The Irish Road Trip #1

I went to Ireland during the Easter Holidays with Inรจs. I had planned to visit the Wild Atlantic Way as well as the Northern Ireland. But I eventually had to accept that it will be impossible to do both in just one week time. Well, Wild Atlantic Way it is !

So, we had planned to stay in a hostel in Dublin for the first night and to pick up our van on the next morning. On Saturday night, we just took the time to visit Temple bar and had a dinner in a burger restaurant of the area. We went back to the hostel to enjoy a full night of sleep (if only) before our next nights in the van. It wasn’t really the case as we were in a dorm and snorings were also presents (I think I’m getting too old for hostels, I just want a total peace to be able to sleep now :p ).

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On Sunday morning, we took the bus to the little town were our car rental was located. As always with Spaceships rentals, it was kinda in the middle of nowhere, just surrounded by fields and cows… This time, we had chosen a bigger van than the one we had in Scotland. The difference is not that huge but the confort was significant ! So it was more spacious, with a real tiny fridge, plugs, a light but the van was still not too big to be easy to drive on the narrow Irish roads.

I don’t have a lot to say neither I’ve got pictures to show about our first step as it was mainly a long drive from Dublin to Cork. We stopped a little bit before Cork for the night. Again, it wasn’t a quiet night as it was stormy (I didn’t feel very confident to be in a car with trees nearby while it’s windy haha). We woke up under a terrible weather : heavy rain. Great. No, not really. We drove to Cork anyway, thinking we could at least visit a little bit, hoping the rain will stop. But we were wrong. The time to walk from the car park to the English Market, we were totally soaked. It was like we jumped in a swimming pool with our clothes on. Not a nice feeling. We ended up in the local Starbucks, ate something, had a hot drink (totally needed haha) and decided to carry on the road as it was ridiculous to stay in a city we couldn’t even visit properly.

We headed toward Killarney, we thought it will be a little town with approximately nothing but it was actually quite big (for a town) and pretty touristic ! We were looking for a pub screening Game of Thrones (essential !) and had been lucky to find a place thanks to the very nice ladies ofย The Shireย !

On the Tuesday morning, we were relieved : the sun was finally out ! We started our way on the Ring of Kerry, with a few stops to admire the views !

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The Ladies View on the Ring of Kerry

We then stopped at Caherdaniel on a beautiful beach next to the Darrynane House. It was so great to feel the salty air and to walk on the sandy beach, too bad it wasn’t hot enough for a sunbath and a swim (although I wasn’t crazy enough to think that will be possible in April in Ireland :p ) !

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We carried on the Ring of Kerry until Portmagee where we stopped in a little cafe in front of the harbour and from where we could see Venetia Island. We discovered we could visit some cliffs (the Kerry Cliffs) just five minutes away ! Obviously, we headed toward the cliffs. It was windy but it’s totally worth it !

 

Seriously, look at these colours !

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Castle Combe, in the Cotswolds

Yesterday, I went to Castle Combe with my flatmate ! It was a kind of last minute planned day trip as it was so sunny this week and that it was as well our last day of holiday !

We booked our tickets to Chippenham with National Express on Friday night and we decided to take the public buses to reach Castle Combe (which is a very small village in the middle of the countryside). So, departure from Victoria Coach station at 8.30am and here we go !

We arrived at Chippenham and looked for the local buses, went to the train station to get some informations and discovered that there were no buses running on Sundays to Castle Combe… As two Londoners, we didn’t even think that was even possible (and now it will be something I will always check ๐Ÿ˜€ ), but luckily we found a taxi driver who brought us to the village (not the same price as the bus though haha). He was very nice and told us a little bit more about the history of the Cotswolds and especially why so many tourists were attracted by the area (the filmings of the first Doctor Dolittle movie back to the 60s and War Horse) !

When we finally arrived in Castle Combe, we took a stroll aroud the village, took a million pictures as it was so lovely and finally had a lunch at the White Hart pub, in the beer garden, enjoying the sun !

 

We eventually went back to Chippenham and as we still had some time, we headed to Bath, which was only 15 minutes by train !

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Sun on the Crescent in Bath

Next stop : Ireland !

It’s official : my next trip will be an Irish road trip ๐Ÿ˜€ . Once again, I’m gonna travel with Inรจs ! We’ve just booked the flights to Dublin yet but I’m working on what I want to see. The problem is : too much places, we’re going to have to come back because I dont’ think that it will be possible to visit everything in one week…

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Our plans so far are to fly to Dublin, stay for the afternoon and the night to visit a bit, on day 2, we’re gonna pick up the van (we gonna rent with the same company as in Scotland) and here we go !

My “want to see” map :

Here are the places that I want to visit but I didn’t even buy a guide book yet so I predict that the list will grow up. It won’t be possible to go everywhere, unfortunately…

 

Do you have some advices about the must-see places in Ireland ?

The Jurassic Coast

As it’s cold outside and Christmas is just around the corner, it’s time to throw back in the Jurassic Coast summer trip !

Last July, I went with Elise and her sister Camille to the Jurassic Coast. Their neighbor in France comes from England and had proposed us to discover his home county. We had the choice between two options : choose and tell him the places we wanted to see or a “mystery tour”. Obviously, we had chosen the mystery tour !

