Newcastle

February 24, 2014

After being back from Budapest for approximately 12 hours, I left London again to continue the university road trip theme from my Brighton post (read it here) and headed to Newcastle.
Obviously I had heard great things about this city - largely from my favourite guilty pleasure Geordie Shore - and being a born and bred Southerner anywhere further North than Birmingham feels like a  mini holiday! Coupled with the fact we were off to visit our best friend Karis, Chloe and I were pretty excitable when we boarded the train at King's Cross, loaded with films and snacks...


After a suitably carby yet delicious homemade chilli con carne and sweet potato chips (domestic goddesses, we know...), it was time to hit the Toon for our first night of Geordie antics! 
Karis had previously challenged me to drink three trebles at once, and whilst that seemed easy enough from the comforts of London, I managed one disgusting treble, lemonade and lime at Gotham bar before I was beaten...


This is me just looking super happy to be on the Metro in Newcastle...

We then went to Digital and our state of inebriation is clearly demonstrated by this club picture: 


 After being forced to get Dixy chicken by a very drunk Karis we made it home in one piece (just!)

 The next day was beautiful and sunny so we kept the hangover lounging in bed to a minimum and went into town, so be shown the sites by our tour guide (Karis). It soon became pretty apparent that Karis was a terrible tour guide and had never actually been to the Quayside in Newcastle before, so we explored it together instead...









 After this we were completely exhausted from the night before and part of us wanted a cosy night in... however, when in Newcastle one really should be out getting mortal, so who were we to say no? 

We got dressed up and headed to Riverside, where I smashed my phone, got dangerously close to being beaten up by a hardcore Geordie girl and continuously thrusted at by one of Karis's very drunk coursemates. We then, naturally, ended the night in our new favourite high class restaurant: Dixy Chicken. 

All in all? Newcastle, I'm a big fan. 




Budapest

There's a week after Christmas and New Year where the excitement is all over, the only alcohol left is  a bottle of questionable sherry bought in the pre-Christmas madness and even the sight of more chocolate is enough to make you feel ill. School/uni/work is approaching fast and you begin to cast around for something - anything - to look forward to. For me, there's pretty much only one answer to that - book a holiday! 

Last year it was Paris (read post here), but this year Katherine and I decided to try Budapest. I have no idea why we picked it (other than the price - flights were £40 return with WizzAir) but it turned out to be a pretty good decision...

Obviously we started the journey at the airport with some essentials...



By the time we got there it was dark, and we were taken the "scenic route" to the hotel by a taxi man who clearly did not understand what we were saying... which took double the time, but the city was so gorgeous it was very hard to care! 


Introducing our new best friend Steve (St. Stephens Basilica), who featured in a fair few of our photos due to his insta-perfect looks...





Dinner the first night ended up being traditional Hungarian - ghoulash with risotto - and was surprisingly delicious. We then headed to the shot bar Godunov opposite for an Absolut Citron nightcap...


On our first full day we were awake ridiculously early and raring to go out an explore. After a breakfast that turned out to be very expensive (We never quite understood how many Hungarian Forints equal a Pound...) we started walking to Heroes Square and the park...





The park was beautiful, but the skating rink turned out to be an unexpected favourite. If you have never seen 80 year old couples holding hands, skating and dancing together on the ice then you are absolutely missing out... 





 The highlight of the day however was the thermal baths. They're pretty famous in Budapest and there are a number of different ones - we chose the Szechenyi baths. They are the strangest thing but so much fun for an afternoon of relaxing - we spent hours in the huge outdoor bath which was around 38 degrees...


 
After a few hours lolling at the numerous old women in shower caps and men playing chess in the water, our fingers and toes were entirely shrivelled and we were completely relaxed. 

That evening Katherine had bought tickets for Tosca at the Hungarian State Opera House. This could have gone either way - she had never been and I have never particularly been a fan but we wanted to get dressed up and get some culture in somewhere! 

Pre-opera selfie...





After delicious Hungarian wine and food at Spiler we wandered over. When the first Act finished we were baffled as to what was going on - I had been thinking the main female lead was the man - however the building itself was gorgeous and everyone else seemed to be enjoying it so we stuck with it. I then did what we should have done before we left and Wikipedia'd the synopsis - after that it all made a little more sense and we ended up really enjoying it! 



The combination of very fuzzy heads from the two bottles of wine demolished post-opera and the disgusting weather meant we were a little slower to get our act together the next morning! We finally made it out into town and headed for the nearest place we could find reviving coffee and hangover eggs...


After that had been achieved at a really cute little cafe we felt more able to face the day...


The weather really stopped us from seeing everything we wanted to - however what we did see was lovely. No one really talks about Budapest as a pretty city - or at all - but it was beautiful and so worth visiting! 


We headed back to the hotel at around 4 and, after a two hour delay, landed back in London that evening. It was the best place for a mini-break - almost felt the post-christmas depression come back after I landed! Luckily I have another couple of trips to look forward to...


















Brighton

February 09, 2014



The great thing about university is that not only do you make a whole new group of great friends, but they also come from all over the country - the perfect excuse for a spontaneous weekend away! 
Admittedly Brighton is not exactly far from London, literally or figuratively - it's also known as "London on the Sea" for its infamously high prices - but it was a pretty good start. So with the Daily Mail's dire warnings of appalling storms and gale force winds ringing in our ears, we got on the train at Victoria and headed down to the coast for a weekend of beach fun. 

As soon as we got there it became obvious that, for once, the Daily wasn't talking bullshit. It was pretty bloody windy. Like, Wizard of Oz/Desperate Housewives tornado type of windy. 
However, ignoring that, I was pretty pleased to be there - although I have family from Brighton I rarely go and I forget what a great place it is. We made our way to Lily's sister's house and started prinking in typical uni style! 




 It was a perfect girly night, complete with a gay bar, lots of alcohol and - determined to get the full experience - overpriced fish & chips from the seafront on the way home...


Saf, being a big fan of activity-packed day excursions, had planned a full timetable of fun for the Sunday - and having a hangover or only 4 hours sleep was no excuse not to be a part of it. So to humour her we left the house at 12, tired but ready to go, and headed to an American diner on the seafront for brunch. 


Needing a sugar rush, the homemade milkshakes looked AMAZING - however, we went on to choose the least American thing on the menu, a bagel (...for us East Londoners, the bagel absolutely belongs to Brick Lane, not America...) with pesto, mozzarella, tomato and chips. The portion size, however, was entirely American - we were so stuffed by the time we left we could barely move, and a walk along the pier was the perfect antidote...


Weather update - still windy. 





No trip to Brighton is complete without a wander through the Lanes. We're all planning on living together next year so we spent the next hour picking out pieces for our home from the various boutique and antique places, including these pretty fab cushions...





 After spending the whole afternoon in dream real estate heaven, it was time to get the train back to London. As we all discussed on the train back, London really does feel like home now. However, the Made in Chelsea girls aren't wrong when they say that, just sometimes, it is soooo good to get out of the city....