Travel Favourites: Memories from Extraordinary Places

Hello! I’ve been loving writing more travel-themed posts this summer (mainly because I really wish I could be traveling right now!!) and I think this is the direction I want my blog to head in, as well the odd post about studying or ramble about life. This time I thought I’d reminisce on some of my favourite memories from travelling and favourite places I’ve been to over the years. I haven’t travelled a lot or gone on a massive tour around multiple countries (I’d love to though!!), but I have been lucky enough to go to a few different places over the past few years, whether that be on family holidays, with school, friends or Scouts. I hope you enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

Austrian Mountains

Sunset over a river with mountains in the background
This is one of my favourite photos I’ve ever taken??? (I just wish 11 year old me knew how to focus a camera properly lol)

I went to Austria back in 2011 with Scouts and we stayed in a town called Stanzach in the Tyrol region. The scenery was breathtaking, particularly the mountains which you could see form anywhere within the valley. I remember going on many evening walks to the river in the photo and skimming stones and building dams whilst the sunset. We also took a ski lift to the top of a mountain then hiked down. I’d love to go back one day and explore the mountains more!

The Eden Project, Cornwall

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It’s been a fair few years since I visited the Eden Project, but I remember really enjoying my visit. There are some really interesting and exotic plants within the rain forest and tropical ‘biomes’. My family and I were obsessed with the mimosa which look like mini ferns but when you touch their leaves they close up! It was really cute haha.

Studland Bay, Dorset

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Studland is one of my favourite beaches! When I was younger, we went camping in Dorset quite often so we’d visit Studland a lot. It’s great for swimming as the water doesn’t get deep very quickly and great for sand castles too! One of the most amusing memories I have comes from this beach. My sister and I decided to partially bury my mum in the sand and turn her into a mermaid but we later discovered that we’d left the camera in the car park down the other end of the beach. Not wanting to miss this photo opportunity, my dad, my sister and I walked back to the car park, and on the way my dad was convinced he’d seen his brother and children playing in the sand, so he went over to say hello. My sister and I realised immediately it wasn’t them but my dad insisted and kept saying to the man “don’t lie, you are my brother!” (in a friendly way). He thought his brother was messing around haha (can you tell we don’t see our family often enough to recognise them haha??). Eventually my dad gave up (my sister and I were so embarrassed at this point) and we carried on walking to the car park. When we got there, the funniest coincidence happened – we bumped into his actual brother and his family ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ It was so funny! We told them about the mishap with the look-a-like and they said that that man was actually staying on the same campsite as them and that my cousins kept mistaking him for their dad, so at least it wasn’t just us!!! It was so weird though ๐Ÿ˜‚ I’ll never forget that haha.

Double-decker trains in Berlin!!

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I still get slightly excited by this but DOUBLE-DECKER TRAINS AHHHH. I didn’t know they existed until I went to Berlin???!!? We took one out of the city one day and it was a really cool experience even though I’m too tall to stand up on the top deck haha.

Kynance Cove, Cornwall

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This beach really is a hidden beauty. We only found out about it as we are National Trust members and they own the land, but it is definitely worth a visit!! You have to walk quite far from the car park before you can descend the headland to the beach. The water was so blue!! And there were lot’s of little caves to explore. The main thing I can remember though is getting my hiking boots soaked. My dad told me to stand in front of this big rock to take a better picture of the sea, not realising that the waves came in really fast so when a big wave came in, my dad was able to scramble up onto the rock whilst I couldn’t because I was holding my camera so I was submerged up to my knees! When the wave went back out again though I was fine but had very soggy feet for the rest of the day!

Branscombe Beach, Devon

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As you may be able to tell, I really like beaches. I think it comes from growing up in a seaside town – I just love being on the coast! Branscombe Beach is another sort of hidden gem. We had to walk for a few hours to get there from our campsite, descending through the lovely village (and stopping for cake). The beach itself was stunning with sloping red cliffs and red-tinted water. My family and I spend a long time on the beach walking around, paddling and posing on various rocks for photos (as you can see above haha).

Notre Dame de la Garde, Marseille

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I visited Marseille last year and one of the highlights of the trip has to be going to the Notre Dame de la Garde cathedral, which is perched atop a hill overlooking the city. The views were incredible, especially looking out to sea, and we had to take a little train up the hill to the cathedral which I’ll always remember as it was one of the first times I had a proper conversation in French (in France) as I was volunteered by my classmates to ask if our tickets were valid for the train. (Still surprised that I actually managed to do that, though! Speaking to natives can be daunting sometimes!).

