Hello & Hvala – Slovenia Travel Diary
Whether it’s foregoing a rain coat, or getting rid of a gigantic backpack, we all try to avoid looking like a tourist when we travel. Not only for safety, but because we want to experience a country like a local. Well, at least I do anyway. I don’t mind doing all the usual tourist sights when I visit a new city. But I also want to eat where the locals eat, visit the galleries hidden down side streets, and while away my day in the little coffee shop that only the coolest “millennials” know about.
It was this – among other things – that led me to me saying yes, when my friend invited me to join him for his birthday party in Slovenia.
Living Like a Local – Slovenia Travel Diary
I was lucky enough to travel with a big group of friends this time, which meant plenty of laughs, and some new travel companions. We all hopped on a plane from London, and in less than 2 hours we were in Trieste, Italy. Wait, what? Well my friend’s hometown is actually right by the border of Italy. The neighbouring villages/towns in Slovenia reminded me of a mix of Italy and the region around the French Alps. Lots of cute cafes, local food, mountains, sun and sea. The perfect combination!
I’ve not travelled to Eastern Europe, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of Slovenia. I really enjoyed my trip though. Maybe it was because I got to spend time with my friends and with my Slovenian friend’s families. It felt comfortable, and casual. With no pressure to “make the most of the holiday” or anything like that. Highlights included: home-cooked meals, as well as trying local delicacies in some well-loved restaurants. Tip: be prepared to eat a ton of meat! We were chauffeured around some of the prettiest sights I’ve ever seen. I tried a lot of homemade alcohol (…yeah). And we partied. What better way is there to spend a holiday with friends?
In a way it felt like Slovenia was a home-away-from-home. I’ll definitely be going back, and I’ll be taking my
thanksgiving eating pants with me!
Don’t forget to check out more of my travel posts.
Old Friends & New Beginnings – Cyprus Travel Diary
Friendship is a funny thing. There are the acquaintances you meet once a year, the work colleagues, close friends, uni friends, best friends… The list goes on.
My recent trip to Cyprus was for a university friend’s wedding. This urged me to get in touch with some old friends who were also invited. You see even though we all live in London – albeit it opposite ends – we hadn’t seen each other since we graduated. I believe that friendships last the test of time, and that you don’t need to see someone everyday in order to stay friends. If you can meet someone once in a while, but it feels like nothing has changed, and you pick up exactly where you left off…well that’s ‘real friendship’. Still, part of me wondered whether the “banter” would be the same. Would we still get each other, especially with us all being at different stages in our life?
Old Friends – Cyprus Travel Diary
Weddings are always emotionally charged, but this one was different. We laughed, we even shed a few tears (read: I shed a few tears) – thanks to a beautiful ceremony/reception, and the father of the Bride’s speech. But more than that, it felt good to be amongst people I’d spent 3 days a week with for almost 4 years. It was as though things had never changed, although in actuality things had changed a lot.
New Beginnings – Cyprus Travel Diary
Seeing old friends made me realise just how far I’ve come in the past few years. I’ve moved to a new city, had some wonderful experiences, and created some awesome memories with the people closest to me.
It also got me thinking about where I’ll go next. What’s in store for little ol’ me? Maybe I’ll finally get round to planning my own wedding (I know, I’ve been lazy). Perhaps I’ll do that whilst flying around the world and creating some new memories. Whatever happens, I know that I’ll be doing it with some of the best friends anyone could ask for.
Don’t forget that you can also check out my Cyprus Travel Guide.
I always have so much fun when writing my ’24 Hours In…’ posts. Of course most of us choose to spend slightly more than one day in a city, when travelling. However I like the idea of compressing everything into such a short amount of time. After all, if it doesn’t make it into my 24 Hour guide, is it even worth doing at all? So here is my Cyprus travel guide, and my recommendations for spending 24 hours in the city of Limassol!
24 Hours in Limassol: A Cyprus Travel Guide
- Grab breakfast from a kiosk
- The streets of Cyprus are lined with kiosks (mini supermarkets), that sell anything and everything. My go-to is a can of iced coffee & a doughnut for breakfast. The doughnuts in Cyprus are some of the best you’ll ever have!
- Walk along the beach
- The promenade in Limassol is very people-friendly. Long stretches of footpath take you along the sea front, which is lined with cafes and the chance to dive into the crystal clear water whenever you fancy it.
- If you get tired, hop in a taxi
- It shouldn’t cost more than €10 to get around the city, and it’s much easier to flag down a taxi than navigate the complicated bus system.
- Walk around Limassol Marina
- Have lunch at Pixida
- Fresh seafood…by the sea. What more could you ask for?
