UK Series: daytrip to the Scottish Highlands

(Sept 29, 2015)

For the 2nd day in Edinburgh, I wanted to go outside of the city and see the landscape and nature of Scotland.

My search led me to this daytrip tour from viator which covers a small Scottish town calle Glencoe, the highlands, and the famous Loch Ness!
IMG_4274.jpg

It’s a beautiful drive to Loch ness with all the mountains and green fields we saw along the way.IMG_4263.jpgIMG_4060.jpgUpon arrival to Loch ness we took a cruise around the lake and heard stories of the legends around the Loch Ness monster..
IMG_4106.jpg

IMG_4103.jpg

And also got to see a Scottish highland bull! 😀

IMG_4377.jpg

Overall I would recommend this tour to anyone who wants a taste of what the Scottish highlands has to offer.  Would be much better of course if you are able to drive around yourself to offer more flexibility on the stops and how long you want to stay.  But not a bad introduction that left me wanting to go back here to explore further!

Advertisements

UK series: Scotland pitstop at Melrose

(September 27, 2015)

After a few nights in Lakes District, it was time to say goodbye (wahhh!!) and head to our next destination.

As we drove towards Edinburgh, we found this charming town called Melrose to stay for the night.. IMG_3708.jpg
IMG_3779.jpg

I love the peace and quiet atmosphere of this town.. Because it’s not a popular tourist place, and not easily accessible by public transportation.. it’s not crowded and we could just leisurely stroll around the town.
IMG_3784.jpg
IMG_3780.jpg
The most well known attraction here is the ruins of Melrose Abbey.  Here’s some pictures of the abbey and the unique sculptures found here…
IMG_3719.jpg
IMG_3778.jpgIMG_3755.jpg Continue reading

UK series: Lake District National Park

(Sept 26-27, 2016)

After all the towns and cityscapes of England, I was ready for a nature break.  So Lake District was the perfect next stop in our roadtrip itinerary to get my fix of beautiful landscape sceneries.
IMG_3566.jpgI never heard about this place before, and it was only through a friend’s suggestion that I heard about this place.. But I instantly loved it here when after seeing all these views..
IMG_3575.jpg
IMG_3475.jpg
IMG_3476.jpg
There’s lots of walking trails available all throughout the park in varying levels of difficulty and time.. Since we only had two nights here, we were only able to pick one of the walking trails here. So all my pictures here are from that walking trail..
IMG_3353.jpg
Continue reading

UK series: Shakespeare’s birthplace Stratford-upon-Avon

(Sept 25, 2015)

From Cotswold we continued the road trip around UK with a pitstop at Stratford-upon-Avon.. a town made famous for being the birthplace of the famous English playwright Shakespeare..
IMG_3311.jpg

Henley street is the most popular area here in town because this is where the house of Shakespeare is located..
IMG_3315.jpg

IMG_3321.jpg

Shakespeare’s home

Besides this street, there are also a number of different attractions to go to in the town. The house pass ticket allows you entry to several of these places.  For us, since we were only passing by and had a limited amount of time, we decided to just pick one place in the list so we won’t be rushing and are able to take our time exploring..

The one we ended up going to is Anne Hathaway’s cottage.  Anne Hathaway was Shakespeare’s wife and this cottage serves as a museum to the life during that time period and the love story between the two..
IMG_3203.jpg
IMG_3228.jpg

Continue reading

UK series: small English town in Cotswold

(Sept 24-25, 2015)

After a day in Oxford, we drove further up to and looked for a place to stay the night. One of my bucket list items for England was getting to explore a honest to goodness small English town, and I found exactly what I wanted here in a town called Stow-on-the-wold in Cotswold district!
IMG_3155.jpgIMG_3158.jpgEven the inn we found to stay the night in was so typically English I loved it!

complete with English breakfast

complete with English breakfast

IMG_3150.jpg
IMG_3156.jpg

UK series: University town of Oxford

(September 24, 2015)

After London, we rented a car and started our UK roadtrip with a day exploring the university town of Oxford.

We only had a day here so we joined a walking tour to get the most out of our time here.  The tour was informative and gave us a glimpse into both the history of the universities and the life and traditions of living and studying here.