MuCEM, Marseille

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Another memory from Marseille was visiting the MuCEM – the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations. The architecture of the building was?? INCREDIBLE?!! The outside is basically made to look like water ripples (I think??) so on the inside the light reflects through the gaps in the outer shell making it feel as if you were underwater! The actual exhibits themselves were really interesting too as I got to learn more about Mediterranean history and lifestyles. There’s a rooftop cafe with a bridge connecting you to Fort St. Jean, which used to guard the entrance to the port of Marseille. The Fort was full of things to explore and sadly we didn’t have enough time (or energy- it was so hot!!!) to do it all, so I’d definitely love to go back!

A’DAM Lookout, Amsterdam

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If you’ve read my Amsterdam series from back in July, you may remember me mentioning the A’DAM Lookout! It’s essentially a hotel with a restaurant and ‘lookout’ on top from which you can see across the city. It also has Europe’s highest swing which swings you over the edge of the tower!! I’m not the biggest fan of heights but I do LOVE being high enough up to see an amazing view, and the A’DAM Lookout definitely didn’t disappoint!! The whole experience of the Lookout was so fun, from getting stuck on a giant red horse, to battling the fierce wind and running for the ferry! Definitely one of the highlights of the holiday!

Porthor Beach, North Wales

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(Another beach oops!!). My family and I visited Porthor Beach on our most recent holiday to Snowdonia, North Wales. My dad is very good at planning holidays in that he picks out the less well-known places for us to visit, such as Porthor. It was very difficult to get to as we kept missing turnings, but after a longer than exepcted journey, it was definitely worth the hassle!! As far as beaches go, Porthor wsas fairly quiet which was nice because sometimes Studland Beach (which I mentioned earlier) is very busy and you don’t have much space. Porthor is also known as the Whistling Sands beach because!!! THE SAND WHISTLES WHEN YOU WALK AHHH! (I was probably way too excited by this but it was so fun!!! Although you can’t really sneak up on people haha). Due tot he type of sand at Porthor, when you walk the sand compresses and makes a sort of squeaky noise!! We spent the whole day at the beach, swimming in the sea which was clear blue and home to some jelly fish and also playing multiple matches of beach volley ball with our make-shift ‘net’ made of pebbles. It was great fun!

Aberglaslyn Gorge, North Wales

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Another memory from my holiday in Snowdonia was hiking through the Aberglaslyn Gorge. This was in the height of the heat wave in the UK so it’s safe to say we were VERY hot and possibly hiking in the heat wasn’t the BEST idea. However, the gorge was so beautiful!! The majority of the walk involved scrambling over rocks along the side of the river – some of which had metal handholds to help you across difficult sections. It reminded me of going canyoning in Austria! We had to stop halfway and cool off our feet in the river. When we reached Beddgeleret – a small village which is the river passes through – we stopped for an ice cream and looked around. It was sch a lovely little village, I could have seen myself living there, surrounded by the mountains. We sat on a wall by the river eating our ice creams and two tourists asked if they could photograph us sitting on the wall within the space of ten minutes which was STRANGE??

Snowdon Street, Porthmadog

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My final memory to share is from the same holiday again, this time of Snowdon Street in the town of Porthmadog. It may not seem the most interesting honestly it was so cool just walking through the town then at the bottom of a side street you can see Snowdon, perfectly framed between the rows of houses. I have so many memories of climbing Snowdon itself, which I shared here, and considering I couldn’t get any non-cloud covered photos whilst climbing it, I’m pretty pleased I had the opportunity to see Snowdon again, from the ground this time!!

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about some of my favourite memories from traveling and places I’ve been, I’ve certainly enjoyed reminiscing about them! There are so many beautiful and interesting places to see, whether that be in your own country or abroad. I’d love to hear your travel top picks below!

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Climbing Snowdon the Hard Way

View of mountains. Title reads 'climbing Snowdon the hard way'

A few weeks ago, I ventured off on a camping holiday with my family to Snowdonia, North Wales. As the unorganised blogger I am, I’m only just getting round to sitting down and writing about the experience of climbing Snowdon, Wales’ highest mountain. For me, this was one of the highlights of the trip as it proved to be quite an emotional experience, so I thought instead of doing a whole series of travel posts like with Amsterdam, I’d focus on climbing the mountain. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now it’s hard to imagine just how big a mountain is until you’ve seen one and even whilst driving through Snowdonia on the way to our campsite, I just couldn’t believe the sheer size of the mountains there, let alone get my head around the fact that I would be climbing one!

Snowdon itself is 1088 m high – or 3568 ft, if you prefer. This wasn’t my first experience of mountain climbing though. In 2011 I went to Austria with my Scout group and we descended a Tyrolean mountain (can’t remember which one) after taking the ski lift. However, the prospect of climbing up a mountain was more daunting as I wasn’t sure if I’d be physically fit enough to do it.

