Why You Need to Visit Zakynthos, Greece as a Food Lover

Fancying a fresh Greek salad? Cocktails for just €4? Or how about some traditional moussaka? Greece is home to some delicious dishes and fabulous cooks, which makes visiting a Greek island like Zakynthos a must. This post includes all the fabulous places where we ate and drank whilst staying in the town of Argassi in Zakynthos. All the prices were extremely cheap but the quality of the food was impeccable. We also found the service to be very quick no matter where we went. I cannot recommend this area enough if you are a food lover.

Here is the link to my previous post which includes all of the beautiful places we visited on the island during our trip.

1. Zorba’s- The BEST carbonara you will find

IMG-6051

It was the gorgeous blue and white rustic decor that caught our eye with Zorbas. The carbonara here was recommended to us by the waitor here and certainly did not disappoint. So much so that we re-visited before our flight to have it again before we left.

IMG-6276

Their vegetable risotto and calamari was also extremely tasty, all the portion sizes in every restaurant here are very generous!

IMG-6056

The banoffee pie here was also divine…

IMG-6058IMG-6053

Serenity

IMG-6206

Serenity was recommended to us from other guests staying in our hotel, it had a lovely view of the town and a gorgeous bright interior inside. I tried the sea bass with lemon sauce, which came with salad and chips. This was a beautiful meal to try if you enjoy fresh sea food.

IMG-6199

The Yard

We went here on our first night, a great start to our trip. We were given a starter of home-made tsatziki and pitta for free, every Brit loves a freebie. I then had calamari, the vegetable moussaka that my friends had also looked lovely.

IMG-5953

The Green Frog

This was the view out to sea from the front of the restaurant if you want to enjoy your meal with an ocean setting before you.

e5cf07ec-85a8-43cf-8f0d-6ad26c39b282

IMG-6102

We chose to sit in the back garden under these gorgeous flowers. We all had the halloumi platter which was one of my favourite meals of the trip. If you love halloumi cheese liek me then eating fresh Greek halloumi is certainly a treat.

IMG-6101.jpg

Stars Taverna

aed149fb-82d7-440e-b10b-331f98716140

Here I tried the ‘Village Pizza’ which was a veggie pizza option. Above is a Greek dish named ‘Gyros’ which my friend enjoyed, this is on all of the taverna menus here. It usually consists of pitta, salad, chips and meat.

f5901bc8-b469-476f-b34f-05cf1a98ea3c

Target

This was the beautiful location where we spent our Greek night, which consisted of food, wine, smashing plates, and dancing. I would thoroughly recommend going to a traditional Greek night if you are visiting Greece. We had a Greek salad here for a starter, and kebabs for our main course.

IMG-6150

Red Wine

This was another highlight meal; garlic bread and stewed vegetables in a rich tomato sauce.

IMG-6274

Yria

IMG-6253

This was the first time I  had eaten swordfish, it was delicious!

IMG-6241

Magik

If you love a cheap cocktail then Magik will definitely be the place for you! You can sit outside here, the inside turns in to a small club later on in the evening. They had a huge range of cocktails, the pina colada was definitely our favourite.

IMG-6031

Street Diner Cafe

IMG-6198

More seafood! This was a seafood tagliatelle which included mussels and prawns in a tomato sauce.

IMG-6197

St Nicholas Beach Club

IMG-6048

You can’t go to Greece without having a traditional Greek salad, which seem to always come with a lot of feta!

IMG-6114

Are you a fan of Greek cuisine? I hope this guide was helpful if you are travelling to Zakynthos soon!

Hope you are having a great day where ever you are in the world,

Mol x

Let’s be social! Twitter // Pinterest // Bloglovin’

The Beauty of the Ionian Sea- Exploring the Greek Island of Zakynthos

“Adventure is worthwhile.” – Aristotle

Before heading back to university to start the final year of my degree, I enjoyed a fabulous week long trip to the Greek island of Zakynthos. We flew with TUI from Birmingham International to Zakynthos airport. This island was a brilliant combination of being incredibly scenic but also very cheap. We also found all the people we met there extremely friendly, and the food and drink was also completely delicious, in fact the best food I have tried abroad. This post includes some of the lovely places we saw whilst on the island. I will also be writing another post all about where to eat and drink on the island. I hope this post is helpful if you are looking for which Greek island to visit next on your travel adventures.

The town we stayed in on the island was called Argassi and was only about a 20 minute drive away from Zakynthos airport. Argassi was a great place to stay in, with its own beautiful beach, an abundance of restaurants, bars, shops and plenty of gorgeous hotels to choose from. We stayed in the Katerina Palace hotel which was a very pleasant place to stay. We had a spacious and comfortable room, the pool and bar area was also lovely. The main streets of Argassi were just down the road from the hotel which was very handy.

Adventuring out on a Boat Trip to Marathonisi Island (Turtle Island)

31c5a92b-acbe-4cd0-903d-f33ac08fd963.jpg

We booked this fabulous trip through Peter’s Tours, we met Peter at one of his tourist offices just outside our hotel. We had several recommendations to book with him and he was incredibly friendly and helpful when we were enquiring about doing an excursion. The trip only cost us €20 each to our surprise! If you are taking children with you, it’s €15 each for them. Here is a link to the specific trip that we went on, the pictures on the website show the sights you see from he boat very accurately. We were picked up by coach in Argassi by Peter’s office and driven to the Laganas harbour, which is just a 15 minute drive away and where the boat is docked.

IMG-6219

We were in awe to be able to see the turtles as soon as we got on to the boat in the harbour. They were clearly unphased by having people around them in the harbour as they were swimming very close to the boats. The captain of our boat was great at pointing out where they were in the water so everybody was able to see them and take pictures. After waiting to watch the turtles for a while, the boat then set off towards Marathonisi island. The boat was fairly small in size, with about 15 people on it. It was surprisingly a very smooth trip.

Throughout the trip, the captain sailed the boat in to several sea caves, which were fascinating to be in and be able to see up close. There was also one of the two swimming stops here. We were able to jump in to the sea straight off the boat and snorkel near to the caves. We purchased snorkels in Argassi for just €8 so I would thoroughly recommend bringing one if you are doing a trip like this. The water was crystal clear and it was amazing being able to swim along side the fish.

