How hard is it to introduce you to a post? I've decided that I hate saying 'Hey guys', it's so not me and a little goofy 😉 So, today I picked up my film photographs from Boots, which I've been so excited to collect for almost a week now. I'm sure we took a few selfies of the two of us but they aren't here which is strange and very disappointing as those were the ones I was looking forward to seeing the most.. Maybe we didn't or maybe we just thought there were some films left, hmm interesting. Anyway, I decided to purchase a little Kodak with my Boots points before our hols as it's something my Mum and Dad used to do when we were kids and I adore looking through our childhood photographs, even if the quality isn't great. It's really exciting not knowing what the photographs are going to turn out like and you totally forget about what moments you captured so I've been reliving our week in Santorini all over again this afternoon. This is the last of my holiday photos so you'll be happy to know that I will no longer be bombarding you with turquoise waters, white building's and quad bike pics, until next time, whenever that may be! These are going to go in to my first photo album that I'm going to keep as up to date as possible. Hope you've enjoyed the holiday spam, speak again soon, love L.
The tallest piece of rock I have ever jumped off in my life and it's for sure that I will never be doing anything that high again.
I'm 23 and Josh is 27, we bought our first property last year where we currently live with my Gran and we had hoped to be looking at buying our own place in the very near future. However, since I returned from Santorini I've had butterflies in my stomach. Not because I want to return to the beautiful idyllic island but because I realised how much there is out there that I want to see for myself. I'm not sure I want to settle down right now and this is a conversation we keep going over and over, back and forth. I get it, he wants a sense of security, our own space, somewhere that's ours but with that comes a hell of a lot of responsibility, bills, cut backs, less of a social life and I guess some would call it 'the real world'. I have endless conversations with people at work and they tell me just to go travelling but of course you need money for that and if we ever returned (not that I'd plan on it), we'd be in the same position we are in now so would it really be worthwhile going? The idea of travelling and buying a house plays on my mind constantly. One day I can't wait to have my own space, an actual wardrobe, my very own pet dog, cooking dinner for friends etc. etc. and then the next day all I can think about is driving around on a motorbike with salty hair, eating street food, stroking stray dogs, not worrying about what time you have to get up for work because you need money so desperately to have a life but just having enough money to get by and live. I feel as though there is SO much pressure on us "kids" to settle down, get married, start a family, have a proper job and know what you want in life. The world has changed in so many ways, everything is so much more accessible and you could argue that's a bad thing but it makes that traditional mind set of settling down so hard to just accept. I'm sick of having to work to earn just enough to cover a roof over my head, to only go away and see the world once or twice a year. Why this is the norm I have no idea! Life isn't about making as much money as you can and coming home to watch Emmerdale. It's about so much more and I'm so ready to pack my bags and leave this way of life behind - just need enough money first, lol. The only thing that scares me about ever emigrating would be that I could never afford to return home to see my Gran. Sorry for the rant but I've had it playing on my mind for f*cking ages and I'd really appreciate your views on this situation or any interesting stories, regrets, bad/good decisions.... Lots of love, L.
Location: Ammoudi Bay, Santorini
Swimming costume from ASOS by Missguided, here. (Perfect for tucking your tummy into if you've eaten too much)
Did I mention that Ammoudi Bay was my favourite place on the island? This was our 'spot', the place we loved and returned to even if it was a long ride away from our base in Kamari. On our first trip we ventured down from Oia, walking very steadily down some very steep steps, avoiding donkey poo but coming across some of the most stunning views and cafe's. After spending the entire afternoon at Ammoudi Bay, the climb back up outfaced us and a Canadian couple convinced us to take a donkey each to the top with them - so we did. It was €6 each and although a little scary I loved it. The day after, we found there was parking closer by which we took full advantage of because it would mean no leg burn on the way down and no donkey ride back up to the top. However, I fully recommend the walk and the donkey ride just once for the experience!
Location: Unknown but it was along the North East coast on route to Oia.
