travel

72 HOURS IN MAJORCA

As the summer changes into autumn me and three of my friends decided to book a relatively last minute trip to Santa Ponsa in Majorca for a couple of days! I’ve never been to this part of the world and it wasn’t necessary on my bucket list but I am so glad we decided to go.

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When we first arrived in Majorca is was nighttime, pitch black and we were in the middle of a thunder storm, not exactly what you want for your summer holiday – however, we decided to make the most of it – we had to! So when you woke up the following morning we decided to take of the rain – we started drinking quite early (in hindsight too early haha) and then went to a local tapas bar and ordered basically everything on the menu – cheeses, olives, bread, sauces, oils, Patatas Bravas and the other girls order some meat/fish dishes too. We eat everything and washed it down with wine and cocktails! The food was amazing and we were definitely feeling the effects of the alcohol now. In the evening we visited a few bars and ended up in a karaoke bar until 3am – less said about that the better haha!

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On our second bar we decided to enjoy the sun by lying by the pool and then venturing down to the beach which was literally a 5 minute walk from our hotel! The weather was perfect, almost too hot for the white girl. As a kid I never understood the appeal of lying on a sun lounger and enjoying the blistering rays while enjoying a book, music or just silence, but as an adult with often too much on my plate it was perfect! I even caught a little but of a tan – more freckles than tan but a win is a win! We decided to have a quite night after the mayhem of the night before – a nice meal, a few drinks and off to bed! I think everyone was flagging to be honest.

On our last full day we headed into Palma – it was only 25mins drive from our hotel and with another amazing sunny day on our side we took full advantage. We walked around for a little enjoying the site, doing some shopping, eating more tapas/drink more cocktails, walking along the water and enjoying an ice-cream on our last day. I really enjoyed going into Palma, there was so much going on from street performers, culture, sights, boat trips, restaurant etc – I would love to go back and spend more time there, I can imagine it’s perfect for a city break.

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I love our little trip away – the island is beautiful, the weather was amazing (apart from the little bit of rain), the food, drinks and company was all just spot on – i’m a big fan of little trips away as you haven’t been away from work for too long, and you come back refreshed, recharged and ready for work! I’m already looking at more holidays I want to take! Pray for my bank account.

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96 HOURS IN PRAGUE

Prague has always been on my travel bucket list, since as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to travel there! I’m not really sure why to be honest but it’s architecture and history has always intrigued me. As I mentioned in my Hamburg post my boyfriend and I decided to swap trips as our presents, so last week I decided to take my boyfriend to Prague for a long weekend! We booked 4 days (3 nights) in the capital and it is honestly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and 4 days were definitely not enough! Prague is such a beautiful, interesting and intriguing city and I would definitely recommend everyone adds Prague to their bucket list. There is so much to see and do and I’m not sure you could ever be done with it! I’m already planning my next visit.

IMG_2936We stayed at the Panorama Hotel which was an old school but very fancy hotel! It had a spa on the top floor with a pool, hot tub, spa and sauna – the hotel was lovely with a bit of an 80’s vibe. Our bed was MASSIVE – we could both starfish which is good because James already runs hot. The hotel was covered in gold – which I obviously approved of! But I would like to try something modern next time, maybe an air b&b or something a little more chic. IMG_2945

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On our first night we went to this really cool bar called Vzorkovna – it was a literal maze, full of swings, ladders, twist, turns and spiral staircases. The bar worked on a chip system which meant to gave money over at the door and then at the bar itself you just place the chip on a pad and it takes the money off – pretty much just like contactless payment. It was such a cool place full of people from around the world listening to random music, drinking tasty (and cheap) beer! Plus there was this massive dog pictured above which I could literally ride into battle – it was so random but it fit into the bar so well! I would definitely recommend if you’re heading to Prague that you definitely pay this bar a visit – you will not be disappointed. IMG_2941The second stop on our first night was this really strange but cool bar on a boat – the view from the boat was beautiful and my drunken picture does not do it justice haha! We have friends who live in Prague who took us to these bars and they seriously have good taste. My first night life experience in Prague was perfect, it was full of laughs, good drinks, good company and full of life! I love European cities which don’t stop at night, Prague still has a buzz about it even at 4am – I’m disappointed we didn’t get to find more bars like these – but I’ll definitely be back to find them all.

IMG_2947With 4 days in Prague we had a lot to see in such ashort time. Thankfully the transport system in Prague is really impressive! Trams, underground, buses and boats – there are a number of ways to get around Prague and all of them are cheap and quick! For 24 hour ticket on the transport it only costs £3.50 – can’t really argue with that! The one thing I would say for the transport is ALWAYS BUY A TICKET AND GET IT VALIDATED! We always bought tickets but didn’t understand they you needed to get them stamped once you got onto your transport! One night we were heading back to our hotel after a few drinks, we were sat on a tram for a few stops and then all of a sudden three men dressed in everyday clothes nodded at each other and then stood up and pulled out their badges asked for our tickets – it’s was the strangest moment of my life haha! We got a little telling off for not validating our tickets (which we had no clue we had to do) but they went on their way – my heart was seriously racing haha!

