International Slavery Museum

For years and probs for many more to come, Black people have been trying to explain that slavery is not where our story starts. The curriculum taught in schools isn’t helping, the shows we have on TV aren’t helping either. So, it’s always great to see when an institution is doing its part to educate the masses effectively.

The International Slavery Museum is very comprehensive and I thoroughly enjoyed my exploring. I felt pride, I felt inexplicable sadness and hope – it was a rollercoaster of emotions.

  • There are three main themed galleries:
    • Life in West Africa – exploring the story and culture of Africa and its peoples, who are central to the story of transatlantic slavery.
    • Enslavement and the Middle Passage – revealing some of the brutality and trauma suffered by enslaved Africans on the voyage across the Atlantic; then the oppression of their lives on plantations in the Americas.
    • Legacy – highlighting the continuing fight for freedom and equality; the contemporary impact of transatlantic slavery, such as racism and discrimination; and the achievements of the African Diaspora.

Here are some pictures from my visit:

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Berlin

Top sights to see:

  • Berlin Wall
  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
  • Checkpoint Charlie
  • Mercedes-Benz Museum

When to go: A year round destination; great for walking in the Spring/Summer months, cute Christmas and winter vibes when it gets colder.

Getting around: Train, Walking, Cycle

Berlin boasts of history and a vibrant culture. The nightlife hits! There is a range of delicious food too.

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Karneval der Kulturen

So there’s a carnival in Berlin. So it was only right we checked it out.

Where to stay: Kreuzberg (quality wasn’t amazing) or Blucherplatz

Karneval der Kulturen is a multicultural festival in Kreuzberg, Berlin, celebrated annually since 1996 around Pentecost weekend. It’s four fun filled days; the Carnival of Cultures occurs at Blücherplatz, in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district. 

It is described as: “A proud expression of hybrid cultural identities” – The organisers of the festival proclaim that “the Carnival of Cultures is open to everybody and all forms of cultural expression. It is regarded as a platform for a proud expression of hybrid cultural identities, containing traditional and contemporary elements. It includes and attracts all age groups, professional artists and amateurs, people from all walks of life.”

Carnival of Cultures is all about celebrating a peaceful co-existence between all the different culture’s that call Berlin home.

The carnival is fun but doesn’t top Notting Hill by any means, but I mean being abroad with your friends and the bacchanal – it could be worse!

We attended a range of events and the party didn’t stop until the early hours.

This year the festivities will be on the 15th August. So if you can why not make your way down. As opposed to the big street party it usually is it’ll be much smaller activities spread out across the area to keep inline with Covid guidelines.

Have a look at how we enjoyed when we went.

As always keep up with us on IG @trippinwithsj x

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Where should I eat in Singapore?

There are so many choices for places to eat:

  • Wild Honey – I think this is a midpoint on the spending scale, and it is worth every penny. We tried their brunch and the pancakes were heavenly.
  • Jumbo Seafood – if you really wanna ball out! But I think about this special fried rice often, it was a serious something. 10s across the board. I highly recommend.
  • Hawker Markets; the biggest one is Chinatown Market. Delicious food options, drink options and on the cheaper side
  • Eating out in SIN is expensive but the flavours are phenomenal. There are supermarkets so you can do some cooking of your own if you feel too and much cheaper prices restaurants, just check online.

Keep up with us on @trippinwithsj x

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What to see…

So, Crazy Rich Asians put Singapore on the map for us! It was always somewhere we’d wanted to go because of the Marina Bay Sands and Supertree Grove, but seeing it presented in such a beautiful way just made us want to go even more.

Singapore is such a beautiful city state, it houses over 60 islands! but only 3 are inhabited.

So what’s the lowdown on visiting Singapore? What should you do? Where do you eat?

We hear your questions and have a list for you, keep scrolling…

What to see:

  1. Changi airportbest airport in the world for 8 years in a row, it’s very rare that an aiport makes a must see list, but Changi deserves its accolades!
  2. Marina Bay Sands – is a hotel and the main attraction is its pool. If you are just looking for a nice hotel, there are other Singapore hotels that offer better value. If swimming in the pool is on your bucket list, then it is worth every penny!
  3. Garden by the bay – is an iconic attraction, it houses a range of attractions. It’s a must-do when in Singapore
  4. Sentosa Island –  is an island resort off Singapore’s southern coast, connected to the city by road, cable car, pedestrian boardwalk and monorail. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush or a day of exploration, a world of adventure awaits you at Sentosa. (Trippin’ Tip: Keep an eye on bus times)
  5. Universal Studios – a theme park located within Resorts World Sentosa on Sentosa Island, Singapore. It features 28 rides, shows, and attractions in seven themed zones
  6. Little India – to explore delicious cuisine, visit a temple and do a bit of shopping too
  7. Amazing architecture – so much to see on every corner. Get the Hop on, Hop off bus to make your way around quickly.
  8. Orchard Road – to shop, to eat, to see, to people watch

Keep up with us on @trippinwithsj x

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WHO WANTS TO GO ON AN ADVENTURE?

