The importance of a good backpack :)

Marketing teams the world over would have you believe that there products are the best on the market… But by far the best bags i have had the pleasure to use have been Osprey bags, they have a lifetime guarantee on their zips which make them prefect if you travel a lot and often overload your bags by buying too much whilst you travel :). I am currently on my 3rd Osprey backpack for travel, each time i try a different bag i get one step closer to finding what works for me and what doesn’t…. I think of my bags as my snail shell…. They need to be comfortable to where whilst exploring a new city but also have enough space for all that I need about my person.

When I first travelled as a backpacker, this was to Vietnam…. It was the best experience of my life… up until that point, i had with me a huge 75 litre backpack which included a detachable day pack…. Yes I thought I needed a bag that big and it was suggested as the bag to get for backpacking for a long time…. I was at this point quite into the idea of quiting my job to travel so wanted to invest in a decent bag! But I actually found the bag to be much too big and i struggled to carry it even short distances in a comfortable manner :(. I am after all a extremely petite 5ft nothing gal of no sizeable proportions.

So when planning for my trip to Australia i decided to sell my gigantic bag and get one a lot smaller. I had read tons of blogs about people who had travelled the world with small backpacks and loved it so decided to press ahead and get a tiny 40 litre backpack from Osprey, the Fairpoint 40. It is a unisex backpack, perfect as a carry on for Europe, so it seemed ideal and came in a lovely blue colour (men’s bags often have the best colours!). The straps, the same as the ones on my last bag, zip away when you are travelling with it creating a extra pocket for storage.

My issue with this bag arose about 2 months into my trip when i needed to purchase a rain coat and thick fleece for a job I had been given in Australia’s snowy mountains….. All of the space in my bag was already claimed! The bag would have been perfect for trips during the summer months but it just didn’t have the space for the heavier winter gear that i required for my future trips to Tasmania and New Zealand. Especially as us ladies often require more toiletries than gentleman do, with my long thick locks I can’t get away with using shower gel to wash my hair :(! The worst thing is that when the bag gets fuller it just sticks out more backwards instead of upwards like a normal backpack, thus putting more pressure on your bag which isn’t helped by the laptop case being in the furthest pocket from your back….. My laptop being the heaviest thing I own…. Most blogs tell you to pack the heaviest thing closest to your back. I am, however, saving this bag for short trips to Europe where i won’t be carrying so much.

My back was saved by my lovely mother bringing out my newly acquired Osprey Ariel ag 65, which is in a gorgeous rich bluey purple colour which is stunning. Sorry but i love to geek out with luggage as to me it’s the most important thing to spend money on when travelling as it will be your constant travel companion!

Anyway, this bag stood out to me because it boasts 2 access points at the front of the bag (more than any other hiking backpack that i have seen on the market), this is perfect as allows me to easily access everything in my bag without having to pull it all out from the top! The best thing about this bag though is Osprey ‘s patented anti-gravity harness system which makes you feel like you are carrying nothing but air on your back as the weight of the pack goes through your legs. Believe me this works as i am a teeny 5ft lady who is easily able to carry her 20kg rucksack due to this system. This bag is designed for long distance heavy load carrying which is great as i want to get into doing multi day hikes when I go to New Zealand eeeek. I love 😍 this new bag…. For now!

Advertisements

Port Macquarie

For the past 2 weeks I have been lounging comfortably in a small town 6 hours north of Sydney, it is called Port Macquarie and has a compact town centre and best of all, plenty of beaches and sea views. I am living here in a hostel in a work for accommodation set-up that has me working 5 hour days 3 days a week, the work is seriously easy; cleaning, housekeeping, and checking people in/out with the cleaning only taking a hour allowing around 3 hours for me to read my book and just chill out…. after work we all go to the beach and chill…. this is the life that is dreamed of when stuck in a office doing a boring 9 – 5 job!

I have thus far been in Australia a little over 4 months and have yet not made up my mind whether I like it or not. Don’t get me wrong, there is so much that’s amazing about it, for example the blue mountains, wild parrots just sitting in the trees, blue ocean, so many beaches, bush walking a culture built on everyone being equals and a Ozzy fascination with how ‘old’ everything is here…… but I miss the old ruggedness of the English countryside, the historic buildings in every town, the changeable weather (everyone really appreciates the sun when it is out!), I actually miss drizzle and being able to wear heavy winter coats and lots of layers because it is so cold.

