As students, our time at University is filled with lectures, assignments and nights out. It can seem like you never stop, and can be overwhelming. Even the relief of the Christmas and Easter holidays is short-lived, with deadlines and exams ominously looming. Then comes summer. Three months of nothing, not even some assigned reading. If you’ve managed to save some student loan, or worked hard and saved some cash, it is the perfect opportunity to relax and take a trip. Whether you stay in Europe or visit a different continent, travel with friends or family, whether you’re chilling on a beach or walking down the streets of musical history, a holiday is a worthy relief from a year of stress. Three writers share a snippet from their holidays this summer.
Nice, by Imogen Brighty-Potts:
My summer of rehearsals, working and writing was punctuated nicely by a week long trip to Nice on the Côte d’Azur. A couple of friends and I found a great deal in the new year for flights and a gorgeous AirBnB. By the time it came round, the stress of second year, moving house and being crazy busy was pleasantly broken up by the gorgeous beach, clear sea (aside from one pesky jellyfish, which we won’t dwell on because frankly it’s still a sore topic), lovely wine and the best food.
Cathedrals, churches, museums, bars, clubs and markets line the streets of the Old Town so we always had something to do. We even did some water sports and getting chucked around in the sea was great to cool off. If you go, spend as much time on that stunning beach as you can, and try plenty of sea food because it was amazing.
Up 15 flights of stairs and a hill we had a lovely little flat with a beautiful view. We spent the days wandering around the Old Town, dozing with a book on the beach, and exploring the nearby towns of Monte Carlo and Cannes. We shopped in gorgeous stores and saw million euro yachts and flashy sports cars, but we also drank cheap wine on the beach while the sun set, playing cards and taking a break. It was crazy hot, and I’ve never walked up so many stairs in my life, but it was exactly the break we needed, and it didn’t break the bank.
Lanzarote, by Beth Ablett:
This summer, my family revisited Costa Teguise in Lanzarote for the seventh time, not because we’re unadventurous, but because this has always proved to be a reliably fantastic holiday destination.
It truly feels like a home away from home, yet the dramatic landscapes littered with cacti and volcanoes never fail to take my breath away.
You can always depend on sunshine and hot weather, and there are plenty of beaches dotted all over the island where you can cool off and enjoy the scenery. Lanzarote hosts a variety of excursions, including exploring the stunning Cueva de los Verdes (the Green Caves), which feature an amazing optical illusion; Caesar Marique’s Jameos del Agua caves; You can find white crabs and a stunning natural lake; and of course Timanfaya National Park, which offers bus tours around the volcanoes and a restaurant that cooks your meals over an active volcano (I can confirm that this was the best steak I’ve ever eaten).
A short ferry trip from Orzola on the north coast of the island takes you to the small isle of Las Graciosa. There you have the option of remaining within walking distance of the port, where you can find restaurants serving delicious fresh fish and quaint markets, or cycle to one of the many beaches on the island, some of which have been compared to the Caribbean.
I have had so many fantastic experiences in Lanzarote, and highly recommend it as a holiday destination.
Memphis, by Ben Dolbear:
After being struck by an oppressive Southern heat glaring at our necks, it was the odd location of Elvis’ Graceland home that provided tourists with a passing curiosity. Downtown Memphis is not an affluent area, and crime is high. Elvis Presley was making $5 million dollars annually by the age of 20, and this seems a strange place for him to settle his family.
Memphis was not always the place it is today. Inside Elvis’ Graceland mansion, we were taken back to 1957, when Elvis came into possession of the home, once part of a 500-acre farm. In the Jungle Room, Elvis’ tropical man-cave, recorded conversations of the King played over instrumental rock songs; a truly immersive historical experience. The tour ended at his resting place, where Elvis lays alongside his parents and twin brother. At $41, it was expensive, but the atmosphere was sombre and poignant, definitely worth the cost.
We descended on Beale Street, America’s most iconic street, famed for its live music scene and history as the location of the assassination of Dr King. Bars run the length of the two mile road and we found ourselves in the bustling King Jerry Lawler’s Hall of Fame Bar and Grille, where a small-time four-piece band called Kings and the Queen rocked out to the likes of Proud Mary and Purple Rain until late. Everyone was on their feet, singing and dancing; the spirit of Memphis was alive.
We slept at a run-down motel near the home of Elvis and then moved along to Nashville, America’s other music city.