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Random, Throwback Thursday, Travels

ThrowBack Thursday; London

My London trip is coming closer and I’m so excited. Not only because I’m going to see my favourite band in concert but mainly because I’m going to be in London again and get to hang out with my friends.

I just love London, it’s my home away from home and being there always feels so good. It’s been over 10 years since I was there around Christmas time so I’m looking forward to seeing the city all decorated for the holidays. Maybe even do some Christmas shopping for my family back home.

Thinking of London made me go through all my photos again. Just to relive those wonderful moments. I came across this photo of me with one of my friends hanging out in the queue before a concert of the same band back in 2011

Queueing Up

I have a lot of good memories from that particular trip. I got to see so much more from London than the regular tourist things, and even though I only have about 48 hours in the city this time I’m hoping to discover more off the beaten path.

Blog, Travels

Documenting Your Travels: Travel Diaries

There are many ways to document your travels, whether it’s an annual holiday or one of many trips you take a year. We all want something solid to show for our travels, apart from the awesome memories we make.

Of course I have this blog, which for me is a fun way to share my adventures with you. And we all have photos of our journeys to share with others. But have you ever heard of a travel diary?

There are many variations of travel diaries around. A simple notebook would suffice of course but there are special books out there which will let you document your travels in a prettified way: with room for photos and pages full of tips and tricks and space to write down an itinerary or a packing list.

Personally I think travel diaries are a fun addition to keep track of your travels. I took one with me to Scotland earlier this year. And even though I have my travels logged here too my travel diary contains things I haven’t shared here, and things I almost forgot about, like funny conversations or hilarious quotes from people I met or travelled with.

This diary is nowhere near full yet but lucky me just won a new travel diary from one of my favourite outdoor stores. So that will definitely accompany me on my three week backpacking adventure around Europe next month. The reason I’m not taking my previous one? Now that I have the option to make a diary for long journeys and one for short(er) trips I’d like to do so, so really, just because I can 😉

travel diaries

travel diaries

travel diaries

How do you log your trips? In photos, on a blog or a travel diary or maybe in a completely different way? I’m interested to know!

photos are not the best quality as they’re taken with my phone

Scotland, Travels

Leaving Scotland

Welcome to England This past week was amazing. Scotland is a fantastic place to be if you love nature. There is plenty of it and all the views are amazing. Usually when I think of Scotland I think of rain (pretty much like The Netherlands) but to my surprise the past week gave us beautiful weather. I even had to buy myself some new t shirts as I didn’t have enough with me (sweaters were way too warm!).

We drove from Stirling to Newcastle today back to the ferry to go back home. We dropped the car off at the airport and dragged all of our gear on the metro and then the bus to the harbour.  Another reminder that I’ve made a perfect purchase with my Vaude backpack, easy to carry, not too heavy and it fit everything including my purchases nicely!

It was the only day we had rain during this week, and to be honest I didn’t mind. I was in the car anyway and it was one straight drive to Newcastle. Although I can imagine Noëlla was a little less pleased as she was the one driving 😉

The only place we went off the main road was to visit Hadrian’s Wall, but since it was pouring we got out quickly took some photos and hopped right back in the car. At least we can say we seen it.

Hadrian's Wall

So goodbye Scotland, you’ve been amazing. I’ll probably be back some day, just like you can regularly find me in England. It’s close enough to visit again and I would really enjoy seeing the Edinburgh Tattoo or the Red Hot Chilli Pipers in concert, so expect me back!

 

Scotland, Travels

Fort William – Stirling

Danger of Death We were a little pressed for time today because we really wanted to do some last minute shopping in Fort William before heading out to Steall Falls at the foot of Ben Nevis and then driving a few hours on to Stirling where we wanted to go see Stirling Castle.

We have been looking for something specific since we saw it in Edinburgh and figured we could get it pretty much anywhere with so many tourist shops around. But we were wrong, it was almost impossible to get what we were looking for (a brooch to go with my tartan stole) but the final store we decided to visit had what I needed; a beautiful brooch that matched the colours of my tartan stole to keep it in place.