Renting a quad bike for three days during our time in Santorini was the best thing we did, even if it was a little pricey. We paid €90 for the three days and filled the tank up with petrol for €25, which we thought was rather steep. We explored the whole island, visiting Red Beach on the first day, Thira for lunch and then Ammoudi and Oia on the second and third day. Just remember to stay topped up with sun cream as you don't feel the heat so much driving around on them!
Location: Oia, Santorini (Pronounced ee-ya not oi-ya)
I heard SO many people pronouncing Oia as oi-ya and I'm not going to lie, it really annoyed me haha! Anyway, besides from the pronunciation, Oia was beautiful. It was more than I imagined it would be, the white washed buildings, the marble floors and THAT view. It was breathtaking but far too many people for my liking, it was merely impossible to enjoy it as there were photoshoots going on everywhere.
Location: Santos Winery, Santorini
We had two recommendations on where to watch the sunset. One being Oia and the other Santos Wines. As we had visited Oia earlier in the week, we only imagined how busy and crazy it was going to get for sunset so we booked a table for 7:30 at the winery. The menu is a little weird so if you don't like wine then I don't recommend this place for you. We opted for the set menu for two which included 5 wines to compliment each dish, starting with salad, then some kind of octopus mousse dish, pork and then dessert. It was pricey but SO worth it for that sunset. Honestly, I've never seen a sunset so beautiful before.
Location: Kamari beach, Santorini
We spent our last day chilling on Kamari beach, a short 5 minute walk from our hotel. I much prefer the sea to a swimming pool and found the sea to be warmer! However, you will need some sort of footwear as it's very stoney and the sea bed is rugged which makes it difficult to get in and out with the waves hitting you. Most shops sell them there for around €9-€12 but you might find it cheaper buying them at home before you go.
Location: Somewhere in Oia on the way down to Ammoudi Bay.
The main thing about Santorini was that there was a bloody fantastic view around every corner. You really don't need to go and spend a lot of money at Santos Wines or an expensive cafe in Oia. You can drive and park up somewhere, take some water and something to nibble on and just take it all in. I can never sit still when I'm on holiday as I always like to be doing or seeing something, otherwise I feel like I haven't made the most of my time there but it's so important just to take it all in, relax and just enjoy where you are with who you're with. I can't wait for the next destination!
We arrived in to Glasgow fairly late on on Friday evening to a stunning 2 bedroom flat in Shawlands. It was sat right next to Queen's Park, the perfect place for a picnic and a stroll or a run in the morning but that never happened 😉 It had high ceilings, creaky wooden floors and it was just spotlessly clean. If you're interested in staying, here is this link to Lynn's flat!
We hadn't done any researching before our trip so we had a quick google when we arrived for somewhere to go. We decided to head to the West End, Ashton Lane which was a fair taxi drive from where we were staying but so worth it! It was bustling and we even ended up finding a ping pong bar and having a few games against each other which was so much fun, we definitely need one of those here at home - I'm pretty good, if I do say so myself 😉
I woke up early as always and sat with a brew in front of the tele before every body else woke up. Those are my favourite mornings, when you can get thing's done whilst everyone else is still sleeping. I also got to watch a little bit of the Emmerdale omnibus so that was a plus, haha! We made breakfast in the cosy kitchen and I was just so thankful I had picked a great Air BnB! It was perfect and I'm so excited to return again in the Winter months and visit the Christmas markets.
Later that day we ventured in to the city and visited the botanical gardens. Surprisingly they were free and so beautiful, if you like that sort of thing. Josh wasn't overly impressed but I guess I have to put up with football most of the year so... who's the real loser? Me! 🙁 For lunch, a friend suggested trying 'bread meats bread' and I finally got to try Poutine for the first time! This is like cheese, chips and gravy on a whole other level. I always thought that it was a Northern thing but it's actually a dish that originated in Canada!
Then of course no meal is complete without pudding so a short walk up the road to 'Loop and Scoop' for gelato and churros! I went for the filled churro's and got one of each flavour but I wished I had just stuck to Nutella because the other flavours weren't to my liking...
