London Travel Diary: Day Three

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Our third day in the United Kingdom took us out of London and across the beautiful (but very dreary) English countryside to Dover.

Writing this may be a bit hard as opinions obviously vary and I don’t think we got the best impression of this town as it was super rainy, windy and cold, but it’s safe to say that one day, or even afternoon is more than enough.

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Upon arrival we made our way to the tourist office to get some maps and folders about activities. Then we made our way up to Dover Castle. You can easily get there by foot. It takes around 10-15 minutes from the town centre. At the castle you can do various tours.
I’d recommend the tours that lead you through the Secret Wartime Tunnels that were used during WWII.
I did the one of the wounded soldier. It took around 20 minutes and you follow the story of a wounded soldier who’s brought in to the infirmary. The tour is complete with sound and light effects. They also use chemicals to recreate the original smell, which can be nauseating at times. There’s a second one that takes around one hour, which we decided not to take because the wait would have been too long. The tours are included in the entrance fee you pay and definitely worth doing!
When you go further up the castle, you get to know more about the earlier history of it. The insides are done very nicely and it’s fun and educational for children as well as for grown-ups.

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Afterwards we meant to hike around the cliffs for a bit to a lighthouse, but the horrendous weather thwarted our plans. There are boat tours around the harbour offered as well, but this too, might be nicer if it’s not pouring cats and dogs ;-)
When asked where we’d get the best view of the cliffs, we were told that it would be from down at the boardwalk. This was partly true. We got a nice view but still had the port in front.
After that, we still had a few hours left in Dover but nothing to do really. The city centre also seemed to lack nice, cosy cafés or restaurants. (At least we couldn’t find them. If you disagree and have some tips and cool locations, please let me know!)

All in all we had a nice day, saw a place we haven’t been to before and, in the end, even though it was lacking in some aspects, we didn’t regret our choice of going to Dover.
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How to get there:
Initially we looked up trains from London to Dover, but found that taking a bus was much, much cheaper (one way train tickets would have been 75£/person whereas the bus ticket was 12£/person for a return ticket). The bus ride takes around 3 hours and I’ve only ever had good experiences with National Express. The buses are clean, comfortable and barring any major traffic jams they’ve always been on time.

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Journey home

Being home now feels strange. I have mixed feelings. I wanted to go home, I could have stayed there longer, I missed my family, I miss the friends I left in Africa. You see where this is going.
My travel home was emotional for a lot of reasons. Mostly, now that I’m home, I’m grateful that I got to go home (the joys of flying with staff tickets).

Reality is not setting in yet. I’d need to sort through my work dates, organise my uni schedule, run a thousand errands and so on. But for now, I’m just sorting through pictures and letting the memories wash over me. No, I have not yet truly arrived home.

 

This trip has been hard. It has been delightful and very educational. It taught me so much, it’s almost incomprehensible. I’ve laughed until I had tears streaming down my face, I took deep breaths, I let things go. I felt like crying, I was angry, I was elated. I embraced, I learnt how far I can go. I tried new things and taught old things.

This trip was everything.

 

Here are some highlights until I have fully sorted and edited my pictures:

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/ full gallop through the waves.
/ swimming with wild dolphins.
/ meeting new people.
/ Stone Town.
/ snorkeling at Prison Island in Zanzibar.

A dream

It is hard to find the right words to describe this weekend. So many dreams came true, so much happened, so much was seen, eaten, experienced.
So much luck was involved.

Zanzibar is of course known for its amazing beaches. It has, however, a lot more to offer than this. Stone Town’s architecture is beyond amazing. A mix of old buildings that look like they’re about to fall apart any second, and luxurious highly intricate buildings and wood carved doors. It’s rich in history and has some exquisite food to offer as well.

But what made this trip stand out for me the most was not where we were, but what we were doing.

It is amazing how a magazine you randomly pick up, out of pure boredom, can make one of your biggest dreams come true. How something you never even thought about doing can make you so ecstatic and grateful.

When we went to swim with wild dolphins in the morning I already felt beyond happy. There’s just nothing like it. I never knew that this could be so fulfilling and exhilarating. We swam and chased them, were about to touch them and even played with them when they swam circles around us. I’m truly struggling to find the right words to describe this but there are simply none.
We swam until our arms were aching and we barely managed to climb back into our boat. Utterly exhausted but much too happy to care.

In the afternoon things got… I cannot say better, but just as great. We went to a small riding facility where I could fulfill one of my biggest dreams: go for a ride on the beach.

But not only this, it was also a sunset ride and low tide, making it possible for us to canter through the shallow waters. The salty water that was splashed up to my face, the mild breeze, the wind playing with my hair and the smile that was permanently etched into my face are all things I will never, ever forget. I feel so blessed. So incredibly lucky and my heart is so full it’s about to burst.

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Summer / Travel Essentials: Safari Style

Summer / Travel Essentials: Safari Style
1. Tommy Panama Straw Fedora by Nordstrom | 2. T-Shirt by Les Pommettes | 3. Breton Stripe Top by Witchery | 4. Bean Boots by L.L. Bean | 5. Beige Pu Shorts by River Island | 6. Wayfarer Sunglasses by Ray-Ban | 7. Safari Canvas Camera Bag by Cameraleatherbelt on Etsy.

Travel Stories: Thailand presentation!

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[Thailand 2004]

This is a friendly reminder that tomorrow (Thursday May 9th) I’ll hold a presentation on how to travel safely and smoothly through Thailand.
Please join us if you’re interested! More info here (you have to give prior notice).

Also, the presentation will be held in German. I thought maybe I should mention that ;)

The presentation will not substitute a travel guide but is more about giving background information about the country, mentality, religion. It tells our own travel stories, things we did that you probably shouldn’t do (like crash a funeral), stories to make you learn from our mistakes, stories about how to have fun but still be conscious about a different country and culture.

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[Thailand 2010]