Rocking solo in London Town 

Ok so last weekend saw my solo visit to London to view The Killers in Hyde Park. I’m a massive fan and as they hadn’t toured in four years I booked my ticket once presale started. I booked my BA flight into Heathrow after much deliberation. I thought I would get it cheaper but in the end prices for flights to Standsted, Gatwick and Luton weren’t enticing me enough once you factor in having to take a train then the tube. 

Landed on a beautiful day to 28 degree heat. Got my tube alright and luckily enough the picadilly line went straight to the station I needed. I booked a hostel in Kensington beside the park. The only thing was the gig ended up being the exact opposite side to where I was staying. 

My flight was slightly delayed and the tube takes approx 60 minutes to get to Kensington. I then had to walk fast and follow googles directions to my hostel as quickly as I could due to a booking for a tour that was to begin quite soon. 

Kensington just screams money. Everywhere I looked Landrovers decorated the streets, white pillared residences gleamed and children with bonnets happily walked with their parents. I was shocked that a hostel would be in this area but it was. It was a good one too!

Astor Hyde Park was a great choice. Not only was it close to the park, the staff were friendly, the dorm was bright and airy and security was important. I checked in ok but as my room wasn’t ready I locked my bag pack away in a luggage room before racing to catch my tube to Covent Garden. 

I looked online at free walking tours and settled on Sandemans as it got good reviews. I later discovered a friend used them in Paris and was quite pleased with them. I made my 1pm booking with a minute to spare. Though in the end we ended up waiting a few minutes before we began. The large group was split into two and introduced to our guide. His name was Angus and he is Australian. He had studied Shakespearean theatre and this stood well to him as our guide. There was never an issue with hearing him and he had an entertaining way of telling us the history of the places we stopped. As I said it was a beautiful hot day so the walk at times was sweltering, at any chance we could we took shade. It was a royal tour so we visited St James Palace, Prince Charles residence, Buckingham Palace and Westminster. The walk took about 2/2.5 hours and my feet were very sore at the end. However I thoroughly enjoyed it. Though it is free a tip is welcome. After the tour I realised I hadn’t eaten for about 8 hours so I grabbed food and cider in a pub Angus took us to. 


Afterward I made my way to Oxford Street as I had to pick up a gift for a nephew. On my other occasions of visiting London I purely went to shop so I had been on that street a lot. However I never noticed its proximity to Hyde Park before. Don’t get me wrong it’s at the very bottom of the street, but still only ten minutes walk. I decided to walk there as it was so nice out and get my bearings for the gig the next night. On my way I passed Selfridges which had a different meaning to me after watching the tv show! 

The park was full of bars and activities thanks to BST who were hosting the festivities over the couple of weeks. Only for my feet were blistered from walking and I was exhausted I would have spent more time there on Friday evening. Instead I decided to walk back to the hostel to get an idea of the walk for the next night. 


Back at the hostel I made friends with girls in my room and went to a nearby pub for a drink. The hostel was hosting a charity night in aid of Grenfell tower with live music which I thought was a nice touch. Was also a good way for people to mix.

The next morning after breakfast I was indecisive about what I wanted to do. I ended up walking to Kensington Palace and queuing to get in. A tip though would be to book ahead and skip the queue as even though I was very early there was still a thirty minute wait. I spent about ninety minutes wandering about the exhibitions. I enjoyed the Diana one the most. Some of the talks gave a good insight into the history of the palace. I left the palace and looked around the gardens which were beautiful. 


I then decided to spend the afternoon doing nothing! The weather was gorgeous and I was tired, so I lay on the grass reading. There’s so much going on in the park though, I recommend a visit. 


After grabbing food and beverages in the local newsagents I went back to my hostel to clean up for the concert and meet one of the girls. We walked with the crowds to the concert. The park was set up well for an outdoor gig. The bars were a long wait as usual. I am not a fan of being too close to the stage as I always get stuck behind tall people! We got a good spot near the merchandise at the back. The Killers as always put on a great show. My only complaint is that it went by too quickly! 


The next day I checked out of the hostel and started walking with my bag pack. I decided to walk towards Harrods as I had never before seen the famous store. As it was a Sunday morning it wasn’t open but I felt like it was a box ticked. I still had time before making my way to the airport so I decided to fit in St Paul’s Cathedral. I didn’t mind the fact that I wouldn’t have time to go inside and explore. The main thing I wanted to see was the steps, as these were the storyline for the homeless lady in Mary Poppins selling pigeon food for “tuppence a bag”. After walking the circumference and marvelling at the detail in the architecture I noticed a fancy bridge down the street. A geeky part of me really enjoys architecture and engineering so I ventured towards it. I’m glad I did as the bridge went over the Thames river towards the Tate museums. From there I got to see Tower Bridge in the distance. Another box ticked off my tourist list. 