Port Macquarie reminds me very much of places I visited on holiday as a child, it has that holiday feel, maybe like Cornwall. The weather, as I have experienced it, can either be very sunny and hot or very sunny with freezing cold wind. Although we go to the beach a lot I have only taken two dips in the water because it has been so cold, one of my colleagues (a English girl from the midlands) is quite able to dunk herself under the water. I will wait until the spring to do proper swims in the sea, I will actually be further up the coast then too so it will be much hotter! 🙂 I have found myself being really suprised how cold it is in Australia in winter, the main reason for the cold is because there buildings have no heating and the walls are really thin as they have been built to be cool in summer, my words of advice, bring a jumper!

My favourite place in Australia so far are the blue mountains; my first day there I did a 6 hour 10 mile hike, it was so beautiful, every where you go you get the most astonishing views! At the YHA at Katoomba I had met an another lone traveller called Sara in my dorm room so we decided to start the hike together with us going our separate ways at the giant staircase, Sara was carrying with her a new hiking rucksack that she had weighed down with clothing in order to practise carrying a full load for her month long trip to New Zealand in October, a splendid idea!

Since I last wrote I have been to Berridale in the Snowy Mountains to work at a motel, Canberra where I did tours of the parliament houses and enjoyed a sauna at the YHA with one of my colleagues from the motel, Sydney where I stayed with my lovely friend and hiked in the Royal National Park after a road trip down from Canberra with a lovely girl that we met in the Canberra hostel, then the Blue Mountains where I spent 3 days exploring and wished that I had longer, then arrived in Port Macquarie on a Greyhound bus from Sydney that arrived at 12.30am!

I have 2 more weeks here before I travel up to the famous Byron Bay, am looking forward to it!

 

Australia – 6 weeks in

I have been in Australia now for just over 6 weeks, not very long but long enough to get a introduction into the Ozzy lifestyle.

What I have done so far;

  • Arrival; The first two weeks were spent with my Grandad, Auntie and Uncle in Sydney where I glimpsed the blue mountains and visited a multitude of zoo’s. Sydney was a pretty cool place with huge parks backing onto the harbour with iconic views of the bridge and opera house. A trip to manly on the ferry was a definite highlight. I hope to return and hike the blue mountains with my Ozzie friend.
  • Train; On the 1st of April, perhaps as a April’s fools, I hopped on a train from Sydney to Brisbane, this entire journey took about 15 hours none stop. The highlights were seeing the blue mountains and some gorgeous scenery as the train left Sydney, unfortunately most of the journey was through the night so we didn’t see much after the first few hours on the train. Flying may have taken a lot less time but nothing says epic journey like a mega train ride, slow traveling and experiencing the journey just as they used to back in the olden days. It was epic but I won’t be rushing back on that train haha, especially as I arrived at 4am and literally no coffee shops were open to feed/water us; coming from England this is odd as in the major cities there is always at least one Maccy d’s that is open all night long to feed the wary traveler.
    • My first sight of the city, that I intended to spend the next 6 months in, was just as the sun was freshly up at 6am shining between the high rise buildings and making the South Bank look gorgeous. The only people around at this time were cyclists and runners making the most of the quiet cycle track which follows the river.

IMG_20170402_165047_059.jpg

  • Work; I had chosen Brisbane as my base for 6 months because I had been given a job at Oz’s biggest bicycle retailer in order to draw on my previous experience in the cycling industry. One thing that I didn’t properly appreciate when I took the role was how badly this company is run, I thought that I would be appreciated for my skills and experience rather than being let go after a month just because they were going into a ‘slow season’ and I was easy prey because I am on a working holiday visa.
    • It has opened to my eyes truly to the prejudice and cruelty that visa holders face, a lot of jobs are only asking for Australian citizens and turn me away even though I have great skills and experience to offer them.
  • Lifestyle; I do adore the Australian lifestyle, everyone is so laid back and lovely, I am yet to meet a bad Australian! The sunshine everyday offers up a lot of time for outdoor activities such as running, cycling and hiking. I am renting a room from a lovely family who I get on really well with, they have been nice enough to take me on day trips to the mountains and have invited me and my house mates up for bbq’s a couple of times. They also have a gorgeous Alsatian doggy called Nacho who is beyond adorable. We live in a old Queenslander house just a short walk from long cycle routes and a multitude of parks.

