2018 in Review

Hey Guys, long time no blog, somehow life keeps passing and my days just seem to get busier and busier. BUT Happy New Year guys. I hope 2019 brings you absolutely everything you want out of it. My year has started with some severely bad sunburn all because I thought I was tougher than the sun and decided to not put sunscreen on the back of my legs, which incidentally is the worst place to get burnt because I can barely bend my knees but is okay, I’ll survive.

Anyway, I thought that getting back into my blog by writing a new post all about my year and what happened and just generally looking back and reflecting.

The year started with my parents coming to visit Lachy and I in London, and we spent 10 days at my uncle’s place in the Cotswolds, before heading to the Lake District for Easter. Making the mistake of driving up Good Friday with every other person in London apparently and what was meant to be a 3-hour drive ended up taking double that.

Following my parent’s visit, it was nearly time for Lachy and I to pack up our lives and start our journey home but before heading back to Australia we had our 2.5 month trip around Europe to embark on. I have written a few posts on some places that we went and reviews on some of the tours we did and airlines we flew on which I will link at the bottom of the page if you’re interested in reading them. I had some stand out places from this trip namely being Slovenia, Amalfi Coast, Nice/South of France and Portugal. We had such an amazing time to

After our trip ended we headed back to my hometown Adelaide and spent 10 days with my family and just relaxing before heading home to Perth and back to reality.  It was so lovely to be able to spend some quality time with my whole family after being away for 2 years and Lachy got a chance to finally meet my dad and everyone which was lovely.

Heading back to Perth meant the start of a new job, new degree and living with Lachy’s parents. Everything has been pretty steady since then, work, uni, life etc.. However, we did head to Melbourne for the AFL grand final which saw Lachy’s beloved West Coast Eagles win the grand final, post-grand final we headed to Fiji for a friends wedding, where we spent 10 days relaxing and living our best life, it was amazing. During this trip, we headed home via Brisbane to see Lachy’s brother, his wife and meet their lil bubba, who was born in May. We spent a week there and meeting this lil baby and looking after him and seeing Lachy feed him and play with him sent my ovaries into overdrive and I am literally like the luckiest person right now and all I want is a lil baby.

Post Fiji literally saw life go back to work and uni and nothing exciting, I managed to pass all my exams (even my maths unit winning) and pass all my classes yay! Coming to the middle of December I went back to Adelaide and visit my family again, even had some early Christmas celebrations which was lovely since I haven’t been home around Christmas time since 2014.

And that essentially brings us up to today, we had a really chilled New Years Eve at home, we made a nice dinner (beef wellington and creme brulee), had a super nice bottle of wine and just hung out, it was almost perfect, the only thing ruin it was Lachys parents being home, I honestly can not wait to be in our own house (not that there’s anything wrong with his parents and it’s super kind of them to let us live here, and they’re absolutely lovely people, I just want my own space).

I hope you all had an amazing year and hopefully, 2019 see’s me actually spending more time on my blog.

 

Malaysia Airlines Review

Hey Guys!

So I recently flew back to Australia from London with Malaysia Airlines, which I for one was incredibly anxious about doing for a few reasons but anyway, I thought I would write a little review on flying with them.

Let’s start with the planes, they were both clean, the seats reclined back a decent amount which is what you want on a 13 hour and 7-hour flights! The first flight from London to Kuala Lumpur left on time, however, the pilot made an announcement letting everyone know that there was a fault with all the toilets on the right-hand side of the plane were out of order and that they were hoping the system would reset itself and they would be able to be used, which from what I could see that happened during the flight and people were eventually able to use those toilets. Another issue we had was the entertainment systems weren’t working until about 40 minutes into the flight after the reset the systems and whatnot to try and get it to work, and thankfully they did otherwise it would’ve been a loooooooooong flight with no entertainment! Not even going to lie, all the system faults that stopped the toilets from unlocking and the entertainment systems from working had me thinking the plane was just gonna fall out the sky and disappear because you know they’ve had that happen before.

