AmsterDAMMMN

This blog post is majorly overdue but it’s here!

Starting 2019 as we mean to go on!

At the beginning of January we headed to Amsterdam for 4 days and were actual tourists for once. Usually when we do city breaks we don’t really do a lot because, honestly, were lazy. I’m going to share some of the highlights from our trip and recommendations for you guys to check out if you ever visit!

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Brunchin’

On the first morning that we woke up in the city we headed out for brunch at Bakers and Roasters. We initially thought it was a “hole in the wall” but after further research we realised it was part of  branch! Regardless, BEST FRENCH TOAST EVER! The place is very popular so expect to wait, we never waited more than 10 minutes to be seated. I ordered the banana nut french toast from the menu and it was amazing! They sell a lot of eggs and also milkshakes but the french toast was my favourite. We loved this place so much that we went back on our last morning and I ordered the same thing! Definitely give this place a visit, the atmosphere is so laid back and feels like your small local cafe that you’d head to on a Sunday morning while living in the city!

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Bike Hire

The hostel we were staying at had bikes you could hire for 12 euros a day. It was really useful for us to have access to them at the hostel as it meant we didn’t need to drop them off anywhere before coming back in the evening. We only rented them from a day and I almost died multiple times. Cycling on the side wrong side of the road is actually a very complicated process. However, cycling is definitely the best way to get around in Amsterdam! It gives you so much freedom and you really get to experience it like you live there. One of my favourite moments was waking up on the first morning and cycling to brunch, it’s so simple but I felt at home!

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Boat Tours

As you probably know, Amsterdam is built on a swamp with canals running through the streets. Over the time we went an event called the Amsterdam light show was taking place and I was very motivated to see it. It’s a series of light art instalments placed around the city! Instead of cycling or walking around we decided to take a night boat tour. I began googling different companies and one popped out at me: Those Damn Boat Guys. The only reason I headed to their website was because of their name and once I was there I was not disappointed. They had so many little jokes on their webpage and came across so laid back. You were able to bring your own food and drink to have on the trip and you were allowed to smoke. The tours are usually only about 10 people so we booked tickets for only 25 euros each and headed to the meeting place the next day. The meeting place is a small cafe not far from the Anne Frank House. Its a really nice place with a relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff. We sat and drank hot chocolate before the tour. There ended up only being four of us on the tour which was really nice. We went this couple from Chicago. The driver was so laid back and engaging and took us on a detour of the red light district. He shared so much knowledge with us about the city it was so interesting but also really informal which just makes you feel at ease. As for the light instalments, they were amazing. My favourite ones were the ones that hung over the canals such as the hanging lanterns. Angel was a bit dubious about the tour and wasn’t sure how good it would be but ended up really enjoying it. So, if you’re going on a boat tour please check out Those Damn Boat Guys!

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Coffee Shops

When in Amsterdam!!

We visited a few coffee shops while in the city and noticed that the type of atmosphere inside counts. One of the most famous coffee shops is the Bulldog with multiple shops in the city and even a hotel. Honestly, its loud and packed and not a nice environment to be in. It doesn’t make you want to spend time in there. However, we did visit a few that were, well, how they should feel: down to earth, relaxed and chilled. Our first favourite was Bas Jo a small coffee shop off one of the canals not far from the red light district. The first time visited we sat outside as it was too busy inside and a homeless man came up to us and started telling us jokes for money. The staff in the shop were really friendly and chatty and that immediately makes you feel at home.When we sat in it was a lot quieter making it feel more chilled out not intimidating at all.

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Our second favourite place we found was called internet cafe. We went in one morning as we were walking past. It goes underground and again was far from the hustle and bustle of the Bull Dog. We went back to this one too and played pool for ages (because were both rubbish). The guys in there were so friendly too, even when I left my water bottle behind!

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Our third favourite place was called Rookies. We went here to kill some time just before we headed to the airport for our flight home. Again, the atmosphere here was just right. Not too noisy or busy and just a nice environment to sit in.

