Where to do you begin?
So many languages, cultures, cities, mountains. Each unique and special.
I am 100% comfortable calling Edinburgh the most beautiful city I have EVER been to. It’s one of those places that needs to be on your bucket list when visiting Scotland as it’s not only stunning, but teaming with life, culture and must-sees. To be honest, I have written this blog post in the form of text messages now at least 5 times. I figured that it was finally time to put it in writing – a list of things/places/activities that you should definitely check out when visiting Edinburgh. (If you're looking for a unique night out in Edinburgh check out this VLOG). This is a list collaboration from my Scottish bible, word of mouth
After an a weekend exploring the lively capital of Dublin (check out the perfect weekend here!), it was time to get out into the countryside! We jumped in our rental car and started our full day trek to Cork, Ireland. The wonderful array of stops included a delicious, healthy breakfast at the Happy Pear, magical vibes at Glendalough and a step back in time at Kilkenny Castle. The grand finale, Cork, did not disappoint! Delicious dinner and even more exciting breakfast in the English market to follow. Hope you enjoy our trip South as much as we did! Coming up next? The Wild Atlantic Way!
We've FINALLY visited Ireland! The only country that rivals Scotland in terms of folk music, spectacular landscapes and drinking culture. With the parents coming to visit we decided to do as much as possible - start with 3 days in Dublin and then head South. Rent a car and drive the coast finishing at the Cliffs of Moher. For my and your sake, I've broken the trip up into a few sections. Starting with DUBLIN! We attempted to see everything that Dublin has to offer and feel like we made a pretty good dent in it all. From the indulgent tours of Guinness & Jameson Distillery to an eye-opening look into the history of Ireland
Ferry or Cruise? Haarlem or Amsterdam? We were totally unsure what to expect as we embarked on the Amsterdam Mini Cruise with DFDS Seaways. Departing from Newcastle, England it was an overnight trip to IJmuiden, Netherlands with the promise of spending a day in Amsterdam before heading back towards the U.K. that night. Thanks to an ItIsOn voucher we got super cheap tickets & it was an adventure that we just couldn't turn down! However as we had visited Amsterdam before (and absolutely loved it - check out the secrets to falling in love with Amsterdam here!) we decided to pull a little reversal and explore the city of Haarlem instead! Was Haarlem worth the visit?
Wild Camping: A phenomenon in Scotland that allows people to camp, for free, on most all unenclosed land. Hit the road, not a care about lodging, sleeping in the great outdoors and save some cash. Sounds too good to be true, right? Wild camping has been an amazing experience for us here in Scotland. Whether it's in a tent or just in our car, it has definitely added to the flexibility, spontaneity and ruggedness of our Scottish adventures. We've found some AMAZING spots in Oban, Glencoe and Isle of Skye. (Oban is my personal fav - peaceful, isolated view looking over the entire city & harbour... Take me back!) Being it's Scotland, rain is a
With so many activities and sights on Isle of Skye, Scotland - where do you start? Well, I have THE answer for you. A half-day with Misty Isle Boat Trips. Departing from Elgol, Skye, Misty Isle Boat Trips takes you into the heart of the dramatic Black Cuillins. A beautiful boat trip out where the humorous guides teach you about the islands in the distance and keep their eyes peeled for dolphins. The Cuillins themselves are impressionable deep dark hills jutting out of the water and on their base lives a vibrant, active colony of seals! Once parked a short, easy hike takes you up to Loch Coruisk - rated as one of the best views
Hidden in the rolling folds of Isle of Skye lies the Art House B&B, the perfect Isle of Skye accommodation. Run by Sally, Rob and the adorable Watson, they combine a love of architecture, interior design, amazing hospitality and luxurious, tasteful comfort. Their Scandinavian home sits near Broadford and overlooks a beautiful loch with stunning mountains lining the distance. The rooms are decorated with original, unique pieces. You can just feel the love, thoughtfulness and craftsmanship that has gone into each space. Breakfast is mouthwatering (reason enough to stay for multiple nights)! However do be warned - you may not feel to enticed to explore the Isle of Skye after you get settled into the
