As part-time travellers we only have a set number of holiday days (Vicky) and set times to take them (Mr ESLT) and in 2014 we decided to use all my leave to visit Australia for just over a month. It was a real struggle not having any other time away from the office for the rest of the year, but Oz was amazing and I do not regret it for a second. However, it did make me realise that I couldn’t do it every year. Therefore, when it came to putting together our 2015 itinerary we were adamant that we wanted to revert to type and have one far-flung adventure with a few city breaks closer to home. What a great year it has been:-
We started the year as we meant to go on by jumping on a plane and heading over to Brussels, Belgium. Having previously visited Bruges and Ghent we knew we were fans of Belgian beer and food (waffles…mmmmm). We were also lucky that the Christmas markets were still up and running. We especially loved the sound and light show held hourly each night in the Grand Place.
Having won a competition with the holiday company Kuoni my best friend and I jumped on a train and headed to the ‘Big Smoke’ for the day and what a day it was. We first hit the V&A Museum to attend an exhibition of wedding dresses throughout the ages. As my best friend was getting married in August, this was perfect. We followed this with afternoon tea at The Berkeley, even more perfect!
We started this month with a lovely lodge break at Ashby Would Lodges, Derbyshire to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Needless to say there were a lot of alcoholic drinks and yummy food consumed together with many belly laughs. A great way to relax was in the hot tub on the decking behind the lodge and also having a massage by the on site therapist.
Next up was a lovely weekend break to London with Mr ESLT for Valentine’s Day (very romantic). We drank champagne, we stayed in a great hotel, we had a lovely scrummy afternoon tea and we went to a sing out loud musical. A great weekend.
- Afternoon Tea, The Waldorf Hilton, London
- St Martins Lane, A Morgans Original Hotel, London, England
- Sunny Afternoon – The Musical, London, England
- Welcome/Goodbye to London – Searcys Champagne Bar
A pretty quiet month in ESLT land. The first weekend of the month saw me and a group of girlfriends visiting Manchester, England for the weekend to celebrate one of our best friend’s birthdays. As we do not get to see her very often it involved a lot of food, champagne, cocktails and laughter.
- None this month (tut tut)
Skipton, Yorkshire Dale, England
The Easter weekend saw Mr ESLT and I taking a break to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. We stayed at the fantastic Coniston Hotel and bascially did nothing but relax! Which was perfect and just what the doctor ordered. Great company and great food! Perfect for getting away from it all.
Sorrento and Surrounding Area
Next trip this month was to my favourite country in the world – Italy. Everything about this place is perfect – the people, the food, the history, the culture. Having already visited Florence, Rome and Venice we thought we would try Sorrento out and everything the area has to offer.
- The Amalfi Coast, Italy
- Captivating Capri, Italy
- Herculaneum, Italy – Pompeii’s Pretty Sister
- Conquering Mt Vesuvius, Italy
- Well Preserved Pompeii, Italy
- A Sorrentine Dream, Italy
- Grand Nastro Azzuro & Occhio Marino Resort, Sorrento, Italy
As a birthday present I had show tickets to see a comedian in this beautiful Yorkshire market town and as I am obsessed there was only one place we could go for food before the show – Bettys Tearooms. Fresh homemade sandwiches, warm scones and beautiful bitesized cakes and washed down with champagne. Yum!
- Birthday Afternoon Tea at Bettys, Harrogate, Yorkshire
For my birthday Mr ESLT tool me to Milan which was fantastic. I had read so many articles about Milan which didn’t paint it in the best light. However, I found it to be an interesting and fun city to explore especially as the Expo Milano 2015 was on whilst we were there.
- The Milan Duomo, Italy (including walking tour)
- More to Milan, Italy than shopping?
- Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, Milan
- San Siro Stadium Tour, Milan, Italy
- Guesthouse Ca’Monteggia, Milan, Italy
At the end of the month we visited Newcastle (‘The Toon’) in North East England. We are both rugby league fans and this was an opportunity to attend Magic Weekend where my team was playing Mr ESLT’s team. The sun was shining, the beer was flowing and my team won – perfect day!
The Staybridge Suites, Newcastle – a great alternative to a hotel
With our 4th wedding anniversary approaching we decided to take a trip to Budapest to celebrate our special day. Our best friends had visited a few months before and loved it therefore we were so excited about exploring this unique city ourselves. We were not disappointed – it is beautiful and picturesque.
