The City of Sunsets, Traffic and High Times

Over Christmas I visited my boyfriend in Los Angeles where he showed me almost everything this city has to offer. I had an amazing time and wanted to share the best parts of this exciting city. I felt the most appropriate way to do this would be to create a list of things to do whilst in LA. So here it is, my “top things to do when in LA”.

The day after I arrived we headed off to the Aquarium of the Pacific. I love aquariums with all the beautiful colours however, this one had so much more then any I have been to before. There were so many opportunities to be interactive with the animals. We got to stroke sharks, feed birds and TOUCH JELLY FISH! There was also a whole area especially for otters and they were so cute, we stood and watched them for about half an hour.

IMG_3653

IMG_3660

IMG_3650

IMG_3648

There are quite a few theme parks accessible from Los Angeles, one of them is Knotts Berry Farm. The rides are quite intense at this theme park. I’m usually pretty good with rides but the first rollercoaster we went on made me feel a bit sick. Towards the end Angel took me on this ride where the seats were like you were riding a horse. Whilst we were waiting for the ride he continuously told me that it was slow and boring and I believed him. It was the complete opposite but I loved it!

IMG_3662

IMG_3663

IMG_3664

Another theme park easily accessible from Los Angeles is Universal Studios Hollywood. I’ve never been to any Universal Studios but when we arrived I was in my element! The first thing we did was going on the studio tour which I would highly recommend no matter how long the wait. They drive you around the studios in carts and you get to see some of the sets where different films and TV  shows are filmed. I would also recommend seeing ‘Water World’ the stunt show.

IMG_4063

666F25BB-8DBA-4E79-A451-442A11587AF4

IMG_3668

The last of the theme parks we visited was Disney Land Anaheim. I love Disney Land and this park did not let the side down! It’s very similar to Paris although there are a few rides that you don’t get in Paris such as a submarine that goes underwater and interacts with all the Finding Nemo characters. Another upside was that it was Christmas and Disney at Christmas is always amazing!

IMG_3678

IMG_3676

IMG_3677

IMG_3674

Up on the hills is the grand building of Griffith Observatory. It’s a centre dedicated to the study of space and offers amazing views of the city. Outside the building, there were small telescopes set up looking at specific constellations and stars. There was also one big telescope that looked up at the moon. It provides amazing sights and also offers great hiking trails during the day.

IMG_3684

IMG_3685

There are many art museums in Los Angeles but the one we went to was LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). This art museum has a lot to offer. There are lots of exhibits as well as the tar pits around the grounds that surround the main museum area.

IMG_3691

IMG_3690

IMG_3692

A great free thing to do when in Los Angeles is hiking. There are so many trails all over the place like hiking up to the Hollywood sign or around the Santa Monica Mountains. You can get some great views and its amazing to become surrounded by nature not far from the hectic traffic of the highways.

IMG_3697

IMG_3698

IMG_3699

Lastly, something that honestly cannot be avoided. Watching the sunset! The sunsets in LA are beautiful. Every evening the sky is a different rage of colours, a different shade of orange/red, you can never take too many photos. There are lots of view points you can watch the sunsets from such as the beach or from hiking trails. One of the points we went to was at Billbots park. It looks over the city and is amazing! There was also one other but I’m silenced to secrecy about its location, this one looks over the ocean!

IMG_3703

IMG_3707

IMG_3709

IMG_3710

Screen Shot 2018-03-18 at 21.14.52

So there you have it, a few things you should go and see if you’re ever in Los Angeles! I hope you enjoyed!

Peace out guys x

Good Morning Vietnam

If I only had one word to describe Vietnam, I would use the word Motorcycles. They are everywhere, swarming the streets like bee’s! When waiting at cross roads or junctions the bikes and scooters all collect in a big group at the edge of the street. Cars and all other vehicles are definitely a minority. You find all types of people riding them; young old and even children. The streets are crazy and loud. The noise of the scooters zooming around ad everyone beeping each other drowns out any other noise you could possibly hear. It makes you feel as if everyone is late all of the time. One of the things I was most amazed about was the fact that they have scooter uber!

fullsizeoutput_2363

SONY DSC

In Ho Chi Min city also known as Saigon has a pretty grey sky most of the time. Although it is always hot and humid it poured down while we were there. However as you head north to the coast in the city of Hoi An it is sunny pretty much all of the time. Personally I thought it was much hotter than Ho Chi Min city.

