Travels of an Eccentric Englishman https://eccentricenglishman.com Travel Wine and Photography Tue, 10 Sep 2019 21:11:16 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.3 https://i2.wp.com/eccentricenglishman.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/cropped-me.jpg?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Travels of an Eccentric Englishman https://eccentricenglishman.com 32 32 Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed https://eccentricenglishman.com/swallow-falls-betws-y-coed/ https://eccentricenglishman.com/swallow-falls-betws-y-coed/#respond Tue, 10 Sep 2019 21:11:04 +0000 https://eccentricenglishman.com/?p=10034 Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed The second in my waterfall series is the Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed. Perhaps the most accessible of the three waterfalls in my Snowdonia Waterfalls series, there are proper [...]

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Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed

The second in my waterfall series is the Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed. Perhaps the most accessible of the three waterfalls in my Snowdonia Waterfalls series, there are proper steps and paths at the swallow falls making it easier for less mobile folks.

Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed

Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed

If you visit after heavy rain the falls are quite something to behold! But unless you are local then you won’t get that choice!

Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed

Entrance – Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed

There is a small fee to see the falls but it was well worth the expense. There are two viewing areas, one above looking out over the falls and one below, down some steps looking up at the falls.

Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed

Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed

It’s a short visit to the Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed as there is no walk alongside the river. It is just to viewing platforms and the steps leading between them, so budget about 15-20 minutes.

On our visit to Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed it wasn’t that busy. There was time to relax and listen to the water cascade over the rocks. Personally, for me, the sound of water has always been relaxing. While certainly not as spectacular as some waterfalls, swallow falls had a charm of its own and I enjoyed them very much.

Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed

Slow Shutter Speed

Cost

£2 is what it costs to see the Swallow Falls. While not as cheap as Rhaeadr Y Graig Lwyd up the road it was certainly more accessible. And certainly not as cheap as Ceunant Mawr Waterfall, which is free!

Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed
Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed

How to get to Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed

Parking can be found in the layby on the same side as the falls, just at the end of the words ‘cascading waters’ on the map.

swallow falls map - Betws-y-Coed

swallow falls map – Betws-y-Coed

The photography in this article and, specifically, the blurring of water is done with a tripod and a slow shutter speed. For the how-to guide, click on How to Blur Water. Also, if you’re looking for more photography tips, see my Photography Tutorials.

Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed

Disclaimer: In short, some of the links on this site are affiliate links. These means that if you click on the link and buy the item, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. The money helps go towards the upkeep of the site – so it’s a win-win for both of us! Any videos used on this site if not my own, are, of course, used within Youtube’s sharing guidelines.

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Weald and Downland Living Museum https://eccentricenglishman.com/weald-and-downland-living-museum/ https://eccentricenglishman.com/weald-and-downland-living-museum/#respond Wed, 04 Sep 2019 08:30:46 +0000 https://eccentricenglishman.com/?p=10078 Weald and Downland Living Museum The Weald and Downland Living Museum, nestled on the South Downs in West Sussex, is a great day out! There is an awful lot to [...]

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Weald and Downland Living Museum

The Weald and Downland Living Museum, nestled on the South Downs in West Sussex, is a great day out! There is an awful lot to see and do if old buildings and old ways of life are your bag. They certainly are mine! Our visit coincided with one of the historic life weekend specials that they put on throughout the year. They do lots of different talks and demonstrations in the various buildings around the museum. This one was on textiles as my other half is particularly interested in being a design and technology teacher specialising in fabrics. In another life, many years she was also a trained Tailor working in the film industry.

Weald and Downland Living Museum

Weald and Downland Living Museum

Old Buildings

There are some lovely old buildings here outlining the history of the people who lived and worked in the south-east of England over the past 1000 years. There are more than 50 buildings at the museum, including workers cottages, farmhouses, barns, shops, a smithy, working Watermill and a church.

Weald and Downland Living Museum

Water Mill – Weald and Downland Living Museum

Most of the buildings on our visit were open to look around. On-site there are really old buildings like an Anglo-Saxon Hall House and a mediaeval building to some relatively new stuff! And, when I say new I mean comparatively new, 200 years ago!

Old Gardens

Also along with the houses are their gardens too. Many of the gardens had herbs in from the time. The herbs we use for culinary purposes as well as medicinal remedies. The gardens are laid out In as accurate a way as possible and as faithful to history as possible.

Garden - Weald and Downland Living Museum

Garden – Weald and Downland Living Museum

Above are teasels, that were used for carding wool before the industrial revolution.

Tudor Kitchen - Weald and Downland Museum

Tudor Kitchen – Weald and Downland Museum

If cooking is your thing they have a Tudor kitchen which prepares food from the 1540s including handmade butter and cheese and some quite strange dishes, compared to a diet today. Also, we saw some great demonstrations while we were there.

Tam, my other half was particularly taken with the demonstration by Jez who was making linen from flax. It was a very interesting process using all the old tools. It makes you realise how hard our ancestors had to work just to stay alive.

Weald and Downland Living Museum
Weald and Downland Living Museum

Livestock

Also, as you would expect livestock plays a part in any historic recreation of south-east England. There are some heavy horses, Sussex oxen, Southdown Sheep, Chickens and even Geese on site. In some senses they got it made! Indeed, it is a secure environment and extremely free-range! The chickens were just wandering around, so always keep your dog on a lead.

Weald and Downland Living Museum

Weald and Downland Living Museum

Above is an old schoolroom and chalked on the board are the immortal words ” Children should be seen and not heard”!

The Site at the Weald and Downland Living Museum

A pair of decent shoes would be a good idea as the museum is on the South Downs and has chalk flint paths. And being the downs it means there are slight hills to walk up, but nothing too strenuous. Also, it is wheelchair and mobility scooter accessible as much as can be. The site itself is certainly dog-friendly and they make a special point of making dogs welcome. The only place you couldn’t take your dog was the mill which had signs up saying so. Reason why they still grind their own flour at the mill, so for food hygiene reasons I can completely understand this.

Weald and Downland Living Museum

Mediaeval House – Weald and Downland Living Museum

We visited on 1 September and the only negative comment we heard was from a teenager. And I quote “This is the last day of my summer holiday and you bought me here!”

Ha! We had a good old chuckle about that. And to be fair, although I think there is definitely something to interest younger ones, it just depends on your youngsters! But for anybody else who’s even vaguely interested in history this place is brilliant! I really love looking at old buildings and how they were built.

Weald and Downland Living Museum
Weald and Downland Living Museum

A lot of these buildings did not start on the site but were lovingly taken apart in their old locations, bought the museum and erected piece by piece back to their former glory. There was even one building we noticed had label still on the beams from where they took it apart. I imagine that if you are into jigsaws, it would be an ideal job. After all, what is reassembling a building but a 3-D jigsaw!

Cafe

Of course, there is a cafe serving food onsite as you would expect. The views overlooking the millpond make it a great place to grab a cup of tea.

