Adventure

My Packing List

First off, I need to apologise in advance to all of you seasoned travellers out there.  I’m doing my first ever packing list and I can predict that a lot of you will end up rolling your eyes.  But, hey – we’ve all got to start somewhere!

For my first trip abroad alone, I’m going to be starting in Rome and making my way, via train, to Venice, making multiple stops along the way 🙂

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(Cat for scale)

I guess the first thing I want to show you guys is the bag I’m planning on taking.  The Osprey Porter 46 looks perfect – it’s carry-on size, opens at the front to make packing and rooting through it easier, plus the zips have hooks for padlocks.  What’s not to love?  The only thing I’m worrying about is the 8kg carry on limit…  But I’m hoping I’ll manage!

So, what am I planning on taking?  (I’ve not taken photos of everything that’s coming with me because I have either (a) forgotten to take photos of them, or (b) decided that I don’t want photos of personal stuff – like my underwear – on the internet 😀 )  Also, excuse the blurriness – I was trying to keep my cats occupied so that they didn’t sit all over everything…

Clothes

Clothes:

  • Two pairs of shoes – I’ll be wearing my converse but my black flats will be packed away
  • Six dresses – I think this is where a lot of people will roll their eyes. I’m not really a trousers person and, thankfully, my dresses are lightweight enough that they won’t take up much room!  One of the dresses won’t be packed, as I will be wearing it
  • Two pairs of leggings – I’ll be wearing one pair and the other pair will be packed away
  • Two short cardigans
  • Hoodie – Again, I’ll be wearing this, so it’ll take up no room in my luggage
  • Lightweight coat – I haven’t decided if I’m gonna pack this or wear it, as it’s so lightweight. I guess it’ll come down to how much my pack weighs
  • Scarf
  • Underwear (obviously!)
  • Pyjamas

Toiletries

Toiletries and medication:

  • Toothbrush (obviously!)
  • Toothpaste
  • Travel sized shampoo, conditioner and bodywash – I’m only gonna take one of each and buy more when I’m there – but I’d rather not arrive without any hair products (I sound like such a girl…)
  • Travel sized face wash and moisturiser – I’m hoping these will last the entire two weeks. If not, I can easy buy more
  • Face wipes – because I can’t go anywhere without them
  • Deodorant
  • Blister Plasters
  • Makeup (in the bag with my toothbrush.  I’ll probably have to move this to a clear bag for going through security at the airport…)
  • Contact Lenses
  • Hayfever tablets – my hayfever is bad. Like, seriously bad.  It’s so bad that I have to get extra strong tablets on prescription.  It’s not fun… (Not pictured, as I forgot)

Gadgets

Gadgets:

  • Phone (not pictured as I’m using it to take the photo)
  • Kindle (I can’t go anywhere without it)
  • Camera
  • iPad
  • Various chargers and adapters

Misc

Miscellaneous:

  • Passport (I probably don’t need to write this, as it’s pretty obvious)
  • Various paperwork relating to flights, hotels, etc
  • My notebook/journal
  • Italian phrasebook
  • Hankies (can’t go anywhere without these!)
  • Hairbrush
  • Purse
  • Sunglasses
  • Umbrella (not pictured as I’m still trying to hunt it down!)

All packed! (But I’m probably gonna change things about to try and reduce the weight a bit – just over the 8kg for the airline!!)

Ibiza 2015

My first ever all-inclusive holiday!  I’ve never been on one of these before (although, I have been on a half-board holiday).  I went with two friends (and it happened to coincide with my 25th birthday, which we hadn’t planned but it worked out 😀 ) and we managed to book a really nice, cheap place through Thomson (it worked out at around £400 each for the four days that we were there).

So, because I seem to think I need to take the kitchen sink with me, I packed my suitcase chock full of stuff that I wouldn’t even use.  At least half of my outfits weren’t taken out of my suitcase.  I was away for four days and I packed three (three!) pairs of sandals.  Why would I do that??

