Emily Ray was my second internet date, ever. The Cypriot had been my first. How would Date 2 compare? It couldn’t possibly be as good as Date 1, could it?
Both of us were heading to Blogstock and we had been set up in a Facebook Group. Neither of us really knew where we were going or what we would find there, but we were going to get there together. The moment we met IRL (in real life, get with the program!), I knew I was wrong to doubt in the very institution that had brought me love – internet dating. Emily and I had found each other and, as they say, it was the beginning of a wonderful relationship. I intend to travel with her to Blogstock again this year, can’t wait!
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Where do you feel you really “savored the authentic” in your travels?
I try to get a slice of the authentic everywhere I go, but it’s easier in some places than others. The last really ‘authentic’ experience I had was in Athens. As I was staying with friends, we went out for a meal at a local restaurant hidden away down a poorly lit road I would never have normally looked twice at. A church group of elderly people had taken over most of the restaurant, and we turned up just as they were busting out their Greek dance moves. It was absolute chaos, but so wonderfully traditional – and their energy levels put me to shame.
Where do you feel you experienced the most luxurious travel bit – depending on your own definition of luxury?
Hard to pick just one, but I would probably go with a small boutique hotel in Yorkshire I stayed in this summer with a friend. Ox Pasture Hall Hotel was so unlike anywhere I’d visited before, as it was quite literally in the middle of nowhere (with no WiFi) which afforded us the luxury of doing anything we bloomin’ well fancied – so, basically, lots of tea and long country walks. Our suite was absolutely divine too, with a huge, marble bathroom and sweeping views across the North Yorks Moors.
What keeps you going back to your favorite haunt/city/Best Bit?
I have to pick London, purely for its fantastically never-ending selection of things going on. I lived there for a year while I was at uni, and really got to grips with the Bloomsbury area where I fell in love with all the little parks. One of the things that I adore about London is just how easy it is to walk around from one place to another – I can quite easily spend a whole day just getting lost down side streets, trying out different pubs and finding quaint shops.
If you had to pick one anywhere in the world, what would be your following Best Bits:
Best Bed – Semiramis Hotel, Athens, for its use of bold colours and innovative designs
Best Bite – Cron & Lanz in Göttingen, Germany. I have no idea what kind of cake I had, but I know I probably found heaven that day.
Best Brew – The Laundromat Café in Reykjavik for its chocolate milkshakes. They’re like nothing I’ve ever had before or since…
Best Binge – I’m a sucker for tourist tat and will quite happily spend hours searching for the tackiest thing I can find. However, I had some of the best shopping evenings down Hong Kong’s Ladies Market.
Where have you left your heart?
It’s quite a cliché, but I would definitely say New York. I’ve dreamt of visiting since I was tiny, and I’m pleased to say it lived up to every last expectation I had. When we drove in to Manhattan I burst into tears as soon as I saw the Chrysler building (my favourite skyscraper), and even now I find myself regularly day-dreaming about evening walks through Times Square, the glam roof-top bars and the gorgeous Central Park. Someone, please – take me back!
Bio: Emily Ray is a London-based copywriter who seeks to make the most of weekends and her annual leave to explore everything the world has to offer. After completing her journalism studies, Emily re-launched her blog The Cosy Traveller in June 2014, which focuses on everything that makes her happy, including animals, tea and luxury. She’s also a published travel writer, with work appearing in TNT, Time Out and Flight Centre’s online blog.