Rome, The Eternal City

Rome to me is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, if not the most!

It is a place lost in it’s own time capsule, surrounded by ancient historical ruins and small weaving alleyways that lead to untold wonders. 

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However, it is not just a city of historical events and old crumbling ruins, it is also a place that lives in perfect balance, in which past meets present – making it quite a site to behold. With noisy mopeds zooming around the outskirts of the Colosseum, and street artists spray painting their sunsets and galaxies on canvas outside The Roman Forum. Whilst men and woman push the boundaries of fashion with fabulous bright colours and outrageous pompoms in front of the magnificent Pantheon… It is a scene in which nothing should fit and therefore everything does, perfectly. 

As they say ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’ and I 100% agree with this! There is no point visiting a place so extraordinary as Rome (or anyplace abroad for that matter), to simply sit in front of the telly and have chips n egg, No sirree! I fully encourage anyone travelling to Rome, to see as much as humanly possible, to eat all the delicious Italian cuisine that one stomach can hold, and to fully throw yourself into the Italian way of life.

At the end of the day, we only get one life in this small moment in time, so why not live it to the full, and enjoy ourselves!

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Rome, has a bit of everything to offer and if you’re a fan of ancient history (like myself) then you will be in your element, as you explore the levels of the Colosseum and marvel at its mammoth grandeur, exploring every nook and cranny. Following your way to the Roman Forum to admire the ruins of what was once home of the most powerful civilisation in the world! It is a fascinating place to visit, despite it mostly being the foundations of the buildings/temple, with pillars and statues dotted throughout. However, it is the historical value of this place that captivates you, knowing that you are walking in the footsteps of a civilisation that shaped much of the world and its history… Now long gone, but not forgotten – It is quite a haunting thought!

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There are hundreds of churches to see and bridges to cross, statues to gaze at and carpenters to craft! Shops upon shops to explore and cobbled streets to follow! I have always found that each and every street in Rome has some form of uniqueness to it, be it the houses, or quirky shops, mosaics or statues, views or hidden destinations. It is a warren of excitement and adventure, I highly recommend walking (when possible) everywhere – as that is the only way to truly get a feel for a place and find the hidden gems! I wouldn’t say the public transport is expensive, and to be honest the taxis aren’t too badly priced either for a city, but Rome is so closely packed together that there isn’t really any need to get transport…well perhaps if you’ve been on the trot all day and you’re heading back to the hotel. But otherwise, everything is accessible through walking, including the bridges, and they are very lovely to stroll along. Especially the bridge of angels, Ponte Sant’ Angelo, full of various statues of angels each unique in there own way. It is very picturesque!

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I adore the relaxing vibe of Rome, it is something quite rare to find in a city. Don’t get me wrong, the streets of Rome are not quiet ones… they are buzzing and full of life! Especially those around the Trevi fountain and the Spanish steps! Though there does come a time in the evening, when everyone just disappears – you don’t even notice them dwindling away, one minute it’s heaving and the next you turn around and its just you left standing in front of this magnificent site.

What i mean, when i say that Rome is relaxing, is that there is no sense of pressure from anyone, even the workers don’t seem stressed or cranky, as they might do in London or New York. If anything they all look like they’re having a blast and not taking life too seriously! There is a lightness about Rome, that not all cities can claim to have.

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As you can tell I have a massive soft spot for Rome (and Italy for that matter), I love exploring this gorgeous city at any time in the day, but I have to say that doing so by night is incredible! Sitting on the Spanish steps as the sun is going down, feeling the last of its glorious heat on your face and walking on to the pantheon as dusk comes in – hearing the laughter and chatter of people enjoy their meals in nearby restaurants. Admiring the Pantheon’s grandeur, as little silhouettes of sparrows chase one another through the pillars.

Carrying on down your route passing the very impressive Altare Della Patria, with the fire torch burning strong in front of the huge statue of Roma (the goddess of Rome), as she watches over all! Following your feet you find yourself looking down into The Roman Forum, as the moonlight illuminates the pillars and old crumbling temple walls.

…and then you look up and see it, the most breathtaking site, the Colosseum! Glowing in the night, light radiating out from within, as a faint sound fills the air of a reenactment taking place, releasing a chill of goosebumps at this eerie scene. It is an amazing thing to behold in the day, but by night it has a life of it’s own!

There are often shows, reenactments and concerts held within the Colosseum, which I am sure make for a very memorable watch, but to be honest the Colosseum has the power to be memorable at just a mere glance! It is not something to missed.

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I strongly encourage anyone who has not seen Rome (especially the Colosseum) by night to do so, it is something you will not regret! To me it was the cherry on top of the most amazing visit to Italy!

I have always said that Rome is the perfect place to fall in love with yourself, and I think it’s something you need to experience to fully understand. It is a place to let your hair down and enjoy the little things in life. You notice so much more about yourself when you let go and just allow life to take it’s course, honestly there is not better place than Italy to do so!

I could sit chatting away all day about the beauty of Rome and it’s motherland, but I don’t think I could ever truly do it justice. It is an incredible place that has earned the right a 100 times over to be called ‘The Eternal City’ for its beauty will never fade!

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Thank you for reading my wee post, I hope you guys have enjoyed it. I’m hoping to do a whole series of posts about different parts of Italy that I have explored. I’m also hoping to do a ‘Roman Holiday’ post – about visiting the sites from the Audrey Hepburn Movie filmed in Rome!

Let me know if you guys liked this post and if you’ve been to Rome/Italy, or if you have any travel plans! Thank you again for reading, please don’t hesitate to get in Contact if you have any questions, requests or simply want to share an experience. Feel free to follow my Blog, and you can also find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Also at the end of August I’ll be doing a Festival Giveaway, so if you’d like to be apart of it there will be more posts, votes, and updates about all of it on my Twitter and Instagram accounts – I will also do a post on here when it goes live.