- Check out the modern architecture at Limassol Marina
- Form meets function in the city’s newest development. It will certainly please your inner minimalist.
- Walk back through the old town
- The old buildings are a stark contrast to the modern architecture of LM, but equally as beautiful (and with a history to match).
- Do dinner at a local taverna
- You can’t come all this way without having a mezze!
- Finish the night at a local bar with drinks & shisha
- I’d suggest the Amathus hotel or Coya, but there are many accommodating bars & hotels along the strip.
Cyprus Travel Guide – Helpful Tips
- Hire a car or take a shuttle from Paphos/Larnaca airport – You’ll find the usual hire car companies, but if you don’t drive I’d suggest Shuttle Direct. SD is an affordable taxi service that makes you feel at ease.
- There are LOTS of friendly stray cats, and they’re all fed well by the local residents. As adorable as they are, some of them are sick/carry fleas, so if you do touch them, make sure you wash your hands afterwards.
- Toilet roll doesn’t go down the toilet in Cyprus. The pipes can’t handle toilet roll, and so you need to put it in the bins located next to the toilets. It might seem gross, but it’s really not that bad.
- Drinking water from the tap isn’t really encouraged, and tap water isn’t a thing in restaurants here. Just make sure you have a bottle on hand (it’s super cheap at around €0.50).
Well there you have it, my Cyprus travel guide to 24 Hours in Limassol!
Don’t forget to check out the my other 24 Hours In… guides.
A Year of Self Help & Making Big Decisions
2017 has started a little differently than 2016. Last year I decided I wanted to say “yes” to as many things as possible. That actually went pretty well…well, in the sense that I did it. Unfortunately it also meant my social calendar became pretty hectic. I had to balance my social life and work. And I burnt myself out. So 2017 has seen me saying “no” to things instead.
Why? Because I soon learnt that saying yes, and wanting to please everyone was really not the way to go. Unless of course I wanted to stress myself out to the point where I knocked 10 years off my life.
A Year of Self Help
You see, I’m highly susceptible to stress. The last few years have seen me manage it relatively well, but sadly last year I didn’t give myself the time to re-energise. Something which is extremely important when it comes to keeping my sanity. Because of this, at the end of 2016 I saw my mental and physical health plummet. This isn’t entirely to do with my social life, of course. There was a death in my family, a close family member was taken ill, and other factors came in to play (again, thanks Trump/Brexit).
So I decided that this year I want to make some big changes, and some bigger decisions:
- Take better care of myself
- Both my mental & physical health
- Be happier
- Travel more
- Seriously consider moving abroad
- London life is a big contributor to stress
- It’s something I’ve been considering for a couple of years
- Amsterdam & Copenhagen are on the table
- Think about buying a house
- Ben and I have been wanting to buy somewhere for a while
- It would give us a project to work on
- No noisy upstairs-neighbours
I might mess up a little along the way. In fact I can almost definitely say I will. But if I keep my main goal in mind – take better care of myself – then I believe I can make a difference in 2017. And at least I can say I had good intentions.
Mini Beauchamp travel bag by Knomo London *
Last year I made some travel resolutions, only they weren’t really resolutions. You see I’m not really into that. However I do like to set myself little goals and challenges throughout the year. Not only does it keep me motivated, but it gives me more of a purpose when I have something to work towards. In recent years, my main goal has been to travel as much as possible.
In 2016 I ticked off:
- Tokyo, Japan
- Osaka, Japan
- Kyoto, Japan
- Pembrokeshire, Wales
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Naples, Italy
- Sorrento, Italy
- Barcelona, Spain
- Paris, France
It was pretty damn awesome, and I loved every minute of it.
I’ve got the travel bag…I mean bug!
Let’s get a little practical for a minute. Travelling, especially when you only have cabin baggage, is not easy. I’ve been trying to hone my suitcase packing skills in recent years. I wouldn’t say I’m a pro, but I don’t do too bad. Of course having a trusty travel bag that you can take on your holiday is super important too. I like backpacks because I can easily shove all of my stuff for the day inside (read: camera, snacks & phone).
However I’ve always gone towards large backpacks. These can be difficult when the airline you’re flying with only allows one cabin bag. So this year I’m swapping my big backpack, for something a bit lighter – the Mini Beauchamp by Knomo London. It has a ton of pockets, which means I can fit a whole bunch of stuff inside. It’s also small enough that no one is really going to make a fuss about you bringing it on the plane with your case. Not that I’m suggesting people ignore this rule, but a tiny backpack never did anyone any harm, right? And if you are caught out, you can always pop it inside your perfectly packed case.