Weald and Downland Living Museum

Cafe and View – Weald and Downland Living Museum

My one concern

My only real concern was the price. I found it to be a little steep. Standard admission is £14 for an adult or £15.50 with gift aid donation children 5 to 17 years £6.50 and adults over 65 are £12 or £13.50 with gift aid donation. They have rates for families which were put in a picture below.

Weald and Downland Living Museum

Weald and Downland Living Museum

Check out the website for full opening hours and details but essentially it’s only the Christmas week it’s closed for.

How to get to the Weald and Downland Living Museum

Click on the Google Map for directions

Weald and Downland Living Museum Map

Weald and Downland Living Museum Map

Address

Weald & Downland Living Museum
Singleton, Chichester, PO18 0EU

01243 811363

I enjoyed the place immensely and although the entrance fee may be thought to be a little steep, £15 for a day’s entertainment is not too bad at all!

More from my great days out in Sussex List

Weald and Downland Living Museum

Disclaimer: In short, some of the links on this site are affiliate links. These means that if you click on the link and buy the item, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. The money helps go towards the upkeep of the site – so it’s a win-win for both of us! Any videos used on this site if not my own, are, of course, used within Youtube’s sharing guidelines.

 

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Ceunant Mawr Waterfall https://eccentricenglishman.com/ceunant-mawr-waterfall/ https://eccentricenglishman.com/ceunant-mawr-waterfall/#respond Sun, 18 Aug 2019 15:16:23 +0000 https://eccentricenglishman.com/?p=9965 Ceunant Mawr Waterfall Ceunant Mawr waterfall in Llanberis, North Wales is a great waterfall to visit and the price is right! Free! Also, it was probably the best of the [...]

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Ceunant Mawr Waterfall

Ceunant Mawr waterfall in Llanberis, North Wales is a great waterfall to visit and the price is right! Free! Also, it was probably the best of the three falls I visited this time around. It is not amazingly well signposted but I’ve included some photos and a map which will show you the path to take at the bottom of the page.

Ceunant Mawr Waterfall Lower Route

Ceunant Mawr Waterfall Lower Route

Achingly Beautiful

You can get two views of this waterfall. I’ve included instructions for both at the bottom of the page. One from the top, an upper route, right by the railway track of the Snowdon Railway Train and one at the bottom, a lower route, to the falls. Words cannot do it justice so the short video below gives you a taste of possibly the best falls in Snowdonia!

The river that flows from the falls cuts down a boulder-strewn streambed beneath a canopy of trees in the most delightful way. Don’t forget to take your camera either! It is achingly beautiful!

Ceunant Mawr Waterfall Lower Route

Ceunant Mawr Waterfall Lower Route

I have seen pictures when the falls are in full flow which might make it a touch dangerous at the bottom but when I was there in July 2019 it was a gentler experience than it would be mid-winter or after heavy rain. Also, in full flow, I’d be interested to know if anybody has been over the falls in a barrel!

How to get to Ceunant Mawr Waterfall

Parking can be a bit tricky as everybody who goes up Snowdon by train or walking, parks in this area, so parking in Llanberis itself may be the best option. However, we were staying at the Royal Victoria Hotel so parking wasn’t a problem for us. The hotel is to be recommended too.

ceunant mawr waterfall

Ceunant Mawr Waterfall

There are two views to be had from the Ceunant Mawr waterfall, an upper and lower view. The yellow dots are the upper view and the red dots are the route to the lower view. If you have only time to do one route, personally, I’d chose the lower one. But, the upper one only takes 10 minutes, so if you can, allow time for both. If you’ve got a moment, I’ll explain the two routes below starting with the upper route first.

Ceunant Mawr Waterfall route

Ceunant Mawr Waterfall Route

The Upper Route

The upper route is to the top view of the Ceunant Mawr Waterfall and is the easiest walking as it is a paved road. Follow the road uphill until the point where it is closest to the railway line and you will see a kissing gate.

Ceunant Mawr Waterfall

Ceunant Mawr Waterfall – Upper Viewing Point

This gate leads directly over the Snowdon Railway to a small viewing area. Above is a view of the gate from the viewing point. Also, it’s worth noting there is no barrier between you and the railway line. So, if you have small children with you, keep an eye on them.

And the view itself;

Ceunant Mawr Waterfall

Top of the falls – Ceunant Mawr Waterfall

The Lower Route

The Lower Route to Ceunant Mawr Waterfall is a bit more complicated with an un-signposted footpath to take. But, I’m here to help! Check out the photos below.

Ceunant Mawr Waterfall
View of the footpath on the left as you go uphill
View of the footpath on the right as you go downhill

Above, you can see the footpath you are looking for.

Follow the footpath under the railway bridge and turn right at the river. Then, after admiring the stream, follow the path up the hill.

Ceunant Mawr Waterfall

Ceunant Mawr Waterfall

Follow the path next to the river on the right of the above photo. It leads up a charming little valley to the lower view of the falls.

Ceunant Mawr Waterfall path

Ceunant Mawr Waterfall Path

Then you will come to a little pool that the waterfall empties into. We were the only ones there for the whole hour we visited! And this was in the school holidays in July!

Ceunant Mawr Waterfall Lower Route

Ceunant Mawr Waterfall Lower Route

You can get really close to the water and as you would expect the rocks are slippery so just be a bit wary of them.

Ceunant Mawr Waterfall – Conclusions

I had a bit of a struggle to find a list of good waterfalls in Wales. I was searching for a few waterfalls to see while I was in Snowdonia, so that was the genesis of this series of articles on Waterfalls in Wales. Also, who doesn’t like a good waterfall?

The Ceunant Mawr Waterfall is one of the best waterfalls in my opinion! But, I haven’t seen them all yet, but I’m going to try!

The photography in this article and, specifically, the blurring of water is done with a tripod and a slow shutter speed. For the guide click on How to Blur Water.

Ceunant Mawr Waterfall

Disclaimer: In short, some of the links on this site are affiliate links. These means that if you click on the link and buy the item, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. The money helps go towards the upkeep of the site – so it’s a win-win for both of us! Any videos used on this site if not my own, are, of course, used within Youtube’s sharing guidelines.

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The Ship Inn Tresaith https://eccentricenglishman.com/the-ship-inn-tresaith/ https://eccentricenglishman.com/the-ship-inn-tresaith/#respond Fri, 09 Aug 2019 17:46:26 +0000 https://eccentricenglishman.com/?p=9886 The Ship Inn Tresaith The great thing about this pub is the view. I’ve stayed all over the world but this has something unique about it! This was one of [...]

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The Ship Inn Tresaith

The great thing about this pub is the view. I’ve stayed all over the world but this has something unique about it! This was one of the only times you hear the waves as you lay in bed and you can actually look out over the beach to the sea. And that was actually my Google search: “pub with rooms overlooking the sea in Wales”. It was the second time we stayed here. The first time being about five years ago. On my Internet search this time it once again only returned the Ship Inn Tresaith. But I was happy to come back here. If you want to book, click here.

