Arabian Nights.

Now that my 10 week summer internship is over, I can spend the last few weeks before I head back to uni relaxing and doing my favourite hobby...travelling. First stop, Dubai! 

The last few weeks of my internship were quite stressful as I had deadlines to complete and reports to deliver, so I thought there is no where else better to relax and detox than Dubai - the economic centre of the U.A.E. I've been wanting to go for ages and thanks to the British Airways flight sale last month,  we booked a long weekend away to Dubai! I have a lot of friends who live out there and read so many blogs prior to heading out there which meant my to do list was insanely long. 

Although, we were only there for a short amount of time, I'd say we got quite a lot done. Of course, all the main touristy sights were done and dusted within the first 48 hours, but having a dinner cruise on a Yacht has to be my personal highlight and going on a desert safari was an amazing experience. Everything in Dubai is done to such a high standard, the hotel we stayed in and the food I ate (shoutout to Joes Cafe) were absolutely divine. Everyone I spoke to was so friendly and hospitable.  It was so interesting to learn about how this new city was built in the last 40-50 years from desert and water. 

An entire blog post in itself needs to be dedicated to Dubai Mall. Home to over 1200 of the best shops in the world, it's no wonder I spent most of my time (and money) there. The more I write about it, the more I miss the 45 degree heat and as a picture is worth 10, 000 words, a few snaps from my trip are below. 

NB: I let my mum 'borrow' my camera for the duration of the trip so these pictures are the best of a bad bunch from my iPhone. 




Only one flip flop? 


At the top of the Burj Khalifa 
The Waterfalls in Dubai Mall. I thought if I stayed there I would spend less money...I was wrong. 






I could've stayed there for hours!


This Topshop bag is my new travel companion.




Long day mate?





I didn't want to say Du(bye) to this amazing place and would recommend Dubai as a place to visit to anyone!


Mx

48 hours in Paris.


Okay, so more like 37 hours.

The (one) good thing about living just outside London is that it’s quick and easy to get to mainland Europe. With the Eurostar taking less time than it takes to get to Northern England (there’s a 5 minute difference). I thought it would be silly if I didn't take advantage of it. One of my friends is currently on her erasmus study abroad period in Nancy, France. With Nancy not being too far away from the French Capital, we thought it would be the perfect halfway point to catch up and do a bit of sightseeing. I’ve visited a lot of mainland Europe but not Paris, so it was an opportunity I couldn't let slip.

The only time I wake up before 6am in a good mood is if I'm going on holiday. So my friend who I was travelling with, was in luck. Although at one point, I did get a bit of a stress on as I thought we were going to miss the 08:24 train(not my fault) - but we were on our way to France! The journey takes around 2 hours 10 minutes, so we arrived into Gare Du Nord station just before midday, with the hour time difference.







Every time I write a travel post, I feel like I’m advertising City Sightseeing Bus Tours. I’m not, I just think they're really great and could go on about their greatness for hours. Plus, the 360 degree view from the top deck allows you to take great pictures, weather permitting. We bought a two day pass for around €30 and it picked us up at the train station, basically taking us to our hotel. We were staying in the Novotel Paris Centre Eiffel Tower right by the Eiffel Tower. I would honestly go back and recommend anyone visiting Paris to stay at this hotel. We were on the top floor(31st floor I think) so the views looking out onto the River Seine were INSANE. Like the City Sightseeing Bus Tours, I can’t fault the Novotel Hotel. All the staff were lovely, the facilities were good and the location was amazing. 

I’m a really organised traveller so I had our itinerary put together about 2 weeks before the trip. After dropping of our bags, and taking a few obligatory snaps on the Champ de Mars, we hopped on the red line City Sightseeing bus and did the full tour of the city. Even though I made a promise to myself not to sit at the top of an open air bus between the months of January - June and October - January during my Dublin post. I fully enjoyed listening to the commentary and taking in the sights with the wind blowing in my face. It was practically a picture out of French Vogue. 






Paris and its cobbled streets are the most beautiful and elegant in the world. And the Hop on, Hop off bus is the best way to explore them. So first things first, we headed to the Champ de Mars - a grassy garden area with wide walking paths across the lawns. And of course, visited the most famous feature in the Champ de Mars garden - the Eiffel Tower. On the second day, we journeyed up to the top floor of the Tower, and the views were incredible! Even though the queues sometimes go on for days, I would recommend a trip up the Eiffel tower to anyone. The full loop of the bus tour took us about 2 hours in total and thanks to this scenic route, we nearly missed last entry to the Musee du Louvre. I’ve been told you can spend hours exploring the 35,000 works of art in the Lourve. But we had 15 minutes. Which wasn't bad considering we didn't pay any entry fee. Turns out being under 25 and part of the European Union is beneficial. 





With so much to see, a ticket for a City Sightseeing Paris bus tour offers great value with 2 days of sightseeing! It goes to the Notre Dame, a Gothic cathedral built in 12th century. Famous from that film, the Hunchback of Notre Dame. If you're really fit you can climb the spiral staircase where the views of the city are stunning.






