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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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.

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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.

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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…

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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…

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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.

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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