Istria – Croatia Series #1

I have just returned from my 2 week Croatian adventure and I am very excited to start writing my Croatian blog series. For my first time visiting Croatia and I saw many beautiful places that would definitely make me want to discover the rest of the country.

Don’t worry, I won’t make you read a novel of a blog post so I will split the series into 5 blog entries!

This first blog post will cover my time in the Istria region of Croatia that we explored the first week.

Labin

We spent the first week in Croatia on a couples/group holiday with friends, in a villa in Labin. Villa Rosa was absolutely stunning and perfect for a chilled group holiday (10 poeple max).

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The owners were lovely and offered us a couple of bottles of wine from the region that they keep in their wine cellar.  I found Instrian red and white wine to be light and VERY drinkable…

On the first couple of days we wondered into Labin to have a look around and some dinner. It’s not a big place but does have charming features such as the umbrellas and old winding streets.

I would highly recommend Velo Kafe for something to eat. It’s in the centre of Labin and has a cute terrace area to dine on. I ordered fish in a white wine sauce which seemed to be a favourite amongst the group….don’t worry it comes without the fish head (biggest fear…)!

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Rabac

Rabac is a lovely holiday resort town to visit which is only 10 minutes away from Labin. It’s full of gorgeous coves and beach bars to spend the day at. However, if you do decide to spend time at the beach here go to the smaller coves as the main beaches are very crowded! We got recommended Beach Girandella (blue flag beach) by the villa’s owner which was a great place to spend the afternoon.

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However, I preferred the smaller beaches around the promenade area of the town as they were quieter.

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If you love the look of my towel use my personal code CatrionaKe15 for 15% off all orders at the checkout! A percentage of all Sandcloud’s profits go into saving marine life by supporting conservation charities. #savethefishes

Pula

After we had enough of waking up at 2pm and taking it easy by the pool all day we ventured to some other beautiful places in Istria. Pula is definitely worth a visit and is only a 1 hour drive away from Labin.

Pula is an incredible city that is known for it’s stunning beaches and ancient roman ruins. During our day here we checked out the Amphitheatre where the gladiators fought which was 25 kuna  (£3) for student entry! 

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If you have the car and are looking for adventure I would definitely recommend driving South of Pula to Premantura. You must drive to the furthest tip of this part of the island, past the Safari Bar (shown on google maps) to discover the perfect cliff jumping spot!

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 * BUY WATER SHOES! YOU WILL THANK ME LATER*

Rovinj

This place stole my heart….I absolutely loved my evening wandering around this pretty waterfront town. In many ways it reminded me of parts of Italy and if that wasn’t enough for me I could have hopped on a boat sailing to Venice!

Lukas kept having to wait for me because I couldn’t stop snapping pictures of the winding streets and steps leading down to the sea!

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We found this amazing little cocktail bar down one of the alleyways called Mediterraneo Bar. 

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As well as this gem we also found an incredible restaurant Puntulina that really was the best place to watch the sun set over the sea. We didn’t book a table so it was just by luck that they had room for 2 on the balcony area! It was not the cheapest place to dine but we had been eating in the villa the past few nights and I can easily say that it was one of my favourite moments of the holiday.

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What’s In My Summer Suitcase

Hey Guys!

It is ALMOST the start of my SUMMER!! FINALLY!

I am packing to go to Croatia and Germany until September and moving into a new flat so I thought packing was a good theme to write about this time.

This post will highlight some of the items that are essential in every summer suitcase!

Summer Wardrobe

I LOVE SUMMER CLOTHES! They are just so much cuter than winter clothes and I feel much more comfortable in them. As I was abroad for most of last summer I already had quite a good summer time wardrobe but another few dresses and shorts won’t put me above my luggage allowance right?!  This year I loved shopping online at PrettyLittleThing for pretty dresses and bodysuits.

A little bird told me that palm leaves were trending this summer and I found a gorgeous dress on boohoo.com

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Health & Beauty Essentials

I’m not going to bore you by writing a big list of everything I have related to health and beauty in my case but here are some of my MUST HAVES!

Suncream 

This year I have gone with boots own brand factor 50 face lotion which is a great alternative to an extra moisturiser and the Nivea factor 30.

Waterproof Mascara

Who wants panda-eye photos?! I have brought with me my Maybelline Volume Express Waterproof mascara which was only £7.99 in Superdrug!

