April was a really busy month. A Yorkshire daytrip, a long weekend trip to Bulgaria, and a weekend away in England. All of that and the fact that I work full-time—wow. It was a very busy month! Here’s what I got up to in April.
Where I Went
York, Scarborough, Windermere, Coniston, Ambleside, Bowness-on-Windermere (United Kingdom)
Sofia, Boyana, Rila (Bulgaria)
Hanging out with one of my best friends in Bulgaria. I’ve wanted to visit Bulgaria for a while, but decided I really wanted to try and go within a year of moving to the UK since one of my best friends is an English teacher in Sofia. I hadn’t seen him for almost two years, since graduation, and had so much fun just hanging out! Living abroad is so difficult in that you don’t get to see or talk to your friends every day (or even every week or month), and it was so nice to talk about life abroad and also to just spend time together. I miss my friends/family so much sometimes, and it’s always just so great for me to hang out with people from home!
Finally seeing the Rila Monastery. Like the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania, I became kind of obsessed with seeing the Rila Monastery. Let me just say, it did not disappoint. Wow! The monastery complex is a lot bigger than I thought, and everything from the buildings to the frescos were just so beautiful. It was a major bucket list item, and I’m so glad I finally got to see it.
Literally everything about the Lake District. I spent a weekend in the Lake District National Park this month—my first ever visit! When I lived in Nottingham, a few of my flatmates threw out ideas for a camping weekend in the Lakes (which all fell through, due to the fact that we didn’t really have any gear), and I’ve just never gone since then. Well, I loved literally every single thing about the Lake District. It was spectacularly beautiful, the weather was phenomenal (which I always take as a sign that England loves me especially!), and all in all I was so happy to finally go. I’m already planning my next weekend, probably in the fall!
Spring in York. The whole city is coming alive, there are flowers and blossoms everywhere, and entire parts of town just seem to light up with vivid colors. I love it. My post (see below) with photos of York in spring has a few of my favorite all-time photos of York ever!
A beautiful sunny Saturday at the King’s Arms. There was absolutely glorious weather the first weekend in April, and the city came out to celebrate. I had such a nice time sitting outside by the river at the King’s Arms, pint in hand, just relaxing and enjoying the day. The place was packed and the queue was out the door, but I just loved it!
Hiking a mountain and getting the city view. I hiked up most of a mountain in Bulgaria to see Boyana Waterfall (which I definitely recommend!). At the very top, on top of the waterfall itself, I got the most amazing view of the city of Sofia, just appearing between the treetops. It made a really tough hike so worth it.
Offering lots of travel advice. In the last month, a handful of people have reached out to me (people I know personally, and people I don’t know, people from Instagram, etc.) asking for advice about trips (and blogging). Two different people actually asked me about almost the same area, Croatia and Slovenia! (And Croatia is one of my favorite countries and I love talking about it!) It has made me feel so special, that people would think of me when they have questions and then actually ask me what I think. Maybe I’m actually doing a good job with this whole travel blogging thing?! I am always happy to share my opinion and give tips when I can, so please don’t feel shy to ask me!
Spending a 3-day weekend at home. I love traveling and visiting new places. But sometimes it’s nice to just spend time at home. This last weekend in April is a 3-day weekend for me (the first Monday of May is a national holiday in the UK), and after spending the last two weekends out of town, it’s felt so nice to catch up on things and stay home. I had really wanted to do a daytrip this weekend, but have more or less just run out of time. The house is clean, the fridge is full (with beer), photos are edited, blog posts are coming, new trips are being planned—it has been so nice to spend time at home here in York!
Losing a family member. I don’t want to talk too much about this on the blog, just for privacy. But one of my family members passed away at the beginning of the month, and it was so hard. I obviously wasn’t able to go home for the funeral, which was the first big family-type of event that I’ve missed (besides Christmas) since I moved. I felt so isolated, being so far away from everyone, and only getting news from emails from my parents. It still hasn’t totally hit me that I won’t get to see her again, that she won’t be at Christmas with funny stories to tell. It was really hard, really sad, and she will really be missed at family gatherings.
The sheer amount of people in Scarborough. On a less serious note, I visited the seaside holiday town, Scarborough, the first weekend. I liked the town (and especially the castle!), but literally everyone from Yorkshire also went to Scarborough that day. There were SO. MANY. PEOPLE. And they were EVERYWHERE. It was standing room only on the train going to town, 20-minute waits for fish and chips at most places by the beach, and the sheer amount of people at South Beach convinced me that “we need a new plague” (forever one of my favorite quotes from The Office). Dealing with crowds definitely put a bit of a damper on the day.
Going up a mountain without my knee brace. I have a long-term problem with my right knee (it wasn’t caused by an injury, but still hurts), which isn’t helped by the fact that I am on my feet constantly, for 40 hours a week, without sitting down. I didn’t bring my knee brace to Bulgaria, since I hadn’t expected to do any serious hiking. Well, I decided to climb up most of a mountain to see Boyana Waterfall, and man was it hard. It was a really steep hike in the first place (scrambling in places), and by about halfway up my knee was just killing me. It hurt a lot, and I definitely made sure I had my knee brace for hiking in the Lakes the following weekend!