4a1fb602-4a86-4759-b8ee-5f27f496fbb1

This was the view from Turtle Island which was where the other swimming stop was, we spent about an hour here. You are able to swim in the sea and use the beach on the island, but the majority of it is protected conservation land which is great to see.

09edd5bc-7039-489d-81b7-16b9b3b67a4c

The water was not cold at all, this was a great snorkelling spot. We swam through the shallows by the rocks and saw many types of fish in the shallows, you didn’t have to swim in the deep to be able to see them.

8a059073-4d49-455f-a164-3f6e62ba16ec

IMG-6229

Clear Waters and Soft Sands- The Must See Beaches

St Nicholas Beach

IMG-6130.jpg

After a visit to the beach, it’s hard to believe that we live in a material world.”  Pam Shaw

This was a lovely day out, we got the free bus from our hotel at 11am and the beach is only about 20 minutes away. There is also a bus that takes you back again at 5pm. This beach was perfect for relaxing, you just have to pay a few euros for using the sun loungers. We also had some lovely food here from the beach club which is just up the path from the beach. This was another great swimming spot, you can also do water sports here if that takes your fancy. Bear in mind that during the peak tourist season in the summer, these beaches will be very busy.

IMG-6131.jpg

Banana Beach

IMG-6041

IMG-6046

Banana beach is another great beach to visit, quite similar to St Nicholas beach too. We also got the free bus back and forth to out hotel for this trip, it was just a short drive away too. We had some more great food here too, you can order food and drink at this beach from the staff on the beach and they bring it down to you which is a great service. This was another brilliant ocean swimming spot.

 

Argassi Beach

IMG-6001

Argassi beach is accessible from various cut throughs along the front of the town of Argassi. We found that certain parts were sandy and some were pebbley, the beach is also quite narrow in parts. There are some nice spots to eat and drink along the beach too. The photo below was the cafe we went to a couple of times for lunch and a drink.

IMG-6002

My next post will be including all of the places on the island that we visited for food and drink, there were some truly delicious meals on this trip.

Have you visited Greece yet? I would love to hear from you in the comments if you have!

Hope you are having a great day where ever you are in the world,

Mol x

Let’s be social! Twitter // Pinterest // Bloglovin’

Top 10 Tips on How to Plan a Mini Break on a Budget: Edinburgh Edition

I have just returned from the most fabulous three day break in Edinburgh, Scotland’s magnificent capital city. This was a mini break with two of my friends, with all of us travelling on a student budget. We managed to compromise very well on costs without compromising at all on the quality of our city break. We managed to book our flights and accommodation for a total of £107.84 each. We flew from Luton airport to Edinburgh airport with EasyJet, and got the tram from the airport to the centre of Edinburgh. We stayed in a gorgeous apartment on Montgomery Street, in the centre of the city.

Here are my top 10 tips on how to plan a brilliant mini break on a budget wihtout compromising on quality…

1. Book as Far in Advance as You Can

The further in advance you book your travel, the cheaper it will be. This goes for any destination! We booked our accommodation and flights in May, and our trip was in September, so we planned it 4 months in advance. For return flights booked this far in advance, I only paid £37.78. Our airbnb cost £210.18 for two nights, so split between three of us we paid £70.06 each. There was a £28.18 service charge included in this. For a lovely flat, spacious in such a central location, this was a very good deal. Planning in advance really pays off!

Here are some photos of our gorgeous airbnb, it just shows you that by saving money, you don’t have to compromise on quality…

IMG-5814IMG-5813

2. Travel Outside of School Holidays

If you are a university student like me, then you have the advantage of having holidays that are outside of the school holidays and being more flexible with dates. Try and go before the school holidays if you can, May and June are much cheaper than July/August if you have finished your university year by then. The school holidays means that accommodation and travel costs can almost double in price. We also found that September seemed to be even cheaper as it was outside of both the Scottish and English school holidays (bear in mind that if you are visiting a different country then school holiday dates may differ).

3. Use Comparison Sites to Find the Best Deals

We used Skyscanner to find our flights. I cannot recommend this tool enough. You can input your destinations and it tells you the cheapest options for travelling. It also lets you add the option to include other airports and non-direct flights if these are cheaper options. There is also a feature to search for the cheapest month and destinations. You can also find hotel and car hire information on here too.

It’s also useful to compare if it’s quicker/cheaper going to your destination by train, plane, ferry or driving. We found that even with a student railcard, the trains were considerably more expensive and would have meant a very long journey.

4. Sit Separately on Flights

Another cost that can be avoided is choosing to not pay to sit together on the flight. If you are spending a whole holiday with people, then it’s not the end of the world if you don’t sit next to each other if you are on a short haul flight like we were. However, we checked in for our flights about two weeks in advance and this meant we were placed next to each other anyway on both our outbound and inbound flights.

5. Limit Your Luggage

For this trip, we took hand luggage alone. This means you can avoid the cost of having to pay for putting luggage in the hold. Small savings like this can add up to save you a fair bit of money. Additionally, it also means you don’t have to hang around waiting for a suitcase once you’re off the flight. Not having heavy bags to cart around with you is also a bonus, this applies if you are travelling by train too. Our flight landed at 10am on Monday and we could not check in until 3pm. On Wednesday when we left, we had to check out by 10am and our flight was not until late evening. Therefore we knew we had to carry our luggage with us for these times in between. By having just a light rucksack, it meant our luggage didn’t limit us. We were still able to visit the castle and walked up to Calton Hill without being weighed down by heavy bags.

IMG-5826

6. Don’t be too Fussy About Travel Companies

We flew with EasyJet due to their company in general having lower cost flights compared to other airlines. Other airlines may offer what is considered ‘a ore luxurious experience’ but if you are on a short flight and it gets you from A to B then going with cheaper options to save money is definitely a good idea.

7. Be as Flexible as You Can With Where You Travel From

The closest airport to where I live is Birmingham. But we worked out that the cheapest flight at the time was from Luton airport and that airport parking was only £30 here. The Flybe flights from Birmingham to Edinburgh were significantly more expensive. So even though we drove a bit further than we would have to get to Birmingham, it was more cost-effective for us to go to Luton instead. So if you can, it’s good to be as flexible as you can with airport/train station locations as this may save you a significant amount of money.

