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48 Hours in Salzburg: Discover The Magic Behind The Sound of Music

 

 

If you’ve been following my blog or social media channels lately you’ll know that I have recently returned from my epic inter-railing adventure around Europe with my lovely friend Toni and we had the most amazing ten days! After back to back whistle stop tours of Warsaw and Prague, next up on our trip was the stunning Austrian city of Salzburg. Famed for its Sound of Music film locations, its authentic puppet museum and its beautiful castle on the hill, Salzburg stole my heart as soon as I stepped off the train and I fell totally in love with everything about it.  I was lucky enough to arrange a meeting with the lovely Stephanie from Visit Salzburg who really helped us to plan our break to make the best possible use of our time, as well as providing us with our trusty Salzburg cards, but I  could have easily spent another day wandering around the Mirabell Gardens or admiring the view from the castle courtyard. Being the avid travel blogger that I am, I planned my trip well and did everything I wanted to do and more, so here are my tips on making the most of your short time in this incredible city…

 

Take a Sound of Music tour

 

 

An absolute must see whilst in Salzburg, The Sound of Music by Panorama Tours  offers a fun filled half day for all the family. With either a morning or an afternoon slot, and pick up from the central bus station, the tour starts and ends in the same location and ferries you around all day. Stopping at iconic film locations in and around Salzburg, the route begins at the beautiful Mirabell Gardens, where the famous Do-Re-Mi was filmed. You’ll then be driven to the Leopoldskron Palace, the location for the Von Trapp house and the lake and gardens where the boating scene took place. Next up is the Hellbrunn Palace grounds with its gazebo where the musical number ‘Sixteen going on Seventeen’ was filmed.  Afterwards you’ll stop by Nonnberg Abbey, the convent used in the film, and the Salzburg Lake District area where many of the picnic and outdoor scenes were filmed. Your sixth and final stop will be the beautiful town of Mondsee, where you’ll enjoy some free time to explore the cafe’s and shops at your leisure, before heading inside the stunning St Michael’s Church where Maria and Captain Von Trapp were married. The four hour tour was truly amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting all the locations and seeing all the sights, as well as having a singalong on the tour bus in between stops! If you’re a Sound of Music fan this is the only tour you’ll want to take in Salzburg.

 

 

Wander around the Castle Courtyard

 

 

Gazing up at the castle on the hill

 

If you’re anything like me, castles will be one of your favourite things to see in any city and the Hohensalzburg Castle certainly didn’t disappoint. Set on top of the Festungsberg, a small hill at the heart of the city, the castle is complete with an incredible stone fortress and gives a real medieval feel when walking around the site. Erected by the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg, who were already powerful political figures, construction first began in 1077 with expansions, including the towers and ring walls, later added in the 1460s. Situated at an altitude of over 500m, the castle offers incredible panoramic views over the old town and nearby hills below and is the focal landmark of the entire city. Take the funicular up to the top of the fortress and then wander round the interior and exterior of the castle at your leisure – don’t forget to check out the amazing Marionette museum to see the history behind this puppet art and you might even be treated to a miniature opera too!  The funicular ride and castle entrance are both free with your Salzburg card.

 

Discover DomQuartier’s architecture

 

The pretty cathedral and carousel on site for the Rupertikirtag Festival

 

This was my favourite part of the whole of Salzburg as it looked oh so beautiful both during the day time and lit up at night too. We were lucky to be staying whilst the historic Rupertikirtag Festival was on and were treated to fairground rides, marching bands, traditional food and a real authentic Austrian party. Despite the Festival giving plenty of reasons to keep us occupied, the DomQuartier area would keep you entertained for hours even if the Festival wasn’t taking place. The cathedral-museum complex, designed in traditional Baroque style, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to five museums and the stunning cathedral which is the focal point of the entire area. Choose to explore the state rooms of the Alte Residenz, the terrace above the cathedral arches or St Peter’s Abbey with its spiritual treasures exhibition of the oldest abbey in the German-speaking world. The stunning cathedral is one of the most amazing buildings I have ever seen; everything from its stained glass windows and its intricate altar to its enormous ceilings and its silent underground chamber complete with chapel and light room, left me with goosebumps and was a real highlight of my trip to the city. Don’t miss out!

