Exploring Liverpool UK Part 1

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Like many it’s been such a long time since I’ve been able to travel so, when the UK relaxed it’s locked down rules, I ventured on a day to Liverpool.

With no time to waste I booked a £5 return ticket with National Express . I had no idea what to expect or if many places were going to be open. I was just happy to get out of the house.

There was only around 5 other people on the coach all the way there, and back for that matter. If I’m honest, I really enjoyed that there wasn’t many people on board, It was the most peaceful journey ever!

If your not familiar with Liverpool

Liverpool is a port city and metropolitan district of Merseyside in the North West of England. The Docklands and many other areas of the historic city centre were named a UNESCO world heritage site in 2004. It’s home of the world famous Beatles, Liverpool football F.C, Everton F.C and is an incredible attractive and popular city due to its stunning Albert docks, buildings, museums, culture and it’s witty people.

Whilst I was on the coach, I managed to book myself on a £10 2-hour walking tour of the city on TripAdvisor.

The tour started at 11am and we were to meet at the Beatles statue at pier head. The tour was based around the culture, architecture and of course, the beatles.

We started at pier head taking in the views of the seaport and rich surrounding buildings, whilst listening to the stories and history behind them.

King Edward Vll Monument
Museum of Liverpool
The seaport

As you may or may not know Liverpool played a crucial role in the slave-trade. Our tour guide spoke on Liverpool’s slavery links.It was a topic that often popped up during the tour as Liverpool largely earned it’s first wealth through its links with the slave-trade. London, Bristol and Glasgow were other major cities with crucial links in the UK in-fact, the UK earned it’s first Capitalism through it’s links with slavery.

Links to slavery

The city expanded rapidly during the 18th century due to its trade with America and The West Indies. The profitable trades involved the trading of slaves in west Africa, who were traded for spices, sugar and other plantation corps in the West Indies.

The cities Maritime played an important role in bringing Liverpool to be a global force and power. The trading of slavery made the city and it’s slave traders rich off the back of human suffering. Mersey ships forced almost 1.5million African people traded in West Africa into slavery, who were sent to America and the Caribbean.

The slave ships were often built in Liverpool or repaired in-fact, ‘Liverpool Merchant’ was the first slave ship recorded leaving for sail from Liverpool.

Where the ships would pull in to be repaired

Very few slaves passed through Liverpool but, the slave-trade made this city rich and powerful as Liverpool became the number one port, taking over London and Bristol.

This is very evident in the city as we walk around and have the buildings and streets pointed out. Liverpool is filled with rich buildings and grand houses built with slave money, many of the cities prominent streets and buildings are named after slave traders and merchants such as Bold street, named after Jonas Bold a slave merchant who became mayor of Liverpool in 1802, the port of Liverpool Building which has stone carvings of slaves ships on the facade, penny lane is another, named after James Penny a slave trader and many more.

The port of Liverpool Building
Royal Liver Building
Liverpool Town Hall
Liverpool Train Station

Although it is hugely uncomfortable talking about Liverpool’s slave links, Nonetheless I feel I can not write a blog without mentioning it, especially in the times were living in right now. Despite it’s past history, I find it to be one of the most beautiful, interesting and historical cities in the UK.

Liverpool acknowledgements

In 1999 Liverpool apologised for its involvement and the affects it has had on the black communities.

In 2007, Liverpool opened The Slavery Museum to commemorate and offer education and understanding of the slave legacy.

Should monuments and street names named after slave traders stay or go?

I personally feel the monuments and street names should stay. As bad as the history is, it’s history that can not be re-written. By taking it away, the history will become a forgotten history. This is hugely important in a country that earned it’s first Capitalism through slavery but only acknowledges it’s slave abolition in it’s history books.

What do you think? Should the monuments and street names stay or go? If you’ve been directed from instagram and do not have wordpress, please comment on the instagram post.