8. Plan a Rough Itinerary in Advance

We roughly planned out the main activities we wanted to do Edinburgh and what day we could do them on (weather permitting!). Due to only having three days away, this meant that we knew we could include our prioritised activities in the small amount of time we were in the city. By booking certain activities in advance it can save you money and often saves you queuing for long periods of time. Additionally, so many great things to do are often free! On our last day we walked up Calton Hill which gives you an incredible view of the whole city of Edinburgh around you. I would thoroughly recommend visiting if you are in Edinburgh. We also enjoyed a coffee and pastry in Gardener’s Cottage which is the restaurant set on the edge of Calton Hill. This was surprisingly very affordable at just £5 each, but avoid at lunch and dinner unless you want a very pricey meal! Walking round and soaking up the atmosphere of the Royal Mile and Princes Street Gardens was another lovely experience which won’t cost you a penny. Most cities will have free galleries and museums you can visit, the National Gallery is free in Edinburgh, as is the National Museum of Scotland.

IMG-5830.jpg

 

9. Avoid Buying Food and Drink etc. from Tourist Attraction Shops

Often shops at tourist attractions have extortionate prices. Avoiding spending £3 on a disposable water bottle every time you want a drink and paying loads just for a sandwich is always a good plan in my book. Bring a water bottle with you that you can fill up before you go out for the day, and maybe some snacks if you’re likely to get hungry whilst out and about. We took a picnic with us to the zoo and bought snacks from a Tesco Express next to our airbnb so you can just grab something on your way out for the day.

IMG-5785.jpg

10. Choose Your Accommodation Location Wisely

By staying right in the centre of Edinburgh, it meant we were able to walk from our apartment to all the central locations that we wanted to visit. We were about a 15 minute walk from Princes Street which was great. It was also near the tram links that we used to get to and from the airport. So by staying in the city centre, we saved money by walking lots, where as if we had been much further out we may have spent more time and money on buses etc. Walking more is also a more sustainable and healthy option, and gives you the chance to see the city you’re in up close.

IMG-5852

I hope this was helpful if you are planning a trip on a budget. Here is a link to another of my Edinburgh posts which has more details on great things to do in Edinburgh once you’re there!

Hope you are having a great day where ever you are in the world,

Mol x

Let’s be social! Twitter // Pinterest // Bloglovin’

The Top 5 Hidden Travel Gems in South West France

Why should southern France be next on your travel bucket list?

If you are a lover of beautiful scenery, locally sourced wines and cheeses, endless sunflower fields, and small towns filled with cobbled streets, then southern France in the region of Aquitaine will be a dream destination for you. I have visited South West France over at least 10 trips, but on this one in particular, we found lots of gorgeous spots that were a bit less on the tourist’s radars, perhaps due to being in more rural locations and which were not heavily advertised. In this post I have collated the top 5 discoveries of our trip this year, including the most beautiful water mill and lake, markets to peruse through, and food that you simply can’t miss.

For a brief travel introduction, we flew from Birmingham airport (England) to Bergerac airport. The flight was just two hours, we flew with Flybe and booked the flights almost a year in advance which is a great idea if you are looking to save some money! It was incredibly easy journey, we have used Flybe for this journey many times in past years and we have had a positive travel experience every time. We then stayed in a hamlet named ‘Cerisiers’ which was a 10 minute drive from the town ‘Duras’. It was around a 45 minute drive from Bergerac airport.

 

1. Saint Pierre sur Dropt- The Most Beautiful Water Mill and Lake

This was a very small village, very near to a house we had stayed in on a previous trip to the area. At first glance, it doesn’t appear that there is much there to do. However we found some information suggesting there was a water mill in the village that was open to the public for just a couple of days a week.

We did indeed manage to find this beautiful spot named ‘Moulin de Cocussotte’. It was just a short drive from where we staying in the hamlet of ‘Cerisiers’. There is parking available here (there is no public transport to it due to its very rural location).

This was the beautiful lake on which the water mill and its grounds look out upon. The views were utterly gorgeous, and it was a very tranquil place. The sounds of the running water made for a very relaxing scene.

IMG-5472

IMG-5494

This is the water wheel here, set against the luscious green leaves growing up the side of the stone house.

IMGP5374

IMG-5464

This is another view of the building which the water mill is attached to. It’s surrounded by vibrant baskets of flowers, and small ponds with walkways across them. It was refreshing to be in such a naturally beautiful environment.

IMG-5479

There were also these magnificent wooden sculptures featured across the gardens, depicting various animals. This one of the horse was one of my favourites, it was life size too!

IMGP5371

This photograph below shows the interesting display of items which have been found in the river. The sign states the phrase ‘gifts of the river’. It’s very sad to think that so many plastic and glass items like these end up in beautiful stretches of water such as this one.

IMG-5460

There is a website for this lovely place but it is in French, it is linked here for you. You can also book to stay in the lovely house, it seems to have great reviews on Booking.com.

To visit the water mill and its grounds it costs $4 each for entry. There was also a guided tour by the man who lives in the house by the water mill and whose family have lived there a long time. We didn’t stay for all of the tour and were able to wander off on our own to explore. But if you are a speaker of French then I’m sure the tour probably had some very interesting information in it!

 

2 & 3: Taillecavat- The Village Full of Character and the Most Gorgeous Animals

Taillecavat was a beautifully small village, about a fifteen minute walk from the villa we were staying in for the trip. Despite being a very small area, it was a very interesting place to explore. We wandered down the winding country roads to the village every morning after sunrise to pick up croissants and a baguette from the small boulangerie named ‘Madame and Monsieur Raymond’. We enjoyed supporting their local business, it was also fun to practice our French and refreshing to not have the locals speak English to us.

There is also a small yet magnificent church that stands in the centre of the village which we included on our morning route.

IMG-5525.jpg

One of the other highlights of the village was certainly these two gorgeous animals…

IMG-5523

These were the two donkeys who lived in an old moat surrounding a chateau that has been converted in to a field. We named them Delilah and Daphne, and we fed them an assortment of fruit or veg every morning as we walked past them. As you can see here, carrots were a firm favourite!