20170503_114406.jpg

  • Cycling; I am of course going to mention cycling, as cycling is my best mode of transport. Upon starting my job I was allowed to purchase a bicycle, yay, I opted for a cheapo shopper type bike that would be practical for carting around my food shopping and luggage. It is not the best bicycle for all the hills in Brisbane, but it only cost $160 hehe. The best cycle route I have found heads East along the Kedroon Brook towards Shorncliffe which is on the coast, the whole route is segregated away from the road and heads past Nudgee beach through wetlands, it is gorgeous.

20170414_173947.jpg

In summary;

  • Australia is great, the landscape is gorgeous but to really enjoy it you do need to be able to drive (I can’t).
  • The people are lovely and the many English people I have met have said that they would never want to go back to the UK.
  • The wages are really high, even just for shop workers!
  • The sun shines literally everyday.
  • It is winter and still about 20 degrees every day, so no coat or hoodie is needed, maybe just a cardi for the cool evenings
  • You don’t need many clothes as everything drys so quickly in the hot sun

India travels – Part 1

16th December

Me and my most gorgeousness woke up at 4.30am to set off at the unknown hour of 5am for me to grab my flight from Heathrow to Pune. We got there with plenty of time to spare which we used by hugging, commenting on each-others watery eyes, and taking selfies in front of Christmas trees, we were both left thinking that this is a trip we should be doing together 😦.

 It wasn’t my first time on a long-haul flight by myself, my first was to Toronto in June 2016, but it was the first time that I had to make a change at a country that I wasn’t too familiar with at Abu Dhabi. I was wary of changing here as the middle-east doesn’t exactly have an unstained reputation of being a welcoming place, however my experience to Abu Dhabi was nothing but very pleasant. I had unfortunately made the mistake of opting for a special requirement of a ‘bland’ meal which meant that I was served before everyone else, brilliant, but was left feeling downhearted when presented with a menu by the stewardess of all the tasty options the others on the plane could choose from, I ended up with fish of some description and potatoes… not fun! From being served first I also had to sit with the tray in front of me for the longest amount of time, not what you want when you either need a pee or want to snuggle down on the seat and snooze. While we are on this topic, why do the stewardesses always wake you up at obscene hours to feed you? In my experience if you have a late-night flight you must expect to be woken around 1am to be given food that you don’t even have an appetite for, I mean it isn’t even good for your teeth eating between snoozes and not brushing, I don’t see many people on the planes popping up to brush their teeth after every meal. One of the perks of flying is that you always get off the plane with a mouth feeling like a carpet.

I hate how long it takes to get people off of planes, when disembarking I am always left standing for about 20 minutes whilst the slowest people in the world grab their luggage and get off the plane, I am always left wondering that there has to be a better solution that squeezing everyone out through the same door, seriously this really rattles the cages of very being even when I am trying to be patient gggggrrrrrrr.

Another thing that annoys me about plane journeys, other passengers… there was me happily watching my movie (Ab Fab I think it was..?) and the guy who was sitting in front of me and waiting to get out into the aisle to use the bathroom, touched the top of my screen accidentally (?) and exited it in throws of a good scene, if only my eyes could have burnt a unhappy face into the side of his skull.

Anyway, back to 16th December and me regretting ordering a bland meal, apart from this the journey was quite comfortable, it was about 7 hours to Abu Dhabi with the plane arriving early which allowed me 2 hours and 20 minutes to try and get my phone to join the WIFI, it didn’t seem to think that their network was secure strangely, maybe because my Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini is a bit of a posh nosh…? Any way I eventually was able to join the WIFI about 1 hour before we boarded yay, I don’t think it helps that foreign airports don’t ever think ‘hey let us name our WIFI ……….Airport’, they always call it some obscure name so that you wonder if whether all your details will get stolen when you log on, if you have a phone like mine it is easy to see why it was suspicious! I had the same issue at both Pune and Delhi airports, they had ‘open networks’ with odd names that didn’t seem safe to join.