Key Info

📍How to get to the The Ship Inn Tresaith – Click on the Map link for Google Maps directions from where you are
💲Cost – Average Priced Traditional Pub Food with a couple of nice surprises.  🔗The Ship Inn Tresaith
🕘 Food Times

Mon – Thurs // 12:00 – 15:00, 17:30 – 22:00

 

Fri – Sun // 12:00 – 22:00

As usual on these reviews, we were not paid to do it, we paid for our own food and drink out of our own pockets and the staff had no idea we were reviewing! Therefore, I feel our review is exactly as you would experience when visiting the pub.

The Ship Inn Tresaith

The Ship Inn Tresaith

The pub itself is pretty much right on the edge of the beach. But raised slightly above the beach, it makes for some fantastic views! Parking can be tricky but as we found when we arrived we could park in the ‘keep clear’ bay and because we were staying at the pub the landlord could find us if he needed access. Then when things quietened down we managed to put the car into a designated parking spot, of which there are only a few.

Tresaith Beach

Tresaith Beach – The Ship Inn Tresaith

Rooms

The rooms we found to be great. I don’t know about you but I never spend a great deal of time in the room when I’m on holiday. Okay, I might spend 10 hours a day in the room but for eight of those, I’ve got my eyes closed.

Rooms - The Ship Inn Tresaith

Rooms – The Ship Inn Tresaith

As you can see by the photos, the rooms are decorated in contemporary style with all that you could wish for. Including cushions! Now, don’t get me started on cushions! It’s a typical blokey thing, but cushions on the bed are unnecessary. Yes, they do make it look nice but I’m very much a function over form kind of chap. How many cushions does one man need? I would argue that one is more than enough!

But as I say, they did look nice.

However, what you will notice in the pictures, is the fantastic view out of the windows!

Balcony View - The Ship Inn Tresaith

Balcony View – The Ship Inn Tresaith

There was a small balcony in our room which gave us amazing views of the sea. It would appear all of the rooms had a sea view but I think it would be worth specifying when booking that you are after a room with a balcony.

Bathroom The Ship Inn Tresaith
Bathroom - The Ship Inn Tresaith

The bathroom was more than acceptable and the shower had good pressure behind the water. It was clean and we had everything we needed.

sea view - The Ship Inn Tresaith

Sea view – The Ship Inn Tresaith

And yes, it’s a West facing beach. That means you get to see the sunsets! Whether sitting on the deck outside the pub, on the beach or indeed even in your room you can watch the sunset.

Food

The portion sizes were fine. They were not massive, thankfully. I’ve stayed at some places where the portion sizes are humongous! And I always feel obliged to clear my plate. But here I could clear my plate and still actually walk afterwards!

Food The Ship Inn Tresaith

Food The Ship Inn Tresaith

If you have an allergy do tell them. I did but I still got tomato on my plate. I watched the waiter write it down so it must have been some kind of communication breakdown in the kitchen. So perhaps, it might be worth emphasising it in the nicest way possible.

Sea view restaraunt - The Ship Inn Tresaith

Sea View restaurant – The Ship Inn Tresaith

There are several areas to dine in inside The Ship Inn Tresaith. The conservatory area which has wonderful sea views, I noticed filled up very quickly. Of course, it would! With a view like that, a nice dinner inside you and a glass or two of wine we spent quite a while sitting there trying to keep an eye out for the local dolphins. Yeah I know, dolphins! Unfortunately, we didn’t see any, but it did keep us amused trying to spot them.

Tables - The Ship Inn Tresaith
Inside The Ship Inn Tresaith

The pub is very family orientated. So there were children all about. However, if you think this will be a problem for you, you could always eat later in the evening as they disappeared pretty quickly as time got on.

Breakfast Included

As we were staying at the Inn, breakfast was included in the price. I always look for that because, as usual on these adventures, I went through Booking.com to make the reservations at The Ship Inn. In the morning there were several choices for breakfast and I went for a standard full English, once again sans tomato. It was a fairly long wait for breakfast, about 25 minutes. Whether there were kitchen problems on the day I was staying I don’t know so I can’t say whether this is typical. But, when it did arrive it was a perfectly fine breakfast.

Tresaith Beach Waterfall

Tresaith Beach Waterfall

But the beach was the thing I was here for mainly. I spent an excellent evening on the beach watching the sunset taking some photographs. A few of which I have distributed throughout this blog. I love taking photos of sunsets. And with the rocks in the water and a slow shutter speed I was able to make the sea look almost misty. If you’re interested in photography and how to achieve these shots check out my Photography Tutorials. There is a Sunset Tutorial and also there is a Blurring Water Tutorial which is ‘slightly’ relevant to the photographs I have taken here.

Tresaith Beach
Tresaith Beach

And yes, as you can see by the photograph, there is actually a waterfall on the beach! It’s almost like a natural shower after you’ve been swimming. When you’re on the beach walk to the right, climb over a few rocks at the base of the cliff and you’ll see it.

Where?

Ship Inn Tresaith - Google Maps

Ship Inn Tresaith – Google Maps – Click on the map for directions

Tresaith,
Cardigan,
Ceredigion,
SA43 2JL

Zoom in for The Ship Inn Tresaith



Booking.com

 

 

The Ship Inn Tresaith

Disclaimer: In short, some of the links on this site are affiliate links. These means that if you click on the link and buy the item, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. The money helps go towards the upkeep of the site – so it’s a win-win for both of us! Any videos used on this site if not my own, are, of course, used within Youtube’s sharing guidelines.

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Things to see in Catania https://eccentricenglishman.com/things-to-see-in-catania/ https://eccentricenglishman.com/things-to-see-in-catania/#respond Fri, 26 Jul 2019 16:00:11 +0000 https://eccentricenglishman.com/?p=9401 Things to see in Catania While Catania in Sicily isn’t bursting with things to do, there are a few good things to see in Catania. Fish Market The favourite of [...]

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Things to see in Catania

While Catania in Sicily isn’t bursting with things to do, there are a few good things to see in Catania.

Fish Market

Fish market - Things to see in Catania

Fish market – Things to see in Catania

The favourite of my things to see in Catania was the Fish Market (Google Map link). Running from Monday to Saturday, it was bursting with life which is more that can be said for its wares! The sheer volume and noise of this place is great. Like Italian traffic, it was busy, loud and chaotic. There are some places to grab a coffee around the fish market but personally, somewhere with a bit clearer air would be my preference!

Next to the fish market, heading to the piazza, is a fountain worthy of attention. The Fontana dell’ Amenano. The water from it runs under the piazza.

Things to see in Catania

The Fontana dell’ Amenano – Things to do in Catania

And that leads us nicely into;

Architecture – The Piazza Duomo

1.Palace of the Elephants

There is some good architecture to see in Catania, for example, the Town Hall, also known as the Palace of the Elephants.

Yes, elephants…

things to see in catania

Things to see in Catania – The Piazza Duomo 

You’re probably wondering why elephants? Yeah, I was too! This is the reason, and I promise I’m not making this up!

Around the time of the Iron Age, a tribe of Sicels, Sicily’s original inhabitants, founded Katana. The name morphed into Catania over time. While trying to build their town, the Sicels were being attacked by other tribes and lots of wild animals. But happily, the animals and other tribes were chased off by a pack of friendly elephants which allowed them to build their town in peace!