Thank you again guys and have a beautiful day!

Best wishes

Hermione x

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The Versatile Bloggers Award

 

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I am so thrilled to have been nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award! It was such a lovely surprise, and a has given me the confidence boost I needed, especially as I’m rather new to blogging and only stared in March this year.

I want to say a massive thank you to miss Hannah Lee for nominating me for my first ever award, I am literally over the moon! Hannah is a fantastic blogger who’s posts are a bit of everything – which I absolutely love! No two posts are the same! Come check out her blog at night owl! Once again Thank you Hannah!

 

The rules for the versatile bloggers award:

  • Thank the person who nominated you with a link to their blog
  • Share 7 things about yourself
  • Nominate bloggers for the award

 

 

7 Things About Me

1. I have been lucky enough to live in Canada, New Zealand, London and Cornwall in the past 22 years. I have to admit though it took a while for my accent to decide which way it was going to go! I’m also planning my getaway to Italy…but shhh

2. My first ever job was as a tour guide on an endangered bird sanctuary, called Tiritiri Matangi, at the age of 13 in New Zealand. It was hands down the best job I have ever had and it’s given me so many wonderful memories that will stay with me forever!

3. When I was little I used to dream of growing up to be a pumpkin…I don’t know how I was going to do it, but that never stopped me dreaming! As you can tell I was a very unusual child…to be fair I’m also a very unusual adult!

4. I am the proud height of 5.1″ or as I like to say 5 subways with a bit of lettuce hanging out at the top! I haven’t grown since I was 15 and I’m now 22… I guess I’ll never be able to reach the top shelf at the supermarkets…

5. When I lived in New Zealand I was blessed to be part of a Kapa Haka group (Maori performing arts)! We preformed at the Rugby World Cup Welcoming Ceremonies in 2011 for the French, Japanese and New Zealand (All Blacks) teams! We also performed for various Royal Families. It was such an incredible atmosphere and being part of the Kapa Haka group has given me some of the most precious memories to hold onto in life!

6. I absolutely love old movies, especially anything with Audrey Hepburn in, she is my idol! Nothing beats a night in with a classic black and white film! Some of my favourites are Roman Holiday, Singing in the rain (though it’s not in black and white), and Casablanca. ‘Here’s looking at you kid’

7. I’m a vegetarian and have been ever since I was 6, purely because I didn’t realise what meat was until one fateful day at school… Where I proceeded to cry my eyes out for the rest of the day, until in the end I was sent home – due to my distress! I’m sure you’ve probably guessed by now that I’m a bit of an animal lover, and one day hope to be the new Snow White with animals coming into the house for a bit of a natter!

My nominees are:

foundationsandfairytales

katedaysaweek

bexa

abbiejadewanders

searchingforhumor5

lifeaftercoffeeblog

llamapunch

Cornishmaid87

These are all fantastic and very supportive bloggers that deserve The Versatile Blogger Award! There is no obligation to carry on the post, however those of you who do I am very much looking forward to reading the seven things about yourselves. Thank you all for your support and time. Keep up the good work guys!

 

Thank you so much for reading, I hoped you enjoyed it! Please don’t hesitate to get in Contact if you have any questions, requests or simply want to share an experience. Please feel free to follow my Blog too. you can also find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Best wishes

Hermione x

Assisi, village of saints

On a quiet hillside in Umbria Italy, sits the small quaint medieval village of Assisi. Bathed in glorious sunshine, and accompanied by the sound of birds and old church bells that fill the air. This idyllic little setting is home to the most beautiful church’s, shrines and labyrinth like streets that weave their way up along the Mediterranean countryside.

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Umbria countryside

I have been to Assisi on two separate occasions, and each time I am in awe of how truly beautiful it is! There is a peace and tranquillity that fills this land – it is somewhere that feels truly like home to me. I can honestly say that there is a divine presents to this little corner of the world, that makes you feel so humbled and blessed to be apart of it’s being. I can not help but fall more, and more, in love with Assisi with every second that passes, I know it is a love that will continuously for years to come.

As you may know Assisi is famous for it’s saints, especially Saint Francis (patriot saint of animals), and Saint Clare (founder of the Poor Clare’s), who each have their own basilicas in the town that they are buried in. Both Clare and Francis share a beautiful story, showing true commitment and loyalty to one another and their beliefs. It’s is impossible to not be in awe of their work, hardship and accomplishments when exploring their past. Throughout all the streets and shops you can find shrines, mosaics, statues and tributes to these beloved idols in all shapes and sizes. It is truly moving to see just how much they are respected and loved, not only by the Italians, but by all who visit. 

The town itself is small, filled with winding little streets taking you up and down hill, each leading to wonderful hidden treasures and destinations. It is also a very clean environment, I have never once seen any form of littering during my time here!

There are numerous restaurants, cafes and patisserie that fill the piazza, giving off the most wonderful smell of Italian coffee and baked goodies. There are also loads of quaint little shops filled with handcrafted items that are made in Assisi. One of my own personal favourites is the Francesco Basilica shop, which has so many lovely tributes to the saints, but also has a great range of Assisian soaps, olive oils and local herbs, the smells are gorgeous!

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Basilica Papale Di San Franceco

The Francesco Basilica its self is an impressive site to behold. With several layers to it – the upper church, lower church and tomb of Saint Francis, aswell as breath taking views from the courtyard. It is a very peaceful place, engulfed in silence and respect – talking is not permitted and there is a dress code too, which is very common for almost all churches in Italy. My favourite place in the basilica without a doubt is saint Francis’ tomb, which is underneath the church itself. Encompassed in candle light and accompanied with the sound of monks praying and singing, it is the perfect setting for any saint to be at rest in.