Lovina Sunrise with Dolphins

  • This one involves an early start to be by the harbour for 500am, which meant a 300am wakeup time! Eek! You can marvel at the majestic dolphins as they swim by your boat. Not one to be missed.

Mount Batur

  • I don’t know about Sarah, but this was definitely the highlight of my trip! I’m not a crazy outdoor person and Sarah isn’t either, but we both love exploring and challenging ourselves. This one is another early wake up time of 2am, to give enough time to drive to drive to our start location. The trek up the mountain isn’t plain sailing, it was very rocky and tumultuous and emotionally draining, especially if you’re not that used to hiking, but the views! The views from the top when you reach are so rewarding and awe inspiring. The difficulty level is easy to moderate and the summit is about 1.717m above sea level.
  • Top tip! WEAR WARM CLOTHES! Pack a backpack with snacks and a flask for a hot drink. Bali is very warm during the day, but being that high up in the dead of night with only torches to guide you…not the one.
  • You can also hire some blankets from the locals and there are hot drinks to buy at the top too.

Alas Harum

  • Opening times: 0900am-1800pm
  • Entry Fee: Price dependant on how many activities you want to complete. To do ALL the activities you’d likely need around 1,00000 IDR. (£50) and this will get you some pictures too, but you can pay for each activity separately.
  • Rope swings. Jungle views. Coffee experiences and monkeys! Sounds like an adventure to me!
  • I’m assuming you guys have seen the pictures and videos of the popular Bali swing on the ‘gram. Alas Harum is one of the many spots that have incorporated features of the popular tourist destination into its parks. There are photo spots scattered all around the landscape, birds nests, temples and glass flooring, for you to make the most ofyour photography skills.
  • Whilst you’re there you can also try out the famous luwak coffee (which consists of digested coffee cherries that have been defecated by the Asian palm civet – it looks like a tiny raccoon)

Git Git Waterfall

  • Entry: FREE
  • Opening times: 24 hours
  • This waterfall is well off the beaten track and Sarah and I found ourselves here alone, experiencing the beauty of this waterfall, which is about 10 minutes from Ulu Danu Temple, so would be great to do together!
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Beijing 101

We like to give some quick fire tips for visiting destinations we have visited, so here’s Beijing’s!

So you want to visit Beijing/mainland China 🇨🇳, here are some things to consider:

  • Check your route works with the transit visa, you don’t need to go through the costly Chinese visa process if you’re not in China for an extended time period. Luckily there has been a new 24/144 hour transit visa introduced; there are a few rules you and your itinerary need to follow to be eligible but all in all – it’s really straightforward 😁
  • Download a VPN. Download a VPN. Download a VPN. I think you get what you need to do…
  • Don’t be alarmed if you see bears sat a restaurant table – someone didn’t forget their teddy. The bears are put there so you don’t feel lonely if you’re sitting alone.
  • Learn a few phrases, hello or thank you.
  • Stay photo ready – if you’re black or have distinct features, local people will stop you for pictures and videos.  Sometimes without your permission (!)
  • Be prepared for whatever season you’re going. Beijing is very open air, so when it’s hot – you feel all the heat and its quite dry. Same way when its cold, you’ll feel all the cold.
  • You can use your travel card to make purchases and get around. Taking out cash isn’t necessary.
  • Watch your step. It’s quite common for local people to spit on the ground, so depending on the area you’re in, just look out.

If you’ve been to Beijing/China, what was something you had to bear in mind?

Save and share this if you found it useful. As always, keep up to date with us on @trippinwithsj x

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The Great Wall

Exploring the Great Wall was the main draw to visiting Beijing, because we love a UNESCO site and a world wonder; okay!

Visiting the attraction doesn’t have to be arduous or unattainable; keep reading for our tips.

Why was the Great Wall built?

  • The primary function of the wall was for protection from invasion by Mongolian and Manchu armies from the North.

How far is the Great Wall from Beijing:

  • Badaling is approximately 1.5 hours by car or about 2.5 hours by tour bus. 
  • Mutianyu is about 2 hours by car.

When to visit: Autumn or Spring

  • Autumn brings a different variety of colours to the leaves and greenery around the wall which makes for a pretty sight.
  • Spring brings awesome weather and less people.
  • Summer is still nice but it does get super hot.
  • Winter brings frost-covered scenes but the cold air will feel even colder due to the wind.

Do’s:

  • There is more than one entrance up to the Great Wall, so depending on what you’d like to see and how long you have – this could be a full day excursion.
  • We visited the Mutianyu part of the wall – it’s the most restored section of the wall and offers the best picturesque views.
  • You can hike to the top or you can get a cable car up and down.
  • If you are feeling adventurous – get a toboggan down!
  • Remember there is no shade for the majority of the walk; so sunscreen, water and flannel.
  • Be prepared for the elements in whichever season you go.
  • Book a tour guide with reviews online; they can offer you further insight into the history.
  • Try some local cuisine in the Great Wall park.

