Ireland

As I promised this post is about about my vacation in Ireland.

When planning a summer vacation I must admit, Ireland was not in my top 3 destinations. On the other hand, summer is the best time to do it “our way”. Before I start, I have to say that first time ever I forgot my camera home when going on vacation. That means I don’t have amazing photos to show you guys I did few with my phone, but for some reason the quality seems to get worse by time.

Giant Causeway 2

I hate yellow. And this trip I was wearing this yellow jacket all the time because the rain did not stop.

We packed our bags and drove the car to Pembroke, Wales, and took a ferry from there to Rosslare, Ireland. 4h was the only sleep we got that night as that is the time to get there. We arrived around 7 in the morning and started hitchhiking. Tom had read that Ireland and Iceland are the best countries to hitchhike around… well, he was right.

The plan was to hitchhike all around the cost, starting with the East side and finish with the South. And all that in one week. I know, AMBITIOUS. But we did it! Almost. We didn’t have time for the South, though.

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Our ambitious vacation in 1 week.

The first longer stop was in Wiklow mountains. One of the driver giving us a lift was an Estonian!! Can you believe, in the middle of nowhere, an Estonian gives a lift to Estonian. I felt like home. Before climbing uphill we ended up having a long chat and coffee with the last driver on the way there. We talked about the economics and hitchhiking, travelling and real estate. It came out his grandson is working in Estonia. Again, Estonia is bigger than it seems. About the mountains I can say, it’s nice…. but not my favourite. A bit too low for me although we saw pretty nice views. We made a few-hour hike in the mountains and started hitchhiking further. During that day we barely got any rain. Yet it was so cold that I was wearing gloves, hat, everything I had. Seemed like local people felt the temperature differently, cause they felt comfortable in shorts and t-shirts.

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Tom walking through weeds as high as me in Wiklow.

The first night in Ireland was supposed to be spent in Dublin and with a miracle we made it. By the end of the first day we had met an Estonian, guy who’s grandson lives in Estonia and 2 Lithuanians. What are the chances?! So, Dublin….. It is a nice city, but in my opinion a little overrated. It is just a city. There are no parks or big green areas. What is more, the little green they have, is fenced. That is also a reason why we ended up climbing fences in the middle of the night. We were so tired and already decided where to put a tent up until 2 locals stopped us and asked if we need any help. It came out that the region we had stopped is a bit dangerous. They claimed that some juvenile criminals have put a guy on fire there. Yeah, I wasn’t so sleepy any more. They showed us a fenced park and were sure if we are not going to bring attention, it will be fine. They were right, we got out before they had even a chance to open the gate in the morning.

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Pub street in Dublin.

The most difficult part of the trip was getting out of Dublin. Hundreds of cars and noone wanted to take us. Here I have to explain you something, There are to types of people who will stop their cars and give you a ride. One type is “hitchhikers”, so people who used to hitchhike or simply have no fear in front of it. They are happy to help you out, get to know you a little, and see their own country through a foreigner’s eyes. The other type is “savers”. People who think they have to save you from a bad spot of hitchhiking, dangerous people etc. A woman from the second type stopped and gave us a ride out of Dublin. Of course we were happy as we had been in one spot for hours. Yet, most of the times those “savers” put you in an uncomfortable position. They are helping you out, but during the whole ride you have to listen and nod while they are completely fustigating your way of travelling. It is not pleasant but it happens. Another thing to mention when talking about Dublin is crazy prices. It is the same level with London for sure. Not just that the beer in a pub costs 6 euros, but to get a room there is just a nightmare. Monthly a thousand or more for a room is quite ordinary.

On our way out of Dublin we got a long ride from a guy who was on his way to shopping…. in Newry. If you check the map then Newry (in Norther Ireland) is 100km from the capital of Ireland. Because of the difference in prices people drive 100km to go grocery shopping behind the border. Seems like a little too much for me, but I guess it’s worth it then. And at that point for sure I didn’t mind, as we had a fun ride for 100km.

In Newry we met 2 lovely ladies that didn’t have plans for Sunday and decided to go where ever we were going. At first we said we are going to the next town, but then it came out in the conversation that we want to go to Belfast for the night. And on our way to Newcastle they decided to drive to Belfast with us. While giving us a ride they did a spontaneous visit to one of the lady’s son’s home. You’re welcome! In Northern Ireland the accent is very strong and it’s not rare that you have to ask 2 or 3 times before understanding the question. In this car we were discussing the issue between Irish and English, about the history, about the current situation. For tourists it safe to go anywhere but for locals it is a little different. You need to know exactly which regions are nationalists’ areas and where Irish live. Just so you wouldn’t wave a Union Jack in Irish towns and vice versa. Even all those years later, the tension is still there. After spending a cozy night in Belfast, having a hot shower, and sleeping in bed for a change, back on the road. Next stop was a valley with beautiful river, waterfall and castle.

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In Belfast. It really is a nice city!

