My Travel Bucket List – The places I have ticked

Hello everyone,

I haven’t written a blog post in a little while but lately travel has been on my mind a lot.

I was never bitten with the travel bug when I was in my teens or even my early twenties, I’m a home bird through and through. When I was in my first college course, as part of it we went on annual city breaks and I loved them.

We went to Lisbon which I really loved and we also went to Berlin and I wasn’t a fan. But that’s what I love about travel, exploring cities and discovering new places that you love and some you don’t. I would always much rather say I didn’t like somewhere than say I haven’t been. While I still don’t have the urge to live away (Always a home bird) I do suffer from itchy feet, I love planning the next adventure whether it’s to Westport or Amsterdam, I love planning.

I’ve compiled a list of places I have been to and I enjoyed and then I have the bucket list, the places I haven’t been to but are in the pipeline. I’m not one to return to places multiple times but there is a few that I would go back years later. Now these are in no particular order, some I loved more that others but all are worth at least one visit.

  1. Lisbon

As I said above I visited Lisbon some years ago as part of a college course. I was studying Interior Architecture at the time so the focus of the trip was architecture obviously 🙂 I found the people, the atmosphere of the cobbled streets the whole city has a lovely warmth to it. I would definitely recommend it and I definitely would go back. It is a perfect city break for a little sunshine and sightseeing.

2. Amsterdam

This trip is very recent as I was only there in April. Amsterdam was one of those places that I thought I would never get to, I was that eager to go to it. Almost everyone I seemed to talk to had been and I wanted to go. We did a girls trip in April, flew mid week, stayed 2 nights but had 3 full days. And to be honest three days was enough. While I loved the city, it is really beautiful, almost like a dolls house on water if that makes sense, I’ve seen it, it’s done and off the list I have no rush to go back.

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3. Prague

My family and I often take group holidays together and 2 years ago we decided to go to Prague for the Christmas Markets. We went the first week in December which was the 2nd week of the markets. Hand on heart I can say that Prague was one of my favourite cities that I have been too. it’s just a beautiful city. The shopping is good, the scenery, the history, the food. I would love to go back in the summer time when the weather is hot and see the city in a different light.

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4. New York

Ah New York! After Thailand, New York was second on my bucket list from I was a little girl. It was a dream to visit this infamous magical city. About 7 years ago, my family and I took off on an another adventure. 15 of us heading to the Big Apple. New York was everything I dreamed of, I loved it. Driving in from JFK and seeing the city before you is magical. Everything about it is just aw dropping. The sights, the shows, the shopping, New York for me was like a fairy tale. I would go back in a heartbeat. I have heard people say that the second time is not near as exciting but I dunno I think if I went to New York every year I’d still be excited. If you have any desire to see New York I can’t recommend it enough.

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5. Kusadasi

I went on a family holiday to Turkey in 2009. I had never been and my Mum wanted us all to have one last family holiday together before we all grew up! I think she thought we would all fly the nest at 21 and not come back! We have been on at least 3 holidays all together since 🙂 🙂 🙂 Turkey is a beautiful country, if you like heat (I do) then you will love it. The people are so warm and friendly and really appreciate you coming to their country. Now I know there is all the unrest and trouble at the minute that many including myself would be wary of going back. I know some people who went this summer and said they had no issues at all, a little extra security at the airport in Turkey but other than that they had a fab time.

6. Brussels

Brussels was a last minute impromptu over night stay! My sister and I went in a group last year, literally decided a few weeks before and headed off. We both have an interest in Politics so the chance to see the European Parliament was an opportunity we couldn’t turn down. And we literally couldn’t have timed it better, we landed in Brussels the first working day after the Brexit referendum. We sat in Parliament as every MEP in Europe was discussing the biggest issue to affect the European Union since it’s foundation. To most people this would be completely boring but to us, we were literally part of history in the making and we were very excited. We found the city itself is very centered around the Parliament. You could see it all in two days, it is very similar to Prague or Berlin in structure with a little french influence. A city to stop off and see but I wouldn’t be running back.