About an hour in dinner was served and the food was actually really good, I had the beef curry thing and it was so tasty which is always a good thing on a plane! As far as that trip went that was about it, I literally slept for 9 hours, which for me is literally unheard of but I was able to get comfy and warm with the little pillow and blanket they give you and really had enough room to be able to sleep. About 1.5 hours before landing they wake you for breakfast which was not as good as dinner, they had a choice between shrimp curry which I couldn’t eat because I’m allergic or eggs and I hate eggs so much, but I went with the eggs and just ate the potato hash brown thingy and the yoghurt and whatnot that came with it but really I was still hungry but oh well!

Our plane landed on time which left us with a 4 hour stopover in Kuala Lumpar airport, our next flight left from the same terminal we landed in so we didn’t have any rush or anything. We spent our time getting a massage in the wellness spa and having some food and drinks, just nice and relaxing before our next flight.

Our flight from KL to Adelaide was delayed 40 mins and once we’d gotten on the plane the pilot made an annoucement that we would be delayed further because we were waiting on about 40 passengers from a delayed connecting flight which ended up having us sitting on the tarmac for about another hour before we ended up taking off. I found the staff on this flight slighter ruder but oh well. Again about an hour in the dinner was served to my disappointment the food was different this time and I got the chicken which when I opened it, it was not something I would like so thankfully my boyfriend swapped his meatballs which me, which were actually pretty yummy! I found it harder to sleep on this plane, mostly because the lady behind me keep pushing my seat up which was just the worst, so I ended up just binge watching The Big Bang Theory – I think the most annoying thing about the entertainment on the Malaysia Airlines planes was the they didn’t have an entire series on there so you would get to a certain point and not be able to continue BUT there were a huge range of movies and whatnot. Again about 1.5 hours before landing we were woken for a snack, not really a breakfast, which was a little chicken pie thing, again not something I would eat so my boyfriend ate mine! I also made the mistake of getting a coffee which tasted slightly of mould? or dust? I dunno just wasn’t any good!

So overall, Malaysia Airlines wasn’t the worst airline to fly with for a long haul flight and I probably would fly with them again if like this time they we’re a crazy amount cheaper than any other airline, but they wouldn’t be my frist choice.

Ratings:

Plane: 7/10

Food: 6/10

Staff: 7/10

Entertainment: 8/10

Malaysia Airlines

What’s In My Carry On – Long Haul Flight…

Alright guys,  were at that time, its time for me to head back to Australia! Which is all very exciting, but does require 22 hours of flying!

I use the same carry on bag no matter how long the flight I am taking is, I just find its the perfect size, you can fit everything in it without putting too much in it if that makes any sense. I like using a backpack as my carry on instead of a smaller luggage bag or handbag purely because is so much easier to walk through a crowded airport with and it leaves you with both of your hands free.

I like to keep things in my carry on that I really couldn’t afford to lose or go without if, for example, my checked luggage went missing. I also like to take things that will obviously make the flight a lot more pleasant and enjoyable!

Whats in my bag:

  • Laptop
  • Phone
  • Camera
  • Charging cables for electronics
  • Kindle/Book (I have been travelling with a Kindle lately just because it’s so much easier space wise)
  • Passport
  • Chewing gum/mints
  • A change of clothes! (I always like to dress comfortably getting on to a flight, so I’ll always pack something more presentable to change into before landing)
  • Skincare (Nothing like recycled plane air to dry your skin out):
    – Makeup wipes (I take either the Simple Quick Fix wipes or Neutrogena)
    – Hydrating sheet masks (sheet masks are great because they don’t require you to wash them off)
    – Brightening eye masks or a caffeinated eye serum ( none likes landing and looking like a zombie!)
    – Hand Cream
    – Lip Balm
    – Hand Sanitizer
    – Concealer + pressed powder ( I am not someone who feels comfortable travelling for long hours with a face of makeup so I tend to go barefaced and add just a little concealer and pressed powder before landing to make myself look a little more human)
    – Deodorant!
  • My own water bottle (ask an air steward to fill it up and I find it easier to stay hydrated!)
  • A pen! (I seem to always have one but they’re super handy on flights just in case you need to fill in any paperwork)
  • Painkillers (in case I start to feel a headache coming on)
  • Comfy socks
  • Headphones – I like to have both over-ear headphones for just general listening but I do find them quite uncomfortable to sleep in so I always have a pair of in-ear headphones (generally just the earphones that come with my iPhone)
  • Neck Pillow

And that is essentially what I have packed in my carry on for a long haul flight!