As I’ve mentioned Prague is such a beautiful place! Here are some of my favourite pictures from our trip!IMG_2953We indulged in a light lunch in the sunshine which was stunning, especially when we heard it was snowing in the UK! IMG_2957IMG_2958Charles BridgeIMG_2959Vltava RiverIMG_2960IMG_2967This is definitely my favourite photo from our trip! It is the view that makes me fall in love with Prague again and again! We were lucky enough to grab a table by the water and enjoyed a drink in the sunshine.

prague-2.jpgLetna beer garden with a sunny view prague-3-e1493653038153.jpgThe astronomical clock prague 1Prague CathedralIMG_2970After a long walk up a steep hill we reach Prague Castle and the palace and were rewarded with this view! I took this picture on our last day and it just made me want to stay even more – the sun was shining, the view was so appealing and I just knew there was so much more to see of this beautiful city.

One of the foodie highlights from this trip was the Tredlnik – this delicious treat is 100% Instagram porn and the second we walked by we knew we needed to try them.  They are cones made from the same pastry as donuts (which are delicious!!) and then they are coated with chocolate on the inside! We opted to have them topped with vanilla ice-cream and topped with chocolate sauce – literally it was heavenly, a little heavy and next time I’d just go for the chocolate coating but still heavenly. Here are the chocolate cones being made!Have you seen a more perfect picture?

Honestly, I would 100% recommend Prague to anyone and I will definitely be going back some day! Have you ever been to Prague? Let me know your favourite things to do there and if you have any tips for when I return.

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travel

The Nepal diaries part 3

The final part of our journey took us to Pokhara, which is the 3rd largest city in Nepal. The drive was a long one but that was nothing new! I had recently discovered the song Home by Gabrielle Aplin and it was the perfect sound track to my journey! Here I was driving through this beautiful country listening to a song that describe a love of home but the need to be more!

We got to Pokhara without any major hiccups apart from one of the boys leaving his phone of the bus and having to run around to find it! But disaster was averted!

While in Pokhara we stayed in  Peace eye hostel, I really loved the feel on this place, great customer service, great food and good rooms if you’re on a budget! We were also really close to the main strip of bars and restaurants and also the lake!

Our time in Pokhara was a lot more chilled than our time in Chitwan, we took the time to sight see, visit some museums ect. A couple of the group hired out scooters and went on a day trip, I would have loved to do this but as a born klutz I thought I better leave it for another time! We also spent our time eating/ drinking out and mixing with the locals and other tourists! One night we met a bunch of people from America, we got talking and continued drinking which was really nice, it was interesting to hear about other peoples time in Nepal and share tips/ activities!

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The heat in Pokhara was very different to other places we have been; it was more of a dry heat that just burnt down on you constantly! Being the pale and fair one of the group I was the first to get burnt and I obtained the weirdest tan lines in the group! I still have a faint line for one on my leg!

One of the day we were in Pokhara we decided to hire of three row boats and spend the day on the lake! It was an amazing time, the lake was so quiet and tranquil! As September isn’t a popular time for tourist so the lake was mostly empty! A warning though, being on the lake all day in the constant sun was a little overwhelming after a while! We all decided to jump into the lake and go swimming.. It was a relaxed day and a nice change for the fast paced/ jam-packed days we were use to!

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After getting some lunch at a lake side cafe and spending a lot of time in the sun we decided it was best to head back and freshen up! I loved spending the day on the lake, however I felt I held my self back because how I felt about my body.. being surrounded by 3 beautiful girls was a little to much pressure! Sometimes I do look back on that day and wish I had enjoyed myself a little more.

Once again it was time to pack our bags and head back to Kathmandu in time for flight home! However we decided to travel back in a slightly different manner! We got a mini-bus to a river… somewhere and spent the next couple of hours rapid river rafting! It was honestly one of the most thrilling things I have ever done, there was no certainly that our boat wouldn’t flip or that we would fall into the water (which we did). When the river smooth out we were allowed to jump into the lake and just drift down stream! At one point I realised I was drifting slightly too far from the boat and tried to swim back upstream like a slightly panicking salmon! It was at that moment I realised my gold swimming badge meant nothing!! Once we were back on the boat we reached several rapids which were close in succession.. this was the moment we had all been waiting for! With wide grins on our faces and our heart racing we all paddled in unison to break through!

This way of traveling was slightly expensive but it was definitely worth it, and much cheaper than if you were to do it back home!