The second you walk down the stairs towards the tomb a huge sense of humbleness sweeps over you, as the hairs on the back of your neck begin to stand on end. It is not a huge space, however there are several rows of chapel pews just in front of St. Francis’ resting place. There is also a small altar adorned with candles and flowers, and just to the side there is a basket in which you can donate a candle or two for the monks to pray over and light later on for the saint himself.

This tomb is one of the most harmonious places I have ever been to, I honestly can not say just how long I sat there admiring and taking in everything. It must have been a fair while, as I was cut off from my thoughts when a smiling monk came up to me, and without a word handed me a prayer book. It was at this moment I realised that I had indeed been in my own little world, and not noticed all the tourists disappearing! In their place there was a small flock of monks and nuns that had come in for their afternoon prayers…

So a few minutes later I found myself singing and praying in Italian and Latin with the whole congregation of the basilica. I have to say I enjoyed every minute of it, I was actually quite impressed with myself for keeping up – considering I don’t speak any Latin and my Italian is questionable at best! It really did make my experience so special at the Francesco Basilica! I would say to anyone hoping to go to Assisi that if you are offered the opportunity to be a part of a service like that… do it! Even if it’s not your religion or even your culture it is all apart of the foundations this place was built on. It’s so moving to see the passion and love that these monks and nuns have for their beloved saints.

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Basilica Di Santa Chiara

As I mentioned before saint Clare also has her own basilica in the town, Basilica Di Santa Chiara. This basilica only has two levels, the main church and the tomb of saint Clare, however there is also a side chapel – which is attached to the main church. This chapel is small and quite basic, however it has such a wonderful feel to it. It’s simplicity makes it endearing. So if you get the chance to go, by all means have a sit for a few minutes in this humble chapel, before you head down to see the lovely Saint Clare resting.

Saint Clare’s tomb is quite different to Saint Francis’, in the sense that it is more modern and there is a sculpture of saint Clare on top of the tomb. This sculpture actually works as a mask to protect the remains of this beloved saint from deteriorating. The public can only see the sculpture through a window, whilst on the other side the ‘Poor Clare’s’ have access to the room and can actually see the relics themselves. It is an intimacy shared between teacher and student, which I think is very beautiful!

Also in the tomb area is a display of things both owned and made by saint Francis and saint Clare. It isn’t every day you get to see the needle work of a saint! It is also very humbling to see the items they wore on a day to day basis, they are the most basic and unpretentious of clothing. One of the things I love most about this basilica (other than saint Clare of course) is that I have never been in the tomb when the congregation upstairs hasn’t been singing! It just brings to light how wonderfully special this place is!

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But the exploring and journeying does not end there…

One of the must see places of Assisi, is the San Domiano. It was a nunnery, home of the poor Clare’s and of course at one time Clare herself. It is also the church that Francis first repaired, setting him on his holy journey. It is a truly incredible place! Photos are not permitted inside (like all the churches in Assisi), but trust me when I say it is so enchanting. The rooms are only small, but you can feel the history oozing out of every crack…if only those walls could speak! There are beautiful hand painted stories on the walls as well, which are slowly fading and decaying with time.

One of the novelties I absolutely loved about San Domiano are the stairs (a random thing to say I know)! They are the original stairs and therefore have been worn away by time and use, so when climbing they are the most slantiest steps I have ever seen!

The picture above is of the courtyard, a breath taking view. As I left the sleeping quarters of Clare and her sisters, I stepped out to this beautiful scene! As I stood there I could hear the monks and nuns singing again! I can honestly say I have never been to a place that sings so much! I never grow tired of it though, as it is all part of what makes Assisi so very special.

I stood there until the singing stopped and the silence of the land fell on my ears. I don’t think I could ever describe just how mesmerising this place felt – it was a feeling beyond words.

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Eremo Delle Carceri

As I said before the cave is nestled in amongst the forest, if you follow the path outside the cave you can actually walk all the way down to San Domiano, I would imagine it would be quite a walk, however in that beautiful greenery with nothing but the sound of nature, I’m certain the time would be unnoticeable if not non-existent! It is on my bucket list to do next time!

I would highly recommend visiting Eremo Delle Carceri as it is not only a beautiful spot with a lovely story to it, but it also isn’t very well known, so chances are you might be the only ones there.

There are so many wonderful sites to behold in Assisi, it really is a place full of beautiful kind hearted people. An incredibly safe place, no one is pushy or rude either. Even the taxi drivers are so thankful and almost shocked when you give them a tip!

It is everything you would imagine the home of saints to be like. As you can probably tell from this post, Assisi is an incredibly special place for me, but I think it is to all who visit! I absolutely love the history too, as it is such a massive part of Assisi!

So if you ever get the chance to visit this mesmerising place by all means do! You will not regret it, trust me.

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Thank you so much for reading my post about Assisi! I hope you all enjoyed it, I know I certainly did, reminiscing about all the places and their wonders. I love hearing from you guys so let me know what you think and if you’ve ever been to Assisi and Umbria, or if you have any plans to!

I’m sorry about how long this post has turned out to be, but I got carried away with all the history and beauty!

Once again thank you for reading and please don’t hesitate to get in Contact if you have any questions, requests or simply just want to share and experience. Please feel free to follow my Blog too. You can also find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

All the very best

Hermione x

Why visit Cornwall

Cornwall is a place that every respectable traveller should visit at least once in their lifetime.

I might be bias… in fact I probably most certainly am, but to me Cornwall is one of the most beautiful places on earth. With breath taking views of endless beauty, accompanied by the sounds of thundering waves crashing against the rocky cliff edges, as seagulls cry out, circling the skies above. It is the perfect place to become one with yourself and release your inner wanderer.

