The Linney women let loose in Seville for the weekend. We stayed in a small but cosy Air BnB near the centre. A fantastic tour with Devour Seville Tours on the Saturday gave us a brilliant immerse tour through the tastes of Seville from the excellent coffee and Beef Stew Tostadas for breakfast, Iberica Jamon, orange flavoured sweets from the nuns to deep fried Sand Shark and Manzanilla del Fina (dry sherry) and orange wine. Oh, and we dressed up in flamenco outfits too!
After two flights and the world’s most expensive airport pizza we found ourselves within the Arctic Circle, right on the top edge of Norway in the town of Tromsø, under a blanket of snow. We managed to see the Northern Lights a few times over the next four days however it was more a question of the camera confirming the presence of a green streak of light (which generally looked much like a long cloud to the naked eye) and less of the eruptions of light we had been hoping for. None the less, Tromso was a great place to spend a few days. We went out into the middle of nowhere to have dinner in Sam huts, went dog sledding, snow shoeing, saw seal performances, learnt about the explorers of the North, rode cable cars, snuck into the back of a Norwegian wedding, mastered the art of night photography, and had one of the most wonderful meals at De 4 Roser.
Four girls, one jeep, six youth hostels booked in an initially nonsensical pattern around the south coast of Iceland. Many outdoor hot springs including thorough washing of pits and bits before entering. Incredible waterfalls, a cuddly puffin called Colin, exploding geysers, epic scenery, sweeping cliffs, quizzical sheep, panicking puffins, menacing skua, driving through rivers, scrambling up scree slopes, gazing at views, unpronounceable destinations, grinding glaciers, lava fields, black sands, cloud shrouded islands, stinking seagulls, warm volcanic rocks and lying in the sun in the blue lagoon smothered in white mud and drinking a glass of wine.
We began our trip in the Kex Hostel, formerly an old biscuit factory in Reykavik, and currently very cooly decked out with an excellent breakfast. After the sites and hot pools of town we picked up our Jeep at headed into the wilds.
For someone who grew up on the borders of Hampshire it is a little strange that this should be my first ever trip to the Isle of Wight. Armed with wellies, a rather trendy tepee tent I had brought from Amazon (after hearing it was the tent shape of choice for all the cool kids), and a refreshing lack of creature comforts Nicky, Rachel and I began the multi-transportation journey to the IOW festival. Two trains, one ferry and a bus ride later we arrived only to discover a distressing lack of camping space still remaining once through the gates. After what felt like walking about sixteen miles further and further away from the actual festival itself we finally reached the furthermost field which mercifully still had some space. Actually it turned out to be a very nice field to camp in complete with Glaswegian men on a stag do next door who had the most excellent toffee flavoured vodka. The only slight draw back was the lumpy, mole hill ridden nature of the ground which was fine for the others touting thermarests and inflatable mattresses. Unfortunately for yours truly, experiences of the wilds of Patagonia and the unpredictable nature of inflatable sleeping implements over prolonged periods in the outdoors I’ve always held the opinion that a good roll matt is the only way to camp. Now I’m 29 and have effectively ‘gone soft’ I am rethinking that strategy. Next time I’m coming with my inflatable double mattress, Egyptian cotton sheets and a duvet.
Anyway, tepee up, we trotted the actually-not-sixteen-miles into the festival fields. We were joined later by a Jarrad – fated to be the only boy for the weekend – Becca, Anne-marie and Alex. The IOW festival was relaxed, surprisingly family orientated (based on my only previous experience of a festival being V) and let down only by the discovery that I still enjoy drinking Smirnoff Ice and the foolish idea that packing ourselves into a small tent to watch N-Dubz along with hundreds of screaming teenagers would be quite amusing. We fled after less than 15 minutes and went to watch Blondie with the grown ups. Debbie Harry blows chunks over Dappy any day!
We saw Florence and the Machine who I loved despite Nicky and Rachel frequently complaining that you couldn’t make out any of the words to what she was actually singing. Jay-Z was just unbelievably cool. Crowded House and Shakespeare’s Sister were nostalgic, Blondie awesome, the Silent Disco was priceless, Pink was amazing and the whole weekend finished off singing very loudly to Hey Jude with Paul McCartney. The weather was gloriously warm and sunny…well until about 15 minutes after the end of Sunday when it started to heave it down. By this point I had been thoroughly lulled into a sense of false security so was in a t-shirt and flip flops, sans wellies and sans waterproofs. Drowned cat would be the appropriate description to insert here. But at least we got to stop off and buy Indian headdresses on the way home!
I pulled myself away from London and spent the weekend with my friend Lucy in the Peak District. After a heavily wine-fuelled catch up on the Friday night we headed up to Edale, nestled in the hills and set up camp in grumpy Mr Coopers farm. We went walking up on Kinder Scout, laughed at the sheep, then headed down to the Nag’s Head for some cool pear ciders. We ate so much food on the BBQ that I thought I would explode.
After we’d allowed dinner and beer to settle over night we mustered the energy to have a fry up at the Grindleford Cafe where I promised Lucy not to show her up by asking for a Cappucino. Then we headed up to watch the bright shiny rows of motorbikes lining the road through Matlock before heading back for a few riverside beers in Long Eaton.
Three girls, one tent and a weekend camping in Cornwall. Well, sort of, Becca, Heather and I actually spent the first night staying at our friend Laura’s family house in Rock. However Heather and I did manage to change a tyre on Laura’s car the next morning which we were quite proud of. Then the three of us headed over to a small campsite in Crantock. We spent Saturday walking on the beach, picnicing on the rocks and walking back along the dramatic coastline from Holywell back to Crantock to have dinner and drink cider in a tiny country pub. We had breakfast over looking the surfers in Watergate Bay on Sunday before Becca headed back to Plymouth and Derriford Hospital and Heather and I started the long drive back to London.