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

 

 

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.

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!

Dublin – The Generator Hostel & Rickshaw rides

When in Dublin we wanted a place that was pretty central, cheap but also nice, and that could house 9 of us. We Decided on the Generator hostel and we ended up with 2 rooms, 6 in one room and 3 in the other. It was perfect.

The rooms were perfect and came with 2 charger plugs and lights for each bed. There were 3 bunk beds and they had two draws underneath where you could keep all you belongings, there was also a sink and a mirror! It was perfect for the lot of us. The mens bathrooms were on the second floor and the women’s was on the first, and they were lovely and clean.

46Downstairs where the check in desk and seating area was huge and really cool. There were 3 stories, the bottom was seating areas, a pool table and lockers for people who got to the hostel before the check in time and could leave their bags till their rooms were ready, we had to do this and it was really helpful, saved us lugging ur bags around. The second floor was busier, with a bar, multiple pool areas, a stage for events in the evening and plenty of seating and even a small cafe off to the side for breakfast and snacks etc in the day! The top floor was just more seating, an ATM and the desk to check in! It was a huge place with about 5-6 floors and plenty of rooms for a relatively good price, and the lights in the main area were Jameson Whiskey bottles! (Bet they had fun making the bottles available for the light).

You aren’t allowed to bring alcohol into the hostel so if you’re thinking of pre drinking in your room, think again. Unless you’re stealthy and good at hiding things… But I’ll leave that down to you.

*****

When we were in Dublin, everything was pretty expensive. Getting a taxi would’ve been a waste of money. Especially as most places were within walking distance from our hostel. We could walk to the shopping area and to Temple bar, the main pub and club area, so overall it was pretty decent and easy to travel about. Admittedly we did get a taxi to the club, Xico, that we went too but it wasn’t far, still about €10 none the less for less than 5 minutes!

A pretty cool way we go around one night was a rickshaw! There was some guy who rode the bike at the front whilst you could fit 3 of you in the back! It was pretty fun! Especially when you’re absolutely trashed, its still expensive but so much more fun than your average taxi. Cold though! Best to make sure it isn’t raining! But you can read more about that here!

Dublin – GUINNESS DOES TASTE NICER IN IRELAND

Dublin was great fun, It was a last minute holiday between me and 8 of my university friends to up and just go away together for a long weekend and I don’t even know where to start on how much fun I had with everyone. We did a bit of sight seeing whilst we were in Dublin for 3 days, the influence to come here was one of our uni friends being from Ireland, it was a bloody good time!

*****

Being students on a mission to not spend too much but drink and do enough, I was so happy with the amount of things we had planned & what we did.

The Guinness factory was glorious and we all somehow managed to get royally pissed whilst being there, it was really fun and interesting to see how Guinness was made and we got plenty of tasters on the way around. The place is HUGE. There are student priced tickets but it still wasn’t cheap, coming to a price of €18.00 per person!

But it was worth the money, we got to pour our own guinness pints with a certificate to go with the pint and when you buy your ticket on the way in it gets you a free pint in their skyview bar which is really gorgeous cause you get a 360 view of Dublin. You learn about how they make and produce guinness and how it reaches our pubs, it was pretty cool for a bunch of booze loving students. We all somehow managed to get more than one free pint too, the result was not obsessive amounts money spent but somehow ending up a little tipsy/worse for wear. Well worth the trip, and yes, Guinness really DOES taste better in Ireland!

 *****

56In the middle of Dublin there appears to be a rather large metal pole, better known as The Spire of Dublin. We couldn’t not go and have a nose as you couldn’t really miss it. It is massive, reaching at about 120 metres (390 feet) its impressively huge.

Of course due to the location it didn’t cost a penny to see it. We got to wonder down and look at the shops and cafe’s, pubs and restaurants too whilst we were there so it was really in an ideal location to have a proper mooch around the centre.

