SW Coastal Road Trip Day 5 – A Day Dedicated to Newquay Surf, Fistral Beach

This was without a doubt the most anticipated day for the both of us, we were so excited!

We headed out nice and early for some breakfast on Newquay high street at a place called the Concho Lounge! Here we both had a fry up and an entire gallon of tea before we headed down to Fistral beach for some surf. I would say sun but there was definitely no sun and absolutely a lot of rain but that didn’t stop us and if anything made the swell so much better!

Brad had never surfed before but I had done, although it had definitely been a good 3 years since I had been so we both started as beginners. We headed down and rented two board for the day, both of us got foamies. Brad got 8 foot and I got cocky and got 7 foot and I definitely regretted this choice later on! We also rented a couple of wetsuits, I went for a shorty because they’re my fave to wear and Brad got a full wetsuit! £37 Later we were ready and raring to go!

The surf zone was down the very other end of the beach so carrying our boards down to the flagged area was a mission I itself but we managed it! Especially with foam boards and the wind was absolutely crazy. Of course when surfing look for the black and white flags and make sure to stay well and truly out of the red and yellow flagged swimming zone when on your boards! Last thing you want is to hit a swimmer!

Brad and I spent at least 5 hours out trying to stand up and ride the waves all the way in, Brad was so good I considered packing my hobby in a finding a new one he wasn’t good at. We had a great time and It was really important to me that Brad also enjoyed it because there will plenty of learning how to surf once we move to Australia, its also just something I enjoy doing when I do get to go (rarely) so the fact he enjoyed it as much as he did was such a bonus!

For some comedic surfing footage you can check out my YouTube video here!

Once we were done for the day we were lucky because our Airbnb literally backed onto the beach so it was an exhausted 10 minute walk in sandy towels and I could not WAIT to get a cup of tea in me. Once showered we had absolutely NO plans until 9:15pm when we had managed a dinner booking last minute through all the Eat out to Help out madness, at a Mexican called Senor Dicks Mexican (It made me giggle as well). But in that time beforehand it was used to just lay in bed & eat endless pot noodle and Jaffa cakes. I also tried to nap but I figured if I stayed awake I’d sleep better that evening.

Once 7pm followed round we were up, showered and out the door and back to the Lost Brewing Co where we had food and beers the night before for a very special occasion. They brew their own beers and were releasing a beer that tasted like a Pornstar Martini cocktail and was only available whilst it was in stock. Once it was gone, it was gone as it was a one time only brew! So we got there and managed to got two and my god they were so sweet but also so damn tasty! We actually managed to take one home with us as my dad is a beer drinker and we wanted him to try it. I don’t usually enjoy that sort of stuff but it was so worth it.

Once we’d have a few drinks we sauntered over to Senor Dicks and enjoyed a Mexican sharing platter with quesadillas, a burrito to share, nacho hips, a couple of tacos as well and endless sour cream, guac, cheese sauce and salsa. And of course, because I cannot go without them at a meal. ONION RINGS. The meal was really well priced especially as nice as it sounded, we wont be rushing back as it was pretty average. But I’d never been anywhere with the option of a sharing platter for 2 with so much variety so that was pretty awesome.

After dinner it was straight home to pass tf out in bed, we were well and truly exhausted after this day and what a day it was. We were also really sad as it was coming onto our last morning in Newquay and our last few days on our road trip! Stay tuned for our remaining couple of days!

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!

Sri Lanka – Jet Lag Chilling & Impromtu Sri Lankan Night’s Out!

Our First few days were lazy ones, and a crazy one too!

Our hotels didn’t have swimming pools so we had to find a hotel with a pool to lay by for the next 2 days to help us recover in the sun!

We ended up and a hotel called the Camelot on our first day! It was 1000 Rupees for a sunbed for the day which amounts to around £4.50! This hotel was so nice, it had 2 pools, a bar and was beachside. They brought around cold towels and cucumbers for your eyes and if you ordered food they delivered it straight to your sunbed! It was an awesome place for so cheap for the day. They did some amazing spring rolls as well.

