What Country Do We Want To Visit The Most?

Iain

When thinking about this question I can see that my answer has changed over time, when I was younger I couldn’t see past visiting or living in America, influenced by visits from my family who had made the move.

Then as I got older Europe appealed to me more. I have had the opportunity to visit quite a few European countries now and they each have their own appeal. My favourite European destination is Italy and specifically Florence – we visited here on our honeymoon and had an amazing time.

To answer the question – If I had to pick a country to visit now it would be Japan. From reading other peoples blogs and watching Vlogs on the country the culture and lifestyle look so different to how we live in Ireland. After watching Vlogs showing the experience and being an avid seafood lover I also would love to go to a proper Sushi restaurant in Japan one day.

Brianna

I think I struggled with this question more than Iain. I thought about narrowing the world to one spot, and realised it just wasn’t that simple. Did I go with Bora Bora, a part of the world I’ve wanted to go to since I was 12? Or exploring the 50 states of America? What about Japan, like Iain mentioned, or India, Cuba and Switzerland? How am I even meant to pick a continent, Let alone a country!

In the end, I’ve chosen somewhere we’ve been to before – Italy. We spent two weeks in Italy for our honeymoon, but I just feel like there’s so much more to see. We barely scratched the surface of Rome, and I’ve wanted to go back to Florence since we left. I want to explore the Amalfi coast, rent a villa in the Tuscan hills, walk through the streets Milan and check out Lake Garda. The food and drink, the wealth of history, and the quintessential Mediterranean laid back attitude draw me in. As a history lover, foodie and warm weather seeker, it’s pretty much my ideal location.

Where would you love to explore next? Let us know in the comments below.

Until then, stay safe and keep planning the next adventure!

Brianna and Iain

Our First Cruise

Facebook and Google photos were both kind enough to remind us last week of the fact that this time last year we were sailing around the Mediterranean on Celebrity Constellation. Since we can’t be there now, we thought we’d take the chance to tell you about our experience on our first cruise.

We first got into the idea of going on a cruise around 3 years ago. Brianna’s parents are big fan of cruising, and the four of us would spend hours talking about their past adventures and experiences on board. After a few years of chats, watching travel vlogs on cruises, and scouring cruise ship websites, we decided to take the plunge and book our own cruise. We decided to go with Celebrity, as they had been highly recommended. We browsed the website, found the itinerary for us and booked our 9 night adventure aboard the Celebrity Constellation. The only thing left to do was begin the countdown.

We were setting sail from Venice, and opted to fly out to Italy the day before. We preferred to arrive a day early, as it meant we weren’t rushing around airports the day of sailing. We arrived to Venice quite late in the evening, so we chose to stay at an airport hotel, rather than paying for one in Venice itself, as we only needed somewhere to put our heads and grab a shower.

The excitement in our room the next morning was palpable – neither one of us are morning people, but we had no problem getting out of bed that morning! We got dressed, jumped in a taxi and made our way to the cruise terminal. There’s nothing like that moment when you first see your ship sitting waiting for you to board. We couldn’t wait to get through security and start our adventure. So much so that we had a major hiccup that ended up putting us boarding back a few hours, and caused a good amount of panic between the two of us.

One of the requirements for security is to have your passport ready as a form of identification. A simple enough requirement. The only problem was that Iain had 2 passports with him, and Brianna had one, and all three are burgundy in colour. That morning when we were getting ready to leave we foolishly threw 2 into a backpack, and the third into a suitcase, without thinking to check them. Fast forward to the terminal and we were eagerly handing our cases over to the staff so we could go check in. But then disaster hit when we were asked for our passports. The realisation hit as soon as we pulled them out of the backpack that something was wrong. Both passports belonged to Iain! We quickly explained our predicament to the member of staff at check-in and took off to where our cases had been dropped off. It was too late though – they had been placed on a conveyor belt and were now probably in a room full of thousands of suitcases.

The realisation quickly dawned on us that Brianna wouldn’t be able to board the ship without a passport, and our stomachs plummeted to the floor. A few members of staff obviously noticed our visible distress, and set about trying to find a way around the problem. Eventually they tracked down someone who could retrieve our suitcases. It was a long, anxious wait, made worse by watching people happily check in and head for the ship, but eventually we saw him enter with our cases – we can’t remember the last time we were so happy to see someone with luggage. Needless to say we couldn’t thank him enough. Finally we were able to check in. After a quick wait, we were through the security and walking towards the ship, passes in hand.

