15 Reasons to Visit Venice

  1. Getting lost is the BEST way to explore
  2. Try to visit in Spring or Autumn as these are the best seasons to explore.
  3. It will be weird to not see cars but you won’t realise this till you head back to the airport
  4. There are 417 bridges in Venice. I dare you to try and cross them all. The Rialto bridge is one you need to both walk over and sail under. 
  5. Factor in the cost for a Vaporetto pass as this will help with your exploring. It will save your achy feet and really you have to see Venice from the canals as much as possible.
  6. Every corner, bridge and canal is a picture perfect moment so get ready to get snapping. 
  7. Don’t just stay in Venice get out and explore the other islands in the lagoon like Burano, Lido and Murano
  8. You can hire bikes and ride around Lido (fun fact this is where the Venice Film Festival is held) 
  9. A Gondola ride is going to be pricey but where else can you do this? Surely the experience far outweighs the expense. 
  10. Visit Burano to see the amazing coloured houses and eat the ‘s’ shaped cookies this island is known for 
  11. When in St Mark’s Square ensure you go up the Bell Tower. You get to see a different side of Venice and the lagoon 
  12. As frustrating as wet shoes will be experiencing Acqua alta is soo interesting to witness. Ovs not ideal for the locals though and there is a lot of working being done to minimise it. It has also been said to be one of the reasons people move out of Venice 
  13. You need to buy a carnival mask in Venice even if you aren’t there during carnival 
  14. Try to eat away from the St Mark’s Square as it is pricey in this area. You will have just as beautiful buildings to look at a few streets back
  15. Get up early or stay up late and visit some of the more touristy sights so you can marvel at the magic of the city on your own. 

What to do before you leave..for when you get back 

Yes I’m being serious.

So the Internet is filled with posts and advice on what to do before you go on a trip, what to pack and how to plan but what you don’t see a lot of is what to do before you leave for when you get home.

Now bear with me I know when you’re getting ready for adventures the last thing you are thinking about is the dark days when you return from said trip.But trust me.
A little preplanning for your return can do wonders for the holiday blues. These are some of things we do to make our return a little easier

Fresh sheets
You’ve probably had terrible, broken, uncomfortable sleep on one or maybe two planes. You’ve had the same clothes on for several different time zones and the hair is probs a big ball of grease. Once you’ve had your first shower in several days slipping into fresh sheets is ALL kinds of bliss. I will actually forgo packing time to ensure we have fresh sheets for when we get back.

Washing done and put away
Unless you’ve been lucky enough to do some washing while away your suitcase or backpack is likely to be filled with a whole lota dirty clothes. If you’ve done all your washing before you go it means the holiday clothes can go straight in the machine and you have a whole fresh new wardrobe to start your migration back into reality with.

Organise someone to check in on your house 

This is obviously for security as with social media people are bound to know your away. Someone checking in turning the lights on and off shows that your place isn’t open for Harry and Marv to break in. The other key part of having someone check in is you can ask them to pop some milk and bread in on the day of your return (I mean is there anything better than a cup of tea after long transit home) and if you’re lucky they may even stick the heating on so you don’t come back to a cold house.

Clean the house
I usually do this panicked at midnight the night before we leave but coming back into a house which has been hoovered, dishes done and tidy up is soo much better than coming home to a messy house. I’ve done both and like I tell myself in my midnight cleaning rage it really is soooo worth it.

These make our return a little sweeter but I’m sure there is lots of other things people do. I can’t be the only weirdo one who not only plans a trip but also plans for the return? If you’ve got and tips share them below! I’d love to hear them

X

6 Places to visit in Somerset  

Somerset is a lovely county in the South West of the UK. If you go by the common misconception you would think everyone is country bumpkins, who speak funny and drink too much cider. Actually that is kinda right but it just adds to the charm of this stunning area. 

I’ve lived in this beautiful area of the UK for almost a third of my life and still haven’t even been everywhere yet.