 

Visit Mozart’s Birthplace

 

Photo courtesy of Visit Salzburg Tourism Board

 

Built in the 12th century and located in the centre of the historic old town, Number 9 Getreidegasse was the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1756, the seventh child of Leopold Mozart who was a musician of the Salzburg Royal Chamber. As we all know, the young Mozart became one of the most famous musicians the world has ever seen, and was perhaps best known for his iconic composition The Magic Flute. In 1880 his birthplace was turned into a museum and it has been welcoming guests ever since. Visitors can find out about the early life of the classical composer where they can see his first musical instruments being exhibited and they can also take a tour through some of the many residency rooms inside the building. Owned by the Mozart Foundation, entrance to the museum is free with your Salzburg card.

 

Where to Eat/Drink

 

Inside the cafe of the decadent Hotel Sacher

 

There are plenty of bars, restaurants and cafes to choose from in Salzburg, and they can be found in and around the DomQuartier area. We actually failed at being good travellers as we didn’t have a proper sit down meal at all during our time there – bad Jess!! On our first night it was pouring it down with rain so we sat in the common room in our hostel and watched The Sound of Music whilst eating takeaway pizza and chips! Our second night was spent having a traditional Austrian dish consisting of potatoes and sausage which we quickly chomped down whilst attending the Rupertikirtag Festival in the cathedral courtyard – think Oktoberfest and you’ve got it! I’d highly recommend taking the time to check out some of the other restaurants in the city centre though as they looked fantastic, and one thing you absolutely MUST do is have a slice of Sacher Torte (heavenly dark chocolate cake/cheesecake) at the world famous Hotel Sacher, the place that Julie Andrews stayed in whilst she filmed the Sound of Music!

 

Where to Stay

 

Photo courtesy of Hostelworld

 

As this was an budget inter-railing trip we spent both nights in Salzburg at the YoHo International Youth Hostel, located halfway between the train station and the historic city centre, both of which were a ten minute walk away. The hostel was kitted out for all ages and provided clean and tidy accommodation in an unbeatable location. Although pretty basic, our bunk bed room was a private room and did the job but we had shared toilets and showers which wasn’t ideal –  you could pay more to have a private en-suite room though if you’re not keen on sharing bathrooms. The bar and breakfast area was a great way of socialising and meeting fellow travellers and they play The Sound of Music film in the downstairs common room EVERY SINGLE NIGHT so I would suggest embracing this whilst you’re in Salzburg and making the most of the cheap pizza and giant screen! I’d highly recommend this hostel to those looking for a cheap place to stay for a couple of nights as hotels in Austria are notoriously expensive – thanks to the team for making our stay a great one.

Although not as big as the other two cities we had visited prior to our stopover in Austria, what Salzburg lacked in size it certainly made up for in charm. With its cobbled streets and wonderful cathedral at its small historic centre, there’s a lot to see in Salzburg and 48 hours gives just about enough time to do it all, especially if, like me, you have a snazzy Salzburg card. Thanks again to the lovely Stephanie at the Salzburg Tourism Board for helping to make our time in the city so special, and for our wonderful Salzburg cards, I can’t wait to return one day!

Love Jess X

NB. Our Salzburg cards and Sound of Music tour were complimentary for the duration of our visit and for the purpose of this post, but all thoughts and comments are of course my own.

 

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Travel Guide to Vienna, the musical Austrian capital

 

As part of my mini Europe trip taken in March I visited the pretty city of Vienna, somewhere I have wanted to explore for AGES! If you read one of my previous posts you’ll know that I travelled with my friend and fellow blogger Lucy to Bratislava for two nights before catching a train over to the Austrian capital for a further two nights. We stayed in the quirky Musuemsquartier, located in the cities seventh district, and found it to be the perfect base for exploring the rest of the city. We only had two full days there so barely scratched the surface, but here’s a round up of my short time in the city and my top tips on what to see and do there…

 

Climb St Stephen’s Cathedral

 

Because a city isn't a city unless it has a beautiful cathedral at the very heart of it 💒😍 #Vienna #stephanzplatz @viennatouristboard

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Climbing towers is probably one of my favourite things to do when I’m on a city break – there’s just something about racing to the top to discover breathtaking views of the city below you and viewing it from every angle possible. I didn’t get chance to climb the 343 steps of St Stephen’s South Tower during my visit to Vienna, but I saved my little legs and instead was able to take an express elevator up to the top of the North Tower to capture the most stunning views of the Old Town below. Although the South Tower is the highest point of Vienna’s inner city skyline, and the views are supposedly slightly better, I really enjoyed my visit to the North Tower and even caught a glimpse of the largest bell in Austria, The Boomer Bell, which has resided in the tower since 1957.