*****

We Also headed a little more out of the centre of Dublin to have a look at Trinity College  and the Trinity Grounds. The grounds are beautiful and filled with artwork and the author of the novel Dracula, Bram Stoker, went to trinity college. It was really a nice walk and the architecture was wonderful.

Amsterdam – Travel & Other things to help you get around.

16003093_10207785441025837_2268957045079345668_n-2

I didn’t realise how far out of the centre our flat was until we jumped on Bus 22 and sat for 9 stops/20 minutes with our suitcases trying to figure out where we were going, this was after getting from the airport to the centre, getting all the tickets we needed and more. 

*****

  • The Travel:

Getting the train from the airport is really simple, after getting through baggage, security and all that we headed to the help desk and they sent us to the very obvious desk that said Train Tickets. note to self, actually open your eyes and look around as you are capable as a human being to do things the first go without help. 

Single Train tickets to Amsterdam centre from Schipol are €4.20, so nothing to strenuous at all and it takes you, obviously, right to the centre stress free.

Getting to the centre we wanted to find somewhere where we could get a tram pass. After speaking to a helpful woman she sent us in the right direction towards a white GVB building to the left of the station (it might even be the GBV buildings, its easy to spot regardless of which way the letters are).

DCIM100GOPROG0220237.

In here we asked for a tram pass and another helpful lady gave us a 4 day tram and bus pass for only €22.00, Easily the cheapest deal we’d ever seen & not expected. It gave us access to any bus or tram in Amsterdam, all we had to do was scan the pass as we got on and off every time, no extra charge!!!

We saved so much money, if we’d have bought tickets for every journey we took we would not have been able to spend the money we did.  With a Tram and Bus stop right outside out flat and a train station down the road if we needed it, it was so convenient.

The trams, trains and buses are immaculate. They’re so clean and so brilliantly on time, the buses aren’t so accurate on time but none the less, it was better than any shitting english public transport services. The trams were the best, my personal fave cause there were always on time and they’re just brilliant things to have.

*****

  • The Other things:

My step-mum told me the wisest words I’d ever heard before we left for Amsterdam;

“Download Citymapper onto your iPhone”

citymapper

So the first thing I did before I left was exactly that. And we depended on that App to travel around Amsterdam like it was a travel bible (So shout out to my step-mum). You can use this App for most cities globally to help you get around, just type in which city you’re in and you’re away!

The pros of this app were that it was a massive help as we were in the city, the cons are that if you are not anywhere near the centre the app is deemed pretty much useless (I tried using it for London, and because I wasn’t in London at the time it didn’t work out).

We used this app from the moment we got to the centre & from then on we were dependant on it when it came to getting back to the flat and getting to restaurants that were outside of the really busy areas of amsterdam. It gave us the Tram and Bus services that we need to get on from where we were, and if we needed to walk to any of the tram or bus stops it gave us the directions to walk to the stop! It used the GPS on my phone to show it knew which direction we were stood in too, It was SUCH a handy app to have.

SO helpful, 10/10 would totally use it again and I highly recommend it too.

*****

Another method of transport which wasn’t used by us, and to be honest we didn’t even think to use it to get around because we had more chance of dying than getting to our final destination, was the BIKES. The people of Amsterdam do not mess around with their bikes. They have specific red bike lanes as there are so many people who find it easier to use bikes rather than drive, and with those windy small roads I don’t blame them.

DCIM100GOPROG0520275.

If you stepped out into a bike lane without looking you’d have a lot of angry people speaking dutch, as if the language does sound angry enough when they speak generally, shaking their fists and heads. Make sure you cross somewhere you won’t get mowed down.

I’d almost definitely crash my car if I drove there, I’ve already bumped it twice in England, maybe Im just shit at driving.

(I definitely am).

Amsterdam – Good Coffee & Better Food

I’ll Start off with where we ate, but if you’re more interested in the coffee shops, scroll down! 

*****

Out for food!;

16002825_10207785444305919_6777500625390467971_nWheres good for grub? Okay, Although we didn’t really go mad with where we went for food & we tried not to go with standard chain restaurants, that did fail a few times but the food was lovely none the less, as was the experience in the small restaurants to fit the small Amsterdam streets.

