Three Favourite Memories from Dublin

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I finally went away over bank holiday weekend and as flights were cheap I decided to go to Dublin. I quickly realised this wasn’t the best weekend to go as it was full of stag and hen dos, and every tourist attraction was pretty busy. Accommodation prices were also through the roof meaning I had to stay in a hostel. To be fair the hostel was nice and had a great location but due to the great location there was a lot of street noise. That combined with the girl sleeping beneath me who kept snoring meant I didn’t get the best few nights sleep whilst I was away but I still had an amazing time. Here are my three favourite memories from Dublin!

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Ever since me and my friends visited Ghent Castle I’ve realised that I actually love going to castles. Luckily Becca’s also a fan of palaces so I imagine in our future group trips there will be a lot of castle and palace sight-seeing. On my first full day in Dublin I decided to tick off Dublin Castle straightaway so it was the first place I headed to.

You could either have a guided tour or go self-guided. I went for self-guided which was cheaper and also what I prefer. I don’t mind some guided tours but it can be nice to do things at your own pace. A lot of time I’m not even overly interested in the history as it’s usually all political stuff and I just want to have a good look around.

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The castle had been furnished to show what it may have looked like years ago which I liked. I’d love Ghent Castle but the rooms were all relatively bare, Dublin Castle was like walking around a stately home. My only issue was that it wasn’t a bit bigger as I felt like I saw the whole thing way too quickly but I did enjoy having a look. It’s probably one of my favourite castles I’ve visited and I would definitely recommend going if you’re in Dublin.

War Horse

Dublin War Horse

Whilst looking for things to do on any holiday I tend to have a look to see if there are any shows on or anything. I don’t think I’ve seen a show abroad yet as most of them tend to be in a foreign language which of course puts me off and I’ve just never found anything to my taste yet. When I looked in Dublin though they were showing ‘War Horse’ at a theatre about a twenty minute walk away from my hostel. It wasn’t really a show I’d ever wanted to see badly but I knew Becca had seen it as a teenager and regularly told me how much she’d loved it.

I booked my ticket and when I arrived realised I’d actually been upgraded. I’d originally been in the Upper Circle right at the top of the theatre but I’d been moved down to the Stalls into Row R. I was nervous when I saw this as my experience with London theatres is that if you’re in Row R you’re probably not going to see much. However the theatre was quite modern and the seats were tiered well. I was right in the centre and the view was fantastic.

For the first twenty or so minutes I wasn’t particularly sure but before I knew it I’d been sucked into the story. I’d never seen the film or anything before so I hadn’t known what to expect but I ended up loving it. It did have me on edge with the gun shots and everything ‘cos they made me jump every time but it was a spectacular show. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone that hasn’t seen it.

National Leprechaun Museum

National Leprechaun Museum

Whilst having a look for stuff to do in Dublin I came across the ‘National Leprechaun Museum’ and knew that I had to go. I believe they only accept pre-bookings so about a month before I went I booked myself a place for the night tour. There are two different types, the day tours where they tell all the innocent stories of Irish folklore or the night version with the more dark and twisted versions. The rating was 18+ so I booked on to that one. I quite like anything horror related plus it meant there wouldn’t be any annoying kids there to ruin the visit.

The first thing you do on the tour is go through some ‘tunnels’ into a room with really large furniture. You’re encouraged to climb onto the furniture for pictures and just for generally playing about. I didn’t go on anything as I wouldn’t have been able to pull myself onto the giant chairs and didn’t want to embarrass myself. I could’ve maybe managed the giant sofa but a group of Americans plonked themselves onto it and when someone suggested they get down so other people could take pictures one of them replied “no, I’m comfy” – typical.

We moved from room to room and I was on edge in case they pulled any jump scares or anything but they didn’t, it was just a case of listening to stories in each room and it was really interesting. My favourites probably included the story about the woman who danced with the leprechauns for what seemed like hours but turned out to be years and years, or the woman who was accidentally killed by her husband as he believed she was a fairy imposter and his real wife had been taken. Our tour guide was really enthusiastic and a great story teller which made it even better.

I considered booking a place for the day time tour but didn’t in the end, I may do if I ever return to Dublin though as it was one of my favourite memories from the trip. The evening tour was fun though as our tour guide swore and didn’t hold back from any gory details which obviously I doubt would happen in the day tour.

BONUS: National Wax Museum

National Wax Museum

I had to include this one as I just really enjoyed it. I had time to kill before my Leprechaun Museum booking and as this was literally a two minute walk away from my hostel and I’d wanted to visit I decided to go in.

The only slight thing that ruined it for me was that I went in and caught up to a large family who had quite possibly some of the most annoying kids ever. There was a moving wax dinosaur in one of the rooms and one of the little kids grabbed it’s tongue and tried to pull it out whilst her parents just watched. I tried to go ahead but they caught up so I lagged behind so they could go ahead and then they started going really slowly. Very irritating.

When you go in you’re immediately greeted by Star Wars characters which doesn’t mean an awful lot to me but I took some photos anyway. As I was about to head up the stairs a group of girls came in and one of them screamed when they saw me which was quite funny. When you got up the stairs there was like a science section I want to say. You go through a mirror maze into the next room where there are pop stars. They have wax figures of Jedward so I snapped a picture to send to my friend Jess who’d told me to keep an eye out for them.

National Wax Museum Jedward

My favourite section though was the horror section. The family brushed past this part and I kept looking down wondering whether to go through. It was in the theme of a hotel and at the end of the corridor was a wax figure jerking around manically, it was quite creepy. I kept taking a look and in the end a group of girls went down so I followed them. However they couldn’t decide who should go first so they asked if I wanted to go first so I said I wasn’t sure I wanted to go down. They ran off ahead and I ended up with a Spanish family who I practically stuck to like glue throughout the rest of it. They kept looking at me and pointing at stuff and telling me what it was before I saw it, bless them.

My only complaint was that I’d been hoping it would be bigger and I felt like it was over too quickly. I might’ve killed more time if I’d been there with my friends as we would’ve spent time taking photos of each other with everything but as it was just me I didn’t really do that.