 

Visit Hundertwasser village

 

 

This was somewhere completely off the beaten track and really unexpected but I am so glad I got chance to visit this pretty place whilst I was in Vienna. Lucy had seen photos of Hundertwasser all over Instagram, but I was yet to lay my eyes on it so had no clue what to expect when we set off on our wander through the city to try and find it. After a few wrong turns we came across our desired location and we soon fell in love with this place – I’ve never seen anything like it! Essentially it’s just a residential block of flats with a small shopping centre directly opposite, but the design, style and architecture is incredible and made for the most amazing Insta shots. Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser founded the site, which has now been turned into a museum and is visited by thousands of tourists annually. I think the building was really reminiscent of iconic Spanish architect Gaudi, and Hundertwasser looked a little like Park Guell. I just feel a little sorry for all the residents who have to go about their normal everyday lives whilst the cameras are constantly clicking, but if you get chance I’d 100% recommend stopping off here for a few minutes!

 

Wander around Stadt Park

 

 

After a busy day of exploring it was nice for us to sit down, rest our feet for a short while and just enjoy the ambiance of Stadt Park, a gorgeous green space right in the heart of the city. With flowers, trees, ponds, streams and local wildlife to look at, this place offered some respite from the hustle and bustle of the city centre and was well worth a visit. We cut through Stadt Park to reach Hundertwasser Village and the walk was gorgeous.

 

Tick off all three of the big palaces

 

Pretty sure this is one of the most beautiful palaces I've ever seen 😍 #Vienna #belvedere @viennatouristboard

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Make sure you visit Belvedere Palace with it’s elegant architecture and perfectly manicured flower gardens…

 

Ohhhhhh Viennaaaaaaa 🎼🎼

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… don’t miss out on Schonnbrunn either, one of the most recognized landmarks in the whole of Vienna, and the biggest palace complex in the city…

 

 

… and finally, no trip to Vienna would be complete without visiting all of the big three palaces, so ticking the stunning Hofburg complex off your list is an absolute must! With so much history and culture to discover, taking a trip to all of these palaces will help you to fall in love with Vienna even more.

 

Eat like a local

 

 

I always try to indulge in some local cuisine when I’m visiting a new city, and as it was my first time in Austria, I couldn’t wait to see what would be on the menu! I have to admit, I wasn’t as adventurous as I normally am when travelling, mainly because I was a bit limited on funds and short on time, so mostly just wanted to eat quickly before getting on with exploring! I did however get chance to eat chicken schnitzel for dinner and traditional Viennese sausages for breakfast which were a particular highlight. Sadly I didn’t get chance to sample any of their world famous apple strudel.. but there’s always next time!

 

Stay in the Museumsquartier area

 

The edgy, quirky district of #Museumsquartier made the perfect base to explore #Vienna 😍 @viennatouristboard

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I’m slightly biased as I stayed in this area during my time in Vienna – you can check out my hotel review of the amazing 25 Hours Hotel to find out why it was so great – but I would definitely recommend basing yourself near to the Museumsquartier area if you can! This place made such a good base for us as it was so central, close to the metro/bus/tram stops and there was so much to see and do within the district itself. Brimming with shops, cafe’s, bars, restaurants and, of course, museums, this part of town is edgy, lively and will certainly keep you busy during your visit to Vienna.

 

Make use of the metro or the trams

 

 

I’ll go into more detail about this below, but I cannot stress how important it is to use public transport during your time in Vienna. The city is ENORMOUS, and you’ll barely even scratch the surface if, like me and Lucy, you only have two full days there. I did get to tick off all the landmarks I wanted to see, but still feel like we saw barely any of the city despite exploring as much as we possibly could. The transport systems in Vienna are amazing, so take advantage of them, whiz from place to place and see as much, or as little, as you want to see there whilst allowing your legs to rest while you’re chilling on the tube!