It’s hard to really understand why we liked these coffeeshops the best, all I can say is the atmosphere and for me personally atmosphere is a big deal. If I don’t feel comfortable somewhere then it’s not a nice place to be. This can come from the staff or the noise or the temperature or even the other customers. Overall the above three were favourite so I would highly recommend checking them out and let me know what you like or don’t like about them!

I love Amsterdam and could definitely live there! Please let me know your favourite parts of the city below because I will definitely being going back and would love to check them out! If you’d like to see a few of the light art installations and other parts of our trip check out the video below!!

 

Peace out guys x

 

 

Photo Diary: San Fransisco

My lack of content lately has given me an idea to revisit old memories and share photos with you guys that I haven’t shared before. So it’s kind of going to be like a series however, i’m not sure how often i’l be doing them. As well as you guys getting to see more photos it’s going to help me practice my editing more because at the moment I don’t have many new photos to edit. This first post in the series is from San Fransisco, there is honestly no reason for it other than the fact that these were the ones I wanted to edit first! So without further ado..

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Painted Ladies, we spent a while sitting on the hill that overlooks the houses and I actually googled why they were so famous. It turns out that the phrase painted lady is used for any Edwardian house that is painted with three or more bright colours it just so happens that there are seven in a row here.

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Golden Gate Bridge!

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I was actually bummed out that this was the only sea lion we saw…

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Post In n Out pier tour!

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San Fransisco may well be one of my favourite cities!

Thank you for reading guys! Let me know in the comments if you’d be interested in seeing more post like this or even the before and after of my edits because i’m really trying to improve on my editing skills!

Peace out guys x

The Beautiful Beaches of Varadero

As mentioned in last weeks post, this week’s post is all about the time I spent in Varadero, Cuba with my family. This break was a “lay by the pool and not do much” sort of break but the location was beautiful!

We stayed in a Melia resort right on the beach with all inclusive food and included activities too. My brothers and I spent a lot of time kayaking and snorkelling around the turquoise blue, clear waters while my dad windsurfed around the bay. Whether we were sitting by the pool, eating in the Trinidad restaurant or having a relaxed drink in the lobby bar, the beautiful bright blue waters could be seen from all angles.

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This time of year is hurricane season in the Caribbean so when you’re visiting in the summer you are taking the risk of stormy whether. The storms usually take place in the afternoons however we hadn’t seen any rain until we got to Varadero. All of a sudden the wind picked up and these dark grey clouds were rolling over. We moved under shelter just in time for the heavens to open. Although it rained for most the evening the sunset was probably the best sunset I have ever seen! The rain also come with lightening and thunder and as the storm moved over us out to the ocean you could see the lightening strikes shooting down and across the horizon.

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All I can say about Varadero is how beautiful the beaches are and that if it’s not on your list of places to visit soon then you are missing out!

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Peace out guys x

Havana – A City Stuck in Time

I have just arrived home from spending ten days in Cuba in the Caribbean with my family. We began with 3 days in the city of Havana and then drove a few hours to Varadero. For this blog post I’m going to focus on our time in Havana but it will be followed up next week with a post about Varadero.

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Whilst in Havana we stayed in an Iberostar hotel that was right in the city centre. On the 9th floor there was a rooftop pool and bar that overlooked the whole city right out to the coast. Down below you can watch the hundreds of brightly coloured classic cars roam the streets like something out of a 1950’s movie. The hotel was taller than a lot of the surrounding residential buildings and one evening a group of kids were playing with a football on their roof amongst the bed sheets and clothes that were hanging out to dry as the sunset.

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One day we took a tour around the city in a bright pink classical car. Our first stop was to Plaza de la Revolucion. The plaza is surrounded by buildings such as Jose Marti memorial, the National Library and many government ministries with drawings of Fidel Castro and Camilo Cienfuegos. Our next stop was John Lennon park. Although John Lennon never visited Cuba they have a statue of him in the park sat on a bench because of what he stood for. A woman is in charge of supplying the glasses for the statue when tourist come to take photos because the original set were stolen. From here we drove to a forest which reminded me of the Caribbean I remember, green and lush. The tour guide described it as something out of the movie Avatar and it honestly was. As we drove through there were these ginormous trees with great big vines hanging off them. It’s strange to think of this luscious green forest being bang smack in the middle of a busy city.

