SW Coastal Road Trip Day 4 – St Ives, Lands End & Newquay

We woke up refreshed andready to go for another day of exploring the South West coast!

Waking up In the Hobbit Homes was really cool and very refreshing. You stepped straight outside into the fresh air so it was nice to have a cuppa and enjoy the fresh morning weather! Once we had walked down to the washrooms, had a shower and freshened up check out was at 10 so we got sorted and headed out to explore St Ives! The washrooms were also really clean and fresh. Although it would have been nice to see someone cleaning it straight after we had used it for other guests we also understand in todays climate that might not be possible!

So we jumped in the car and drive the 10 minute drive into the centre of St Ives. The first mistake we made was driving. Parking is really very limited so if possible park at the top of the hill on your way into St Ives. The walk back up might be painful but not as painful as trying to find parking in the centre because it isn’t really plausible on a busy summers day.

St Ives from the off was so beautiful, the blue water and the beautiful beaches and harbour. It was low tide so all the boats were resting on the sand in the harbour as we waded through the masses of people who had finally escaped after the coronavirus lockdown. Admittedly this was the only location out of the many that we visited where I didn’t feel Covid safe walking through the streets. Usually when we were outdoors I’d keep my mask off but when we were walking through I felt incredibly uncomfortable especially being basically shoulder to shoulder and popped my mask on until we had reached the other side of the harbour. All the restaurants were open and it was Ice creams galore! I love all the stone buildings and the cobbled streets. I imagine in winter its the cosiest town of them all.

We wandered across to Smeaton Pier and followed the coastal pathway along the seafront around to the piece of land known as ‘The Island’. To get there we walked past Bamaluz beach and also Porthgwidden beach to finally make our way up to St Ives head, situated on The Island, and also to take a nosey at St Nicholas Chapel too! It was a really lovely walk with beautiful views of St Ives beaches and the harbour. We then finished off with a picture overlooking Porthmeor Beach and a walk back through the cobbled streets of St Ives (trying not to buy even MORE fudge from some of the delicious shops) and up the dreaded hill to the car!

Next up on the agenda was to drive across from St Ives to Lands End! I was really excited for this as I’m from Lowestoft (although no longer residing there now) and Lowestoft holds the landmark on our coast for the Most Easterly Point of the UK! So Complete opposite sides of the country which is pretty fun. So I was very excited when we arrived.

We paid the £7 parking fee which is basically your entry fee and then headed down to the entrance! When you arrive there are so many facilities I really didn’t expect. I was expecting to arrive to the lands end landmark post, the flag and that was really about it. I was shocked to find children’s amusements and also multiple food stalls and places for drinks! There is even a hotel and place for you to stay if you wanted too! It was good as I was hungry so had a portion of nachos for the price of a small London Flat. It was massively overpriced but I guess its the tourist attractions that do that to you!

We wandered past the stalls after some food and headed down to look at the actual Lands End landmark, unfortunately again you had to pay for a picture in front of it. But we didn’t do that and just took a pretty good picture from the other side of the line and our own pictures as we walked down the slope towards the first and last house! It was cool to see the first and last post box and the first and last house, the first and last flagpole and the Lands End viewpoint. I never imaged I’d be that far South West in my entire life. Now all I want to do is go to the most Northern and Southern point! It would have made sense really to go to the most Southern point whilst at Lands End as it was just an hours drive away! Highlight of Lands end was definitely the proposal we saw by the Lands End sign, so nice that even the bad weather didn’t bring the mood down for such a special occasion!

Next location on the adventure for the next two days, the longest we will have spent anywhere on the trip, was Newquay! Now I was so excited to go to Newquay so I could teach Brad how to surf! The drive from Lands End to Newquay was only an hour or so and was really easy.

We arrived at our Airbnb and it was absolutely beautifully decorated and so cosy. We had everything we needed from a coffee machine, bathroom with a shower next door to the room with towels, a TV, a place to put our sandy things from the beach, the COMFIEST double, wardrobe space, Wi-Fi and a TV to relax and watch when we weren’t out exploring. It was like an upside down house, Kylie the host lived upstairs and the room ad bathroom was downstairs. During these Covid times she kept the bathroom sparkling clean also which was amazing. The best part about this Airbnb though? I went to the toilet at 6am and was greeted in an open kitchen door to A HOUSE RABBIT. I must have missed this part on the listing as it definitely states she’s in there but I was so pleasantly surprised, what a great way to wake up! She was super cute!