The whole place just inspires learning and education! IMG_3112.jpg
IMG_3113.jpg

showing one of the traditions here in Oxford of tapping the book on the student's head

showing one of the traditions here in Oxford of tapping the book on the student’s head

IMG_3101.jpgIMG_3027.jpg Continue reading

UK series: London in 2 days

(Sept 22-23, 2015)

Generally I’m not a fan of big cities.. For me city buildings lack character and all look the same with their glass walls, dull grey colors, and boxy shapes.  I want places where I can explore and see colors, patterns and different architectural styles.. Something that tells me I’m in a new place outside my home.

And although London is known as a busy, commercial city.. It still keeps it’s charm by preserving landmarks and buildings that show you of a past era..

In just 2 days, here are some of the sights we covered!

Leadenhall market – this wasn’t along the way of our planned walking route… But I saw it mentioned that it was used to represent Diagon Alley and Leaky Cauldron from Harry Potter so of course the fangirl in me pushed for a quick stopover here
IMG_2698.jpg

After this we headed off to see the sights around the Southwark district..

Views of the Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast and Thames RiverIMG_2715.jpg
Butler’s Wharf..
IMG_2752.jpg

Walking along Tower Bridge
IMG_2736.jpg
IMG_2747.jpg
To get to the Tower of London – must do to see the Crown jewelsA free guided tour by a “Beef Eater” – the guards for the Tower of London

I don’t know what direction we started walking, but we ended up in the Waterloo district where we saw the London Eye

Continue reading

2.5 week Spain/Morocco itinerary

If you’re looking to do a similar itinerary that covers Spain & Morocco, I’ve posted here more details on the plan we did, the research on the cost and the logistics on where to stay and how to get there.

The itinerary we did starts and ends in Barcelona during the month of October.

I’ve posted several blog entries of each part of the trip, but these are my favorite parts, mainly because these are sights and experiences that are unique to the place we went to:

Seeing all the Gaudi architecture from Barcelona

Trying out various tapas in Mercado San Miguel in Madrid

The Alhambra fort in Granada

Exploring the various sights in the city of Seville..

Which also happens to be the location of Dorne for Season 5 of Game of Thrones.. I only found out they were shooting here at the same time of our arrival when I saw the actor playing Jamie Lannister in one of the restaurants we passed by!!

too shy to approach for a pic.. BIGGEST REGRET EVER!

The daytrip to three white villages of Andalusia

Walking around the blue city of Chefchaouen in Morocco

Seeing the Red City from Ait ben Haddou

And the port town of Essaouira

On hindsight, things I wish could have been done better..

  • Getting walking tours around Spain.  Except for the Gaudi ones, the other buildings pretty much started looking the same and I couldn’t really appreciate it without the stories behind them..
  • In Morocco – getting a guide to explore the city.. I was too worried about being safe and not being scammed that I didn’t really explore the city of Marrakech..
  • FOOD!! – I wish I could have splurged more on food.. except for a few restaurants that I got to try from my list, because we were always trying to keep it cheap my experience of Spanish food was not as great as it could have been 😦
  • Accommodations – the accommodations we picked via airbnb is not that great, the only one I was happy with was the Seville accoms as well as the last leg of our Madrid.  But I guess that’s the risk with booking through airbnb.

Spain travel: daytrip to Segovia

(Oct 14, 2014)

Although Madrid didn’t have much unique tourist sights, you can still use Madrid as a base for daytrips to places like Toledo, Cordoba or Segovia.
IMG_1071.jpgIMG_1057.jpg
With limited number of days, we chose to go to Segovia, where it’s old city and aqueduct are both listed as UNESCO heritage sites.
IMG_1091.jpgIMG_1058.jpg
This and the Segovia castle is the main reason tourists flock to this town for a daytrip.. here’s some pics of the castle..
IMG_1006.jpgIMG_1019.jpgIMG_1033.jpg We went on our own and just took a train from Madrid to here.  It’s 30 minutes one way, but be mindful of the train and bus schedules so you don’t miss the time you want to get on the train.