 

Purchase Vienna city cards

 

 

This was an absolute MUST for us and we couldn’t have been without them during our trip. These city cards, from the lovely team at the Vienna Tourist Board, gave us free public transport to anywhere in the city, on the trams, metro and buses, and enabled us to go as far and as wide as we wanted. Vienna is such a huge city and it’s impossible to see it by foot, so these cards were a godsend and I’d 100% recommend them to anyone visiting the city.

 

So there we have it, my travel guide to Vienna. For the best possible experience I’d recommend using different methods of transport to get around, such as the metro, buses and trams, and you can walk to some places too, depending on where you’re staying. The city is huge and you’ll find it difficult to see everything without using the metro to get from place to place, but I always think it’s boring just being whizzed around on the underground, rather than appreciating the beauty of the city from one of the open top tourist buses! I have to admit I felt a bit like this during my time in Vienna and it kind of spoilt it a little – we were so pushed for time that we had no option but to use the metro, but I just felt like we were whizzing from place to place just to tick certain landmarks off, rather than spending time getting lost down side streets and discovering quirky, hidden areas of the city.

 

 

Overall though, I did think Vienna was absolutely stunning and I saw as much as I wanted to see during my short time there, but I just wish I’d got to really immerse myself in the city a little more. Hopefully this post inspires you to think about choosing Vienna for your next city break, and will leave you wanting to explore one of the most famous places in Austria. Have you ever been to Vienna before? Tell me what you thought of it, I’d love to hear your comments!

Love Jess x

Thank you to the wonderful team at the Vienna Tourist Board for our complimentary city cards for the duration of our trip.

 

Hotel Review: 25 Hours Hotel, Vienna, Austria

Currently writing up my #review from my time at @25hourshotels in #Vienna last week and can't wait to share it with you all! 🏨

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Just over a week ago, as part of my mini European adventure with Lucy, the two of us were invited to stay at one of the quirkiest hotels in Vienna: 25 Hours Hotel at Museumsquartier. We stayed on a bed and breakfast basis for two nights and had the most amazing stay. Part of a chain, with other properties in Hamburg, Frankfurt, Berlin and Zurich, this hotel is a tourist attraction in it’s own right and boasts it’s own rooftop bar, restaurant, garden, gift shop and an actual, real life mermaid’s cave. Yep, you heard me right, this is what dreams are made of! If you’re looking for an edgy, quirky, extraordinary place to stay on your next trip to the Austrian capital, the 25 Hours Hotel is an absolute must…

The Location

The edgy, quirky district of #Museumsquartier made the perfect base to explore #Vienna 😍 @viennatouristboard

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The hotel is in the perfect location for exploring all of Vienna’s famous landmarks and is situated in the 7th district, Museumsquartier, one of the largest cultural neighbourhoods in the world. Home to an abundance of shops, restaurants, bars and, yep, you guessed it, museums, this place was seriously cool and you could easily spend a whole day here wandering around the parks and checking out all the fantastic buildings! Positioned between metro stops, tram stops and bus lines, the location of this hotel enables you to see everything that you could wish to see in the Austrian capital. We mainly used the metro to get around, and hopped on and off the trams whenever we got the chance, but with the nearest metro stop (Volkstheater) just 300m from the front door of the hotel, it was super easy to whizz around the city using this method of transport.

The Room

Oh my goodness I don’t even know where to begin! This room is hands down the coolest, funkiest, most frikkin’ freakiest room I have ever stayed in and I absolutely LOVED IT! I am used to staying in really lovely hotels whenever I travel, and I generally go for 3-4* mid range properties with a touch of luxury, but this place was something else altogether! I wouldn’t say it was because it was particularly luxurious, there were no silk linen duvets or duck feather pillows, but it was luxurious in that it was big, bright, modern, spacious and extraordinary and, for me, all of those things add up to something even better than luxury.

With a grand total of 217 rooms laid out over 7 floors, the 25 Hours Hotel is made up of M, M+, L, XL, Suites and Panorama Suites which are the equivalent of Economy, Standard, Luxury, Extra Luxury etc etc, you get the idea. We were staying in the M room, so the most basic of them all, and even that was a real treat and unlike anywhere I’ve ever been before. With a colourful headboard, Bluetooth sound speakers, LCD flatscreen TV, workspace, wardrobe, mini bar and safe, the room was fitted with everything we could ever need and more.

