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Hong Kong & Taiwan: Day 8 & 9

Thankfully mum was feeling a bit better the following morning so we were able to fly back to Hong Kong. We arrived safely and my auntie, uncle, and dad were waiting to meet us just to make sure mum was alright!

The next morning, we went Yum Cha with my grandma and then headed to Hong Kong Wetland Park as I fancied going somewhere we hadn’t been before. It was a lovely day so it was nice wandering about outside and seeing the scenery, though mum and I weren’t quite feeling ourselves – probably just extreme tiredness from the adventure the day before!



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In the evening, we met with some of my family and went to a Korean buffet near their house in Yuen Long. It was amazing as we could cook our own meat on the grill in front of us and there was a massive selection to choose from ranging from duck, beef, lamb, pork, chicken, and more! There was also a lot of delicious cooked and cold foods too – it was amazing!! We all left feeling very stuffed and I’d totally go back there again!


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Oxford, Bath & Bristol – Day 3

It was a very bright and sunny morning so after we’d filled our stomachs with a lovely breakfast, we explored the college grounds a bit more. I still find it mad that every college has its own grounds and cathedral! It’s like a whole new university in itself!

The speediest checkout ever then occurred and a casual hand waved over to the wall to show us where we could leave our suitcases.

We headed up to South Park which was on a bit of a hill so we had nice views over Oxford that were filled with many cathedrals!

South Park

The wind was picking up so we came back down and had a peek at a few more colleges. I really liked the Queen’s College front quad! Everything was just so symmetrical and perfect – definitely satisfying my weird OCD!

Queen's college

Queen’s college

A trip to the Ashmolean museum was next and we had a brief look inside at all the artefacts and old archaeology before exploring the Oxford University Parks which were very well kept.

Our last stop in Oxford was the Pitt Rivers museum which I vaguely remembered visiting when I was 11! It was full of interesting old fossils and some rather scary dinosaurs!

We then returned to Wadham college and were relieved to still find our suitcases there and not stolen 😛 We grabbed lunch on the go and caught the train to our next city, Bath!

Our hotel overlooked the river and they were very accommodating in giving us a water view room which was really lovely!

We were staying there for three nights and didn’t want to ruin the rest of the holiday by exploring the city too much in the first afternoon, so we had a bit of a meander west along the river before heading to dinner at Prezzo. I opted for two classic pastas and the honeycomb cheesecake which is my absolute favourite 😀 The restaurant was in an old railway arch and looked pretty cool!

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Oxford, Bath & Bristol – Day 2

Breakfast was included as part of our stay at Wadham college and was served at the rather bright and early time of 8:00-8:30! We woke up refreshed and were the first to arrive in the breakfast hall. We were both pretty impressed with the hall and it reminded me of the Great Hall in Harry Potter! The places were set along the long table in the middle and after choosing our food, we came to the rather hard decision as to where to sit – did we sit in the middle next to other people and increase our chance of awkward conversation? Or right at the end and seem really antisocial?! And would we sit opposite each other or next to each other?! Oh the dilemma! In the end we chose to sit opposite each other near the middle of the table so that other people could choose whether they wanted to be antisocial or not 😛 The breakfast itself was plentiful with a lovely cooked selection plus cereals, fruit, and croissants. The waiters and waitresses were so attentive, taking your tea and coffee order immediately, replenishing your toast as soon as you’d finished, and they were all so friendly and polite too! I had quite a funny mental image of my old University halls kitchen staff waiting on us hand and foot – no chance!

Wadham college hall

The great thing about having breakfast so early meant that even after filling our stomachs at a leisurely pace, it was still before 9am which left the whole day to explore the city! The plan for the day was to explore as many of the University colleges as possible as well as all the bits and bobs around the city. Many colleges weren’t open yet, but we wandered to Mansfield college and St Catherine’s college which were just behind Wadham college. Mansfield college was pretty small and we were only able to walk around the front area.