 

If you’re only fly a short haul flight then check out my post on What’s in My Carry On – Short Haul Flights!

23 Things I’ve Learnt in 23 Years.

Hey Guys!

Today is my 23rd birthday, kind of relishing in the fact it’s my 23rd birthday on the 23rd date, oh and you know, I’m also in Barcelona! Well I mean technically I’m on my way from Barcelona to Sevillie but, anyway, I’m in Spain. I wanted to do a special post today, 23 things I’ve learnt in 23 years! Here goes!

  1. It’s okay to make mistakes, even huge monumental, life-changing ones! I’ve made so many huge mistakes in my life, but I honestly would not be in the relationship I am, with the life that I have, if I hadn’t made those mistakes!
  2. Don’t take your friendships for granted. I spent the last two years on the other side of the world to all my friends but one and it has been so hard not having those friends close by. Probably the hardest thing about living in London.
  3. No relationship is perfect! Relationships are work, you have to constantly communicate and the moment you stop talking things go wrong.
  4. Travel as much as you can!
  5. Take risks, it’s okay if things don’t work out 100% like you wanted!
  6. Eat what you want and be happy, your self-worth isn’t based on a number on a scale as long as you’re healthy and happy that’s all that matters.
  7. Love wholeheartedly, don’t be scared of getting hurt.
  8. You don’t have to be friends with someone who you don’t want to.
  9. Always stop to appreciate the beauty around you – literally stop to smell the flowers, stare at the sky, enjoy nature it’s beautiful
  10. Drink water, all of the water
  11. A good skincare routine will change your life
  12. Invest in good olive oil, it’ll change your life
  13. Avoid touristy areas when travelling when eating, stick to side streets and away from the centre, the food will be better and cheaper!
  14. Always be nice to the people serving you
  15. Never settle for anything that doesn’t make you happy
  16. Set a budget for your travels and then add another couple of thousand, enjoy your holiday and indulge, so you’re left with no regrets – but don’t put it on credit always have the cash in hand!
  17. Appreciate your parents, they worked so hard to give you everything in life.
  18. Always work your hardest, even if you hate your job, you never know when you’re gonna need to ask something of an old boss or colleague!
  19. Alway’s say thank you – manners are so important
  20. Take all the photos, ask for people to take photos of you, take selfies! Memories are everything!
  21. Planning is important, but also life changes unexpectedly – one moment you could be planning to finish uni and apply for medical school and the next minute you’re moving overseas for two years, things change, embrace it!
  22.  If you don’t want to drink on a night out, don’t
  23. Live your life exactly how you want! It’s your life don’t let someone else dictate how you live your own life!

3 Hours in Rome

Hey Guys!

Back again with a guide on what to do in Rome when you only have a short amount of time. Rome was never originally on our travel itinerary and to be honest having been before I had no real desire to do go back, however, my boyfriend had not been, so when looking at ways to get from Naples to Cinque Terre and I realised I could give us a stopover in Rome with enough time to see the highlights, The Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and the Spanish steps, I thought, why not? From the time we arrived in Rome to when our next train departed we had about 3.5 hours, we needed to deposit our luggage in held luggage before heading off. Here’s the thing, when we arrived at 8:30 there was minimal line, perhaps about 10 minutes of waiting. when we got back to pick up our bags at 11 there was a huge line from what I heard people saying, about a 25 minute wait to hand you luggage in.

I had 4 places on my list that I figured we’re essential to see with a short time in Rome:

  • The Colosseum – Obviouslyyyy
  • The Pantheon
  • Trevi Foutain
  • The Spanish Steps

Obviously, there is so much to see in Rome – Vatican City, St Peter’s Basillica etc.. but these were the 4 that we’re easiest to get to one another by foot!

