Tag archive for "europe"

Wish you were here: Northern England

Blog, Destinations, England, Wish you were here

Wish you were here: Northern England

No Comments 12 January 2013

There’s a side of England people miss by only visiting London, and I think that’s it’s most quintessential side.

Quaint villages mapped out by winding cobblestone roads. Homes dating back to the the 14th century and beyond. Endless farmland only defined by miles and miles of dry rock walls. Country pubs that always seem to attract a crowd, even if they’re in the middle of nowhere. Horses, wellington boots and of course lavish retreat homes, once owned by nobility, now open to the public.

One wonderful thing I’ve learned from traveling a only few different countries more extensively in the last few years, rather than just one spot in several just to tick another nation off my list, is that when you only visit one city, you actually miss out on the country, both as a place and as a whole.

I made that mistake on my past three visits to the UK, most of which I spent in London. Don’t get me wrong. I love London. It’s an amazing place and a true destination unto itself, but it’s only a tiny part of a country with serious character (and plenty of them as well).

Ric made this very clear to me when we first started dating and I told him of my visits to the UK. Meeting and developing almost all of our relationship abroad, we must have talked about where we come from and the people there a million times before either of us got to actually see it for ourselves. His eyes would light up when he’d tell me of the England he knew and the places near him I had to see. Mine did the same when I finally got to visit his homeland this holiday season.

Between Christmas and New Year celebrations we managed to fit in a few day trips around northern England. All the places we stopped aren’t too far apart, yet still manage to have different histories and completely different accents. They can be part of a one or two day road trip and a few are entire trip destinations unto themselves, but all definitely deserve a place on any British tour itinerary.

Chester

With Roman ruins and several buildings dating back to medieval times, this city near the border of Wales allows visitors to slip back in time. Walk on top of the walls surrounding the city, which were built as far back as 70 AD for protection of the fortress. Go for a boat cruise on the River Dee. And admire the many types of architecture in the historical city.

Did you know due to an old law that still hasn’t been repealed, it’s legal to shoot a Welshman with a bow and arrow from inside the city walls after midnight in Chester?

Walk the walls surrounding Chester for an overview, before diving in. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Eyam

Known as “plague village”, Eyam isolated itself after one of its residents contracted the plague from London in August 1665. Even today it’s sad to read plaques in front of the row of plague cottages, which state how many died in each house and when. Imagine losing your entire family in only a few months.

Only one plague victim is buried in the Eyam Church and that is Katherine Mompesson, wife to William, the rector of the church at the time who was a major decider in isolating Eyam when the plague broke out. Find her grave and make sure to go inside the church as well to learn more about the village’s history.

A row of plague cottages tells the story of how many were lost and how quickly the plague spread when it hit here in 1665. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Peak District National Park

If your more interested in the scenery than history of the north, then head to the Peak District for some stunning walks and views. Located mainly in Derbyshire, this area stretches out to six different counties in the north. Not only is it United Kingdom’s first National Park, but it’s also home to the second highest pub in England. End your day of walking at Cat & Fiddle Inn, for a well-deserved pint.

The Peak District offers open land and walking trails with dramatic views. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Chesterfield

Granted a market charter in 1204, you can bet this is a good place to go shopping for local produce and goods. Various markets take place take place all around the Derbyshire’s town almost every day. While you’re there, make sure to check out the ‘Crooked Spire Church’. A few legends surround why the spire went crooked, but it most likely has to do with poor construction.

Make sure to find the ‘Crooked Spire Church’ in Chesterfield. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Lyme Park

Probably best known these days as a major film location for the BBC mini-series version of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth, this estate home and surrounding park make for a great day out, with a bit of history. The park grounds are spread across 1,300 acres of open space and walking trails home to deer whose ancestors there date back to Medieval times. Walk around Lyme Hall and its gardens, which were given to Sir Thomas Danyers by Edward III in 1346 for his service in the Battle of Crecy.

