It’s time to go home!

Today is a very sad day!  We have to leave this amazing place and return home.  This place has been absolutely amazing and has exceeded our expectations a thousand-fold!

Our flight is scheduled for 10 am so its another early start.  I have already packed most things the night before!  If you know me, I can’t leave anything until last minute.  Obviously, the toiletries we need for today can’t go in until last minute, but you know what I mean!

I’ve pre-booked our pickup.  They have confirmed they will be here at 7.15 am, and they are punctual.

I take a last look across the old town from our balcony.  I’m going to miss that view!

This morning I made sure I was up early enough so I could sit one last time on the balcony, drinking my tea, taking in the view!  I wanted to make the most of every minute here!

As we travel in our taxi to the airport, I get one last chance to look back and see the view from above of Kings Landing and the Red Keep – aka Dubrovnik!  The sun is shining on the orange roofs below.  The sea is clear and bright blue.  This place certainly has some magic!

It is only a short trip to the airport.  Getting through security is very quick and easy.  We have 2.5 hours to kill.  There isn’t a lot to do here but as we are early, we decide to grab a drink and something to eat.  Whilst small, it is very comfortable.

After a while we decided to head down to our gate to wait to be called for our Easyjet flight home.

Just before we board, I decide I should pop to the ladies!  I have a middle seat so its not always easy to get out on the plane, without disturbing the person next to you! Plus what if they are sleeping, do you wake them? I’m not sure if you should!

I pop off and do what ladies do.  I’m walking back to the gate.  I’ve seen a man looking out across the runway looking at the planes and think nothing of it.  Suddenly he turns and gets his leg in front of mine!  There is nothing I can do.  I’m falling at a pace.  Ahead of me I can see the edge of the lift and metal bollards, they are heading towards my head at speed.  I can’t stop myself.  I quickly put my arm up to try and protect me.  With a thud I hit the floor, bollard and lift! 

At first, I can’t move.  I’m somehow wrapped amongst the bollard.  Thankfully I didn’t hit my head, but my leg, arm and hand really hurt.  The man has rushed to me so apologetic.  He knows he was completely to blame and is mortified.  I’m suddenly aware of a lot of people around me waiting for their flight home!

The man wants to call for help but I assure him I’m fine.  I need to get my flight home and its boarding soon!  He helps me up!  I’m trying hard not to cry.  The pain is horrendous.  I can’t show the man how I’m feeling, he feels so bad as it is, and it was an accident.   These things happen.

As he helps me up, he apologises again and asks if I need anything.  I say I’m fine and not to worry.  I slowly walk off trying to put a brave face on it.

As I walk back to my seat, I don’t know what to rub first.  I think I’ve broken a finger at least!  I quickly mention to my hubby that I’ve had a fall but then our flight is called so we board the plane!

I travel home feeling very bruised and battered.

After a horrible drive home in the pouring rain we relax and unwind!  As I take my coat off, I see the extent of the damage.  A beautiful bruise on my right arm.  My right hand is also swollen, and I can’t move my little finger.  The pain is horrible.  Bruises start to appear on my leg and knee too!  My hubby suddenly realises it wasn’t just a little fall after all!

I soldier on for 10 days now.  The bruises are starting to fade a little, but my hand is still in pain.  I decide that maybe I should have got it checked out sooner, so book an appointment with my GP. 

After checking it he confirms that yep I have a fracture!

It is amazing how in a split-second things can change.  I’m not cross at the man.  It was an accident.  I’m sure he is still feeling mortified about it.  And if anyone knows me, if an accident is going to happen it has to be me who will have it!

At the end of the day, it was still the most amazing holiday.  It isn’t goodbye Dubrovnik, it is until we see you again!  We will be back!

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Day 3 – Montenegro

Today was a very early start. We had arranged a private tour for the 5 of us to Montenegro. Due to having to go through border controls, we had to be ready by the old gate at 7 am.

If there is a small group of you this is a great way to get around! Your guide will custom your trip based on the time you have. For us it was a full day tour, 11-12 hours. It worked out at about 64 Euro each but this included our own minibus and guide just for us!