However I have chosen 6 of my favourite places that if you should definitely visit if you find yourself down this way. All within less than an hour drive of each other so you could do all of these in one weekend. 
Glastonbury Abbey
I have been to this place so many times as I just love it. Anyone in the south west knows there is much more to Glastonbury than the festival. It’s a very spiritual town and the abbey is said to be the final resting place of King Arthur. It’s a serene place clocked in history, from the Saxons to the Normans. It truly is beautiful even in its ruined state I can only imagine how beautiful it was in the past. 


Cheddar 
Cheddar cheese, cheddar village and Cheddar Gorge. All great and all need to be enjoyed on your visit. The gorge has lots of walks for all levels of fitness with spectacular views of the mendips. There is caves to be explored and lots of lovely tea shops to stop at and refuel.You can also rock climb if you want something more adventurous than hiking. 


Clevedon Pier
This Victorian Pier is stunning both in looks and that it’s still standing after so many years. It was opened in 1869. Pier’s are a key part of the Great British Seaside and the museum that is attached to the pier shows just how much this pier shaped the history of Clevedon and Somerset. Also if you’re a 1D fan they filmed one of their video clips here a couple of years ago. 



Middle Hope and Sand Point- Kewstoke
Another recent find. This is a National Trust area and perfect for a picnic or walk along the coast line. This area is in British history as weapons were tested here in the Second World War. There is stunning views out over the Estuary and is just as lovely in winter as it is in summer.  


Burnham on Sea Lighthouse

I discovered this gem only last year and you can find some more pictures here. I went in Autumn so the beach wasn’t as busy as it would be in the height of summer and it was beautiful even then. Bit of an odd one but I do love a beach walk in Autumn and winter. This lighthouse is super photogenic and also really interesting to see as it sits low on the beach. 


Wells 
Wells is the UK’s smallest city and has a stunning Cathedral that has to be seen. Closely located to the Cathedral is The Bishop’s Palace and the extremely photogenic Vicars Close. The Cathedral is in Gothic Style and is open to all to explore. The Bishop’ Palace has been the home of the Bishop for over 800 years. The Garden and Moat are beautiful and although there is always others walking it’s always quiet and peaceful. The Vicars Close is thought to be the only complete medieval street left in the UK. Whenever I am there I always feel like I’m in a scene from Harry Potter!

So these are 6 of my favourite places in Somerset. To be honest I could have done a list of 20 but this is more of a taster for you to get you down to our gorgeous county. 

Have you been to Somerset? Where was your favourite place? I’d love to hear them so please do share below in the comments

Martha Mine

On our road trip round the North Island of NZ my partner did a lot for me – he drove (mainly because its less painful if he does), he saw alot of things that whilst he enjoyed them may not have been high on his to see list and he let me choose and plan the route. He is a man who loves machines and also current owns his own Plant Hire business so when I was planning I ensured we factored in some time in the historic gold mining region. There was bound to be big machines there!

Now in all my planning I hadn’t realised quite what we would find when we arrived in Waihi.

This is the Martha Mine….


It is HUGE! The mine sits at the end of the Main Street and is accessible via a footpath from Seddon Street and has a viewing area around the rim on the pit. There is also a replica Poppet Head and Historic Cornish Pumphouse that was moved from its orginal site in the grounds.  There was a large subsidence to one side which you can see has blocked off the roads along the side of the pit.  There is information board which explained that it was a gold and silver open-pit mine which is not operational (would be kinda hard and unsafe with the side so unstable) but that there is also an underground mine very close to this site that is operational.

We enjoyed our wander around but we hadn’t seen any machines and also wanted to know more. Opposite the mine  on Seddon Street is the Waihi Gold Discovery Centre with a museum and they also do tours. The Gold Discovery Centre was really interesting and covered so much of the history of not only the mine but also of Waihi. There was lots of hands on activities that would keep the kids (and man children) entertained. However I would throughly recommend buying the Tour and Discovery Center combo ticket.