And don’t forget to visit the infamous lake where Mr. Darcy “strips off” and jumps in.

 

Make a wish for Colin Firth in the courtyard at Lyme Hall. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

London still the only stop on your agenda? Didn’t think so.

Have you ever visited ‘up north’? What was your favorite destination?

Banner photo of Bollington, a northern village I stayed in close to all these locations.

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Top 5 Short Haul Family Holiday Destinations

Other

Top 5 Short Haul Family Holiday Destinations

No Comments 09 December 2012

This post is brought to you by Direct Holidays.

Fun in the sun! That’s what family holidays are all about. But where in the world are the best holiday hotspots for full on family madness?

Take a look online at the different options available to you. Somewhere in between everyone else’s ideal getaways, you’ll find the perfect Balearic Island, Canary Island or Cyprus holiday for you and your youngsters.

Majorca

Family holidays to Majorca can be tailored to suit all holiday styles. To the south of the island Palma Nova is a vibrant resort with lots of nearby attractions and amenities for children of all ages, as well as a breath-taking blue flag beach.

To the north east of the island, Alcudia is a laid back resort, with a handful of family friendly days out, including a wetland wildlife reserve, waterpark and thrill maze. The beaches here are particularly safe for tots and toddlers.

Tenerife

There’s no denying that Tenerife is the home of some amazing adult-orientated resorts, but that doesn’t rule out the fact that there are equally superb spots here for children too.

A little way out from the Las Americas, to the north of Tenerife, Puerto de la Cruz is an authentic Canary Island escape. Nearby to your hotel facilities, Loro Parque is a must-do day out. A wildlife park, fairground and marinelife centre fused into one action-packed excursion.

Cyprus

Fly a little longer next summer and head out to Cyprus. With a few sticker books and colouring pads packed, the four hour journey will fly by.

Cyprus is famous for its scorching summer temperatures, gorgeous shorelines and world-class waterparks. Whether you opt for a cultural stay in Paphos or a chilled out stint at Nissi Beach, Cyprus is a dream short haul destination.

Where will you go next summer? Book your break online today and make the most of any early bird and web exclusive discounts.

This post is brought to you by Direct Holidays.

Other

How to travel Zagreb, Croatia

No Comments 10 August 2012

This is a post is brought to you by MyVoucherCodes.

As the capital, one would expect that Zagreb is one of the most impressionable places in Croatia. And with this assumption you would certainly not be disappointed. As a city it is a perfect blend of old communist or ‘red’ architecture, and the new, modern buildings which do nothing to detract from the cityscapes pleasing aesthetics. Thus, there is certainly a great deal to see, but where to start?

In terms of connection it is very well connected by train as a capital to Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital, Vienna, Austria’s capital, and Budapest, Hungary’s capital, as well as by road by the former of the aforementioned.  You can catch a bus from Zadar, Rjeka, Split, or Plitvice as well as several other areas using connecting buses for around 100kn including baggage charge. It is always important to remember with Croatian and Montenegrin travel that although you are paying for a ticket this does not include a baggage charge (usually between 7-10kn), which is paid as a surcharge upon loading. However, at no more than the equivalent of 1 pound sterling this is more of an annoyance than a monetary drawback.

Once you have arrived in Zagreb it is hard to miss the stunning architecture, standing far above the quaint, old streets below with embellished marble borders and in some areas (especially the Upper Town) cobbled paving. You may decide to begin with one of two tours which are clearly marked on hostel maps and tourist information maps. Alternatively if you’re booking with a good travel agent they will provide you with travelling information. One goes down the main roads in junction with Nicolas Tesle Street which has the main square with the local market, the grand train station, museums of ethnography and typography and the botanical gardens. A considerable number of these attractions and landmarks are free entry such as the botanical gardens or ethnography museum. The University is also in the lower town with majestic libraries and beautiful stone buildings, between which statues of national historical figures punctuate the streets. The most notable of these is the ‘square horseman’ located in the centre of the traditional market, and beside which there are often free shows of traditional dancers and music.

