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Croatia, Europe, Travel

Plitvice Lakes – A Croatia Day Trip

February 4, 2019

A trip to Croatia wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the beautiful Plitvice Lakes National Park. A chain of 16 lakes linked by the most amazing waterfalls is a sight you really don’t want to miss.

As we were staying near Pula, the Plitvice Lakes were a 3 hour plus drive for us, but I promise you, the long journey is worth it. We went on a group trip organised by our TUI rep but some people rented a car. There are pros and cons to each obviously, but the benefit of going on a coach is the ability to nap! I get that some people prefer the freedom of not being restricted on timings (I’m usually the same!) but our coach trip didn’t seem rushed at all.

When you arrive at the National Park, you’ll notice on all the tourist information boards that you have a choice of walks around the lake. They all explain which walk is suitable for you depending on how much time you have and what the terrain is like. The walks do have a few crossover points so you have to keep an eye out for the coloured arrows around the park which point you in the right direction.

One thing to note is that the Plitvice Lakes are extremely popular. They’re really beautiful so you can understand why everyone wants to visit but be prepared to wait in line at the popular photo stops and for a bit of congestion at some points. Me and Stu are quite easy going so it never bothered us but you could tell some people got frustrated at points. My advice is to just be patient and enjoy the view around you!

The lakes and surrounding trees bring together the most beautiful blues and greens – it’s simply stunning. We saw a bride and groom having some wedding pictures taken and they must have looked amazing!

Plitvice Lakes National Park shows off just how beautiful Croatia can be. When I thought of Croatia before I wouldn’t have imagined it was home to somewhere like the lakes, I just thought of Kings Landing in Game of Thrones, to be honest! It’s changed my view on Croatia and it’s always somewhere I recommend when people tell me they’ve got a Croatian holiday booked.

Europe, Slovenia, Travel

Why Lake Bled should be at the TOP of your bucket list

February 1, 2019

Slovenia, and Lake Bled especially, might just be one of the prettiest places I’ve ever visited. I felt like I was in a real life fairytale. But I hadn’t even considered going to Lake Bled or Slovenia until about a week before I actually did. I’d seen the iconic pictures of the lake and the church but it wasn’t on my bucket list at all. But I am so SO glad that we went on a day trip as part of our Croatia holiday. Yes, you read that right, we went on ANOTHER day trip to ANOTHER country when in Croatia. Read all about our other trip to Venice, here.

So, back to Slovenia and Lake Bled. As Lake Bled is fairly north in Slovenia, we had another early start for a coach trip across the country. It was actually really nice to see some of Slovenia. Stu definitely saw more of it than me because I have this magical skill of falling asleep on any form of transport within seconds…

When we arrived in Bled, we headed to the castle first which involved driving up a really steep hill. And I mean, crazily steep. But, obviously, there’s always someone out there who loves a challenge and we saw people cycling up this hill! Absolute madness.

The castle is now a museum, gift shop and restaurant but the main reason people head there is to look out at all the beautiful scenery. You’re surrounded by mountains and one side of the castle you get the money shot that people travel to Bled for. Looking out across Lake Bled is just breathtaking. You’ll obviously take a ton of pictures but you really need to take a moment to just appreciate where you are because photos just can’t do it justice.

We were with a large group for this trip but decided to do our own thing for the next couple of hours and had lunch and then walked around the lake. You can get a horse and carriage ride down to the lake but we preferred to walk to be honest! There were lots of people enjoying the lake, either on boats or going for a swim. It seems like Bled is a popular holiday destination. For lunch, we went to Caffe Peglez’n and sat outside to make the most of the scenery around us.

Next up was a trip to the island in the middle of Lake Bled. We got a boat across and all the rowers are from the same three families and use a special rowing technique to get you across the water which I thought was a pretty cool fact! Situated on the island is a church and tradition says that to get married in this church, the groom must carry his bride up the 99 steps which lead to the entrance. Quite a feat! Stu and I decided to cheat and just have a picture at the top of the steps with me on his back haha!

