Milano

Hi All,
It’s me again.
So I wanted to start proceedings with a little look back on my Mini Birthday Trip to Milan. For my 25
thBirthday. Which was in July last year. He likes to make me wait for everything.

So Jimbob organized for us to enjoy a long weekend in Milan over the May Bank Holiday. The trip was picked off my bucket list which can be found here on my blog. There are over 500 items so I’ll be here a long time trying to complete this bad boy. The particular item for this trip was ‘Eat Pizza in Italy’, which if you ask people who know us as a couple this was definitely a trip where Jimbobwasn’t going to be unhappy. He’s a right pizza face – well so am I. 


So we took the Friday off work and traveled to Manchester Airport. People tell me we live closer to Leeds-Bradford than Manchester but I am a creature of habit and I love Manchester Airport. I know where everything is and I have literally so many great memories. We used Meet and Greet terminal 3 which if you haven’t used it before I totally recommend, why anyone would want to get off a plane, no matter how long and then proceed to get on a bus to a frigging huge car park which is further a way than where you live is literally beyond me. The fact is it’s super close to the terminal and if you fly out of one terminal and fly into another they will move your car. Plus you never pay full price more than once because if you sign up/subscribe to their marketing emails they are always offering 15/20% off- sweet! Cant grumble there can you. 

Once we parked in bay 4 and dropped off the key at the mini reception we took the very short walk to the terminal building. Now I wont get in to it here, but click here for my travel pet hates- worth a read if you’re not a seasoned traveller and learn what not to do.
We booked fast pass tickets and sailed through security before heading to Costa for a cup of tea. Now I will not lie to you I hate T3 at Manchester its like a small bar where nobody is sure where to stand. Short history lesson here, but T3 was originally designed for BA (British Airways) I think they realized that although they are somewhat British and sleek, they are over priced and that people prefer a slightly cheaper option and it became Ryanair’s Terminal- so the terminal is filled with Hen and Stag do’s that just get in the way if truth be told. But, I digress. I purchased some Cards & Top Trumps from
W.H.Smithsbefore boarding.
Milan Bergamo Airport is roughly a 1 hour and 50 minute flight time and is located only 55 minutes away from the centre of Milan.
For a cheap price of 5 Euros per person there are several coach company’s that will take you to the central station located north of the center- 30 minute wall from the cathedral. 

We could’ve taken the metro-yellow line two stop for a cost of 2.50 Euros per person but with the warm sun beaming down we wanted to get our first look at Milan. It took us 20 minutes to walk to our hotel –
SenatoHotel Milano. It’s located only 10 minutes walk from the Cathedral and 5 minutes walk from the very fashionable Via Sant’Andrea.
We checked in to our room-104. Our room was simple and stylish, with a huge bed and marble bathroom I was very pleased. But for the icing on the cake was the Terrace that was just wonderful. I love to have outside space with my hotel room but I realise this isn’t always possible. It was a small shame there was no view as it was an internal facing terrace, but it was still a great space. By the time we arrived it was around 19:30 so we had a quick change and then walked the streets of the Italian City to find food. 
 

 

We came across what looked like this tiny roadside café, we sat outside and wanted to enjoy alfresco dining. The restaurant was quiet until around 21:30 for those interested but the quiet atmosphere didn’t affect our mood. We ordered drinks; Aperol Spritz for me and a beer for Jimbob. We chose meatballs and a meat and cheese platter to start. We were expecting them to be small, well we were very wrong. The meat platter was massive! It included artichokes which were great to try, and the meatballs were the best I have ever had. No joke. During dinner we moved inside as it started to drizzle, and found that the tiny café was move of a large restaurant with some beautiful features. We had another round of drinks with our pizza main, which to be honest weren’t the best pizzas we have ever had. Jimbob said his pizza needed sauce as it was a bit dry (Rocket, Parma Ham and Cheese Salad) and mine was too wet and was sloppy (Margarita). We left the restaurant to find it properly raining but the night was still warm. We took the 15 minute walk home and got a earlyishnight (around 11pm).

With a great night sleep under my belt we awoke and enjoyed the sunshine on the terrace before heading down to breakfast in the small café with a small courtyard garden. The breakfast was included in the price of our room and could have been enjoyed in our room at a small charge of 10 Euros each. We chose to enjoy it in the café to make sure we weren’t missing out and I am so pleased we did.
The café is so cute, laid out buffet style but everything is immaculate. A large selection of pastries, along with cereals and Scrambled egg and Bacon, perfect for a couple of days. (The waiter was the same both days made an effort to remember our drinks order; he got it wrong but the effort was both sweet and comforting). We ate and headed out into the world around 10:30am. 