We had a slow few-hour walk in a beautiful Valley with amazing views. Sun was shining and I really felt like on a vacation. We didn’t spend too much time on just sitting around there but decided to get back to the road as soon as possible. The next stop was Giant Causeway. All the coastline in Ireland is amazing. Yet, I feel it is slightly overrated. Giant Causeway was a little different due the volcano caused shape of the rocks. This time the weather was not so good. It was just pouring rain.. constantly. Seemed like it didn’t hold the tourists back, though. A lot of people still walking around even if the rain is pouring like hell. Cannot blame them, the view was unbelievable. Locals say that Irish weather means 4 seasons in 1 day. And on the sea you could see them all. It was pouring rain, but somewhere on a horizon it was sunny and summer was pushing through the deep clouds.

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Those funny rocks. And on cliffs they look like pipes.

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This contrast is breathtaking.

I am not going to stop for too long on places we didn’t have really time to see much. We wanted to visit the highest cliffs, but it was so rainy and foggy, that we didn’t even bother climbing up to the top. Instead we had a little more time in Galway. Seems like one of the favourite cities of locals. Everyone recommended and went crazy about it. As we saw it just at night and the very center only, I can say it was nice, but not sure if I would go as crazy as other people. There was a horse-racing festival going on when we arrived which meant tons of drunk people at night. And the falafels we tried were bullsh*t, so I don’t know.

The very end of the trip was saved for the best- Brandon mountain. As I said Ireland is not the destination if you are looking for beautiful weather. It is a destination when you want to meet cool people and see the nature at it’s finest.

Before going on with Brandon, I will mention the cliffs of Moher. Again because it is so hyped we decided to go. I am not saying it is not worth visiting it, but I am saying it is not worth driving to Ireland because of that. The same kind of views you can see in Wales or England as well. So nothing really new for me.

Before climbing uo to Brandon we managed to find a spot for the tent in one of the most amazing places in Ireland. In front of us mountains and the sea. I must say climbing in rain and mud is difficult and exhausting, but the views are worth it. I didn’t go to the top as it was too foggy and I was already tired of saving my feet from drowning in the mud. Instead I was climbing down while Tom went up alone. Just so you know, we ended up in our meeting place almost the the same time. He climbed 200m more and arrived 10 min before me. Yeah, I am slow. I did mention in one post about the knee problem I had. I have been trying out some insoles and seems they help enough to keep away the big pain. I did not feel the stabbing at once. Good for me right?!

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Tom taking a rest when climbing Brandon.

The second time we got stuck on the road was on the same peninsula after climbing the mountain. We were in a small hole and noone wanted to take us. Spent the night again in amazing surrounding. Saw the sun going to sleep behind the horizon while eating the dinner and in the morning woke up with sun smiling behind the mountains. Pure beauty.

As you can see from the map, we visited Cork as well but that was really just a 15 min stop, so I cannot really give my opinion in this. We managed to hit Rosslare even sooner than expected. Had an amazing meal at the port and good sleep on the beach.

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Those clouds.

This was quite a long one, sorry about that. These where the main highlights for me in this trip. So much happened and we met so many nice people. My message with this post is to encourage you all to try out this way of travelling. You cannot take shower as often as you would like to, you are tired of holding your thumb up and waiting, It is unexpected and you may find yourself either on the backseat of new Mercedes or in a trunk of a van. All those downsides are true. But you meet amazing and inspiring people and get to know the country through locals eyes and experience. You can literally ask them anything about the life there and get an honest answer. Quite often you end up in places you did not plan going and discover destination you did not even know of. That is the reason to do it in that way!

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My rock, my partner in crime. One guy said if we are going to survive this trip, we are going to survive anything as a couple. Wise words.

This time no new pictures in photography section as the quality does not handle any criticism. Oh btw… for the future (in case I forgot the camera again) can anyone recommend me a phone that has a camera decent enough for photography?

But about the song, I guess you saw that coming …. I don’t know any Irish songs :(, so here it is, something from Galway.

South of England aka the hardest biking ever

Me, camera, my bike and the Sun.

Hei, You, You and You! I have been promising a review of my Southern England trip already for a while and for some reason life has taken over and it is still not done. Well now I am sitting down to talk about the most difficult biking I have ever had to do.

So we thought it would be a good idea to spend a long weekend in South of England WITH BIKES. At first Tom planned it as a 2-3 day biking trip… Khmm. I am everything but a biker. My ass gets sore after first 40km and then I don’t want to even see those 2 tires for a month.

So we drove to the South with the car, left it in a parking place, threw our bags over shoulders and put up a tent. I think it was the most romantic night in my life. Full moon lighted the whole empty beach, night was warm and calm. Perfect time to spend the night under the stars.

Yes this is Moon shining bright like a diamond. We even had shadows?! At night?!

The next day we were supposed to start the “long” biking trip. From the map the cliffs don’t seem as steep and high as they are. So for our surprise they were damn difficult to cycle. 70% of the track I was pushing my bike. I managed to bike downhill with brakes on, but that was about it. The first day started with clouds and for sure not as hot as the previous night so I didn’t really think of even getting my sunscreen out. Before leaving my mom had left me a message to be careful with the sun… hah.. which sun?! But MOMS ALWAYS KNOW BETTER!