From Abu Dhabi I was able to send some selfies to my avid followers (my bf, my mum and my bezzie) to let them know that I had arrived looking like something the cat had thrown out of its pram (or however the saying goes). I had flown with Etihad airlines from London which was amazing, but then was shoved on a Jet airways plane which was one of those ones where you have to jump on a bus to be wheeled to the plane which is about ½ a mile away but somehow the bus takes about 40 minutes to get there going the long way around the airport, again, there must be a more productive way of doing this, what’s wrong with the walk ways that the bigger planes use to load up passengers..? As I was boarding I noticed that I was literally the only European, this was a taste of things to come in Pune where I only saw another Westerner at the registration bureau, against all odds I felt entirely comfortable and happy to be on the way to a city that not many ‘tourists’ get to explore. I say against all odds because Indian men are supposed to be angry, disrespectful yobs who can’t keep their hands off of ladies, I as always, had an aisle seat for ease of pees.

Landing in Pune I was given my first introduction into Indian organisation; a huge queue of both foreigners and citizens waiting to be called forward to go through the immigration that consisted of just a couple of tables with no barriers stopping anyone from hurtling through, I had been shocked enough by the pilot saying that it was 22 degrees outside…. At 3am!

I ended up being last in the queue as had exchanged some funds (could only exchange £60 ie 4800 rupees!) and used the lovely and errr unsanitary bathrooms, the officers were looking extremely bored by the time I reached them and were scouring my flight itinery, passport and Visa for something that they could be mean about, lucky for them they found it on my 1 year tourist Visa “for visas valid more than 180 days registration is required within 14 days of arrival into India”, just as they wanted, this threw me into a bit of a panic thinking OMG how am I going to get this sorted. It took up about 5 days of my holiday worrying and trying to sort this out with my friend, only to look online and realise that for tourist visas you don’t need to register as you are a tourist, gosh knows what stupid bureau thought it a fabulous idea to print such a thing on every single visa valid over 180 days regardless of what it is, tut tut. The long and short of it is, if you do need to visit the police in India so ‘register’ take a local who can bargain for you and help you sort things, otherwise you will never know what is going on! Another welcome to India was the lack of Wifi at the airport and my phone wouldn’t send text messages as the network didn’t work in India, damn.

My bezzie, Vee, met me outside at around 4am after waiting for ages for my bag to pop out from behind the curtain and surprise me on the conveyor belt, I had by this point dodged my first ‘scam’, a man offering me an airport trolley and me going ‘oh thanks so kind od you’ then him saying’ I help you with luggage’ and me saying ‘ermmm no I can push my own luggage thank you’ and scampering off to find my own trolley, the cheek of the man. The strangest thing at the airports in India, as I was about to discover, is that you have to scan you bag through a machine yet again before you are allowed to take it. (It was the same as every train and metro station, only one of the most annoying things in the world to constantly do!) do they not trust that Heathrow airport and Abu Dhabi would have picked it up if something was wrong with my luggage?

Anyway, I met my friend outside and gave him and his sister a huuuuuge hug each, it was the first time I had met his sister but I felt like I already knew a lot about her, she was after all related to my bezzie. He had Wifi about his person, thankfully so I was able to send a selfie of me looking even more worldly worn posing with my bezzie to my bf and mummsy just so that could see how tired I was, his Wifi was not the most consistent in the world but instead of getting frustrated I should have known that this is probably the best Wifi I would have for the whole trip. For a country so far advanced in its IT compacities you would have thought that they would have better Wifi, I mean seriously.

The India that greeted me was feeling very warm, looked very dusty and very much in need of some TLC. The streets are lined with mismatched buildings made out of metal and brick, wedged in right near posher looking buildings with glass. The air smelt of pollution and animal excrement.

My first experience of the roads coincided with my first experience of my bezzie driving, it wasn’t really an indication of things to come mainly because it was so early in the morning that there wasn’t much traffic, though I did see a dog doing a poop in the middle of the road. I didn’t see any of India’s famous cows though but I shouldn’t have felt sad as when I departed the country I had approximately 25 million photos of cows haha. The roads that we took to get to his house were an eclectic mix of normal looking tarmac roads and dirt tracks joining two parallel roads together, and traffic lights served as a guide rather than something that should be obeyed, the same went for roundabouts. I hadn’t at this point been treated to the full experience of my friends over enthusiastic use of the horn, this treat was to come later, but I did get a taste of his ‘see a speed bump and keep going at same speed’ philosophy which meant that anyone in the back without a seat belt on ended up flying high in the air (more on this later). To be honest I was taking a lot in at this point A) because it was dark B) because I had just flown for 13 hours and C) because I was catching up with my friend.

