8 Simple Reasons To Love Melbourne

Greetings from the land of very changeable weather, hipsters and great coffee

I moved to Melbourne nearly four years ago, four, years ago. I have no idea how its been that long but I will admit, I love it just as much, if not more than I did when we first moved here. Melbourne isn’t (as) flashy like Sydney, nor hot all year round like the far north neighbours. Melbourne is vibrant, cultural, energetic and completely unpredictable. Of course, no city is perfect, but Melbourne, for me, comes pretty close. Here’s why…

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-12-10,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y

THE GARDENS

One of my absolute favourite things about Melbourne is all of the public gardens. Although I live in the inner city, I still have many gardens and parks within a 10-20min walk. In fact, in and around the inner city there are 12 well known gardens to visit! All slightly different.

A few of my favourites would be Kings Domain/ The Royal Botanical Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens, Flagstaff Gardens and Carlton Gardens.

I think this is something that really sets Melbourne apart from other cities and part of the reason it has more livability than others. Beautiful.

THE VIBE & STREET ART

Unpredictable personality, Vibrant Laneways and hidden secret bars and restaurants are all of what makes Melbourne so unique. From an outsiders point of view, places such as Collins Street and Bourke Street at first glance are just typical city streets. Loads of people, shops and small cafes. From an insiders point of view, there is so much more.

There are little laneways which are home to small, locally owned cafes and restaurants as well as sellers of coffee utensils, sustainable clothing and probably even a hidden gym or two.

There are the famous laneways such as Hosier Lane and ACDC Lane which are always worth a look, but no matter where you go in the city, behind a random dumpster, there is probably something quite unique and beautiful.

img_20180622_113332-01

THE FOOD AND COFFEE

Where to even start.

Food in Melbourne is genuinely glorious. It has everything from high flying Brunch spots (Read here) to weird and wonderful (and crazy expensive) options such as Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Plus everything in between. As someone who is somewhat health conscious & enjoys living the health wanker life, there are also many options available too.

Melbourne is called the coffee capital of Australia for good reason. More and more brilliant coffee shops are popping up all around. Not only in the hipster suburbs, but also right in the city centre. I will be writing a blog post soon of all my favs but for now, just do a small amount of googling and you will find some finger licking good places.

THE MARKETS

Since moving to Melbourne and living so close to a few big markets I have really become quite obsessed and going to the Market on a Sunday is a bit of a tradition.  Markets are a great place to start when visiting any new place because you get a glimpse of the local fresh produce, food scene as well finding gems from local artists and creative types.

There are a few markets in Melbourne which are definitely a must see. The first being the Queen Victoria Market. Its quite famous in Melbourne and has everything from food to vintage clothing to live bands and much more. There is also a Night Market which runs out of here at certain times of the year which is quite the experience.

My favourite markets are ones which are a little smaller. Being the South Melbourne Market & the Prahran Market. Both have a great fresh produce section as well as amazing deli’s and restaurants.

aviary-image-1517729836634.jpg

THE NEIGHBOURHOODS

From the quirky health cafes and cozy old pubs in Fitzroy, to upmarket clothing and food boutiques in Prahran, the over the top and elegant leafy mansions of Toorak and  backpackers or wind surfers enjoying the beach vibe of St Kilda. The inner city suburbs of Melbourne really are like mini cities or towns in themselves, all known for different things.

The variety of neighbourhoods is part of the reason I never tell friends and family to only come for a weekend. You could literally spend the whole time in just one suburb or the inner city without getting bored!

TRAMS

As much as everyone in Melbourne complains about the public transport, it really isn’t that bad. Especially in comparison to other big cities around the world. In Auckland, your only option is a bus, in London, you have a really overpriced tube or a bus that takes the long way around. Here, we have it pretty good. Free trams in the City Circle which run pretty frequently and they also look pretty cool, especially the older ones. The trams in the city give Melbourne that little hint of differentness as well as just being pretty cool.

IMG_20170929_130356.jpg

THE DAY TRIPS

This is such an amazing bonus of living in Melbourne. Whether you like the beach, the mountains, the forrest or wineries, within a few hours on the train or via car you can have a bit of everything.

My favourites have to be The Great Ocean Road & The Otways, The Mornington Peninsula, The Dandenong Ranges and going north to places such as Mt Macedon. Which, as a side note, has a had a fair bit of snow this winter, pretty exciting.

