Dublin out and about for 3 days

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.

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Introverts and travelling

A friend of mine has decided to make the best decision and take some time off to do some extended travelling. We are both natural introverts and therefore we need to put some strategies in place.

So this blog is for my fellow introverts who are worried about going solo travelling.

  • Be you– so first and foremost be true to your personality. You are going to meet a lot of extroverts-great for them! Don’t try and copy them-were not good at it.
  • Find purpose– it can be hard for some introverts to speak to strangers (although it gets really easy the longer your travel on your own) so find a commonality. There are a few strategies here: do community work like my friend, consider a group travel trip, join group activities and/or speak about possible trips/activities in the area, I have created so many new friendships by asking have you done X and ended up doing it with them.
  • Recharge-remember to take ‘me’ time. Introverts energy and best ideas come when we take some time out. I personally find getting into nature and hiking by myself essential.
  • Change-brace yourself for a series of different friends. It natural for us to find a few people and build deep connections. This can be dangerous as you need to keep moving forward and getting the best out of your journey.
  • Just say no– there will be some strong extroverts who will naturally want to take charge. Just remember this is your adventure so if you don’t want to do something don’t be worried about saying no.

Introverts please write in if you need some advise based on my own persoanl experience.

Seville…time to eat

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.

My Canterbury tale…

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.

A not too lazy sunday in NYC

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.

Barcelona…a wee guide

In my experience cities can often have two major effects; they can drain or energise you. Barcelona makes you feel like the Duracell bunny.

Stroll out after a siesta around 9ish (yes life starts late in Barcelona) hit up Carrer de Blai for some tapa, strike up a conversation with locals and see where the night takes you. I know it sounds hard, especially if you are on your own but its the best way to experience Barcelona. If you want to do a little cheat go on to the couchsurfing app and there are loads of lovely locals wanting to grab a drink.

So I personally would just suggest wondering around and seeing where it leads. However I know my readers like little tips, so here are my favourite spots:

  • Bunkers Del Carmel-for a great view of the city head here for sunrise. There’s nothing quite like a Barcelona City sunrise (sunset tends to be more social and crowded).
  • Sagdrada Familia– I don’t usually recommend mass tourist paid spots, but Sagdrada Familia is the exception to the rule. It is a truly marvellous architectural delight, and has become my number one Cathedral.
  • Parc de Monjuic-As readers know I love nature and this is the closest you really get in Barcelona. With the winding pathways its another chance for a great view of the city.

If it doubt just get to Barcelona… You won’t regret the decision.

 

 

Barcelona-first impressions take two

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.

What’s your next adventure? The world in photos

I have been back in England for a week now from the most amazing 11 months (30 countries) of my life. I have finally sorted through my photos and wanted to inspire your next adventure.

Plitvice Lake, Croatia-For an amazing hike to a range of fitness levels no place does beauty like Croatia.

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Mt Taranki, New Zealand– Are you fit? Then Mt Taranki is the one for you. An extremely difficult day hike but once you climb past the clouds its pure serenity.

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Gibbon Experience, LoasStill a big kid? then this is for you. Spend your days ziplining through a jungle and your evenings sleeping in giant treehouses

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Rome, Italy– For the history lovers there really is no place like Rome.

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New York City, USA– Not my favourite city, but one that has to be done once in your lifetime.

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Waya LaiLai Island, Fiji– The friendliest people on the planet. There’s no better place on the planet for a relaxing time.

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Rotorua, New Zealand– If you can get over the smell of Suplher and want something a little different then this is the place for you.

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Srebrenica Genocide Memorial, Bosnia– For something different check out this memorial. Its interesting but extremely sobering, so not for the faint hearted. Make sure to fully explore Bosnia afterwards as an amazing country.

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Want to know more about any of these locations then check out my guides or ask me a question in the comment box.

 

Sydney….some hidden gems

To be honest when I got to Sydney I wasn’t particularly impressed. It felt like any generic medium sized city in the world. It probably didn’t help that I loved Melbourne so much and was making comparisons.

However the fact that Sydney is a Coastal city gives it some absolutely lovely walks especially in the Aussie summer. There is a whole host of walks you can do but I would personally recommend a few:

Also for a good selection of asian food check out Spice Alley (BYOB as well).

Melbourne- a real good time

I have been lucky enough to spend about two weeks exploring Melbourne and have come to the conclusion it is one my favourite new cities. It is diverse both in terms of urban verse nature and its people, has a great transport system and one of the most relaxed cities I have visited.

I know most people wont be lucky enough to spend so long in this great city, so I wanted to share a few must do’s that are Melbourne unique.

  • Shrine of Remembrance and Botanical gardens: this area combines the second biggest botanical garden in the world and a beautiful war memorial/museum. On a sunny day combine with a picnic its a great day out.
  • Tram 35: if you want to get to know Melbourne quick get on the free tram 35 and take a circuit of the city. It takes about 45 minutes and you will have your bearings in no time.
  • Gelato at Pipapidos: there’s always a line but it goes quick; this Gelato was on par with what I had in Florence.
  • ACMI: I love a good free museum and this audio/visual one is the best of its kind. It is super interactive, good for all ages and has some super cool gadgets to play with.
  • Brighton Beach: With its colourful sheds this is the perfect place to see sunset over the city.

Other goodies in Melbourne: hit one of the numerous roof top bars, visit the Victoria Art Centre, visit Melbourne museum and the surrounding beautiful park,
and/or hit Fitzroy for some good eats and drinks.

Outside of Melbourne: the Great Ocean road is a must do-with some of the amazing views Victoria has to offer.