SONY DSC

While in Ho Chi Min city, we went on a trip to the Chu Chi Tunnels. It’s a network of tunnels that run through this forest. Vietnamese soldiers would use them to hide and live in during the Vietnam war. They run for miles and its crazy how narrow and small they are. There was an option to walk through a section of the tunnels but I didn’t fancy the risk of it collapsing on top of me.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Our trip in Hoi An was considerably different. We took a speed boat to visit two of the eight Cham Islands just off the coast. Lao Island was the first island we visited and the biggest out of the eight. It is inhabited with around 3000 people. As we walked around the island we saw how the locals lived. Apart from a local ship that brings some supplies everyday, most of the island is self sufficient. There is an immense amount of wildlife and plants around the whole of the Island not to mention the sea life. There were narrow paths that we followedaround the island but the plants and trees were so overgrown. One of the species of trees on the island is used by the locals to build and mend hammocks and is also believed to hold healing powers for back pain.

D9CC63DF-176A-477E-A203-3FCA2E82E918

fullsizeoutput_2373

The second island seemed a lot more touristy compared to the first. We didn’t wonder around much but instead went snorkelling in crystal clear waters. There were big schools of fishes that would swim right underneath you. The sand was a bright white and when looking out to sea you could see a few of the other islands. We spent some time here and had a Vietnamese lunch.

DCIM101GOPRO

SONY DSC

fullsizeoutput_2375

DCIM101GOPRO

D39EDCF4-68A2-4EF7-93BE-C2FE0C652B34

A famous location in Hoi An is the Hoi An night market. There is a river that flows through middle where you can have boat rides up and down and a bridge that crosses over. On around the bridge gets very busy in the evening. The market is full of stalls selling gifts and trinkets much like Camden Market really only Vietnamese style. There are also lots of places to eat and oddly enough a few Irish pubs. The atmosphere is pretty incredible and sweaty to be honest. In the evening you can watch the sunset over the river and its so beautiful!

fullsizeoutput_236f

SONY DSC

If it isn’t already, Vietnam should be a must on your Bucket List! There is so much to do and see and so many different places within Vietnam that you can go!

24 Hours in York

On Saturday I headed from Leeds to York to see my parents who were spending the weekend there.  It’s about 20 minutes on the train. Once I arrived I met my parents at the station we wondered into the city.

The main part of the city is full of narrow cobbled streets much like you’d see somewhere like Greece, although it’s not as warm. The city it’s self looks old with lots of old buildings however, there are a lot of modern shops.

IMG_3197_Fotor

We went for brunch in this quaint cafe and cake shop called Betty’s. There was a fairly long queue to get inside but i’d say it was worth the wait. The cafes main speciality is afternoon tea but we all ordered brunch.

pic 1_Fotor

IMG_3190_Fotor

After brunch we wondered around the city and down all the narrow streets. It was freezing cold and windy and a little bit rainy but it was still lovely to walk around the city. We walked to the York Minster which is this grand building. The central tower is tall enough to fit the tower of pizza inside. part of it was being renovated but it doesn’t make it any less beautiful.

IMG_3204_Fotorcover 1_Fotor

We spent the rest of the afternoon in this small wine bar down one of the cobbled streets. It had a conservatory space upstairs that would be lovely in the summer but a bit too cold for the winter.

I headed back to Leeds around 9pm. I would definitely go back to York, there are so many unique places to eat and drink and the shops are pretty decent too.

Interrailing Through Europe

In the summer of 2017 Angel (my boyfriend) and I travelled through Europe with nothing but a backpack, some money of course and an Interrail pass. Before we left we had done most of the planning such as the route and where we were going to stay. However, there are somethings you just cant plan for. Im going to share some of my top tips that I learnt from this trip to help anyone thinking about it doing something similar.

