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Monday, 9 January 2017

I have one word for you.......


Please note the following is my own personal review and I have not been paid to review or endorse this company. 

What does it mean you ask. Well pull up a chair and I'll tell you all about it. Way back when i was in my early twenties I saw this website advertised and thought what a cool idea. I then forgot all about it until last year.
Contiki is a travel group that does tours catered to 18-35 year olds. If you fit that age bracket, lover traveling and you're looking for something different then go Contiki!!

I had a look through the site and picked out sooooo many tours to go on. In the end I settled on one close to home and because of my love of Ireland!
Going on this trip was one of the best things I did last year. I met some of thee most amazing people. I went alone and was quite nervous at first, but also filled with excited energy. My roomie and now good friend was one of the first people I met when going to the induction speech! Before you Travel you get sent a cool pack with the tour information

We went from Northern Ireland to Southern Ireland and back again. The trip can be found here - mind you they have altered one of the days as my trip was for 9 days- Ireland Tour 8 Days I went in August when the weather was still nice, but typical- read: mostly sunny with a few showery spells- Travellers from all over the globe were on the trip. There were Americans, Australians, Canadians, South Africans, Koreans, A girl from Germany and another from Switzerland.

We went on a cycling tour around Kilkenny where I may have crashed into metal trashcan, but did end up meeting my Ireland adventure buddy-read: Guy I could hang out with and get out of shopping with the girls and is now my good friend-You know who you be!. To the Jamesons Distillery. A cycle tour around the Aran Islands-That almost killed me-never in my life have I done so much bike riding!-Good thing I had my roomie to cheer me on. Londonderry/Derry walking tour. To the Titanic Experience and the Guinness Storehouse. The Blarney Castle-too think how many people travel across the world to kiss a stone.... The Cliffs of Moher. The Giants Causeway!!!-the whole reason I finally decided to book the trip....

As well as all that me and the amazing group of people I met went on our own walking tours checking out the pubs, the food and the great music Ireland has to offer. Every night was something new and we were never far from entertainment. I love those guys!

Check me not giving a bigger mention to the food! Which lead way to the most hilarious conversations....
Waiter "So which one of you is the vegetarian and which is lactose intolerant?"
My Roomie "I'm Vegetarian"
Waiter "Ok cool so you can have the fish"
My Roomie "No I don't eat any animals"
Waiter-looks puzzled "But you can still eat the fish"
My Roomie "No I don't eat any kind of animals, including fish"
Waiter "Yes but we have fish"
Me "Omg fish is an animal, she doesn't eat meat or fish. Fish is not a vegetable"
Waiter-looking more puzzled..... "Oh....I'll come back"
One day......waiters will learn not all vegetarians eat fish

So almost every night was mash potato! Unless we went out ourselves and got something different. There was also some really good soup! And the largest picture is of the most amazing apple pie I have ever eaten in my life! -unless you want to send me some pie and prove me wrong!-

I would recommend this trip to anyone -providing you fit the age bracket- even if you're going alone you're bound to meet new people and make some friends for life!

As they say in Contiki #NoRegrets!!!

IBeCheraldine =]

p.s My resolution this year is to blog at least once a week and go on more crazy adventures!

Watch this space

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Catching the Travel Bug- Dingle-Ireland

Things have been crazy busy the last few months which is why this entry is sooo late....
So last October I went to Dingle with my best friend. We stayed at Fiona's B+B  The room reminded me of an old boarding school, but it was clean and comfortable. There was a lock on the door and the owner told us the hotel was actually run by her daughter! Our journey to the hotel was longer than the actual plane ride. There is one airport in the area and everywhere else is out in the sticks!
Dingle is in one big circle and is often referred to as the Dingle Peninsula   We walked around town as we arrived in the afternoon and found most shops were actually closed and no real music starts until after 10pm!! We found an amazing Chinese restaurant to eat in.... Disclaimer- *We must have been tired as the second time we went there the food wasn't as amazing*

We found the coolest music shop that held concerts on most evenings so planned to go there the tickets were 15Euros They played traditional Irish songs and did one in Gaelic as well The shop is called Siopa Ceoil An Daingin They even had Cooney and Begley playing one night which we went to see. My phone was being poo so the pictures didn't come out too well :( . We went back in the day and the shop has the cutest assortment of trinkets and gifts all around it. Some you could by and others weren't for sale...

