Girls Trip To Barcelona!

In celebration of the end of A levels and school, three of my good friends and I took a girls trip to Barcelona!

me and my peasants

view from my winderr

We rented an Airbnb that happened to be right opposite Arenas de Barcelona, a shopping centre, and opposite a dog park, which was great for us…spending more money and smelling dog sh-

I actually loved the area we stayed in. There were a lot of cute dogs being walked and beautiful architecture and a lively atmosphere, which I realised later on was actually in basically every area of Barcelona. We also happened to be near many places we were planning on exploring.

 

Wednesday 10th July

Wednesday was the first actual day in Barcelona. First thing we did was head over to the supermarket, about seven minutes from out apartment. The supermarkets were so much open spaced than the ones in London and they had a station where you could make freshly squeezed orange juice (this was in most of the supermarkets I went to there). I also got to speak Spanish to a worker, saying “Donde esta la mantequilla?” which means “Where is the butter?” Call me bilingual.

We bought guacamole, which was the most delicious thing in the whole entire world. I’ve tasted guacamole before but this was a whole other level of taste budgasm.

the sea, in case you couldn’t tell

We decided to go to the beach that day, too, which was about an hour walk. And an interesting walk it was. There were loads of people with blankets on the floor covered in little objects they were selling, including fake designer and branded stuff like Gucci bags and Nike and Adidas sliders, to name a few. And I mean there were A LOT. Whenever the police were in the area, they would pull together the edges of their blanket so it would become a sack and run away with their stuff over their shoulders. There were also A LOT of primarily Indian men selling water and beer and shouting “WATER BEER!” Every now and again they would spice it up and say “WATER BEER VERY NICE VERY BEAUTIFUL!” There were also a lot of promoters, who were offering us a deal to get into clubs and stuff, which worked out to our advantage because we were planning on going clubbing.

It was a great start to the day. Until my goddamn period decided to come without warning. On. The. Beach.

The beach was packed but gorgeous and there were a lot of water beer people and guys selling mojitos and other drinks.

a side street

Heading back home, me and one of my friends decided to take the side streets as a short cut back to our apartment. THEY WERE SO CUTE! There were cute fairy lights hanging from the

buildings and small businesses hidden away. There was some guy sitting on the floor who asked if I wanted “weed cannabis”. It was great! 😀

We managed to get onto La Rambles, a famous street, where I saw a small boy squatting to poo on the pavement.

Finally, we got home and long story short, my phone broke and that was the start to a phone free holiday. (It’s also the reason I haven’t been replying to comments that much or reading through my feed).

 

get in ma belly

We went for dinner at La Botiga, which was on the roof of Arenas de Barclone (the shopping centre). I had seafood paella for the first time! After dinner, we went outside and saw these small blue lights flying in the sky. I suggested that maybe the aliens have finally come but apparently that was a stupid idea and we found out they were actually these little toys that you could fling into the sky and catch. There were a bunch of break dancers, who we watched and when we were leaving them to go see this famous fountain, we saw those guys selling stuff on blankets run away with their sacks behind their backs. One was wearing red so I figured Christmas came early in Barcelona.

The Montjuïc Magic fountain was not on so we went up Filla Barcelona and played with one of the flying lights toys for like half an hour. We climbed up a bunch of stairs until we got up to this gallery and we sat and watched this man playing the keyboard. It was actually such a beautiful night. There was also a lot of water beer men.

when he touches the “spot”

 

Thursday 11th July

The next day, we went to Catalunya so we could go to an Apple store to see what was up with my phone. On the way, we saw a ton of bars and sex shops, which made me realise how open they are about sexuality and also drinking. It’s a very liberal place, which I really like. In Catalunya, we got Spanish McDonalds and Taco Bell. It really put the UK to shame. I don’t think I can ever get English McDonalds again without feeling sad because Spanish McDonalds is just too good. There are so many options and choices and oh my gosh I could make a whole post just about Spanish McDonalds but I won’t. I got  Bravas and Allioli top fries (patatas bravas is very common in Barcelona – they sell them everywhere) and I got an M&M McFlurry, which was a big thing for me because we don’t have that in the UK. I also got to pick the sauce to put on top, which is also not a thing in the UK.

a holy image

After eating, we went to the Gothic Quarter, where there’s a lot of markets selling vintage things like pipes, jewellery, old toys, antique items. There was also the Cathedral of Barcelona and the

cutest dog I’ve ever seen in my ENTIRE life. We went by the Picasso gallery but didn’t actually go in. We stayed in this park for a bit, where there was one boy strumming a guitar, one guy

cutest dog in the entire freaking goddamn universe omg but you cant really see it sorry

lying on the grass picking his nose nonstop, an old couple snogging and doing other things…and several water beer men. We went through the Arc de Triomf and down La Rambles and ventured into a Sephora, which we don’t have in the UK. There was a tunnel slide from the ground floor of the shopping centre that went down into the Sephora.

arc de triomf

That evening, we all made pasta and I stayed in the apartment alone at night, watching Disney Channel in Spanish because there weren’t many channels on the TV. I read a book (not in Spanish) and went to bed. Me and my friends watched a lot of Spanish TV in the evenings and morning and we actually became pretty good at understanding what they were saying. I also now know the plotline and characters of Miraculous.

