Europe

Things to do in Funchal, Madeira

You’ve probably noticed that the title of this post is ‘Things to do in Funchal, Madeira’, as opposed to ’10/15/etc Things to do in Funchal, Madeira’.  This is because, as I mentioned in my last post, I live here now, and so this list will probably be regularly updated as I find more and more things to do.

1. Cathedral

This cathedral is so cute and small and really opulent inside.  Definitely worth a look.

2. CR7 hotel and museum

This is for those of you who like football.  Since Cristiano Ronaldo was born in Madeira, he has his own hotel named after him.  Shake hands with the statue of Ronaldo outside that looks nothing like him – imagination goes a long way!

3. Cable car to Monte

This is a really nice ride above Funchal.  It takes around 15 minutes, so plenty of opportunity to take photos!

4. Tropical Gardens

If there’s one garden that you see in Madeira, make it the tropical gardens.  They’re consistently named as some of the most beautiful gardens in the world and they’re stunning.  My particular favourite (which has nothing to do with plants) is the geode room.  I’ve never seen so many in one place before – or ones that are so big!

5. Toboggan

Imagine a sledge but without the snow.  That’s pretty much what this is – but so much faster.  You go down 2 km in around 5 minutes.  I loved it, it was so much fun! (The one in the picture looks pretty battered – the ones you go down in are much better condition!)

6. Casino

As well as being a casino (obviously), you can have dinner with a show here.  The singers have incredible voices!

7. Presidential Gardens

Only 1 euro and when I visited, there were parrots!  (I don’t know if the parrots are always there or not…)

8. Santa Maria Street

The street of painted doors.  I have spent many a night wandering around the bars here 😉

9. Municipal Gardens

Slap-bang in the middle of town, these gardens are a nice place to go to relax and pretend you’re not in the middle of a city.

10. Santa Catarina Park

My favourite park (after the tropical gardens).  I love just sitting and looking down at the marina, or at the pond, where there are usually lots of swans!

Top 20 European Destinations

Manarola1

Out of all the continents, Europe is the one that I have travelled the most (living in Scotland helps!  What doesn’t help is the fact I have to take at least 2 planes to get anywhere…).  I’ve decided to make a list of my Top 20 European Destinations.  Some of these I’ve been to, some I’m desperate to visit but I hope you enjoy my list!

Just a head’s up, this list isn’t in order of how much I like the destinations, as they’re too amazing to put in order!

                                                                                                       20. Dubrovnik, Croatia                                                                            telegraph.co.uk

If you wanna pretend you’re in Game of Thrones (although, you’ll probably end up killed off like the rest of the characters…), then this is the destination for you!  Dubrovnik is a beautiful, old town, full of amazing history and museums.

Picture 02619. Saas-Fee, Switzerland

I need to go back here.  Saas-Fee is amazing for skiing.  Only electric cars are allowed in the town, which is full of cute buildings and amazing shops (and hot chocolate!)

                                                                                                                18. Monaco                                                                                              hotel-r.net

The world’s second smallest country (after the Vatican), Monaco is one of the glitziest places in the world and I badly want to visit it.  It’s very expensive, though!

                                                                                                          17. Barcelona, Spain                                                 timeout.com

I’m desperate to visit Barcelona and see the Sagrada Familia, get lost in the alleys, and enjoy everything Gaudi!

DSC_025216. Prague, Czech Republic

One of the most beautiful places I’ve visited, Prague is full of amazing architecture, history and everything is so cheap!  And you need to try a trdelnik – they’re so good!

                                                                                                      15. Amsterdam, Netherlands                                                           digital.fespa.com

Full of brilliant museums, Amsterdam is also famous for its biking, culture and history.

Edinburgh114. Edinburgh, Scotland

I lived here for 4 years, so Edinburgh will always have a special place in my heart.  Make sure you visit the many museums and the castle (and palace!).  And you must get lost in the small back streets! (The above photo is the street I lived on – isn’t it gorgeous?!)

                                                                                                       13. Budapest, Hungary                                                                            lvs.luxury

Budapest is probably up there for culture and architecture.  And I’ve heard it’s a good place to travel to if you’re on a budget.

DSC_073212. Verona, Italy

I love Verona.  It’s so small, cute, rustic and full of history – and it’s so easy to get away from the crowds as well!

                                                                                                     11. Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic                                               czechtourism.com

Another small, cute town, Cesky Krumlov reminds me of The Grand Budapest Hotel (one of my favourite films!)

                                                                                                             10. Athens, Greece                                                                   lonelyplanet.com

I love anything to do with Ancient Greece, so what better place than Athens?

                                                                                                             9. Lisbon, Portugal                                                           worldwanderista.com

Lisbon is up there as one of the places I’m probably going to visit soon (fingers crossed!).  This beautiful city is full of amazing culture, great food, and gorgeous, tiny streets.

                                                                                                                8. Colmar, France                                                              thousandwonders.net

Probably the cutest town in France – how can you resist all of those gorgeous, brightly coloured houses!  And they’re next to a river!  Can’t go wrong there 🙂

                                                                                                             7. Ronda, Spain                                                                    malagatogo.com

I badly want to visit this cliffside village – imagine the views!  And the history of the place is amazing.