As it was beachside we also all went beach exploring! Taking a walk and swim along the coastline, especially taking a fancy to their amazing fishing boats that are on the shoreline with all beautiful coloured sails and the way they are structure. Some photos on the boats were an obvious must for us gyals. The water was warm and choppy so it must take some skill to drive one of those!

The next challenge was finding our first lunch out!

Serving Sri Lankan food we jumped right in, walking down into a small open restaurant on the side of the road. The walls were covered in writing and signatures from all the other travellers who had visited this place over the years! SO WE HAD TO HAD ADD TO IT WITH OURS. It would’ve been rude not too!

We decided we didn’t want to stay in the hotel to eat on the first day we wanted to go out and try somewhere new! So we headed across from the Camelot to a small restaurant called Ammehula!

Once we sat down next to so also amazing wall art I ordered myself some Chicken noodles. Naturally they were delicious, all 6 of us who headed over enjoyed the food and we all made sure to have something different each!

That evening we were in search of dinner & a drink!

Us group of 9 girls were HUNGRY.

We headed out of the Ocean View guest house turning left down the road heading to a place the girls found on maps/recommended! This restaurant was called The Ice Bear and it was SO GOOD. Our first night and the food was already top notch.

As you arrive to the restaurant you walk down a garden pathway surrounded by trees and plants, signs also pointing out there were Tortoises in the garden! It was awesome, we then walked through an oriental archway and there was a tree swing! They also had hammocks! We all definitely had a quick go on the swing and had some pictures before heading up to get seated.

Dinner was quick and easy, I had Calamari and it was so incredibly tasty. Myself and a couple of the girls also bought fresh coconut water and this was brought to us in the coconuts with a hole in the top and a straw. I love coconut water so it was SO delicious and refreshing!

Next on the agenda, a drink. Which ended in an Impromptu night out… Oops!

Now this was not something we expected AT ALL.

We wanted to find a bar with nice music, good vibes and good drinks. After trekking our way back to the hotel we asked the owner of the Seajoy, where we all dined the night before, where was good for a drink.

He sent us right out of the hotel and all the way down the road, PAST The Camelot which is just under a mile in itself to a small bar called Dolce Vita! When we arrived it wasn’t exactly how we expected it to be but it was lovely and there was alcohol nonetheless! There were 2 men also singing and playing guitar on stage, there was a group of men dancing (who were a LOAD of fun and so funny!) and there were a few english couples there as well.

After a few drinks the girls were UP ON STAGE, Singing Despacito! We were dancing with the boys who were dancing before and buying plenty of drinks, it was a lot of fun. bUT, We wanted some more upbeat music. The same guy who told us to come to this place was there so we asked him, where to next? 2 doors down. So off we went.

Well. This was an experience. We walked into this bar, which was basically a club! The music was some awesome house music, there were flashing lights and a dance floor. A gentleman came up to us and ordered our drinks and then brought them to us. He then explained that the 3 large men stood around us were there to LOOK AFTER US.

It did get us a reputation the following days known as ‘The Dancing Girls’ out night out. The club was called Serendib! Which in the day is a restaurant and pub! We smoked shisha, were given cigarettes and bottles of alcohol. We were looked after like VIP’s in a club back in the UK. If we were sat outside and Mel and I wanted to dance? We let the boys know and one would come inside with us in and stand closeby whilst we got our groove on and then walk us back to the table outside to make sure we were not pestered.

It was fascinating and exciting to learn and experience. I also felt safe. I know that we have these boys to look after us but It felt comfortable, everyone was enjoying themselves and we were dancing with so many people! Including the boys who were dancing with us in Dolce Vita who came down to Serendib!

When the night was over at about 3:30 – 4am they even drove us back to our hotels on their Bikes & Tuk Tuks! The Tuk Tuk had loudspeakers and it was a basic party Tuk Tuk with 4 in the back and a lot of bassline! If they hadn’t of taken us back Me, Mel & Shaista would not have gotten into our hostel as the gate was locked and we were not tall enough to open it, luckily the boys were!

Our hangovers the next day were the ultimate payback.