  • Vapianos – There was nothing small about this place, it was 3 floors. I’d been to a Vapianos two years before when I went to Vienna and I hadn’t been back since, And I love Italian food. I love it even more when its cooked and made in front of you and then handed to you to go chill and eat, they have a pasta section and a pizza section, its pretty awesome. Good prices and banging food. Its not far out of the centre either and there are two.
  • Amsterdam Steakhouse & Pizzeria – We didn’t know where to go for food and we didn’t know what we fancied either so this was perfect as it did everything, Good price but super small, luckily we managed to get a seat and some more good food.
  • Teddy’s Corner – I highly recommend this place for breakfast. I had an English15977704_10207785445105939_5005694226462020895_nBreakfast and Brad an American Breakfast and it was glorious! It located literally just of the centre so an easy walk and really good prices, plenty of food to choose from too!
  • The Pancake Bakery – We came here for lunch, I had a pancake with chocolate, whipped cream and banana’s and it was AMAZING. Brad on the other hand ordered a savoury pancake and he didn’t like it, but then savoury pancakes with cheese and meat on aren’t for everyone! He ended getting a sweet one, luckily they didn’t charge us for the other pancake! It was difficult to find this place and its also quite expensive but really pretty inside.
  • A Burger Place (unsure of the name unfortunately) – We came here on the first night and the burgers were so nice, something easy after our flight and checking in malarky. Good prices, and the burgers were lovely too, nothing incredibly special though.

*****

Coffee Houses!;

15941276_10207785456386221_6836649252523563362_n

So wheres good? Unfortunately I don’t have any photos due to the fact they’re not fan’s of people taking photographs in there, which is perfectly understandable. Coffee houses are great to just chill out after a busy day, whether its for a drink, some food or a smoke. Here are the places we visited:

  • The Bulldog Cafe & Energy Coffee Shop – This had been recommended by some of Brads friends so we had to check this place out, It’s also really popular in Amsterdam and one of the well known coffee shops. Its pretty small inside but its okay if you don’t get a seat, there are two more bulldog coffee shops literally 100 metres between each of them down the road!
  • Green House Cafe – This was near the Bulldog, just the other side of the river and a bit further down. I can now say I have chilled in the same cafe as Snoop Dog, Rihanna, Will Ferrell and a whole photograph wall full of other famous people that have been to this cafe. It’s a really funky place, a little more expensive, but thats understandable when you realise all the famous heads that have been there.
  • Original Dampkring – This one was my favourite because the cat they had in this coffee shop was 100% stoned. At one point she came and sat down on all of our things on the bar, she didn’t give a shit.
  • 1eHulp Cafe – You cant’t sit in here unless you’re over 21 so we couldn’t stick around, It was mad how busy it was because you can purchase the best weed in Amsterdam at the moment here, so it was a really busy place. Located kinda on the outskirts, but if you’re heading to the IAmsterdam sign its pretty close to that.15977215_10207785451826107_6170752421100053541_n
  • Abraxas – A good place to chill, A good atmosphere too, but SO hard to find with all the building work going on around it. Its down a small alleyway so ideally you’d need to have some sort of app to tell you where you’re going, or a map, Or just a really good sense of direction.
  • Smokey Coffee Shop – This was a great place, everyone’s friendly, it was busy an the music was really good, we came here after dinner at Vapianos and stayed here basically most of the night.
  • Red Light Coffee Shop – As you can tell, this one was in the red light district, Although it was very big it was a busy and easy to chill. We decided to have a break from the rain and accidentally walking down ‘Big Momma Alley’, I’ll leave that to you to think about.
  • Feel Good Coffee Shop – This was our last coffee shop of the holiday, we didn’t stay for long but it was big and had a nice atmosphere, and it wasn’t as busy as some so it was nice to get a seat!

The Coffee Shops are really great and you get talking to a lot of people, everyone is really nice and friendly there, just know your limits and be safe!