 

We walked down towards to Cathedral to bask in the beauty and atmosphere of the cultural center. We walked around and enjoyed the amount of people taking both traditional photos along with what one might describe as Instagram photos. We took our walk to a small café for a beverage in the warm sun, I sipped coca cola while Jimbob had a beer- my beverage tasted even better thanks to the fact you don’t pay sugar tax in Italy because their government believe it’s the individuals right to decide what he or she might drink (I’m not bitter I swear). 
After we finished our drinks we took a short walk to the beautiful stores that house the worlds fashion. I love going into designer stores to enjoy the beautiful pieces, deciding if something is worth the price tag. Occasionally you know it totally is and enjoy the luxury of buying that all important piece, that piece you have saved up for or just thought ‘What the Hell’. We scouted round all the big brands but nothing was catching my eye and I knew I would be totally disappointed leaving a fashion capital with nothing but my memories. You see every Fashion Capital I have purchased something to remind me of the memories and to share a story how this piece came to be mine. We arrived in Prada, having been in every other store I had already expected to not see anything that would impress me enough to share my happiness smile (I have one smile that as of late does not come out that often, it’s my content smile that only the most amazing action, person or item can achieve). I turned to the right of the store to see the smaller size wicker bag in green with a pop art face on and the black version along side. I had been lusting after the Natural one ever since Claire Chouquette had purchase one for Wimbledon – but as far as I was aware it had sold out. I wandered round the store to see if anything jumped out at me; no, nothing. I took my last glance at the bag before a wonderful lady asked me ‘Can I help?’ My only response was ‘Do you have this in the cream?’ when the lady had finished conferring with her colleague the response was ‘yes we do, I’ll go pull it out’. 3 Long minutes later she returned and so did that smile! She was beautiful, everything, the perfect summer bag for a lifetime. I tried it on, enjoying myself in the moment. Now I don’t believe in the old ‘if you have to ask you cant afford’ because it’s your hard earn cash at the end of the day, you should be entitled to see if you are willing to part with it. The sales assistant confirmed the price, and then Jimbob whispered, ‘do you want it for your birthday?’ ‘Yes, Yes, YES’. I was beaming! My dream of buying a Prada bag in Milan in its home had come true and I had that man, that beautiful man to thank for it. The lady invited us to enjoy some water while she boxed my beauty up which has been given the name ‘Pea’ (we name all our bags in this household). He paid, and we left the shop both happy, for different reasons of course, but both very happy. We took a short 10 minute stroll, huge carrier bag in hand to an ever so cute café I had seen when we walked from the station . 

 

I was in my element, not only had my beautiful James taken me to an incredible place where the sun shone so amazingly amongst the picturesque streets but he had ticked off another Bucket List item and made me very happy at the same time. For those that are new to the blog, I am not all about the material possessions, I just have a thing for bags and I was overly humbled that he wanted to make me happy.  As I sat at the table the day got even better by a uber cute Labrador puppy chilling in the air-conditioned restaurant while his family dined above him. We both enjoyed a salad and water – healthy I know – and Jimbob had a Baileys coffee thing. Before you ask, I paid for lunch.

We had a leisurely stroll back to the hotel and when we arrived I enjoyed my bag before having an afternoon nap; I think the happiness had warn me out. Around 5pm we got dressed and headed out, back towards the Cathedral, which was 50% busier than earlier in the day, because I had seen an Aperol Terrace over looking the square and if there was anywhere I wanted to enjoy my Saturday Early Evening it was there.

 
On arrival we met a short queue and after 10 minutes we were at the front of the line being told it was a 13 euro entry fee which included 1 drink at the bar plus finger food which was circulating. A further drink would be 10 Euros. We thought it sounded reasonable as truth be told the majority of places we went to drinks were about 10 Euros. We paid, grabbed our drink tickets and headed for the bar and two Aperol Spritz’s. The bar had a great DJ set and the mood was very chilled with glam vibe and the view was incredible. We stayed for a few drinks and enjoyed the finger food; pizza, pasta, and mozzarella on a stick. 

We headed to a restaurant around 9pm and shared an amazing freshly made pizza and two beers. It came to around 30 euros off the top of my head. We finished and headed to the hotel for a night cap or two on our terrace and played the longest game of Minion Top Trumps ever.


The last day in Milan was a shame it was over far too quick but like all good things they come to an end. We packed up and had breakfast in the courtyard again. We settled our bill and headed for the metro to Grand Central Station. And for those of you who might use this form of transport, if you chose to travel by bus, when approaching the station the buses to Bergamo & Linate are on the right side of the building the buses to Malpensa are on the left. Just saves you walking round the entire building like we did. 

I hope you enjoyed my little diary of Milan, I had an incredible time, maybe it was the food, maybe it was the weather, maybe it because I felt like me again or maybe it was because of him.
Whatever the reason, Milan you have stolen my heart
Cx