IMG_20180307_185340.jpg

ALL THE EVENTS

Do you like sports? Food? Wine? Beer? Crafts? Clothing?

Well, then Melbourne is for you. There is quite literally an event for everything at some point in the year and if you get bored in between, no doubt there will be a hit band or theatre show which is bound to be interesting and make for a good night out.

You will never be bored, especially if you have a money tree growing in your back yard, which can be the downside off all these events. Melbourne isn’t exactly the most cost effective city.

To sum up. I love Melbourne, for all these reasons and more. I feel very grateful to live here and find myself realising this quite often. Even the small things, such as appreciating the cityscape at 5.30 in the morning can be enough on a bad day to bring me back to life.

The Costa Del Sol Travel Guide| Spain

Sun, Sand, Spanish beaches and Great Food

 

MALAGA

Malaga for me was just a ‘stop off’ destination. It was the place that I flew into because it was the cheapest and easiest from Barcelona! However, it is now that place that I would definitely go back to as I felt I did not get to explore enough. It is a place that has all the Beachy Vibes, Highrise Hotels, Resorts… but also a lot of history.

From the airport, the easiest way to get into the Town Centre is via a bus. Its cheap and makes a lot of stops so you really just need to look at a map beforehand and get off where you need to. The trip took about 30mins and once you are in the Town Centre, the easiest way to get around is just to walk!

 Quick Facts

If you are Artsy: Pablo Picasso was born in Málaga in 1881
Currency = Euro
You can take a ferry over to Morocco – it takes about an hour.
Language = Varieties of Spanish & English in most places
How to Pay = Card & Cash – Definitely have a small amount of cash on you
Best time to Visit = Between April & June or between September & November

IMG_20170523_173115.jpg

 

Accommodation
I booked a bed in a 10 person mixed dorm at a cheap & cheerful hostel called Picnic Dreams Boutique Hostel. Now, this probably isn’t the cheapest hostel you can find, however I would highly recommend. The location was perfect, people were really friendly and the place was clean! Plus there were little curtains over each bunk for privacy.

Things to do
I only really had a day and a half in Malaga and wanted to get an overview of the place. So I booked into a Walking Tour called Malaga Free Tour Monuments. It was a good way to get a brief history of Malaga and also get shown around to the various stand out points,  such as Picasso’s house, the Alcazaba and the Museums.

Top places I would advise visiting in Malaga are:

As For Food

Los Gatos – Traditional Spanish food – open really late – Great vibe – fairly cheap
100 Montaditos – Fun Spanish fast food – Tapas – all really cheap, also really cheap alcohol, fast service.

Marbella & Puerto Banus

IMG_20170525_123009.jpg

Getting from Malaga to Marbella & Puerto Banus is fairly easy as its a short bus ride (BlaBla Car could also be an option – I definitely had a good, but interesting experience using this service!).
From there it is quite easy to hail a cab to where you want to go. Mine was to my accommodation in Puerto Banus – aka my splurge of the trip Hotel Bluebay Banus.

Puerto Banus is an interesting place to say the least and not somewhere I thought I would ever find myself. Its basically a ‘Mini Town/ Marina’ just west of Marbella. You can walk down to the dock and see yourself staring into very high end stores and watching the millionaires sail out to sea on their Luxury Yachts.

It does however have beautiful beaches, beautiful people, a relaxed but party filled atmosphere and many a beach club. Pretty cool… but I definitely felt very out of place!

IMG_20170525_132851.jpg

Top Places I Would Recommend Visiting/ To do’s in Marbella & Puerto Banus

  • Walking around Old Town Marbella
  • Cocktails at The Sinatra Bar
  • Go to the beach – there are many
  • Go shopping
  • Wander through Alameda Park
  • Take the Fly Blue Ferry from Puerto Banus to Marbella & back – Great views and probably one of the more fun things I did in this neck of the woods
  • Visit the Puerto Banus Beach Clubs
  • Take the walk (if you are crazy like myself) from Puerto Banus to Marbella. It is quite the walk but the views are absolutely worth it

IMG_20170524_200223.jpg

IMG_20170525_180509.jpg

IMG_20170525_180322.jpg

There are also a fair few day trips which you can do from this part of Spain.

My Top Recommendations:

  • Frigiliana – One of Spain’s most picturesque whitewashed villages.
  • Nerja
  • Granada – Post Coming Soon!
  • Ronda – Has Spain’s oldest bullfighting ring as well as being beautiful sitting on the side of a gorge
  • Gibraltar – Tax Free Shopping and a nature reserve? Yes, thanks.

