Last Trip of the Summer: Back to Brighton

Going back to work this week really did make me realise I will be soon facing reality again and back to routines. So I decided to make use of the bank holiday weekend to do one last trip to Brighton before the end of summer, hoping for some nice sunshine! โ˜€๏ธ The last time I visited Brighton was all the way back in October last year with my mum during the half term break (come to think of it that was before the last national lockdown- time really does fly!)

Vegetarian brunch at Iydea in The Lanes

On arrival it was all bright and sunny and I headed down to the hippy area of The Lanes, stumbling this vegetarian cafรฉ for food. I ordered their mushroom and courgette lasagne and it tasted really good (I do enjoy having plant-based stuff ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ every now and then, it just feels less heavy at times lol!)

While the sun was indeed out, the beach was generally still quite windy so it felt actually colder than it looked! ๐Ÿฅถ However, after checking into the hotel and having rested a little, I decided to head out to the beach for a mini picnic.

Brighton Pier
A very clumsy picnicโ€ฆ ๐Ÿงบ ๐Ÿ˜‚

Afterwards, I journeyed along the beach (passing the naturistโ€™s beach at one point haha! ๐Ÿ˜†) and reached the Brighton Marina Square.

A huge wind farm on the horizon
The white cliff from afar ๐Ÿ˜
Brighton Marina Square
Scallop and crab linguine at an Italian restaurant there – tasted alright but some of the scallops were a touch overcooked

I also got to enjoy the beautiful sunset and the vibrant night lights of the Brighton seafront ๐ŸŒ…๐ŸŒƒ (making the most of staying in a hotel by the beach this time! ๐Ÿ˜‚)

Sunset
The soft shade of orange
The vibrant night view from the pier
So beautiful! โœจโœจ
Looks like Christmas night from afar!

The next day, I also paid a visit to the Royal Pavilion (which was doing renovations when I was here last time.) Also pleasantly surprised to find out that the normal ticket is all year around, so I can visit again and again for free! ๐Ÿ˜

Royal Pavilion
The stunning Banqueting Room
These chandeliers are just gorgeous! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜
Fantasying myself cooking in this kitchen haha! The dream!
The Saloon – reading how this room was restored was really impressive!
The Tomkison Piano
Absolutely in love with the Music Room! ๐ŸŽต๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽต๐ŸŽถ (My favourite one of them all!)
The Kingโ€™s Library
A proper Kingโ€™s bed!
Love the Asian touches around the entire place!
Beautiful stained glass ceiling
Queen Victoriaโ€™s bedroom
โ€ฆand her toilet! ๐Ÿšฝ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ

After the visit to the Royal Pavilion, I still had time to revisit the other side of the seafront and sit down for a seafood lunch at a restaurant by the i360 tower! ๐Ÿคค๐Ÿคค

Garlic butter scallops! My favourite! ๐Ÿ˜‹
Skate Wing – trying it for the first time! ๐Ÿ‘
Feel so zen staring out into the open seaโ€ฆ
๐ŸŒŠ ๐ŸŒŠ

Summer is finally over, but I know plenty of adventures are still out there! ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 2 in Reykjavik: Whale Rider

The start to Day 2 in Iceland was a rainy mess! ๐Ÿ˜…๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒง But nonetheless the dayโ€™s event was not to be missed – as I have booked a whale watching tour in the Icelandic sea! ๐Ÿณ ๐Ÿ‹ (Though the awful weather had me bound to the hotel room in the entire morning after breakfast! ๐Ÿ˜‚ FYI the lack of hot food in my hotel was breaking my heart! ๐Ÿ’”)

Reykjavik Old Harbour
By the harbour
Our tour boat
I wonder which ones will we see?

Our tour boat set sail from the Reykjavik Old Harbour at 1pm and the tour lasted about three hours. Due to the nature of whales being wild animals, sightings are not guaranteed (though it is claimed that if no sightings occurred, then you are welcomed to book a free tour for another day ๐Ÿ˜‚) but I have every fingers and toes crossed ๐Ÿคž that we will see something exciting! So overalls suited up and ready to go! ๐Ÿ›ฅ

Harpa
Viรฐey in the distance
๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿดโ€โ˜ ๏ธ
Another tour boat on the hunt

It was a bit of a long wait to get things going, but even sailing on the boat feels like such an adventure as we set off into the unknown! ๐ŸŒŠ ๐ŸŒŠ Mind you, if you are somebody who is prone to seasickness, I really wonโ€™t recommend you doing this as this boat was rocking so much you get flung around even if you sitting firmly still on your seat! ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ (Going for my toilet break in the lower deck at one point was quite an adventure! ๐Ÿ˜‚) Though they do have sick bags ready for you as a couple of my fellow tour group people discoveredโ€ฆ ๐Ÿคข Oh and youโ€™re pretty much guaranteed to get soaked by the end! ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐Ÿ’ฆ

The trick of spotting those whales is apparently looking at where a swarm of seagulls gathered as it means there are many fishes nearby which will attract whales to come and eat them. After about an hour into the tour (almost felt like falling asleep lol ๐Ÿ˜ด), we finally made our first discovery in a school of dolphins. I do apologise for all of the sightings being low-quality videos as it is SUPER tricky to get them in photos! They literally popped out of the water and will be gone the next second! ๐Ÿ˜ 

Dolphins! ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฌ

We also managed to find a few killer whales and a bigger whale (I donโ€™t know the name of it) which I missed to snap completely! ๐Ÿ˜‚ The captain will shout out if they spotted anything and everyone will scramble to one side of the boat with their phones and camera! ๐Ÿ“ฑ ๐Ÿ“ธ It was absolute chaos! (โ€œItโ€™s at 9 oโ€™clock!โ€ โ€œWhere is 9 oโ€™clock??โ€ Many of us were simply running like headless chickens. ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ) Honestly, I was worried we would tip the boat over!