The second loop extends pass the Cathedral and old churches into the Upper Town which is characterised by its charming narrow streets and cobbled roads. Here you may find well-hidden wine bars and cafes, some of which serve small traditional dishes, although the best of cuisine may arguably be found back in the lower town. Here there are a mixtures of fast food (if that’s your thing), traditional fish, or traditional Croatian cuisine such as goulash or grilled chicken liver for as little as 27kn per main. Drinks are no more expensive than the surrounding cities of Croatia and by now these premiums are to be expected (around £1.90 for a beer).

With regards to accommodation there are four main 4 star hotels such as the Regent , Arcotel, Best Western Premium or Hotel President Pantovcak; all these Hotels can be booked on Hotels.com using these Hotels.com discount code. These offer excellent service which really does well to compete with 5 star services making for a very pleasant stay and a classy escape for a couple of group. If you are looking for more of a budget stay there are convenient hotels such as the Central hotel which are surprisingly pleasant for their lower star rating. There a several main hostels which are clearly marked on their website maps for around 150kn.

Regardless of where you stay, the true pleasure of Zagreb is outside on the streets. This city University city is constantly buzzing, a truly cultural hive of activity and arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Not only is this city stunningly beautiful, but it is also affordable. Online discounts to Zagreb can be found online on most good Voucher Code websites.

This is post is brought to you by MyVoucherCodes.

My travel inspirations

Online Goodies, Other

My travel inspirations

6 Comments 11 April 2012

So many people, moments and places shape our travels. Travel is a huge part of my life, but a part that wouldn’t be possible if it hadn’t been for a few key travel inspirations over the years.

I love this meme by Easy Jet Holiday. It’s just a fun post that gave me a time to look back of the things that shaped who I am and where I am today. Thanks to Jade from Our Oyster for nominating me. I hope writing this post made you smile while dealing with Fijian floods. It made me smile from New Zealand!

Who 

To this day, my Uncle Paul and I are in a race to see who can visit every country in the world first. Unfortunately, I have a lot of catching up to do.

Really my dad’s best friend, I found out when my nephew was born that Uncle Paul had been encouraging my travels since I was born. This past summer I saw him with my nephew, only three days old, whispering, “First, go to Rome. Then how about Greece?” Just 25 years ago he was doing the same to me.

As I got older he always encouraged me to travel as much as possible. I remember hearing about his own son’s year in Germany as a foreign exchange student. Along with my dad, Paul hasn’t just inspired and encouraged my travel opportunities, he’s created a lot of them.

My dad, me and Uncle Paul, these guys are the two biggest reasons I ever started traveling.

What 

This may be the most absurd inspiration ever, but University of Dundee.

Not sure exactly how old I was, but I’m gonna go for 14. I remember messaging a friend on aim while researching universities abroad. I’m not sure why I was looking into uni at that age, but I was. My friend and I were dead set on Dundee.

For some reason I recall the university being in Australia, but I must be mistaken because the only one I can find now is in Scotland.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter which university or where it was, the idea just gave me a feeling of endless possibility. I realized I could go anywhere in the world. I could live in Australia one day. I was actually so excited at the idea of living in Australia one day, that I applied for a job at Outback Steakhouse.

Can I take your order mate? Photo from wikipedia.org

When

The first chance I had to travel abroad, I grabbed it. I was 15 years old when I learned about People to People. It’s a youth ambassador program. Basically 40 or so high school students travel abroad for a little over a month.

On my trip, we visited six countries in Europe. It was such an amazing experience. After that I just became obsessed with learning how the rest of the world lived. I vowed to travel as much and as often as I could from that trip on.

Where 

I was never nervous about traveling Europe or Australia, but I was nervous about a lot of other places in the world. Before arriving somewhere, you tend to build a perception of it that is never really completely true. One of my big worries is safety, especially when traveling as a solo female.

