2021 Travel Roundup

A year of limited travel

Our 2021 travel roundup, a year after the pandemic started we were hopeful of some travel after a disruptive 2020 and a lot of cancellations. But just as the year started the waves of the virus kept coming and with a young family and new born we were staying put.

Staying Local

Not to be disheartened and a desire for adventure 2021 become the second year of local travel. To be honest, and being relatively new to Ireland thèse opportunities to travel our own locality have actually been most enjoyable.

Staying in our own county

The first 6 months was a full lockdown here in Ireland so movement was limited but we took to Google and found some local sites within this beautiful country.

Slibth Bawn wind farm

After moving house late 2020 our location brought us to just outside Roscommon. Surrounded by hillside the only negative of the move was the dozen or so wind turbines in the background.

Although a bit of a eyesore we proceeded with the move.

Embracing the wind farm

Call it an eye sore or what you like the wind turbines were part of life now, so with that in mind embracing was our best move. So one morning we headed up as we had heard there was a walking track and stunning views up there.

Slibth Bawn wind farm

The turbines as big as they look on the hills are even bigger close up. And to be quite honest I was fascinated by the engineering involved in these.

Slibth Bawn walks

Walking tracks through the hills and wind farm are very well maintained and actually very pleasant, with great views, enchanting forest and even some religious sites to be seen.

Slibth Bawn walking tracks

Portrunny Bay

Anither visit of ours was Poŕtrunny Bay located on the South West corer of Lough Ree. Another local site less than 20 minutes from us.

Great walks and views and seems a ever popular spot for fishing and people taking sails on boats.

Portrunny Bay

Australia Catch Up

With the lockdown in place it did allow to get in front in our writing and catching up and finishing with our Australia content.

We looked T the ultimate Gold Coast guide with the Top 40 Things To Do. Continuing the Gold Coast we looked at the best restaurants, cafes and the great area of Mountain Tamborine

Restaurant Guides

Another lockdown idea was to launch a restaurant and cafe guide section reviewing some of recommendations and choices from around the world. A topic we hope to really get going in 2022 and look to open up to other people to add reviews to build a large database.

Here are a few examples below of our restaurant reviews

And some of our cafes.

Navan Back on The Road

Early summer saw us head east for a family getaway.  Navan was the base we a few local points we wanted to visit and close to Dublin.

Causey Farm

Starting off at the farm for the kids to enjoy was a necessity after the drive. Lots of the usual irish farm animals, hoats  cows,pigs and donkeys, petting and feeding for the kids.

Causey Farm

Walks around the grounds with mazes a and kids activities around every corner. A huge plot of land which has been so well executed into a fun and interactive day for the kids.

Causey Farm adventure walk

Bective Stud

We chose a stay in a active stud farm, if not by chance we got lucky as Bective Stud was amazing. The stud farm itself is new in the last few yes and even for someone who knows nothing about horses the money and facilities gone into it were impressive.

Bective Stud

The apartments were unreal the decor, cleanliness and comfort were all first class. The grounds around which are available to roam around in are so well kept and perfect to get out in the fresh air.

Bective Stud accommodation

Make a booking at Bective Stud

Hill of Tara

A late afternoon drive took us to the Hill of Tara, renowned for its ancient ceremonial and burial site and not to mention the stunning views out over the Navan countryside and beyond.

Hill of Tara view

Dublin Zoo

Dublin Zoo was next on the agenda. With the ongoing pandemic, restrictions were in place and all indoor shows and animals were a no go.

Dublin Zoo adventure

A one way system was in place which was fine, we did find a lot of empty areas not sure if this is because of the pandemic or just areas which haven’t been field. Nonetheless we had fun and the kids loved it.

Maybe check ahead before booking and see what’s available.

Make a booking via Dublin Zoo.

Westport weekend

A weekend kid free, this was more of a reconasnce mission to find out about this town we had heard so much about, restrictions were still in place but nonetheless walking, exploring, eating and drinking were on the agenda.

Knockranny House

We chose Knockranny House, close to town and a 4 star rating we thought we would treat ourselves. If truth be told although certainly not a bad hotel the Knockranny certainly needs bringing up to the 21st century. Very outdated rooms and food that is in real need of modernising.

Knockranny House Hotel

It didn’t ruin the weekend but at $300 a night there is certainly better value.

We walked the streets and impressive back streets of Westport and visited the grounds of Westport House and this was all rather picturesque place to visit.

