Our day started with a travel let down and ended with a whiskey in a castle. What more could you want from a day on the emerald isle?
As ever with travel there are circumstances and places that you go to where you think what on earth were people thinking when they recommend this place. We felt that way about Kinsale. Perhaps a bit harshly but I just couldn’t see what all the fuss was about.
Kinsale is well known for being a colourful small town with photogenic houses and a pretty harbour. The harbour was indeed pretty and there were colourful houses but I didn’t get that feeling I get when I go somewhere I love.
Our first morning in Cork started with us both being extremely tired. Although the B&B we were staying in was the right amount of well kept, homely and quirky it was INCREDIBLY hot.
It forever became known as the sauna hotel.
Our room was right at the top of the building and I suspect was suffering from rising heat and an unseasonably warm week.
Despite this we were ready to go with breakfast firmly on our minds. I’d read a lot about the English Market and specifically the Farmgate Cafe. There has been a market on that site since 1788 although it did suffer a fire in 1980. Luckily it has been well restored and today houses loads of market stalls for you to wander around.
After spending a great few days in Dublin we were ready to head out into the Irish countryside. I love nothing more than setting out on a road trip to see more of a country, although sometimes stressful I’ll opt for a road trip whenever I can.
Our first intended location was the town of Kilkenny which is a couple of hours outside of Dublin. The driving was pretty uneventful but I’ve read that many visitors who are used to driving on the right hand side of the road find left hand driving daunting. For someone who has grown up driving on the left but spent many hours driving on the right I can understand why. The left does seem to be a bit more complicated but you should get the hang of it pretty quickly…oh until you get to a roundabout that is!
Kilkenny is on the banks of the River Nore and has some key attractions, St Canice’s Cathedral and the unmissable Kilkenny Castle. The town itself is easy to get around so once you’ve parked up you can spend the rest of the day wandering round on foot.
After an action packed first day in Dublin our second day was a little more sedate, plus it was Stuart’s birthday so an excuse for some celebrating!
Our morning began much like many mornings in Ireland, with an Irish breakfast. We wanted to head back to Tang but it was shut, today we were lucky enough to get a table at Beanhive.
The breakfast was tasty and the weather blissful. After we filled up on food and coffee we began our walk towards the river.
On the way we stopped at The Whisky Museum which is right across the road from Trinity College. Interestingly you cannot serve alcohol before 12:30pm in Ireland – imagine that! No champagne with brunch!!!!
As a lover of maximising my time in a destination we opted to fly from London to Dublin late Friday night to be ready to begin our week long Irish trip on Saturday morning. That plan worked perfectly apart from the fact our hotel (as gorgeous as it was) basically became a night club on a Friday and Saturday night.
We woke a little tired but ready to get going. Of course, first up was some food as exploring on an empty stomach is never a good idea. TripAdvisors number one place for breakfast was a small place called The Beanhive which was a short walk from our hotel through St Stephen’s Green. When we arrived it was packed, luckily for us just across the road was a place called Tang.
It was a very instagram friendly place with wooden benches outside and an open kitchen inside. We opted for two different versions of avocado on toast. One with toast and one with a sweet potato rosti. They were both excellent and we were a very disappointed the next day when we returned to find it shut!
Cuba is overwhelming, it is a culture shock for those of us who live in the UK, they speak a foreign language and the weather in warm. All in all after 2 weeks of on the go travel we knew we would need a rest. We went to an all inclusive resort in Mexico for our honeymoon so thought we would give it another go.
Varadero is renowned for being the all inclusive centre of Cuba. It’s not far from Havana and is set up on its own little spit away from the rest of Cuba. We were a little dubious that the American orientated resorts wouldn’t be what we were looking for but for 3 days what was the harm!
We opted for a bungalow rather than being in a hotel block, which had its advantages as it gave us more space and somewhere to relax if we’d had enough of people but it was a little walk (or golf cart) away from the main areas.
If you’re looking for some pizza or Italian food then head to Giroud. Great little place with interesting interiors and hanging tables. The menu is written on a blackboard on one wall and they quite often have live music.
We opted for a couple of pizzas while we were there, they were pretty good (obviously not Italian standard) but the cocktails left much to be desired.
Part of Trinidad’s charm is that it’s a small city that has plenty of roads to wander, parks to sit in and architecture to admire. It also has its fair share of museums and things to do but if I’m honest my favourite thing was just sitting and watching the world go by.
I feel head over heels for Trinidad. We spent a good few days here so got to know it’s streets and it’s quirks more than the other places we had visited.
National Museum of the Fight Against Bandits
This museum is recognised more for it’s iconic tower that dominates the skyline as its highest viewpoint.
The museum itself does have some interesting exhibits around Cuba’s history with revolutions, in particular the events in the mountains between 1959 and 1965. The tower is what you want to go for though. Climb to the top and get some incredible views over the city.
I have to remember that comfort zones are there to be stood outside of. Becoming braver has enabled me to see the world. I still panic, I still have anxiety and at least one meltdown per trip BUT without that I wouldn’t feel the highs.