SW Coastal Road Trip Day 3 – Brixham, Totness, Dartmoor & St Ives

Another early wake up on Day 3 for a full day of action and exploring with Tasmin as our tour guide showing us around Brixham, Berry Head, Totnes and Dartmoor before we headed across to St Ives!

Our first stop was Berry Head just around the corner from Torquay and Brixham. It was a beautiful spot for a walk and to enjoy the sea views off the cliffs! Berry head is a nature reserve and coastal headland which houses an old quarry, a lighthouse and a cute little cafe for anyone wanting a hot drink and a cake whilst they take in the views of the ocean! It was a gorgeous spot and I’m glad we went on such a hot day! Its also one of only 7 Unesco Geoparks in the UK, 140 only in the world, how fascinating is that? It certainly didn’t disappoint.

Once we had finished in Berry Head it was off to Brixham. A bustling and very colourful seaside town on the coast of Devon. The houses were all beautiful colours and there were endless families crabbing in the harbour! I hadn’t been crabbing since I was a kid so this was so great to see which they had managed to catch with their lines and bits of bacon on the end. Of course fish and chips was in order. Tas took us to this amazing fish and chips shop called Rio’s Fish & Chips restaurant and takeaway. We decided on a takeaway and went and sat at Brixham Breakwater, a small flat stoned beach just the other side of the harbour!

The food was amazing and we spent the next half a hour watching and learning how to skim stones. Tas and Brad were really good but I just got into the habit of just throwing them into the water and giving up. But I tried and thats what counts!

Next up on our travels was the cute town of Totnes. With a beautiful river on low tide as we arrived we walked up the main high street which is a slight hill to enjoy all the small independent shops and to watch them make fudge in the window at Roly’s Fudge Pantry. A place we noticed is EVERYWHERE. Exeter, Lincoln, Brixham, Bournemouth, you name it chances are they have a shop there. We ventured up a small alleyway underneath the archway that hung over the main high street to find a quaint church of Totnes with low hanging trees all down the pathway, It was really beautiful. Followed by a browse in a book shop, mine and Tas’ favourite place! We then headed back down the hill for the next leg our journey!

Tas wanted to take us to Princetown in the Dartmoor National park and it was without a doubt the most stunning part of the trip when it came to driving routes! There were wild horses everywhere and sheep all over the hills and in the road that you had to slow down and swerve just so you didn’t hit them! One sheep did decide to run out in front of the car but thanks to Brads quick reactions he was safe and so were we! Honestly the views were like something from a movie, I’d never expected views quite like those here in the UK but how mistaken I was. It was breathtaking.

We arrived in the small village of Princetown and decided we wanted to have a look at Dartmoor prison. The prison is a category C mens prison with huge granite walls and a very gothic looking demeanour. We made it to the outside gate before realising we probably shouldn’t snoop any further but it was so cool as I’d never been so close to a prison before and I have a real fascination with prisons (dark tourism and all that). After a full day of exploring it was getting late and we still had an hour and a half drive to St Ives from where we were we decided to have a quick tea at The Old Police Station cafe in Princetown before we all went our separate ways.

We couldn’t have had a better day with Tas as our tour guide showing us places we had never even thought to go too! Plus it was so so wonderful to spend time with her, especially as when we left Dartmoor for St Ives she had an hours drive home for herself she brought us all this way. I’ll always be grateful for this time spent.

Next up was St Ives! Once we jumped in the car again we were off to our Hobbit Home! Yes you read that right, Brad and I were staying in a coastal Hobbit Home! It was so cool. The driveway once we arrived was small, narrow and windy and if anything a little bit dangerous. Once we arrived we grabbed our wheelbarrows, popped our luggage in the barrows and trekked our way across the field to our hobbit home.