Where did we stay?
We were fortunate that our friend Sam has a hostel in Bucharest so of course that's where we stayed during our 3 nights in Bucharest, so if you are on a pretty low budget and don't mind sharing rooms, showers, toilets and a kitchen then this place would be perfect for you. Podstel is located 10 minutes from the city centre, far away enough from the hustle and bustle but close enough to walk. We had a private room, although we did have to share showers and toilets which for me was a little uncomfortable. I would probably feel differently had I been travelling alone as it's a good way to make friends and get to know other people but as a couple, I think I'd prefer a room with it's own bathroom as I like my own privacy. It was a good experience nonetheless and every single person we came across were so lovely and friendly and surprisingly from all corners of the world!
You can find Podstel here.
Where we ate
On to my most favourite part of going away on holiday, the food. I was never sure what to expect when we arrived in Romania, I had heard that there were a lot of stews and very filling meals which was true. We ate so much during our stay, some good and some exceptionally good. In Bucharest we ate out at a number of restaurants but my favourite place was most definitely Biutiful by the Lake. This is where we spent our last evening and although the most expensive place we ate out during our whole stay, it wasn't any pricier than a good pub meal back here in the Lakes which I think is pretty reasonable.
Another favourite for a lunch time snack was SIMBIO. Of course, I couldn't resist the burger with caramelised onions, avocado and cheese. My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it!
We also tried out Stadio, as we all fancied some Italian food. The guys went for pizza and Lena and I had the asparagus pasta which was yummy but not as yummy as the dessert! You have to check out 'Papanash', a traditional Romanian dessert served with sour cream and jam.
Fancy a tipple?
There are some really cool bars dotted around Bucharest. Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to sample them all but the ones we did were awesome. Depending on what kind of night you are wanting, you can head into the city centre or 'old town', where you'll find a lot of British stag do's and crowds of people looking to get wasted or you can head to the fancier bars and clubs a short taxi ride out of town. After our meal at Biutiful by the Lake, we headed to Nuba Summervibes. This place was so pretty with all the fairy lights and separate seating areas.
We also had a few cocktails in town one evening at NOMAD Skybar, where we experimented with a few different cocktails. I loved the atmosphere of this spot, it was so chilled and laid back. The sofa's were comfy and the music was good!
What to see and do
If there's any reason to book a holiday to Bucharest, it has to be to experience Therme. Seriously, it's out of this world and like nothing I've ever experienced or seen before. There are pools with bars in, mineral pools, sauna's, steam rooms, restaurants, slides, jacuzzi's and something going on every hour from body scrubs sessions to facials. It's honestly so insane and very affordable too. We spent the whole evening there, from 6pm until closing time - midnight.
If you're a coffee lover then this city is also for you. I'm not a fan but the other guys were so I settled for a lemonade instead, which was still fantastic but apparently the coffee is on another level. I don't see the hype even though I so wish I did, haha!
I also recommend visiting the church's and old building's dotted around all over the city. They're beautiful buildings which date back hundred's of years. There is so much history and nice to see if you're interested in architecture.
Lastly, just go an explore. Buy a comfy pair of shoes, take a backpack with your camera, phone, purse, whatever else you may need like hay fever tablets (mine was rife in Romania but not so bad now I'm home) and explore the city on foot. You can stop for pastries at one of the popular bakeries, which name escapes me at the moment but I'll post it if I remember... drink coffee, buy ice cream, take the tube, walk in the park, see what events are going on etc. There is so much to see and do here and it's so affordable too. And if you get fed up of the city and want to wander further afield, get a car rental and head in to the countryside and go see the quieter areas of Romania. Car rentals are cheap and the petrol is even cheaper! I can't wait to go back 😉
So sorry it's taken so long to getting to post all my photos from the trip. There are still hundred's more but there are my favourite! If you're planning a trip, get in touch and I can try and help you out or get you in touch with Podstel if you need somewhere to stay. Hope you enjoyed this post, it's a little different to what I usually post. Love, L.
