travel

Flashback Friday – Reykjavik, Iceland

 

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A few years ago, I had a strong desire to see the Northern Lights, so some research and a trip was booked! We booked Iceland for four nights in mid November.

I don’t normally book package type holidays, but I ended up booking the tours with the flight. I used Wowair,and the process was so easy, and we got a really good price. Hotel was through trusty old Booking.com.

Reykjavik is not cheap which we found out whilst there! Unfortunately I don’t have many photos for this blog post, as they are all stored elsewhere.

Anyway, whilst we was there – we completed three tours, visited the Blue Lagoon and explored Reykjavik on foot.

Two of our tours were unsuccessful! One was the Northern Lights chasing one – there was the tiniest glimmer, but not enough for me to say confidently I had seen them! It was still an experience, being driven miles and miles to where there is no light pollution, and standing in the middle of a road, on a hill looking up at the sky in Iceland!

The other tour was a whale watching one – two hours on a boat in very bad weather! As we got on the boat, the captain was offering everyone another date to come back (we couldn’t as only a short stay), or a sea sickness tablet! We didn’t take the tablet, as neither of us suffer from motion sickness. It was a very rough two hours with not a whale in sight!

The tour that was amazing was The Golden Circle tour, its a long day, over six hours – but you get driven around in a coach to see a lot of natural beauty sites. Such as Strokkur geyser, Gullfoss waterfall, Thingvellir National Park, (where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates are pulling apart at a rate of a few centimetres per year.), so you see actual craters in the ground!, you also visit a greenhouse where they grow tomatoes. Everyone else had hot tomato soup, my fiancé and I had a bloody mary! During this tour, there is a stop for lunch, but it is not included in the price, same as the tomato drinks.

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As I mentioned, the Blue Lagoon was amazing – its a must do if you visit Iceland. Such a surreal experience, in a pool which is lovely and warm, but its freezing out and you can mountains and snow! There is Silica Mud all round the outside, so you can even give yourself a facial! In all honesty, I wish we had stayed here longer but we had to rush back for the Northern Lights tour!

So the only disappointing thing about the trip, was the lack of Northern Lights – which is all weather based, and never guaranteed wherever you go! And as you now know, I saw them a few years later in Norway.

Iceland was one of those places I didn’t think I would ever go to, and definitely wasn’t on my list! I was really surprised but how pretty and scenic it all was. Even some of the houses were so cute! I would recommend Iceland, and suggest you put on your travel plans for the future!

travel

Flashback Friday – Prague, Czech Republic

 

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A few years ago a friend and I went to Prague for three nights.

We stayed in a hotel outside of the city for cheaper rates and either got the tram or walked everywhere.

During the three days we walked all over the city, had an afternoon on the hop on/hop off tour bus, had meals out and visited a very cool cocktail bar.

I was disappointed in the well known Wenceslas Square, but the Old Town Square – where the famous astronomical clock is located made up for it! This was by far the prettiest part of town, and we ended up here several times.

 

 

 

 

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The bar we visited was called Hemingway Bar, my friend had found on a website and we booked a reservation. As you can guess it was inspired by  Ernest Hemingway.  The drinks were made lovingly and carefully by the bartenders, and we had front row seats – as we was sat at the bar! I loved it in here, and definitely worth a visit!

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As happens with a quick city break, you only see the tourist parts that are well known, but I like to think you can decide from those few days if you would return or not.

From my visit to Prague, I will not be going back. But hey, I experienced it and its another tick off the countries visited list!

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travel

Flashback Friday – Fuerteventura, Spain

 

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A few years ago, a group of rented a villa. It was in Corralejo, Fuerteventura. It was amazing! The place was called Bahiazul Villas and Club.

One of the nicest villas I’ve ever stayed in. It felt really grown up, and luxurious. Lots of white and tasteful decorating.

It had three bedrooms so slept six, and had our own private pool, hot tub and bbq.

The kitchen had a coffee machine which you could buy the pods for. There was a big comfy sofa, blankets, dining table, 2 bathrooms, all of the cutlery, lots of outside seating.

The whole resort was so quiet, it was so peaceful.

We bought food, and had lunches in our villa. We did a BBQ one evening, and ate out in restaurants the rest. We went to the beach. We went into the main town. We had cocktails in a few bars.

