Orlando To Miami – ROAD TRIPPIN’!!

We decided from the start of the holiday we were going to drive to Miami South Beach from Orlando as a convoy, two SUV cards both packed and ready to roll for the 5 hour journey! And it didn’t disappoint. Honestly I spent a majority of the journey wondering how the hell my parents knew where they were going. We did two initial stops, although there was a quick one because we got lost being adventurous.

162We’d been driving about an hour when we stopped for a toilet break and some breakfast,  Dunkin’ Doughnuts? Don’t mind if we do. The scenery hadn’t changed much; we could tell we were still in the depths of Orlando, but there was a lot less around as were were driving. Not as many buildings or places to stop and enjoy. So once we’d stopped at Dunkin’ Doughnuts and stocked up on munch and were satisfied, we were off on our road trip once again to the holy land.

A little further along the way more buildings and roads and cars generally appeared, which meant we were getting somewhere, and getting closer! We stopped for lunch on our journey to Miami at Palm Beach! I didn’t catch the name of restaurant we went to but we sat outside under a canopy and all 13 of us enjoyed a big lunch! Us younger ones went for a wander along the beach, there was a huge pier which I wish we’d had time to walk down. There were also countless volley ball pitches on the sand, which was awesome but I can’t play volley ball for love nor money. The food was lovely and it was a really good break in the journey as it was starting to get a bit tedious.

We got a little lost before we finally managed to make it to Miami. I could never have told you the route we followed but it involved looking at a lot of beautiful beachside houses that were impressively large. We had to make a stop to stretch the legs and figure out which way was the right way but we made it in the end!

I remember arriving in Miami and being absolutely lost for words. What a place is all I have to say. I would live in Miami if anyone gave me the chance because its hands down the place of my dreams. Beautiful beaches, houses, fast cars, better lifestyle, god If only.

One day hey! I’ll be writing about my experience in Miami from here on! These were some of my favourite experiences of the holiday!

154

 

 

Orlando – Universal S(unburn)tudio’s

Universal Studios was incredible, We did both sides of the park and of course we visited more than once, my all time favourite ride is at these parks, duh, The Hulk! Universal is sick, from The Simpsons world to Harry Potter world and all the other awesome rides and places it has to offer its definitely a come back more than once job!

Of course we all had our photograph of us on the giant fake blue wave in the entrance to the parks, it would’ve been rude not too, and I also absolutely LOVED the Billabong shop they had so of course I did spent a little too much time there. Theres also the beautiful view of the river that runs through the entrance to both universal parks and the entrance to the Hard Rock restaurant, the best time was when the sun was setting, it was gorgeous.

And not forgetting the rather large spinning earth and Universal Studios sign before you enter the park on the right side, I mean did you even go to Universal if you didn’t get a photograph in front of it?

Of course upon entering the park for a majority of the day all I was doing was applying suncream, which didn’t work, because I got royally burnt as per usual when is anything ever different with me. My face and my nose flare up so much when they’re burnt you may as well call me Rudolf. So many great rides at universal and so little time, but regardless of that we went on the Hollywood Rock It probably the most, although The Hulk was definitely a close second!

278My favourite time on the Hollywood Rock It was when I went on the ride with Imi, obviously you get on the ride and you strap yourself across your legs and stomach and whilst you’re making your way up to the first drop you get to choose what music you listen too as you go around the course, and at the time they were also filming your experience for you to take home instead of a photo. Id decided to listen to Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger because what other banger is better than that.

So it was video’ing Imi and I as we went round, and I’m pretty sure after watching it back with Ims she passed out on nearly every single drop on the ride and then came back to life screaming and smiling whenever we weren’t on a drop or loop, and the ride managed to get it all on film! I wish, I WISH I’d bought a copy of the film because we were hysterical laughing!

Some of the other rides that deserved just as much recognition has got to be The Mummy Ride, The Transformers 4D ride and the Men in Black shooting/game ride was so much fun. Im a pansy and hate simulator rides, so the Twister ride was lost to me, which is such a shame as I love the film! After being in Orlando a while I was starting to get sick of eating crappy foods so universal was my saviour in terms of the huge big tubs of fruit they sold around the park, easily my favourite buy because I was starting to forgot how good the sweet nectar of fruit was whilst we were out there.