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7. Liverpool

Not very far away travel wise but Liverpool is one of my favourite cities to visit. I have been twice at this stage and would go back in the morning. It’s a really fun city, lots to see and do, great shopping, nightlife, restaurants and everything seems to be beside each other. The last time we went on a mini hen break, we stayed in the Radisson on the docks and we could literally walk to bars and clubs from there, it was fab! If you want a great girly trip I would highly recommend you look into Liverpool and it is so cheap to get there with Ryanair flights 🙂 🙂

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I didn’t start this off as a list of ten but I feel I may as well keep going when I’m on a ramble session 🙂 🙂 🙂

8. Edinburgh

Edinburgh, again like Liverpool is very easy got to with cheap flights. It’s a really fun city with lots to see and do, no matter what kind of style you are into it has you covered. It is a very very pretty city but if you are walking around I would not recommend heels as it is built on a hill and everything seems to be either up hill or downhill 🙂 I have friends who return regularly for the nightlife so again if you are after a girly trip or a lads weekend, go for it!

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9. London

London, I have been to twice! Once when my brother lived over there and I went over for the weekend. We did the whole sightseeing thing, the London Eye, Westminister, London Bridge, Buckingham Palace, all the usual suspects. I fricking loved the London Dungeons and still talk about them, they are a must see if you are there. Went to the ones in Amsterdam and they were in my opinion a poor man’s version. The other I went over for the night to see a show in the London Palladium, it was literally a flying visit (see what I did there 🙂 ) but I enjoyed it. Definitely a city to see at least once in your life.

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10. Lourdes

This is a random one! 🙂 My Nana asked for someone to travel with her to Lourdes a few years ago as she wanted to see it. My cousin had travelled with her to Fatima a few years earlier so I volunteered this time. Was Lourdes high up on my list of place, definitely not but it is worth seeing. Regardless of religion, it is a place of awh! My Nana was marvelling at the churches and all the praying she could do but I was looking at the architecture of the churches, how they were built, the pure beauty of them. We also went on a tour to a little village in the mountains to visit yet another historic Church (Nana was in her element) but the French countryside was beautiful. And to see the Pyrenees up close was pretty cool. My Nana loved the whole trip and that to me was worth every Hail Mary I had to say that whole week.

 

I hope you enjoyed this, I love hearing other people travel stories and putting new places on the list.

Lots of Love

Laura

Xxx

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Amsterdam …. Another city ticked…..

Hey everyone,

I hope you are all keeping well.

I am just getting back on track after a busy April. In one week I went to see Nathan Carter play the 3Arena on the Saturday night, party until 5 in the morning. Helped my friend pack up her house for moving on Sunday. Back to the 3 Arena on Monday for Olly Murs and then flew to Amsterdam for 3 days at 6 o’clock on Tuesday morning.

But that is pretty much how I lead my life, I am always on the go and making memories.

When making travel plans I love to read travel blogs on different places so I thought I should write blog posts on the cities I have been to. I have ticked most of the European cities off by now except for the usual suspects Paris and Rome. I have been to neither and with the way Paris is at the minute it’s moving further down the bucket list.

Amsterdam was one city that was high up on the list. I had heard so much about it I just wanted to see it for myself. 2 weeks ago I finally took the plunge and we jetted off.

We booked our flights with Ryanair about 2 weeks before going and they were only €55 return. We decided to go for 2 nights and 3 days so we fly out early morning and back late in the evening.

We arrived at the airport early in the morning and got the train to Amsterdam Central Station. We weren’t quite sure which train or Metro to get but we just asked at the desk and the lady gave us all the information we needed. The train ticket was €5.70. When we got to Amsterdam Central we got the Metro to the hotel which was only 2 stops away. We purchased a 3 day ticket for €17 so we had unlimited travel on the Metro for that.

When booking the hotel, I did so through Booking.com and used Tripadvisor to make sure I was making a good choice. No matter where I book I will check with Tripadvisor first. I read about 5 bad reviews and 5 good reviews and make a choice. It is hasn’t let me down yet.

I booked Hotel Allure. The hotel is really well located and only 2 minute walk from the Metro Station Wesserplein. It is also about a 10 minute walk to Dam Square and The Heineken Museum. It was clean and fresh, perfect for our stay. Don’t be put of by the outside facade, it could do with a lick of paint but other than that it was perfect. It is located in the quieter part of town but like I said it is only 5 minutes by Metro to Central Amsterdam.

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When we arrived we planned out things we wanted to do. The usual tourist suspects.

