Devon (Ilfracombe)

Type : Provincial, Countryside, Coastal
Best Date : May – Sep
Expense : Cheap
Things to do: Fishing, Relaxing, Dining, Golf, Walking, ect
Points of Interest: Verity Statue, Hele Bay, Ilfracombe Aquarium, Ilfracombe Harbour, Hillsborough Hill, Ilfracombe Museum, Chapel of St Nicholas, Rapparee Cove ect

Brief

Ilfracombe is a small  coastal,cliff and harbour town north of Devon, south west of England, where the famous Hillsborough hill is situated and Hele bay.

The Place

Ilfracombe is a beautiful relaxing coastal town that I have visited various times. It only has few points of interests but its outstanding scenery and friendly atmosphere is a major reason to visit.

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Firstly one of Ilfracombe’s main asset is “Capstone Hill” which features centre point of Ilfracombe’s Seaview. Above the huge rock about a three to five minute walk stands a nicely placed British flag and looking back will give you a one of a kind panoramic view of the village. Anyone can walk up this hill but be aware of heights and the steep and sometimes slippery walkways.

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One for the kids is “Ilfracombe Aquarium” which is a small award winning exhibit which is located in an “Old Lifeboat House” along Ilfracombe’s harbour. The exhibit showcases around 75 different species of sea life found around the area. After the exhibit the aquarium’s café is also a popular place for tourists and locals to relax and chill through the day.

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“Ilfracombe Museum” and the “Landmark Theatre” are also popular for tourists and locals a like. Landmark theatre which hosts various events and meetings can fit around 500 seats. Its architecture is unusual consisting of what looks like two overturned buckets which is quiet popular with tourists. “Landmark theatre” replaced the “Pavilion Theatre” a Victorian building destroyed by fire in the 1980. The “Ilfracombe museum” which is located just five minutes left of the theatre is another attraction in Ilfracombe. Housing many collections from Ilfracombe’s rich history from archaeology, art and photography this place is definitely a must for every visitor.

Ilfracombe’s newest statue “Verity” is proving to be a highlight attraction for Devon, attracting plenty of customers since its completion. The 20m tall statue built using  bronze and stainless steel is a master piece by world renowned sculptor “Damien Hirst”. The statue which is a pregnant lady holding a sword proudly whilst standing on a pile of books. Half of the lady is normal whilst the other half is of her inside organs including the unborn baby. I am not too sure of the story of this statue or what is its meaning but the statue is a sight to see.

Minutes away from the statue is the “Chapel of St Nicholas” which dates back to the early 1300s. Through the years the chapel has been used as a lighthouse, laundry, reading room and a place of worship. The chapel is free but donations are also welcomed.

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Other than these points of interests the town is just a marvellous place to be in.

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Reference:

http://ilfracombeaquarium.co.uk/
https://www.parkwoodtheatres.co.uk/Landmark/Venue-Hire

Photos:

http://ilfracombeaquarium.co.uk/
https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/5121443
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Devon (Lynton & Lynmouth)

Type : Countryside, Village, Coastal
Best Date : May- Sep
Expense : Fair
Things to do : Hike, Dine, Relax
Points of Interest: Lynton cliff railway, Valley of rocks, GlenLyn Gorge, East Lyn River, Lynmouth Bay ect

Brief

Lynton and Lynmouth are two villages north of Devon in the south west of England. Lynton is situated above the cliff and Lynmouth situated below next to the coast. They are connected by a few roads but more famously a water operated cliff railway. Lynmouth is also known for the disastrous floods which happened in 1950 which killed 34 people and devastated the village for the years after.

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The Place

Lynton and Lynmouth are both popular destinations in Devon throughout the summer. I have visited this area once when I was small but recently returned (as I was already around Devon) to see it all again.