Prague

Good morning All,
Happy Hump Day! I wanted to give you all some travel reading as it’s nice to have a bit of light reading on a Wednesday.
So a couple of weekends ago myself, Jimbob and two friends headed to Prague in Czech Republic for some city break fun.
Top Tip of the day; Prague has its own currency, the Czech Koruna, so don’t pack Euros. But for those of you struggling on where to buy Currency Asda is a great start.
We set off around 14:00 to get to the airport around 15:30. Meet and greet booked, keys handed over and through Security we went – honestly feel the airport have cut back becuase the plastic bags for liquid would not stick together -massively annoying!! If you haven’t flown before or aren’t sure of what not to do while travelling, read this – if I see you at security looking baffled becuase they asked you to take your belt off, I might slap you.
We took a seat in the MCR Bar which was a little treat as it’s always rammed and I’ve never seen an empty table, so go Chris for snatching us a little booth.{We travelled with Chris and Katie-newlyweds}. We grabbed a couple of drinks including a peach liquor thing that was surprisingly lovely. And then proceeded very quickly to get to gate 12B (I call it end of the left wing of T1-like the furthest point basically) after final call had been announced -never done that before.
The plane was just a huge c**kfest, as in like a whole plane of stag do’s and us. So only one alcoholic beverage per person. Which was fine – they serve Aperol spritz on the plane which was a true delight, so I enjoyed that with some sea salted crisps.
We landed and got an Uber for the just under half an hour journey to the hotel which totalled 370CZK, around £15.
We checked in and freshed up and went straight out. Now the plan was to eat nachos in Hard Rock but to be quite frank the servicee was extremely odd and if anything rude so after being plonked on a table I didn’t want(I had requested a high table) the waitress proceeded to tell me I couldn’t order from one menu it had to be from this group booking one. Which was total crap as it had a total of 9 things on it. No bother we left with the intention of back another time so I could enjoy my Cocktail.
We headed into the square and walked just to the right to find a bar/club with purple lights at the door. It was called Macim Bar. The beverages were expensive here around £7, we had one drink and left.
We headed to a place that the boys called Leo’s, after a deliberation outside to suggest it could be closed, we realised they were looking at the wrong door. The place it’s self is next to a comic museum, and is called Batalion. It was very resonable in drink prices. We took our table around 11:45 roughly and after around 15 minutes from a quiet 1 or 2 tables taken it became the busiest place in Prague, as it is the final stop for a bar crawl. So if you seek this place out grab a table before the masses arrive.
By 12:30 we grabbed a burger and some chilli cheese bites from the Burger King across the road and headed ourselves off to bed.
Saturday morning, Katie alerted me to the news of a beautiful snow dusted city with a picture. This meant two things, Prague was beautiful, and I was going to be cold. I hadn’t packed anything for this kind of weather – rookie mistake, as it reached -11! I don’t do well below -4 or over 36 degrees but hey.
We headed out to find breakfast and the streets were beautiful and even though I spent more time making sure I didn’t slip on the icy street it was still an enjoyable walk.
We went to Cisty Stul for breakfast which was a place I found through Trip Advisor. It was such a cute little find and the minute you entered the smell was so welcoming. We sat at the back of the Resturant away from the chill of the street. We dabbled around with decision making before setting on 3 English Breakfasts & 1 French. The price was around £12 each which some might find expensive but it did include two beverages each. The presentation was amazing and even though I didn’t select it I was pleased to see the beans were safely contained and let’s be frank, not swimming around on the plate (ramekin good). I tried the mushrooms from the English breakfast which were lush really well seasoned and garnished with rosemary. I had the French breakfast which was filling and it felt healthy. I swapped my boiled egg for scrambled and I was extremely happy with the 3 big slices of cheese. The care and attention gone into cutting up grapes made me smile (having been told that this is a thing people do for children to avoid choking, I felt that it’s most important for the restaurant to think of the health of their guests). We enjoyed nattering over the food and set our plan to walk around 11 minutes to the Charles Bridge. The streets were packed with tours, all ages were flooding the streets with cameras.
With the smell of mulled wine in the air, it felt only right to grab a cup in the cold snow dusted streets.
We drank our wine and headed into a quiet Irish bar which to be honest I won’t be returning to, which is located just behind the Irish Times. We had more mulled wine and left. Then we went to the more upbeat Irish Times and enjoyed the music and absinthe, which if taken like Heroin, is still no more pleasant! (ok for all of you think what the f***- we were shown that if you put sugar on a teaspoon set it alight, quickly stir it into the absinthe and drink I think it makes it stronger. Personally it was vile but it was nice to try the “local stuff”. Won’t be becoming a heroin user soon if this was anything to go by). Back to it we enjoyed a couple of rounds including green lager, which did have a weird after taste but hey! A belated Happy St Paddies Day to all my Irish Followers. But it was nice to get into the vibe.
We left and went to our Third Irish Bar of the day (but not the last). We hadn’t intended to go here but the boys got lost looking for a place they’d been to before. It was extremely packed and the Irish balloons made it feel fun. We supped our drinks and headed on to the 4th Irish bar of the day (where the boys had been before) Rocky O’Reilly’s. It was a long bar which it does not look from inside. We got in and watched the rugby -we lost (I have no idea what score line was but I know we lost).
So I know what your thinking, time to get changed and go for dinner. Well, that didn’t happen. We went back to “Leo’s” where things got a little hazy to say the least (the absinthe was catching up to us).
But wait, we did manage to eat at Pizza & Pasta factory. And from what I remember it was good. With a few more beers in I was ready to call it a Night. Well Katie had other plans, taking me to get a Sugar donut roll thing. I ate what I fancied and then headed to a gentleman’s club called Goldfingers. So for a quick minute let’s talk about that. If you are a women you have to pay to go in. 500 CZK each.  If you’re a man you get 0 entry fee plus a round of beers. We on the other hand enjoyed a small round of two ciders and two vodka and Cokes for a cool 1300 CZK (£50)
So, is this place for women? Well if you aren’t offended by the female form and you like decent music it’s a nice way to kill a few hours. Is it seedy? No this is a big concern and the women are beautiful and extremely talented at a. Walking around in those heels and b. Moving up the pole.
We left Goldfingers to some how end up in another Strip Club called Rios. Now to describe this is probably like saying if Goldfingers is like Champions League, Rios is Sunday league. We got totally screwed with the entry fee and the ‘free drinks’, becuase we had to spend £16 on mixers (4 cokes). Sorry, Rios is not for me.
So by this point we know it’s a really good idea to go to the Hard Rock and get a Cocktail and tick that all important bucket list item. And it was mint. I haven’t been to a Hard Rock Cafe like it, it’s fun, it’s loud. It’s more party than Restaurant and it’s a good time. Highly recommended to get your groove on for 0 entry fee.
We called it a night around half 1 and went back to the hotel.
Sunday. Well you know that day you wake up and you really just want to lay there all day, well that didn’t really happen. We had to check out at 12 which was a bummer as weren’t flying till 19:00 (which ended up as 23:10 -weather delays).
We headed out to see the Easter Square and grab something to eat at Food Story. Bit annoyed that they gave us breakfast menus, then wouldn’t let us order breakfast because it was like 12:01. So the service there isn’t the best but the food is homemade and the garlic wedges were delish!
We took a tour of the Sex Machine Museum which is 250CZK each to enter. It has 4 floors of bizarre stuff-probably not for the faint hearted. The cinema room hosts some unique viewing-let’s just leave it there.
We went back to the hotel to relax until home time.
Now I realise this isn’t a massively cultural review, it possibly isn’t even a good read. But if you learn anything from me here today, if you’re up for a good time, Prague will happily have you.
Thank you to Chris and Katie for their company and Jimbob for showing up.
Till Next time
Cx