 

Friday 12th July

We took the metro (L3) to Sagrada Familia. The tubes are so nice! They had AC, a small TV and there was a map that lit up every station as you passed it.

another holy image

Sagrada Familia was astonishing. It’s so rich in history and the architecture is so gorgeous!

We sat in this little green area, surrounded by hedges, where we ate our packed lunches that we made beforehand like the little school kids we are. It was all going so well, sitting in the shade and enjoying the beautiful view of Sagrada Familia when out of nowhere, a giant dog runs through the bushes towards us, squats right next to me and takes a huge dump. THE DISRESPECT.

We ended up going to Taco Bell again to get drinks. They had a mojito, which I ended up deciding not to get because I’m a sinless woman. My friend, however, who had been drinking everyday, got one and she is a heavyweight but she still got drunk off a TACO BELL mojito. It’s probably the right time to mention that alcoholic drinks in Barcelona are STRONG, much stronger than in the UK.

We made our way to Park Güell, which was difficult with one friend on her period having terrible cramps and another friend drunk out of her mind. We ventured through the free part of Park Güell and saw the outside of Gaudí’s house. Gaudí was a famous architect. The views were

colourful shops

again, absolutely amazing! On our way out, we saw so  many cute colourful shops selling things with a lot of Gaudí’s mosaic designs. I bought a notebook and pen to keep me occupied when bored since I had no phone. We got the bus back home, which was the same price as the metro, strangely, and as we got back to the apartment, we realised we had lost the keys. That was like the fourth L taken on the trip after a racist incident at the airport, my phone breaking and the majority of us getting our periods. We managed to get another key and we spent a cosy evening eating Spanish McDonalds and watching TV. Two of my friends then went to a bar and my other friend and I went to go see Spiderman: Far From Home. I went in my pyjamas and had a t shirt wrapped around my washed hair. I got a lot of looks. We bought rainbow popcorn, which probably added to my future heart disease. The film was in English but with Spanish subtitles so I learnt the word “cielo” which means “babe” I think.

 

Saturday 13th July

On Saturday, we went to the National Gallery of Catalunya (the same one we sat in front of on

the hand sign

woman in hat and fur collar, 1937 by pablo picasso

the first day). We looked at gothic, modern and romantic art. I noticed a lot of the people in the paintings had their hands in a particular way which looked like a gang sign but I think it means something holy. We also saw adult comic art, which was VERY sexual. Like, it was straight up porn in the gallery.

porn

We then took a cable car to Montjuïc Castle and when going back, the cable car stopped in the middle, which my friends thought was scary but I found funny. On the way home, we passed a petrol station where we saw some men from the Guardia Civil police force AND THEY HAD GUNS! It was very strange for us because we don’t really have guns in the UK so seeing the everyday police in an everyday place holding guns was very different. They were guarding the area while one of them was in the petrol station looking for snacks. I also saw a dog on a motorbike, who looked almost as shook as me.

In the evening, we went to Happy Rock salsa bar. They had a live band playing old school music and I got a virgin piña colada, because again, I’m a sinless woman. I also got patatas bravas. The bar was so lively. There were even old people dancing and everyone just looked happy. LONDON COULD NEVER! After the salsa bar, we went to the beach area (Puerto Olímpico) since all the clubs are there. We had wristbands so we were basically VIPs and got to skip the long cues. Get us. 💁 There are four main clubs in the area, which are well known: Opium, Shoko, Pacha and

the cluuuub

Catwalk. We went to Catwalk. We stayed primarily in the sky room but there was a floor below that and a terrace, which is where people were smoking and just talking. The sky room was really good for tourists, I think. They were playing a lot of old school music (old school rap, RnB and pop) as well as recent ones and Spanish music. There was also French drill, which kinda banged. I think I liked it a lot better than the clubs in London because there was such a mix of people from different countries and the music wasn’t bad and the room was so nice. Not to mention the beach is like a few steps away. However, there are 10 times more creeps. I mean, the men in the clubs are PERSISTENT and very desperate. We learnt to not make eye contact with any of them. If you’re a girl going to a club in Spain, go with a group (tbh you should always go with a group for safety). We danced with a group of boys from East London, who were very nice and prevented other creepy men from approaching us.

We got home at around 4:40 am.

 

Sunday 14th July

Because of the club, we woke up at about 2 pm. It was raining for the first time while we were

cute market stand

there so we waited indoors a bit. We travelled to the beach and because it was a Sunday, there were a lot of markets set up on the way there. It was so cute. I bought these iron on patches I’m going to put on my bag. There were a lot of handmade stuff like organic soaps and dreamcatchers and jewellery. There were also a lot of old, naked baby dolls everywhere. We explored the Maremagnum Port shopping centre, which was extremely packed since it’s like the only thing open on Sundays.

My friend got a dulce de leche crepe, which we shared because it was way too sickening for just one person.

At our apartment, we got ready for our last night clubbing. Before we went to the clubs, we ran to the fountain that wasn’t on before but was on the Sunday. It was beautiful. There were so many colours too. We then went to a shisha bar that we had found the day before. There are a lot of shisha bars in

the sunset haha jk

Barcelona. I ordered a mojito. So much for being sinless. I actually asked for less alcohol but being a lightweight, I got tipsy very quickly. We all ended up getting lightheaded from either shisha or the drinks and we went to Shoko. It wasn’t great. I couldn’t even move (it was that cramped) and the music wasn’t good either. We decided to migrate to Catwalk again.

