Whenever fellow travelers asked me where I’m from, to which I replied Romania, the usual responses were ‘Oh, land of vampires! I’ve never been but want to go see Dracula’s Castle!’ or ‘I’ve never been but I heard it’s beautiful! Any suggestions on what to visit?’. Soon enough I realized that HRH Prince Charles does a better job at promoting his beloved Transylvania (where he owns two guesthouses!) than local authorities. So it’s up to us, locals, to do our part and tell people about our country’s beauty and some of its best attractions – and the list is quite long!
What do you think of when someone mentions the City of Nottingham? Maybe you think about the Robin Hood saga and the Sheriff of Nottingham or perhaps you know it has the oldest Inn AND one of the oldest trees in England? Maybe it’s neither of these things – but you should definitely try and visit, and do so during Summer as there is a wonderful surprise – a purpose built beach with eateries, amusement park rides, a bar and music – something for the whole family!
We visited Nottingham for my birthday and it was a beautiful sunny summer Bank Holiday.
I was born and grew up in Bristol but moved to Gloucester fifteen years ago, however from time to time, I am still drawn to my hometown and like to try new things as a “foreigner”.
In the run up to leaving the UK to begin my nomadic lifestyle, I decided to visit a couple of places I had wanted to see but hadn’t quite yet ventured to.
But where is Bristol and what did I want to visit?
I had never heard of a cat café before in my entire life … that is until I read a blog about one and I have since become obsessed! My birthday was looming so I looked up all the cat café’s in the UK and found eight to choose from in London, Manchester, Nottingham, Derby, Edinburgh, three in Newcastle (Mog on the Tyne, The Laughing Cat Café and the newest one Catpawchino). At the time of writing, two are vying to be the first in Birmingham and one in Bristol is due to open imminently after many problems with potential venues… good luck guys, I’m rooting for you!
Before I start, I must tell you the house rules of all cafes; no flash photography, no petting the cats whilst they are asleep and no chasing and running after them. Various other rules apply at each establishment, but these are the main ones to abide by, after all, you are here to enjoy the company of cats in their home, and it’s not nice or polite to make them feel uncomfortable.
I opted for Nottingham first, however after making it my mission to visit one… I couldn’t stop there so made it my mission to visit as many as I could.
I grew up in England where Christmases are generally wet and miserable and if you were lucky, just a little bit overcast and grey! In 2010 we had snow, proper snow where it covered the ground making it pretty and white – now for us Brits, that is the perfect Christmas, the stuff kid’s dreams are made of!
When I was 17 years old, I lost my Grandmother on Christmas Day so for me, the “magic of Christmas” had gone. I didn’t feel I could “celebrate” in the same way so over the years, I discovered that being away from the UK made me the happiest, plus, any excuse to have a holiday, right? I have since experienced Christmas in five different continents with both snow and sun. I love them both for different reasons, but one stood out for me the most … when I was 3ft deep in snow!
The cold isn’t for everyone …. so which do you think you would prefer?
We like to do things differently, break out of the usual stereo-type of life, experience the unusual, go where no man has gone before (well that is a little exaggeration) – and our wedding was no different!
There is something magical about snow, it touches our hearts and makes us feel happy, so wouldn’t it be fantastic to marry in a place with a pure white, powder soft landscape?
Yes it would be amazing, but hang on a minute, doesn’t that mean we will be standing in -33°c shivering on our wedding day?
How about we marry in the ICEHOTEL where it’s only -5°c, toasty in comparison.
That is exactly what we did!
What comes to mind if someone mentions Transylvania? Do you question whether or not it’s actually a real place like Timbuktoo in Africa or the Bungle Bungles in Australia? Or do you immediately have thoughts of Dracula, the bloodsucking vampire made famous by Bram Stoker and Christopher Lee?
When I used to think of Transylvania, it would be the latter – Dracula! So what better way to spend Simon’s 30th birthday which happens to fall on Halloween, than a Dracula tour around Transylvania! Oh yes, we spent our time being driven around in a pimped up Dracula bus complete with red and black leather walls, red velvet curtains and blacked out windows – fabulous!
I would like to start off by saying this wasn’t an easy blog to write. The research I carried out to provide the introduction meant I had to read stories and look at sick photos telling horrific tales of torture and death that I would not usually choose to look at. In truth, this piece won’t make light reading either but, these atrocities must never happen again and the only way ensure it doesn’t, is to never forget. If this means we visit, be appalled, turn away at some of the horrors we see, then so be it.
We need to ensure this never happens in our world again. Ever!