How do you ease your mind while self-isolating? Life in quarantine.

If somebody had told me one month ago I would be writing a blog post with this title, I would probably have advised this person to go to a psychiatric hospital. Yet, however surreal it sounds, we’ve all been told to quarantine to prevent the spread of the killer disease COVID-19. We’re staying in our four walls, watching distressing news, feeling anxious about our health, and uncertain about the future. That’s why it’s important to ease our minds by doing simple and enjoyable activities and making use of the one walk or exercise a day as advised by the government. In this blog post, I’ll describe the quarantine routines that bring me a feeling of normality and happiness, and I hope someone will benefit from it.

Spring flowers in Bournemouth
A photo of roses and their petals taken while walking around my neighbourhood.

First of all, join support groups in your area on social media

Think about how you can help others and ask for it when in need. I wanted to register as an NHS volunteer, but their website says they’ve had enough applications (750,000!) and are not recruiting new volunteers. I still keep checking, though. Instead, you can join the Covid-19 Community Support Facebook group in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. It will make you feel part of the wider community, where you can ask for recommendations and help, and assist others.

Prepare delicious breakfasts

Waking up with the thought of eating a heavenly breakfast while drinking your favourite coffee is one of those little things that will make you look forward to mornings. It will prevent you from sleeping too long and you’ll be more likely to stick to your morning routine. I’ve almost never skipped breakfast and consider it the most important meal to fuel me with energy for the rest of the day. Now, with some more time on my hands in the mornings, I try to make our breakfast look like a work of art – apart from being nutritious, it should look good. Believe me, beautifully presented food will make you and your family smile and you don’t need a special occasion to do that.

Porridge bowl with coconut milk
Porridge bowl. I’ve recently been obsessed with making oats using different kinds of plant milk and ingredients. Head to my Instagram account to see the recipe for the porridge above.

Take photos of blooming trees and flowers and have some fresh flowers at home in a vase

Whenever you go out for a walk to your local parks or gardens, take some photos or videos of the spring which is currently emerging everywhere. Daffodils, magnolias, tulips, and cherry blossoms are around your corner. That way you’ll at least be able to look at photos of nature when you need it. I’ve also been making sure that we always have some fresh flowers at home. You can obviously buy flowers in the supermarket, but cutting them freshly from the wilderness is just slightly more magical.

Magnolia
Magnolia looks stunning in spring.
daffodils
Cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms look amazing in a vase but unfortunately only for two days. They lose their petals very quickly.

Explore your neighbourhood, local gardens and parks

We’re advised to avoid using cars to drive to the areas we loved visiting before the coronavirus outbreak. Unfortunately, in my case it means I need to forget about my favourite New Forest and the Jurassic Coast for the foreseeable future, and can only remind myself of these stunning sights by visiting my old blog posts (here and here). There is a positive to this restriction though! It means we’re creating less fumes, making the air clean, and we’re encouraged to explore the local area, which I personally never did before. After a short stroll around my neighborhood, I realised I live in a beautiful area with interestingly designed houses. Do you know your neighbourhood well?

Queens Park in Bournemouth
Our local park – Queen’s Park

At the moment we live close to Queen’s Park, which is very spacious and you can easily keep the required two-metre distance from others. Remember that going for a walk is also enjoyable at night and it’s less likely you’ll meet other people. As horrible as it sounds, we should be avoiding walking next to people who are not from our household…

As always, I encourage everyone to walk through the Central and Upper Gardens in Bournemouth, where I used to live (blog posts about the Gardens here and here), but I probably should not go right now as it’s too far.

Other obvious pastimes

Exercise and yoga – exercise will keep you fit and give you a dopamine boost, and yoga will calm your stressed mind! Instagram accounts that will motivate you include @kayla_itsines, a fitness guru from Australia who uploads short free videos to work on your abs, upper and lower body, which you can do without any equipment. You can also download her app, which is free for one month. There’s also @selfit1 – a local personal trainer (my trainer before the quarantine), who gives some free training on Zoom. Another local beauty is @jenniferkesik – a very positive, Bournemouth-based yoga teacher who gives free online lessons on Zoom!