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Most evenings we would wonder around the streets looking for places to eat in. Almost every restaurant you walk past had a band in playing loud cuban music. They were all so talented and it created such a lively atmosphere all over the city.

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If you haven’t visited Cuba you definitely should, and soon. Currently it’s not as commercialised as most places in the world however it is slowly becoming more commercialised so the best time to visit is as soon as you can to experience the most you can. Let me know in the comments if you guys have ever been to Cuba and what you thought of it!

Peace out guys x

Support your National Parks

First off, I’m sorry for missing last weeks blog post. Angel and I have been road tripping around a few of the National Parks on the west coast. We visited four parks in total and I thought I’d share our itinerary with you all!

Los Angeles – Joshua Tree National Park

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This was a short drive, only 2 and a half hours. We stayed in Hidden Valley Campsite which is one of the first campsites you reach as you drive through the park from the West Entrance. It’s actually quite beautiful, for a desert. Giant grey boulders tower the sky line. It’s bright, so bright from the reflection of the sun off the white sand on the floor! As we drove through we saw fields of Joshua trees that reminded me of something out of a Dr. Seuss. But the best time to see this park is in the evening, not only because of the scorching heat in the summer months but because of the sky.

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When the sunsets it turns the rocks golden and when it gets dark, it gets really dark. So dark that you can see the milky way! Standing and starring up at the sky when it’s lit by thousands of stars you can actually see is unreal! It’s like nothing you have ever seen before. Living in the city creates too much light pollution to see the stars properly and you don’t appreciate the number of stars there actually are until you see it. Thousands of tiny lights twinkle in the black sky and you can see a faint shimmering blue ring that curves across the sky, the milky way! It’s not clear or obvious but it’s noticeable enough to know that it’s a galaxy.

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Joshua Tree National Park – Grand Canyon National Park

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The drive from Joshua Tree to the Grand Canyon was a whole lot of desert. The black roads and freshly painted white and yellow lines popped out against the flat sandy landscape. 5 and a half hours later we arrived at the Grand Canyon and set up camp in Desert View campsite. I’ve seen plenty of photos of the Grand Canyon but nothing prepares you for how big it actually is. Deciding to hike down really shows you how big it actually is.

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During the summer they advise you not to hike down between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm because of the heat down in the canyon. We began hiking around 9 am and reached the bottom at 1 pm. The heat didn’t get too bad until we were almost at our final check point but then we had to wait two hours for the heat to go down so we could walk back up. Down is optional but up is mandatory.

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One evening we watched the sunset over the Grand Canyon while a storm rolled by. You could see the individual lightning bolts shoot out from the sky as the sky changed from blue to orange.

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Grand Canyon National Park – Sequoia National Park

This was the longest drive by far, 9 hours. The land scape changed from dry desert to pine trees and as we hit the pine forests the smell was overwhelming. For miles all you could see was rows and rows of deep green trees. We arrived at Sequoia late making driving down the winding roads in the dark slightly daunting. Once we got to the park entrance we saw that there was only space in one campsite, 70 miles away. So we ditched camping for one night and stayed in a hotel near the park.

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The next day we spent a few hours in Sequoia visiting the largest tree in the world in cubic meters. The sequoia trees are huge and tall. It makes you forget what a normal tree looks like and makes you feel so tiny.

Sequoia National Park – Yosemite National Park

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The drive from Sequoia to Yosemite is only 2 and a half hours. On the way we drove through the hills as the sun was setting and I have never seen a sunset like it. The sun looked like  a fire roaring through the gaps in the hills. When we arrive at Sequoia we thought it was so beautiful because it was such a difference from the deserts we had been surrounded by. But when we saw Yosemite Valley we realised we hadn’t seen anything. Whilst hiking we met this guy backpacking around Yosemite who said that everything in the park was perfectly placed and he was 100 percent correct. As you drive through the valley the grey rocky mountains peak through the pine trees towering over you with waterfalls running down them.

