In Stockholm: The Sky View

I love a good view, I will climb really tiny towers (Oh get ready there is a blog post coming, eventually) and I will happily pay in to look out at a city many times over.  Whenever I am somewhere new I have to see it from a height so I was looking for a place in Stockholm and since going for a decent enough walk with an injury wasn’t very feasible I chose The Sky View.  PhoebeGill160716713Normal entry into The Sky View is SEK150 (€15) but with The Stockholm Pass it is free before 12pm and after that costs SEK30 (€3) To be honest if I paid €15 I would be a little hard done by because the Sky View globe is located outside of the main area of Stockholm, it is near the stadiums, concert halls and a shopping mall. It has the feel of being in a more residential area and away from the main areas your average tourist would explore. PhoebeGill160716416That’s not to say that the 20 minute trip isn’t worth a look see I would just try and get the discount ticket and see it for free or for cheap. It’s always fun to ride in a gondola, I really love the mechanics  of these things. There are two pods that ride up to the top of the globe. It would be really cool if the tracks did the 180 degrees of the globe but it just goes up to the top and then back down the same way. PhoebeGill160716656Seeing all of Stockholm is beautiful, it’s green and looks like there are lots of pretty places to visit. Once you get to the top you can see a tiny bit of the coastline and it looks gorgeous. Although it’s a bit outside the main city, the T-Bana station is really close by so it’s very easy to get to. I just wish there was a tower in the centre of Stockholm because the city is so beautiful!PhoebeGill160716023I recommend it but would I go again? Probably not. I enjoyed the view and it was fun to be in a pod gliding up the side of a building but it’s not exactly what I was looking for so I was a little disappointed.

Happy Travels!

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In Stockholm: Hop On Hop Off Tours

I got a Stockholm pass in a goodie bag from TBex, thanks TBex,  I looked up what it can do and I was really pleasantly surprised. Amongst a lot of other things, you are able to do unlimited Hop On Hop Off Tours, both bus and boat. So I took full advantage. PhoebeGill160714036Over my three day stay I took 3 bus tours and 2 boats. (Be careful though, Stockholm VIP pass only lasts for two days) The bus is great, it has a removable roof because of the tram lines above but it means that if it rains you aren’t getting soaked. It has the audio tour and free headphones so you will be able to learn about the city. I have to say though, every time I sat at the window I would have someone reach over me and touch my knee to get to the audio box. I would say to them do you want me to do it but they just ignored me and reached over. Ugh it makes me shiver just thinking about it. Don’t touch people you don’t know. PhoebeGill160714668I really recommend it though. You get to go to districts that you wouldn’t normally go to and it gives you lots of information. I wouldn’t know the term brackish water if I didn’t take the bus! (It is said a lot on the tours) The views from the bus are gorgeous, Stockholm is so beautiful and this tour gives you such a nice vantage point! PhoebeGill160714340I really think everyone should see Stockholm by boat, any city by the water just has such a gorgeous feel to it. You would see couples on little motor boats, tour boats, sail boats, big ships. Seeing Stockholm by water gives you a different view of the city and gives you more information the bus doesn’t give. It was really nice being a tourist for a change. Usually I get out of cities to explore but it was a lot of fun to just relax and take my time to see Stockholm properly. PhoebeGill160716554The boat stops in some great areas like The Vasa museum, The Royal Palace and other wonderful areas you have to explore. I fell in love with the buildings by the water and how the city wasn’t impacted with modern sky scrapers.  PhoebeGill160716276With the Stockholm Pass you are permitted to go on the green busses and boats. If you don’t have the pass then you can buy a one (€32) or two (€37) day bus ticket. You can also get a bus, boat combo ticket, one day (€42) and two day (€48). If you want more information check it out herePhoebeGill160716106

Do you do hop on hop off tours when you travel? Which one was your favourite?

Happy Travels!

In Travel: 5 Reasons Why I Hated Amsterdam

I have been to five continents, 22 countries and I have only hated one place.

