Geneva

Not really sure why I was looking at Geneva but after having found flight for £100 for 2 people I booked it with easyJet. It was only for 1 night, so I went about finding a hotel. I found Hotel Lake Geneva and although it was in Versoix, about 15 minutes on the train from Geneva, and the train stopped just at the back of the hotel. Because it was just for 1 night a bit more money was spent and the room with a coffee machine and a lake/mountain view was booked. Got to say – totally worth it.

View from the hotel room
View from the hotel

Lake Geneva has to be one of the most picturesque places I have ever been. The hotel is a 3 star but way better than most of the 4 stars I have stayed in. The room was spacious and modern. The view was just perfect. The shower was hot and power. Just a really nice hotel. We ordered room service, something which I have never done, it was fairly quick and the food was great. Very expensive, but everywhere and everything is expensive. 

Geneva is a lovely city, with beautiful views of the river and lake, and history and architecture to match. It is quite flat and is easy to walk about, although it has a fantastic public transport system.

geneva
Geneva

 

We went on a little tour train that cost about 10 Swiss Francs each but we definitely wouldn’t have got around to seeing some of the sights without it.

Versoix was a lot smaller and quieter than Geneva and that meant you could meander around without the crowds. 

versoix
Versoix

It is definitely worth a visit, but be prepared to spend money, and the plugs aren’t the same as the 2 pin European ones, so check for adaptors before you come. Or like us, you will be wandering around a supermarket trying to find one.

One thing you do get for free is public transport. At the airport you get 80 minutes free from the time of your ticket to get to your destination, and your hotel will then give you a ticket for free public transport (within the zone 10 area in my case) for the duration of your stay. 

boats
Lake Geneva

I would love to go back and explore the places around the lake a bit more.

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Ibiza

So Ibiza was somewhere I had looked at a few times, but never booked. This looked like a beautiful island, and I had heard good things about it, despite its reputation for being a party island.

 

It was a lot more expensive to go in September than I thought it would be, and I wanted a quiet part of the island rather than the party scene. So I went for the Sirenis Hotel in Cala Llonga. Right next to the beach this looked an amazing location and really is. It is quiet, but it is a village with shops and restaurants you aren’t in the middle of nowhere. A taxi to Ibiza Town cost about 20 euros. There is a bus and a ferry. But we couldn’t find the bus stop in Ibiza and the sea was so choppy we didn’t fancy a boat.

Sirenis Cala Llonga
Sirenis Cala Llonga

The ferry stops right at the bottom of the hotel, so it was really close. There are a few ferries that stop here, and will take you to various different places, you can pop round to Ibiza Town, or take a longer trip to the island of Formentera.

The Sirenis Hotel is made up of 3 blocks and it puts a lot of effort in, I’m not sure whether I’m just a snob, or just fussy but it just wasn’t as nice as I had hoped. It is clean and the staff are fantastic but it is just a fine hotel nothing more. The location makes it. There are 3 pools which is nice, 2 snack bars and 3 pool bars, and 2 restaurants to choose from for breakfast and the evening meal. 

In the snack bars there are menus and it is table service which is very nice for a 3 star hotel. The food is freshly prepared so it comes piping hot, and a better option than going to the restaurant for lunch in my opinion. They also come round sometimes and take orders for drink while you are laid on your sunbed, again this is a nice touch for a 3 star.

view from hotel
View from hotel

A few things I did like was that the sausages at breakfast were “English breakfast” sausages, and the coke was actually coke. Sometimes it can be the little things that make a hotel more appealing. Overall the food was fine, it was cooked well and tasted ok, but it mainly seemed like a lot of sides and very few mains. It didn’t change much daily, and there was often 2 trays of the same thing I had beef and pork and the meat was very tender and pleasant. They seemed a little obsessed with tuna too. There just seemed to be a lot of tuna. I’m not a fan, so was disappointed with what I thought was ham pizza, but it turned out to be ham with tuna hidden under it. As I’m not a massive seafood fan I avoided the seafood paella but the vegetable one was great, a must when you are somewhere Spanish.

The room was clean, but small, which isn’t a problem as we didn’t spend a huge amount of time in it. We had a twin room and both beds were doubles which was very nice. Our balcony overlooked the beach so it was pleasant to sit on, and a real sun trap in the afternoon. The only thing it lacked was a fridge, and a kettle as it is nice to be able to make drinks in your room. From what I have read some rooms do have a kettle but none of them have fridges. The walls are very thin. There is a hatch between the showers and you can hear everything that is going on in the next room, while you are sat on your bed, and I mean everything!