I will be speaking more about my day trip in my next blog

Thanks for reading 🙂

Stay safe xx

Zadar Croatia Part 3 Excursion to Kornati Islands

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After booking my trip to Zadar, I did some research and tried to put together an itinerary for my four night stay. This didn’t go to plan, everywhere I wanted to visit seemed rather impossible to get to. Well, not impossible, just a little daunting for me as a solo traveller. For instance, I wanted to visit Plitvice Lakes, to get there it was a 20-minute bus ride to Zadar’s main station, from here 7 buses ran daily covering the route between the hours of 8am and 11pm. According to the information I read the bus ride was between 2 and 3 hours long, depending on which route the bus takes. I’m usually willing to travel but, the low frequency of buses along with the lengthy journeys made it feel quite daunting. Your probably thinking, why didn’t you just book an excursion right? Well, firstly, I like to take public transport to take everything in and get a good feel for the place secondly, the thought of going on an excursion was also daunting to me. You see, there are certain things I’ve had to overcome as a solo traveller such as, travelling alone in the first place, taking public transport alone on foreign soil, eating out at restaurants etc, this for me was just another one of these challenges. I decided not to book anything and thought I’d see how I felt once there. See my last 2 blogs to see what I did once there.

On the second day of my trip a lady approached me in hotel lobby, she was selling excursions to kornati islands. Guess what? I purchased one! I put every negative thought to the back of my mind, telling myself it would be fine.

I was right! I had a fantastic time! Don’t get me wrong, there were the odd moments like being picked up for the excursion with a family of nine and no other people but myself. As we walked the 15-minute walk to the port to catch our boat, I thought, surely it’s not just going to be me and this family? They were a lovely family but, I really felt like the odd one out! Lets me just be clear, I was the odd one out! When we arrived at the port I suddenly felt better learning we would be joined by several others. Once we were on board, I kinda felt a little awkward again, looking around seeing people with their families or partners, I also got the odd couple of looks too. The awkwardness soon disappeared when I was handed a shot of tequila, breakfast and was informed of the free flow of wine for our entire trip 🙏🏾.

Here’s the video of the day trip

Day trip to Kornati Islands

Thanks for reading 🙂

Solo Trip To Zadar, Croatia Part 2

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Day 3 of my trip here was spent wondering around Zadar’s beautiful old town. The journey was around a 15 – minute bus ride from the Donat Hotel where I was staying. The journey cost me 10 kunas which was around £1.15 in sterling pounds or €1.31 in euros at the time of being there.

What the video if you would like to see this beautiful old town. You will also get to see the sea organ, which was definitely the highlight of the day! It was so fascinating!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Solo trip to Zadar, Croatia Part 1

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If you read my last blog you will know I was feeling a little worried about this trip…. Well, there was no reason to worry! I had the most amazing time!

Watch the video below which shows my arrival and first day in croatia. If you want to learn more about where I stayed scroll down to read.

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my Disclosure page for more info.*

Where I Stayed

I stayed at the Donat Hotel * Please not this is not a paid review*

I found the hotel basic but clean, the staff were very pleasant and helpful, Although, I do have to admit the restaurant staff were extremely miserable!

The food is buffet style with a fairly good selection every day and is served at breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, all the drinks are not all-inclusive! Red wine, white wine, beer, juices, sprite, coke, coffee and tea are all included in the package, everything else you are required to pay for. Many people were unhappy with this in the reviews, I for one was fine with this however, I did understand why people were disappointed. Correct me if I’m wrong but, all-inclusive usually includes all drinks but exclude champagne or branded drinks in the package.

The Hotel is located on a huge complex along with other hotels. In fact, the hotel has two separate buildings, one where the restaurant is located and the other where the reception and bar is located, this is the one I stayed in. The beach is pretty much on the door step of this building and is less than a 3-minute walk from the other building.

In the reviews people complain of the hotel being situated in a remote area, which is somewhat true to some extent. The surrounding area is quiet, but is rather enjoyable and not touristy. Outside the complex is a restaurant, gift shop, super market, ice cream shop and the beautiful harbour. Also, right outside the complex is the bus stop where you can take a short bus journey into the centre.

I really had no problem with this hotel and would recommend it as a very good choice to stay in zadar, especially if your looking to stay somewhere cheap and cheerful. It’s incredibly cheap! I paid £243 for the entire trip which included flights and airport transfers! *Please bear in mind this was booked for October and prices will vary*

Zadar, Croatia/ Feeling Apprehensive

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*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my Disclosure page for more info.*

October 2019, I took a four- day trip to Croatia. It’s a place I had wanted to visit for quite some time, but never imagined I would get there so soon, at the beginning of my solo travel journey. You see, I travel on a low budget which can be restricting, I never really choose the destinations, in fact, it’s almost like the destinations choose me.