Exercising at home
I try to exercise every other day (I’m not always motivated though!). Here I am doing a plank for one minute which is always a struggle! It’s perfect for strengthening your body core. He’s got his heavy bar bells; I have my light dumbbell. I also drink a berry smoothie with protein powder after exercising – cheers!

Watch Netflix (hello Captain Obvious!) – I recommend two crime series, called The Stranger and Safe, which are based on Harlan Coben’s books.

Learn something new! To learn a new language, download Duolingo, and for other courses check udemy.com, Google Digital Garage or HubSpot Academy. I am studying Content Marketing at the moment with HubSpot Academy, which is helping me to develop my blogging skills.

Learning is always more enjoyable with some mouthwatering dessert and coffee.

CALL/VIDEO CALL YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS to let them know you are okay and to ask about their health – I’ve capitalised this sentence because it’s one of the most important things these days, especially if you are far away from your loved ones.

The most important thing while being self isolated or quarantined is to change our negative thoughts into the positive ones. You’re not ‘trapped’ in your house, but ‘safe and protected’. It’s a war against an invisible enemy, but not a real war and no bombs bombard your roof. God bless the Internet and being able to connect with the world, friends and family. When there was the Spanish Flu pandemic in the 1920s, people did not have this privilege. So focus on the little enjoyable activities and try to look at the bright side of all the aspects of how our lives look now.

What are your ways of coping with the current situation? Stay safe x

Pure Wellness in Bournemouth – Review of the Wellness Score Report

A little while ago, I went to the Pure Wellness centre to get ‘Wellness Score’ and report which is an assessment and analysis of your body composition, neuro-spinal health, functional fitness and nutrition, and many many other parameters regarding how your body functions. I really valued the whole experience and I would encourage everyone to do it and find out the details of your health!

Pure Wellness in Bournemouth
Pure wellness assessment in progress…

If, after reading this blog post, you’d like to do the same, you can use the code Magda39 to get your Wellness Score, a record of findings and two adjustments by the chiropractor for just £39 instead of £180. It’s really worth doing! Here’s why.

Pure Wellness in Bournemouth
The knowledgeable Dr Rebecca from Pure Wellness in Bournemouth.
Pure Wellness in Bournemouth
Pure Wellness in Bournemouth
My posture was assessed with professional equipment.

After undergoing all these detailed assessments, I recently got all the results and they turned out to be a bit worrying, but definitely fixable. The results are very detailed and Dr Rebecca was explaining them for about 30 minutes!

Pure Wellness in Bournemouth
Understanding the results of all the assessments was possible with the professional knowledge of Dr Rebecca.

My biggest problem is lack of core strength and flexibility and not enough muscle mass percentage. I basically know now what my partner has been telling me for a long time – I need to gain more muscle. I’ve already started a diet which contains more protein, and I’m also ready for some more gym sessions. I need to gain 6kg (about a stone) in muscle, which is not the same as fat obviously!

Pure Wellness in Bournemouth

I also know from the scans where the tension in my back is, so Dr Rebecca knows where to make some adjustments.

Pure Wellness in Bournemouth
The bed where the chiropractor’s adjustments take place.

When it comes to my mental health, I’m in a ‘fight or flight’ mode and my stress level is high…so I definitely need to relax a bit more in my busy lifestyle. Who doesn’t in these hectic times? I recently started yoga sessions, so hopefully that will help!

Yoga sessions can help if you feel too stressed…

I am very happy that I had the opportunity to do the Wellness Score report, because I was convinced that I was super healthy, but this detailed report made me aware that there are issues in my body that should and can be fixed. Remember that taking care of your health is the biggest investment you can make.

So if you want to take care of your or your relatives’ health in a professional way, remember you can use my code Magda39 to get a discount on the Wellness Score and adjustments. I’ll describe the adjustments in my next blog post. The whole experience is totally worth it!