As we arrived quite late in the evening we decided to walk into Newquay and find some food. Unfortunately at this point the Help out to Eat out scheme had just started and we didn’t even think to book, everywhere was SO busy. We manged to find a table on the main high street at a place called Lost Brewing Co. On a complete whim and reluctantly we went inside and I am so glad we did, it was so good we went back the following day for drinks before our meal elsewhere. Not only do they brew their own beers and sell them here but the food was amazing. I had Halloumi fries, Battered prawns, Chicken strips and some fries as well for finger food as I was just so hungry and couldn’t make my mind up but they are actually super popular for their burgers as well!

All in all another successful day, we headed back to the Airbnb shortly after so we could get some good nights sleep ready for a day full of surfing the next day!

Amsterdam – Some Great Food Recommendations!

Hippie Fish

Heading to the Netherlands a second time around was a little more authentic as we had Stan to show us some of the country we had never seen before, but most importantly, he also had new food places to take us!

Our first stop shortly after we landed was to get some dinner! SO we headed to a restaurant called Hippie Fish which is right on the Beach in Zandvoort. It was SUCH a beautiful restaurant with the most beautiful aesthetic Ive ever seen. Its an instagramers wet dream. Not only that but we chose the most beautiful night to go and the sun was blazing through the windows and a beautiful sunset across the beach the later on in the evening it got!

For dinner I got a king Prawn Linguini and it was so tasty and so worth the money, beautiful presentation as well. We also had a couple of Dutch beers and for dessert they bring it to you on a tray and you pick what you want and they add it to your bill! It was really beautiful and I’d love to go back. Once we had eaten we could even go onto the beach for a walk and the sunset was beautiful.

An experience I will never forget as I never thought I’d go to the beach in the Netherlands!

Mellys stroopwaffle

Melly’s Stroopwaffles can be found in the centre of Amsterdam!

It does the most beautiful Stroopwaffles, you get to choose all your toppings and flavours and they even come out WARM. They were so tasty and so with the short wait whilst they got them prepared. Defintely not expensive either! So tasty, a proper sweet treat.

I ordered a Stroopwaffle with vanilla and chocolate swirl shaving with half dipped in white chocolate and man was it heavenly!

HEMA

I believe HEMA is actually a dutch supermarket/variety store but they do the NICEST hot dogs in buns! They’re so tasty and a proper quick snack if you’re spending your day touring around Amsterdam!

FEBO

THE BEST INVENTION I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE. Its a HOT FOOD VENDING MACHINE. You can get burgers, chips, Frikadel sausages, a beef or vegetarian croquette, if you go to the counter you can also get milkshakes and fizzy drinks! They even do FRIED CHICKEN. Everything is in the price range of €1.60 – €2.20 so all reasonably priced as well!

My all time favourite, Bamistrife which is Fried Noodles and onions in batter. The ULTIMATE snack when you’re trekking around Amsterdam central and don’t want to stop for lunch or a sit down meal!

Lost in Amsterdam & Bulldog Cafes

We had been to Amsterdam before but we wanted to try some new coffee shops, one of these places was Lost In Amsterdam. This coffee shop had a proper bedouin feel to it and was the first smoke lounge in Amsterdam! They also have BOMB Milkshakes like no other, they serve alcoholic drinks and other soft drinks as well.

They do offer DJs and Cocktail nights as well as shish pipes! They eve have a house cat! but we didn’t get the pleasure of seeing him/her on our journey!

We also visited another Bulldog cafe, we had been to all the ones in in the centre and decided to visit the Bulldog Rockshop Coffee shop. Definitely the smallest of all the Bulldog coffee shops but really really cosy. we even managed to get a seat by the window!

BurgerBar

We headed to Burger Bar for dinner one night and DAMN if you want a good burger this is where to go (they also sell grape Fanta, it didn’t take much to sell it to me).

They boast that they do the best burgers in Europe and thats a pretty big statement. I Definitely enjoyed my meal and they have 4 locations across Amsterdam Central, it also has vegetarian options as well! Best part about the experience, naturally, is that you get to build your burger yourself or you can choose straight from the menu a set meal!