So there we go, there’s my three (four) favourite memories from Dublin! I hope you enjoyed this post, if you visited Dublin let me know which tourist attractions you liked the most!

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Lotte World

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When planning our trip to Seoul we found out about Lotte World and decided to take a visit. I think theme park days are necessary in long trips because although I love sight-seeing it can be good to have a day of fun where you don’t have to worry about rushing to the next thing or looking up directions all the time etc. So we decided to spend our last full day in South Korea at Lotte World.

On the morning we were a bit worried we’d arrive and it would be closed – when Becca and Jess looked on their phones it said closed but my phone had the opening hours and specified it was open on Sundays. In the end we decided that the ‘closed’ was talking about a particular ride, took the chance and went on the hour long bus journey to Lotte World.

Luckily when we arrived it was open and we joined the queue to buy our tickets. We visited on a Sunday so the queues were quite long but not horrendously long. I can’t comment on whether the tickets were reasonably priced because I’ve forgotten how much they were and I really didn’t understand Korean won anyway.

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Once we had our tickets we beeped inside and went up the escalator stairs. Most of the park is indoors and at first it doesn’t look like there’s a ton of stuff to do. We kind of walked around in a daze because we weren’t really sure what was on offer when we came across an animal section so we decided to give that a go. We got confused and thought we needed our park ticket to get in and Becca realised she’d somehow managed to lose hers.

We tried to retrace her footsteps but couldn’t find it which she wasn’t thrilled about. Jess found a mirror maze so Becca waited outside while we tried to figure out the ticketing system. I was initially annoyed because this cost extra to enter and I thought this would be the case for all of the rides but luckily it wasn’t, only for certain ‘special’ attractions. We paid the money and went inside.

We were given rubber gloves to wear which made my hands feel all gross and for some reason halfway through I got jumped scared by some fairy thing on one of the mirrors. There was also a laser bit where you had to try and get across the room in time without touching the lasers, something me and Jess failed at. When we got to the end there was a bench decorated to look Halloween themed and a voice kept telling us to sit down. Because of the jump scare I was on edge and was convinced something would jump out behind us so I held onto Jess and couldn’t keep my chill even though it was just a photo opportunity. The woman watching us outside on the screen must’ve thought we were so weird.

Neither of us bought the photo and we went looking for the next thing and there was a pirate barrels ride (I think) which was sort of like the teacups but the platform tilts as well which Jess wanted to go on. Becca did too but was worried she couldn’t go on without her ticket so I gave her mine because after a dodgy waltzers experience I’m not a massive fan of stuff like that anymore. Turns out we didn’t need our tickets for any free rides so she got on without any problems and the two of them had a good time.

After that they wanted to go on the pirate ship but again, not a fan, so I sat this one out. I’d been smart this time though and had brought a book with me. To be fair it was nice to just have some time to chill by myself after travelling together for so long. The queue for that took a while but I didn’t mind ‘cos I could sit down and chill.

By this point I was ready for lunch so asked the others if they were hungry and luckily they were so we headed over to TGI Friday’s to see if they had any veggie options. Thankfully they did so we queued up – I got some ribs with fries and an orange juice which was probably one of the best meals I had whilst in Asia to be honest, it was so tasty.

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TGI Friday’s was right next to the carasoul and we always have to ride the carasoul whenever we visit a theme park so we queued for that and as per usual that was tons of fun.

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After that I needed to pee so I went in search of a bathroom while Becca and Jess queued for what they thought was a rollercoaster. When I came back they’d been on the ride but it hadn’t been the one they were expecting, I can’t remember what they did go on. We decided to head back to the animals section to have a look in there but Becca didn’t want to come in because she’s not a fan of things like zoos or aquariums so me and Jess paid the extra and headed inside.

It was okay, there were a few animals and it was sweet but it wasn’t mind-blowing or anything. At one point me and Jess came across a barrel full of dirt and she said “Hollie, it’s a lucky dip, if you stick your hand in and feel around you’ll find a fossil.” So I was like “… Are you gonna stick your hand in?” and she was like “If you stick yours in first.” So I went round and had a look at the sign myself which said nothing about a lucky dip or fossils, the little shit. There was also a turtle shell that you could crawl inside of – I didn’t stand a chance of fitting in it but I dared Jess to and she did which looked absolutely hilarious.

When we came out they’d roped off the middle bit for the parade so when we found Becca we decided to sit down and watch it because we’re all suckers for a parade. For a while not much was happening when suddenly two guys whizzed past us dressed like vampires. Then the parade got properly started and I’m not gonna lie, it was a bit weird and sometimes inappropriate like they’d have female animal characters with curves and large breasts like it was a bit strange. My favourite part was when the parade came to a standstill and somebody dressed in a devil costume started dancing in front of us, he was proper going for it.

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Overall it was a good parade and it had catchy songs, I still get ‘you’ve got a pum-pum-pumpkin head’ stuck in my head sometimes. I’m so glad we visited in October because the parade was Halloween themed and it was awesome, I love Halloween so much.

We got up to head onto the next ride and Jess had spotted a ride she liked the look of, it was either Aladdin themed or like something similar to Aladdin – Sinbad maybe? I dunno, an adventure ride anyway. I had a look at the warnings and decided that I wouldn’t be a fan so again I sat this one out. There was quite another long wait but it didn’t matter too much – they came off and said the ride had been fun.

Then we went into a haunted house attraction which again cost extra but we love horror themed stuff so of course we had to do that. We headed in with a couple who were initially in front of us but then for some reason asked us to go first. I was doing my usual thing of screaming and begging somebody to hold my hand but everybody refused. We’d been warned before we went in not to hit the actors but to be fair it would’ve been pretty difficult because I don’t remember that many people jumping out and the ones I do remember were behind cages. To be honest it was a little disappointing because compared to other horror walkthroughs we’ve been on it wasn’t that scary. I was freaking out because I was worried stuff would happen but like… Nothing did happen.