The one thing we didn’t realise was that our luxury travel ended there, as we had to get a local bus back to Kathmandu! I’m sure you’ve seen this sort of travel of TV before.. overcrowded buses, bags strapped to the roof and you can forget about leg room! At this point we were all exhausted and we still slightly damp. Our journey would take about 6 hours and it was not pleasant.. morale was definitely low at this point! I tried to sleep on the bus but I had nowhere to place my head and the constant fear of plunging off a cliff made it hard to relax! The driving rule in Nepal are slightly different to what we have back in the UK!

Thankfully we all made it to Kathmandu (bags and all) and after searching for a number of hostels we found one that was cheap, close by and open! Unlike every restaurant!! I’m not sure what is the rule in Nepal but staying open late is definitely not on the OK list! We found a shop to buy some snacks and headed back to the hostel for some much needed sleep!

With our last days in Nepal we shopped around for presents and souvenirs, bartering became one of our favourite things to do and we all try and get the best deals, however one of the girls (Alice) was amazing at it! She was definitely the person to have with you when shopping! After we had finished we return to our hostel to find our Sherpas there waiting for us! It was an amazing surprise and lovely to see them again.. we had become so close over the time we spent with them! The main reason they came was to talk over our travel arrangement for the next day.. back to England and back to reality!

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The Nepal Diaries part 2

 

After an amazing climb to the base camp and a much quicker climb down we made are way back to Kathmandu! 

We had 8 days to explore everything Nepal had to offer and we definitely wanted to make the most of it. 

Arriving back in Kathmandu felt really strange, the last 12 days I had been surrounded by beautiful views, roaring waterfalls, yaks – It has felt as if I was in a different world, there wasn’t any wifi access, coffee shops or anything of convenience and to tell the truth it felt amazing! It was so refreshing to not have access to my emails or Facebook account and when it was thrusted upon me again I didn’t really know what to do – there were a lot of emails, text, posts etc to get my way through! 

While we are in Kathmandu the Teej festival was taking place, this festival is observed by women for wellness of their husband. The women of Nepal wear red and gold saris – it might seem backwards in this country but it was one of the most beautiful and joyful things I have ever seen, it was an honour to be apart of it.

We spent the day walking around the temples and palaces; and at one point in the day ‘the living goddess’ appear for a few seconds. There is a lot history and stories behind the godness, to us it seemed strange especially when we were stood below a balcony  waiting for a young girl to show her face for a fleeting moment! No pictures or video were allowed and if you are caught taking a picture the police will be involved. Several of us waited there for her to appear, as she did I was surrounded by a sea of gasps, people taken back by her appearance! Obviously her presence means a lot to their culture but us she was just a small child who was not allow to go to school or touch the floor in fear her powers would disappear.. the more saddening thought is the moment she hits puberty and get her period it all over, her title is gone! 

In the evening we sat down and had a meal to celebrate our climb to the base camp, mostly it was an early night as we were preparing to journey to Chitwan the following day, this is the area of Nepal where we were guaranteed to see some amazing wildlife! When we arrived we where not disappointed, Elephants walked freely along the roads as if they were lorries. 

We decided to buy into a package deal which probably cost about £15! It included a jeep safari, riding elephants, bathing elephants, visiting an elephant birthing place, canoe ride, a jungle walk and attending a traditional dance show. The highlight of the stay in Chitwan for me was the  Elephant bathing – Here I am riding bare back on a 13 foot Elephant that is shooting water at me! It was just incredibly crazy and something I will never forget! 

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The canoe ride was also an intense experience, i’m not sure what I was expecting but once I was sat in this carved out tree I was starting to feel slightly nervous, especially when the guide told us that we were the balance and there were alligators in the water!! However once we got going it was a beautiful and tranquil experience and a great way to see the  jungle!!

Another amazing moment was riding of an Elephant through the jungle, luckily I was on an elephant which was calm and just going with the flow – however my friends were on a less-than-happy elephant and as I was marvelling at the view they were creating an escape plan if all went wrong!! Fortunately it was okay, and we all got back on solid ground without any major issues. While we were riding on the Elephants we came up close and personal with a baby rhino and its mother! In that moment I felt like my eyes were deceiving me, here in front of me were wild rhinos but part of myself just couldn’t believe it – they almost seemed robotic in its movements and actions! I don’t know what I was expecting but it was all together different and 100x better.

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On our last night we went to this traditional dance show, it was really cool and interesting to see these young people become so involved in their culture! However.. the ‘Ostrich mating’ dance was announced and we were all expecting two dancer to come on stage and use some of the Ostrich’s moves to create the dance, but no. Some came out in a full Ostrich costume prancing around the stage and it was clear that the neck and head of the Ostrich was this person’s arm! I was trying are hardest to keep a straight face and not offend anyone but it was impossible to keep the tears from screaming down my face!!

