In Riga: Old Town

Old town is full of little streets to wander around and I highly recommend you take the time to explore. I was walking around on an overcast St Patricks day and it was quiet and just want I needed. I loved the architecture of the Old Town, medieval buildings with brightly coloured restaurants and shops. PhoebeGill170317116There are some incredible points of interest like the House of the Blackheads. This incredible red brick gothic structure is where you can get walking tours of Old Town. It has such great detail you can’t miss! PhoebeGill170318184Riga Castle is the official residence of the president, it has been rebuilt many times over the years, old structures and new bits added on gives this building a unique look, with six towers, all different colours and sizes. It is closed to the public due to a fire and will reopen in 2018. PhoebeGill170318143Old Town is small but its is completely charming, nothing is symetrical and there are so many little streets with charming spots. There are also big open squares where events are held and markets are set up. When I was walking around there was a brass band playing to no one, soft music reverberated in the square and it was lovely.PhoebeGill170318179There is one thing in European old towns that I love and that is making three building of similar ilk siblings. I have seen a few three brother buildings over Europe and I love finding them. These brothers are awkwardly placed down a small street.

Take the time. Take a walking tour. Enjoy!

Happy Travels!

In London: The Sky Garden

Before this trip I had never even heard of The Sky Garden but I can tell you right now I was missing out, it is beautiful! This mini botanical garden area is 155m up in the air, with 360 degrees panoramic views and spots to eat, you could spend the entire day up here! PhoebeGill160509210The first amazing thing about this place is that it is free to get into! Free! All you have to do is book in at a certain time, there are limited spaces available each day. Check out ticket times and options here. Although the ticket permits you in for an hour at a time, there is also a restaurant and a bar so you can be fed and watered, if you want to experience the Sky Garden for longer.  PhoebeGill160509083In the main section of the Sky Garden there is the Sky Pod where you can have coffee and cake or I choose some delicious lemonade. It is going to be a bit more expensive but it’s such a nice atmosphere. With the plants and the flowers it gives this fresh air feeling. Also I have allergies and I can assure you you I didn’t sneeze once, which was great. Now lets talk about the view. PhoebeGill160509073As you are 155 meters up there needs to be safety procedures so there are thick panes of glass for you to look out at. This does mean that they are a bit grubby and there will be reflections but it is still an amazing view. Watching busy London from above is really interesting, watching boats go by and cars go over the bridge, it’s such a great vantage point to watch the city. PhoebeGill160509089I definitely recommend this gorgeous place, check out the website and book a ticket. Also thanks to the couple who perfectly fit in this image. Hope you’re well! Thanks so much for reading!

Happy Travels!

In London: The Tower of London

On a rainy day in London I went to the Tower of London, I had never been before and only ever got a small glimpse of it as I was rushing to the airport. As I had planned so many new things to do during this trip, this had to be added, it’s an iconic tourist attraction.PhoebeGill160510206I think the rain gave the Tower a fitting atmosphere. This medieval fortress is very impressive and has got really interesting history around it. I am not going to do it justice but there are lots of historic elements in each building that showcases the stories of the past. Some buildings of interest are the torture section which really does baffle the mind, there is the armour section that has wonderfully intricate pieces and of course the building where the crown jewels are kept. Which is what everyone really wants to see. PhoebeGill160510229Walking into the crown jewel building, you definitely get a sense of pride, it is very much ‘yay Britain’. There is lots of fanfare and video, bigging up the royal family and Great Britain in general. It is a bit of fun and it’s interesting to see where some of the pieces came (were taken) from.  I saw Queen Victoria’s tiny crown, that is a interesting piece. All in all it’s very opulent and lots of sparkles. It’s great craftsmanship and they are really gorgeous treasures.PhoebeGill160510217My favourite story from this site is the Ravens, it was said at least 6 ravens must be in the grounds at all times or the fortress will fall. Reminds me of Game of Thrones, I really enjoy the superstitions of the past. It was very interesting learning and I definitely recommend you go and see it! PhoebeGill160510238I bought my ticket online so it was a little bit cheaper, it was £21. It is a little pricy but you can also group purchase tickets for different attractions and you can go to onto discounted ticket sites but I don’t know how reputable they are. You can buy your tickets from the official website here!

Have you visited the Tower of London, what was your favourite part? Thank you for reading!

Happy Travels!

In London: The British Museum

In all my years of going to London, I had never been to the British Museum. So when I had some free time on a recent trip I headed straight for it. The only tip I have is, and this goes for any museum visit in London is to go early, especially at the weekend! PhoebeGill160508007The British Museum is free to enter, which really is wonderful. The building is so grand and it is very impressive. As a first time visitor it can be a little confusing where you should start but there is a big information point inside the door where I am sure they will point you in the right direction. It get’s very busy as time goes on so it can feel very cramped but just respect other people and let everyone have a turn. Remember manners people! PhoebeGill160508011Museums are really important so that we can learn and understand history. People don’t often get the chance to travel and see artifacts that are native to that country so I understand the need for museums. I got to the Rosetta Stone and it was so crowded and people had to squint to see the information written beside it and there was different information on each side. Which was a shame but still really great to see such an import piece of history that deciphered an amazing ancient writing system. PhoebeGill160508016Although I understand the need for places like the British Museum, I have to say that I felt very emotional walking around the Parthenon room. In school I learnt about Greek and Roman architecture and mythology and having been to the Acropolis and seeing how incredible that site is, it’s horribly sad to see the amazing elements of the Parthenon sitting in a grey, cold room. There was a caryatid all by herself! PhoebeGill160508019As interesting as The British Museum is, it really does feel that the artifacts that decorate this building aren’t theirs, and sometimes it feels like it should be back where it belongs. Maybe it is just the fact that I have been to the countries where these pieces come from that I have more of an emotional connection but I just didn’t really feel comfortable there.PhoebeGill160508030Thats not to say this building isn’t impressive and the design isn’t immersive but to be honest if you are going to have big pieces from places with such a rich history, I would have liked way more information! I suppose I would just like a person like my sister beside me all the time who can explain it’s history in such an engaging way! Definitely go for a visit, there is so much to see I am sure I actually saw very little!