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The horror attraction was right next to an arcade which we went into and spent a while in there. I love arcades but in the UK I hate spending my money in them because it feels like such a waste – I spent tons in arcades in Asia, we all won so much stuff in Osaka in one of the arcades it was unreal. We didn’t win much in the first arcade at Lotte World – we went on a few crane machines, I went on the basketball machine and Jess played a dart balloon game but nothing.

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Becca and Jess queued again for that ride they’d wanted to go on earlier (where they joined the wrong queue) which was a big rollercoaster with a loop but again they joined a different queue by accident and ended up on something else. By this point we felt we were pretty much done with this floor so we headed upstairs.

Up there we found another arcade which was mostly full of crane machines so we tried our luck in there but didn’t win anything unfortunately. We walked further along the corridor and found another little arcade and this had a dance machine and when we went on it we discovered it had K-Pop songs which was awesome! I did enjoy it but I wasn’t as good as I normally am because after two weeks of walking around Asia my legs hurt and I was exhausted but it was a lot of fun.

We carried on walking along the corridor and discovered an outside bit which looked really cool and was decorated for Halloween. Becca was a bit of a shit too because we went inside this castle and behind some glass there was a wax figurine and Becca went “Oh My God, did he just move?” so I was looking closely at it and she jump-scared me. If you’re planning on going to Lotte World and are a fan of big rides I’d advise heading straight to the outdoors bit because there were a ton of rides but unfortunately it was early evening by this point so the queues were really long. Becca and Jess finally found the queue for that ride they’d been trying to find all day but it was the biggest queue there so they gave it a miss.

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We headed back inside because we didn’t want to queue for anything and then me and Jess decided we were ready for dinner. Becca wasn’t so she sat outside on her phone while me and Jess went into Panda Express or something I wanna say? They had these like mix-and-match boxes so we both had noodles and Jess had orange chicken whilst I had spicy beef. I’d assumed this would be similar to some rainbow beef I’d made at home but I should’ve figured while I was in Asia that SPICY BEEF meant SPICY beef. My biggest rookie mistake though was eating a piece of beef with what I thought was a green bean to ‘cool it down’. Whatever it was contained seeds and was extremely spicy to the point I was crying while eating because I’m super white and can’t handle spice.

After dinner we had a look at one of the stalls and Jess decided we should get some matching Pokémon headbands. Becca wouldn’t so Jess got an Eevee one and I got a Squirtle one. We also found some of those ‘lucky dip’ boxes where you buy a box but don’t know which figure you’re getting so me and Jess both got one, mine was Pokémon themed again which we decided to open later at the hotel.

We made our way back towards the main part of Lotte World and stopped in the arcade with the K-Pop dance machine again on the way back. I had a go with Jess then Becca went on with Jess whilst I went on the crane machine and managed to win myself a Pikachu plushie!

We decided we fancied some sweet food so we went back to the main bit and Becca and Jess got the cutest bunny candyfloss I’ve ever seen. I’m not the biggest fan of candyfloss but I couldn’t resist trying some too and it was pretty tasty. Then we headed over to a stall that sells chocolate and cookies and I was having a debate about which I wanted until I realised I’m an adult who earns her own money AND CAN BUY BOTH IF I WANT. They’d sold out of most nice things but I had a pink biscuit and a chocolate on a stick – they were in the shape of the two mascots but I don’t know enough about Lotte World to name them or anything.

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The middle section had been roped off again so there was clearly going to be another parade so we sat down to watch it. This one was even more fun ‘cos they switch off the main lights and the parade is light themed and there was even indoor fireworks. It was amazing, Lotte World were good at parades.

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Then we decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel but we’d manage to spend a long day there and it was amazing. If I was ever in Seoul again I’d definitely go back because I’m pretty sure we didn’t see the entire park. Theme park days are just so necessary on long trips and I’m so glad the three of us went.

Our Day Trip to Mt Fuji and the Aokigahara Forest

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When planning our trip to Japan we all agreed we wanted to see Mt Fuji and the Aokigahara Suicide Forest but we had read it can be quite difficult to reach by yourself from Tokyo by public transport so in the end we booked a day trip. It cost around £100 each but it was the easiest way to see the mountain and we would also briefly visit the Aokigahara Forest to go down into an ice cave.

We booked the day trip for the Wednesday as this was halfway through the trip and we knew we’d appreciate the long coach journey there as our legs and feet would be aching. As it turned out we were absolutely exhausted on the day as we’d had a full, long day at Disneyland the day before and then we had to be up early to go on the trip in time.

The trip left from a hotel and it was relatively easy to find. It was a good hotel because it contained a convenience store so we were able to stock up on lunch items as our package hadn’t included lunch, we checked into the trip, used the loo and then waited until our tour group was collected. We were all given stickers to wear and as we were waiting a horrific realisation dawned upon all of us – only our stickers said ‘cave.’ Nobody else’s said that. We weren’t seriously going to go down the caves as just the three of us and one tour guide?

Our tour guide picked us up and led us to the coach that would take us to Mt Fuji. She was really nice, she introduced herself (I’ve already forgotten her name) and then talked us through the day. On the coach we realised it would genuinely just be the three of us heading down the caves because after going to the mountain the rest of our group was going to lunch at a hotel then going on a boat ride. We were getting dropped off at the hotel and someone would come and pick us up for the cave tour. Fantastic.

We’d been looking forward to a couple of hours of sleep, or listening to music or just generally relaxing on the coach but our tour guide was having none of that. On the way there we all sang a song, did some origami and she told us a story about two mountains. She also pointed out things of interest on the way and gave us so many facts about Mt Fuji that I couldn’t possibly remember them all.

We’d all been warned in advance by many websites and vloggers that most people don’t see the summit because it’s normally covered by clouds but we were lucky as it was a clear day so we could see it. Our tour guide was delighted and kept preparing us for good photo opportunities out of the window.

