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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