Happy Travels!

In Clare: 656km in a Weekend

I woke up early on Saturday morning and got ready for my little road trip across the country. I had booked something very special for the Sunday which gave me loads of time to explore a county I had never been too before. So I had a few things I wanted to see but was just going to drive around and see what it was like.

My first spot along the way was Spanish Point.

Spanish Point

PhoebeGill160305331Although it’s a small area it is where I decided to stay for the night. Spanish Point has a lovely sea front area. I can imagine on a hot summers day this beach being packed, with lots of surfers out. Clare has good surf, so if you want to go on a surfing holiday in Ireland I would put Clare on your list! PhoebeGill160305370

Where I Stayed

PhoebeGill160306126I stayed in the Bellbridge House Hotel, it has a classic Irish pub/a family home type feel to it, dark woods, roaring fire, striped wallpaper and warm colours. I booked a single room for €50 euro, it had an ensuite so I was very happy, thankfully when I got there they upgraded me! I got a double room and it was really nice, there was a tv and tea and coffee making facilities. The only thing I would say in the mattress was a little lumpy and the room was a little cold, they don’t have air conditioning, just radiators but the duvet was really comfortable and warm! Breakfast is included it’s a continental style, pastries, cereals, hot food, fruit, pancakes, I think the chef will make you almost any breakfast food if you ask. They also have a bar menu and a restaurant, the restaurant gets booked out on weekends so I would ring ahead but the bar menu is tasty. I definitely recommend this hotel and would definitely stay again. PhoebeGill160305265

Cliffs of Moher

PhoebeGill160305411Admission to the Cliffs of Moher are on good faith if you are walking the coastal route or are generally on foot or bike. If so, you are asked to go to the visitors centre and pay the fee of €6. I took my car and admittance is the same price, so you aren’t charged for parking, which I definitely appreciate, there is lots of parking and its busy all day! O’Brian’s Tower is an additional cost of €2, I didn’t avail of it but I am sure the views are great! PhoebeGill160305384The Cliffs are amazing, like every picture you’ve seen is beautiful but they are stunning in person, I want to go back and do the coastal walk, give myself more time to actually walk around. The main viewing platform gives you an almost 180 degree view of the cliffs but I urge you to walk around and see it! Just be careful if it’s a really windy/rainy day it could be very dangerous. The day I went it was cold and sunny so it was perfect. PhoebeGill160305159I 100% recommend you go around sunset, the cliffs become golden are are so beautiful! The Cliff of Moher have a closing time, which I don’t really understand how you can close a cliff top but I think it is if you come after closing to see the cliffs and you don’t pay, you can be fined. PhoebeGill160305060

The Burren

I then decided to drive! I do love driving, I didn’t have a plan but I gave the Wild Atlantic Way route a try and it didn’t disappoint! The Burren spans 250 square kilometres of limestone rock that cracks and leaves slabs of rock in the landscape, the geology of it all is quite cool! Driving around shows just how big and how beautiful it is, so hop in the car and get exploring! PhoebeGill160305006There are lots of points to stop off and look around, I also saw rock climbers so I am sure there are groups you can join to go climbing. The Wild Atlantic Way is such a gorgeous route to follow and to explore but do keep in mind that the landscape looks very similar so if you go for a long walk make sure you have gps or orienteering skills of some sort. PhoebeGill160305225

Craggy Island’s Parochial  House

You can’t go to Clare without seeing Father Ted’s house, this is a private home and farm so don’t go up the drive, or knock on the door or obstruct the gates. There is a farm tour €25 and  you can go for tea €10 and hear the history of the house. Check out their website to see what’s on offer. PhoebeGill160306534The route to get to the house are tiny roads, very very tiny! Be careful driving around, although the area is quiet make sure you take the corners carefully and drive with lights on, even in the day time, lights are easier to see than cars that are similar colours to the hedging. Make sure you take a look at the farm life, lots of cows, sheep and horses, there is nothing better than seeing these faces peer over a stone wall. PhoebeGill160306542

In Closing

I think the only thing I didn’t like was that the roads aren’t built for the amount tourism that Clare gets, huge tour buses are going along country roads which means the side of your car is scraping the bushes, that sound makes my heart hurt! My poor car. Also a red car whacked off the side of my door so thank you person, that was nice of you…but that’s my only gripe, everything else was amazing!

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 08.36.57I think in total I spent €252 for the weekend including petrol, activities, food, accommodation. It was such a good trip and there is still more to see of Clare. I think three days is enough time to see and do the upper half of the county! There are also the Doolin cave, the Alawee caves, there is the surf town of Lahinch. I am very happy I chose Clare to explore, it’s a great county with so much to do and see. Definitely rent a car, do the Wild Atlantic Way route, see the Cliffs of Moher, get in the sea and have an amazing weekend! PhoebeGill160305162

Happy Travels!

In Spain: Dalí Theatre and Museum

I had to take these images off Bebo (such a throwback) so the quality and selection I have isn’t the best but I can still remember like it was yesterday. It is where my love of his mind came to be.

Located in Figures, Gerona, Spain, Dalí’s hometown. The building is amazing, its crazy with so much detail. I would go back tomorrow! There is actually a big trip I want to do in this area. So maybe one day soon I will be showing you this area properly!

I definitely recommend you take a trip to see it, it is unique and so unlike most museums.

Happy Travels!