We drove straight up to the fifth station which is the highest point that vehicles can go. The views were AMAZING, not just of Mt Fuji itself but we were above the clouds at this point so the view downwards looked beautiful. Unfortunately it was quite bright that day so I’m squinting in pretty much all of my photos and look a mess but the view was perfect.

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Shout-out to our tour guide who had given us a map of everywhere we should go whilst at the fifth station. We were all given a token to receive a free ‘lucky bell’ which apparently had been taken to the top of Mt Fuji and blessed at a shrine I believe? Our tour guide made sure we all received our lucky bell and she’d pointed out other places to visit on the little map. We all bought a couple of souvenirs – I bought a little Mt Fuji plushie (for some reason, I don’t know what I was thinking) and some Mt Fuji biscuits that I was thinking of either keeping or giving away as a gift. They got a bit bashed in my suitcase on the way back but never mind.

We took as many photos as possible and then headed back to the coach – our tour guide had made sure we didn’t get lost by pointing the way and making us note down the registration. When she got on the coach she told us we could’ve stopped at the first station but since one couple were late back we couldn’t. Then she had the idea of missing five minutes of lunch so we could stop so we made a stop at the first station and took some photos from there too.

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We carried on to the hotel which was a short drive away and from that point we were on our own. We headed in the direction of a park but ended up sat on the floor outside of some houses to eat our lunch. It wasn’t too bad since it was a nice day, wouldn’t have been so fun if it had been raining or freezing cold though.

We walked back to the hotel and sat outside to wait for our coach. Our new tour guide pulled up and we realised it was definitely going to just be the three of us on this tour. She introduced herself (I half remember her name but don’t wanna write it in case I’m wrong!) and we hopped into her car. From the way we’d been sat outside the hotel Jess and Becca both got to sit in the back while I told them I hated them both because I had to sit in the front with the tour guide. To be fair she was nice so it wasn’t too bad.

We made a stop on the way so that we could have a last minute loo break and we put on our overalls over our clothes. I was so worried that mine wouldn’t fit because I am quite big but luckily they were a little baggy so it wasn’t an issue. She also gave us our helmets and gloves which we would need in the cave. We still had a good view of Mt Fuji so she took some photos of us with the mountain in the background.

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We got back in the car and she drove us to the edge of the forest, and we all walked towards it. She stopped us at the gate to formally introduce herself and she asked us what we knew about the forest. None of us wanted to say we knew it was famous for suicides so Jess explained “Recently there was a controversy where a guy came here, found something he shouldn’t have and posted it on the internet and received a lot of backlash.” Obviously referring to Logan Paul. Our tour guide was like “I don’t know much about that but this forest is famous as the place where people come to commit suicide.” Oh, so we were allowed to mention it.

She went on to explain that we were not at the area this was commonly known for so we weren’t going to be coming across any dead bodies and then she went through some safety instructions which included not straying from the path and that we weren’t allowed to take a little stone home with us as a souvenir. Apparently we’d have got fined a lot of money.

We set off and she knew so much stuff about the forest that it was unreal. It’s such an interesting forest and it’s quite sad that the fascination everyone has with it, myself included originally, is the suicide part. Did you know the roots can’t grow underground because of the lava that’s in the soil so they grow outwards instead? It was just really beautiful.

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At one point our tour guide stopped and asked us why we thought it might be easy to get lost in this forest. My thoughts were that if we went in too deep we wouldn’t be able to hear any like traffic or outside noises due to the trees but I was too shy to suggest this. Nothing could’ve prepared us for Jess’ answer which was “Because the spirits may mislead you.” To which our tour guide was like “… Not quite. The lava in the soil can affect your compass and make it point the wrong way.”

It was a bit of a trek to the cave and we had to climb over a fallen log on the way. I took one look at it and realised I wouldn’t be able to clamber over. I asked one of my friends for advice, I can’t remember whether it was Becca or Jess, and they told me to crawl under it so I had to do that. It wasn’t very graceful but at least I made it.

We made it to the cave and firstly we had to climb down into the middle bit and at this point I began to stress a little because I took it quite slowly, still managed to whack my head several times (thank god for the helmet) and a couple of times was convinced I would fall but I made it to the middle bit eventually. At this point we were below ground but it was still open above us so we were still out in the open.

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The next step was climbing down some rocks, onto a bamboo ladder and down into the cave. Now at this point I really did start to panic ‘cos I hadn’t been able to hop the bloody log but now I needed to shimmy down some rocks and onto a ladder? Surely there was no chance. Our tour guide went first, followed by Becca who was a little nervous but made it down, and then by Jess who isn’t afraid of anything really. Then suddenly it was my turn.

I started to go down and then panicked and asked her “But what if I fall?” to which she responded in a done voice “You won’t fall.” I kept putting my foot back and then going ‘ooh no’ and bring it back so in the end she had to be like “You’re so close, stop going back!” She grabbed my foot, and I finally managed to put it on the ladder.

Jess looked up, watched me coming down the ladder and went “Well done Hollie!” so I responded “Pal I appreciate your support but you are blinding me.” We’d switched on our head lamps and they were really bright in the dark cave. After what felt like a lifetime I was finally in the cave and we could start exploring.

Someone in the reviews had advised that you need to be quite physically fit for the caves and I could now see what they meant. It was quite literally a climb through the caves and like a moron I’d forgotten to wear my tacky shoes that morning so I was wearing my vans which probably got a little bit ruined. At least I didn’t lose them like someone else had which our tour guide pointed out as their shoe was still in the cave.

The worst part was when we reached the ‘ice’ bit, I tried to hold on to the walls or rocks whenever I could but then we got to an open bit and we had to head out into the middle. She’d advised us to walk slowly or like penguins but I still kept slipping every two seconds and kept grabbing Jess, making her stress that I was going to pull us both down. Our tour guide told us we couldn’t go any further because there was a slope downwards and due to the ice we’d never be able to get back up. We posed for a photo in front of it and Jess got stressed that I was going to knock her down it but luckily I did not.

