South Africa – Week one.

Off on another adventure I go with Louise, this time to South Africa, it had been exactly a year since we had started Contiki so a perfect time for a reunion with our friends Brett & Tarryn who we met on the trip. I was so excited to go half to see the country and half just to see those guys!! (and also a bit excited that I get to blog again) I was dreading the 11 hour flight scared it was going to drag but it actually went extremely quick, I only watched 2 films but had a good sleep. There was a cool new feature on the plane; a chat service, you can talk to whoever you want you just put in their seat number and invite them to talk. It would be quite a good way of dating, see someone you fancy send a cheeky message join the mile high club… But no I just bitched to Louise about the person in front of me who put her chair back.
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We arrived at 8am in Johannesburg, it was cold & cloudy which was a worry but it got hotter as the week went on. Brett & Tarryn were there to meet us, we headed back to their new house for a cup of tea and rusks- this werid lump of biscuit you dip in tea until it’s soft enough to eat, it was really nice. It’s strange drving through Joburg I haven’t seen anything like it before all the houses have high walls with electric fences along the top, it’s like the celebs houses in L.A but more extreme, they’re very high on security out here.

We headed out to the Cradle of Humankind. It was based where they have found the remains of ‘Mrs Ples’ (a 2.8 million year old fossil), we went round the museum then ended up in the most random boat ride there was no explanation for it we just got in it, went down a little stream which was all under ground, im guessing it was through the ice age etc but it would have been nice to have a sign to confirm this. Also there we went down into some caves, we got given some hard hats and looked amazing. The caves were quite cool but again no caves can compare to cheddar gorge, but it did have a bit better history. We then spent the night drinking some great wines and comparing Cadburys- something we have argued over for a year and although they do have some different varieties ours still wins of course.

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The Monday morning we had to get up early and catch out flight to Cape Town, it was full of Chinese people who took a lot of aggro from the air hostesses until they sat down ready for the flight. They kept putting there hands over the backs of the chairs and nearly touching me which was irritating. We picked up the hire car and it was hilarious a little Hyundai i10, we barely fitted our suitcases in it, we named her Hilda. We headed to Tarryns family apartment which had a lovely view of the sea. We headed off for a nice lunch then sat at the beach for a bit before walking a long the promenade at sun set. It was stunning!!!
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The next day me & Lou headed off to Robben Island, we got the ferry from the water front which was a lovely little area filled with restaraunts and shops, with stunning views of the mountains behind. The boat journey over to Robben Island was awful, nearly as bad as my day at Great Barrier Reef. They said the sea was calm, they lied!! We got a bus tour around the island which had beautiful views of Cape Town. We then got a tour around the prison from an ex-prisoner which was really impressive and of course we got to see Mandelas cell. It was an informative tour but wish there was more to read about it. That evening on the way to dinner Hilda had a traumatising experience. At a junction waiting to go a car rolled into the back of us, I could say we had a crash but it bumped into us so lightly we moved about a cm and we got a small scratch, but it was still traumatising for poor Hilda. (so small we got away with not telling the car hire and didn’t have to pay the excess)
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On the 4th day we headed up Table mountain, the views just on the drive up were absolutely stunning so I had high hopes for the top. We got the cable car up which had a spinning floor, I hate cable cars, always remember this just as I’m stepping on, I just don’t trust them! But it was worth it, the views were ridiculous everywhere you looked. And it was great as well as it wasn’t just a little viewing area you could walk quite far up there and explore all over and there was beautiful views both sides. There was even a wifi lounge which pleased us as there is no wifi anywhere! After this we headed to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, they were the best I’ve seen, mountains, tree top walks, little streams it had it all and the bright sunshine was an added bonus. It was nice to have a little lay down and just people watch. We headed to a little park for a cake and scones which again was so pretty, every where here was. That night we got our cheeky nandos, was just as good as the UK. But a lot cheaper only £6.50 for what usually costs me about £14. All the food out here is so much cheaper everywhere you go even for a decent meal.
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We were all interested in going to a vineyard so we booked into Warwick farm for a gourmet picnic. On arrival we started with wine tasting, it was now 12 and we hadn’t eaten anything so this wasn’t a wise choice, the wine was all good we got to taste 6 different ones and I was pissed. We had a good giggle at one of the wines called “old bush’. We then headed to our little spot for the picnic, it was a lovely garden area with all blankets and pillows set out for people and the picnic itself was divine (see more in my new food blog coming soon)!! Best food I’ve had, we ate and drank then slept in the sun for about 3 hours, my favourite day! We ended the day at a beautiful sunset along the beach.
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We spent our final day in Cape Town going to a lovely spot for lunch after a magnificent drive along the coast, this place is honestly stunning.  It was bloody windy, and the waves were huge just like any day at the beach in the UK.  We headed to a market in the evening which was packed, all the food stalls looked amazing and I had a nice mexican. There was so many fitties there, one guy in particular took our interest – Mathew Bell who had his own art stall. We ever so coincidentally drank our wine near his stall and then went back later to eat our cake near him. Dinner with a view 😉

That was end of our little trip to Cape Town, a holiday within a holiday. I would recommend Cape Town to anyone, stunning beaches and views, plenty to do and amazing food!! I spent less than £200 in the 5 days I was there which I think is great considering we did a lot of things, ate out twice each day at nice places and drank plenty of wine. Bargailicous.  Off we go back to Joburg, look out for my next post where I will be talking about Joburg and our trip to Kruger National park.
Ciao for now bitches.
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Lousies fact- if you want your dog fix go down to the promenade at sunset, dogs galore.

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Canada

I loved my time in Canada, it is a great country and I would recommend it to anyone, there was a lot to see and do and it was easy to get around. It was certainly weird going away with the family after travelling with just Louise for 5 months it could definitely get stressful, 6 is a lot when it comes to deciding on what to do and where to eat, someone always needs a drink or the toilet. But we survived and got everything done.

