For a September break, we organised with friends Jane and Vitalis to visit Lithuania. Vitalis is Lithuanian and therefore what better way to spend time in the country than go with a local! We booked our flights through Wizz Air from Luton to Kaunas and planned to see Nida, Kaunas, Marijampole and fly back from Vilnius with Ryanair. Our flights out were an absolute bargain price of £17.49 each as we had purchased the Wizz Air discount card previously. The flights back were not so cheap but were £37.50 each back. The flight each way took approximately 2hrs 40.
The first thoughts anyone may have about visiting the Chernobyl area is safety; is it really safe to visit a location that was subject of a nuclear disaster 33 years ago? On 26th April 1986 reactor core, 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant ruptured during safety testing, resulting in a highly explosive steam explosion and a subsequent open-air reactor core fire which lasted for approximately 9 days. During this time the fire caused a release of radioactive contamination which precipitated upon parts of the USSR and Western Europe before finally being contained on 4th May 1986. You can read more about it here. Continue reading “Trip to Chernobyl & Pripyat, Ukraine.”
As part of our quest to conquer Europe by visiting every single country, Ukraine is somewhere we hadn’t been and were interested in going to. As it worked out it was also a good time to go with flights being very reasonable and due to the higher media interest in the area due to the recent TV series based on the events of Chernobyl we decided now would be an excellent time to go for a 4-night break. We flew with Ryanair from London Stansted.
It was time for another ladies holiday away but this time with the purpose of celebrating Ginny’s 60th Birthday. She was given the task of deciding where she would like to go and Budapest was a popular choice due to the fact none of us had been there but had all heard good things. After some travel planning earlier in the year we managed to find reasonable flights from Stansted with Ryanair and a lovely looking apartment from Booking.com and away we went.
The bus trip from Tallinn was actually quite comfortable; the journey took 4hr 40 minutes but unlike any other bus trip like this we had been on, it had in-coach entertainment! We were able to watch a couple of films which made the journey go quicker and they had free tea and coffee and a toilet if required! We encountered a blizzard on the way, but unlike the UK the roads were adequately prepared and there were no delays. There is no hard border between Estonia or Latvia we just had to present our passport before we boarded. We had a couple of stops on the way including Parnu and arrived at Riga bus station at 5pm.
For New Year and birthday celebrations we struggled to decide where to go; there are certain destinations which we think of as winter destinations and our mission to explore as much of Europe as possible led us to consider Estonia and Latvia. Due to the fact it was over New Year, flights were unfortunately not our £10 bargains however as we had a week we thought a dual city break would be a good option. The flights were £120 each return which is way more than we would usually feel comfortable with but was expected because of the time of year. When the time came we moved on to Riga by coach which was a 4-5 hour trip each way but only cost 30 euros each return back to Tallinn to fly home from there. There was a substantial saving by flying home from Tallinn as opposed to from Riga.
Malta was somewhere on our list of European countries we hadn’t been to and looking for a warm break in October is no easy feat! After ruling out Cyprus due to the cost and looking at a map we decided to check out Malta. With average temperatures of low to mid 20 degrees Celsius, it seemed a comfortable option although we were aware there was also a possibility of rain at that time of year. We had arranged to go away with Caitlin and a friend, and with Malta as the agreed destination (having ruled out Croatia on grounds of lower temperature), we managed to find reasonable flights with Air Malta from a new airport for us, Southend. We had dropped someone off there previously and had a good run so didn’t discount it from future travel and here was our opportunity!
We decided to have a ladies short break away in September and knowing how much we all enjoyed Krakow for the sights, food and affordability we decided to have another trip away in Poland, this time heading to the Gdansk region. There was some planning involved but we decided that a Wednesday to Saturday trip was more affordable and convenient for us all. With flights and accommodation costing just over £100 each for a 3 night trip for 7 of us we decided to go for it!
After some deliberation and the fact we had some time off, we decided to head away for a few days in July for Nigel’s birthday. After a few searches of Skyscanner.net for what was cheap on the dates we had and a bit of deliberation about destinations we hadn’t been to before we decided to head towards San Marino!
Sofia was our final and shortest stop; we had worked out our route and that we were able to fly back to the same airport we left from if we could make it to Sofia; our prior research showed that we could get a bus to Sofia for 15 euros each booked directly at the bus station. The journey was due to take around 5-6 hours depending on stops at the border. We arrived at the bus station and departed on time at 8.30am.