Maybelline Superstay Matte Lipstick 

I hate having to constantly reapply my lipstick for every photo while travelling so this really is the ANSWER. It comes in gorgeous colours and really does stay on ALL DAY from ONE application!

BB Cream

This is the perfect solution for girls who want slight coverage without having to worry about it becoming patchy during the day from the sun. I like to use the Garnier BB Cream that you can get in most large supermarkets as well as Boots/Superdrug.

Insect Repellent

I love being in hot temperatures but hate the insects that come as part of the package! The trick is to be prepared before you go….I learned this the hard way last Summer.

I would recommend a repellent that you can plug into your bedroom wall as well as a roll on/spray.

Beach Towel

As per usual I cannot recommend the brand SandCloud enough for beach accessories!

If you love the look of my towel use my personal code CatrionaKe15 for 15% off all orders at the checkout! A percentage of all Sandcloud’s profits go into saving marine life by supporting conservation charities. #savethefishes

Tech

Travel Adapters

Make sure you pack enough travel adapters for you electronics. If you forget to pack these on occasion like myself you can easily pick them up at the airport.

Camera 

I love taking pictures of my new surroundings with my Sony DSCH400B Digital Compact Bridge Camera (£162 on Amazon). This has been my favourite present ever and really steps up my photography game with the 64 optical zoom feature.

Kindle

One of the only times I can spend hours reading in chilling by the pool on holiday. The Kindle is a great way to take advantage of your portable bookshelf and purchase books on the go!

Weekend in London – Day 3

My last day in London was a bit of a whirlwind and unfortunately I spent a lot of time in transit as I had to be at the airport for 5pm.

However I did manage to eat and drink my way though Camden Market before my departure…

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Camden Market is such a cool place to visit, it’s situated in Camden Town which is easy to reach by tube if you get off at Chalk Farm station.

It is London’s largest and most varied market that really has everything on offer. If you fancy some tasty street food, freshly squeezed fruit drinks, boutique clothing stores and vintage vinyl records hit up Camden Market! If I was a Londoner I would make this my Sunday lunch spot, you would never get bored….

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WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS….

We spent a couple of hours indulging in the markets offerings before wondering down Regent’s Canal towards Primrose Hill.

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Regent’s Canal

Primrose Hill is another beautiful green space in London with one of the best views of the city’s skyline. This calm space is the perfect spot to spend to a sunny afternoon with a picnic, away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.

On my journey back to Edinburgh, I spent some time planning what I would do the next time I visit (which will be a lot sooner this time)! A weekend in London is certainly not enough time to do even half of the things you would want to do, but it was a great flavour of the city that left me wanting more. I am genuinely surprised about how much I enjoyed roaming London. Maybe it was the company and the good weather, but I have a feeling that is was because it was full of life! At every turn there was something different to see. Whether that was a historical site, a street-performer or newly invented version of the ice cream cone (Milk Train)…..London has it all.

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Weekend in London – Day 2

I hope you all enjoyed reading my Day 1 post about London but if not click here!

We started off our second day in London by flying high on the Emirates Air Line  which gives you a unique view of the River Thames and the skyline. It’s a cable car experience that only opened in 2012 around the time of the London Olympic Games. The ride only costs £4.30 and can be paid for via the contactless machine (just like the underground stations) or you can purchase them from the attraction’s ticket office.  It definitely felt like the first class experience  minus the champagne unfortunately. However, they did make up for the lack of fizz by offering us a free souvenir photo at the end of the trip. You can pop into the photo booth, pick your destination (eg Maldives) and magically your photo looked like you were enjoying your holiday at the other side of the world!

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After our long flight to the Maldives we decided that we needed some brunch to recover from the jetlag. Sophia knew of this gorgeous garden cafe that sits inside Regent’s Park, Regent’s Bar & Kitchen. I can honestly say this was my favourite place we went for food in London, it was perfect! Just watch out what time you go because we wondered in at 11:30am and apparently breakfast was no longer being served and their lunch menu didn’t begin until 12pm! We said that was fine and enjoyed a muffin and an iced coffee in the garden while we waited patiently….

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Al Fresco Lunch in Regent’s Park
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Regent’s Bar & Kitchen
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Regent’s Park

Our next stop was the Rose Garden within the park and it did not disappoint! This area was beautiful and had quirky names for all the types of roses….ice cream was my favourite….

Like I said we came to London in a heatwave, so it was ideal weather just to lie amongst the roses for a couple of hours!