The plane journey was only 7 hours, not too bad, we flew to our first stop on this little adventure Montreal. This was probably my least favourite stop, the French quater was quite pretty as it had some grand old buildings including the Notre Dam and nice little squares, the water front was good as well but the rest was just an average city, had good shopping though all close together. First morning we went for the most amazing breakfast along with the great food I was also excited as I saw the tennis player Milos Roanic exiting the place we were in, I was gutted I hadn’t spotted him earlier though. We had quite a cool moment down at the waterfront one day when we watched this woman fall into the water, we laughed then realised it was part of a hidden camera show so we sat and watched several times this lady doing the same thing and fooling people. Down by the waterfront me dad and Katie did a zip wire which was great fun but nerve wracking, when I did it in Thailand it was jungle below me, here it was concrete then shallow water. We visited the Olympic Park, that was great they’ve made good use out of it and the velodrome is now a biodome, like the Eden project but a 1000 times better, it was a lot smaller but had loads of animals in it. Also outside it had these big plaques with all the gold medal winners listed incuding Bruce Jenner, I thought that was pretty cool to see. We stayed to see a concert at the Olympic Park it was meant to be classical to celebrate VJ day but in the first half an hour there was about 2 pieces played and the rest was boring speaches mostly in French so we left. In Montreal we tried a beaver tail which was recommended to me it’s like a stretched doughnut with toppings and I loved it. We also had the Canadian dish Poutine which was chips, gravy and cheese curds. It’s a big thing out there and I had it quite a bit, strange as I usually have that drunk. From Montreal we catched the train to Ottawa which was easy and comfortable.

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My favourite place we visited was our second stop, Ottawa. It wasn’t a massive city, still had a business area but it seemed a lot calmer, the principal language was English but everything was repeated in French also (In Montreal it was the other way round). The parliament building was stunning, and at night they did a light show projected on to it telling the history of Canada, it was great and was packed every night. We went on a bus tour which was on land and in water which was crazy and we saw great views of parliament from the river. It has a big canal system and it was really interesting watching the boats go up the 8 gated locks. We hired bikes one day and went on a 15km bike ride right up along the canal and to a waterfall leading to another river. It really was all stunning and there was some beautiful houses along the canal. There was a big market in town called the Rideu market, it was no aisan market but still really interesting to look through and they had a big food bit. Talking of food we had a buffet whilst there, I over did it again but it was all so yummy and a lot better quality than the one I had in the US. I loved our stay in Ottawa everything was nice and close so could do it all and see all the beautiful sights each day. Our hotel was really modern and I was happy as it had a Tim Hortons in it, this is a chain of coffee shops literally everywhere in Canada, and everyone you see is carrying their cups. They do good doughnuts and I presume good coffee as the parents always went there.

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Toronto was our final city stop, it was just like any other big city really, skyscrapers, lots of people in a small space and numerous homeless people shouting about jesus. The main thing is obviously the CN tower, on the first day we went to look at it then went up it on the second day. First day the queues were really long and it was boiling hot so after robbies begging he got his way and we visited the aquarium, it was quite impressive but my god it was packed, so many frigging kids everywhere!! The Canadians also don’t know how to queue, you had to line up to get on this moving platform under a tunnel of fish (really impressive) but none of them seemed to realise it, some woman tried to push her buggy in front of me, oh no no I don’t think so love I tutted and gave her dirty looks until she got the message and went behind us. When we went up the CN tower we decided to go to the 360 restaurant, it does a full rotation in 72 minutes. The views were unbelievably stunning looking out onto the Toronto islands then when you went round onto the city. It was a really nice lunch and you also got access to the viewing deck and got to go on the glass floor which was awesome, we felt like VIPs going up as we had a lunch reservation you skip by all the queues I would definitely recommend doing it this way. Our final day we went on a trip to the Toronto islands, we booked it through the hotel but it was not as good as what I’ve had in the past. When we got to the harbour the driver just vaguely pointed out a boat we should get on and it took us half an hour to find the right one. We then had a nice suprise it wasn’t just a shuttle boat it was a tour which confused us at first but was good. The islands were lovely, we spent the day on the beach and went for a short walk. When we returned off the boat the driver was not there, we waited 20 mins then walked back to the hotel, it was only about half an hour but I had a huge blister so it killed me. We complained to the hotel and the crazy swede who also went demanded a full refund and compensation so we got a free breakfast, woop woop. Put us all in a good mood and I finally got to visit the Keg steak house, it’s a chain all over and I had wanted to go since Montreal (we tried to get in there but it was too busy). It was worth the wait, one of the best steaks I’ve had. A great way to end Toronto.

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We picked up the car in Toronto and headed off towards Niagra falls, something I was extremely excited for as I love waterfalls I’m not sure why I just think they’re pretty and fascinating as well. The drive was as expected, a disaster, just dad swearing and slamming on his brakes for nearly 2 hours we was all relieved when he opted for valet parking at the hotel. Now I’ve heard before to visit Niagra on the Canada side as it is less tacky than the US… I don’t actually think it is possible to get tackier than where we was. It was like vegas for kids!! The main street was laid out like this – haunted house, arcade, ice cream shop, souvenir store and repeat 50 times, everything was sticking out of buildings like king kong. We let Robbie do one thing- crazy golf, 18 holes oh joy! Open till 3am, who would ever do crazy golf that late? Other than the crazyness the actual falls were stunning!! Definitely need to be Canada side for the best views. We did it all, firstly the journey behind the falls which was great as you go on the tunnels behind the horseshoe falls and stand right next to it. Then went to the museum explaining all the crazy people that have gone over it, stupid people. Then finally the main thing the boat ride right up to it. It was fantastic I would do it again and again. The wind that hits you just chucks the water at you its crazy, everyone is just going mental I loved it. Definitely definitely worth a visit!! Only spent a night here but saw what we needed to and had an ihop for breakfast but it was so much more expensive than US prices which was weird, but still big and yummy.