We rocked up at Vee’s house to be confronted with the room that I would be sleeping in, it actually already had some people inside it, 4 small people to be exact… and they were all on the bed where I was supposed to be sleeping, doh. So thus for the first night I had to hunker down on the floor, but like the hardy traveller that I was this wasn’t a huge deal for me, I mean when I stayed with my friend in Toronto there was 3 of us all sleeping in his tiny studio apartment, me him and his friend from India. Having known him for almost 10 years I was now used to Indian way of not really having personal space, we had practically lived together for 3 years after all.

I awoke about 5 hours later to find myself in a chaotic household and me being stared at like a fascinating object, probably because I had been dribbling and talking in my sleep which is a normally occurrence for me, by a selection of the small people. I must admit I am not the biggest fan of children ever, in fact before my trip to India I had always avoided being in the same room as a small child on my own. The two youngest I had actually ‘virtually’ met before as I had sung songs from Frozen to them down the phone in the past and they thought of me as a mix between Anna and Olaf, I did jokingly say to my friend that I would wear an Olaf costume to the wedding.

The wedding, now this was why I was in Pune, my friends brother (actually his cousin, but interestingly they call all their cousins their brothers & sisters, quite cute actually) was getting married to his girlfriend of a number of years in a lovely lavish ceremony and lucky little me was along to get the experience of a lifetime…….

Deep thoughts

A work colleague that I considered to be a friend of mine was diagnosed with brain cancer early last year and spent the last 11 months fighting it. He fought it out of his brain and was all ready to come back to work, for the doctors to then discover it in his liver and kidneys….. we have been notified that he is now at the end of the road…. he is in his mid 40’s. He always was smiling and happy, supportive of everyone, kept himself fit and healthy, and gave nothing but love to everyone. It is always the nicest people this happens to. He would have made an amazing granddad to his 8 year old son’s future kids…

My moral of this story is; live your life how YOU want to. Don’t hamper yourself down with a job, mortgage, marriage, kids just because you are expected to do it. Life is so short.#

This is why I have handed my notice in at my job and 8 weeks will be going to Australia for a year then New Zealand….. who is to say that I will even make it to see retirement to do this?

There is more to life than getting paid a lot of money to sit staring at a screen using up most of your life.

Worry bear – India Visa

So I know that a lot of people have blogged about this before, but the stress of doing such a application by post is unbelievable, believe me. To be 100% honest with you though I am one of those well known breed of people, WORRIERS, if worrying was a Olympic sport most days I could probably come first place for team GB and win us many gold medals.

Anyway, as many people have said the India Visa Application website is really confusing to use, within the 10 page they want to know;

  • Your distinguishing marks (scars/freckles etc)
  • Where your parents were born
  • What countries you have visited in the past 10 years (don’t forget to check that you have all the countries that you have Visas or stamps in your passport for! I did and had to redo my application doh)
  • References in UK and India
    • If you don’t know someone in India you can use the hotel you are staying at apparently 🙂

As well as the above they are constantly asking what country you were born in, this is made 100% worse by United Kingdom always being at the bottom of the long list *sigh*. I am certain that I had to give United Kingdom about 10 times, including twice on the same page.

Once you have filled out the application form you then have decide if you want to post your application or attend in person.

I decided to send my application by post due to me working from 9- 5 Monday to Friday so perfectly the only days that the embassy is open! I kind of wish now that I did take it myself after all as you at least know that they received it, and they also check before sending it off for processing.

I posted it on Saturday and received a email today saying that a decision has been made *fingers crossed* it is all good news! My passport should arrive early next week eek. The stated time on their website is from 2 weeks so this is really quick!

One of the ways to scare yourself when worrying about the Indian application is reading other peoples horror stories, in fairness they were mostly bought on by stupidity; for example one gent decided to apply for his visa 4 months before he went to India (unadvised!) and got on the plane to India only to realise that they had only issued him with a 3 month Visa, not the 6 month Visa as requested! Lesson from this; always check the Visa when received!