When it was close to 5 am and there were fewer people in the club and we were extremely tired, me and my friends went into the middle of the dance floor and started dancing as crazy as we could. We did this shoulder wiggle shake thing and were jumping around and waving our arms around. We looked like those blow up wiggly things outside of car washes that move around in the wind with their wiggly arms. We looked so weird but it was honestly the best feeling. As soon as we did that, a bunch of these Spanish boys came up to us and were doing their own weird thing and it was all too funny. We looked like crackheads.

what we looked like

 

Monday 15th July

We woke up at 11:30 am, which was the time we were supposed to leave to go out that day. Two of my friends and I went to the supermarket. I had practically no money left but I bought a pot of guacamole because priorities.

a-maze-ing

We went to Horta Labrinto, a maze, where we tried to pretend to be fifteen for cheaper tickets.

The ticket man laughed in our face. It wasn’t my idea! We split into twos and I don’t mean to brag but I do mean to brag cause I led our half of the group to the middle first. There were turtles near this river and one of them couldn’t get back onto the land after swimming and then three of them, on the land, turned to look up at the same direction of the sky at the same time. I don’t really know what black magic is going on in Barcelona with the turtles but it was creepy. We went to the science museum in Barcelona, which was a long walk but I had Hello Panda and Takis to eat. The science museum was so cool.

the capybara

I do prefer the one in London but it was still so cool. There was an Alice in Wonderland exhibition with loads of mirrors and it was VERY trippy. The museum was very interactive. It was also all on one floor and it was open instead of in separate rooms. There was a giant aquarium and we went outside to see these birds living above the aquarium and we found a capybara. It had a turtle and duck friend.

A1 photography

We then made our way to Park Güell for 9:30 because it’s free after this time and we were broke. We went to a café beforehand and I ate a vegetarian focaccia and had Ferrero Rocher ice cream. Then we went into the mosaic part of Park Güell, with Gaudi’s work. It was so pretty and colourful. We made our way up to the mosaic benches that overlook Barcelona and we sat watching sunset until late at night (we could actually see the stars without light pollution) having a deep chat about people in our lives and just general things. It was something so simple, just sitting and talking but it was just such a nice moment. When it was almost 12 am, we made our way through the pitch black park, terrified, and walked up to the gates that were locked. We were trapped in Gaudí’s park. So, without hesitation, I dropped to the floor and tried rolling underneath the gate. I didn’t fit but when I laid flat, I wiggled out and escaped the park. My friends followed and we ran for the bus stop with sand covering us. 

As soon as we got home, we ate tomatoes and guac, watching Disney Channel in Spanish. We also watched the weirdest film I’ve ever seen, Meet The Spartans, which was called Casi 3000 in Barcelona. We went to bed pretty late as we were cleaning the apartment and packing.

 

We woke up at around 7 am, running on like three and a half hours of sleep. We finished cleaning the apartment and made tuna and salad for breakfast. I was also going to have an egg but when my friend cracked one, there was blood in the yolk. That’s why you buy free range eggs, kids.

 

I absolutely loved Barcelona. It was so different to London but in a good way. Here are some differences I noticed:

  • It’s such a lit country. There’s always music and sunshine and people don’t hesitate to get up and dance.
  • It’s such a colourful, warm coloured pretty city.

    the colourful “graffiti” by our apartment

  • It’s very liberal, I think, and open-minded (there were rainbows for pride EVERYWHERE) and the sex shops and bars are hidden away as much as they would be in London. There’s also a lot of PDA and no one cares.
  • It’s boujee. Even in “rougher” areas, the shops and cafes are still nice inside and clean.
  • People make a lot of eye contact. In London, most people avoid eye contact.
  • Tapwater is gross and they don’t give free water in restaurants, bars or clubs.
  • Buses take longer to come and you can pay in cash.
  • A lot of the time, the pavements looks like roads (I almost got hit). The pavements are also a lot wider.
  • There are a lot of reckless and careless drivers.
  • There were also A LOT of people riding scooters, which would be seen as childish and weird in the UK.
  • They have bike lanes everywhere, too, so you don’t have to ride with cars.
  • AC everywhere (of course).
  • Everyone’s good looking. Not in the way that I’m attracted to everyone but everyone has this glow to them and seem happier.

 

If you’re thinking about going to Barcelona, you should definitely go. It wasn’t even an expensive trip. In total, including flights, accommodation, souvenirs and all the activities we did, it was around £500. I highly recommend going – it’s stunning and so rich in life, culture and experiences.

 

-Shay

Qualifying DofE Gold Expedition | Story Time

If you read My Crazy DofE Adventure, you’ll know I’m currently doing the Gold Duke of Edinburgh award and I recently came back from the real four day expedition!

 

We left by coach on Sunday the 15th and arrived at Princetown in Dartmoor, where we stayed at a bunkhouse for the night. We were made to edit our map route and we had to relocate our campsites, which weren’t really campsites. They were just areas in the wilderness that the teachers told us were good for camping in and I guess were okay to pee in without getting shot by a farmer. 🙂

Princetown was basically the last time we’d see civilisation for a long long long time. Well, for about four days.

