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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

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Baraka Natural Aquarium

Baraka Natural Aquarium is located in the northern part of Nungwi. As with everything these days, I originally saw it on the gram and was very pleased that it matched up to my expectations 😻😻.WE LOVE TO SEE IT 🗣⁣

Baraka is a turtle rehabilitation centre run by local people; the turtles here have been rescued from fishermen capture. They are then nursed back to full health before being released back into the wild. You can wade through the shallow water in the low tide, and swim with fish and other small marine animals.

Price: $10 to get in and the seaweed needed to coax the turtles closer is provided. If you would like to snorkel, you can hire gear in destination.

Here are some tips for making the most of your time:

  • No prebooking – just arrive turn up and you will be directed to the location.
  • Arrive early just as they open to get a shot without other people – I say early rather than later because the sunlight hitting the water is something special.
  • The turtles are just trying to eat, so you can very easily bribe them with the seaweed provided 😂⁣
  • Seaweed is salty; so bring a towel and water to wash your eyes out. (I learnt the hard way 😂)
  • There are showers on site – so you can bring a change of clothes
  • It’s by no means a whole day activity.
  • The turtles will bite! Once they know you have the seaweed they’ll swarm.
  • The turtles have a rubbery texture and they don’t seem to mind you stroking them (follow any instructions given by the guides).
  • Don’t put on too much sunscreen if you plan to go into the water, it will contaminate the water and we don’t want that for the turtles.

Photo op tips:

  • When you walk in, find the cove to your right and coax turtles with seaweed. It’s a good point for a photo with no one else in.
  • If you want a picture on the podium in the middle, you’ll need someone high up to capture it for you.
  • If you’re a confident swimmer, go further out and again use the seaweed to coax the turtles

Most importantly, have fun! It’s an amazing experience.

As always, keep up to date with us on @trippinwithsj // @sarahambitious x

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Nungwi Beach

Nungwi Beach is one of the main areas you will find information about online when planning a visit to Zanzibar, and for good reason. It has powdery white sand, turqouise blue water that simply looks unreal – I remember standing in awe. I never get tired of looking at beautiful water.

Nungwi is all you expect from a tourist beach front; restaurants serving a variety of cuisines, water sports and regular party boats that include food, bottomless drinks and music you can groove to. I even got some beautiful henna done.

Here are 10 reasons you should visit Nungwi if you go to Tanzania:

  1. It’s an island paradise(!) 😍 (hyperbole?, yes but no)
  2. It’s warm all year round. Zanzibar is located near the equator and gets sunny weather most of the time, so tan me up please! (Averaging up to 32°C & 9 hours of sun) 🌞😎
  3. Beautiful sunset views. Again because Zanzibar is on the western coast at the top of the island, its perfect to get your insta moments and have people wishing they were laying up there too. You can enjoy a drink on a rooftop as the sun sets or get on a sunset cruise on a dhow. (Did someone say baecation criteria being ticked?) 🌅
  4. Experience nature up close. Baraka Natural Aquarium is a conservation site run by locals, but that deserves a blogpost all of its own. So keep an eye out 😉
  5. Nightlife! As the sun sets, the beach comes alive. Visit Cholo’s Bar – it’s the oldest in the village. 🥂
  6. Enjoy local flavours. There are countless restaurants that will cater to your tastes, you have everything from French inspired to classic Italian in addition to local flavours. 🥘
  7. Build a dhow. You won’t actually do the back breaking work yourself, but you can get a personal look at how it’s done. Dhows are used to catch fish and other seafood in Zanzibar, and some of the fisherman will give a ‘Dhow building 101’. 🚣🏾‍♀️
  8. Walk, walk, walk. Locals are used to tourists walking around, but please be respectful of the local culture and cover up – shoulders and knees. Try the village market and get the best in local fruits and veg. Try the local faves; date nut bread, fried plantains and octopus! Spice galore again – so much to take back home for friends and family.
  9. Melting pot of cultures. Nungwi beach is in Zanzibar which is an important location for the spice trade, trade always brings people together and as people pass through they leave bits of their culture behind. Asian, European and African cultures, can be seen in the religion, values and cuisine.
  10. Beach boys. The souvenirs will come to you, or maybe it’s a dhow cruise you’re after? Water sports? A picture. The Maasai people will try and sell it all, but they are not overbearing. A firm ‘no’, and they will leave you alone.