On the bridge I took a moment to enjoy the moment and to be proud of myself for another solo trip that I greatly enjoyed! I made my way back to the tube and to reality unfortunately. Though I always look forward to getting home to Izzie!

Phuket; The first stop on my Thailand Vacation

Ok so flying solo wasn’t too bad, I just didn’t dwell on the fact that I was alone. I watched movies & dozed off when possible. After customs in Bangkok I grabbed my luggage & headed upstairs to check in for my flight to Phuket. (By booking separately I saved time & money) I had booked a later flight in case there were any delays so I was expecting a 4 hour stopover, however the airline asked if I would like to check in for the earlier flight so that was a bonus. The one thing I noticed was how there were signs with power banks everywhere. You have to carry these in your hand luggage & not in your check in. They are strict about this.

I didn’t prearrange transport to the hostel & though I did look at ways to save money on getting there, I ended up getting a cab. It cost 800 baht but after nearly 20 hour travelling & the humidity enveloping me from every direction I didn’t mind paying it. It took about 40 minutes to get to the hostel.

On the drive I was amazed at two things;

  1. The electric wires running from post to post & the quantity of them grouped together
  2. The scooters, multiple passengers facing all directions with no helmets to be seen

Safety obviously not an aspect in this country.

The driver had to ring the hostel for directions. I had booked Bearpacker Hostel due to the reviews on Hostelworld & the proximity to Bangla Road & the beach. I also wanted a private room which they could offer for approx. €20 a night. The reception is bright & airy but before you step in you have to remove your shoes & be buzzed inside. Security is a big thing in this hostel. There are signs everywhere warning of penalties to any guest sneaking a non-guest inside. Check in was easy & I was shown to my “room”. Each floor is named after bears & come equipped with male & female bathrooms. The floors also have washing machines beside the bathrooms. My “room” was more like a pod at the front of the dorms. I am small (5’2) so it wasn’t much of an issue for me, though it could be claustrophobic at times. However if you are over 5’6 I recommend the dorms. I have to say the aircon was very good & effective compared to others I encountered, also the locker provided was large. After getting changed into a bikini & shorts, I made my way upstairs to the pool. There is a lady serving food from the kitchen in the common area up there, beers in the fridge & a sofa in front of a tv. Outside there were tables and chairs, the pool and bean bags on the decking. There was nobody there so I decided to explore. 

I headed down the street, past the various women offering massages, fast food restaurants and made my way to the beach. I found a place on the sand and took in my surroundings. The weather was overcast but the beach was still busy, many traders offering goods or refreshments, however once you say no thank you they move on. I like this as I hate being rude to people. I stayed about an hour before moving along. The beach wasn’t spectacular at all, nothing I haven’t seen before in Spain. This is most likely due to tourism taking over.

I was quite tired after traveling so I headed back to the hostel. Though there was people in the pool this time there was no effort at making conversation. They all seemed to be in groups. Though I tried initiating conversation, I was politely answered and that was that. I got some food of the lady in the hostel, it was nice and also only about €2 for dinner. I then headed to my room to FaceTime home (wifi was good here) then fell asleep early enough. 


The next day was similar. I spent a few hours at the beach, walked up Bangla Road and grabbed a cider, then went back to the hostel. Again failing to get proper conversation out of other guests! I gave up and spent my time reading and texting home. I had a nap before getting changed and heading back to Bangla for dinner and to watch Manchester United play terrible football. I went to the Aussie sports bar and I have to say the chow mein was lovely. Though I wasn’t finding Thailand as cheap as what people made it out to be by any means. For example most bars that served wine were charging €5 per glass. Cider (if served) was €2/3. Your best bet is beer if you can drink it.

I headed home wondering if I would ever make friends, also looking forward to the day ahead where I was being picked up early for a trip to the Elephant Sanctuary. I had to email them to confirm booking as luckily enough I had looked online where they mentioned they were having issues. I would recommend doing this if you booked well in advance. 

I was collected early and I was the first. By the time we got to the sanctuary we had an Australian family of 4, a solo young English girl, an English guy and his Polish girlfriend. For the first time in days I had conversations with people!! It was already a good start. They even shared mosquito spray with me. We had an introduction about the sanctuary and where our fees were going (€70 approx). We then were asked to help prepare the sugar and bananas before we went to meet the elephants. There were a few babies and they were very cute, but at the same time when one runs toward you get out of their way!! We got to feed them, pet them then bathe them. They were never tied up. We got a small lunch, a group photo then headed on our way. A good experience I have to say. 