First up for us was The Amsterdam Dungeons. I had been to The London Dungeons a few years ago and still rave about them (if you are ever in London they are a MUST) so I was dying to go to these. If like me you have been to the London ones, I would proceed with caution. I was very disappointed with the Amsterdam Dungeons. I just felt they didn’t tell the stories as well, the theatrics weren’t as good even the staging was lacking something by comparison. The finale left me thinking “Is that it?”, I was just expecting so much more. However my sister who hasn’t been to the London ones, went to Amsterdam in November and thought they were really good.

The Heineken Experience, this wasn’t high on my list as I’m not a beer drinker but you know when in Rome kinda thing. I was pleasantly surprised by this, it wasn’t the museum experience I was expecting. You literally talk a walk through the Heineken life cycle from production to bottling to promoting. There is lots of cool interactive features that are free to use and of course a little sampling for the journey. The tour itself was €16 and we bought our tickets at one of the many Tours and Tickets shops located around the city.

One thing to note in Amsterdam is the bikes. They are everywhere to the point that you are probably more likely to get knocked down by a bike than you are a car or tram. You can hire bikes out at most hotels and from several spots throughout the city.

 

Dam Square, possibly my favourite place of the whole trip. Yes it was overrun with tourists clamouring to get their picture on the IAMSTERDAM sign but the place is just beautiful. The sun was shining, the tulips and ducks on the water.  It was so peaceful despite the hustle and bustle.

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We spent the day strolling through Vondel Park and all the little city streets. Amsterdam is a city that you want to stop and take pictures every 2 minutes and if like me you have an appreciation for Architecture you can double that. Sometimes you feel like you are strolling through a little dolls village. It is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been too.

 

In Amsterdam there is plenty of canal tours that you can take. We booked the Lover Cruise. It was grand, passed a few hours on our final day, saved us walking and we got to see some parts we probably wouldn’t have seen had we been walking. The tour guide also gives you some interesting facts on the city. If you have a few hours it is worth taking just don’t expect fireworks.

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We couldn’t take a trip to Amsterdam and not visit the infamous Red Light district. We were surprised at how close it was to the center but you would stroll by the edges and not realise you were as close to it as you were. I described it as a quote from Disney’s the Lion King “That shady place over there we don’t go there”. Strangely there appears to be a “shadow” over it which is simple down to architecture and the streets being narrower. It is everything you expect, as a girl it’s a little unsettling and you do feel a little uncomfortable when you spy a girl in the window. But again when in Amsterdam and I can say I have seen it.

My one disappointment with my visit to Amsterdam was Anne Franks House. Tickets for the house are booked out months in advance so as we only booked 2 weeks before flying it was completely sold out. I would definitely go back in a few years even just to visit this.

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Three days was absolutely plenty of time to see the city. We felt like we saw pretty much everything we wanted to see. It is a beautiful city, however I wouldn’t be rushing back. I feel like I have seen pretty much all there was to see. I have heard people who return every year and for that I just can’t see the attraction. It’s too small a city to keep me returning that frequently but still worth a visit.

Lots of Love

Laura

xx

 

2017 – It’s the significant one!

Hello everyone,

Happy 2017!

The year that I have been dreading for the last 2 years!! This year I have a significant birthday. The next one after 21, you know that one! I’m still not comfortable with actually saying it or even writing it down!

Why am I am dreading it? I’m dreading it because I had always thought in my head that I would have my s**t together well before I reached that significant milestone. I thought I would be in a job I love (I have that box ticked to be fair), earning a fortune (Boss, we should talk :P) have met the man of my dreams, built the house of my dreams bla bla bla! All those stereotypical grown ups stuff!

What I hadn’t factored in was that I would all but complete a degree in Interior Architecture and then decide I actually want to go down the PR and Marketing route adding a further 3 years to my college life which delayed my departure into the real world. This also delayed my earning power which in my head seemed like it would be way more 😛 , I hadn’t factored in that the man of my dreams could very well be intent on staying in my dreams, hasn’t shown up yet or maybe I know him but I just don’t know it yet! And the house of my dreams well, I do plan to put those 3 years of Interior Architecture to use but I just haven’t got to it yet.

When I mention that this year is a little significant the main response I get from older people is “you are still only a baby” , “you are so young” , “your whole life is ahead of you” which may well be true but in my head all I keep thinking is what have I accomplished or achieved! Nothing! I’m nowhere near where I wanted to be when I turned that age!