We met a solo traveller who took us around Dingle and we all had a fun day out checking out the Peninsular. We saw the Beehive Huts, Went to the beach... Found some hidden coves as we explored the mountains.

You know how I love my food and in Ireland they sure do make sure you get your money's worth! The portions were huge, but we found ourselves finishing the meal...One day we had 5 meals.... We had no idea how or why we ended up eating so much.... The cup featured in the larger picture. I ended up buying two as the cafe was also a pottery shop.... 

Dingle is a very peaceful little town and is out in the countryside if you enjoy long walks and beautiful scenery. I would definately go again to check out more concerts and enjoy some good food! 

Another holiday down and another great place to go back and visit even if just for a long weekend. 

Watch this space for the next installment....this one won't take 4 months to add...(she says)

IBeCheraldine =]

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Catching the Travel Bug-Scotland-Edinburgh!

Hello it's me again with another instalment to the travel bug adventures!
This holiday was to Edinburgh, I went with Mother dearest as a treat for her Birthday and Mother's day present rolled into one. September 2015

We stayed in the Holiday Inn-Waterfront hotel, which the bus ride there was actually longer than the plane journey! It was a good thing there was a lot of nice scenery on the way. There was another couple on the bus going to our hotel as well. The room was spacious the beds were comfortable. The breakfast was complimentary which is one thing I always look out for when booking a hotel as it saves time in the morning having to look for a cafe. The hotel was in a very peaceful part of the town with a good parade of restaurants a stone's throw away from us.

On our first day we discovered we were right by a shopping mall! We went around it and found there were some restaurants on the top floor of which we obtained some menus to take back to the hotel and a few late open shops we mooched around. After going through the menus we decided to go back out and eat at WagaMama  The food was a little disappointing as I was expecting it to have a little more flavour.

We had already booked tickets for the bus tours which was handy as the queue was quite long to buy them! It enabled us to go on 3 different buses which took you to different sites and attractions. All tours began at Waverley Bridge which reminded us of Piccadilly Square in london as it is full of high street shops, restaurants and there was a large park as well.

On our trip we went to

The Scott Monument-All 287 steps up the monument and 287 steps back down! We don't know what inspired us to go up it, but hey You Only Live Once right?! Our legs felt like jelly after we came out and we made the mistake of sitting down! If you can walk it off people! Walk it off!!

The Museum of Childhood-We were both quite disappointed with this museum as we were expecting perhaps a few more toys and games and even some interactive things, but alas it was not to be. Most items were behind glass cases and there was a rather scary room filled with Porcelain dolls!

Our Dynamic Earth- This had a tour of the past present and possible future of the earth in different interactive levels the tour lasted a little under an hour then there was a show on space and possible alien life on planets yet to be discovered.

The Botanical Gardens- Not the best idea when you suffer from hayfever, but it's worth a wander round if you love plants and flowers. They had some beautiful sculptures in hidden places around the garden.

The Royal Yacht Britannia-  We purchased the tickets before the trip as they were at a discounted price and Mother had been raving about it for ages! This was a rather interesting tour where you had a giant mobile phone to listen to the different points of interest around the Yacht

The Leith Mill/James Pringle Shopping Outlet
-Rather Underwhelming unless you want to purchase various pieces of Scottish clothing, food or souvenirs. We were not here for long...

The Royal Mile-Central hub of most of the souvenir shops hiding a few attractions and museums along the way. We went here a few times through the trip to pick up souvenirs, we also go to watch fudge being made

Other than the breakfast in the mornings we didn't really get to sample any proper Scottish food. Mother and I weren't too keen on trying Haggis! We did get our Chinese Takeaway which delivered to the hotel! We ate out at an Italian Restaurant Giuliano's!

We missed out on going to a few museums, which we said when we go back we would visit as they did look rather interesting and it is a lovely place to visit. Where we stayed was perfect as a bus tour when by our hotel so we could catch it into town!

So that was Edinburgh keep watching out for the next holiday breakdown.