There’s also a bell in the church which apparently grants you a wish if you ring it. So obviously you have to pay to ring the bell… Not something I’m going to do! We had an ice-cream instead and looked back at Bled Castle which we visited earlier.

So for a place I hadn’t really considered visiting before, Lake Bled turned out to be one of the most spectacular places I’ve been and somewhere you should definitely consider if you’re going to Slovenia or one of the surrounding countries.

Lifestyle, My Life, Travel

Reflections on 2018

January 15, 2019

So here we are. 2019. Two thousand and nineteen. How did that happen? As always, the past year has absolutely flown by but I want to take the time to reflect as usual.

I’m not necessarily one to count countries (I have the ‘been’ app on my phone to keep track but I don’t have a target number ofcountries that I want to visit) but this year I managed to visit 6 new countries! Here’s a quick sentence on each:

Croatia (Pula and Plitvice Lakes National Park) – A better colosseum than Rome (apparently) and lakes so blue you won’t believe your eyes.

Italy (Venice) – The perfect place to wander for hours, only stopping for pizza and an Aperol Spritz…

Slovenia – Lake Bled and the surrounding area is like something out of a fairytale –breathtakingly beautiful.

Slovakia (Bratislava) – Not the prettiest but it’s got an interesting history and plenty of places to buy cheap beer and food – what’s not to love?!

Austria (Vienna) – You’ll spend the entire time looking up at the amazing buildings. The neck ache is worth it.

Hungary – A ‘been but not seen’. I literally ran around the tri-point of Slovakia, Austria and Hungary and walked into Hungary for a few minutes. I’m counting it though haha…

I’ve got two European breaks squeezed in before Brexit hits (if it happens at all…) but hopefully there won’t be too much disruption to my love of a city break! What are your plans for the year ahead?

Europe, Italy, Travel

Can you see Venice in just one day?

September 2, 2018

I’ve always thought of Venice as somewhere that I’d visit for a weekend with Stu. One day surely isn’t enough to see Venice? A whole city in one day? I’d never suggest that someone could see Paris or Amsterdam in one day so why should Venice be any different?

However, during our holiday to Croatia this year, one of the trips available was a day trip to Venice. It seemed a good price (about £70 each) and I’d never been to Italy before so it was too good an opportunity to miss.

Our visit to Venice was only the second full day of our holiday so we’d barely seen any of Croatia yet. We were staying near Pula which is why Italy was so easy to get to. Pula to Venice is only a 3 hour ferry trip. Now 3 hours may seem like a long time, especially when you’re coming back later that same day. If 6 hours of your day are spent travelling, how much time do you actually get in Venice? Well the trip we were on gave us 6 hours in Venice. And I’m here to say that I think 6 hours was just about enough for a first trip to this city.

We travelled with Venezia Lines who try and sell you a load of extras like lunch, transfers to Piazza San Marco (the central point of Venice) and gondola rides. My advice is to ignore all the extras and explore Venice yourself. You don’t need to pay for transfers, the square is about a 20 minute walk and you get to see more of this beautiful city. The reviews on TripAdvisor reveal that the lunch is awful and there’s no excuse to have awful food in Italy when there are so many wonderful options out there.

Having 6 hours to ourselves in Venice was absolute bliss. We wandered the streets, crossed countless bridges and became captivated by this stunning city. I think the fact that Venice doesn’t have dozens of landmarks that you feel you HAVE to see goes in it’s favour. You’re not rushing from place to place and have the time to take in all of the pretty coloured buildings and watch Venetians and tourists go about their days. In fact one of my favourite parts of the day was when we stumbled across a little bar and sat outside with an Aperol Spritz and a beer and just watched the world go by. The free bar snacks probably helped as well.

