Travel Advice!

 

After a month of seeing a small proportion of the world I have learnt many things. I believe that in order to really thrive as a traveller you have to have all, if not some, of the following traits:

An open mind – what you see of the world through a television screen is nothing like the real deal. Go without any expectations, take in the new culture and try your best to integrate yourself into that culture. By integrating yourself, you will have a far more authentic and exciting experience.

Some common sense – just because the person at reception speaks a little English does not mean that everybody out there has taken the time to learn our language. Sign language is your friend, use your body language to communicate what it is you’re trying to say. Secondly, map reading is very very handy. Try to get good at that cause wifi costs a bomb once you leave home.

The ability to fashion repeat – you’re gone for three months and all you have is a backpack, your outfit options are limited. Take layers, mix and match and don’t forget your flip flops (hostel floors aren’t the cleanest)

A strong stomach – you might think that you’ve tackled a vindaloo and survived to tell the tale, but the change in environment, water and food can do an array of things to your body. Let’s not forget the condition of the toilet facilities – they’re rarely Western and they’re rarely clean, so again, be open minded on that one. Always carry baby wipes, hand sanitiser and toilet paper folks!

And finally….

Be spontaneous – nobody can plan months and months by the day (I tried, believe me). But eventually I learnt to go with the flow and say yes to (almost) EVERYTHING.

 

 

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Croatian Adventure – Day Two

Day Two – The Old City

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The old city is the most renowned part of Dubrovnik, with charming streets and plenty of timeless architecture, it literally felt as though I’d teleported to an old Italian town! Birds flew overhead as we explored the various nooks and crannies the city had to offer!

We eventually stumbled upon the harbour, a perfect place to see the clear Adriatic waters in their glory! We weren’t dressed for it, but I absolutely had to get in! There was one old man swishing through the water and so I figured it was acceptable.10411434_10204068902825890_7109784514617640044_n

Knickers off (under my dress) and bikini on, I was in the water in seconds! There is nothing quite so refreshing as a spontaneous dunk!

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Just across from us was a small island called Lokrum. We had read good things about it and for just £7 we could get the twelve minute ferry across to it.

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So, after checking in to our old city apartment (equally as charming) we head for the island in the hope of finding the pool they nickname, the Dead Sea!

After roughly twenty minutes of trekking through the forests and stumbling across the nudist beach, we finally found it. We were not disappointed.

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The water was a beautiful green, it was like something out of a holiday magazine! There was even a rope swing for those tall enough to reach and brave enough to fling themselves into the water. It felt like we were in paradise.

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The island itself was full of lots of little treasures. On our adventure it felt like we had visited Thailand, Africa and the Amazon! You can see from the pictures just what I mean! After a shattering day of walking, swimming and climbing, we figured it was only fitting to reward ourselves with a half litre each of wine! (£1.30 for a litre). We then found ourselves in a very swanky restaurant – the name of which I do not recall due to mass consumption vino – where I had the most amazing tuna steak with pesto pasta.

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Next it was time for a boogie so we went to the local Irish bar (as recommended by an Irish himself!) for a few drinks. This then led to a session in Sky Bar (rather quiet, though it was out of season) and finally, we had the idea to return to the beloved harbour and go for a midnight swim! It was glorious. The water soon sobered us up, we swam and stared at the stars in awe and wonder! It really was the perfect ending to a perfect day!

Amsterdam Adventure!

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It’s easy to associate Amsterdam with sex, drugs and booze – I know I did before I went – but there is tonnes more to it than that. This is what I got up to:

The Ferry

The ferry to Amsterdam is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. We described it as a floating Butlins! However it was surprisingly fun.

For £60 we got an all you can eat buffet, a reasonably sized room, average entertainment and essentially, a night out. There’s a cinema for the quieter bunch, whilst we found ourselves relaxing in the piano bar before heading down to the sunset lounge to enjoy the cabaret!

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Eating, eating and eating

In just two days I can safely say that I’ve eaten my weight in Dutch delicacies! First there was the luscious Maple Chai Latte and Peanut Butter/Nutella Cronut. I’d never had a Cronut before and I was blown away – totally worth the calories!

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Next there was Stocklist. A very edgy cafe attached to a boutique hotel. With doodling on the walls, wacky decor and extremely polite staff, it was a winner all round. I opted for a tuna sandwich which I expected to be average. However it was more like a tuna crunch with capers, peppers, onions and really dark wheat bread that tasted phenomenal! Definitely worth a visit!

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For our mid afternoon snack we thought we’d try out “Design your own Magnum” in De Bijenkorf. You choose your chocolate covering, toppings and extra chocolate drizzle. The results are more than perfection! I had rose petals, pistachios and white chocolate with a drizzle of white and dark chocolate! At just €4 it it’s quite a steal I think!

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Our meal out was really the cherry on top! The View Restaurant is hidden among a strip of tall buildings and unless told, you probably wouldn’t notice it. It’s a teppanyaki style restaurant that works with a conveyor belt system. You’re presented with raw meats and sides that you can cook on your personal hot plate. Our favourite were the shrimps and sesame steak! For just €30 (with a discount card) you can have all the food and all the beer and wine you can manage! And it’s not like your typical all you can eat – a tad tacky with amateur chefs- it was really authentic with fantastic cuts of meat and a big selection! Not to mention there’s a beautiful view of Amsterdam at night!

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Amsterdam are proud of their cheeses so it was only right that we popped into the underground cheese shop to sample their finest! My favourite was the goats cheese with truffle – amazing. But there’s also flavours like smoked goats, pesto and even marmalade!!! As a part of the cheese journey we tried some cheese filled breads. They’re filled with pine nuts, tomatoes, herbs and lots of deliciousness!! (I ate before I snapped – sorry!)

When in Rome… It was essential I had a waffle whilst in the area, being all Dutch and what not! I opted for chocolate, whipped cream and strawberries – nice, but I wouldn’t say it was anything special! Especially not for €6!

Activities:

I wanted to cram in as much as I could, so it was two days non stop! This is what we got up to:

The Sex Museum – no, not a live sex show! It was actually quite interesting to see how attitudes to sex have changed throughout the centuries! However the imagery is not for the faint hearted. For €4 it isn’t bad at all!

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Coffee Shops – the notorious coffee shops. We only stayed briefly to check out the scene before moving on! It’s a bit like East London with even more edge and less rules!

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The Redlight District – it has to be done, doesn’t it? Though it wasn’t as big as I expected and definitely not as buzzing. This might be because we went on a weekday, but it was just uncomfortable to see woman presented in that way. Not for me thanks!

The Old Bell,  Grachtengordel-Zuid – a good spot for your evening drinks! It’s lively with a good selection of music, though a tad pricey!

Canal Bike Riding – we initially wanted to rent some bikes but being the shorty that I am, it was a struggle to find little bikes! So whilst en route to the next rental place we saw Canal Bikes (a pedalo) and decided to give that a whirl. The sun was shining and the water just looked beautiful. It was a really fun way to see the city whilst getting a cheeky workout in there!

I love Amsterdam! It’s a stunning city, the people are incredibly friendly and there’s just such a relaxed vibe to it! It’s not like London when you just find yourself walking among commuters rushing to and fro. The Dutch walk, drive and cycle at a relaxed pace and allow themselves time to appreciate their city. That’s how it should be! Although the mixture of trams, cyclists, cars and pedestrians can make it quite confusing to cross roads!

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