Sunday, 27 April 2014

Surprise 24hr Dubai

So, long story short, I'm writing this from a hotel room in Dubai. After travelling for over 30hours I landed in Dubai 45minutes late and got told I wasn't going to be able to make my connection. Luckily Emirates were pretty good and put me on the next flight to Newcastle - downside was the next flight wasn't for 24hours...
My lovely room!
 Emirates put me up in a lovely hotel for the night and paid for my meals there and transport to and from the airport. The only real downside was I certainly hadn't packed for Dubai's early summer heatwave, oh and I didn't have any suncream!
 Little shot of the hotel grounds - this was where I sat to have my breakfast after arriving in Dubai
 After letting Victoria know I wasn't going to be landing in Newcastle that day (sorry Paul for making you go to the airport for no reason!) I decided to make the most of having a surprise stop in Dubai, put on the most Dubai-appropriate outfit I could muster, and headed out to the Biggest Mall in the World so I could go up the TALLEST BUILDING IN THE WORLD!
Not before going to dawdle at the massive indoor aquarium again!
 Burj Khalifa
 I went for a short walk around before going up, the day was so beautiful I was constantly at war on whether to enjoy the sun, without suncream, or stay inside
 Love this part of Dubai
 Getting up the Burj Khalifa is a bit of a pain, as if you don't book weeks in advance it's expensive but I figured I wasn't expecting to be here and I don't know when I'll next get to Dubai so I just thought - why not!
 There's a bit of a walk from the reception to the lift but it's filled with lots of inspirational quotes and beautiful photos and slideshows
 The lift itself was actually kinda incredible! It zoomed up 124 floors in less than a minute and the weirdest thing was that it didn't even feel like you were moving! My ears popped four times but I still couldn't tell we were moving - so strange
 From the observation deck the view was pretty incredible!
 I love how you actually get to see Dubai, it's hard to explain the city's unique layout in worlds but I think from above it's quite clear.
 From the inside deck you can just see Dubai Marina in the distance - one of the prettiest areas of Dubai
 Of course I made sure to get a photo of me up the top. My favourite was with a handful of skyscrapers in the forefront and then the vast desert as the backdrop
After spending quite a bit of time at the top and pottering around the mall I headed out through the 'village' to the taxi rank.

All in all it's been so lovely to have this little stop off in Dubai, and I think in hindsight it's going to help with the jet lag. Although I wasn't very happy in the airport, I was just tired and wanting to get back, now I've been in Dubai I think it's pretty cool I got a 'free' holiday in Dubai out of my flights!

For now I can't wait to get back to England to see everyone, celebrate Lydia's first birthday with her and see my mum's face when I surprise her by turning up!!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014


After Scuba Diving last weekend this weekend I had a much more relaxed time by going to Rotorua with Hanne and her sister Rini! It was a 2hr bus journey there and apart from the bus driver enjoying breaking too much meaning we all felt queasy we got to Rotorua super quickly and then it only took us 10 minutes to find our way to hostel - we managed to get a 4 bed room to ourselves too! 
 Me and Hanne loved this on top of a random motel!
We stumbled across a group of school children pulling a fire engine! 
Once we were settled in we decided where we wanted to go, rummaging through all the leaflets we'd picked up and planned our time in Rotorua. Then it was off to the first thing - Te Puia Thermal Park. There are quite a few thermal parks in Rotorua but this one had a large Maori focus which we really liked, and for the entry price you could also get a guided tour (our tour guide was so lovely!)
Kia Ora Te Puia! 
(made out of flax at the weaving school at the park)
 The park was pretty beautiful and I loved how you'd often turn a corner and find yourself facing a bubbling, steaming pool of water!
 Maori's traditionally used a lot of these naturally heated pools to cook with
 There was also a Geyser, I thought this part was so pretty!
 This is the Geyser slowly warming up
 Me, Hanne and Rini as the Geyster was about to blow!
 It goes over 20metres high!!
Sometimes there was no clear stream or pool, the ground was just smoking!

 A traditional Maori building which is still used today for members of the Maori community to practice some traditions ensuring their culture isn't forgotten
me and Hanne being touristy at the Gate to Te Puia!
By the time we finished Te Puia it was getting really late and once we'd walked back into town it was dark and we were starving so after a delicious dinner we all crawled into bed (after a lot of discussion about which way we had to turn our clocks!)
 Our second day started by checking out and storing our stuff in the luggage room before catching the bus to the AGRODOME. Ok, so it sounds terrible, I mean it's a sheep show… but it was really fun and surprisingly informative - all three of us loved it!
 I got to pet this little guy!
 The guy sheered a sheep for us - and I honestly think the sheep was nodding off, it clearly wasn't bothered by being sheered!
 19 prize winning Sires from 19 different breeds
As they came on stage he told us a little bit about each breed and it's funny how each sheep seemed to have a their own personality!
 One of the dogs they use of the Sheep Farm 
 As you can see the sheep were very interested in what was going on!
 After the show we caught a dog herding demonstration before catching the shuttle to Rainbow Springs Wildlife Park
 I didn't take many pictures in the park but we went to a bird show, and saw all sorts of native birds and the odd reptile. There was also a log flume!
 After having lunch and buying a few suviners we heading over the bus stop. Once we got there we realised we'd have to wait half an hour for the bus, luckily it was a beautiful day and there were two little ponies in the feild by the bus stop we sat down in the sun. We ended up only waiting 10 minute though as the shuttle driver, who we'd gotten talking to earlier and was really friendly, drove over and offered to take us into town! For free! we jumped in and got a ride to a local park that he recommended feeling!
Look at the sign! 
 The park was stunningly beautiful!
 And it was dotted with tons of steaming water and bubbling mud pools! It was ethereal!

 It was unlike anywhere I'd seen and it was just in the local park! There were children and families on the lawns and yet between the trees you'd see steam rising up!
 The highlight was definitely the massive steaming lake! It was huge and incredibly humid as you walked over the bridge - I loved it!!
 me, in the smoke!
 After enjoying the park we walked up the hill and got this amazing view of Rotorua Lake! 
 We'd have loved to have stayed longer on the hill, but we had to run to catch our bus! 
I had sure to take a photo of this!! 
I'd have loved to have spent a little longer in Rotorua as we didn't get change to walk around the lake but we packed in a lot in the short time we were there! We arrived at 12 on Saturday and left at 5 on the Sunday so it was flying visit!