So our day trip to Venice consisted of lots of walking, a gorgeous lunch (walk away from Piazza San Marco to save yourself some money), plenty of photos and even more people watching. Neither of us fancied a gondola ride which look nowhere near as romantic as you’d expect them to be – too many gondolas competing for space – but there would have been plenty of time for one if we did want one. Oh, and I can’t forget that we even managed to squeeze in the most delicious Italian gelato! I went for a peanut butter flavoured one and it was INCREDIBLE!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there’s plenty more of Venice to see and lots more restaurants and bars that we would have loved to have checked out, but our little day trip was enough for now. It gave me a taste of Italy and although I now don’t feel the need to rush to Venice, I definitely want to see more of the country.

Lifestyle, My Life

Hello again!

June 30, 2018

Hello! Long time, no blog post. I think this is probably the longest break I’ve taken from blogging. I didn’t mean to take a break, I just haven’t felt like writing anything for a while. But apologies for that, I’m back!

So, what have I been up to? I actually hate it when someone asks me that question. I instantly forget everything I’ve done recently and think that I’m really boring. But I have the time to think now so can actually tell you.

I’m still doing lots of running. Unfortunately the Weston half marathon was called off due to all the snow we had in March so I kept the momentum going and entered the Bath Two Tunnels half in May. It was a scorching hot day but a lot of the race is through old railway tunnels which are nice and cool. I really enjoyed the race and got a PB of 1:55 which was 4 minutes off my last time. I then took part in the Hogweed Trot 10k later on in May and got a PB there as well! I’ve got a couple more races in the diary, Keynsham 10k in October and Bath Half next March so I’ll be keeping up the running for a while yet. I may also be doing the Barcelona half marathon next February (flights are booked so we’ll definitely be there!) so that’s very exciting.

May also had a lovely break to Center Parcs in Longleat with Stu’s family. I absolutely love Center Parcs so it was lush to spend 5 days there. Our days were filled with pancakes, badminton and the rapids. If you haven’t been to Longleat Forest in a while, then I can confirm that the new water slides are amazing! We could have thought that Center Parcs could get any better?!

June has been a bit quieter but we saw Ed Sheeran in Cardiff who was great. I’ve never managed to see him at Glastonbury or get a ticket for one of his shows before so had been waiting a long time! It was a great performance and I loved singing and dancing along all night.

Next month I’m off to Croatia in Stu. We’re very excited! It’s our first beach holiday for years and I can’t wait to properly relax. I’m sure we’ll still try and explore quite a bit of the area we’re staying in, I can’t really say that I’ve been to Croatia if I barely left the hotel! We’re staying near Pula so let me know if you have any recommendations!

Anyway, that’s it from me. I’ll be back soon with Croatia updates and hopefully some more posts on Bristol.

Europe, Iceland, Travel

A Long Weekend in Iceland

January 13, 2018

December 2017 saw me and Stu finally tick a destination off our bucket list which has been on there for years… ICELAND! We were there from Thursday to Sunday and it was absolutely brilliant. Everything we wanted and more.

Here’s what we managed to do on our 3 day/4 night trip.

Day 1

We arrived about midday after flying from Bristol with Easyjet. After collecting our luggage (and saying hello to the puffin hanging from the ceiling) we headed outside to get our transfer coach to the hotel. We both had our warm coats on and a couple of other layers but no hats, scarves or gloves at this point. Our initial thoughts were, “This isn’t that bad” and then suddenly the cold hits you. My hands felt like they were going to drop off and I huddled into Stu to try and keep warm. Luckily there wasn’t much of a queue and we were on the coach within minutes. All the coaches we went on during the trip were nice and warm so there was never any problems staying warm when travelling.

It was about a 45 minute journey from the airport to central Reykjavik and the views on the journey are amazing. It’s totally different landscape to anywhere I’ve been before and I was completely awestruck and couldn’t wait to explore.