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For our final stop on this little adventure we headed up to the Musokosa area which was all lakes and forestry. We stayed in a little cabin by a lake which was lovely. The views certainly made up for the awful drive there, wish my dad actually looked before pulling out into traffic it would make life easier. There was a nice little beach onto the lake which we spent our time at relaxing after a busy 10 days. There was kayaks to use which we did and a pontoon and slide in the lake which was great. It was nice as well to eat in, we had a BBQ each night which was great then we would play cards on the deck till bed (and watched grease one night). Worse bit was mum telling us too late that it was one of the worst places for Mosquitos, we thankfully got some repellent the second day but not before I was bitted 41 times on my legs!!!!! Fun fun fun for me 😦 They lit a campfire each night so we went down and roasted our marshmallows so cute.

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So that’s it our time came to an end, it was great trip away and I could say so much more, esp about the food hehe, in my dads words ‘haven’t had a bad meal yet’ said after every meal!! But he was right, always makes a holiday better. Dunno when I’ll next be going away but don’t worry I’ll blog when I do.

Louises fact- you need to go to Canada to give a fact for it.

A month or so later…

Hello fans, been a while hasn’t it? After so much begging I’ve decided to give you guys another post on a reflection of my time away and my life since travelling, as thrilling as it is. I thought by now Lonely Planet would have snapped me up and would be sending me around the world to write for them, but unfortunately I must have missed that call as I’m still sitting at home doing bugger all, I’ve got so bored I joined the gym (lol). At least the weather has improved and if I close my eyes im back sunbathing in Daytona beach, Florida… minus the man shitting by the pool. I had a great 5 months travelling the world with my bestie Lou, I couldn’t have asked for a better travelling partner, well maybe someone better at directions, JUST KIDDING!!! Travel buddy for life.

Asia is like no-where else, I loved travelling around here, it is so crazy to think that all we had was a flight booked to Bangkok then 6 weeks later one booked out of Singapore. It was the most fun just doing what we wanted booking flights just a day in advance and off to see a different country, I will always have fond memories of the place. But not the dodgy food i.e 90% sure we ate dog in Vietman and of course my lovely chicken skin curry in Chiang Mai, bleugh. But it is where I pushed the boundaries and ate a whole chicken, jacket potato, side salad then half a dessert, ahhh happy memories. I don’t think I ever told the story of the woman passing out on our first plane, she had obviously over heated and they did the whole ‘is there a Dr on board’ I was so engrossed in the drama I nearly said yes! I wanted my movie moment. It’s hard to chose a favourite place here, I loved everywhere we went and would love to go to them all again to get to see more of the countries esp Vietnam and Laos. Thailand is the easiest place to go as they are very used to tourists so there’s nothing to worry about. Cambodia needs to sort their roads out and then I’d vist again. I was suprised with Malaysia as it wasn’t somewhere we were meant to spend a lot of time and I loved it, but I still dream of moving to Singapore and living the highlife.
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At Angkor Wat, Cambodia looking so pale!!

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With our brummie mates in Koh Phi Phi.

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With Jenny and our Ladyboy guide from the elephant sanctuary, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Australia was pretty darn awesome there is just so much to do and see, the Whitsundays are still the most beautiful place I visited and the Uncle Brians waterfall tour is still the best day of my life. Probably had the best food out here; the best thing was this roll with haloumi, guacamole, rocket and a fried egg, it was insane!! I loved the country but I really don’t see why people go crazy about it and dream of living there, yeah it’s hot but apart from that there is nothing else to draw you in, a great place for a trip of a lifetime but after that it’s not for me soz.
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Great Barrier Reef selfie.

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Loving life in my stinger suit at the Whitsundays.

I have such great memories of New Zealand, it was stunning but by then end I wasn’t even bothered by the views I’d see as it was just getting ridiculous seeing these amazing views every single day!! The Kiwi Experience was the best time ever and although there was a lot of pointless stops I at least had a great group of people to spend it with. I would recommend it to everyone definitely if you are just thinking of going to Australia add New Zealand in as well, it is definitely worth it and the pies are awesome!!
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Our Kiwi Experience group.

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At one of the many beautiful coastal stops.

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Looking so pale here!! On the way to one of our great experiences, Waitomo caves.

Of course Fiji was paradise it was literally a post card and a perfect break. If anyone is doing a long tour I would definitely recommend adding this in to break it up, it was great to just relax and not rush around for once. When we got to our first island I remember I went to get my bag off the boat and a member of staff said “just leave that, your on holiday we will take it for you” it felt so good, I swear the whole time in Fiji the furthest I carried my bag was like 10 metres. They really do put you first and even as back packers they treated us the same as their guests staying in their nice villas.

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On our village tour.

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Beach selfie.

USA was my final stop and was just as good as I imagined, some of the bus journeys were really long but the places we saw were great. I loved seeing how a country could change so much state to state. I really did make friends for life on this trip amd they made it so great. I think with America you kinda know what to expect from all the movies and t.v programmes and it is just like that, it was awesome. I had a great time right up until the end, at the airport coming home I sat opposite a family in the departure lounge having a right domestic, when the parents walked off to argue more (think they caught me staring) the little kid informed me they had lost the camera with all the photos on, what a mare but entertainment for me!

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Mini Kiwi Experience reunion in LA.

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Our Contiki group.

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Classic tourist photo with Tarryn.

I keep being asked where my favourite place was but I honestly can’t answer that. South East Asia was incredible to travel around and was completely different to the other places we visited. I had an awesome time in Australia with great day trips. New Zealand was stunning and we had the best time ever touring it, Fiji was paradise and the US was so many different cultures mixed into one it was unreal. I loved them all and would encourage anyone to visit all those places.

Since being home I haven’t really done a lot, mum paid me £20 to clean the oven so that kept me going for a while. Thankfully laying on my sofa watching Mad Men 24/7 doesn’t cost anything!!! I do the ironing for mum that keeps her happy, my life is pretty chilled which is actually great after having such a hectic 5 months. I just apply for job after job but still no success which is killing me I just want to work. But whatever you do don’t ask me to what I want to do, that’s still to be decided, my career is certainly going to be trial and error but meh I’m young I’ve got time to figure things out.

For now I would just like to say thank you to everyone who has followed this blog and my journey. It really was a trip of a lifetime and although I would never travel for that long again as it is so tiring my list of places to visit is ever growing, but hey im only 21 and the world isn’t going anywhere. For now Chatteris will have to do… well until August when im off to explore Canada for 2 weeks with the fam, see yaz for now.