 

Monday 16th July

This was the first day of the expedition. We set off with our 20kg bags on our backs. As a group, we agreed to maintain positive attitudes since we realised from the practise expedition, complaining and being negative really made hiking seem worse than it was and it was just tiring to listen to. Also the three most slowest people in our group from the practise didn’t come on the real one so that was kind of a plus, in the least rude way possible. 😬

The first day hike was very easy. For the most part, it was flat. I told a story about a Jessi Vee video I watched about Lyme Disease and I warned everyone about ticks but everybody thought I was overreacting.

 

Quick Rant: Why is there very little talk about Lyme disease?? Do you know the amount of pills you have to take a day if you get diagnosed late? There’s like thirty. I can’t even take two paracetamol pills without having trouble swallowing. And you can get meningitis and strokes and facial paralysis and heart disorders from Lyme disease! What kind of quality of life is that. All from an ugly tick bite.

Anyways…

 

Watching the sun set

Our campsite ended up being on a hill, about a thousand feet above sea level, but the walk up was fairly okay. I stayed at the front so that I didn’t feel the need to speed up or so I didn’t feel like a burden to the group. The hike was about four hours when it was supposed to take eight hours. We got to the campsite early, unaware we actually weren’t allowed to arrive early.

We ran out of water so after setting up camp, we ventured down to the reservoir to get water to purify. It was disgusting. There was this cream foam on the edges of the reservoir. It looked like yeast. We went back up to the campsite and the teachers eventually found us after we continuously tried to contact them to tell them we had no water. You know…one

The Sheep

of the most basic and important human needs. They also let  us off for arriving early that day with a warning.

 

This was the best day, personally. The campsite was beautiful. There was a reservoir at the bottom of the mountain with forests and at one point, a herd of horses trotted near to our tents. There was also this horned sheep that kept staring at us and stood on this rock, watching over us all like God. There was also this cave, which I sat on top of to watch the sun set as the rest of my group climbed higher up to the very top of the hill/mountain.

 

 

Tuesday 17th July

I woke up early in the morning.

When we packed up our tent, my friend got stung on the wrist by a wasp, which was really what she needed to hike for eight hours. I, therefore, took charge of leading the way with the map, which I was scared about doing at first because it meant I had to actually know what I was doing but I ended up managing the role really well. Until the very end. I had to figure out which of two gates, which were next to each other, we had to go through. It was like an episode of Dora the Explorer. If I still had my Lord Farquaard haircut, it really would have been. I chose the wrong gate, which led us to a wall. There was the rope blocking us from going over the wall. I put my ear close to it to check whether it was an electric fence but I heard no buzzing. My friends said it was just a rope fence so a girl, I’ll call Robin (inside joke) tapped it. Nothing happened. She then grabbed it and let go, screaming. Turns out it was electric. My bad for taking the wrong way. I found our way back to the right path and to the campsite.

 

The walk was easy but double the length of the first day.

We also saw some cows mating. It can’t be unseen.

 

At one point, we reached waterpoint, where the teachers would fill our bottles with water. As we were leaving the school bus, back to the rest of our group, we encountered a few dogs. There was a car with the boot wide open, where a dog sat. There were two more dogs behind a fence barking and running up and down along the fence. There was also another brown dog behind the gate we had to get through. A boy in my group looked down and walked straight through, as

Second Campsite

fast as possible, stating he “doesn’t f*** with dogs”. I was about to follow him when the dog in the boot jumped out and started running around barking. In that moment, I knew that some serious stuff was gonna go down. It began to run along the fence, biting at the dogs behind it. Robin began to tell it to sit and stay. I strongly believe she’s a dog whisperer. This other girl, I’ll name Diko (also an inside joke), grabbed both my arms and used me as a shield, as she began to scream. The barking dog ran up to us and Diko pushed me towards it. I ran up onto this hill and Robin grabbed the dog’s collar. Diko followed me to the hill and kept screaming. I couldn’t stop laughing. It was so chaotic. The boy, who was with us, was long gone. Robin told us to run through the gate as she had the dog by its collar but then it tried to bite her. She let go and the dog ran to the dogs behind the fence again and started barking. It then ran to us and Diko began to scream and cry. Through laughter, I told her it was going to be okay and she started to cry laugh. She bolted to the gate and Robin, Diko and I went through. The brown dog behind the gate was calm and basically watched us get attacked the entire time. I think Diko trying to sacrifice me to the dogs has got to be the highlight of 2018 for me.

 

We later walked up a hill and this giant matte black helicopter, that looked like a flying submarine, flew over a hill and very close to us. It was about to land on this field and then flew back over the hill.

Rope Swing

Eventually we arrived at the campsite and all the hiking groups were staying there that night (we arrived there first). We actually had a toilet and a tap to fill our water bottles. Robin, Diko and I went exploring and we found this river. There was a rope swing like the one from The Bridge to Terabithia. I kept joking someone was gonna end up like the girl did in the film. I swung on it but I was too short to get down. I managed to get one leg off the wooden bar. I then took off the other, knowing full well that the only thing that would be keeping me up was my hands tight around the rope. I then fell. My back hit a rock and my hat fell into the river and my foot stepped into a little rock pool. I never went on that swing again. Turns out I was the ‘someone’ that would end up like the girl from The Bridge to Terabithia.

