“Last time I was here…”
As you’ll have read in my related post, part one of the three, I’m not ashamed to say that there are some destinations that I will more than happily visit and revisit. Having previously discussed Copenhagen and Thassos, a Greek island, in this post I will be sharing memories and photos from Devon in the UK and Lucca in Tuscany, Italy – another unlikely pairing!
Part three coming soon!
I haven’t had a whole lot of luck with Italy in the past. I loved Venice, I really did, and Verona may have been nicer without the mass of tourists. Milan, however, I hated, and nearby Lake Como left me equally unimpressed. My first trip to Italy was in 2011, skiing in the Apennines and exploring Pisa and Florence, though it was the little city of Lucca in Tuscany that made the biggest impression.
Lucca is exactly what I’d always expected an Italian city to be like. Encircled by fully intact Renaissance-era walls, wide enough to be walked or cycled along, the old town is a puzzle of buildings and a maze of narrow streets. One of the few remaining towers here is the Guinigi Tower, its main feature being oak trees growing at the top – it was from this vantage point that my birds-eye-view photos were taken and is definitely worth every single step! Back to ground level, the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is the city’s main square (albeit round) and there are more churches than you’ll know what to do with! I’d choose Lucca over one of Italy’s more mainstream destinations any day.
Visited: January 2011
Learning what foreigners make of your home country is always an interesting discussion. Something I miss the most about the UK is the coast and the sea, and Devon is without a doubt one of my favourite spots to surf, eat fish and chips and get sand in my shoes. Its tourism industry, however, seems to thrive on Brits and Brits alone, and many people seem unaware that England and Scotland have some world-famous surf spots!
Having spent many years involved in Scouting, I have sat in traffic in a minibus on the road past Stonehenge on more than one occasion, in amongst the summer holiday rush of VW campers and roof racks. Our last few visits have been to Croyde Bay on the North Devon coast, where we rent our gear from the Lyndon Wake Surf School, which offers lessons and accommodation too. We have been prone to roughing it though, preferring to camp or sleep in the car (see above) and spent the hotel budget in the pub down the road!
In addition to surfing, the North Devon coast is also a fabulous place for coasteering, an activity which combines swimming with rock scrambling and jumps of up to 12 metres. It’s scary and it’s physically tough, but if you go with an instructor, it’s perfectly safe! If that’s not your thing, then how about some climbing, hiking, or just relaxing on the beach instead? And fish and chips. With lots of salt and vinegar.
Visited: most recently June 2013
Lucca in the winter or Devon in the summer – which would you prefer?