This post is a late night appeal to anyone who's ever been in a finalist's shoes. Have you ever had this feeling? Here's how it goes: I'm all hunched over my laptop, scrolling through Twitter and Bloglovin' desperately, trying to think of anything that might possibly distract me from the fact that I have a dreaded dissertation supervision in less than 12 hours. I've made a flying visit back to uni for this tutorial, but mark my words, I'll be fleeing back to London as quick as my ankle boots can take me straight after!
I think I've worked out a cure for this restlessness and lack of concentration. A holiday. My mind is inevitably escaping from Cambridge and the beckoning exam term to focus on memories of lovely places I've been lucky enough to visit in the past few years. Since I'm not able to join my family in Bali this Easter, I've decided to get these thoughts down in a post in the hope that my brain will finally be able to get back to Manet!
Without further ado, here's my 5 top holiday destinations from places I've travelled to in the last 5 years!
1) Japan (2010). We went to Tokyo, Hakone and Kyoto, and I became even more of a Japanophile than I had been previously. At the time I absolutely adored Tokyo, but I think that I'd appreciate the elegance and tranquillity of the latter two locations if I went back. I'd love to visit with A one day to show him the ryokans and hot springs in Hakone, and explore Hokkaido and Osaka too.
2) Cambodia (2011). This was the first holiday I brought an SLR on, so I went a bit mad taking photos. Here's Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap just before a storm. I prefer the food in Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia, but Cambodia is fantastic for exploring because it only opened up to tourism relatively recently, after the terrible civil war of the 90s. So there's tons of ruined temples to adventure around and most villages are still characterised by dirt tracks and chickens running around squawking. Definitely one to check out if you've been to other, more Westernised South East Asian countries. I'd love to come back here to visit Phnom Penh, which I didn't have a chance to see.
3) Florence, Italy (2011). Undoubtedly just one of my favourite places in the world. I went there twice in 2011 and fell completely in love with the place. In this picture I'm sitting with two of my best friends, on the steps of Santa Maria del Fiore, enjoying Grom (notorious for being the best ice-cream place in Florence). Life is sweet indeed. Favourite bits of Florence include the Boboli Gardens, the Uffizi, and a wonderful little osteria down a back street on the south bank which serves spectacular meals for 2 euros a pop. I'm going to have to go back there soon and blog about it for sure...
4) Sardinia (2013). A perfect little holiday in Alghero, an unspoilt stretch of the island, in which I ate a lot of lobster pasta and vitello ragù. The island is also dotted with magnificently beautiful Nuragic ruins, like the one in this little cove, which had the bluest water I've ever splashed around in. Would 100% come back with a little family. *Goes misty-eyed*
5) Oslo, Norway (2014). My first trip abroad with A! We packed as much as we could into five days, and all on a super-tight budget, cooking Scandinavian-style meals from the local supermarkets and only eating out once, and staying in a rented apartment (Airbnb, I love you.) We visited all the open-air museums on the Bygdøy peninsula, including the Viking Ship museum, which was awesome - the Horrible Histories nerdy kid in me came right out to play! Another highlight of the trip was our visit to the Opera House, which is designed to look like an iceberg in the Oslo fjord - it'd be great to sunbathe on in the summer! It even snowed while we were there, veiling the city in frosty white powder. So beautiful. I didn't think Norway would be particularly romantic, but oh boy, was I wrong...