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!

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In Kyoto: Shopping Arcades and Markets

I didn’t do too much research into the city of Kyoto before I left so I decided to walk and explore. I saw an opening with shops and went in and what I found was magic! One thing I loved about Japan was the fashion, people dress incredibly well, they have great neutral clothes with great fabric and cuts and I wanted everything if I could actually fit/afford them. (Japanese clothes run small for obvious reasons)

Teramachi and Shin Kyogoku Shopping Arcades

There are two covered shopping arcades that run parallel to each other and they have restaurants, shops with clothes, art, furniture, everything you need to window shop and buy everything you need or want. The area also looks great! There are really beautiful shop fronts and little details that looks beautiful.phoebegill161025069phoebegill161025079phoebegill161025086

Nishiki Market

This narrow food market is incredible, there isn’t any room to move around, there are so many things to look at, smell and all of it looks so fresh! For any foodie, you have to have a look. Even me, the girl who grabs a handful of nuts once in a while when travelling, thought everything looked amazing!phoebegill161025093phoebegill161025094phoebegill161025099

I have been looking into more of the city and I’ve found even more places to see so I will just have to wait till next year to see them.

Happy Travels!

 

In Life: 3 Things I Hate About Travel

There are very few things I hate about travel, I am choosing to make travel a huge part of my life, I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it! While most people can’t abide selfie sticks, umbrellas or people who touch the top of the Eiffel Tower or try and prop up the Tower of Piza. I don’t care, personally selfie stick all you like as long as you don’t hit into anyone, umbrellas are smart, you can see them and the heat is only getting worse and personally those posed photos are almost like buying a magnet, it’s iconic and stupid but it’s not that big of a deal!

What I do hate is the following three things and if we are honest we are all guilty of one of these thing is the past but from now on, stop it!

PhoebeGill150918942Throwing coins in amazing bodies of water.

I think this was started with attractions like the Trevi Fountain but seriously just stop! Burke’s pot holes in South Africa,  geyser’s in Iceland, countless pond, rivers, puddles are filled with peoples money. I hate it. The coins get collected in fountains, they don’t get collected in natural wonders! Stop messing with it. I don’t know the science of what coins do to the water and I’m sure it’s not terrible but money is gross and filthy and it just grinds my gears. We have some amazing things on this earth and I think it’s great we can have access but don’t push it, when you tamper with nature, you are pushing it.

Petting animals that aren’t for petting.

I don’t care if it’s fluffy, I don’t care if it looks healthy, I don’t care that it would look great as an Instagram. Stop petting animals that you wouldn’t pet in the wild. Would you go to into the Indian jungle to go pet a tiger?..no. So how about you don’t go to a place that has tigers chined up and beaten to have you pet it and take a picture with it. I have seen footage of what African and Asian elephants can do and you want to pet one or step on its back? I have had two bird animal experiences and I feel guilty about them all the time, I have had the chance to go to other sanctuaries and I haven’t taken them. I am guilty of this and I need to act way more responsibly because I don’t think I actually learned anything from both of my experiences. I appreciate and love the birds I encountered but am I using this knowledge? No. I should be, I should have learned from them and I haven’t. This bugs me!

PhoebeGill150915811People who get annoyed at fast airplane exit-ers.

This is my number one. Right, I have heard so many people complain about people who stand up and want to get off the plane quickly. The thing is though, we are trying to get you off the plane quicker too! (Also I hate being in a plane that isn’t moving, it makes my skin itch and I hate sitting beside people I don’t know) I bloody run through the airport when I am homeward bound because as much as I love travelling, I am going home, I am not chilling in the airport waiting for rush hour traffic or waiting for the parking fee to up the ridiculous amount. How is it bad that I want to free up space for you? How is affecting your day?  I am fast through security, are you mad about that too? No. I am helping the kids/humans who are cranky or need to pee because I gather my things and exit in a fast manner! So to you passengers who get so mad at people like me, hush, because maybe one day you have to use the bathroom or your child is going to explode in a rage you may be thankful for people who are quick!