Greeted by a glass of cold fizz, we were buzzing with excitement and relief as we stood in awe in the foyer. How could this be a ship? It was more like a building, like the reception of a grand hotel. As we sipped our champagne we took it all in, unable to believe this was our home for the next 9 nights. Now the adventure could really begin.

Drinks onboard

The next 9 nights were without a doubt the best holiday we’ve ever experienced, both together and separately. By the end of the first night we were sitting at the Sunset Bar on the phone to Brianna’s parents exclaiming that we were already planning our next cruise. Everything about it was amazing. The food, both in the buffet and the main restaurant were among the best we’ve had. Celebrity are supposedly known for good food, and it didn’t disappoint. Night after night the dinners had our mouths watering, and exercising self-control at the lunch time buffet was pretty much impossible. And the drinks! We’d opted for an alcoholic drinks package. Let’s just say that once you get to know the bar staff you’re never long without one.

And that brings us on to the next thing – the staff. Easily the best staff we’ve ever met. They couldn’t do enough for everyone, constantly bending over backwards to make sure every passenger on board was enjoying themselves, and smiling the whole time. We honestly don’t know how they did it. There were staff we’d see working on the buffet during the day, and then waiting tables in the evening. They just didn’t seem to stop.

We found the entertainment on board to be better than we were expecting. We went to the show nearly every night, and always had a great time. There was a Motown night which was so good we ended up seeing it twice, and a hypnotist who had the entire audience doubled over in laughter as he made members of the audience unknowingly make fools of themselves. We also went to an Abba night, and best of all a silent disco. If you’ve never been to one, we highly recommend it. Hours of fun, both with headphones and without.

Finally, the stops. We were on cruise sailing from Venice into Barcelona. We stopped in Croatia, first in Zadar and then in Dubrovnik. It was our first time in Croatia, and we’ll definitely be going back one day. Next it was on to Sicily, then Malta. Round to Majorca, up to Valencia, before finally arriving in Barcelona, wrapped up with 2 days at sea. We chose to do our own thing in each spot, rather than book excursions. We tended to spend the mornings exploring the destinations, and then take the afternoon to enjoy the ship. In the end, even though we loved all our stops, it was our time on the ship that we enjoyed the most. We loved chilling out on our balcony, or standing at the aft of the ship watching the water churn up. And nothing beats a sunset at sea.

Sunrise in Valletta

When the time arrived for us to disembark in Barcelona we were filled with a bittersweet feeling. The past week and half had been amazing. We did end up booking another cruise while we were on board. Sadly though it’s been cancelled due to Covid. So, the only thing to do now is to start planning another one!

If you’re on the fence about booking a cruise – do it! They’re 100% worth the money. Where else can you have unlimited food and drink, great entertainment, first class service and wake up somewhere new every day? We can’t wait until we’re back on board.

views from The Sunset Bar

Until then, stay safe and keep planning the next adventure!

Brianna and Iain

Our Honeymoon

It’s almost the weekend again and after a very busy week at work we were reminiscing about our Honeymoon! Two years ago we decided to go to Italy for our honeymoon. We spent two weeks there which allowed us to visit Rome, Florence and Venice – a dream trip for us.

At this stage we weren’t earning a huge amount of money. One of us was a student working part time for a charity, and the other working in their first office job, so we had to save and plan carefully to make sure it was special but also budget friendly – we always say this stage in our life helped us realize the value of money.

To find our flights we always use Skyscanner, this website is brilliant for finding the cheapest option and we regularly use it when we have a bit of time off but haven’t booked anything to find the best deals.

For accommodation on this trip we used Airbnb, this was our first time ever using this platform for holiday accommodation. We found it really easy to navigate the website to book our ideal home from home and all of our hosts were great. We stayed in apartments in all three cities near the tourist hot spots and they were all clean and comfortable! Check out our comparison on Hotels Versus Airbnb!

To get between the three cities we took trains. We booked these a few months in advance which allowed us to get a really good rate. We were a bit nervous about travelling across a country we didn’t know by train but we found the trains in Italy to be really easy to navigate and comfortable to use.

We are going to write a short piece on each of our stops during our honeymoon trip over the next few weeks and hopefully get the chance to finish our Causeway Coast series!

Until then stay safe and keep planning the next adventure!

Brianna and Iain.