Travel

Madrid

I recently visited the beautiful city of Madrid for three nights. I stayed at the Dear, Hotel which is located at the end of Gran Via, one of the cities most important shopping areas. Gran Via is also known as the Broadway of Spain with many movie theatres based in this area.

Firstly, my whole experience at the Dear Hotel was top class. Everything is done to perfection and guests are definitely treated to luxury for their entire stay. The 14th floor boasts a large roof top area with a restaurant and bar, pool and outstanding views of the whole city.

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Dear Hotel is on the right
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City views from Dear Hotel
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Dear Hotel

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Plaza de España from Dear Hotel

 

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Sunset

The Palace is about 7 minutes walk from Dear Hotel and is spectacular! Its €11 admission per adult and between 6pm-8pm they do free admission. There is a great buzz around the area and the views are insane.

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We decided to buy a two day pass for the hop on hop off bus tour. It was €24 each for the two days which was amazing. We saw everything we wanted and the bus was so convenient, I don’t think we waited more than 5 minutes for a bus on either of the two routes.

One of our favourite places was Parque del Buen Retiro and is one of the largest parks of the city of Madrid at 1.4kms. It consists of many sculptures and monuments, galleries, and a lake with small row boats which are €6 each. There are also small restaurants around every corner.

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El Retiro Jardines del Buen Retiro de Madrid
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El Retiro Jardines del Buen Retiro de Madrid
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El Retiro Jardines del Buen Retiro de Madrid

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After visiting Parque El Retiro we got off the bus at Puerta del Sol. Its a large square which is just buzzing with acts, dancers, singers, shops and bars. The area is really nice and only about a 20 minute walk from Gran Via and the Palace.

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A square just off Puerta del Sol
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The streets of Puerta del Sol

A highlight for my boyfriend was definitely our visit to the Santiago Bernabéu, home of the football club Real Madrid. Route two of the bus goes here and we got tour tickets for €24 each. The tour lasted about an hour and a half and was really something else. We got a panoramic view of the stadium from the very top (I’m not scared of heights at all but I did get a bit wobbly up that high haha) we saw the changing rooms, got a history of the club, all of the cups and trophy’s, walked on the pitch and got lots of photos.

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Santiago Bernabéu
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Santiago Bernabéu
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Santiago Bernabéu

Templo de Debod was wonderful. Its is an ancient Egyptian Temple that was dismantled and rebuilt in Madrid. Its literally 10 minutes walk from Dear Hotel/Gran Via and so worth the walk around. The views over the city are also incredible from here. Its so peaceful and relaxing to stroll around.

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Temple de Debod
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City views from Templo de Debod

We felt that the three days was enough to see all we wanted to in Madrid. I would say that if you don’t have much Spanish to bring a dictionary or phrase book with you. A lot of people won’t speak english but once you even try to speak Spanish they will do their best to help you in English if needed. It was so good to have a go at all the Spanish I’ve learned over the years.

We flew with Aer Lingus, 2 hours over and 2 hours 25 minutes back. The weather was gorgeous for our three days. Coming from Ireland it was a pleasant change in April to sun and blue skies, although at night time it is still chilly in Madrid right now.

Gracias Madrid 🙂

Lisa x

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Travel · Uncategorized

Côte d’Azur

I visited the South of France back in October 2015. It was my first time in France and I was presently surprised by the extraordinary weather for the end of October (27degrees) and so beautiful. I booked a four day city break to Nice. The hotel I stayed in was called the Campanile Nice Centre, check out the reviews on Tripadvisor

The hotel is very central to all Nice has to offer. The old town is no more than 10 minutes walk. The promenade and park (called Promenade du Paillon) are about 15 to 20 minutes walk. The number 98 bus is one block away which takes you to and from the airport for €6 each way. The tram service is great and is €1.50 each time.

There is so much to see and do in Nice. Every corner is just breathtaking and beautiful. The old town both day and night has so much bars, restaurants, shops and churches. The walk around the promenade and up to Castle Hill is lovely.