This will surprise some but I hated Amsterdam. The list is endless but I will try sum up the things I didn’t like.

We decided to go to Amsterdam as a layover back from Greece. Greece is one of my favourites, I would happily go back tomorrow but Amsterdam, very different story.

Flying Ants.

It was the summer and just my luck it was the few days when flying ants were plaguing the streets. Imagine having breakfast by a canal, a typical Amsterdam experience, when suddenly you see the air moving and fluttering. I cannot stand them, they are stupid and get everywhere, even in my orange juice that morning, I felt like tearing my skin off and ruining my breakfast didn’t help. It was vile.

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By Francisco Anzola (Amsterdam Canal) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Drugs

I don’t care if you want to get off your face, I will think you’re an idiot but I don’t really care. What I do mind, is seeing needles on the ground outside, seeing people off their heads in supermarkets and people starting fights in the street. It made me so uncomfortable. And no I wasn’t in the red light district for any of this, I was 15 and my father knows Amsterdam very well. He wouldn’t take his family to the sex district.

Trams

Why are they so close to the paths? Like do you realise people could step out to avoid another human and bam. Also that ding-ing really grates after a while.

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By Ilonamay (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Bicycles

Shut up with your bells, pedestrians need to cross the street too. I have always hated cyclists so a country celebrating bicycles isn’t really the country for me.

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By Alfredo Borba (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Hotel

I can’t remember exactly what hotel we stayed at but it didn’t have any air conditioning. In the height of summer for your air conditioning to be broken isn’t ok. Me and my sister couldn’t sleep and decided to watch Monty Python, which was a lovely bonding moment but I’d rather the sleep.

Basically Amsterdam made me feel gross, angry, tired and so damn appreciative of my home. As we turned the corner in the taxi I started to quiet cry because it’s so nice having my home to go back to. Although the trip was a disaster it made me realise what I had.

It’s amazing what a bad hotel and bad atmosphere can do to your enjoyment of a city. I might go back one day but right now I have better places to go.

Happy Travels!

When Booking: Do NOT go with eDreams!

So I booked a flight to the UK for work and as always I go on SkyScanner. I find the cheapest flight as it is last minute and I click through to eDreams. I see that the price has dropped, I see that in my email confirmation I am charged three things:

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 8.00.17 a.m.

So all is well and I continue about my business. As I am waiting for a payment to go through on another trip I have been checking my bank transactions and I notice that eDreams has taken an additional €56.25 in the transaction.

Also note that the terms and conditions link you see there is a dead link. Also read through the T&Cs on their site and there is not one mention that they will additionally charge you just for making a booking.

They state that the price you see is the price you pay which is not the case.

There is a whole load of other charges that can occur if you want to change or if your card is faulty. Again nothing is mentioned about an additional service charge.

Update: 23/01/16 – Money was put back in my account after I called the a New York customer services number. I was told it was a mistake but I don’t know about you but I don’t like people making mistakes with my money. Still wont use them again.

In Outdoor Gear: Hiking Boots

I decided to get my first pair of hiking boots after I took a trip to Mayo and I walked in the rain, on some cliffs, in a pair of Converse. Understandably, it wasn’t a good time, I slipped and fell down countless times. It was from that point I knew I needed to get a pair of boots.

Now my parents aren’t the hiking type, they also deem most of my purchases a waste, I will use that engraver tool one day, just you wait and see. I found The North Face Berkley boots in the shoe shop Office on Carnaby street, London and I needed them! You see my favourite colour is blue and every other colour on the blue spectrum. So when I saw the teal laces I knew they had to be mine!

Out With The OldDSC_5615

The Berkley boot is a really comfortable shoe, it is a great boot for walking on a trail in some maintained forests…you see where I am going. They aren’t really a hiking boot. Although it’s comfortable and has ankle support. It is lacking in the waterproof department. Going through any Irish terrain just floods these beauties, which is such a shame. I think if you are a very light hiker then these are the ones for you.