I am hoping for a 12 month Visa so that I can go back next year with my boyfriend and experience the toy trains of India 🙂

This time next month I will have been in a Pune a day!

If any one has any advise for India it would be great to hear 🙂

Addition; I have now received my Visa and…. it’s for a year! Yes!

 

Backpack review – Osprey Farpoint 40

Recently, as mentioned in previous post, I sold my Opsrey Wayfarer 70 and instead bought the Osprey Farpoint 40 as I found myself filling up the bigger backpack just because I could. Although I do miss the day pack!

After using it for my travels to the Lake District then onto Corfu I can safely say that it was the best idea in the world buying this bag. It holds everything I needed, including cold weather gear for Lake District and a travel kettle for tea in Greece.

I could have taken it on as hand luggage on our Thomson flight as it is EU sized, but as hold luggage was included I just dropped it off at the check in.

It is nice and light, easy to carry, the straps also adjusted enough so short ass me could carry the bag comfortably without hurting my back. I was able to stand for a while waiting for trains in the UK and also walk approx. 2 miles from the bus station to the airport in Corfu town. The net pockets on the outside were great for holding big 1.5L bottles of water though difficult to get out when walking along!

One let down is that is doesn’t have many small internal pockets for storing things in, unlike my boyfriends Osprey Porter 46 which has lots of storage pockets, but this isn’t a huge deal in the grand scheme of things.

Can’t wait to take this with me to India in a few months! My only worry is that according to Osprey’s measurements it is 4cm longer than Etihads allowed hand luggage sized, I am hoping that because it is squashy it will be fine 😉

Along with this I also bought the Osprey Stuff Pack which I used as a day bag; I was very impressed with how little it stuffed down into it’s own pocket, it was also comfortable to carry. The only downside it that it doesn’t have a internal security pocket and also the water bottle holder is useless for any bottles over 1 litre sized unless the bag is full. Overall it is a good bag if you want to travel lightly and don’t have much space but not really suitable for hiking!

Corfu for a first timer

I must admit when my mother asked me to go with her to Corfu, I was a bit dubious about whether I would enjoy it. It might make me sound pretentious, perhaps, but I rather more enjoy places with lots of culture where I can visit museums/art galleries, climb mountains to tiny monasteries or tiny churches (both of these are laid out in Athens!) or stand with wide eyes looking at a awe inspiring show of mother nature (Niagra anyone? Halong Bay?).

The little inn we stayed in was based in Paleokastritsa on the West side of the island, this town was basically ‘Little England In Corfu’, everyone we met or spoke to was from somewhere in the UK. Some people quite like this, but me, I love mingling with the locals and seeing how they live. This is a heavily commercialised area with tons of coaches passing through everyday.

With hikers genes in my blood I was able to drag my mother out for walks of about 7 miles each day, this was around reading multitude of books (Kindle, I love you!) and eating our fill of food. It is hard to deny that there are some pretty areas on this side of the island, but not enough walks going to them. Some of the mountains looked just so intriguing, but nope, no paths going up them yet 😦

Nearly everyday we did walk up the small hill to the small monastery, it was quite pretty, overrun with cats, but far too many tourists!

That’s another thing about Corfu, and in fact every Greek country I have ever visited; they are overrun with owner-less cats and dogs. These poor underfed creatures wind themselves around your legs in restaurants wanting food and even follow you into your rooms! I do adore all animals, but stray animals you do need to be careful with, regardless of this there were quite a few adorable kittens who needed stroking.

We spent a week in Greece and somehow got away with spending only £250 including travel to Corfu town and back, entry to the Fort, food & drink and return bus journey to Corfu town bus station which is a short walk from the airport, plus buying gifts for our other halves. We did well!

The weather was okay for the first few days, then heavy rain when we were in Corfu town (I have never seen rain like it accept when I was in Rome!), then the rest of the week it was beautiful hot weather, lovely for September, but strange to go back to England just as the Autumn had dropped in.

I did really enjoy the Greek food however, and we did eat heartily, but i still ended up losing weight at the end of the week hahaha yay. My favourite were the Gyros, Greek pizza, moussaka, Niko’s BBQ, Stifado and Souvlaki, so everything I ate basically.