Costa Del Sol is definitly somewhere I want to spend more time when I get the chance. I feel like I really only touched the surface of this side of Spain! Can not wait to go back.

IMG_20170525_163339.jpg

I would love to hear all your recommendations! Things I need to add to this guide??
Leave a comment, share with your friends or find me on Instagram and here, Facebook and Twitter.

X

 

5 Summer Highlights & Photo Diary | 18′

Travel, Friends, Family, Food & a whole lot of sun!

 

 

Summer this year has been one of my favourites in a while! I feel like for one I actually spent enough time outside, went to the beach more often, caught up with my friends and actually visited my family in NZ.

Summer is by far one of my favourite seasons… for at least the first 2 months, then the heat starts to get too much and you start dreaming about coats and scarves. However, for those 2 months, it is BLISS. Only having to wear one layer

 

 

NZ
Because I wasn’t able to go back to NZ for Xmas this year, I decided that it would be worth going back for a long weekend to see the fam. Let.me.tell.you. Arriving at my grandparents at 1pm after travelling for 15hrs really made me question whether it was worth it for 4 days! However, I always love going back and seeing (mostly) everyone, even if it is brief.

Tennis
This summer, finally, Dietmar and myself have taken up tennis. We have lived in an apartment building for the last 3 years with a tennis court & never made the most of it. Well, times have changed.

Now, I am not great, or even good, at tennis and have lost many a ball over the fence (and thanks to trespassing laws, never to be seen again) however, I really, really enjoy it. Not only does it require a bit of exercise, its been a fun activity for us to do together.
I like this Sunday tradition, hopefully we can stick at it for the foreseeable future and my new years goal of ‘starting a sport’ can be ticked off.

Market Shopping
Market shopping can be a bit hit and miss for me. I do love going to the market on a Sunday… but because of the sheer amount of people that also love it, if you aren’t in and out by 10am, you are in for a whirlwind of 100sss of people. However, generally even if its a bit later we have been going anyway. It works out to be a lot more affordable, we like to support local producers and the quality of the fruit and vege is so much better than the supermarket. They also have a lot more affordable organic options which is a huge bonus!
A highlight of our market shopping each week is stopping by Clement Coffee Roasters for a long black and sometimes a cheeky pastry! Check them out too.

Beach
This summer we have definitely made more use of the beach than before. We do live semi close by so we really don’t have too much excuse! But this year I have made an effort to at least try and get down every now and then to soak in some sun, enjoy the sea and watch all the dogs (Screw people watching, dog watching is THEONE).

 

 Being More Active & Meeting Two Inspirational Fitness/Health & Sustainability Dreamboats
This summer has been the first summer… ever. that I have managed to stick to a fitness routine and keep active for the whole season! Seriously proud of myself for that one. My diet as such, has not been perfect but I am trying! I eat a very balanced diet (IMO) and am happy with where I am at (minus the digestive problems but mate, that’s a whole other post).

 

However, this summer I was lucky enough to meet Zanna Van Dyk & Steph Elswood whilst they were on a whirlwind tour of Australia and it was great! They are both so lovely, welcoming and really down to earth. You don’t feel like you are going to a meet-up, more just hanging out with friends! It was so cool. (On another note, Zanna has an amazing blog which you can find here)

Home Made Iced Coffee
This for me has become a solid summery weekend drink. I love coffee, probably far too much.. and am not ready to kick the addiction just yet! but to mix it up I started making an iced version which is DELICIOUS.
Ingredients:
Coffee (Instant or brewed shot of espresso)
Ice – Loads of ice
1 Frozen Banana – Its important that its frozen.
Unsweetened almond milk (or regular milk if that’s your jam)
You could add Stevia/ Coconut Sugar etc if you like it sweeter.
How to: 
Put all ingredients in a blender (minus some ice for later) and MIXX.
Enjoy with the extra ice and a reusable straw with some coconut sugar sprinkled on top (if you are the ultimate environmentally friendly health wanker like myself)
 IMG_20180307_185340.jpg
This summer has seriously been so great! I was happy, fulfilled and just generally in a great place! I am now (kindof) looking forward to the colder weather! (but I will miss my tan!) Bring on the coats and scarves! What was your favourite part about summer this year? And if you are in the northern hemisphere… what are you looking forward to??
 Leave a comment or find me on Instagram and here, Facebook and Twitter.
X

Reflecting on 2017

Well first, a delayed, HAPPY NEW YEAR! Heeelooo 2018. I love the new year. No, I am not all about the ‘New Year, New Me’, it’s more of a New Year, Lets learn from last year and kicksomeass. But first, lets reflect on the year that was.