In the evening, the whole group went to the rope swing and I sat with Robin on a rock and we watched the river flow down and the flies surround us. We all then walked down a road to this island in the middle of a wide part of the river. We skipped and threw rocks until it was dark.

 

Wednesday 18th July

The next day was hell. Most of it was uphill and it was a long journey. I’m pretty sure a snake jumped up at me.

About 3/4 of the journey, me and my best friend went insane. We put on Texas accents and played these weird characters and sung really badly to songs blasting out our speaker. We did that for the rest of the journey and the rest of the group got really annoyed but it actually helped

Blurry Image of Me (yellow raincoat) and Some Bones

us to pull through the pain.

 

We finally got to the “campsite”, which was one of the ones that was relocated for us by our DofE leader. It was a hill, with no flat land. There were giant rocks in the ground. And, here’s the cherry on top: there were at least six full dead sheep rotting with bones and skulls everywhere!

We walked for about twenty minutes into our next day walk so we could find a suitable place to sleep. We chose to sleep near spider dens and a forest. It was the closest flat area. There was a great view too – a lovely fresh cow pat right in front of our tent door.

 

I couldn’t sleep that night. I think I must have fallen asleep at about midnight.

 

Thursday 19th July

We ran out of water early that day. We hiked to a public toilet, where we were told that “the tap water is like the drinking water at home”. We filled our water bottles and found it was slightly yellow. Nothing is better than a hint of urine in your water. It’s basically like squash. Everyone poured their bottles out but I, for some reason, decided to use a purifying tablet to clear any bacteria. The water tasted like chlorine. It was worse than pool water and I know that because I’ve downed tons of pool water before. Me and three others walked to a house to ask for water. I heard someone in the house but they didn’t come to the door. We then bumped into a mountain rescuer, who helped us out with our water predicament.

 

The hike was a hard start and I got tired very early. It was so hot and the SPF I was wearing melted into my eyeballs. I also, stupidly, wore mascara that day (and it was the only day I wore makeup) so I was basically blinded by melting SPF and mascara. My eyes kept tearing up and my nose was running a lot so we ended up sitting at the top of the hill for about an hour. Everyone was tired from the heat.

 

After all the this, we had to go down the hill. If you remember from my practise expedition post, I told you about this hardcore girl, which led us down a mountain. That girl was Robin and on this day, I ended up being the “hardcore Robin”. Since I chose to be at the front,  I led everyone down the hill of fern and giant rocks. The fern were taller than me so my friend, behind me, had to tell me the direction to aim for. We all travelled down in single file and Diko slipped. We all stopped and turned back to her. She didn’t move for a while and in my head, I thought, well this is it, this is the day I may be responsible for someone’s death. Fortunately, she got up and said her butt hurt.

 

As we reached water point, we saw a lot of pregnant horses. A lot. They must have had a wild

Some Horses

night.

We made it back to the bunkhouse and we all showered and ate pizza. Me and Diko went a little crazy but that’s another story to tell for another day.

We drove home on Friday.

 

Although, during the hikes, I hated it, overall, it was an amazing experience. I came back toned and I think my body is used to the extreme amount of exercise we did because my body doesn’t hurt and I’m able to do a lot that would have made me tired quickly, before. I also came back with my skin glowing.

And I realised how mentally strong and positive of a person I can be, which was a nice self discovery.

 

I hope I didn’t get Lyme Disease though.

 

-Shay

My Crazy DofE Adventure | Story Time

If you read my last post, I mentioned I was going to do my DofE Gold Practise Expedition. I had previously done my Bronze Award, which I found hard at the time. However, looking back, I don’t know why the hell I complained. Bronze was a lovely stroll in the park in comparison to gold.

🚨 Spoiler Alert: I Survived 🚨

 

(Some images I insert will be a little blurry since I took it while walking and they’re screenshots of videos I took.)

As I mentioned before, I was on my period during this trip. I honestly don’t care if that’s too much information because I think it’s important to mention that I was BLEEDING while walking for more than eight hours. Also, it was the second day, so if you’re a girl, you probably know that it was f̶r̶e̶a̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶N̶i̶a̶g̶ar̶a̶ ̶F̶a̶l̶l̶s heavy. 😂

We drove by coach to Brecon Beacons in Wales, which if you google, looks like an amazing and gorgeous place. And it was. But now, I hate it from association with the trip…

Google Image of Brecon Beacons

When we got to the campsite, we set up our tent. There was mould all over the inner bit of the tent. So basically, we slept under lovely fungus. On the plus side, if any of us had a bacterial infection, we could just make some penicillin with the fungus. 🙃

We then planned our route for the next day and mapped out how we were going to get to the next campsite. I worked out the six figure grid reference for each checkpoint and others did the distance calculations and time calculations. We ended up working out that we would only be walking for three hours, when we were supposed to walk for at least eight hours. This made us really happy because it meant we could take long breaks.

We were wrong.