After I returned from the sanctuary I headed up to the bean bags to chill out. After a while I started conversation with two Swedish girls and one engaged properly with me thank god. We had a few drinks when more people came up and when the two girls left I got to join them. They invited me on their night out and I gladly accepted. Everyone was ten years younger but when talking about travel and experiences age doesn’t seem to matter. We went to Bangla road and tried a few bars. It is an experience, very commercial and full of drunk tourists! I was so happy though to be mixing with people and having fun.

The next day, some were hungover so they remained in bed. Some of us went to the pool and spent the day chatting. I went off for a while to book my accommodation in Phi Phi which took forever as most hostels seemed to be party hostels which I’m too old for and the hotels weren’t getting great reviews either. Finally chose one and booked my transport at reception for the following morning. That evening I joined others for a meal on the beach which was nice then had a walk whilst paddling my feet. We got a few drinks and headed back to the roof for an hour before saying our goodbyes.

Overall I have to say it was tough at the beginning and Phuket wasn’t what I imagined Thailand to be like. Very touristy and commercial, not like paradise at all. However I was warned and some people like that. Everyone has different opinions.I didn’t  rent any bikes during my trip and maybe if I had I would have seen more amazing places. The hostel was lovely and would stay in it again. If like me you have a hard time getting people to engage, keep trying with different people. It isn’t you! Some people just rather keep to their own groups.

Summertime walks: Pt1 Hellfire Club, Dublin

Ok so I decided to share some of the walks I do during summer, sometimes during the year. The reason is because a lot of people I talk to never venture further than what they already know so it’s always good to discover there’s more out there. 

The Hellfire Club is in the Dublin Mountains near viewpoint and Masseys Wood. It is a moderate climb if you follow the path. If you go through the Forest however it is a lot steeper. As you walk along the pathway you will see an amazing view of Dublin City. Though I do need to warn you that on warm days the insects and flies can also be found in their thousands along the walk. 

Though there are signs saying otherwise I always feel it’s safe for Izzie to be off her lead. It can be tough on her paws with the gravel but worth it when she reaches the top and there’s grass to roll around in. Up here I take in the view and gather my thoughts. I never go in the crumbling building however!

On the way down I go through the forest as it’s downhill and quicker. The walk doesn’t take long and most people I know enjoy it.


My easiest way to get here is to take the m50 and turn off towards Firhouse. Take the left at the next junction near Woodstown and drive towards the mountain. When you get to the t-junction take the left then at the top of that road take the first right. A few minutes up the road you will see the car park on the right.

Jungle trekking to Machu Picchu; the big finale ⛰

I awoke before our alarms went at 3:15 due to the noise outside our window. I lay there thinking it was absolutely bucketing down and dreading the thoughts of walking in the rain, only to discover it was actually the river outside! We had quick showers then made our way downstairs to offload our luggage and start on our way.

We walked in the dark with our flashlights to guide us. Some people more eager than others to be the first in the queue at the bridge. We passed the bus line queue which was already forming even though it did not start until 6am. It was now 4am.


We waited at the bridge, eating rolls and sharing them with the stray dogs that loitered around. Eventually the gates opened and we were allowed cross. We had been told that it should take us an hour, though for locals it takes 40 minutes.

It took us 1 hr 30 minutes!! It was so so tough. 2000 steps! Don’t get me wrong, some people over took us. Others we over took. We were catching our breaths for the billionth time when a girl had to get sick from exertion. We stayed together and pushed each other up, the only way we knew we were near is when we heard voices above us. It was a killer! But my ass felt amazing 😂.

We made it up just before 6.30 am to be told by our Dutch friends that our tour guide wanted to leave without us. This annoyed us because we were told to meet at 6.30 plus the fact we were then left waiting for him once we got through the gates. We felt a bit like cattle as we shuffled towards the entrance.


I have to say I did feel a bit emotional as I got my first glimpse at the historical site. Sun was coming up & it was covered in cloud. Though I didn’t do the Classic Inca Trail the trek I chose took a lot out of me. Obviously this was partly due to sickness but even in good health I reckon I still would have struggled at parts. However despite all my grumbles I did make it. I didn’t appreciate it until a few months later but I finally gave myself a bit of credit. I met a few people who gave in & got the bus or the train because the same sickness knocked it out of them, however I persevered. It has to count for something!


Our tour guide had gathered a lot of people & talked us through the different parts of the site. Honestly though I didn’t take anything in about what he was saying. Apart from the fact that he wasn’t the best guide, it was easy to be distracted by the sure awe of the place & how it was built.