There is a constant force of nature, in this wonderous land, that is not to be reckoned with, and yet at the same time a peace and tranquillity in everything you see. It is a place ruled by mother nature, as most of the land is still untouched or (mostly) left to its own devices. It is this unkept wilderness that makes Cornwall so unique to anywhere else.

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But Cornwall is not merely a land of moors and cliff tops, it is also home to small quaint country villages and rolling fields – filled with sweet smelling flowers and freshly harvested hay. A place of traditional festivals and ancient Celtic culture. There is so much to see and explore, from old castle ruins and Celtic stones, to beautiful babbling brooks running through majestic woods.

In all my years of traveling and exploring, I have never been to a place that has felt so magical. And when I say this I mean it in the most literal sense – it quite literally feels like any minute a pixie or an elf could wonder past you or a mermaid could wave its fish scaled tale in the local harbour! There is a constant mystery that shrouds Cornwall making all these fairy tales and mythical creatures seem plausible. Cornwall, or Kernow as the locals call it, is a place left in time, frozen in its simplicity and beauty.

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In Kernow, time is not a key factor, everything happens in its own time at it’s own pace, or as the Cornish call it ‘D’reckly time’. There is no pressure or demands, it is simply a place to just be. This may be slightly hard to adjust to at first, however once you breath in the salty sea air and engross your self in the sounds of nature you will soon become a D’reckly doer yourself. Quite simply there is no way to hurry Cornwall…or if there is, no one has discovered it yet – but that is what makes it so very special.

As you can probably tell, I have a deep love for this beautiful part of the world. I have spent many a happy hour strolling its meadows and collecting seashells off it’s beaches. Wading in the lush clear waters, whilst watching the fishing boats set off for the day. Smelling the aroma of pure perfection that fills the air whilst homemade pasties cook in the ovens! As I’m sure you know, Cornwall is famous for it’s pastry heaven known as the pasty. There have been songs, poems and even stories written about pasties. Family recipes have been handed down through generation to generation, there are even competitions held in honour of the pasty!

So if you find your traveling legs have brought you to Cornwall, then it is an absolute must to try a pasty! And there is no better place to eat one then in a quaint little fishing village surrounded by lush golden sand and the sound of lapping waves. Though do watch the skies above for the seagulls, they love pasties almost as much as the Cornish and aren’t too shy to try take a bite!

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Putting pasty eating seagulls aside…There is a wonderful poem about Cornwall written by the Cornish poet Clive Blake, I personally think it sums Kernow up perfectly:

Cornwall Explored

Coastline, rocky, rugged, proud, crumbling cliffs in ozone shrouds, sun-kissed drifts of desert sand, golden frame of a sea cradled land.

fishing village, atmospheric hub, brass band playing. outside quaint old pub, boats, all sizes, rest near harbour wall, wading birds sift through tide-filled pool.

foliage explosion of a Cornish hedge, country lanes snake, and young birds fledge, ruminants, punctuating, quilted hill, buzzards soar and wise hares are still. 

tine mine engine house, towering stack, roof caved in, gorse and bracken’s back, white clay peak, geometrical and sleek, earths riches gouged, canyon deep.

moor-land, open, untamed, granite strewn, wild ponies dance to a skylark’s tune, tor and beacon, barrow and mound, you’re in God’s own country, when you walk this ground.

– Clive Blake 

All in all, Kernow is a wonderous place and I don’t thing I could ever do it true justice with words. It is somewhere you must come and experience for yourself. So I fully encourage you to pack your wellington boots and immerse yourself in the true beauty that is Cornwall! Come walk the cobbled streets of Truro, wade in the waters of Marazion, feel the wind on your face as you stand on the clifftops at the lizard and explore as much as humanly possible the wild beauty of this stunning land.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my little post about Cornwall and hopefully it’s given you a new place to add to the travel list!

Thank you so much for reading and please don’t hesitate to get in contact if you have any questions, requests or simply just want to share an experience. Please feel free to follow my Blog too. You can also find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook .

All the very best from your wee Cornish blogger

Hermione x

Tips for Traveling

A very hearty hello to you all! As promised here is my list of tips for traveling.

There’s are a few things I always do before, or whilst, I am off exploring the world. All of these things have come in handy at one time or another. The more I have travelled the more I have learnt that somethings are essential and should always be in the travel bag or in the planning.

As travellers, we all have our own little packing ritual or a signature item we never travel without, be it factor 50 sun cream or a rechargeable phone battery. Here is a list of a few of my own signature essentials, hopefully they can help you too – if they don’t already.

1. A first aid kit

It sounds very basic, and hardly a thing to take with you an a fabulous holiday, but it is unreal the amount of times I have found myself routing through my bag to try find a plaster. Most of the time for blisters, at the backs of my ankles, from a day spent hiking! There are lots of miniature first aid kits available, or even making up your own one is very simple. Depending on where you are traveling, it might be an idea to add some Paracetamol and Rehydration Salts. you’ll find a lot of the time that if you don’t need them, often your friends and family traveling with you do! It’s always worth doing a bit of research into where your traveling to and seeing if there’s any medicine that might be useful to take with you. In saying this you also don’t want to turn into a walking pharmacy, so only take the things you really feel will be essential.

2. Travel adaptor

This is a very useful thing to pack! There is nothing worse than arriving at your hotel, after spending an afternoon soaking up your new holiday location and taking pictures, to then realise your phone is nearly dead and your charger wont fit the plug socket! Again it is a good to do a bit of research to see if you can find out what kind of plug sockets the country your visiting has – that way you’ll know which kind of adaptor to buy. It is best to get them before you reach the airport, as they can be expensive to buy last minute.

