May has been a nice mixture of both busy and relaxing. I’ve been in England the whole month, but was able to do two great daytrips from York, and a long weekend away to Northwest England. Here’s what I got up to in May!
Where I Went
York, Beverley, Ripon, Liverpool, Ness (the Wirral), Chester (United Kingdom)
Giving my notice at work—and going public with the next big trip! It’s been difficult keeping a trip this big under wraps. By far the best moment of the month was handing in my notice at work (always a good feeling!) and finally being able to publicly announce my next big adventure this summer: six weeks through Eastern Europe, including returning to Russia! I am so excited, I am so relieved, I am just feeling all sorts of emotions in general. Read more about my decision to leave my job to travel (again) here.
Beverley Minster. I knew the small market town Beverley had a shit hot minster (and I’m always up for visiting a shit hot minster). But WOW. I had no idea just how amazing this church actually is!! It is often called the best non-cathedral church in the country, and after seeing loads of amazing churches all over England, I can only agree. The minster dates to the 13th to 15th centuries, has a stunning nave and intricate stonework, and is just all around so beautiful. There’s more to Beverley than just the minster, but it definitely made the trip worth it.
Finally going to Ripon Cathedral. Three and a half years ago, my group trip from Nottingham drove through the small town of Ripon in North Yorkshire on the way to Fountain’s Abbey. Seeing the cathedral from the bus, I wanted to stop but knew that we just didn’t have time. I went to Ripon for a proper daytrip this month, and it was so great finally getting to explore this quaint small town! The cathedral definitely didn’t disappoint—it was magnificent, with so much history. Having such a strong memory of the place from years ago meant this daytrip was all the more special!
Exploring Chester properly. Spending the three-day May bank holiday (what the Brits call a national holiday) in Northwest England, I really wanted to re-visit Chester. I’d visited in December 2015 over Christmas, but really just didn’t have enough time to see everything there is to see. Chester is a great small town, and definitely a hidden gem in the Northwest! I absolutely loved seeing so much of the city’s Roman history, walking the walls, and photographing the Rows, the main double-decker shopping drag. Blog post coming soon!
My second vlog! It’s taken a long time, but this month I finally finished and published my second vlog on YouTube, from my trip to the Peak District in March. Vlogs take an obscene amount of time, not only filming and getting footage, but editing so many things to make it good. I’m really proud of this one (it’s much better than my one from Lithuania) and people seem to really enjoy them. You can watch it here!
Getting pop-tarts from home. There are a lot of things I miss about home. But honestly the food is one of the main things, no matter how lame that sounds. I’ve had a huge craving for pop-tarts (brown sugar cinnamon ones, which are the best) and my parents sent me a giant package with two boxes of my pop-tarts. They were exactly what I wanted in my life. Thanks Mom and Dad!
Spending time with Adam’s family. This last weekend in May, Adam and I visited his family and it was so nice to hang out and relax! It was also nice since I get homesick for my family a lot (living on a different continent and not being able to Skype easily due to the time change). So it was just a nice weekend all around.
A good exercise routine—Pilates! I have been really struggling with working out and exercising since I moved to England. I’ve gotten so out of shape and lost a lot of my (hard-earned) muscle. So one of the things I’ve been working on the most over the past few months is getting into a consistent exercise routine—which is much harder than it sounds when you work 40 hours a week on your feet and your everyday work is physically exhausting. But I’ve started doing Pilates videos on YouTube now and I absolutely LOVE them! I’ve been doing Blogilates and it’s such a good, hard workout. And most of the videos are 30 minutes or less, so it’s not a huge time commitment!
A tourist day in York. I randomly had a weekday off work last week (what?!?) and decided to have a tourist day in York. I visited Barley Hall (a medieval house in the middle of town), Clifford’s Tower (since it’s free as I’m an English Heritage member now), the Museum Gardens, walked around taking photos, and finished it off with a pint in the sun at King’s Arms. It was a glorious day!
Stress over the Russian visa. I had almost forgotten just how much I hate visas and applying for visas and visa paperwork and everything. The tourist visa for Russia is fairly stressful, just because of all the information you need to have before you apply (full blog post coming soon). And while I was doing the visa application online, the internet dropped out, the application website logged me out, and I had to start all over again. It’s so stressful with timing and paperwork and I’m so ready for it to be over soon.
Confirming my reservation for the hostel in St. Petersburg. This was possibly the most Russian thing to happen, the simplest things take so much time and become so complicated. But it took nearly 30 emails back and forth with the hostel in St. Petersburg to book the rooms, figure out how to send them money for a deposit to confirm the reservation, and finally get the reservation confirmation back. And because of my work hours and the time difference, we were usually only able to exchange about one email a day each. It was stressful, but everything is confirmed and booked now!
The Manchester attack. To be totally honest, I’ve become pretty normalized to terrorist attacks in Europe now. But, like the attack in London in March, it’s always scarier when it’s the country where you live and a place you’ve been. I go to Manchester fairly frequently and the attack at the concert was just really awful. The UK has stepped up its security (there are armed police everywhere, even here in York) and even procedures at my work have changed.