Things to see in Catania (4)

Things to do in Catania – Palazzo degli Elefanti

I should say that archaeological evidence is ‘unclear’ about this. For unclear, probably read untrue. It’s a mad and fantastic boast! And brilliantly novel! I think they’d be a lot fewer wars if everybody had Guard Elephants. I’m guessing a ton of enraged pachyderm running towards you is a good deterrent!

2. Palace of Chierici

Located on the south side of the Piazza, the Palace of Chierici also known as the Clerks’ seminary is connected to the cathedral via an overpass. Also, on the balcony of the building is where Mussolini addressed the crowds back in 1937.

Things to see in Catania panorama

Things to see in Catania panorama

3. Fontana dell ’Elefante 

The Fountain of the Elephant, built in 1736, has, you guessed it, an elephant on it. The elephant is made from lava stone, thanks to Mount Etna. Improbably, it has an Egyptian obelisk growing out the top of it! It was designed by Giovanni Battista Vaccarini and has had several revamps over the years. I’m guessing to try and make it even madder than it is! After all, what does every elephant statue need? An obelisk growing out of its back!

Fontana dell ’Elefante - Things to see in Catania

Fontana dell ’Elefante – Things to see in Catania

4. Catania Cathedral

Originally built in the latter half of the 11th Century on the site of an old Roman Baths it had the look of a fortified church. But in 1169 it was almost entirely destroyed by an earthquake. I haven’t been able to find out whether it was an earthquake caused by Mount Etna or a herd of stampeding elephants. You decide…

Cathedral Things to see in Catania

Cathedral Sant’ Agata – Things to see in Catania

Anyway, like Swamp Castle, it was rebuilt but suffered a bad fire. And in 1693 the earthquake struck again, (Etna or Jumbo and his mates) demolishing it once more. But it was once again rebuilt in 1711 and that’s the version of the building you see today.

Moving away from the Piazza, there are some other things to see in Catania.

Roman Theatre and Odeon

Also, there is the Odeon and the Roman theatre, which I couldn’t get into. The Theatre seemed to have an event going on with people taking roses into it. It’s only because I followed some people that I found the entrance, otherwise, I wouldn’t have found it! Is this a time I should raise signage in the city?

Odeon - Things to see in Catania

Odeon – Things to see in Catania

Or whether the fact that even amongst all these historical riches, they are not a big deal for the people of Catania? They’re just tripping over the stuff there, so perhaps it is more of an inconvenience than anything else. There is so much of the stuff that they are probably bringing home Greek and Roman artefacts on the bottom of their shoes each night!

The wife is probably complaining;

” Argghh no, look at the mess you’ve bought in Marco! 15 roman tiles and a Grecian Urn! Now I’ve got to clear all that up! I’ll just pile it up next to the bust of Plato and the aqueduct that got caught in your trousers last week..”

It’s brilliantly mental! I couldn’t find a way to get into half the stuff! The Odeon bit I saw through the fence. And that was after walking around it several times and using Google street view! It’s almost like the whole of Catania has got that mafia mentality, “you ain’t seen nothing”! 

Roman Theatre and Odeon - things to do in Catania

Roman Theatre and Odeon – things to do in Catania

C’mon Catania, a few signposts wouldn’t hurt!

I did ask someone where the entrance was but they didn’t know. Perhaps the mafia had got to them too? It would have been easier to nail jelly to the ceiling!

The Harbour

Things to see in Catania (5)

Things to see in Catania

A pleasant diversion for things to do in Catania is the harbour. With its mix of old-time fishing boats and new trade. Also, it’s a place to grab a coffee too!

Harbour - Things to do in Catania

Harbour – Things to do in Catania

I just fancied doing a black and white image, it’s not an old photo, this is what it looks like today.

The Streets

Things to see in Catania (3)

Things to see in Catania (3)

Overall, the pavement café culture is excellent, as you would expect from southern Europe.  There is a relaxed vibe of course. Or, of course, a normal vibe, if you’re from this neck of the woods.

For me it’s a town to relax in, it’s not the prettiest, (try Taormina up the road for chocolate box houses) but Catania does have a charm and honesty of its own in some areas. And it has some wonderful architecture, some of which you can only see from a distance!

things to see in Catania

Things to see in Catania – The Fish Market

Further Afield

1.Mount Etna

A visit to Mount Etna is perfectly possible on the bus. Providing you are up early. There is only one bus a day and if you miss it, that is it! Unless of course, you can find an elephant to take you. For bus journey timetables and cost see my Bus from Catania to Etna. Also, see my Visit to Mount Etna as to what to do while you are there.

Visit to Mount Etna

2.Taormina

For the full info on Taormina click Things to do in Taormina. The beauty of the town is one of its most appealing features. Perching on a hill overlooking the Ionian Sea, your first must-see is the Greek Theatre. The Greeks settled here in 735 BC and Taormina was their first colony in Italy. The theatre was probably built in the third century BC and later rebuilt by the Romans in the 2nd century AD. Firstly, the best time to visit Taormina is spring and autumn as in the summer the town is packed. I came on the bus from Catania – a fairly easy trip with no changes. See my Bus from Catania to Taormina for where, when and how.

Things to do in Taormina

Catania Conclusions

Catania left me with a feeling that there was more to be explored and I didn’t see as much as I would have liked. The tight-lipped Sicilian family would have been proud of the town.

There is a lot of great food to be had in many of the restaurants but if you are not a fan of Italian Food, see Steak House Catania, for a great European steak experience.

STEAK hOUSE cATANIA

But what do I know?

I was only there for 4 days! Probably as many days as you’ll be there. And I spent 2 of them at Etna and Taormina So, I can say with my limited knowledge, it’s great for a BA Tier Point run and a couple of days of seeing the sights but you might struggle to fill a week.  BA’s current schedule leaves early from Gatwick and returns late at night. Ideal times to maximize your hours in the place.

I found it tricky to find good information about things to see in Catania but GPS my city was really helpful for a walking route.

Things to see in Catania

Disclaimer: In short, some of the links on this site are affiliate links. These means that if you click on the link and buy the item, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. The money helps go towards the upkeep of the site – so it’s a win-win for both of us! Any videos used on this site if not my own, are, of course, used within Youtube’s sharing guidelines.

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How to do Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC https://eccentricenglishman.com/how-to-do-focus-stacking-in-photoshop-cc/ https://eccentricenglishman.com/how-to-do-focus-stacking-in-photoshop-cc/#respond Thu, 18 Jul 2019 11:40:03 +0000 https://eccentricenglishman.com/?p=8812 How to do Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC What is focus stacking in photography?     Focus stacking in Photoshop CC is a technique that can make your photos pin-sharp from [...]

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How to do Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

What is focus stacking in photography?    

Focus stacking in Photoshop CC is a technique that can make your photos pin-sharp from back to front. It’s done by combining a group of photos into one image. What you need is a DSLR, a tripod and of course Photoshop. I’ve created a video to accompany this tutorial below.