You are looking around at the architecture & seriously overwhelmed by how it was constructed. There’s a wall built into the mountain that I still don’t understand how it was made. Just when you are getting your head around it all you then spot Huayna Picchu mountain & spot building up there at a higher point. It is unbelievable.

We spent time wandering through the different parts. It seriously is crowded, full of people trying to get the perfect photo for their Instagram/Tinder profile. We overhear other tourists complain at their guide as they have been up since 7 am & they are tired of walking! We think ‘try walking up 2000 steps at 5 am missus!!’


What I did love about it was we seemed to meet a lot of people we had interacted with over the previous week. It was great catching up especially at the place which was probably our main reason of visiting Peru in the first place.

Due to the different weather conditions in Peru I had brought a onesie as I read Cusco gets very cold at night (which is very true). My friend dared me to wear it at the top of Machu Picchu. So I did, at lunch time when the sun was scalding us! She left shortly after to wait in the coffee shop as the tiredness suddenly hit her. I wandered about talking to different friends I had made. I also made it my mission to get the obligatory Lama photo.

We decided to make our way back for the bus. I have a problem with my knee & I knew descending those steps would cause me issues. I’m happy I did after recent problems I have had with it.

We had some food in Agues Calientes then went back to grab our stuff. We were all lethargic & couldn’t wait to rest our heads on the train back. About 5.20 pm we made our way to the train station for our 6 pm departure. Walking through the train station we thought it strange for it to be so busy, bodies lying about everywhere. We soon found out that there were delays. Communication in the station was a nightmare. No updates at all.

We eventually discovered there had been a train crash and that was what was causing delays. We only found out through talking to people, staff were unhelpful. For a few hours we lay on the concrete inside the station. We met up with Mary and her boyfriend who ended up joining our group when we eventually got seats outside. Some of the lads got alcohol and in spite of being exhausted we had a laugh for the most part. Our train company eventually gave us snacks to appease us, though we were annoyed it was mainly at the lack of information being given & the fact we were tired. Sitting outside was also cold so I put my onesie on over my clothes, I didn’t care at this stage. A group of Asian tourist had gotten drunk and were dancing around a smart phone to Barbie Girl, that amused us for a while.

Around 12.30 am we boarded the train. I think we all conked out as soon as we lay our heads down. The train doesn’t go all the way to Cusco so we had to get out at the final stop where we were to be brought back to Cusco by bus. It was near 3am and we were exhausted so what we disembarked to was absolute madness. Lots of people screaming at us for taxi’s & buses. After pushing our way through the crowd we finally found our group on a placard. We thought we could rest easy, instead we kept getting moved from bus to bus being told each one couldn’t take us. One of our companions got irate & snapped at the person in charge. A man came up and guided us towards a taxi, telling us he would take us. The lady in charge told us to go with him but we were on edge. We didn’t need to be as he brought us to our destination safely, we just were unnerved that early hour of the morning. Near 5 am we eventually crawled into bed in our hostel room, desperate to get heat in our bones and some rest after a very long day!!

My thoughts on solo travel now I’ve done it

Ok so I was nervous last year about the thoughts of going to Peru alone but when that changed and my friend accompanied me I felt slightly bummed. I realised I wanted to test myself to see if I could actually do it. I booked Thailand soon after I came back and without the big ‘will I won’t I’ drama I had put myself through previously. 

The travelling on airplanes was fine as I watch movies anyway so the first time it got strange was when I finally arrived in Phuket and had to decide on transportation to Patong. I quickly made the choice once I got outside to take the nearest taxi on offer no matter the price. 

Hostels are the best place to meet people travelling solo however I struggled my first two days. I work in sales so I am not shy however it took until the 3rd day for me to have conversations with people. Once I got going I was grand. I ended up having a companion for 6 days. 

I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how long you are travelling for, (2 weeks, 3,4,5,6….or longer) everyone who travels gets it and welcomes you. They appreciate the fact that you are trying to see outside the box. I did get asked a few times by a group of English guys on a typical lads holiday why I was on my own. I think they pitied me. I told them my friends have different priorities, I wanted to see Thailand so why not? For every one person who asks that question there are 5 people doing the same as me. I don’t think they realised it until they met others like me. In fairness I am 34 and it was only last year that I realised I could do it. 

Does it get lonely? Yes of course. It may only be two weeks but having multiple days of just your own company can get tiresome, and I like my own company! Then there’s the days where you would love to share your experience with someone you love and who loves you. I’ve had fleeting moments like that and I’ve had some a little longer than fleeting. However I remind myself I am in paradise, most people don’t see places I am getting to and that being in a relationship can be lonely too at times. 