I needed some more durable boots because I was going to Iceland. I have talked way too much about Iceland but still. I needed something that would keep my feet dry and warm. Living in the back of a van with pneumonia, is no bueno!

In With The New

DSC_5616Enter the Meindl boot! Aren’t they pretty. There aren’t many places (I can think of) that caters to outdoor wear. I know of 53 Degrees North, The Great Outdoors and Snow and Rock but other than that I don’t know where is a good place in Dublin to try on a pair of boots. I went to the Great Outdoors as their selection is a lot bigger that other shops.

I wanted them to be waterproof, durable, leather and nice looking because practicality and style are a wonderful combination. So here they are. They are the Meindl Bhutan Lady MFS and although they were expensive, they were €250. Gasp, I know, they are an investment.

I wore these all around Iceland and they are really a great boot. They kept my feet dry and warm and made me feel a lot more grounded when I was scaling rocks and walking on slippery mud.

One thing I always worry about is getting sore feet with new shoes, especially boots! I wore these in my house for about a week leading up to my trip and went for a walk in them and then it was my adventures in Iceland and the initial breaking in of the boot was really great. No lesions or blisters, ew I know, but there was none of that! Although they are not fully broken in at all really, I think I can say that it’s not going to be torture and that they will be really very comfortable! *Nope, I think the boots heard me, I don’t have heels anymore.

So if you have any questions about this boot let me know!

Happy Hiking!

In Airlines: A Guide to WOW Air

WOW air is relatively new airline. Established in 2011, it is a low cost airline that connects Iceland with Europe and the USA. In June 2015 the connection between Iceland and Ireland was established and I am very thankful it did.PhoebeGill150915010

Before WOW air the only way people travelling from Ireland could get to Iceland was catching a flight to London or Copenhagen and then on to Reykjavik. It was annoying having to go an hour or two further afield when Iceland is straight above Ireland.

Firstly:

They brought in Online Check in! Woo, thanks WOW Air! 

Baggage:

One carry on at 5kg (Free). You can buy two extra kilograms online if you wish.

One check in bag at 20kg (Best paid for online as it is cheaper) The rates for extra kilograms are really expensive once you reach the airport so make sure you have everything in order. Here are all of the extra fees and charges. 

From Dublin:

You will be flying from Terminal 1. This information is not on booking confirmation so just take note. When you are flying with WOW air, it is pretty simple. You check the board in departures for where WOW air’s check in desk is located, both times I have been, it has been row 9. You check on the screen above the desk what country you are flying to and you stand in line. Simple.

In busy Summer months, this queue will be crazy busy (Now that they have online check in it will be a bit quicker). At any time of the year make sure you allow yourself plenty of time. Two to three hours. With the addition of a very busy Dublin security and the walk to the gate (Or the walk to Siberia as I like to call it) you need plenty of time!

From Keflavik:

In Keflavik it is a little different. When you arrive in departures there will be a wow section with lots of desks. On one side is the flights to main land Europe and on the other side are the flights to Dublin and London. So you are lumped in all together and just because there are lots of desks doesn’t mean they are open. No no. There has been two people on the Dublin/London side, both times I have flown with them. This is not enough people at all for the amount of passengers. And this is 4:30am!

Again I would be in Keflavik about two to three hours before your flight as once you check in you have to go through security, which has slowed down even more with the addition of a new tray dispenser system they have installed. Then once you get through security, you have to go through passport control and then you have to walk to the last gate in Keflavik airport. So two hours minimum!

When On Board:

On board, you have to pay for all of the food and drinks. I don’t think there are any complimentary items at all. They have a selection of food and Icelandic snacks, they also have duty free if you feel like buying something.

Flight Time:

The flight is around the two hour mark. A really easy flight to take and the flight path is almost all over the sea. There may be some turbulence, so just be aware of that before you fly.

I will definitely be flying WOW air again! Although a slower process and a little stressful to figure out how much your baggage weighs, it is worth it!

If you have any questions about WOW air leave them below and I will gladly reply! 

Happy Travels!