It was about mid day when the sun came out and was shining damn bright. I am such a fan of sun so I never mind. The cliffs where AMAZING. The views are just fantastic. So you can imagine how many people were walking around there. The closer you got to some hut or a resting place, the more crowded it got. Although, taking a bike with was still a bad idea. After like 2-3 hours of pushing my bike uphill with the sun burning as hell, I was sure I am not going to sit on that bike tomorrow. My shoulders were burnt, couldn’t even touch them. And I don’t get sunburnt…. ever. So how did that happen I don’t know. Even my nose was peeling days after.

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When ask other people to take a picture…. Let’s say it’s okay.

As I said, I didn’t hop on the bike net day. We drove the car a bit further and put the tent up on the beach again. I experienced the perfect morning for me. I woke up at 7am… just like that. Put my bikinis on and went swimming. The water was cold enough to need time to go in, but warm enough to stay there. After refreshing and cooling swim I decided to try to meditate as this was the perfect surrounding. I sat there for about half an h… just me and the ocean breeze, thinking that I want to wake up like this every single morning. If I only had a good cup of coffee right there as well…. that, my friend, would have been a paradise.

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So peaceful, so calm.

So we didn’t bike this trip any more. We decided to go home sooner as were both red as crabs. On our way back I insisted on going to 2 places. First stop Arundel castle. This giant castle looks exactly like from a fairy tale. I didn’t want to pay half of my salary on simply getting in, so I bought a ticket to the gardens only. I had seen some pics of it and I wanted to create my own. Tom didn’t come of course, so this view was just for me and my camera. First time I remembered to take my tripod with and for some reason, people think that this shows that I know what I am doing…..Well I don’t. At least 2-3 people asked me to take a picture of them….. cause it would be professional…. Sure. I did tell them that I am not a photographer, but…. You know people. I tried to stay in shadows the whole time because by that time my skin was on fire. I don’t eve remember the last time I felt so much pain because of sun. If it hurts then it loves?

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Can You believe it?! I do need to buy some equipment as  taking picture in sunlight is way too much for this camera. Maybe I don’t know all the tricks, but long exposure is out. Check rest of the pictures of the garden from my photography section.

The last stop, but not least was a lavender field. Another thing I saw on the internet and wanted to experience by myself. We picked a field in Lordington as it seemed that they do not ask too much money for the visit. When arriving it came out that the “season” is not even started and the farm is closed. The field was available only for photo shoots with photographers. I believe in kindness and we decided to ask to stay anyway. For a pleasant surprise they didn’t mind me taking few pictures from the other corner of the field while photographers were calmly giving introductions for kids running around on the field. I was amazed. Who doesn’t know, then purple is my damn favourite colour and there was a loooooot of purple. One little ginger girl even wanted to pose for me. As I can see from my pics, I need to take more pictures of people, cause I am not pleased. Yet, how cute is that.

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And that was about it for the this time. If you are thinking of visiting England then the White Cliffs are worth it! 😉 P.S The pictures of other places are up as well!

I have to find some time to write, cause I have already another trip to tell You about. 4 days ago I came back from Ireland and I am soooooooo excited to tell You about it. After a long time we tried the hitchhiking again and man, how easy it in Ireland. I cannot wait to write You about it. But his time, cheers, for everyone who still keeps reading my blog ;). I really appreciate it!

For the song of the post I chose something that makes me feel good, makes me want to dance, makes we want to jump into the ocean.

Weird pictures vol 2 aka Italy

The second part of series “Weird pictures from…”.
This time we stop in Italy.

Long time no see. I am sorry for not keeping You up to date, but I had a little vacation at home and time just flies faster than I can write.

A little catch up will come soon, but in this post I would like to share some more funny pics I have taken on my trips. The last part of this series was made of pictures taken in England, so this time I would show you some other part of Europe.

Let’s make the first stop in Italy- one of my favorite places to travel to. I have been to Italy 3 times and without an exception, I have seen some weird stuff EVERY SINGLE TIME.

*Some of the pictures are taken with a phone (from “no camera period”) so quality might be not so good.

The first pictures is taken in Milan.

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Someone has really made an effort. I think it looks good.

This one is taken from Genova at the same trip.

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I have no idea how this kind of marketing should work, but…. I don’t think it is sending the right message. But what do I know, right!

I do have to say that Venice fascinates me. For me it is just so weird to think that you order yourself a boat for a ride, or you can literally fall in the water when missing a step on a street.

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I guess this is not very drunk-people friendly. so let’s learn how to swim, before visiting Venice, okay?!

THE symbol of Italy- motorbikes. You think that they are exaggerating in movies with the rollers. IMG_20151008_152101.jpg

Yeah, they are not. You can see on the backround some more bikes. They are in rows of 7 and literally parked so full that I cannot imagine getting one out right from the middle.

The next one is taken on my hiking trip through the Alps. In one of my favorite cities Verona.

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The thing was moving…. Is that not a bit too weird to be meant for kids? Okay, just me then.

I absolutely love the vibe of Verona but what is that?

