What to Do in Lanzarote 

If you’re not the kind of person that loves package holidays, English breakfasts in non-English places and sunbathing until you’re red as a lobster, you might be thinking Lanzarote is not the location for you. Well YOU THOUGHT WRONG, MY FRIEND!!! Not only did my grandad live there back in the day, but in more recent times I’ve also been able to explore regularly whilst working on a cruise ship. One of the Canary Islands which lie off the coast of West Africa, once you get past the major touristy areas and into the rest of the island, it is a beaut place to be with a unique landscape unlike any I’ve ever seen before. The whole island has been molded by it’s volcanic past, growing mountains and carving caves through the bizarre landscape of rocks, black sand and every now and again a sprawl of succulents and cacti. Continue reading

Here’s Why The New Forest is AWESOME 

Right you guys, I’m just going to come out and say it.

I get pretty frustrated when people come all the way to England and visit only London, with maybe a day trip to Stonehenge thrown in for luck. England’s actually quite an interesting place, and there’s more to it than Big Ben and a pile of mysterious rocks behind a fence. (No offence, Stonehenge) My twelve year old self once went on a camping trip to Dorset and after stopping for a break in the New Forest on the way there and back I swiftly decided it was My Favourite Place In The Whole Entire World. A bold claim for one so small.

But this leads me to my next point. On my first cruise job last year, I docked at Southampton every seven days for a grand total of four months (that’s quite a few times, then), and the only place I wanted to visit whilst there was The New Forest. Well. Let me tell you this for free, I do not blame twelve year old me one tiny bit.  Continue reading

What I Learnt From 2 Days in Rome (Dreams Come True: The Sequel)

When I was eight years old, I wrote to Girl Talk (a comic for like-minded eight year old girls across England), telling them that I had loved learning about the Romans so much at school that it was my ultimate dream to learn even more about the Romans, in my own spare time. The editors at Girl Talk HQ clearly took pity on me and decided to help me realise my dream by taking me to a Roman museum in Dover (of all the places), where they dressed me up in a hessian tunic and gave me a tour which was featured on a full page spread on their ‘Dreams Come True’page. I was pretty disappointed about the hessian tunic if I’m honest as I’d worn my lime green Spice Girls dress and knee high socks specially for the occasion, but the rest of the day really was a dream come true. Good one, Girl Talk! Anyway…the point that I’m getting to is that eight year old me would be so ragingly proud of the fact that I JUST GOT BACK FROM REAL LIFE ROME!! At long last, I actually got to visit my childhood land of dreams, my own personal Disneyland.  Continue reading

The Journey to San Francisco (or, the Coast Starlight is a magical name for a train)

We arose at the crack of dawn in our hostel in Downtown San Diego and walked to the train station in the pitch black darkness and pouring rain, which led me to the realization of two things. Firstly that my waterproof jacket was in actual fact not waterproof, and secondly that 6.30am is one of my least favourite times to walk about in the pouring rain. I was soggy, I was cold, I didn’t even have a hood and upon entering the station the animal I most resembled is a drowned rat. San Diego, Schman Diego, it was freezing. Thank God I had the promise of a magical journey on The Coast Starlight to pull me through that dark time.  Continue reading

Paris in a Day…C’est Possible?!?

The few times in my life that I’ve ever heard the words ‘Paris in a day’ in that particular order are when they are prefixed by the words ‘It’s not possible to see…’ BUT my friends- where there’s a will, there’s a way! After spending three and a half months on a ship which docked regularly in Le Havre (the so-called ‘Gateway to Paris,’ a name which I personally think is pushing it a bit), my pal and I decided we should accept the challenge and see for ourselves whether or not it is in fact possible after all. And let me tell you something: of course it’s not possible to see any city in it’s entirety in a day, but if you plan well enough you can certainly make the most of the time that you have, even if the city in question is good old gay Paris. (Nb- if you didn’t read that ‘gay Paris’ bit in a French accent, then you bloody well should because it’s way more fun sounding). Continue reading

Adventures at the R.K. Hostel, San Diego

Stepping into the R.K. Hostel in San Diego was a bit like stepping into a parallel universe, where none of the characters we encountered were quite what they seemed and you got the feeling the majority of them were harbouring a dark dark secret, or at least an incredibly interesting and complex back story. The hostel itself is in a residential area within the city’s Little Italy, and appears from the outside to be a very lovely old house complete with porch running all the way along one side; apparently in the 1920s it was a hotel, and became a gay club shortly afterwards named the Moby Dick. So there you go.  Continue reading

Oliva and the Costa Blanca (Or, a lesson in how to have a real holiday)

Now let’s get one thing straight here, homies- I am not very good at having a ‘proper’ holiday, in the traditional sense of the word. I can’t sit still for long enough, and feel guilty if I’m in unchartered territory that I’m not actively exploring. Your average human being goes away to relax, but when I go away I suddenly feel the need to pack in at least triple the amount of normal activity than I’m generally used to handling over the course of any twenty-four hour period. This often results in me returning from any time spent in a foreign country with triple the amount of stress and exhaustion than I left with, coupled with the almost unbearable need to go away again in order to recover. It’s a vicious circle. But THIS TIME was different. Because THIS TIME was a real 100% bonafide actual true holiday. Glorious.

And here, in all it’s glorious glory, is the list of holiday-type activities that we did. The good, the bad and the ugly.

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Being in Bruges

Bruges (or Brugge, if you want to get Belgian about it), is the epitome of a fairytale city; when I first stepped off of the train and into the winding cobbled lanes I had a strong suspicion that we were actually in Duloc (you know, the town out of Shrek) as it almost seemed too pretty to be true. The medieval streets are easy to navigate on foot as Bruges is actually rather small as cities go- however this, coupled with the downright amazing aesthetics of the place, means that it’s often packed full of tourists so make sure you’re mentally prepared to encounter swathes of people are something you’re not generally up for. I visited several times over the course of the last four months, so here’s my casual lowdown on what you should probably get up to in this lovely location… Continue reading

What to do in Hamburg

The last time I wrote about my experiences of Hamburg I was in a state of mild doom and gloom at the prospect of spending six weeks of my life living here- see SOS From Hamburg! for more info on the sheer desperation I was feeling- it’s a cracker. However I’m pleased to say that since that moment I managed to find my feet, got stuck into things and life carried on. I also managed to see past the hypodermic needles, blood and smashed bottles spattered across the streets of Sankt Pauli in the early mornings (I’m really selling Hamburg to you, aren’t I!?), to the silver lining that lies beneath. Despite elements of the city that are downright unpleasant, this can be said for probably any city in the world, and there are places here that are actually pretty awesome having given it time to acclimatise to.  Every cloud does have a silver lining, I’m sure of it. Here is what I think you should be doing if you ever find yourself in Hamburg and wondering what on earth to do with yourself…

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