 

Why would I use focus stacking in Photoshop CC?

If you want to get the whole of the image sharp, front to back and the image will become blurry if you use too low a shutter speed then focus stacking in Photoshop cc is the answer.

Taking the photos

Find the scene you want to take a picture of. Set up the tripod take photos of the scene with different focusing points. Then, focus at the front of the picture and take a photo, in the middle of the picture and take a photo, and at the back of the picture and take a photo.

Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

Taking the Photos – Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

If it’s a photo with lots of detail you might want to take a couple more in the mid-front of the scene and at the mid-back of the scene. How many photos you need is kind of based on experience but if in doubt go for more rather than less. I take anywhere between three and nine photos to get it all pin sharp.

Of course to prevent blurring take your photos at the fastest possible shutter speed. In the video that accompanies this how to focus stack article, you can see that I’ve used ISO 100 and F-stop 3.5 which gave me a shutter speed of 1/250 of a second.

Shutterspeed - Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

Shutter speed – Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

Top tip

I use my camera on the tripod with a two-second self-timer. That way all the vibration of me pressing the button has stopped before the photo is taken.

Import into the computer

When I take a series of photos to be combined what I do is put my hand in the photo at the start of the sequence and the end of the sequence as can be seen in the screenshot. That way, when it comes to importing photos into Photoshop I know exactly where the sequence starts and ends.

Sequence - Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

Sequence – Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

Highlight all the photos you want to import. If you don’t know how, click on the first photo hold down the shift key, and then click on the last photo that will highlight all the photos in between.

Import into Photoshop.

Open photoshop and go to file-scripts- “load files into stack”.

Loading photos - Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

Loading photos – Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

The box will pop up entitled ‘load layers.’

Click on the browse button and navigate to your photo sequence is.

And it’s just a case clicking on the first one, pressing and holding shift, clicking on the last one and pressing ok.

This will put all the files in the load layers box. While in the load layers box towards the bottom tick the box that says ‘attempt to automatically align source images’.

Automatically align layers - Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

Automatically align layers – Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

Then press ok.

This can take quite a bit of time depending on the number of photos you have and the speed of your computer.

Once photoshop has finished importing the images it will put them in the layers box on the right-hand side.

import as layers - Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

Import as layers – Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

Auto-Blend Layers

Then it’s just a case of highlighting all the images in the layers box then go to edit-auto blend layers.

The auto blend layers box will appear. Also, tick the box for seamless tones and colours and tick the box for “Content-Aware fill transparent areas”. Then press ok.

Auto Blend layers - Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

Auto-Blend layers – Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

This will take a little bit of time but the result will give you a merged image in the layers box on the right.

You’ll be able to see which photos have made up the specific image is next for your individual photos you’ll see a black and white image of which bits photoshop is used to make up the image which is left behind.

Layers - Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

Layers – Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

You may well have to crop your image slightly if there is been minute movement in the photos. You know this if photoshop as per the white line anywhere on the merged image. But that’s just a case of pulling down the crop box and when you happy with the result click on the tick on the toolbar.

Crop Tool - Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

Crop Tool – Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

Now is just a case of saving your image in your preferred file format whether that be a JPEG or PNG or whatever.

Save the file in the best possible quality.

There, all done. We can leave it there. But Personally, I open my finished image in Lightroom and apply any filters I wish to and then do a bit more work on the sharpening.

Lightroom

In the sharpening box on the right-hand side, I move the amount slider to the middle then pressing and holding the alt key, I slide the masking tool with the mouse.

Lightroom - Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

Lightroom – Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

You’ll see the image go black-and-white on the screen. As you move the masking you notice the image get darker. What that means is anything in white will be sharpened in anything black will be left the same depending on the amount of sharpness or whether you just want the edges sharp depending on your subject adjust this to suit your taste.

Then when I am happy with the masking tool I’ll bump the sharpness amount up just to make those white areas as sharp as possible.

The Final Result – Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

And that’s pretty much it! As you can see below, the photos not great. After all, you can see the tripod and camera shadow in the picture but hopefully, I’ll give you an idea of how to focus stack in Photoshop you can do your own images.

how to focus stack in photoshop cc

How to Focus Stack in Photoshop CC

The video which accompanies this tutorial is on Youtube will give you a visual representation of the process involved. And, if you want to subscribe to my YouTube channel, you get notifications of new videos. There’s a subscribe link at the end of the video.

Happy focus stacking!

 

Below is a list of my most popular tutorials on photography.

How to do Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

How to do Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC Tutorial

Disclaimer: In short, some of the links on this site are affiliate links. These means that if you click on the link and buy the item, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. The money helps go towards the upkeep of the site – so it’s a win-win for both of us! Any videos used on this site if not my own, are, of course, used within Youtube’s sharing guidelines.

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Things to do in Taormina https://eccentricenglishman.com/things-to-do-in-taormina/ https://eccentricenglishman.com/things-to-do-in-taormina/#respond Fri, 12 Jul 2019 08:00:45 +0000 https://eccentricenglishman.com/?p=9399 Things to do in Taormina When looking for Things to do in Taormina, the beauty of the town is one of its most striking features. Perching on a hill overlooking [...]

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Things to do in Taormina

When looking for Things to do in Taormina, the beauty of the town is one of its most striking features. Perching on a hill overlooking the Ionian Sea, its main feature is the Greek Theatre. The Greeks settled here in 735 BC and Taormina was their first colony in Italy. The theatre here is probably one of the most famous Greek theatres in the world and, a must see! Firstly, the best time to visit Taormina is spring and autumn as in the summer the town is packed. I came on the bus from Catania – a fairly easy trip with no changes. See my Bus from Catania to Taormina for where, when and how.

Things to do in Taormina - Greek Theatre

Things to do in Taormina – Greek Theatre

History

When reading the history of Taormina or Tauromenion as it was known then, it’s like a Who’s Who of Greek and Roman history. After the Greeks and Romans finished with it it had a period of relative peace, with only the occasional volcanic eruption. Then, the Arabs invaded in 962 A.D. and their rule lasted until 1078 A.D. when it was captured by the Normans. After the fall of the Normans, the French crown controlled the island. In the 17th century, the Spanish had a go at looking after the place.

Rather than build city walls, I think it would have been easier for the Sicilians to install some sort of revolving door to let the invaders in and out!

It's all Greek to me - Things to do in Taormina

It’s all Greek to me – Things to do in Taormina

So, Sicily has been invaded by most people over the years the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs, the Normans, the Spanish, the French, basically everybody and their dog has invaded Sicily at one point or another. What it does make for is some varied and surprising architecture. Indeed, you can even see a few Moorish influences if you look carefully.

Arch - Things to do in Taormina

Arch – Things to do in Taormina

In the late 19th and early 20th century, the town became an intellectual paradise for all sorts of artists and writers including DH Lawrence, Oscar Wilde, Frederick Nietzsche, who wrote thus spake Zarathustra here, and Richard Wagner. Also, Truman Capote stayed here for a year in the 50s.

