November 2015 - March 2021
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  • Day1528

    Cactus country

    February 3, 2020 in Mexico ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

    We wake leisurely in the morning and potter around listening to some English music introducing the guys to different bands they've never heard of. We drive to a place called Cataceaus de Queretaro which is believed to be a Sacred area full of magic. There are so many different types ranging from really small to really big ,. Over the years some species have become extinct so this place is working to protect the species remaining. A small building houseas a greenhouse area where cacti are grown from seeds and nurtured till the are strong enough to put in the ground.
    Here in Mexico they eat cactus on a daily basis and is a massive part of the staple diet. They taste very similar to green peppers and are cooked similarly too.
    The guide explains to us that cactus are used for many things here in Mexico from medicine to food but most importantly Tequila. We take the trek to the Mirador and the views are beautiful
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  • Day1527


    February 2, 2020 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Today is Candlemas which is the official end of Xmas. During the Christmas festivities a small baby Jesus is baked in a bread and whoever gets the baby hosts the party of Candlemas.
    We go for breakfast at a traditional restaurant which consists of taco's and cornbread topped with beans cheese and of course chilli. Diana's mum joins us and then it's back to her house to collect Miguel. We spend the day visiting the beautiful city o Queretaro with lots of architecture the streets adorned with market stalls. The sadness in places like this is the lack of jobs, people live hand to mouth making various artisanal products to sell on the streets. It's much colder than I expected and my suitcase is literally packed with t shirts and little summer dresses. After eating the most delicious Ice cream we drive out of the city following the aquaduct which was built as a labour of love, it literally follows the whole city.
    In the evening we head to Diana's uncles house where we celebrate Candlemas , we have singing and dancing and karaoke and every body joins in a really wonderful night with wonderful people. I'm pleased to be able to at least communicate a little with her family but they speak so fast I don't necessarily understand everything but I get by and by midnight we are home and tucked up in bed
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  • Day1526

    Retiro to Mexico

    February 1, 2020 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    I've decided to go to Parque de El Retiro. We have a few hours to spare before we head to the airport. The park is filled with stunning architectural monuments and statues. Struggling to find a coffee bar we eventually stumble across one . The lady wasn't open but said the coffee machine would be five minutes before it was ready so we waited while watching the local college practice boat racing on the man made lake. A little further through the park is the Monument to Alfonso, a brilliant arch filled with beautiful carvings. In the park used to be a zoo , with bears and various animals but thankfully was no more. They still have peacocks here . A further walk leads us back towards the Airbnb and a bite of breakfast and collection of suitcases and were waiting for the bus to the airport. When we board the tickets with 10 journeys on isn't valid and we have to pay a furthere 5 euro each.We make it to the Airport well on time and finally on our way again. Long haul flights are like childbirth, painful but we'll worth it at the end. After a long haul we arrive and after what seems like forever the guys pull up.
    It's a really strange thing the connection I have with these adoptive children I meet, but the feeling of joy when I'm reunited with Diana and finally getting to meet Oscar and Violetta is indescribable. After getting picked up we had gone back to Oscars parents to change cars, Oscar was in his dad's car because only cars with a Mexican plate can drive in Mexico city at certain times.
    I'm surprised at the fact they still have a tree up, but Christmas isn't officially over until the 2nd . We briefly meet Oscars gran and mum and then a two hours drive and once we arrive it was straight to bed.
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  • Day1525

    Passing Through

    January 31, 2020 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    Whilst looking for flights to Mexico I found it much cheaper to book our journey with a stop off in Madrid. After a quick flight we collect our luggage and jump on the tube to our Airbnb it was a couple of changes but nothing too complicated but on arrival we couldn't gain access. After numerous phone calls i suggested we go and grab a beer and a bite to eat. Across the road is an Irish bar so we head in and after fish and chips and a G & T and a few emails i finally get the access code. We finish up and after dropping the bags off and a quick shower we head out to explore the city of Madrid by night.
    Madrid is so romantic with its beautiful architecture, wonderful aromas and windy streets we strolled for a couple of hours enjoying a coffee along the route. We arrive in the Plaza de Jacento and i stumble across Paw Patrol, Mario and his friends I willingly have my photo taken with them and as i go to walk off they start shouting at me in Spanish they start to give chase and Im literally being chased by the whole crew of them I dart down alittle side street and down a small cobbled alley to find a lovely traditional Spanish restaurant offering the best Patatas Bravas in the world, How could we resist. I started chatting to the girls on the table next to us and had overheard the conversation that she had just been living near mexico city for six months and told them we were going to the town of Queretaro and she couldnt believe it as thats exactly where she had been. She told us how beautiful it was and the many beautiful places there were to visit. We buy an ice cream as we walk through the Theatre distict before heading back to the hostel to get a decent nights sleep.
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  • Day1311