And from the heat, the pretty little houses and old cobbled streets.. we ventured in to the mountains. Wow! You've probably heard of the Transfagarasan and you might have even seen it on an episode of Top Gear a few years back. Unfortunately for us the most famous part of the road was closed due to avalanches which is a shame because we would've loved to see it but I guess that means we can go again in the summertime, maybe in the Golf?! European road trip is calling! 😉
This was the view from our balcony at the cabana. So beautiful! The fog kept drifting in and out but I managed to get a few photos when it cleared. It was so peaceful.
When we arrived, we were greeted by this little fella/girl and her friend who reminded me a little of Gandalf.. (he was white, besides from that nothing else reminded me of Gandalf haha). Anyway, she was the sweetest dog and followed us around all morning before we jumped back in the car. I sooooo could've brought her back home with me so she could've made friends with Theo.
Josh captured this photo of me and it's my absolute fav! It's always the ones you don't expect that turn out the best 🙂
What a view from Dracula's castle after a tough slog up some steps and through the woods that had recently been set on fire earlier in the month due to someone dropping a cigarette! Everything was black! I hate humans. Anyway, Dracula's real name was Vlad Tepes and he wasn't actually a vampire and no he didn't drink people's blood. I can't remember the exact story but he impaled a load of people from one particular town and fought off a Russian army from this castle, you can read all about it online though and it is very interesting, although I'm pretty miffed that Dracula wasn't a real thing.
I was going to post the rest of the photos from that day but I'm literally about to fall asleep and we have a busy day tomorrow, work and then Glasgow with Hannah and Tucker! Probably won't get to speak until after the weekend now. Have a good bank holiday! Lots of love, L.
"What a difference a day makes.. 24 little hours!"
So photo number 1 was taken on the night we arrived in Sibiu and shortly after dinner and a bloody lovely snickers ice cream, the heavens opened and it poured. To top things off, we ended up buying two 'out of date' bottles of wine from Carrefour. I never even knew out of date wine was possible! But we managed to get them swapped just before they closed.
Josh and Coops outside our air BnB. The bed was probably the worst bed I have ever slept in but it was cheap so I can't complain too much.
We spent the morning exploring the city and I fell in love with the buildings! The little 'eye' shaped windows on the majority of the roofs were so quirky. There were hundreds of amazing doors but this one in particular was special (lol, as special as doors get). As we were taking some photos I could see a pair of feet stood behind the door waiting for us to finish. She invited us in and showed us around. Behind the doors was a huge court yard, with several dorms as it was in fact a boarding school for foreign students! I would never have thought it, especially in the heart of the city.
Then it was back on the road and in to the mountains, although we had a little dilemma. The route we were originally going to take to our cabana was through the mountains, up past the waterfall and over the top. Instead, we had to visit the waterfall and go back on ourselves adding another 3 hours on to our journey because of snow and road closures! To be honest it went pretty fast, what with the best road trip album we had on in the car, plenty of snacks that we picked up from a little stall and the company of course. At the top of this waterfall (and a little further on) lies the ice hotel, popular for a lot of British tourists but unfortunately we never got to see it as the gondolas only go up and down the mountain when there are more than 8 people and we didn't have much time to burn so we gave it a miss.
It was at this little pit stop that I tried deer for the first time and wild boar but it's fair to say that I wouldn't ever eat them again! We bought so much salami, nougat and the best cheesy bread type thing with sour cream but I can't remember the name of it. And then our journey into the Fagarasan mountains began...
It was so eerie and the mountains that surrounded us were huge! They were even bigger than the ones in the Scottish highlands and it really did feel like jurassic park. When we stopped at the dam, I was overwhelmed by the silence, until some wild dogs started howling so we quickly jumped back in the car and carried on up the mountain to our cabana. An hour later, we reached our cabana. The last one before the road closure! We were the only guests staying there which was a little spooky but I managed to sleep really well after a huge glass of red and some cheesy mash potato, haha!