We had our own hammock outside and a log fire too for us to prepare which accompanied an honestly box at the entrance where we could pick up a bag of wood. £5 down later and cracking fire we absolute could not complain. That same evening we used the communal kitchen and living space to cook up an easy meal of tortellini. The shared kitchen was amazing, wonderfully decorated and literally had everything you could ever need. The only things we brought was our food! Really resourceful. There was also perfectly clean and functioning toilets and showers but if you didn’t want to do the trek from your hobbit home or cabin up to the communal areas you had the option of a compost toilet. Personally, I chose the communal area toilets because the smell of the compost one nearly knocked me clean out. That and there was no good lighting in them either so if you fell over, oops.

The Hobbit Homes themselves were super cosy. There was a double bed and inside was a hamper with blankets inside if we needed them for around the fire. There were fake candles which were cute and fairy lights all around the cabin which gave it such a homely feel and there was plenty of room for our bags and belongings. You really are one with nature though as just as we went to sleep something started scratching at the walls of the home and naturally, not literally, I shit myself.

It was a great night and just as the sun was setting we ventured up to Knills monument which was only a 10 minute walk from where we were staying and got the most beautiful 360 view of the St Ives coastline, St Ives itself and we watched the blood moon come over the hills. It was definitely one of the most relaxing nights on the trip ready for another day of exploring the next day!

St Ives town and Newquay are up next!

SW Coastal Road Trip Day 2 – Durdle Door, Exeter & Torquay

After an awesome first night in Bournemouth Brad and I were up early (which makes a nice change) and ready for our next adventure to Durdle Door, Exeter and Torquay all in one day!

We decided to get some food once we had arrived at Durdle Door so skipped out on breakfast to get on the road. It took us about an hour to get to Durdle Door from Bournemouth and once we arrived it was already getting busy! We paid the £5 car parking fee for 4 hours and headed down the big cliff to see the sights! Before you make your way down the cliff there is a cute little ice cream shop and a pasty van so we made note of those to make sure we grabbed some food once we made it back up to the top again.

Fun fact: Durdle Door is part of what is known as the Jurassic Coast! What is this? 96 Miles of English Heritage Protected Coastline!

Top tip. DON’T WEAR FLIP FLOPS. The views are beautiful and its really pleasant but the pathway down in white gravel and I nearly fell down multiple times I had to hold onto Brad basically all the way because the one time I let go I fully nearly stacked it. Once we made it to the top of the cliffs overlooking the beach we were in awe. On the left was Man O War Beach and further down from that was St Oswalds Beach. The water was beautifully blue and clear we could’ve been in another country! Then to our right was the monument itself, the beautiful Durdle Door and beach! We headed down the steps to the stoney beach to get a closer look. The waves were crashing and we took a seat right on the shoreline to enjoy the sun. We then headed up the beach to enjoy and sit in the small caves in the cliffs too.

Finally we grew an appetite and it was back up the hill (which was a struggle in the heat and flip fops) and onto the next part of our journey. NOT BEFORE a pasty and a sausage roll overlooking the Jurassic Coastline.

Then it was my turn to drive the 2 hour Journey to Exeter. Unfortunately for us Exeter was not what we expected and we didn’t find all that much to do. We headed over and saw the cathedral in all its glory which was an absolutely phenomenal piece of architecture.

Once we had seen the cathedral the town centre was pretty quiet so we decided to head to a riverside pub for a light snack and a pint (or a cup of tea if you’re me). We walked towards the River Exe and walked past what is known as and what is left of the old Medieval Exe Bridge which has been around for centuries. It was really cool to see the last remains of this piece of old historic architecture! We then walked along the river until we arrived at The Mill on the Exe pub and sat by the river to enjoy our pit stop!

Then it was back to the car for the rest of the drive to Torquay to see my beautiful friend Tasmin! Tasmin lives in Torquay so it would have been SO RUDE to no pop in. To top it off she also did us a huge favour, saving us a fair whack of money on accommodation, and let us stay with her as a bonus. I’ll always be thankful as this also meant we got to spend more time together and it had already been 11 months since I last saw her at our graduation. The Journey from Exeter took us 40 minutes which was really nice and short! When we arrived in Torquay we had a dinner booked to get ready for!

Once we were ready it was into Torquay Harbour for a meal at Twenty 1! This restaurant overlooked the harbour and the 4 of us enjoyed beautiful sunset views, great food and drinks and even better company. We laughed all night and caught up with everything possible, it was such a lovely evening with friends and I was so grateful to be able to do this.