It’s important to check if you are doing some day trips if you need your passports. As we were going to a different country, today we did.

I wasn’t too sure what to expect in Montenegro.

As we drove across the border the landscape really unfolded. Beautiful mountains framed the view!

Our first stop was a chance to get out and see the view across the ocean. Stunning. An old abandoned building to our left showed us the reality of this country.

Our next stop was to take in views of 2 small islands, both with churches in the middle! Both very tiny but beautiful. Our guide explained that we could take a boat over to one of the islands if we wanted to, which of course we did!

The trip went from Perast and took only 10 minutes and cost only 5 Euro each. I should mention that Montenegro only accept Euros.

There was so much history in such a small place. The views again were breathtaking.

Back on the mainland we took a few minutes to visit the old town before heading to our next destination.

Kutor is a stunningly beautiful old city. Walking around the tiny streets it is steeped in history. There is a city wall however you can’t walk around it like you can in Dubrovnik.

If you look carefully at the photo above you will see the wall stretching up into the mountain. This was a theme over here. You could walk up that part of the wall however you would need a full day and proper walking boots to fully experience it, which we didn’t!

We did go up the parts of the wall you can see in the main frame which gave great views over the harbour.

There were some amazing yachts moored there! A girl can dream!

Budva was our next and final stop! A smaller old town greeted us. Our guide took us around again and explained the history to us.

A quick stop off for a late lunch over looking the ocean was perfect. Food and drink is a lot cheaper here compared to Dubrovnik. Beer for example is under €3 a pint.

At around 3pm we headed back to Dubrovnik. Our timing was perfect as the heavens opened!

As we reached Dubrovnik the sun blessed us again!

I’d decided to cancel our original restaurant booking as it was slightly too far. We were later home than expected so only had 30 mins to shower and change, so we decided to go back to Restaurant 1838. It was so good last night, why not !

It didn’t disappoint! I had the mussels again! Oh and of course they gave us those amazing drinks again. I’m definitely going to try and make them when I get home!

Another great day in Dubrovnik! Well mostly in Montenegro, but this was turning out to be a fabulous trip!

I’m looking forward now to preparing my YouTube videos over the weekend to really share with you the beauty of this trip.

Tomorrow is our last day in the beautiful country. We have another trip planned! Stay tuned !

Day 2 – Game of Thrones

Today I’m so excited. We have booked on the GOT walking tour. It’s scheduled for 2 hours and promises to show us where some of the episodes were filmed.

I’d booked the tour through a company called – Get Your Guide. I’ve used them before and find their website really helpful. At only £17 per person it is very reasonable.

We met our guide Boska at the meeting point. Today was an unusually large group – around 19 of us, so we were given headsets so we could hear him fully.

To say Bosko was passionate about GOT is an understatement. In fact he auditioned to be an extra and was successful, but for personal reasons he couldn’t take it!

Funny enough, our taxi driver from the airport was an extra. He showed us very proudly a photo of him waking behind Cercei when she did the walk of shame!

We started our tour by walking up to the old fort! As with Dubrovnik it’s a bit of a steep walk, but the views are really worth it!

The entrance fee to the fort isn’t included in the tour price so you need to factor another 50 Kuna per person (approx £6).

Once inside the fort the magic of GOT unfolds. You do need a little bit of imagination due to the fact that on the set the fort has more levels due to special effects, but Boska has plenty of pictures to help you visualise it better.

Filming was done in July and August mainly, when Croatia is at its hottest! Can you imagine how the actors and extras coped in that heat in their costumes! It apparently got a little bit smelly as the weeks went on with long days and no time to wash the costumes!

I was amazed at how many different scenes were filmed from this small location. It was mainly used as the Red Keep, but other locations were also filmed there!

The view of the old town from the top is spectacular. If you are not a GOT fan it’s worth going up for that alone!

It was reassuring to see the local cat keeping guard for us !

You can also see the park where Joffrey and Sansa were married! Hubby and I had walked through it the day before completely unawares.

You learn all about the tricks of filming including using mirror image to move islands ! How do you tell? Check how many left hand people are in the scene!