Pure Wellness in Bournemouth
Adjustments at Pure Wellness in Bournemouth

Would you be interested in doing a similar wellness report?

AD-REVIEW – I was gifted the experience at Pure Wellness, but words in this article are my own and according to my opinions.

Après ski. Food you should try after skiing in Châtel, France – Portes du Soleil.

In my previous blog post, which you can find here, I wrote about my first skiing experience in the charming village of Chatél, located in the French part of the skiing resort Portes du Soleil. Eating local food is part of a concept called aprés ski (‘after skiing’), and trying some traditional dishes like raclette or fondue in charming restaurants is simply a must. With the photos below I’ll prove why. Warning! The pictures are not suitable for vegans… prepare yourself for some cheese porn!

I feel like the picture above is so inappropriate that it shouldn’t be shown to those under-age 😉 Do you know the name of this dish? Keep reading to find out.

Believe me, your body will scream to eat or drink something warm and comforting after skiing for the whole day. The best thing is that you’re allowed to eat calorie-rich dishes without any feelings of guilt! Why? Because you know you’ve burnt calories while skiing on the slopes and need to refill your fuel for the next day. Let’s start with a description of Fondue Savoyarde aux Morilles, which is a pot of melted cheese into which you dip some accompanying ingredients.

Cheese Fondue with charcutrie, Chatél in France
Fondue Savoyarde aux Morilles.

The fondue is served with charcutrie (cold cuts of local meat) and some pieces of bread. Digging these ingredients into the melted cheese is almost like a sexual pleasure. Our fondue was made of three different kinds of cheese and mushrooms. If you want to make a similar fondue at home, you can find the recipe here. It tasted divine.

Cheese Fondue with charcutrie, Chatél in France

The next delectable dish you cannot miss after skiing is raclette – which was traditionally the name of a cheese, but is now also used to refer to a dish which originated in Savoie, a region of the Alps between the borders of France, Italy and Switzerland.

Raclette

Raclette consists of cheese which is melted underneath a special electric grill and scraped down onto boiled potatoes, cured ham and pickled gherkins. The most exciting part of trying this dish in a restaurant is that you look at the boiling cheese turning brownish and crispy under the electric fire and scrape it yourself onto the potatoes and ham – it can only be described as an orgasmic experience! I recommend eating both Raclette and Fondue at Cafe/Restaurant called Zeph.

Crème brûlée – probably known to everyone as a rich, creamy vanilla dessert with a caramelized layer of sugar on top which appears after being burnt.

Crème brûlée

Our crème brûlée was on fire for a very long time, which was very pleasant to watch, as you can see in the video below.

Even though Crêpe bretonne did not originate in the area where I was staying, it’s a popular dish in many crêperies – places where you can eat a variety of savoury or sweet French crêpes. It’s made of wheat or buckwheat flour and plenty of butter for a rich, buttery flavour. Mine was simple: with cinnamon sugar and almond flakes.

Crêpe bretonne
Crêpe bretonne.

Don’t forget to fuel yourself with some heartwarming drinks while skiing on the slopes. We had some tea, hot chocolate or mulled wine with citruses after skiing.

Hot chocolate I drank in between skiing on Chatél’s slopes.
Siney beer and mulled wine

Shops with local produce are amazing places to visit. Beautiful displays of hundreds of types of cheeses, charcuterie, honey and colourful confiture will make you want to try them all. The photos below were taken in a local shop in the area called Morzine.

Cheese heaven!
Don’t forget to visit some bakeries to try sweet patisserie and freshly baked bread.

I know it looks as if consuming all the food shown in my blog post will make you put on weight. High calorie cheeses, cured ham, crème brûlée, hot chocolate, mulled wine and crêpes do not sound like a healthy selection of food! But isn’t being on holiday and skiing a lot a great excuse to indulge yourself in all this naughtiness? Of course it is! I actually lost weight during that holiday, even though I ate cheese almost everyday. So my only advice is ‘Keep calm, ski a lot and eat whatever you want!’ Which of these dishes would you like to try the most?