When we got back up our tour guide suggested we all switch our lamps off and experience complete darkness. I wasn’t particularly a fan of this idea but we all did so and it was entirely pitch black. She went on to explain that our eyes would never adjust to the dark because there wasn’t any natural light coming in. She then pointed out that our voices didn’t echo so if something happened and we screamed for help down here no one would hear us. At this point I was a bit like ‘omg is she planning to murder us?’ because it did sound like she was getting closer but obviously… She didn’t murder us. Becca did try to scare Jess by tapping her and I’m pretty sure someone tried to do the same to me. The only thing creeping me out was that it reminded me a little of ‘The Descent’ and considering how slow I was in the cave I knew I wouldn’t stand a chance if some little creatures started chasing us.

We started to head back out of the cave and she asked if we wanted to climb out a different way but that way would be more difficult. The others didn’t mind but I asked if we could go the same way ‘cos I knew I’d be lucky if I could make it back up that bamboo ladder, let alone climbing out a more difficult way. I watched the others head up and take the obligatory photo on the top of the ladder and then followed them myself. I was worried I’d get stuck or something but luckily I made it up without any issues.

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Our tour guide took some photos of us outside the cave and then suggested we go for a walk through the forest since we were done earlier than expected. I was aching all over but we were all keen to see more of the forest so we agreed. It wasn’t a long walk but she showed us heaps more stuff and got us doing some weird things, she wanted us to climb a tree branch, swing on a vine and got us to stand inside a hollow log. Jess had gone in with her headlamp on and said it was full of bugs – she didn’t tell me this because she knew I’d chicken out if I knew so I went in and it was weird, if you stood up everything outside was muffled.

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The forest was amazing and I really can’t explain just how much she knew, it was TONS. By the time we got back to her car I was grateful to sit down though, my entire body just ached from clambering through that cave. It had definitely been worth it though.

Earlier that morning our first tour guide had given us some bus tickets to get back to Tokyo so our forest tour guide dropped us off at the bus station which happened to be right in front of a massive theme park which she told us had free entry, you just needed to pay for the rides. We could see a HUGE rollercoaster which Becca and Jess were keen to go on so we rushed down but when they queued up it was quite a lot and a long wait so we didn’t bother, we got some food instead. I’d like to go back one day just to visit the theme park to be honest because apparently it’s really popular with the Japanese people… I have forgotten what it was called though.

We headed back to the bus station and it was a guessing game on which bus was ours. We literally took it in turns approaching every bus, holding out our tickets and going “Us? Our bus?” Eventually we hit the right one though and took our seats at the back. I was jealous when Becca took out her headphones because I’d forgotten to bring mine but it didn’t matter, the three of us were asleep in literally seconds. I was so shocked when we reached Tokyo because the bus journey took two hours, it felt like it had been about two minutes.

So if in Tokyo I definitely recommend a visit to Mt Fuji and the ice cave because it was one of the highlights of our trip, I’m so glad we got to see them. I’d love to explore more of the Aokigahara Forest and revisit that theme park we went to. Definitely go if you’re in Japan!

Three Favourite Memories from Greece

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Not long ago me, Becca and Jess decided to take our friend Hirst on holiday as a 21st birthday present as it was only fair considering we’d taken Jess to Luxembourg for her 21st and Hirst and Jess had taken me and Becca to Lithuania for our birthdays. It took a lot of planning because we knew we needed to take her abroad but we just needed to narrow it down. We almost ended up going to a lot of different places including Italy and Prague but in the end we settled on Crete in Greece.

The original plan was that each of us would give Hirst a clue in her birthday cards and inside each card there would be fifty euros because Hirst sometimes struggles with money so we figured if we sorted out her spending money she wouldn’t have to stress. So in my card I put what time she needed to be at the train station, Becca put the date we were getting the flight and Jess put the date we were coming home. As with everyone else’s birthdays we were going to reveal where we were going at the airport but unfortunately, like a dickhead, I managed to ruin the surprise within 10 minutes of Hirst finding out she was going on holiday. Regardless though, it was a good holiday and I’d like to share my three favourite memories from the holiday!

The First Night

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Our flight was a little delayed so we didn’t leave the UK until about 3PM and because of the flight time and time difference we got to Greece quite late. Our plan had originally been to arrive in Crete, walk to our first apartment (because we were staying somewhere different each night) then walk back to the airport in the morning and collect the car we’d rented. However once we enquired they told us we were allowed to take the car that night and it wouldn’t cost extra. We decided to take it which was just as well because we would never have found our first apartment by foot.

We got into the car, spent a long time in the car park figuring out how to start the car’s engine (it needed to be in gear apparently) and eventually we set off. It was quite dark and because we’re British we were trying to figure out driving on the other side of the road and other side of the car. Jess was driving with Hirst in the front, who also has a licence, trying to help her out. Me and Becca were in the back, Becca was pretty handy because she’s taking lessons so she tried to help and I just generally tried to provide moral support because I don’t know much about driving.

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Things were already confusing because the address for our first apartment wasn’t the actual address of the apartment; it was an address for a random area that appeared to be the bloody Greek ghetto. After driving up and down confusing streets Jess eventually pulled the car over and I rang a guy who didn’t seem to know much about what we were talking about but he asked us to send him our GPS location via email and he’d give us directions so we did and he hung up the phone. We sat in the car, in the middle of nowhere in the darkness waiting for a response when Jess said “Maybe he did that because he’s planning to send some people out to murder us.” We all got so creeped out that we decided to head back to the airport.

In the meantime Becca emailed the woman who owned the apartment and she sent us a Google Maps link so we could find the correct place. However, the drive was still proving to be stressful because Jess was doing her best to navigate a foreign country in the dark on the other side of the road. Things only went from bad to worse when she watched a cat get squashed by a bus and cried “Should we stop to see if it’s okay?” to which we all yelled back “NO, KEEP BLOODY DRIVING!”

After my car accident last year I get very nervous in the car now so I was on heightened anxiety but to be fair to Jess she did well and we eventually pulled up outside the woman’s apartment.