 So they are the three things I hate about travel. I am sure I will have more very soon. What do you hate about travelling?

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 Life: 3 Reasons Why I Solo Travel

 

So since my trip to Iceland last September I have been on four solo trips and I have planned another three this year.

I have heard the usual stuff when I first told people I would be going it alone. Could you not find anyone else to go? Can you just bring someone else? You might meet your dream man! All of these statements make me want to punch a tree so in order to try stop all of this, I thought I’d write about it.

I love my own company 

Now I know this is an unpopular thing to love yourself or be alone with yourself these days but truly, honestly, I love me. It is that simple.PhoebeGill150917012

I don’t want to worry if you are having a good time

If I organise a trip with people I feel like I need to make sure they are having a great time, if they are not smiling ear to ear I feel like I have done something wrong. Yeah I know I exhaust myself just thinking about it. It gets annoying and my need to control drives me nuts.PhoebeGill160409372.jpg

I also don’t want your input

This sounds harsh but you see I like doing what I want, my job involves making travel itineraries that gets my team from one place to another in the best, most efficient way possible so I am pretty good at timings and where to stay, so on, so forth. Also I can drive 14 hours straight to get to where I want, some people wouldn’t be game for my kind of adventure. There have been times in the past where I thought I should have been somewhere longer but because the group wasn’t into it, we didn’t end up staying longer which I think was a mistake.PhoebeGill1604231185.jpgSo there it is I’m not going solo to find love, I don’t do it because I can’t find people to go, I do it because I have the freedom to do whatever, to fail, to spend however long I like taking pictures, vlogging, snapchat, instagram. I also love being reflective and self aware so that time away gives me the opportunity to recharge.

If you feel the same as me, don’t let anyone make you feel like you are weird or a loner because you want to go off on your own. There are loads of people doing it, you may be travelling alone but you definitely aren’t alone.

Happy Travels!

In Clare: Cliffs of Moher Helicopter Tour

I have wanted to ride in a helicopter for the longest time and just before christmas I saw the Groupon had an offer that I couldn’t pass up! I went with Executive Helicopters. Usually the 15 minute helicopter tour costs €250 euro but the offer was for €99 euro. Now to me that is a good deal. PhoebeGill160306588You could either choose from a Dublin tour or a Cliffs of Moher tour and when I saw this I thought I could kill two birds with one stone and so I made some plans to go across the country to check off something very high on the bucket list! PhoebeGill160306271To get to Spanish Point airfield type in these coordinates into google or your gps: 52°50’52.0″N 9°24’55.2″W. There is a small amount of parking on site just go though the gate and you can park up. Go into the portacabin and you can get a prosecco or soft drink before your flight. The process to get on your flight is almost instantaneous, it’s a very relaxed atmosphere! PhoebeGill160306060-2There are two helicopters and it’s four people in each. Although it can feel quite cramped I loved every second! I would love to go up by myself but I might make it rock side to side as I slosh around trying to look out every window and trying to get the best shots! PhoebeGill160306341The views are just amazing! I chose to do my flight on the Sunday and I went to the Cliffs of Moher the day before so it was wonderful to see the landscape at a different angle! I recommend you do the same, I think it is a much more well rounded trip if you end it in the air. PhoebeGill160306567The flight feels like 5 minutes but it does take 15, it’s almost as if you are going slow but time has sped up, it’s a mad feeling and it’s something I want to experience again and again! The views are just incredible, seeing the coastline and just how green it is, is astonishingly beautiful! I was smiling ear to ear!PhoebeGill160306072I know €99 euro sounds very expensive for 15 minutes but you have to take into consideration that running a helicopter is very very costly. Saying that I don’t think I would pay €250 but I would pay €99 again. I am so so grateful I was able to check off something I have wanted to do for such a long time and do it in a beautiful part of Ireland.

Would you go up in a helicopter? Is it on your list?

Happy Travels!