We chose to climb Snowdon on the third day of our holiday to give us time to settle in to life at the campsite and also give the drizzly weather a chance to pass us by. We didn’t want it to be swelteringly hot like back home (we did go away in the height of the heat wave but it was cooler in North Wales than at home in Somerset) but we also didn’t want to hike in the rain. Luckily, the weather on the day we went wasn’t too bad. It was very cloudy though, so much so that we couldn’t actually see the summit from the ground, but it was cool and dry so we were happy.

Lake in foreground with mountain in background, covered in cloud

I was a little apprehensive about hiking in the fog/mist/clouds (??) because I know how dangerous it can be if you get lost in the fog, however as we were walking one of the more moderate and well-traversed paths, my parents reassured me that we would be fine and wouldn’t lose our way.

One of the hardest parts of the climb turned out to be the very beginning when we were ascending the foothills before actually setting foot on the mountain. There was a very steep zig-zagging path through a sheep farm that was very hard going on your legs and lungs – I struggled to catch my breath and had to rest many times!

I did wonder at this point if I would be able to complete the 8 mile trip up and down the mountain if I was struggling on the first bit, but my determination to reach the summit made me persevere and I’m so glad I did.

The next part of the route was fairly flat as we walked along the foothills towards Snowdon. The mountain itself is sort of nestled between other, smaller mountains and hills so you have to cross these hills before you actually reach Snowdon.

Twisting path up a mountainside covered in cloud

Starting the ascent of Snowdon was required some climbing and scrambling the terrain was very rocky and the path zig-zagged between large rocks jutting from the mountainside. It actually felt like we were walking through the set of Doctor Who or something, it wasn’t like anyone I’ve ever walked before and the Austrian mountains were certainly very different! The looming cloud made it feel slightly eerie too.

Rocks pertruding from mountainside
The rocky mountainside surrounded by cloud.

The higher we ascended up this steep section of the mountain, the further into the cloud we plunged. At some points it seemed as if the clouds were moving up the mountain with us but then the wind would force the down again, surrounding us. Walking through clouds is a strange experience – in some places our field of vision was restricted to a two metre radius, and by the time we’d reached the top, we were quite wet as if we’d been in a rain shower due to the water vapour that forms the clouds and clings to your body.

Once we’d reached the top of the first ‘peak’, there was a flat area of ground where – if the cloud cleared – you could see the nearby town of Llanberis, where many walkers choose to start their ascent from. At this point, we had no idea how far we’d walk and even less idea of how far we had left to go. We still couldn’t see the summit and the path ahead disappeared into the cloud so it was sort of a guessing game really.

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The path ahead!

The next section felt like it lasted forever as if time had stood still. The path wasn’t particularly steep, more like a gradual slope, but it was at this point in the climb that we began to feel the temperature dropping and as we were even further into the cloud, the fog became much thicker, even distorting the sound of jet planes flying over the mountain. It was really quite disorientating not being able to see the planes over head. They felt a lot closer than they probably were.

Since we’d started climbing the mountain, we’d barely passed any other walkers. I don’t know if it was because the weather put people off, but we probably encountered only about 3 or 4 other groups of people. Their shadows would emerge in the fog, they’d pass us by and encourage us to keep going and then disappear back into the fog. At some points, we were very relieved when this happened as it really didn’t feel like we were anywhere on Earth.

The cloud also was disorientating in the sense that it distorted images too. I remember debating with my family many times whether a vague lump in the distance was a sheep (as there were many sheep on the mountain) or a rock. Some of the sheep just looked huge! I even mistook a seagull for a llama, which sounds rather stupid, but I saw a long neck emerging through the fog which looked much bigger than any seagull I’ve ever seen, so I just presumed it was a llama!

Even though passers-by kept reassuring us we were nearly at the top, it really didn’t mean anything when you can’t see where you’re heading anyway. The summit still felt miles away.

It wasn’t until we heard – and saw – the Snowdon mountain train emerge through the cloud, heading down the mountain, that we really felt we were almost there, as at this point the route we were following joined with another path so we encountered many more people, both going up and down the mountain.

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The train surrounded by fog.

Although we still couldn’t see much, we knew we were walking along the top ‘edge’ of the mountain, on our way to it’s peak, as the path had flattened out and it was considerably colder. We were later informed that it was actually 10 degrees at the top, compared to 24 at the bottom. We were glad we’d brought extra layers with us as we’d walked the majority in just shorts and t-shirts!