3. Hand sanitizer

Again it’s not a necessity, but depending where you’re traveling to it can be very useful. It is always best to try to reduce the chances of getting ill as much as possible when traveling – the last thing you want is to get poorly on your lovely holiday. It’s a very quick and easy thing to apply, and handy especially if you’re eating food with your hands. I personally find that the bottles of hand sanitizer work better and last longer, but the wipes can be good also, especially if you have a cut.

4. Paper Straws

I have found this one to be incredibly useful. If you’re traveling around a country that is known for maybe not being the most hygienic place, or where the water system is not the greatest, then its a good idea to pop a paper straw into your drinks instead of drinking straight from the glass – as sometimes they might not be in the cleanest state. This once again helps to reduce the chances of getting ill, and it’s not something that’s going to take up much space in your bag either. The reason I say paper straws is because they are better for the environment, and it’s always good to try to reduce plastic intake wherever possible.

5. Insect repellent

It’s always good to bring this little guy along with you, especially if you’re going to a warm country. I have found that the most natural repellents work the best, sometimes even making your own out of natural oils is a good option. It’s handy to bring a small bottle out with you for the day too. You need to keep on top of applying it especially in the evenings or whenever you’re near water.

6. Laundry bag

Bringing a bag for your dirty clothes is one of the easiest things to forget. The amount of times I haven’t brought one and desperately wished I had is probably uncountable, but at long last I have learnt to always pack one! It is handy to bring one with a waterproof lining for wet clothes, you don’t want to have them soaking everything else through, especially if your on the move and don’t have time to dry them. It’s also an idea to bring a separate bag for your swimwear, not only does this contain it when its wet, but also it makes it easier to keep all your beach/pool stuff together. There’s nothing more frustrating than when you’ve gotten to the pool’s changing room to realise you’ve left your bottoms in the case back in the bedroom.

7. See-through bags for toiletries.

Packing a couple of spare see-through toiletry bags for the flight is always a good idea. Its not rare for them to burst or in my case become unsee-through with makeup over time! Plus if you get some before you arrive at the airport, there’s no hassle of trying to find all your liquids and toiletries whilst at security. It helps make life just that little bit easier!

8. Buy flights early

Getting your flights as early as possible is a great way to save money. Sometimes even searching for single flights can be cheaper than buying a return one, but most of the time it is easier to get a return. The more in advance you can book the better, especial to countries near by, and preferably not in the peak months. you can however still save a fair bit of money even if you do go in high season, providing you book a few months in advance.

9. Be flexible

It is very handy when traveling, to be flexible with your dates/times when flying. Sometimes a day or two in front, or behind, your chosen dates can turn out to have the best deals. They may even have the better flight times, or no lay overs. I have never actually travelled on the dates I original planned, as it’s always been the days either side that had the best deals. So being flexible is a very handy asset if you’re trying to reduce costs.

10. Fly in the middle of the week

Very often the cheapest days to fly are week days, especially Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays. This avoids the long weekend holiday packages and the work commuters, making the price of travel a wee bit cheaper. It also means that your holiday destination may be a little bit quieter, for a few days, depending on how long you’re stay. Flying on week days has helped to save me a couple of pennies many a time, and the aircrafts tend to be quieter too.

11. Make copies of important documents

This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to print out everything and carry it around with you, but it is useful to forward your itinerary and insurance to an email or to take photos or screen shots of it. Though in case of your phone binging lost or stolen, it is handy to have a paper copy the essential documents. It is also a good idea to give a copy to your family or close friends in case of an emergency.

12. let your bank know you’re traveling

It’s an easy thing to forget to do but it is extremely useful. I personally prefer to take cash with me when I’m traveling, as I find it easier to keep an eye on how much I’m spending, so I do try to reframe from using my bank card abroad. However you may prefer using your card, and if that is the case then you definitely need to tell your bank you’re going away. But even if, like me, you’d only use your card in an emergency, it is still worth telling your bank. Otherwise you could end up being locked out of your account and that’s the last thing you want when traveling and in a sticky spot!

13. Take spare money

It’s always good to estimate how much money you’ll need when traveling abroad, and try to cover all your expenses. However sometimes you can not cover everything, therefore it’s best to bring a little bit of extra cash with you. I personally put this in a place separate to the rest of my spending money, that way it is only there if I really need it (and I’m not tempted to use it). If you don’t end up using your back up cash then it’s a nice surprise to have some spare money when you come back home!

14. Research where you are going

This for me is an absolute must! Not only will you find all the things you want to see on your stay but you’ll also learn so much. It is always good to try find out as much as possible about the place you’re visiting, including laws and local customs. The last thing you want to do is offend someone by doing something that is acceptable back home but not in their country. It is also handy to look into other peoples experiences and see if there’s anything they would recommend you seeing or doing whilst there. All in all research pays off massively in the long run.

15. Think about Jet Lag

This is something that many people forget and to be honest it’s only something you really need to consider if you are traveling a fair way. However it is always good to be aware of the time difference. Especially if you are hoping to fit a lot in. I would recommend planning in a day or two extra to allow yourself time to adjust, usually by the second day you start to feel the time difference more. Also coming home can be hard too, especially if you’ve been gone for a couple of weeks. So don’t forget to book off that extra bit of time for your recovery after you get back!

16. Don’t change money at the airports

If at all possible, try to avoid changing your money at the airport. They can afford to charge more than most places, as they know that most people have no other option by that point. It’s always good to think about changing money a week or so in advance of your travels, that way you can shop around for the best deals. Usually I go with the post office but I have found that some department stores do good deals too.

