Monthly Archives: June 2018

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London Spots I Would Like To Revisit

You can’t get bored in London, there’s always something new popping up and you probably can visit something every day for years without having to go to the same place twice. Still, there are some things I would like to revisit at some point.

I whisked myself away to Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour way back in 2013 and they’ve added a lot new sets since then. And now I’ve actually watched all of the movies, a visit is long overdue. I might need to re-visit around Christmas too so I can catch the temporary festival wonders of ‘Hogwarts in the Snow’ .

I’ve been to all the big London museums multiple times, because you simply can’t see everything in one visit. But one museum I’ve never returned to is Tate Britan. But having recently I’ve gotten into Bacon…the painter Francis Bacon that is, and since Tate Britain holds one of the biggest collections of his art I think I really need to head to Pimlico. Also, it’s free, so there are no excuses left.

Eltham Palace is one of my favourite London places and I have so many photos of my visit that I feel like I can revisit every corner digitally. But when I visited they were in the midst of repairing the map room: yes… an actual room where the couple planned their trips and I must go and see it. Because like self-proclaimed traveller, I’ve always dreamt of my own beautiful, exquisitely detailed map wall.

Not that I’ll ever own a place which space for a map room, mainly because of my love for the occasional smashed avocado and scrambled eggs. I once made it into Granger & Co and I’ve been dreaming of their tastiest scrambled eggs ever since. I honestly think I’ve might over romanticised it, so I must go and test the reality. Sadly, there has always been a giant queue and I haven’t been THAT desperate yet.

My first visit to Kew Gardens was maeh as it wasn’t the right season yet, so the place wasn’t in bloom, the Temperate House wasn’t open and the giant pagoda was closed and covered in scaffolding. It would be nice to see it in full action so at some point when I am over the stress of my previous visit I would like to give it another try.

What London place would you love to revisit?

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Yes, No, Maybe: What (Not) To Do In Athens

There’s a Hera-a-lot to see in Athens – from Ancient Roman treasures like the Acropolis, to The Temple of Olympian Zeus and sassy Muses providing a live soundtrack during your visit (oh no wait that’s from Disney’s Hercules)

YES

You can’t visit Athens without stopping by the Parthenon. Located on the Acropolis, the Parthenon was a temple for the goddess of wisdom, Athena and stands 156 metres high above the city as a place of worship and power. It has been home to a royal palace, a sacred temple, wartime fortifications and cultural festivals. It’s pretty magic at sunrise or sunset and is all around an awe-inspiring sight to behold.

While you are up there make sure to check out the The Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereus, a major open-air theatre used for festivals of Dionysus – the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness, fertility, theatre and religious ecstasy – would have loved to go VIP at one of his clubs or parties!

Before going up, you might want to check out The Acropolis Museum, is an archaeological museum showcasing the incredible pieces they’ve uncovered. It houses every artefact found in Greece ranging from the Greek Bronze Age to Roman and Byzantine Greece that’s a nice way of saying that you’ll see aka A. LOT. OF. STONE. STATUES. and little rocks. Keep that in mind before you commit.

Being cultural all day makes you hungry! Good thing you’ll find a lot of food options in Athens! And the best thing? It’s quite affordable compared to other European capitals. Some dishes to cross off your list: Tzatziki (yoghurt + herbs dip) moussaka (aubergine lasagna) and kolokithokeftedes (courgette fritters). And to wash it all down with…the Greek did frappé coffee long before the famous chains introduced us to a poor knock-off, so make sure you at least make sure you get one of those frothy drinks.

The Temple of Olympian Zeus is a ruined temple right in the centre of Athens, dedicated to Zeus, king of the Olympian gods. The build began in the 6th century BC but it was not completed until the 2nd century AD … that’s about 638 years after the project began – take that Sagrada Família!

Let’s face it there’s only so much stone you can chase around, but what you really want to do is relax on the beach, right? Edem would be closest to the city and the only thing you have to do is take the tram to Edem and walk to the beach.

NO

It pissed me off that you pay the full price but a lot of the monuments are not well protected from people who innocently don’t realise they are walking on sacred grounds which to me, seems disrespectful.

I don’t know if it’s common but there were a lot of stray dogs on the street, with mixed experiences. One day a dog followed me around and didn’t want any food and the other evening I walked around two streets to avoid one as I was convinced he wanted to chew on my calf.

MAYBE

The National Archaeological Museum is home to some of the most amazing ancient artefacts and proof of really old civilizations and has the mask of Agamemnon that goes back 3,600 years. Greek sculptures, Cycladic idols, pottery and ancient jewellery, coins as well as a 2,000 year-old finding of a computer – I bet it still required stupid updates before it would work.