Top Tip: Avoid the Great Wall during Chinese holidays, or you may get caught up in the crowds.

Don’ts:

  • Don’t wear open-toed shoes; there are loose pieces of rock and insects. There have been sightings of snakes in the bush around!
  • Plan/try to camp on the wall.
  • Take pictures in precarious positions – it’s an ancient structure.
  • Be a litter bug!
  • Forget tissue if you’d like to use the toilet.
  • Run or walk too fast; seriously – there is loose rock everywhere.
  • Don’t climb on the windows of watchtowers, especially unrestored ones that might collapse.

We hope this answers some starter questions you have about visiting the Great Wall.

Stay up-to-date with us on: @trippinwithsj

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Trevi Fountain

You didn’t do Rome if you don’t visit the Fontana di Trevi, or Trevi Fountain. The Trevi Fountain is known as one of the most stunning fountains in the world. But there’s more to it than it’s beauty.

It was one of 1,352 fountains in 4th century Rome, but the Trevi Fountain always stood out from the rest. 

Some fun facts about the the fountain:

  1. The Trevi Fountain is one of the oldest water sources in Rome – the fountain was built at the end point of the aqueduct, at the junction of three roads. These three streets (tre vie) give the Trevi Fountain its name, the Three Street Fountain.
  1. It’s made from the same material as the Colosseum – the fountain is mostly built from travertine stone, a name that means “from the Tiber” in Latin.
  2. The fountain uses A LOT of water – the Trevi Fountain stands a massive 85 feet tall and is almost 65 feet wide. Water pumps out of multiple sources and the large pool in front, the fountain spills about 2,824,800 cubic feet of water every day! Environment gang I hear you gasping! but don’t worry, these days the water is recycled (meaning unlike the ancient Romans you’ll have to drink from the nearby drinking fountains instead!)
  3. The fountain is charitable – during its operating hours roughly €3,000 is thrown into it every day as people follow the tradition of throwing coins over their shoulders. Legend has it that a coin thrown into the fountain will ensure a return to Rome. This tradition also dates back to the ancient Romans who often threw coins in water to make the gods of water favour their journey or help them get back home safely. (Throw in a second coin if you’re seeking love – even a third for wedding bells!) What many don’t know is that the coins are collected every night and given to an Italian charity called Caritas. Caritas, in turn, use the money for a supermarket program giving rechargeable cards to Rome’s needy to help them get groceries.
  4. It’s illegal to fish out coins from the fountain – in the past it was common for gangs of thieves to sweep the coins out of the fountain at night. In fact, three were caught by a T.V. show using a hidden camera in 2011. The most famous raider, however, was known by his nickname, d’Artagnan. He stole the coins from the fountain for 34 years before he was caught in the summer of 2002! (A true scammer!)

Insider tip: Like all popular sites, to maximise your photo taking opportunities you should get there early! To help me with this, I actually monitored it on this website: Live Cam Trevi Fountain – Rome. You’re welcome.

Keep up to date with us on: @sarahambitious / @trippinwithsj x

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Rome 101

  • Fly into Fiumicino (FCO), slightly more expensive than CIA but better connected.
  • Use your card everywhere, cash for souvenirs
  • Buy a city pass or stay centrally and walk around city instead

Here are our top sites to see in Rome, Rome is such a walkable city – things we love! So it’s easy to do a lot of these in one day.

  • Trevi Fountain – find out more about this amazing fountain here.
  • Pantheon – is a former Roman temple, now a Catholic church. A great spot to sit and people watch or grab a bite to eat at nearby restaurants.
  • The Colosseum – is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city and is the largest ancient amphitheatre ever built, and is still the largest standing amphitheater in the world today, despite its age!
  • Roman Forum – also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum, is a rectangular forum surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the centre of the city.
  • Spanish Steps – are a set of steps, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top. It’s a lovely sea of people; on their lunch breaks – a welcome break after a long day of walking.
  • Piazza Navona – is a public open space in Rome, Italy. It is built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, built in the 1st century AD, and follows the form of the open space of the stadium.
  • St. Peters Basilica – is a church built in the Renaissance style located in Vatican City.
  • Sistine Chapel – a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the pope, in Vatican City. You could spend hours, literally in awe of the intricate and beautiful paintings on the ceiling.
  • Palatine Hill – which is the centremost of the Seven Hills of Rome, is one of the most ancient parts of the city and has been called “the first nucleus of the Roman Empire.
  • Vatican / Vatican City – you may get to see the Pope during a processions, it also gave me Twilight vibes – the Volturi and all.
  • Trastevere – is one of Rome’s most colourful neighbourhoods. While it may be less touristy when compared to the ancient town or Vatican City, it has to be said that it does remain firmly on the tourist trail – but that’s not to say it’s not worth a visit! Restaurnats, cinemas – lots of choices. 

Food to try: Pasta, Pizza, Gelato – bye-bye waistline.

Have you been to Rome? What’s your favourite thing to do there? If you found this useful, share and save it for later x