Where to go skiing? Portes du Solei, France & Switzerland. A guide for beginners and others!

The area called Portes du Soleil is literally translated as ‘The Doors of the Sun,’ and it’s the second-biggest skiing location in the world. It will stun you with breathtaking mountainous landscapes, plenty of ski slopes of different levels of difficulty, charming wooden chalets and fantastic regional food. In this blog post, I’ll describe my first skiing experience – a one-week stay in the beautiful village of Chatel, which is a part of Portes du Solei, and, next week, a post about the comforting food I tried after skiing.

Chatel, France, Portes du Soleil
Beautiful chalets in Chatel.
Chatel, France, Portes du Soleil

When choosing which part of Portes du Soleil you want to stay in, you should first consider your skiing experience. If you are a beginner, you should (or even must) look for an area with green slopes. It’s advisable to take lessons with a skiing instructor, but we didn’t. Instead, we watched a video explaining basic skiing skills and practiced for an hour on a little hill.

Piste de La Bellete, green slope, Chatel, France
Piste de La Bellete – an easy green slope where I practised my skiing skills on the first and second day.

Blue pistes are for more experienced skiers (don’t trust the maps saying they are easy as some of them are not!), red ones are inclined and challenging and the black ones are for…the suicidal. Just kidding, obviously, but you must have a lot of experience to approach red or black slopes, so take it slowly and sensibly.

Skiing in Portes du Soleil
I felt comfortable on Piste de la Bellete, but it was my comfort zone and I had to try other slopes as well in order to progress!
Piste du Loup - Portes du Soleil, red piste
Piste du Loup – The Wolf – is an example of a red piste. As a beginner skier I stayed away from the red slopes!

A very important thing to remember is not to be demotivated when seeing some 6-year-old kids overtaking you or skiing on the red and black slopes. They’re normally part of skiing schools and train every weekend from November to April. You also shouldn’t think, ‘Oh, if a child is going on this slope I can do it too!’ It’s misleading, because some of these children are real skiing masters!

Portes du Soleil, France, Abondance
Looking at experts skiing down the slopes is really inspiring.
Dreamy views of the mountains and enormous pine trees.

If you’re a skiing expert, you can ski from one area of Portes du Solei to another by using gondolas (télécabines) and slopes encoded in different colours. If you look at the map below, its way of getting you from one place to another reminds me a bit the Underground map, and that’s the way you should read it.

Map of the Portes du Soleil
If you enlarge the map you’ll see a spiderweb of slopes of different colours connected to each other.
The mastermind of our skiing adventure. Ben is planning the skiing route with the map.
Despite having little experience, this guy turned out to be the Wolf of the slopes!

Ben went everywhere on his skis, but because I was scared to use the blue and red slopes to get from Chatel to Morzine, we had to take our car to get to the green slopes in Super-Morzine, which took 45 minutes.

We didn’t regret taking the car, as the views were spectacular.

Chatel is appropriate for beginners with its green slope La Bellete, however it’s not the best one to start with because it’s quite narrow and curvy. If I were to choose again, as a beginner, I would have gone to a town called Morzine for a full week. The slopes in Super-Morzine (check the map) are wide, and I think I gained a lot of confidence there which is the key to improving your skiing skills. The video below shows a beautiful part of Super-Morzine

The views from the gondola in Super-Morzine.
 Morzine- Avoriaz with beautiful views
A short break for some hot tea in Morzine-Avoriaz with beautiful views.

I felt so confident on Morzine’s slopes that I finally took to the blue pistes and eventually got to the Swiss part!

 the French-Swiss border. Pointes des Mossettes.
It was extremely windy on the French-Swiss border. Pointes des Mossettes.
Proclou piste
Always look where you’re going and make sure you choose the right colour of slopes!

It’s apparently a pattern when you start skiing that one day you feel that you can conquer any green or blue slopes and the day after you think you’re like a starter again. This theory proved right in my case. Remember you’ll also experience tiredness and muscle stiffness after a few days of skiing which doesn’t help to see the improvement. Prepare yourself for some bruises!