For a day trip you might want to head to Kessariani Monastery just outside Athens. The monastery is maintained and run by a group of monks, and the beautiful architecture, scenic hilltop location and historical nuggets mean it’s quite the tourist hotspot.

Constitution Square houses the Parliament Building and the whole lot is guarded by Evzones, guards similar to those at Buckingham Palace, but instead of a funny hat they wear funny shoes. You can watch the Change of Guards here every morning at 11 AM – if it’s your cup of tea.

The National Garden is where to get your flowers and plants fix. Located behind Parliament House, it’s connected to the Zappeion, where fencing at the first modern Olympics took place. It’s a relatively peaceful break from the hectic city and somewhere to admire pretty things that aren’t made of stone.

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Tuesday, Three Travel Regrets

I shared some of my travel regrets, mistakes and missed chances many many moons ago, so a post with some more recent examples has been way overdue…
In Mexico, my friends and me opted for Tulum instead of the more traditional cities of Merida and Izamal. Not a good decision. You see, besides the beautiful beaches and historic pyramids there wasn’t much to see and do for people who prefer a quesadilla over a breakfast bowl. It might also be the fact that our hostel was some kind of hippie gathering that enjoyed 3 AM acoustic guitar solos in front of our window.
In Vienna, when visiting my cousin I thought I finally had the chance to gaze upon one of my favourite paintings, Klimt’s The Kiss. Except I forgot my family trips always go off-piste and by the time we reached the gardens at the Belvedere Museum on my last morning it was time for me to head to the airport. I still think my cousin did it on purpose to make sure I return to her – and honestly I will soon!
In Cinque Terre I missed the town of Manarola – apparently the prettiest of them all. After three towns we had time to see one more and friends and me opted for Monterosso instead, I even believe it was an ‘eeny meeny miney moe’ pick! Though it was cute it simply didn’t cut the mustard compared with the other towns we saw and it’s definitely not worth spending the final hours of your trip there. It’s unlikely I’ll make my way to Cinque Terre anytime soon so I’m afraid I’ll have to live with this regret.
What has been your most recent travel regret?

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Exploring Blaenavon Ironworks


Industrial ruins and a slice of home life

It might not be the star attraction of Blaenavon, but this little stop off point is a quaint, charming distraction and well worth your time.
Its cute cottages connect you to the past through little touches that will spark your imagination such as a babycot in messy lived in rooms, Sunday lunch including crumpets and a charming old fashioned store.
Before I forget, there’s a giant goddamn black stone obelisk that seems like it descended from the heavens. It’s actually just a crane that used to lift raw materials but it looks like nothing else I’ve seen in the UK – but maybe that was my low blood sugar talking. If that’s not enough you can climb this thing and face some fears.
If you prefer to stay on the ground there’s several old stone furnaces that used to be the hottest destination in the 1800s. Again, it was an intriguing sneak peak into the lives of people long forgotten.

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Tuesday, Three Times I Failed To Be A Sustainable Traveller On My Recent Holiday

Everyone and their grandma have jumped on the sustainable travel bandwagon – it has become more accessible than ever, with lots of people preaching on the topic and telling you how to do it! During my trip to Georgia last week I had to come face to face with the reality. I mean, sure I supported the locals by staying in guest houses, taking taxi instead of Uber and eating local. But I also failed at really simple things…


Water bottles

Caring around my refillable Dopper bottle has become second nature. Yet, I barely refilled it in Georgia. It’s a shame as almost every park and monastery has a drinking fountain, but their set up made it impossible to refill a bottle and at other times yours truly was craving cold refrigerated water that only plastic bottles could provide. Should I feel ok that sometimes I did refill those plastic bottles? No? I’ll go stand in the corner and have a think.

Throwaway sandals 👡
This happened before I left actually, but since I had to face the consequences in Georgia I might as well add it. So, one of my 2018 goals is to make sure 80% of the clothes/shoes/accessories I buy are produced ethically and not by children’s hands. This requires more research and planning, something I hadn’t done for summer spring shoes. So when it got hot a while ago I ran to the high street and grabbed the first pair of sandals that fit. And I paid for it in Georgia as on day 2 and 35K steps later they were completely worn out.

Plastic bags ♻️

In addition to buying plastic bottles, I also got given a fair amount of plastic bags with almost everything I bought. My logic said it was ok as I could use them to store my trash, but now I’ve added those to landfill as well. Like everyone I cried when I watched the tragic Planet Earth episode, but it obviously didn’t guilt me enough, so I need to save the turtle photo on my phone so I can’t forget I must say ‘No to plastic.’

What have been your sustainable travel struggles?