For dinner I think we ordered the whole menu. I had the Chicken and Chorizo flatbread pizza as well as the Tempura Halloumi and the Cheesy Garlic Bread (because no meal is complete without cheesy garlic bread). Another brilliantly priced meal as well with a good vibes atmosphere and great cocktails!

We walked home along the harbour back to Tas’ house well and truly full of food for a final late night cup of tea and bed ready for Tas to show us around Berry Head, Brixham, Totnes and Dartmoor the next day! Another successful travelling day completed!

Exploring Paris, A walking tour of our own – Day 2

Day 2 and we were off again walking everywhere!

Before we headed off on this days exploring we had a little lay in and then headed to the supermarket across the road from our Ibis to get Croissant fillings! We got a packet of Pain Au Chocolat at the same time, as well as some crisps and cheese and had our own continental breakfast in our room. Then it was off to the tube station again for another day exploring!

Our first stop? the Arc De Triomphe! One of the most beautifully detailed pieces of architecture we had seen on the trip. The details in the statues and the sculptures is phenomenal. You have to walk underneath the roundabout to access the building and once we had a full look around we realised they were offering for people to go up to the top. NO BRAINER. Instead of standing in the huge queues in the underground pathway ticket office we bought our tickets online straight away for €13 each, perfectly reasonable! We jumped straight into the queue and headed on up. 300 winding in circles steps later, we made it. And the views were something else. Before we headed up to the terrace we entered the main section of the building where you could learn about the history of the Arc Du Triomphe before taking another 10-15 steps up to the terrace! The views were beautiful. You could see all 12 avenues coming from the roundabout of the building, the Eiffel tower, all the taller monuments and statues and especially the commercial sector. The ONLY Sector with skyscrapers!

After doing the 300+ spiralling and dizzying steps down we headed for a walk down the Avenue Des Champs-Elysees! Loads of shops and shopping malls, we even saw some super cars which you could pay to be driven around Paris in. Plenty of designer shops and non designer shops dotted all the way down the Avenue! The only thing I couldn’t shake was the police presence. They were everywhere. Lined up down every street. On every corner in groups of 5. On patrols walking or on horseback. It wasn’t quite intimidating as they all had huge guns and batons. They all appeared smiley enough though.

We dipped into one of the shopping centres to try some Macaroons! Neither me nor Brad had ever tried them before some bought a pack of 3, Vanilla, Chocolate and Caramel. They were AMAZING. I was actually sad it had taken me this long to try them! We both thoroughly enjoyed them and once we had a taste for food we had to go get something tasty. SO I don’t know about you guys. And don’t judge me here. But I will always go to a McDonald’s in another country. BECAUSE THEY ALWAYS HAVE DIFFERENT THINGS! I could’ve got a dessert BURGER. A DESSERT BURGER. Like how sick but also literally sick is that? haha! So we enjoyed a quick Macca’s for lunch and carried on!

We walked past the beautiful Grand Palais – RMN, again we wished we coddle gone in but this wasn’t the case. We did take some glorious pictures outside the beautiful golden gates of the building though. It was an opportunity not to be missed! Once we were done the space was taken by some top bloggers and photographers so we felt we hit a good one with that! We then walked over the Pont Alexandre III bridge. With 4 beautiful golden sculptures, 2 at each end of the bridge, crossing over the river Seine it was lovely. Another piece of beautiful architecture of the list.

We then took a leisurely stroll down to the Musee De L’armee, the Army museum and also home of Napoleons grave. We again would’ve loved to go inside but it was closed once more due to Covid-19, another smart move. So once we enjoyed the beautiful golden gates and cannons outside we headed on our way back to the hotel early ready for our night out in the Latin Quarter!

We arrived at La Defense tube station and as we left we played around on some Lime scooters for a bit! Personally I wish we could’ve used these every day everywhere but i didn’t have the confidence. These motorised scooters were activated by QR code on your phone on the app and charged €1 a minute. Seems quite expensive? NOPE. NOT with how fast these bad boys went. We did get a few looks as we were fucking about in the area but hey, all fun and games. After getting ready at the hotel we then fucked about AGAIN on the scooters before heading back in for dinner!