My face, full of doubt when I wasn’t sure if I could manage skiing down the blue slopes. Fortunately, that day was my day and I did it!
Remember to take some time to admire the breathtaking views and inhale the tranquility of the mountains.”Les Crosets” in 🇨🇭
The view of ‘Les Dents du Midi’ translated as the Teeth of the South, in Switzerland.

Skiing Equipment

If you don’t have your own equipment, skis, shoes and poles can be rented on the spot at special shops. The staff will help you to choose the appropriate ones for your weight and height. Our skis, shoes and poles were included in the price of a self catering apartment and tele-ski tickets. The tickets Ben bought for us allowed us to use all the slopes in Portes du Solei, but you can choose a smaller area which will be cheaper. Check the booking options here.

Portes du Soleil, Chatel
In front of the restaurant on one of the slopes where you can warm up by drinking mulled wine, tea or eat some comforting food.

Other gear can be bought in Decathlon in the skiing section. I would suggest the following: a helmet, gloves, skiing trousers, and special blouses that keep you warm. Don’t forget about suncream protection, as the sun can be very strong on the top of the mountains, and lip balm – your lips get super dry on the slopes!

Portes du Soleil, Super Morzine
Lying on the sunbeds with these views is dreamy!

I hope my blog post explained what’s important to consider when going skiing for the first time. Portes du Solei was a real ‘Door to the Sun’ for us with one week of full sunshine and soft snow on the pistes, and despite some bruises, feeling of doubts, and tears, I am really grateful for the experience. My next blog post will explain everything about so-called apres-ski – things you can do after skiing – but I will mainly focus on traditional dishes. Stay tuned for mouthwatering photos of Fondue, Raclette and others! 

The village of Abondance
Admiring the village of Abondance in the evening.
Beautifully lit chalets.
Have you ever been skiing? What was your first experience?

What to visit and eat in Sicily

Sicily enchanted us with its hospitable people, natural beauty, architecture, and fantastic food. In this blog post, I’ll suggest a couple of places which are worth visiting and the food you should try if you go to the eastern side of this beautiful Italian island. To be honest, when I look at the content of this blog post, there are more photos of food than anything else, but this is what I like most about travelling – eating traditional and local food! There’s one important thing you need to remember in order to enjoy Sicily – you need to rent a car!

We landed in Catania, one of the biggest cities in Sicily, so we decided to spend two nights there. Unfortunately, the city did not make a good impression on me. Apart from having an apartment with a view of Etna, trying very good food at Al Gabbiano 2, and experiencing the buzzing night life, I will remember Catania as loud, crowded, and full of graffiti and dirty streets. I spent only one day there so my opinion may be unfair, but I would avoid spending too much time in this city. If you are interested in its architecture and sights, visit this website.

The view of Catania from our apartment and the Etna volcano in the background
Pasta with anchovies, bread crumbs and small grapes…I know, a surprising combination, but very tasty

Not far from Catania (about 45 minutes away) there is a picturesque seaside town called Taormina – click the link to see ten things you can do there. Its beautiful pebbly beach, the Issola Bella island in the middle of the sea, and the spectacular views you can admire from the top of Taormina’s hill will impress even the most demanding tourists.

The pebbly beach at Isolla Bella in Taormina. Beautiful, but walking into the sea is a bit painful…I had a few scratches on my feet!
Isolla Bella in Taormina - translated as a Beautiful Island
Isolla Bella in Taormina – translated as ‘Beautiful Island’
Arancini
Arancini is deep-fried rice stuffed with different fillings like mozzarella or ragu sauce

While walking around the centre of Taormina, you’ll experience lively music performances, an abundance of little trattorias with authentic Sicilian food, and posh boutiques. Taormina definitely deserves the title of the ‘Sicilian Saint-Tropez’! We ate a seafood platter at Osteria da Rita and we highly recommend it!