This was one of my favourite parts of the climb as as we were heading towards the summit, the path was lined by large pointed rocks sticking vertically out of the ground, and as we couldn’t see much more than a metre either side of us, we had no idea how high up we were or how close we were to the edge. It was thrilling, in a way, knowing whether was a large descent but not knowing how close we were to danger. If it was a clear day, however, I probably wouldn’t have like it as much as I’m not a big fan of heights.

Eventually the rocky path gave way to steps heading upwards and we could see the vague shape of the summit itself in the distance, people swarming round to take photos.

Rocky path towards small mound of rocks (summit) in the distance
The summit, still shrouded by mist!

To reach the summit itself, you had to walk up some large spiral stone steps. At this point, our legs were so tired we ended up crawling up the steps. Also this was out of fear because we couldn’t see either side of the steps so we had no idea how close the land below was if we fell. (We probably looked like right idiots haha).

Spiral stone steps
The steps!

My mum almost didn’t make it to the summit as she has problems with her knees but we persuaded her to do it as she’d made it so far, she couldn’t let a few steps defeat her!

Me stood behind trig point wearing a blue rain coat and looking rather soggy
Hello, this is me at the summit, looking rather a mess but happy!!

The trig point on the summit itself told you how far it was to other places in Wales and around the world, but I didn’t want to hang around up there too long to read things because I was starting to feel a little be wary of how high we were!

It was an exhilarating feeling to reach the summit though, knowing that I’d overcome physical challenges in the three hours it took us to ascend, but also mental challenges in motivating myself to carry on. It sounds strange but I’ve never felt more alive than I did on that mountain. I was tired yet so energised and my mind felt so refreshed. In a funny way I couldn’t help feeling that the climb had been a bit of a metaphor for life because once I’d overcome the challenge of climbing the mountain, I felt like I could overcome any obstacle that life threw at me. I felt strong. And even though we were wading through fog for most of the hike, we knew we had to keep going and trust that our feet would lead us where we needed to go, even if we couldn’t see the path ahead. That made me feel that even when things feel foggy in life, I’ve got to keep going, keep fighting. I think I needed that revelation, more than anything else about the experience. It really helped me to regain my perspective on life again after a difficult few months mental health-wise.

Anyway, let me get back on track. After reaching the summit and taking a few photos, we went into the visitor centre. It felt strange that somewhere so natural and far from modern life had been commercialised – with train and now the visitor centre. Either way, I was happy to have somewhere warm to rest my feet, eat and buy a few souvenirs (now I can say I’ve been there, done that and (literally) got the t-shirt!).

I think people who had taken the train up that day were a little disappointed that they couldn’t admire the view from the top because the cloud was so thick but we were happy that we’d made it, and climbing the mountain proved to be more about completing the challenge rather than admiring the view for my family and I.

After about an hours rest, we headed back down the mountain with a new-found spring in our step. The paths that we had traversed earlier which felt like they were never-ending we now descended with ease and we walked down about twice as quickly as we’d gone up.

Railway track to the left, people descending in the centre and roc
Descending the mountain and disappearing into the clouds.

The cloud still hadn’t really cleared, but when we’d reached the sort of viewpoint again where you could look over Llanberis, the cloud did clear for a few minutes so we could get a glimpse of the view (from about a third of the way up the mountainside).

View of town with mountains either side
Looking out at the view of Llanberis.

We stopped again at the top of the second zig-zag section we’d walked up, where I took a few photos of the view across from Snowdon.

Lake in the foreground, mountains in the background
We started our walk over the hill on the right.

It turns out walking down the very first zig-zag section through the sheep farm was just has hard as walking up had been. it really does take a toll on your knees, walking down a steep slope.

Eventually, we got back to the car and our time on the mountainside was over. It was a bit sad, in a way, as we had to go back to reality now, but I was still very proud that we’d all managed to it.

In an amusing turn of events, as we were driving away from the mountain, the cloud around the top completely cleared! It was so ironic we had to stop to take a photo of the whole mountain. If only the cloud had cleared just a few hours earlier when we were at the summit we would have been able to witness the stunning views!

Mountain through the trees
The summit is the pointy bit in the middle, we climbed up from the left hand side!

All in all though, climbing Snowdon the hard way was everything I expected it to be and more. I’m so grateful that my parents were willing to drive almost 6 hours to take us to the beautiful place that is Snowdonia. By the end of our long week away, I had grown quite attached to the scenery and didn’t want to leave.

I know someday I want to return and climb Snowdon again, to feel the emotions I felt up on the mountainside again. But for now all I can do is plan my next adventure and keep hold of these memories. ๐Ÿ™‚

Amsterdam Day 2|Canal adventures!

Amsterdam canals

(Read Day 1 here!)