 

Chilling at the campsite on the first day was actually fun. We played charades and this weird ball game and paranoia. We thought the trip was going to be fun and happy.

Again, we were wrong.

 

The next day, we set off with our approximately 15 kg bags on our backs, which didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. Our group was made up of entirely girls and we were accompanied by this teacher, we decided to call Gertrude. Gertrude told us “we don’t need breaks.” I was just like OMG THAT WAS SO FUNNY HAHA GERTRUDE YOU’RE SO FUNNY AHAHAHSAHSKA.

I didn’t like Gertrude.

 

The walking was fine. There was a lot of poo and nettles and thorns, which we all precariously tried to avoid. I tried to stay at the front of the group as I found being at the back made you feel more tired since you feel like you need to speed up. And then we reached a freaking mountain.

We knew we would have to climb up something steep due to the close contour lines on our map but I don’t really know why we didn’t think about the mountains that were surrounding us. So we climbed up a freaking mountain. I was so shook at this point that I started playing Shrek in my head to calm myself down from the fact we were climbing a steep mountain that went on for ages with 15 kg bags on our backs. We had a two minute break halfway up the mountain and my friend swapped the tent she was carrying with the stove I was carrying. We carried on climbing with frequent intervals of “Oh my God”s. And then we reached the top. I don’t even remember if we had a break after that. We started walking on the mountain, going a little uphill until we reached the clouds.

We did eventually walk through the clouds and it was very cold and wet but I strangely enjoyed it. We passed forests and reservoirs and it was very pretty but went on for AGES! I walked with one of my friends at the front, which was a good choice because it meant I could have breaks when we waited for others to catch up. Also, our hands got really fat from wind burn. It looked like the hands of a chubby baby. I also noticed that I actually have a lot of endurance and am so much stronger than I thought I was, both mentally and physically.

aND TheN wE hAd a BreAk!

 

Gertrude, the teacher, left us “to get coffee” and we were left on our own. We sat in the same position for about twenty minutes, which would have probably made Gertrude cry and faint. We looked at our map and decided to rebel against the route Gertrude suggested because we thought we were clever. We were going to take a short cut.

 

We went down a steep side of the mountain in a zig-zag formation, avoiding burrows, poo, sheep, nettles, thorns, this Prometheus alien like flower and slippery rocks. We were all travelling in single file. At the front, leading the way, was the friend I walked with before and my god, she was so hardcore. Then my best friend was second, who called out what to avoid and was looking at the map. Then it was me, who managed to end up still falling into holes and walking into faeces, even after being told to avoid it and then I would tell others to avoid it and then a friend behind me would pass the message along to the rest of the group. 

We then crossed paths with a skeleton. There was a skull, ribs, spine, limbs, the whole shebang. And there was blood. Everywhere! I guess that’s what happens when you decide to take a different route…(it was a sheep or small horse skeleton though, don’t worry!) Close by, was what looked like a human poo. Maybe someone else saw the skeleton and got a bit too scared…?

(Image of the skeleton to the right)

 

At first, it was okay. And then it got steeper and we became more impatient. We went further down the mountain, where it was practically vertical. I slipped and grabbed onto a giant clump of crap for dear life. At this point, in the words of Gemma Collins, I realised that actually this is serious stuff. I just thought haha, this is not for me.

This sounds like an exaggeration but we were very close to death.

 

After ages of slipping and zig-zagging, we made the decision to just head straight down, instead of going across the mountain diagonally. Two people chucked on waterproof trousers and slid down the flipping mountain. I carelessly, grabbed onto thorns and nettles to you know, avoid dying. I just didn’t care anymore. I even let spiders of all colours crawl on me. (I have red spots from it all over my arms, legs and hands, now. 😂)

We trekked down this very very steep path of nettles, which was low down so the mountains were high up on the sides of us. The path slowly faded into a stream, which became more slippery as you went down it. So, without hesitation, we all, one by one, ROCK CLIMBED up, vertically, without a rope, with 15 freaking kg bags, to get on top of the mountain again. We rock climbed! I’m still shocked by it since that’s something I would never have done without a safety rope.

We ran down the rest of the mountain to a path at the bottom and finally had a break on this patch of grass that was in the shape of a sofa.

Arriving at the bottom

 

And then we went through a gate

into private property.

 

We didn’t know this at the time until we were about half way through the field. I’ve been told by several people that you can get arrested for trespassing, since it is illegal, and farmers could shoot you if you do. We saw two farmers with dogs at the bottom of the field so we travelled incognito, laying low (with my bright yellow raincoat and giant pink hat) to avoid dying, which seemed very likely during this trip.

We sprinted across onto another field, while this horse that probably belonged to the farmers followed us and watched us. The horse was a little snakey snitch. We dashed over a fence onto a road, where there was a sign saying “Do Not Enter (the field)! Warning of Danger!” I think it would have been a little nice if we saw that before.