So much stress at work. Will I get to have a month where I’m not stressed about work?! I would love a month without stress about work. I am so grateful that I have kickass managers who not only do I have so much respect for, but who also work so hard to make things run and to right wrongs when they happen.
Instagram algorithm changing. This is a minor thing, but one that has been super annoying, because I don’t totally understand it in the first place. Instagram is run through some sort of algorithms, and something to do with those algorithms has changed, so me (and a bunch of other Instagrammers I follow) have seen less followers and less likes on our posts. I have barely moved from my followers number, whereas before I would go up by about 10-15 (on average) new followers a week. My photos get nearly 100 less likes than before, either with something to do with hashtags, or my photos not appearing in peoples’ feeds. It is so frustrating and I don’t understand the math or the algorithms or how it works or any of it! If you want to show my Instagram some love, check it out here.
I’m out of space on my laptop. This has been frustrating me for months, but it’s finally come to a head now: I’m out of room for files on my laptop, and need to figure out what to do now. I already back up everything on an external hard drive, but what I’m hoping to do is put all of my video clips (some of my largest files) onto a separate memory card, back it up online with Google Drive, and then delete them all from my laptop and hopefully free up a ton of space. It’s just so annoying constantly having to delete photos and videos and files to make space for new stuff!
Instagram Top 3
My top three photos on Instagram from the month! No surprises that Dubrovnik takes the cake once again.
One year ago today, I returned to a country I had fallen head over heels in love with two years previously: Croatia ❤ . Croatia is still one of my favorite countries in the world. Dubrovnik, despite the massive influx of tourism to the relatively small city over the past few years, is always going to have a special place in my heart. Views like this are one of the main reasons why! 😍 . If you’re headed to Dubrovnik, I recommend walking the walls first thing in the morning, and starting at Ploce Gate (since most people start at Pile Gate, you’ll have a quiet chunk to yourself before you pass Pile Gate). If the Old Town starts to feel too crowded and suffocating with the other tourists, take a daytrip to Lokrum, the island closest to the Old Town. Make sure you climb up the fort to see the views! ✨ . Have you ever been to Croatia?! What did you think? . . . . . #croatia #dubrovnik #dubrovnikoldtown #dubrovnikcitywalls #crostagram #hrvatska #croatia_photography #lovecroatia #discovercroatia #croatiafulloflife #dubrovnikonmymind #croatia_instagram #unlimitedcroatia #balkans #balkan #ig_balkan #europe #easterneurope #topeuropephoto #ig_europe #discovering_europe #visiteurope #beautifuldestinations #natgeotravelpic #lonelyplanet #lpfanphoto #bbctravel #passionpassport #amazingtravelbeauty #travel
The Rila Monastery, Bulgaria ✨ . Founded in the 10th century by the hermit St. Ivan of Rila, this is the largest monastery in Bulgaria. This main church in the monastery complex dates to the mid-19th century and is full of spectacular wall paintings. The whole monastery is surrounded by the beautiful Rila Mountains ⛪ . This place is one of the main reasons I went to Bulgaria in the first place. Along with the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania, it’s definitely one of the coolest things I’ve seen on my travels! 😍 . . . . . #rila #rilamonastery #rilamountains #bulgaria #Рила #Рилскиманастир #България #sofiabulgaria #ig_bulgaria #mybulgaria #visitbulgaria #bulgariatourism #allbulgaria #bulgariaofficial #mybulgaria #balkans #balkan #ig_balkan #europe #easterneurope #discoveringeurope #topeuropephoto #unlimitedeurope #ig_europe #natgeotravelpic #beautifuldestinations #passionpassport #lpfanphoto #amazingtravelbeauty #bbctravel
Здравейте from Bulgaria! This is my first trip here and I am loving Sofia so far 😍 The city is full of green parks with blooming flowers and absolutely stunning churches, and its history dates back thousands of years — I can’t wait to explore more! ✨ . . . . . #sofia #bulgaria #alexandernevskycathedral #sofiacity #sosofia #sofiabook #София #България #sofiafreetour #sofiabulgaria #ig_bulgaria #mybulgaria #visitbulgaria #bulgariatourism #allbulgaria #bulgariaofficial #mybulgaria #balkans #balkan #ig_balkan #europe #easterneurope #discoveringeurope #topeuropephoto #ig_europe #natgeotravelpic #beautifuldestinations #passionpassport #lpfanphoto #amazingtravelbeauty
Coming Up in May
May is going to be a fairly quiet month, travel wise. I’ll be in the UK for the whole month, busy with work and planning. I might have a weekend in London this month, and maybe a day hiking in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. The last weekend of May (another 3-day weekend here in the UK) I’ll be in northwest England, and making a trip to Snowdonia National Park in Wales. I’ve visited Wales twice, and Snowdonia once, but only in winter—so I’m excited to go back in the summer! I have some exciting travel plans for this summer, but won’t be able to say much until the end of the month, when things are finalized.
What did you do in April? Any exciting plans for May?!