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I understand the whole thing with romance and stuff…. but a love letter on a plaster?! A bit too much.

And last but not least- Livigno.

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Amazing place for doing sports and setting your goals up high. The greed of people is  real. Always wanting a bigger one.

That is it for today. I hope you enjoyed at least one of them because I had a lot of fun taking them. As this is dedicated to Italy let’s end it with an Italian note as well. I guess there is only one song to end this with. For good old times and people spending some amazing time in Sicily with me years ago! Buongiorno!

Easter in Wales

Easter roadtrip around South of Wales

It is so nice to be abroad at Easter, because unlike in Estonia, you get 4 days off. This time we decided to make a little roadtrip around South of Wales. Well at first we thought we are going to make it a hiking trip, but as the weather again didn’t want to cooperate at all, we hiked only on one day for few hours. So, i guess you cannot even call it a hike.

We started already on Thursday after my work, but as we arrived to Littledean so late, we stayed there for the night. After good sleep and rich breakfast we took our bags and hit the road towards Cardiff. As it was 3 of us this time, we had 2 tents. Well, let’s say my Estonian friend didn’t enjoy sleeping in the tent too much, as she was basically sleeping under rain. She had a tent that had just one lair which means all the humidity in the tent fell on her as soon she moved around in there. In the morning she woke up almost soaking wet. And probably it wouldn’t be a problem if the nights would have been warm… but they weren’t. I was fully dressed and in 2 sleeping bags, so I didn’t feel cold but I can imagine how bad sleeping in wet tent was. During the day the temperature didn’t rise much above +10. Yes, local people were wearing shorts and t-shirts, but that didn’t make me want to take my skiing jacket, gloves and hat off. I am such a warm lover, I cannot help it.

So the 2 cities i was really looking forward to visit were Cardiff and Swansea. Unfortunately, and I really feel it’s unfortunate, because I had such high hopes, I didn’t really like either of them. It was not bad, but nothing special either. I did like the little “port” in Swansea, I think it was lovely. Especially at night with all the lights. Rest of the city, on the other hand, nothing to see, really. How disappointing. In Cardiff we visited the castle, of course, which was okay, I guess. But that was about it. We made a 4-hour walk in the city and besides the castle… I don’t think I took my camera out even once. And that is a big thing. So I don’t know… not my kind of cities. And I guess in general I have to say that the cities/towns in there are for sure not the reason to go to Wales. So, I am not going to really talk about them.

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One of the few pics I took from Cardiff. Big door but small lock (if you try to look at the lock, then it’s normal door’s size). Apparently size doesn’t matter.

Rest of the trip we focused again on the coastline and searching for amazing views. In Rhossilli we even had a small 2-hour hike. Which turned out to be amazing. The sun came out, we even managed to take the jackets off for few hours, and burn our noses. As soon as i got out of the car, I smelled coconut. Of course there are no coconut trees, so I was super suspicious. The more I walked around, the more I was sure I can smell coconut. After pointing it out to my friend she agreed with me, but we couldn’t figure out what was it. An hour, or so, later Tom came and asked if we can smell coconut as well. He has quite bad nose, so now I was sure, that I am smelling it right. Apparently some yellow bushes were giving out the smell. And especially when you found a spot with no wind, you could smell the coconut so clearly. And I love coconut!

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Next stop was a nice small town St Davids. They have a huge cathedral there, which at Easter time is obviously full of people. I must say I am not very cathedral/church-person. I do like the architecture, but it is not that often that I take out my camera for that. In St Davids I did. And this time I didn’t even take pictures of the architecture, but I was amazed about some patterns they used on the floors/ceilings. That “interior lover” side of me came out instantly. I couldn’t get carried away too much as someone was practicing organ at the same time. I find clerical music a bit creepy in such big cathedrals anyway, so doing the same lines all over again several times didn’t help. Probably I am the only one.

Is it just me, or those patterns are really nice indeed?! My favourite is the floor (on left). And have you ever seen wooden ceiling in church??

Almost by accident, Tom found and amazing blue lagoon near Fishguard. It was very nice beach with an amazing view. But right behind the beach there was an artificial blue lagoon. If anyone of you has visited Rummu in Estonia, then this was something like that. The water was super cold, but sooooo blue that you couldn’t even believe it. Yeah, I took like 2000 pictures. I think it is so cute and mysterious that it was hidden right behind the little hill. Most of the people would probably just settle with the view from the beach, not even knowing what’s waiting behind the hill. That’s didactical, right?!

After the lagoon we drove further and stopped in few other small towns, but as I said before, it was really nothing special. If you want to see the beauty of South-Wales, you need go to the coast! Hopefully in summer we will have a chance to visit Snowdonia as well. I am so excited and cannot wait! If the weather would cooperate just a little more than so far…

That was my Easter weekend. We managed to make  a nice 1000km roundtrip (from the map small stops missing). Check out some extra pictures, as always, from “photography”.

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Time flies, soon it’s June and guess what, I AM COMING HOME! Yes, I really hope I will get the tickets and I can spend few days in Estonia. I miss my friends and family already, and as my little brother is about to graduate, I want to be there for him as well.  So all my Estonians, hopefully see you in June! If you want to meet up, let me know!