Its really reasonably priced and good quick service! Definitely recommend here for some good food!

Cafe Loetje

This was the most beautiful meal of the trip, something Mel and Stan were desperate to take us too as we are also steak lovers and this place was just phenomenal.

Located just outside the main Amsterdam Central Station in a beautiful white building on the water, you walk down the steps and into a smart casual white and dutch blue aesthetic restaurant. All the staff are welcoming and we were seated to our table!

We were sat with a view overlooking the water and it was just so lovely, the service was quick and the FOOD OMG, the food. The steaks were done to perfection, the dreamiest of all meals. I had the Loetje Tenderloin Steak with the Loetje Gravy and my lord was it just so tender and perfectly cooked to how I wanted it. I even has room for the lightest and dreamiest cheesecake afterwards.

Although the meal itself wasn’t cheap cheap it was TOTALLY worth it, its not that much more expensive but if you’re wanting a nice meal for your trip this is definitely the place to go. They also have more than one location as well around the Netherlands.

If you do go to any of these places or have already been, let me know what you think!

Sri Lanka – My First Exposure to Modern Day Slavery & The Devastating Reality

The Tea Plantation

We headed in our busloads to a small tea plantation based about 40 minutes outside of Kandy.

It was certainly an experience I don’t think a lot of us were ready for. As we arrived we were lead down a set of stairs over to a populated area where we were then brought up another set of stairs where houses started to emerge between the trees. Once we had arrived we walked through rows of small houses with washing hung up outside, baby goats roaming around everywhere, the surfaces were all uneven and it was muddy. There was one water tap we came across as we arrived in the area that we saw, and the toilets were a hole in the ground and a bucket of water to wash it down.

This was first hand modern day slavery and living quarters for those who worked at the tea plantation we were visiting.

To be allowed access to these small housing buildings that sleep up to 8 people, have minimal kitchen facilities and lounge area, and a single toilet between 60-80 people living on the plantation, you must have a minimal amount of 2 family members working on the tea plantation to access these luxuries.

Minimum wage for working their 12 hour days picking tea leaves is £2.50 per person, for the day. This is only just enough to feed the families that live on the plantation. Just about enough for those with children to buy rice and the bare minimal.

The housing is also owned by the managers at the plantation. This means that those living in these houses can be removed at any moment with no explanation by the managers at the plantation. It was a really difficult situation to be in and see how they lived under such poor conditions. We brought them sweets and chocolate and a few of us, including myself, got very upset about the situation.

It’s definitely some food for thought when you’re drinking your next cup of tea, I am not saying don’t drink your tea because it potentially funds their lives. But it’s still a little passing thought for you.

They were the most humble people, a few had TV’s in their homes or a laptop so they still had access to things, but majority slept on the floor, there is one bed in each home and to sleep 8 is quite a push. They couldn’t understand why a few of us were upset and crying, they wished us well upon us leaving. Although, I found a few of us removed ourselves from the area before we were due to leave as it left us very heavy hearted. I also refused to take my go-pro out whilst there, I filmed the entirety of my trip, but not this part.

Just prior I bought 2 large containers full of loose tea leaves to bring back to the UK with me. They’re delicious. But I will always think about those families whenever I pull it out of my beautifully white painted cupboard in my perfectly good home, where they have none of this, and cherish how lucky we really are.

 Licence To Grill Bar & Restauarant

Once our visit to the plantation was over we visited Licence to Grill, a burger and grill restaurant on the 5th floor of a building! The journey up the stairs was colourful as there was beautiful wall art all the way up the walls and the ceilings.

The FOOD was amazing, grilled chicken to burgers and much more all on an open rooftop terrace. They also agreed to host our leaving party even though they can’t serve alcohol past a certain time, but that was no bother for them.

Yet even whilst we were eating, the thought of the plantation workers was still quite prominent in a lot of our minds.

We also came back here for lunch one day whilst it was raining, we sat under the terrace and had some food watching the rain come and go, it was really peaceful and lovely especially as we were tired this day. After lunch Myself, Mel and El headed off to get some Henna!

More beautiful artwork, but on ourselves this time!