Jo Carroll

Joined June 2018Living in: Bonnells Bay, Australia
  • Day17

    Castles & Cliffs

    December 30, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    It was a bit of a drizzly day today. Cloudy and rainy we set of in little blue again. Heading east along the coast of Scotland, our aim for the day was to find cliffs overlooking the ocean and a ruined castle. We found both of these a the site of Tantallon Castle, an old castle situated on the edge of a cliff high above the ocean. It was operating back in the 1500s & 1600s. It would have been a pretty epic castle back in it’s hey day. 5 or 6 stories high literally right on the edge of a cliff. It had defensive walls 4 meters thick and was home to a family known as the Douglases. Over the years it was used by different military groups and went under siege in the mid 1600’s. Today it stands as a ruin you can explore at your own risk of falling down the steep spiral staircase up the towers.

    From the castle we drove back into the local town of North Berwick where we found lunch and tea and scones before heading back to Edinburgh. We were trying to make it back to the Palace of Holyrood, the Queens residence in Edinburgh before it closed. However being almost ht send off the year there was absolutely no parking close by. So we parked a bit away and walked it, only to find out they had closed early for the day. A shame we missed it, but I guess we’ll just have to try do it next time.
    It was our last night in this place so we had a lot of proper packing to do before our flight tomorrow morning. So we headed back tot he apartment to get started. Since having our little car we’d kind of just been throwing stuff in as we travelled from place to place, but now tat we had to jump back on a plane we had to get it all sorted. We packed up, managing to cram everything in without extending our suitcase (winning) and headed out for our final dinner in Edinburgh.

    Next stop, Munich (Just the train station) before catching train to Salzburg, Austria.
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  • Day16

    Edinburgh Castle

    December 29, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌬 10 °C

    Day two in Edinburgh started with a cooked up brekky and coffee from the local before we headed out for the day. Our destination was Edinburgh Castle, an old military castle situated high up on cliffs int he middle of the city. It was an awesome sight.
    We grabbed our audio guide and hit the battlements. It was fascinating to learn about the Scottish military involvement in past wars. And also learn about Queen Mary of Scots as an actual real person in history. We explored the castle, tasted some Scotch whiskey at the top. Wasn’t long before that sun was setting, which was stunning from the top of the castle.
    We jumped back on a bus and wandered on down to a restaurant for dinner. We thought we’d go catch a movie at the local cinema before heading home for the night. Keen to explore a bit of the surrounding countryside tomorrow.
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  • Day15

    Slow morning in Edinburgh

    December 28, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 9 °C

    Edinburgh, a large but historical Scottish city. I, of course, found the local bakery which also happened to do fantastic coffee as well. I brought back the goods before we set off on foot to explore Edinburgh.
    We were staying reasonably close to the city centre so we wander up Calton Hill to get a great view of the whole city and it’s surrounds. It was quite a steep walk up but we made it. We got a fantastic 360 degree view and we stayed up there for some time. We were discovering more and more that we definitely enjoyed the county side more than city life. The cities just tend to have a bit of grudge to them we don’t really like.
    We’d kind of left any main tourist attractions bit too late for our first day so we decided to grab a late lunch and headed back to the apartment to relax before heading back out at night. I figured out the bus situation which made it much easier to get around the city.

    We found the Edinburgh Christmas markets which were the best we’d seen so far. Of course we couldn’t resist going on the Star Flyer, a spinning chair ride that went high up above the city. What a view of the city lights we got as we were swung around just meters from a monument steeple.
    We explored the markets, ate market food, tasted the local moonshine and sipped mulled wine before calling it a night, but not before one more ride on that Star Flyer.
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  • Day14

