Oh no.. not another travel blog….

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Yes … sorry it is yet another travel blog.

I know that everyone has been to Australia, yes everyone seems to have eaten snake and of course these days nowhere is too far flung, I mean you can even get to space for goodness sake… but sometimes, don’t you just want to read something normal?

Easy to read stories from the UK and the World… that’s what I write.  Funny stories about strange people, good food, bad hostels, whatever happens to me which is worthy of your perusal.

From Manchester to Madagascar this blog will have something for everyone so, have a read, share with your friends and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @maztravel.

Also, do comment even if it is to tell me you have eaten a better kebab, disagree with my choice of beach attire or have seen the Loch Ness Monster.

Ciao, Adios, See-ya later alligators…

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RIP Thomas Cook

Today I found out the sad news that one of the oldest travel agents in the world has gone bust… Thomas Cook.

My history with them goes back further than just as my travel agent….

My first ever holiday was booked with them, my wedding flights and honeymoon were booked with them and I even worked for them for a short time when they bought out Co-operative travel so it’s truly heartbreaking to hear.

They created memories, not just holidays and were a familiar part of my holiday booking process.

I had also booked my most recent trip with them – one which I sadly will now no longer get to go on… but will be refunded in full by ATOL… thank goodness.

Sometimes, the big companies are the ones you least expect to go bust

Wishing all of the staff the very best in finding new roles and hoping that everyone abroad makes it home safely.

RIP Thomas Cook… Thank you for the memories.

I got to feed Giraffes.. nah nah nah nah nahhh!

giraffe

Ok, so the zoo brings out the big kid in me… I love watching the animals play, the way they move, eat and interact with each other.. I sometimes wish humans were as much fun!

I have just been to a fab little zoo here in the North of England called the South Lakes Safari Zoo… https://www.southlakessafarizoo.com/

We went in January when the snow was falling and it was quieter but who cares what the weather was like.. I got to feed the giraffes!

Now, in most zoos these are sectioned off as overpriced ‘experience days’ when let’s be honest.. they all have to eat every day so why not let people do it at a reasonable cost to cover the food?  We paid just £2 a go to feed them half an onion which you peel off in layers and feed them so you get more go’s!

I also got to stand inches away from a group of penguins… lovely little chaps they were too and you can feed them too if you arrive at the right time.  You can go in giant cages with Condors and vultures and watch monkeys freely roaming around.  There’s a parrot enclosure and peacocks everywhere so you can get amazingly close to these beautiful creatures.

Anyway, safe to say, I ended the day grinning like a Cheshire Cat!  I highly recommend you all give this place a visit, it is much more hands on with close up encounters than any other zoos I have been to and it was under threat of closure recently so let’s get involved or places like this just won’t exist anymore!

 

 

A Snowy Lake District Dream!

 

 

Who on earth goes to the Lake District in January?!!

We do.

Yes… post flooding throughout Cumbria, in the bleak mid-winter, we decided to support the local(ish) economy and drive the hour and a half North West from Manchester to visit our prettier Northern neighbour.

Well, we couldn’t have timed it better.  Smug-faced, we drove straight through with no traffic and stunning blue skies, checked into our gorgeous Hotel, The Waterhead in Ambleside in case you were wondering, and then headed off to our spa day – pre booked as we presumed it would be raining.

We had massages, swam, went in the jacuzzi and as I looked up after a blissful snooze there it was.. an inch of snow on the ground!!  Hubby to be was still having his sports massage and there I was post-relaxation, freaking out about being stranded.. (ok.. ok.. calmly laughing, dreaming of being stranded at a spa and having to tell work on Monday I couldn’t make it in due to an act of god.)

There is just something special and exciting about snow… rain we all hate… but snow is exciting, we will happily get cold and wet to go out and play in it, but show me a rainy Sunday and I won’t do more than peep out of my duvet, humph and order in pizza for dinner.

Anyhow we didn’t get snowed in, but did get some amazing photos and I can safely say, The Lakes is even more stunning in the snow than in summer if that is possible!

 

 

Bucket lists

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Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love has nothing on me.

I am currently the epitome of the stressed day jobber, continually dreaming of running away, rediscovering life, eating local cuisine, swimming in open water and feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin.  I believe life is for living and intend to utilise every pitiful day of my 4 weeks annual leave seeing somewhere new and exciting.

In this pursuit of happiness I have probably had hundreds of bucket lists.  No sooner than I tick one thing off my list, another 10 get added as is the nature of these things! Every time I pick up a newspaper, or one of the many travel magazines I subscribe to, or every time I speak to a friend who has been somewhere amazing the list grows.

Currently my list includes (but is far from limited to):

  • Gorilla Trekking in Uganda / Rwanda
  • See orangutans in Borneo
  • Go to a Buddhist retreat in Thailand
  • Get married in Santorini
  • Stay in an ice hotel
  • See the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis – not Manchester city centre!)
  • Eat my way around Kerala / Sri Lanka 

Basically, WordPress doesn’t have enough storage for me to complete the full list and I am sure I am missing some, so share yours with me… What is on your bucket list?

The Packing Conundrum

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It doesn’t matter whether I am going away for a weekend or a year… the packing process is the toughest of all.

Firstly, I am female which does not help as we obviously need to pack a wide range of clothing suitable for all situations.. plus I will feel fat in everything anyway so will try everything on every time we go out and still not be happy.

My ticklist starts off well every time and then, by the time I board a plane with my epically proportioned and busting at the seams suitcase, I look more like crazy bag lady than holiday beach goddess.

Flats or heels… BOTH

Jumpers or T-shirts… BOTH

Swimsuit or Bikini … BOTH

Maxidress or Minidress… BOTH

Umbrella or snorkel.. BOTH…

You catch my drift! I may as well have put wheels on my wardrobe by the time the stretched zipper reaches it’s final destination.

I find it bizarre that I spent a year of my life living out of a rucksack with minimal attire and yet now at the ripe old age of 34 cannot seem to live without 3 bags of toiletries, 6 shades of nail polish and the whole  of Kurt Geiger!

The one hint I learnt from my backpacking days was to roll clothes and not fold.. it not only gives you more space but saves a pile of ironing when you reach your holiday heaven! Everyone’s a winner! I also now pack plain coloured dresses and tops with different necklaces / hats and scarves so I can wear the same dress but make it look different each time.

Yes, I am slowly learning to make my suitcase work smarter, not harder and maybe one day I will be able to go the the Lake District for a weekend without the whole of Debenhams in tow!

Santorini Wedding Plans

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I’ve never really been the kind of girl who dreamed about the big white church wedding.

I am not religious for one, and churches generally freak me out anyway.. what’s appealing about a dark, cold, creepy place that people associate more with funerals than celebratory nuptials.

As such, when we got engaged my first thoughts we to go abroad and host a non-denominational big fat Greek wedding!

Thankfully, my other half did not need much persuasion that sunshine and wine were the key to our happy day, so, we are currently in planning mode.

Having done a swift Google search, we are very keen on Santorini, we have been before and love it’s dramatic caldera and clifftop views, turquoise oceans and volcanic thrills. It is the photogenic Greek isle of blue domed churches, infinity pools and sunsets to die for.

The big questions now are:

When? – Avoiding school holidays of course but sunshine or sunset?

Where? – 5* hotel / black sand beach/ winery / caldera view or cliff top?

Who? – Well, someone will be offended by our choices whoever is… or is not invited!

How?  – There seems to be a lot of document translation required and I hope that when we do this it is legal back home in the UK!

I’ll keep you updated, meanwhile if you are a Brit who got married in Greece I’d love to hear your stories so get in touch!