We couldn’t check in to our hotel until 3pm so had a few hours to walk around Reykjavik. The first thing on our mind was food so we walked down the main road keeping an eye out for places to eat. We kept getting distracted though because Reykjavik is full of quirky colourful buildings and it’s right next to more amazing scenery. Being winter, the sun was low and this made the surrounding mountains look almost purple. Pictures just can’t do it justice. In fact, it’s hard to get a picture because you risk frost bite when you take your gloves off to get a picture.

For lunch we went to SÆTA SVÍNIÐ, a small pub by Ingólfur Square. We both went for a lamb sandwich which came with waffle chips. It was absolutely gorgeous! We found out afterwards that lamb is a favourite for Iceland and it definitely didn’t disappoint. The portion sizes were huge as well!  This was our first experience of Icelandic prices and two meals, a beer and a coffee came to £65. So, not cheap. Stu’s pint was about £10 and this did turn out to be his most expensive one of the trip. When I had wine, it tended to be about £8-£10 for a glass. So yes, Iceland is expensive but you can find cheaper food if you don’t want a sit down meal every time and there’s plenty of happy hours to take advantage of for drinks.

Night 1 – Northern Lights tour with Grayline.

Having the chance to see the Northern Lights are probably one of the main attractions to Iceland. We’ve all seen those fantastic images of the green lights shooting across the skies. I booked all of our tours with Grayline before we left because I found a discount code online (See5 if it still works!).

We were picked up about 8pm and then headed out of the city to chase the lights. We had a brilliant tour guide who told us loads of interesting facts and kept the excitement high in the group. Now, most people me and Stu know who had been to Iceland before, hadn’t seen the Northern Lights so we had low expectations. In fact, our expectations were at an all time low because the nightly forecast put our chances at a 2 on a scale of 1 to 9.

However…

About half an hour in to the trip, the coach driver turned off all the interior lights and we were asked to look to our left. Above the mountains, the tour guide pointed out something that looked like a strange cloud formation. This was what the Northern Lights looked like as they were developing. We couldn’t believe it, we were going to see them!

We pulled over shortly after this in the middle of the National Park and our tour guide showed us how to set our cameras to get the best possible pictures. This is the thing that no one really tells you about the lights. All the vibrant colours are invisible to the human eye and only your camera can capture them. What you see is very pale green colours in the sky. We were extra lucky and the lights decided to dance on this night so we got to see all the different movements as well as the static formation. I was probably the coldest I’ve ever been, and ever will be, despite lots of layers but it was so worth it! I can’t describe how special the experience was. Our photos seriously don’t do it justice. We probably spent about an hour and a half watching them and then it was time to head back to the hotel.

Most of the tour operators offer you the chance to return and try again the next night if you don’t see the lights so don’t worry if you miss out the first time.

Day 2

As we knew the previous night was going to be a late one, we decided to book the blue lagoon for our second day. There’s no better way to relax than in a lagoon right? We weren’t due at the lagoon until 1pm so had a little stroll into the centre in the morning for breakfast. As it doesn’t get light until 11am it felt strange trying to find somewhere to eat in the pitch black. The streets were really quiet as well so we felt like we’d got out of bed at the wrong time. We decided to try out The Laundromat Cafe which had nice interiors and was decorated for Christmas. The prices in here were a lot more reasonable as well. We could have probably picked anything from the breakfast menu but eventually decided on the banana and blueberry pancakes and scrambled eggs and bacon on rye bread. We even shared because we both wanted to try more than one dish!

It was getting light when we left so we got to appreciate all the cute coloured houses and street art on our walk back to the hotel. It’s weird visiting a country and not getting many chances to see it in daylight!