The British writer Daphne Phelps lived here and had such distinguished guests staying with her as Bertrand Russell, Roald Dahl, Henry Faulkner and Tennessee Williams to name a few.

The Theatre

The Greek theatre, Teatro Greco, is built, for the most part, of brick and therefore probably Roman date although the ground plan is of Greek layout. This suggests that theatre was rebuilt by the Romans on the older Greek theatre. It has a diameter of just over a hundred metres. Occasionally the town uses it for theatrical and operatic performances. Also, it’s the second largest in Sicily, after the one in Syracuse.

Things to do in Taormina - Greek Theatre

Things to do in Taormina – Greek Theatre

Set up high on the cliff, the theatre’s fantastic views of the surrounding area. Also, the backdrop behind the stage is amazing, it’s the majestic Mount Etna. In the far left on the above photo is Etna.

The Town

The town of Taormina is perched on the cliff for obvious defensive reasons. The Duomo in the town dates from the 13th century and was built on the ruins of a church. It was also rebuilt in the 15th 16th and 18th centuries. (Yeah, that’s Etna 45 minutes drive away, you can blame her for some of the rebuildings). And has quite a military appearance rather than a religious one with crenellations on the top.

The view from Piazza IX Aprile - Things to do in Taormina

The view from Piazza IX Aprile – Things to do in Taormina

Of course, the shops are geared to tourists. The main shopping street looks like it is immaculately dressed and pressed each morning. There are many, many restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops that it left me wondering exactly where the locals actually shop! You could buy medieval masks, pottery, T-shirts and puppets but you’d struggle to buy loo rolls. Also, the side streets off the main Corso Umberto are well worth an explore. Almost ‘chocolate box’ like in their appearance, if you enjoy a good alley, you’ll be very happy.

Alleys - Things to do in Taormina
Alleys - Things to do in Taormina

Below next to the tower in the picture is the Chiesa di San Giuseppe (Church of Saint Joseph). It’s a historic Baroque church built at the end of the 1600s.

Piazza IX Aprile - Things to do in Taormina

Piazza IX Aprile – Things to do in Taormina

The Beach

To get down to the beach you can use the cable car which runs every 15 minutes and the price for a one-way trip is three euros. You can take the stairs down to the beach but it may make you puff! Because Taormina is built on the side of a cliff there are a lot of stairs down to the beach.

The Beach - Things to do in Taormina

The Beach – Things to do in Taormina

Places to Eat

There are lots of places to eat in the old town ranging in budgets. However, I opted for cheap eats at the Eni cafe, which is an old garage, just out of town near the bus station. It costs €8 for a main meal. It was pretty basic fries and chicken, there were mixed herbs over the food for taste, but for the money, it was fine. Also, a delightful chilled red house wine. Slightly peppery with salt on the lips so guessing it was local.

Lunch - Things to do in Taormina

Lunch – Things to do in Taormina

Was it the best meal I could have had? Of course, not by a long way! But it filled a hole and in my opinion, was slightly nicer and definitely cheaper than 20 nuggets at McDonald’s for €9.10.  Total cost was €25 for a main meal, 3 large glasses of red and 2 bottles of water.

Things to do in Taormina – Conclusions

Taormina itself has a busy but relaxed vibe. It’s immaculately clean, well dressed with architecture and has fantastic little cafes nestled in side streets. Indeed, it’s everything you’d want for a short visit.

But spare a thought for the residents. When wandering along the High Street you can buy any amount of tourist tat but you would be hard pushed to buy your groceries!

things to do in Taormina

Things to do in Taormina

How to get there from Catania

I got the bus from Catania to Taormina for the full how to.

Things to do in Taormina

Things to do in Taormina

Disclaimer: In short, some of the links on this site are affiliate links. These means that if you click on the link and buy the item, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Indeed, the money helps go towards the upkeep of the site – so it’s a win-win for both of us! Any videos used on this site if not my own, are, of course, used within Youtube’s sharing guidelines.

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Chequers Inn Rowhook https://eccentricenglishman.com/chequers-inn-rowhook/ https://eccentricenglishman.com/chequers-inn-rowhook/#respond Thu, 04 Jul 2019 19:53:49 +0000 https://eccentricenglishman.com/?p=9659 Chequers Inn Rowhook The Chequers Inn Rowhook, just off the A29 south of Ockley, has some fabulous history and some great food. Even, allegedly, a couple of ghosts knocking about [...]

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Chequers Inn Rowhook

The Chequers Inn Rowhook, just off the A29 south of Ockley, has some fabulous history and some great food. Even, allegedly, a couple of ghosts knocking about the place? The Chequers Inn Rowhook is a quiet out of the way rural pub with a reputation for great food! It’s a fab addition to my Historic Pubs of Sussex list.

Key Info

📍How to get to the Chequers Inn Rowhook – Click on the Map link for GoogleMaps directions from where you are
💲Cost – Higher End à la Carte and also Mid Price good Traditional Pub Food.  🔗Chequers Inn Website
🕘Mon – Thur: 12pm – 2pm / 7pm – 9pm     Fri – Sat: 12pm – 2.30pm / 7pm – 9.30pm
Sun: 12pm – 3pm

As usual on these reviews, we were not paid to do it, we paid for our own food and drink out of our own pockets and the staff had no idea we were reviewing! Therefore, I feel our review is exactly as you would experience when visiting the pub.

 Chequers Inn Rowhook

Chequers Inn Rowhook

What’s in a name?

The origin of the name Chequers has a few possibilities. A possible connection between the rare Chequers or Wild Serbis tree, a native forest tree bearing edible berries from which a drink can be brewed. Some believe the Wild Serbis tree has something to do with it because its bark resembles a Chequer Board. Allegedly, The Egyptians used the Chequerboard sign – the sign of Osiris, one of their many gods, to denote a Bar/Pub/Tavern. Then, taken up by the Romans, a Chequered sign was displayed outside the bar, even if the pub was called The Happy Weasel!

And speaking of weasels, this pub couldn’t be more charming if it was a weasel wearing a smoking jacket and a cravat with a cigarette holder saying ‘How do you do?’ in a Noel Coward voice. It just oozes age and character from every beam!

Bar - Chequers Inn Rowhook

Bar – Chequers Inn Rowhook

This was taken from Wikipedia Pub Names

‘Checkers or Chequers: often derived from the coat of arms of a local landowner, Chequy, this name and sign originated in ancient Rome when a chequerboard indicated that a bar also provided banking services. The checked board was used as an aid to counting and is the origin of the word exchequer. The last pub to use the older, now American spelling of checker was in Baldock, Hertfordshire, but this closed circa 1990; all pubs now use the modern “q” spelling’

The Chequers Inn rowhook

The Chequers Inn Rowhook

Food at the Chequers Inn Rowhook

To be sure, the Chequers Inn Rowhook is not the cheapest place to go. As an example, Tam, my long-suffering ‘other half’, went for their burger, which was £10.95 with an additional £1.50 for cheese and £3.50 for chips. The burger came with a salad. With chips on the side at £3.50, Tam expected chunky or triple cooked chips over these, which were fries with the skin on. Now, this isn’t a complaint, it’s just something to be aware of. Because Tam reckoned that this was one of the best burgers she had tasted in a long while!

