A Long Weekend in Lisbon

Back in September 2016 my boyfriend and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary, and he got me the lovely gift of a long weekend in Lisbon this May. This was our first time away since returning home from the big trip in June 2016, so although a mini break we were really looking forward to it.

fullsizeoutput_8a6

After a comfortable and quick 2 hour flight we headed into Lisbon centre. The metro is easy to negotiate and is accessed by a re-usable travel card (which can also be used on buses and trams later in the city). Our stop was Baxia-Chiado via the red and green line from the airport.

Our hotel (Bairro Alto Hotel) was lovely and had a wonderful roof terrace with views over the city and the sea. Every evening we enjoyed a drink up on the terrace, watching the world go by. The terrace is open to non-guests, but as a guest at the hotel you get priority and we never had to wait for a table despite it always being busy.

fullsizeoutput_8a1

During our days we explored the Castelo de Sao Jorge, and visited the Torre de Belem.

IMG_0683.JPG

IMG_0627.JPG

There are some lovely parks in Lisbon including the Parque Eduardo VII and Jardim Botanico Tropical. Unfortunately the main botanical gardens were closed but we enjoyed the two we visited.There are lots of museums and art galleries, but we’re not too into those so we skipped them for more of the parks and gardens – especially considering the lovely weather, we wanted to stay outside and enjoy it.

IMG_0598IMG_0632

One activity I would recommend is taking a ride on the old trams – it’s a great way to see the city, and you can ride on an old one for the same price as a one-way journey (about €1.30) on your travel card – so don’t get suckered into the expensive tram tours!

In terms of food we managed for find a number of vegetarian options – the best being Restaurant Terra which offers a delicious vegetarian buffet with fresh salads and warm dishes. I would definitely recommend, it’s a great way to try lots of local foods, without the worry of whether it’s veggie or not. With regard to drinks be prepared for rather generous sized G&Ts wherever you go!

IMG_0641.JPG

Overall it was a lovely short break – enough to do so you don’t get bored, but quiet enough that you can relax without feeling like you’re missing out on big sights. It was great to get away, but little Momo definitely missed us and enjoyed some serious cuddles upon our return

IMG_0712.JPG

 

 

Afternoon Tea at the Ritz, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – A Birthday Day Out in London

Last week I turned 29, and entered the last year of my 20s! To celebrate, we usually go away for our birthdays (my boyfriend’s is a week earlier), but having spent all our money on the big trip last year we decided to only venture as far as our capital city – London.

Despite only living 30 minutes away from London, we rarely make the short journey up to the city. Mainly due to costs – unfortunately London is one pricey place to visit!

So we decided to make a full day of it. Starting off with afternoon tea at the Ritz. We arrived at 11:30 for the tea (so technically morning tea!), but it was the same traditional format, and still incredibly busy. Booking ahead is a must! Even for a morning slot on a Wednesday morning we booked at least 6 months in advance – be warned.

IMG_0415

The afternoon tea was delicious, and the setting is beautiful. There is a good selection of teas to choose from – I went for a rose blend, and my boyfriend opted for chai. Both were great, but we were a bit disappointed they didn’t offer to let us change teas between pots. I have no doubt they would have if we’d asked, but being far too British to say anything we just accepted a second pot of the same each.

fullsizeoutput_5ad

The sandwiches were lovely, and they provided me with a good selection of veggie options. The initial cake stand comes with sandwiches and pastries, but don’t be fooled into thinking that’s all you’ll get. After first stand they will come round with fresh scones, and slices of cake, plus top ups of anything from the stand. My advice is to go easy on the sandwiches to leave room for the wonderful sweet stuff!

IMG_0422

We left feeling comfortably full and made our way over to the Palace Theatre for the second part of our birthday day out – the Harry Potter plays! All I can say it was brilliant and definitely worth seeing, if you’re able to get your hands on some tickets. Unfortunately I believe its sold out well into 2018, but it is possible to queue for returned tickets on the day if you have time to spare.

fullsizeoutput_5af

Our seats were great – second row from the front and able to see everything that was going on up close. Unfortunately, the first few rows are not sloped, so I did struggle to see past the person in front’s head at times. But this was rectified by sitting on my coat to prop me up a bit – did not want to miss a thing!

There is a bit of a wait between the two parts, but we came prepared and had booked a table at a pub across the road from the theatre – The Cambridge. Nice pub food, and they served my favourite wine (Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc) so a good place to pass the time between plays.

All in all a great day, and a wonderful way to start the last year of my twenties. The big 30 next year will hopefully be spent in New York – I’m excited already!

fullsizeoutput_5ac

Top Things To Do In Tokyo On A Budget

Japan is a wonderful country to travel in, and I would recommend it as a destination in a heartbeat. However, unlike many Asian countries, it’s not always easy to travel on a budget. That said, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of free attractions, and cheap eating options available. These are a few of my top choices from Tokyo:

View From The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
FREE – I would highly recommend a trip up the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building to have a look at the view. I went up at night and it was great to see all the buildings lit up. You can see for miles, and it’s hard to belief it’s free. However, if you fancy splashing out, there is an international restaurant at the top too, which considering the location is reasonably priced. It can be a bit tricky to find the lift, but head for building 1 and you should find the queue. It was quite long when we joined, but moved quickly.
Metro stop – Shinjinku

fullsizeoutput_80

Continue reading

All About The Everest Base Camp Trek

It’s hard to believe it’s been over a year since I set foot at Everest Base Camp. But I still remember it like it was yesterday!

To commemorate my one year EBC anniversary I thought I’d put together a post with all the information I’ve had to offer about EBC so far.

I really hope it helps others achieve their goal of trekking to Everest Base Camp (5364m)

image

Continue reading

Vegetarian Okonomiyaki in Hiroshima

When heading to the Osaka and Hiroshima based areas of Japan, you’ll often hear the advice that you must try Okonomiyaki.

Okonomiyaki is a savoury pancake, consisting of batter (or noodles), cabbage, pork and a variety of toppings to add. It’s cooked on a hot surface, and flipped a number of times until to begins to take the shape of a pancake.

img_9138

Continue reading

Can you travel long term with a mortgage?

A lot of people advocate for “travelling while you’re young”, and often this is associated with a lack of responsibilities. For example, it’s best to go before you’ve settled down, bought a house, started a career, had a family etc.

I won’t deny that travel is probably in many ways easier before all these commitments. But there is another side to the debate.
Continue reading

What Occupational Therapists Really Do

I went out for dinner with two close friends last night, and when talking about work one said “you’re a bit like Chandler from Friends.. No one really knows what your job is!”

I’ve been a qualified Occupational Therapist for over three years (and a MSc OT student for two years before that), and sometimes I still stumble when trying to explain what I do.

image
Continue reading

Travel Budget – New Zealand

Prior to arriving in New Zealand my budget for this country was one of the big unknowns in preparing for the trip. This is because we were planning to buy a campervan (rather than rent), and had no guarantees how much money we’d get back when it came to selling. Additionally New Zealand is renowned for being a fairly expensive country to travel in, which given the amazing adventure sports on offer its not surprising costs add up.

Over the 72 days I spent in New Zealand the costs amounted to $5,336 total. And averaged out at $74.11 per day. (All costs are in NZ dollars btw not USD!)

image
Continue reading