 

We took the train (too early) on the Saturday morning towards Salisbury where Kyle (the neighbor) picked us up as it was easier for us. We started the road to Shaftesbury where Kyle decided to stop to make us discover the famous pretty lane : Gold Hill. We also wander at the local market and throughout the town to go back to the car. I think that this town deserves a future day trip during the Spring as I found it very beautiful ! I really want to explore the old streets more lengthily.

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Gold Hill, Shaftesbury

Back in the car, we drove on the way to Lyme Regis where we had a picnic on the beach (and where a seagull flew right on me to steal my sandwich haha, believe me, it’s surprising !). We took the time to had a bath as it was a very hot day and then that was the beginning of our Mystery tour ! Kyle gave us a paper map and told us that we had 3 hours to reach Charmouth beach where he will go by car and wait for us while listening the football World Cup on the radio !

At the beginning, we had no idea at all how much time it takes to reach Charmouth beach from Lyme Regis by walk so we try to estimate the time we needed with the map scale (yes, it was a old-fashioned trip ๐Ÿ˜€ ). As Kyle has told us, we will find fossils during the walk and especially on Charmouth beach as it is a famous place for fossils digging ! Indeed, we found some (and Camille taught us everything about the stones… even if we didn’t understand a lot haha), we were able to pick up some little ones but if you really want to collect fossils, you need a hammer and other tools like an archaeologist, but if you want to do fossils digging, don’t forget to follow the collecting code of practice, that means you can collect from fallen or beach materials but you can’t dig in the cliffs.

 

When we arrive to Charmouth Beach, we had still plenty of time to enjoy the sea ! We eventually met Kyle a little bit later. We took the road to Abbotsburry, a tiny beautiful town with a splendid view on the famous Chesil Beach ! You can also visit the Swannery or the Subtropical gardens, which we didn’t.

 

We finally drove to Weymouth where whe had booked the hotel for a well-deserved night of sleep (at least for the two of us that hadn’t to endure the English football team fans…).

The next morning, after a breakfast at the hotel, we started our way toward the Durdle Door ! As usual, Kyle let us with the map, a place name and few hours to meet him there. Our destination of the day : reach Lulworth Cove from Durdle door. It was a nice walk with amazing landscapes of sea and chalk cliffs and some encounters with calves on the path โค

 

I apparently didn’t take any picture of Lulworth Cove, that’s a shame ! But you can find there a nice little beach and a few shops and restaurants. Once again, we enjoyed the sun and the sea and after our lunch, it was time to head to Poole where we had to take the train back to London.

It was a great discovery, I really loved this place and it’s totally worth it to go there on a sunny weekend. The Mystery tour concept was absolutely wonderful and we can’t thank Kyle enough to make us discover his lovely region !

 

 

Bath, Bristol & Oxford Road Trip

How to spend a Bank Holiday weekend ? Rent a van and go on a road trip with good friends !

So, for the Early May Bank holiday, we decided with three friends of mine to go on a road trip and discover Bath, Bristol and Oxford ! We had initially decided to rent a car and wild camp but we have encountered some issues with the rental company (you have to know that they don’t want you to rent a car in Luton if you’re not coming by flight or if you don’t have a credit card…), then I had to cancel the booking. I proposed a solution to my friends : rent a camper van from the same company (Spaceships rentals) I used in Scotland ! It was more expensive but it’s worth it !

The trip started (too) early on the Saturday morning : we had to take the train to London and then to take another train from Waterloo to Sunnymeads where we picked our van up !

A quick check in and here we go !

We drove from Sunnymeads to Bath, for approximately 100 miles, when we finally arrived, we struggled a bit to find a parking space (it’s not easy to park a big van when you’re not used to) but we finally managed to park somewhere !

We walked around the city and really liked it. We didn’t go to the Roman Bath as it was expensive but even if you don’t visit them, there is still so much to see in this lovely town. We went back to the van and found a new space where we could stay for the night. Once parked, we went back to the city centre for the dinner.

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The famous Pulteney Bridge

The next morning, we woke up with a nice sight of hot-air balloons ! After a breakfast, we took the road to Bristol. After a visit in the city center, the harbour, we ate in a nice cafe (Young and Foodish) in front of the river. We then decided to go to the suspension bridge. It was nice but we didn’t appreciate the city as much as we could have as it was a very hot day and we just wanted to dive in cold water… I think we missed the chance to explore the street art (and, yes, I know that Bristol is Banksy’s hometown, I guess we could have seen so much ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ) but it will be an excuse to go there again !

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So we decided to look for the nearest beaches, we hesitated between a beach in Wales and another one, nearest to Bristol, Weston-super-Mare. We chose the second one but it was kind of a fail as it the sea was at low tide and the beach was muddy. But we enjoy our time there and had a dinner with a great view.

We left Weston-super-Mare on the Monday morning to go to Oxford ! We had visited Cambridge a few times already as it was near from where we all lived, so it was great to finally visit her biggest rival ! I really enjoyed this city, the architecture, the atmosphere, the history through the University heritage. But like a lot of places in the UK, the problem is that more or less nothing is free. I would have liked to visit Christ church Pavilion as it is a major Harry Potter filming area. Another time !