The second day of our Dutch adventure began in a rather unexpected way. We woke up to find that we had no electricity in our room and our phones that we’d left to charge overnight were completely dead! We had to go to reception and report what happened and they called an electrician to come and sort out the electrics whilst we were eating breakfast (which was delicious!). It turns out we’d accidentally left the mirror light on in the bathroom and it had blown a fuse overnight, but it was soon fixed which was a relief (although slightly embarrassing that we hadn’t even been at the hostel 24 hours and already had an incident…).

Anyway, the breakfast we had was surprisingly nice – there was a choice of cereals, toast, cold meats, fruit and even pancakes so we definitely had enough energy for a busy day of sightseeing (and it really was busy) after eating!

As it was our first full day in the city, we’d planned to take a canal tour and get our bearings, as well as seeing the sights and learning more about Amsterdam’s history. Although before we got on the boat, we managed to locate our nearest supermarket, an Albert Heijn on the main street at the end of our road. There I got a second breakfast (I’m sorry I can’t resist croissants!!!!!) and we bought our lunch for the day incase we weren’t near a supermarket around lunchtime. I think we also looked in some of the tourist shops but I can’t quite remember as we walked down that street so many times throughout the trip!

It was actually raining quite heavily so we had to wear our rain coats (which I almost forgot to pack) and when we did get to the boat – which was a hop-on, hop-off tour so we could get on and off multiple times and explore the city – the roof was on, which made it a bit difficult to see out of the windows due to the raindrops but at least we were dry.

The boat had an audio tour guide which you could plug headphones in. I started off listening in French because I need to keep practising but eventually I switched to English as I was worried I was missing important information. It was actually really relaxing seeing the city from the water. I think we spent about 2 hours going round the whole route just to listen to the audio tour before we actually got off. So relaxing that one of my friends fell asleep for part of it!

Canals

Church next to canal

The first place we got off was at the Gassan Diamond Factory as we found out we could have a free tour of the factory included with our boat ticket. It was actually really interesting – we saw people polishing and cutting the diamonds and then learnt about how they were valued. We also stopped off at the shop to get a few souvenirs before finding somewhere to sit and eat lunch. My family and I collect patches on our camp blankets from places we’ve travelled and Scout camps so I bought some for us all. ๐Ÿ™‚

Embroidered patches

We wanted to go to the Waterlooplein market next but we discovered it was quicker to walk there than wait for the boat to arrive to take us so we (successfully this time) navigated ourselves to the market. I love looking around markets – we have some at home in Bristol but they’re all fairly small. What I like about markets is that there are a lot of handmade gifts and small businesses so you often find more unique products than you would in more tourist-y areas. My friend and I both bought some little Delftware animals for our families as gifts. I got my nan an elephant as she has a small herd of elephants in her living room, so I thought it would be a nice addition!

I also bought myself some clog slippers – which I had been wanting to get ever since my friend brought some home from Amsterdam last year. Plus my slippers at home were broken so I did actually need new ones!!! I got yellow and red ones with a windmill and tulips on the top – they’re actually the comfiest pair of slippers I’ve ever had and I’ve been living in them since I got home!!

We then walked to the next boat stop which was over the Skinny Bridge, which I didn’t realise we’d walked over until about ten minutes later! We tried to run for the boat as we had the app which told us the boat was just at the stop but when we got there it was just pulling away so we ended up having to wait half an hour sat in front of the Hermitage Museum. But as it had stopped raining by this point, it was a good opportunity to take photos of the canals!

Canal

We needed to take the canal boat to the other side of the River IJ to northern Amsterdam as we’d booked tickets for the A’DAM Lookout, which is basically a hotel with a viewing platform on the top where you can see across the whole of Amsterdam. It is also home to Europe’s highest swing as well (fun fact for you) which actually swings you over the edge of the tower! When you arrive at the tower, you get a free photo shoot in front of a green screen with various views of Amsterdam in the background and then you take a very cool lift ride to the top floor (no spoilers!!).

Modern tower
The A’DAM Lookout ๐Ÿ™‚

The views from the roof were just??? AMAZING??? I think we spent a couple of hours up there just admiring the view and taking photos and trying not to get blown off the roof by the wind. We could see the whole extent of the city and surrounding land, it was so beautiful and kind of a surreal feeling thinking about how many people were going about their everyday lives within the radius we could see. The sun actually decided to come out too which was a bonus!

View over city

View across the city and river

My friends went on the swing over the edge, but I’m not great with heights so I was quite happy looking out over the city and trying to pick out landmarks.