But why? Because I had not ticked off all those boxes by the time I approach this milestone. I had wasted my twenties having fun, laughing and enjoying my independence! Something I hadn’t done in my teenage years the way my friends had and maybe they were a few steps ahead of me on the boxes ticked sheet but that’s ok isn’t it? I have grown up in the last 5 years more than I have in the rest of my oh so very short life. I took spontaneous trips to random cities, I did things without thinking I just did them, I have been to see most of my favourite music artists in concert, I have attended gigs in 28 of the 32 counties on this little island! I made mistakes, I learned, I started drinking (very late twenties I might add, when the peer pressure had pretty much stopped I decided I would jump on that band wagon lol, yes I have a stubborn streak :P)

I have a  family I adore more than life, friends who mean everything to me, I job I love, I’m happy and healthy so to quote a song ” I have a life that’s good!” I shouldn’t have a worry in the world!

So do you know what 2017 come at me, my life was not meant to have been lived by the time I turn 30! There I said it :O I may not have all the boxes anywhere near ticked but what I did do in my twenties is laugh and enjoy it and I’m not done yet!

Lots of Love

Laura Xxx

live-your-life-and-forget-your-age

 

Malta <3

Hello lovelies,

I am having a much needed night in with my Nurofen after a hectic few weeks, a party weekend away with friends, moving house and a holiday in Malta. I was on the go all the time, so it is sooo nice to just be at home 🙂 I am a total home bird and there is nothing nicer than coming in the door to home, the place I grew up, my own bed and my family ❤ Anyways enough of that for now I am here to tell you about Malta.

My cousin and former housemate 😦 emailed me at work few weeks ago with a link to gohop.ie for a really great deal 5 nights in Malta for €166. In a total impulse decision we booked it in less than half an hour, she had sent it to me kind of joking but we totally would be mad not to go for that money. I love to visit new places and see the world and I am not even near as travelled as I would like to be.

So 2 weeks later there is 4 of us sitting in the airport heading for Malta. 🙂 We landed quite late at night it was midnight when we got out to get a taxi, our hotel was the other side of the island but a taxi was only €35 between 4 of us so cheap. Our hotel was the Riviera Resort Hotel and Spa. It was a lovely hotel, clean, well kept, very comfortable hotel, it’s only downside I would say is that it is a little away from the main places but the island is so small & public transport is so cheap, you can get the bus just outside for €1.50 per day unlimited use, just hold on to your ticket.

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Our first day we went to the capital city of Valetta, this is a lovely city with a very Mediterranean feel, in comparison to the rest of the island Valetta is quite a posh city, lots of shops and little streets to stroll around, view the palace, the museums etc. Now it took us a good hour on the bus to get to Valetta from our hotel so when we arrived we went for a lovely lunch in a little café down a side street. We then strolled around the shops and took in all the sights before heading back to the hotel.

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We were advised that the nightlife in Malta all happened in St.Julians so we decided to head there for dinner and drinks most nights. The majority of the holiday we spent it eating and drinking mixed with a lot of relaxing lol. St.Julians was definitely the liveliest of the all the cities, again we were there in the off season so the place was still quite quiet, but we enjoyed lovely meals in Dolce Vita , Parapette and drank in 2 Irish bars “The Dubliner” and “Cork’s”. Isn’t it mad that in a tiny city in a tiny country there was 3 Irish bars that we seen, our little country is a much loved nation 🙂 or at least we have a good recreational reputation 🙂 lol. It is very cheap to eat out in Malta, with the most we spent on a 3 course dinner with wine being €25 each. Drinks again are very cheap a vodka and orange being €2.50 :O 🙂

The highlight of the trip for me was Silema, a seaside city on the east coast of the Island, it was beautiful, although the weather was quite good there it helped (the weather every other day had been quite windy and cold) The scenery along the docks was beautiful, and it was just a very peaceful place to be.

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Malta is a beautiful little country and I would definitely advise a visit once in your lifetime, but I would advise to go in the summer months, it is a country very much dependant on tourism and much of the attractions shut down for the winter reopening in April. Also I would advise staying in one of the towns, transport is quite cheap but it can be a pain getting a twenty minute taxi drive after a night out and you just want bed. The weather also wasn’t on our side but we still enjoyed the trip, came back very relaxed and rested and in 5 days we did see pretty much the whole of the island.

So that was Malta in a nutshell, hope you liked it,

Lots of Love

Laura xx