Chester, England: Western Europe’s only portrayal of a Roman goddess

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I can’t believe I stumbled across this while wondering around Chester! Sometimes I love nothing more than getting of the beaten track. I’m so grateful and thankful to have a wondering curious mind and a real zest for life otherwise, I would never stumble across amazing things like this.

At first I thought it was a hobbit house, but it turned out to be the site of Minerva’s shrine, a roman goddess. It is said, that quarrymen carved this shrine to Minerva more than 2000 years ago. The quarrymen would come here to worship and pay respect to the goddess as well as praying for success and safety.

shrines were very common in the ancient world, but many of them have been claimed and this is the only one in its original site in Western Europe, as recorded by Historic England.

The shrine is a little worse for wear, but you can still see the outline figure of her holding a spear.

Location

If you want to visit, it’s located in Edgar’s field. Go across the old Dee Bridge across the river, Edgar’s field is on the right next to a pub called the Ship Inn.

Whilst here enjoy the beautiful surroundings nearby

Chester, England: The second most photographed clock in England

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Just a few steps away from Chester Cathedral, (mentioned in my last post), is the second most visited clock in England after Big Ben.

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Eastgate clock is another one of Chester’s most popular treasures not be missed on a visit here.

The clock is located on the gateway which used to be the entrance of the Roman Fortress of Deva.

The clock was placed here in 1899 to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria, which had taken place two years earlier.

Thanks for stopping by.

until next time

Natalie x

York England: Sisters take York

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After our two and a half hour tour we were given some free time for lunch and to explore some more.

Sister antics

Whilst everyone gathered around the tour guides to be pointed in the direction of landmarks and sites, we asked to be pointed in the direction of the bars. We were in agreement that it was important we got our priorities right to seek wineπŸ€·πŸΏβ€β™€οΈ.

We had been so excited to take this trip together over the last week and having just got out of lockdown, we were admittedly a little animated on this day. We had laughed and giggled at the back of the coach all the way here, turning answers to questions in the tour quiz into our own private little jokes. It wasn’t any different on the tour either. I don’t think either of us had heard much of what the tour guides said in the whole two hours.

Spoilt for choice

I’ve never been anywhere where in my life with so many choices of stunning looking pubs, bars and restaurants. We were well and truly spoilt for choice. In the end we settled with The Old White Swan Pie House because it fit everything we were looking for. A nice old traditional English pub, vegetarian frendly menu and of course nice wine.

We both ordered the Lentil cottage pie and a bottle of their white house wine. Everything was perfect and very well priced

Not only was the food delicious but, the pub is an historic place and is said to be one of York’s oldest pubs. The pub is a collection of ancient buildings with parts dating right back to the 16th century with interesting features. I would highly recommend this place.

We went for a stroll around some of the back streets and less busy areas

we walked by these pretty residential streets

And York Minster Conference and Banqueting Centre

York Minster Conference and Banqueting Centre is the origins of St. Williams College dating back to the 15th century.

Ouse Sightseeing River Cruise

We took a cruise tour down the river. The tour lasted around 45mins and cost Β£11.95 per adult. We had a great captain/guide who had the worst jokes ever, but he was very knowledgeable and had some interesting information about York.

Quirky Place

We managed to sneak in some more drinks at this quirky pub before heading back to our coach.

Conclusion

I hope my York posts have been helpful to anyone who has plans to visit here. York has by far been my favourite UK city to visit up to date. My only regret is not having a longer visit as one day is certainly not long enough to visit this incredible city. However, I do plan to visit again in the near future.

Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

A place to wash your spirit clean, Snowdonia

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In September I visit North wales. One of the places I stopped off at was Snowdonia National Park, the largest national park in Wales and the proud owner of the highest mountain in both England and Wales. Yes, you probably guessed it, Mount Snowdon. Did I climb mount Snowdon? No I’m far too lazy for that, but I did hike a little into some moutains, after being driven up most of the way that is, Sshhhhhhhh!

Although my face says different, I really was having the time of my life here πŸ™‚

I visited on a minibus shared with eight other travellers. We were taken to the most tranquil place, it literally felt like we had the whole national park to ourselves.

I honestly could not believe how beautiful and relaxing this place was! It was so silent with only the sounds of the waterfalls. It was like stepping into another world where everything stood still. A place where you could forget every worry in the world, a place where you could wash your spirit clean.

If your thinking of visiting North Wales, this is one place not to be missed.

Thanks for reading πŸ™‚ Stay safe x

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 πŸ™πŸΎ.

Here’s the video of the day trip

Day trip to Kornati Islands

Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

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 Β£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 πŸ™‚

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.

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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 Β£243 for the entire trip which included flights and airport transfers! *Please bear in mind this was booked for October and prices will vary*

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.

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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 Β£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 πŸ™‚

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.

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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 πŸ˜‰

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.

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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 😁