So we started from the train station and walked towards to Colosseum, it’s only about a 25 minute walk, its really not far and the walk brings you through the park so you get a nice view up higher of the colosseum but without all the people.
I was expecting that because it was early on a Sunday morning there would be very few people – I was wrong it was probably about 9:15 when we got there and the tour groups were already out in force!

 

From there we headed up towards the Pantheon, I chose to walk over getting the metro because you get to see so much more of Rome and its architecture and history. Rome is an amazing place and every way you turn there is always something to see! On our walk from the Colosseum to the Pantheon we walked past the Roman Forum.

 

Then heading though Rome you’ll find yourself at the Pantheon, again there were so many people there considering the time and day but I guess that’s just Rome, always busy!

 

From there we had a short walk to the Trevi Fountain, this walk will take you past the Temple of Hadrian as well, just make sure you keep your eyes open or you’ll miss it!

 

And next you’ll head to your last stop for the morning, the walk from the Trevi Fountain to the Spanish Steps will only take you about 10 minutes, again make sure you look around at the features even on the buildings, there is so much attention to detail it’s amazing!

 

All in all this little adventure took just over an hour from leaving the station, which left us with about an hour and a half before we had to be on our train, so you have time to stop at each place and take it in. We decided we would grab a bite to eat before heading back to the station and my boyfriend was adament on doing it at the steps which I said was going to be expenive and I was right! We ended up paying €24 for two paninis and 2 espressos!

By the time we had finished eat, it was still about just over an hour until our train left but we deicded to jump on the metro back to the station – 2 stops and €1.50 per ticket, not too bad. As i said above, in regards to collecting your bags from the held luggage place, leave time, we stood around for about 15 minutes without them calling a single pickup ticket, before I decided to just walk in and ask if we could have ours back and so they sent me to an empty desk and 5 minutes later I had our bags! But leave time because it will be busy and it will take a little time.

And that ladies and gentlemen is our 3 hours in Rome. Hope it wasa helpful and you enjoyed!

Day Trip to Capri

Hey Guys,

Back again, this time with some information for about a day trip to Capri from the Amalfi Coast. Heads up, there’s a ferry from Positano and it will be easier than doing what we did and heading into Sorrento, but alas travelling is all about learning!

Let’s hope you start your day trip off to Capri on a better note than we did, I was dead sure that we were going on a Wednesday, but on the Tuesday, luckily I woke early and was up and doing stuff and then about 8am I got back into bed and saw the prepaid ferry tickets next to it and I just had this feeling. Looking at the tickets, I was right we were meant to be going that day and had to be on the bus into Sorrento at 8:30, my boyfriend was still fast asleep and so I had to wake up, get dressed and be out of the door within 10 minutes. Anyway, long story short we made it into Sorrento for our 10:45am ferry with literally like 20 minutes to spare because the traffic was so heavy it took so much longer than it was meant to getting in. What we didn’t realise and perhaps was scared of, was that buying tickets on the day seemed to be an alright thing to do, we prepaid for ours out of fear that it would sell out and we wouldn’t be able to go. Maybe in the height of the Summer season, it would be a good idea but for this time of year (early June) it didn’t seem necessary.

The ferries are fast, it take’s around 25ish minutes to get to Capri from Sorrento, but it’s not a smooth ride, it’s rough and they do roll around a bit, these boats are built for speed, not a leisurely cruise, so if you get sea sick take some tablets beforehand!

 

Pulling into Capri, you’re greeted with a sight of colourful buildings, bright blue oceans and so many people, I honestly can’t imagine what it is like in the height of summer. Moving onwards to the next mistake we made, walking up to the town from Marina Grande. Don’t do it, just take the Funicular or the bus, it’s literally just 20 minutes of steep stairs and incline walking. It’s not fun and you’ll no longer look cute enough to take photos of yourself there. That walk was brutal it was hot and I’m unfit and I almost died, not to mention our morning was so rushed we hadn’t eaten or had any coffee so I was barely a human at the end of it, which meant the first thing we did was find a little restaurant to have some food and get some caffeine into our system. We settled on . what was probably Capri’s cheapest place to eat, I think we ended up spending about €50 on two pizzas, three espressos and a coke, be prepared for the inflated prices of Capri. We had about 6.5 hours between when we arrived and when the ferry we had booked home was and so we decided to take one of the tours around the island, where they show you tbe grottos and whatnot. Capri is famous for its Blue Grotto which I’m sure you’ve all seen photos of, however if you’re interested in going inside it make sure you check what the tides are like before you head over because the day we were there the tides were too high and you couldn’t get in. From what I heard, the day’s that it is open, if you’re on a tour you will sit there for at least an hour while everyone goes in and out so just be prepared for that.