Multi City Stop

Hi All,
I wanted to share what I’ve been up to this month.
We decided to go on a mini European trip, including Sweden, Poland and Belgium, starting off in….
Stockholm
So we were slightly delayed because of an inbound flight, but this meant we got to enjoy the Escape Lounge for a little bit longer. Which of course wasn’t a massive problem! FYI the T3 Escape Lounge is nicer than T1. There’re no windows in T1 so I’d probably say use the Aspire Lounge if at T1.
The flight was super quick with the help of ‘Trollied- thank you SkyGo. Stockholm Arlanda airport is very easy to navigate through and it was very quiet when we landed, between getting off the plane to getting through the door it was probably about 7 minutes.
We had booked our transfer with Flygbussarna which cost us a total of 396 SEK (approx £35) for 2 return tickets and it dropped us off at the Central Terminal 4 minutes walk from our hotel.
We checked in to our hotel, room 401 and went straight to the Hard Rock via Uber for a cool £8. We enjoyed the usual – cocktails and nachos. Safe to say Stockholm avoids HR in January, as it was super quiet. We returned to the hotel and asked for a kettle for our room and he returned with everything we needed for a cup of tea. Winning!
The following day we slept in, missing breakfast by just 15 minutes. But it didn’t matter, we walked down the road to find the IKEA bus stop, having found it we wandered off in search of food. A small coffee shop only round the corner filled out stomach, and we were ready for the day. We walked back round to the bus stop to find that the free Ikea shuttle bus only runs during the week. So we totted off down to the tube. It costs 88 SEK for a single trip or 75 minutes and you can use the ticket on a bus or tube. The SL app is just as easy to buy a ticket too.
Looking to go to IKEA? Take the red line to Norborg 13 stops. Then come out of the station and take a left, you see a lidl to your left and a bus station to the right. You need to go to the other side of the bus station and get the 740, just two stops and wa-la.
On our way back we stopped off at Gamla Stan, a recommendation from a friend. This is the old town – it’s beautiful. So quaint in fact we cancelled our dinner reservation to enjoy it all evening.
Sunday morning we awoke and went down to breakfast and the spread was top notch. There really was a bit of everything. Even the complainers of the world would struggle to moan.
Once checked out we walked the short distance to our transfer. Flygbussarna is a great way to get to and from the airport, with transfers every 10 minutes you’d be silly to go any other way.
Then on a flight to…
Gothenburg
The west side of Sweden was only a stop over for us, it’s a real shame we weren’t there longer but hey, in our short time there we enjoy the beauty and quaint style of the sea port.
We used Flygbussarna gain. It was a 36 minute transfer and cost a total of £32 for 2 returns.
We were staying at the Elite Plaza Hotel which is just a short 12 minute walk from the bus terminal. The hotel is equiped with a small gym, sauna and English pub.
We took a stroll around the city as soon as we dumped our bags. At -1C it was colder than Stockholm, but it felt a lot lot colder. We enjoyed a cocktail in the Hard Rock -obviously! And then had dinner at La Gondola. The food was ok, apart from the garlic prawns and the roasted artichoke – They were really delish!
We headed back to the hotel for an early(ish) night with Netflix.
The next morning we were up and back to the airport to fly to…
Warsaw 
After a short delay at Gothenburg airport we were on our way. A note I’d like to make is that Ryanair, as cheap and convenient as they are, aren’t as smooth as SAS & Norwegian. I’ve said it before the need to show your boarding pass again and again really isn’t necessary, I don’t understand Ryanair’s need. Plus the boarding process was slow. The need to queue to show your boarding pass and then queue again to actually board the aircraft is stupid. Why not just ask people to board when you’re ready? But at £19 for the flight I can’t complain that much.
On a side note the Gormet Snack Boxes priced at €6 are pretty great if your a little pekish on the flight.
We landed around 13:00 and grabbed an Uber for £12 to the hotel, the can journey took around 40 minutes.
We checked into Hotel Indigo and found our room on the 3rd floor. The room was the biggest of the trip and also the cheapest. The interior is beautiful – top marks to the designer.
