A weekend in Amsterdam

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Back in 2013 we took a trip to Amsterdam to celebrate my birthday and I’ve been a bit obsessed with it ever since. It was the first city abroad that I could see myself living, full of canals, cheese, beer and history. What more could you want!?

You can also see from the quality of the pictures that we have made some serious improvements to the camera kit over the last couple of years!!!

We only had a couple of days so wanted to hit up some of the most well known sites, I haven’t included everything here mainly because at the time I was rubbish at taking notes but here are some of my must see’s!!

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Honister Via Ferrata, Galleny Force and the Stone Circle

Catch up on days 1, 2 & 3!

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Our last day in the lakes was to be spent doing something neither of us had done before. We had previously tried and failed whilst in Canada so knew it was time. I am of course talking about the Honister Mine Via Ferrata.

A via ferrata translates as iron road and originate from the alps. Simply put it is a steel cable which runs along a mountain route to allow climbers to clip on to reduce the danger of falling. There can be steel cables, pegs and ladders which can make it exciting yet easier for non-climbers to traverse peaks.

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The land of Beatrix Potter

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After a lovely first day our second real day in the lakes also happened to be Easter Sunday. As expected it was raining which did scupper our plans slightly as we would have loved to have attempted to climb Scafell Pike (highest mountain in England.) It just wasn’t meant to be this time round, still, it’s a great reason to head northwards again in the future.

After a leisurely breakfast we hopped in the car for the short drive to Hilltop Farm – home to the one and only Beatrix Potter. Along with writing children’s books, most famously Peter Rabbit, she was also a firm believer in the countryside and brought up a lot of the Lake District area. When she died this was handed over to the National Trust. 

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The Lake District – Coniston Water

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Our first day in the lakes began with a 7.5 hour drive from the south of England to the north. Top tip, it’s true what they say about traffic in the UK on a bank holiday, horrendous. Avoid at all costs.

Still, we made it to our destination of Coniston late afternoon so had time to grab some supplies from the local shop and check into the cottage. The cottage was lovely – decorated in a country style. One bedroom two floor space with a lounge/kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. It was located on a main road and the minute you step out of it you are on the road but it was manageable.

We could park opposite the cottage and walk into two via an abandoned railway line so a good location too! We booked this through Airbnb and I would recommend staying here!

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Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour, bookshops and performers

As part of my Christmas present my in-laws got me a Gin Parlour Experience in London which involved drinking gin. Which everyone knows is one of my favourite activities. As it involved gin we needed to stay in London which meant we were going to make a weekend of it! I’ve written about our day at London Zoo so here is a round-up of the rest of our time.

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Given that gin was the order of the day I was very excited!

Before we got to the zoo we headed to a bookshop I’d read about that specialised in travel literature. The Marylebone store of Daunt Books was the closest to the zoo, I was glad we made the trip. It actually ended up being the first of two travel bookshops we stopped at but it was the prettier of the two. Filled from top to bottom with travel books, new and second hand it was a travellers paradise.

DSC_0007DSC_0009My dream one day is to have a huge travel book collection but today neither of us wanted to carry anything heavy so reluctantly we left without our body weight in books.

To get to the zoo we walked by through Regent’s Park which was lovely, if not a little covered in Saturday morning runners!

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London Zoo!

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As part of my Christmas present my in-laws got me a Gin Parlour Experience in London which involved drinking gin. Which everyone knows is one of my favourite activities. As it involved gin we needed to stay in London which meant we were going to make a weekend of it! More on the Gin Experience and our weekend in general to follow but I decided to put a whole post together on London Zoo!

I love going to zoos, I enjoy seeing the animals but more so I enjoy hearing about the different conservation efforts. We were blown away by Vancouver Aquarium and hadn’t been anywhere since so I had high expectations.

London Zoo is set in the north of Regents Park in Central London, a 10 minute walk from Camden Town. Entrance to the zoo is expensive…like £30 per adult ticket expensive. However! If you travel to London by train and have a ticket (or the reservation coupon) plus a downloaded voucher from 241 London241 London you can get in 241! Which if you’re as good at maths as me meant we only paid half price! Bonus!!!!

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Sweden Day 7 & 8 – Our Last Days in Sweden

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Day 7 – our last real day 

Our last full day in Sweden was spent much like the previous day with relaxation, beer and an open fire. We had a late breakfast and did some packing before heading out for some cross country skiing around lunch time.

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I had never been cross country skiing – or normal downhill skiing for that matter – so I was a little apprehensive to say the least. I shouldn’t have worried too much as it was so enjoyable.

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The guide we had was great, after kitting up he took us to a flat patch of ground so we could get used to being on the skis. They are different to downhill ski’s as only your toe’s are connected, which I quite liked but I imagine it’s odd if you’re used to normal skiing.

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Sweden Day 6 – Lazy Days and Sky Stations

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Our next two days in Sweden were pretty low key. We spent most of our time curled up in the hotel lounge by the fire with books, hot chocolate and more beer. It was pure bliss if I’m honest. Sure I am up for seeing as much as possible while you’re away but sometimes it is just as good and rewarding to sit down, look out of the window and just while the hours away.

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Sunrise is late this far north. This was about 9:30am 

The hotel lounge was also super cosy which made it very difficult to pull yourself away. We did however decide it was a good idea to take the short walk up to the hotel’s Aurora viewing platform. It was a struggle to get there to say the least. The “walk” took us up a very steep path to the top of the hill in deep snow.

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