17. Make a list

This is something I never fail to do! Not only because I love list making, but also because it is so easy to forget to pack something or plan seeing something you thought of before going. Once you are on your holiday it is very easy to get swept away with the magic of a new land – however the last thing you want to do is realise that you’ve come without something or that you’ve forgot to see or do something till its too late. It is also helpful, I’ve found, to write a list of everything you’ve packed and bring it with you to make packing back up easier. I no longer leave anything behind because of this system and it is an absolute blessing – as I’m a rather forgetful person!

18. Embrace the culture

I have always found that the more culture you embrace the better your travel experience will be! There is nothing more exciting than traveling to new places, but this can only take you so far…the more you explore of the traditions and rituals of the country you are visiting, the more your travel experience will be heightened. Not many people can say that they have truly embraced another culture – but it will make you all the richer for it, that I can promise you.

19. Try traditional food

I’m sure most of you will anyway, but there isn’t much point in going abroad to eat something you can have back home. There are so many wonderful and exciting new foods and flavours to explore when visiting a new place. It is an absolute shame not to try any of it, even if just a little! There will always be things that aren’t quite for you but you’ll never know if you don’t try. Traveling is all about making new memories and that even goes into the food department. So go and try find as many new thing as possible on the menu!

20. Avoid tap water

Until you know for sure that the tap water is safe it is best to avoid it. Unclean water is one of the fastest ways to get sick and that is one of the last things you want to happen on your holiday. It’s always good to try find out from people who have been there before or off of the internet how safe the local water is. Sometimes there is not an issue, but until you know for sure its better to be safe and drink bottled water.

21. Bring a spare extra set of clothing

It’s handy to pack one extra set of clothing, just in case of the unexpected. This has been a very useful tip for me over the years, as there have been occasions when a flight has been postponed a day, or that a spontaneous activity has ruined a whole outfit. It doesn’t often take much room to pop an extra top and jeans in, so you might as well be safe than sorry.

22. Don’t over pack

Whilst it is good to prepare for the unexpected, you also don’t want to burden yourself down with things that you know you wont use. I very rarely ever fill my cabin bag, as I take the bare essentials, this makes walking around (at the airport) and keeping an eye on my stuff so much easier! The last thing you want to be doing is carrying or dragging a heavy bags around, especially if you’re in a hot country!

23. Try to avoid taking a big suitcase

Unless you are traveling for a long time or to a far away country there is not a massive need to take a big case. I often don’t travel with any checked in luggage, as I prefer a cabin bag/case. They are much easier to keep an eye on and there isn’t the hassle of waiting for it at the airport. If I do decided to collect some bits whilst on my holiday then I add a bag on later to my flight home – it’s easy to buy a bag, then send off which ever is strongest out of the bought bag and my cabin bag/case as checked in luggage. You’ll find a lot of the time there isn’t actually a need for a big suitcase and it makes getting around so much easier.

24. Roll your clothes

This is an excellent way to save on space and also it means that most of the time your clothes aren’t too creased. Quite a few people forget to do this, but it can give you an extra half of a bag/case if you need it. Another handy thing to do, is to putting socks inside of any shoes you’re packing. Space is precious when traveling, so you want to try make as much room as possible, especially if you’re bringing stuff back form your trip.

25. Bring a small bag

Especially for you ladies out there, it is essential to find a realistic traveling bag. This is usually one you can string across your shoulder to keep it safe. It’s a lot harder for people to take if the bag is around you! It’s always good to wear your bag to the front of you as sometimes people cut the straps, but you will notice it a lot more at the front if it becomes loose. The smaller the bag the easier it is to keep safe too. Another good option is a bump (which is also suitable for you gentlemen out there), however this does make you stand out as a tourist. On the other hand, it is the safest place for your wallet. I can not stress enough not to put anything in your back pockets, it is the fastest way to loose something or have it stolen. Also it is best to leave your passport somewhere safe like a locker or in a safe in your room.

26. Wear you heaviest clothes to fly in

To save on space in your cabin bag on the flight or to help make your checked in luggage lighter it is always handy to wear your heaviest clothing, such as jeans and jumper etc. You can always change them, if need be, when you land. This will help to save space on the flight and will mean that you’re not asked to take anything out of your bag/case if you’re over the limit.

27. Boost your immune system before you travel

It is a good idea to try help your immune system as much as possible before traveling. There are a lot of germs that your body will not be acclimatised to in other countries, or even on flight. It is always rewarding to help your body adjust as much as possible. Things such as proactive yogurt drinks or even just natural yogurts can help, as well as certain fruits and honey. It pays off to strengthen your body, especially if you’re traveling to a country known for illness.

28. Take clothing suitable to your destination

It is very easy to take something because its pretty or flattering, but it is also important to pack things that will help to look after you. If you’re going to a hot or sunny place take a light shirt to cover your shoulders and a hat. For a cold place take plenty of layers and maybe even thermals. They might not always be the most attractive things to wear but its better to look after yourself then to be sore or poorly – trust me!

29. Eat at local restaurants

It is very easy if you’re staying at a hotel or resort to eat there for dinner, however they can afford to keep the prices high. It is best to try venturing out to find a nice local restaurant, as the costs will be more affordable. There will also be more traditional foods on the menu and it is always a nice experience to immerse yourself in the local environment. Do have a look around though and check for set prices, as sometimes people are cheeky and put the prices up for tourists.

30. Try to learn a couple of phrases

It is always appreciated by the locals if you can speak even a little of their language (or a least try), even if its just hello and thank you. In parts of the world where English is hard to come by then knowing a wee bit of the lingo can go a long way, after a few days of being immersed in another language you can more or less start to understand the gist of what is being said. Trust me my friends when I say if they don’t speak English saying it louder will not help!

31. bring a list of important numbers

Even just writing a list of numbers on a piece of paper and keeping it with you can be very useful. It’s always a good idea to have your emergency contacts and a local police, ambulance or emergency service number on there too, as this can be useful if your phone is lost or stolen. It also means you can keep in contact with people back home or get in touch with the right people for help.