P.s Hostelworld my nationality is British not ‘England’ you fools.

USA 2- Save a horse ride a cowboy On the way from the Grand Canyon we stopped off in Utah at Monument valley, it was really beautiful here, really interesting how all the rocks are solo standing. Also saw where Forrest Gump & Star Trek was filmed, it was so cool I loved it. image Durango, Colorado was our first little random stop, a very small little town and our first taste of the south. We all went out to Moe's bar, it was a great night I was up on the bar dancing everyone was a bit tipsy and loved it all. Our night ended however when one guy got a little too drunk, we jumped in a taxi to go home not realising what we had let ourselves in for. We bonded with the Kiwis this night, Shae & Jane, took all 4 of us to carry him into his room, when we thought he was okay he started to be sick, me and Jane swiftly left the room leaving the other 2 to deal with it, didn't want to crowd him... Thankfully he was alright but rudely didn't even say thank you or sorry the next day. Whilst in the town the next day me and Lara decided to do one of those old time photoshoots, we went for the theme 'Titanic gone wild' we were loving it got to dress up and everything. image Next stop was Albuquerque, New Mexico, I went on a Breaking Bad tour with Louise, never seen it myself but she loves it. I still found it interesting and was having fun talking about grain and then the welfare state in the UK with the taxi driver, he was also shocked to hear that Brits drink a lot of Budweiser a fact that made him happy. Next morning we went on a Hot air baloon ride, something i've always wanted to do so thought might as well do it here. It was great, a lot smoother and slower than I thought it would be, it was fun riding low as well and seeing people in their gardens. Best bit was the landing, we tipped over and got dragged along this bumpy waste land, all stuck lying down, certainly an experience I won't forget. image Is this the way to Amarillo.... our tour guide had never heard of this song or Peter Kay!! So we showed her the video, she awkwardly giggled along clearly not having a clue who anyone was she thought they were all big celebs in the UK, not quite just corrie stars and Jimmy Saville... top UK talent. We stayed at the Big texas inn which was great as all the room were cowboy themed. There was a steak challenge which a few guys took on but couldn't complete, it was massive 72oz like a joint of beef we'd have on a Sunday. We then all had a bit of a party there it was really fun and we got to learn some line dancing then Lou led the group in 5,6,7,8 steps. Such a fun but random time here it was great. image Throughout our journeys in the south we were played some random ass songs with the strangest lyrics (see the title of the blog) they get stuck in your head though which is irritating. But when we got to Dallas we went to a honky tonk and everyone there loved it. The honky tonk is a big party after the rodeo, full of proper cowboys so cool going to a proper rodeo in Fort Worth just a usual Friday night for the people who live there. Such a fun night everyone there dances like it's a ballroom so we all got up and had a go, a laugh for sure but we had to get on the bus early and missed out on pizza 😦 But then I brought a microwave one from the hotel convenience store, great end to the night. We had a chance to go to the JFK museum but the queue was too long so we didn't get to go which was frustrating but it was still interesting to see where it all happened. Dallas was a really nice city, modern but with some older buildings as well. image Louises fact- get to the JFK museum early.

USA 4- Final parts of my journey

On our way to the next stop we visted the Kennedy space centre. I had wanted to go there since my first visit to Florida when I was 7/8 years old. I was so excited and had a great day seeing and learning about it all although it was smaller than I was expecting.
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When we got to St Augustine , Florida we got checked into a dodgy hotel it honestly looked like something off Forensic Files (which we had watched EVERY night, love it) but at least the town was nice. Most people were disappointed with their meals but I enjoined my deep fried shrimp stuffed with crab, delicous! After dinner we got some lovely ice creams then went on a walk around to explore it more, it was full of old beautiful buildings which made a nice change from the rest of Florida.
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When we arrived in Savannah, Georgia we had a walking tour around the city, it was a really pretty place with lots of little squares. We went for a good Mexican that night and then decided not to be boring and go out. We had pre-drinks with the crew which was more enjoyable than the bar. I mean it was a good place everyone was out in good spirits but the music was awful, that really does put a downer on a night out but it was good to have a night away from Forensic Files.
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On our way to Raleigh, North Carolina we stopped off in Charleston, South Carolina it was another place filled with lovely older buildings and also had a cool market running through it, we went for lunch at a restaurant which essentially did pulled pork in all different ways. Most of us had big jacket potatoes, they were the biggest potatoes I have ever seen which was good as we were all dreading the quality of food we would be getting later on at the Golden Corale buffet. When we got to Raleigh we went pretty much straight to the restaurant, and my god what a night I had. Lou tried to challenge me to a eat off within seconds she took that back. Got myself 2 full plates of food and then a bowl of nachos, the food was actually better quality than anyone had expected. Lou knew she wouldn’t beat me on the main course so challenged me to dessert instead. I of course smashed it – candy floss, melted chocolate with strawberries & marshmallows, bannana pudding, brownie, cookie, ice-cream & a few sweets. It was like man vs food, I should not be allowed near a buffet I was in so much pain but worth it for the lolz.

On our way into Washington DC we stopped off at the Arlington National Cemetery. it was beautiful here and absolutely massive. We got to see JFK’s grave aswell as watch the changing of the guard. The first night we did a tour of the city which was great as we got to see so many memorials including MLK, Korean war (which was brilliant at night as it made it more eerie) and of course Lincoln memorial as well as a few others. It was really good seeing them at night and saved us a lot of time during our days. When we got back from the tour we contemplated going out but instead after a hilarious trip to CVS we had a chocolate night with Jayne, Shae, Brett & Tarryn. We also got some Ice cream and bought a box of 48 spoons for it. We ended up staying up till 1am watching youtube videos, we introduced them to £1 fish haha.