The bus picked us up just outside and our guide was brilliant. Nice chap who knew everything about the mine and the gold history of Waihi. The first part of the tour takes you to the open-pit mine where you get to get closer to the mine and also finally see some big trucks. After some further information and a few pics we then headed down the road to the newer underground mine. On the way there our tour guide pointed out a man-made lake that the mining company (Oceana Gold) had built for the town and also highlighted other ways that Oceana Gold helped support the town. this wasnt just through employment and local charity funding but also scholarships for the high school.

Arriving at the underground mine we got to see entrance to the mine (and some more big trucks) and were also told how the operation works. One of the interesting things was regarding the rocks that came out of the mine as these were not allowed to be sold and needed to be put back into Waihi. The way they have done this is by building up the landscape surrounding and creating huge tailing ponds which have brought specific species of birds back to the area. It is a really creative and inspiring way of using something that affects the landscape to actual also help the landscape and ecosystems.

We then got to get closer to the working mine and saw the dumpers taking out the rocks and then everything going onto the conveyor belts to get broken down and starting showing the gold and silver. The tour guide had samples of gold and silver for the mine and we were able to take a few token pics.

On the bus back to the Discovery Centre our tour guide answered all the questions and had some booklets with further information that you could look through.

It was a great experience being able to have a look around the mines but I also found the history behind the town and the mine so fascinating and nice change to everything we had already done on our trip. What is the point of going somewhere if you don’t learn somethings new?


I’m still working my way through blogs on other places we visited in the North Island however if you wanted to read about seeing the Gloworms in Waitimo you can find this  here or  drinking wine at one of the many wineries on Waiheke here

Finer Details for the Gold Discover Centre

Website and details below if you would like more information

http://golddiscoverycentre.co.nz/

Tour times 10.30 and 12.30 daily (tour takes around 1.5 hours)

Prices $55 per adult for combo ticket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Monument 

Having recently spent the Easter break in London we went full throttle on the tourist trail. Selfies with Big Ben, sunset ride on the London Eye, popped by Buckingham Palace for a cuppa with Liz and hanging with the Lions in Trafalgar Square. It was like I had just visited London for the first time!

One thing we hadn’t planned on doing was going to see ‘The Monument’. To be honest I didn’t even know about it or the history behind it. My partner did but he’s British and probably learnt about it at School. I knew there had been a ‘Great Fire of London’ but that was about it.

So to fill you in, just in case you were equally as uneducated on this structure as I was. It is to commemorate the Great Fire of London which happened in 1666. It is also very close to the spot where it started (Pudding Lane) and is built on the site of where the first church that was burnt down by the Great Fire. There is also another monument where the fire stopped.

We were walking looking for a tube station to get back to our hotel after a nice little romantic moonlit walk along the Thames. I had seen on the map that Monument Station was up ahead. With that we looked down a side street and there it was in all its glory. This is when I had my history lesson. We also saw a sign saying you could climb up it for ONLY £4!! ( note- its only cash payments)

So the next day we headed straight there. There were only 5 people in the queue and it was a 1 in 1 out system. Paid our £4 and then climbed the very narrow 311 steps all the way to the top.

Whilst catching my breathe (yes it was a long way to the top) I then looked out and was shocked at the amazing views. You could see St Pauls, the London Eye, The Shard, London Bridge, Oxo Tower and just the beautiful London Skyline of and a few Cranes (or 100 so my other half counted). Looking at it at street level you could just see all the skyscrapers surrounding so I initially didn’t have high hopes of what we would see. I have since learned that the Monument website have a live camera giving panoramic views of London 24 hours a day.

I’ve been to the top of the London Eye and to the top of St Pauls and I can honestly say the views matched both of these and this it was ONLY £4 and no long queue. You even get a certificate on your way out to say you have climbed the monument, historic information and a nice historic sketch of the structure (without all the skyscrapers around it now).

If you find yourself in London I can’t recommend enough that you include going to see and climbing this beautiful Monument.

Here is a couple (ok more than couple) of photo from both the street level and also from the top. I’ve even put in a selfie – I couldn’t let Big Ben have all the fun.

More info- http://www.themonument.info/

xx