One night we even went star gazing! This was arranged through the complex with a very nice lady. A couple came up and picked us up, we had dinner out then drove into the desert away from the light pollution. We had blankets, and a telescope. We saw (very clearly) planets and stars. Was such an interesting night! Sadly, no photos!

The whole island felt so peaceful and chilled. I don’t even have many photos of the island, as we just chilled so much. So here’s a few of the villa!

But if you are looking for a friendly, quiet island with no party town and a pretty villa to stay at – I would recommend this!!

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travel

Flashback Friday – Dublin, Ireland

 

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Over the Christmas break last year, a few friends and I went to Dublin! We stayed for three nights.

We arrived late afternoon, and went out for a wonder and for dinner. By pure chance, we chose a very cool first restaurant! It was a converted church – a very unique place, there was three floors and all were different in style. Food and drinks was good and tasty.

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The next morning we took a bus to Kilmainham Gaol. I had pre-booked tickets before we left, as I had researched it gets busy. It was an interesting, if slightly cold tour! You are taken around in groups by a tour guide. The best part was the east wing – all still in good condition to wonder, and they have some cells open for you to look in. This particular part has been used for filming for various films and tv shows!

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We then walked to the Guinness Storehouse, none of us like Guinness – but I think its a tradition for a tourist to see, and I love breweries and places like that! We were glad we did, it’s a museum! It was six floors tall and all in the shape of a giant pint of Guinness! There is also a rooftop bar named the Gravity bar, where you receive your complementary drink.

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We had dinner in our hotel that night, which was in the cellar!

The next day we bought tickets for the Green bus – a hop on and off tour. This also included tickets to the Little museum of Dublin, so we paid a visit. Everything in the museum was donated by the people of Dublin! I of course spotted the Walt Disney film poster!

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We also visited the three storey Disney Store, had a quick pit stop in a old pub called Nearys. Went to the Christchurch cathedral – but it was shut. Walked over the famous Ha’penny bridge (see top photo!), and then went to the Temple Bar!

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It was the most Christmassiest (I know it’s not a word, but best way to describe it!) pub I have ever seen! Yes it was expensive and busy, but its a must do!

We had another dinner out on the way at a different pub, then back to the hotel for the last night. Was a lovely little city break, and such a nice short flight from London!

travel

Flashback Friday – Rome, Italy

 

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A few years ago I went to Rome for three nights with my parents. I had wanted to visit Italy for years but not got round to it!

We booked the hotel and flight separate (we tend to do this about 90% of the time with our holidays).

We stayed at the Hotel Romanico Palace & Spa. Where breakfast was served upstairs with a view!

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We crammed a lot in those three days, and with dates with work, we ended up going in early July, and oh my goodness – it was steaming!

As the flight was short, and we arrived in the afternoon, we changed and went straight out for lunch. I had an anchovy pizza!

We walked around, found the Spanish steps, walked down them, mooched around and arrived at The Pantheon. There was a slight queue to get in, but once inside, everyone spreads out. Its a an amazing building with the perfectly symmetrical circle in the ceiling. So we had seen two famous attractions within hours of landing!

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Unfortunately The Trevi Fountain had maintenance works whilst we was there, so it was emptied out and there was scaffolding etc.

The next day we used the subway to go to The Vatican. We did wonder the grounds, but sadly we didn’t go in. The queue was an hour to get in and most of it was outside in the burning sun. looking back, I do regret not waiting!

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We also had another delicious lunch round the corner. we walked for ages that day, and we saw the Altare della Patria from afar, so walked down, stood on the steps, had a few photos. It is  known as the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II or Il Vittoriano, is a monument built in honor of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy.

We had dinner out, where I tried my first Aperol Spritz. I was not a fan!

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The next day we went to The Colosseum, again the queue was huge and in the sun, but we persevered! The building itself is huge. Towering above you, then when you are inside, there’s so many levels. If you to Rome, make sure you pay a visit.

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Your ticket also allows you access to the gardens, views and other sites out the back. We took advantage of that and walked all the way to the top to see some great views of Rome.

Everyday I made sure I had a gelato, and made full use of all the Italian food on offer!

Rome is a really historic city to visit, I would go again – just not in July!!

 

 

 

travel

Flashback Friday – Sliema, Malta

 

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Two years ago my friend and I went to Malta for five nights. We wanted somewhere warm, chilled and no club scenes.

We did a bit of research around Europe, my only condition was that it was to a country I hadn’t visited before.