I miss my super cosy room @25hourshotels #vienna – can I just be back there already pleaseeee?! 🏨🏨

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The smart bathroom, with incredible power shower, complimentary toiletries, hairdryer and little look-through window (cheeky) was just right for us in every way and was deceptively spacious. Lucy and I shared a double bed and it was so big that we didn’t have to worry about who was nicking the covers (or snoring in each others ears) and the pillows and duvet set were super comfy. We were also greeted with lovely goody bags from The Vienna Tourist Board and from 25 Hours Hotels themselves – thanks for making us feel so welcome!

The Breakfast

Breakfast each morning was served in the 1500foodmakers restaurant just next to the reception area on the ground floor. We were seated promptly and could then go back and forth to the buffet as many times as we fancied. With a whole host of yoghurts, fruits, cereals, breads, cakes and hot and continental items on offer, as well as juices, water and hot drinks, the breakfast was plentiful and set us up really well both days. I’ve gotta be honest though, as I always am with all of my blog posts, I don’t think I would have paid for this breakfast if it wasn’t included as the price is pretty steep. Although the food was great, the cost would set you back £16pp per day and, for me, it just really isn’t worth the money. Maybe it’s because I’m not a big breakfast eater, even at home I barely manage a slice of toast, so when I go away I usually just stay room-only and opt to get something small from the nearest café or shop when I start feeling hungry. Having said that, it made a really nice change to have breakfast included, so if you like your continental then GO FOR IT!

The Facilities

When looking for accommodation I always make sure there are facilities onsite to maximise your hotel experience, and the ones at 25 Hours Hotels certainly don’t disappoint! The property in Vienna was home to a super cool reception area complete with Apple macs, pinball game station, swing bench, photobooth and a gift shop/kiosk selling a range of quirky items. At the very top of the hotel you’ll find Der Dachboden, their rooftop bar, with views across the entire city that seemed to stretch for miles. The rooftop bar was incredibly busy during our stay, probably because the weather was so good, but also because its super popular with residents and locals alike, so get there during the early part of the afternoon if you want to reserve a seat! Outside and to the left of the hotel you’ll find their very own garden area complete with Burger de Ville, it’s very own burger van serving fast food to eat onsite or to take away with you, perfect if you want to grab something and go! As partners of Mini, 25 Hours Hotels also offer complimentary bicycle and Mini car hire to all of their guests, such a cool idea and it would have come in so handy, but sadly Lucy and I didn’t get chance to take these out for a spin during out visit!

The Mermaids Cave

Ok so this thing deserves its OWN PARAGRAPH and I don’t even care if it makes this post too long I just have to write about it and share it with you all! The mermaids cave, aka the sauna, steam room, gym, relaxation area, whatever you wanna call it, was single handedly the BEST thing about this entire hotel. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it ALL, but this place was just extra special. Located in the basement, the mermaids cave is kitted out with showers, a sauna, steam room, gym, workout area, relaxation hideaway and giant swings where you can be a child and put your hands in the air (and wave them around like you just don’t care – literally, I did this).

You can also soak your feet in large wooden tubs if you need to chill out for a while, and you can help yourself to hot drinks, bottled water and fresh fruit too. There’s toilets and washrooms for your convenience,  as well as lockers for your valuables which will save you going back and forth to your room. Both times Lucy and I visited the cave (around 8pm-10pm) it was completely empty and it we had it to ourselves which really made us relax and totally zen out for the duration of our time there. It really was the most magical place and, for me, it was the total highlight of the entire hotel – if you’re thinking of going anytime soon you HAVE to check this place out!

The Verdict

Room 309 – our little home during our time in #Vienna 🏨🏨 @25hourshotels

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Overall we had a fantastic stay at the 25 Hours Hotel and I would highly recommend staying here on a mid-week or weekend visit for a really cool and quirky stay in the heart of the Museumsquartier. Every aspect from the brilliant location to the buffet breakfast, amazing facilities and colourful bedroom made our stay such a pleasant one; the staff made us feel so welcome throughout the whole of our stay, from the minute we arrived at check in, to the second we checked out, nothing was too much trouble. They were super helpful when we were asking about public transport, and about how far away all the major sites were, and they even helped us sort out our train back to Bratislava upon check out – thank you SO much for really going above and beyond, you guys were amazing!