2017 Travel Resolutions
So what’s in store for 2017? Well I already have plans to visit:
Phew, that’s a lot. Anyone would think I’ve got the travel bug.
Keep an eye out on my travel tag for more!
5 Must Visit Copenhagen Restaurants
Figuring out where to eat can be such a pain, whether it’s at home or abroad. I’m usually the one tasked with finding somewhere too. Thanks to my blog, my friends and family seem to think I’m the dictionary on everything food related. Enter me, having an anxiety attack because I feel like I have to come up with somewhere right there and then (read: in 60 seconds).
So when I go away on holiday, I always make sure I do my research. I don’t want to be the person that relies on friends, or desperately asks Twitter on the spot. Plus you never really know if someone has the same tastes as you, and you don’t want to end up wasting money. Bad, expensive food is the saddest kind of food. Therefore I took my time (and knowledge of the internet) when we headed to Denmark recently. I was gonna boss those Copenhagen restaurants!
5 Must Visit Copenhagen Restaurants
I wanted to do my bit, and add a little suttin’ suttin’ to the array of Copenhagen restaurants posts out there. Blogs were a big part of helping me find some gems whilst I was in Denmark, so I thought I’d return the favour. I’ve chosen a variety of restaurants, and tried to pick ones I haven’t seen on other blogs/sites – minus one (bonus points if you know which one).
- Fætter & Fætter
- Yes, this is a toast bar. For Brits, that translates to toastie bar. So you can expect lots of cheesy, crunchy deliciousness from this beautifully decorated restaurant.
- The Danes love their hot dogs, and this is one of the best known places to get one. You’ll find the trucks scattered around Copenhagen (the site has a map). These are a must-have, and they’re so affordable you’ll definitely have an excuse to try them all.
- Conveniently located in The Christiansborg Tower, this restaurant is redefining Danish food. The decor is to die for, but don’t worry, the food doesn’t suffer. It is every bit as elegant and gorgeous as it’s surroundings.
- Mad & Kaffe
- This one is for the Instagram lovers. Or just those that like their food with a touch of fun. After waiting in the queue (this place is super popular), you’ll be seated and given a piece of paper to fill out. You select your choice of dishes, then sit back and enjoy.
- It may look a little dated, but this is the place if you want to try traditional Danish food. The pub-like surroundings make for a relaxed environment, and the food is incredibly flavoursome. Try the Flæskesteg (Denmark’s national dish) – pork, crackling, caramelised potatoes, gravy, cabbage, and pickled vegetables.
Bon Appétit! Or as they say in Denmark, ‘Velbekomme’!
Don’t forget to check out my other Copenhagen travel posts!
Having friends in different countries can be heartbreaking at the worst of times, but incredibly exciting at the best of times. So when one of my close friends moved to Barcelona last year, I kept telling myself – this is just another excuse to travel. And I wasn’t lying, because this Summer we headed over to Spain to pay them a visit. It was my first time in Barcelona, but luckily I had the best tour guides in town. So here’s my Barcelona travel guide to 24 hours in Europe’s hottest city!*
24 Hours in Barcelona: A Barcelona Travel Guide
- The only place worth brunching
- Caravelle is renowned for their brunches – and coffee – in Barcelona. If you love food, this is where you should start your day. I found them via BCN Best Coffee (they do other guides too).
- Wander around Las Ramblas
- It may be a bit touristy, but Las Ramblas has some great shopping, and even better markets.
- Sip coffee with the Devil
- Satan’s coffee corner is the perfect pit stop. Great coffee, and some interesting Japanese-inspired food.
- Take a wander around the back streets
- Satan’s coffee is perfectly located amongst some gorgeous back streets and alleys. Take a wander, you never know what you might find.
- Breathe in some art
- Everyone and anyone knows Gaudi. So whether you’re a fan of art, architecture, or you just fancy walking around some pretty cool surroundings in the sunshine, Park Guell is a must-visit.
- Tip: Book your tickets online before you leave. You’ll need to turn up at a specific time slot, and tickets sell out hours beforehand at the park itself.
- Basque in your dinner
- And your beautiful surroundings at El Nacionale. The Instagram worthy building features a selection of Barcelona’s best food. You’re spoilt for choice here.
- End the night with a view
- …and a gin and tonic, at Barcelo Raval Hotel’s 360 Terrace. Walk around and take in the whole of Barcelona by night.
Feel free to leave your own Barcelona travel recommendations in the comments.
And don’t forget to check out my other travel posts!
*As much as I’d like to, I can’t genuinely confirm whether this is the hottest city in Europe or not…it probably isn’t.