There are many beautiful beaches in Zanzibar, but Nungwi stays top 5 no debating. Nungwi has so much hustle and bustle, but you still feel secluded; I don’t know but it’s beautiful. 🧘🏾‍♀️

Best time to travel: All year round; June – October, January and February are the driest months

Places to eat: Le Macis Zanzibar

As always, keep up with us on @sarahambitious // @trippinwithsj x

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Breaks close to home

Not being able to travel internationally doesn’t mean you have to miss out on some well deserved #RnR 🧖🏾‍♀️. 

Here’s our list of local destinations we think you should try out: 

1️⃣ London – Why not stay close to home or drive/commute down and stay at a 5* star hotel. We recommend the Landmark as they always offer an amazing service 👌🏾 

Breakfast in bed? A spa treatment? Get the holiday feeling without getting on a flight. 

➡️ if you’d prefer a day service why not try the Montcalm or one of the many Bannatyne sites? Their massages are amazing and they offer access to their swimming pool and spa services. 

2️⃣ The Cotswolds 

The Cotswolds have been declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). They are truly picturesque. They cover 800 square miles across 5 counties. It’s a gateway to some amazing cities; Bath, Oxford for example and the chefs at their gastropubs are top tier.

We could go on but then this post would get really long 😉 Look into it and make a weekend or longer of it.

3️⃣ Cornwall – St. Ives, Penzance, Newquay, Torquay. Getting to some of these places will really make you feel like you’ve left the UK. You will have a lengthy drive or train head ahead of you but the destination is more than worth it.

https://www.visitcornwall.com

4️⃣Edinburgh, Scotland 

There are nearly more castles than people (not really but there are a lot of castles)! Gothic vibes, castle vibes, cobbled street vibes. Edinburgh offers a lot of vibes, if you’re feeling even more adventourous why not head to the coast and take in some of the beautiful coastline 😍

**Please check local lockdown/covid restrictions before booking anything**

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Post Brexit Travel to Europe

European travel looks like the way to go once Covid cases start dropping. Here are few things to bear in mind for UK travellers.

We’re officially about to be outside of the clurb 🥺😔

For more information, visit www.gov.uk/transition

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Packing Hacks!

Top 5 no debating…
  1. Roll your clothes – don’t fold them! Roll socks into shoes, roll outfits together. Trust us, it saves so much space!
  2. Pack shoes and an emergency outfit in your carry-on! In the worst case that your luggage is delayed you have something to change in to aaaand you have more space in your check in luggage for all the outfits!
  3. Pack anti-sickness tablets. There is a chance your system will react to a new environment, better to be safe than sorry.
  4. Double check all your liquids over 100ml are in the your checked luggage. You don’t want to have to bin your favourite perfume or get held up at security. Double and triple check.
  5. Keep your liquids in a separate bag and/or section of your luggage – in case of a leak and also to maximise space.

Did you find these useful? Why not share them with someone else 😉

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Athens

Visiting Athens in February was my first solo trip, with all play and no business (aside from an assignment I had to do).

I had booked the 5 day trip just under a month in advance in January, but ended up spending the first two days completing said assignment for uni. The change of pace and scenery was very welcome. Fruity cocktails with a view of the acropolis? Sounds like a bit of me…

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ARRIVING IN ATHENS 

I flew direct with BA from London Heathrow and the flight was around 3 1/2 hours. BA are being super flexible because of the pandemic and the constantly changing rules (Boo Boris! Boo Miss ‘Rona!) so you can book now and change your flight at no additional cost unless the dates you want to fly are more expensive! 

(Follow us on the gram for useful hacks @trippinwithsj 😉)

I used Uber in Athens to get to my hotel which was located in the city centre and it set me back just under €40, which is not bad for an airport transfer. The metro system is pretty easy to navigate and next time I’ll consider using it – it only about 45 minutes. If you’re good at navigating public transport and want to save your coin for more exciting things you can also use the metro to get to Acropolis station at the grand price of €8 (or €14 for two people). 