So there we have it, my full review of the wonderful 25 Hours Hotel. I cannot recommend this hotel highly enough for those looking for a stylish and comfortable stay in the heart of the Museumsquartier district – thank you to the lovely staff for making our stay so wonderful, we will most definitely be back! For more information or to book a room please visit their website directly.

NB. I was a guest of 25 Hours Hotel for the purpose of this review, but all opinions are of course my own.

Don’t forget, we are all mad here…

March Newsletter

 

 

 

Hi everyone,

I realise we are now almost two weeks in to April, and that March is well and truly OVER, but I haven’t yet had time to eat/sleep/breathe since I returned from my little European escape to Bratislava and Vienna which is why this post is seriously overdue! If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I’ve been a very busy bee lately, and if you don’t (why don’t you? Go follow go follow!) here’s my March round up in a bit more detail so you can see exactly what I’ve been up to over the past few weeks!

I popped down to London for a work event

 

Dinner with a view 😍🍴 #London #visitlondon #nationalportraitgallery

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Right at the start of the month I was invited to take part in a team-day in London with one of my clients who I work with as part of my freelance business. We met for breakfast at Café in the Crypt in St Martin in the Fields and then headed to The National Portrait Gallery to gaze at some of the wonderful artwork on display. After a little wander we popped up to the gallery’s exclusive restaurant and had a fantastic lunch with brilliant rooftop views over the iconic London skyline. Before it was time to catch my train back to Oxford I went for a little stroll past Trafalgar Square, down towards The Mall and Buckingham Palace and spent a lovely sunny afternoon playing tourist for the day!

I had my annual hospital check up

 

My hospital check ups are a big part of my life, not because I let my illness define me, but because I am constantly monitored and I want to see how I’m progressing, or deteriorating, and with each year that passes it’s sort of another milestone that I’ve reached. This year marked my sixth annual check up, I can’t believe it’s been so long since I was first diagnosed with my prolactinoma! I’m really pleased to say that I’ve been responding well to another year of the same medication (I stopped then re-started it last summer) and it seems as though the tumor is still shrinking – yay!

I still need more tests doing on my eyes so I have been referred back to the hospital in August for another mini check up, but my next full check up will be in another 12 months time, so March 2018. The Pituitary Foundation, the wonderful charity who have supported me with my diagnosis for the past six years, actually published my story on their website this month and it was really well received – have a read if you can spare five minutes out of your day, as hopefully it will help you to understand why I get so poorly and often can’t travel as much as I want to!

I’ve fully embraced Spring

 

 

 

I just love sunshine.  I love the warmth of the air, I love the blue of the sky, I love the feeling that summer is just around the corner, and that’s probably why I love spring so much! We’ve been really lucky to have had a few bright sunny days over here in the UK lately and it makes me appreciate where I live even more when I can get out for long dog walks in the countryside and spend some quality time in the great outdoors!

I spent Mothers Day at Wembley with my dad (sorry mum!)

 

 

This was a totally spontaneous, unplanned day trip that just so happened to fall on Mothers Day, ooops! My dad had been given a couple of free tickets to watch England’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley Stadium so we thought it would be rude not to make use of them! The sun was shining, the fans were out in force and it was a beautiful day for the beautiful game! It had been a good 12 years or so since my dad and I had last gone to Wembley together so, as we walked down the famous Wembley Way, we took a little trip down memory lane and reminisced about the last time we were there. We had a really lovely day out and I can’t wait to go back to Wembley again in the not too distant future!

I took a trip to Cotswold Wildlife Park (for the 1000th time)

 

What a beautiful day for a wander round #cotswoldwildlifepark in the sunshine ☀️☀️ #Cotswolds #oxfordshire #happysaturday

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I live literally 5 minutes from the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens, located just past the pretty town of Burford (where I went to school!) so I have been coming to this place since I was a newborn baby! Me and my sisters always try and visit when we can, even though one of them works there at the weekends! We chose a really lovely day (luckily) and spent all afternoon wandering around the park and gardens seeing the animals, taking our westie dog with us and enjoying ice cream in the sunshine. CWP is a fantastic place for a family day out and I never tire of it despite visiting every year since I was born!