One thing I’m really gutted we didn't do was visit Galaries Lafayette. Probably one of the worlds' and Paris’ best department stores. The detail of the domed ceiling is just one of the reasons to visit(I’m told). And if that didn't convince you, there’s a Topshop inside!

Of course, I had to get my shopping fix somehow. So in the early evening, we ventured to the Avenue des Champs-Elysees. Despite the avenue being one of the most expensive streets in the world, I still managed to get a few things. I went into Sephora and was like a child in a sweet shop. It really is makeup heaven. So after it became clear I couldn't leave with the whole shop, I settled for ‘Better than Sex’ mascara by Too faced . I've heard so many rave reviews about it, I thought I’d try it for myself. The end of the street features the Arc de Triomph, a historic symbol of victory for French troops returning home from fighting. After this, we realised we’d done the whole day sightseeing and hadn't stopped to eat so we went to a cute little restaurant named Cafe Victoria, just off the Champs-Elysees, where I tried and loved snails for the first time. 






  






I’ve always heard the Eiffel tower is at its best at night and if you go on the hour it twinkles up. I thought I planned every second of our trip but somehow we ended up at the tower at 10:15pm. 45 minutes before the next light show at the eiffel. So as we were stood in the cold for 45 minutes, I had the feeling my friend actually wanted to kill me for begging her to go to the Eiffel to stare at it. BUT as soon as the clock hit 11, this happened. I was feeling so smug at this moment and knew it was worth the wait in the cold. I’m now one of those eiffel tower enthusiasts. I know its tourist central but why would you go to Paris without seeing the beast that is the eiffel tower, built in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel and at 324 metres tall.



 

Although I didn't get to go to see a show at the Moulin Rouge, go inside Notre Dame Cathedral and conquer those 387 steps, go to Angelica cafe, shop at Galleries Lafyette or go to Disneyland, it was really nice to get out the country for a few days. AND i will go back and do all the things left on my to do list.



Jusqu'à la prochaine fois.
Mx



Dublin in a day!

To kick off my 2016 travels, I took a 50 minute flight over the Irish sea to the beautiful city of Dublin, Republic of Ireland. I went during that funny week between Christmas and New Year when you don't really remember what day of the week it is and you don't really know what to do with your life. Fortunately, I live quite close to 2 major airports so we booked a cheap Ryanair ticket, packed a small bag and hopped on a extremely turbulent plane to Dublin.

I was technically in the country for 2 days but only had one day in the actual city centre.  To get the best out of our 12 hours in the city centre, we bought a Hop on, Hop off bus ticket to see all the sites.  If you want a tour of a cities best parts with the opportunity to explore more of sights that interest you, then City Sightseeing is the thing for you. 

8am - We left the hotel we were staying at in Tallaght on the outskirts of the city and took the Luas(the tram) into Dublin city centre, where I had my first Irish breakfast.

9am- Looking like the eager beaver I am, we hopped on the first city sightseeing bus. I wanted to absorb all of city sites so from 9am until around 10:30am we sat on the bus taking pictures and taking in history and being 'cultured'. Note to self: Never sit on the top deck of an open air bus in just a leather jacket in the month of December EVER again.





Apparently this is a stainless steel, pin-like monument standing at 121.2 metres tall. It's located on the site of the former Nelson's Pillar on O'Connell Street and nicknamed The Monument of Light.
 

 
 
 
And of course, who can forget the Temple Bar district. This is the part of Dublin occupied by loads of Bars, Pubs and Restaurants; it is so nice at night, the people are lovely and the atmosphere is great.
 


We had planned to go to the Kilmainham Gaol where Irish revolutionaries and the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, were imprisoned and executed but it sold out for the day within an hour of opening. I would recommend getting here super early i.e. 9.01am if you want to take a tour around the Goal.
By 11am we had visited Trinity College and the Book of Kells, walked around the grounds of Dublin castle and visited Phoenix park.  I would've loved to go to Dublin Zoo but time was limited so that calls for another trip to Dublin!




Slainte (That means 'Cheers')
 

 


 


 


The shopping is unbeatable in Dublin. Grafton street is the main shopping area in the city centre where you'll find all the high street shops such as River Island, Zara etc. But wandering down the side streets and finding little unique shops is another great thing about Dublin. I probably spent way more Euros than I should have done but got some great buys whilst I was over there.





It would make no sense visiting Ireland without visiting the number one tourist attraction in the country. The Guinness Storehouse is a Guinness-themed tourist attraction at St. James's Gate Brewery. I can completely understand how four million visitors have been to the brewery site since it opened as it is absolutely packed.  The Storehouse covers seven floors surrounding a glass atrium shaped in the form of a pint of Guinness. You have the opportunity to take part in a tasting session AND you get a free pint of Guinness to drink on their viewing deck whilst looking out onto the city skyline.






Although I had a great 12 hours in Dublin city centre, I am eager to go back again for longer and visit other parts of Ireland.

And yes, I drank excessive amounts of Irish coffee. 

Mx