Anyway, since I seem to be so disaster-prone, I was sick on the plane on the way there.  I don’t know why this is suddenly happening to me.  First Prague, now Ibiza.  I’ve never been sick travelling before, so I really hope that this isn’t going to be a regular thing.  It was horrible – the toilet was busy, so I actually had to use a sick bag (ugh…).  Thankfully, the only good thing to come out of it was that one of the friends I was travelling with hadn’t even realised that I’d been sick until my other friend and I were talking about it at the hotel.  So, that means I was quiet right?  I wasn’t that passenger…was I?

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Moving on!  After that incident, I felt fine!  So, we arrived at the airport, grabbed our suitcases and boarded the bus.  Luckily, we were the first stop and, even though we were about five minutes from the airport, the planes flying overhead barely made any noise.

Once we’d checked in, sorted ourselves out and got our towels from reception, we headed to the pool.

And that was pretty much how we spent the next four days (I told you guys, I’m not a very experienced traveller).  In the evenings, we did go exploring, which was lovely.  We walked up to Ibiza Castle.  It was really nice, even though my body thought the steps were really confusing.  They were super wide and on quite a slope.  My friends had fun watching me trying not to fall over backwards.

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I know Ibiza is meant to be a party island and my friends and I aren’t the biggest party-goers but we were excited to experience it.  However, we’d booked it in October and we didn’t realise until we arrived that all of the clubs were closed.  We managed to make it to one closing party – in an Irish bar – so that was something.  It’s gives me a reason to go back!

All in all, it was a very good 25th birthday 🙂

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Prague 2015

I know it’s sad to admit this but, before this trip, the only holidays I’d had with friends were school ski trips.  But they don’t really count, do they, as you’re surrounded by teachers?

So I was thrilled for this trip.  It was only for four days, but I think four days is a good amount of time for a city-break.

Unfortunately, the trip didn’t start off so well.  The flight was fine but, as soon as we landed, I had to run to a bathroom and literally just made it before I was sick.  I felt better after that, so thought everything was fine.

Boy, was I wrong!  We got to the hotel and I started feeling a bit sicky again, so asked where the bathroom was while my friend checked us in.  The receptionist told me, and off I went.

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I couldn’t find the bathroom.  I ended up in the hotel courtyard, being sick into a drain.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so embarrassed in my life.  Thankfully, the receptionist was lovely about it, she got me water and even upgraded our room (which was lovely) but I still felt super embarrassed and awkward.  And thankfully(!) that was the end of my mysterious sickness.

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The rest of the trip was lovely.  We expected to spend the first day mainly in the castle complex and we managed to get that done.  We also managed to walk all over Prague and see the astronomical clock tower and the Jewish cemetery and get all the touristy stuff out of the way.    Seriously, you look at something and think ‘that’s about a twenty minute walk away’ and five minutes later, you’re there.  Which was quite a novelty for us, as we’d lived in Edinburgh for four years and when you look somewhere and think ‘that’s about a ten minute walk away’, you’re still walking there half an hour later.

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Moving on from all the touristy stuff, everything is really cheap.  Beer is cheaper than juice – no joke.  I took out about £200 pounds worth of Czech Koruna and still had about half of it left over at the end of my trip.  Our last night in Prague, my friend and I decided we’d eat somewhere expensive to try and use up our Koruna.  We found a nice (if a little bit touristy) restaurant on a boat.  We got a delicious starter, main, pudding and a few glasses of Prosecco and it still only came to about £20 each.

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I loved it there.  I’d definitely go back, and maybe get a day trip to Cesky Krumlov.  That place looks like it’s right out of a fairytale 🙂

Florence 2014

After not having travelled in five years, I visit Venice and then the next year I visited Florence.  Two holidays in two years – I was on a roll!

I travelled again with my mum and we decided to get a taxi from the airport to the hotel, as they were set at 20 Euros.  I got my first experience of Italian driving.  And it was terrifying.  If there was a space, a car would be instantly in it.  Horns honking, other drivers waving their hands in annoyance at everything.  And our taxi driver was surprisingly calm throughout all of it.  She was really chatty and pointed out sights to us, like our own personal tour guide.