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Firstly one of the main reasons to visit Lynton or Lynmouth is the ‘Cliff Railway’ which is the highest and steepest water powered railway in the world. Opened in 1890 this is now a grade 2 listed heritage railway which is the only one in Britain and one in three around the world.  This clever piece of engineering connects both towns of Lynton and Lynmouth together, giving spectacular panoramic views. This quick 2 minute ride has a fee (always changes) of either a single or return and a daily or daily fee which I believe is for local workers. The carriage is well looked after and polished. There is a place to stand at the backend or front of the carriage whilst the middle is for sitting. The vehicle is not too quick and is not hair-raising to ride. However people afraid of heights might want to stay inside the carriage as it might be a little scary. The view though is spectacular.

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Other than the “Cliff Railway” there is no other major attractions, its natural beauty, history and country architecture make a beautiful day out. The picturesque “Lynmouth Bay” is a sight to see and worthy of a visit for a nice relaxing day. The “Valley of Rocks” which is a dry valley that runs along the coast of north Devon is brilliant for hikers and adventurers but you may encounter steep and dangerous routes.

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“Glenn Lynn Gorge” is another place which also offers adventurous walks. Brilliant exhibition about the disaster the river has caused in the year 1952 and the 1899 launch of the lifeboat Louisa. Now the rapids are used to create hydroelectric power for the village.

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Lastly there is a small museum in the centre of Lynmouth village which exhibits the disaster of 1952, an interesting little room complete with articles and videos, the exhibit is free.

Overall a day trip or a nights stay to these two villages is enough. History and natural beauty here is brilliant. A family and pet friendly location for travellers looking for a chilled relaxing time.

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Reference:

https://www.cliffrailwaylynton.co.uk/

Review: Cathay Pacific Shorthaul(HKG>MNL)

Aircraft and Flight

Cathay Pacific also use the 777-300 for their shorthaul Hong Kong to Manila routes but I also believe they use the airbus a330 and new airbus a350. However unlike their longhaul route which incorporates a 4 class cabin, their shorthaul (or this specific flight)only use a 3 class cabin as there is no first class tier or have never seen it in this specific flight.

Hong Kong to Manila is around an hour and a half in flight time.

Economy

Cathay Pacific’s shorthaul economy seat on their 777-300 is the same as that of their longhaul economy products (from what I have experienced a few times)  click here

The huge difference between Cathay Pacific’s longhaul and shorthaul is their meals which quiet understandably is reduced from 2 meals (LHR>HKG) into a quick snack bag. This small card bag contains a drink (sometimes water other times juices), a biscuit (usually Anzac cookie) and a pastry (many different flavours). The pastry in itself is very delicious and rightly warm, however although flavours of the pastry will change, if you are a frequent flyer with the airline this could get very boring. The cookie is standard and the drink inside the bag changes without a choice, the crew do not offer any other beverages and I am not too sure if you can request one either. The bag  is nice and convenient, when you are done with your snacks you can put all your rubbish inside so it can be collected later. However if you like little souvenirs this small card bag is nice to keep.

 

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Premium Economy

The premium economy seat in this route (shorthaul) is also the same product as their longhaul premium economy seat (click here).

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However the biggest surprise is that the meal or snack in this flight was exactly the same as their economy meal. The snack also included the same Anzac cookie, a drink and a pastry which all does the job for this short flight. The small bag the meal comes in is nice and for those souvenir lovers it is nice to keep, otherwise it is very convenient to use for your rubbish until it is collected.

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Other than the meals and the exclusion of a first class cabin, I didn’t see much of a difference from their longhaul flights than I have seen on other airlines. This is a good thing in opinion as it gives a seamless journey.

 

Back to Main Cathay Pacific Review.

 

Reference:

https://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Cathay_Pacific_Airways/Cathay_Pacific_Airways_Boeing_777-300ER_A.php

Photos:

Main Photo : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Arpingstone

Review: Cathay Pacific

The Airline

Cathay Pacific Hong Kong’s flag carrier and one of the members of the ‘Oneworld Alliance’. Cathay was founded in 1946 and was initially based in Shanghai however the two owners an American and Australian moved to Hong Kong where the airline was further established. It was said the that the owners though of the name ‘Cathay Pacific’ in the bar at ‘Manila Hotel’.

