I Am In Newcastle & Durham

I Am In Newcastle & Durham

A few weeks ago, I decided to travel to the North of the UK with a lab colleague from London. We have both made a concerted effort to travel more within the UK on weekends and Bank Holidays. This time, we decided to go to Newcastle as we had heard lots of good things about it and the weather that weekend seemed decent enough! We travelled by the National Express coach service, and this only cost £17 return, in comparison to £100+ by train! The only downside was the time it took to travel there - 7 hours. I managed to take some work with me and downloaded some programmes from the iPlayer app to keep me occupied for some of the journey. We left London Victoria at 7am and arrived in Newcastle at 2.30pm. As soon as we arrived, we began exploring the city, beginning with the Science Centre and surrounding areas. It was clear that all the students had arrived in the...
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I Am In Germany – Frankfurt

I Am In Germany – Frankfurt

After spending 4 studious days in Heidelberg for the Biology conference, Malti and I decided to spend a couple of days in Frankfurt. We decided to stay at Frankfurt Hostel; this was the first time for me staying at a hostel, and I must admit, I was a tiny bit hesitant. I've always heard such negative things about hostels, regarding cleanliness and safety. But, we read some reviews online and considering Frankfurt Hostel cost about 3 times less than a hotel in the same central area, it seemed like an obvious choice. We booked two beds in a 6 bed female-only room, and it was very pleasant, spacious and clean. This hostel was also an ideal environment for meeting fellow travellers, as there was a common room with music, food and drinks. I would highly recommend this hostel for anyone planning on visiting Frankfurt on a budget. One of my best highlights of my trip to Germany was watching the sun set whilst sitting...
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I Am In Harar, Ethiopia – Part Two

I Am In Harar, Ethiopia – Part Two

One would think that two weeks in Ethiopia would suffice, but when you have family members all over Harar, even a month seems too short. Be sure to read Part One to see the first part of my trip, and keep reading to hear about the rest! Harar has the greatest number of mosques per square meter. When I heard this fact, I thought nah, it can't be! But when you actually visit, and hear the call to prayer echoing from mosques on every street corner, it's easier to believe that this is true. Most streets within the old city of Harar have a mosque / place of prayer. The white and green mosque below is the first built mosque in Harar. It has recently been refurbished, but it is a very small mosque with a green interior. This narrow pathway is known as the 'street of reconciliation'. This pathway is so narrow that one one person is able to pass through at any...
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I Am In Harar, Ethiopia – Part One

I Am In Harar, Ethiopia – Part One

Harar, Ethiopia : the land where my parents were born and raised. It is a historic town in Ethiopia and considered the fourth holiest city in Islam, after Makkah, Medina and Jerusalem. The first time I visited Ethiopia I was 7 years old, and since then I've returned three times. Most of my uncles, aunties and cousins live in Harar including my maternal grandmother, and so visiting Ethiopia is always a fun-filled time with lots of love, culture and tradition. The last time I visited was 2012, and so I had been craving to return either this year or the next. It just so happened that my cousin announced her wedding date as planned for the end of July and I jumped to the opportunity to book a flight and find myself in the middle of a Harari wedding dance floor! Don't forget to check out my blog post detailing the ins and outs of a Harari Wedding (you'll be surprised...
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I Am At Mayfield Lavender

I Am At Mayfield Lavender

I am an avid TimeOut London reader. It's where I discover new places, and hear about the latest events that are happening in London. I recently saw a picture of a friend frolicking in the fields of  Mayfield Lavender on Instagram, and as soon as I did, I just HAD to schedule a day to visit. Lavender fields are usually regarded as exotic, and are reminiscent of the fields in the South of France. Luckily, I was just in time to see some lavender fields before full harvesting. Half of the field had already been harvested and the rest will be harvested mid-September. Although it wasn't as purple as I expected, it was absolutely beautiful and very calming to be there. There was also a small shop selling everything lavender, and a cafe to grab a bite. It's also just £1 to enter the fields, cheap and cheerful! Directions to Mayfield Lavender from Central London: Overground train to West Croydon from Canada Water. From West Croydon...
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Morocco In 4 Days – Chefchaouen