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Rose Garden ft SandCloud Wanderlust Towel

If you love the look of my towel use my personal code CatrionaKe15 for 15% off all orders at the checkout! A percentage of all Sandcloud’s profits go into saving marine life by supporting conservation charities. #savethefishes

After enjoying the rays at Regent’s park we headed towards the crowds in Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square. Piccadilly Circus reminded me of what I imagined a mini Times Square to be like….hectic, touristy and full of large screens!

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Piccadilly Circus 

We didn’t spend much time in Piccadilly before moving onto Chinatown! This is such a cool area of London, especially the decorated gateways. If we were’t so full from the pizza we would have grabbed something from one of the takeouts, everything smelled AMAZING! 

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Chinatown

After walking through Leicester Square we went to a quirky courtyard area that Sophia knew about called Neal’s Yard. I would have quite happily stayed all evening discovering the independent eateries and bars in this little garden space. Not far from Covent Garden and just off Monmouth Street you will find this secret little alleyway full of colourful buildings and places that you wouldn’t want to miss!

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Nearby Neal’s Yard we found a pretty little bar called Boki

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We found seats at the botanic-styled cocktail bar and chatted to the bartenders as they created our recommended concoctions….

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We spent the night partying at a rooftop club called Queen of Hoxton, which was in the up-incoming Shoreditch area of London.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my second day in London, stay updated for my final instalment!

3 Countries, 1 Holiday -Bodensee / Lake Constance

I am just back from our road trip around Lake Constance and  just as the title suggests I really did get to explore parts of 3 countries!

No wonder Lake Constance (Bodensee in German) is such a popular place for a holiday. Whether you are a couple, family or solo traveller there are so many stunning towns dotted around the lake, and as my phone memory suggests countless photography opportunities! I had never been to this part of Europe before, but luckily Lukas surprised me with his secret itinerary, jam packed full of interesting places.

In this blog post I will give you a run down of where I would suggest you visit around the lake!

Switzerland – Landschlact

We were based on the Swiss side of the lake in a village called Landschlact. Again we chose to stay in an Airbnb and could not have chosen better. We were hosted by Marco in his spacious house (link to the Airbnb ). I could not recommend his home enough, it was in an ideal location to visit many parts of the lake and his hospitality was excellent! We would definitely love to stay in his home again.

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Would like £25 off your first Airbnb stay? Book through my personal link

Austria – Bregenz

Just WOW…this pretty city on the eastern side of Lake Constance should be on everyone’s list!

Pfänder

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When we arrived in Bregenz after our 50 minute scenic drive we hopped on the cable car that took us to the top of  Pfänder. The price to ride the cable car was 13 euros for a return ticket….much faster than walking.  Being on top of the mountain was incredible….the scenery was so classically Austrian, and being a Sound of Music fan I was not disappointed!

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We are never usually as organised as this (EVER) but we had already made a picnic to bring along for lunch. Off we went with our picnic and blanket to find the perfect spot to relax in for an hour or so.

We found it…. 

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If you love the look of my towel use my personal code CatrionaKe15 for 15% off all orders at the checkout! A percentage of all Sandcloud’s profits go into saving marine life by supporting conservation charities. #savethefishes

 

Bregenz Centre

Even though we didn’t quite hike down the mountain we still thought it was time for ice cream….

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It was really chilled wondering around the shore of the lake….even if it did make me lust for a boat….a girl can dream!

We even checked out the floating stage that is used for the Bregenz Opera Festival every Summer. It’s definitely another bucket list idea!

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Germany

Lindau

I keep saying that everywhere is a MUST VISIT but honestly when you are at the lake nothing is too far away so it would be a shame to miss out!

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Lindau is no exception… this old Bavarian town is situated on Lindau island . We spent the sunset hours walking along the promenade here and felt like a local sitting on the wall listening to everyone’s speakers!

After walking along the Seepromenade we made sure we found somewhere to dine that would allow us admire the view of the old harbour! We found the perfect spot….

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This picture was taken from the terrace restaurant/hotel that we had dinner in called  Lindauer Hof. It was the ONLY restaurant that had a terrace! The meal was incredible too, traditional German cuisine. I ordered a….  ZÜRICHER RAHMGESCHNETZELTES….lets just say she smiled politely and asked if I was British….story of my life.

