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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A Traditional Harari Wedding

A Traditional Harari Wedding

At the end of last month, I experienced my first ever Harari Wedding. Harar is a small walled city in Ethiopia. It is considered the fourth holiest city in Islam, after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. It is also a city protected by the UNESCO World Heritage due to its preserved historic culture, and deep Islamic roots. Just before I returned home, I sat down with my cousin and we went through all the cultural steps involved when two people wish to get married. Culture plays such a heavy role in every day life in Harar, especially when it comes to wedding proceedings. 1. Nikkah In Islam, marriage is a contract where the bride and groom consent to the marraige. This is done at any point before the wedding. Once the Nikkah is completed, the bride and groom and now Islamically married, and anything that follows from this point is cultural and NOT  of a religious nature. 2. Sirri The elder women of the community make a...
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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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I Am In Poole

I Am In Poole

For the first May Bank Holiday, I found myself in the North of England at York and the Lake District. For this Bank Holiday, I instead headed South to Poole! In fact, this getaway was a nice surprise planned (and perfectly executed) by my friends for my birthday. I'm not a huge birthday person, I usually wake up grateful to see another year, and just get on with my day (maybe wearing a new outfit). 8am on a Sunday morning, I found myself in a car on the way to Poole - AMAZING! Poole is a large coastal town in Dorset, and boasts an amazing sand beach architecturally extravagant houses like nothing I had seen before in the UK. We spent two days in Poole, staying at the Cottonwood Boutique Hotel in Bournemouth. This was really convenient as Poole is only a 15 min drive from the Poole beach meaning we were close to everything we wanted to do. We first headed to...
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I Don't Know Who To Travel With!

I Don't Know Who To Travel With!

Choosing the right travel companion is a key part of (almost) guaranteeing a smooth sailing holiday. Although frequently overlooked, I cannot emphasise the importance of selecting a travel partner carefully, and to not simply plan travels with anyone available at the time. As a young child, I only ever travelled with my parents, immediate or extended family. At that age, this is great. As a young adult and into my early 20s, I became more selective with which 'friends' I wanted to travel with. There's a famous saying that states that: 'You don't know the true colours of a person until you live with them, travel with them, or have dealings with them.' I can't vouch for this more. Although I have not personally had any issues when travelling with friends, I do notice the importance of having similar interests and lifestyle when on a holiday with someone. Something as basic as where to eat could cause an issue if one person wants to go somewhere a...
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I am at Lake District, Windemere

I am at Lake District, Windemere

Continuing on from my last blog from York, I also visited the Lake District. I did plan on a whole day there but unfortunately the planned day was wet and miserable. Instead, I visited on the following day and managed to roam about for a couple of hours. I have visited the Lake District once before. The Lake District is a beautiful wonder of the UK and I do feel at peace when I visit. At first, we drove to Windemere and walked around for a bit before grabbing some lunch. As I only had two hours before having to return to London, I could not explore as much as I wanted to. Below are some photos that were taken that morning. I hope to revisit the Lake District this summer and hopefully I'll be able to explore properly in the summer heat. Have you ever visited the Lake District? Are there and specific areas that you would particularly recommend? - A Y...
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I am in York

I am in York

All throughout the Easter break, I stayed in University to complete some work in a quiet environment. Because of this, I instead took a long weekend off at the end of the holidays. I travelled to York and the Lake District for a relaxing few days in the North of the UK. I have never been to York before and was pleasantly surprised by this old but beautiful city. York City has been walled since the Romans were around and a lot of this wall still exists to this day. There are distinct gates (as below) where it is clear where the walls were. It is also possible to walk along the wall around the city. The biggest attraction by far is to see York Minister. This iconic gothic-style Cathedral is one of the biggest of its kind in North Europe. It is possible to enter with a fee, however, as we didn't have much time in the day and a list...
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I Am Overlooking London from University!

I Am Overlooking London from University!

I have been extremely busy as of late, with many exciting opportunities and events that have taken place. I wanted to share this location that I stumbled upon during my studies at King's College London. There is a lecture theatre on the 30th floor whereby some of my final year lectures were held. The view from this floor is absolutely outstanding, facing the Shard and central London. Lucky for me, it was a bright sunny day, and I was able to take some stunning pictures using my iPhone. It is a bit limiting as to how many different photos you can take due to the thick glass and also the lack of any other directionality. Never-the-less, I managed to capture the beautiful curve of the River Thames, spiralling past Tower Bridge, and following down to the financial district. Unfortunately, this view isn't available for the general public. As I recently studied at King's, I was able to access the building. A similar...
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