The A’DAM Lookout is possibly home to Europe’s highest red horse??? I mean, there can’t be many red metal horses 100m high! We had a bit of an incident with this horse too. I tried to climb up first but it couldn’t make it so I gave up (to be honest I didn’t want to get stuck!). My friend successfully climbed up second but then couldn’t get down so my other friend and I spent ages trying to help her down before a French guy came over and helped to lift her off. Then my other friend managed to climb up and down within a space of 5 minutes. It was quite an interesting experience…

We also went to the floor below the roof which was a bar and had a mini exhibition about Amsterdam, including a model map of the city. We managed to find the street our hostel was on the map so we can’t have been that bad at navigating!! There was also a glass floor, so an obligatory feet photo had to be taken of course.

Model of Amsterdam

Glass floorAfter leaving the tower, we went for a stroll along by the river. It was nice to be in a part of Amsterdam that wasn’t busy with tourists and residents and that we could walk around the grassy paths peacefully in the sunshine. We thought we’d missed the last canal boat so resigned ourselves to the fact that we’d have to take the ferry and walk 40 minutes back to the hostel in the south of the city, but then my friend spotted the canal boat at the jetty so we sprinted all the way along the waterside to see if we could catch the boat. The boat started pulling away so two of us gave up running but my friend carried on and the boat driver actually came back to the jetty to pick us up which was so kind of her (although a bit embarrassing for us!). One thing I noticed whilst in Amsterdam was how friendly Dutch people are – in Britain that never would have happened – and on other occasions too I was surprised at how friendly everyone was, like at some of the restaurants we visited where staff would have a proper conversation with you about where you were from and what you’d been up to – Amsterdam felt like such a friendly place.

View across river

Anyway, so we managed to get on the canal boat which would have taken us all the way back to the hostel but as the sun was out still, we decided to get off at the Anne Frank House and walk the rest of the way. I really wanted to go inside the Anne Frank House but we didn’t have time unfortunately, but I am definitely going to go back again!!!

We took a detour to walk through Dam Square and see the palace. It was very busy in Dam Square and pigeons (and my friend) kept photo-bombing my photos haha but it was good to see the palace! After that, we carried on walking back to the hostel which was surprisingly straightforward and we passed the Bloemenmarkt – or floating flower market – as well and had a look around because you can’t go to Holland without seeing tulips!! (These photos were taken on my phone because I somehow forgot I had my camera with me??? So excuse the poor quality).

Busy square
Dam Square
Palace with pigeons in foreground
Dam pigeons!!
Array of flower bouqet
Sunflowers = van Gogh vibes!

It really was an action-packed day, and we were exhausted by the time we got back to the hostel so ended up going out for dinner quite late. Especially as one of my friends got locked in the bathroom in our room so it took like half an hour for various hostel staff to unlock the door and let her out! Thankfully the staff saw the funny side of it – we thought they might be fed up of us after having to call in an electrician earlier that day – but we were all relieved when she finally got out!

We went to Leidseplein again and this time had pizza. The pubs and bars were really busy as it was the France/Belgium game so when we went to the Hard Rock bar for cocktails after dinner, we had to wait for the football to finish before we were served haha.

It was so pretty walking back along the canals at night, and this time I took my camera so I could get some decent shots. It felt really safe walking around too, even thought it was nearly 11pm when we left the bar, because the streets were still busy and a lot of shops were still open, whereas at home its dead at that time so I usually don’t like staying out that late.

Reflections of light in canals at night

Again we stayed up and played cards for a bit and then we swapped my mattress because I’d hardly slept the previous night as it was rock hard and I woke up aching, but luckily we had a four person room between the three of us so I could swap to a comfier mattress!

Hope you’re enjoying reading about my Amsterdam adventure and it will continue with Day 3 soon (when I get around to writing it!!) ๐Ÿ™‚

Waiting for Adventure

Some of my happiest memories stem from summers spent exploring the British coast and countryside. Waking up to birdsong, under canvas, and morning dew settled precariously on blades of grass. Driving through country lanes, sun blaring through the windows, music blaring through the speakers, smiling from ear to ear as we drove to the coast. Abandoning flip-flops and dashing towards the sea and jumping the waves, full of love and life. Playing cricket on the beach under the hazy sun. Sure, sun burn and sleeping bags never ended well, but that’s how life is, in the summer time.

Wandering through little fishing villages, marvelling at how simple and happy a life here could be – a breeze in the relative storm of modern life. Sun reflecting, fragmenting over the oscillating ocean that stretches as far as the eye can see. That sense of peacefulness as the wind tickles your skin and wraps round your hair. For a moment, the Earth stood still.

Climbing up headlands and hills – to admire the view or just for the thrill? I never knew. Watching the sun turn the sky into a frenzy of redorangeyellowredpink as the evenings dragged out and campfire embers died. One day, I hope, summer will last forever, and every day will mark a new adventure. But for now, I’ll just count down the days until the sun blazes hot in the sky and I can live this life again.