A seafood platter at Osteria da Rita
A seafood platter with tuna, shrimps and mussels at Osteria da Rita

If you like peacefulness and tranquility and want to avoid crowds, I’d suggest renting out a room at a farmhouse called Pantanelli Di Vendicari. It’s located near to the touristic town of Noto, but far away from its crowds. If you stay at this charming guesthouse, you’ll eat delicious food made from their home-grown produce (aubergines, peppers, almonds etc.), hear crickets in the evening, birds in the morning and simply be far away from noise of everyday life.

Pantanelli Di Vendicari.
These rosemary bushes smelt amazing!
Bruschetta – grilled bread with tomatoes and olive oil. A classic Italian starter – it tasted heavenly!

The farmhouse is located close to the Vendicari Natural Reserve which is a great place to walk around and admire its wildlife. The sea there is crystal clear and the wilderness of the place will release you from the everyday busy-ness of your life.

The beach at Vendicari Natural Reserve
The beach at Vendicari Natural Reserve
the ruins of the ancient tonnara
The ruins of the ancient Tonnara, part of the Natural Reserve

Ten minutes away from the farmhouse, there is the fishing village of Marzamemi, where you should definitely spend a couple of hours. You’ll love its cute little restaurants in the square and the harbour. Be careful though – if you want to buy lunch or dinner in the square, be prepared to empty your whole pocket and still feel hungry. The seafood we had at the restaurant Principino was delicious and fresh but the portions were not generous and the prices high.

Marzamemi, a beautiful fishing village
Gnocchi with seafood
Gnocchi with seafood and ricotta cheese. Tasted heavenly…and expensive!

The beaches in San Lorenzo (the town very close to our farmhouse) are simply stunning. The beach was empty, probably because it was late September so off-peak season, and we felt as if the beach was just for us. Don’t forget your snorkeling equipment as the crystal clear water will allow you to see plenty of sea life.

San Lorenzo beach and its crystal clear water
The beach in San Lorenzo and its crystal-clear water

If you are a history and architecture lover, take a trip to Noto – a town which will stun you with its beautiful baroque-style architecture. It’s know as the ‘Stone Garden’ and in the pictures below you’ll see why.

Noto
Noto, Sicily
The buildings in Noto have a characteristic creamy colour. How monumental does this building looks compared to little me?
Noto, baroque town in Sicily
A beautiful combination of beige and green can be seen all over Noto

On your way back to Catania’s airport, stop at Syracuse. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to visit the historical centre, but we managed to pop in to the Ortygia market, where charismatic fishermen sell fresh seafood and other Sicilian delicacies.

Tuna, Ortygia Market, Syracuse
I had never seen a whole sword fish before. It’s actually massive!
Fish at Ortgia Market, Syracuse
Fish at the Ortgia Market, Syracuse
Spices at Ortgia Market, Syracuse
I mean, just look at the colours of those spices…
Olives at the Ortygia Market

I hope my blog post about what to visit on the eastern side of Sicily will encourage you to visit some of the places and try some of the dishes I have included in this article. Below I will write some pieces of advice you may find useful when going to Sicily:

  • If you plan to rent a car, take your credit card with you. The rental companies do not accept debit cards to take a deposit and you’ll end up paying a lot of money for insurance.
  • Be extremely careful while driving – some Sicilian drivers don’t respect any road rules!
  • Avoid renting out accommodation in busy places like Catania. It’s better to search for so-called ‘Agroturismo’ run by families. It’s more relaxing to stay there and they will feed you with local food at a much cheaper price than in the centre of touristic towns.
  • Don’t be surprised to see the sides of streets and motorways full of rubbish bags. It is apparently a consequence of new recycling requirements which some Sicilian people are not used to following. They prefer to leave their bags on the motorways!