Next stop was the harbour where Jon Snow said his good byes along with other scenes.

We then walk back into the old town. Thursday and Saturdays are cruise ship days so the town can get very busy. To avoid the crowds we were led down some lovely old alleys until we reached the steps where the walk of shame was filmed.

I was stunned at how much they compensated residents to move out or close businesses down to allow them to film. Even paying per window for them to keep their shutters closed!

All in all this was an amazing tour. I would certainly recommend it as a must do.

The tour ended with a photo opportunity in the iron thrown!

At the harbour was a lovely restaurant which we visited for lunch. Such a stunning setting and a perfect end to the morning.

As we finished lunch the rain started. Not hard but enough to send a lot of the people from the cruise ship back so the town wasn’t so full.

We decided to visit an exhibition on Photography of War. The Entrance fee is about 50 Kuna but worth it.

It’s not a joyful experience. Very humbling and heart wrenching. Photos over 2 floors on wars in Iran, Yugoslavia’s, Croatia, Afghanistan, Bosnia etc. The truth behind war! I’m so glad we went but it brought tears to my eyes.

It’s hard to imagine that Dubrovnik was in a war zone not that long ago. You would never know today.

After a relaxing walk around another part of the harbour we headed back to our apartment to get ready for dinner.

Tonight’s restaurant was called 1838. It’s right on the waters edge by the main entrance to the old town.

This restaurant is an absolute must.

The food is amazing. I had the mussels (89 Kuna) with a side salad (35 Kuna) and shared a litre of their house white (140 Kuna).

As with the previous night we were greeted with a complementary starter and plenty of bread.

When we paid the bill we were given the best drink I’ve ever tasted! Prosecco, lemon sorbet and vodka! OMG, I loved it!

It had been another great day. Tomorrow had more surprises to come !

Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss when I start uploading my videos next week. Here is today’s : https://youtu.be/niVu4o0xHdw

Day 1 – Dubrovnik exceeded my expectations!

I’m currently sat on an EasyJet flight from Dubrovnik airport en-route to London Stansted! I live in the midlands so I really have no clue why I chose Stansted, but hey ho!

The flight is under 3 hours. Not too bad.

We arrived 5 days ago. Our flight was 6 am so we arrived with almost the whole first day ahead of us!

We arrived at our apartment before it was ready! Apartment Lukre is a 2 bedroom apartment, 5 minutes walk from the main entrance to the old town. Off a small kitchen area is a beautiful balcony with fabulous views of the old Town. Perfect for having dinner on or as I did, sit and enjoy a lovely cup of tea. If I was lucky the church bells would be ringing out. I never tired of it!

The owner of the apartment was lovely. So friendly. They can collect you from the airport if you wish and arrange trips for you.

They also have a double room next door to our apartment which our friends had. At 115 euro for ours and 55 Euro for the room, it is definitely value for money and a great find.

Even though our apartment wasn’t ready, the owner let us leave our bags so we could get out and about.

The 5 of us in our group headed off to the old town.

If you are a fan of Game if Thrones, you will fully understand why it was used for filming the movie!

As you walk through 2 sets of gates you come upon the Main Street! It’s beauty takes your breath away.

There is a water fountain like no other to your right. The water is cold and refreshing, so don’t forget to fill your water bottles up there.

One word of warning! There are a lot of steps in the old town! The pavements can become very slippy when it rains. It is definitely a place where you leave your heals at home! Comfortable shoes will ensure you enjoy the best of this beautiful old town!

The town is full of small streets and alleys packed with churches, beautiful buildings, shops and restaurants. It might feel daunting but you don’t need to worry, you can’t really get lost.

A must do is to walk around the city walls. It costs 300 kuna (£25) each, so not cheap but worth it! It certainly is a good workout, but the views make it something not to be missed.

Food and drink inside the old town is more expensive than outside, but you can still get some reasonably priced restaurants and cafes.

We had been warned to book our restaurants before coming, as they can get busy, especially on peak times, so we had prebook all nights.