My phone has become my ally. I lost my kindle to an infinity pool and a steep step I wasn’t expecting! So this phone has become my communication to home and people I met along the way. It’s my lifeline for travelling with my hostels/hotel/flight bookings on it. I also have now come to rely on it for my kindle reading (better than nothing). Also I forgot how happy music makes me and how I feel less alone with it. With all these uses the battery goes pretty quickly so my advice is to get a really good battery bank. I was lucky my friend gave me one of hers as she moved onto a different island. 

Eating alone is no issue. Again I had my phone with me so I was fine. Last night I looked around the restaurant on the beach with a fabulous sunset, filled with couples and noticed most people are on their phones anyway. Whether taking photos or talking or texting. One couple didn’t speak as she was on a call and he was on his kindle. So never feel self conscious, you aren’t the only one. 

If you aren’t sure I would try a solo weekend trip to test it out and stay in a hostel. As I got to go to Peru with a companion I was able to see how many people go solo without doing it myself. The ages range from 21-70, though in Thailand I mostly met 24 year olds so keep that in mind for there. Also do your research. Don’t expect luxury going to a hostel, whilst I have visited nice ones, most are basic. If they say party hostel Do not expect sleep as you won’t really get any, however you are guaranteed to meet people. It’s something I struggled with as I badly wanted to mix with people but sleep aswell. I chose a nearby hotel in Phi Phi as none of the hostels looked great, plus I already had someone to meet with. 

My main bit of advise is No regrets. You hear it all the time but sometimes we choose to go a different way due to fear. I looked at this trip as a way to calm my mind. I feel it’s better to regret something you have done than something you haven’t done. You will always wonder what if?? I now have done it and whether or not I do it again I have answered myself and know I can do it. That is an achievement I have done for myself. A box ticked. A lot of people wouldn’t be so brave and they will tell you that themselves, so if it’s in your head just do it xxx

Jungle trekking to Machu Picchu; Day 3 a short hike

After breakfast we got transported to the zip lines which I chose not to do. Two reasons; Firstly I was still unwell (great excuse). Secondly I unfortunately had read reviews before I left & a lot of them had mentioned about how unsafe they could be, tourists dying as a result of not being shown how to strap themselves properly. I had already zip-lined at home a few times so I didn’t feel it was an experience I was missing out on.

Instead I got to chill in the sun watching eagles soar in the sky & listen to the squeals in the background. It also gave me time to let my stomach settle a bit more & force feed myself. The scenery was pretty too. It turns out that there are quite a few of these zip-lining places & by talking to others later on, the one we were taken to was quite a good one.

After this place we shared a bus with another group to Hidrolectica station where we split up. Our group made our way to a large restaurant where hammocks awaited us! We were early so we got to lie in the sun before our lunch was served & for a short period after. Amazingly enough I found myself able to try lunch. I managed a couple of spoons of soup then a few bites of the beef & rice dish. Both were lovely I would have liked to eat more than what my stomach allowed!

We then began our trek. Our bag-packs were heavy but as we were only to trek for a few hours it was manageable. We offloaded some of our goodies to local children once their parents approved. We walked along gravel & railway tracks, passing people with a lot heavier loads on their backs. Whilst it wasn’t as taxing as the previous day it was still a long journey. We avoided a few trains along the way too, giving us time to rest.

As we neared our destination of Agues Calientes we stopped for a short break. Another group came along & I was delighted to find that Mary, who I spoke to on the bus after white water rafting, was part of it. We had quick chat, comparing insect bites (some of her group were destroyed!) and giving advice about where to eat when back in Cusco.


As we walked towards the town, our guide pointed out the bridge where we would begin our final trek to Machu Picchu. He told us we would have to be up at 4am to make the opening at 5am. It should take an hour to make it to the top or that we could get a bus. We scoffed at this, stating that we would be cheating if we did that (in hindsight we should have!). 

Agues Calientes is a very pretty town. It reminds me of ski resorts that I’ve seen in movies. We passed the five star hotel and made it to our lodgings above a Chinese restaurant. Out of our three nights this was the nicest stay that was offered. The wifi was great, beds were comfortable and the bathroom was the nicest we had seen since our arrival to Peru. I managed to eat dinner which was also a bonus as I needed my energy for the next day, the final day of the trek ….Machu Picchu 

 

Jungle trekking to Machu Picchu; Day 2 a long hike

Day two started with me in good enough form, though I was still unable to eat breakfast. I managed a banana & some water to give myself energy. My friend had organized for our bag-pack to be sent on so we only had to share the weight of one. We were transported to the foot of the mountain so we skipped a long enough walk at the start.