    Hello Scotland

    December 27, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 5 °C

    We woke, packed up, found some breakfast and got on the road. Our aim for today was to not touch a single freeway or expressway as we made our way up to Edinburgh, Scotland. We followed the backstreets and country roads, stopping briefly in busy Carlisle. We crossed the border into Scotland, obviously stopping for a photo with the sign, such tourists, and cruised through the green hills to Edinburgh. We found the entrance to our BnB, well after dark, and struggled to get inside, not knowing which actual apartment it was. After a few phone calls we managed to make it in. I went out for supplies and it wasn’t long before were both tucked up in bed. Looking forward to exploring Edinburgh tomorrow.Read more

  • Day13

    The Lakes District

    December 26, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 3 °C

    We woke to a pretty quite town outside. Everyone was starting a little late after Christmas Day. We wandered down the street and found a great cafe for brekky, before exploring the shops. We nearly had to call an ambulance when an old local took a tumble onto the road right in front of us! He was adamant he was ok so we helped him to his feet and some more local people kept a close eye on him as he made his way back to the local retirement village.
    We perused Beatrix Potter world briefly but it wasn’t long before we were craving those amazing rolling hills again. So we jumped back in little blue and hit the road. We simply just followed our noses. Tunring left and right which ever way looked nicer. It wasn’t long before we were out of reception and following narrow farms tracks through the valleys. This was possibly one of the best days ever, exploring this vast and beautiful wilderness. We found a great spot on top of a massive hill. The fresh air and quiet stillness was really so relaxing.

    With daylight running out we decided to head back. We found a random pub full of hikers and stopped for a bite to eat and drink before making our way back to the town.

    Tomorrow we were going to make tracks for Scotland!
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  • Day12

    Christmas Day!

    December 25, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 6 °C

    Merry Christmas!
    It was yet another slow morning for us. Still on country side time and with that English Winter outside all you want to do is stay in bed all morning. We relaxed, cooked up some Christmas brekky and opened all our presents. Most were silly little gimmick gifts but others were brilliant. A Christmas morning well spent!

    We checked out around lunch time and hit the road in our little blue Vauxhall once again. Our next destination, the Lakes District. Jo took the wheel this time and we knew as soon as we hit the Lakes district we were going to love this place. With such short days the sun was beginning to set across the rolling green hills, moss covered stones walls, and picturesque farm houses. Sheep grazed in the green fields and every tree seemed to be covered in twists of bright green vines. It was like a scene straight out of Lord of the Rings or I dunno… Pride & Prejudice?

    My point being, this place was incredible! We took a back street farm road to the main town of Windemere. We could have really taken our time as we cruised through this amazing scenery, but there there was only one problems. Jo possibly drank too much water, we’d been on the road for a couple of hours, and Queen Lizzy’s Christmas speech was going to start as soon as we arrived… meaning she was driving like a crazed rally car driver! We rollercoastered over and around the rolling green hills and made it safely to our BnB in Bowness-on-Windemere. I couldn’t open the door fast enough in fear of Jo kicking the door in!

    She made it, and we also got to see Lizzy’s speech.

    The sun was just about to disappear so we made the most of it and headed out to explore the beautiful lakeside village of Bowness-on-Windemere.

    We managed to find a restaurant open for a Christmas dinner of some pretty heavy food, and played cards while sipping mulled wine before heading back.
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  • Day11

    Christmas Eve

    December 24, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    NOTE: I’ve been quite slack on the old the blog of late. I guess I’ve just been enjoying this place too much. The next several days will just be a brief summary and more photos. If you haven’t been following along with our daily videos on Instagram we’ll also pop them up on here. They pretty much sum up each day within a minute.

    We pick up the story on a chilly morning at our cosy little BnB in Chipping Campden. We can’t get enough of this beautiful country side. THr cotswolds have been a real treat. We explored the little town for a bit before heading slightly south back to Stow-on-the-Wold, one of the main Cotswold villages, to meet up with James, Jess, & Hudson for brunch. We were about to part ways for the remainder of the trip so needed to get our Hudson fix before we wouldn’t see them for 5 weeks.
    We ate an explored the great village shops on offer. It wasn’t long before they had to hit the road again so we sadly said our goodbyes and waved them off.