To date (2018) Cathay Pacific has a strong fleet of 146 made of both Airbus and Boeing aircraft.

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Brief

I often use Cathay Pacific in some of my travels to the Philippines and back, this route stops over and changes in Hong Kong International airport as it is not direct, meaning two flights are taken each way. Apart from the flight duration and meals both journeys to Hong Kong and the Philippines have similarities, both routes usually use the 777-300 with identical products and services inflight.

At the airport

Hong Kong international airport terminal 1 is Cathay Pacific’s home and main hub. It is a massive structure where arrivals is situated in the ground floor whilst departures a few floors above. The airport incorporates isle type sections in the check-in desks and Cathay Pacific uses three of them (isles A-C from my memory).

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Aircraft and Flight

Cathay Pacific is one of my most favoured airline for longhaul flights to and from Asia as it gives desirable experiences for a relatively competitive price all year round. Furthermore the airline flies from London Heathrow to Hong Kong about five times a day, whilst Hong Kong to Manila six to seven times a day  so your preference in departures, arrivals and transit times range from a multitude of choices. Moreover the airline has consistency in their products and services which is great for frequent travellers who just want confidence in their flight.

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As the two routes trips I make have a few differences ive decided to write these under two different posts please click to see:

Conclusion

Cathay Pacific is a reputable airline worthy for a frequent flyer with a medium budget who wants to fly with the confidence in his or her flight, although not highly amazing their consistency in products and service is applaudable. Cathay Pacific is not my overall favourite airline but is my preferred carrier when travelling long-haul into Asia. Their seats are comfortable and gives me everything I need to ensure maximum comfortability. Whilst the meals small they were undeniably delicious and you can taste that they didn’t go cheap in their ingredients. Furthermore their staff are friendly and do their jobs to the very best of their ability, there are no loud personal conversations whilst in front of customers.

Overall Cathay gets and has always got a thumbs up from me. A plausible airline that is affordable and brilliant in its operation.

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Back to airline list

 

Reference:

https://www.cathaypacific.com/cx/en_GB/travel-information/airport.html
https://www.cathaypacific.com/cx/en_GB/about-us.html
https://www.cathaypacific.com/cx/en_GB/about-us/about-our-airline/history.html

Photos:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/115391424@N05/albums/
https://www.flickr.com/people/130961247@N06
New Cathay Pacific livery on B-LAJ
https://www.flickr.com/photos/seabirdnz/38772727491

 

Review: Avianca

The Airline

Avianca is Columbia’s flag carrier since 1919 undeFile:Avianca Logo.svgr a different name. The airline which has a fleet of 189, routes into 26 countries throughout the American and European continent.

 

Brief

I used Avianca whilst on my South America trip in a night flight from Lima to Rio de Janeiro.

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Aircraft and Flight

My flight from Lima to Rio De Janiero used a small Airbus A319 in a 3-3 configuration. The aircraft did incorporate a business class which was divided using a simple curtain assembly, it looked nice however I cant write about it because I flew on economy.

Firstly I’d like to start off with something I was not too keen on and that was the Cabin crew’s uniform. It had a red cloak styled jacket with a red cloche styled hat which was designed by a famous Columbian designer. The uniform has had many praise from other fellow bloggers, however for me it was too fancy for a flight (my personal opinion).

The economy seats were similar to that of any other standard airline, it had a cup holder, magazine pouch, foldable table, personal light and air. The seat was leather with adjustable headrest which I always appreciate in an aircraft. Furthermore seats had an entertainment system which for some strange reason I didn’t think they had as it was a small aircraft. Come to think of it this flight was the smallest aircraft I know with screens incorporated in it.