269Of course The Simpsons world was fun, although I bottled it on the ride they had to offer, so I held the bags whilst everyone went on! But it was so cool how they had a Moes Bar and all the other Simpson related statues and venues! I even got to have a cute photo with Millhouse!

From The Simpsons world we went across to the Men in Black ride which was interactive, where you sat in a carriage of 4 and shoot things and get a score, I was crap, of course.

 

243

For those who are massive Harry Potter fans you’ll know just how incredibly impressive Diagon Alley and Harry Potter world, Hogwarts, the train and the Duelling dragon rides are. Not to mention the Butter beer, So sweet but so good. Nothing was cooler than walking along Diagon Alley and realising that the dragon breathes fire down at all of us walking through the street! We also had a pretty good chat with the man who was running the ‘night bus; in the park, he was pretty up for a photograph and a natter! Now I’m not a huge Harry Potter fan, but It didn’t take much to absolutely blow me away with just how impressive the place was.

We took the train from platform 9 and 3 quarters across to the other side of the park which was awesome. It was newly opened when we headed there, there was 5 of us to a cubicle and the movie they showed on the window and the special effects with the carriage doors was so cool, so fascinated and great to be reminded of what happens in the Harry Potter films! The train dropped us in the adventure island part of Universal where the duelling dragons and the village with Hogwarts was, Im not sure how it happened but after a few tears from one of our youngest members of the families, we managed to bag ourselves a quick tour of the Hogwarts castle and then on the ride that was inside Hogwarts!

The Duelling dragons were good fun, and of course we had to go on both the Red ride and the Blue ride too see which one was better! I preferred the red ride hands down.

NOW of course because we’d come across to the other side of the park there was a whole new park to explore basically, this side of the park consisted of Dr Seuss’s area, as well as Jurassic Park and the Marvel area, which is definitely my favourite area!

228Jurassic Park was good fun because at Universal they have the water ride for Jurassic Park, not only was Imi terrified of all the dinosaurs that jumped out, and I don’t blame her either, but as we were making our way up the massive hill to then go down the HUGE drop they have, which FYI soaked me through even though I was holding a waterproof coat over GJ and myself, one of the padre’s our group had his Go Pro out and you can just hear some america voice say “Can you please put your Go Pro away sir” over the intercom, but, I’m sorry love, we didn’t hear you, what was that???? It was wild fun, I’ve NEVER been on a water ride with such a steep drop! Scared the living daylights out of me! But of course we were soaked, and it was great, kept us cool for the duration of the day as to was a scorcher!

Carrying on through the park the Spiderman 4D experience ride was tonnes of fun although it made me a little nervous in terms of simulator rides, but it was good’un in the end! AND I got to meet Captain America and HOLD HIS SHIELD, But typically, with my rather short shorts its made me look very naked…

Got to meet Optimus Prime too! The transformers costumes were seriously impressive, I couldn’t tell if they were ran by remote control or if there were people actually inside them, but they were really tall and so detailed, they were so impressive.

My favourite part of the holiday in terms of food in Orlando, was the Hard Rock Cafe Orlando in Universal Studios, I was excited to eat there before we’d even arranged to go there put it that way. Not only was it huge inside and out but it had a Cadillac just in the middle of the restaurant spinning around above the bar below it! When we arrived there was 13 of us and they even took a group photograph of us before we all went to sit down, and it was a great picture as we didn’t get another like it the entire holiday.

The food was incredible, I had a burger with bacon, cheese and the sweetest BBQ sauce, then all of us girls had mocktails because boo hoo the drinking age being over 21 in the US, none of us qualified for that haha! But the mocktails were nice none the less! I loved looking at all the famous musicians outfits dotted about the restaurant too, I’d also never eaten in a Hard Rock before this night either so it was a fun experience!

Id love to go back to Universal soon as they have opened a Kong: Skull Island ride, and it bet its phenomenal because I LOVED the film! One day I’ll head back.

 

 

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!

IMG_3426

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

img_3176

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.