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Entries about rain

Day Trip to Tescos

Day Trip to Wales - Wye Valley

rain 6 °C
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As Coronavirus has hit it's meant many of the plans for 2020 have gone out the window. For us this not only meant major things like our wedding, stag dos and honeymoon, but also other trips and breaks we had planned. As we try to make something of the year by doing new things we wouldn't have done otherwise as the lockdown eases, let me take you back to that week in March where everything went crazy and we had no idea what would happen from one day to the next.

So originally, we had planned ourselves a (somewhat) last minute trip to Egypt. This was already a Plan C, as we had originally been planning to go to the Caucasus before Turkey back in September, however my health problems peaked and we had to cancel the week and only got to do the second half of the holiday.

I cancelled my annual leave for the week and decided we'd reuse it later in the year when I'd (hopefully) feel a bit better. During the Autumn we had thought about booking a last minute trip away, and having wanted to try and enjoy a bit of sun we had looked at going to Mexico. We had found some good deals in Cancun, however just before we decided to settle some dates Thomas Cook went bust and all other operator's prices shot up making this a pretty poor deal.

Instead we decided to go away in mid-March, and seeking somewhere that would be warm, whilst still being interesting we settled on Egypt. We had a plan to visit the pyramids, Luxor and Abu Simbel, which was all going swimmingly until just a week or so before, when the threat of Coronavirus came.

As most people, in hindsight we had been rather delusional thinking it wouldn't cause too much of an effect and we'd probably be fine. However the closer it got to the trip the more things escalated. We had already packed our bits and were ready to jet off just a few days later when it became clear we wouldn't be back before lockdowns would start.

Just two days before we were due to fly we made the decision to cancel our trip and were able to turn this into a open ticket which we could use sometime later in the year when things settled down.

It is a good job we had cancelled, as five days into to the trip, and two days before we would have flown back, all international flights out of Egypt were stopped, and we would not have been able to fly home as planned anyway.

Having been the second holiday in six months we had had to cancel, it didn't feel as gutting as the first, however I still had the week off to take as this was my carryover and needed using by the end of the month. We decided to take the week off as planned anyway, and use it for something useful. We started the week by repainting our bathroom.

Knowing a lockdown was coming we also wanted to try and squeeze one last holiday in whilst we could, and so quickly researched a two day trip to Pembrokeshire in Wales, which we booked the night before we left after checking no new regulations had come in.

The following morning we left the house and started making our way to the Severn Bridge. We headed off towards Swindon, however not long after leaving, the stress of the whole situation started to get to us and we started to wonder if we had caught Coronavirus ourselves.

We continued driving to see if we'd feel a bit better, and not long later we crossed the River Severn and stopped in Chepstow on the English-Welsh border. It was raining and after popping inside the town's Tesco we ate some lunch in the rainy car park before continuing north up the Wye Valley.

Tintern Abbey

Tintern Abbey

We drove past the beautiful Tintern Abbey en route to Monmouth, where after arriving, we took a quick (rainy) walk around the centre of the small historic town before heading back to the car. By now we had to make a decision, do we continue towards Pembrokeshire or turn back and head home?

Monnow Bridge, Monmouth

Monnow Bridge, Monmouth

Sadly, we decided to turn back as we really didn't feel great and weren't sure if we were up to continuing. Abruptly ending our trip, and cancelling our third holiday we drove back home where we arrived by early evening.

It turned out we didn't have Coronavirus at the time but we simply didn't know. A few days later the lockdown came into force and with it, all our plans for the year went out the window.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 03:18 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged rain wye Comments (0)

A Visit to the Vatican

Rome 2019 - Vatican City

sunny 36 °C
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Our next holiday this year was to Rome, my second time in the city after having previously visited after New Year in 2015. This time however it would be much hotter - by about 30˚C.

My cousin and aunt from New Zealand were also going to be in Rome at the same time, so after checking our plans we decided to head out on the same flight as my aunt, to be there at same time.

After working on Friday morning, we headed up to the airport and met up with my aunt just before security. Heading through and into the departure lounge we had a catch up after having not seen each other for three years.