We packed up for the 100th time and made our way to Pokhara! We decided to pay out a little more and get on the nicer bus with air-conditioning and leg room! Trust me.. its worth it!! 

Two quick notes  – While we were in Chitwan, we stayed at The River Bank Inn! Its a beautiful place, close to town, lovely staff and great facilities! Everything you could possibly need/want is there! 

Also, as I am older and wiser now I appreciate that riding Elephants is cruelty and not something I would promote in future. 

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The Nepal Diaries part one 

A few years ago I was given the opportunity to sign up with a charity and travel company to take part in the Everest base camp trek! I realise ‘base camp’ sounds like the bottom but it is actually 5,365m. The climb took around 12 days to complete and I can say without doubt it was one of the HARDEST thing I have ever done! I would consider myself an active person but nothing I did could fully prepare me for this challenge.

I was in Nepal from 28th August – 18th September and there was 9 of us (including myself). I learnt a lot about myself along the way, it was easy to become overwhelmed by the challenge and it was incredibly intimated, i had never pushed my mental and physical state so much – there were times when I cried and had to take a few moments but I think I cared about finishing it more than the fact I had to stop along the way.

Our trek started in Lukla, which you can only get to via a small tin can of a plane, this journey would make the most confidence  flyer feel slightly nervous. The planes were also very unpredictable as any sign of bad weather could leave you stranded on either side, however, we were lucky and got our first flight out! The planes work on quite a primal flight plan..so, to stop the plane you fly up hill until you reach the flat runway and to start you fly off a cliff! Scary right???

The first day was so bizarre.. here I was, never been out of Europe before and now in the middle of Nepal with a rucksack and walking boots on.. I could tell from that moment it was going to be an interesting trip!!

I also became the prime example of what altitude sickness could do to someone! Sickness, headaches, dizziness and so on.. it’s a weird experience having your body go through a number of different things and having no control over it! I was lucky enough for it not to effect me completely and I was able to carry on with the trek 🙂

During our trek we were joined by two Sherpas, they were basically our guides for the trek and looked after us every step of the way. I grew pretty close to one of them and to him I became know as Seven ( I assume it was just his mispronunciation of my name), however on the last night I found out seven is a lucky number and that is why he was calling me it! I’m not sure if my blonde hair had anything to do with this or if he could sense I needed something extra.

Once we reached the base camp I silently became quite emotional, I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be able to complete something like the trek, I wasn’t the fastest and I struggled throughout but I have made it to the top and I couldn’t be prouder! Before we headed back down we had one more 5,643m challenge! Kala Patthar though technically isn’t a mountain was not an easy feat, by this point I was tired and my motivation was running low as was my oxygen! Three/ four steps suddenly seemed a great challenge and there were several times were I contemplated giving up! As tempting as it was, it was not in my nature and I could not let the others carry on without me! The final hurdle was standing at the bottom of this rock formation looking up at the ‘top’.. honestly this climb was less than the average flight of stair in a house and I knew I could do it! So I put my foot on the first rock and bounced from rock to rock – to me it seemed as if I was running but I assume I just looked like an unstable toddler stumbling over some rocks! Once I reached the top all of my group gave me a round of applause, it was a lovely gesture and muchly appreciated – then I threw up.

Then began the descent which obviously was much easier but we had been awake since 4am.. so morale wasn’t at its highest! Getting back to Lukla only took 3 days! Then it was back to Kathmandu for a looooong shower with hot water!!

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4 DAYS IN HAMBURG

Travelling has always been something I have wanted to do more of and I promise myself year after year that I will add more stamps to my passports and have more stories to share! I was lucky enough to visit Jamicia in September, which you can read about in my previous blog post, it was an amazing country and reignited my need for travel.

On this note my boyfriend and I decided that rather than material presents we wanted to exchange experiences which resulted in us both planning trips anyway! He had worked with some of our friends to organise a trip to Hamburg! A place I had never visited but would be the perfect setting for New Years.

Hamburg is a beautiful city, full of history and stunning architecture and being there for the New Year celebrations was incredible – running away for New Year is definitely something I recommend   🙂

The thing I loved the most about Hamburg was how easy it was to navigate, either via foot or on the subway system, getting from place to place was a dream and meant we were about to see more of the city. The buildings are visually stunning and the night life is the right mix of cocktail bars and old men pubs (which we did prefer the latter).

Between walking tours, visiting attraction such as miniland, drinking to much beer and playing card games it was an unforgettable trip and definitely a few stories that will keep us all laughing for years to come.

Anyway, enough chatter here are some of my favourite pictures from the trip.

P.S Shout out to my friend Lucy for being the mum of the trip and taking most of the pictures 😀

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Jam packed taxi ride!
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Fresh faced gang

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Slightly hungover and extremely tired

New Years fireworks

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Until next time!

Oh and for anyone interested – I’m taking him to Prague 😀

 

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