    It didn’t take long before I heard the first “I miss Hudson… and James & Jess”

    We didn’t have time to mope about though, it was Christmas Eve and we had presents to buy. We set ourselves a budget, and a time limit to cruise the stores in this awesome little town separately and buy each other as many little presents as possible. We met back up in an hour with bags full of the goods. Great fun!

    From Stow-on-the-Wold we aimed north. We had to cover a bit of ground if we were going to make it to our next destination. We aimed for Sheffield, a fairly large and grungy city just north of Birmingham. We mad it to our quaint BnB in the city, wrapped our haul of presents, ordered uber eats, and hit the hay.

    Asher ☺️
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  • Day10

    Rolling through those hills

    December 23, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 6 °C

    This morning was a very slow morning, We slept in and checked out what was around us on our phones. Turns out we were staying on the grounds of Dyrham Estate. Dyrham Estate was a beautiful country home/castle belonging to someone important. But more important to us, it was used in one of the opening scenes of the movie ‘Australia’. Just a simple fly over shot but still...This led to us watching the first half of ‘Australia’ as we spent the morning hours relaxing. We checked out of our little cottage and wandered down to check to the Dyrham Estate. It was extremely picturesque. Quite cool to be able to stay right next to it. Jo felt like she was in a scene straight out of a Jane Austen film/novel.

    From there we jumped back in the car and headed to Bath. Bath was extremely busy with so much traffic. We drove to the top of the hill for a spectacular view, and then back down to ‘The Circus’, a famous circle of buildings situated in Bath. Soon the chaoticness and business just became to much. We decided to give those Roman baths Bath is famous for a miss because it was just too busy and we had to hit the road.

    We drove north, our route, through the Cotswolds. We cruised though the rolling hills of west England, amazed after every corner we took. We travelled through many beautiful old stone walled farms and stone housed towns. It was just so refreshing being in the country. We stopped for a late lunch in Tetbury, a spectacular old stone town full of amazing old pubs, cafes and gift shops. We found an awesome cafe, ate, and played some cards before hitting the road again. We were trying to get to our AirBnB before dark and we had to make tracks to get there in time. We were heading to a little town called Chipping Campden at the northern end of the Cotswolds.
    We managed to make it, just, after getting a little bit lost before finding our little farmstead studio. The owners met us as we drove in and were so lovely. They showed us the ropes and left us be. This beautiful farm was situated onto of Dovers Hill which overlooks the township of Chipping Campden. We relaxed for a bit. Then headed doesn’t he hill into the cute little town covered in fairy lights for some dinner. We found an amazing Italian restaurant… the amount of Italian we eat you would have thought we were in Italy! We’re both obsessed with it! We dined on spinach and ricotta ravioli and wild boar tagliatelle before heading back up the hill to finish our movie ‘Australia’ and had to bed. Very excited to explore this little place in the morning with a bit more light and also meet up with J,J, & H again for brunch at Stow-on-the-Wold, another beautiful Cotswold town.

    Asher ☺️
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  • Day9

    Windsor... Woah

    December 22, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 7 °C

    It was an early start to the day. James and I hit the Underground early to go and grab our rental cars while the girls and Hudsy finished packing up the apartment. Jo and I scored a little bright blue Vauxhall Corsa. We cruised back tot he apartment, grabbed the girls and H, and hit the road. Our first destination was Windsor Castle, just a 30 minute drive from Earl’s Court.

    Windsor Castle had to be one of my personal favourites of the the trip so far. Because it’s still used today, everything was so immaculately kept and the whole castle was just incredible. We wandered the outside parts briefly before heading into St Georges Chapel for a Sunday service. It’s closed to the public on Sunday unless you attend a service, and we were very keen to check out the inside of this spectacular building. So we attend the service. It was so interesting to witness how such an old and respected chapel conducts it’s service. Everything is very scripted and you can follow along in a little booklet they give you. We listened to the choir sing, the lesson of the the day and also sang hymns from a remarkably similar green hymn book accompanied by a very epic pipe organ.