The weather at home during this weekend was abysmal, and after sitting down in one of the restaurants, where we were joined by my sister who works up the airport and was on her break, we could see (or rather not see) the sheer level of rain hitting the roof window from outside. It was so heavy for so long that eventually one of the seals broke and the water started gushing in like an indoor waterfall. The people sat by the window themselves had to run to escape, leaving their belongings to get soaked, including one woman's entire dinner.

Flooded Airport

Flooded Airport

As we moved away due to the floor flooding, my sister called security to advise them, but they weren't interested - turns out this was by far the only place that had flooded and the whole airport was full of water. Not long after the water had broken through, the rainstorm had ended and the sun was shining again- however the sheer level of water that had entered meant it was going to take a long time to clean up. We could now see just how much rain there had been, as our view that had previously been blocked by water was now clear to see a plane at one of the gates surrounded by fire engines as it's cockpit was on fire! What an experience today!

By the time we were boarding the rain had ended and there were no problems, we took off as planned and arrived in Rome's airport a few hours later after having had a nice catch up on the journey over. Using the EU queue at immigration for what might be our last time, we headed for the train station to make our way to our hotel. Saying goodbye to my aunt until the following day in the city we finally arrived at our hotel just before midnight and after quickly settling in, headed to sleep before our next four days in the city.

Our first full day was spent at the Vatican. After breakfast we made our way to the Vatican Museums, waiting outside for my aunt and my cousin to join us. We spent the trip around the museum catching up with my cousin, who is travelling around Europe and who I hadn't seen since 2016.

Vatican Gardens

Vatican Gardens

Starting with the view of the dome and gardens we eventually made it to the highlight of the trip, the Sistine Chapel. After viewing the famous painting by Michelangelo, we headed through the secret entrance for tour groups only, luckily not being stopped and made our way directly to St. Peter's Basilica, saving us 2 hours and a wait in the hot midday sun.

Before entering the cathedral itself we made a trip up to the roof and dome. Getting the lift up, we entered around the inside rim of the dome looking down over the altar.

Inside the Dome

Inside the Dome


Walking up the dome

Walking up the dome

We then climbed up the dome itself, which at times felt like a fairground ride with slanted walls. Little did we realise at the time this is the tallest dome in the world and still meant another 231 steps after taking the lift! Nevertheless at the top the views were stunning and absolutely worth it.

Views from the top of the dome

Views from the top of the dome

After taking in the views, we headed back down to the roof before taking the lift down into the cathedral itself to explore.

Inside the Cathedral

Inside the Cathedral

We then made our way out of the cathedral and into St. Peter's Square crossing the border back into Italy.

St. Peter's Square

St. Peter's Square

By now it was early afternoon so we headed to a nearby restaurant for some food, which we followed afterwards with gelato. Having now seen the Vatican, and with three more days to explore the city, we left my aunt and cousin and headed back to the hotel via the supermarket to chill for the rest of the day.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 08:30 Archived in Vatican City Tagged rain church airport city cathedral plane border christianity Comments (4)

The Viennese Wetz

Vienna

all seasons in one day 26 °C
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Less than a month after having visited Salzburg, Chris and I were heading back to Austria, and this time to the capital - Vienna. Although I had been to Austria three times previously, this was the first time I would be actually flying in, as all previous times had been en route via a neighbouring country.

After taking an early morning flight, we arrived in Vienna mid morning, and made our way to our hotel, where we hoped to be able to check in early, or at least leave our bags before exploring.

Upon arrival our room was being cleaned, and so we waited for ten minutes, whilst being offered a complimentary drink, despite being two hours before official check in - brilliant customer service!

With the weather at home being terrible (rarely above 20C, despite it being the middle of summer), the hot and sunny 35C Vienna was welcome. However as a storm was to hit tomorrow, this would be our only day with these kind of temperatures, and so we made the most of it going out in shorts. Did we need a raincoat? Not today we didn't!

We headed over to the Schönbrunn, where our first sight was the zoo, where one year old pandas and koalas lived - something unique! Beginning with the panda talk, it became clear that for many of the animals the prolonged heat had worn them out.

