Summer 2017 was a bit of a crazy one for me. It’s been the year that I have travelled the most, visiting 7 different countries within the year, three of which being over the summer, doing things I never thought I would be doing. All of which in between completing my first year at university and maintaining a part-time job at Waitrose.
Killarney, Republic of Ireland
The first destination at the beginning of the summer was Killarney, a small town in the South of Ireland on the Ring of Kerry. I went with Elmarie an incredibly talented writer, one to definitely watch out for in the future! Who for a while had been becoming an increasingly bigger and special part of my life.
Little did we know when we booked, it was the busiest weekend in Killarney. There was a cycle race which attracted roughly 8,000 cyclists, and a Football game (which was in fact Gaelic football the country’s national sport) between Killarney and Cork which attracted over 50,000 to the small town.
On arrival, it became apparent on the train journey from Cork to Killarney, that 1. everyone in Ireland was so friendly and 2. Ireland was such a beautiful country. On the first day, we spend the day exploring the local area. It is huge area of National Park but the amount of nature and scenery around every twist and turn was amazing. The view of the mountains contrasting with the scenic lakes in the middle of the ring was incredible. On the walk, back we made a friend in the form of a very excitable sheep dog who I became attached too over the next few days.
The Town of Killarney is a must see if ever visiting South Ireland. There are many small local shops, mixed in with many small local pubs which serve, without a doubt, the nicest Guinness I have ever tasted.
On out last Full day in Killarney we took the O’Connor bus tour of the Ring of Kerry which is a must do if ever visiting South Ireland. Although not having the best weather for a tour, it was 100% doing. The history of all the little villages, to the scenery from the mountains, to the sheepdog demonstration we watched, it was all amazing and the perfect way to spend the last day of out holiday.
Next of the list of destinations was Faro, in Portugal. We spend 5 days in a villa in Portugal for the occasion that my sister was getting married.
Being right by the sea, there was a nice breeze which kept the heat bearable, but every day we were there, the temperature seemed to get hotter and hotter.
For part of the Stag do, all the guys went to play golf. It was about a half an hour car journey away, in which we cross the border into Spain. I had never played golf before in my life, but I picked the basics up quickly and will be playing more back in England when I get the chance.
The day of the wedding was magical, everything went perfect, and emotions were extremely high (as they would be on an occasion like this). The day ran smoothly in the morning building up to the big moment at 2pm. Soon after they had married the speeches came, I along with the best man and the groom all did a speech, I was up first and struggled to hold back the tears, along with everyone else.
It could not have been a better day and I wish nothing but happiness to my sister and my new brother.
The rest of the time in Portugal was spent by the pool, eating and drinking, and to have a little bonding time with everyone there. It was a great holiday and a magical occasion for everyone there.
Going to Croatia had been the holiday planned longest in advance, and it almost came upon us fasted than expected. The original plan was to go to Sonus Festival on Pag island, however My friend Connor and I were not wasting an opportunity to see more of Croatia than just a festival, so we decided to stay longer.
I was a little reserved about the festival itself, it was out of my comfort area, it was my first music festival, it was a foreign country, and it wasn’t even really my music taste, however once getting there, I got into it. Pag island was a very touristy destination (as you would expect at the time of a festival). Prices were near enough just as expensive as the UK and apart from party, there was little to do there apart from party… so that’s what we did.
The festival was better than expected, however i am glad that I decided to stay on and experience a little more of Croatia.
After the festival finished, Connor and Myself headed down to Hvar Island where we were staying in and Air B and B, in a little flat specifically in Stari-Grad. This was party of the old town. It was very nice and very picturesque. It got to the point where you could take a picture of anything and it would look amazing.
The highlight of, perhaps the whole holiday was on Hvar island where we hired a 2-person Kayak and went island hopping. As scary as it was kayaking around in the middle of the sea with cruise ships, speedboats and catamarans all speeding round us, it was an incredible experience. We had scuba diving equipment so we did a lot of that. We also visited one of the only sand beaches in Hvar, which was roughly 10 meters big, but we were the only ones there and it was amazing. It was an incredible experience and, and for anyone going there I would totally recommend either hiring a boat or a kayak and island hopping.
We spend the last 2 days of the holiday in Split. Split is a huge place and it is very hard to see everything there in the small amount of time we had. However, we explored the city a little bit, visiting some of the area Game of Thrones was filmed, (While Connor was avoiding the spoilers of the last episode like the plague).
If not for a festival, Croatia is definitely worth putting on the bucket-list. There is so much to there and we only scratched the surface of all the things to do in Croatia.
That just about concluded my summer. It was busy but so worth all the expense and time. I wish I could go back and do it all again… but back to reality I go!