Guest blogger Produced by

Martina Gardeva (Bulgaria)

My name is Martina and I am a Bulgarian postgraduate student in MSc Tourism Management and Marketing. One of my favourite things to do in my free time is to travel and explore new cultures and exciting new places. During my one year in Bournemouth, I had the amazing opportunity to go twice to the Netherlands and to visit vibrant Athens. Here is all you need to know:

Adventure to the country of tulips and windmills – The Netherlands

The first time I went to the Netherlands, I organised a small city-break trip with my friends and I stayed for 4 days in Amsterdam. You can either go to London to catch the 1 hour and 15 min flight to the Dutch capital or you can simply head to the much closer Southampton (which I did), for a slightly more expensive ticket (about £70 return), but you can save more time by flying. Once in Amsterdam, it is very easy to get around with the fast and eco-friendly train network. All you need is to buy the OV-chipcard, which is valid for all kinds of transportation across the country; it is so simple and so useful! Most of all I liked the trendy and peaceful Jordaan district with its marvellous canals, full of flowers and bikes parked across the cute little streets. The central area is also impressive, with plenty of the traditional pointy triangle houses, small cafeterias and historical buildings.

Exploring beyond Amsterdam

I had the chance to go to the Netherlands for a second time and I asked my Dutch classmates where I should head to. They recommended without any doubts The Hague, known for its Peace Palace which is home to the U.N.’s International Court of Justice. I went for 4 days again and I really enjoyed the modern look of this city, which amazed me with its spectacular futuristic architecture. If you have a chance to go, be sure not to miss the Japanese gardens and the beach area. They are absolutely fantastic! I also had the chance to go on a day-trip, which cost me about €6, to Rotterdam – Europe’s biggest port and “door to the world”. I recommend going to the famous yellow Cube houses, the Erasmus Bridge and the lovely food market – Market Hall.

Wandering around the streets of ancient Athens

I fell in love with the Greek capital and the city of the ancient goddess Athena. It has history, modern charm and a great variety of tasty food. The plane tickets from London were about €50 return and they were totally worth it! Once you arrive, make sure not to miss the spectacular Acropolis, the charming picturesque Plaka district and the beautiful port full of stunning yachts – Flisvos Marina. Also, you should definitely try the Gyros, the moussaka and the famous Greek salad, all absolutely delicious! Locals’ favourites are the numerous rooftop bars and taverns around the lovely city centre. For stunning panoramic views head to Lycabettus hill.

No matter where you decide to go, “Travel. As much as you can. As far as you can. As long as you can. Life’s not meant to be lived in one place”!

Martina Gardeva, Bulgaria, Msc Tourism Management and Marketing 2017/18