    Szechenyi thermal baths

    July 1, 2019 in Hungary ⋅ ⛅ 35 °C

    After a late arrival we literally dropped our bags and ran out to get a bite to eat so the unpacking has been left till this morning. I check on Google maps and the Szechenyi thermal baths is within 50 mins walk and as I've explained to Amber, no better way to explore a city than walk. I just keep stopping to look around me. The city is so beautiful . Budapest is split in two, one half called Buda and the other half Pest. We are staying on the Buda side but at some point during the week we'll venture a across the water.
    Our walk takes us through streets flanked by huge houses and government buildings until we stumble across a restaurant I've been recommended called Vimtage garden. It's a beautiful place adorned with flowers very vintage chic. I order the mussels and have to say they're the best I've ever eaten. Bellys filled we continue although the temperature is 36 it feels more like a full on hike than a stroll through the park. .
    Eventually we arrive at the baths and boy they don't disappoint. It's one of the largest medicinal baths in Europe, supplied by two thermal springs. The water is on average 38 degrees which is about the same temperature as the weather at the moment. We spend the whole day here just chilling. There are also cold pools as well as a full sized swimming pool and I get in and out the hot and cold hoping for some medical miracle for my sciatica and I have to say by the time I get out there is definitely some relief from the pain. It's a miracle!!!!!
    We aim to catch the metro back but when we get to the ticket booth the machine has over heated and gone blank so we can't buy a ticket. If you get caught without a ticket it's a £100 fine so Amber and I walk through the park and jump onto a tram that looks like a flexibus.
    There are multiple modes of transport here and it's so easy to get around. We head back to the apartment and glam up for the evening.
    Amber treats us to a beautiful meal by the river and as we walk back we decide to take in an ice cream. The problem is we can't find a place that sells it and end up walking all the way back to the river to get one. Amber happy we head back to the room xx
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  • Day1192

    Thelma and Louise do Cambridge

    March 4, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 5 °C

    I catch the early train to Wrexham to be greeted by my lifelong friend Judy, I have never been to Cambridge and thought I'd do a day here before heading to the big smoke of London. The journey is pretty uneventful with a quick stop off for a coffee. The satnav says we should arrive at 1538 which is when the bus is due to arrive at Papworth hospital which is where Judy is dropping me off. As we pull up outside the hospital the bus is just driving off . It wouldn't be me without drama and Judy hastily gives chase flashing the bus to stop but there is no one at the next 2stops and eventually pulls over at the third. I've just got my case off the backseat and don't even get to say goodbye as the bus starts to pull off without me on it. After screaming and waving my hands in the air the driver sees me and lets me on.
    I arrive in Cambridge just after 4pm but literally drop my bag and head out. The city is full of beautiful college's and old buildings, the oldest dating back to AD1000–1050 st Benet's church. As I walk down winding streets I encountered a few dead ends as some of the college grounds are closed to the public with it being so late in the day. The benefit is the sun setting lights up the beautiful stone of the buildings.
    The river Cam runs around the city and as I walk along the rivers edge old bridges cross me in and out the city with canoeists drifting underneath them. The city itself is full of shops and high-end retailers. I grab a bite to eat before walking back to the Airbnb. I hit the sack as I have an early bus to London in the morning and will be doing a good deal of walking tomorrow. I don't feel I've done enough of this lovely city but have thoroughly enjoyed what I've seen. Next stop London 🥰
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  • Day861