So, the blue lagoon. We went for the Premium package which gave you a few extras on top of the standard ticket. These included a drink at the swim up bar, a dressing gown and an extra face mask. You can upgrade on the day so don’t worry if you’re not sure what to go for just yet. Once we’d changed in to our swim stuff, we decided to take a few photos before getting in the lagoon. Unfortunately our GoPro ran out of battery and we didn’t bring the charger so had to make do with our phones. Once we were happy with our shots, we had our first dip! The outside temperature was about -7 and the water 37 degrees so it was absolute bliss. It’s really, really steamy so you can’t see that far in front of you but that just adds to the experience. You feel like you’re exploring the whole lagoon and keep coming across new areas.

We decided to have our free drinks first so headed over to the bar area. It was amazing to have a glass of wine and just people watch for a bit. Everyone looked so happy! Well, everyone apart from the lifeguards who looked bloody freezing. I would not want their jobs!

After a little swim and explore we went to try out the face masks. Stu was a bit tentative at first but soon immersed himself in the experience when he realised that everyone was using the masks. I completely caked it on so probably looked more scary than relaxed.

There’s absolutely loads to see at the blue lagoon. There’s a little cave with a voiceover telling you the history of the lagoon, there’s a steam room and a sauna and there’s a waterfall! We spent about 3 and a half hours there and could have stayed longer really. All the tickets let you stay until close so you can truly relax and enjoy yourself.

For our second night we decided to go to the Hard Rock Café which only opened in 2016. Yes we are those people that visit chain restaurants when on holiday. I’m sorry but the nachos are just too good. We also had a walk around the town as it was lit up for Christmas and had an ice rink in the square. Another reason we were so glad to see the Northern Lights on our first night was because it meant we had some evenings to ourselves and not on a tour. I would have felt that we hadn’t spent enough time in Reykjavik if we’d spent every night on a coach trying to see the lights again.

Day 3

Our third day was spent on an all day trip with Grayline on the Golden Circle classic tour. The Golden Circle is basically the name of the trip which shows you all the main natural landmarks in the area. Along with the blue lagoon and the northern lights, it’s probably one of the most popular attractions for those visiting Iceland. We were really excited for this trip so we could see all the amazing scenery up close and feel like an extra on Game of Thrones.

Again, our Grayline tour guide and driver were fantastic in keeping the group entertained with stories about Iceland. I was especially impressed that our guide quizzed us on what he’d told us with Mars bars for prizes! Miss Competitive over here obviously won one!

So the Golden Circle tour takes you to Þingvellir National Park, the Geysir geothermal area and the Gullfoss Waterfall. We also stopped off at another waterfall and to see some Icelandic horses!

The first stop at the National Park was very pretty as the sun was just coming up. Now when you’re at this National Park, you actually get to visit two continents… sort of. This is the point where the tectonic plates of North America and Europe meet. Little geography lesson for you there. Þingvellir is also where the old Icelandic leaders used to meet to make important decisions so it’s quite a cool landmark to visit. You’ll also get some amazing photos here.

We headed to the Gullfoss waterfall next which is a huge double waterfall. When my Dad and Stepmum visited, it was completely frozen but it was still flowing for us. It was bitterly cold here with the wind and spray but it’s an impressive sight. I know I keep going on about how amazing the landscape is in Iceland but it really is. I felt like I was on another planet, not just a 3 hour flight away from Bristol.

The last main stop was the Geysir area. This was cool. Every 5 minutes or so, one of the hot springs blasts out a huge column of water into the air and Stu took a great picture of it. Everyone gathers around the spring and watches it bubble away and then suddenly a huge bubble grows and then the water shoots out! Just writing about it is making me want to go again!

On the way back, we made one last little stop to a cute church. The sun was setting as we were there and it made for a great end to the day. This was a fantastic trip and one I would highly recommend. I can’t even pick a favourite stop of the day it was all that good.

