June was my first full month back on the road after sitting relatively still in Florence for two months. It definitely took a bit of adjustment. I had to reacquaint myself with snoring people in hostel rooms, constantly packing my things up, having to lug my bag around (but this time in some seriously bad heat), getting lost, being careful to lock everything up and looking out for myself.
It was almost like I started travelling all over again. I guess in a way I did. But as always I’m reminded about why I’m on this crazy trip and why I don’t have any inclination to pack my bags and catch an early flight home. Travel is home for me now, and the small things above come in a package. A package full of positives as well, like meeting awesome people, spending extra days on islands, discovering new places, experiencing new cultures and eating a serious amount of local food.
1 June-2 June- Lake Bled and Ljubljana, Slovenia
2 June-5 June- London, United Kingdom (with a day trip to Oxford )
5 June-11 June- Chester, United Kingdom
12 June- Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
13 June- Split, Croatia
14 June-19 June- Hvar, Croatia
19 June-20 June- Dubrovnik, Croatia
20 June-23 June- Kotor, Montenegro
24 June-26 June- Athens, Greece
27 June-28 June- Two Day Tour of Delphi and Meteora, Greece
29 June- Athens, Greece
30 June- Chios, Greece
Some Interesting Statistics
Countries Visited– 7 (Slovenia, United Kingdom, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece).
Flights– 2 (Ljublana-London, Manchester -Zadar).
Trains– 1 (not counting local transport). I only took one train from London to Chester this month. My lowest number yet.
Tours/Organised Activities– 4
Cars Hired– 1
Islands– 2 (Hvar Island and Chios Island)
Different Hostel Beds– 6
Overnight Journeys– 2 (Tirana to Athens, Athens to Chios).
Things Lost– 2 (Cardigan and multiple pairs of ear plugs)
- Reuniting with my grandmother- Another month and another opportunity to catch up with someone from home. My Nan knew we would be catching up in Greece but she didn’t know that I was flying to the United Kingdom to surprise her while she was visiting my family in Chester. Keeping this secret was so difficult, especially when I had a couple of days in London beforehand. My Nan has me on snapchat, facebook and instagram so I had to shut down all my social media for those couple of days in case I ruined the surprise. At the moment I still have a couple of days left with her here in Greece.
- Embracing my love of the Westend. My sole purpose for my return visit to London was to catch some more theatre. I’m a huge theatre fan and I fell in love with the Westend when my mum bought me tickets for Charlie and the Chocolate for when I was last in London. This time I bought tickets for two nights in a row- one to Phantom of the Opera and the other to Jersey Boys. Both were really fantastic but Phantom was definitely my favourite of the two- I just love a good classic.
- Croatia- I usually don’t put a whole country as a favourite moment but I think my time in Croatia qualifies. I just had an incredible time during my short week and a half in this country. I explored the Plitvice Lakes National Park which was incredible. I stayed at two terrific hostels in both Split (Split Guesthouse) and Hvar (Earthers Hostel). Josko at Split Guesthouse literally cooked us all dinner one night- he was the greatest! But the clear highlight was Hvar Island in general. I was meant to stay for three days but ended up extending to five just because I was having too much fun with too many cool people.
- Rediscovering my heritage in Greece. Some of you that don’t personally know me might not know this but my mother’s side of the family is actually Greek. Hence Greece has been at the top of travel bucketlist for as long as I could remember. And I was sure to plan at least a month in this country starting at the end of June. I’ve only been here for a week but I’m already so in love. I’m especially loving all of the Greek food, prepared just like my Yia Yia used to do it. But at the same time I’m really missing her even though she has been gone for a very long time. I’m glad I’ve got my other grandmother here to share the experience with me.
- Catching up with my godparents- My Nan wasn’t the only person visiting from home this month. I was able to catch up with my godparents for two days while we were in Athens which was great. They are always a lot of fun! I definitely didn’t have much opportunity to miss home this month.
Favourite Food Moments
- Xiao Long Bao in London- I’m kind of a little obsessed with Xiao Long Bao- Chinese soup dumplings. Whilst I can easily access them at more than one incredible Chinese restaurant in Melbourne, they aren’t so easy to find in Europe. My cravings were becoming uncomfortable at best. Hence I was so happy to find some amazing Xiao Long Bao in Chinatown in London at Leong’s Legend. They sure didn’t come cheap though!
- Fig Restaurant on Hvar Island- On Hvar Island I stayed at Earther’s hostel which is owned by two Aussie guys and a guy from California. Jeff, the guy from California also owns a restaurant on the island called Fig, and as guests of the hostel we got 20% off. The food at the restaurant was seriously incredible, and it reminded me a lot of Melbourne. After discovering it we ended up going four times in three days, three times for dinner and one time for breakfast. The highlights were the tomato onion jam flatbread, the Mexican pulled pork with pico de gallo, the breakfast burrito, the chicken tacos and the vegetarian curry. I don’t think there is a bad dish on their menu. Jeff also whipped us up a batch of spicy nargaritas- margaritas made with jalapaneos. I’ve got the recipe in hand for when I next have an opportunity for cocktail making!