As my thoughts are already “flying over” Estonia, Curly Strings can have this post. One of their older, yet one of my favourite songs.

 

 

Memories from South-West of England

Roadtrip around South and South-West of England.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I couldn’t start the work before April so I had another week off. The car made it happily to England (ptuiptuiptui), so we decided to spend a week out of Reading. I searched out plenty of stuff, from which we by the end of the week didn’t manage to see any of. But I guess it is for the next time.

We started the trip by heading straight to South from Reading, hoping to see a sunset near Stonehenge. Unfortunately we didn’t make it on time, so it was already closed when we arrived. For my surprise they are asking money on the gates, and not little money. For an adult it costs 17 pounds to see the rocks…. Yes, 34 pounds to get in with your mate. That is overpriced for sure. As our plan was already ruined we decided to drive further and not wait until the morning when the gates open. We headed towards Salisbury and hoped to reach Poole by the end of the day. That night we ended up sleeping next to a cemetary near Poole. It was so creepy at first, but as we were both so tired, it didn’t really matter. In the morning and in sunlight we noticed a sign that there is a camping area in 100yards. Oeh…

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Yeah, You can say I have seen Stonehenge.

For the next day we planned a little hike in Dartmoor National Park. We asked from a village what places are worth to visit, packed our bags and started walking. We took with everything. And by everything I mean everything. We thought we are going to hike over the hills and hitchhike further for few days, but English weather said, hello NO, guys! SO, it was raining all the damn day, and the wind wanted to blow off our faces. So instead of hitchhiking further, we just walked down back to the car. I must say I was a little disappointed. I guess I am just already used to hiking in big mountains and suddenly few hundred meters is not enough.  And at that moment we decided that we are not going to make this trip a hitchhiking trip. We sat in the car and started looking for a place to park the car… again. This time we didn’t go too far. Found a little space next to a small road near Princetown.  When mentioning Princetown, I must say that the roads there are crazy! Not that its just up-and-down, but they have planted some bushes right next to the road so you cannot see on the sides. And what is more, most of the time you can fit on the road only 1 car. Why?!

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On our way over the hills. This time no cows, only sheep, who were so scared that escaped as soon as they noticed you coming.

The next day we were driving again towards Cornwall and the very South-West edge. In one small town local people suggested us to go to Tavistock to try local farmer’s food. After mentioning food we were already sitting in the car, speeding towards Tavistock. We ended up buying 2 types of cheese (blue cheese and hard cheese with garlic) and bread. We chose only the products that you could buy from there and nowhere else.  We wasted about 20 pounds on damn sandwich. BUT, we ate the sandwiches for like 3-4 days. The hard cheese is still left and in the fridge. So, if you divide it by the days, not that expensive after all.

From Tavistock back to the coast. Next stop was St Austell and little villages around it. Amazing coastline and amazing views! That part I recommend for sure. We took some chips from “fish and chips” in the port and enjoyed the view. It was a little rainy but the food makes it always better. And if you didn’t know, then “fish and chips” is a thing here. I think it is the most popular fast food as you can find it almost on every street. We ended up with the views in Land’s End. It is good that I can say I have been there, but I wouldn’t say you have missed anything if you haven’t. If you have visited any other coast in South of England, it is pretty much the same. I would maybe even say that the beaches before the very end were even prettier. One beach even had a little sand area, so from a distance really seamed like a paradise (check out the pic from photos). There was something like a window in the water (in Land’s End), but not sure if you can really call it a window. Surprising thing was that there are whales, sharks and dolphins swimming around. I checked the information written down for tourists and they mentioned different type of whales, sharks and dolphins. Unfortunately didn’t see any on that day. BUT, in Mevagissey I did notice a fin in the water, that from time to time just disappeared. I am not sure what was it, but I want to think it was a shark.

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Can you see it?! There is a fin in the water! On the right side in first third from up. Right?! It’s tiny, but it’s there!

From the very western point we started driving back towards Bristol. As this was the town I was supposed to meet one of my very best friends from Estonia. On the way we visited Appledore (and basically all the other small ones around there), Brigewater, and Bath. I must say I LOVED that small town Appledore. This kind of town is a place I would like to live in. As the weather was quite windy and  even a bit stormy, the sea was unbelievable. We were standing on some street right next to the sea and waves just kept jumping over the wall on the street. The waves were so big that surfers seemed like ants in them. And seeing the real surfing (without the kite)- damn, I think my bucket list just got longer. About Bridgwater I cannot say much. Didn’t really leave any impression.  But I had really high hopes for Bath, but I must say I didn’t like that one either. You know, sometimes you just don’t connect with the vibes of the place and that’s it. Bristol, on the other hand, I enjoyed a lot. Nice architecture, active nightlife, river- what else can you ask for. As we arrived already in the dark, I cannot give you any feedback of the town in sunlight. The night in Bristol was nice for sure. If you like partying and getting to know the city in that way, you should go!

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Nike tree in Bristol. Local people didn’t really know the reason why the trainers are hanging there either.

