My Dubai Travel Diary

𝑀𝒢𝓃-𝓂𝒢𝒹𝑒 𝒽𝑒𝒢𝓋𝑒𝓃. π’―π’½π’Ύπ“ˆ π’Ύπ“ˆ π“Œπ’½π’Άπ“‰ π’Έπ‘œπ“‚π‘’π“ˆ π“‰π‘œ 𝓂𝒾𝓃𝒹 π“Œπ’½π‘’π“ƒ 𝐼 𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓃𝓀 π‘œπ’» π’Ÿπ“Šπ’·π’Άπ’Ύ. π’Ÿπ‘œπ“ƒ’𝓉 𝓁𝑒𝓉 𝓉𝒽𝑒 “𝓂𝒢𝓃-𝓂𝒢𝒹𝑒” 𝓅𝒢𝓇𝓉 π“…π“Šπ“‰ π“Žπ‘œπ“Š π‘œπ’»π’» π“‰π’½π‘œπ“Šπ‘”π’½ π’·π‘’π’Έπ’Άπ“Šπ“ˆπ‘’ π‘œπ“ƒπ’Έπ‘’ π“Žπ‘œπ“Š’𝓇𝑒 𝓉𝒽𝑒𝓇𝑒 π“Žπ‘œπ“Š’𝓁𝓁 𝒻𝒾𝓃𝒹 π“Žπ‘œπ“Šπ“‡π“ˆπ‘’π“π’» 𝒾𝓃 π’Άπ“Œπ‘’ 𝒢𝓉 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓂𝒢𝑔𝓃𝒾𝒻𝒾𝒸𝑒𝓃𝒸𝑒 π‘œπ’» 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓅𝓁𝒢𝒸𝑒. 𝐡𝓇𝒾𝑔𝒽𝓉 π“π’Ύπ‘”π’½π“‰π“ˆ, π’Έπ‘œπ“ƒπ“‰π“‡π’Άπ“ˆπ“‰π’Ύπ“ƒπ‘” π“ˆπ‘œπ“Šπ“ƒπ’Ήπ“ˆ, π’Ώπ’Άπ“Œ-π’Ήπ“‡π‘œπ“…π“…π’Ύπ“ƒπ‘” π“ˆπ“€π“Žπ“ˆπ’Έπ“‡π’Άπ“…π‘’π“‡π“ˆ, π’»π‘œπ‘œπ’Ή π“Œπ‘œπ“‡π“‰π’½π“Ž π‘œπ’» π“ˆπ’Άπ“π’Ύπ“‹π’Άπ“‰π’Ύπ‘œπ“ƒ, π“‹π’Ύπ‘’π“Œπ“ˆ 𝓁𝒾𝓀𝑒 π“ƒπ‘œ π‘œπ“‰π’½π‘’π“‡ 𝒢𝓃𝒹 π“…π“Šπ“‡π‘’ π“π“Šπ“π“Šπ“‡π“Ž π‘’π“‹π‘’π“‡π“Žπ“Œπ’½π‘’π“‡π‘’ π“Žπ‘œπ“Š π“π‘œπ‘œπ“€. π’œπ“π“ π“ˆπ‘’π“ƒπ“ˆπ‘’π“ˆ π“ˆπ“‰π’Ύπ“‚π“Šπ“π’Άπ“‰π‘’π’Ή. π’―π’½π’Ύπ“ˆ π’Ύπ“ˆ π’Ÿπ“Šπ’·π’Άπ’Ύ.

Arrival

Flight: We boarded our early Friday afternoon flight from Larnaca airport to Dubai with Gulf Air and had a quick 1-hour layover in Bahrain.

Arrival in Dubai: We landed in Dubai around 8pm in the evening. First thought – “Wow this airport is huge”! We then made our away out of this massive structure and hailed a taxi to our hotel.

Hotel

Five – Palm Jumeriah
Our hotel was situated at the beginning of Palm Jumeriah

Luxe Suite with Sea View

Bathroom
Welcome spread
Glass of bubbly – perfect way to start our holiday
View from our balcony
Entrance of the hotel
Hotel entrance – bright and beautiful
Pool

We arrived at our hotel in the evening and as soon as we checked in and dropped our bags off we were eager to explore the hotel and maybe even have a cheeky cocktail or two.

We headed down to the bar at the beach called Praia and enjoyed a cocktail and of course some Shisha
G&T 🍸
Babe

We were so excited to be in Dubai that we forgot to eat and by the time our hunger pangs kicked in all the restaurants were closed and so our only option was room service – which we were not unhappy about πŸ™ˆ

Day 1

The first day in Dubai started like any other day – coffee and journal and on this occasion a traditional Arabic pistachio-filled date ✨

Morning Ritual ✨

We then headed down to the pool for a refreshing dip in the pool πŸ’¦

Absolute bliss

After a little swimming session we headed down to the beach

As beautiful as it was, we couldn’t stay at the beach as the temperature of the water was one that you would have a bath in ♨️

In the afternoon we hit Dubai downtown area. First stop was Dubai Aquarium.