 Summer

2017 started out on an  interesting note for me. I started with a bang fitness wise. Bought a few inspirational books & off to the gym I went. I managed to soak up a lot of sun, went to the gardens a lot & started my walkingeverylunchtime routine (which I have managed to stick to hooray!). We also had our friends Nick and Illana visit around Chinese New Year so we were able to have fun showing them around and enjoying the festivities before they flew back to NZ and Dietmar shipped off to South America.
Autumn
The start of Autumn was great fun. I spent a lot of time at the gym & being really active. I signed up to an Insurance Benefits program called AIA vitality in which exercise and being healthy is what earns you points. It’s actually really great. I also had my amazing Aunty come and visit for a girls weekend in which we did a tour up the Great Ocean Road – it was really cool.
 This was also the season where I travelled a lot. First – NZ to visit the fam – back for a few weeks & caught up with a few friends. Dietmar returned  from his adventures & then I shipped off to Europe for my 3 week whirlwind trip around Spain and Portugal! My solo trip of a lifetime! Definitely one of the major highlights of 2017. 2 Countries, 5 cities & all the little towns inbetween!
Winter
The beginning of winter was dedicated to getting used to normal life again. After living alone for 3 months and then flying off myself, getting back and realising I had to adjust was surprisingly hard. I managed to spend some quality time with Dietmar, baked a lot & cooked a lot of comfort warm food! My birthday rolled around & I was completely spoilt with gifts and a LOT of chocolate from my beautiful friends.
Dietmar and I also did another trip up the Great Ocean Road for our anniversary and stayed in Apollo Bay which was really nice!
This was also the time that I left my job – flew back to NZ for a few weeks to visit all the friends and fam & then came back to Melbourne to start my new position. Was a whirlwind of a time!
Spring
Cherry Blossoms! I love spring. The weather starts to warm up again, all the flowers start to bloom and people just become happier! I started spending my lunchtimes walking around the botanical gardens & ate WAY too much fruit… because when berries are in season, I will eat them. Dietmar and I also managed to hire a car and take a trip up to Portsea & do the Portsea-Sorrento Artists Trail which is a beautiful walk.
IMG_20170929_130356.jpg
I also relaunched my blog & began planning out all my ideas for 2018. We had some magnificent lightening and thunder storms & I started to take more care of my health & fitness by joining a 12 week challenge at the gym. We had our friends Michael & Sarah visit from NZ for 10 days which was so great! We did many amazing things. High Tea, Dior Exhibition, Lunches, Brunches & dinners and my personal favourite, The Book of Mormon, where I discovered my absolute love for musicals.
Christmas came around & it was one of my favourites in Melbourne so far. We spent it down in Barwon Heads with my cousin’s & their extended family. Food, many kids & sun made for a fantastic day. Hiking on Boxing Day really topped off the festive period.
Overall, 2017 was really amazing and I am so happy with everything that happened. As per anyone’s life, there were ups and downs but I know that I was challenged and have managed to come out the other side feeling so proud of myself and accomplished. Definitely ready to see what 2018 has in store and to smash all my goals!
What are your goals for 2018? Does anyone else just have this feeling it is going to be the best year?