I spent 2 days exploring Bratislava…

 

🌅🏰 We watched the sunset over the castle on the hill 🌅🏰

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March also saw me take some adventures a little further afield, and I was so ready for another city break by the time the end of the month came around! Me and Lucy had planned our mini Europe trip to Slovakia and Austria so flew to Bratislava for two nights to start off our adventure. Our only full day in the capital was spent walking over 16km, hiking up to the beautiful castle on the hill, climbing towers for spectacular panoramic views across the city, and learning all about the history of the city with a walking tour from Visit Bratislava, who we worked with during our trip. I’ll be writing up a full guide to Bratislava in the coming days, but I really really loved my time there and I can’t wait to show you all my pretty photos!

… and then hopped on a train to Vienna for two nights!

 

Ohhhhhh Viennaaaaaaa 🎼🎼

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As part of our mini Europe tour we jumped on a train from Bratislava to Vienna for two nights and spent some time exploring everything the Austrian capital had to offer. We arrived early in the city and had enough time to visit the famous palaces, opera houses, churches and the beautiful St Stephen’s Cathedral. We also wandered through some of the many green parks and spent an afternoon at one of the oldest amusement parks in the world! Working with the Vienna Tourist Board, we fitted in as much as we could during our short stay before heading back to Bratislava again to fly home. A city guide to Vienna will be published on the blog soon so keep an eye out for that, but Lucy and I had the BEST time on our mini Europe adventure!

So there we have it, my March has been crazy busy but I wouldn’t have had it any other way! I’ve already spent the first two weeks of April running around like a headless chicken, going on a spa day, taking my little dog for long walks in the countryside, and working every hour god sends to try and get more money for my upcoming travels! The rest of April is filled up too and my next trip will be London for three nights at the end of the month for Traverse 17 and I am SO EXCITED! How did your March go? Leave me a comment below – I hope you’ve been enjoying the warm sunny weather we’ve been having here in the UK…long may it continue!

Love Jess x

 

I'm just gonna keep posting pics from my #Bratislava trip cos I was there this time last week and I LOVE IT SO MUCH 🏰😍 @visitbratislava

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

 

 

 

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Wanderlust Wednesday: Top 10 European City Breaks

Hi everyone,

Welcome to my new Wanderlust Wednesday feature.. with summer fast approaching the time will soon come for me to venture abroad for my next European city break. I’m really in to booking busy sight seeing weekends away as opposed to week long beach holidays and I want to fit in as many trips as I can over the next few years! Im currently trying to book a break away during our next UK bank holiday which falls at the end of August but I have no idea where to go! So with the help of some brilliant fellow travel bloggers (pics credited below) I thought I’d compile a wanderlust list to give me some inspiration! Here goes…

1) Rome, Italy

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Image courtesy of Emily Pearson of A Befuddled Life

Top of my list and for very good reason, Rome is the place I am absolutely desperate to visit as soon as physically possible! I’ve always loved the thought of exploring the historic coliseums’, visiting the religious Vatican area and consuming copious amounts of Gelato – authentic Italian ice cream-yum! I’ve wanted to make a wish at The Trevi Fountain and walk down the Spanish Steps ever since I was a little girl so The Eternal City is definitely calling my name!

2) Copenhagen, Denmark

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This image & my feature image of The Little Mermaid statue are both courtesy of Shelly Borga of Norway to Nowhere

The capital city lies in the heart of Scandinavia and boasts many exquisite landmarks and popular tourist attractions whilst having a very laidback feel. Home to Denmark’s Parliament and Royal Family, this city is by far the largest in the country. I’ve always wanted to go to Copenhagen to visit The Little Mermaid statue as everyone knows how much of a Disney geek/storybook fan I am! The picturesque Nyhavn Harbor and breathtaking Tivoli Gardens also look amazing places to visit. Although quite expensive this city break is definitely on my next go-to list for the summer!

