we… Read more

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Brixham by Boat

A perfect morning to literally just walk across the street and board a boat, cruising over Torbay to Brixham… …and back home in time for another movie, more wine, and then getting ready to go out to meet up with dear friends to celebrate my birthday at the Imperial… Yet… Read more

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Horse-Drawn Canal Journey

Starting out from my home in Torquay, my friend Karen (who had come over from Hastings to help celebrate my birthday) and I headed north to Tiverton to check off yet another item on my bucket list – a journey on one of England’s last horse-drawn canal boats. …these archways… Read more

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Never again!

That’s what I say every time I fly these days…  “Never again!” …and then the time comes to get from A to B and I think, “it must be better this time…” OK, let me backtrack on this particular journey… While my apartment in Sligo on the Irish west coast… Read more

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Donegal Castle and getting deliberately lost…

Although today was – according to the weatherman – going to be party sunny, partly cloudy, some shower and some rain… I decided to brave the elements and go exploring. First stop was Donegal Castle. From Wikipedia: Donegal Castle (Irish: Caisleán Dhún na nGall) is a castle situated in the centre of Donegal Town in County Donegal in Ulster, Ireland.… Read more

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Loch Gill, W.B. Yeats, and Parke’s Castle

The beautiful Lough Gill / Loch Gile / Loch Gill was my destination today for a boat ride, departing from Parke’s Castle.  If you look to the far left of the photo below, you will see Parke’s Castle with the white tower, and our boat moored slightly to the right.… Read more

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Exploring Creevelea Friary, County Leitrim

After a lovely sleep-in, Boswell (trusty rental car) and I went in search of a particular medieval abbey that dates back to 1508 – Creevelea Friary. …and I thought yesterday’s excursion was skinny and windy?  It had nothing on these roads – and I must admit, it was fun!  …although… Read more

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Slieve League and the Donnegal Countryside

We have had rain here for the past few days and while I do actually love the rain, I am not particularly partial to going exploring and sightseeing in it… Although, yesterday evening, the sun began to peek through (these photos below from last night around 8:00pm), so I decided… Read more

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Farewell Romania ~ Hello Ireland!

First, let me say, “I love Romania!” I would go back there at any time – but that’s for another post… Yesterday morning I left beautiful Romania and since my flight was at 07:15, I arrived at the airport at 04:30 – thinking that would be plenty of time… Hmmmmmm……………… Read more

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Transfăgărășan Road into the Clouds and a 60′ Wall of Snow!

Before I get into the journey from Bucharest up into the Carpathian Mountains, I thought you might like a sneak peak at what a traffic jam looks like on the Transfăgărășan Road… Being an avid “Top Gear” fan, I had seen the episode they did on what they termed the… Read more

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Transylvania, Castles and more…

Oh my goodness gracious me…  I didn’t really have expectations before arriving in Romania – but even if I did, they would have all been blown out of the water… I will give you a more in-depth response in a week or so when I update this post, but for… Read more

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Farewell Italy, Hello Romania!

Yesterday I left Italy and headed to Romania for the next stop on my “Freedom Life” tour… (oh, and it was a good thing I flew yesterday as today, Romanian air traffic controllers decided to go on strike to demand better working conditions). Sitting at Ciampino Airport, it was interesting to… Read more

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Castelli Romani

A few weeks ago, my friend Lehan and I drove up to Castelli Romani – in particular to Lake Nemi… This was perhaps one of my most favourite places in my entire trip to Italy… …by the way, even the signs for deer here look very “Italian”!  LOL!     Read more

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Driving Holiday Along the Amalfi Coast in Italy

What an absolutely fabulous five days we had driving from Lido di Ostia down to Amalfi and Ravello, back up through Positano and Sorrento… (more items now checked off my Bucket List! Our first stop after having picked up a rental car and leaving Ostia was Terracina, an ancient Roman ‘colonia… Read more

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Glorious Day Exploring Rome!

Today I decided to go exploring Roma! First, it was a twenty-minute walk to the train station and what started out as rather a hazy day ended up being brilliant sunshine by the time I reached Rome – just over an hour later. Actually, my day involved walking, train, walking, train,… Read more

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Ostia Update #2

It is another glorious day (Monday) here in Lido di Ostia!  It is a little overcast, but the sun is shining, it is around 20oC and barely a breeze… By the way, here is a map giving you an idea of where Ostia is in (the blue dot) relation to… Read more

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I love Ostia!