 

Walking around the main town of Capri, you realise it’s set up for the rich, deisgner shops and exclusive hotels everywhere, waiters dressed head to toe in proper uniform’s which inculde matching shoes. It really is such a lovely city to just walk around and enjoy for what it is.

By about 4pm we were done and exhausted, however, our ferry back to Sorrento wasn’t until about 6:30pm so I thought I’d try our luck and head to the ticket booth and see if we could change our ferry for on that was about to leave, and luckily enough the nice man at the SNAV ticket counter let us exchange our ticket for an eariler ferry and we were off back into Sorrento.

Capri

So here’s the thing, Capri is beautiful but unless you’re staying on the island you’re probably going to need less time there than you think. Depending on whether or not the Blue Grotto is open and you do a boat tour you’ll really only need 4 hours there no longer, unless you’re up for some seriously expensive shopping! Which unfortuntely my bank account and I were not! There are other parts to the island, and they have buses that run all over Capri and Anacapri so there is more to do there than just what we did, however, we just wanted a day of chilling, seeing some things and swimming and to be honest the water was so rough that even at the beaches you really couldn’t swim and just chill which was slightly disappointing.

Getting to the Amalfi Coast from Dubrovnik

Hey guys!

So, I’ve spent the last 6 days chilling on the Amalfi Coast, it’s been amazing but let’s start by saying, getting here from Dubrovnik was a long journey and if I could replan this journey I would. Heres the thing, we left Dubrovnik on the ferry at 10pm, but we had to be at the port 2 hours earlier for boarding and immigration check so really our journey started at 8pm and we did not arrive into Praiano until 6pm the next day so I mean really in the time it took to get from Croatia to this side of Italy we could’ve flown back to Australia, which is absolutely crazy when you think about it.

Let’s start with the ferry, so you need to be there 2 hours before departure but you also need to make sure you have picked your tickets up from the Jadrolinija office before boarding, which I actually didn’t know until a friend told me because she had done the crossing between Bari and Dubrovnik last year. Luckily in Dubrovnik, the office is literally across the road, however, apparently from what she said, in Bari, it’s not close so just make sure you’re prepared and just pick your tickets up as early as you can to give yourself enough time. Jadrolinija overnight ferries give you the option of getting a cabin. Do it, spend the slightly more amount of money for the cabin your journey will be so much better, I’m so glad we went with the cabin option. However, if you don’t want to you can buy a deck ticket which is obviously cheaper and you can just hang in the bar, the seats are relatively comfortable but unless you get one of the lounges you’ll be stuck sitting up because all the single seats have armrests and you can’t lay across them.

Here’s the thing about the ferry, no one tells you anything. You just get on and get your room key and sleep, you have no idea what’s going on so when we got to Bari we had no idea what time we had to give the key back or how and where you get off from and you really can’t understand what is being said over the loudspeaker, it’s just a muffled mess and so we just followed people. Essentially though, you can give your room key back as you’re leaving the ferry, you exit via the doors at the reception on to the bottom deck, the same way you come in and follow the crowds into immigration, it was so simple, but also try to be one of the first off or you’ll be spending a long time in that immigration line.

From the port, in Bari, you can get the local bus, line 20 into the main train station which I think costs 1€ but I’m not sure the driver just let us on for free, which I mean is great but we also offered to pay? Anyway from Bari we got a Flixbus to Naples. I booked the 9:30am bus which left 1.5 hours after the ferry docked in port, which is enough time, if like I said you’re at the front of the line through immigration. The bus stop is literally on the other side of the train station, so just take the underground walkway through to the other side and it’s right there, so easy!

