Beaut-a-pest

We arrived at the airport almost 2 hours before the check in opened and in the middle of the night this makes the airport a boring place, but alas we powered through and caught our flight, finally we were on the way to Hungary!

We landed in Budapest airport around 10:30 and were very surprised by the heat already for so early in the morning, we were promptly told that it was actually cold today! Damn we were in for it..

We didn’t book a traditional hotel and opted for a private apartment instead, that was a little bit of a stroke of genius as we were staying so close to everything and had the added bonus of being away from tourist trap bars etc..

20239349
Viktoria Apartment – Ideal for 4 people 

We sort of just milled around for the first day to get our bearings.

Monday morning first thing we headed for the Citadel which is on the top of Gellert hill boasting both jaw dropping views over Budapest and the liberty statue of Hungary which overlooks the city.

Over the next couple of days we visited I believe every possible sight in Budapest, Buda Castle, the synagogue, Heroes square and we had to visit one of Budapest’s thermal baths. The only negative I would have to award Budapest is that it was actually too hot – on one of the days we visited the baths the temperature topped 37 degrees celsius, Way too hot for sightseeing but not a bad negative eh?…

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Budapest really is a beautiful city but I feel after the week we had spent that I would feel much need to return for any sightseeing, perhaps only for a leisurely weekend break.

Until Then,

Stephen 😛

Advertisements

If we ever get there.. (Budapest 1/3)

Ahh Budapest,

I believe I had highlighted in an old post that we were heading to Budapest in Hungary on a trip this summer to attend the FINA Aquatics World Championships which were being held there.

I decided to book this because as a diving fan I was keen to attend the world championships, I convinced my long suffering family Budapest was THE place to visit and succeeded (OF COURSE!)

We booked a week which is a little bit longer than I would usually want for a city break but I figured that almost three days would be taken up by the diving so we would be fine.

Does anyone ever find that as soon as you book something people come out of the woodwork with hints, tips and tricks? Well we got everything from “Don’t get taxis you will be ripped off”, to “ooh, you can’t spend money in Budapest” and everything in between.

Our first blip was the currency – Hungary is a member of the EU but not a fully fledged member of the Eurozone yet so they accept Euro but the currency is still Hungarian forints. We tried to order €1500 worth of Forints, which is almost half a million forints! Two days after we ordered this in the bank they rang us, we had only ordered 5000 forints which is about €16! Disaster!! At least we got it sorted..

The second dilemma we faced before even leaving was a major one! As a group of four, three of us are major Game of thrones fans so we were going to be flying out around 18 hours before the SEASON PREMIERE! So it was a toss up between having to be able to see it out there or avoid all social media for the whole week! It was a no brainer in fairness.. SO I packed in my AppleTv and made sure we had a way to watch out there! Now, we were off…. At Last!!!

 

For the rest of the Budapest trip make sure and subscribe!!

 

Until Next Time,

Stephen 😛

The Suitcase Selection

Yesterday I officially out-organised myself!

I went to penneys (primark in the UK)  to get my dad a fathers day present and ended up treating myself to some extra holiday clothes, not that I needed them. When I got home I decided to check what clothes i had from previous years that I wanted to take with me & try to assemble some outfits.

We are going for a week so I decided that 14 outfits should be enough  – 7 daytime & 7 nighttime outfits.

For the daytime outfits I opted for all swim shorts with mixture of vests and t-shirts as is standard for poolside 😛

Nighttime outfits I have some new and some older shirts that I will be taking and I actually have some really nice shorts from previous years.

I ended up ordering more clothes on Boohoo.com as I didn’t have enough to complete the outfits I had decided upon.. Typical.

Anyway heres what I ordered and I am so glad to be basically packed despite not going for another 4 weeks!!

Just some simple tops and a nice new pair of shorts!

I cannot wait for this trip now, Make sure and subscribe so you don’t miss anymore travel related content coming up

Thanks so much for reading guys as always

Until next time,

Stephen 😀

1♡

One_Love_Manchester_Logo_2

After a week of horror Ariana Grande bravely announced that she was organising a benefit concert for the victims of the Manchester attack outside her concert.

IMG_2482

Once I heard this, before I had even thought I was looking up possible flights and hotels in Manchester for that night – less than a week away. I was initially a little bitapprehensive but I was not about to let evil scare me off from doing something.

Tickets sold out in six minutes and I was unable to get them initially but thankfully more tickets became available and I was lucky enough to land a pair of those, they weren’t cheap but were an increased donation ticket so I really felt that I was having a good impact on the overall benefit fund – albeit a drop in an ocean.

I secured tickets Friday evening and then had to find a travel companion, I decided my little cousin, who missed the London date of the concert would be the perfect choice. After I got the ok from her parents and her that she was in I booked the flights and then  had around 30hrs to prepare before I travelled.