Panda Cub

Panda Cub

As we toured the zoo the clouds started to darken and noises could be heard. Hoping it was just lorries, it soon became clear this was impending thunder. Hoping we could avoid it was too much to ask, and as we were almost done in the zoo we headed up a wooded hill when the heavens opened. Without raincoats or umbrellas we ran from tree to tree to avoid the rain, before entering a farm animal building along with many other visitors who had the same problem as us.

After hanging about for 10 minutes, the rain looked like it had eased a little and so we decided to carry on anyway - we were far from the metro station and still had a few things to see.

Gloriette

Gloriette

Leaving the zoo we entered the Schönbrunn Palace Gardens and ran between the trees viewing the Gloriette before heading down towards the Palace building itself. Even in the rain it was pretty but it was a shame the rain prevented us from spending more time enjoying the area.

Schönbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace

After having taken photos between the trees and under what little shelter we could find, we headed back towards the metro station as the rain stopped - typical!

Having grabbed food we headed back to the hotel where we could dry off and have a good night's sleep after the busy long day. However not long after we had fallen asleep, the bulk of the storm arrived and in the midst of over thirty flashes of lightning we went off back to sleep.

As the storm had arrived early, it did mean that the following day would be almost entirely dry, despite being over 10C cooler. After having had breakfast, we headed into the city centre to view the old city.

St. Stephen's Cathedral

St. Stephen's Cathedral

Beginning with the St. Stephen's Cathedral, we then headed via many souvenir shops to the Hofburg Palace, the Royal Palace and where the Spanish Riding School is based.

Hofburg

Hofburg

By now we had made it to the Ringstraße, the ring road where some of the grandest and most important city buildings are located. Beginning at the Burgtheater, we crossed the ring outside the City Hall, where the Vienna Film Festival is held.

City Hall

City Hall

Walking around the building, we then went past the Parliament building and headed down to the Museum Quarter and the Maria Theresa Square, where many of the buildings were in the same style.

Charles Church

Charles Church

We then diverged from the ring road and made our way to the Charles Church, before arriving at our last destination in the city centre - the Heroes' Monument. This monument, a Russian language Soviet War Memorial was completely out of place in the imperial city, but highlighted the mid 20th century reality of this Central European city.

Soviet War Memorial

Soviet War Memorial

Having seen the sights of the city centre, we headed back to the hotel for a rest before we went for an evening walk to the Danube, not far from our hotel, where we could see the UN buildings over the mighty river.

The Viennese Danube

The Viennese Danube


The Prater

The Prater

Heading back our last sight was the Prater, where we would grab dinner in the Rollercoaster Restaurant and tour the amusement park.

Rollercoaster Restaurant

Rollercoaster Restaurant

After a busy day we went back to the hotel and chilled before our final full day tomorrow in Bratislava.

Vienna, like all the other Central European capitals of Prague and Budapest is very grand and has beautiful buildings. However despite it being on the Danube, the river flows on the outskirts of the city and with very little hills I personally prefer the others, who also have the river, bridges and hills to see, whereas the focus on Vienna is simply it's grand buildings. Nevertheless it's a beautiful city, and was a lovely place to visit.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 11:13 Archived in Austria Tagged rain architecture culture palace zoo city parliament vienna&bratislava Comments (0)

A Completely Different Land

Canada - Montreal

all seasons in one day 20 °C
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Having spent five days in English speaking Ontario, we were now headed for our final destination, the capital of the French speaking Quebec - Montreal.

I was interested to see just how different it would be. For all, this is still the same country. However upon arrival it became clear the answer was 'very'. Although still having maple leaves everywhere, Montreal felt much more modern, and there was a big drop in the amount of English available. Whilst people seemed to understand it and we were able to get buy, this felt very different, as well as there being a marked increase in the amount of regional flags.

In the run up to the holiday the weather looked abysmal, and so we were braced for some atrocious weather. Up to this point we had been very lucky, however as we emerged from the metro station to walk around the corner to our hotel, the heavens had opened and it was pouring down. Worse still, this particular point was a wind tunnel and we spent the few minutes in the open getting drenched. Worse still, as we checked in the rain stopped, and we realised a short wait could have kept us dry....