We had a quick change and grabbed a snack and cocktails in Florentin, the hotels Restaurant. We ate at the bar, and had a hummus platter, which honestly was a lot better than it sounds, and lamb croquettes. The bartender was very attentive making me 3 cocktails not on the menu. We grabbed our coats and went to enjoy the nightlife of Warsaw. We visited Hard Rock Cafe-honestly a little dull for the cafe we know. We travelled to Klaus, a small cocktail bar, where I had a warm mulled prosecco which is probably better than mulled wine. We then took the lift at the Marriott 40 floors to the panoramic bar. The highlight was definitely not the garlic infused vodka.
We knew we needed to eat, so we travelled to Hoza for a steak. And to be honest it was a little disappointing. Firstly because my steak was massively overcooked, if you are a chef at a steakhouse you obviously failed. But it was more the wait between receiving a second steak(replacement) poor Jimbob basically ate alone. Not great but hey, it was cheap.
We then went to a gentlemens club! “Why?” I know you’re going to ask. Mainly cause I needed to understand what all the fuss was about but to be fair it’s not as scary as I thought it would be. I just talked to two ladies about their life really. I think their dancing was a little lost on me. But with two vodkas and Pepsi costing £8 and good music, I saw no reason to leave. Safe to say we got home at midnight, a little worse for wear.
The following day we had a duvet day, we extended our check out and enjoyed Netflix and Uber Eats which is just incredible. Around 3 we pulled ourself out of the warm of the big bed and took a stroll around the old town in the snow before we had to leave for the airport.
Brussels
To be honest in terms of logistics Brussels was knackering. We arrived at the most horrible arrival area of my entire life. You have to walk in the wet snow literally instantly, there’s no nice waiting area, just a carousel and then bang you’re outside. But hey. We had organised the Brussels shuttle, please note this is not the easiest to find. Tip, as you reach the glass box to the hire car company take the lifts opposite to the second floor, departures- from there you are instantly in the bus depot. We had to ask two people as we ended up in the queue for the shuttle to collect your car.
Once on the coach it takes roughly 45 minutes to arrive and the best thing we found was that taxis are waiting for you no matter what time it is BUT use Uber instead of the local taxi, it cost us just under €15 to go a 7 minute journey and he told us he couldn’t get to our hotel because of roadworks, so we’d have to walk “200m”- lies! We walked longer than we we’re in the taxi, and at almost 2 in the morning it’s hardly what you want to be doing in a city you don’t know. It cost us only €6 euros on our return and they picked us up right outside the hotel.
So back to it, after checking in we were upgraded to a superior double which was a welcome improvement as there were 2 balconies to enjoy. But at that time all we wanted was sleep.
Around 10am we pulled ourselves out of bed and enjoyed a long and enjoyable walk around the Grand Place, the architecture is beautiful and the smell of chocolate and waffles makes it all even better. We had a small lunch at Le Roy D’Espagne. We seriously enjoyed it and the beers went down a treat; I had a cherry beer – lush. After lunch we continued our walk around the beautiful city and obviously enjoyed a cocktail in the Hard Rock. We grabbed some chocolates for family and friends, along with a hot chocolate to enjoy back at the room- honest it was literally like drinking liquid chocolate. Far too sweet for me but I enjoyed it diluted with a bit of milk.
We watched the sun set from our balcony and tried to decide on how to spend our evening. As both of us were still exhausted from the journey here we ordered Italian and had it delivered to our room. We were asleep pretty early!!
Our alarm was set for 3am and we knew we needed to be back on the shuttle for 4. As I said above, the Uber was brilliant, as were Ryanair. I usually criticise them for the lack of time keeping but the flight home was quick on only 2 minutes away from being on time. We were home by 9:15 and ready to just relax and unwind.
I hope this small multi-city trip has made you consider travelling more. Or has helped you with planning a trip to one of the destinations.
My only thoughts would be I wish we had had an extra day in each place to explore more. But right now I’m happy to be at home with my puppy.
Cx

Christmas Markets in Colonge

Hi All,
So like I am totally aware Christmas and the festive period is over but as I was on a blogging break I need to share this amazing experience with you now.