Bare in mind it’s extremely late at this point, we’ve all been travelling and just had a really stressful car journey but we were greeted by one of the most enthusiastic women I have ever met in my entire life. She gave us a tour of her apartment, which was beautiful to be fair, but the tour went on for a very long time and all of us were extremely tired and were hoping she’d leave soon. Ha.

We came back inside after the tour and she directed us to the living room because she had a ‘surprise’ for us. We sat down politely on her sofa, all exchanging looks and stifling giggles because honestly the whole thing was bizarre whilst she whipped out a bottle of wine from the fridge and five wine glasses. I’m not a big fan of alcohol, especially wine, so I just pretended to take sips like Becca did. Hirst and Jess downed theirs to get it out the way only to have the woman top it back up. She also whipped out some snacks she’d prepared for us and said we were celebrating because we were the first people she’d had stay in her apartment before. She was truly lovely but it was so late and the four of us are British and awkward, we weren’t used to this kind of service. In Britain someone gives you a super quick tour, hands over the key and goes. This was bizarre.

She showed us how to work the shutters on the windows and eventually left. For a moment we all stood there in disbelief when we suddenly heard “Rebecca! Rebecca!” She was coming back. Apparently we hadn’t fixed one of the shutters correctly and although we practically pleaded that we’d be okay to sort it out ourselves she insisted on coming in to help. Like I said, she was truly a lovely woman but it was late. I wanted to go to bed.

Eventually, after what felt like a lifetime, she was truly gone. We sat in her living room eating our sandwiches we’d bought from Birmingham Airport in disbelief before finally heading into bed. I feel like my little story is just the surface of how bizarre that entire evening was but honestly it was weird.

Driving around Crete

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I had originally thought driving around Crete would be my worst nightmare because I’m already a nervous passenger and not to be rude but European drivers just don’t give a fuck. It’s honestly like all of them have a death wish. After the first night of us attempting to drive around I was a bit worried about how we’d manage for the next three days but Jess quickly picked it up and soon we were driving through Crete without a care in the world. For some reason even though everyone else was driving like a crazy person I felt a lot more chill than I did in the UK. For the most part anyway.

It was fun driving through the beautiful Crete scenery listening to the bangers Becca was playing and thinking about how I could be at work right now but instead I was driving through Greece with my best friends. It was also super convenient having a car because we could leave our shit in it and just drive off whenever we wanted to instead of faffing around with public transport like we normally do on our holidays.

It was scary at one point though. It was on our itinerary to visit a monastery, I can’t even remember what it was called, but this monastery was up the top of a fucking mountain. We hadn’t realised that when we popped it into Google Maps though so off we went. The worst part was when we drove up the steepest hill I have ever seen in my life, it was basically a vertical line and at the top there was a ‘Stop’ sign that leaves you on the hill. Jess put on the hand brake and took her foot off the brakes and we started rolling backwards so she slammed her foot back on it. Jess started to panic; me and Becca were both looking at each other whilst holding onto the seats in front of us as if that would do anything and Hirst stepped into action and told Jess what to do. Luckily we managed to get the car up the hill and onto a proper road again in one piece. There was a strong burning smell but after a moment it passed and we were soon on our way again.

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Even though some of the roads were scary it was still a lot of fun to drive through Crete and even the scary parts were hilarious afterwards.

Also, don’t Google what the little houses are in Greece along the roads! Just enjoy them.

Swimming in Kournas Lake

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Arguably my favourite thing about Greece was how clear the water was everywhere. I love going to the beach in the UK but the water is quite murky and you can never see through it which scares me because I could touch anything and I wouldn’t see what was there. But in Greece the water was perfect.

Even so, I was a little apprehensive when Jess first suggested we go for a swim in Kournas Lake. I imagined something similar to a British lake – murky, something you definitely would not go for a swim in. I didn’t mind the idea of renting a peddle boat because sure, why not? Jess suggested we put our swimming costumes on but we batted away the idea. However, after seeing the lake we immediately turned back around to put them on. It was stunning and we knew we had to at least paddle in it if nothing else.

We weren’t sure if there were any bathrooms nearby (there were) so we decided to put our costumes on in the back seat of the car. Becca went in and came out so quickly, making it look super easy so I went in. I’m quite a bit bigger than Becca, and Hirst laughed at me saying it sounded like I was giving birth in the back of the car. It was bloody hot in there and there was nowhere near enough space. Hirst had the same amount of trouble as me and then Jess went in. Eventually we all had our costumes on and we headed back to the lake to rent a boat.

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The man was very nice and told us that since the lake was so quiet he wouldn’t mind if we took a bit longer than an hour which was just as well because once we were out and we’d taken our clothes off so we were sat in our swimming costumes we were having so much fun that we didn’t want to go back within an hour.

We were told there were turtles towards the edge of the lake so we went off in search of them (we never found them) and when we got closer to the edge we all decided to get into the lake. Jess and Hirst slipped in first and both of them squealed about how cold it was and they were both afraid of something touching their legs so I eventually inched my way in. It was freezing! But a lot of fun. Becca slipped in just after me and for a second she seemed quite calm before suddenly freaking out and climbing back into the boat.

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We decided to peddle the boat to the middle of the lake, get back in and take some photos so that’s exactly what we did. The lake was lovely for a hot day and we took some lovely photos. We went looking for the turtles again but unfortunately never found them so I’d love to go back one day and hopefully find the turtles this time.

We eventually returned the boat after being out for about an hour and forty minutes but the man didn’t mind and didn’t charge us extra which was very kind. We timed our visit just right because as we were eating dinner overlooking the lake a whole tour bus full of people arrived and suddenly the lake was full of boats whereas it had been empty when we went. I imagine in peak season it’s quite busy and I’m so glad we went when we did.

Greece was amazing and if you ever get the opportunity to visit then I definitely recommend it, it was amazing and we were very lucky with the amazing weather!