//Where have I been recently? All over the place apparently!//

A while ago I said I wanted to do more adventuring over the next few months and spend more time outdoors. I’m glad to say since writing this post in February, I have actually achieved this and managed to do a lot of exploring over the past few months. Spending time outdoors is such a great way to relax during exam season, so I thought I’d share with you where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to lately.

Right, it’s going to be hard to remember everywhere I’ve been and it what order, but I shall try my best!

I think the first adventure I had was going to Portsmouth by train to visit my sister at uni. I had to get up at 6:30 to get the train at 7:30, and the journey was nearly 4 hours in total. I was travelling with my mum so it wasn’t really bad but still long legs + train seating = achey legs + awkward kicking of strangers feet under the table!!

When we got there we met my sister then went to a nearby supermarket to buy dinner (ended up going to a different supermarket afterwards because we couldn’t find what we wanted ๐Ÿ˜‚) then took the food back to her flat and sat in her room chatting for a bit. It was really nice to be back in her room because the last time I was there was the day we dropped her off in September, and that was stressful and sad so we couldn’t really enjoy it as much. But this time it was great to be back at her uni and see her enjoying herself. 

(Look at me loving the University of Portsmouth snapchat geo tags ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚)

We also went to Costa for a drink as you do, before heading off to the Museum of Portsmouth which was actually really good – it had a whole Sherlock Holmes exhibition because fun fact: the character Sherlock was born in Portsmouth ๐Ÿ˜‰ It also had a a retro games room where you could play old video games which is fun! Plus the building itself was pretty nice-looking and we ate lunch sat in the gardens.

The museum of Portsmouth

After visiting the museum, we walked around the high street and visited Primark to do some shopping (bc why not??). 

Portsmouth Guildhall
I always forget what this building is called, but it’s v pretty!

Then we went back to the flat to have dinner and said our good-byes at the train station at about 5:30-ish. It was a really lovely day, although due to the length of time we spent travelling, we didn’t actually spend much time in Portsmouth. But the good thing about travelling by train is seeing the countryside as you go through different stations – going through Bath Spa station was really nice as it’s right in the heart of the city and I’d never actually been to Bath before, also we could see Southampton port from the train which was quite cool!

Departure board at Portsmouth & Southsea station

The next adventure I went on was to Bristol with my friends to go shopping in Primark (apparently Bristol has the UK’s biggest Primark!?? I’m not entirely sure but it certainly is huge with four floors and loads of escalators (yayy)). Then two days after that – Friday 31st March – I went back to Portsmouth again!

This time we went in the car as we had to pick my sister up from uni for Easter break. The journey was just under 3 hours but I had so much homework I had to take my geography maths homework with me and spent the journey trying to do student t-tests by hand (each part of the question took like half an hour arghh).

Once we’d picked my sister up and put her stuff from her flat in the car, we drove to the historic dockyard in Portsmouth as my dad had managed to get a really good deal on annual tickets. When went on a boat tour around the dockyard, Portsmouth harbour in general and Gunwharf Quays which is a fancy shopping centre where the famous Spinnaker tower is located. It was quite nice even though I’m not the biggest fan of boats! We also went on board the HMS Warrior and went round various exhibitions which were very interesting.

*glares at police boat that sped across the harbour with it’s sirens blaring creating waves that made our boat bob up and down loads like a rollercoaster*

HMS Victory from the tour boat

This is where it gets a bit confusing – basically, I went to four cities in the space of a week, including this trip to Portsmouth. The Tuesday after this, I went to Bath for a UCAS convention with college which was very useful although my shoulders were aching from carrying round all the prospectuses! Before we left for Bath, I had a free lesson so decided to embark on the 20 mins walk to the beach near my college, although I only stated there for about 10 mins as there was a dog chasing me/barking at me and I’m still getting over my fear of dogs so decided to head back, but the views were still nice! 

Remember this hill, it will be important for future reference!!

Then the day after that, Wednesday, I went back to Bristol with my sister to Primark again as the previous week I hadn’t bought anything but had seen various things I liked and my sister needed clothes too so we went back together.

Then the next day, I went to Cardiff on a geography field trip. The trip was honestly great – firstly we actually managed to collect all the data for the trip in the time frame allowed, the weather was really sunny and hot, we had an hour for lunch (in which my friend bought us all fab lollies, me and another friend got offered a boat trip by a man with a loud hailer, we attempted to take selfies and we saw armed police men patrolling the bay which was NOT worrying at all) and we got a tour of the Senedd which is the Welsh assembly building. Ooh we also saw the BBC Cardiff studios where Doctor Who is filmed and walked right past the Doctor Who Experience on our way to the barrage. The only bad thing was it was soo sunny pretty much everyone got sunburnt as it wasn’t sunny at home so we didn’t think to put sun cream on. My nose and forehead got really badly burnt and it’s still painful now over a week later!