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WHERE TO STAY 

I stayed at two different hotels because I like to switch up the vibes. 

The first was Athenaeum Eridanus Luxury Hotels (£84 for 2 nights with breakfast included). It’s a 10 minute walk away from the M3 metro which goes straight to the airport.

The room was perfect for one, with a double bed and cute little bathroom. 

I spent my first two days here in their restaurant/bar completing my health econ assignment, accompanied by a glass of white, spag bol and the most splendid view of the Acropolis.

The staff here were A1 👌🏾 I fully recommend, for downtime with some comfort at an affordable price ✅

The second hotel/apartment was Pame House.

Recommend for: Being close to the hustle and bustle of the city centre and night life, major tourist attractions and the flea market

For the breakfast offered with your stay, you are given a voucher to redeem at a breakfast joint a 2 minute walk from the hotel which plays chilled R&B – vibes. 

Most rooms have a balcony and luckily my room was no exception. Here’s some action that started popping off on one evening.  

Hotel option if you’re ballin on a budget: £ Athenaeum Smart Hotel – @ £103 for 3 nights for two sharing that works out to £51.5pp. I know you’ve spent more @ Zara sis so don’t play yourself. 😅

And for my luxury living crew: £££ Elia Ermou Athens Hotel – @ £450 for 3 nights for two sharing; you’re spending a pretty penny but I promise the experience is worth it, just check out the views 😍

(Visit Little Kook; an amazing themed cafe you never know what you’ll find.)

Hurry back for my insider tips on where to eat and what to do as a tourist in Athens.

J x

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So where can you go?

If you’re based in the U.K., you’ll know since July the government introduced ‘travel corridors’. The list is ever changing, sometimes with only a few hours between when you do or don’t need to quarantine for 14 days on your return.

(We don’t get it either)

In line with this the Foreign & Commonwealth Office is now providing specific advice for each destination alongside their ‘all but essential travel’ message.

So where can you go, without needing to quarantine when you get back? There are currently 14 countries and/or territories quarantine free on both ends…

Because if we can’t travel, where can we go?

*drum roll* 

Cuba 🇨🇺 – You are welcome to Cuba as long as you enter the country on any international charter flights arriving directly into Cayo Coco, Cayo Cruz, Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Santa Maria or Cayo Largo del Sur.

Cyprus 🇨🇾 the UK is in Cyprus’ Category B: this means that tourists are permitted to travel to Cyprus, but they need to provide a negative test on arrival, obtained within 72 hours before travel. You can show your test results via SMS and/or email.

Faroe Islands 🇫🇴 – Visitors must take a COVID-19 test on arrival. Testing is free of charge up until and including 30th September. From the 1st October, visitors will have to pay for their own test, which will cost between DKK 390-500 (about £48-£62).

Germany 🇩🇪 – No quarantine or negative test required for U.K. arrivals.

Gibraltar 🇬🇮 – No quarantine or negative test required for U.K. arrivals.

Greece (mainland and some islands) 🇬🇷 – If you are arriving in England from Crete, Lesvos, Mykonos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos and Zakynthos you must quarantine for 14 days. Other Greek Islands, as well as travel to the mainland, remain an option without quarantine on either end.

Italy 🇮🇹 – No quarantine or negative test required for U.K. arrivals. However, if you are travelling to Sardinia, Sicily, Apulia or Calabria you’ll have to register on each region’s website before arrival.

Liechtenstein 🇱🇮 – No quarantine or negative test required for U.K. arrivals.

Poland 🇵🇱 – No quarantine or negative test required for U.K. nationals.

Portugal (Azores and Madeira only) 🇵🇹 – Mainland Portugal is no longer on England’s travel corridors list; only the Azores and Madeira are. Visitors to the islands must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival, or take a test on arrival and wait for the results at your hotel/airbnb.

San Marino 🇸🇲 – No quarantine or negative test required for U.K. arrivals.

Sweden 🇸🇪 – No quarantine or negative test required for U.K. arrivals.

Turkey 🇹🇷 – No quarantine or negative test required for U.K. arrivals.

Vatican City 🇻🇦 – No quarantine or negative test required for U.K. arrivals.

**information is correct as of 27/09/20, please check gov.uk for up to date information**