Mansfield college

St Catherine’s college came at a bit of a surprise since it looked so modern and totally not Oxford! Don’t get me wrong, the buildings were all very nice and shiny, and at any other University I would have been very impressed, but for Oxford I was more used to the old and grand buildings, not a big metal monstrosity!

We then headed back to the city centre and passed the Bridge of Sighs, Bodleian Library, Sheldonian Theatre, and Radcliffe Camera which all looked rather striking!

Christ Church college was then next on the agenda as it’s probably the most famous Oxford college since the stairs were used in Harry Potter and its hall inspired the film’s Great Hall. It was very nice inside and we visited its cathedral too which was rather large and impressive.

When we left the college it was only midday so we were in a bit of a quandary as to what to do next as the majority of the other colleges weren’t open until 1 or 2pm! We decided to visit Trinity college as it was open now and looked quite inviting every time we passed it on the way to and from Wadham college. We both liked how their gardens had deckchairs which was a bit different!

After lunch, we explored many other colleges in the surrounding area – too many to name them all! They all looked amazing and by the end of it we had become quite the experts at identifying which doors were the college entrances as they were sometimes quite concealed.

Exeter college was one of my favourites and we were shown in by a random old man who was passing by who we theorised must have been a tour guide of some sort as he seemed very knowledgeable about the place. The college grounds overlooked the Radcliffe camera, and as I was taking photos, a tour group passed by and the tour guide asked us if we wanted a photo together. It took us both a few moments to realise what he had said, probably because we’re both so used to everyone in London keeping to themselves so much and being so antisocial!

By the end of the day I think we had grown quite tired of cathedrals! As beautiful as they all are, I think there’s a limit to how many you can see in a day 😛 We decided to check out the Oxford Castle and investigate its random mound a bit more!

We had a bit of a rest before heading to Slug and Lettuce for dinner. I had a massive burger with pulled pork, chicken, mozzarella cheese, and chips, plus an amazing cookie cup explosion for dessert which definitely left me rolling back to our room! I was stuffed 😛

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Oxford, Bath & Bristol – Day 1

This summer has flown by way too quickly; it feels like just yesterday that I finished my last ever university exam! Over two months have already passed and I’m starting work next week! Scary stuff! This summer has been filled with many lovely things such as Rome, loads of fun days out, my 21st birthday, and my cousin’s wedding so I can’t really complain! Last week I went to Oxford, Bath, and Bristol with Luke for six days which I really enjoyed. It was nice doing a bit of a city break and exploring the area. I last went to Oxford 11 years ago and Bath 15 years ago and it was quite interesting suddenly remembering places that I’d been to when we passed them.

We got to Oxford in the early afternoon and we were staying at one of the Oxford University colleges, Wadham College. It was pretty central and about a 15 minute walk from the train station. It was a lovely college and our room overlooked the front quad which I was very happy with! Our room was hugeeee too with two dressing rooms as well as an ensuite. If only my first year halls room was as spacious as this! We even got a little Wadham college toiletry pack which was a nice little touch 😉


Wadham college front quad

After settling in, we had a quick wander around the college grounds which were very well kept!

Wadham college

Lunch was then on the cards as we were both rather hungry, so we picked up some food and had a mini riverside picnic 🙂 It was a really sunny day so we headed along the river for a walk. We noticed a random mound of grass in between some houses with a man at the top which we thought rather strange! We later discovered that it was part of Oxford Castle!

Oxford Mound

We then came across all the Oxford University college boat houses and there was a regatta of some sort going on which was fun to watch.

We arrived at Iffley Lock and Luke told me all about how they worked – they’re pretty clever and impressive! Loud music then filled our ears a party boat with partying men suddenly passed by which was rather unexpected!

We then headed back along the river, back to the centre. I was 11 the last time I came to Bath with my parents and I remembered finding a shop called Bonnie. We found it again as it was near to where we were staying and I just had to get another photo in front of it 😉

2003 vs. 2014!