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Fountain displays in the park
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Castle Hill

 

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View from Castle Hill
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Along the Promenade

 

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Nice Port

We took the tram from the hotel to the train station to travel to Cannes for a day trip which was €7 each way. We also took the public bus (number 100) which leaves from the port to Monaco for 1.50 each way. Amazing scenery along the way (make sure you sit on the right hand side of the bus).

One thing I would say is if you’re not able to speak French, do bring a dictionary with you as a lot of restaurants don’t provide a menu in English. The food was good, a lot of choice but it isn’t cheap.

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View of Monaco
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Monaco Casino
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Cannes
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Cannes

I saw so much in the short four days and I would highly recommend a visit. It’s definitely one of my favourite places I’ve every seen. Just stunning.

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Bye for now Nice!
Travel

Albufeira, Portugal

Where do I start? I’ve been lucky enough to have travelled and got to experience a number of amazing countries so far in my lifetime, but Albufeira is somewhere I can’t stop returning to.

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Based in the Algarve in the south of Portugal, Albufeira has it all. Outstanding beaches, beautiful restaurants, buzzing nightlife and not to mention the glorious Portuguese sunshine. For me its the perfect sun holiday getaway and I have become addicted with all it has to offer.

The first time I visited was back in 2005 with my parents and brother. It wasn’t until 2013 that I returned with my boyfriend and we have been hooked ever since.

Here are a few tips from my experiences

Hotels

I’ve stayed in some cheap and “somewhat” cheerful (if you could call it that) accommodations and also some really lovely places in Albufeira. The area which I have always decided to base myself has been Areias De Sáo Joáo.

  1. Hotel Topazio: Based only 5 minutes walk from the main area called the strip which has bars, restaurants and nightclubs. The beach is 10 minutes downhill (Oura Praia).                13406920_10154195929286308_4281197032517830033_n
  2. Oura Praia Hotel: This is part of the MGM Muthu Hotel chains and is just 5 minutes away from all the hussle and bussle of Albufeira. Depending on which side you stay on at the hotel it can be a little noisy. The staff here are the friendliest and most helpful in the area.
  3.  Vilanova Resort: If on a budget, then this might be the hotel for you. Personally for me, this hotel was very very basic and in need of some refurbishment. Saying that, its much cheaper than other accommodation in the area. Vilanova is located right on the strip and caters for many hen and stag do type holidays.

Things to do / places to eat

My favourite restaurants include La Bamba, Urban Pizza and Costa Rica. In the oldtown there are a number of lovely places along the seaside with breathtaking views.

The Oldtown is gorgeous and is about a 30 minutes leisurely walk from the new town. It consists of narrow, old streets, fishermans beach and bars and shops galore. A taxi between the new and old town starts at about €5 to €7.

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Albufeira is known for its active water sports and there are also so many boat trips which include dolphin sightseeing. Zoo Marine and a number of water parks are definitely worth the day trip too.

If you’re looking to venture further afield while staying in Albufeira, there are a number of ticket offices that sell so many day trips. I’d highly recommend waiting till you arrive to book trips as its so much cheaper than online. Day trips to Lisbon, Seville and Gibraltar can start at as little as €25 return each some weeks. There are half day trips too where you can visit other villages and towns along the Algarve.

Enjoy your time in Albufeira 🙂

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Uncategorized

Invisalign – Clearbraces.ie

Hey Guys,

Just a quick post about my journey with clearbraces.ie! I was always self conscious about my teeth growing up but I never liked the idea of having metal train tracks on my teeth for a few years. It wasn’t until 2012 when I had finished my college degree and was working full time that I saw an ad for Clearbraces. I went for a consultation which confirmed I was a suitable candidate for invisalign. I was so happy!

Invisalign is a virtually invisible method of straightening your teeth. I got impressions taken and within a few weeks I was given my removable see-through aligners. Of course there was a bit of tenderness and pain here and there, but after the first few sets it became second nature. I changed my aligners to a new, tighter set every two weeks which gradually made my teeth become straighter.

The majority of people couldn’t even tell I was wearing braces. It has been one of the best investments I could have made for myself.

If you have been considering straightening your teeth definitely look into clearbraces, you won’t regret it 🙂 Below is a before and after picture! 2 and a half years of treatment.

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BEFORE: The beginning of my treatment
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AFTER
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Who doesn’t want a confident smile 🙂