I knew our hotel was near to the cathedral but I didn’t realise that you could actually see it from the windows.  The hotel was literally not even a minute away from the cathedral and it was amazing.

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Again, we spent the first couple of days looking around the touristy sights – one of my favourites was Michelangelo’s David.  It was incredible!  I’d definitely recommend it.  I’d also recommend the Pitti Palace, just so you can wander around the Boboli Gardens.  They were huge, there wasn’t a flat area anywhere, I saw a newt (at least I think it was a newt), I petted a cat and I loved every bit of it.  The gardens are beautiful – so many statues and fountains!

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Florence is quite a small city, so my mum and I managed to see all of the touristy things that we wanted to within the first couple of days, and we had the last day to just get lost.  We also visited the archaeology bit underneath the cathedral – I saw a skull, so that was pretty cool 🙂

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If I had longer than two weeks for my upcoming holiday, then I would have tried to spend another day in Florence.  As it is, I’m really only going to be seeing the train station – I thought, only having two weeks to explore, that it’d be nice to see and experience somewhere new.

Again, roll on the end of March!

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Venice 2013

I thought, since I’m not going away until the end of March, that I can’t just not post anything, can I?  So, until then, I’m going to post about my previous ‘adventures’ – of which there are, unfortunately, not many.  But, I’m determined that that’s going to change!

My first trip abroad in five years.  The last was to Paris just before I started university and, I have to admit, my style was horrible then.  Stripes with camouflage?  In Paris?  What was I thinking?  I like to think that my style has improved.  I mean, it can’t get much worse than stripes and camouflage, can it?

Murano Statue

So, my first trip in five years.  I was super excited (I sound like a kid writing that).  I went with my mum and, the moment I stepped off the plane and the heat hit me, a huge grin spread over my face and I started melting.  Admittedly, I probably wouldn’t have chosen to go to Venice in July – I would have preferred spring or summer time, since Italy in summer is hot – but I was still at college and I only had two weeks off in the middle of July (I also had a week off in April but I hadn’t thought about travelling then).  Sure, I was going to melt.  But I didn’t care.  Because I was abroad.

My mum and I got a waterbus to the main island and I was instantly in love with the place.  No cars, boats everywhere, the walls of the buildings crumbling slightly from where the floods had reached them – I loved every bit of it.

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The first couple of days, my mum and I did a few touristy things – St Mark’s Square, Doge’s Palace (I saw Casanova’s cell which was interesting – the ceiling was really low!), we climbed the bell tower (and we were up there when the bells went off, which was cool – boy, were those bells loud!) the Ponte de Rialto, and I just fell more and more.

The gondola ride was really nice – we shared with an American family, as the price is per gondola not per person.  Sort of wish that we’d just paid the extra money and had the gondola to ourselves – that family hated everything!  While my mum and I loved all the history around us, the family (especially the daughter) were unimpressed by everything.  They kept complaining that there weren’t enough chain stores and insulting the gondola profession (to the gondolier!).  This only caused my mum and I to be more enthusiastic about everything and extra nice to the gondolier, which he seemed to appreciate.  Seriously, that family are what give American tourists a bad name…  But I wouldn’t let that ruin my holiday!

On our last day in Venice, we took a boat ride out to the smaller islands of Murano and Burano.  We visited the glass museum in Murano (I now really, really want to attend a glass-making class – it looks fascinating), and had a little wander.  We ended up in a chandelier store and, if we were millionaires, we would have definitely ended up with one – they’re so over the top it’s amazing.  After this, we got a boat to Burano.

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I don’t think I’ve ever loved a place more than I loved Burano.  All those colours.  It was gorgeous.  We spent the rest of the day here wandering around, visiting the lace museum and eating gelato (obviously not in the museum!)

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And, ever since I left Venice, I’ve wanted to go back.  And now I am!  I can’t wait!