On sadder note it seems that the Casino Leisure arcade on Goodge street has finished its remodelling into a slot arcade, theres fuck all to recommend here its all slots and its now called crystal casino. Truly sad and feels like the end of an era.
This is a round up of a few trips out on holiday and a few bits and pieces of interest. First up is the garden tour in Blanes and nearby Lloret De Mar.
This is a lot better signposted than the Botanicactus trip I undertook last year and there will be no samaritans this time. Taking advantage of excellent train links (theres a RENFE line running right by the beach) we could take the train in style to Blanes and catch a connecting bus to either Lloret de mar or Blanes. First up is the Marimurtra gardens in Blanes.
This is situated on a steep climb at the top of the cliffs overlooking the harbour, if you can walk it then its worth it but less fitter people can take the Garden bus up (we did this in Lloret). Once at the top though the views are excellent, taking in the harbour and various gulls nesting on the flat rooves, well worth a slow walk up. The gardens are 6 euro to get in and you get an extra 2 for 1 tickets for other gardens at Lloret once you are up there though its worth it. Cactus fans will be overjoyed, there is an extensive macronesian flora as well as shorter sections on South Africa and the Americas. Stuff was well grown and was at least correctly named. They had other stuff including a small cafe and a cracking Magnolia in flower that drew all the bees. Overall 7/10
|Tuberose at Marimurtra|
This was at a later date and we took full advantage of the garden bus this time. Its about a mile outside Lloret the two gardens we were visiting and if you make you way down to the harbour the stop you want is just outside the tourist office / museum. It'll cost you 10 euro for this trip as this is both a joint day pass bus ticket / garden pass giving you free entry to one garden and half price to another. Oh and antother thing get there early or be prepared to make a day of it as the bus takes an obligitary siesta at 1pm and doesn't resume till 4pm. We walked back and can appreciate how far this is of the beaten track (you'll never find them without the bus even though they are well signposted) but for now here are the two gardens.
Jardin de Santa Clotilde
In a cactaceous departure this is a much more traditional garden complete with cypresses and formal planting. We thought it was either the grounds to a religious order or a large manor house / Hacienda, but it turns out the gardens are a memorial to the wife of the owner. They had largely formal planting and edging, complete with some stunning views framed by mature trees it was remarkably cool and clear. Much more italiante in style like something from Piedmont or Tuscany. It costs 5 euros to get in, but you normally get this one free from the bus / garden ticket combo.
|Look down to the Sea.|
Pinya de Rosa
This was the final stop on the tour and was the cheapest to enter at 4 Euros which we got in half price.
This was the most oddest and a polar opposite to Santa Clotilde, a pure cactus garden complete with hand printed leaflet and blazing sunshine. I felt it was on its last legs or at least in terminal decline, and if you ever went to the cactus garden on Tenerife outside Los Christianos, then it feels like that. What they had was quite lovely though and its largely stands of Cereus, Cleistocactus and other tall columnar types as well as majoring in tall cacti they had much more to see including a lot of Opuntias in flower. Warning a lot of the names are outdated or just switched around, however its a slight niggle and there are many opportunities for great photos. They have an area with peacocks and at the very bottom a large pond, shaded and with fish and dragonflies.
|This was nice.|
|Opuntias at Pinya de Rosa|