Our first night was at a lovely restaurant in the old town – Konoba Jezuite. The menu was quite varied with mains ranging from £15-£20. Beer is £6 a pint and a bottle of house white around £23.

After placing our order they brought out baskets of bread with a pate dish. All complementary. I opted for the Tuna salad which was gorgeous as my main.

As we paid the bill they brought out cherry liquor! Gorgeous.

We took a slow walk back to the apartment via a local supermarket where we picked up some local wine and beers. It is so much cheaper. About £1.20 a can of larger and £3 a bottle of white wine.

We chilled out in our apartment excited at the day just gone and the days ahead!

I’m really loving Dubrovnik!

Tomorrow is our GOT walking tour.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel to see the old town in my video.

The madness that is Ryanair! You

Ok. Before I start, I know Ryanair are a budget airline! I get it! You get what you pay for! But come on guys, there are some things that they do that make absolutely no sense. Even to say, bonkers! Or is it their last ditch attempt to bleed money from their passengers?

Are you sitting comfortably? Let me explain!

So my hubby and I booked a return flight to Dublin from Birmingham airport! 1 booking for both of us!

First add on – the price they advertise is effectively for you to sit on the plane. Ok if it’s a day trip, but how often does that happen?

So as we are staying over we need a small bag! That will cost you extra! We only need 1 bag but as both of us are on the same booking we have to pay for 2!

Well at least they acknowledge we are both on the same booking!

So we now want to check in! You can only do this online unless you want to pay an extra £55!! No thank you!

So we check in online! You can only check in 48 hours before! So if you are away for more than a day you need to make sure you have access to WiFi or a printer, as you will need to arrange your check in for your return while you are away. Or pay £55 extra ! Your choice !!

So you check in online ! It’s 1 booking don’t forget! You can’t add just 1 bag as it’s a joint booking ! Yep, now, this is where they choose to treat each passenger as an individual.

When you check in, their lovely computer picks your seat at random. Well unless you want to pay up to £14 a seat each to sit together !

So, if you don’t want to pay extra the computer picks seats on different sides of the plane! Of course it does!

Now the sceptic would say ‘surely not if you had a child’. Oh you may wonder! My hubby was asked when seated if he minded moving to allow a father and child to sit together. He obviously said he would be happy to! Why could he do this? Well, the seat next to him was empty!

As it happens he didn’t end up moving but I did! Next to him!

Seriously, I am at a complete loss to the madness that is Ryanair! It’s not rocket science. They may use a computer to allocate seats, but how hard is it for them to programme it to seat passengers on same booking together. I get as plane fills up it gets harder? But if you can pay to sit together at this time? The computer can sit you together!

There is one obvious answer! They want to make more money!

Imagine if their original plan to charge for the toilet took off! Women would be buying those gadgets that allow them to pee into a bottle so they don’t have to leave their seats !

I’d love Ryanair to give me a full explanation as to their true rationale. I doubt they will!

Air regulators really need to deal with these pricing ripoffs before they get out of hand!

So now I’m on the plane the next rant!!

The flight is said to be 1 hour 10 mins! It never is!! We have left almost 30 mins late! If we arrive within the 1 hour 10 mins, they will reward themselves with a fanfare!

I can’t wait to see if they do on this trip, but when we have already built in a great contingency, it’s going to happen more often than not’. Is that false SLA’s?

Rant now over until next time! I don’t mind getting what I pay for, but it still has to be logical and fair!!

6 mins to expected arrival and captain has already said ‘prepare to land’. It does make me laugh!

I wish my SLA’s at work could be that flexible!

On this occasion touchdown was 6 minutes late but not bad for a 40 minute late take off !!

It would be great to know your experience or views !

Here is a link to my vlog of the trip including our amazing hotel !

And then it was Friday!

Another week has flown by! I can’t believe it’s Friday already! So much has happened in just a few days!

Technically for us it was only a 4 day week as we took Monday off. If you read my previous blog you will know we spent the weekend in Gloucester. As we hadn’t had a break for 6 months, I really needed to charge my batteries!

So on Monday, we decided to extend our weekend and head to Stonehenge for the day!