The Route

We planned to visit 6 main cities in Europe in just under 30 days. The route would take us through Paris, Barcelona, Venice, Budapest, Bielefeld and Amsterdam. However, our actual route looked more like this:

Paris – Barcelona – Dijon – Paris – Venice – Budapest – Bielefeld – Amsterdam

Our main issue was missing the Othello sleeper train to Venice because of a delayed train to Dijon. This meant we had to spend an extra night in Dijon and in Paris in order to get another train to Venice. So here are my top tips if you want to have a marginally more successful trip than we did…

Top Tips

  1. Account for Delays

As I said before, we had a sleeper train booked from Dijon to Venice which meant we had to get to Dijon from Barcelona. This took two trains; one from Barcelona to Lyon and one from Lyon to Dijon. We got to Lyon with enough time to catch our train to Dijon which would get us to the sleeper train on time. However, when we arrived to Lyon our train to Dijon was delayed 30 minutes which was making it tight. We sat on the stairs (in everyones way of course) and that 30 minutes just went up… and up… and up… Of course my stress head was not coping well at with the fact that we were going to miss the sleeper train. In the end, the train to Lyon was delayed 2 hours and we needed up getting on a regional train which took hours rather than the high speed train we had originally planned to get. The cost of that one delayed train was an extra night in a hotel in both Dijon and Paris and another train ticket to Venice two days later than planned. Although we made it to Venice we only saw the inside of the McDonald’s and the hotel room before we had to leave for Budapest.

fullsizeoutput_2327

2. Book Accommodation Before you Leave

If it wasn’t for my parents describing the horrors of trying to book on the go, we would have left it later than we did. However last minute booking was not absent from our trip. We were waiting for the train to Barcelona from Paris and I thought it would be a good idea to double heck the hostel that I had booked. I open the email to find that it was booked for August. We went travelling in July. As I realised the ‘8’ in the date meant August not July I smiled. This was followed by a panic and when I told Angel he was not happy. The next hour was spent frantically trying to find a hotel, hostel or Air B&B to stay in. Fortunately we found something that was probably nicer than the hostel for the same price. However, I’m not sure it was completely worth the stress.

fullsizeoutput_233c

3. Scout out Local Transport

Both Angel and I knew we were going to be doing a lot of walking in order to save money. However we didn’t expect how much. In most of the places we stayed we were further out of the city so had to travel in. Most of the time it wasn’t too bad.The walk into Paris wasn’t too long and there was a train into Amsterdam. However Barcelona was horrendous. We decided one day that we wanted to go into the city centre so we did. We got up google maps and followed its route to the city centre.Until it wanted us to walk along the freeway at which point we wondered aimlessly in order to find a walk friendly route.  We walked for around 2 hours just to get there and bearing in mind I was wearing sandals… I could have thought of better things to do. On the way back, Angel to us to the wrong address which meant we had another 40 minutes of walking to do. Although all of those factors knocked us down, it wasn’t what killed us. It was the demoralising fact that once we had waked there and back we realised there was a tram. A cheap tram. A tram that stopped right outside our hotel and took us all the way into the city…

fullsizeoutput_2325-1

4. Carry Food with you at all Times

Honestly. Whether the train journey is 2 hours or 6 hours, you’re going to want food. Even if you think you won’t. You will. Because as everyone knows food curbs boredom. Now, unfortunately i don’t have any entertaining anecdotes for this. There were just numerous times when we got on a train without food and we both sat there regretting every decision we had made that morning that led to us not brining food. It usually also resulted us spending ten euros on two chocolate bars. Which leads me onto my last tip…

fullsizeoutput_2321

5. Shop for Food in Local Supermarkets

This is mainly to save money. Overtime we went to a new place our first stop would be the local supermarket to stock up on supplies. A lot of the time, the Air B&B’s we stayed in would have some foods such as pasta and potatoes which was helpful. However having food to take out with us was very helpful. When we were in Paris we made sandwiches and sat at the fountain by the Eiffel tower and had a picnic. It’s not as glamorous as all the cute cafes through Europe but when you’re on a budget it works well. My favourite day, honestly was when we decided to go back to the apartment early in Paris and get McDonalds instead of going for a cute dinner.

fullsizeoutput_2339

So, although we had a fair few set backs, it was honestly the trip of a lifetime and i would 100% recommend to anyone thinking of doing it. I’d love to do it again but even bigger and maybe visit more of Italy and Greece too the next time. But we shall see. I hope anyone who is thinking about interrailing found this somewhat helpful and if not at least found our struggles amusing! Until next time!

If you want see more of our adventures through Europe check out our youtube video