Staircase to Heaven in Vatican City

I was really excited to visit the Vatican City but was in two minds whether to climb the tiny narrow staircase to the top of the dome of St Peters Basilica. People said it wasn’t suitable for people who are at all claustrophobic – but we did it and it was the highlight for me!  The views were incredible.

There was a beautiful moment when we got to the inside of the dome – the choir started singing and it was really moving to hear the music in the acoustics of the dome. Continue reading


When in Rome… exploring the Ancient Heart of the Roman Empire

Rome is truly a smorgasbord of history – find a panoramic point and you can survey architecture through the ages – literally. From the old Romans ruins to the grand domes of the Basililicas. There are countless beautiful piazzas (piazzi? piazzae?). I was quite glad we had left Rome until last to visit – had we visited Rome first then other European cities may have seemed less impressive, but Rome was certainly the crescendo.

We explored the Roman Forum which is the amazingly complete ruins  (well, they ARE ruins, but some bits are still standing and it gives you a glimpse into what a Roman city would have looked like – nay not “a Roman city” but the very heart of The Roman Empire!). I tried to imagine being alive in the roman empire and going into town to meet your friends on a Saturday morning, and this is your local town centre! Continue reading

Rome for Lovers

We have always saved Rome for our honeymoon – partly as my parents went there on their honeymoon so it’s a bit of a family tradition, and partly as it’s meant to be a romantic city so sounded perfect! And so yes Rome was our Honeymoon, and yes, we have got married!! We had a simple registry office wedding with close family and a meal in a restaurant afterwards. It was perfect for My Husband and I (ha ha! still sounds so strange!!). But enough of that – on to Rome!

Our favourite place was the Trevi Fountain. This surpassed our expectations as we thought it would be a small fountain but its sheer scale and magnificence surprised both of us. (That’s a person, bottom right of the photo, and a building on the left of the photo!) Caution, this is swarming with tourists at any time, day or night, so it’s difficult to get any space or a good photo without heads or limbs in it.

Needless to say, the Spanish Steps are also very touristy. Continue reading

Is this the Most Beautiful Village in France?

When I read about Les Plus Beaux Villages De France (the most beautiful villages of France) I was intrigued. France is pretty beautiful at the best of times, but it seems they have selected the cutest little chocolate-box villages to promote for tourism. We visited Beuvron en Auge in Northern France.

We had to take a real detour to get there through country roads, but were really glad we made it. And to our surprise there were a dozen other tourists there too, but luckily it was still an unspoilt quiet village. Continue reading

Travelling 101 in Taipei 101

Having explored the ancient sights of Taipei it was time to see the new heart of the city. Taipei 101 is one of the most iconic buildings in Asia. At over half a kilometre tall (a staggering 509.2 metres to be exact), it was the tallest building in the world until 2010 when the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (at 829.8 metres) took the title.

Taipei 101 is 101 floors high, and can be seen from most places in the city. If you want to visit, check the boards in the 5th floor lobby as this will tell you how the visibility is and which sections of the observation deck are open. Continue reading

Spires and Bikes … Oxford calling

I actually applied to Oxford Uni, believe it or not. I didn’t get in, obv, although I had a riot at the interview. (Not literally, although an actual riot would explain why I didn’t get in!). I met this girl from Cornwall and we hit it off and laughed our heads off all week, such that people thought we had been friends for years – we were like “Oh no, we’ve just met!”. Neither of us got in but I don’t think we minded much 🙂

Oxford CollegesThe interview week provided what I like to think of as a “Mini Break” in Oxford, so I became somewhat familiar with the city then, and I still remember the layout surprisingly well. It is difficult to imagine a city more architecturally blessed  Continue reading

Beautiful Birmingham

Those two words are not normally seen in the same sentence. Birmingham has long been the butt of jokes, and it has its fair share of ugly concrete buildings that the planners in the 60s thought would be a good idea. However, Birmingham has blossomed into a beautiful city worthy of a closer look.

The Bullring is perhaps what started off the turn-around. The architects that designed this were no less crazy than their earlier counterparts, and this time plumped for a very – ahem – unique design.

The Bullring, BirminghamApparently this is the second largest shopping mall in Europe Continue reading