Welcome to Ostia Update #2… I have been here just under a week and the more I get to know the place, the more I love it here! As I write this, it is 20oC, a slight breeze is blowing in from the sea, there is literally not a cloud… Read more

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First Class Overnight Train from Vienna to Roma

Ostia, here I come! My wonderful limousine company picked me up from the lovely hotel in which I stayed while in Vienna and deposited me at Wien Hauptbahnhof, more commonly known as Wien HBF – the main train station in Vienna. …and btw, those of us old enough to know what… Read more

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vienna oldest ferris wheel

Ride the World’s Oldest Surviving Ferris Wheel With Me!

Vintage Ferris Wheel – the highlight of my trip! You know how I am about history, particularly that which falls into the English Victorian era – so image my delight at discovering this extraordinarily beautiful gem here in Vienna! Btw, if you would like to read my post about my… Read more

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Vienna – City of Contrasts

Welcome to Vienna! Although I do not tend to have rigid ideas of what a place will be like before I visit, I must admit I wasn’t expecting such contrast here in Vienna between the old and the new – not just buildings but also philosophies and …  well, read… Read more

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south devon

Meandering through South Devon

I am about to leave beloved England and was delighted that my wonderful friend, Gillian, offered to take me out meandering through South Devon for a few hours this morning… We did not have a destination other than seafood for lunch!  So, the following photos are from our lovely little journey…… Read more

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Agatha Christie and Dartmoor Ponies

What do Agatha Christie and Dartmoor Ponies have in common? Well, normally I would imagine the mystery writer and Dartmoor ponies would have very little in common, but yesterday they both featured in a family reunion of sorts… As you may have read, I have been tracing my ancestry and some… Read more

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steam train travel Devon

Steam Train Travel Through Devon

Glorious Steam Train Travel! Being a lover of the Victorian era, it is not surprising that I adore steam trains… Yesterday, I went via regular train from Torquay to the next stop being Paignton where I boarded the Dartmouth Railroad’s “Braveheart” steam train, bound for Kingswear, then across by ferry… Read more

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John and ann parnell

Visiting My Great-Grandfather’s Great-Grandfather!

What an extraordinary day! As you may know, I have been tracing my ancestry and one of the reasons I came to stay in Devon for a couple of months is to investigate and actually (hopefully) find the grave of a particular ancestor and the church in which the family… Read more

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torquay pavillion

Sleeping Beauty – Torquay Pavilion

The Forgotten Torquay Pavilion Sleeping peacefully on the shore in Torquay, Devon in the United Kingdom is a once magnificent building – the Torquay Pavilion. Although it has been closed since 2015, this Sleeping Beauty has thus far had a very checkered life, first as a theatre, then an ice-skating rink, amusement… Read more

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Devon Road Trip

What a FABULOUS day!!! Road trip from Torquay through Paignton, Chirston, Kingsweir, Dartmouth, Slaptop, Stokeham, Chillington, Charleton, Frogmore and Salcombe. Read more

Leigh (Bella) St John
hastings castle

Historic Hastings Castle

A visit to Hastings Castle is not only interesting from an historical stand-point, it is also a tribute to the people who essentially uncovered it from being largely buried for centuries. While there is not a lot left of the Castle itself, what is there, and the video that has… Read more

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cliff railways

Victorian Era Cliff Railways

I love funicular railways and have even been on the world’s steepest in Tennessee.  These lovely railways connect Hastings Old Town with the top of the cliffs where you find, among other things, historic Hastings Castle. From Old Town Hastings, you can take the West-Cliff Railway up to the top… Read more

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London’s Hop On Hop Off Big Bus Tour

Just about every major capital city will have some form of tour bus and London is no exception. I spent several hours sitting on top of a double-decker bus touring through London and below are the photos (I will add additional details later).              … Read more

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Brighton, East Sussex

Glorious Brighton in East Sussex.  Photos now and full details to come…                                 Read more

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Royal Observatory Greenwich

Royal Observatory ~ Home of Greenwich Mean Time

The Royal Observatory and the Greenwich ‘Time Line’ have been on my bucket list for ages…  Photos now, details to come…                                       Read more