- Would you go hungry in Hungary?
- Danube Evening River Cruise, Budapest
- budaPEST, Hungary
- BUDApest, Hungary
- The Bridges of Budapest
- Hotel Palazzo Zichy – Budapest, Hungary
This month brought my best friend’s hen weekend. Being a lover of the outdoors there was only one thing we could do to celebrate – glamping! I found the perfect site where 15 of us could relax/have a crazy time without disturbing anyone else…..well except maybe the local wildlife.
For Mr ESLT’s birthday I took him to Copenhagen, a city he had always wanted to visit. We had a great time cruising the canals, walking the streets, drinking local beer and having a great time at the fun park. A beautiful city where there are 2 bikes for every person that lives there!
- Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen
- Visit Carlsberg Brewery, Copenhagen, Denmark
- Cruising the Canals in Copenhagen, Denmark
- Tip Top Tivoli – What better way to spend a Friday evening in Copenhagen?
- The Best Western Hotel Hebron, Copenhagen, Denmark
Mr ESLT’s Rugby League team made it to the final of the Challenge Cup which meant an early morning start the day after our best friend’s wedding from Yorkshire down to London. We watched the game at England’s national stadium – Wembley. Unfortunately, his team got thrashed but we still had a great couple of days in the capital.
Back to this beautiful market town, this time for one of my best friend’s hen weekend. As the bride to be is not a big drinker we substituted alcohol for an afternoon in the Turkish Baths and food. Once again I found myself in Bettys Tearooms for savoury delights and sweet treats.
- Lady Betty Afternoon Tea at Bettys Tearooms, Harrogate, England
This was the trip that I had been waiting for all year, maybe even all my life. Bali had been second on my Bucket List, since I can remember behind Australia, and with Oz ticked off the list in 2014 Bali got a promotion. All I can say is WOW. This place blew me away. I would happily go back in a heartbeat, so if you have a spare ticket please let me know.
- Bahagia Villas, Sanur, Bali
- Tirta Gangga Water Palace, Nr Karangaseam, Bali
- Tanah Lot Sunset Temple, Tabanan, Bali
- Feeling like Rock Stars at The Rock Bar, Jimbaran, Bali
- Alas Kedaton Money Forest, Tabanan, Bali
- I didn’t actually hate Kuta, Bali
- Not so sleepy Sanur, Bali
Somewhere Mr ESLT had always wanted to go. A crazy city where the English influence is still obvious. There is plenty to do, see, eat and drink. We spent 4 days there and enjoyed every one of them. If you love to party, you will love Hong Kong – bright lights, big city!
- The Peak of our Hong Kong Trip
- High Tea, High Up – Sky 100 Observation Deck, Hong Kong
- Hong Kong – Where East meets West (3 Day Itinerary)
- The Big Buddha, Lantau Island – cable car from Hong Kong
- Night time Big Bus Tour – Kowloon & Symphony of Lights, Hong Kong
Another visit to the capital, this time to see England play New Zealand in a Rugby League test match at Queen Elizabeth Park (Olympic Park). Whilst we were there we made the most of the London night scene and visited the ‘cool’, well freezing actually, Ice Bar and enjoyed champagne cocktails at -5 degrees.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
A trip from my home town of Hull, England to Amsterdam is a must on a P&O ferry. My friends and I took an overnight sailing on ‘Tribferry’ – which involved an evening of drinking and dancing to tribute bands. Followed by an awesome day in the city outside of England that I have visited most. A great weekend was had by all and one we plan on repeating next December.
Our 5th visit to London this year! This time we went full on tourists! We incorporated the best parts of London – a Westend show, Afternoon Tea and visiting some of the most iconic landmarks in the city. Even though we have visited so often, this year alone, there is always something to do and we have already started planning visiting again at least a couple of times next year.
So all in all 2015 has been a busy, yet fantastic year. I’m glad that we spaced our trips out over the 12 months as it meant we always had something to look forward to. So what does 2016 hold? Why not check out our 2016 itinerary? We would love to hear from you with any tips and/or recommendations relating to any of the places we have planned.
We hope you have had an awesome 2015 too! And wish you a Happy New Year! We hope your 2016 is amazing!!!