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Our first hike was a short one up to sentinel dome. At the top is a panoramic view of the park where you can see both Yosemite falls and Nevada falls with the half dome sitting right in between. It’s incredible! Our second hike was my favourite though. We took a 3.5 mile hike up the mountain to Yosemite falls. It was a hard hike and at one point I felt like we would never get there. When reached the top clambering over rocks we came across a small pool at the top of the waterfall and people were jumping off the rocks into the fresh clear water! The rocks allowed you to climb right to the edge of the falls and watch the water crash over the cliff face. It was a long hike but it was definitely worth it!

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In parks like the Yosemite theres constant warnings of blacks bears. At the campsites food has to be stored in these special boxes to stop the bears getting hold of any food. The bears are curious enough to break into cars to get hold of any food and they are known for being aggressive when they can’t get any more. Once they become aggressive park rangers have no other option but to shoot them so it’s so important that food is stored correctly! One morning we were preparing to leave the campsite when someone saw a bear. We headed over and this baby cub with light brown fur was crawling the shrubbery in between campsites. It was amazing! We had to be careful not get too close incase the mum was around.

Each national park is so unique and so beautiful in it’s own way. If any of you ever get the chance to visit any of them you definitely should! The entrance fee for most National Parks is $30 for 7 days but you can buy a pass for $80 which allows you entrance to all the National Parks in United States for one year. So go support your parks!!

Take a peek at our video if you want to see more of each national park!!

Peace out guys x

Dear San Fransisco, I Love You

Last week Angel and I spent a few days in San Fransisco. Honestly, we didn’t get off the best start when we found at 5 pm the night before we were suppose to fly that our flight had been cancelled and they had put us on a flight to San Jose to “get us on our way as quickly as possible” and because it was the “closest available option to our itinerary”. In the end we got on a later flight to San Fransisco which was then delayed so we arrived at 6 pm instead of the original 10 am. Thank you Alaska Airlines.

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The hostel we stayed in was in Fishermans Wharf right on the waters edge with a view of Golden Gate Bridge. Our room had these gigantic windows and it was amazing to wake up and look across the trees over the bay as the sun rose. Although it was away from the hustle and bustle of the city, I still feel like the location was perfect as we could walk along the edge of the bay towards the bridge and still be able to see it.

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Golden gate bridge is a sight for sore eyes. You can look at photos of it and watch videos about it but it’s nothing compared to standing in front of it. The bright red metal stands out amongst the shrubbery and water that surrounds it. When you think about the architecture that went into it, it’s amazing. The bridge is specially designed to survive earthquakes because each section is separated so if the earthquake is happening one end of the bridge the other end isn’t affected to the same degree.

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Another key attraction in San Fransisco is the Painted Ladies. The name painted ladies isn’t actually special to this row of houses in San Fransisco. It is the name given to an Edwardian house that use three different colours to outline the architecture. The Painted Ladies are so famous because their are seven of them in a row! They are quite a sight to see, like something out of a tv show.

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We sat up on the hill admiring the houses eating snacks. It was a special moment of the trip for me. We were sitting up on the top of hill and everything felt right as if that was where I was suppose to be and it was good! There were a few moments like that for me in San Fransisco. The second being that evening while we sat on another hill watching the sunset over the Golden Gate Bridge. I think these moments have a lot to do with why I fell head over the heals for the city!

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There were a few other places we visited such as Haight street, Golden gate park, the University of San Fransisco (Angel’s school) and the wave organ. There’s so much to do and see! If you guys know of any secret places or places I didn’t mention that you love in San Fransisco, let me know in the comments!

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Peace Out Guys x

The Most Magical Place on Earth (Anaheim)

I feel like Disneyland Anaheim is one of the parks that not many people know about (unless you live in California) but it’s actually just as magical as all the other parks around the world. There are two parks at Disneyland Anaheim: the Disneyland park and the California Adventure park. Here are some of my favourite attractions!!

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

This ride is located in the Disneyland Park in Tomorrowland. It’s mainly for smaller kids as there isn’t a height restriction but I was in love with it. You step into a submarine and sit below the water as it goes around a pool and you get to see all the characters through the windows. Some are moving images projected onto the windows and some are in the water. You follow the story of Finding Nemo and it also tells you abut the Great Barrier Reef. I thought it was so cute!