I personally had spent the summer hill walking constantly to prepare myself for inclines on this trip but nothing could have prepared me for how much I struggled on this day. It was constant inclines & the heat even in the morning was zapping any energy I had. I held the group back as I had to stop a lot & to be honest the very first hour I was so close to tears. I felt guilt over slowing the others on their journey & I had hit a mental block of where I just wanted to give up.


In the mountains many locals have shops set up for tourists to rest & purchase refreshments. I took this opportunity to rest a lot & drink water. The others dressed up in local garments for fun & took pictures with the monkey that was tied to a post. We spent longer than planned here, probably due to my obvious struggle. In this time I discovered another reason as to why I found it so tough & was so emotional, lets say although it didn’t help matters physically it made me feel more normal!

Peruvian Tequila has a snake instead of a worm

My friend told me she was struggling with the hike too. At first I thought it was just to make me feel better, however as it went on I could see she wasn’t lying. What I found hard was due to altitude & shortness of breath as a result of the climb, I realised that no-one was talking. On my hikes at home with friends its the constant chatter & banter that takes your mind off the journey ahead. This hike however I was constantly in my own head, telling myself I wasn’t good enough, I was holding everyone back, how much I hated the walk etc. When I told my friend this she kindly took my mind off things by asking me trivia about the Kardashians! It was the only topic that came to mind at the time & it actually passed an hour easily enough. This in turn boosted my spirits somewhat so I wasn’t a constant moan-bag for the whole trek.

During this time we reached the part that I was dreading, the narrow part of the trail where you don’t want to look down. When we first arrived here I didn’t think it was as bad as I thought it would be, however I did freak out when I looked at what was in store. To descend from this cliff meant narrow steps, a tiny mistake could mean you plummeting down into the valley below. To help I looked down at my feet & clung to the rocks at the side. I was terrified but we kept conversation flowing to distract both of us from our fears.

You can’t see the drop from here but it’s a big one!!

We continued down hill which really helped my mood. I perked up a good bit & made conversation with the Dutch couple in our group. It was nice getting to know them & for them to get to know me, see that I wasn’t just being a pain for no reason.

The locals are really friendly & we were astounded how they could live so isolated from everything. At one point on our walk we came along a bundle hanging from a tree. We were informed by our tour guide that it was in fact a baby! When the locals need to do errands they leaved the child asleep in a swaddle hanging from the tree.

We stopped for lunch in this nice restaurant where other groups were. We got to rest before & after, in hammocks & on seats in the shade. Lunch was nice however I could only manage a couple of spoonfuls of soup. My main regret about being sick is that I missed out on a lot of good meals in Peru. I am a fussy eater but everything I ate was really nice & the smells of the meals on this trek were amazing.

We continued on our trek, in parts we mixed with the other group. There was a lot more of them but they were always ahead of us. Rain started which cooled us down. We crossed streams until we eventually came to an old Railway bridge. The gaps in the sleepers turned into a blur as I quickly stepped over them to get to the other side.

Not the railway bridge obviously!!

After a rest we moved on to more gravel & rocks that we had to make our way over. Soon enough we reached the cable car. This is pulled by locals on either side to get you over the Urabamba river. I never felt scared on this by the way, it was actually fun. From there we made our way through a tunnel & walked to Santa Theresa Hot Springs.

The trail to Saint Teresa was a gloomy one in this weather

The weather had changed to a drizzle & the sky was covered in grey. The hot springs were a lot nicer than I had imagined. There were numerous changing rooms, shops to buy refreshments & beer, along with sunbeds to chill out by the springs if you would rather that. I chose to get in as I am not sure when I would get the chance again. The temperature depended on which pool you chose, though I never found anything too hot. The smell wasn’t overwhelming either which was good. I enjoyed my time in the baths, talking to my new Dutch friends, taking in the different cultures around me. Thunder & lightening began which was nice for a period until it got closer. I chose to get out of the baths in case any electricity hit the water (which it didn’t but safety first etc).

We got transported to our lodgings for the night, which was like a shed. It wasn’t the most comfortable of surroundings but it beat sleeping in a tent in stormy weather! I went straight to bed without dinner hoping to enjoy the next day more than I did that day. I honestly was fed up of being sick & dragging the group along. I was praying to be better the following day!

 

 

 

Fight or flight

I’ve tried writing this post a couple of times but I never finish it. I’ve decided to keep it short so that I may succeed in posting something incredibly tough but that people may relate to.

For over a week now I seem to be in a state of depression. I don’t like using this word as I feel it takes away from people who are struggling more than me, however when I googled symptoms of depression earlier if you answer yes to five out of the eight you have a moderate depression. I answered seven. 