Westport streets

This whole trip quick trip gave us some great insight for a longer trip planned for 2022, so stay tuned.

Road trip

Late October we set of on a little road trip from home in Roscommon via Galway and the off down part of Wild Atlantic way to Doolin and the Cliffs of Moher.

Doolin

We stayed in the little town of Doolin, a colourful little town, full of great traditional pubs and eateries. With access to the Cliffs of Moher walk, the Doolin pier with ferries to the Aran Islands and the Great Doolin Caves.

Doolin village

We hit the jackpot in a excellent Airbnb with beautiful views of the rugged wild west coastline. Brilliantlyexecuted and equipped stay and well worth recommending to anyone.

Airbnb Doolin

Make sure you book your Stay.

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

We got to see one of Irelands most famous features the legendary Cliffs of Moher. Albeit a challenge with two small children we found this great hack in Guerins Path a little unknown car park metres from the top of the Cliffs and half the price of the main car park.

Guerins Path

It meant we avoided the walk, although the walk itself is far better and one we wanted to do with a young family it was a perfect option.

Castles

If there is one thing Ireland has an abundance of is castles. They say around 30,000 in total. There are do many striking with many restored, but many in ruins we want to tick some off. Here is the ones we did.

Only 29,994 to go !!!

Moving into 2022

We had said an early trip to Lisbon was on the cards but due to the surge of Omicron wave and and PCR testing and quarantine we opted to delay and save for a later date.

A long awaited trip back to the UK is certainly on the cards and we keep the fingers crossed for some potential European this summer.

And then there is Ireland with the success of the family road trip, possibly trips to Donegal and down to the Ring of Kerry are high up on the list.

And that’s it for now

So that’s it for our 2021 travel roundup, hopefully this time next year we will bring you more adventures from our year. Come by and keep up to date with our Instagram and Twitter so you don’t miss a thing

Stay safe and happy travels

Richard and Michelle

Sunset Pictures From Our Travels

We have travelled to so many different and wonderful places, all having there own distinct and uniqueness about them. There is one thing we have found in all our travels no matter where we are, and that is a beautiful sunset. There is something so tranquil and relaxing about watching a sunset and capturing it in pictures.

We are going to use this page to display some of the beauties we have found so far on our journeys and upload more as we get them. So enjoy the sunset pictures collection.

Jimbaran Bali

Jimbarans Quaint Fishing Village

Jimbaran is a small fishing village just south of Kuta on the Island of Bali.

A beach front lined with the best fish restaurants who have the pick of the freshest fish direct from there front garden.

I remember feasting on fresh snapper taken only moments from sea, and occompanied by a selection of Indonesian salads and rice.

Jimbaran Bali

Sunset

The sunsets here are remarkable, I love the few remaining fishing boats in the background in the photo above, and the deep dense cloud of which was probably a a tropical storm rolling in.

Roscommon Ireland

Irelands Midwest Farmlands

Roscommon is a rural and one of the smallest counties. Known for its vast amounts of farmland, cattle and beautiful landscape.

Roscommon, Ireland

Sunset

It would only be fitting for this sunset to be across a field with cattle roaming around. Showing the beauty of the countryside.

Zambezi Zimbabwe

Zambezi River

The Zambezi River is the fourth largest river in Africa, and with a 550 kilometer stretch of it serving as a border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. One of it most popular aspects is that it links up to the wonder of the world the Victoria Falls.

Aboard the Zaambezi River

Sunset

We took a sunset cruise aboard the Ra-Ikane River cruise. Sailing down the Zambezi with a beautiful clear night and ending with the final part of the cruise docked in the middle of the river to view this sublime sunset below.

Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta is a network of tributaries in southwest Vietnam, between Ho Chi Minh City and Cambodia. The Mekong delta region encompasses a large portion of southwestern Vietnam of over 40,500 square kilometres.

Mekong Delta Vietnam

Sunset

This beautiful sunset on the mekong was breathtaking. the slow nature of the sail and the peace and quiet around from what is normally and fast and furious and overcrowded river.

Kilronan Castle

Kilronan Castle Estate

The Kilronan Castle Estate in Co Roscommon Ireland is a 40 acre piece of land on Lough Meelagh and since 2006 has been converted into a hotel and Spa.

With walkways through the castle grounds along rivers and walkways makes this area an extra special stay, or a place to visit during the day.

The lake at Kilronan Castle

Sunset

Sunsets at Kilronan fall over Lough Meelagh and the river walk is the best point to see them and as you can see in the photo the sunset is just beautiful.