Meersburg

On our last full day at the lake we explored the medieval town of Meerburg. This attractive town, homed to vineyards and panoramic lake views is said to be one of the FIRST places to ever build a FORT! Still to this day visitors enjoy roaming around the cobbled streets and taking in the beautiful architecture.

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Alte Burg / Old Castle

Bodensee is another beautiful part of the world that I have been lucky enough to see. I understand now why so many people holiday here and even retire.

I am a very “get up and go” kind of person, I like to be busy. Although what is the point of always looking forward to the next stage, the next thing if you are not appreciating the moment you are in just now.

Therefore, having the time just to relax and do simple things like watching the sunset or having an old fashioned picnic really hands you a pause button in a world that is constantly on the move.

Mystery Blogger Award

Firstly I would like to thank Brigitta Jesica who writes Roam Terra blog for the nomination. Bloggers like you make the blogging community so valuable because you support and share other bloggers successes. We all know that we can spend a lot of time and effort writing a post, making it the best it can be, to only receive a few views. At the start of my blogging journey this happened  to me a lot. It was such a disappointing and demotivating feeling that made me question why I was writing in the first place. However, my blog success improved dramatically when I actually started getting in contact with bloggers such as Andrea at Saving Joyfully

To quickly summarise how the support of other bloggers has helped my viewings, I say that I hit 1000 views on my blog after having it for almost 1 year….3 weeks after I hit that milestone I have managed to get 400 more views!

Okay! Here are the questions I was asked by Brigitta Jesica to answer….

1. Who is the movie character that inspires you most?

Oh this is such a hard one! I don’t think I have actually ever been asked this question before… I would have to say Noah from the Notebook. He never gives up on getting his true love back. If someone is loyal enough to write letters every day for a whole year (without getting a response…because her Mother binned the letters), never fall in love with someone else, build a dream house for their loved one that they planned when they were 17 years old (blue shutters and all) and read their own stories of the life they shared together back to them when they were too ill to remember themselves, that is inspirational.

2. Two favourite things about blogging?

My two favourite things about blogging….

  1. Like I highlighted earlier the community is extremely supportive of one another which makes it a joy to be part of. As well as increasing my viewings through the community I love reading other people’s blogs in my spare time. Whether it’s about places that I never been before, places I will soon visit or just general lifestyle posts that I can relate to it’s definitely one of my favourite hobbies.

2.  I have kept a diary for as long as I can remember so I have always enjoyed writing and reflecting on past experiences. Therefore my travel blog is really just a focused extension of what I would write in my diary to remember the amazing places I have been. Also, I am a MAJOR  foodie so I LOVE giving restaurant reviews (especially to hidden gems I find)!

3. What is the best decision you have ever made in life

Wow….from movie characters to the big questions…it’s getting serious! Okay…I am going to be brutally honest. The best decision I have made so far is to cut certain people out my life. Yes I know that seems awful and dramatic but I’ll explain.

What I mean by this is that life is too short to pretend or to be unhappy. So by cutting ties with certain people who have made me repeatedly unhappy with their actions I am a lot happier.

I have learnt that you can’t change people, so it is wasted time wishing that you can. If you are not happy/satisfied with the way someone is treating you, whether it’s in a relationship, friendship or other circumstance it’s better to walk away. It gives you more time to focus on enjoying life, with people you would want have by your side for years to come.

4. Pick an object that in some way resembles you

Hmm… in a former life I was 100% a mermaid so I would have to say a seashell. I love being in the sea…preferably not in 15 degrees weather. However, growing up in Scotland has taught me valuable life lessons, like if you run in quick your body becomes numb and you don’t feel the cold anymore…never mind your legs…win win…..?

5. In which environment do you feel most productive? 

9/10 you will see me writing a blog post or essay in my dressing gown in my flat. I tend to work more productively in the morning and with some chilled background music. I use the nights for more research based work like looking for flights and accommodation etc.

6. If you could date anyone, in the entire world who would it be? 

Zac Efron obviously

Just kidding…my boyfriend is going to read this post in a few minutes and I can honestly say it would be him!

We kind of just….found each other on a night out and the rest is history!

At the moment we are doing a long distance relationship. We met in Edinburgh when he was doing his half year abroad and now he is back in Germany. Even though we can’t have date night every week or hang out as much as “normal” couples the best feeling in the world is when we get off the plane. We have been in a relationship for 5 months and have visited 8 places together and planning many more adventures!