Just before I left for the airport unfortunately terror struck once again in London. This followed with a “disagreement” with my mother as to whether or not I should still go. “We” decided that I would still go as planned.

IMG_2400-1
Our view – along with one happy little girl
My journey to the concert was three legged, Initially Waterford to Dublin, fly from Dublin to London and then drive from London to up to Manchester. After leaving home at 2:30am Saturday night I arrived in Manchester at around 1:30pm.

After getting some lunch we got into the Queue and discovered our tickets were VIP tickets, SCORE! Security was tight and the police presence was amazing and honestly I had never felt so safe in my whole life – the entire thing was so well planned.

Ariana Grande – Joined by the likes of Katy Perry and Coldplay among others commanded the stage with such a humble grace that I was crying from the outset, I realised she was there for the same reason as me and probably all of the others – Defiance.

ONE-LOVE-MANCHESTER-959667

Song after song I got more emotional and my legs and back got more and more sore – by the end of the concert I was a mess and my back was basically broken.

Upon exiting the concert we found that the exit strategy had been just as well thought out as the rest of the night – we managed to get from our seats in the arena back to the car in around 20 minutes.

I went back to London with my family and by the time I finally got to bed i had been up and basically travelling for 23 hours.

I had Planned on going into London city on the remaining days but was too tired and had decided that my poor mammy had been through enough stress for one weekend.

I was so happy to have been in attendance and would have regretted it so much had I been fearful of what if.

If you didn’t manage to see the concert check it out!

If you want to donate to the We Love Manchester Fund click here!

Until Next Time.

Stephen 😛

Fun idea, Complement a stranger today - Just spread love and positive vibes - they are so needed in these times we live in.

Travel, without breaking the bank

As I have previously said I love travelling but I derive most of my joy for holidays in planning them. I have been the de-facto planner of family holidays since I was 12 and have found that there are multiple factors that can be applied to a search to make sure that the most enjoyable, relaxing or whatever type of holiday you might be searching for can be achieved without breaking the bank. Below are some of the best tips:

1. Plan Ahead, Way ahead

One of my favourite things to do after I come back from a trip is starting to plan the next one, what I love to do is pick four or five trips from my travel bucket list and give myself a rough estimate old-1130743_960_720of a new timeframe. Allowing at least six months between the previous trip and the next allows an opportunity to research the locations, the things to do the
best hotels etc. Of course it also allows an opportunity for you to build up the funds needed for another trip. An example of planning way ahead is the fact that i have been planning a trip to Orlando for almost 3 years now and the trip is no closer to coming to fruition, as a result I have the trip planned to perfection and know exactly where I want to visit while there, what to see and how long would be needed, I also know the cost p/p almost in my sleep and if given 6 months notice. The more time you allow for planning the cheaper the trip.

2. Last minute greatness

airport-690556_960_720
Do you always find yourself running for the plane? If so then booking last minute may be your thing!

Ok so being so planned and organised this is never an option for me – I just can’t do last minute, but I do have family who have found that you can get away for just as cheap. A friend of mine actually has just packed a bag for whatever the weather, turned up to the airport booked the cheapest international flight available and worried about hotels and other arrangements when they landed. They ended up staying in a b&b in croatia which was basically just some woman spare room, the couple in question credit the holiday as the best they’ve ever had and they got a week away for under €250. Nice if you can handle the stress of not knowing.

 

3. Flexibility & Adaptability

aircraft-1362587_960_720If you want to save money on getting away you need to be flexible. Its that simple. You will need to know where and when you are and are not available to travel. Whether you are using one for two from above or a mixture of both you still need to know where you don’t want to go or when you can’t go. Example when I’m travelling with my parents i know not to look at northern Africa or turkey as once my mom sees a country on the news it becomes a no-go for about five years. So once you know where and when you can’t go then you know what you can accept and save €€€.

4. Visit – Don’t Book.

I reckon Travel agents will probably start to charge a fee for a consultation soon enough because the number one tip I have garnered while planning a holiday is that while booking online is all well and good, sometimes a professional opijapan-218615_960_720nion can just help to kickstart the ideas. Personally when i narrow a trip down to two or three places I present at a travel agency and get some advice on both places, to be honest I just like to get the brochures which they are becoming less willing to hand over, I mean personally I wouldn’t really mind paying €25 for the opinion of a travel agent. When you get the information and the price, nine times out of ten you can go home and get a cheaper price online!

5. Be Realistic.

Ok Honestly,being realistic is the pillar here. Say you set your heart on a destination, you owe it to yourself to know the price points that come attached. The last thing you want to do is travel halfway across the world and then not enjoy it to the max because you didn’t realise how expensive it was.