When we were already in Bristol, it came out my friend didn’t come there and is waiting for me in Littledean. My phone just keeps letting me down lately. I am not sure what’s the problem, but the messages are coming through like hours later. If I want my messages hours later I would just send a dove… Anyway, after walking around few hours we decided to drive for the night to Littledean and spend some time with my Estonian homie. I must say I loved that place. Really small, but so nice. She is living in a shared house there with an amazing view from the backyard. For the night we went to a little local pub to celebrate our reunion (as I haven’t seen her for 8-9 months). I don’t even remember when was the last time I was in a pub until they kicked you out. Probably in Erasmus. We had such a nice time.  The next day we walked around at her work (she’s working in a biodynamic garden in a some kind of centre). Again so peaceful, so nice. Had an amazing meal there (made by a lady from Nepal) and had to start driving back home right after.

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Deep, right?! When walking around in the garden that is full of small signs and interesting cute spiritual elements, it does make you feel calm and stress free.

On our way home we stopped in Gloucester as I insisted visiting the cathedral. As soon as I heard that all the scenes in Hogwarts’ corridors are filmed there, I wanted to go. I am not that big fan (as I haven’t really read any of the books), but I am a fan enough to want to see it. I must say, I wasn’t disappointed. I just wish people nowadays would spend as much time on details when building houses as they did back then. Just incredible.

And last, but not least Oxford. I must admit, so far my favourite city. I remember I had the same feeling in Bucharest when wherever you turn, the view is amazing. You can take a picture of any of the streets and it looks fabulous. While walking around the city center I even felt a bit bad not going to study there. Fortunately it is close to Reading, so I can go back for more pictures at any time.

That is about it for this time. I added a whole bunch of pictures from the trip in my photography section, so go check it out! I had 300 of them, so unfortunately I couldn’t upload all of them.

And everyone of you who is thinking now that you should go and check out some new cities/places,  MOVE!

 

 

Fighting the cows and time

As my trip to the Alps was just full of unfortunate events, I have few more to share with you! This time facing the cows and lack of time.

More scary moments

Like I said in the first post of “when things go wrong”, I have plenty of little situations where I have been really really scared or the things have gone the opposite direction from my expectations. We are back in the Alps! This post I will dedicate to my amazing vacation in the Alps and my amazing Tom who always manages to come out of difficulties. Yes, I know, I already told you about the little tears (khmm) I had in the mountains on that trip, but the ones I am going to talk about today are not related to my fear of heights at all. As the stories I have left from the Alps are rather long, you have to settle with only 2 this time.

So, the first scene coming to my mind is me and Tom sitting in a tent and being abused by 40 cows. Let’s make one thing clear- I am not afraid of cows… usually! Okay?! I am a peasant, I am not afraid of domestic animals. Yet, I find it scary when the whole herd of cows confine me.

I remember waking up in the tent in French mountains (Mont Cenis) and seeing a huge amount of cows like 200 meters from us drinking water and sunbathing. As usually we did our little morning routines and didn’t really notice that the cows started coming towards us. They were already about 10-15 meters from the tent when I popped my head out of the tent and pulled it right back as quickly as I could. I whispered to Tom that the cows are right next to the tent and are staring at us. Should we scare them away? Should we close the tent’s door? Should we just keep sitting quietly? We decided to close the door and see what happens. So, for you guys, who haven’t been in the mountains- mountain animals are not like you are used to at your home/neighbours. They are not coming to you when calling by the name, they are rather wild and unstable, I would say (okay probably not). Well, at least they are not coming when you call them! You can notice it anywhere as they have put up big signs- to not disturb or go near the animals. Yeah probably a precaution but makes you careful and slightly scared. And they are big! Especially when you are sitting down, they seem like giants!

So, there we were looking into each other eyes, being surrounded by 40 cows (god knows how easily disturbed/irritated). And then, as I was not expecting at all, they all started coming to smell our tent.  All, one by one. You could only smell the… bad smells, see the tongue coming under the door towards you, and hearing “water” pouring right next to you (only a thin fabric separating from getting hit by it). To be honest, I was terrified. Not that they will shit on our tent or start eating our food, but that one of them decides to take a little break and sit on us. That is not the way I want to die, okay?! So, every time they rubbed their bellies or asses against the tent, Tom made this really funny (like an old farmer) noise “Uoooooouh”. And they really did listen. It didn’t scare them away for long, but at least they didn’t want to sit on us. After like an hour of waiting quietly them to get bored, I just started packing my stuff, thinking that in a chance they all are at least few meters from the tent, I will run for good. Fortunately, as soon as we started moving in the tent, they got scared and went back where they came from. Yeah, I know, should have done it sooner, but you never know, how they react to a noise/your behaviour. One must be careful with them for sure. So, here is an advice- do not close the tent when 40 cows are about to come and lick it!

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Some of the original “bad girls”!