The bus takes about 3.5ish hours and drops you off right at Garibaldi Station, which is the main train station in Naples and where we had to get our train to Salerno from. This is the part I would do differently, so here’s the thing, from Naples, getting to the Amalfi Coast you really need to either go via Sorrento or Salerno. Take a look at where you’re staying and then decide which one you go to and use Amalfi as your middle point. For example, say you’re staying on the Positano side of Amalfi, you’ll want to go Naples – Sorrento – Positano but say you’re staying somewhere like Maiori on the other side of Amalfi you’ll want to go via Salerno.

This is where I messed up, I booked the train from Naples to Salerno and we are staying in this little town called Praiano (literally the town next to Positano but so much quiter and less people) which is on the Positano side of Amalfi, which meant we had to swap buses at Amalfi which honestly added like an extra couple of hours to our trip, whereas if we had just gone into Sorrento we could’ve just stayed on the one bus (The SITA buses run up and down the entire Amalfi Coast pretty much all day, just make sure you’ve prebought a ticket from a newsagency or shop before you get on, it’s the cheapest way to travel bewteen cities 2.40€ for a oneway ticket) and it would’ve driven us right into the little town we’re staying in and would’ve taken literally 2 hours off the trip.

OR you could fly from Dubrovnik to Naples which takes an hour and essentially costs pretty much the same as the ferry, maybe slightly more once you add checked luggage etc and go from there. I went with the ferry because I hate airports, they stress me out and my main goal for this trip was to avoid them altogether which we have except for Pula to Zadar but that was like two of the smallest airports ever and much more simple than most airports!

Anyway guys, here’s how we got from Dubrovnik to Praiano, it was most definitely an adventure.

Topdeck – Dubrovnik Dreams Review

Rightio Guys,

I’ve been MIA for a little while and that’s because I’ve been sailing the Adriatic Sea on a Topdeck tour. Lazing around in the sun, cruising island to island on one of the oldest boats still working in the Adriatic, Petrina, she is 130 years old, which is quite cool when you think about it.

Petrina

We were the first tour out for the season which meant we had weren’t a full boat and we did have three “shadow leaders” (essentially they were in training) on our boat, there were about 24 of us including the tour leader and shadow leaders. I honestly can’t imagine what those boats are like at the height of the season with like 35 people on board, it must be crazy.

Starting in Dubrovnik, the first island you head to is Mljet which you have the option to do a walk through the national park, we decided not to because we had already done Plitvice and Krka and Gemma said really it doesn’t compare to those so there’s no point. The town itself is quite small and not much to see so we headed round to a little cafe and grabbed ourselves a beer and just chilled out until it was time for dinner. The one thing I will say about this tour was the food, we were provided with breakfast and lunch every day (Inc in price) with the option of two onboard dinners at an additional cost of 150kn each (about £17ish) but the food was always amazing. The first night was just the onboard dinner and then a few drinks and drinking games not much else.

The second day we cruised into Markaska, which was just beautiful, we had a few hours of free time before heading out to dinner as a group to a restaurant called Riva – which obviously have some sort of deal with Topdeck as do most places they take you on the tour. The food was good, probably slightly overpriced for what it was but yeah. That night was the pirate party and let me start by saying this, I am not a partier, I could count the number of times I went out in the last two years on one hand, I much prefer drinking at a pub or at home or something and so Lachy and I lasted about half an hour before we ditched the clubs and went and got some food (a reoccurring theme throughout the week). However, the place we went to get food, honestly, the burger I had was the most amazingly fresh chicken burger and it was actually more enjoyable than the fancy dinner.