What do you do with one night and day in Edinburgh, Scotland? Thanks to our travel-hacking pals, we were gifted a night at The Channings Hotel (4 stars) in Edinburgh! We jumped in the car and headed South for a whirlwind night on the town. As this is our third visit to Edinburgh - we skipped out on the big tourist attractions and instead just relaxed, enjoyed great food, comedy and tasty drinks. The next morning we stayed on the West end exploring the Water of Leith Walk and Dean's Village before heading back North. We made our way slowly back taking in the iconic Forth and Tay Bridge and filling my never-ending obsession of
You GUYS! I made my first TRAVEL VLOG! If you remember from my Things I'm Afraid to Tell You post for the New Year - I mentioned that getting into video a bit more for 2017 is a big priority. I am so pleased and excited to say that I did the hardest step - I filmed! So here it is - Our whirlwind weekend trip to Glasgow Hopefully you can get an idea of how amazing the city is OR pull some ideas for an upcoming trip! Below you'll find a list of the places shown in the video with links, addresses & a few notes ! siempre, Sydney p.s. I would love any and all
What better weekend getaway than Piemonte, Italy. Jutting hills, vineyards as far as the eye can see and ridiculously good food - all on the foot of the Swiss alps. The debate had been between Tuscany or Piemonte - Piemonte coming out the winner thanks to an article claiming "Piemonte is Tuscany 20 years ago" and our travel dates colliding with the Alba International White Truffle festival. Our trip was a Friday through Tuesday, flying in and out of Turin, Italy. We would rent a car. Couchsurf for the first half and Airbnb for the second. The only reservations on the agenda were two winery tours, a dinner at Osteria della Aie and a desire
Glencoe. A word you hear often not only over here in Scotland but all over the world. Made famous by movies like James Bond Skyfall and commonly mentioned as inspiration by authors like J.K. Rowling – it was definitely a place we needed to visit. We had spent the last two nights in Oban, a completely charming fishing town on the West coast of Scotland. Hands down one of my favorite towns we have visited thus far in Scotland (maybe in part due to the phenomenal weather we had), but you can check out our wild camping, fish n’ chips and whisky Oban adventures here! It was a beautiful, hot (yes, I said hot) morning
[Day 1] - Adventures of Aberdeen to Oban Scotland & Letting Go of the Fantasies of Wild Camping Having just acquired Angus, our spunky, electric blue 2003 VW Polo, and with the prospect of a long weekend ahead – Dalton and I were more than just itching for our first Scotland road trip. We had been hearing mystical tales of the beautiful, stunning, spectacular, breath-taking (get it?) West coast of Scotland and decided this was something we needed to see for ourselves. We loaded up on Friday after school/work and began our trek to the opposite coast of the country (yes, you read that right. In the UK you can quite quickly and easily drive
Since arriving to Europe Dalton and I have both been ridiculously excited about visiting Belgium. A land famous for tasty beers and dark chocolate… However with so many incredible things to do in Belgium, where do you even begin?! Our trip began with a long weekend in Amsterdam (where I fell head over heels in love - read more here) where we then took the train South into Brussels. We had about 4 days in Belgium and decided to root ourselves in the capital and explore the country via day trips on the train. Being the country is so small and public transport fairly cheap, this was a very viable option for our short
Never have I fallen in love with a city so quickly. Filled with romantic canals, beautiful houseboats and vines crawling all over the tall, narrow leaning houses; I honestly could have never left Amsterdam Netherlands. While planning our trip everyone had told us that a long weekend was more than enough time, however we quickly realized that was not case. If you intend to solely (and lethargically) wander the coffee shops and ogle the red light district then no more than a weekend would be necessary. However I felt that even with months of time I could have kept wandering and slowly discovering Amsterdam's many lovely secrets. Accommodation [Before
After a fantastic day exploring Kirkwall and the East side of Orkney (Read Here!), the next morning we said our goodbyes to our wonderful couchsurfing host, Ryan, and caught the bus towards Stromness. We hopped off at the Maeshow Chambered Cairn and were lucky enough to get a spot on the next tour. Maeshow Chambered Cairns Although it was outwardly unimpressive, an odd grassy mound in the middle of a field, the inside was absolutely fascinating. After almost crawling through a small stone tunnel the length of a school bus we found ourselves in an intricate stone tomb with four separate rooms. Built over 5,000