 

We trotted along the road, happily, shooketh to the core at all we just went through, and then a white van passed us. Not that type of van though…

There were a few of our teachers in there. They stopped and one came out, who told us to wait. He went back into the van and as he did, we legged it down the road. I really don’t know why. We literally ran from the teachers and I honestly don’t know why we thought we would succeed because we were so goddamn slow. The teacher ended up following us to the campsite since we were about three hours late. Finally we got to the campsite, where everyone clapped as we got there. It took us twelve hours! So much for taking three hours with loads of long breaks… 😂

 

The campsite toilets were disgusting though! 😂 There were giant spiders everywhere, dead flies all over the ceiling, either mud of poop smeared on the walls, period blood dripping on one wall of the cubicle, water that smelt like sewage, and “windows” without glass. A giant flying daddy long legs entered one while my friend was on the toilet and she screamed and ran out and we were all running from side to side, screaming, as it followed us.

 

The next day was a little less exhilarating and a little more painful. We climbed up mountains at least three times (the 3rd time was torture) and a male sheep almost charged at us. So yeah…

 

How was your weekend?

 

-Shay

Atlantis the Palm, Dubai!

[I know this is a very late post since it’s not Summer anymore but here are the reasons it’s a late post: I forgot and when I remembered, I kept postponing it…I’m so unreliable.]

 

Over the Summer Holidays, my parents, my sister and I went to Dubai! We stayed on the Palm island, which is a manmade island, which I found incredible. The hotel we stayed in was called the Atlantis the Palm.

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From London, we had a six hour flight to Doha. Doha airport was outstanding. It was so clean and quite quiet and there were cleaners cleaning 24/7. There was this huge area, with a giant yellow teddy bear statue, with tons of shops and even that looked incredible. The flight from Doha to Dubai was about an hour.

Dubai’s airport was very different to England’s and Doha’s. It was terrible. We stood in a queue for an hour for passport control and then another hour trying to find our bags in baggage claim. In baggage claim, there was luggage all over the floor. There was even two boxes of trout on the floor. People were just throwing other people’s bag onto the floor and that led to many complaints and lost luggage. I heard an Australian lady tell one of the staff that she had been waiting about two hours for her bags and that another member of staff said they’ll find it. The man she was talking to just said something like, “it’ll be here by tomorrow”.  I hated it. I was so stressed. It was so busy. Our taxi driver had to wait more than two hours because our plane was delayed, too. It was tiring.

As we walked out the airport, it felt like we were walking into an oven. This was at night, too, so we were worried about what daytime would feel like. We were actually in the second hottest country of the world, on that week. Crazy, huh?

 

The hotel was fantastic, though. They took our luggage on one of those fancy red and gold IMG_2918trolleys and led us into the hotel. The air con was so nice. I miss the air conditioning, a lot. There was this giant colourful statue thing that was in the middle on the room. It had a fountain surrounding it and little soft seats too. The ceiling was covered with art inspired by the ocean and it looked beautiful. After checking in, we went to our room. The room was amazing, too. The TV had a message for us under our own name and we had a balcony looking over the beach and the pool. The huge beds were the comfiest thing in the world but I had to share with my sister. It was okay but she kicks people in her sleeps so that was great…

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The next day, which was Friday, we went to the beach. We had a short swim in the sea, which got quite deep even though it was IMG_2926near the shore. There were tons of little dark fish in it, too, which were swimming in between my legs. There were also crabs. After that, we went to the pool, which we all agreed we preferred. The sea was quite warm and the pool was IMG_2932cooler. We also went to the aquarium, in the hotel. There was also a huge aquarium of rays and sharks and fish, that you could see from the restaurant, we had breakfast in. However, there was another aquarium that had other creatures like jellyfish and alligators.

IMG_2958We saw eels swimming out and into tubes and clown fish and dory fish (I don’t know the actual name XD). There was also a section with baby albino alligators. Even though they were babies, theIMG_2963 information guide man told us it could still kill us.

Later that day, we took a taxi to the mall of Emirates. It wasn’t as great as I thought it would be. It basically had all designer clothes, that you could find in England, so we just bought some milkshakes and headed back to our hotel.

 

On Saturday, we went to the water park. I refused to go on any of the rides because they all had huge drops…well, so I thought, so we just went on the mini slides and went on a river ride. The IMG_3014river ride was fun because there were these “rapid” sections, where the water ran really fast. I was in a double rubber ring with my sister, who keep screaming at the rapid bits. She gets scared, easily. But she’s nine so who cares! In the evening, we visited the Dubai Mall. It was so so so incredible. I’ve said incredible a lot now. You could buy anything in it. There were so many floors, each with IMG_3001a huge number of shops. In fact, they even has an ice rink and zoo in it. That’s how big it was. We didn’t buy anything but we had a good look around. Then we went outside the mall, where there were dancing fountains. Every half hour, music would come on and the water would start dancing to the music. From the fountain, we could also see the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa. It looked so tall. Looking at it made you lose balance.

We went to the market, near the mall and one of the shop owners gave us a discount since we were tourists. We bought a few things there for people back home. Then, we went back home and watched Wild Hogs and Meet Bill.

 

On Sunday, we went back to the Dubai Mall and paid for the explorer package, which meant we got to go through the aquarium tunnel, have a glass bottom boat ride, and visit the zoo.

IMG_3023The tunnel was so cool. There was loads of sharks swimming above and IMG_3038around us. The glass bottom boat road was cool too. We saw loads of different types of rays and the man told us they had to feed the sharks IMG_3046earlier so they won’t eat the other fish in the tank. The zoo was the best bit. We saw an otter, hiding behind a log and piranhas. We saw huge crabs and cute turtles.