Markaska

Our next day had us sail into Omis briefly for a swim stop and so we could head out to our ziplining (an optional extra activity 400kn each). Don’t let the price put you off, it was definitely worth it, as someone who is terrified of heights I manned up and actually found myself volunteering to go first in my group, mostly to get it over with and after the initial shock of hurtling over nothing at 70-80km it was kind of nice,  I did find myself shaking as I got off the first line but really I got better over the next 7, Lachy and I even got to do one together which was really fun! After the zip lining, we got a bus to meet the boat which had now docked in Split. I think the group did a little walk around the city and had some drinks but Lachy and I chose to spend the afternoon/evening on our own exploring as we went and we ended up finding this amazing little family run restaurant called “Kod Sfinge Vaneuropske”. The Grandmother who owned the place was sitting outside when we came to look at the menu and she was so sweet we decided that we would eat here, the waitress, which I think was the granddaughter was so sweet and when we couldn’t decide on a starter she said we could get half serves of the ones we wanted so it wasn’t too much food and we could try everything! EVERYONE I mean everyone if you’re in Split it’s worth going here for just the truffle salami itself! That was amazing.

The next day we headed into Hvar which is another huge party night, I was calling it the Ios of Croatia and yeah that’s essentially what it is. We spent our afternoon walking up to the fortress for the view but to be honest I think the view as you’re pulling into the port on a boat is better. Hvar is also famous for its lavender fields, which means there is so much lavender throughout the place, they even have lavender gelato, it’s such a pretty colour and it tastes like I think the best way to describe it, is that it tastes like lavender smells.  Later in the afternoon we headed to Hula Hula bar which is a beachside bar where you can swim and whatnot, the drinks are kinda expensive, but also European free pour means that your mojito will be 90% rum and 10% everything else so like buy one and you’ll be drunk, as we all were when we left two hours later and headed to dinner! Later in the evening we all we to Kiva bar where we were provided with free shots (to be honest, everywhere Topdeck takes you you’ll most likely be given a free shot). Moving on to the next bar, which for the life of me I can’t remember the name of but they did do an amazing espresso martini, however, Lachy and I lasted one drink before ditching the group and heading back to the boat for bed.

The next day we headed to my favourite island, Korcula. It was absolutely beautiful and had the relaxed, chilled out vibe that we love. We sat in a cafe for 2 hours just looking at the crystal clear waters drinking coffee and just relaxing. That night we all went for a group dinner and had a traditional Croatian meal called Peka, which is a baked dish which can either be meat or seafood, we had a meat one with pork, chicken and veal, it was amazing, the meal also included a glass of wine or a beer which actually ended up making it quite a cheap dinner! That night everyone went out drinking but Lachy and I just ended up walking around the city, getting some gelato and just chilling on the beach because as I said we really don’t go out partying an awful lot and just wanted to chill out for a bit just the two of us.

The following day we headed to an even smaller island called Sipan, there really isn’t much there but a few restaurants, cafes and bars, so we spent our afternoon just hanging out at a cafe with an iced coffee because man it was hot! Before heading back to the boat for the Captains dinner, which was again, like all meals we had on the boat amazing, dinner was Pasticada, which is beef with gnocchi and it was delicious (you can also get this at the restaurant I mentioned above in Split, it looked amazing!) Sipan also provided one of the most amazing sunsets I have seen!

And now we’re on to the last day which we ended back in Dubrovnik! There were two optional extras for Dubrovnik which were sea kayaking or a Game of Thrones walking tour. We did the sea kayaking and yes it was really good, but oh my gosh I’ve never kayaked before and this was not easy. The kayaking went out and around an island and back it was 7.5km total and took us 3 hours, it’s been two days and my arms are still sore! Later in the evening, Gemma had organised a last group dinner, which she was kind enough to organise as an early dinner so Lachy and I could come because we actually had to be on our ferry that night which meant we were leaving earlier than everybody else.

Sea Kayaking in Dubrovnik

Overall, I did enjoy the tour, this was my second sailing tour with Topdeck and it was interesting to see the difference between this one and the Greece one I did last year. I don’t think you’ll find me on another tour really ever again and there are a couple of reasons, one being, on this boat and same with Greece, the rooms had no air-conditioning, it was incredibly hard to sleep, like almost impossible. I even resorted to taking my super strong antihistamines, that literally knock me out for 10 hours just so I could get a decent nights sleep. Another reason is really the pressure to drink and go out, I don’t mind a drink but I’m just really not the going out and partying type, like drinking on the boat outside just chilling with some good music, but small clubs full of people just not for me.