3) Budapest, Hungary

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Image courtesy of Tangerine Trubiano of A Travelogue by Brock & Tanj

The capital of Hungary is split into two districts; Buda and Pest, hence the name, and is bisected via the River Danube. Home to The Hungarian Parliament Building, many museums and galleries and the largest thermal water system in the world, Budapest is a cultural paradise not to be missed! I’m so tempted to book a trip there this August and experience everything that this beautiful city has to offer.. prices are super cheap out there as well so that’s another reason it features high up on this list.. watch this space!

4) Berlin, Germany

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Image courtesy of Tangerine Trubiano of A Travelogue by Brock & Tanj

Famed for its large involvement in both world wars, Berlin offers a wealth of culture and history with plenty to do both in the summer and winter months. Well known attractions include The Brandenburg Gate, The Reichstag Building, Checkpoint Charlie and The Berlin Wall. I’d love to visit during December to experience their fantastic Christmas markets but have been told it gets bitterly cold with temperatures as low as minus 18 degrees.. thermals at the ready!

5) Lisbon, Portugal

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Image courtesy of Maaike Van Kuijk of A Travellous World

A quirky alternative to Barcelona/Madrid, the coastal capital of Portugal offers a mix of a busy sightseeing break with a more relaxed beach style holiday. I’m always on the go when I do city breaks as I like to pack as much in as I can and never get a chance to relax, so the allure of a beach in the same city appeals to me a lot! Main points of interest include the beautiful Sao Jorge Castle, Lisbon Cathedral, the zoo and the oceanarium.

6) Bruges, Belgium

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Image courtesy of my good friend Stephanie Lett

This chocolate box capital in North West Belgium looks like something out of a fairy tale and I’ve been wanting to visit for years! Full of medieval buildings, winding canals and cobbled streets, the city offers tonnes of beautiful history as well as the best beer and waffles you’ll ever taste! What’s more, you can even get there via high speed Eurostar Train from London in just a couple of hours which is incredibly convenient and takes all the hassle out of flying.. there really is no excuse not to visit this beautiful city. Like Berlin, I’d love to visit Bruges at Christmas time to see the hundreds of little markets that take over the city centre.

7) Madrid, Spain

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Image courtesy of  Henar Gomez of Wanderwings

I’ve been going to Spain most years throughout my life and have visited a total of nine times so far! Spain is the perfect holiday destination for us Brits; sun, sea and sangria all within a two hour flight.. what more could we ask for?! The country boasts many beautiful beach resorts as well as plenty of interesting cities including Valencia, Marbella, Leon & Malaga and I’ve already been to Barcelona so would love to head over to Madrid to see how the two compare! Famous attractions include The Royal Palace (the largest in western Europe), Madrid Cathedral and The Bernabeu Football Stadium.

8) Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Image courtesy of Maaike Van Kuijk of A Travellous World

Best known for its colourful nightlife, elaborate canal system and artistic heritage, Amsterdam is the cultural capital of The Netherlands. Famous attractions include Anne Frank’s House, The Van Gogh Museum and The Royal Palace. In addition, The Red Light District is notorious amongst tourists with stag weekends a plenty so best to avoid this area if, like me, you’re looking for a more relaxed and cultural weekend break!

9) Venice, Italy

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Image courtesy of Sarah Gallo of The Five Foot Traveler

Perhaps the most romantic place in the world (along with Paris) is the stunning Italian city of Venice. Criss crossed with canals and pretty bridges, Venice is one of the largest pedestrian only areas in the world. I’d love to go here to experience the romance, although I think I need to find myself a boyfriend first!! This is probably one for my bucket list that I’ll definitely visit later on in life when I’m happy and settled.

10) Vienna, Austria

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Image courtesy of Menorca Chaturvedi of Europe Diaries

The enchanting city of Vienna, the capital of Austria, is well known as one of the most musical cities in the world, and was once home to the likes of Mozart & Beethoven. There are many museums, galleries and gothic Cathedrals to explore, or why not take a cruise down the River Danube for a more relaxed experience. I think I’d tie in a trip to Vienna with a weekend in Budapest and do the two at the same time, rather than booking two separate trips as the countries are quite close together.

All of the above cities are places I definitely want to visit soon so I’ve got lots of planning to do, but I think my top three are next on my immediate hit list. I’ll be researching each place in more detail before making my final decision, but I will of course let you all know once I’ve booked up… watch this space!

Love Jess x