How much it cost

I found the four- day package all-inclusive holiday at loveholidays.com for the price of £243. This price also included transfers to and from the airport! Ok, it’s out of season, but regardless it was a fantastic price! I was completely thrilled!

Feeling Apprehensive

I’m always apprehensive just before I’m due to travel, especially if I’ve never travelled to the country before.

A couple of days before due to travel, I began to get a little nervous, which led me to start reading reviews on my accommodation. I had already read some of the reviews prior to booking however, as the nerves kicked in I began to read the reviews extensively.

There were quite a few terrible reviews on the hotel, of course, this lead to me to question what I had actually booked!! I didn’t realise just how many bad reviews there were!

The majority of bad reviews were about how rude, miserable and unhelpful the staff were at the hotel. How the hotel was not all-inclusive as the alcoholic drinks we’re not included except red wine, white wine and beer. People also complained about the location of the hotel, saying it was in an isolated area with nothing around it. Other complaints included the state of the hotel, room size, cold water etc.

After reading all this, I was absolutely dreading it! Nevertheless, I told myself it was only a 4-night stay and surely it wasn’t going to be so bad.

I will share how this trip went on my next post along with more hotel details.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Video: Salou, Tarragona, Spain

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For those interested, I managed to film some clips of my time in Salou and Tarragona over a period of 48 hours.

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my Disclosure page for more info.*

Hotel Details:

Disclaimer: Prices may vary depending on your party size and the time of the year you plan to travel. All details are based on my own experiences, please do not take all details at face value.

Hotel Best Cap Salou

On the first night, I stayed at the Hotel Best Cap Salou. My one night stay cost £34 which included breakfast, although I didn’t have to pay for this as Onethebeach.com foot the bill due to the hotel mix up. I thought it was a very reasonably priced hotel especially due to its location and the facilities it has to offer. It’s located in a tourist area, however, it’s not a hustle and bustle area, in fact, you will be guaranteed tranquillity as it’s set right on the sea. That being said, there are also good bus links in the area with bus information workers directing you in the correct direction, to the Salou Centre etc.

The Salou Pacific

The second hotel was the salou Pacific (my original hotel booked).

Cheap!!!

This hotel is a cheap budget hotel. I tend not to stay in the 4 and 5-star hotels as frequent travel will be costly unless of course, you have millions in the bank, which I don’t! Also, I do not like the idea of staying in a hostel, not that there is anything wrong with its just personal preference. I like my privacy.

The hotel cost me €109 for a whole 7day stay!! It was well located, had all the facilities I needed and most importantly was clean. What more could I ask for? Oh, wait! Free-Wifi which isn’t available, but nonetheless everything else was absolutely fine.

No cleaning Service

The hotel does not offer a cleaning service it’s basically like just renting an apartment. I actually preferred this! There was no bother of having to think about the housekeepers coming in. I brought my own cleaning products for €4.50 and kept up with the cleaning myself. Some people prefer not to have to do anything on holiday, but I clean up even when there is a service of housekeeping so it made no difference to me.

Clean Towels

You can get clean towels at the reception in exchange for your used ones

Deposit and rules on leaving

There is a €50 per person deposit on arrival this is given back on check out after a quick inspection.

To get your deposit back you are required to clean the apartment. By this, I mean to ensure the kitchen area is cleaned, wash the dishes put them away and wipe the sides down. You do not have to spring clean it as it will be cleaned after you leave, you just need to tidy it as you found it.

You also need to take your rubbish out to the bins, which are directly across the street. (Do not leave any rubbish whatsoever).

Do all this and you get your deposit back 🙂

The hotel is in a fantastic location with excellent links to Cambrils, Tarragona, Barcelona and is only a 15- 20-minute walk from the promenade (or bus it and get there in 5minutes). I would highly recommend this hotel for the budget traveller.

Thanks for visiting:)

A Day In Tarragona/ Catalonia, Spain

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Tarragona is a port city situated in north-east Spain on the Costa Daurada Although, it only sits 100 km to the south of Barcelona, It is by far less known. It’s full of well-preserved medieval and roman charms and is listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO.

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my Disclosure page for more info.*

The majority of tourists visit Barcelona and the more popular locations such as Madrid, Seville and Valencia. It’s surprising how many people have never heard of Tarragona here in the UK, especially since it is located only 11 km from Salou, the hugely popular British tourist destination.

Now I have to admit, I had never heard of it myself until I was searching for a city to visit on my 6th day in Salou. I come across it on trip advisor and was completely blown away by the pictures and reviews.