Cliched I know… but he honestly makes me the best version of myself. He supports my ambitious ideas, encourages my dreams and has learned the difference between a playsuit and a jumpsuit. What more could I ask for…..a teleportation device would be useful….

Wow…. I feel like if you didn’t know me before you definitely know me now!

Thank you once again  Brigitta Jesica for my nomination! Please check out her blog at https://roamterra.wordpress.com/!

Here is a list of my favourite bloggers, have fun checking them out!

Saving Joyfully

Elle Louise

Seeking Sammy

Svit For You

I’m Just A Girl

Marky Marc’s Blog

The It Girl Blog

Clemloves

Now proceeding to the rules!
1. Put the award logo image in your blog.
2. List the rules
3.Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
4. Answer the questions you were asked.
5. Nominate 5-10 people and notify.
6.Ask your nominees any six questions of your choice and one weird or funny (specify)

Here are my questions, have fun answering them!

  1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time and what are you doing?
  2. What is one thing you would definitely like to do before you die?
  3. What is your biggest weakness?
  4. What is your favourite song lyric?
  5. What is your dream destination
  6. What would be your perfect date?

 

 

 

 

 

  

Heidelberg

Heidelberg…. the place where your dreams come true! My bad, that’s Disneyland but this place is just as magical…

Heidelberg in South Western Germany is a place for romantics, tourists, students, photographers and writers. Exactly my kind of place!

It is IMPOSSIBLE not to take an impressive picture of this town that MUST be  plastered all over your Instagram page! This place just begs you to take as many photos as you can to capture the iconic “I’m in Heidelberg” picture that focuses on capturing the town from each angle of the Alt Brucke (Old Bridge). 

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I think my phone memory is full with photos from the weekend here…I have an extremely patient boyfriend/photographer…. 

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It was our third time staying in an Airbnb which I cannot recommend enough for a type of accommodation! We always find the coolest places and the hosts we have met so far have been extremely helpful and laid back.

If you would like £25 off your first stay you can use my referral code www.airbnb.co.uk/c/catrionak205

I flew into Baden airport with Ryanair which is an hours drive to Heidelberg and 1.5 hours on the train.

DRUM ROLL PLEASE!

……my flight was the grand total of £10!!!!!

Yes it was a one way ticket seeing as I was flying back from Stuttgart but £10! I pay more going from Edinburgh to Fife, seriously one way is £11.

If you think about it…..you could fly 900 miles for the price of a takeaway pizza….just a thought….

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We did not arrive in Heidelberg until the evening so after leaving our suitcases in our room for the night we headed into the centre. The weather was INSANE! It was even around 20 degrees at night! Everyone said it was unusual temperatures for the time of year…I guess I brought the sun from Scotland…

We rode on the tram to the town centre which was not the easiest system to work out….I think the machine was broken but we got there in the end and took the bus back! Just a little piece of advice…it may seem obvious…. but PAY ATTENTION to the station you get on from….we had no clue…

By the time we got into the main centre we were eager to find a restaurant quickly! We stumbled upon Perkeo (traditional German cuisine) hidden away in the winding streets. Apparently Perkeo was the Jester that kept the barrel in Alt Schloss (Old Castle) safe. I ordered Maultasche which is a must have when in Southern Germany. It’s similar to ravioli!

Fun Fact – Perkeo consumed 18 bottles of wine on a daily basis but died after drinking a glass of water…

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Heidelberg is a perfect place for a weekend break, it has enough buzz about it with the student bars and coffee shops, but also ideal if you want to see some sights! Unlike my previous weekend in Munich (which I loved) this trip was so much more relaxed.

We did see the famous attractions and landmarks but also had enough time to take it easy and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. However….the weather did make such a HUGE difference and made it more enjoyable to do less. It was 30 degrees during the day which was the ideal weather for stopping for iced coffee and frozen yogurt!

After walking along the riverside into the centre we headed straight towards the Alt Brucke (old bridge) so I could snap the iconic Heidelberg pictures!

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Walking through the winding streets really does make you feel like you are in a fairy- tale, especially at the Schloss Heidelberg  (Castle)!

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Even though all that remains of the castle are it’s ruins it attracts millions of people every year. At many points in the year a beautiful firework display takes place to commemorate the  attacks on the castle in the late 17th Century.