We got up early to go to the Holocaust museum and it was worth it, it was a well set out museum with so much information. We then went up the Washington Monumen, which gave us great views of the city and we then went to see the White House. It was a bit disappointing, it’s not very big, it’s got nothing on the Melton mansion. We went for a meal with Tarryn & Brett that night to a steak place Lou had read about, it was a set $20 and you got- bread, a salad then 2 lots of steak & chips with a delicious sauce, that was the only thing on the menu it was so cool and tasted great. The night improved when we got it for free!! They charged Brett the wrong amount so cancelled the transaction then when they tried to put it through again it didn’t work. So the waiter comes over and says as it’s his fault it’s on him. We couldn’t believe it, we celebrated by having another chocolate night hehe. Final day we went to the American museum which was disappointing mostly because the US has no history. Highlight of the day was the Nandos, finally a good Nandos but us and the S.AFs said home was better so that battle continues. I loved Washington but still so much to do there definitely need to go back.
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Moving on the next day we had a lunch stop in Philadelphia and after running up the rocky steps I had worked up an appetite. Instead of trying the philly cheese steak I finally got Chipotle!! It was definitely worth the wait, and an added bonus that is was cheap and quick. Wish we had these in the UK but probably good we don’t as I would eat there constantly.

After 26 days, 22 States & 5,000 miles we completed our journey from LA to NY with Contiki. Sadly we had to say goodbye to Lara & Dani here 😦 Our first night we went for an amazing Italian with Brett &Tarryn it was delicious one of the best pastas I’ve had. (they lived here for 3 months so had a good knowledge on where to go)We then just went for a walk around and saw Times Square, forgot how crazy busy this place was. Next day was quite chilled just sat in Central park then did a bit of shopping with Eleanor (from Kiwi experienxce) it was great to see her again. That night we got tickets to see Wicked, only $30!! A great show but then we had to say goodbye to Shae & Jayne so only 4 of our crew left 😦 We had a Chop’t that night it’s like a subway but salads and so so yummy we had another one a couple of days later.

Next day me & Lou went to a Yankees game, it was soooo hot I didn’t think I could get more tanned but still got t-shirt marks. The game was okay but lacked atmosphere, and they wouldn’t let me take my GoPro in so had to put it in a locker. We obviously met with Brett & Tarryn for dinner and I had lovely seared tuna and avacado tacos yum yum. We finally got cupcakes from Georgetown bakery so after devouring them we sadly said goodbye to these two 😦 We visited the 9/11 memorial museum, it was massive and really interesting but god Americans over react, it was like some of the people in there were hearing about it for the first time! On our final full day I walked the Brooklyn bridge whilst Lou shopped. It was a great walk and lovely to have lunch looking out over the Manhattan Skyline. Our final meal together was Chipotle, we have had so many Mexicans this trip we had to end on one. It was so weird going our separate ways after 5 months of being together it was all over 😦 I spent my night packing and headed out for Manhattanhenge, the streets were packed and cars could barely get through, unfortunately it was a bit cloudy so ruined it a bit then the police came and told everyone to get out of the street, party poopers. And now I’m here in centra park writing this in the sun surrounded by a Feminist cult waiting for my flight later.
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I loved my time in the US it was so cool to see all the different states and how much each one is so different to the next. Made some friends for life on this trip and cannot wait to travel all over to see them again.

Louises fact- Visiting the monuments in Washington DC at night is a great experience.

So this is it, the end of my trip, stay tuned for my final blog post reflecting on the past 5 months.

USA 3- My hands are shaky and my knees are weak

Memphis, Tennesse was a nice place to stop and we got our first glance at the Missippi river, it was massive but looked really dirty what I imagined really. There was a big street party going on in the evening so we headed down to have a looky, it was ridiculously busy and there was a big circle
people were dancing in with these posh boys taking on the gangsters, quite a laugh. The main thing we did in Memphis was visit Graceland, the home of Elvis. The house was beautiful, some questionable decorating choices but hey that was years ago. It was interesting as well I didn’t really know much about him so it was good to learn about it all and see the lavish lifestyle he lived.
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One of my favourite stops on this trip was New Orleons, Louisiana. It was such a beautiful city, the French quater was lovely and great that it had all been kept that way. One of the optionals was a $33 meal, first of all it was definitely not worth that, the food was nice but not amazing and the portions were not ideal. Best thing about this meal was making friends with the South African couple Brett & Tarryn, we spent the night bonding over the BBC and the stupid discussions they have on Radio 2. Then arguing over whose Cadburys and Nandos is better (the fight still goes on). After the meal we all headed out to Bourbon street, it’s just bar after bar, a good unexpected night out. The next day was a good relaxing day with English Penny (2 pennys on the trip) we went for a bit of shopping then stopped off for lunch and had some proper New Orleons food which was huge portions, then explored the French quarter. It was nice to have a relaxing day like that to explore a place properly and not have to rush it all. We had a big night out as some people were leaving and we had new people join us. The theme was pimps & hoes I just put a feather bower around my shoulders but still looked more hoey than most, people are shit with fancy dress and that angers me. I got wasted that night, I don’t know how I got so drunk it just all hit me at once. Sat on the floor in the toilets whilst waiting then farted and blamed it on the fact I’d drank Dr pepper haha, don’t know if people believed me or not. Such a good night, great end to an awesome place.

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Panama city beach was a bit of a pointless stop as we didn’t get there till about 4pm so we didn’t have time to go to the beach. We just went for dinner, it felt just like we were in Orlando, therefore I concluded all of Florida is the same. Most memorable part of this stop was the Fro Yo I had there it was a peanut butter flavour which was delicious and a cake mix flavour, it was yummy.