The next day was spent at another pool, The Rani Beach hotel, a little closer and cheaper than the Camelot to crawl to in our states. We spend the day eating and sunbathing our hangovers out to prepare ourselves for the busy next few days!

That evening we had another group dinner all 28 of us and our lecturers who are also on the trip with us. We had the whole food area to ourselves on two big long tables and a buffet with a mixture of Sri Lankan curries! It was delicious and good fun, there was also some live music for us too.

After being very full and very hungover, bed was calling as the REAL University Crisis and Disaster trip started the following day!

Whats next? Negombo Lagoons, Buddhist temples and a gamma toe.

STAY TUNED, J x

Portugal – SURFS UP!

We surfed on the beaches every day and it was such a huge gorgeous beach! Visit www.studentsurftrips.com for more info on these trips!

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When we got there everyday we would all work as a team to take the boards down to the water and set our base camp. The surf instructors back at the lodge had already put us in groups of our skills. I was in the beginner group because lets be honest I’ve never been that great at it. They would usually take us to two different beaches but the surf I believe was dead on the south coast but amazing on the west, so thats where we went, The beach was called Praia Da Borderia and it was beautiful (shout out to Paulina for telling me the name after I forgot!).

To get down to the beach we had to walk down a boardwalk, through where the sea on high tide cut off the boardwalk onto the beach, and then further down the beach to set up camp. IMG_3214They usually had a gazebo and then we’d set up and leave all our stuff around the Gazebo during the day. You had sunbathing time every day on the beach too which was always lovely.

They took each groups in the water for two sessions a day for two hours each session, although you could get out when you wanted and if you didn’t want to surf at all but still come to the beach you could! Or you could stay at the lodge if you didn’t fancy it which some days I really didn’t. So pool days were on the cards occasionally! They would show you how to do certain things before each session, you’d warm up and they would sometimes show you how to pop up again as its always a nice refresher. They also brought us food down to the beach for lunch! It would usually be salads, pastas and crisps and sandwiches, water too, it was all fresh and really nice after a surf session.

All the instructors are really nice, really good teachers and come on nights out with you when you go out in Lagos, they’re all up for a laugh which is always great!

I love surfing, I always ave, I don’t know how I got into it but I’m pretty sure it was through the love for my Beach lifeguarding job. Theres no surf where I live but joining the university surf society was easily the best choice I made! Surfing abroad is more challenging I think, it makes you more alert. Its amazing fun though and if you get the chance to surf anywhere you visit, take it.

There was a only a tiny little cafe on this huge beach, and there were not toilets which was always funny when 4 girls all ran off to pee in the dunes. The sea was also pretty chilly without your wetsuit on and the current was really strong in the water so we weren’t allowed to far out without some sort of supervision of the instructors.

It was a really beautiful beach, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a prettier beach and the swell was really good.

It was always so good to surf and I always came home covered in sea salt and with beach curls I never wanted to wash out, well and truly shattered and ready for bed. Its  my all time favourite feeling.  I love the beach too much.

Portugal – Staying in a Surf Lodge

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The Surf Lodge we stayed in was in Lagos, Jah Shaka Surf Lodge, and god it was Beautiful. It was about a half an hour – 45 Minute taxi ride from the airport, I’m not sure how much the taxi cost, It was a 9 seater that was full and it was a couple euros each! Their official website to book all things Jah Shaka is here; www.studentsurftrips.com! So check that out if you want too.

When we pulled up into the gates it was really gorgeous. All the trucks they use to get around were parked in the drive  with surf boards of the roofs of the car, and it just looked so cool. The lodge was pretty big, it had 10+ rooms and if the rooms were all full there were
Tipi’s! As cool as a Tipi sounds id rather have a room, so I got a 3 bed room with a double ben and en suite to share! It was so much more than what I’d hoped for.img_3266

The Lodge itself had a kitchen, a communal lounge, a large pool and garden area which was so good for chilling in, an eating area and a bar!!
The best part was that the bar was so cheap! Beer for €1 and Cider for €2! It also had a cool fire pit and seating area around it, some of the nights spent around that fire are now a lot of good memories.