The Barcelona Travel Guide

 The city views are EPIC
 IMG_20170520_201709.jpg
Barcelona is an interesting place. Before I went to Spain and Portugal, Barcelona was THE most hyped place. Everyone was giving me tips of where to go and what to see (yes, it was helpful, im not saying it wasn’t), however. I personally think it can be a little overrated. No one tells you about the 4million tourists who come out after 10am. 
  IMG_20170520_163202.jpg
But in saying that, I still did love it and would go back because you just can not see enough in 4 days!
IMG_20170521_144110.jpgIMG_20170520_102339.jpg
QUICK FACTS:
Pickpockets are a thing here so just have some common sense and keep a hold of your personal things. Keep bags close to you, don’t put phones etc on tables etc – Especially on the Ramblas!
Currency = Euro
Language = Spanish & Catalan –  Touristy Places people speak English too
How to Pay = Card & Cash – Definitely have a small amount of cash on you
Best time to Visit = Between April & June or between September & November
QUICK TIPS:
– Get up early in the morning to do sightseeing
– Book tours earlier in the day and make sure to book in English
– download offline maps to get around – however location tracking is a bit off in the lane ways
– Loads of places have free Wifi – if you get stuck – go to Starbucks
– Walk as much as possible – I came across so many random amazing buildings just from walking around and getting lost
– Sangria & Alcohol in general is very cheap
Tinto de Verano is the ‘traditional’ drink in Barcelona? (Do not quote me on that – it’s basically Sangria)
IMG_20170520_194820.jpg
ACCOMMODATION
 Hostels: I would highly recommend staying in hostels. As someone who had never done it before, I chose not to stay in a hostel for my first city but I really do regret it! Hostels are a great way to meet people and generally all the good ones are located in the city centre. After speaking to a few people the ones that continuously popped up were: Kabul Backpackers & St Christopher’s Inn.
Airbnb: Airbnb is a great option for couples or if you are a solo traveller meeting up with friends. They can generally be found in all areas of the city and for a great price! You will get to meet some of the locals which is always great and they can give you some recommendations & tips you may not have had before for that area.
IMG_20170520_101841.jpg
The little street I stayed in – El Born
 GETTING AROUND
I won’t lie. I don’t think I’ve EVER walked as much as I did when I was in Barcelona. I personally think there is no better way to see the city. One of my many joys of this city was seeing all the nooks and crannys that you can only see by being on foot. I clocked up a ridiculous amount of steps.
 However other options for the less able/ time restricted would be:
  • the Train/ Subway/ Bus – It’s fairly inexpensive.You can get a T10 ticket for around 10 Euros… and I think I only used about half while I was there.
  • Taxi’s are a pretty good option for when you have luggage etc. I used them to get to the airport and from the main area in the city to my Airbnb and it wasn’t too expensive. TIP: Generally the taxi drivers do not speak English so good luck!
  • I personally never used a bike while being here however, I wish I had, especially early in the morning when there is no one around.
THINGS TO DO
There are SO many things to do in Barcelona. You could seriously spend a week here and still not have seen half of it. It can be quite hard to pick and choose so I thought I would just give a run down of my favourite things!
IMG_20170520_132918.jpg
This magnificent Roman Catholic Church kind of speaks for itself. I have never seen anything quite like it. Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí was really one of a kind and when this is finished it should be one of the wonders of the world. Photos really do NOT do it justice.
IMG_20170520_142054.jpgIMG_20170520_113311.jpgIMG_20170520_112926.jpgIMG_20170520_125312.jpg
It isn’t expected to be completed until 2026–2028 and I 100% would love to go back and see it once it is done. I would recommend doing a guided or audio tour.
IMG_20170520_201639.jpg
Some of the best views of the city can be seen from up here. I would recommend coming near the end of the day as its a great place to see the sun set. Also, look out for the days and times of the Magic Fountain Show as its definitely worth staying to see! Although to get a good viewing spot you need to be early. I would recommend going an hour or so early and wandering around the grounds as you can really see some great views from less popular spots!
IMG_20170520_201709.jpg
View from the top – Can see Mt Tibidabo in the distance
You can get here via the train – which would be the easiest or you could potentially just walk, bus or take a taxi.
Tip: There is no Uber in Barcelona at this point so taxi is the best option if you have luggage.
IMG_20170520_210624.jpg
Unfortunately due to the amount of people in the market at the time I didn’t manage to get any photos however I loved this place. Its so vibrant and beautiful! A lot of Fruit and Vege as well as Seafood and Meat. There is also the usual Deli’s, Bakeries & Crepe stores! And, all the Spanish food you can imagine (plus Cheese Cones. Google it)
It is located just off the Ramblas (on the left hand side if you are walking from the beach) so it is quite easy to find!
A tip I will give is to go tot eh back, the further you go into the market, the cheaper it gets!