I have felt this way on occasion before, starting when I was dealing with my ex husbands addiction. At the start it was a couple of evenings. Near the end of our marriage there were two weeks of crying when I was alone or at home with him. 

More recently I felt this way when I came back from Peru. My sickness along with rejection from a guy I was very into knocked my confidence completely. I was alone for days in my apartment, struggling to get out of bed. The weight of the world making simple tasks like walking my dog such an effort. I got back to normal after a couple of weeks, filling the emptiness up with future plans and putting the loneliness  into a cupboard that was alread bursting. 

I made myself believe I was ok. I hate whinging to people about how I feel when they honestly have worse struggles going on in their lives. 

For the most part I am ok. I am healthy, have a home, family and friends who care about me. I travel to places I’ve never been before. However about a week ago I realised I’m not as good as I would want to believe. I have issues from my marriage that are affecting me and will continue to unless I seek help. Other issues regarding relationships came to light too, that whilst my ex didn’t help matters, they were there long before him. I am lucky enough to have a good support system of friends that I can talk to, but even with them the loneliness can be an unbearable pain at times that knocks the wind out of you. There’s no other way I can describe it. 

I am publishing this post for anyone who may read it to know that life isn’t all what it seems on social media or blogs. I am writing about my future plans that will make me happy but I amnt shying away from the fact that my life is far from constant selfie smiles. My past week has been spent using all my energy hiding how I feel from people, trying not to cry in public, telling myself that I’m worthless and will end up alone. I am drained mentally and physically. I want to be in my bed all the time, yet when I’m there I wake multiple times throughout the night dreading the thoughts of the day ahead, pretending to be ok.

I know that this will pass, it always does. I am stronger than I thought I was a decade ago. I’ve had to be. My worry is that it seems to be happening more frequently and for longer periods which isn’t something I want. I am looking up counselling but finding the right one can be tough.

Anyway that’s my post that I discarded a few times. Hopefully it helps people realise that they aren’t alone.

Robbed off a bloggers insta

Travel plans for 2017

So I’m starting to think I have a slight problem, I can’t help but look up flights and hotels when I have no money to pay for them! Even when I can work my way around that problem a nagging voice in the back of my head adds that spending money would be required too. I’m my fathers daughter, he comes home from the supermarket every week with bargains he doesn’t really need because the offer was too good to pass up. I’m just the same. I want to travel back to Barcelona as I only got to spend one day there and I loved it. It normally is an expensive city to fly to and stay in however I found a 4 star hotel where the stay has been cut by 50%. (Prob an error on a website but that went in my favour before). Just when I had it justified in my head I actually spoke out loud the trips I already have booked and common sense took hold 😕.

In just a few weeks I have a family trip to Banna Beach, Kerry. I booked this as the resort allows dogs and Kerry is a beautiful county I want to explore more. My sisters family and my parents are coming so there should be good memories made. It got voted as the top beach in Ireland the day after we booked so I am looking forward to bringing Izzie on a long walk on the sand (weather permitting of course). Though it will be inexpensive enough I still need money for food and travel whilst there.


The following week I am jetting off on my first official solo trip to Thailand. I’ve decided to not stay in Bangkok but head straight to Phuket instead. My reasoning being is that I’ve heard more bad than good things about the city and I want to ease myself into my solo travel rather than be freaked out and turned off at the first hurdle. I’m not counting out visiting on my way back, we’ll see. In Phuket I have three nights booked in a hostel near Bangla road and that’s all. I want to go with the flow of possible. I know I want to visit the elephant reserve in Phuket, go scuba diving and snorkel at night to see plankton lit up. 

That’s all my I have planned in my head!
June is an empty schedule however the start of July sees me off to London for my first visit there in about 14 years! I never did any tourist stuff on my previous visits so I intend to do a bit. However my reason for this trip is to see The Killers in Hyde Park. I am going solo as I am not missing out on seeing them! Booked into a hostel for two nights near the park and hopefully meet up with a friend for a drink beforehand. 

August then sees me flying to Brussels with my friend. The whole weekend is cheaper than going to a hotel in Ireland so we decided to book and see what it has to offer. Not 100% about what sites we can see but if the weather is fine we will wander around and wine will surely be drank.

September I have nothing scheduled unless I end up booking Barcelona! 

October I visit a country I have heard good things about; Croatia 🇭🇷. We start of in Dubrovnik for 3 days then we make our way to Split for the remaining 3. Apparently we pass through Bosnia to get there so that will be nice to see. Holiday season will be over by the time we arrive however my friend and I are both planning an easy going break. Reading, walking, dining and wine. I can’t see how we will be disappointed in any way as I’ve heard it’s a stunning country. Really looking forward to seeing it!