Australia broke that barrier for me. First of all, Australians are some of the best travelers I’ve ever met. I met loads in Europe and all of them had been to places I wouldn’t have dared to visit at the time. Second, a lot of travelers visit Australia.

Being surrounded by the two made me feel comfortable enough to travel anywhere. Before visiting Australia I was nervous about visiting SE Asia, but after hearing how amazing it was from people in Australia, I was eager to visit.

I guess Australia was my gateway drug. Now I can’t get enough of the world. I’ll try anywhere.

I would never have ended up doing this in Vang Vieng if I hadn’t visited Australia first.

Nominations

Since this post is all about inspiration, I’m nominating a few ladies who inspire me. 

D from D Travels Round for inspiring me to not just travel, but travel ethically.

Bobbi from Today I’m Bobbi for inspiring me to be strong and create something spectacular out of ideas.

Megan at Bohemian Trails for inspiring me to stop and take note of all of life’s beauty.

Christine from Christine in Spain for inspiring me to move to Spain, some day.

Heather from There’s No Place Like Oz for inspiring me to write about trips from before I started this blog.

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Has my long term trip ruined travel?

Blog, Dispatches from Down Under

Has my long term trip ruined travel?

5 Comments 08 September 2011

I started thinking the other day about my first solo backpacking trip abroad. I was 20 years old and just finishing up a semester abroad in London. After 6 months of city life as well as short trips to European destinations with friends and a few on my own, I still had money left over and was ready go backpacking.

I said goodbye to Garret, a good friend I had made in London and one of the last to stick around the city as long as me, and boarded a plane to Nice, France. What followed was three months of magic that I don’t think I will ever experience again.

Maybe it’s because it was my first real backpacking trip completely arranged and for the most part traveled on my own. Maybe there’s just something about Europe. Regardless, those three months hold a very special place in my heart that no trip has ever succeeded and I don’t think ever will.

My first time was special.

Florence, Italy 2007 by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Florence, Italy 2007 by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

I wandered with only my backpack, passport and a point in shoot. This was before I had a fancy SLR or laptop to carry around. I had a journal, which I wrote in every day and used communal computers for maybe 15 minutes a week to tell my dad I was alive. I only had three months so I savored every moment.

I can remember raving about every sight, every taste and every person I met.

Of course I still have had and continue to have those moments I had in Europe, but not as much. I just feel a bit numb to a lot of things that would probably amaze any person on a ten-day trip.

Have I just been at it too long? Have I spoiled travel for myself?

As quick as the thought hit me, I went on the defense.

That trip to Europe was magical. Most people’s first backpacking experiences are. And there is definitely something magical and romantic about Europe. All these reasons made coming home after that trip especially hard. In fact, I’ll say it, I went into a slight depression.

And by slight I mean I gained 20 pounds and barely left my apartment for a semester. But not just any semester. The semester I turned 21 years old, which definitely means something in the States.

Fucking, Austria by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Fucking, Austria 2007 by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

I remember sitting in my apartment with my dad a month after returning to Glassboro, NJ and crying about how hard it was to return to my regular routine after the experience I had had. I vowed to myself that night to travel when I could for as long as I could the next time I had the chance.

That leads me to today. I’ve been on the move for one year, seven months and 13 days. In a trip that long, almost everyone will claim a home and start to adapt at various points. And with any form of “home” a bit “travel” seems to go away I think.

It’s almost become more about the lifestyle than it has about the sights for me. But it’s worth it. It’s a fantastic lifestyle. One where I feel stable, but things still seem new.

So maybe this long term trip hasn’t ruined travel for me, but introduced me to a new kind of lifestyle.

You never get over your first love, but you’ll often find one that’s better suited. So just as I may never get over that fling with Europe. I’m happier with my stable commitment to the world. But don’t worry Europe-we’ll rendezvous again!

Neuschwanstein, Germany 2007 by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Neuschwanstein, Germany 2007 by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

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