I can’t believe I’ve never been before. It’s only a couple of hours drive away. It’s also free if you belong to English Heritage, which we do, so there has really been no excuse.

The weather was on our side! It was a beautiful spring day. Don’t get me wrong, it was blooming cold and windy, but the sun was out.

When you drive to Stonehenge you may be surprised to see it from the road. Well I was! It was just like the first time I saw the pyramids in Cairo.

I had visions of them being in a remote area. Next to a busy road was not what I expected!

Although it is free to enter for us, you still have to book a slot. This is such a good idea as it limits the crowds.

Once you collect your tickets, you can go into their visitor centre which tells you all about the history of Stonehenge. English Heritage are really good at giving you information in the form of audio equipment. Sadly, in the excitement we forgot to get ours! It didn’t matter though, there was still a lot of information about.

Next you get to walk around a replica village. I was a bit disappointed here as only one little house was open for you to view! This meant everyone was focused on the one building rather than spreading it around.

Next you board a shuttle bus that takes you to the stones. They run every few minutes, so it’s all relaxed! You can walk it if you like, but as I said, it was a tad chilly!

Nowadays you can’t get very close to the stones. I can’t believe people used to try and damage them!

There is a good footpath around so you get a great 360 degree view of the stones. With the sun out and perfect blue skies, our cameras were busy!

If you go, look out for what is left of the old road next to the stones! Being so close, I can see why they moved it!

Here is an account of our day.

It was such a lovely day we decided to call into Bourton-on-the-Water for a very late lunch.

One of the benefits of going to tourist places this time of the year is that you miss the crowds.

We only had 1 extra day off, but I felt like I’d really had a good relaxing break!

Tuesday was back to work. Boo hoo! We live in hope to one day win the lottery so we can both travel more! It probably won’t happen, but you have to have a dream!

Have a great weekend!

I blinked and you were gone!

Does anyone else feel like that when Monday morning comes round ?

On Friday I was so excited at the prospect of a couple of days off. The next thing I know, the alarm is going off for work! It’s like Groundhog Day! How can it be Monday already?

I suppose I shouldn’t complain though as this weekend, whilst disappeared in the blink of an eye, was really fun.

If you have been following me you will know I have been doing dry January! As my hubby didn’t think I would do it, we had a bet on! Whoever lost the bet paid for dinner out at Lambs in Stratford-upon-Avon.

I thought I had booked our table for 1 February, back on 2 January. It was for 7.30 pm, to give us chance to get home, walk the dogs and get dressed up!

On Thursday last week, by chance, hubby checked the email confirmation. I’d some how booked a restaurant in Gloucester ! Eek!

I quickly cancelled that and rang Lambs! Thankfully they could fit us in but only at 7 pm! So on Friday it was a mad rush to get ready and make sure the dogs got their usual walk!

Dress is on my 21 Buttons page

https://bit.ly/2WMsRuh

Then there was the issue of parking. If you know Stratford-upon-Avon, you will know that there isn’t many places with on site parking . So after finding a carpark a little way away, I then had to try and walk rather quickly in heels! When you haven’t worn them for a while, that’s about as easy as trying not to spill a glass of wine while rowing a boat on choppy seas!

Finally, after a very rush start to the evening, we arrived at the Restaurant only a few minutes late !!

The meal as usual was amazing! As I completed dry January, I enjoyed my first glass of wine this year !

Ok, I actually had a bottle. Eek! I have to say, if you want a nice meal out, check out Lambs in Sheep Street. You won’t be disappointed!

https://bit.ly/2MRLI2F

The meal over, I now had to manage the walk back to the car with the added challenge of alcohol in my system !!!! Don’t worry, I had a secret weapon! Flat shoes ! Oh yes! I had a pair of folding pumps in my handbag! They were like slippers! The walk back was now relaxing ! Phew!

We had a 5am wake up call the next day as we were off to London for the day, so it was home to bed !

5am came far too quickly! It was a brisk walk with the dogs before a quick shower, change and out.

We had booked an early Virgin train. Mainly because it was cheap and fast. The only drawback was that it went from Birmingham so we had to leave home earlier than we would for work!