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Avianca’s entertainment system was (along with ICE of Emirates) one of the most comprehensive and pleasing I have ever experienced. Its program and controls  were very tidy and easy to navigate around in which even the freshest user wont struggle. Firstly the airline’s promotional videos upon boarding, taxiing and before each movies were amazing, short pleasing clips of tourism in South America which makes people want to travel to the destinations in the future. Secondly one thing that I quickly acknowledged that was pretty impressive was the entertainment system’s front, starting or home page whatever you call it. It was easy to use and understand  no matter where you have come from with the upfront choice of languages. Furthermore the division of the adults and children’s menu, I found very plausible. The entertainment catalogue have a comprehensive choice of the latest most notable tv shows, movies and music from Latin America, Europe and the US, so it wont be too difficult for each passengers to be entertained.

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My service in Avianca was simple, it was a night 5 hour flight so  we only got one meal service. The meal was simple with only a few things to eat including a salad, main dish (chicken and rice), bread roll and a sweater bread I can only think is a traditional desert of some kind, obviously including the normal choice of beverages. The meals were delicious but you can taste the simplicity of the dishes, there were no elaborate ingredients and there was very little to eat so it wont fill you if you was very hungry.

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After the meal service, as it was a night flight the main lights were switched off or dimmed I can only guess for sleep. Before landing cabin crew gives the relevant immigration cards for ease in arrivals. 

Conclusion

Avianca to me was neutral it had its goods and it had its bad, the biggest positive for me was the entertainment system, a brilliant program with many enjoyable films from western to Latin America, the ease of use was brilliant. The meal for me was a bit of a disappointment it was very simple, small and untidy in its presentation. However ive only flown with  the airline once in a single route so I don’t know its consistency with its other routes. Its a fine airline to fly with and I would definitely try them again.

Back to airline list

Reference

https://www.avianca.com/us/en/our-company/corporate-information/corporate-profile

Photo

http://www.avianca.com (for the logo only)

 

 

Review: JetStar Japan

The Airline

JetStar Japan which started operation on 2012 is the Japanese affiliate of the JetStar group. The Low cost airline which has a fleet of 24 flies 11 Japanese domestic routes but only 4 international flights to Hong Kong, Shanghai (China), Manila (Philippines) and Taipei (Taiwan). JetStar Japan is a joint venture between the Qantas Group, JAL, Mitsubishi corporation and the Tokyo century corporation.

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Brief

I have only taken this airline once in a 3 hour one way trip from Manila to Osaka.

Aircraft and Flight

I believe all JetStar Japans aircraft are an Airbus A320 and its products inside are very basic and plain such as its seats, tables, lighting and even colour theme. The aircraft wasn’t the cleanest and tidiest ive flown on, I had a window seat and it was very greasy whilst the magazines and leaflets (including safety leaflet) were worn and folded. It is a budget airline so I expected the bare minimum service. Food and drinks needed to be purchased which was understandable for a low cost airlines.

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However the thing that surprised me the most and made the flight was its crew, the best ive seen from all carriers ive flown on. Their respect for the elderly was magnificent, and I consistently saw them assist the elderly from their seat and escort them to the toilet in which they would not leave the area until the person is finished which they will then escort them back to their seat. A simple act like that was brilliant and adds many admiration from me.

Conclusion

My single JetStar Japan experience was short and simple. It had what you would expect from a budget/ low cost airline. The biggest positive I witnessed in this airline, is their care and service for the elderly,, it was just really nice and uplifting to see. Other than their service there was not much to be negative or positive about, for travellers with a tight budget this airline is a good choice.

Back to Airline List

 

Reference

https://www.jetstar.com/au/en/about-us/jetstar-group
https://www.jetstar.com/au/en/about-us/jetstar-group/jetstar-japan

Photos

Asacyan
http://www.jetstar.com/au/~/_media/E6989764BB994326A7CCD30923908F69.pdf