 

Myself and Jimbob traveled to Cologne for the Christmas Markets and for his birthday. I know what you’re thinking, we have Manchester and Leeds, but I had ‘Enjoy the Christmas Markets in Germany’ on my bucket list. Plus I’d been informed it was glorious and an amazing place.
We traveled with Ryanair – Manchester T3 and to get in the festive mood we shared turkey, bacon, cranberry & cheese Toasties. The flight takesa little less than 1.5 hours. So not long at all and with our early start we landed at 10:25 local time.

 

We traveled from the airport by train. We had heard that taxis were expensive in Cologne and taxi drivers were rude. So we took the 4 stops and got off at Cologne Central Station. It was a cheap cost of £4.80 for 2. It was only a short walk of around 3 minutes to our home for the weekend – Dom Apartments.
Just a note to add the weather when we arrived was crisp and fresh, surprisingly not bitter cold. It would be fair to say I never dress well for the cold, one of my best friends is the one who says ‘make sure you dress warm’ but I had packed well for me with lots of jumpers and scarves and two coats!
Back to our trip; we made our 3 minute walk out of the station to the key collection(reception) of Dom Apartments to check in but were unable to check in due to it only being 12pm. They had no issue with us leaving our bags and enjoying the city. So that’s exactly what we did.
From the apartments the Cathedral is just 5 minutes, basically at the other side of the train station, so you can tell we were super central to the city. We walked past the beautiful Cathedral and wandered down the ‘high street’ and enjoyed the sites and smells of Cologne and headed to The Hard Rock (obviously) and enjoyed a couple of cocktails and nachos until our room was ready.

 

We returned and collected the keys from reception and our apartment was a 2 minute walk, if that, to be honest. Through the bright hallway up to the third floor by lift and got our first look our weekend home.
It was bright light and perfectly formed for us two. I do have some negatives to point out..no toilet roll not even part of a roll. And the lack of tea bags..only 1. But apart from that it was the base we needed. We had a quick freshen up and headed back out.

 

The market was huge with beautiful shops with so many quirky items from the beautiful to the odd. The smells were the highlight for me. Jimbob trying to sniff out Churros was humorous. We enjoyed a white mulled wine which I thought you really did have enough with just a glass, and the red mulled wine we know but compared to Tesco or your local supermarket the wine was bitter and lacking in spice. But it still came in cute cups so I was happy all the same.
Bear in mind the market is extremely busy so being pushed around a bit is to be expected.

 

We left the market and went to Früh am Dom for a 0.2L glass of beer, I thought the beer was great but it was gone in a shot. We then walked along to Brauereiajsschank to enjoy the pub feel of Cologne, as the local team were playing the atmosphere was great and the quirkiness was enjoyable.
After such a long day we called it a night after getting groceries and pizza from the local supermarket (within the train station).
Sunday -Jimbobs birthday. He requested a long lie in and I requested grilled cheese and ham for breakfast; safe to say we both got what we wanted. After a lazy morning we took a walk through the city. We were surprised that all shops were shut and only cafes and eateries were open. We walked down the high street and found another Christmas market to try. (Massive smiling face) We arrived and it was a massive relief to find it quieter and more relaxed than the one next to the Cathedral. It was a delight to enjoy mulled win with amaretto. We had Mac and Cheese and churros. After 4 or 5 mugs in the rain we moseyed on to a bar for them to sing happy birthday to Jimbob.

 

The next morning with a long day ahead of us (up at 4am), we packed ourselves up and walked the 3 minute walk to the train station. For those interested the trains are 24 hours a day, slight reduction in frequency overnight but you’ll have no issue any time of the day.

 

Hope you’ve enjoyed my mini diary of Cologne
Mwah
Cx

Do’s & Dont’s of Benidorm

Hey,
Just doing my do’s and Dont’s of Benidorm …
So after probably 3 months of anxiety about having to travel to ‘the sunnier Blackpool’ I had a brilliant time, with old and new friends.
So I’ve put together a small Do’s and Dont’s list for those who are yet to travel to the Seaside City.
Do
-Dress up in Neon
It’s known for groups of Hens and Stags, so get involved and dress up like nobody’s watching.
-Enjoy Tapas on Tapas Alley
If you take a short walk to the old town there is an amazing alley filled with tapas bars and it is seriously wall to wall. Enjoy the amazing food.
-Visit the Beach
I have travelled far and wide but I would say that Benidorm Beach and Sea is seriously one of the best. It’s really clean and the sea is very very clear. Not a pebble or seaweed in sight.
-Go to Neptunes {Captain Morgan}
I’m a pure lover of the TV series Benidorm so it was a must to see it in really life. Just at the top of the strip it sits and boy it’s busy so be prepared. With live acts to the early morning it’s pure class!
Don’t
-Order 3 Varieties of paella
Ok so I mentioned that you should visit Tapas Alley, yes you most definitely should but we over egged how much we would receive. It’s not La Tasca it’s proper tapas (Who would of thought, being in Spain) and the portions are like more like meals. So when we ordered over 13 dishes between 6 of us we were a little bit over faced.
-Book with no air conditioning
We travelled to the sunny city in October and it was still very warm, so be advised air conditioning is still required even for an autumnal break.
-Drink non-branded Vodka
So I’m not a huge fan of ice in vodka drinks, why because it waters down the Coca Cola. But Benidorm don’t really do measures so when you get almost 3 quarter glass full of random vodka with only a top up of Coke be advised its not pleasant.