When we arrived at the latin Quarter we headed for a drink before dinner! We went to Bulls Brothers Paris for beers, the atmosphere was awesome and the pints were decent! We sat in their indoor/outdoor(?) area. We noticed that a lot of the pubs had half in half out areas where you could sit and drink and smoke but also be off the street and in the restaurant/bar. It was really nice and I like their outdoor culture.

We then headed to Rosies smokehouse for the most BOMB dinner. It was honestly amazing, we both got meat platters with 3 different types of meat, a salad and chips, as well as Meaty beans!!! The two of us were in our element. We said we would get more traditional food the next day on Sunday and try some proper French cuisine. We did think that France had been particularly quiet about their Covid-19 actions. Literally as we sat down for dinner our server informed us that from 12am that night every bar and restaurant will be closed for the foreseeable future.

We didn’t mind too much of course. Covid-19 is incredibly serious and they were taking the right precautions. We enjoyed our meal and our drinks and we also made friends with another Irish couple and we had a merry old time in the outdoor area of Rosie’s Smokehouse drinking away! Come 12am the restaurant owners told us we could drink inside as long as they closed the area. A couple of moments after we sat down they started handing us plastic cups saying that the police were doing rounds. With that it was our time to leave with our drinks in tow. It was still a fantastic night, one I won’t forget!

With that being said when we arrived at the hotel we were made aware there would be no food served at the hotel as well. We were lucky to have picked up our own breakfast the day before because the supermarket was also shut.

This lead to us leaving Paris a day early which you can read about in my final post!

#Throwback Sri Lanka 2019 – Our top 20 pictures!

Myself and another one of my best gals Mel went to Sri Lanka in February 2019 with our University and it was an amazing trip that you can read all about here!

So I decided what better way to reminisce, especially during lockdown and everything going on in the world, than our top 10 pictures each from our trip! I pinged Mel a text and she was all down for emailing me those beautiful pictures!

So without further ado, here are my top 10 pictures and below mine are Mels top 10!

My Top 10 Pictures

Mels Top 10 Pictures!

Sri Lanka Youtube Series – Part 3

In this video we conquered Sri Pada, or Adams Peak! And then we got a train back to Negombo which was an experience and a half!

Please do enjoy the end of our trip below!

Sri Lanka – ADAM’S PEAK, SRI PADA

YAAAAS WE CLIMBED A FUCK OF HUGE MOUNTAIN!!!!

Climbing Adams Peak was definitely one of the larger achievements in life

check the video below for a real insight into how it was!

VIDEO HERE

With over 5000 steps, it one was hell of a walk up there!

We got on the bus about 10pm at night from Kandy and drove for a good 3 hours towards Adams Peak. It was already late, we knew we weren’t sleeping as some of the mountain roads we were driving down in a massive coach were enough to make you think this it, we are going over the edge!

Once we arrived at the Ratnapura district, Sri Pada it was 1:30am and we were ready to go, almost. It was a 1-2km walk just from the bus station to the start of the hike! So we got there at about 2am and had a little warm up. There were endless shops on the way to the entrance to stock up on snacks and water!

Once we made it to the start it was a beautiful big archway with the Buddha laying down. Sri Pada stands for the ‘Footprint of the Buddha’ as it is believed that the stone at the top of the mountain has what looks like a footprint from the Buddha himself making the site an incredibly popular pilgrimage walk.

You must have your shoulders covered and your legs covered for the walk, I did have to change into my hareem trousers as I started in my walking shorts! Can’t get to the top in those! Plus everyone around me was laughing at me so I think that was a significant sign. We walked in groups to keep the bravado up and it worked a treat, we all made it so much farther up than we thought we would.

After a good 4 hours of climbing we had made it as close to the top as we could possible get. It was absolutely rammed and a traffic jam on a staircase was enough to give anyone vertigo. So we managed to stop on a ledge where we had the most perfect view of the valley and the reserve below with two Buddha statues seated politely behind us.