The second story is about hitchhiking and being on time. Everyone who knows me, also knows I am never late. I feel so bad when I am late that I am rather too early than late. I don’t know, I just hate it. But when hitchhiking you cannot do anything about it. The worse thing is when it happens when you literally cannot be late. On our way back from the Alps I experienced first time ever what is it like to not be picked up for a long time. So, we started coming from France rather early and hoped to have some extra time for Belgium/Netherlands. Well, that didn’t happen. We got stuck in Belgium for half a day. We arrived at one of the resting areas around 4-5pm and didn’t get the ride until the next morning. The worse part was that it was on a highway (scroll down to look it up on the map), so we couldn’t even take a public transport. We were literally stuck.  What is more, I had my plane leaving the next day (around noon) from Germany (260km to go).

Probably because of the current migration situation in Europe, as soon as it got dark, people were literally running away from you. I was carrying my backpack the whole time to show that I am a hiker not a terrorist. Unfortunately it didn’t help much. Until the next morning everyone was either full or just escaped before we could even ask anything. In the morning (it was already around 8am) we convinced one truck driver to take us further as I was soooooooooooo freaked out I am going to miss the flight (and therefore work on Monday as well). He took us further, but it was still not enough to get to the airport, because we were already behind from the schedule and he could drive only with 90p/h. He dropped us off in Maastrich (Netherlands) about 100km from the airport. So, we had to take a train in the Netherlands (omg, this damn thing is expensive!) I think we paid like over 30 euros for both tickects. And when you have been hitchhiking the whole trip, then suddenly 30 euros per 90km is A LOT. We kept calling to our friends in Estonia and Czech to check any other kind of possibilities to get to the airport (Düsseldorf Weeze). Not only that there were not enough options in public transport to choose from, but all of them did not match with my plane departure.

So there I was, an h before the gate closing, around 100 km from the airport and with no ticket. Yes, I was supposed to print it out like 2 days before the flight, but remember, I just came from the mountains?! So, we had like 5 minutes until the train’s departure when we had to find a way to get further from our final train stop to the airport, and print out my ticket somewhere. As always, my Prince Charming got everything done on time. He asked one hotel receptionist to print it out and she was willing to do it. For some money, of course (cause let’s be honest, 1 A4 is damn expensive to print out). I remember sitting on the train and bothering everyone with questions like do you have someone living nearby, or do you have a car, or do you know how to get to the airport from Venray. Again, no one did, of course (would have been too easy). We even called for a taxi…. Oh boy… We were ready to pay 50!!!!!! damn euros to drive 25km to the airport. I was about to faint when I heard the price. And can you imagine the damn royal taxi was late.. a lot. So we came off the train in Venray, I was already so late and still 25 km from the airport. Now what?! That’s it? That’s where it all ends? I was so desperate that I started literally begging people to give me a ride. After embarrassing myself in front of like 3 cars, one couple was willing to take me. We arrived in front of the airport exactly when the gate was supposed to be closing. In the car I took out all of the liquid things to waste as little time as possible. I was running like a lunatic, but can you imagine, I made it. I love you Ryanair for being late! I even had to wait a bit at the gate to get on the plane. This was literally the first time in my life I was thankful for someone/something being late.

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The way from the resting area to the airport. For zooming in check it on google maps.

As you can already see, I am afraid of many things. I don’t know why. I just have this one idea how the situation could go wrong/dangerous and it’s just stuck in my head, freaking me out. It is stressful and nerve racking but this kind of situations make you feel alive! So next time I try not to worry (that much), cause things always work out when they are supposed to! 😉

I like adding little melodies to my posts (hopefully you too). In order to not worry, there is only one song for it!

Not an ordinary hiker

It’s time to tell some stories again! Here you go, „Scary situations vol 2 aka mountains’ special”

This time the „critical” situations are not that critical but as I am terribly scared of heights, you can try to put yourself in my shoes (yeah, I know, a hiker with a fear of heights- that’s going to be fun).

So, the very first really high mountain experience I had was back in my Erasmus when we went alpine skiing with the people from our dormitory. Because, you know we don’t have any mountains in Estonia. Compared to those bad boys we don’t even have hills. It was my second alpine skiing time in general, so you can imagine how bad I was at it. If anyone of you has visited Vitosha (to see an additional information about the mountains, click on links) mountain in Bulgaria, then you know what I am talking about. Well, let’s say the tracks are not meant for beginners like me, especially when the beginner is afraid of heights. Yet, after the first slope I was so excited that I agreed to drive to the very top with the guys. Yeah, that was not good idea. So, the guys got bored of the top and decided to WALK up from unmarked hill to get on another track. Like in a movie it got suddenly really foggy, so not only we walked up with the damn skis in a snow reaching to my bellybutton, but we got completely lost. I was so tired after climbing that I couldn’t have even skied down on an easy slope. To make things worse, the side of the mountain we ended up with was full of rocks and as a beginner I didn’t even have a helmet. Just great! I tried to slowly ski down but as I felt the speed just getting up too fast, my legs being too tired to control the speed, and there were too many rocks to go around, I sat down, took my skis off, and slid down on my ass like a kid. After trying to stay alive for an h we got down on a normal track and that was the last one for on that day.

