Saturday, 23 July 2016

Closer to Home - the Solace of the Green Valleys

Escape to the hills of North Wales.

Time for some rest and relaxation and with the sunshine drawing us to venture further afield than our  usual Thursday lunchtime choice Allen asked,
'Well, where do you want to go?'
'I don't know, I just feel the need to wander by a river.'
Do you want to go to Betws-y-Coed and have lunch at the Waterloo?'
I jumped at this and needed no further bidding. After the hurly burly of the last couple of weeks another escape was called for.
Turning out of our village, away from the town and the usual drive along the A483/A5 through Llangollen, Allen turned the opposite way towards the Mold road.
'I am coming this way for a change.'
'Fine by me'.
We found that the dual carriageway had a reduced speed limit to 50mph. Neither of us could see the sense in this but knew that there had been a few serious accidents further along where the road went back to single lanes before the sharp bends.

Taking the Corwen road at Pontblyddyn we were soon climbing through the leafy, sleepy road towards the hills and moors of Llandegla. The sign for Pentredwr reminded me that we were on the other side of the mountains that we were used to on the Horseshoe Pass. The many sheep grazed contentedly on the lush grass, keeping their balance on the steep pastures as the hills rose and fell into deep valleys.
It was lovely driving through the valleys to Betws-y-Coed. Mile after mile of green fields in the sloping mountains - such solace. 

Just after the Rhug Estate and ancient chapel, we turned onto the A5  - it is an historic route being the old post road from London to Holyhead and the ferries to Ireland - just past the Ruthin junction, stopping off at the newly expanded Rhug Estate  cafĂ©/shop/bistro. For many years it was a simple stop and a favourite with bikers as there was not much else along this stretch of road. The Rhug Estate breed Bison cattle and a feature of the menu is 'Bison'. We settled for the outdoor seating area with a cup of tea. There is also a covered 'no smoking area'  where the milk and sugar etc. is found. The Bistro looked very inviting as did the Farm Shop which stocks organic  and artisan products. Many of the food there was gluten free. We spent a happy time examining all the wonderful array of labels on the cakes, meats, preserves - they even have a bacon butty sauce - and the vast selection of artisan cheeses. The washrooms were excellent. A bison's head with a bow in its hair proclaimed 'Merched/Ladies. My husband told me that the bison on the gent's door had a bow tie.

Onwards to Betws-y-Coed and after crossing the ancient Waterloo Bridge we passed the sign informing us that Betws-y-Coed is the 'Gateway to Snowdonia'.

After an excellent meal in the 1815 lounge/bar of the Waterloo Hotel,we decided against going further into Snowdonia on this visit but headed home through Corwen and         Llangollen.

The solace of the hills and valleys had done their work (although I didn't get to wander by the river which tumbles over the rocks -above).


Saturday, 2 July 2016

Monfortinho - a hidden gem in Portugal

Monfortinho and the Termes de Monfortinho.

To round off our journey through France and Spain to Portugal, I must tell you about a most delightful village near the  Portuguese/Spanish border.
As you cross the border from Spain,  the delightful, cobbled village of Monfortinho is hidden from the road as it nestles in the valley.
The cobbled streets wind up and down and around the village to bring you, past the church and back onto the main road again. As it was siesta time after a wonderful lunch in Termes de Monfortinho, we didn't have the opportunity to explore more. Most sensible people were sleeping off the effects of a good lunch.

Termes de Monfortinho is a village which has developed around the Thermal Springs which have become famous for their therapeutic properties. In this area, many rivers flow down
from the mountains which surround the area.

Before meeting family one day, we decided to take a look. We were very pleasantly surprised at the scale of the village and the very modern properties. Reaching a junction, we came upon a long, tree-lined street. Parking up we wandered around and came upon the welcoming and traditional Hotel Boa Vista.
As it was so hot, we decided not to rest on the terrace but settled inside for a cool drink. Chatting to Rui he assured us that there was a lift asked if we wanted to see some rooms. The hotel is about 100 years old and, in order to facilitate a lift, they  had built it on a corner outside and surrounded it by glass. Very innovative and shows what can be done. The rooms are traditional with all modern conveniences.

The following day we took family there for  lunch. The welcome was even greater than on the previous visit and with all parties using  a smattering of Portuguese and English plus a phrase book we negotiated our way around the menu which, I have to say, involved very good portions of food..  Before this, we had strolled around the village looking what they had to offer. It is utterly charming. After lunch, on seeing the Artesano (pottery)shop, we stopped the car and dived inside into the coolness of this wonderful shop full of Portuguese pottery. Really, I could have filled the boot of the car!
Perhaps next time?
There are many images on Google at


Friday, 1 July 2016

Rosalie Marsh books in the Smashwords Summer Sale

The Smashwords summer sale kicks off with 50% off all Rosalie Marsh Titles in July. Coupon Code SSW50

  1. Go to:

  2. Select your book of choice.

  3. Go to checkout

  4. Quote SSW50

  5. Download the digital format of your choice 

  6. Sit back and enjoy!

Coupon Code SSW50 for 50% off marked price.

All photos and images are in full colour in eBook formats.

Biographical  Just Us Two Travel series.
Just Us Two
Chasing Rainbows
The Long Leg of Italy
Travel-Based Fantasy-Fiction:
ORANGES: A Journey
Lifelong Learning for Career, Employability, and Personal Development.
Lifelong Learning
Release Your Potential
Skills for Employability Part One
Skills for Employability Pat Two
Talking the Talk

View the full Smashwords catalogue for more savings in the summer sale.