Never mind, it had now stopped, and to make the most of what was now a sunny warm day we quickly left to take a walk up Mont Royal, for views over the city which we would explore fully the next day. Walking up some steep slopes, we eventually made it to the entry of the park, where more steep slopes lay before us.

The view from Mont Royal

The view from Mont Royal

Eventually however, we reached the top, and although we weren't sure exactly what we were looking at, the view from the hill over the city was still nice. We then headed back down and towards food and bed.

The following morning we made the most of our last lay in, before leaving the bags at the hotel to explore the city. Beginning with Canada Place, with views over the neighbouring tower blocks and cathedral, we entered a nearby building and made our way into the Underground City - a network of interconnecting tunnels that link many of the buildings together without needing to access the open air - ideal in the freezing Canadian winter.

Hotel de Ville

Hotel de Ville

Eventually emerging at the Palace of Congress, we were by now in the heart of Old Montreal, and after walking through Place d'Armes we saw the Notre Dame Cathedral and bought souvenirs in some of the shops before we reached the heart of the Old City.

The Old City

The Old City

Carrying on down, we made it to the promenade on the St. Lawrence River, walking along the jetties before making our way to the Metro Station.

1976 Olympic Park

1976 Olympic Park

Our next sight was the Olympic Park, where the 1976 Olympic Games were held. Unfortunately the park hasn't had much love since then and a lot of the concrete has started to crumble. Nevertheless it was an interesting sight.

The Biosphere

The Biosphere

We then headed back towards the centre, and back out to the islands in the middle of the city. Getting off at the metro station, we then headed towards the Biosphere before walking around the island and heading back to the city.

And this is pretty much where the holiday ends. After grabbing our bags we made our way to the airport in plenty of time for our six hour overnight flight back home.

Canada was a nice place to visit, and it was particularly interesting to see both the English and French sides. Of the two major cities, I think I preferred Montreal but they were both nice, as was everything else we saw. Unlike America the people are very courteous and friendly, however it lacks the culture of Europe and Asia. Nevertheless it was worth the travel to see it all.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 12:09 Archived in Canada Tagged rain history montreal quebec city island sun hill olympic Comments (0)

"I love rain, it reminds me of home"

German Adventures - Worpswede


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Hey guys!

Hope you enjoyed the Jubilee Weekend! I managed to see most of it whilst I was here, and it looked great, even if it did make me a little homesick - although its only two months until I'm back properly, and a month today until my weekend at home! As before, the weather is generally the same as at home, just slightly warmer, and so yes, we have also had plenty of rain (the most I've ever seen here) which came as a bit of relief at first after the sunbathing weather of two weeks ago. At first I was so pleased to be reminded of home, that I announced during my German class that I actually quite like rain, as it reminds me of home - to which they all laughed! It also let me use my Union Jack umbrella, so there are some good sides too.

Rain!

Rain!

Today me and 3 of my friends who also take my course went on a trip (not by our own willing, I care to admit) to the artist village of Worpswede, to the north of Bremen. This was to measure the place's sustainabilty - by which we walked around looking at the village, and then spoke with a woman from Tourist Information. I think had it been a nice sunny hot day like two weeks ago it would have been a great day out - however trapsing round an artyfarty village in the rain is not quite so great. Although it we made the best of it, and it was a nice day out! This month I have 5 presentations, which of course includes one on Climate Change (I've produced so much information about its role in the tourism industry, I literally need to copy and paste 99% of it!), and another that I only found out about on Friday afternoon, due in for Saturday morning - What better way of spending an Erasmus Friday night!?!

Worpswede

Worpswede

So with all the work to do, as well as miserable weather outside, it has been quite depressive and boring (or so I keep telling myself) - this all culminated in last night's fiasco, when I decided to cut my own hair, which in hindsight it probably would have been better not to have done. Although after completing most of it myself and then getting the rest tidied up by my new flatmate (yes Halina, you have been replaced), I kind of like it! (April's hat is still in the cupboard to be reused if necessary.

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Germany Tagged art rain uni erasmus Comments (0)

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