IMG_20170522_122606.jpgIMG_20170522_124444.jpg

IMG_20170522_130020.jpg
View from the bar at the top of the Cable Car
The cable car goes from Barceloneta Beach up to Mt Montjuic and you see some of the most amazing views of the city. I will say that it is a little overpriced and is much better going from Montjuic Castle to Barceloneta rather than the other way around because the queue is insanely long!
 SHOPPING
Although I didn’t do a lot of actual shopping in Barcelona, I did do a lot of wandering and window shopping. I was mesmerised by the sheer size of some of the stores such a Zara and Mango. It was insane.
The places where I found the most popular with the best shops to, shop, were Passeig de Gràcia & la Ramblas. There were also a lot of small laneways off the Ramlas which had Outlet stores and smaller brand stores. I would 100% wandering through these just to have a look in some of these stores.
No matter where you go in the city, there will be a lot of shopping opportunities
  BEACH
Now, I will say this straight away. If you love the beach, this is for you however, go early (like, before 10) because after that there are just SO many people walking around trying to sell you things that it is seriously off putting.
IMG_20170522_111407.jpgIMG_20170522_111307.jpgIMG_20170522_100452.jpg
I didn’t spend a whole lot of time at this beach because of that. It’s really quite annoying. But, if you walk a little further down to the other beaches, it SO much nicer.
I never thought I would be one to enjoy visiting castles. But here we are, like, 4 down and I have to say, I love it! Castles and the history behind them is awesome. I visited this castle on my last day in Barcelona as I had a change of plans and needed something to do. I took the Cable Car to half way and then decided to walk the rest of the way up. TIP: Don’t do that.
IMG_20170522_145416.jpg
The views from the top of the castle are seriously spectacular. You can see the whole of Barcelona – 360 degree view. Which if you think about why these castles were built, is quite important I guess!
I would recommend going early in the day. But in saying that, in terms of tourist amounts in comparison to the rest of Barcelona, it was quiet!
IMG_20170522_150702.jpgIMG_20170522_145530.jpgIMG_20170522_143304.jpgIMG_20170522_143250.jpgIMG_20170522_140337.jpg
FOOD
I don’t want to add much in here because in all honestly, I researched a lot of restaurants etc before I went to Barcelona and I don’t think I even went to one of them! I was so busy that I basically just ate on the go half the time or popped into small hole in the wall places – which I would highly recommend!
There is however a bar/ restaurant I went to which was fantastic called La Luna which had great food and drinks.
I also had a ‘local’ coffee shop which I went to every morning called Cafés El Magnífico because the coffee was top notch and the people were really lovely! They didn’t even mind my extremely broken Spanish!
 LANEWAYS
The Laneways in Barcelona were really just something else. SO beautiful. Nearly every other corner you turn, you will see something different and unique. Because of the history with all the different cultures and people. The structures can be quite different from one lane to the next.
IMG_20170519_131623.jpgIMG_20170519_131124.jpgIMG_20170519_130421.jpgIMG_20170519_125412.jpgIMG_20170519_122436.jpg
The Jewish Quarter and the Gothic Quarter which I saw whilst on a walking tour  (P.S highly recommend this walking tour!) were probably by favourites.
IMG_20170521_164959.jpg
 This place to me was like being inside a fairytail. It felt magical being here! The architecture really is something else. I spend probably 2 or 3 hours here . You basically buy a ticket to go in at a certain time but there is another part of the park which is free so you can wander this part in the wait time.

IMG_20170521_150345.jpg

IMG_20170521_165220.jpg
View from the little house

They let in a limited number of people so book in advance – but you can also see quite a lot without entry ticket. You can bus to and from or walk which I did. However it is quite the hike.

IMG_20170521_160723.jpg
The famous seating which you have to get a photo with

IMG_20170521_160418.jpgIMG_20170521_162042.jpgIMG_20170521_150354.jpg

Other places worth mentioning:
Picasso Museum
Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar
Cathedral of Barcelona
IMG_20170520_163202.jpg
Tibidabo Amusement Park
Casa Batllo & Casa Mila
Placa de Catalunya
Chocolate Museum
 DAY TRIPS
There are SO many options for day trips from Barcelona. Check out Viator for some great group options / ideas.
My Top 3 day trips had I had the chance:
1. Andorra –  Would a LONG day but amazing to be able to go to such a small country! Its in between France and Spain and is about 3hrs from Barcelona. I thought about doing this trip through Viator.
2.  Girona – If you are a Game of Thrones fan, then this place is for you. It is another big city in Catalonia and full of amazing sights and history.
3. Montserrat – This is the day trip that I was actually going to do whilst in Barcelona. It fell though because I may have slept through my alarm that day. It is a short train ride from Barcelona and is home to a beautiful mountain and Monastery. There are a lot of guided tours that go here so maybe do that if you aren’t confident to go yourself. A tip I read is to go early in the AM to see the sun rise.
 All in all, all said and done, Barcelona is in my top 5 cities I have visited. It has the  traditional architecture with instagramable beaches, narrow atmospheric (stinky)  streets with delicious & not so nutritious local cuisine. I loved the local vibe of where I was staying as it was saturated with culture and cute laneways.
I leave you with my best tip. Book in advance & Go to these places as early as possible to avoid crowds! The Sagrada Familia’s of the world are packed for a reason, so you just need to get in early (and deal with it) .
To see more photos of my Barcelona Adventure, follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