Another similar situation was when hitchhiking in Italy with Latvians. After never really been hiked in big mountains I faced the size of Dolomites and climbing up with a big bag first time in my life. The track started with quite large road and seemed like this is going to be doable even for me. After 10 min of walking I already took off my jacket as I felt like I am running a marathon. I must admit now that the beginnings are always the hardest for me. The first half an hour or sometimes even an hour just comes only with the blood taste in my mouth and lack of air even on not too high altitudes. The moment this climbing got a bit out of hands for me was when the nice large road ended and we faced just a huge amount of rubble. It is possible to climb it, but with a big bag and not proper shoes it is very, very slippery. What is more, the road just got narrower and narrower. At one point I was even wondering how is it legal to open a track like that for people like me. Facing my fear of heights and falling down from the 30cm path, I made it to the highest point of the track. The only thing I was thinking about back then was „well, now it is going to get easier”. I have never been that wrong. The whole way down was only on the rubble. You literally had to keep the balance with all of the muscles you had, every step feeling like this is going to be the last one. And guess what, it would have been just one long slide down, cause there was literally nothing to grab or hold on to. Through the sweat we still made it!! What is more, with no scratches!

(Sorry for the quality, I didn’t have my camera back then.)

The next one is not about really being in a danger or feeling scared of heights, but facing your weaknesses. In spring 2016 we went to Croatia with a car. Spent there amazing week, although I didn’t get exactly that „sunny trip” as I thought I will. Before I even start describing the situation, I must say that in our relationship Tom is the one who sets up all the trips and plans everything. So all the amazing places we have visited together is only thanks to him. As always, when possbile, we try to fit in the schedule at least one hike. This time we chose Paklenica. It was supposed to be an easy track up next to a little river and as easily back down- all together 4h. So, perfect for making nice pictures. After an h walking up the track started to disappear. We were supposed to follow red dots, but often you just didn’t see any so you kept going until you found one. After already climbing 4 hours I was getting tired. Probably this was my weakness point back then. The feeling when you just have to keep going even if you are not enjoying and you are tired and want to quit, is frustrating. As the guy at the gate already lied about the length, we had no idea how long is it really going to take, because the track just got worse and worse. After 5 hours of trying to keep my feet dry I gave up and started walking right in the cold river. The craziest part was when the water got so deep that you couldn’t even walk it anymore. Well, now what? Swimming in April? Somehow by climbing some ropes we got to the top 4h later than expected and spent the night there as it was already getting dark. It seemed like a nice place to put a tent up until the morning when the screaming wild pigs woke us up.

(Left one be like- playing hide and seek with the track’s marking.)

People say that by facing your fears you are going to get rid of them. Well, I am not sure how long or how many times you are supposed to stare them, because for me it ain’t working. The last short story is from my latest trip to the Alps.  As I mentioned before, Tom is the experienced hiker and trip planner, so I completely trust him in this and follow where ever he goes. When we took the trip to the Alps we had been together a year or so, but in a long distance, so there was still a lot of things we didn’t know about each other. Like me being scared of heights. We climbed the whole way from Lichtenstein to Austria. On the way there I broke one of my lenses. Great! You are in the mountains, you are scared of heights, and now you are blind as well. Fortunately I had my glasses with, but as I have never been a fan of glasses, they didn’t really fit me and I felt very uncomfortable. As they were moving with my head I just felt dizzy all the time. On the way to Austria Tom had planned 2 bigger mountains/tops to overcome and enjoy the view. The first one was again with some really bad path almost like in Dolomites. So now I was on the side of a mountain, being scared of heights, feeling dizzy from the glasses and slippery because of the rubble. After trying to overcome the fear and climb about 5 min I just stopped. My legs where shaking so hard that I thought I am going to fall down just because of that. My eyes filled with tears, so instead of seeing little, I saw nothing. I guess this was the time to tell my boyfriend, that I am actually really scared of heights. This time we didn’t go to that top and decided to go around and skip that one. I must say I was relieved. The top we had to take instead wasn’t any better, though. Yes, it wasn’t rubble like the previous one, but the rocks where so big that you really had to climb it. Before taking the top we met one grandmother with my-aged grandson, so we asked how the track is. The guy said it’s really easy, but grandmother corrected him right away: “well, not very easy, but it’s okay”. So when a grandmother can do it, then I can do it… right?! The closer we got to the top, the worse it got. Maybe they were mountain goats or something but this wasn’t easy for sure. With a big bag and a fear it seemed like the craziest thing I have ever done. So i was just facing the rock the whole time as I was too scared to look anywhere else. Again not too wide surfaces to step on so my legs started to shake again. Tom took my bag so now it was just my ass that I needed to get over the damn top. Of course, I did it. Very slowly, but I did it. When usually people feel unbeatable after overcoming their fears, I just felt I need to go down right that moment. I took out my camera, took few pictures of the Lünersee and started climbing down, because everything I could think about was to sit down on a plain surface. I don’t regret anything and I am so proud of myself. I did take one of my favourite pictures of the mountains, but back then I was really the most scared I have ever been.

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So everyone, get up and face your fears, because it is going to take more than just once!