Three Favourite Memories from Lithuania

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I’ve skipped over ‘Luxembourg’ because although I did have a good time with my friends we were only there for one night and we didn’t particularly see or do as much as we could’ve because we were all so tired! However we had a good weekend in Lithuania and crammed in as much as physically possible so there are a good range of memories to pick from. So here goes nothing!

Museum of Illusions

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This was probably my favourite tourist spot in Lithuania and it was actually the first thing we did. You can tell by the name what kind of museum this was and I’m a big fan of illusions and similar things so I was looking forward to it. We had a pass that gave us discounts into certain museums so this didn’t cost an awful lot and it was probably my favourite place in Lithuania.

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Honestly, I loved the amount of photo opportunities and that no one discouraged you from taking as many as you wanted. We spent absolutely ages just getting a decent amount of photos of all of us and it was a ton of fun! I love taking photos so having a ton of opportunities was great. My favourites included the chair that made you look really small, the room where you could write on the walls with light and the room where it made you look like you were stood on the ceiling. It was such a great museum and if I went back to Lithuania I’d probably go again.

The Vegan Meal

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It wasn’t fun at the time but it’s a funny story to look back on now.

Just before we went to Lithuania Becca decided she wanted to be a vegan. She’d been a vegetarian for quite a while at that point and it was going well so she wanted to take it a step further and become a vegan. Jess and Hirst begged her to wait until after the trip because we were visiting places like a doughnut lab and a chocolate house where she wouldn’t be able to eat anything but Becca insisted that since November was ‘World Vegan Month’ she was going to become a vegan starting in November.

Now I imagine going out for meals is difficult for a vegan even in the UK but we found it was almost near impossible to find anywhere with a vegan option on the menu in Lithuania. By the end of the first day Becca had barely eaten anything and although she insisted she wasn’t hungry Hirst looked up vegan restaurants on her phone and found one not too far away. So off we went.

As soon as we walked in I felt completely out of place. It was pretty fancy, the waiter offered to take our coats the moment we walked in – to which we just looked baffled and kept them on. He sat us down and I was already under the distinct impression he didn’t particularly like us and I just felt really awkward as he laid the table and we all sat there in silence. And then we looked at the menu and oh my.

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I hadn’t heard of pretty much anything. Also it wasn’t a particularly long menu, there were like five main meals and then some different types of soups. I had no idea what to order because I don’t really like soup and I didn’t really know what I liked from the other items on the menu. I was still panicking about this when the waiter brought us some bread and asked us if we wanted anything to drink. Everyone said no except for me who asked for a tap water so I could save a bit of money. This restaurant was too fancy for tap water though and he was like “we only have still or sparkling.” I said still and it came in a fancy wine glass for some reason.

We got started on the bread which of course wasn’t normal bread, it was made out of something fancy and he did explain what it was made of to us but I’ve forgotten. There was also some kind of purple/red sauce to dip it into instead of butter. I took a bite of the bread and told Hirst, who was looking horrified, that it didn’t taste that bad. I was wrong. A few more bites and I wanted to vom but I was so hungry that I kept picking at this bread.

The waiter came to take our order so Jess and Becca both ordered pumpkin ravioli, Hirst ordered some soup and I ordered a thing that I can’t even remember how to pronounce or spell. They didn’t have that. They also didn’t have ‘the meal of the day’ whatever it was. I glanced at the menu once more and end up stress ordering pumpkin ravioli because that’s what Becca and Jess had gone for. I’d never tried ravioli before so Jess explained to me what it was. Having never tried either pumpkin or ravioli I didn’t really know what to expect and I hoped I liked it.

I did not. It arrived and Hirst, who’s probably not had a meal without meat for the past eighteen years, really enjoyed her soup. Becca and Jess enjoyed their pumpkin ravioli. I did not. The first couple of bites were bearable and I thought I might actually finish my meal but it quickly went downhill. In the end the girls had to help me look like I’d eaten more of it than I had. When the waiter came along and asked how our food was I said “lovely thank you” because to be fair, I imagine that as far as pumpkin ravioli goes it was really tasty. It’s not his fault I wasn’t a fan.

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We eventually left the restaurant and I’d ended up spending about 15 euros on a meal I hadn’t enjoyed at all. It was okay though because I went back to the hostel and just tucked into a ton of chocolate. Not to be dramatic though, I couldn’t get the taste of that horrible ravioli out of my mouth for about two weeks. We’ve made a new agreement that we’ll support Becca’s veganism but she’s just gonna be a vegetarian when we go abroad now – it makes life way less difficult!

The Cat Café

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I’m pretty sure before we went for the vegan meal we were originally hoping to get dinner at the cat café but unfortunately you can’t get in without a reservation. They wouldn’t let us make a reservation inside so we had to come out and make a reservation on our phones stood outside the café for the next evening.

Overnight Jess got really sick and we all blame the pumpkin ravioli even though me and Becca didn’t get sick. We had to leave her in the hostel and we headed out, had a full day of sight-seeing and then headed to our cat café reservation.

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I really don’t get this whole ‘are you a dog person or a cat person’ because like, you can love both? We’d already petted a lot of cats just chilling in Lithuania so to sit in a café where you’re surrounded by cats and you can stroke them as much as you want was pretty amazing. There were books full of the cats names and little snippets of information about them which was interesting.

You need to spend a minimum of three euros in the cat café which is fair enough as I imagine in the past people have just played with the cats and left without spending a penny but luckily the three of us were quite hungry so we had a proper meal. I had a chicken kiev with chips and vegetables and even though it wasn’t actually that great it felt amazing compared to the pumpkin ravioli the night before. Hirst had a burger and Becca ordered some white wine and mushroom pasta but unfortunately there was a mix-up and she actually received chicken and mushroom pasta so she had to leave a lot of it and ended up feeling really bad.

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We got up and petted the cats for a while then I decided to order another drink and also treat myself to dessert. Hirst had some too. Becca had been planning to ditch the veganism for one meal and order herself a dessert as a treat but because she felt bad about the chicken she didn’t. I had chocolate cake with some kind of fruit and I think Hirst had ice cream.