I was so happy to be back in Orlando, kinda weird not being there with the family but still enjoyable. We only had 2 nights there but we sure made the most of it, first night we headed to Downtown Disney for dinner with our little crew (Kiwis, South Africans, Brits, we’re a diverse group) it was a good night looking around and visiting the giant gift shop. The next day most people went to Universal but we took the cheaper option and spent the day at Typhoon Lagoon. I love it there, we went on every ride, swam with sharks, lazy river and of course hit the waves, I always forget how big they are. So big Louise nearly shit herself, not from fear but from a dodgy tummy. We also had plenty of time to lay in the sun it was bliss. That evening we headed over to Universal to go for dinner with Lara and Dani, so that was another place ticked off, can’t believe how much we managed to get in, we weren’t gonna waste any time that’s for sure. I was sad to leave this place it makes me want to come back and do it all over again properly.
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‘Welcome to Miami’, this place was definitely a playground for the rich, it was a bigger more expensive version of Marbella. We had lunch when we got there and I ordered a Shrimp cocktail… well their idea of a cocktail is different to ours, bloody 5 shrimps came out on a glass of ice. Piss take. Even worse we had a Cuban meal that night that was tiny, bad day for a Melton. We just chilled on the beach the next day topping up the tan in the Miami heat (well in the afternoon in the morning it was pissing it down). Also had my first Ihop, I loved it, no shortage of food here i’ll tell you that for free. Had a bit of a disastrous night out, me and Lou didn’t do the boat cruise but we got all dressed up and went to meet them at the club. Whilst sitting in McDonald’s waiting for them we got a call from the girls saying that everyone on the trip doesn’t like us English thinking were boring, moan a lot and rude!! Well we got straight on that bus and went back, that was the end of us making an effort outside of our crew. Miami was pretty wild but not for good reasons. (Also had the nicest room it was just like an apartment.)
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We stopped off at Daytona beach next it was good as we got there in enough time to have a good amount of time around the pool to tan, us girls were loving it until the incident happened… We were all laying there in absolute bliss when Penny starts making a strange noise, I then hear Lara go “that man’s shitting himself” and sure enough this bloke had walked along with poo dropping out the bottom of his shorts, thankfully I didn’t see it happen but you could see all the big piles he left behind just like a dog. At that point everyone else sits up and are all in disbelief it just happened. Dani told reception to which he replied “you telling me a grown ass man has shit by my pool”. Such a great story, it’s safe to say we soon left esp after the smell wafted into my face. Also had a good BBQ that night so good memories from there.

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Louises fact- At Typhoon Lagoon always make sure you know where the exit of the pool is… just incase.

USA 1- Hopped off the plane at LAX

After an 11 hour flight we landed at LAX Airport where we had a while to kill before our connecting flight to San Francisco, we went and sat in the arrivals lounge and got a bit emotional seeing people getting reunited. Our flight kept getting delayed which was frustrating but we finally got to our hostel in San Fran at midnight. After being awake for over 36 hours and travelling for 24 of those we completely crashed until 1pm woops.

San Fran was such a good city it looked just like the movies but with an added amount of tramps, there are seriously a lot out here which is quite sad really. Whilst here we did the usual tourist things, first day after finally leaving the hostel at 3pm we rode on the famous trolley up the big hilled streets, it was cool to do but would have been more enjoyable if we weren’t all crammed in. We also went to Joes crab shack and got the crab nachos I’d had in Florida a few yeara ago, just as good as I remember. I was freezing cold so brought the most touristy coat ever so “American mom” I love it.

Next day we walked over the Goldrn Gate bridge which was really nice but there was a bridge a bit further down which was a lot longer and more impressive… just saying. We also of course visited Alcatraz; I really enjoyed it here and it was really interesting, I didn’t realise families actually lived on the Island as well and kids took a boat to school, very odd. Sounds like we didn’t do a lot here but we also walked around and explored the city etc.

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We flew back down to LA and stayed right on Hollywood boulevard which was a bit dodgy and full of homeless people, not the nicest area but busy. I was so excited to get here and meet up with Jem & Mike who we met on the Kiwi Experience (if you’ve read my older blogs you will know about them). We had a great day with them going on one of those tours to see celebs houses, I was loving it, so cheesy it was great and some of the houses were beaut. On our way back we decided to pop into the Scientology building to have a free personality test. We thought it would take only a few minutes, we were in there nearly 2 hours!! Essentially I got told I was depressed and very aggressive but perfect to be PM he said so not gonna change a thing.

The next day Eleanor from Kiwi also joined us and we went to Santa Monica then hired bikes to go down to Venice beach. It was such a nice ride along the beaches, nice and sunny as well. Perfect day. We had to rush back to head to the welcome meeting for Contiki. It was nice to meet everyone and got us excited to start the next morning.

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Vegas babyyyyyy. I loved it here I wad expecting tacky and I got it, you just have to embrace it. You see some sights as well; I walked up the strip to look at all the hotels and my favourite thing I saw was all the “G’s” on the motorised scooters. They were all there with their trousers right down, tops off and leaning right back, clearly not needing to the scooters and driving up to girls stopping and saying stuff like “damn girl”. On the first night we went to Planet Hollywood for dinner, the food was crap but we made friends with Lara and Dani, the other English girls on the tour pretty much everyone else is Australian. We all went for a night out at the Palms, it was a really good night no-one really knew each other but that was good as everyone mixed well. I also discovered that big American men of a different race to myself have a thing for me, 2 tried dancing with me and a 3rd gave me his number. Thankfully Jackie and Marquis helped me out and got me away from a particularly creepy guy. On the second night we got to go for a limo ride down the strip then off to a club to see Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, they didn’t come on till 1am which was annoying but we went out the club for a bit then came back to see them, they were really good so glad we stuck around to watch.

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The Grand Canyon was stunning we got to spend 2 nights here which was a good recovery from Vegas. We decided to go on a guided walk, well it turned out to be just a talk so we went off with a group of others to see more of it but it started to rain so we went for lunch instead. The food was awful in both places we ate there, disappointing. The canyon was stunning and thankfully it cleared up in time for the sunset which was incredible. Literally cannot believe how big it was. Most important thing that happened there was me n Lou discovered a huge love for ‘Forensic Files’ a great t.v programe discussing how forensics solved all these crimes. We love it!! At first I couldn’t sleep after watching it as it creeped me out but now i’ve watched so much of it i’m fine thankfully.

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Im loving the US so far and
everyone on contiki seems really nice, onto Durango we went….

Louises fact- You will never see Lucy Melton move as fast as when our table is ready in a restaurant.