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After exploring the castle we spent our afternoon soaking up the sun at the top of the Philosophenweg (Philosophers Way). This walk is famous because it is known to have inspired many philosophers and writers throughout history! Don’t worry if you are not keen on long walks, it doesn’t take much time to get to the viewpoint at the top and there are many stone-made seating areas during the trail.

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Does it get much more Insta-worthy than this???

We finished our day by soaking up the last rays of sun in a beer gardenwhere I drank the regional Riesling wine of course….

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If Heidelberg is not already on your list of destinations…. I think it’s time to revise that list….

Weekend in Munich – Day 2

It was a snowy start to our second day in Munich!

After over eating at breakfast in the hotel (I have already confessed to the amount of pastries on my plate…) we headed out to explore more of the city. I hadn’t realised that it snowed overnight until I looked out the window of the restaurant in the hotel. In my opinion it definitely enhanced the beauty of the city, especially the Englischer Garten.

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Chinese Tower

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When we were wondering around in the freezing cold we ditched the beer garden (some were actually open) and headed into a tiny cosy cafe! Just so I could feel my hands again (only reason of course) I got a gluehwein and relaxed on a furry coated bench to admire the gardens without catching hypothermia! You don’t need to leave Scotland for that….

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Once we warmed up a little we stepped outside and cooled down a lot….nevertheless we continued walking back towards the city centre. On the way there we walked through a tunnel that had been decorated with various pieces of street art. Like always I felt the need to take a few photos…

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Alice in Wonderland or just a bit creepy? I’ll let you decide.

As I have spent time in Verona and visited Juliet’s balcony I know the legend of Juliet’s golden breast. When I found out there was another statue in Munich, gifted from the city of Verona we made sure to take a look. Who would pass up an opportunity of “undying love”?! Little did we know that instead of touching her breast like in Verona, people in Munich leave flowers by her side in order to receive the magic. Unaware of this difference we went for the breast…I’ll get back to you with how well that worked!

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Juliet Capulet Statue 
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Find under the archway in the Marienplatz 

 

 

After being granted eternal love I figured I didn’t need any more from this wonderful city.

Munich I’ll be back when the sun shines over the beer gardens!

 

Weekend in Munich – Day 1

I have just arrived home from my weekend getaway to Munich….you might have guessed from my Instagram…maybe!

I think that was honestly the quickest weekend to date and the furthest I have travelled in such a short space of time. In total I travelled over 900 miles between Friday and Sunday evening, not including my journey back home!

The past couple of times I have visited Germany I have travelled around the Southern part of the country. I have been blown away by the incredible scenery, the friendly people and the outstanding amount of carbs that I can consume in my short time in the country…. (forget the Great British Bake Off….the cakes are amazing)!

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Schuhbecks Orlando

Exhibit A

I feel my official place of residence has changed to a window seat somewhere towards the back of an EasyJet plane…..

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This is because the flights are very cheap, especially out of season! I usually fly from Edinburgh to Stuttgart airport and so far the return flight has not cost over £80. Considering the average spend on a night out is between £40 -£60 (of course, depending on if you buy the cheap vodka or not) this really isn’t much less than a flight to a new place.

Enough money and cake talk and more about The Heart of Bavaria….Munich!

It was incredible to walk around he centre of Munich as there was always something to catch your eye. Everywhere you turn it’s impossible not to notice the detailed architecture.

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Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)
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Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)
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Marienplatz
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Rathaus-Glockenspiel
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Bavarian Lion Statue at Odeonsplatz

 

Whilst exploring the centre we were also keen to see the stunning churches that produce the soundtrack to a day in Munich….all the church bells!

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Frauenkirche

When you are in Munich find some time to discover this hidden gem! The Asamkirche, this church was built in 1733. This is a beautiful, theatrical looking place tucked away between two ordinary buildings. Honestly, when we weren’t actively looking for this church we walked past it so many times and didn’t even notice! This is a must see…

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Asamkirche

After all the wondering around we went back to our cute hotel, Hotel Condor and relaxed until we went out for dinner. I have to say the location of this hotel was perfect, it was so central and close to the train station. The one to many breakfast pastries I consumed in the morning were also very good…

Studying Event Management really does get you into a particular mindset….schedules….timings…plans….however sometimes it’s more fun stumbling upon a great restaurant or bar by chance. So guess what? That’s exactly what happened.

We left the hotel and headed into the centre of Munich (only a 10 minute walk) and  enjoyed the different atmosphere the city has at night. After a little while we found this beautiful restaurant called Cafe Luitpold.