IBeCheraldine =]

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Catching the Travel Bug!-Rome

I was always interested in travelling and seeing the world. I mean why live in it if you're not going to explore it. Why not venture further than your doorstep and go out and see other countries and cultures. Last year I was fortunate enough (read could afford to) go on a few holidays with Friends and Family.
I went to Malaga. Rome. Dingle. Edinburgh. Munich.

Let's start with Rome as I didn't take many pictures in Malaga or see many places as this was a family holiday.

I went to Rome with the Older Giant. In July 2015. We did a lot of research into free museums to go into, good places to eat, free things to see and what was good value for money. I don't know about you, but I love a good bargain! Before we went we found out about the Roma pass which is 36 Euros. We purchased this in Rome once we had gotten off the plane and we going to get a taxi to the hotel. We got a shuttle bus which had several other people on. but the price was rather quite reasonable! We stayed at the Hotel Argentina which was 5-10 minutes away from the Termini train station and the Bus station depending on how fast you were walking.
It was a nice quiet hotel the room was a decent size and the beds were comfortable. They had air conditioning which helped after a morning out in the dry humid heat! However not suitable to put on through the night as it was quite loud. Our stay included breakfast which was a cold buffet and a hot and cold beverage machine. There was also a regular vending machine with Spanish snacks.

Whilst there and equipped with our Roma Pass we did our research into attractions it could be used for that weren't free and anything else we could benefit from. One thing I will mention about the pass is a lot of things in it were outdated! We found some shops had closed down, some tours were no longer running and some of the discounts were no longer available! Look into this before buying as we were a little surprised when we went to the information centre and the woman tried to tell us that we were lying!

We managed to see

The Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain-although this was boarded up due to reconstruction works! Disappointed much!

St Peter's Basilica and the Vatican City-be wary of the "guides" trying to sell you cut the line tickets. Going into the Basilica is actually free and the Vatican is 16 Euros! They were trying to charge 45 Euros! for a "private guided tour"  The queue is in a very awkward system be prepared to stand in it for up to 2 hours so go early and carry an umbrella as there is next to no shade when waiting in line. Also to go in your shoulders must be covered and your bottoms must be at least knee length.

The Colosseum-which was actually down the road from where we were staying albeit a 30min walk! With our Roma pass we got to skip the queue and go in for freeeeeee.
The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

The Leonardo Da Vinci Museum-This was cool as it had a lot of his different inventions and sketches this cost us 8 Euros. We found this after getting lost leaving the Villa Borghese

The Pantheon-We got there and it was closed :(

Villa Borghese- We got the train here and walked to the park....Omg was it a long walk across some random field! We did discover a nearer train station after leaving. Whilst there we hopped on one of those park trains for just 3 Euros which took around the attractions in the Villa Borghese, we were so glad as it saved us walking around in the heat!

Galleria Nazionale D'arte Moderna-This was also free with the Roma Pass, we stumbled across this when going around the Villa Borghese in the other direction....

We went to a flea market that had maybe 5 "unique stalls" that was huge, but weird that every 1 in 5 stalls had the same things being sold!

We also went on a tour bus which cost 18 Euros tour which took you round the sites, the ticket covered us for 2 different buses which took you round a few different areas. We went on the tour bus at various points hopping on and off the bus at places of interest.  There was another which was 10 Euros-The Roma Cristiana which took you around the more historical sites and Cathedrals.

And we can't forget about the food! I know it may sound weird, but every time we go on holiday we look for a Chinese restaurant.... We managed to find one in Rome!

If I was going again which I one day plan to. I would not go in July-The heat is dry with little to no breeze.....and even on the day it randomly rained it was still so hot you could see steam! When you go indoors be warned it does not cool you down in any way shape or fact you actually sweat more going indoors! My advice is carry an umbrella. Also food is fairly expensive, if you plan to get a starter, main and desert be prepared with at least 30+ Euros!

Whilst you can wing it when going we are glad we planned ahead and looked up places to go. Pinterest was really informative with different pins on places to go, things to do, where to eat etc. The tour buses are a great way to get around if you want to see the sites without navigating the trains or buses.

Well that's my trip broken down and the shortened version. I hope this helps if you're planning a trip to sure to check that the Trevi fountain isn't still under construction and most attractions have websites so you can check opening times.

Watch this space for the next holiday breakdown.

IBeCheraldine =]