IMG_20190730_121358_471IMG_2660

The village is surrounded by endless rows of lush green grape vines and fields of gold from the sunshine coloured sunflowers. I have more sunflower field content and information on our accommodation from this trip in my Best of Bergerac series which can be found here.

DSC_7716

imgp5310.jpg

 

4. Sainte Foy la Grande- A Good Ol’ Traditional French Market

DSC_9260

We visited the day market in Sainte Foy la Grande, which was predominantly a food market. We did try some great street food, which is always a great experience. We tried some ‘pomme de terres sautée’, which was fried potatoes that were cooked with mushrooms and lots of garlic. It was absolutely delicious, we ate a lot of it!

DSC_9230_01

The market had a great atmosphere to it as it was quite busy, a mixture of locals and tourists it seems which was a nice balance. There were rows and rows of fresh fruit and vegetables, cheeses, seafood and meats. It’s great to see people out supporting local businesses where the produce is fresh and local.

There were also these gorgeous bunches of flowers on sale, the colours were incredibly eye catching.

IMG-5421

img-5410.jpg

There were also lots of cafes and places to eat surrounding the market squares, which is great if you want to stop off for a drink and watch the hustle and bustle of the market go-ers. We sat by the market and wrote some postcards, which we bought from a small shop in the town. There is a post office here which is handy if you want to do the same.

IMG-5406

The shops along the streets of the market are also worth a look in, this one was a deli and was full of interesting foods, spices and types of coffees.

IMG-5414

 

5. Duras: Hotel de Ducs- The Must Visit Restaurant

The town of Duras was about a 10 minute drive from where we were staying. This restaurant was a particular food highlight of the trip, so if you are in the area and looking for excellent food and good service then Hotel de Ducs would be a brilliant choice.

IMG-5552

These small aperitifs were given to us when we arrived (they do not charge you for these extras they include). These were delicious, flavoured with fresh smoked salmon, walnuts and chutney. It was details like this which added a lovely touch to the meal.

cof

This was also another aperitif given to us after we had ordered our meal. This was a bread roll with a goats cheese and chive mousse, which was also lovely.

DSC_7815

I thought I’d try a meal which I had never had before, I always think it’s great to do that when you’re away somewhere different. This was melon soup, with salad and parma ham on toasted bread. I was surprised to find that I loved the soup! Due to being served cold, it was light and refreshing. I’m glad I tried something new!

DSC_7817

This was the view from inside the restaurant, it looked out on to the garden and pool of the hotel, it was nice and cool because of the canopy above us too. If you want some more information on places to eat in the region of Aquitaine then click here for my French Food and Drink Guide.

IMG-5549

The staff who worked here were very friendly and the service was extremely efficient. It’s a family run business, I also liked how again they spoke to us in French and not English even when they knew we were tourists. I would highly recommend this restaurant if you are looking for a fabulous meal, it would be great for a special occasion.

I have written about some of the other French market towns that are well worth seeing in the area in my French Market Town Guide if you would like some more information and travel inspiration!

Hope you are having a great day where ever you are in the world,

Mol x

Let’s be social! Twitter // Pinterest // Bloglovin’

An Audience With Simon Reeve- Any Travel Fanatic’s Perfect Evening

“If it’s difficult for you, take things step by step”

If you’ve never watched any of Simon Reeve’s travel programmes, you are majorly missing out. Simon is currently doing a tour around the UK, giving talks about the incredible places he’s visited, people he’s met, and how his career became what it is today. We attended the part of the tour in the Birmingham Town Hall.

SR-Banner-HR-1200x791

It was incredibly inspiring to hear about the success of someone who worked hard to be where they are today. Having watched Simon Reeve’s travel documentaries for years, I think I subconsciously presumed that he had travelled his whole life, had always known that this was the path he wanted to take. When we see people presenting on our screens, we often don’t think about how perhaps they were not always in their ‘dream job’ from the get go, there is always more work and sides to the story than we think.

The talk began with Simon introducing how he was as a teenager, these years were not easy, having few qualifications and few prospects, growing up in West London was painted as a fairly bleak picture for this point in his life. Hearing him speak about the topic of mental health was also very interesting, despite it also being a sad topic.

Simon then began to explain how he signed up for income support, still being in a very low place at this point. He quoted what the woman at the DSS office had said to him, saying it’s still relevant in his life today…

“If it’s difficult for you, take things step by step”

After hearing this advice, one train ticket and a hire car later he found himself climbing the mountain sides of Glencoe, Scotland, taking it step by step. This was where there seemed to be more of a glimmer of hope, he had completed a journey successfully, he had achieved something.

It wasn’t until Simon was given the job of a post boy for a newspaper, that he began working alongside journalists, some of the jobs he described being given were hilarious, probably not tasks that would be allowed to be given to young people now a days!

He then described how his skills developed and he went on to write a book called ‘The New Jackals’, published in 1998, which at first nobody really paid attention to. But by the time 9/11 happened, he had written the only book in the world about Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, and soon found himself being asked to be interviewed for American news channels. And in a nutshell, that’s how he got the opportunity  in the future to start his own BBC programmes, looking at modern history and showing the world we live in.

He then went on to show pictures from his travels, food he’d eaten, places he’s had to flea from, even the most comical toilets he’s seen around the world! The stories of the wonderful people he’d met from all corners of the globe were also incredibly moving.

It was interesting to see the case he takes with him on all his trips, and some of the objects he’s been gifted by locals to bring back, from fabrics, to a sword he was given in Borneo.

Hearing about the process of making a documentary was also fascinating, he explained that with his programmes, they are not highly researched or scripted before they go out and make them. No team goes out before it is made to check there is enough opportunities and places for content.

An incredibly enjoyable and inspiring evening, Simon was an incredibly engaging speaker and answered some of the audience’s questions for the last part of the evening. It made me feel more ambitious about pursuing a career in travel journalism and publishing, or perhaps the news. His book is definitely going to be a Christmas present idea!

His most recent programme ‘The Mediterranean with Simon Reeve’ is currently on BBC Two, and is accessible on iPlayer, I thoroughly recommend you watch it if you haven’t already. The journey through the Mediterranean starts in the first programme in Malta, carries on to Southern Italy, and ends in Albania.