Byron Bay

Byron Bay

Located in New South Wales and only 1 hour from the border of Queensland and the Gold Coast, Byron Bay is a popular and buy tourist town.

Known for its white sandy beaches, surf schools and a backpackers paradise Byrom Bay is the perfect way to unwind.

Byron Bay has Australia’s most easterly point.

Byron Bay, Australia

Sunset

Although the sun sets to the west on the east coast, Byron Bay is on a point and with this there are a few cove which look back out west like this one above.

The beautiful clear water and rainforest backdrop make this a perfect sunset.

Curio Bay New Zealand

Curio Bay

Located in the Catlins at the far south of the south island of New Zealand lies Curio Bay.

Curio Bay known for its large colony of yellow eyed penguins is a small village with breathtaking scenery.

Curio Bay
Curio Bay sunset

Sunset

In between the two adjoining bays of Curio and Purpoise Bay is where your find the best sunset view, with it seeting perfectly behind the waters edge. Add its peaceful quiet setting makes for a perfect sunset.

Finally

Thanks for taking a look at our favourite sunset pictures from around the world on our travels. These have coome from some of our favourite destinations.

Enjoy some of these locations above ? Well come by our Blog page and check out a few of our destinations we have visited. A few to mention would be

The Worst Travel Photo Fails

Our Worst Photo Fails

We live in a world where everyone is out to grab that insta worthy shot, that picture nobody else has and well, we only see the good ones of course.

Sometimes things just don’t work out to well and that snap you took, when you look back at it is just not what you expected.

I spent a few days organising photos and came across a few classics which didn’t quite work out.

We pride ourselves on not taking ourselves to serious and like a bit of a laugh so why not put our worst compilation of photos from our travels and have a giggle.

So here we go, here is a few of our travel photo fails

The Peak Hong Kong

One reason for our Hong Kong trip was to get to the Peak summit, the views over Hong Kong and the harbour i had heard about for years. We had this booked in for our last day, we figured it we be a good note to end the trip on.

Getting on the tram and mothers nature kicked in and the weather took a turn for the worse, a thick layer of fog settled in and upon arrival the only view we got was that of a grey murky cloud.

Believe it or not this was the best one we got from the trip.

Sealife In Bali

Having lunch one day in Jimbaran in Bali and being the only person in the restaurant. I got talking to the owner and was praising the freshness of the seafood i enjoyed (snapper i think) They told me they caught all there fish themselves and i was invited to jump aboard the boats to take a look.

We got out at sea and all of a sudden the amount of fish swimming around us was unreal. I snapped away and was delighted i got a shot of all these fish swimming around us. Well i thought so until i looked back over them at the hotel. It looked as if i had accidently taken a picture of the water.

The Entrance Of The Constitutional Court Johannesburg

Whilst on a trip at constitutional hill on approaching the constitutional court the call from Michelle of that door is stunning make sure you get a good photo. Out came the camera and SNAP!!

Now as doors go it was a beautiful wood carved door and was stunning, however with the excitement of going to look round the court forced me into a rushed photo, i thought i nailed but clearly as you can see i didn’t and cut the top off.

Vinh Trang Temple Vietnam

This temple was part of our trip to the Mekong Delta .When we got into the temple and was in the presence of all the monks going through pray we thought it would be a great photo opportunity.

Even though we were allowed to take photos i felt as if I shouldn’t be disturbing the monks at this time. I rather quickly whipped the camera out for a quick snap resulting in this disaster. Maybe should of walked forward 1 metre in front of the pilons.

So there we have it our worst travel photo fails.

The one that really gets me is the Peak but its just a good excuse to get back to Hong Kong again soon.

Thanks for stopping by as always

Check out our list of destinations below

Where we have visited

Who are Chalk and Cheese check find out on our about me page

About Us

Outstanding Blogger Award Nomination

Our Nomination

On a wet, windy and reasonably dull hump day I opened my lap top to find a message from one of our favourite travel bloggers Leighton from Leighton Travels . With the news he had put us forward as one of nominations for the Outstanding Blog Award.

Humbled and delighted especially in these times where writing a travel blog is particularly hard, with the world on hold. This was certainly a lift we needed.

You can read Leighon’s nomination list and post here The Outstanding Blog Award! – Leighton Travels!.

As part of the nomination we have to answer 7 of Leighton’s questions and nominate our list of nominations for the Outstanding Blogger award.