Our final night arrived far too quickly. How could our bucketlist trip be almost over? We couldn’t decide where to go to eat on this night. In fact, we even bought a hot dog from a stall to eat whilst walking up and down the streets trying to decide on a restaurant. In fairness, it was a nice hot dog. Eventually, we decided on a cosy Italian restaurant which I can’t remember the name of. If I can find it on google maps, I’ll add the link as it was lovely food and a great atmosphere in there. As it was our last night, we decided to ignore Iceland prices and just eat and drink as much as we wanted. The way it should be on holiday! After having some bruschetta each to start, Stu decided to try some Icelandic cuisine and went for a salted cod pizza for his main and I had a pasta dish. Delicious!

Day 4

Our last day was basically travelling home because our flight was at midday. We had breakfast at the airport and then had one last look at this beautiful country from the window of the plane. It’s just phenomenal. It’s only a 3 hour flight to Bristol so we were soon back home and actually got greeted by even more snow. My car was covered by a few inches at the airport and it was nice to have a pretty landscape at home as well.

As you can see it was a lot to fit in to one trip. If we hadn’t seen the Northern Lights on our first night, we would have spent potentially the next two nights on that trip again. That would have left us with very little time to explore Reykjavik. We barely saw it in daylight as it was so had to get all our daytime pictures on the first day. 3 days/4 nights is enough time for your first trip to Iceland but only just. It will leave you wanting more, especially if you miss out on seeing the lights.

If I was to go again (which I’d love to!), I’d definitely go in the Summer to experience the 24 hours of sunshine and see the icy landscape transformed. There’s also so much more of the island to explore, like the glaciers and ice caves. We’re both big Game of Thrones fans so that tour was tempting but we didn’t have long enough this time.

Iceland, you were great.

Travel

Regrets from my travels. 

September 24, 2017

This is a bit of a weird post for me to write because I’m a big believer in not having regrets and that everything happens for a reason. However, I honestly believe I was quite naive to the tourist industry and I ended up taking part in, and therefore funding, activities that I now know are wrong on so many levels.

Should I have done more research before going to these places? Yes.

Would I go again? No.

It was wrong of me to do these things but unfortunately I don’t live in the world of Harry Potter and time-turners aren’t a real thing. (Obviously they were all destroyed when Harry and his pals were at the Ministry anyway…). There’s no point in wallowing in self pity so the only thing I can do is help spread the message that it’s not cool to take part in these activities no matter how good the picture will look on your Instagram grid.

So what activities am I talking about?

Specifically I’m on about my time in Thailand. I’m sure you’ve all seen the pictures of people next to tigers and riding elephants. I can still see the attraction. These are amazing animals that we wouldn’t normally get to be so close to. And that’s kind of the point. It’s not normal for an elephant to carry us around. It’s not normal for us to sit next to a fully grown tiger. It’s not normal for animals who are natural predators to be in the such close proximity to us.

It seems obvious now but at the time I was surrounded by other travellers who were all going to visit the tigers and ride an elephant. It was just the thing to do when you were in Thailand. It seemed normal for us to lay down next to a tiger. Normal. That now seems crazy.

I remember reading all the signs at the tiger place about how the tigers weren’t drugged and were trained to be around humans. I thought at the time that it seemed too good to be true and it’s only since I’ve been home and read more about it that I’ve discovered the dark side to Thailand’s tourism industry. The treatment of elephants is particularly horrific, even in places calling themselves an ‘Elephant Sanctuary’. It’s hard to know if any place is truly helping to rescue the animals from the tourist hot spots because we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. I think it’s best not to fund any place that lets tourists near the animals for this reason.

If you’re heading to Thailand soon or any other country that exploits the welfare of animals for the tourism industry, then do your research before parting with your money. Is it really worth a few likes on a picture?

Belgium, Europe, Travel

24 (ish) Hours in Bruges

August 9, 2017

Before we went to Amsterdam the other week, we stayed in Bruges for 1 night so had a bit of time to explore the city and some of the surrounding area. This was very much a stopover on our way to our main destination so there is plenty more to see and see in Bruges but it was a good little introduction to this beautiful place.