Killer whale
Lol literally disappeared within seconds

On the way back, we also visited the iconic puffin island.

Puffin Island
Stunning scene!

After a long three-hour journey in the sea, I was finally back on dry land and I was starving! (FYI it felt so good getting out of those disgusting wet overalls! ๐Ÿ˜‚) I then visited Hi Noodle for a late lunch/snack/early dinner. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿœ

Hi Noodle Ramen Bar
Their menu
The signature Dan Dan Noodles ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

After a quick nap in the hotel, I then went outside to pouring rain again (this time forgetting my umbrellaโ€ฆ ๐Ÿฅฒ โ˜”๏ธ) I was hoping to visit Aurora Reykjavik to see images of Northern Light, but unfortunately it was closed earlier than the time I checked, so I settled down in Lamb Street Food for another meal! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Lamb kebab, meatballs and salad

After the rain has seemingly stopped (and it did), I took a long walk to the Seltjarnarnes area including paying a visit to Grรณttuviti lighthouse (about an hour of walking from where I was for dinner.) Here are a few snapshots of the area.

By the time I made it back the centre of Reykjavik, it was absolutely buzzing with people with bars and clubs in full swing! And the area was even more beautiful with the Hallgrรญmskirkja lit up in the night.

Rainbow Road at night ๐ŸŒˆ๐ŸŒˆ
I thought this chocolate & orange ice lolly goes well with the background! ๐Ÿ˜‚
The lit Hallgrรญmskirkja

What a jam-packed day it has been!

Day 1 in Plymouth: Magnificent Coastline

This trip is especially exciting to me because this is the first time I will be staying in two different cities in consecutive days. ๐Ÿš‚ After a fairly short one hour train journey from Exeter this morning, I finally arrived in the city of Plymouth.

Arrival in Plymouth
Sundial at the city centre

The vibes of Plymouth were most definitely very different from Exeter. The place felt a lot more busier and commercial, but I was most looking forward to seeing the beautiful coastline by the hotel. It was still quite some time though before I was allowed to check in when I arrived, so I first made a short trip to the Plymouth Market in the city centre.

Sign of Plymouth Market
Scenes inside and around Plymouth Market

Visiting marketplaces always bring back some childhood memories when I used to follow my grandpa around in the wet markets in Hong Kong. Though the Plymouth Market was nothing like a wet Market, the snapshots of the stalls and the pedestrian bridge nearby brought back a nostalgic feeling. โค๏ธ

Cornwall Street Fish Bar
Fish and Chips – the quintessential British food

I decided to drop by Cornwall Street Fish Bar for lunch after seeing its reviews online. It seemed very popular among the locals as many were visiting when I was there today. I really liked the crispy batter around the haddock- probably one of the better ones I had. Though, personally, I feel the mushy peas could do with a touch more seasoning. But what I will remember the most are the warm atmosphere and the sense of community here. โค๏ธ

So after lunch, I decided to head straight to my hotel for a brief rest. It was still before my check in time, but I decided to try my luck as it was hard work carrying my suitcase around town. However, when I finally arrived at the hotel, I was surprised to find out the front door was locked! ๐Ÿ˜จ (Turned out the owner went out for some shopping, but thankfully they were able to get back as soon as I called. ๐Ÿ˜…) While waiting, I went ahead and took a stroll around the beautiful coastline. โ˜€๏ธ (And then again after I dropped my luggage in the hotel.) The view was absolutely breathtaking! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ (I honestly couldnโ€™t get enough of it! โ˜บ๏ธ)

Here is a thank you ๐Ÿ™ to the kind ice cream van lady who gave me piles of tissues after a seagull pooped on my shirt ๐Ÿ˜‚ (What is it with me and seagulls lately!?)

Lastly, to finish off a perfectly beautiful day by the sea, I decided to go to KUKU for a delicious Japanese dinner. ๐Ÿ˜‹ Absolutely loved the two appetisers of scallops and oyster! โค๏ธโค๏ธ The beef was slightly overdone, but the teppanyaki vegetables had a nice grilled flavours to them. The sorbets were a great, refreshing way to finish the meal- I especially enjoyed the orange sorbet! ๐ŸŠ

Seared Scallops
Tempura Oysters
Seared Diced Beef with Teppanyaki Vegetables
A Trio of Sorbets (From the left: Orange, Plum Wine and Pineapple)
And enjoyed an happy hour! ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿธ

Now, I am sitting on the bed, looking forward to tomorrow with a full stomach and a slightly tipsy head! ๐Ÿ˜‚