Thursday 28 February 2013

TRAVEL: Venice - My First Ever Trip Abroad! (YB)

A little late writing my blog post about my trip to Venice, but I could not miss out a post on my FIRST EVER TRIP ABROAD! I won this from Manfrotto Imagine More on Facebook, so I owethem a very big "THANK YOU!" as it wouldn't have been possible without them.

We left at around 6am from home in Liverpool to get the coach in the city centre to Manchester as that's where our flight was from. We needn't have rushed really. The later coach would have only left us 1 hour to check-in, but we got checked-in really quickly and we I don't think it would have mattered in the slightest if we'd got the later coach. As it was, we had a 3 hour wait at the airport for our flight because we preferred to get there too soon than too late.

It wasn't Paul's first ever trip abroad, but he hasn't been abroad since he was 16 with his parents, so it was his first trip as an adult. But my first trip EVER. It was both exciting and scary!

We had to get 2 flights on the way - Manchester to Munich and then Munich to Venice.

I'm not that great with heights, so while I was really, really looking forward to my first trip abroad, I was also dreading how I would be on the plane.

I was nervous on the take off, but I must say, it wasn't bad at all. Not being used to the sound of the plane or when the plane turns, I was a little bit unnerved the first few times there was a noise or it turned, but I soon got used to it and knew what to expect. By the time we were getting on the Munich to Venice flight, I was much more confident.

We arrived at Marco Polo Aeroporto in Venice at around 4.30pm. We then had to walk to the vaporetto (water bus) station to get across to the main bit. It took a whopping hour and a half or so on the vaporetto and it wasn't the most comfortable ride ever, with them really thwacking the boat into the ports each time, that plus the diesel fumes were suffocating, so I actually had a really bad headache by the time we got there.

Once we got off the boat though and out into the air, it was very refreshing. We headed off to our hotel - the 5* Hotel Bauer - to check in. The receptionist was very warm and friendly and welcoming. She took us to our room and showed us around. Our room (room 225) was very nice - spacious, comfortable and nice amenities. There was an in-room bar, but we stayed clear of that as it was VERY expensive - €6 for a tiny bottle of water or €8  for a tiny bottle of Coca Cola for example!

We didn't stay at the hotel very long before venturing off into the night to explore Venice. We weren't there for very long overall, so we wanted to make the most of it.

Basically, we just walked around, we had no specific plans of where to go as we just wanted to see what the area around the hotel was like.  Here are some photo's from that night:

The next day was spent again wandering around, except the streets were less confusing in daylight, but much, much busier and we managed to cover more ground than just seemingly going around in circles like we did the night before! It was all over far too soon though as the day quickly turned to night (and the aching feet were beyond painful!). Here are some more photo's of that day:

The final day we didn't have time to do anything else as we had to leave pretty much right away to get the vaporetto back to the airport, had something to eat when we got to the airport and then it was time for our first flight home, Venice to Zurich, we had a short time at Zurich and then had the Zurich to Manchester flight back and then we had to wait around a fair while for our coach home which was full of roudy football fans all being loud :(

Friday 1 February 2013

REVIEW: Tropical Sun Products (YB)

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing some Tropical Sun products...

I was sent some of their Crunchy Coconut Peanuts and Peri Peri Seasoning. But I also got a free jar of Jerk Seasoning from the Tropical Sun Vending Machine as well.

The peri peri seasoning is absolutely delicious. If, like me, you have a penchant for spicy foods, trust me you will love this! We had it with chicken and vegetables. We pierced the chicken fillets and coated them with peri peri seasoning and left it to soak in for a couple of hours and then oven cooked them and they came out absolutely delicious. It's no overly hot, therefore, if you like it spicy but tolerable, this would be something you'd like. But definitely one for the spicy fans.

I rather enjoy peanuts in general so I was pleased to get to try something like this. They have a slightly sweet taste, but not overly so. They have a crispy coconut 'shell'. Opening the tin you get a great coconut aroma, I was worried the coconut flavour would be overpowering, but it wasn't - the flavour was nicely balanced. They definitely make a great snack.

As most of you know, I absolutely love my jerk chicken, so I was very happy to be one of the people to grab a free jar of jerk seasoning from the Tropical Sun vending machine. It did not disappoint either, I have tasted many variations of jerk chicken, but it was the best one I have tasted (2nd best compared to my home made recipe though, sorry) in a jar/packet/tub. And that's a big compliment considering I have tried loads. Sadly, I can't find it in the Tesco near us :(

The vending machine is currently closed, but promises to be open again soon and in the meantime, you can get a 50p off coupon and/or a 20% discount for their online store.