IMG_1287
Snap fliters galore in London!

Lets say you want a weekend away to London but you only want it to cost €500 total. Likelyhood, either its not going to happen or your not going t
enjoy it like you should.

Hotels in central London (tube zone 1) are expensive,  and the most reasonable room rate I can find is €150 a night! Flights from Dublin are around €50-€100 per person and when we were last there  “activities” (we did the making of harry potter and  a musical ) cost almost €200 extra. On top of all of that London is expensive and you have other costs such as travel etc to consider, a more realistic expectation would be €800-€1200 for a weekend to visit the Queen in Buckingham Palace.

 

 

Hope you enjoyed the list and I really want to hear if you have any other tips or if you use any of these tips!

As always thank you so much for reading

Stephen 😀

Travel: Bucket List

Hey Guys,

Here we go my first real blog post and what better way to start than with my ultimate passion: Travel!

I want to keep it light and short for now so without further adieu:

So I think that travel is one of the greatest gifts that we can give to ourselves and I am not only one of those people who have a bucket list. No. I am one of those people who have two bucket lists! A general list of life goals and a Travel specific list.

I am quite a keen traveller (minus the funds) and hate the idea of revisiting the same place multiple times (except London, I LOVE London.) I think this would stem from the fact that as a child my parents would take me on holidays every year which I loved so much and looking back I cherish the memories from them. But there seems to have been one blip in these memories, the fact that all of my trips for the first 12 or so years of travelling consisted of either Spain, Portugal or the U.K.

It wasn’t until I became a little more stubborn and began to really exploit the fact that i was an only child by convincing my mam (who LOVES traditional sun holidays) to go on shorter city breaks (Which I LOVE!) After this we were lucky enough to travel to places like New York and Rome.

As a way to get to know a little more about me and what I like to do I think what better way than to know the places in the world I most would like to see?

Below I have listed my top five travel bucket list Items:

1. The Olympic Games.

2016-07-01-venues-thumb2

Ok so not a destination per say but the Olympic Games have long since been a feature of this list. Since as long back as i can remember I have watched the games on T.V. and have always just wanted to experience the olympic spirit. Everyone always seems so happy to be participating be it as an athlete, spectator, volunteer or otherwise.

My Plan: No set plans for this at the moment but I am possibly considering #TargetTokyo for Tokyo 2020. If you know me you will know that I Love Tom Daley and this could be the last games that he competes in so its definitely something I will be checking out.

 

2. Bora Bora.

conradboraboraaerial1_600x360

Ok so not sure if this is one that would be on everyones list but Bora Bora is 100% on or near the top of mine. Its a tiny island (around 11sq miles) in the South Pacific ocean and I’m almost sure is the closest thing to heaven on earth that we may have. This would be a honeymoon destination of choice for me if I’m being honest but i couldn’t see myself travelling there alone.

My Plan: Definitely no plan for this one within the foreseeable. Like I said it seems to be a honeymoon destination and i think i would need to sort out one or two small details (someone to marry and a wedding 😛 ) before I could plan a honeymoon.

 

3. United Arab Emirates.

dubai-in-united-arab-emirates_city-view_2237

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is another one that is at the top of the list for me. The Oil rich Emirates house some of the worlds richest and some of its buildings are of the worlds tallest. Not only that but the country exists within the arabian desert so there is unique balance where five minutes from the city you are in the middle of the desert.

My Plan: Again this one is just a pipe dream at the moment. While I would love to see the UAE I would like to give it a couple of years to see if they may relax some of their more restrictive laws that we are so used to at home.

 

4.  Iceland.

57b9a075354dc367d2f8136215e5df46

Iceland is a feature of the list that would actually be highly accessible for me. Iceland is one of the closest to my home country (Ireland incase you didn’t know!) The capital city Reykjavik would be of blatant interest to me as one of my greatest pastimes is exploring cities. Iceland features mainly because of my desire to see the Northern Lights (seen in the picture above) from the “glass igloo hotel.”

My Plan: Again this one is not currently planned but I think within the next two years this one is a strong contender for a possible visit. The proximity to home and therefore affordability is a strong pull factor.

 

5. Budapest, Hungary.

budapest-header

Budapest was not an obvious contender on my list but in recent months it has jumped up to close to the top. A city famous for its spas and thermal baths is definitely something that interests me. Budapest also houses the beautiful parliament buildings of Hungary (left background of above picture) which is just the most picturesque buildings I’ve ever seen.

My Plan: Finally, Concrete plans! I am all booked and will be travelling to Budapest in July to see the Aquatics World Championships! I cannot wait to experience this beautiful city and visit the thermal baths.

Thats all for now, this was just a teaser of the list which is far more extensive.

Hope you enjoyed this post,

Until Next Time,

Stephen 😀