We spent more time petting the cats and honestly it was just really great, we left a big tip at the end because we’d had such a nice time. You could buy treats to feed the cats with but we saw some other ladies had done that and because it was like 7PM the cats just weren’t interested after a whole day of being fed treats.

If you ever get the opportunity to visit any cat café I really recommend it because we had an amazing time. We’re planning on visiting as many themed cafes as possible when we visit Japan because we had such a great time and poor Jess had missed out.

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So there we go, those are my top three favourite memories from Lithuania! If you’ve visited the country feel free to leave a comment with your favourite places or memories.

Top 3 Favourite Memories from Amsterdam

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I mentioned a couple of times that Amsterdam wasn’t the greatest holiday me and my friends have ever been on but recently I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic for Amsterdam. It was our first time going somewhere together on a plane and I remember that there were some good times on that trip. Also the country itself is beautiful, the weather was amazing and everything was so sunny. So I thought that like my Paris post [x] I’d write a list of my three favourite memories from when we visited Amsterdam.

Vondelpark

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Becca mentioned Vondelpark in her top three places to visit in Amsterdam [x] – and it is truly lovely. We were lucky enough to go to Amsterdam during some amazing weather so our visit to the park was a good. The sun was shining and sitting in that park with my friends made me feel so happy. It was just such a chill place to sit. I don’t even think we stayed for a long time or explored the park as much as we could’ve but whenever I look at photos from us sitting in the park I feel really happy.

To be honest I can’t even remember a specific memory, like I remember sitting in the park and talking to my friends but I can’t remember what we talked about or anything like that. I’m pretty sure Becca skyped her Mom but that’s about all I remember. I just remember definitely feeling happy and feeling super chill.

Becca and the Bird

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God, she’s gonna kill me for writing about this but it was actually one of my highlights. I love the river in Amsterdam like how you always seem to be near water, it makes me feel so chill. So around lunch time on our first full day in Amsterdam me and my friends sat down by the river to eat some chips we’d bought from a stand. I was laughing already ‘cos Hirst had brought her chips over, stood on my map and then slipped onto her ass making my map go into the river. Hirst nearly went in with it but managed to save herself in time. My poor map was forever gone though.

We finished our chips but it was so nice sitting by the river in the sunshine and Becca said what I was feeling “I’m so content with life right now.” She said. Then literally less than two seconds later she said “I’ve just been shat on by a bird.”

I kind of thought she was joking but when I turned to look at her it was true. A bird had pooed on her head which I thought was absolutely hilarious, as did everyone else. Becca thought it was a bit funny too but obviously she had bird poo on her head so she didn’t find it quite as funny as everyone else. Jess got her a tissue and we wiped it out for her but she could still feel it. I just cannot believe that moments after talking about how content with life she was she got pooed on.

Meeting 24K

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So I’ve definitely talked about this in previous posts but guess what, I’m talking about it again. Me, Becca and Jess had all gone to see 24K in London a couple of months beforehand and we’d agreed after the concert that if we got the opportunity we’d see them again and we’d meet them. After booking our trip to Amsterdam it was agreed that just me and Becca would go and see them live because Jess changed her mind and Hirst has never liked K-Pop anyway.

I don’t think we have ever been so nervous in our entire lives than we were heading to this concert. Becca was stressing ‘cos before we left I decided to grab some food (we were at that concert for hours and I needed some energy!) so she was worried we’d be late. By the time we said goodbye to Jess and Hirst and got on the tram I was starting to get stressed too because I was suddenly so terrified at the thought of meeting 24K. I remember the two of us having some chewing gum and trying to keep calm until we got off the tram.

It felt like a lifetime until we found the venue, it was through like a shopping centre which I knew at the time would close and make it difficult to find our way back but I didn’t care I was too busy worrying about meeting 24K. Before we went Becca had accidentally bought the wrong ticket type but we had emails from Kinetic Vibe saying we could swap the tickets so when we did this we got our wristbands and for some reason some of the other fans were really mad at us for already having our wristbands? It was a long story and we didn’t have time to explain it!

Eventually we got into the venue but even inside there was a long wait until 24K were on stage. Me and Becca were right at the back of the venue so we were some of the last to meet them and we spent that entire time scheming up a plan. Our bias’ Cory and Kisu were stood next to each other so we knew if we managed to get into the right spot in the queue we’d be able to crouch in front of them for the photo.

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Basically you go up in groups of ten, touch each member’s hands and say ‘hi’ then go back around and crouch in front of them for the group photo. We were with a group of girls who seemed nice enough but we could hear them whispering to each other about how they wanted to dab in one of the photos. Listen, I didn’t spend all that money to get to Amsterdam to hide my face in my damn arm and I remember saying to Becca “If they ask us to do dab, we’ll say no.” They did ask us to dab, to which our fake asses were like “Yeah, yeah, we’ll dab.” Even though we knew it was a 100% lie.

Eventually after a ton of stressing it was our turn to go up, me and Becca had found the perfect spot in the queue and up we went. The hi-touch lasts like literally a second per member but those seven seconds were amazing. I made eye contact with every member, from what I understand from Becca she made eye contact with everyone up until Hui and then didn’t look them in the eye? We walked back round and they snapped the first photo. We’d been talking about each of us doing a heart with Cory and Kisu and I did look up at them but then completely lost my confidence and was like ‘well never mind’ so I went for a peace sign instead.

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Remember that actually meeting them was probably like 30 seconds long – we have a 8 minute long video of the two of us after the concert talking about meeting them. My favourite had to be Becca going on about how she grabbed Hui’s hands and shook them and apparently he looked at her like she’d just ruined his life.

I hope 24K come back to Europe soon because I wanna meet them with Becca again, it was so funny and it was one of the best nights ever.

So there are my top three favourite memories from Amsterdam, I’m sorry for anyone who read this hoping for some cute, artsy stories of my mine and my friends amazing time in Amsterdam. You got Becca being pooed on and then me fangirling about 24K. Sorry!