The Beginners Guide to La Palma  (Secret of The Canaries) 

Oh my goodness you guys. My incredibly pessimistic view on life is that if you have little to no expectations of people/places/things, you will rarely be disappointed (it may be pessimistic, but it also means I’m pretty much always having an awesome time by default). The island of La Palma is a PRIME EXAMPLE of this philosophy. Probably the lesser known island out of all the Canaries, it’s main industry is actually growing and selling bananas as opposed to tourism like the rest of the surrounding islands. There are few hotels there and not a massive number of international flights in and out, so the general atmosphere that I experienced there was far more laid back and natural-feeling than somewhere like Lanzarote or Tenerife. And although the island is volcanic, it is also incredibly fertile leading to tropical plants galore, bright colours all around, and obviously an abundance of bananas. (Miniature bananas at that)  Continue reading

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One Day in Cádiz (or, solving an Easter mystery)

Cádiz is a place which I knew absolutely nothing about until the day our ship docked there, and had it not been for that one day I doubt there’s any reason that I would ever have considered visiting. It’s just not one of those places you hear very much about, is it? Set on a little slice of land hanging off of the South-West corner of Spain- it’s the oldest most continually inhabited city in Europe, and is therefore just full on drenched in history and the classic Spanish culture that I full on LOVE. A highly unstable and costly on-ship wifi connection meant that we hadn’t been able to research what to do or where to go, so with a mere day to explore, upon arrival my pal and I headed for the tourist information centre to ask a few questions and work out what on earth we should do in this crazy town of Cádiz. It was at the point that we arrived that STRANGE things began to happen. STRANGE, AWESOME, UNIMAGINABLE THINGS! Well. Sort of. And it took us all day to get to the bottom of it.

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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

Eight Reasons Why…You Should Visit the New Forest!!

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),  me and my partner in crime 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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