Summer in the City – Tara
I wouldn’t go as far as to call myself a seasoned traveller, but I’ve seen a bit of the world. In particular, I’ve been to a couple of cities – New York, Madrid, Kraków, Málaga and London. I can’t figure out whether my love of cities is linked with my obsession over Metro train systems (Madrid’s is by far the best, in case you were wondering), but for some reason, I gravitate towards loud, bustling spaces, despite the fact that I grew up in the country. So when I found myself back in London for the fourth time this summer, I almost felt at home. Yet, no matter how many times I’ve seen it, London always gives me something different. That is perhaps why I love it so much – you could spend weeks there and discover something new every day.
When I travel to somewhere new, I rarely go to museums or tourist attractions, because I prefer to just walk, take in my surroundings, and experience life as the locals live it. However, when I was in London this summer, it was 35 degrees celsius. Have you ever been on a tube that has no air conditioning in that kind of heat? It’s not something I recommend you try. I’ve never felt heat like it, and as much as I like a bit of sun, that was just a little too much for my liking. The heat scuppered my walking plans, so I decided to try the tourist-friendly route of sights instead.
I went to the British Library and The Sherlock Holmes Museum on the same day. It was nearly too much for my English student heart. The British Library is any book lover’s dream. The Treasures Collections is a personal favourite – to be able to view original manuscripts is mindblowing. As for the Sherlock Holmes Museum – if you’re a Sherlock fan, you’ll probably feel emotional. I did. Finally, we went to see the Imperial War Museum, which is a fantastic (free) resource, and very well air-conditioned.
However inconvenient it was, ‘hot London’ is great. St James’ Park took on a very hip new ‘burnt out yellow’ look, and there was a great buzz around as people flocked to any available outdoor space for some fresh air. In the evenings, the restaurants and bars down by the Thames were thronged with merry people. This is why I love London – a city that’s always changing, and rarely sleeping.
Fun in the Sun – Clara
For the first time in years, I went on a family holiday. We went to a remote place called Gümüşlük, near Bodrum in Turkey. I truly deem this one of the most beautiful places on earth. As I have visited here many times, I didn’t feel compelled to see any of the tourist attractions, opting to lounge on the beach or by the pool instead.
The holiday consisted of a lot of relaxing, but this led me to mingle with the Turkish culture. I spent many a night, sitting outside late into the evening on chillout cushions, playing backgammon and drinking Raki. I explored one of the local markets in Yalikavak – the aromas and variety of the colours of the spices were spectacular. The market was full of fresh fruit, vegetables, and beautiful cakes and pastries like Baklava. It had an extensive and varied clothes section, where you could purchase traditional clothes, or you could opt for the latest on-trend Adidas pieces or ‘designer’ handbags and purses. My suitcase came back weighing double the amount!
I went to the beach almost every day, partially because it was 38 degrees and also because the beaches are stunning; imagine the Dingle Peninsula in the sun. On the more popular beaches, you can pay 30 Turkish Lira, which works out at about 4 euro, for a sun lounger for the day, a beverage and a meal of your choice. Bargain! I was particularly obsessed with the meatball Koftas, that were served with grilled vegetables and sticky rice.
I went on a boat trip around the Aegean coast in my second week there. The trip was about 7 hours, stopping at multiple bays and exclusive beaches. My personal favourite was a stop they called ‘The Aquarium’. I quickly understood the nickname, because the water was a fantastic aqua, and was crystal clear. Feeling adventurous, I jumped off the top of the boat with a few others. I brought my snorkel and had a look at the exotic fish.
The highlight of the trip was heading down to the local village of Gümüşlük, to watch the sunset over the sea in the evening. Once it got dark the village came to life. The place is full of multicoloured lights made from Gourd, which is a fruit that is very similar to squash. Some of them even hang off branches and trees that are in the sea. This place is a Mediterranean fairyland that is well worth the visit.