This wasn’t my first trip to Belgium but I was quite young the first time and my overriding memory of my visit is getting horrifically seasick on the ferry over. So not the best memory to associate with Belgium. We did the ferry this time as well but I was armed with travel sickness tablets and felt absolutely fine. Phew! The weatherman had promised us a bit of sunshine so we decided to drive to a beach in Belgium on the way to Bruges.


The beach was in Niewpoort and we were all pleasantly surprised. With no idea what to expect, Niewport beach turned out to be a really pretty beach surrounded by sand dunes. Being able to feel the sand between my toes always makes me happy and this time was no different. One day I’d love to live close enough to the beach to be able to do this more often. Anyway, we found a sheltered area between the dunes and spread our towels out so we could have a sit down and look out to sea. Our friends who we were travelling with, Nath and Tash, are getting married later this month so there was plenty of wedding talk whilst we relaxed. The sun soon made its promised appearance and we decided to walk down to the shore. Nath decided to have a proper dip in the sea but the rest of us settled for rolling up our jeans and going in about ankle deep. The sea air soon made us thirsty and we walked a bit further along the beach and came across this cute little bar behind some sand dunes. We bagsied the swinging bed and made ourselves comfy with a pint. Stu and Tash went for a local 8% beer which actually turned out to be the weakest beer we’d try in Belgium. We love Belgium.


After our pint and swing session we got back in the car and drove to our accommodation in Bruges. We were staying within the city walls in the old town so were surrounded by picturesque bridges and buildings.


So, what is there to do in Bruges? I had done zero research but Tash was super organised and had lots of ideas of what we could see and do. When I think of Belgium I think of beer and chocolate but Bruges has a lot more to offer. We decided to head out and aim for some of the main sights and then just see how the day goes.


Our first stop was The Basilica of the Holy Blood which is a chapel which is home to a phial which apparently contains some of Jesus’ blood. Unfortunately it wasn’t on display when we were there but we’ve seen where it is kept which is practically the same thing right? The chapel itself was really impressive with huge stained glass windows and intricate displays. I love visiting religious buildings as you usually have to be silent and it’s nice to be able to take in your surroundings peacefully.


From the chapel we walked to the historic centre of Bruges which is surrounded by impressive buildings in the traditional architecture.  A lot of these buildings including the bell tower are in the film, In Bruges, which I haven’t seen but feel like I should now. We had a little mooch around a chocolate shop near here but didn’t buy anything. We must be one of the only people to visit Belgium and not try and chocolate. Next time!


However, what we lacked in chocolate, we definitely made up for in beer. The 8% beer on the beach was followed up by an 11% one called Garre Tripel served in a tiny pub called De Garre which is nestled down a tiny alley way off the main square. This beer is only available here and is well worth the visit. It may be strong but as a non-beer drinker, I can promise you that it’s nice. It came served with some cubes of local cheese and we ordered some chopped cured sausage as well. Perfection!


We wandered around the canals for the rest of the afternoon/evening, popping in to local pubs and sampling more Belgium beer. I never drink beer and surprised myself how much I enjoyed it. I quickly learnt that a strong blonde beer would be fine for me so I’ll have to keep an eye out for these in future. In one of these pubs we stopped for some food. The waitress recommended some simple Italian dishes which turned out to be huge portions covered in cheese. My mouth is watering just thinking of them again. Before long, we headed back to our accommodation feeling very content with our time in Bruges.

I think I now need to go and watch ‘In Bruges’ and get planning a longer trip to this great city.

Have you been to Bruges? What else would you recommend to see or do?

Travel

Travelling – Being The One Left Behind

March 20, 2017

Travelling is amazing but have you ever thought about how the people you left behind are feeling?

I’ve left home twice for long term travel and although I miss my family and friends back home, it’s hard to truly empathise with them when you’re living in your backpacker bubble. Last month, for the first time, I was the one left at home. I drove my Mum and Stepdad to Heathrow and watched them disappear in to the Departures Lounge. And it was hard. Much harder than I expected.