I must say that Athens is still my favourite of all he places that I have visited in Greece, so much to see, so much to do, so many steep hills to climb.

My overall feeling is that it was lovely to go and have a week relaxing with my mum in the sun, however I would probably never return to the island unless I do a boat tour of the Greek isles.

dsc09388

dsc09274

Shabby chic

dsc09286

Paleo Monastery

dsc09183

Inside the fort

dsc09319

dsc09201

View of Corfu town from Fort

dsc09327

Kendal, Cumbria, UK, Planet Earth

I have had a busy few weeks which included a brief visit to the most beautiful park in England and also a week in Corfu with my mummsy. Two destinations that made me appreciate the nature of this beautiful planet!

My mother has lived in Cumbria on and off for the past 10 years, once she even lived in the heart of the Lake District National Park surrounded by the most amazing walks; It was here that I spent my holidays away from uni, working in a tiny shop in Bowness, waitressing at the local golf course and taking the three family dogs on super long walks (on the return to the house they just used to collapse and sleep for hours!). I am pretty sure that my walks were often about 10 miles in length, not too bad for someone with very short legs ;).

One thing that I have always wanted to do is grab my dog (or bf!) and walk from hostel to hostel (or hotel to hotel) through the Lake District! This will have to wait until I return from my travels now as it will soon be winter and my bf is having surgery 😦

Anyway, my mum lives again in the centre of Kendal within walking distance of Kendal castle which has a lovely steep climb up to it, great for the legs! In order to go away with her to Corfu I had to catch a train from London Euston to Oxenholme, this journey alone takes about 3.5 hours even on the very fast Virgin trains, add that to another around 1hr to get from where I live in Horley to London, it is in all a long journey from the lower depths of England up to almost the top of the country. I know that 4.5 hours probably doesn’t seem much when compared to train journeys in Canada perhaps or Australia (the Ghan takes 54 hours to cross the country, wahhh?).

One of the first things I did upon arriving in Kendal is grab the three doggies and take them up to the previously mentioned Kendal Castle, it is very picturesque up there, you can see all the cute grey stone buildings and cottages. (Apologises for the quality of the images below, these were taken on my phone!)

On the the Sunday me, my step-dad and my mum took the dogs for a lovely walk in the heart of the Lake District close to  where my mum used to live, I took loads of photos on my camera as the area is so gorgeous, check them out below!

dsc09066dsc09070dsc09096dsc09105

The reason why I am so into walking and the outdoors is all down to my parents, I maybe 27 but I didn’t grow up going to theme parks (I have never been!)or being allowed to watch tv or play on gamestations all hours of the day, I grew up cycling outdoors and going on long walks to get rewarded with a ice cream at the end; this has led to my love of walking and exploring, yay 🙂

Now to find new places to hike in the rest of the world!

Edinburgh

It is a oddity that we (on maybe just me!) don’t consider travelling in our own countries as travelling per se. Travel in my mind normally involves really long flights and a complete change of scenery. Just now I was sitting at my laptop reading blogs about travel, and on one such blog Scotland was highlighted as destination one should travel to, and it suddenly crossed my mind that of course my trip to Edinburgh in January counts as ‘travel’. 😉

I often have to be reminded how lucky us Brits are living in a tiny island on the edge of Europe, we have so many countries we can visit Visa free! Once I have seen the rest of the world I will come back and explore Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Austria along with a host of other countries on my list.

So to Edinburgh in January…

Here are some lovely photos from my trip to Edinburgh in January 2016, it snowed! We did one of the haunted city night tours too, pretty good!

A very short weekend trip; We flew out on the Friday night after work… then flew home on the Sunday night… good job we work right near Gatwick airport.

We stayed a street away from the Royal Mile and on the Saturday we were sucked into around 4 free museums all on the same street before making it to the Castle for a visit, it was extremely cold with snow starting to fall, so romantic ;).

On Sunday our list was to visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse (outside, was too expensive to go in!) and Arthurs seat, it was extremely icy that day so we didn’t get far up the hill, but it was marvellous fun, after that we visited the Museum of Scotland which was so large you would need a day just to see all of it.

The main thing I love about Edinburgh is the architecture, it is beautiful.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.