So without further ado here it is

Drum Roll!!!!

Our Questions

1: What’s the best accommodation you’ve ever stayed in? Did you have to pay an arm and a leg for it?

Now this is tough one but I think it would have to be Ilala Lodge in Victoria Falls. The hotel is the closest to the falls and the constant sound of the falls and spray in the background made you feel so relaxed.

From the moment you walk in the door it was service of the highest quality. Attention to detail was one of up most important.

The food was of highest quality, with a buffet breakfast to die for, featuring homemade granolas, cereals, fresh fruits, fresh baked pastries and a aroma wafting from the fresh barista grade coffee. At night the Palms restaurant turned into a tropical candlelit outdoor seating area with a fine dining menu to rival anywhere

The rooms were purpose built with comfort in mind. Spacious, with all your normal amenities coffee machine and tv etc. A large full 4 poster beds looking out over to the spray of the falls and balcony where you can sit and see worthogs and monkeys roaming the grounds.

And finally a bathroom which would be the size of a basic hotel room fully equipped toiletries and and his and her sinks.

Price was certainly on the higher side but for us you get what you pay for and it was certainly worth every penny.

2: What’s the worst joint you’ve ever stayed in? All the grimy details please.

I took a trip around Bali i decided to go for what they call “The Real Experience” for a week. The place was i think $2 a night.

Now to be fair it was a spacious hut but that’s where any positives ended. The bed felt to what can only be described as greasy. Liked it had been washed in dirty water. Maybe it was left out in a Balinese monsoon.

Then there was bathroom, well quite frankly reminded me of a of something you would see in a horror movie. And again the greasy feel from the water persuaded me to a quick wash of each day in a neighboring hotels pool.

3: Which of your articles holds the most special place in your heart? Why?

Anything from our South Africa and Zimbabwe trip.

This trip was a trip we had both had always wanted to do and we decided to do it for our honeymoon.

I won’t say no more but here are a few links to tantalise the taste buds over it.

Here we go Johannesburg Our First Stop

Victoria Falls Adventure – nature’s true wonder

Safari Sabi Sands South Africa

Cape Town Where Africa meets Europe

Franschhoek Wine District

4: If you could share a secluded desert island beach with just one person, dead or alive, who would it be? And why?

Now this is a good but tough one. Id say between 2. David Attenborough would be one just hear the stories and adventures he has been on.

But ultimately my choice and being a chef myself and a love for travel. I would have to say the late Anthony Bourdain.

He inspired the travel journey for me with his love food and taking that to places around the world to explore and try new and exciting things. His sense of adventure and wanting to find new avenues is exactly what Chalk and Cheese Travels is all about.

5: If you won the lottery tomorrow and could build your dream house anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I think New Zealand’s south island. We loved New Zealand its just a beautiful i could really picture a cabin on the side of the hill in Queenstown looking out onto the bay sipping on red wine. Even as i write this it puts a smile on my face.

6: What does the WordPress blogging community mean to you?

WordPress has given us the platform to share our adventures and for people to follow our journey.

The community within it is just amazing. A group of like minded people who have the same goal to deliver and produce exciting content. They continually push us to keep going even through these hard times.

7: What are your personal hopes and plans for 2021? Any blogging goals?

To make the most of whats on our doorstep. Explore what in the past we have shrugged off and make the most of local beauty while the world battles this pandemic.

I wouldn’t say we will get to much travel so a second goal would be to take the time to write more. We have past trips to places like Bali and New Zealand we have never found time to write about, so now is the time.

Here Is Our Nomination List

Rebecca Goes Rendezvous

I’ve Bean Travelling

P e d r o L

Journey-Junkies

The A to Z of Travel

For those who are up for participating, here are the Rules:

  1. Provide a link to the creator’s original award post.
  2. Answer the questions provided.
  3. Create 7 unique questions.
  4. Nominate up to 10 bloggers.
  5. Ensure that they are aware of their nomination.

Our Questions

1.What is your number one destination you have ever been to? And why?

2.What is your most useful accessory you take when travelling and couldn’t do without?

3.When travelling do you prefer a hotel stay or airbnb style holiday?

4.Who is your favourite blogger you follow and why?

5.Who inspires you the most?

6.What goals have you set yourself this year? do you feel you can achieve them

7.Do you have a set routine when planning out blog posts?

Look forward to seeing everybody’s answers. Enjoy your nominations to the Outstanding Blogger Award.

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