As it stands I have nothing planned for November or December. They can be busy months with Christmas anyway. Ideally I would love to visit Iceland or Norway but as both are quite pricey I don’t think they will be an option for me!

Along with all this I have Ed Sheeran and U2 gigs at home to see. I am going to have to find a money tree 🌲 somewhere 🤔…

Hens in Edinburgh 

Ok so last year my best friends sister asked for my help with organising her hens for this year as we’ve been friends 18 years so I know her pretty well. I was honoured and set about pricing flights and hotels to give them options about where to bring her. I knew she wouldn’t want too much expense on people and as she’s getting married on St Patrick’s Day to get sun you would need to be travelling further afield than usual. With the Ryanair flights being pretty good times and only €80 return to Edinburgh we chose to go there. 

So considering I booked so far in advance I got a great deal on a hotel that rated well on Tripadvisor. The Apex City of Edinburgh hotel in Grassmarket to be precise. £68 a night for a double room without breakfast. I had to check on rooms nearer our departure and the price had doubled so we definitely got a good deal. 

The next thing I booked was our transfers. I googled a few companies and went with Rideways as they had the most competitive price. I have to say from the moment we landed we were well looked after by this company and I would recommend them to everyone. The cabs were always waiting for us, the cars were immaculate and the drivers were very pleasant. 

We had decided that what tends to happen on hens is that the second night is always the main night but sometimes after all the alcohol on the first day, everyone tends to be too tired to fully enjoy the activities. My friend didn’t want costumes or fuss so we booked a cocktail class in Revolution for Friday afternoon with food to follow and we would remain in our t-shirts for the entire day. T-shirts were ordered from http://www.henpartysuperstore.com and they were pretty reasonable. 

We got other bits and pieces to surprise her with and did a few personal touches too that we knew she would like. We also booked her make up with Makeup Masters Debbie as she always makes us look amazing and just a nice treat to send the Hen off with. 

With everything sorted we were all excited to be heading off. Layers upon layers of tan were applied 😂. Prosecco was ordered in the airport and then we got told off for the rudeness of our t-shirts! The hotel was lovely in a great location. The castle was right in our view. The reception staff were lovely and helped us with any queries we had. Another bottle of prosecco awaited us in the room, gifted by a friend who couldn’t make it!

After the bubbles we made our way up the hill to Revolution. The class was good fun, with us all in dirty minded form. The poor bloke teaching us was mortified! There was shots for right and wrong answers and unfortunately one of the girls was suffering for a while later after consuming the chilli shot for being incorrect.


After the class we had a two course meal and more alcohol. The staff were lovely and food was good too. However the atmosphere on the Friday was lacking so we made our way to the Three Sisters which is a big pub that attracts hens and stag parties. 

We had a kitty for our drinks, grabbed a seat and ordered a lot of alcohol. We spent the first hour play “Never have I ever” and laughing at each other’s stories. We are all a filthy minded bunch so there’s always a dirty giggle to be had. As the time went on the music got louder and we ended up dancing. Some guy got very excited dancing with our hen and ended up hurting her back, though with the amount she drank the effect of this wasn’t felt until the next day. We met up with another stags and had a bit of banter. In Britain the pubs close about 1am (in Ireland most close about 3am) but on this occasion we were happy to make the journey back to the hotel. Bottled water is supplied free of charge so we stocked up at reception before falling into our beds. 

The next day some of us were worse for wear. We eventually managed to peel ourselves from the beds and go to get some food. The Saturday was a miserable day unfortunately so we had to get umbrellas from the hotel. After a bit of indecisiveness we stumbled across a place called Brunch. It was very busy and we had to squashed in together on a small table. The food was lovely and reasonable however the service was slow. It took a while to take our order and from there it was a long wait for our food. 

We got a taxi from there to John Lewis and after that we wandered around the high street. It was such a pity is was raining as we all would have liked to explore Edinburgh more. Some parts reminded me of something from Hogwarts. It is a place I will return to sightsee at some point in life. 

We all met in the hotel restaurant at 5pm to fill up for the evening. We were the only people there. My meal was nice however some of the girls weren’t impressed with their mains. It did the job anyway and we headed upstairs to get ready. 

After more prosecco, games and tears we all left to head to Revolution again. This time it was packed. I had to wait 30 minutes at the bar to be served! The music was good and the dance floor was full. We met the stags again and we just buzzed off them for the night. We got kicked out of there at 1am and finished off our night in a rock bar that was open late. 

Needless to say the next day we were a little bit tired! We got ready for the airport and as soon as we checked out our driver helped us with our bags. We would have liked an extra day but we’ll know for the next time!