In his element πŸ’™πŸ 
It was an amazing experience to see these beautiful creatures up close.
Photobombed

We then headed up to Burj Khalifa – tallest building on Earth

The height was dizzying but the view was spectacular
Couldn’t resist some cheesy holiday photography πŸ˜‚ 

We concluded the day with stroll near the Dubai Mall, dinner and fountain show.

Downtown Dubai

Day 2

The second day of our holiday started with breakfast and relaxing by the pool

This pool is goals πŸ₯° 
Soaking up the sun

In the evening we went for a stroll on JBR The walk and met up with a friend for dinner, drinks and of course more shisha

JBR

Day 3 – My Birthday

Our 3rd day in Dubai started early – 4am pick-up from our hotel, just in time to watch the sunrise while riding camels in the desert 🐫🌡

One of my happiest days ❀️
led through the desert by our Beduin guide
Desert fun

And now time for Arabian breakfast in the Beduin camp

Entrance of the Beduin camp
Breakfast

At lunch we headed back to JBR as we were so impressed the previous evening that we wanted to see in daylight too

and more food

In the evening we went to the penthouse bar in our hotel – I say with confidence that this is the best bar that I’ve been to so far in my life! Everything, the atmosphere, the drinks, the view, the music, absolutely everything was perfect!

We wrapped up my birthday and our final day in Dubai with a 5 course dinner in the beautiful Italian restaurant Quattro Passi

Overall, I had the most amazing experience in Dubai and will definitely be visiting again soon!

until next time x
Trip planned and prepared by the expert travel agents at Honeywell Travel. Visit https://www.honeywelltravel.com.cy for more information and bookings.

Seven Rila Lakes: Tips for first time visitors

The seven rila lakes are one of the most visited places in Bulgaria. Not only are they absolutely beautiful to look at, Β but they also require a good old hike if you are to reach the peak, making the trek even more rewarding. Positioned at high altitudeΒ (2,535m above sea level), the view from the peak is nothing less than breathtaking.

Where?

The seven rilaΒ lakes are located in the northwestern part of the Rila mountains in Bulgaria. They are approximately 1hr 30 mins drive from Sofia.

How to get there?

Car

Getting there by car is pretty straightforward. Simply type “Lift seven rilaΒ lakes” into your GPS or google maps on your phone and it will take you directly to the car park of the lift area.

If you don’t have a car, there are plenty of tour groups taking tourists to the lakes from Sofia. Tripadvisor offers some excellent tours/expeditions.

Coach

You can get a coach from Sofia to Sapareva Banya, and then get a shuttle to the lift area (Pionerska hut).

Taxi

This is a rather expensive option but still an option. You can get a taxi directly from Sofia to the lift area.

The hike

Once you’re at the lift area you have several options.

  • Take the chair lift for 25mins to the top. Prices for adults are 10 BGN one way or 18 BGN return. Once at the Rilski Ezera hut there is still 1hr 30min hike to the peak.
  • You can hike the whole way up from Pionerska hut to the peak. This usually takes around 4hrs.
  • You can take a 4×4 vehicle up to the Rilski Ezera hut. This option isn’t entirely legal but you will definitely see many people offering it, so best be prepared. They usually charge 10BGN one way.

 

 

We resorted to taking the chair lift up as this is the most picturesque route. The views were spectacular!

 

 

Best time to visit

The best time to visit the lakes is in the summer when the weather is warm and sunny. Although late spring and early autumn should also be considered. We visited in early October and although the temperature was quite cool especially at the top, the day was still long and there was plenty of sunshine!

Rilski Ezera hut

Restaurant, bar and cafe. Also offers overnight stay.

The journey in photos

Just beginning our hike up to the peak of the Seven Rila lakes. You can see the Rilski Ezera hut down in the distance.

Making some progress. Only about 15-20mins into our hike.

Enjoying the first views of the lakes.

Meeting the locals of the area.

The most magnificent lakes (our fave!)

Happy kids!

Just wow. Fantastic view and an amazing hike!

After more than 5 hours of hiking, energy reserves are empty!

Feeling at peace.

 

 

 

Visiting the Stonehenge

On the weekend we got the opportunity to visit one of the wonders of the world. Stonehenge.

As one could guess, it was spectacular. This isn’t Wikipedia so I won’t go into historical details of how the Stonehenge came about or anything of the sort. But, I will point out some things I learned that I consider to be quite interesting.