If you like dining in pretty buildings this is the place for you! This restaurant/ cafe was built in the 19th century and has retained it’s original pillar structures. They had a large menu which made it difficult to choose what we wanted to eat…so we didn’t. We selected the tapas selection and were given a tapas styled starter, main and dessert! cafe

After dinner we had a few drinks in Fedora Bar where a DJ was playing, which was a great way to end the night. I ended my first day in Munich right…. after finishing my first pint of beer….i’m a wine gal… but when in the home of Oktoberfest!

 

 

Scottish Highland Escape

Day 1

As much as I love Edinburgh it is always good to travel further north. Scotland is wild and whimsical. That’s why thousands of people travel, from all over the world, to visit this small welcoming country. Whether it’s a home from home, as so many people are lucky enough have a little Scottish blood somewhere in their roots……whether it’s to seek the Loch Ness Monster or brave a piece of haggis with breakfast (without googling the ingredients)…. Scotland is a thriving destination.

I have visited Aviemore and the Cairngorms many times on family holidays but have only discovered it’s true charm after living in a city for a few years. The rustic villages and surrounding woodland makes it feel like you have travelled so much further than a few hours out of the capital city! As well as being able to relax and take things at a slower pace than 9-5 allows Aviemore is also a hot spot for outdoor activities. It has many horse riding, quadbiking and water-based activities that really let you explore the Highlands in a unique way.

 

We rented a car from Europcar and picked it up from Edinburgh airport which was easy then we were on our way. On the way to Aviemore we decided to stop off in Pitlochry along the way. This turned out to be one of the trips highlights as we found this quirky cafe called Cafe Biba which served an extensive range of pancakes (always a foodie)!IMG_3228

 

After rolling our way out the cafe we walked around the village and journeyed up to visit the 4* hotel and popular wedding venue, Atholl Palace.  The location of this hotel is perfect, hidden away within the trees really enhances the fairytale-like atmosphere of the place! IMG_3219

After travelling another hour up North we checked into our well situated Airbnb  . I honestly can’t rave about this website enough! It is so easy to use, accurate, well-priced and bursting with insider tips on the local area. This time we stayed with Yvonne in her cosy ensuite room in the Spey Valley. I know there are some sceptical people over the whole Airbnb situation, I was one too! However, I did not know that many rooms were just as private as a hotel room, with your own bathroom and entrance facilities (some even have their own mini kitchens). On the 2 occasions that we did meet the hosts they were very warm and welcoming.

On our first night in Aviemore we had dinner and drinks at The Winking Owl . This restaurant is owned by the Cairngorm Brewery Company  and is full of unusual craft beers such as the Nessie Monster Mash and the Sheepshaggers Gold Beer… Aside from the beer the place has a lovely atmosphere and serves hearty dishes!

Day 2

On the second day we drove 20 minutes to Loch an Eilein. This has always been my favourite spot in the area as you can walk around the whole loch (1.5 hrs)! This is one of those places in the world that really makes you feel lucky to be surrounded by so much nature – time stops.

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After our walk we headed back to the car (£2 for parking) then journeyed up to the Cairngorm Mountains. We were incredibly lucky with the weather this time! It was a complete winter wonderland, everywhere was covered with snow and the sky was clear blue.  It took around 30 minutes to get from the loch to the Glenmore Forest Centre where we had lunch watching the loch below.

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When we got to the Cairngorms we headed to the car park to ride all the way to the top of the mountain on a funicular train. This is definitely a must whether you are there to ski or not! The view from the top is breathtaking….. but make sure you layer up….my hands felt like they were frozen solid…. If you don’t want to spend too long in the snow there is a cafe and bar at the top of the mountain with panoramic views that are hard to beat!

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That evening we decided to indulge at the most popular restaurant in the whole of Aviemore – La Taverna .  In my opinion no trip to the area is complete without at least one trip to this place! They are known for serving their pizza and pasta buffet all night everyday of the week – make sure you eat lightly throughout the day 😉 La Taverna is always busy so make sure to book in advance!!!

Day 3

On our way back to Edinburgh we stopped off in Dunkeld to break the journey up a little. Dunkeld is a town that is sometimes also known as the “Gateway to the Highlands” and is situated between Perth and Birnam. We didn’t have much time here but we did manage a beautiful walk along the riverside and admire the 13th century Cathedral.