Bula it’s Fiji time

When we landed in Fiji we were met by torrential rain, we could not believe it I was close to tears. The day picked up when at our hostel we got given a double room, so we just slept all afternoon, bliss. Everyone there was so friendly and polite all shook your hand and introduced themselves. Thankfully the next morning we awoke to bright sunshine and so our island hopping began…

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Beachcomber was supposed to be this huge party island, not quite. There was probably 50 people on the whole island our dorm could fit around 150 split between male & female we had 7 girls in our side. We had a good time though, we decided to just get drunk and have our own party with a few others. We made a good little group with a couple of the guys Kit and James stalking us all the way from Auckland, I thought they looked like chavs when I saw them on our flight but getting to know them on Beachcomber they turned out alright! We all played volleyball one day which was fun and all the Fijians got involved, they could actually play quite well and in the end it was just me Kit and James and about 10 of them, safe to say we stood out quite a bit.

We had a performance by the workers on the island, Fijian dancing was great, then when we were all dancing the gay barman got up and was loving it, hilarious. As well as this little Russian kid who kept being left alone by his mother throughout the day, he was such a funny little dancer really got into it. Not sure where he got his dance moves from probably a strip club where his mother worked. Me and Lou also did karaoke, the music was so loud you couldn’t hear us thankfully, we sang ‘shake it off’ by Taylor Swift the crowd loved it and so did we. We also played mini golf with our little crew which was fun but full of cheating, made it more of a laugh. The island was so small so odd to have mini golf course in the middle of it. It was really cool to start on a small island it was really beautiful and had a great time there, apart from the food was a bit hit and miss it was a buffet but not sure what half of it was.

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When we first arrived on Manta Ray beach resort we went straight to lunch which was a lot better than Beachcomber as we got a choice, so we went for classic Fijian cuisine, I had Spag Bol and Lou had Fish & Chips. We then went to our room to close our eyes for a couple of minutes, woke up 3 hours later. Great nap and it was cloudy outside so didn’t really matter didn’t lose any tanning time. That night the resort also did some traditional dancing, then got everyone up to do a weird sort of conga line, it was just another surreal moment. Next day we actually made it down to the beach to sunbathe and I also finally used my snorkel again, had been carrying it around and not using it since Thailand!! It was stunning just as good as the Great Barrier Reef and I didn’t have to deal with sea sickness which was a bonus although the sea kept going in my snorkel so I threw it away, snorkeling is just not for me. I had a lovely time in Manta Ray and got the tan nicely topped up.

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Blue lagoon resort was just absolute paradise, I thought the rest were nice but this was just beyond them completely. The beach was stunning and so was the resort. The dorms were 8 beds all single beds no bunk beds and so comfy. The food here was nicer also, best breakfast here I had poached eggs both mornings, yummy. We met Sophie in our dorm pretty much straight away and had a great few days with her. The first night we all went to the movie on the beach which was so cool watching Inception under the stars. Second night was hilarious with crab racing, all picked a crab then the first one out the circle won Louises crab one lol, her biggest achievement to date. What I loved most about our time here was the pool, it was so nice to tan by a nice pool and not get sand everywhere, loved it!! Was very sad to leave esp as we had a 5 hour boat journey back, but it’s alright we saw Robbie AGAIN!

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Back on the main land we had a couple of days free so the first day we went to the town and market, it was like being back in Asia, very small and run down. The market has a sign saying you will not get hassled, complete lie they do not stop trying to sell you things. Our second day we went on a day trip, just me n Lou was on it, felt like a VIP private tour. We visited a Fijian town which was really interesting hearing about the past and traditions. We also visited some gardens which were stunning and then went to a temple and another market, overall a good day. On our final night we went for dinner then when we came back who had arrived and been put in our room… Robbie. Funniest thing, gonna miss bumping into him.

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Had an amazing 10 days in paradise, was certainly sad to leave. Came away with an amazing tan.. and the shits. Cheers Fiji.

Louises fact – Fijians love a good remix, and don’t drink the tap water because you will get ill.

NZ 4- Sweet As Bro

Lake Tekapo was our first stop on our way back up, this was a beautiful stop, it was a really nice holiday park we stayed on full of families for bank holiday weekend, a perfect place to go, and we finally had some sun!!! Us girls were in a cabin by ourselves away from everyone else, had to go on a right trek to get to it (well up a slight hill), not impressed, but it was really cute. That night we went out for a nice meal, I had a delicious venison stew, so so good!! Then banoffe pie for dessert which defeated me, it made me really dizzy but thankfully Doc was around to assure me I wasn’t dying I had just eaten too much, classic melton.

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Up next was Christchurch, Sam left us straight away here, sad times another one going. Christchurch was really good in the day time, still devastated by the 2011Earthquake the shops and cafes were in shipping containers which was really cool. We saw the chair memorial; each one representing somebody who had died which was moving esp the kids chairs. The cardboard church was stunning felt very serene inside, quite like a spa. We then spent the afternoon in search of the giant sofas, Sara convinced “they are just over here” for about a half an hour. It was our final night with Claire, so went to find somewhere to drink with not much luck we found one pub which was full of gypsies, we had one drink then left, we stayed up till midnight though as it was Easter so we could eat our chocolate eggs.

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Kaikoura was a cute little stop, it was just like a little seaside town you would find in Norfolk. We spent the afternoon looking round all the cute little stores then in the evening we had a BBQ (well a sausage in a slice of bread). There was also plenty of wine on offer and as this was goodbye to Sara of course I had to have a few glasses!! Sara was the final one from the original bus so it was sad to see her go, for the first time in a while it was just me n Lou.

Like I mentioned in a previous post we stopped at Wellington on the way back up, we did 2 nights this time so we actually got to see the city, it pissed it down with rain the whole time!! But have no fear we found ourselves a free museum Te Papa Tongarewa. It was massive and really interesting you could spend all day there which we nearly did but instead went for a tour of the  parliament building in the afternoon. Politics geek out, it was very similar to the UK just a smaller version. Highlight was the little kids also on the tour, the guide asked if anyone had any questions he got back  “what if I need the toilet on the tour” and “how much do you get paid” I found it hilarious. We also went to the cinema to see Insurgent, haven’t seen the first one but Lou explained it, good film would highly recommend. That night sitting in the hostel Robbie, Henry and Ollie strolled through the door, just when we thought we had left everyone behind. Henry looked like a creep in his bucket hat, rain mac, trackies and flip flops. It was decided he looked like a drug dealer at a festival/ bird watcher. They were only on the bus a bit the next day before we said farewell again to them. Robbie stayed on.