I couldn’t have been more thrilled or grateful – we had our very first visitor from the States. Stephanie, one of my closest friends from uni, had a planned a spur of the moment trip where she spent two weeks hiking in Ireland before making her way up to Aberdeen. Her only (slightly strange) request was to visit ‘the islands.’ I had to clarify multiple times what islands she was talking about until finally I realized she wanted to head to Orkney, the islands just north of Scotland. Eagerly I jumped at the opportunity; pretty sure none of my other visitors will have requests to visit such a remote place. Ferry from Aberdeen to Kirkwall,
With my to-do list, computer and steaming cup of coffee, I get settled into my favourite comfy spot. I have a list of tasks in front of me with the entire day to complete them. I take a moment to relish that sweet, special joy that only a day off can bring. A couple weeks ago this would have been my boring, monotonous morning routine with the words "job search" in all caps, highlighted at the top my list. However, having finally landed my first job abroad (yay!), I now get to fully appreciate this uneventful, wonderful day. Securing a job in Scotland took a grand total of two and a half months. In reality, I
We got an early start on the day, catching the now familiar train to Bath and then taking a bus to our fourth Couchsurfing hosts apartment in Bristol. We were unsure of what to expect from Bristol. Before leaving Aberdeen we had gotten the impression that it was just another big city, a place to cut out of an itinerary if you lacked time. However our wonderful Couchsurfing hosts in Devizes, Pash and Sheila (read about them here!), swore that Bristol was one of the best cities in the UK. Couchsurfing in Bristol Bristol is known for being an extremely bike friendly city full of street art and craft beer, therefore it seemed like renting
Eagerly we stared out the window as our train was zooming through the English countryside. As I watched the cute cows and sheep graze on the unbelievably green rolling fields I couldn’t help but think back on the wonderful past few days we had in Lacock, Bradford on Avon and Devizes. While planning on trip to England we didn’t really have grandiose expectations – the location was decided by a cheap flight to a part of the world we hadn’t yet seen. Now, six days later and over half way through our trip, England had completely enchanted us. Little did we know that Bath was about to add share an entirely new, astonishing dimension to
It was a warm, beautiful, blustery day as we walked with our packs towards the entrance to the infamous Lacock Abbey. With our big clumsy bags, we felt the slight awkwardness as you always do when all your belongings are on your back. Tentatively we asked the friendly looking woman at the entrance desk if they might store our bags for us while we wandered around. While chatting we learned that our National Trust of Scotland Membership was also valid for National Trust sites in England! Euphoric we entered the gardens, hand in hand, with our backs and wallets whispering their gratitude. Lacock Abbey The Lacock Abbey and gardens was well worth the trip. Originally
Unknowingly we had planned our trip route from London to Devizes perfectly, getting to witness Avebury (the largest prehistoric stone circle in Europe) from the bus window on our way. Taking a National Express bus from the London Victoria Coach station to Swindon, we then hopped on the local 49 to reach Devizes. Immediately we were enchanted with the English countyside. Beautiful green rolling fields and quaint towns filled with charm that only age can bring. Devizes was no different and we walked off the bus filled with eagerness and excitement to explore this world so close, yet so drastically different than from the bustling city of London. Our Incredible Couchsurfing Hosts Arriving in the
Heading in to London from Loughton Waking up in our Campervan Airbnb on Saturday morning in Loughton, a suburb outside of London, we were refreshed and rejuvenated. After having spent the entirety of the previous day travelling we were excited to start our vacation and explorations. With 10 days in Southern England, we were allowing our trip to be completely dictated by Couchsurfing, a community-based website where people offer to host travelers in return for company and meals. Our very loosely based itinerary was based on where hosts had accepted us and therefore included London, Devizes, Lacock, Bradford on Avon, Bath and Bristol (click on any of links to read about those special places!). We planned on spending