The Lodge takes us to the beaches to learn how to surf at all these different beaches, they can teach different skill classes and the instructors are really nice and you get to chill with them at the lodge. They provide food for you on trips to the beach and in the mornings an evenings. They also plan nights out for you and take you for dinner. Its img_3182a pretty sound place, you get to choose what you do, and theres even for a little extra dosh go stand up paddle boarding at sunset/sunrise. I wish I’d done it!

I’d go back there to stay in a heartbeat. I shared a room with Abbie & Becca and it was so much fun. I’d never stayed in a surf lodge before so it was a really wonderful experience I would so do again. The staff were all lovely as they

*****

Getting around Lagos was pretty easy, nice and cheap! If we wanted to get into town we could get order taxi’s to the lodge for only a small price! it was under €10 at least and if there was 4+ of you in the taxi it never cost you more than €2-3 each! The taxi drivers are a little bit crazy and love to drive fast and unlike the drivers in the UK, they’re not very talkative or considerate either.

There was once instance where we got in a blazing argument with a taxi driver, but that wasn’t quite our fault. I look back on it now and I can’t help but laugh, we are some hormonal girls in a different country, it was hilariously brilliant. We ended up complaining to the surf lodge in the end!

img_3344I personally loved the way the instructors got us to the beaches, we got to fit 6-8 people in these awesome trucks and we all headed to the beach in convoy in these awesome looking trucks with surfboards on the roof. It was really sweet, I felt like I was on a proper surf holiday (even though I was it felt a little more real when I sat inside one of the trucks for the first time).

It was a really enjoyable time and although the journey in the back of the trucks didn’t always leave my stomach feeling wonderful, it was definitely a different way to travel to and from the beaches and it was a fun experience.

Dublin – Dirty Pints & Half priced rides home at 4am

When we first got to Dublin we headed to our hostel, then straight out, Only to find

49ourselves in the same pub the entire afternoon. It was called Murphy’s Pub and we sat in there for hours upon hours just relaxing with each other, we got there at about 11am and stayed until around 3pm. It was a long time but we were all to busy falling asleep as our flight was at 4am the same day, listening to men chanting at football and ripping each other to bits like we usually do.

It was a nice place, we sat outside on the balcony, drinks of course were not cheap because its Dublin. We had a whale of a time even though we were all beyond tired. Josh ended up sticking rizla’s to his eyebrows and Cam drank my stale pint of guinness i’d left on the table for a good 2 hours which also had someones chewing gum in it, and the man still drank it. I love my friends.

*****

Our first big night out was in Xico. Its an over 21’s nightclub in Dublin where you have to pay €20 just to get in. But because my wonderful irish friend Craig has some very very popular friends (Jay Duffy, Keith Duffy from boy zone’s son), We all managed to get in for free and under the age limit, I’m not even 21 till next year either! All about who you know aye! It was a huge nightclub with a smoking area upstairs, huge long bar (with attractive barmaids) and a mixture of cheesy but also good music to dance too!

79It was an amazing night, the drinks were flowing and like I said before were not cheap! At about 2am there were only me, Brad, Cam and Josh left in Xico, We partied the night away and danced to the cheesy music until 3am and the lights came up. It was a fun night and we were all hammered. The Downside to this is that we had gotten a taxi to Xico and had absolutely no idea where we were in relation to our hostel, and we were all absolutely mortal.

This resulted in the 4 of us attempting to walk through the streets of Dublin trying to get home, smashed. After having a 76number of photos in a door way that looked like No.10 Downing street, we headed further down a road where Josh decided to climb up onto the highest wall we could see whilst the rest of us looked at the city map, and we still had no idea where we were. And then to top it all off whilst I was trying to read the map Josh and Cam were walking circles around me and the map sign, this only resulted in Cam somehow managing to wallop himself in the face with the sign. This only progressed into Cam laying on the floor and also having a cone on his head at 77one point.