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cutty sark

Cutty Sark Tall Ship ~ Greenwich

The Cutty Sark is a magnificent ship with a fascinating history.  …will add the info later – at least getting the photos uploaded now…                                                     … Read more

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bodiam castle

Bodiam Castle in East Sussex

Bodiam Castle just outside Rye is truly stunningly beautiful!  I will add info and commentary later – for now at least wanted to upload the photos…                                                 … Read more

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rye east sussex

Rye in East Sussex

Rye is a lovely town in East Sussex.  I will add info and commentary later – for now at least wanted to upload the photos…                                   Read more

Leigh (Bella) St John
mermaid inn rye

The Historic Mermaid Inn

I love the Mermain Inn in Rye – rebuilt in 1420, its cellars date back to 1156!  I will add info and commentary later – for now at least wanted to upload the photos…                                 … Read more

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st leonards on sea

St Leonard’s On Sea, East Sussex

One of my favourite places – St Leonards On Sea.  I will add information and commentary later – wanted to at least upload the photos now…                                                … Read more

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hastings old town

Hastings Old Town, East Sussex

Hastings Old Town is the home to the largest beach-launched fishing fleet in the United Kingdom – and home to Hastings Castle.  I will add information and commentary later – wanted to at least upload the photos now…                        … Read more

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1066 Battle of Hastings

1066 Battle of Hastings – 950th Anniversary

I feel ever so honoured to be here in Hastings for the 950th anniversary of the 1066 Battle of Hastings.  Battle Abbey is magnificent!  I will add information and commentary later – wanted to at least upload the photos now…                    … Read more

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roman baths

Historic Bath and the Roman Baths

Bath is one of the most beautiful of places – and the Roman Baths are extraordinary!  I am yet to add the information to this post – but wanted to at least get the photos up…                              … Read more

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Stonehenge is on just about everyone’s bucket list and when I finally checked it off mine, the feeling was very surreal…  I wanted to at least get the photos up…  Will add details soon…                                … Read more

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Uppark Mansion at Petersfield, UK

Prior to a devastating fire, Uppark was one of the most complete examples of a 17th century home – and also the place where author HG Wells’ mother served as housekeeper.  Here are the photos – details to come…                       … Read more

Leigh (Bella) St John
cullins yard pub

Cullins Yard Bar and Restaurant in Dover, UK

If ever you are in Dover, do yourself a favour and go to the Cullins Yard Bar and Restaurant.  I am yet to add the additional information to this post – but wanted to at least get the photos up…                       Read more

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white cliffs of dover from the sea

White Cliffs of Dover ~ from the Sea!

Want to visit the White Cliffs of Dover?  By far the best way is from the sea! After travelling from St Leonard’s Warrior Square Station to Dover, via Ashford International Station (the trip is about one and a half hours), then a short taxi ride to the seafront, I met the… Read more

Leigh (Bella) St John
Europe Asia America Africa Antartica Australia Signpost Showing Continents For Travel Or Tourism

Why I left the USA after 10 years

I had always wanted to live in America… Growing up in a small seaside town in working-class Australia, I always knew that one day I would move to the USA.  I didn’t know how, but I always knew one day… Well, in 2006-7, one day happened and I then lived an… Read more

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skytop lodge

Step back in time… Skytop Lodge, Pennsylvania USA

On the way to this lovely gem known as Skytop Lodge, one travels through a state park aptly named, “Promised Land”. Part luxury lodge, part adventure playground and part pure heaven, Skytop’s history dates back to 1925 where John Stubbs, Frederic Smith, Earl Mayne and Sam Packer envisioned a grand resort… Read more

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Ye Auld Shebeen Irish Pub

In Ireland, a ‘shebeen’ was a late-night speakeasy, often of ill-repute ~ however this glorious gem in Whippany, New Jersey is anything but! When I’m in the area, this is one of my all-time favorite places to live the laptop-lifestyle ~ curl up, work, drink, chat… (apart from taking your life… Read more

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What is a Staycation?

Staycations – What are they and why are they sometimes better than a vacation? A staycation is essentially a short period of time – even if it’s simply a weekend – where you either stay home, or you book into a hotel somewhere near where you live. Many families prefer a staycation… Read more

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