Travel

Take Me Back Tuesday – London!

When thinking about which destination I wanted to write about this Tuesday my mind wandered to London.  Then I realized it was perfectly fitting because it was almost exactly three years ago that I flew across the pond!  I had a pretty darn lucky first year out of college.  I found a company that allowed me to see different parts of the world including Peru and the United Kingdom – some pretty good perks for being one year out of college huh?

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Where We Stayed:  A Co-Worker’s Flat!  She lived close to the Shepard’s Bush tube stop.  It was a good area easily accessible by the tube and easy to get around to the main attraction areas of London.  I absolutely love knowing locals when traveling, it completely changes the experience.  She was so accommodating and showed us some fantastic hidden gems in London.

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Sight Seeing:  We didn’t have too much time to explore the different sites in London so we squeezed them all in to pretty much one day.  I’m used to the abridged versions of sight-seeing since most of Europe travel was done on long weekends while studying abroad.  We still managed to cover a pretty good section of the city.

We saw the main sites including St. Peter’s Basilica, the London Eye, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, The Thames River, Convent Garden.  My favorite part of our sight-seeing day though was visiting Borough Market! Check the website first to make sure it’s open.  It’s a foodie’s dream!

We also happened to be there for the Notting Hill Carnival.  I have never in my life seen a festival so big, it’s the largest of its kind in all of Europe!  The festival happens on the last weekend of August in West London and is a celebration of Caribbean Culture.  I actually got separated from my friends during this festival which was probably one of the scariest things I’ve gone through while traveling.  I kept calm (haha) and some how found them eventually.

London is a fantastic city to visit!  It has so much history yet is such a chic and fun city at the same time.  I haven’t thought about this trip in a while and am happy to have taken a trip down memory lane. Take me back!

St. Peter’s Basilica 

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Big Ben!

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Westminster Abbey

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The London Eye (and yes I think that’s Starbucks in our hands)

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Along the Thames River

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The Borough Market – A MUST – SEE in London!!

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Notting Hill Carnival

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Take Me Back Tuesday – Costa Rica

Last December my two girlfriends and I decided to pack our bags, be a little adventurous, and go to Costa Rica.  It was such an awesome trip that we managed to pull off on a pretty small budget.  Ever since I studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain and traveled around Europe I have been bitten by the travel bug.  After college I worked in the travel industry for four years which only furthered my desire to see the world.  Being in my twenties means if I want to make this a reality I need to do it without spending too much money.  Our itinerary looked something like this:

San Jose

We flew into San Jose and found a great budget hostel that was awesome!

Hostel Pangea was a great place to start our vacation.  It had a great view, a bar/restaurant with pool tables and computers, and a pool!

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La Fortuna / Arenal

From San Jose we headed to the town of La Fotuna which is where the Arenal Volcano is.  We had another great hostel here that almost reminded us of a mini backpackers resort.  The Arenal Hostel Resort was the perfect place for us to explore our “adventurous side.” The owner of the hostel and the workers were great.  They were so accommodating from the moment we got there.  They organized a hike for us around the Volcano, Zip lining, a visit to the Baldi Hot Springs, and even a barbecue at the hotel followed by a night out at a local bar.

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Tamarindo

Our final stop was our “relaxing” portion of the trip. We had about 4 days in Tamarindo which is a little surfing town on the pacific coast.  It was the perfect place for us to get some sun, beach time, and try out surfing.  Some people say that Tamarindo is getting more and more touristy, especially with backpackers, but we absolutely loved it!  We stayed at two different hostels.  The first one was Blue Trailz.  This one was small, right across from the beach, and allowed us to have our own little suite with a kitchen, porch, and all!  Who ever said staying at hostels was roughing it?!  The next one we stayed at was call La Oveja Negra.  This was definitely more hostel-esque.   We still had our own rooms, but had to share the bathrooms and showers.  This hostel was really cool though because we met so many travelers from all over the world.

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Tips for Tamarindo

Surfing: I would suggest, if taking surfing lessons, to find the local guys on the beach.  This is what we did and it was a lot cheaper and they were great.  Make sure you pay attention to the tides so you are out there during the right time for your skill level.

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Restaurants: All of the restuarants were awesome in Tamarindo.  You pay more for the ones on the beach and less for the ones a few blocks off.  Definitely try some seafood here – it was all delicious!  This is where I tried ceviche for the first time and I was hooked!

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Bars:  Once you are in Tamarindo you will feel like you are part of a little community separated from the rest of the world.  Everyone in the entire town goes to one bar each night.  You will know this because everyone from your server from lunch to the guys selling surf lessons on the beach to the hostel workers will tell you!  Go with it, you will meet people from all over the world and different walks of life…one of my favorite parts about traveling!

Sunsets: Don’t miss the sunset in Tamarindo…it’s beautiful!

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