Isn’t it funny how on a week day it’s a struggle to get moving, but when you have something on you enjoy, it’s almost a joy to be up so early !

The train trip was really relaxing. I’d taken food with us, but bought teas and coffee on the train. It was lovely to sit back and look at the countryside. Most of it was covered in snow. It really was beautiful!

Now I’m not a fan of London if I’m honest. It’s too busy and people just don’t seem that friendly!

We hopped onto the tube and underground easily. We then have to go onto overground to the Olympia. This trip, everything was literally there in minutes. It was hassle free!

We arrived with almost an hour before the exhibition opened so went for coffee.

Not knowing the area we went to the first place we found ! It wasn’t the most fashionable place but it did a good cup of herbal tea! The toilets on the other hand ! Well, let’s not go there !!!

As we still had time to kill, we decided to have a walk around . We first passed some flats which I commented looked quite nice ! There was a sale board in the windows so we had a look! £3.25m! Seriously! I’d want a mansion and grounds for that!

We then came across a shop selling cars! There was this horrible looking 4×4 outside. Second hand and a few years old but still £280k! I’m seriously doing something wrong!!!

We decided to start heading back to the Olympia before we got anymore shocks!

The Holiday and Travel show was brilliant . We both love to travel and there were so many ideas! There was also a lot of free bags and brochures which we seemed to have picked up!

My favourites were a classic car holiday and the railway holidays ! Both very different but looked amazing !

The classic car holiday was based in 3 countries, Romania, Bulgaria and Macedonia. You have to make your own way to those countries, but when there, they pick you up from the airport and take you to your hotel. There you will get to see your car for the week. It will be a classic car from that country – a Trabant. They give you a Sat Nav, mobile phone and vehicle tracker. There is also mechanical support throughout. You drive each day taking in heritage sites, vineyards, Cold War sites, and ancient historical sites. Each day you only drive about 2 hours, at your leisure and all fuel is included. You will end up at new hotels each night which are all organised for you too, including breakfast.

I think this would be a amazing holiday for a group of friends. They only have about 5 cars in each group.

If you are interested check out their website www.classiccarholidays.co.uk

We would also love to do a train holiday, but sadly I think they are out of our price range!

We spent a good 4 hours wandering round, wishing we had won the lottery, so we could book some of these amazing holidays. Getting hungry and loaded up with ideas and brochures, we decided to head back to Euston and find somewhere to eat.

Not far from the station is a Prezzo which seemed the perfect place . We had a lovely meal chatting over the day and planning where we would get if we won the lottery ! You have to have a dream !

We headed home chilled and in good spirits ! During the journey home I needed the loo! I will share my experience on my Youtube channel!!

It had been a good day!

England had played Ireland at rugby earlier in the day which we had recorded, so we snuggled up in sofa up watch it. Hubby with a beer and me with my slimline wine ! If you still haven’t tried it, you so should. My favourite is the sparkling which is available at Tesco, or visit their website for their full range!

The day just got better as England won! Woo hoo!

Sunday was going to be busy but our plans changed last minute . It was a cold day but the sun was out ! We decided to take the opportunity to take the dogs on a long walk along the canal!

There is a lovely pub on the canal side called Fleur De Ly in a little village called Lowsonford. It’s a beautiful pub! Inside it’s so cosy on a cold winters day. On days like Sunday and in the summer it has an amazing garden, where you can sit out and have a drink or dinner, overlooking the canal!

We parked up and took a 4 mile walk! The canal was still frozen, it was cold, but with the sun out, it was perfect.

On the return, it was only right we stopped off at the pub for a quick drink !

https://bit.ly/2MUsA3R

We headed home, having had an amazing weekend! Hubby caught up on his rugby while I visited my parents and updated my YouTube channel!

Check out my amazing biscuits and update on my month!

Sunday roast was the order of the day to complete the weekend !

The next thing I knew, the alarm was going . It was Monday already !

It was a wonderful weekend, but it was over in the blink of an eye!

Check out my vlog on YouTube on the weekend which includes more photos!