Luckily for me, my family and I are actually going to be listening to another great presenter, author and historian very soon! Tomorrow we are heading back to the Birmingham Town Hall, this time to see Neil Oliver, on his tour of the UK with ‘The story of the British Isles in 100 places’. Having a keen interest in coastlines, I am greatly looking forward to this, as Neil is a presenter on BBC 2’s ‘Coasts’ programme. I think this will be another greatly rewarding evening.

Thanks for reading, hope you’re having a great day where ever you are in the world,

Mol x

Let’s be sociable! Follow me on: Twitter // Pinterest // Bloglovin’

The Best of Bergerac: The French Market Towns You Will Fall in Love With

Welcome back to my Best of Bergerac series, the final instalment is here gang! So far we’ve covered the fabulous food, and some of the more rural scenery, today I am sharing with you the two market towns which made our trip; Duras and Eymet. So if you love a bit of travel photography and an insight into somewhere new, grab a coffee and enjoy. 

Duras

Duras was only about a 10 minute drive from the village of Taillecavat where our villa was located, so we went to this town frequently over the two weeks we were in Bergerac. Everything we needed was here…

IMG_2969

This display of flower bouquets just sums up how gorgeous the market stalls are!

IMG_2991

(This photo above is of the BEST restaurant we have ever eaten in, and yes that is a big claim, there are more details in part one of this series if you want to hear about the place with the best food and the shots of gin they give you between courses! Find it here!)

Duras is a truly beautiful and quaint little French town, think cobbled streets and brilliantly bright shutters. To me, this town is like the ones you think of when you imagine a classically authentic French town.

The town comes alive on market days, it was fascinating to see how it transforms from seeming like a small sleepy settlement, to a hub of  excitement. Suddenly, the colours brighten, the cafes liven up, and scents of spices, cheese, fresh fruit, and pastries fill the warm air.

The locals are out and catching up over a coffee, while the ex-pats are also out in force and making the most of the sunshine.

IMGP5154

The chateau placed grandly on the hill behind the market streets acts as a splendid backdrop for the event (the tallest building you can see in the background of this photograph).

DSC_0225-01

There is something more exciting about buying fresh food from a local who makes their livelihood from selling their delicious produce at markets like these, compared to buying it from a supermarket. As you can see from this garlic display above, the rustic displays make it all look even more appealing. Any fruit of vegetable you can imagine was on offer at the market. Huge selections of cheeses were also displayed, wheels of yellow and white, and the roast chicken cooked fresh on the rotisserie also smelt incredibly inviting!

DSC_0221-01

This was a small charity clothes shop just off of the main market streets, again everything seems so full of colour, everything about this town feels vibrant and full of life.

dsc_0538-01

Another great feature of the markets is that so many of the food stalls give out free samples, who doesn’t love a freebie, especially one you can eat?! A discovery we have made over a few trips to Southern France is that fresh olives are fab when you buy them from a market stall than a shop. Olive tapenade is one of the best things we’ve ever bought from the market, it’s a type of savoury dip made from olives, we’ve also tried one made from sun-dried tomatoes before which was perhaps even better! Pair it with a fresh baguette and this is something you must try if you see it abroad.

dsc_0540-01

dsc_0536-01

One evening we went to the night market in Duras, it was around 38 degrees Celsius, I have never felt heat like it! The covered square that is in the centre of the market was lined with tables and chairs, we decided to go so we could try even more of the delicious food. We bought a selection of dishes from various stalls to share between all of us. We tried the calamari, olive and anchovy pizza, this was beautiful because it was fresh and made there and then. We also tried what we think was some sort of sausage curry, our lack of French meant we were not completely sure what exactly we were trying at times, this actually made it even more exciting!

DSC_0838-01

Eymet

Eymet was slightly further out from our villa so we only visited once, which was to go to the night market. We had stayed near this town on previous trips to France so we knew it was somewhere we wanted to re-visit.

dsc_0871-01

The street art on this building gives a very striking entrance to the market, it made me think of Paris with its romantic artwork and flower lined balconies. The town dates from 1270, as you can see, the old buildings with their slanted beams and slightly wonky roofs ensure that the town maintains its original character.

dsc_0879

DSC_0886-01.jpeg

There was also another huge selection of food at this market, mussels and chips seemed to be the most popular option! The pizza was also available from the same people from the Duras market, another firm favourite.

IMG_2974

The crepes from this cute little stall were the BOMB. If you want to hear more about them and the other incredible food we ate on this trip then this is also featured in part one of this series!

This display of greenery and flowers was outside one of the houses on one of the side streets…

IMG_2978

IMG_2976

This is a view of the River Dropt, a tributary to the Garonne river, which runs on the outskirts of the town. This was taken from the little bridge above where lots of people were sat feeding the birds and enjoying their food from the market.

IMG_2965

IMG_2966

And that marks the end of the Best of Bergerac series, France you have been fabulous! (Wow you’d think I’d at least be a little bit tanned but clearly not).

If you have not visited the South of France I would highly recommend putting Bergerac and the Aquitaine region on your travel bucket list!

Credits to my Uncle as he took a lot of the photos featured in this post! Check out his Instagram for some incredible photography @spresly

Thank you so much for reading, have you seen part one and part two of this series?!

Part One: The Ultimate French Holiday Food Guide

IMGP3653

Part Two: Sunsets, Sunflowers and the BEST Villa

IMG_2986

Hope you are having a fab day where ever you are,

Mol x

Follow me on: Twitter // Pinterest //  Bloglovin’

 

The Best of Bergerac, Part Two: Sunsets, Sunflowers and the BEST villa

“The French air cleans up the brain and does good – a world of good.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Welcome to the second instalment of ‘The Best of Bergerac’ series! Please visit my previous post if you would like to see some of the incredible French food and restaurants we visited on this trip (including the best restaurant we have ever been to, yes it was that good!)

This time round we’re focusing on the dreamy scenery that Southern France has to offer and also the incredible villa that we called home for two weeks.

But let’s start with the wonder that was the sunflower fields because they were such a brilliant photo spot…

IMG_3008

“The road to freedom is bordered with sunflowers” – Martin Firrell

IMG_2985

Most of these beautiful sunflowers were almost as tall as me and I am quite a tall gal!