It really was like nothing I had ever experienced before and I am so over the moon we conquered it. We sat at 6am and watched the sunrise come up over the valley and man, it was emotional (mainly because we had smashed it and we had had like no sleep to get here). I really have never experienced anything like it, it made me ready to go and conquer another mountain.

Walking down wasn’t any easier! Because it was a constant uphill it means it’s a constant downhill. My legs every time we stopped were shaking and like jelly! I did wonder if I was going to collapse and roll down the mountain at one point. The girls were all linking arms and trying to skip down the stairs together at the same time to keep the memento going.

Getting back to the bus once we got to the bottom, taking off my shoes for starters and just sitting down was amazing. I had brought a pillow and managed to sleep the entire way home luckily! After a climb like that, who wouldn’t?

Once we got back and had freshened up we had a SHOW to attend!

We had been invited to the Kandayan Show of Culuture!

At their local theatre we all piled in for an hour long show of traditional dances, outfits and performances! It was amazing to watch and their music and dancing is so extravagant and like nothing I had ever seen before. My favourite parts were the woman’s outfits and the men breathing fire!

We listened to their ceremonial drums, saw peacock dancers, traditional folk dancers, harvest dances and finally,

FIRE WALKING.

Although we didn’t get the option to do it ourselves, thank god!

Afterwards was another home comfort dinner at Sky Lounge after a busy old day and an early night ahead! Tune in for our final night in my next post!

Sri Lanka – DISCOVERING KANDY

So today is a free half day, with some scheduled excursions first followed by a free afternoon! And wow did we do some exploring, I urge you to watch the YouTube footage because it was all so beautiful and amazing.

We woke up and headed over to our usual breakfast spot located directly across the road from the mission called Kandayan King!

Just getting across the road was a mission itself. Although there is a zebra crossing you are lucky if they stop for you! You have to wait for solid lul in the traffic to get across. Then once you’re halfway they’ll stop for you! But only if!

Here we had our typical breakfast of Toast, spreads, fresh fruits and omelettes. Ready for a day full of tea, spices, gem factories, amazing street markets and Buddha views!

Gurunanda Tea Factory!

We arrive at the tea factory in our busload and were taken around the factory itself to see how tea bags and loose leaf tea is made! It was amazing to see.

We saw where the tea leaves are dried and then where they are placed in machines to be sieved and it is incredible how fast it can go from harvesting tea to drinking the tea itself! It was a very nice and fast insight into how the tea is made in the factory.

Once we had seen all the machines and learnt how everyone was processed we were brought upstairs to a nice dining area where we were able to try some fresh tea, it was so lovely and I LOVE a brew so I was over the moon.

Afterwards I brought an entire tub of loose leaf Jasmine Tea and Vanilla Tea to bring home with me. They are without a doubt the nicest flavoured teas I have ever purchased or had and taste amazing.

The Spice Gardens

Once we were done with drinking tea we headed over to a Spice Garden!

Once we arrived we were ushered down a pathway where we were given fresh coconut water straight from a coconut! We watched him hack the top off and pop in a straw! It was so lovely and fresh. There was also the most beautiful puppy, so naturally we were all crowding around the fussing the little furball.

Once the puppy and coconut excitement had passed we were given a full tour of the area where they grew pineapples (which I learnt in my 21 years of life are grown from the ground? I was absolutely astonished). We also saw where all the other herbs and spices are grown, cinnamon, garlic, aloe etc. It was really interesting especially when they grind and blend these herbs into herbal remedies.

We were then seated and had a lesson on how these remedies were made and what they could assist with medical wise and then were given the best shoulder and neck massage with their homemade Aloe Vera. Man it was amazing I could’ve quite honestly gone to sleep afterwards I felt so relaxed.

Then we were shown to their store full of herbal remedies, where everything was massively overpriced so I bought nothing. I enjoyed the massage though and cuddled the puppy instead of browsing their shop, a great alternative.

Gem Factory

Our next stop was the gem factory.