Even though it was brilliant, It was nearly 4am and I was tired and just wanted to go home. So the 4 of us managed to somehow climb into the back of a 3 seated rickshaw. God do I feel sorry for the bloke who had to bike us back to our hostel because the journey wasn’t short. We were cheering him on as we all sat in the back. We ended up paying him €13 euros and a tattoo voucher for somewhere back in the UK as that was all we had left, whereas it should’ve been at least €25!! it was a crazy night and I know I’ll never forget it.

*****

One evening Brad and I headed down to Temple Bar. If you ever get the chance to go there then do, when we went down there were pubs galore, live music and lots of pretty lights! 85Its a really lively place, and very expensive! My Malibu and coke and brads pint cost €16 in total, just for 2 drinks! Don’t go to temple bar with the hope of getting pissed for cheap because it just won’t happen, so be prepared to spend the dosh!

After Temple Bar we headed to meet everyone at a Shisha bar down the road from our hostel. It was really cool, it was down a set of stairs and through the corridor into these little rooms where you had to take your shoes off and chill out on the floor. Each ‘booth’ was separated with silk curtains and there were pillows and it was really cosy. It wasn’t too expensive and we got a shisha pipe and some jasmine green tea, it was so chilled out and a perfect way to wind down!

We spent our last evening in a pub in Temple Bar and all got monumentally ruined, we listened to live music and patted ben on the back as he chundered by a bin outside, the perfect way to end the holiday!

I adore my friends to say the least!

Amsterdam – Staying somewhere a little different.

Although there are Hostels and Hotels galore in Amsterdam, We tried something a little different. We tried this magical thing called AirBnB. Its something that seems to be getting bigger and more popular as time goes on, and for a student who can’t afford the world, it’s prices were also perfect, so why not? I didn’t want to look on Airbnb until the last minute, it wasn’t something that tickled my fancy and I wanted to try and see if I could find something else, it was really a last resort. But in future reference it will no longer be a last resort at all. It exceeded my expectations by a mile.

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I came across this ad on AirBnB with a room very well priced per night for the two of us that was close to the centre of dam but not too close and where there was plenty of transport, a place with wifi and a private bathroom/shower too. It was a brilliant overall price for 3 nights once I’d booked it, it was just hoping it lived up to my expectations.

*****

I don’t have a proper photograph of the room to show,  I have a few of the window, really helpful right? Sorry! It was a perfect room located just outside the centre in Molukkenstraat, a 20 minute bus or tram ride and a Lidl directly over the road for all our munchie needs, Although there was one downside;

We kept in contact with our host before we arrived and during. We were told her friend would be able to check us in at half past 3 as she was occupied and we were given her name and number. This was great, and super exciting, until it hit quarter past 4 and we’d been stood in the rain for 45 minutes with an unavailable phone number that didn’t work and no idea who to contact as we couldn’t reach our host online either. EVENTUALLY, the hosts friend showed up to let us in and give us our keys, the room wasn’t ready but It didn’t take them long to do the finishing touches so we didn’t mind.

It was a standard room with a double bed, a dresser & wardrobe, chair and a big-ass window which I enjoyed hanging my head out of a lot of the time. We had a bathroom down the hall which had everything we needed. It wasn’t immaculate but as my boyfriend and I are both students, it was cleaner than our bathrooms at uni and that was enough for us! The bed was beyond comfortable, and as I have trouble sleeping it was perfect.

Another benefit to this room is that the bus and tram stations are right outside the flat. This made travelling to and from the centre so easy, we could come and go as we pleased and not have to run to the station at any point, but thats another story (you can find it here:  Amsterdam – Travel & Other things to help you get around).

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A nice little perk was that one morning when we woke up it was snowing, and as the bed is next to the radiator and the window up against the wall it was nice to be able to sit on the bed with the window open, smoke and be cosy and warm whilst watching the snow outside, the perfect morning start to a busy day!

Overall, our AirBnB experience was great. It was something totally different and I say don’t be afraid to try it, It may be something out of your comfort zone but its totally worth it. The host was great, the room was great and the location, it wasn’t stupidly expensive if anything the perfect price and I had a wonderful trip to go along side it.

Sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone can help you to discover new ways to travel!