IMG_2986

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do” – Helen keller

IMGP3691

IMG_2987

It was lovely to be in a field filled with tones of sunshine and burnt orange, sunflowers are one of my favourite flowers and being in a place surrounded by fields and endless rows of them was perfect. This specific field was on the outskirts of a town called Eymet which was about a half hour drive away from where we were staying, but the the whole area around Bergerac was covered in sunflower fields too.

The BEST villa

Le Bonheur, Taillecavat, Aquitaine, Southern France

The name of the house which translates to ‘happiness’ just sums up how stunning this villa was, a beautiful 18th century restored farmhouse in the rural village of Taillecavat. There was very few houses in the village, most houses in the area looked like they were attached too the farms as the main business in the area is sunflowers and the vineyards used for wine. The villa was about a 40 minute drive from Bergerac airport, we hired a car from the airport with the company Avis, so the journey was so easy and enjoyable on the route through the sunflowers and vineyards.

IMGP5238

DSC_0667-01

DSC_0121.JPG

The striking contrast between the sapphire of the shutters and outside details against the scarlet flowers made the villa look so vibrant, it really was the perfect summer escape. There were various colours and sizes of salamanders that would climb up the stone exterior and explore on the veranda which is not something we ever see in the UK!

IMGP3619

This was the garden of the villa, which looked out on to the vineyards. Also the building which you can vaguely see in the distance was a boulangerie, we went here every morning at 8am to collect our fresh croissants, pain au chocolat (these were my faves) and a baguette of course. Monsieur and Madam Raymond who owned the boulangerie did not speak English which made each morning collection even more authentically French, we actually liked that they let us try out our speaking skills (which were sadly lacking on my part, luckily my Grandpa had us covered).

IMG_2902

Just look at the pool… what I would do to be back here! We got up every morning and did 50 lengths before breakfast, every day I did 150 or 200 lengths which for me is pretty impressive! The weather for most of our two weeks was as high as 37 degrees Celsius so we spent a lot of time in here cooling off and reading our books by the poolside.

IMGP3662

DSC_0250-01

This picture is of the vineyards that were just outside of the villa, we did try some of the grapes but they were extremely sour and obviously are better off for wine than eating on their own!

DSC_0212-01

DSC_0286-01

DSC_0168-01

The mist across the fields in the morning at about 6am was mesmerising, the sunsets and sunrises were also stunning, the open space creates plains of shadows where colours would change so rapidly. We also witnessed a pretty cool thunder storm on our last night, watch the lightning forks strike across the fields was also a very exciting experience.

More sunset exploring just outside of the villa…

DSC_0246-01

DSC_0529-01

DSC_0037.JPG_b

This picture also shows one of the coolest experiences with nature I have ever had! These murmurations of starlings would pass over the villa and the fields each night at about 9pm, the noise was intensely loud, you could hear each of their wings beating, it was breath taking to watch.

IMGP5198.JPG

These gorgeous fellas were in a field made out of what used to be a moat surrounding a large house, just a couple of minutes drive from the villa. They were incredibly friendly and seemed to really enjoy the carrots that we brought them, I never realised donkeys were this cute!!

Some of the photos in this post were taken by my Uncle who is a fab photographer so credit to him! His Instagram is @spresly if you want to see any of his amazing photography!

Have you seen part one and part three of this series?!

Part One: The Ultimate French Holiday Food Guide

IMGP3653

Part Three: The French Market Towns You Will Fall in Love With

IMG_2969

Thank you so much for reading, hope you enjoyed this post and are having a fab day wherever you are,

Mol x

Follow me on: Pinterest // Twitter // Bloglovin’

The Best of Bergerac: The Ultimate French Holiday Food Guide

Bonjour from the UK!

I’ve now landed back in rainy England after the most incredible holiday in the Aquitaine region of Southern France. After sitting down and looking at all my holiday snaps and places I’ve been exploring, I’ve realised that we packed so much into our 10 day trip that one post may not be enough to share the beauty of Bergerac with y’all. So this is the first post which is dedicated to one of the BEST things about visiting France, the incredible food!

Who doesn’t love wine, croissants and French patisserie delights, am I right folks?

I have broken this post down into the three French towns that we spent the most time in, enjoy!

1. Duras:

Don Camillo- The prettiest place for a drink and a rest

IMG_2880

IMG_2878

IMG_2875

Orangina always tastes better in France, definitley my drink of choice for the majority of this holiday!

We came here a few times after visiting the Duras market as it is in the square just beside the hustle and bustle of the rows of market stalls (more on this in my next post which will be coming soon!)

We never actually had a meal here but the pizzas that they were serving looked delicious and seemed to be high in demand!

 

Hostellerie des Ducs- Our favourite restaurant (possibly ever!)

The first time we came here was for lunch and we loved it so much that we also had dinner on our last evening here too, such a fab way to end the holiday. Wait until you see the food!

IMGP3639

Even the table settings were gorgeous…

IMGP5226

Before our starters we were given a selection of amuse-bouche, these are bite sized starters you eat before your meal. These included tiny buns with fresh smoked salmon, cheese and chutney crackers with walnut, and tomato bread which were such a lovely touch to the meal.

Fresh lobster- starter

IMGP5229

Tuna steak with avocado and salad garnish- starter

(You can probably tell that me and my family love a bit of seafood!)

IMG_2923

After our starters we were given a small shot glass filled with sorbet and a shot of gin! Apparently this was to cleanse the palette before our main courses, it was incredibly strong but if you are a gin lover then you’re in your element!

Roast duck with poached pear and carrot tart- main course

IMG_2925

Not only did the food look and taste incredible but the aesthetic of the restaurant was lush too. (I didn’t take any photos inside when we were eating as it was not the kind of place where people were using phones or cameras)

There is the most gorgeous display of flowers outside on the terrace where we were served our coffees at the end of our meal, which came with a mini crème brûlée each much to my delight!