I wasn’t sure if I would cry but when I hugged my Mum goodbye, the tears were flowing so fast I could barely speak. Don’t get me wrong. I was excited for them to have this experience but I love having my family close to me. I know the world is a small place now but at that moment in the airport, I felt lost.

It’s a mixture of emotions. Jealousy, sadness, happiness. I would give anything to go on a long trip again. I almost think it’s harder when you know what they’re going to experience. I have so many happy memories of my trips and it’s incredible that my Mum and Stepdad are going to create these memories for themselves.

I’ve always suffered from fear of missing out. When I was away I felt sad that I was missing huge milestones in my friends’ lives. Now I’m home, I’m jealous of people who are still living that backpacker life. I want the best of both worlds. Is there such a thing?

Relationships change with distance. Life moves on.

Maybe I’m scared of how this relationship will change. I know things were different with my friends when I came home. Different isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it can be weird.

A month after that emotional goodbye in the airport and my life has continued as normal. I’m incredibly envious of the photos of their trip and being facetimed from New Zealand was amazing. I’ve had a couple of moments when I’ve forgotten that my Mum isn’t just a few miles away and then had that sinking feeling that I can’t just pop round and see her. Hopefully Stu and I will be able to see them at some point on their trip but we have nothing booked yet.

I know understand how my family felt when I was away and it’s hard to miss someone yet be filled with happiness that they’re seeing the world. Why can’t we all just travel constantly and meet up in exotic locations?

This has become a bit of a waffle but I hope I’ve managed to articulate my feelings. If you’d like to read about my Mum and Stepdad’s adventures then have a read of their travel blog here.

Europe, Travel, UK

Exploring Brighton

March 6, 2017

Last weekend, Stu and I booked a half day at work on the Friday and then drove down to Brighton for the weekend to spend some time with friends we met in Australia. Time as always has flown by and it’s been a year since they came and stayed with us in Bristol. I have no idea why it’s always so hard to meet up with people. Why is everyone (including me) so busy?!


Brighton is one of the places in the UK that I’ve always wanted to visit but never had an excuse to go before. Growing up, Brighton was very most associated with being the gay capital of the UK but I think people now appreciate what a cool city it is rather than only thinking about the people that live there. That’s definitely been helped by the huge blogger and youtuber presence in the city.

We booked in to an Airbnb for the weekend which we mainly picked because it had a parking space and we’d been warned that parking can be a nightmare in Brighton. It was a cute little bungalow which was perfect for us to use as a base whilst exploring the city. We were probably a 10 minute drive from the centre but on a bus route and Brighton now has Uber so it was really handy for us.


Brighton definitely has two sides to it. You’ve got the typical British seaside resort with the Pier and your fish and chip shops and then you’ve got all the quirky bars and restaurants and the vintage shops which line the Laines. I loved exploring the Laines. It’s got a similar sort of atmosphere to Camden and it’s packed full of people who look far too cool for me. I’d love to wear all vintage clothes but I get sucked in by the high street and end up wearing your standard fashions rather than anything unusual.



Brighton Pier is like any other Pier you’ve visited, it’s a complete contrast from the Laines but it’s good fun if you take it for what it is. Expect penny slot machines, candy floss and plenty of fish and chips. Storm Doris was still kicking around when we walked along the Pier so we look completely windswept in all the photos and didn’t stay for too long! I’m pretty sure another bar was beckoning us away from the wind.



We didn’t actually go ‘out out’ in Brighton but we did visit a few bars and took full advantage of any two for 1 cocktail deals we could find. If you stay away from the chain bars then most places have a very studenty feel which I always like. Bars like that usually have cheap drinks and good music which is a win win for me!

It was a flying visit to Brighton so I definitely want to visit again. Hopefully next time there will be less chance of being blown over by Doris and I can have an ice cream in the sunshine!