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Jungle Cruise

Located in adventure land in the Disneyland park, this ride could possibly be my favourite. You hop into a boat and a ‘tour guide’ takes you around this river looking at different animals like a safari. My favourite thing about this ride is the people who guide the boat around. They make loads of jokes and puns but they stay serious and they are all so good at it! As we finished the ride the girl who was our guide said “i hope you enjoyed you’re cruise, I know I did, I think I might go again… and again, and again, and again”. The whole ride is full of sarcastic comments and jokes.

Autotopia

If you don’t love a bit of autotopia then I’m sorry but we can’t be friends. Autotopia is in tomorrow land at the Disneyland park. If anything, autotopia teaches me and anyone in the car with me that I am a bad driver. For anyone who doesn’t know, in autotopia you get to drive around a track in a car and they give you a drivers license while you queue. Angel learnt the dangers of texting while driving at autotopia when he smashed into the back of another car while texting and his whole car shut down, so it’s very educational. I’m always terrible at driving the car around but I still love it!

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Radiator Springs Racers

I believe this is a fairly new ride located in cars land in the California Adventure park. Cars land itself is my favourite place in the park because it looks just like it does in the films. At night all the neon lights are lit up and it has a very retro aesthetic. On the ride you drive around radiator springs seeing all the characters. They all look so much like they do in the films! On the last section of the ride you meet up with another car of people and you race around the tracks. We had a close race, it was neck and neck until the last turn, unfortunately we lost but its a lot of fun!

Soarin’ Around the World

Located in grizzly peak in the California Adventure Park. I expected this ride to be a rollercoaster that went around and I was disappointed  when I saw it wasn’t but then it started. You sit in the air in front of a big screen and you fly around the world. We flew through Australia past the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Oprah house, past the glistening Eiffel tower in Paris and over Victoria falls in Zambia/Zimbabwe. I was sitting there already amazed and then we got to the planes of Africa with elephants and zebras strolling around when something hit me. I could smell the planes of Africa! It smelt like grass and dirt and animals and I fully lost my mind! The same thing happened when we got to India flying around the Taj Mahal, except it smelt like rose water and flowers!

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Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters

Watching this ride is just as much fun as being on it! This one is also in cars land in the California Adventure Park. It took me a while to figure out what it was exactly but when I did I was in awe. You sit in these brightly coloured cars and they move around the floor with music. The cars dance with each other, like a dance but for cars! The are all in rhythm with the music and in time with each other and towards the end all the cars come together and are in sync with each other doing the same thing. Once I had realised what it was I loved watching it while we queued! I would say its definitely better at night just because when you look up there are hundreds of flickering fairy lights and when it’s dark and the lights are a lot more noticeable it adds to the atmosphere!

Animation Academy

This is located in Hollywood land in the California Adventure Park. You go along and they teach you how to draw characters. Now, I can’t draw at all but at the animation academy you feel like a pro. It’s really easy honestly and you get to take away you’re drawing. We did one in Paris and drew tigger from winnie the pooh but the one in Anaheim is so much better because it’s like a lecture theatre. You can also choose what time you want to go along and what character you want to draw. We caught the last session and drew Winnie the pooh but the one before ours was B-Max from Big Hero 6. The instructor had so much enthusiasm even though it was late into the night and the park was closing. They talk you through every part which it makes more enjoyable and less frustrating when you screw up. I feel like this is a less known attraction in the park because of the rides but its definitely worth going!

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There are a whole load of other attractions that are also amazing, these are the ones that stand out to me! If you’re ever in L.A. you should take a visit to Disney Land! Let me know if you guys have any favourite attractions at any of the Disney Parks around the world!

If you want to see more of our trip to Disney check out the video below!

Peace Out Guys x

 

 

Sunday Markets

Hey guys! Yesterday I headed to Brick Lane with my friend, Meg, where we had lunch in the cereal killer cafe and strolled around the markets. It was so hot and very busy but I had a lot of fun just wondering around the streets of London.

