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Top 5 of 2016

  1. Siam Park Tenerife –This is the awesome water park in Tenerife, spend all day walking around soaking wet in your swimming costume and you’ll never feel cold!
  2. Walk Through Kirkby Stephen- This was our little November outing for boyfriend’s birthday, so it wasn’t super warm and there wasn’t an abundance of beautiful foliage but it was his special day.

  3. Glasgow Eateries- Naked Soup and Topolabamba
    We found a couple of fun places to eat in Glasgow when we went to visit sister in March, Topolabamba was particularly yummy I seem to recall.

  4. Rome Colloseum and Roman Forum- Probably the most impressive and recommendable was the Roman Forum and Colloseum in Rome.
  5. Walk from Settle to Stainforth- And one of our summer walks, just a shame that weeks of heavy rain made it a mud bath in parts.

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Sicily Vs Tenerife

Sicily a large island off Italy, and Tenerife part of Spain but nearer to North Africa offer quite different holiday experiences.

Main Attractions

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Aggrigento, Sicily                        Siam Park, Tenerife

One of the main attractions in Sicily is the temple ruins in Aggrigento and we took the train across the island to visit them.  They were impressive and fun, although it was incredibly hot. In Tenerife we went to Siam Park, which was my highlight, which is a big water park.  In October, the queues were minimal, I think in the height of summer it would have been pretty hellish though.

Volcanoes

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Etna, Sicily                                              Tiede, Tenerife

Sicily has Mt Etna, Tenerife has Tiede.  We took the trip to the top of Mt Etna (not really the top but as high as you can go), which was really too expensive for what you got and sort of a waste of a day. Not a mistake we made in Tenerife where we just looked up and thought I wonder which of those pointy bits is the actual volcano.

Art

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Palermo, Sicily                           Costa Adeje, Tenerife

Sicily definitely had a more arty and cultural feel, but that’s not really why people go to Tenerife.  The small art gallery we visited in Palermo had a weird fixation with a breast feeding Virgin Mary.  Tenerife had a lot of statues of animals like big prawns or crocodiles.  It’s up to you which you find more entertaining I suppose.

Food

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Pizza, Sicily                Paella and Club Sandwich,    Tenerife

Oh Spain, why do you hate the veggies so much, what did we ever do to you?  In Italy and Sicily I had no problems finding food, and it was all covered in cheese (ok vegans might struggle).  In Tenerife, I thought I would do ok as it’s like England but warmer and all the menus were in English.  But then I remembered how hard it is to find veggie food in England.  There was always something I could get but mainly at the Italian restaurants!

Old Vs New

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Catania, Sicily                            Costa Adeje, Tenerife

Sicily, obviously has had new developments and shops and what not but still sells itself on it’s history as you can see from the ruined Roman arena in the middle of modern day Catania.  Tenerife (on the South side anyway) seems obsessed with newness and building and expanding new touristy bits. Although in a weird way it all looks stuck in a bygone era of the 1980’s when traveling from the UK to Tenerife was the height of glamour and excitement.

 

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Food of Tenerife

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Top 5 Things About Rome

I really liked Rome, it’s a big bustly city with lots to see and do.  The buildings are beautiful, and there’s lots of history you can see just by wandering around.  The sunshine and yummy food didn’t hurt either.  Here’s my Rome top 5:

  1. Roman Forum and Colloseum
    I really liked the Roman Forum, I guess most people visiting Rome will head to the Colloseum which is worth a visit but the Roman Forum next door is an amazing example of the history of Rome.
  2. Gelato!!!
    Why is ice cream in the UK so lame compared to the Italian gelato?  Why can’t we do it how they do, I guess that, in a country where 23 degrees is cause for celebration there is less of an investment of time in ice cream technological development than in Italy, but still.  It’s worth going to Rome just for the gelato!
  3. Olympic Stadium
    The former Olympic stadium is a bit out of the way, but I enjoyed my visit.  A bit niche this one as it really for us Olympic nerds trying to collect stadiums but it was interesting to see all the old Mussolini propaganda in mosaic form.
  4. Rome Zoo
    We spent an enjoyable few hours wandering around the Rome zoo, where all the animals were hiding from the the hot mid-day sun.
  5. The Vatican
    It’s hard to avoid a trip to the Vatican, but the queues are pretty epic.  If you’re planning to visit bear that in mind, entry to the Basilica is free but we paid to jump the queue and got an audio tour.  The Basilica is very impressive inside but full of other tourists, and a few nuns being religious who almost seemed out of place in the tourist throng.

 

 

 

 

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Rome Vs Barcelona

I’ve been to Barcelona twice and recently come back from Rome (I’m a lucky girl!) and really enjoyed them both.  I think Rome was my favourite but there’s plenty to do and experience in both cities.  There are a lot of similarities too, but some differences…

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Rome                                    Barcelona

Both cities are historic and full of beautiful architecture.  But not much (in Europe) beats Rome for antiquities, some of the structures in the Roman Forum date back to the 7th century BC.  The city of Barcelona purportedly dates from 250 BC but some of the most striking architecture in Barcelona was designed by Antoni Gaudi from the 19th century.

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Rome                                 Barcelona

One of the reasons I liked Italy better than Spain is because getting vegetarian food was sooooo much easier!  Of course it depends where you go but there wasn’t a single place in Rome that I struggled to find a delicious option, and it’s hard to go wrong with pasta, cheese, and pizza.  On the other hand I spent most of my time in Spain buying overpriced cheese sandwiches.  But it did force us to find some vegetarian restaurants and get some dedicated veggie cuisine.

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Rome                                    Barcelona

Of course I visited the Olympic stadiums in both cities.  As you can see the biggest difference between the two places is that Rome was ridiculously hot and in Barcelona it was pissing it down.  It’s hard for me to remember the Barcelona stadium without just thinking about how soggy it was.  We couldn’t go into the Rome stadium which was a shame, especially because it’s kind of out in the sticks but at the least the stadium is still being used for football matches.  In Barcelona, it all seemed somewhat neglected.  But there is a little Olympic museum next door and terrible cafe.

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Rome                                Barcelona

And both cities had odd quirky things, Rome had a elephant statue while the good people of Barcelona were keen on cats.  And I like standing in front of animal statues and pointing.

 

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Italian Food

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Mt Etna, Sicily

Not being able to drive, and not wanting to drop 150 euros each for the transfer we got the bus to the base camp at Refugio Sapienza about 1900m up Mt Etna. We got it from the bus stops outside the main train station in Catania, it leaves there at 8:15am (well its supposed to but was 15mins late) and we got to the base camp at 9:45am ish.
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Catania, Sicily

CataniaJust some views from around Catania in Sicily.  We spent a day wandering around here, and another exploring Mt Etna.  Continue reading

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Holiday Selfies!

So I did got a bit selfie mad on holiday, as my new phone has an actually fairly decent selfie mode camera.  It’s pretty clear to see that the real star of the holiday was my new summer hat (this is real love).  The only time I wasn’t wearing it is the picture at the airport when we’d just arrived and it was squished into my rucksack (how do you transport a hat? I ended up wearing it all the way home, which looked a bit silly by the time we reached Manchester).

Photo a day july 1-8

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Agrigento, Sicily- Valley of the Temples

From our accommodation in Agrigento we were able to walk to the Valley of Temples, which is basically the reason to go to Agrigento. Firstly it’s not a valley but line of temples sounds less sexy, but they do date from the 5th and 6th centuries BC.  You have to buy tickets, it was about 10 euros for entry, and we paid about 14euros to include the Giardino della Kolymbethra (garden). Agrigento

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