Seasonal effective disorder at work. Is there anything worse than having beautiful sunny weather all day while you’re stuck inside at work? Yes. That would be people coming up to you and constantly talking about how nice the weather is. Like how would I know how nice the weather is, I’m stuck inside making you coffee all day!!! It’s been really tough for me missing out on the sunshine. I get seasonal effective disorder on and off (mainly when it’s really cold in winter) but it’s been so rough this month. All of England celebrates the sunshine (when it comes out!) and all I want to do is enjoy it as well! At least now it’s still bright and sunny when I leave work, so I have a few hours of nice weather.
Trains to/from Manchester. Because of the attack in Manchester (the arena is right next to a big train station), trains were screwed up all last weekend. The train going from York to Liverpool via Manchester was a different train that required a change in Manchester Piccadilly. There were no seat reservations since the train was supposed to be 6 carriages, but was only 3. It was 10:30am on a Saturday morning of a bank holiday weekend, the whole train smelled like stale booze, and I’m pretty sure Adam and I were the only sober ones on it. Luckily we got seats, but people were standing in the aisles for a journey of over an hour. And we were an hour late getting to Liverpool because of the train changes. We had other frustrations with trains later during the weekend, and it was just really annoying. A minor thing, but still one travel challenge this month.
Instagram Top 3
This photo of New York City is probably one of my favorite photos of all time.
Still dreaming of this view in New York City! 😍 . I visited NYC for the first time last October. I had just three days traveling solo to explore this amazing city before moving abroad for good. I spent every waking minute seeing and exploring as much as possible. It was the perfect closing chapter before moving to England, and even though it might have only been three days, it was still the trip of a lifetime! 🗽 . Of everything I saw and did, my favorite thing in NYC was seeing the sunset over the city from the Top of the Rock! ✨ . Have you ever been to New York City?! What did you think? . . . . . #newyork #newyorkcity #nyc #topoftherock #empirestatebuilding #manhattan #midtown #downtown #skyline #sunset #newyork_instagram #thisisnewyorkcity #newyorkforall #ig_nyc #newyorkstateofmind #what_i_saw_in_nyc #photodream_nyc #nycprimeshot #ilovenewyork #usa #america #stateology #beautifuldestinations #passionpassport #amazingtravelbeauty #lonelyplanet #lpfanphoto #natgeotravelpic #bbctravel #travel
Bulgaria and the Balkans in spring! 😍🌸 One of my favorite things about Sofia was the many parks, green spaces, and flowers dotted all over the city ✨ . My newest blog post all about Sofia is live in the blog! Link in bio 😊 . . . . . #sofia #bulgaria #flowers #sofiacity #sosofia #sofiabook #sofiafreetour #sofiabulgaria #София #България #ig_bulgaria #mybulgaria #visitbulgaria #bulgariatourism #allbulgaria #bulgariaofficial #balkans #balkan #ig_balkan #europe #easterneurope #discoveringeurope #topeuropephoto #unlimitedeurope #prettylittletrips #lpfanphoto #natgeotravelpic #beautifuldestinations #passionpassport #bbctravel
The town of Beverley (in the East Riding of Yorkshire) is a pretty and quaint market town, but it’s major attraction without a doubt is Beverley Minster! ⛪✨ . It’s meant to be the best non-cathedral church in England (I agree!! 🙋), and most of the church dates from the 13th-15th centuries. This is just one more amazing place to see in Yorkshire! 😍 . There’s more on Beverley in my Instagram stories! I also have a new blog post up–12 things every American needs to know about Europe. From paying to pee to electronic adapters and Schengen rules, it’s super important if you’re traveling abroad for the first time! Link in bio 😊 . . . . . #beverley #beverleyminster #church #prettylittletrips #eastridingofyorkshire #eastyorkshire #eastyorkshirephotographer #yorkshire #welcometoyorkshire #iloveyorkshire #scenesofyorkshire #bbcyorkshire #northernengland #wearenorthern #instabritain #visitbritain #visitengland #photosofbritain #photosofengland #lovegreatbritain #brilliantbritain #explore_britain #loves_britain #ukpotd #capturingbritain #britishsnaps #lpfanphoto #amazingtravelbeauty #beautifuldestinations #passionpassport
Coming Up in June:
Now that I’ve been able to announce the next big trip, I can finally talk about my plans for the rest of the month! Almost all of June will be spent at home in York (and England) before I head out to Russia on the 29th! We fly to Moscow and we’ll be there for 6 days before continuing on to St. Petersburg. This upcoming weekend we’re hosting the brothers-in-law for the weekend, and hopefully one of my best friends will be able to come visit York the following weekend. I don’t have very many plans for the month, as I know that I will need all my energy (and money) for the big trip this summer!
What did you get up to in May? Any exciting plans for June?!