32. Find free things to do

In every country or city there are free things to do, all you have to do is find them! Doing a bit of research on this before you go can be very useful, but also asking locals what they can suggest is a brilliant way of finding hidden gems – a vast majority of the time you’ll find that they are totally free! I have found most of the time they make for even better memories than the main attraction themselves! Often their are groups of students offering free walking tours for work experience or conservation sites that ask for a small donation or a thank you after you’re visit. It’s a great way to see a place and you will meet so many new people because of it too.

33. Take photos of yourself

This is a bit of an obvious, but sometimes it is very easy to get wrapped up in taking pictures of your surroundings and not yourself or your group! At the end of the day it is fantastic to have all these wonderful pictures of this great land you are discovering, but there are pictures of these sights all over the internet and in books. There will never be a chance again for you to have your picture taken in that amazing place on that awesome day! I have been to so many fantastic places and not taken any personal photos, because at the time I wasn’t there for that, but years later I have regret it and wished I had just asked someone to take a picture of me or my group. So don’t be shy, take as many pictures of yourself on your amazing journey as possible. You’ll only ever have that exact experience once!

34. Go off the beaten track

Now when I say this I don’t mean literally go off the beaten track in the middle of the amazon rainforest and end up being taken in by a family of Orangutan’s for the rest of you life…though that does sound rather tempting! What I mean is don’t focus solely on seeing the big attractions or doing the expected things. Find the lesser known stuff and discover things that hardly anyone you know has. Involve yourself in culture and traditions. Be apart of the festivals, volunteer, learn, do a days course in something unusual. Just spend your time where you are to the best of your ability. By all means see the big sights but don’t just focus on that. Take the road less travelled, as Robert Frost said ‘I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference’. And it certainly will my friends!

35. keep a travel journal

This is not a necessity, but it makes for a beautiful way of savouring your travels. I wish I’d started mine years ago, but it’s so easy to think at the time you’ll remember it all when you’re experiencing it. If you have a notepad handy with you ,then I highly recommend jotting down your adventures. It doesn’t have to be a full on diary or an article for the national Geographic’s, just something simple, even bullet pointing what you saw or did that day and where it was. It can be a nice way to look back on it all in years to come.

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All in all the best tip I could give you is to have as much fun as you can, and make as many memories as possible! To travel is a rare gift and you should make the most of the time you have. So be adventurist, try new things, talk to people you don’t know, find the hidden gems and always make the most of life!

I hope these tips help you along your expeditions and that you have a safe and happy time when you do go adventuring.

If you have any questions or want to share any of your experiences with me then please don’t hesitate to get in contact. You can also follow my Blog if you wish, or find me on Instagram and Twitter

All the very best

Hermione x

My top places to travel so far

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There is no place like Italy, it is simply perfection!

It is the ideal place for a chilled, relaxed holiday. Filled with history and beautiful architecture, as well as friendly and carefree locals.

I have found, regardless of where you travel in Italy, there is no pressure, nor stress. Everything happens in its own time, at its own pace.
It really is the perfect place to just breathe and let all your worries go! Whether that’s sitting in a villa, in Tuscany, with a glass of wine or strolling around the Roman forum, in Rome, soaking up the history that surrounds it.
Wherever you go, the ease of Italian life will find you and embrace you as one of its own.

Not to mention the food it the most exquisite thing you will ever taste! The pastas and pizzas, bruschetta’s and desserts, all of it must be tried! You have not lived till you have eaten real homemade Italian food. It is simply heaven on a plate!
Needless to say wine tasting is also a must.

There is a beauty to be found in everything in Italy, from the passion of the waiter describing the specials of today menu, to the stunning sounds of St. Peter’s basilica bells filling the evening air as you wonder down the quiet side streets of Rome.

Quite frankly I do not think words could ever do justice to how truly majestic this beautiful country is! It has often be referred to as a place of romance, but I do not believe that this is limited to just couples, it is a place to fall in love with yourself and dare to be the carefree you that perhaps due to life’s burdens you can not always be. So go have your own ‘Roman Holiday’!

 

Greece

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The picturesque setting of Greece is one of beauty and peace. A place to soak up the sun and enjoy the tranquillity of life. An ideal spot for a retreat or even a pampering holiday.

There is a genuine love I have for Greece. It is a place of fond family holiday memories, most of which were spent down at the beach, where you can snorkel to your hearts content, then laying out to dry, sunning yourself in the lush Mediterranean heat. All of which after you’ll stroll along to your local café or restaurant to taste the deliciously salty food freshly picked, caught or delivered that day. The menus may change daily but the tastiness most definitely does not.

The locals are very friendly and always appreciate regular custom. If you find a place to eat or shop at often, then your custom will not go unnoticed. By the end of your stay you’ll be laughing  and joking with the owners, realising that you’ve quite unintentionally gained a friend and somehow they are quite impossible to forget.

The simplicity of Greece is something to be admired. Depending on which parts you travel to, there is not always good Wifi (if any) or signal, but in many ways this is a blessing. It forces you to look up from your phones, tablets or laptops and absorb the breathe taking beauty the engulfs this stunning country.

There is so much history, culture and uniqueness to be found at every corner of this very special place and it deserves to be seen and treasured.

 

India

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To me India is a country of wonder waiting to be explored.

There is a constant hum of life that surrounds this majestic land, and I can honestly say that there is never a dull moment.

It is a place full of ancient history and rituals as well as bright colourful markets – that sit at the side of streets, selling handwoven silk scarves and wonderful smelling spices. Everyday is an adventure, and although you do have to be aware of your surroundings, it is a corner of the world to discover!