Picture 0046. Paris, France

The romantic City of Lights, there’s so much to do in Paris – amazing nightlife, culture and food, to name a few!

                                                                                                          5. Dordogne Region, France                                                       leseyzies-tourist.info

So many castles!  I need to go here!

                                                                                                         4. Santorini, Greece                                                                                   foundtheworld.com

You’ll recognise the pictures – the gorgeous, white buildings with blue roofs.  I’ve also heard the sunsets are amazing.

DSC_00053. Venice, Italy

I love Venice.  It’s so unique and unlike anywhere I’ve ever been before.  It’s impossible to walk over a bridge and not take a photo of the canals.

                                                                                                            2. Seville, Spain                                telegraph.co.uk

As well as the history and the amazing architecture, Seville is also famous for tapas, flamenco and sangria.

DSC_00681. Cinque Terre, Italy

Five gorgeous, small towns by the coast.  Hike or catch the train between each town.  Be prepared, though – there’s not a flat area anywhere.  It’s all hills or stairs.

15 Things You Must Do In Prague

15 Things you must do in Prague

Prague is amazing!  All the buildings are gorgeous and everything is surprisingly cheap!  It was wonderful!

DSC_017515. Wenceslas Square

Admittedly, my friend and I took a while to realise we were actually in the square.  It’s not so much a square, as the end of a big road.

DSC_002414. See David Cerny’s baby statues

In the garden next to the Museum Kampa are three giant (creepy) baby statues, that look like someone has pushed their faces in with a boot.  My friend and I were not expecting to see them, but they highly amused us!

Kafka Museum13. Kafka Museum

This museum about Kafka’s life was interesting but I think I would have been more interested if it wasn’t so packed!  I couldn’t get moved, it was so busy.  Make sure to check out another David Cerny statue outside – this is the famous one of two men peeing into a pond shaped like the Czech Republic.

DSC_043612. Petrin Tower

I don’t think I’ll ever forget what my friend said to me as we stood in front of the Tower – I’m not going to repeat it here, as it wasn’t very nice.  It made me laugh, though!  This tower isn’t as big as I thought it would be, but it still gives incredible views from the top!

Basillica 111. St George’s Basilica

This was a nice building to wander around – it wasn’t that big, though, and everyone was continuously moving, so it was impossible to stop and get a proper look at things!

Sigmund Freud Statue10. ‘Hanging Out’

Another David Cerny statue!  My friend and I stumbled upon the statue of Sigmund Freud ‘hanging out’ on the top of a building.  It’s so unusual – I loved it!

Jewish Quarter 19. Jewish Quarter

The style of buildings here is lovely.  I would have loved to have seen the old Jewish cemetery, but the queue was huge and we were only there for a few days, so we went and explored elsewhere.  It gives me an (unneeded) excuse to go back, though!

Vladislav Hall 3

8. Old Royal Palace

Compared to other palaces that I’ve been in, this one was a bit plain but I loved that.  It gave it a sort of uniqueness.  Make sure to check out Vladislav Hall – the ceiling is incredible!

Hemingway Bar 27. Hemingway Bar

The best cocktail bar that I have ever been in.  We were seated just like we would be at a restaurant (in the non-smoking area upstairs) and we were lucky enough to be seated at the bar.  There’s something mesmerising about watching someone expertly make a cocktail.

Old Town Square 36. Old Town Square

Probably the most famous square in Prague.  It was beautiful – and so busy!

DSC_03665. Astronomical Clock Tower

This was beautiful – and it’s the oldest astronomical clock tower in the world that’s still in use!

Charles Bridge 44. Charles Bridge

A trip to Prague is not complete without crossing over the Charles Bridge.  The oldest bridge in Prague and definitely (in my opinion) the most beautiful.

Golden Lane 23. Golden Lane

Situated in the Castle Complex, this little shopping street was so cute!  It’s where I started my cool (read: sad) tiny plate collection!

St Vitus Cathedral 42. St Vitus Cathedral

This is very impressive.  It’s one of those cathedrals that dominates over all of the other buildings surrounding it and I love dark, Gothicy architecture.

View over Prague 51. Petrin Hill

Definitely spend at least half a day here.  It’s huge and my friend and I wandered for ages.  I’m so glad we caught the funicular to the top, as going downhill was so steep!  The locals are probably used to it – we got overtaken by a woman with a pram, as we were going so slowly, trying not to trip over our feet!

DSC_0341Honourable Mention: Trdelnik

Eat a trdelnik!  I’ve still no idea how to pronounce this (even though I think I asked every time I bought one).  It’s basically a pastry that has been grilled over hot coals and sprinkled in sugar and it is delicious.

Cake Number 9: Tourva (Cyprus)

Tourva2

To make up for my disaster of a cake, I’ve decided to redeem myself by making a cake that requires simple icing.  It’s cheating, but I like to think of it as ‘People actually want to eat this cake and not run screaming from it’.

Tourva1

This cake is so satisfyingly heavy (it’s full of syrup!).  Admittedly, though, I think I’d make it again without the syrup, or with less syrup, as it’s so sweet, it overpowers the coconut taste.  I probably wasn’t supposed to add all of the syrup, but I did anyway!  And now there’s a nice big puddle around my cake.

I think I’m gonna go and have another slice 🙂

Tourva3