IMG_3051Then we saw one of the biggest crocodiles in the world (so they said). It was huge. There were loads of birds in the crocodiles’ enclosure, as well. We saw penguins, opposite the crocodiles and they were adorable. The last time I saw IMG_3047penguins, in real life, was a long time ago, when I was little so it was great to see them again. After looking at those animals, we walked on a “jungle” bridge to the forest section. There was an enclosure of bats and another of hedgehogs. There were also two owls in another. We also saw a small pretend campsite with a IMG_3058cameleon in and another with cheeseman’s gerbils in. They were sleeping altogether and I had a cute-attack looking at them. We went to the toy shop, which was huge and so fun. You were allowed to play with the toys and I saw a boy riding a scooter around the store. The staff were demonstrating remote control cars and magic sets and ball games. Then we bought frozen yoghurt, which was the best thing ever. There were so many flavours and toppings!

 

The next day, we went on a safari in the desert. As we were travelling in the jeep, I  thought to IMG_3071myself, this safari is going to be nice. Little did I know it was going to be a bumpy ride. A VERY bumpy ride! We went on top of TALL sand hill and dropped, really fast, down them. Our jeep went on its sides as we drove on top of the hills. My sister was clutching onto my mum’s arm the whole time, squealing with terror. My dad asked our driver how long he IMG_3073had been doing this and the man replied saying it was his first day. My dad laughed, knowing it was joke but I just stared at him, horrified. The safari was terrifying. No one ever told me it was going to be like this. I loved it though. Our driver kept saying “yeep” every time we went down a big hill. When the drive was over, we were let out to walk on the desert and look at the sun set. It was so hard walking up the sand hills. I didn’t expect it to be as difficult as it was. After, we were driven to this little camp.

Me and my sister went onto one camel and my mum and dad went on another. We had a short camel ride and it was also very bumpy but fun. Getting off was the scary part. When the camel sits, it sits down unexpectedly and quickly so it feels like you’re going to get flung right off. Then we had a barbeque dinner and watched a woman belly dance.

 

On Tuesday, we went to the water park again. This time, me and my mum went on one of the rides twice. It was the one with the smallest queue and the staff said it didn’t have any big drops. I gained a lot of courage from the safari ride. If you can do the safari ride, I think you can go on any roller coaster ride. Maybe. The water ride went through a tunnel that went round and round and round and you couldn’t see a thing. It was pitch black. Then after a long time in the dark, we splashed through into a glass tunnel, surrounded by fish and sharks and rays. My sister was in front of the tank, that the tunnel was in and she waved at us. As we reached the end, we dropped into a small pool, where one of the staff, turned the float, we were on, upside down. I was not expecting that. I was stuck under that float, under water for a while, trying to swim out. My mum found it funny, though. On the next go, I jumped out before he tipped us. XD After ten minutes of looking for my dad, who went on a scarier ride, we bought slushies and then headed to the pool in the hotel.

 

Wednesday was our last full day in Dubai so my dad insisted we go visit the “old Dubai”. So we went to Deira market. It was alright but I couldn’t stand the heat. There were also a lot of shop keepers yelling at us to come in and one even said to us to take it. After the market, we went back to Dubai Mall. We got another frozen yogurt each and the owner recognized us from the last time we came so we had a small chat with her.

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On Thursday, we had breakfast, got ready and left the hotel. The six hour flight from Doha to England was nice. I had a window seat and looked out onto all the countries we passed. In fact, for four IMG_3097hours, you could see the sun set because our plane was catching up with the sun. I listened to music on my phone for the last two hours and watched the world below us. It was good to be back in England and not have to share a bed with my sister but I did really enjoy Dubai!

 

We were born to be real, not to be perfect.

-Shay

Feelings For Travelling!

I want to travel.

That’s pretty much all I have to say!

Whenever I see photography of rainforests or deep woods or the beach or camp sites and things like that, I mentally add to my lists of things I want to take a picture of.

I want to travel to jungles, taigas, tropical beaches, amazing cities. I want to travel to New York, Tokyo, Dubai (I’m actually going this year!) and so many other places!

I want to see once in a lifetime sightings like the northern lights and do incredible, traveldream-like things like watching the sun set on a beach (Of which I have done) and run through a winter forest or swim through the Great Barrier Reef.

These things make me want to live life. It gives me motivation to do well in school so I can be able to travel the world like that.

 

Places I Want To Go To:

  1. New York
  2. Tokyo
  3. Paris
  4. Dubai
  5. Sydney
  6. Rio De Janerio
  7. Rome
  8. California
  9. Amazon Rainforest
  10. Iceland
  11. African Savannahs
  12. Venice
  13. Los Angeles
  14. Amsterdam

Before you say, why didn’t you add London? I live in London!

There are way more places I want to travel to but I can’t think of them! I’m obviously not going to be able to go to all of them, but hopefully, one day, I’ll be able to travel to most of them! 🙂

I do want to be a journalist, after all! 😉

I also found this website that shows Amazing Places You Should Visit and I want to travel even more, after looking at the images!

I literally can’t wait to go to some of these places, if I ever do!

 

We were born to be real, not to be perfect.

-Shay