    We sat through the hour long service, managed to snap some sneaky photos of the incredible interior, and left feeling little weird after just experiencing something remarkably different to our own memorial services but also kind of similar in a way.

    We explored the rest of the outside of the castle and then headed into the State Apartments section. This is the part of the castle where Queen Lizzy often entertains guests and hosts dinner parties. It is also a museum of the rooms of King George IV… or V…. Or III? I can’t remember! There were so many King Georges.

    The interior of this Castle was something to behold. Everything was so extravagant and so lavish it was kind of hard to comprehend. So much was covered in gold, from floor to ceiling, the walls were lined with priceless artworks, and I can only imagine the price of the ornaments and gifts which sat in the corridors and immense rooms.

    This place was so interesting and so large we ended up spending most of the day here. We didn’t left eh actual castle until about 2:30pm. We hadn’t even explored Windsor at all. J & J ended up getting quite ahead of us and left for there BnB in the country side well before us.

    From the castle Jo & I wanders the beautiful streets of Windsor, shadowed but he huge castle overlooking it. I grabbed a delicious Cornish pasty while Jo scored some incredible Italian pizza from an authentic Italian street food vendor. We sat and ate our late lunch before hitting the road, destination, Dyrham Park, our country side cottage for the evening.

    We arrived well after dark at 5:30pm and felt instantly relaxed as we entered our cosy little farm cottage. It was an old barn, converted into a rustic B&B. The original stone flooring was chilly underfoot but the whole place had such a cosy feel to it. We spent the evening watching TV and just simply relaxing before crashing out in the huge king bed quite early, ready for another day of exploring tomorrow.

    Asher ☺️
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  • Day8

    Last Day, Market Day

    December 21, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    Portobello Road Markets, Notting Hill… what a crazy place! Hustling and bustling with so many people, store holders yelling out there best selection of produce or latest styled hats. We wandered through, bumping shoulders left and right, soon discovering that we needed cash at most vendors. So we found an ATM, which ended up being out of order. All good, we’ll just go inside and get money out. Oh wait, it’s a 10.5% extra bank fee to withdraw cash… No worries we’ll go to that supermarket… oh they don’t do cash out? That’s all good, we’ll try another supermarket… whats that? They don’t do cash out either? ok….oh look, there’s another atm, lets try that… oh that’s out of order as well? Never mind that security guy said that that other supermarket will do cash out… Ok let’s try that. We can get cash out, yes! Oh… it won’t let us use our Australian cards?!! Ok this is getting a bit annoying, let’s keep walking. Oh let me pop my head into this supermarket and check… don’t even bother, it’s tiny! Wait what’s that in the distance?! It’s glowing light on a wall that reads ‘CASH’. Will it work? Will it not? There’s only one way to find out… Yass! It does, finally we have some pounds to purchase our big delicious market pastries with! Woooo!

    Soon the rain set in and we had to bail. We set off for Harrod’s, the super department store of London. Harrod’s was all a it much, packed tot eh rafters with hectic Christmas shoppers. Jo managed to by a few books and we got out of there. We set off on a bus aiming to do a bit of shopping before we left London for the country side tomorrow. We got a few stops away and just weren’t feeling it. Our feet were killing and we were so exhausted. So we hopped right off and got right on the Underground train heading back home. We arrived home to J,J, & H where we all just chilled out for bit before Jo & I headed to grab a drink with the local Carroll. We met Ben and his girlfriend Kate at an amazing underground wine bar for a drink and serious catch-up.We hadn’t seen Ben for several years and had never met Kate so it was so great to catch them. We chatted for a couple of hours and down a delicious bottle of red before we said our goodbyes and headed back to the apartment. It was pack up time and off to bed for an early night before we hit the road tomorrow.

    Asher ☺️
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