As a city boy when I go away I want to be in nature…so it might seem strange going to Dublin! You would be wrong however, within a 40 minute bike ride you can be in some truly spectacular nature.
My suggestions for a long weekend in Dublin’s nature by cycling ( a must!):
- Route 1-Howth coastal walk. From the city centre head to Clontarf Road where it’s just one long road to the Howth coastal walk, along the way you’ll see some amazing coastal views. When you get to Howth Balscadden view point park your bike and then just follow the coast for the epic sights
- Route 2-to Bray. Similar to Howth this is a cycle route along the coast but this time head up to Bray. From the city centre head to Rock Road. Then it’s just one road along the coast taking in the sights until you can’t cycle anymore
- Route 3-Dublin mountains. There are a number of trials on the mountain. I would personally suggest doing one of the Ticknock loops. I personally did the long loop as the views were amazing (See photo). To get here can be a little tricky. Look for Ticknock Road and off it you will see a marking on the map called biking.ie. This is the place to park your bike and the start of the trial. In essence once you find the trial keep to the left and you will do a loop, around 14km.
Top tips- get a bicycle with a very good seat and bring snacks… you are going to need the energy.
If you want old, cultured, feisty and amazing food Seville is the place to go.
Seville is the Capital of the Southern Andalusia’s region and not an obvious choice for me as a city without good hiking trails. However I am glad I listened to my Spanish friends as Seville has become one of my top choices for food around the world.
The way to explore Seville is just to wander and get lost taking in the stoned pathments, the golden yellow bricks and the tiny Calles. I’m not going to make any specific recommendations on places to visit in this article as their is a wealth of material.
However I will recommend that you hop to different food spots eating Tapas:
- Bodega 2 de Mayo: Red Tuna with Oil
- Casa Ricardo: Croquettes
- La Flor De Toranzo-Montaditos: Roquefort and black pudding sandwich
- Alvaro Peregil-Montaditode Pringa: Pork sandwich with the famous Seville Orange Wine
- La Sal Calle Doncellas: The Chocolate Truffles are to die for.
My top tip is just have a dish or two in each place so you can eat all day whilst exploring the City.
So when its a sunny day in England, us English have to get out.
My choice when I woke up early in the morning was to go somewhere I had never been and I was feeling in the mood for history. So off to the medieval city of Canterbury.
Canterbury is an old city for England with the remains of the Roman conquest and the ruins of a former English monarch stronghold. To an extent it plays up to the English stereotype of fish and chops, clotted cream and quaint little friendly pubs. For a non-English tourist I suppose it would be endearing I personally found it a little cliche.
What I didn’t find cliche was the canals with the beautiful English plantlife, the cobbled pathments, the cottages with their tiny windows, the crumbling medievil architecture and the numerous Anglican churches with the crowning jewel Canterbury Cathedral at the cities heart. All in all if you want to feel England’s rich history Canterbury is the place to go.
After being their my suggestion would be to do a circuit of the outer city hitting Westgate Gardens, Canterbury Castle, Dane John Gardens, Saint Augustines Abbey and finish it off with a final stop in the city centre for the Cathedral.
The first emergence of summer appears in the the big apple and its time for a very unlazy Sunday.
Recovering slightly from a heavy night on Saturday you make your way to Syvlia’s in Harlem for some match needed Southern carbs, the fried chicken is the one for me. Whilst there you sip on some energising Sweet Tea (and I mean sweet) and take in the electric live gospel music.
When you finally tear yourself away from the tunes you head down to Central Park. Exploring the first blooms of summer you work your way through the park. You stumble on one of the many baseball games in motion and absorb the competitive excitement.
When you finally emerge back into the concrete jungle its time to embrace the wild, of course its time to hit China or Korea town depending on your preference. Go round the many little shops for some souvenirs and eat dumplings or drink bubble tea. Then there is only one course of action a little power nap before exploring the NYC night life.
Waking up refreshed you head over to emerge yourself in the electricity of Times Square at night. Exploring the lights and sounds absorbing the atmosphere. Of course a trip to times square isn’t complete with a much needed visit to Hershey Chocolate shop. Then once you are chocolate filled, its time to head to West village for one of the many great Jazz bars such as Arthurs Tavern.
Then its time to stumble home for some much needed sleep.
Hola Chicos its Barcelona time.
I have been in Barcelona now for three days, I will write a little guide on what to do whilst here shortly but wanted to give some initial thoughts.
Personally Barcelona is one of my favourite European cities. I have been finding it hard however to quantify why! On paper Barcelona in itself doesn’t have anything particularly unique, don’t get me wrong there are plenty of amazing sights but nothing that truly stands out. The people again are amazing but there are a couple of countries that I prefer. So I have come to the conclusion its the combination of the ethos, the cool architecture, the glorious food and chilled people.
So how best to experience Barcelona?
Daytime: Go to a high point like Parc de Montjuic find something in the distance that looks interesting and head in that direction. Barcelona is great city to get lost in and as you never know what’s round the corner.
Night time: Its all about food and fiesta. Two tips here don’t go to dinner before 9pm as places you would want to go e.g places local go to will be empty and make sure to strike up a conversation with locals to find all the best spots.
This is part 2 of the places around the world I truly love. Check out part 1 here
Cathedral Cove, New Zealand: One of the first places I truly fell in love with. Its remote, has the natural beauty that makes New Zealand such a special country and is truly peaceful.
Copenhagen, Denmark: if you ever wondered what a place full of beautiful people is like head here. Copenhagen is a perfect weekend gateway-its cool, a little funky and has some great food markets.