 

Cx

Barcelona

Hi All 



Monday 

 

20:20 Touchdown in Barcelona | 21:00 Taxi Transfer to the Hotel, we booked through the hotel but to be honest apart from a sort of tote bag there was 0 benefit. I don’t mean to sound high maintenance but I thought he might of offered to take our bags, or spoken on the journey. Or shown us through to the check in desk. | 21:15 After check in which was a little slow, we changed and went to the roof for Sangria and Beer. Ok just a point on the sangria. It is strong!! Our friends Lovat and Scott met us for drinks and food.|23:30 We walked up the La Ramblas, to O’ Toxo Tres Hermandos For food…amazing!!! | Bed 02:15

Tuesday 
| 18:45 We made ourselves presentable for our last night. I wore an ASOS dress obviously! And we headed to the W hotel which is in the best location, with the best view also at the best price, costing roughly £1000 a night. We ate at Bravo24 and it was incredible. I for the first time sent the steak back for being far too over cooked but I’m so glad I did…melt in the mouth. The whole atmosphere is great and the food really was the best I’ve had in a while. The Restaurant bill came in just over €137 for 3 courses and drinks. And you get a cute little chocolate bar to enjoy on the ride home. Would visit again!!  | 22:25 we took the 15 min ride home costing €12 off the top of my head. We were charged a premium rate on the way to the W but neither of us were very sure why. Just a point on this if you pay with notes, be prepared you might not get exact change | 23:00 We were knackered, the sun really takes it out of you so only one thing for it, cocktail and a Movie in Bed.


Wednesday 

09:00 I wake up super early abroad, I think it’s the temperature, which to be honest our air con was crap it went to 16 degrees and didn’t really do much at all. | 10:00 I have a love of Room Service, it’s probably because I enjoy eating in bed so much and there are people dedicated to bringing it to you. So Breakfast in Bed it was. And at €30 for continental and English breakfast which fed us both I was super pleased. An array of delicious items, from eggs to fruit to donuts…there was more than enough for us both.  | 13:00 we headed to the pool after watching BBC News for 3 hours and watching the events that happened in Kensington. My thoughts go out to all involved. But so much community spirit.
| 15:00 We paid an additional € 22 to Check Out late which I thought was well worth the money. As it meant we could linger for longer and not have to be sticky when we went to the airport.
 | 16:00 We took a stroll around Barcelona to enjoy the sights and sounds of the place but to be honest I just got asked if I wanted to smoke weed 5 times, we declined and went to Hard Rock Cafe, this place was so busy and had a great buzz. 5* | 19:00 Leave for the Airport, which cost €35 and took around 30 minutes| 21:45 It had been a long day, to be honest it felt like we’d been away ages…time to board that plane and go home. I stupidly had work the following day.

Bye Spain

Hope you enjoyed both my recent travel diaries. Love to know your thoughts and opinions 

Cx

Madrid

Hi All,

                   I thought I go for a diary style of our mini trip to Madrid. I hope you enjoy the read.
Saturday 
3am Alarm goes off, drop our puppy of at his grandmas (he’s not a puppy he’s almost 8) | 4:55 Arrival at T3 Manchester Airport, grabbed a new security approved plastic sealed bag, and follow all the rules. But why is it every time I get to this point in this airport I see several people get to the front of the queue. And even though there is roughly 4 people loudly repeating what all the pull up banners, signs and such. People get there and are baffled as to what to do. The process would be so much quicker if people took more notice. Now I’m not saying if you forgot to remove something or are asked to remove an extra item but some genuinely get to the end of the line and then sort of stand there until the security ask them to remove X, Y & Z. Come on people the process is simple. | 6:30 I will state this for you those that don’t know I hate Terminal 3, the terminal was designed for British Airways many moons ago. But when that didn’t work it became Ryanair’s terminal but my only issue with that, Ryanair are a cheap supplier of short haul flights, which genuinely means groups of Hens and Stags, again I have 0 issue with either party(I had a wonderful Hen do in Ibiza) but there just isn’t room, the terminal is very small with a circular bar in the centre which you can image is packed with groups spilling out. And there’s never anywhere to sit. So I usually choose the lounge in T3 as you can often get it cheap for roughly £18, and when you consider food prices in the airport it’s very much worth it. Sorry I’ve gone completely off topic. 
This time we didn’t opt for the lounge, as we were only in the terminal around an hour. Jimbob was hungry what a surprise?! So we went to a small Resturant just off the circular bar, and to date it has to be the worst Eggs Benedict of my life! It doesn’t require any further airtime. I grabbed a Grazia from WHSmiths along with 2 small Graze boxes(so pleased they are available in stores now). | 10:00 (Local Time) touchdown!
 11:02 took the number 8 line Metro two stops(take the left hand side escalator-it’s the side towards Mar De Cristal) 11:11 waiting for line towards Pinar de Chamartin 11:52 Checked in. So pleased that the hotel was so accommodating and allowed us to check in early. The hotel was a last minute pick but how it delivered in my style! 100%! |12:49 back on the Metro to the Bernabeau Stadium! By 13:26 we had picked up the City Tour Madrid to Retrio Park! 