That morning I made the 15- 20 minute journey by bus for €2.50, I was so delighted I did! It was full of wonders!

I got off the bus at Tarragona bus station, google maps directed me to turn right and to walk straight ahead.

After 5 minutes of walking, I arrived at the beautiful port.

I was then lead slightly to the left off the port to this bridge.

I could see the views of the Amphitheatre as I walked further along the bridge.

Tarragona Roman Amphitheatre

This Roman amphitheatre built approximately in the 2nd century sits on the coast just of Rambla Nova. Initially, it was used for battles of the gladiators and fighting and hunting of animals. Later on, it was used for undertaking executions of people who were sentenced to death.

Circ Roma

Directly across the road from the amphitheatre was the Circ Roma (Roman Circus). Circ Roma is the underground open-air ruins of the 1st century where horses and buggy racing took place.

Admission is €3.30, free for children under the age of 16 years. €1.70 for groups of over 25 people, pensioners, students and one parent families.

Inside is spectacular! Full of dark underground tunnels. I didn’t get as many pictures as I would have liked but here are a few.

I made my way up the building, stopping to admire the contents inside until I reached the rooftop. The views from the rooftop were stunning!!

A 10-minute walk from here is the Roman walls and the cathedral.

The Cathedral

The cathedral is a Roman Catholic Church from the late 11th century and was declared a monument in 1905. The architecture inside is truly astonishing!

More wandering

I found a little people square surrounded by shops and cafes where I stopped to refuel. It was the perfect place for people watching and taking in a bit of the culture, as many locals seemed to be here with their dogs.

After here I wandered into the centre and browsed through the shops, whilst also wandering down the side streets.

I was entirely fascinated by this little cosmopolitan city, it completely took me by surprise! There were lots of little hidden gems everywhere! I could go on and on but then this blog would be far too long. I would highly recommend visiting this place, it’s especially worth visiting if you’re in Salou, Barcelona or any of the other nearby destinations.

Thanks for reading 😉

My favourite Travel Essential: The Cooler Backpack

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Have you come across cooler backpacks yet? They’re the coolest cooler bags in the form of a backpack!

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my Disclosure page for more info.*

I’m the proud owner of one and I must say, it’s become one of my most beloved travel essentials.

It was thoughtfully purchased for me as a means for keeping my lunch fresh whilst on long days at work. There are refrigerators at my places of work, though most of them are dirty and look like their growing penicillin. As a person who works in multiple places, it has most certainly come in handy and quite possibly saved me from death a few times. However, I have now found a new purpose for it.

Great For Minimal And Cheap Travel

I recently took a four-day trip to Croatia. As it was a cheap getaway for only a few days, I didn’t want the extra costs of luggage fees. Also, I wanted to challenge myself to experience minimal travel so, opted to take the only backpack I owned and it saved me so much money.

As someone who usually likes to take pretty much every clothing item and pair of shoes, I thought It be a would be a struggle yet, surprisingly it turned out to be more than adequate for everything I wanted to take!!

Great for saving money, whilst out and about

My trip to Croatia was all-inclusive, but I was never around the hotel for every meal. Although I wanted to take full advantage of my all-inclusive status, I also wanted to spend my days exploring which meant I’d miss some meals. So, whenever I was out and about instead of spending money eating in restaurants I’d take fruit from the hotel buffet, buy sandwiches and cold bottled water and store them in my backpack. The refrigerated cold bottled water would act as an ice pack and I would frequently replace them as I drank them through the day. This helped the contents inside to stay even cooler!

Effortless To Travel Around With

It’s comfortable to wear and sits comfortably on the shoulders. There are padded adjustable straps to help with a more satisfied fit. It’s so comfortable you’ll forget you even have it on your back!

Easy To Clean

It’s easy to clean without damaging the materials. I usually use disinfectant wipes on mine but, soap and water is fine.

It’s Contemporary And Stylish

I often get compliments when I use it, and this is often before people know it’s a cooler bag. I get great pleasure in showing people it’s a cooler bag haha. They’re usually really impressed and ask where it was purchased from.

Being a frequent traveller comes with great costs. I’m always looking for ways to save money and sometimes the smallest of things can save you so much money. If you’re a frequent traveller, likes day trips or takes lunch to work I would highly recommend investing in a cooler backpack.