IMGP3653

Even the more simple dishes came so beautifully presented… Ananas- fresh pineapple and sorbet- dessert

IMGP3641

The palm leaves hanging over the white wash walls and the rustic shutters on the terrace added even more to the summer vibes of this lovely place…

IMGP3642

Lemon tart served with lemon sorbet and merangue with a candied lemon slice – dessert

IMG_2927

Coffee choux bun and cream served with coffee ice cream and merangue- dessert

IMGP3640

IMG_2932

This was about the tenth trip to Southern France that my family and I have taken so we have eaten out in a large range of French restaurants but we all agreed that this was the best we’d ever eaten at in France, perhaps even in general!

2. Eymet:

Eymet Night Market: Crêpes

How can you go to France and not have a crêpe?!

IMG_2974

My flavour of choice was La Chocolat, divine! My family also had L’Aciduleé (lemon and sugar) and La Miel (honey) and really enjoyed these also!

 

3. Monségur:

Les Colonnes- The Pizzeria that you MUST try

IMGP5222

The pizza I chose was La Rein- a cheese and tomato base with olives and mushrooms, which was freshly made and the base was incredibly thin and crispy. We also shared a salad and home made chips between us which were also delicious. They had a lot of other choice as well as their amazing pizzas, my family also recommend the calzone and the chicken burger!

My next post will have more pictures of the stunning French scenery from the vineyards and sunflower fields to the market scenes and the beautiful villa we stayed in so look out for that!

Thanks so much for reading, please let me know if you enjoyed this post! Also let me know if you have any similar posts about holidays and food you loved this summer!

Have you seen part two and three of this series?!

Part Two: Sunflowers, Sunsets and the BEST Villa

IMG_2986

Part Three: The Market Towns You Will Fall in Love With

IMG_2969

Au revoir!

Mol x

Follow me on my social medias!

Twitter // Pinterest // Bloglovin’

The End of the Iceland Adventure: Basalt Column Beaches and The Blue Lagoon

Reynishverfi Basalt Columns and BeachIMG-0846

IMG-0848

IMG-0847

These basalt columns set on the deep black sands were created when flows of lava cooled down and contracted to make these vertical structures, an incredible masterpiece of nature, almost looking like towering blocks of marble with the patterns that have been weathered into the rock.

Our guide explained that ancient Icelandic Folklore has it that these these formations were actually once trolls living in the beach’s caves (shown in second photo above). The myth is that the trolls were turned to stone due to being caught in daylight trying to pull a ship from the sea, and that they are now trapped here for eternity.

The Blue Lagoon

IMG-0901

From the photo above it’s clear why this stunning location is a UNESCO geo-park and was named in 2012 by National Geographic as one of the 25 wonders of the world.

There are few places on earth where you can lie back in naturally warm water, heated by only the ground itself, and take in the panoramic views of the lava fields that surround you. If you are looking to relax in one of the most unique locations in the world then this experience will be truly breath taking.

The pool itself was technically man made, while the lava fields around it were made by nature. The water is technically waste water of the nearby geothermal power plant, and comes from 6,500 feet underground where at this point it is around 24 degrees Celsius. The water of this geo-thermal pool is self-cleansing and this means that it renews every 40 hours. Due to bacteria not being able to thrive in such an environment, the water has no treatments in it such as chlorine, meaning it is 100% natural and great for your skin.

There are pots of the Blue Lagoon’s own clay masks dispersed around the lagoon, make use of this incredible product! My skin looked very dewy and fresh after using it and leaving it on for around 15 minutes, I have normal/oily skin and can be prone to break outs but I experienced no issues from using this product.

The package we chose was the Comfort Package, this gets you entry to the lagoon, a towel, a first drink of your choice and enables you to use the clay mask. None of the packages limit how long you can stay for but premium and spa packages are also available at a higher cost, details of what these include can be found here.

Children up to age 13 get in free! A very child friendly place and the frozen slushies at the swim-up bar are likely to go down a treat if you are bringing kids!

IMG-0857

IMG-0856IMG-0855

 

Things to Know Before You Go

Prebook!

The Blue Lagoon is only a 15 minute drive from Iceland’s airport and is around 45 minutes from the capital of Reykjavik so is a perfect plan for either the end or the very start of your trip. It’s opening hours are usually from around 8am-10pm but keep in mind that pre-booking is required to due it being one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland.

You get given a wristband on entry which the staff connect to your credit or debit card, meaning you do not have to take in a wallet or money if you are planning on visiting the swim-up bar, meaning your wallet or purse can stay securely in the lockers provided in the changing rooms.

Hair and What to Wear

The Blue Lagoon staff recommend that you take any jewellery off if possible, this is because the lagoon is not like a regular pool with chlorinated water, the ingredients in the water such as algae and silica could potentially affect jewellery, especially if it is cheap! However, many of the people I was with on the trip left in earrings and rings they could not remove and had no issues.

Swimwear should not be affected by the water, as long as your rinse it with cold water and soap after use to ensure the silica does not stick to it. Swimwear is however available to rent at reception.

Your hair can be affected by the water, especially by the silica levels which can make hair dry and very hard to manage. Make use of the complementary conditioner, you have to have a shower in your swimwear before you enter the lagoon anyway. I simply smothered my curls in the conditioner and tied it up in a top knot. After washing it thoroughly after leaving the lagoon, my hair experienced no change in the condition.

Bring your Shades

Due to the brightness of the gleaming turquoise water, I would recommend taking sunglasses!

Goodbye Iceland

The Blue Lagoon marks the end of the Iceland Adventure for this time around, but I have no doubt that I will be back at some point in my lifetime. Iceland has the amazing quality of making everywhere feel light and spacious, it was a very calming experience, even when trekking up glacier plains and trudging through snow. Even places that were popular tourist attractions never felt overcrowded. If you are looking for a destination where you can relax, but also be active and experience some truly unique creations of nature then you too will fall in love with Iceland.

Have you checked out the rest of the Iceland Adventure?!