Also a huge shoutout to our tour leader Gemma, she was honestly amazing and none of the pressure to party or anything came from her, she actually gave us recommendations of things to do instead when we said we were gonna pass on some of the nights out. She knew so much about every place we went to and put so much effort into making sure everyone was having a good time and just genuinely seemed to care.

Plitvice National Park – A Must See When In Croatia…

When visiting this Unesco World Heritage site, and yes because it is on the world heritage list it is busy, prepare yourself for crowds, slow walkers and people who will take up an entire path just to take a photo, you may even be tempted to push them into the water for laughs (or maybe that’s just me), but do not let that put you off visiting this absolutely stunning piece of nature.

We took the bus from Zagreb, which was about 2.5 hours and we went early, leaving at 7:30 and arrive just before 10, the bus company was unorganised, to say the least, people were being swapped around buses etc but once we got going it was all good, the bus was clean and comfy and super easy, it dropped you off right at the front of entrance one into the waiting line to enter… To be honest, I think the later in the day you go the shorter the lines will be, just because most people get there early to give themselves time to walk the park, it just depends on how much time you want really. Entrance into the park was 150kn (£17ish) per person but that price does cover the electric ferry and the bus service they have within the park and so if you’ve bought your own food and water that’ll be the only money you shell out for the day.

There are 6 main walks each with a different walking time, depending on what entrance you start from and what you’re after from the park.
The walks starting from entrance 1 are as followed:

  • A (2-3h) is lower parts of the national park, only walking
  • B (3-4h) is the lower part of national park including sailing on lake Kozjak
  • C (4-6h) Walking, bus to upper parts of the national park and sailing on lake Kozjak
  • K (6-8h) Walking around the Whole national park.

And the walks from entrance 2 are as followed:

  • E (2-3h) Upper parts of the national park, only walking
  • F (3-4h) Like B tour. The only different starting point
  • H (4-6h) Like C tour. The only different starting point
  • K (6-8h) Walking around the whole national park.

We did walk C, which they recommend 4-6 hours from but really Lachy and I had finished it in just over 3 hours and we most definitely are not the fittest humans on this earth by any means, and this included a forced stop by me for food and coffee because I could definitely not handle a 3 hour walk uncaffinated and hungry. We had bought our own lunch but ended up buying a few things throughout the day, a couple of coffees, an ice cream each and some drinks but really other than the entrance fee we didn’t spend more than £10 the whole day…

Starting at entrance 1 you head immediately towards the big waterfall, let me tell you it was busy, there was a line curving around just to view the waterfall so we decided to skip it first up and come back if we had time (we did, it was much quieter at about 2pm).

 

As I said above your ticket includes the electric ferry that will take you from point 3 to point 2 or vice versa (depending on which entrance you take), you don’t need to take the ferry, you can walk the path but for people like me, the ferry was a welcome change. It was nice to sit and look around at the scenery, and if you can try and get a seat up the front for ultimate waterfall views, I, however, was one of the last people on the boat and so was stuck sitting in the middle of a row at the back 😦

Electric Ferry at Plitvice

As you walk around the park every few metres you come across a new waterfall, an incredible view or just something that will make you stop and appreciate how truly beautiful nature really can be, and as you get away from the shorter paths, the crowds get less and it gets quieter and you can actually hear the animals and breathe the fresh air and just enjoy it. The water is an absolutely incredible colour blue and ridiculously clear, honestly, it will make you want to jump right it, but don’t! Swimming is not allowed when at the park, which is slightly unfortunate because I can imagine on a hot day after walking for so long it’s all you’d wanna do!

 

As I said above we spent just over 3 hours walking. which left us with 3 hours to kill and so we went back and saw a few things we missed (like the big waterfall), hopped on the bus and rode it back to entrance one and then back again to entrance two. About 3pm it totally started pouring down with rain and so we took shelter in the little restaurant they had at entrance two and just killed time until it was time to get the bus back.

The journey back was about an hour longer than the journey there, we seemed to have gotten on a public bus that seemed to stop absolutely everywhere, which was a little annoying because by that point I just wanted dinner and to go to sleep, nevertheless, the trip out to Plitvice National Park was honestly amazing and something that you must do when coming to Croatia!