Here we learnt about the mining of diamonds and the process in which is taken to get these diamonds into our jewellery and just as they are! We arrived and were taken down a fake underground mining area where it showed how the miner would dig these stones out from these shafts and bring them up with them.

The gem industry is huge, we then watched a 15 minute video on how these gems were brought to manufacturers and how they are made. We were shown how these gentleman within the building were cleaning these precious stones and shaping them ready to be placed in jewellery or sold as they are. We were taken into a small viewing room where there were all different types of diamonds and gemstones dotted around with explanation of their origins and where they were found. 

It was really fascinating to see the process and afterwards were lead downstairs to their gem shop. My favourite gems being the Topaz gem stones, a beautiful pure blue gem which was only £17! It makes you wonder how much of the gem trade is a real hoax.

LUNCH? DOMINOS M8

We were dropped off back at the mission with a mission to find FOOD. And we had seen on the bus through our journey in Kandy that there was a Dominos not far from the mission. You best believe we found that Dominos and ATE our body weight in pizza. It was SO tasty and everything we needed ready for our free afternoon!

TEMPLE OF TOOTH

So the first place us group of girls headed was Kandy’s sacred Temple of Tooth. A beautiful temple where you could visit at a price. We headed into the ground and enjoyed the building for what it was but we did not pay to go inside as it was very busy and you can only go inside at certain parts of the day.

I personally enjoyed putting on our sarongs, we all had such beautiful and colourful clothing options as you cannot bare skin so shoulders and legs must be covered due to be it being a place of worship. It was also located next to the Kandy lake, or Bogambara lake, and was just such a beautiful setting for a beautiful building.

The Temple of Tooth is named this due to housing the sacred relic of the canine tooth of the Buddha and was erected in 1595. The building itself is all white on the outside and is known to be very calming even though it does get very busy, it is recommended to take flowers as offerings for the Buddha! There are stalls located outside of the temple where they are lined with the most beautiful of flowers to offer to the Buddha!

MARKETS (& UNDERGROUND MARKET) OF KANDY

Next up was the markets!

We walked over to the markets that were inside a large white building with rows and rows of tuk tuts outside! It was SO Busy, these stalls included fresh meat and fish, little trinkets and souvenirs, endless hareem pants, sarongs and general items of clothing! It was really interesting to see how this is where the people of Kandy would do a lot of their shopping. We even saw red bananas!?

The market itself was two stories high, we headed into a small shop that offered lots of incense sticks that smelt heavenly and we all collectively brought half the shop. I love burning incense.

There was also an underground market which was centred in a roundabout! There was amazing street art and it was so cool knowing that this hustle and bustle of the market was going on underneath a busy road and roundabout!

we split off into two groups and then re-conveined afterwards by the entrance where all the Tuk Tuks were for the next and BEST part of the day!

BAHIRAWAKANDA VIHARA BUDDHA STATUE

We jumped in 2 separate tuk tuks and it was amazing! We were heading straight for the Bihirawakanda Vihara Buddha Statue at the top of the mountain in central Kandy!

They tuk tuk drivers agreed a price for all of us and also agreed to wait for us whilst we explored and also drive us back down the mountain! it certainly was a rickety journey and terrifyingly tight at some points with the cars and trucks zooming past as as we made our way up! We were even holding hands between tuk tuks!

Check the video here!

The views were stunning and the Buddha itself was beautiful. We covered ourselves up and headed up the stairs where we were given a piece of paper of instructions and rules and then said a small price as donation. We had a photoshoot on the stairs up to the buddha because it was an absolute must, and then headed upwards to explore!

The top of the Buddha was closed but that didn’t stop Shaista and I from climbing as high up on the Buddha as we could! It was late afternoon and the sunset was just phenomenal. It was so beautiful and serene, Me, Mel, Shannon and some of the other girls bought flowers as inside the Buddha itself you could give the buddha offerings!

It was a really beautiful experience and I was so happy to share it with the most amazing girls!

We got the tuk tuk down the mountain once more and headed back to the mission. All in all a very successful day!

Stay tuned for the final few excursions and days of the trip!

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!

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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.