Day One:  Travelling from tarmac to tundra

IMG_0677 (2)

Day Two: The Golden Circle and Gullfoss Waterfall

IMG-0743

Day Three: Sólheimajökull and Jökulsárlón Lagoon

IMG-0901

Thanks for reading,

Mol x

Follow me on: Pinterest // Twitter // Bloglovin’

 

The Iceland Adventure: Day Three, Sólheimajökull and Jökulsárlón Lagoon

Welcome to the third day of the Iceland Adventure! This day was filled with stunning glaciers, lagoons and icebergs…

Sólheimajökull Glacier

IMG-0806
Start of the hike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This day was spent on the South West coast of the island and began with a hike up Sólheimajökull, a rapidly melting glacier set on an out-wash plain. It is part of the Mýrdalsjökull glacier and is classed a a ‘glacier tongue’. This is where small parts of ice break off from the main glacier and fall into a lake below.

We walked for a total of four hours, sounding like a marathon now but the exquisite views were more than worth the long hike. We did the trip with a  great activity company which can be found at the Adrenalin website. Our guides were very informative and provided us with equipment such as crampons to make the hike easier, they made a tough walk surprisingly enjoyable! It is not recommended you do the hike here without professional guidance for safety reasons so bear this in mind if you are thinking of visiting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This photo above was the view from the highest point of the hike, incredible views of the snow covered plains for as far as the eye could see. The vast expanse looks untouched, a truly unique environment.

 

Jökulsárlón Lagoon

This jagged glacier lake is located on the edge of the Vatnajökull National Park, the lagoon has been created to due an increasing climate in the area. The contrast between the black rocks beneath you and the gleaming snow is another incredible sight and photo opportunity in Iceland.

IMG-0823

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The black sand that can be seen in these photos of the edge of the lagoon is this colour due to the high concentration of basalt lava, meaning many of the coastal and sandy areas in Iceland have this dramatic colour covering them.

IMG-0831

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boat trips are available across the lagoon for only £12 if you want to mimic being James Bond in the film of Die Another Day as it was filmed here!

IMG-0826

IMG-0816IMG-0815

This was one of the views from the beach across the aquamarine and the ice…

IMG-0820
IMG-0827

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that marks the end of the third day! Have you checked out the rest of the Iceland Adventure?!

Day One: Travelling from tarmac to tundra

img_0677.jpg

Day Two: The Golden Circle and Gullfoss Waterfall

IMG-0743

Day Four: The Blue Lagoon!

IMG-0901

Thanks for reading,

Mol x

Follow me: Pinterest // Twitter // Bloglovin’

The Iceland Adventure: Day Two, The Golden Circle and Gollfoss Waterfall

Welcome to the second day of the Iceland Adventure!

The first stop on this day was potentially one of the most incredible sights I have ever seen! This is Gullfoss…

IMG-0733

A crashing body of water surrounded by the untouched cushion of snow created a breathtaking contrast between the sonorous and the still.

This incredible waterfall known as the Golden Waterfall is located on the South of Iceland on the Hvítá river, also known as the White River. The water falls for about 32 metres before reaching the ground, creating tremendous harmonies of crashing cold water as it throws itselffrom the rocks above.
This is the view from the top of one of the points of the gorge, there is a beautiful walking route around the waterfall with information boards about the are and its geology and history, these are in multiple languages. This area is known as the Golden circle and is a must see if you are visiting Iceland.
Near to the waterfall there are large plains that consist of hot-springs and geysers which rocket groundwater into the air once it has reached a high enough temperature.
IMG-0749
The second wonder of the day was the experience of þingvellir National Park.
IMG-0721

Within the park is the rift valley between the American and Eurasian tectonic plates, for this reason it is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

IMG-0723

A truly incredible atmosphere with the clean, crisp snow and deep pools of clear aquamarine between the rifts.
There are walkways and bridges throughout the park that make it surprisingly easy to navigate through, whether you just want a short walk or a more extensive hike.
One of the most interesting and spectacular places I have ever visited, despite these being tourist destinations, the atmosphere was still so peaceful.
Also great spots for taking photos if you are lucky enough for it to be as sunny as this day was!
Checked out the rest of the Iceland Adventure?!
Day Three! Sólheimajökull and Jökulsárlón Lagoon
IMG-0815
Day Four! The Blue Lagoon!
IMG-0901
Day One! Travelling to Iceland!
IMG_0677
Thanks for reading!
Mol  x

 

Follow me on: Pinterest /// Twitter // Bloglovin’

The Iceland Adventure: Day One, Travelling from Tarmac to the Tundra

Welcome to the start of the Iceland Adventure series, day one!
Flying over Iceland for the first time was a truly serene experience, the clouds above us
and the snow beneath us collided to create a crisp white landscape, unlike anything I have experienced. Even from this high altitude it was evident that Iceland was a peaceful and calming place to be.

IMG_0654

The airline our group flew with; WOW airlines, provided a very comfortable three hour flight with no hold ups on either end, all in all a very easy and stress
free flight!
Booking flights around 6 months in advance can currently range from around £142- £211. This is from Gatwick to Keflavik airport (which is the only airport in Iceland). If you are someone who likes to book flights spontaneously, booking flights that are a week away from when you are booking them, can often range between around £600-£800 so it is definitely advised to book well in advance!
The airport is around a 45 minute drive away from the capital of Reykjavik, the express bus to the city is likely to be the cheapest method of transport but there is not a great deal of difference between this and a taxi. Due to being part of an organised group of students, we travelled by coach.
IMG_0677 (2)
View from Reykjavik waterfront
We stayed in Hotel Cabin in Reykjavik for this first night of our adventure. The rooms were clean and comfortable but very small! We did not require a large room so this was not an issue for us, but if space is a feature you are after and you are staying for more than one night then you may want to consider this. However, for a one night stay at around £100 it was just perfect for us students who needed a basic room for just one night.
The hotel was a five minute walk from the water front which had a stunning view out onto the icy cliffs, there were benches to use if you fancy sitting and taking in the sea air, there were also some lovely sculptures placed along the coastline which looked incredible against the backdrop of the still sea and snow covered rocks.
IMG_0685
Sculpture on Reykjavik waterfront

Follow me on: Pinterest // Twitter // Bloglovin’

Thank you very much for reading, have you read my other posts in this series?! This was mainly a day of travelling so the next posts are even more exciting, find them here!

Day Two: The Golden Circle and Gollfoss Waterfall

IMG-0733

Day Three: Sólheimajökull and Jökulsárlón Lagoon

IMG-0815

Day Four: The Blue Lagoon!

IMG-0901

Thanks for reading,

Mol x