Where is Stonehenge?

Stonehenge is in Wiltshire, 2 miles west of Amesbury in the UK.

Interesting discovery

As I was researching more about Stonehenge prior to my visit, I came across some very interesting information. Many people have said that the Stonehenge is built in the centre of many crossing “ley lines”.

Ley lines are hypothetical alignments of a number of places of geographical interest such as ancient monuments and megaliths. In simple terms, it is believed that there are energy currents runningΒ cross different parts of the planet. Back in the days people knew about these energy currents and their importance and therefore built important structures and monuments along them. They believed that the energy in those special places is multiplied many times fold.

Ley line across the UK

This is one lay line running across the UK. I believe there is also another.

Global ley lines

These are the major ley lines on the planet. The places where these lines meet are believed to be “energy portals”. There are loads of theories about these energy portals. Some say they are interdimensional portals, others say that the magnetic field is extremely strong there or that there is some kind of special energy etc. I personally have no idea. But I have experienced going to a place and instantly feeling “different” as if the place is special and just can’t help but feel good. So, I don’t know about the interdimensional portals but I’d buy that the energy is probably incredible in those places.

Getting a feel of Stonehenge

The thing that I think stood out for me most when I visited the Stonehenge was just the vastness of the place. The stones are huge and they are surrounded by miles and miles of sheer land. It’s one of those places where you go and you feel so small but not insignificant if you know what I mean. I got a sense of “something more”, I don’t really know how to explain it but it seems that in our day to day lives we see the world from a certain perspective. Usually, one that is quite, I don’t want to say boring but it is less than magic and miracles. Without getting too deep into things, we’re on a rock flying throughΒ space at unimaginable speed. We’ve got stuff built thousands of years ago that we couldn’t even build today given our technological advances. Surely there’s something more to it. Surely. But, I’ll leave that to your imagination. πŸ˜‰

How to do Paris in 3 days

Paris! Not much else needs to be said. The capital of romance, fashion, luxury and all things glam. Everyone needs to visit Paris at some point in their lives. There’s so much to see, so much to learn, so much to experience!

This week I’d like to share with you our little trip to Paris and how we managed to squeeze the best of Paris in 3 days!

Outbound

Airport selfie! Every trip needs one πŸ˜€

 

 

 

Booking our flights to Paris couldn’t be easier. We found a great deal from Skyscanner.com. Two tickets, Manchester – Paris (with return) under Β£100!

Where we stayed

We stayed in Best Western hotel in Montmarte, 2 minute walk from the Sacre-Coeur. Upon arrival, we were so surprised about the size of the rooms. They were tiny! But, we got used to it pretty quickly as everything in Paris is super small πŸ™‚

Travel in Paris

To get around Paris we used the Metro. It got us pretty much everywhere we wanted to go, and at a very good price. I believe they have something similar to an oyster card but as tourists we just opted for purchasing single tickets everytime we wanted to travel. One ticket = One journey. Simple!

Day 1

Breakfast

Excited to wake up in Paris, we got ready and headed straight for the Eiffel Tower, obviously! On the way there however, we couldn’t resist theΒ cute little cafe’s and so we sat down for a traditional French breakfast. Creme coffee and a croissant. That croissant though!

Eiffel Tower

Then we saw it! The magical Eiffel Tower! My first impression was “My goodness, it’s so big!” haha. I have seen so so many pictures of it in my life, but nothing compares to seeing it in real life!

And then..Β the photos started flowing! You can never have too may pictures of the Eiffel Tower, right?

Sitting on a map, yes. Tourist hacks 101.

<3

Champs-Γ‰lysΓ©es &Β Arc de Triomphe

Then we headed for the famous Champs-Elysees and Arc de Triomphe which is super close to the Eiffel Tower, about 5-10 minute walk.

Walking down Champs-Elysees was beautiful. Come early afternoon, we decided to sit down for a latte. This is a latte in Paris! Or more like a full-blown coffee flavoured milkshake πŸ˜€

And of course, macaroons!

Saint Michel

Pronounced Saint Michelle, this is the area where the Notre-Dame is located. We fell in love with this area! It was so lively and full of happy people. We loved the buzz.

Notre-Dame

Stunning!

And of course we ended the first day with a sugar overload! Just couldn’t resist a warm waffle with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Day 2

Breakfast

We arose to another carb-laden breakfast! French breakfast = croissants, pain au chocolate, baguettes etc (i.e. CARB OVERLOAD) while French people = super slim. Something doesn’t add up here πŸ˜€

Louvre museum

The spectacular Louvre museum!

My joy and pride <3

 

Many people who visit Paris only see the Louvre museum from the outside. If you go Louvre, you need to actually go into the museum! It is phenomenal!