How do you get the most out of living and working abroad? Do you root yourself into the culture and community, or take advantage of your location and explore as much as possible? Lately these are the thoughts that I have been mulling over while cleaning the apartment biweekly, attempting to learn Italian, applying for jobs and feverishly planning our upcoming trip to England—pretty much anything to keep busy and find fulfilment without having an actual job. Feeling like you’re standing still while watching everyone around you chasing their dreams is torturous. However the thought of working another unsatisfying job with less than ideal hours and having to fight for time off to travel just
Completely starting over can be terrifying. It can be as though someone hands you a box full of crisp chalk and a pristine, black chalkboard. However many times, when faced with something so perfectly empty, it’s hard to make that first mark. Where do you even begin? Both of my previous ‘big time’ moves have been within a small bubble of protection. In each circumstance there were like-minded people, schedules and expectations waiting for me as I stepped off the plane. Although I have the companionship of my boyfriend, Dalton, here in Scotland (for which I’m truly grateful), it’s the first time I have moved without any promises made on the other end. Upon arrival
Pursing my lips, I applied the final touches of my lipstick and gave one last inspection to my freshly curled hair. It would do. Pacing back to the bedroom I looked over my two choices, again; the glamorous gold sequinned New Year's dress that I was dying to wear, or my go-to little black dress that was arguably one of my best purchases. I had never attended an event remotely similar to this, how was I to know what to wear? Giving up, I grabbed the sequinned fabric and pulled it over my head. Smiling to myself, I was finally able to place this long forgotten feeling—it was like I was getting ready for prom.
After a wonderful evening in our countryside Airbnb in Kiltarlity, we were anxious to start our second day of exploring the Scottish countryside. Since Day 1 had been a long trip in the car with countless beautiful stops coming from Aberdeen «Read Here», we were excited for a day with a bit more outdoor adventuring! Having read that Glen Affric was one of the most stunning in glens in Scotland, it seemed pertinent that it be the focus of our free day. With waterfalls and short hikes on the agenda we couldn't help but take a moment to thank our lucky stars that once again the weather was absolutely phenomenal - not a cloud in the
Sitting across from my banker and new friend, I am feeling the euphoria of crossing off another big task on my "Moving to a New Country" to-do list. He is a friendly American football player and thanks to his warmth and jokes, I have enjoyed setting up a bank account much more than one normally would. He asks my current occupation and I give the rehearsed spiel on how I just moved here and am going to start the serious job search once all of our ducks are in a row. “Okay, I’ll list you as ‘fun-employed’ then.” “What?” I thought maybe, as per usual, the accent had gotten the better of me. “Fun-employed. You know,
Our With a long weekend ahead we were itching for a chance to get out into the Scottish countryside and do some exploring. With rental cars being pretty cheap (£40 for 3 days from Europcar) and our desire to spend as little time as possible in actual cities, a road trip was obviously in order! Below is a map (with written directions) and photos of our favorite stops along the way. Most of our stops were thanks to my handy-dandy Scottish guidebook - Scotland the Best. We spent a full day driving from Aberdeen to Inverness, a day exploring Glen Affric and Loch Ness and a day driving back to Aberdeen. Our day in Glen Affric
The bright intense sunshine was begging us to leave the flat, it seems so wrong to not take advantage of the rare perfect days. Hand in hand we strolled down Union Street enjoying the warmth whenever there was a break in the chilly shadows cast by the granite buildings. Meeting our new (and weirdly similar) friends, Heather and Jason, we caught the bus at Holburn Junction headed South for Stonehaven and Dunnottar Castle. On the bus we excitedly chatted about the castle we were headed to see; Heather and Jason had visited before but thanks to the lack of daylight hours they hadn't been able to enter the ruins. Reminiscing on the terrible weather on
Sometimes the hardest part is just making the decision. When it comes to starting a life in another country, that is definitely not the case.