- Greek Food!- Ever since I was little Greek food has been one of my favourite cuisines, and it was one of the things I was most looking forward to for my visit to Greece. Everything has been delicious but highlights including pork gyros from O Kostas in Athens, Soutzoukakia (Greek meat balls) from Restaurant Meteora in Kalabaka and Stuffed Squid from Taverna Galera in Chios. I seriously haven’t taken a photo of anything yet because I’ve been too busy stuffing my face. I promise more are to come!
- 9000 words of assignments- I think this really speaks for itself. Having to hand in 9000 words worth of assignments while travelling was a huge struggle. I managed to get 5000 words worth of assignments done during my week spent in Chester, but my patent law essay has been looming over my head all month up until a couple of days ago when it was finally submitted.
- A dangerous situation in Split- I almost didn’t put this on here because I know I’m going to get a huge lecture from my mother when she reads it. But I think its important to mention even if just as a warning. Being a solo female traveller I’m usually really conscious about my alcohol intake when I don’t have someone else looking out for me. But in Split I drank beyond too much and ended up going for a random ride with some Croatian men. I’m still not quite sure how I got to be in a car with them or why I was there. Luckily, the most nefarious thing that happened was that I was dropped off just outside of Split, about a two hour walk from my hostel. Thankfully a lovely taxi driver picked me up and drove me back into Split despite the fact I didn’t have any cash on me. It could have been a whole lot worse, and it’s definitely a warning for me to be more careful in the future.
- Nan losing her passport in Athens- Whilst this didn’t happen to me it was also a terrible moment. I went and collected Nan from the airport and then we headed straight to the Australian embassy to vote in the upcoming Federal election. When we arrived the security guard asked for our passports and Nan’s was nowhere to be found. We think it most likely got taken from the front pocket of her bag while we were on the metro. I definitely should have been looking out for it. But in the grand scheme of things, discovering you have lost your passport while at the very place you can get a replacement one is probably the best case scenario.We immediately put in an application for an emergency passport. The only issue was that we had to collect it on a weekday and none of our future days in Athens fell on a weekday. We also couldn’t catch our 5am flight to Chios island on Wednesday because the passport wouldn’t be ready for collection until the embassy opened at 8.30am on Wednesday (emergency passports take 48 hours). We ended up having to forgo our flights and instead booked the overnight ferry on Wednesday night instead. Needless to say, the new passport is now safely with mine in my bag!
Money Spent- $3494
It’s less than last month but more than some of my other months of travel. It certainly didn’t feel like I spent this much, especially in the last week because we had prebooked most things and I had paid for them months ago. I’m still happy because I managed to save a lot of money off my budget for this month by actually thinking about ways to save money.
For example I ate cheap store bought lasagne for dinner for two nights in Hvar, I took the cheapest bus even if it had shitty hours and I took 20 hours worth of buses from Kotor to Athens instead of paying a lot more for a flight.
As always you can see a full run down of my expenses here.
Apparently writing blog posts is great exam procrastination because I managed to be my most productive during the week I spent studying in Chester! I’ve actually got lots of posts prepared but have had a bit of trouble getting them out there because of the crappy internet situation in Greece. If I stick to the schedule I’ve set, I should only be a month behind at the end of July!
Here is what I published this month:
Instagram Top Five
I just hit 12,000 followers! Woohoo!
No surprises that two of my Plitvice Lakes photos topped my instagram feed for this month. Although I’m still surprised my Split photo outshone my Dubrovnik one (albeit by a measly two likes).
So you might have heard of Lake Bled but chances are you haven’t heard of Lake Bohinj! This lake is about twenty minutes from Bled and is incredible. It’s also much less quite. We stopped at this point and there was somebody but us and a little cabin that you can rent by the lake! Count me in one day! @roundytravel
A photo posted by Britt Jeffs (@adventureliesinfront) on
A day trip to the Plitvice Lakes National Park was the best possible way to begin my travels in Croatia. Even the lack of sun and thunderstorms couldn’t cloud how spectacular this place is. It’s also my 80th UNESCO World Heritage Site! #unescoworldheritage
A photo posted by Britt Jeffs (@adventureliesinfront) on
The majority of July is going to be spent island hopping in Greece. I’m heading to Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, Milos, Santorini and Ios in the upcoming weeks. I’ll leave Greece on the 26th of July to fly to London for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child before heading to Ireland!!