Morocco – Hiking the Atlas Mountains

As part of last year’s trip to Morocco, I really wanted to get out of the city and see some of the countryside, and decided on an overnight hike in the Atlas Mountains, staying with a family in a traditional Berber village. It happened to be New Year’s Eve, so definitely a different way to celebrate!

Terraces, Atlas Mountains, Morocco

After plenty of research I chose a company called Berber Travel Adventures, as they are locally owned and I wanted to support the local community. They are a sustainable tourism company, and they try to have a positive economic, environmental and social impact. The villages they visit are very small, and definitely not on the tourist trail.

Continue reading “Morocco – Hiking the Atlas Mountains”

Morocco – 24 Hours in Essaouira

When I was planning my trip to Morocco, I wanted to fit in a side trip to Essaouira. It’s a beautiful port city on the west coast, with a fortified medina perfect for a lazy afternoon’s exploring. It’s much more chilled than Marrakesh – it used to be a hippie hangout in the 1960s, with Jimi Hendrix being one of its most famous visitors. It’s also famously windy, and for this reason it’s escaped relatively unscathed by beach tourism, as it can be too windy to sunbathe. For the same reason it’s very popular with kitesurfers and windsurfers.

Golden light, Essaouira

We didn’t have a lot of time, but an overnight trip was do-able. It’s around three hours driving from Marrakesh, and there are regular buses run by Supratours and CTM. Make sure to book your tickets in advance in the summer! The bus depot in Marrakesh is about five minutes from the Medina in Gueliz, and when you arrive in Essaouira it’s a short taxi ride (Supratours) or a short walk (CTM) to the medina.

Continue reading “Morocco – 24 Hours in Essaouira”

Morocco – Old Town Marrakesh

Cafe des epices, Marrakesh, MoroccoI planned a winter trip to Morocco last year, to grab some much needed sunshine and get away from the New Year’s Eve madness in London. The weather was beautifully bright during the day, but it got very cold at night, especially in the mountains, so make sure to bring layers!

We spent a few nights in Marrakesh, one night in Essaouira and hiked to a Berber village where we spent New Year’s Eve. That was a very different experience, and a unique insight into life in the Atlas Mountains.

Marrakesh is a crazy, bustling, colourful city, and a total assault on the senses. Most people stay in the medina, which can be a bit unsettling at first, with narrow alleys that twist and turn into dead ends. The locals wear traditional hooded kaftans, called djellabas, and they look like Jedi knights, adding to the surreal feeling. Once you get your bearings though, there are discoveries to be made around every corner, and it seems like the sights, smells and sounds have been the same for centuries. Apart from the motorbikes – watch out!

Continue reading “Morocco – Old Town Marrakesh”

Three weeks in Japan

I travelled to Japan in September 2015 for three weeks, after snagging a cheap return flight to Tokyo with Turkish Airlines. It was super difficult to choose which parts of the country to visit, I would happily have visited for three months! There is so much information out there it can get overwhelming. Feel free to comment or get in touch if you’d like to ask me any questions! I will do more detailed posts on the individual destinations in the future.

I did a lot of research before settling on the below itinerary. We moved quite quickly from place to place, with several days in Tokyo at the beginning and end of the trip. I felt it was better to sacrifice some chill time for the sake of seeing more of the country. Of course you could fly in and out of different airports, but this will usually be more expensive. There are some very basic tips on trains, accommodation and internet below also. We used the train network covered by the Japan Rail Pass 80% of the time, with some ferries and regional trains that we paid extra for.

Itinerary

Day 1 – 4: Tokyo

We booked a hotel on the limo bus route to Shinjuku for the first night, so we could see some of the city on the way from the airport, and stayed right in the centre to explore. The next three nights we spent in Shimokitazawa, a non-touristy and studenty part of Tokyo, to try and experience some local life. We found a nice airbnb. Really cool little suburb, a couple of stops on the subway to Shinjuku.

Hello Kitty roadworks, Tokyo, Japan

Continue reading “Three weeks in Japan”

48 Hours in Paris

I’ve been to Paris a few times, and have seen most of the sights, so when I found cheap Eurostar tickets there wasn’t much on the agenda except good food, wine, cocktails and soaking up the Christmas atmosphere.

The 11th arrondissement is full of great bars and restaurants, and it’s within walking distance to the Marais. A quick search for accommodation led me to Hotel Fabric in Oberkampf. A former textile factory, it’s a beautifully designed hotel with very friendly staff, and some great touches like free coffee and snacks in the lobby, a welcome drink from their honesty bar and a private hammam (it’s free but you need to book it).

Hotel Fabric, Oberkampf, Paris

Continue reading “48 Hours in Paris”

Walking The High Line in New York City

The High Line is one of my favourite ways to spend a morning or afternoon in New York, a must do. It’s a public park that runs along a disused rail freight line. It offers unique views of the city, and plenty of places to stop off for food and drink nearby – definitely try Chelsea Market,  and search out Los Tacos No. 1!

The last time I visited it was a beautiful bright winter’s day. Here’s a little bit of what I saw while we were out and about.

A photo shoot featuring this stunning geisha. The colours work so well against the industrial backdrop.
Geisha, photo shoot, High Line, New York City

Continue reading “Walking The High Line in New York City”

My Favourite Pubs/Bars in Dublin

Dublin, my home town, a place filled with lashings of creamy Guinness and the omnipresent craic. I’m often asked by friends who are visiting Dublin which are the best pubs/bars. This is highly subjective, and can lead to a heated debate among Dubliners, but some of my absolute favourites are below. Of course, there are hundreds of pubs in Dublin, so you’ll have no trouble finding one wherever you are! Be wary of Temple Bar though – there are some good pubs there, but if you’re not in the know you’ll end up in an overpriced tourist trap surrounded by other tourists. Read on for my top three! Continue reading “My Favourite Pubs/Bars in Dublin”