Cereal Killer Cafe is this retro cafe that serves so many different types of cereals and cereal cocktails, they also do hot food! Everything on the menu is so unique and very yummy! The place is kitted out with throw-back toys and posters. There are two locations in London: Brick Lane and Camden Market. We went to the one in Brick Lane which had moved locations since the last time i’d been there. I ordered an ice cream cereal cocktail called the luckiest charm which was Lucky Charms, Lucky Charm ice cream and green milk, Meg ordered Frosties ice cream and we shared some pizza sausages and Cornflake Chicken. It was all so good!

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After we’d eaten we wondered around and found so many different market areas surrounding the area. I’m glad we ate before because I wouldn’t have been able decide what to eat from the market it all looked and smelt amazing!

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We stumbled across the most adorable plant store in one of the indoor market areas! There were terrariums hanging all over the place and they had these cute necklaces with roses and other flowers in them.

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If you’re ever at loose end on a Sunday I would strongly recommend checking out the markets and cereal killer cafe should deffinately be on your list of places to visit!

Peace Out Guys x

The Quaint Town of Nessebar

Hi guys! Apologies for being M.I.A the past few weeks. To be honest with you all I haven’t been doing anything worth blogging about other then studying for exams and working. But my exam period is over and my summer holidays have begun! The plan is for there to be one blog post weekly that will be published every Monday between eight and nine in the evening U.K. time. However, depending on where I am and wifi connection this may change. If you don’t want to miss a post then you can subscribe via email and trust me, i have lots of fun things planned that ARE worth blogging abut this summer that you wont want to miss so stay tuned!

Anyway, onto the actual post…

For the past few days I have been in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria! We’re in a resort so there’s not a lot to blog about, however we did take a trip to the old town of Nessebar. Sunny Beach is a man made resort area on the east coast of Bulgaria. From here you can see the old town of Nessebar that sticks out as if it’s it’s own little Island.

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The quaint town is covered in cobbled streets and churches. We took a walking tour around the town and saw five churches but there are several more in the town. The first church we visited had lots of posters outside the entrance which were dedicated to the people who had passed away. We wondered through the grand entrance and no photography wasn’t allowed so I pretended to take a mental picture and a woman walking past me yelled ‘NO’ at me. Inside, the church was full of gold and silver valuables. There was an area for candles where you could light them and place them on one of two shelves. One was dedicated to the living one was dedicated to the dead. We didn’t go inside the other churches but each one had a story.

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The town is built on sand dunes which makes it significantly more hilly than Sunny Beach. This makes the evenings in Nessebar much warmer because there is less wind blowing through the buildings from the coast. While walking around, certain areas reminded me of ski resorts in Sweden and Switzerland because of how nordic they looked. There were hardly any cars driving around the streets which made the streets feel quiet and peaceful.

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At the end of the tour we headed into a restaurant by the port and had traditional Bulgarian food of yogurt and jam. The town is very quaint compared to Sunny Beach which is just touristy. It’s a good way to escape the hustle and bustle of busy Sunny Beach and well worth a visit.

Peace Out Guys x

 

 

Day Trip to Gibraltar

For the past few days I have been sunning it up in Puerto Banus, Spain. On Thursday we trekked a little further south crossing the border into Gibraltar. Gibraltar is a very small, very British country that is connected to Spain. When I say it’s very British, I mean it has the same bins, the same pavements, the same street signs. It’s weird to see honestly.

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Whilst we were in Gibraltar we went up the Rock of Gibraltar. It’s the first thing you can see when you’re driving across the boarder. A small cable cart runs up and down the rock. It takes six minutes to get to the top. At the top is a restaurant and we sat and had hot chocolate while looking over the coast of Gibraltar out on to the horizon. Theres also a whole load of monkeys up on the rock. They are fed by the staff but that doesn’t stop them scavenging for food. Whilst we were up there this guy got a tissue out of his pocket and the monkey followed him for ages.

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We wondered out the streets for a little bit. It was rainy and cloudy (just like in Britain). The cobbled streets are filled with gift shops and small cafes. When you get to the main streets there’s a costa coffee, a Tommy Hilfiger, Topshop and a Marks and Spencers. It’s so weird.

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I enjoyed Gibraltar, it’s another country to scratch of my scratch map however, I don’t think i’d go back. There’s not a lot there and what is there is very British anyway!

Peace out guys x