We stopped off again at Taupo on the way up, coming here again  shows how much the weather and company can change your views of a place. First time it was sunny and we got to know everyone really well, this time it was raining and just me n Lou (and Robbie was floating about somewhere). So we set off in search of a platter for dinner, the one we found was not to our liking so we went for a curry instead. It was delicious!!!

When we got back to Auckland we met up with Ben and Charlotte (friends from home), we all went to the Planetarium together. This sounds quite geeky but it was actually a lot of fun and so interesting!! Now every night me n Lou do a bit of stargazing we love it, know what all the stars are… It was so nice seeing them and catching up on our travels, a good evening.

Our final stop with the Kiwi Experience was the Bay of Islands. We had a good couple of chilled nights up there and went on a day trip to Cape Reinga, highlight of this was sand boarding,  looked terrifying from the side but at the top it was not so scary and was really fun!! Funniest thing on this trip was we were sitting on the bus and some guy a couple of rows back was speaking to some people and said he was from Cambridge, me n Lou whipped around shouting we were too. Turns out he’s from Ely, the girls he was speaking to had gone to Reading uni and knew one of our friends. Next thing the girl behind us gets on so we ask her where she’s  from… Mepal, can you believe it! Had a little Cambridge crew. She also went to Long Road then Lincoln Uni and lived on the same road as me as well. Such a small world.

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Our final stop was back again to Auckland, sticking to what we know and not moving from Queens Street. It rained so we watched Game of Thrones and sat on the iron throne in the middle of town, and of course saw Robbie again. Then at the Airport had another goodbye with Henry and Ollie, just can’t get rid of this lot.

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That’s New Zealand done, so far my favourite place on this trip, I could never imagine such a stunning place and I did some amazing things, I met an incredible bunch of people who made this trip so great!! I will always remember my time on the Kiwi Experience, thanks to everyone on there, miss you all. And a final thanks to Keith, what a legend.

Louises fact – New Zealanders have no clue what Game of Thrones is.

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NZ 3 – How’s it going? F*****G UNREAL

As we continued our way down the south island we stopped at Westport which was the creepiest town we went to, they said it was a bit backwards and they weren’t kidding. Every house looked like a crack den and the people were dodge. We walked to the beach which is meant to be a 25min walk, nope took us 45min, by the time we were there it was dark. Pointless trip.

Lake Mahinapua was another pointless stop, we had to pay $50 to stay in these little mobile homes with 2 bunk beds squashed in. The lake wasn’t even that special, seen better and the water did not look great, I’ve seen reservoirs that are cleaner!!(the smiths obvs) We had a fancy dress night with the theme being ‘anything’ so I went as a traffic cone. We were driving along and I saw one by the side of the road, I said to Lou “I could be a traffic cone” so that’s what I did. We stopped to get supplies for the evening, at first I thought there was no face paint so my dreams of being a cone were over but then the cashier pointed me towards poster paint and assured me it would be ok. Thankfully it did all come off when I had a shower at 2am, I was drunk but not drunk enough to go to bed bright orange. It was a good night actually, I spoke to more people on the bus but decided I still wasn’t keen on them. Our bus broke the record for the most amount spent behind the bar- $4500. Pretty sure half of that was the farmers!!
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Franz Josef was quite a let down.
I did get to go on another beaut horse trek though, this time with Mike and Jem, we went through a rainforest and looked over towards the glacier, crazy to find so much beautiful nature in one place. We didn’t sign up to do the glacier walk as it was bloody expensive but it was cancelled anyway due to weather so didn’t miss out. We did walk up to see the glacier, what we saw was disappointing as well, Lou summed it up by saying “is that it?” Then the walk back we got drenched. It was fun in Franz Josef as we met up with everyone again who we left in Wellington and Sara and Claire as well. It was good to see everyone and catch up with the goss. Sam and Carl skipped ahead a night and joined our bus which was good to have more people to distract us from the rest of the bus.

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Wanaka was a really nice place to stop, we didn’t do anything special here, didn’t even go out but I had a great lamb pie as a snack in the afternoon!! And there was free wifi all over the town so we just abused this.

I feel i’ve been quite negative so far in this post but this will all stop now im talking about Queenstown. I Ioved this place, it felt like the whole time we were in the south island we were waiting to get there, it was worth the wait for the food alone. There was quite a few things we were told to try, so of course I had them all. First up was the Ferg Burger, god it was good and massive as well, I can honestly say up there with the best burgers I’ve ever had (Lou convinced herself it made her ill for 2 days so had bad reviews, but we know what she’s like so don’t listen to her). Then that night on the way home I shared a fat badgers pizza with Shona, did not let me down, it had so many toppings and plenty of cheese! Up next we had cookies from cookie time for breakfast, not as good as millies cookies but still incredible, and it was happy hour 8-9am so got a hot chocolate for $1. I also then that night on the way home at 3am got a steak and cheese pie from the Ferg Bakery with the lads, a pie is a perfect way to end a night!
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Of course in Queenstown I went out every night, we had 3 nights there so made the most of it. It was sad the second night saying goodbye to Shona, Chris, Jem and Mike we’d been room buddies with them since Kaiteriter so it was sad to leave them. Then on the second and final night the whole crew was back together again, so we then had all the big goodbyes all over again, sad times. Don’t worry (mother) I didn’t just drink and eat in Queenstown we also went on a day trip to Milford Sound, this was a long day we were on the coach overall for 9 hours!!!! All for 1hr15mins on the boat. It was stunning and we had a great laugh (on there with Shona and Chris) it turned into a photoshoot essentially, made full use of the selfie stick. So a good but tiring day. Also in Queenstown Lou did the nevis bungy, she liked it but said it wasn’t life changing.

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Leaving Queenstown behind it was down to me, Lou, Sara, Claire, Sam and the doctor left from the original bus.

Louises fact – You won’t be disappointed if you go to Queenstown.