A quick reminder of what Sicilian food you should try:

  • Pasta Siciliana (pasta with almond pesto which is so creamy and delicious)
  • Pasta alla Norma (pasta with grilled aubergines, tomatoes and grated ricotta cheese)
  • Local wine (any type really; it is delicious) and Messina beer
  • Cannoli (an Italian dessert with pistachio or ricotta filling)
  • Arancini (fried rice covered with breadcrumbs, most commonly with a mozarella or ragu filling)
  • Seafood (especially tuna)
  • Bruschetta
  • Gelato (I recommend almond flavour)

Sicilian ceramic Moorish heads- the story behind the head here
A very common sight at Sicilian shops with souvenirs – ceramic Moorish heads. The story behind the heads can be read here

Which is the best town to visit in Lake Garda, Italy?

Lake Garda and its surrounding villages were some of the places we had the pleasure to visit on our recent holiday to Italy. If I could quickly summarise what we were doing there, I would say that we ate tons of gelato and were simply living La Dolce Vita, all while enjoying the sunshine. In this blog post, you’ll see photos from Bardolino and Sermione – adorable places located near to the biggest lake in Italy – Lago di Garda.

Sirmione, Lake Garda. Italy.
It’s hard to believe it’s a lake, not the sea, with its turquoise water.

Lake Garda is a popular holiday destination in the northern part of Italy mainly because of the picturesque scenery (the lake is surrounded by mountains), lovely cafés and restaurants, and also the possibility of using the lake for water sports. Most of the tourists are from Germany and Switzerland and German is the language which I mostly heard on the streets. If you are going to the east side of Lake Garda, I recommend going to Bardolino and the ancient fortified town of Sirmione. Obviously I cannot be an expert, as I haven’t visited all the towns around Lake Garda, but these two are really worth visiting!

Coulourful boats in Bardolino, Lake Garda, Italy
The colourful harbour and boats in Bardolino, Lake Garda, Italy. The yellow boat is callled Maddalena which is similar to my name. I wish I could have a boat with my name on it in Bournemouth!
How would you name your boat if you had one?
Traditional Italian Gelato. Italian ice cream. Lake Garda, Italy
Traditional Italian gelato is the ultimate winner. Pistachio is one of my favourite flavours.
Italian ice cream. Lake Garda, Italy.
Unfortunately I don’t remember the flavour of these two scoops, but I remember they were mouthwatering!

Bardolino was the first town we visited. It has a wine museum and winery where you can see the history of wine-making by the Zeni family. They’ve been running the business for a century! There is also a free wine-tasting opportunity and the possibility to buy some home-made wine or prosecco. Zeni family members who work there can professionally advise you on what type of wine will suit your taste buds.

You can also visit the Zeni’s basement, which contains hundreds of barrels of wine and beautiful paintings. The mysterious atmosphere of the place will transport you into another world. You can also eat some Italian antipasti there while drinking wine from the family’s collection.

Bardolino, wine museum. Zeni's family.
Walking amongst barrels of wine.
Bardolino, wine museum. Zeni's family.
Speechless about this set-up!

Let’s move to Sirmione, the second town we visited, which is located on the south side of Lake Garda. It has two major historical landmarks: the remains of a Roman villa from the 1st century – the Grottoes of Catullus – and a medieval port fortification – Scagilero Castle – from the 13th century. I do not want to include too many historical details about these places, so if you wish to read more about them just click on the links to find out more. But I hope my photos below will give you an impression of how beautiful Sirmione is.

Lake Garda, Sirmione. Italy
The turquoise water simply tempts you to dive in…
Sirmione, Lake Garda. Italy
If you search for some information about Sirmione on the internet, a picture of this house always pops up…it is simply very photogenic.
Sirmione, Lake Garda. Italy. Italian gelato.
I ate tons of gelato! This was mango and raspberry flavour to refresh myself from the heat.
Isn’t it great how we can capture moments that happen in nature within milliseconds on a camera?
Sirmione, Lake Garda. Italy
A swan, turquoise water and a happy me 🙂
Sirmione, Lake Garda. Italy.
One of the restaurants with the views of the Lake. Beautiful in its simplicity .
This dog was watching passersby from a window which looks a bit like a prison…he looks so sad but sweet at the same time.
Handmade Italian dishes. I really regret that I didn’t buy one for pizza!
Sirmione, Lake Garda. Italy

The map below shows how big Lake Garda is. You have a large choice when deciding where to stay! I am sure each town is unique and can offer something different, but one thing they will always have in common is the beautiful lake and surrounding mountains which will leave you speechless and tranquil. I suggest visiting Bardolino and Sirmione, but I am sure you won’t regret going to any of these places.