Morocco In 4 Days – Chefchaouen

As soon as I booked Fès, I had to find out how far the 'Blue City' was and if it was close enough to plan an excursion there. Google Maps said a 3 hour drive. TICK. Day trip it would be. I browsed the Internet for the best ways to get to Chefchaouen from Fès. I couldn't find anything really helpful, so I thought let's just ask when we get to the hotel. When we arrived at the hotel, we mentioned that we did plan on visiting Chefchaouen for the day. We were told that we could book a day trip whenever we wished. We decided to go on the Friday, the day after arriving. We also chose to have an English speaking driver, to be sure that we could have conversations with him/her. It was nice that we had a large car and lots of space to stretch and sit comfortably. At 8am on Friday, we had breakfast in the hotel, and set off at...
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Morocco In 4 Days – Fès

Morocco In 4 Days – Fès

I've always wanted to go to Morocco, I just didn't think I'd go this soon! Luckily, my friend suggested it as a last minute trip, and I thought why not, JUST DO IT! I'm going to share my highlights of my trip in Morocco and things to do in Fès for three days. It was most definitely up there with the best holiday destinations I've visited. I can't wait to return to visit another city of Morocco. On the first day, we booked a three-hour walking tour of Fès with a local. I can't recommend this enough - it really helped that our tour guide showed us the ins and outs of the Old Town (which is VERY complicated). We then used the tour as a checkpoint and decided for or against returning to some of the sights we had passed. Bab Boujloud (Blue Gate) - Entrance to the Old Town Random Woodwork Shops If you have space in your suitcase, then be warned, you will be temped...
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How To Travel To Morocco For Less Than £50

How To Travel To Morocco For Less Than £50

People always ask how I afford the many holidays I take. It is a sad misconception that going on holiday is expensive, and reserved only for those with a high disposable income. If one is smart, going abroad can be cheaper than simply jumping onto a train from London to Liverpool. As I mentioned in my previous post reviewing Hotel Riad Fes, I travelled to Morocco last month with my friend Hanna. We flew out on a Wednesday and returned on Sunday - 4 full days in Fes, Morocco. This was a last minute holiday that I booked, and one of the main reasons I booked it was the low cost of the trip. I paid about £100 return for the flight BUT if I had booked it earlier, then I could have got flights for less than £50 (see the photo below). A quick search on Ryanair.com gives a price of £47.18 in early October. The weather in Morocco at this time would...
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Hotel Review: Riad Mazar, Fes Morocco

Hotel Review: Riad Mazar, Fes Morocco

One afternoon after a long day of work, my friend, Hanna, suggested to 'go somewhere' as a celebration for Eid-ul-Fitr; marking the end of the holy month of fasting, Ramadan. By 'go somewhere', I would never have predicted the next words that came out of her mouth. She said, 'How about Morocco?' Next thing you know, we booked our flights with Ryanair, and began the hunt for a place to stay for the short trip. We decided on travelling to Fes, instead of the more popular Marrakech. When travelling, I love soaking up culture and experiencing something different from my everyday life in London. Looking online, it seemed that Fes had retained its culture and history, making it an attractive option for us! Once we had booked our flights, we had to search for a hotel. Initially, we were looking for AirBnB places as usually these places are more authentic and cheaper. By chance, we looked on Expedia and found that 4*...
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I am at the Seven Sisters White Cliffs

I am at the Seven Sisters White Cliffs

As an annual retreat, my lab group embark on long walks outside of London. This year, we decided to walk along the Seven White Cliffs in Sussex. The Cliffs are situated in the Seven Sister County Park, a short bus journey away from Brighton Beach. We took a train from London King's X to Brighton, and then a bus journey of over an hour. Although the journey was tiresome to say the least, it was exciting once we arrived at the Park and started to follow the walking trail up and down each cliff. The cliffs are made of white chalk, and are naturally unstable. After walking for a while, we took a pit stop to have a picnic for lunch. We had all planned to bring some home-cooked food for lunch; we ended up with an overwhelming selection of food the corners of each continent around the world. At the end of the final cliff, we reached a platform where we went down...
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