Click here to see the full details for one similar to my backpack. ( same brand name)

 

 

 

 

Salou, Spain: Part 3

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My trip to Salou has been far by the most challenging up to date. You can read more about this in my blog Nightmare in Salou part 1 and part 2 nonetheless, I still managed to make the most of the few days where no dilemmas transpired.

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my Disclosure page for more info.*

Salou is located in Costa Dorado in the Catalonia region of Spain and is the most popular in Costa Dorado. It has two main beaches Playa Ponent which is the biggest of the two is a sandy beach along Catalonia with a wide variety of cafes and restaurants. The other is Playa Llevant which sports a gym, volleyball and children’s play area. Both beaches offer a number of water sports activities.

Spain’s top theme park PortAventura is just next door, as well as a number of golf courses and a world-class water park.

Salou sets a vibrant pace for nightlife offering a number of bars, clubs and restaurants. And those who want a change of scenery Barcelona is only 90 minutes away via train. Then there’s Tarragona, a city declared a world heritage city by UNESCO in 2000.

This is a tremendous family destination with something for everyone of all generations. But, just how did I spend my time here as a solo traveller?

Day 3

It’s the third day in and the first day I’m actually able to enjoy the holiday. I don’t really have a plan other than to explore the local area.

It’s around 12 noon by the time I leave my apartment. I’m staying at the Salou Pacific Apartments in a self-contained apartment. I would definitely recommend these apartments for low budget travellers.

The sun is beaming down on me from the moment I step outside. It was beautiful! just what I needed! I walked and walked just taking in the scenery. It was definitely that typical British tourist destination. Don’t think I have ever been to a holiday destination surrounded by so many British accents. That being said, it felt rather comforting after everything I’d been through.

It wasn’t long before my stroll brought me here.

Salou Promenade

It’s was so beautiful and seemed like an endless abundance of palm trees, waterfalls and monuments.

Avenida Jaume l

Cambrils

My roaming walk brought me to the small town of Cambrils.

Cambrils Habour

Cambrils is a coastal town, a quieter alternative to its more full-on neighbour, the resort of Salou. It is more low key and is regarded as a foodie place due to its wonderful seafood restaurants and local ingredients.

I enjoyed the quieter beach, the harbour, strolling through the back streets, a fine bite to eat at Denver Restaurant (highly recommend) before heading back to Salou.

On my back through Salou, I come across some interesting architecture but one that struck me the most was the stunning Xalet Bonet.

This wonderful private home was built by Ciriac Bonet in 1918. The architect for the piece was Domenec Sugranyes I Gras disciple and colleague of Antoni Gaudi.

The house is not open to the public but, it is extraordinary just to admire, even if it only from the exterior.

Xalet Bonet

Day 4

This day consisted of more exploring locally around Salou.

Again there were no plans, I just wondered around. This time my wanders took me to Parque Municipal de Salou, a beautiful quiet park in the centre of Salou.

Parque Municipal de Salou

It was such a quiet, relaxing place with only the sounds of the waterfalls and birds twittering away. The ponds had small fish and I’m pretty sure I saw tiny turtles (I think)

The park also had a cafe, a small child’s play area and an outdoor gym, which was pretty cool.

After here arrived at the beach. I walked pretty much the whole way around admiring all the beach bars restaurants, and the beauty of the sea.

Levant Beach

On the way back to the hotel I opted to walk on the street that runs parallel to the beach to avoid the crowds. This meant I was walking up the steep streets, which was rather exhausting after a while. Just a few steps ahead was a sign that read Koko Beah Bar, in need of rest I was grateful to see this. I really needed to sit down, my legs were like jelly, I’d been wandering around for so long.

To my surprise, they had the most remarkable terrace with the most incredible views over the sea.

Views from the Koko Bar

If I hadn’t of wandered down this street I would have never found this place. I was so delighted to have come across it! Not only was it a great place for relaxation and to watch the sunset. It served a great selection of drinks, cocktails and delicious gourmet dishes all at reasonable prices, given it’s the location.

My time in Salou was mostly spent relaxing on the beach. It was a trip with quite a whirlwind of events and emotions, so I needed a lot of time to recharge. Having said that, I did, in fact, make the journey to Tarragona whilst here. Tarragona is an extraordinary place which deserves a blog of its own. I’m super excited to share the place with you, so I will be doing a write-up on this Shortly.

Thanks for reading 😁