After purchasing the brooch we left to Steall Falls, this waterfall is located at the foot of Ben Nevis, and from the parking lot it’s a 45 minute hike over rough terrain and small waterfalls to get there. We followed directions giving to us by tourist information and parked our car. We found a path that according to a local would lead us to the waterfall. So climbing up the mountain following the river we walked for a good hour when we came to… a parking lot. Apparently the “end of road” sign at the parking lot we parked our car at didn’t really  mean end of road, it just meant “the road will eventually end in another parking lot that will get you to the right path to Steall Falls”

Yes, and the local didn’t really mention the second parking lot either. I really don’t think complaining about the extra hours walk would do us any good so on we went onto the path leading to Steall Fall. They had a lovely sign up to warn us about the dangerous path ahead and that it could be lethal but that didn’t scare us away. Keeping an eye on the time we decided to walk until we could see the waterfall in the distance, take some photos and turn around, as by now we had another hour and twenty minutes to walk back to our car and Stirling was a few hours drive away too.

As much as I regret not walking all the way up to Steall Falls it was a beautiful hike and I got to see some amazing views and climbed a few waterfalls along the way so it was worth it.

The drive to Stirling itself was pretty uneventful apart from all the beautiful views, all around Scotland the views are amazing it doesn’t matter where you are.
We could see Stirling Castle arise in the distance and before we knew it we drove into Stirling.

Stirling Castle is fantastic, it really is a great place to visit with kids too! They have games all throughout the castle for children to play and employees dressed up in period clothing doing tours and giving out information in different parts of the castle.
Speaking of period clothing, they not only thought of entertainment for the children; adults can have a laugh too. They have period clothing you can dress up with and take silly pictures with 😉

I think Stirling Castle is the best castle I’ve seen on this journey. It’s a full castle not just a ruin (although they were awesome too) and it was very pretty, well kept and throughout you could find a lot of information about the castle, its history and battles it witnessed.
Stirling itself is pretty picturesque but we didn’t get to see much, it was getting a little late and we still had to find our hotel. We tried walking into town but some funny person apparently switched some signs and we were directed out of town instead.

Luckily our hotel wasn’t too far away and easy to find. But to my surprise when I went to check us in, the door was locked. After looking around for a bit I noticed a letter next to the door directed to me, stating it was unfortunate they couldn’t put us up for the night and a phone number of a bed and breakfast in the area that was able to give us a room for the night.

I called the number and got directions to the bed and breakfast, which was a mere 5 minutes away. I have to admit the bed and breakfast was a great place, the owners are very friendly, the rooms were big and clean and the bathroom was perfect too. It was a really homey feeling to be there, and not being able to stay in our booked hotel but in this quiet bed and breakfast instead wasn’t a bad thing after all.

I have to say thumbs up to booking.com who really helped me out with confirmations and checking up to see if everything was in order for us. And of course to the owners of the B & B for being able to put us up on such short notice.

Scotland, Travels

Inverness – Fort William

Loch Ness I think today would be the route through the area most people think about when they hear Scotland, the area around Loch Ness.

The largest fresh water lake in the UK is obviously known for its scary inhabitant Nessie.
At 10 AM we got on a boat to do an hour tour of the lake. It was another sunny day up in the highland but around the lake it was very windy so coats weren’t a luxury.
The view from the lake is breathtaking, the mountains surrounding the lake are overgrown with trees and small streams run down to the lake in little waterfalls.
Castle Urquhart looks out over the lake, and even though it’s in ruins now still looks like a strong fortification.

After the cruise we drove to Urquhart Castle to look out over the lake from there, we even found a spot we could get down to the lake shore 🙂
The castle itself is in ruins after it was purposely set on fire by the last owners. It has had many owners in its past and it was attacked many times to either seize it or loot it.

The road to Fort William took us past the whole lake shore of Loch Ness and beautiful view points along the way. It takes a little walking up to the viewpoints after parking your car but it was worth it. We got a good look at Cherry Island, the only island (although it’s man made) in Loch Ness. It is namen for all the cherrytrees that (apparently) grow there.

There are many lochs in this area, we drove past Loch Lochy and our hotel is located on the shore of Loch Linnhe right outside Fort William.
After check in and before going for dinner we found out directions to Steall Fall at the bottom of Ben Nevis, which we’ll visit tomorrow.

As Harry Potter fans we had to see the bridge the Hogwarts steam train drives over and the lake they fly over on the big bird in the movies. Both are located here very close to each other (at opposite sides of the road). The lake is Loch Shiel and it’s even more beautiful than in the film. It’s a big climb up to the view point with large boulders sticking out everywhere but it’s doable and a must-do when you’re there.

After visiting the bridge and the lake it was time for dinner, we ended up at a local pub in Fort William for an ok meal (wouldn’t recommend it to eat there).

Tomorrow is our last full day here to see things, we are driving up to Stirling before we head back down to Newcastle on Saturday. Time flies but we’ve seen so much it doesn’t feel like a week at all :).