Food Chequers Inn Rowhook
 
Now to be fair to the pub, it does say the bottom of the menu to tell them if you have an allergy. I didn’t. This was based on the fact that in onion gravy I wasn’t expecting tomato. However, when it turned up with the gravy it was suspiciously red, I did enquire and then find out that there was tomato in the gravy.
 
Food Chequers Inn Rowhook

Happy it’s the latter

Now, it’s my opinion that tomato in anything is either there for two reasons. It’s to bulk it out and flavour something that doesn’t have much flavour or, and I believe this was the case here at the Chequers Inn Rowhook, that the chef thought it would add a twist to the gravy.

Menu - The Chequers Inn Rowhook
Menu - The Chequers Inn Rowhook

Once we had established there was tomato in it, the waitress and the kitchen staff happily supplied the sausage and mash without the gravy and even did a side of the caramelised onions for me. You can’t help some small problems, but the way the pub deals with them is often very telling. And, the Chequers Inn Rowhook was absolutely brilliant in the way they handled everything. I doff my hat to them! 🎩 As long-time readers will know, this year I am eating sausage and mash at all the pubs I review to compare equally between them.

Also, the homemade sausages were amazing!

And, they were homemade! I wanted to buy some to take home!

 Layout Table - Chequers Inn Rowhook

Layout Table – Chequers Inn Rowhook

Inside the Chequers Rowhook

Above, you can see the layout table by the window. This is not layout in the sense of laying out knives and forks, this is in the sense of laying out the dead! In the old days, the building had a number of uses from a bakery, town hall and butchery. And that butchery is in the sense of food. Not the fact that they were butchering dead people here! This was also a mortuary, hence why layout means laying out the dead. but let me stress that was in the past!

Happily, there were no corpses on our table while we were eating our lunch! I don’t know about you but I find it very inconvenient to have to lean over dead bodies to get the salt and pepper!

This is what I look for in historic pubs in Sussex, these fabulous little nuggets of information that bring the pub to life!

Chequers Inn Rowhook

Chequers Inn Rowhook

The building itself dates back to the 15th century and in the 16th century, it was registered as a blacksmiths shop, gardens and orchards. During the 19th century, the building had a dual role as a baker’s shop in a pub. In the 20th century, a village hall was built onto the side of the pub because let’s face it, the pub is the heart of the community!

The Chequers Inn Rowhook

Village Hall Restaurant – The Chequers Inn Rowhook

Today however the village hall is used as a bright contemporary restaurant for the pub adding the contrast from the beamed rooms of the old building. The cabinet, that can be seen below is apparently made from the wood of the Chequers Tree.

 
Wood from the Chequers Inn Rowhook

Wood from the Chequers Inn Rowhook

Beer Garden

Outside is a courtyard eating area was done in a contemporary style with some tables in the sunshine and others under shaded umbrellas. We started off in the sunshine but soon went under one of the umbrellas as it was a scorching day.

Beer Garden Chequers Inn Rowhook

Beer Garden Chequers Inn Rowhook

Additionally, past the courtyard garden to the back is a massive beer garden. With picnic tables, a barbecue and a fenced off garden where the pub grow some of its own produce. I could see a huge sage plant among others I couldn’t identify.

Chequers Inn Rowhook garden

Chequers Inn Rowhook garden

Would you like fresh ingredients? Yeah, the Chequers Inn Rowhook has got that covered!

Chequers Inn Rowhook

What I called the Chefs garden – Chequers Inn Rowhook

Where – Chequers Inn Rowhook

The Chequers Inn Rowhook is situated just off the A29, south of Ockley and to the east of Rudgwick. Also, it’s extremely close to the Sussex – Surrey border. Click on the map below Google maps directions

Chequers Inn Rowhook Map

Chequers Inn Rowhook Map

All prices correct as of June 2019

Booking is usually essential!

For the rest of my Historic Pubs of Sussex list, see below

Chequers Inn Rowhook

The Star Inn Rusper

The Pump House Brighton

Fox Inn Rudgwick

The Black Rabbit – Arundel

Shepherd And Dog – Fulking

The Swan – Fittleworth

The White Hart – Stopham

The Duke of Cumberland Arms – Henley

If you are looking for Historic Pubs in Surrey, click here.

Disclaimer: In short, some of the links on this site are affiliate links. These means that if you click on the link and buy the item, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. The money, of course, helps go towards the upkeep of the site – so it’s a win-win for both of us! Any videos used on this site if not my own, are, of course, used within Youtube’s sharing guidelines.

The Chequers Inn Rowhook

The Chequers Inn Rowhook

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Bus from Catania to Taormina https://eccentricenglishman.com/bus-from-catania-to-taormina/ https://eccentricenglishman.com/bus-from-catania-to-taormina/#respond Fri, 28 Jun 2019 09:00:01 +0000 https://eccentricenglishman.com/?p=9368 How to get the Bus from Catania to Taormina How to get the Bus from Catania to Taormina is not as easy as it might first appear. Italy is famous [...]

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How to get the Bus from Catania to Taormina

How to get the Bus from Catania to Taormina is not as easy as it might first appear. Italy is famous for its wine and food but infamous for its public transport system, and rightly so! Included in these words is, where to get the tickets, where to get the bus and the departure times too! Indeed, all the maps are clickable and take you to Google maps.

Ticket Price – €9.80

Where ticket office is
Where bus pick up is in catania

Firstly, buy your ticket at the Interbus ticket office on Via D’Amico. Then walk to the bus station. Of course, it’s not the bus station outside the ticket office. No, that would be too easy!

As shown on the map below, out of the ticket office and turn right. Go up to end of the road. Turn left, cross the road, then up the side street 20 metres to entrance. 

bus from catania to Taormina

Route from Ticket Office to Bus Station – bus from Catania to Taormina

I found it at stand number 10, check the front to make sure it says, Taormina. The busses seemed to go every half hour. But, this is the Italian Public Transport system at work here so they may be early or late. With a certain amount of chaos thrown in…

Sit on the drivers’ side of the bus for Mount Etna views. The other side gives some good views of the sea later on in the journey. There are a few pick up stops en route but not many. Bus back seems to be, roughly, every 45 minutes past the hour.

Click here if you need the bus from Catania to Etna.

The Long Version

where to but your ticket - Bus from Catania to Taormina

Where to but your ticket – Bus from Catania to Taormina

On the way, there are some great views of Etna and its fertile slopes from the drivers’ side of the bus. And they really are fertile slopes. They really do live up to their name. There are several good vineyards on them and Etna wines have there own classification Doc Etna.

Bus from Catania to Taormina small

Bus from Catania to Taormina – Greek Theatre with Etna in the background

The bus back is at .45 past the hour. When returning, go to the bus station where you were dropped off at least 15 mins before. The bus was parked up and it wasn’t until the sign lit up on the front saying Catania, that I knew which bus to get.