This was my favourite morning and by far my favourite place. We both woke up early, Josh went for a run with Coops. I showered and sat watching the sun slowly rise and creep through our bedroom window. The air was fresh and it was ever so still and quiet outside. I have decided that this is how I would like to spend every morning.
We had breakfast in this beautiful little yard, hidden behind over grown hedges and filled with flowers and butterflies. I fell in love with this town. I never in my wildest dreams imagined Romania to be this amazing. It's kind of sad that this country doesn't get the recognition it deserves but also good in a way as there aren't so many tourists.
Church on the hill & Sighisoara clock tower
We roamed the streets of Sighisoara in the boiling hot sun, stopping at various cafe's for a chilled cider as we watched the world go by. I love people watching! It's one of my favourite thing's to do when I'm on holiday, haha! It always amazes me how many nationalities I come across and I always wonder what their story is. I think it's really strange how we only really see the world from our perspective, we were discussing this the other night. So many people in the world but only you get to experience what you have. We climbed the steep steps up to the church on the hill, overlooking the city but my favourite view of the city was from the clock tower. A 360 degree view of Sighisoara and the rolling fields. It was like a little home away from home, minus the grey clouds and rain 😉
For lunch we stopped at an open kitchen. It was basically a woman's kitchen she had opened up to the public and you can pick from a few 'dishes of the day' and sit in her little court yard to eat. It was so cute and the food was very yummy too. Everyone we came across in Sighisoara were so friendly and helpful and really made an effort to make you feel welcome. I love that! It's hard when you don't really know the language so there is a bit of a barrier there but thank goodness we had Lena as she did all the translating - I told you I didn't have to do much this holiday!
12th May, an early morning view of Bucharest from Sam's apartment we stopped in during our first nights stay. Even though this trip had been booked months back, I still didn't know what to expect. Every time I told someone where we were going it was the same response, 'oh the poverty is so bad over there', 'be careful you don't get pick pocketed' etc. Strangely enough I didn't do any research on Bucharest because Sam and Lena had planned a week jam packed of stuff to see and do, I didn't have to lift a finger (just when I had to eat which was almost every hour of every single day!). We had breakfast cooked for us after a little lie in and then packed the car ready for a 4 day road trip! I was so excited but before setting off we stopped at their local coffee shop for what they called 'the best coffee' in town but for me, a hot chocolate as I'm not a coffee lover, even though I so wish I was.
First stop, Peles Castle. About a 2 hour drive from Bucharest this beautiful castle sits nestled in the Carpathian mountains. It was a massive tourist attraction, in fact it was pretty tough to get a decent photo without somebody photobombing it! Too many people for my liking.. After a quick walk around the grounds we then spotted a cable car which led straight to the top of the Carpathian mountains so that's where we spent most of the afternoon, gazing down at the miniature village of Sinai from 2000ft above, eating BBQ'd pork and crackling dipped in mustard which was just bloody delicious, sorry no pics, we ate it too fast ;-).
From Sinai we jumped back in our little rental and made our way to Brasov, where we ate amazing traditional Romanian food, tried my first Matcha latte (which was revolting) from Starbucks, walked around the cobbled streets and then finally ended up at this little stall that sold 'kürtőskalács', I totally forgot the name but I've just found it on google and this is what it seems to be called. If you see a stall selling these, try them. They're delicious!
After another short ride and a real good kip, I woke up to this beautiful sunset in Sighisoara. This was where we spent our first night, in the most quaint little guest house. Sam and Lena had found this little gem on their last trip back in September and I'm so glad they did! It features a 500 year old cellar in which the family produce around 5 different liquors. Of course we got to try them all as well as hearing about the history of the cellar and the awards that the liquor has won. That evening we walked around the town, visiting 'Dracula's' house where it's believed he was born back in the 1400's and sampled the local beer and wine at a cosy restaurant.