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21 October 2015

travel | bournemouth, by myself

it's not every day you get the opportunity to get away for the weekend and see a bit more of the country, is it? so when such an offer presented itself to me recently, i was really in no position to say no. then, when it became apparent that there was no-one available to take said weekend away with me, rather than turn it down and do the boring thing, i decided to put on my big-girl pants and have a proper lazy weekend on the beautiful bournemouth coast... alone.

the train pulled in just after two on friday, and i had just enough juice on my phone to get maps up to help me find my home for the weekend. two hours on a train with no charge points was tooorture, especially with the hen party sat to my right and music producer sat opposite - they don't make phone batteries the way they used to!

the walk to the seafront was quick enough, and well signed so that i didn't have to rely too much on my maps. thankfully. as i'm not usually the mapper when i travel, i'm the other one. the ~follower. on the sea front, i checked out the information signs so i could get an idea of what to do with my time in town, and then bought an ice cream. because: sea front. standing on the sandy beach, ice cream in hand, watching the calm ocean lap gently against the shore was actual bliss. the only thing that could have made that moment any better would have been actual sun. yes, sun would have made all the difference.

with not a lot of battery left and not sure where the hotel was, i hurriedly followed the blue dot along the beach, scratching my head as to where the directions were taking me, positive that the travelodge bournemouth sea-front was not ~actually on the sea front, as there was nothing really ~on the sea-front except some adorable beach huts. and then i looked up, and it all became clear...

there was a cable car to ride up the cliff at a cost of £5 for all day, or there was a ramp a little bit further along the beach. being the tight ass i am, and seeing as it was getting dark and after 3 already, i didn't think £5 would be very well spent on one trip up. and because: exercise. nevertheless, at the top of the ramp up, huffing and puffing, i found the hotel. and my room, which clearly had the best views in the whole hotel. lucky me!

with the phone on recharge, and a incredibly comfortable king-sized bed all to myself, i was hard pushed to leave that room. like, actually. i don't have a tv at home and the tv in the room had like, a million channels and i know i should have gone out and done productive things with my time, but all i really wanted to do was chill out and relax. so that's what i did! i hung out in my warm room until dinner, when i ate in the hotel restaurant (two courses and a drink for £12.95! bargain!), went and bought a can of diet coke from the shop, and went straight back up to bed. legendary friday night!

the next day - after my complimentary buffet breakfast, i went and did all the things - i swear. i first walked through the lower gardens to check out the maniacs taking on bournemouth balloon that day (read rosie's review of that! mental!), before heading into the square to grab a coffee to keep me fuelled for the rest of the day. the town centre is so... chaotic! it basically runs around in... well, a triangle, so you basically always end up back where you started - a good thing for me!

while wandering the back alleys though, i came across the norfolk royal hotel - spotted between two buildings as i was trying to find starbucks, and had to take a closer look because from a distance it was was pinkest of pink buildings, and reminded me a lot of the grand budapest hotel. it was beeeeautiful! from the square i was basically back by the gardens, so i decided to head back down to the seafront and check out some of the activities down there - other than the oceanarium, as i didn't have the cash, and i do feel a bit funny about sea life centres - well, animals in captivity in general really. by all accounts though, it sounds like a fab way to kill some time, if all the reviews online are anything to go by.

i went through the arcade and out toward the pier - bypassing all of the 2p and 10p machines as i had zero change on me - nothing new, but discovered that to get onto the pier you need to pay a £1 toll. a bit old fashioned, don't you think! having been on some great piers in my time, and without so much as a helter skelter on this one, i decided to pass on the opportunity this time around and come back the next day when i had some change on me instead. or... not.
it was after four and getting dark, so i decided to walk back to the hotel - this time at street level, and with a detour past st. peter's church - the church with a secret, where many an important literary figure have been buried, and a stunning piece of architecture in it's own right. there was a wedding (or maybe funeral, i just saw loads of cars and nicely dressed people) happening so i wasn't able to get inside and take a look around, but even just being in the grounds was lovely.

back at the hotel i basically spent my afternoon devouring shane meadows dvds that little shaun had leant me for the weekend. until i realised i was starving and it was like, 8pm or something, so i headed back down to the restaurant for dinner. homemade bbq chicken burger and chips and a drink for a tenner - i mean really! being that it was saturday night, there were a few rowdy lads in the bar talking quite loudly about why a young girl (ha, sweet of them) would be eating a burger on her own in a travelodge, and which one of them should come over and chat (please, none). about the same time one of them tried to order beer from the bar - drunk and disorderly, and so they were politely refused service and asked to leave. back to eating in quiet! thank you travelodge for restoring my night.

the next day i totally milked the warm and comfy room as late as possible until it was time to check out, then begrudgingly made my way to the train station before realising there was a rail replacement coach on offer, all the way back to southampton. lovely! no charge plugs there either, and i'd finished my book the night before, so it was going to be a very dull journey. it's just as well the trip was scenic, right! all in all, spending some alone time in a new town was totally what i needed to get my head right and some much-needed rest and relaxation, so a big thank you to the wonderful team at travelodge for having me for the weekend. it was perfect!

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