Bus from Catania to Taormina (2)

Views Of Mount Etna – Bus from Catania to Taormina

The journey back is routine but be aware, you are dropped off outside the bus depot on your return, not inside!

Bus from Catania to Taormina

Bus from Catania to Taormina

So, forewarned is forearmed. With this information, it should take some of the hassles out of getting the bus from Catania to Taormina. Of course, you’ll still have to deal with the chaotic Italian transport system! I hate to bang on about a stereotype but, c’ mon Sicily, you don’t help yourself!

Bus from Catania to Taormina

Bus from Catania to Taormina

Disclaimer: In short, some of the links on this site are affiliate links. These means that if you click on the link and buy the item, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. The money helps go towards the upkeep of the site – so it’s a win-win for both of us! Any videos used on this site if not my own, are, of course, used within Youtube’s sharing guidelines.

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Tulum Ruins https://eccentricenglishman.com/tulum-ruins/ https://eccentricenglishman.com/tulum-ruins/#respond Fri, 21 Jun 2019 08:00:18 +0000 https://eccentricenglishman.com/?p=9271 Tulum Ruins For things to do in Tulum, the Mayan Tulum ruins take some beating. Being a bit of a history geek, I can honestly say it was my favourite [...]

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Tulum Ruins

For things to do in Tulum, the Mayan Tulum ruins take some beating. Being a bit of a history geek, I can honestly say it was my favourite thing to do in Tulum!

Tulum Ruins

Key Info

📍How to get there – Map
💲70 Pesos about 4 USD
🕘8am – 5pm. 🔗Wiki Website

As you arrive at Tulum Ruins, just keep walking past all the hawkers, purveyors of tat and people offering guided tours and head down the long road to the proper entrance. We queued for only about 3 minutes to buy our tickets and then we were in. In other words, it is not worth paying to skip the queues.

tulum ruins map

Tulum ruins map

If you are not feeling like walking, there is also a ‘train’. It’s a sort of covered vehicle/train/lorry thing running from the top of the road to the bottom to the proper entrance and vice versa.

They do offer official guided tours at the entrance so there is no need to get one at the top of the road. The official guides are all by the entrance and can offer a guided tour in various languages. I heard French, English, Italian, Portuguese and German mentioned. Of course, there may be others.

Follow the paths to the Tulum Ruins

Follow the paths to the Tulum Ruins

Once inside just follow the paths to come out in these amazing Tulum Ruins.

It was pleasing to see the site all laid out and clear of jungle growth. (In contrast, I’d recommend the Mayan Coba Ruins, too. These are in the forest and some have not even been excavated yet. And possibly, the only pyramid you can still climb.)

Tulum Ruins

Tulum Ruins

Laid out like this it gives a good appreciation of just how big these sites can be. Coba is still hidden in the jungle so it’s nice to get a comparison. The down side of that is that it is hot, real hot. A hat is a must! A warm jumper isn’t! If it looks like rain take an umbrella rather than a waterproof coat / pack-a-mac thing. Also the ‘brolly’ can be used as a parasol or sunshade too.

The beach area is accessible from steps down by the cliffs. Take your swimming stuff if you want to swim! I imagine its a great way to cool off.

Beach area Tulum Ruins

Beach Area Tulum Ruins

 I say imagine as it was full of seaweed when I was there. It might be a time of year thing? As I have seen pictures of it looking lovely. I was there in April so perhaps some months are better than others?

Turtle Beach Tulum Ruins

Turtle Beach Tulum Ruins

Where the beach is at the same level as the land there is no access. This is because of turtles. And yay turtles! If you want to swim with freshwater ones, head up to Gran Cenote! There are two species of Saltwater turtle that breed on the beach at Tulum, the Loggerhead and the White Turtle. These turtles always return to the same place to lay their eggs and happily a portion of the beach is kept clear for them.

Mayan Tulum Ruins History

Tulum was an important trading port with about 1600 inhabitants, it is thought. They were involved with a trading network that extended from central Mexico to Honduras in the south. Tulum was seen as an important centre that bridged land and sea trade. Land trade came from the network of Mayan Built roads that were prevalent in the area. Tulum was also trading with the likes of Chichen Itza.

Tulum ruins - They used canoes to trade

Tulum ruins – They used canoes to trade

This was all done in canoes. They hugged the coast as they were not true ocean-going boats, but the upside of this is that smaller boats allowed them to get up rivers. Cotton, honey, salt, obsidian blades, jade ornaments, and those amazing feather capes were all trade goods. Strangely, even though they knew of the existence of the wheel, the Mayans never used it. It is thought all goods were moved about at night when it was cooler.

Because you would, wouldn’t you?

Tulum Ruins

Tulum Ruins

Tulum Geography

The ground on which the Tulum Ruins stand is very young in geological terms. Just 2 million years old. It is an old sea floor that has risen up forming the Yucatan peninsula and is made of limestone. As limestone dissolves in water, that is why there are all the cenotes and underground river systems that honeycomb this area.

If you get a chance to walk along a beach or an exposed patch of rock, chances are you’ll see some fossils in the rock. We were staying at the Sian Ka’an and the beach rocks on the peninsula there were covered in them!

Buildings At Tulum Mayan Ruins

Buildings At Tulum Mayan Ruins

The Buildings at the Tulum Ruins

The architectural style of the houses is known as, unsurprisingly, east coast style. Some of the buildings still show a touch of red paint. This is left over from the many murals that the Mayans used to decorate their buildings with.

Tulum Ruins - A slight touch of red on this building at the top

Tulum Ruins – A slight touch of red on this building at the top

The Tulum Mayans were reliant on the sea, not just for food but also raw materials for making tools and ritual objects.

What happened to the Mayans and the Tulum Ruins

Tulum was contemporary to Chichen Itza although its decline started, no surprises for guessing, when the Spanish pitched up. Either they were killed by diseases the Spanish bought with them or they were assimilated into the settlers’ culture.

Tulum Ruins

Tulum Ruins

There were many cute critters there, including an Iguana who appeared to be wearing lipstick!

I’m not going to mock his make-up choices though, because I thought he looked fabulous!

Tulum Ruins Iguana
Tulum ruins

5 Top tips for visiting Tulum Ruins

  • Pay in Pesos
  • Bring swimming stuff if you want to swim on the beach
  • Take plenty of water and a hat is a must
  • Ignore all the hawkers at the top of the road
  • For a quieter time get there at 8 am or 3 pm

How to get to Tulum Ruins

Tulum Ruins Map

Tulum Ruins Map

If you haven’t got a car then collectivos are the answer. These are little minibuses which ply the roads. Flag one down by the side of the road and negotiate the price.

We got there by taxi from our hotel the adults-only all-inclusive Sian Ka’an and then took a collectivo into Tulum. Cancun to Tulum is about 130km that’s about 1 hour 50 Minutes in a car.

If you are looking to cool off after the heat of the ruins, I can suggest two Cenotes which offer great snorkelling near Tulum. Gran Cenote and Car Wash Cenote. They make up 2 of my 3 best Cenotes in the Tulum Area.

Tulum Ruins

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