2003 vs. 2014!

Oxford has a lot of different restaurants and a lot of chains too. After having a bit of a rest, we had a bit of a wander along to the centre and opted for dinner at ASK which was lovely 😀

Dinner at ASK

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Rome – Day 1

I recently came back from Rome for a post-exam holiday with my parents and it was such a lovely trip! The city is so full of history and around every corner there is something so pretty that I just had to take a photo of (probably why I ended up taking over 1800 photos in the four days we were there!). I’m so glad for the invention of the digital camera otherwise I would definitely be broke due to film and developing costs! I’m no expert at history so can’t really tell you too much about the sights we saw, but I can definitely appreciate how magnificent they all looked and just wish that photos could show the true beauty of the things we saw!

Our flight out to Rome was at 9:05 but it was sadly delayed. We were told to go to gate 31 and once we had all lined up, were told that it was now gate 32, so we all trundled over to the other side. Once we had just about stood in a queue again, we were then told that we now had to go back to gate 31. It was all getting a bit confusing and I overheard that it was because that there were air traffic strikes in France and that our plane hadn’t arrived yet and they had no idea what was going on either! How very reassuring! It seemed like we weren’t going anywhere for a while so I found a nice comfy spot on the floor and sat down and chilled with my music for what seemed like an age. Eventually we were then told that our plane would be at gate 32 so we all rushed over there again. All this to-ing and fro-ing was like shuttle runs and could probably have done as my exercise for the week! Thankfully, our flight was only delayed by one hour, and we were on our way a short while after 10.

We arrived in Rome at around half one their time and it was lovely and sunny 😀

We caught the bus from the airport to the city centre and during the journey, we passed many amazing buildings and ruins; my camera was in overdrive! After a short walk to our hotel and settling in, I was eager to get out to explore as there was just so much I wanted to go and do and see and so little time!

I was designated the job of tour guide by my parents and we ventured out as I led the way with my trusty city map from the hotel. It was already quite late in the day and I wanted to fit in as much as I could today as it was a lovely day and was meant to rain for the rest of our stay! We passed loads of orange trees on the side of the road just outside our hotel and my mum got so excited! I never knew anyone could get so happy about orange trees! I know what your birthday present will be 😉

Orange tree

Our first stop was the Piazza della Repubblica before heading to the San Carlo Quattro Fontane. Unfortunately renovation works were being done to the fountains so we couldn’t see them 😦

We then passed Quirinale on our way to the famous Trevi fountain. Like the Quattro Fontane, renovations were being done to the fountain which was a massive shame as we weren’t able to see it in its full beauty. Nonetheless, I tossed a coin into the fountain which now means I will return to Rome one day so maybe I’ll see it in its glory another time!


We walked through Piazza Colonna before reaching the Pantheon which is the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome and looks very impressive inside!

 

Piazza Navona was next on the agenda which is a large city square built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian. It was very busy even though it was rather late in the day! Since we’d arrived late afternoon, there weren’t any market stalls, but there were still many street artists.

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We then headed over to the famous Spanish Steps which connects Piazza di Spagna with the upper piazza Trinita dei Monti.

It was then getting rather late in the day and we were all rather hungry and tired, so we walked back to the area around our hotel for dinner. As Italy were playing in the World Cup, it was quite amusing passing so many restaurants and bars with people crowded around the TV. Unfortunately, they lost, which may have explained the slow service at dinner!

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100 Happy Days – Day 88

It still feels weird that my mum is retired as it doesn’t seem like she’s old enough to be at all! I always envisaged retired people to be those spending all day knitting and using their bus passes to get around – I guess only a few more years now until you get yours mum! Just kidding, you’re very much still 30 😀 On the plus side, it means we can now go out for lunch whenever we want to, so this afternoon we went out to the Monkey Puzzle where I treated my mum to a late Mother’s Day lunch 😀

Lunch at Monkey Puzzle Beefeater in Chessington