We booked a few months before we went, we sat one evening and looked through lots of hotels. I have been using booking.com for a while now, and I love it.

We chose well with the hotel! It was called The Victoria Hotel.

We arrived, and liked it straightaway. Room was a decent size, (had lots of pug touches – which I loved!) clean and had a balcony.

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The hotel had three pools including an infinity one – my first infinity pool! It was amazing! I walked up to the roof and there it was!

There was also another rooftop pool and an inside pool. We did regret doing five nights, and wish we had done six once we was there.

Most days, we chilled out by the pool, there was a bar up there, so you could order food and drinks (cocktail o clock!) to your sun lounger. We had a massage in the spa one afternoon.

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One day we went to the island of Gozo, we didn’t know how far away the bus journey was (it was long!)We got the boat over, had a wonder and some lunch. I know quite a few people was going for the diving etc.

Most evenings we strolled down to the front and had dinner out. We could turn either left or right out of the hotel, and go to different groups of restaurants. All was along the beach and had outside seating.

Another evening we went to Valetta, which is the capital of Malta. It looked and felt so historic. I wish we had gone in the day so we could fully appreciate the sights.

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I really did enjoy Malta, it was a lovely holiday, hotel was great and was a great girls getaway.

travel

Flashback Friday – Funchal, Madeira

 

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Last September we went to Funchal in Madeira for five nights. A little chilled out holiday instead of a busy busy city break.

I prefer small individual hotels, so chose the Castanheiro Boutique Hotel, it was so nice! It had recently had been updated, and had improvements. (they told us at reception!). Our hotel rate included breakfast. we also got a free upgrade to a suite and a free day pass to the spa each!

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The hotel had a rooftop pool, bar/café and hot tub. It was lovely with great views! (see the first photo).

We went down the front where the port was, and went on the cable cars. It was mad, as at the bottom it was all sunny, then as you climbed up the mountain it was all cloudy! Unfortunately there had been fires a few weeks before, and you could see a lot of the damage on the mountain. We paid for a round trip, there was also single rides available.

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Whilst we was there, we discovered the annual Wine Festival was on! this was such an added bonus. They had all wooden shacks from different companies where you could taste the madeira wines, some for as little as $2. One evening there was live music, there was displays everywhere about the history and making of the wine.

I even tried a cocktail – in a bag!

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We also went on a tour to Blandys – a Maderian wine lodge in the centre of town. This was $5.90 each, lasted 45 minutes and you got two samples!! Definitely recommended and how cheap?! Just make sure you book the tour in the correct language for you. We just walked up and booked a tour for later that day.

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Also because I thought we would get bored chilling a lot (which we didn’t end up doing that much anyway), I had pre-booked a tour with Viator. It was the Madeira’s cliffs and valleys open top jeep tour.

“Discover the natural beauty of Madeira in this tour. You’ll visit the viewpoint to Nun’s Valley at Boca dos Namorados, the landscapes of Jardim da Serra, the second highest cliff in Europe, Cabo Girão, and the traditional fishing village of Câmara de Lobos.”
This was really cool, I’ve never seen such steep hills – literally felt like we was in the clouds at one point. No wonder you need a jeep! Also really wish I had bought my hoodie! Was just a different way to see the island, and saw some great views.
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Madeira was a really nice island, we had some great food, the weather was lovely, and it just felt like nice pace of life, its nice to get away from the rush of a city.

travel

Flashback Friday – Bruge, Belgium

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A few years ago we went to Bruge for Easter! We stayed  four nights in a place a lady rented out. It was almost a flat, and right in the centre of The Market Square. We got the Eurostar to Brussles, then another train into Bruge.

I can honestly say I have never had so much chocolate and beer in such a short amount of time.

The chocolate is amazing, there was so many chocolate shops so it constantly smelled nice! There was boxes you could do your own pick n mix, there was ones pre made, keepsake tins you could fill, there was eggs, shapes, hot chocolate etc. Below is photo of one of the displays in a shop – chocolate Russian dolls!

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Whilst we there, we went on a boat trip which was lovely and chilled. We went in a few churches. We hired a tandem bike – not comfy on cobbled streets! Visited a brewery – this was our least favourite brewery tour ever.

We went to the Bruge Beer Museum – actually quite interesting. You had a headset and a tablet, and scanned a barcode by photos to learn more. Then at the end was the bar, you was given 2 tokens and menu of beers to try!