    The Big Turkish Wedding

    April 7, 2018 in Turkey ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    So the day has arrived and I don’t even know what time the wedding is so hopefully Mustafa hasn’t forgotten about me. I take breakfast early and make my way to the shop downstairs to buy a throw top put over my shoulders and my head if needed. I should have done this yesterday as they only have carvalla or Chanel cashmere and silk and they want 100 euros for it. I pretend he hasn’t the colour I want. I google map for a local mall and it informs me there’s one 15 minutes away so map in hand I set off. The route takes me a strange way and I end up walking through a factory yard with some unforgiving stairs but carry on with a smile on my face saying marahaba which means hello. Eventually I arrive at the destination but no mall in sight just a few random local shops, but there is one that sells scarves/ throws and they’re only 2 quid. I purchase a couple it would be rude not to and make my way back to the hotel when Mustafa calls to say his friend Ahmet will pick me up at 2pm I jump in the shower and get myself ready a little unsure what I’m wearing is correct but I look ok and I’ll worry about it when I need to . Ahmet is fashionably late but that’s just the way it is here due to the traffic. Thankfully Ahmet speaks fluent English and when we arrive at the home it’s pandemonium so he suggests going for tea. We sit in a little bar around the corner and to my surprise a short while after Mustafa walks in looking petrified. I give him a mummy cuddle and tell him to take deep breaths I even offer him a cigarette but he refuses. As he disappears in the distance we can hear the sound of drums and after finishing our tea we make our way down to the house. There is quite a crowd gathered and I’m introduced to multiple members of the family, how I’m going to remember their names is beyond me.
    The drums start getting louder and as they come up the hill they are followed by traditional Turkish dancers who are similar to the English version of Morris dancers, they dance in the street to the music being played by the pope and drums and have a hankerchief/cloth in their hand. The music and the drums play for about 10 minutes before Mustafa suddenly appears being driven bu his brother. Everyone runs to their cars and we all follow in a large procession heading towards Elifs house. All the cars are adorned with a ribbon and has we drive through the streets everyone beeps their horns intermittently for the whole 15 minute journey. We arrive at Elifs who conveniently lives opposite a mosque. Before collecting his bride Mustafa and his male family head into the mosque to pray while we are entertained by the dancers. The boys and I hide around the corner so we can have a cigarette and after 30 minutes Mustafa is ready to take his bride.
    The street is in chaos as people are hanging out of the tower building to catch a glimpse of the bird but the whole road is held up as the dancers continue to dance in the middle of the street. As they come down prayers are offered and were on the road again - convoy has nothing on a Turkish wedding. The traffic is really busy and it takes us over an hour before we actually arrive at the venue which is decorated by huge flower displays sent by multiple companies and banks which stand in the foyer as well as outside. The two sides of the family stand either side greeting the guests but the bride and groom are absent.
    Ahmet has driven well and we are some of the first guests to arrive so we’re seated quite quickly in a room that must have taken so much to plan with over 25 pages of seating plans. All the names are in alphabetical order and although I’m not meant to be with Ahmed and Mohammed they tell me I should sit with them. We are all hungry and attack the bread rolls like we haven’t been fed for days.
    The venue is breathtaking with tables beautifully decorated and in the centre of the room a platform on one side decorated with beautiful flowers two chairs and a table and stage on the other with a band playing turKish music, a huge boom video camera overlooks all the proceedings recording the images to screens throughout the room. A photographer moves throughout the room taking pictures. The starters are put out on the tables as the guests sit down as there are a lot of tables to cover it really is seamless. Mustafas dad takes to the stage and gives the only speech of the night the lights go down and the music plays and the bride and groom enter the room pyrotechnic fountains start flowing and the couple make theyre way down the red carpet. Taking a seat at they’re table they sign a register and take they’re vows. Once all the formal stuff is done it’s time for the photos. They both look really tired at this point but still have so much to do as they go around every table to greet their guests everybody wants a picture and a little chat and after an hour or more they are still meeting and greeting, her bridesmaid follows behind with a basket in which gold coins with red ribbons attached are placed in the basket which was traditional as the men who went to war if anything happened to them the bride had the gold to take care of her financially, There is no dancing until the very end of the night when various groups of men took to the stage from very young to very old dancing to each song slowly first then building with speed at each verse. It’s time to head back and after saying goodbye to the remaining guests the boys drop me to my hotel .
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