My Travel Bucket List

Work, Travel, Save, Repeat

As someone who has been lucky enough to travel to some amazing places it has got me thinking about the places I really want to travel to. Now, I am not saying I want to see all these places anytime soon… but I am 25 and have a lot of travel time ahead of me.

Go on Safari in South Africa (DONE)

Stay in a Apartment in Brooklyn New York
Skydiving in New Zealand – Preferably Queenstown
Scuba Dive in the Great Barrier Reef
Cuba
Spend a month travelling around the Greek Islands
Hike an Active Volcano
Surf in Costa Rica
Zipline from Spain to Portugal
Take the Trans-Siberian Railway
Go skiing in the South Island of New Zealand
Sail around Croatia
Go on a Solo trip somewhere (DONE)

Go on an Active Retreat
Go Bali island hopping
Relax in the Maldives
Scuba Dive Thunderball Grotto – Bahamas
Hot Air Balloon Ride over the Serengeti National Park

serengeti_balloon
Go to the Pacific Islands
Swim in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland
Snorkel with turtles in Hawaii
Snowboarding in Canada
See the Northern Lights in Iceland

northern lights
Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu

Machu-Picchu-Peru-Intrepid-Travel

Drive Route 66 – California Road Trip
New Years Eve in Dubai
Zipline in Vegas
Visit the floating markets in Vietnam
Helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon
Visit a really remote island
Live in the UK
Tour an abandoned city
Sail in the Galapagos Islands
Book a spontaneous holiday
Learn a new language
Roadtrip around Cyprus
Travel through South East Asia for a month
Mario Kart tour in Japan
See the cherry blossoms in Japan

cherry blossom
Hike the Great Wall of China
Do a Wine Tour in France
Sail around the Caribbean
Partake in Oktoberfest in Germany
Madagascar
Visit every continent
Ride a Gondola in Venice
Hiking in San Sebastian – Spain
New Years in Times Square

Times Square
Go whale-watching in Alaska

juneau-shore-excursion-whale-watching-cruise-and-tracy-s-king-crab-in-juneau-183361
Climb Mt Kilimanjaro  in Tanzania

Mt
Go to the Olympics – to watch
Have dinner in an Under the Sea restaurant
Hiking in Myanmar
Go on a trek through Mongolia
Go to the tip of Denmark where the 2 seas meet
Winter adventure in Switzerland
Day trip to Andorra

I can imagine there will be a few more things added to this list over time & hopefully I will get to cross some of them off soon!

Let me know what is on your travel bucket list!

Follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

The Lisbon Travel Guide

Pasteis de Nata – Google it and, need I say more?

LX Factory 2

I have waited a while to write these travel posts about Spain and Portugal because I feel that when you first get back from a trip, its all a bit depressing and a little overwhelming! It takes talking to various people to realise all of the things you really loved and want to see (and eat) again.

Lisbon was probably my favourite place I visited in those 2 and a half weeks. Which is a tough call considering I managed 2 countries, 5 cities & 3 towns during that time. It was just SO beautiful and I would say if there’s one place I would (and do) recommend to everyone, that would be it.

Lisbon 11Lisbon 5Lisbon 2

As you would have seen on my Instagram I went to Spain and Portugal earlier on this year and let me tell you, I LOVED IT. Lisbon especially, stole my heart – and my stomach. Dreams people. Dreams.

There were MANY things on my to-do list for Lisbon. However I was only there for 3 days so couldn’t quite finish the list however these are the places I did go and would highly recommend.