Cardiff Bay
That long building in the distance is the BBC Wales studios
We had to take photos of certain things as part of the field work, so i took this one of the barrage because we had to, but I didn’t realise the massive Olympic rings on the floor until just now ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

So that week was very busy for me, as well as being the last week of term! Then last weekend the weather was really hot and sunny – I wore shorts and t-shirt pretty much the whole weekend! On the Saturday, I went to the beach nearest where I live for a morning walk then on the Sunday I went on a 7 miles hike with my mum through the countryside.

Then throughout the week I’ve been going out on my bike a lot around the local area and countryside which has been great!

And finally to conclude such a long post, I went to that hill on Saturday, which involved climbing over 100 very steep steps and walking up a steep hill to the WW1 fort at the end. The views from the top were great, as I could so the beach which is near my college, but also a lot further down the coast and even Wales!

So I think it’s safe to say I’ve managed to get out and about a lot more the past few months! Have you been on any adventures recently?

//Little adventures//

The other day I actually managed to do something I’ve been wanting to for ages – go on an adventure. Well, it was only a small adventure, because I didn’t venture that far a field but nonetheless I managed to do some exploring. 

On Friday I decided to spend my day off college outdoors as it was actually sunny for once and I needed a break from studying. I woke up early (8:30 ish, but that’s early for me!) then walked to the local highstreet which is almost a mile from my house and visited the bank and the library and did a bit of shopping. Then I took the bus from the highstreet into town where I got distracted and did some more shopping oops ๐Ÿ˜‚ 

After I’d walked round the shops for a bit, I made my way to the beach and walked all the way along the main beach of the town to the next beach. It was a long, tiring walk because sand really kills your hips if you walk on it for ages! Plus it was still quite windy because of storm Doris. But spending time in the sun made up for it! Just to be outdoors under the blue sky and winter/spring sun was so peaceful and uplifting.  

Beach #1

Once I’d reached the other beach, I walked round the little village there – it’s so pretty in comparison to my town with all the old houses and cottages and river running alongside the pavement. Even the shops and pubs were really picturesque!

Beach #2

Bridge and river in the village

I knew that the village was not far from my college, so I had a quick look on Google maps and memorised directions for how to get from the village to college, which surprisingly wasn’t that difficult considering I have no sense of direction and am terrible at finding my way round places! I think the fact that my phone was almost dead because I stupidly forgot to charge it before hand made me focus more on remembering the directions so I didn’t get lost.

Can’t always rely on google maps though, it thought I was in Wales at one point!

Another thing that surprised me was that it only took about 15 minutes to walk from the village by the beach to college, which is great really because when the weather gets a bit warmer, I could go down to the beach after college or during lunch some days! 

After getting a drink from college, I got the bus back home. My legs were aching a lot when I got home and still hurt a bit now, but I’m glad I did some exploring instead of just spending the whole day at home studying! I’d love to explore further a field some day, but that would require a lot more learning of directions and planning ๐Ÿ˜‚

//The world, c’est extraordinaire!//

Do you ever just think of the world around you, of the people living, breathing, thriving, on the many continents of the earth and the sounds and sights and smells they are experiencing, and just be in awe of everything? Of how everything came to be and how much there is out there that you have not yet seen, or may never see? Or when you look at the sky and your gaze travels for miles and miles, seeing sky that stretches over other segments of the earth and adorns world’s viewed by different eyes, do you feel the rush to run and explore and see? 

It’s the pull of adventure and exploration. It’s hard to put into words – I could write a thousand and still not do justice to it – but when you feel it, you feel it. It makes me feel alive and free, as if anything is possible. And it is – there’s a whole world of possibility waiting at our fingertips. This world is extraordinary.

And it’s waiting for us to explore it.

Today I went to my old scout hut – I haven’t been back since I left in September. I grew up there and have many amazing memories of the place and the adventures that scouting brought me, and however stupid it sounds, the very smell of the building and the feeling of the floor under my feet reignited all those years of memories and the yearning to explore. The urge to just

j u m p

And leap into the unknown was almost overpowering.

I know that wherever I travel on this earth,the spruit if adventure will always be with me. It’s part of me; it runs through my veins, drawing me to the world like a gravitational pull. And maybe I’ll never find somewhere where I belong, because I belong to the world and the world is my home, and the home of the billions of other people on my planet. I can’t be tethered to one place for too long, I need to fly and soar and explore. But that’s okay because no matter where I go or who I become or what I do in life, deep down, I’ll always be me.