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The town of Bruge is quite small, so we didn’t use any public transport – we walked everywhere. We ate waffles and mussels and had lots beer stops! It really is a lovely pretty town, its been one of my favourite European city breaks and I would definitely recommend it.

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travel

Flashback Friday – Tromso, Norway

I’ve decided to do a quick summary of recent trips in last few years to catch people up on my travels!

I’m going to start with Tromso in Norway. We decided to go here as after an unsuccessful sighting of the Northern Lights in Iceland, I read that Tromso was more likely to see them. Again everything is weather dependent, but I at least wanted to try – and I got to tick another country off!

We stayed four nights in Tromso, and crammed in 5 different tours! I had booked a private Northern Lihts hunting tour, just for my fiancé and I. I actually booked the guy that was on the TV show with Joanna Lumley, he was such a cool guy and has done so much in his life! we left the hotel at 7pm, and didn’t get back til gone 2am. We drove and drove – we saw a tiny glimmer all night but otherwise it just wasn’t the night. I was bitterly disappointed! But what an adventurous night!

Another tour was Husky Dog Sledding! This was at the Tromso Villmarkssenter. Was the usual pick up and drop off with the bus, and dinner included.

They was Siberian huskies, and we met over 50 dogs! All so friendly. So I chose to be the lazy one, and sit in the sledge whilst my partner did the hard work – and I’m glad I did, he said he was exhausting! But there we was out in the middle of the Artic Circle countryside at night, with 5 huskies pulling us! Was crazy, there are some experiences in life you don’t expect to do!

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Another tour the next morning was reindeer feeding and learning about the traditional Sami culture. This one started really early, so was in a huge field feeding hungry reindeer as the sun was coming up! You was given buckets of food, and told to hold out arms length. They were a little scarier than I was expecting, as the antlers are so long and tough and they all butted to get to the food! After you could choose to go ride a quick sleigh ride, and have an attempt at lassoing (not an animal, just a practice target!). Then we had traditional food, and learnt about the culture, with a fire going.

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We spoke to another English couple whilst there, and they was saying about their Northern Lights tour, and how good it was! At this point, I had decided to book one whilst we was there and try our chances again!

We booked one for that night, a group bus tour one – with Tromso Safari. And SO glad we did! It was amazing, we drove for about an hour further and further away from the towns and light pollution. We were technically crossing loads of little islands. We even saw a glimmer of the lights from the bus – our guide said this was a very good sign! Our guide was Spanish, and had been living in Norway for just over a year, he loved his job – he was the guide / photographer and he was so excitable.

Finally we got to our destaination, a little island owned by a family for geneartions. There was a small building in which there was unlimited tea, coffee and hot chocolate for us all, and to just generally get out the cold!

I don’t quite know where we was, but it was so dark out, with small hills/mountains all around – I genuinely felt like we was on the edge of the earth! But it was a very good night – we saw the NORTHERN LIGHTS!! They are not as bright as they appear in photos, the camera actually amplifies them, but we saw them! They lasted hours, and they was continually changing, there was different colours, it was magical and its definitely a bucket list item! The guide (who took the below photo) said they was the best of the month!

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We also managed to squeeze in one more tour of the morning we left. We always love to go visit breweries, winery’s, distilleries etc. So we visited the most northern brewery in the world! Mack beer. It was more of a micro brewery and the tour was only an hour. We tried a few samples, and they also explained they play different music to each batch. Someone had also painted on each of their beer tanks!

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In between tours, we wondered the high street, walked down to the front where some bots were, went to a museum about Norweigian history and I tried some traditional Skolebrod (schoolbread – Epcot fans, you know what this is!).

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All in all, I loved Tromso, it was very scenic and if you ever have a chance to see the Northern Lights – grab it with both hands!!

 

travel · walt disney world

Disney Dream Girls Podcast Appearance!

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Just a quick blog post to say I have been on the Disney Dream Girls Podcast! (again!). Show number 154.

This show I was talking my trip on the Disney Cruise! As you know, I loved it! And I’m hoping that someone who listened will be inspired to take a trip! I discussed all aspects of the holiday – itinerary, Star Wars day at Sea, adults only sections, Port Adventures and our room choice.

I’ve already had a few positive messages with feedback from it! How cool is that?!

It came out on Sunday and here are the links.

http://disneydreamgirlspodcast.blogspot.co.uk/

https://tinyurl.com/DisDG154

 

 

 

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