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 – 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!!