But before we headed to he park, a girls gotta eat. Literally right where the bus stops there is an array of terrace restaurants which spray cool water at you every so often so you can enjoy your lunch in almost an air conditioned outside- ‘Ramses Life’ was the Resturant we went for. We both ordered the club sandwich, but to be honest Jimbob was more of a slightly toasted ham and cheese sandwich. Also note when we sat down some olives, cheese and bread arrived, we thought what a lush touch but being we paid €4 each I could of done without it. Jimbob had a beer I kept it light with an Aperol Spritz | 15:30 We didn’t make it to the park the heat was so intense so it had to be Cocktail in Hard Rock Cafe, I had a Big Kablue (What a surprise) and I rated the experience 4 out of 5 as the atmosphere was incredible and the bar staff were fun. Plus the moment a Frozen song came on everyone(except me and Jimbob -we’ve never seen it) was singing 
|18:30 After arriving back at the hotel I changed for the evening, as the hotel is what I could called the suburbs the choices are less but still delish. Since it has been such a hectic day we took a short stroll and then headed back to our hotel |20:00 Dinner in the Resturant, the food was good plenty to choose from. We had Gucamole to begin, then I had a salad, Jimbob ordered a burger. Because of the heat, it was only fitting to have ice cream. The waitress surprised me on flavours and the one with honey was amazing!!| 10:45 Early night for us both as we’d been up for like ever….Sleep.




Sunday
 10:00 Breakfast in Bed, sorry I didn’t mention this, we stopped at a sort of Spar for supplies. We grabbed Spanish meats and cheeses along with some bread…as you can well imagine I got crumbs everywhere | 12:50 We really wanted to enjoy the Rowing Boats in Retiro Park, so we took the Metro like 19 stops and ended up right at the bottom of the park and walked through its beautiful grounds-Did you know that Roller Skating is big here?!| 13:30 We pre-booked the Madrid Tour Bus, which allows you to hop on-hop off as you please. With two tour routes it’s great value for money, we sat up stairs and listened to the headphone tour along with seeing beautiful Madrid
15:00 Ok so sitting at the top of a bus in 37/38 degree heat wasn’t the smartest move and as soon as we could see a decent eatery we left-Pizza it had to be, Jimbob had gone so long without having it I think he was having withdrawal symptoms. The Resturant was located to the right side of the Santiago Bernabeau (if you take a picture from the metro entrance) to be honest the Resturant wasn’t anything to write home about so I won’t. | 16:00 Hands down the best thing about our hotel was the pool. For a couple of hours we Frolicked in the pool, the cool water and the sun made it feel like a holiday to me.|18:00 With the sun being so warm it was natural we both just wanted to ‘Nap Time’ 
20:00 Every Intention of having a couple of beers and a burger from the King. We ended up at an Italian, with too much food. So this places Ginos was so cute and they barely spoke English, but it was truly incredible. We ordered a patter of Bruschetta, a garlic bread with cheese fondue and a pizza for sharing. Now if the lovely waitress could of spoken English she probably would of said ‘that’s a lot of food’ but she didn’t and we found only 15 minutes later. The place had a great family atmosphere with family’s all around celebrating. We enjoyed a couple of beers , of course the food and then had the leftovers boxed up for Jimbobs breakfast | 22:30 We really wanted one last drink in the hotel bar but it had closed which we thought was a rather big shame. So we settled for a beer in bed.



Monday 

09:00 Wake up| 12:00 Leftovers from last night, I had the piece of garlic bread, strangely I enjoyed it. We packed up and got ready to leave | 14:00 We had booked the Romantic Package meaning we got a bottle of Cava on arrival(which was super dry) and a late check out of 14:00 -and I think it only cost £15 more- worth it | Upto this point both of us hadn’t enjoyed a brew. So the only place we wanted to go was Starbucks, we were there for hours, I had a Iced Tea,a Toastie & a British brew. Jimbob had a latte and a berry yogurt thing and a cake, it was the perfect spot to chill and reminisce about our last couple of days| 16:10 We took the 150 bus 3 stops costing only €3 euros for us both, quick change to the train. 

Tip. If you go to a blue machine that’s for the Metro. Red Machine is for the train service. |17:00 Arrive at the Airport, to enjoy a few beers and some cheese!!
|19:00 Leave Madrid 

Cx








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