Great Oceon Road, Australia-Victoria: this was towards the end of my journey and I started to feel a little travel fatigue until I came here. Some of the best natural oceanic formations I have seen.
Budapest, Hungary: Europe has some truly amazing architecture. In my opinion the best in the world. To find the best of the best head to Budapest. Take in the amazing sights in the morning, head to the bathes in the afternoon and finish with a river cruise at night-perfect.
Interlaken, Switzerland: If I am forced to choose my favourite place in the world then Interlaken has my heart. What can I say but WOW. Everything is just beautiful from the buildings, the hiking, the world class views and the friendly locals.
Where will your next adventure be?
So to recap…quit my job, sold my stuff and travelled around the world (30 amazing countries)! So the question I am asked alot was it worth it? Without a doubt. If anyone is on the fence just do it. You discover about new cultures, see amazing things and do things you wouldn’t normally do. However more importantly you rediscover so much about yourself once your bubble is burst.
So when I first made the decision over a year ago to quit my life I had these grand life plans of what I could do and at the time I thought I would choose one of these after my adventure around the world. After travelling I would like to think I’ve discovered a lot about myself. I realised it isn’t massive changes that were needed, this stems from being a restless person. I always rebelled against this personality trait and therefore felt a need for big changes. Having accepted this simple fact, I feel so much more content and actually have come to two realisations; first it only takes small changes to make a life work and second actually being content should be the main aim.
- Work: It can be easy in our western culture to put so much pressure on ourselves with work in two main ways. A focus on money/promotions or finding that perfect job that makes us super happy. Chill, its just a job. A job should be funding your life not being your life. Its hard! I almost fell back into the trap straightaway coming back. Go to work with the aim of funding your life.
- Comparison: It’s so easy to compare our life’s with other people, especially in the age of social media where people rub it in our faces. This could be the fact that someone has a family, earns more money, is more active or owns a house etc. Quite frankly just do what makes you content after all its your life.
- We are human: It can be so hard to forget we aren’t machines. So be kinder to yourself and let things go. Its OK to forget/ fail its the way you carry on that matters. Let it go and carry on.
- People: Life is so much more interesting with people in your life. They provide different perspective, thoughts and help enrich you. Make sure to fill your life with activities that encourage people and where possible friendships.
- Live now: This was my big mistake. I was always obsessed with these grand plans from my career, relationships and to buying a home. I was so focused on the future I forgot to live for me. Don’t live your life in the future instead live now.
- Balance: We need different things at different times. Recognising that can be difficult. Its OK not to be active all the time, sometimes you need to chill. You don’t need to be productive all the time. Chill and when your bored get active. Find the balance for you, not what works for others.
Most of all be kind to yourself…hope this helps some of my readers.
As always feel free to write in with comments or questions.
I have been travelling now for almost 10 months (10 amazing life changing months). One of the questions I often get from friends back at home aren’t you fed up with travelling now. I understand that question completely of course, but its a strange question when every new person I meet on the whole just wants to travel forever. So I thought I would try and explain the two sides via quotes.
“I would rather have a passport full of stamps than a place full of stuff” Vs. “A man (or woman) travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it”
“I wake up each new day and wonder what I will discover next” Vs “nothing is better than going home to family and eating good food and relaxing”
“Home life is no more natural than a cage is to a Cockatoo” Vs. “There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort”
“Travel makes one modest- you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world” vs “The ache for home life is in all of us , the safe place where we can go home as we are and not be questioned”
“Travelling leaves you speechless-then turns you into a storyteller” vs “Home is where one starts from”
Where do you stand on the debate?
So a couple of days ago I went to the full moon party on the Thai island of Koh Pha Ngan. Instead of sharing my experiences as this blog is purely PG 😉 I wanted to explain what’s it all about outside of all the hype.
In its bare form its about a mile of beach, which 40k plus people descend on to have a party. The beach hosts a number of bars/clubs. From what I could tell the beach could be broken into around 4 sections.
- Techno/ drum & base
- Food stations
- Pop music
- Old school 70/80’s remixed
The majority of people will be tourist on the younger side, covered in body paint and will be wasted or chemically altered.
People go to have a good time, so expect people to be partying hard, and if your foot is stepped on only a few times that’s a great night.
Drinks and food
So drink prices vary a lot between bars and side streets, so if your on a budget shop around. To the most part people will be drinking buckets. Just a caveat these are super strong so unless you don’t want to remember the night pace yourself because they hit hard.
Food is a crap take on western classics e.g. pizza’s/burgers, but when your altered you don’t really care.
If substances are your thing look for locals in the side streets outside of the bars.
That’s all folks- just a piece of advice if you are older and don’t bounce back like the youngsters don’t hit the Jungle party the night before….I made that mistake.
There are some excellent guides on what to do at Chiang Mai in Thailand, the city/town has a lot to offer after all. However when you have limited time how can you choose? After eight days these are my recommendations.
Chiang Mai in two days
Day 1-AM: Tan Pra Maha Kajjana followed by some frozen yoghurt on Rachadamnoen Road.
Day 1-Afternoon:some much needed lunch at Aroy Dee, then off to Grand Canyon Waterpark (not my normal suggestion but its the best one I’ve been to).
Day 1-PM: Book on one of the many great Thai cooking classes.
Day 2-AM/Afternoon: You have to go to one of the elephant sanctuaries (please go to one of these rather than the cheaper alternatives, the elephants are so much more happy)-I personally had the best time at Elephant Land.
Day 2-PM: Hit the night market along Changklang Road, then off for some much needed food at Ploen Ruedee Night Market.
Enjoy and if you have any questions please ask