There are sights that will stay with you forever, and there is also a beauty to be found in everything. From yogis meditating in holy sights, to colourful elephants strolling along the motorway. Not to mention cows venturing into the local shops, blessing the business’ and their dwellers.

I thoroughly encourage you to join, a much as possible, in all the culture and festivals that take place. Such as taking a boat out onto the river Ganges, at Varanasi, to make an offering of a candle, surrounded by beautiful coloured flowers, to the goddess ganga at dusk and watch it illuminate down the gentle current carrying your hopes and wishes  with it.

It is said amongst travellers that each destination changes you and helps you to grow, but I have never been to a place that has changed me as much as India. It has taught me so much about the world and myself, and I am a richer person for it.

 

Budapest

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The destination of Budapest is one filled with beauty and charisma!

There are so many lovely places to see and exciting things to explore, most of which wont cost you a penny! It is the ideal holiday for any backpacker looking to make some fun memories.

There are many of hiking treks across bridges and hilltops leading to stunning view points of this amazing city. I highly recommend taking an evening stroll along the river Danube, to look at the breath taking parliament building lit up in all its glory. Or perhaps even a ferry by night, taking you up and down stream allowing you to sit back and relax with a glass of wine, taking in all the twinkling lights as you go by.

Free walking tours are available and will take you all over the city! The guides are fantastic and very knowledgeable. there is  a number of different tours covering all sorts of subjects, some for history and architecture, and others for sightseeing. It makes for a fantastic day out and you can always go to Margaret island after to relax and enjoy the lovely kept gardens and wildlife there. Whilst you’re at it why not rent a bicycle and enjoy peddling through the grounds at your own pace.

The Jewish Quarter of the city is a definite must! Filled with so much important history and cute tiny coffee shops, as well as one of the worlds largest synagogues. It is a unique little part of the world, with many side streets to venture down.
By night the cafes and restaurants turn into small Aladdin’s caves, offering an awesome nightlife atmosphere. There is also a homemade alcoholic drink called Palinka… which is not for the faint hearted, but must be tried at least once

All in all Budapest is an amazing place that certainly deserves to be on your travel list, so go explore it and have as much fun as possible!

 

New Zealand

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The stunning setting of New Zealand, or Aotearoa, is one of natural phenomenon!

There are volcanoes, waterfalls, geysers, mountains and thermal pools all over this amazing country. It is a place of extreme environments, making each region unique in its own way. Many of theses nature spots are untouched by civilization making it a wonder to behold.

New Zealand has two islands known as the North Island (Te Ika-a-Maui) and the South Island (Te Waipounamu) , I highly recommend visiting both, if possible – as each has so much to offer!

The north island is slightly more built up, though in saying that it is not hard to find beauty, as well as peace and quiet, anywhere. There are many sights to see, such as the boiling mud at Rotorua or the Ninety mile long beach on the western coast line of the far north. If you find yourself in Auckland and fancy a day out walking then I highly recommend visiting the prehistoric subterranean island of Tiritiri Matangi! It is a breathe taking island filled with endangered native birds, and wildlife, as well as beautiful beaches and hiking trails. It is the perfect place for an adventure! Also it is not rare to see dolphins and whales on the ferry ride over.

The south island is a place of perfect beauty, with snowy mountain ranges and mirage like lakes, creating an atmosphere of tranquillity. It is the idyllic spot to pitch up a tent and lay under the starry night sky taking in all the beauty, allowing you to enjoy some peaceful you time. If you find that your little globetrotter legs have taken you to Te Waipounamu (the south island) then you should certainly treat yourself to a tour of Queenstown. It is a captivating town surrounded by lake Wakatipu nested amongst the enchanting mountain range of The Remarkables. I have heard many a person call it the most beautiful place on earth and I have to say that it is most certainly that!

This wondrous land is filled with a beauty incomparable to any other, it has so much culture and art to explore, as well as heart racing experiences like white water rafting and bungee jumping! It really is a place to have and adventure and make some breathe taking memories!

 

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I believe that concludes my top places to travel so far, because otherwise I will end up list every single place I have ever been to, and if I do then we could be here a while…!

In short wherever you travel to, whether it’s any of the places on this list or not, I hope you make some amazing memories that will stay with you forever and try as many new things as possible! As Rachel Wolchin said ‘If we were meant to stay in one place, then we’d have roots instead of feet’.

Now I think we’ve both got some adventures to be planning, don’t you? 

All the very best

Hermione x

 

P.S. Please feel free to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram

 

 

 

 

Welcome to My suitcase & Me

A big hello to you all!

I’m very excited to finally be writing my first blog post, it’s been in the making for a wee while now and I am very happy that it is all up and running!

Some of you I may know, and if that is the case it is very lovely to see you here, others of you I may not know, but if that is the case it is also very lovely to see you here too. I’m excited to be starting this journey with you all.

I’ve been asked for quite a while now to start my own blog about my travels, adventures and experiences, after some thought about it I decided what a jolly good idea it was!

I’m currently working on a few different pieces which should be posted in the next coming week or two. I also have a couple of jet packing holidays coming up which should also make for some entertaining material…but no spoiler alerts!

Mostly this blog was created to share a love of traveling, adventuring and exploring with  fellow globetrotters and wanderlusters. However if you’re a person who just enjoys reading something a little different from time to time, then I hope you will feel that this is for you too!

I’ll also be blogging about my home county Cornwall, accompanied by some stunning photos and useful tips of places to go and hidden beauty spots. I can not wait to share them all with you!

If you have any questions or requests for a blog you’d like me to do then please don’t hesitate to contact me, or if you’d like to share a traveling experience then I’d love to hear that too!

Please feel free to subscribe to my Blog or to follow me on Instagram

Lastly I’d like to wish you all a lovely day and I’ll see you around.

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