Beach
The Beach

We took a taxi into Ibiza Town and wander around one morning, it was quite quiet and pleasant we wander into the old town, which was scenic and had fantastic views from the top.

Ibiza Old Town
Ibiza Old Town

The sea wasn’t freezing, and once the storms had passed it became very calm, and beautifully clear. You can see the little fish swimming around your feet, and it is only a few steps down to the beach from the hotel so really nice to pop there for a change of scene from the overcrowded sunbeds.

sunbeds
Sunbeds

If you are quick in the mornings getting a sunbed overlooking the beach and sea is a must. To be laid in the sun overlooking a beautiful blue sky with not a care in the world is what holidays are about.

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Cologne

I booked a impromptu trip to Cologne in Germany. After getting a taste for city breaks and exploring, what better place to go than one with a Lindl Chocolate museum.

We got to the museum for opening and were treated with chocolate as we got our tickets. There is a lot of information in the museum about chocolate and we did browse but I have to admit we didn’t read everything. We were to eager to see the chocolate and were drawn to the wonderful smell. It was a great few hours spent watching the process and sampling the chocolate. Well worth a trip. 

Lindt Chocolate Museum
Lindt Chocolate Museum

We then went on a river cruise. The Rhine runs all down through Germany so you can get large boats with bedrooms for the longer trips, but we went on a short return one, this a great way to see a different view of the city. 

River Cruise
River Cruise

We wandered around Cologne, heading for the cathedral first. A large, impressive gothic building with a mass of flying buttresses and gargoyles. The blackened stone adds to its gothic look. 

Cologne Cathedral
Cathedral

As we were in Germany we wanted to sample some the local food and went for a curried Bratwurst. It was delicious I have to say. The curry sauce was a similar taste to what you would get in a British chip shop. We also wanted to try schnitzel, but found this a lot harder to come across. 

Curried Bratwurst
Curried Bratwurst

We stayed at the Mercure Hotel Severinshof. There was a tram stop right outside, so if you wanted to get to different parts of the city it was easily accessible. The room was very nice, as was the rest of the hotel. We didn’t eat there but we did have a drink in the bar. It is worth noting that you have the option to not have your room cleaned or towels changed and you can get a free drink at the hotel bar.

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Crete

So I was only going to do a few city holidays this year. But it turned out I can’t resist laying by a pool doing nothing, so I needed to find a cheap all inclusive hotel that would be warm in June. I turned my attention to the Greek islands and found a nice looking hotel, 4*, that was under £500. So I went to Chrissi Amoudia in Crete.

Chrissi Amoudia
Pool

Most of the rooms aren’t in the main hotel, they are little villas that make the complex appear to be a small Greek village and with plants all about it make it a very pleasant place to stay. I paid a little extra (£26) and got a room with a sea room. There was a small balcony, and the room was pleasant with a small bathroom just off the room. There was a fridge but no kettle, but I had seen this on the reviews so I bought a small travel kettle, cups and my own tea and coffee. 

The food was nice in the main restaurant. Freshly made pancakes were served at breakfast and other continental hot and cold food. With help yourself drinks, the way I like it. There was a balcony area that was undercover and gave stunning views of the sea, a great way to start your morning.

View of the restaurant
View from the restaurant

By the pool was a snack bar that opened about 10, where you could help yourself to drinks. From about 11 it started serving snacks. The pizza slices were so good. We ate there rather than going up to the main restaurant at lunch as they had pizza, chips, a pasta dish, a meat dish and soup with rolls, filled rolls and a small salad bar. In the afternoon they also served cake. There was ice cream available all day too, you just helped yourself.

The pool was large, although it was quite chilly. There was never a lack of sunbeds, as they use a large grass area around the pool to put the sunbeds on. 

The beach was about 10 minutes walk down a gentle slope. It was quite gravelly sand and the sea was quite rough. But it was a beautiful blue colour and nice to paddle in. There were water sports available if that was your thing. We also spotted a train that went on a little tour, although we never ventured on.

beach
Beach

Not gonna lie, I did miss the private pool I had the year before. But this was a very pleasant hotel, and the weather was brilliant.