 

Mona Lisa in all her glory.

Royal suite

Jardin des Tuileries

Although this looks very much like the Arc of Triamph, it’s actually the entrance to the Tuileries Gardens.

You can see the Eiffel Tower from the gardens.

Beautiful!

Arc de concorde

After the gardens we headed down to the arc of concorde.

Breathtaking.

Pit stop for coffee.

Cheese and wine o’clock

In the evening we headed down to a local brasserie in the Montmarte area.

 

I will never forget this moment. It was just so special. It was one of those moments were I just felt insanely grateful. I remember thinking to myself ” There is nowhere I would rather be in this moment than here”. In Paris, with the person I love, eating delicious cheese and drinking phenomenal wine. Five stars.

Day 3

On our final day in Paris, we woke up and had breakfast at the hotel. Although we were 2 minutes away from the Sacre-Coeur we left it to the last day of our trip.

This was one of the most beautiful cathedrals I’ve ever seen. The energy inside was unbelievable I remember feeling so calm and peaceful, I didn’t want to leave. Β But sadly they didn’t allow us to take pictures.

<3

While we were in the area we decided to explore it fully and just got lost basically!

Anyone who has been to Paris will know that the Parisian crepes are everywhere and they will haunt you until you get one.. or two!

Pantheon

And finally, we ended the trip with a visit to the Pantheon.

Beautiful.

Paris was absolutely wonderful and I cannot wait until I visit again! Obviously, there is so much more to see and experience, and so until next time xxx

 

 

Lapland Finland: Salla

Where?

Lapland is the northern most region of two Scandinavian countries; Sweden and Finland. The region that we went to called Salla was within the Finnish boarders but it was also very close to the Russian border. Lapland is in the Arctic circle and in the winter it is definitely the place to be! It is winter wonderland! Known for magical winter landscapes, northern lights and outdoor activities such as husky and reindeer rides.

 

When?

We visited Lapland in January this year (2017). Β The peak season for winter adventures is December to February.

Our trip in photos

We arrived in Lapland in the evening. The lovely Crystal Ski rep took us to our cabin and we spent the first evening getting acquainted to our new living quarters. The cabins were so cosy!! They were all wooden and each had its own bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom and private sauna. In the living room we had two couches, a dining table, TV and a fireplace. The fireplace was one of the best things about the cabins because it meant cosy evenings every single night!

Our holiday package included unlimited logs. Every night we would take our sleigh and go to the “log house” where all the logs were kept. It was only about 5 min walk from our cabin. We’d stock up plenty on the sleigh, bring them back to the cabin and light up the fireplace. There is just something so magical about going out into the silent night to get wood for the fireplace. It’s just so simple but it just gives you a feeling of being so far away from normal life (in a very good way!).

In the morning we woke up to this view!

Cabins

Each cabin had its own porch with a table and chairs. I loved having my morning coffee out there! Even though it was -15 degrees!

The cabins were just too cute!

I think that it was definitely the cabins that made this holiday so special. It really gave us a feel of what it might feel like to live in a place like this!

Morning coffee with a view!

Ski

We booked a ski package which Β includes a lift pass, skis and other items like ski boots etc. Most days we spent on the piste skiing down the slopes.

 

At the bottom of each slope there were little fire huts to warm up. People would bring sausages to cook over the fire and have them as snacks! Finnish people love their sausages! πŸ˜€

Inside the fire huts.

The landscape in Lapland is mostly flat. Very different from the alpine.

 

After a long day of skiing we would head over to the Ravintola (restaurant in Finnish) for dinner. There were fine dining places in Salla but honestly after expending so much energy skiing all day we usually opted for not so healthy options.

 

 

They had reindeer burgers on the menu. Apparently it is a Finnish specialty but I couldn’t bring myself to try it.

The way to the restaurant was up a hill so there was no way you could go there wearing normal shoes. Snow boots were the only shoes we wore in Lapland.

Reindeers

Such special creatures!

Hikes

On some days we opted for going hiking and exploring the local landscapes.

Salla Ski resort was very small and only a handful of people were there! We loved that as we were looking for a relaxing holiday in nature.

So beautiful!

Frost! Consequence of hiking in -18 degrees temperature.

Activities

Lapland is famous for all the amazing activities that it can offer.

We went on a midnight Reindeer Safari hunting the northern lights.

Each person had a reindeer pulling their sleigh through the forest in the silent night.

Once deep inside the forest, we stopped and made camp. We had hot chocolate and biscuits while listening to amazing Finnish folk tales! Ahhh take me back! This was such a special night!

Warm and cosy.

We fell in love with Lapland from the moment we got there but as the trip progressed we both realised that this is a place that we will visit many many times! Until next time!