Lake Garda's map

What to visit in Cornwall? Part 2: Port Issac and St. Ives

In my previous post about Cornwall, which you can find here, I described what to do in Padstow. This post will be devoted to a small fishing village called Port Issac and a beautiful town with turquoise water – St. Ives.

We spent only a couple of hours in Port Issac, so I cannot pretend to be an expert in what to do or visit there. But believe me, just a short period of time in this adorable place was enough to make me fall in love with it. Coastal views, tiny alleys, family-run shops and the omnipresent nautical atmosphere – what’s not to love there? Well, just be careful if you’re planning to drive through the alleyways. They’re so narrow, your car will barely fit!

Low tide in Port Issac's Harbour
Low tide in Port Issac’s harbour.
Port Issac
‘Port Isaac Harbour was a busy coastal port from the Middle Ages to the mid 19th century. Cargoes like stone, coal, timber and pottery were loaded and unloaded there.’ Source here.

One thing I will always clearly remember from Port Issac is the Cream Tea, which I can honestly say was the best one I have ever eaten. The freshly baked scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, served with tea and milk, tasted just heavenly!

Which should go first on the scones – jam or clotted cream? The Queen puts clotted cream on first, but Cornish people eat it with strawberry jam as the first topping. Rebellious souls!
The Krab Pot is a family run café where we had the delicious scones. Unfortunately, I did not try their crab sandwiches, but I assume they are delicious. It’s got excellent reviews on TripAdvisor and a big yes from me as well!
The names of some of the cottages in Port Issac are very marine. Would you like your house to be called Little Dolphins?

As I said before, we spent only a little time in the peaceful and quiet Port Issac, so I would now like to move on to St. Ives. Its atmosphere is completely different to Port Issac – it’s more lively and touristic, offering a variety of attractions like boat trips to Seal Island (which we sadly did not have time for) and contemporary art galleries like the Tate Modern. St. Ives will enchant you with its turquoise water, lovely harbour and tiny houses with cute nautical names like in Port Issac.

turquoise water in St Ives
Views from the harbour in St. Ives. What a colour!

We had a lovely stroll around St. Ives, had a close encounter with some angry seagulls, ate a big, home made, traditional Cornish Pasty (which was made in front of our eyes!) and I also finally tasted lobster for the first time in my life!

When we bought ice cream, the lady who sold them warned us to be careful of the seagulls, which are known for being little thieves. Looking at this one, one may think it wants to do some harm…
St Ives. A man preparing cornish pasties in front of the customers.
St. Ives. A baker preparing Cornish pasties in front of the customers.
An amazing restaurant with views of the harbour – Porthminster Kitchen. We ordered a full lobster and ate half each. It was the first one I’d ever had, so I was a bit worried about its flavour. You can see my full-of-doubts facial expression below…
To eat or not to eat? I ate it and I liked it. I wanted to try it, but I think it was the last time. Not because I didn’t like the taste, but knowing how long it takes for a lobster to grow to this size (approx. 5 years) and reading about these amazing animals at the Lobster Hatchery in Padstow made me realise we should not destroy their population by eating too many of them. Sustainability and balance is the key.

I could probably upload 100 more photos that I took in Cornwall, but as they say, less is more, and quality is always more valuable than quantity. So I will leave you with only a couple more photos to end this post.

the Harbour in St Ives
The view of the harbour in St. Ives.
St Ives Harbour - fishing boats
St. Ives harbour – fishing boats.
Beautiful beach in St Ives
St. Ives beach.

I hope I have encouraged you to visit Padstow, Port Issac and St. Ives, and I hope you’ll have more time to explore than I did. Unfortunately, one weekend was simply not enough!