FOR THE VIEWS
Alfama. Alfama is great for many things. The small lanes, the hole in the wall coffee places and the teeny tiny restaurants that have old men living above them yelling and shaking their fist if you are noisy after 10pm (Not only is it the oldest suburb of Lisbon, it has the oldest residents..)
But best of all, I think it has the best views of Lisbon. Every ‘I went to Lisbon’ picture you see on Insta will include the view from here because it really is amazing.
Lisbon 7
At night
Lisbon 3
During the Day

WHAT TO EAT

PASTÉIS DE NATA  Famously, there is a shop in Belem that does the ‘best ones’ however, there wasn’t a chance in hell I was queuing up for an hour to get in. I found the best ones I tried to be from a place called Manteigaira at the Time Out Market.
Time out Market 1Pastel De NataPastel De Nata 2
In fact, the Time Out, was where I got some of the best food I ate in Lisbon, So I would highly recommend going there and trying a few of the different places.
Its a great stop on the way back from Belem and is also very close to the city centre (as far as I remember) if not, there is public transport just across the road.
You HAVE to try Ginjinha which is a traditional Portuguese Liqueur made from Sour Cherries. You will find little hole-in-the-wall places all over the place (Even in Sintra) and I promise it is delicious.
Fresh fruit. I found myself eating a lot of fresh fruit on this trip. 1, because it was so hot that fruit, just sounded good. 2, it was easily accessible with little carts of cherries and berries scattered all around and 3, its cheap! and tasty.
IMG_20170601_123514
Lisbon 9
On my last night in Lisbon, I had dinner with one of my new friends in a place called Lisboa Tu & Eu. We tried a lot of different things on the menu (sardines were… interesting, wine was delicious!) and the atmosphere was fantastic.
After having the old guy living above the restaurant come down and yell at the owners for the noise, we were moved inside and for the inconvenience, offered alcohol shots along with the other 10 or so people in there (which might I add were mostly older people). It was great. I happily declined the small beverages but I decided from that point on wards that this place was my favourite.
  THINGS TO DO
  • São Jorge Castle – there are also some beautiful gift shops on the way up to the castle
  • So many museums
  • Santa Justa Lift – Didn’t do this myself but have heard the views are to die for
  • Heard great things about the Aquarium
  • The Sight Seeing Trams (Just be aware of pickpockets)

LX Factory 1

LX FACTORY
This place was really cool. Super arty, funky and trendy. Its a little strip of old factories which have been turned into boutique, cafes, music stores, cork retailers & creative hangout spaces. I had the BEST chocolate cake i’ve ever eaten here from a place called Landeau. Def try if you get a chance.

Lisbon 10Lisbon 8

BELEM
About 6kms west of the city is a suburb? called Belem. It is well known for the Belem Tower & Pasteis de Belem, which drew me here and I never had 😦 but I also discovered it had beautiful scenery, gardens and the walk/ bus/ tram trip here alone was worth the visit.

Lisbon 6Belem 2Belem 1

ACCOMMODATION

There is many a beautiful Hotel here, just in any city. But I say, if you want to get to know the locals and get a bit of a different feel, stay in an AirBnb or a hostel. I booked my accommodation quite far in advance and because I wasn’t so sure on this solo travel thing just yet (hindsight tells me BOOK THE HOSTEL). However, my airbnb was great, the location was fantastic and the people were seriously cool (with many pets).

Lisbon 4

GETTING AROUND

As with many cities in Europe, the public transport here is great! I used mostly trains and trams to get around Lisbon which worked a treat however there is also Uber which I used a fair bit and buses. All options really cheap.

IMG_20170601_121832
Praça do Comércio

I would say however, if you are semi-fit. Walk. Its a BEAUTIFUL city and is best seen that way (just wear sensible shoes because its hilly AF and also slippery!)

DAY TRIPS

Sintra 1Sintra 5Sintra 5'
While researching Lisbon, I knew I wanted to do at least 1 day trip and the place that stood out most to me was a Town called Sintra. It is very well known and there are many ways to see it. I chose to do it alone and not with a tour group as I knew there were particular places I wanted to see and didn’t want the time crunch. Good choice in the end I say.
It really does live up to the hype.
  Sintra 2

Sintra 4

Sintra 3
Pena Palace
the Gardens.  It was seriously stunning. I could write a whole post on this place ( if you want it, lemme know) so I will just leave it there. If you would like more info on how to plan a day trip to Sintra let me know!
Overall, Lisbon, Portugal was the best last minute travel decision I could have made. I spend HOURS planning this trip and when a few extra days came up in my schedule I had a really hard time deciding between here and Paris but decided, you know what. I ahve plenty of time in my life to go to Paris and Lisbon won’t be an under-rated destination for long. Overjoyed with my choice. Absolutely can not wait to go back and next time visit the rest of Portugal too!
If you would like to hear more about lisbon or just follow me in general. You can find me on Instagram and here, Facebook and Twitter.