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By Her Next Smile, Aug 17 2017 11:12AM

València: the home of the Mercat Central, the home of the Holy Grail and the home of incredible sights and delicious tapas. It was the perfect place to spend a long weekend and despite being a little concerned about how long I would last in the heat of the busy city, I knew this wasn’t an opportunity to miss. And little did we know that we were about to venture there during the busiest month of all: the Gran Fira de Valencia (also known as the Feria de Julio) was taking place!

Arriving on Friday night, we found a delicious tapas bar near our hotel and had a taste of their sangria, a Spanish red wine and fruit punch. Calamares (fried squid rings), potatas bravas (potatoes with tomato sauce), plus a variety of succulent chicken and fish dishes, cheese platters and so much more. We began our Saturday outside one of the countless eateries with tasty croissants and glasses of fresh orange juice we watched the staff make especially for us. There were many exciting options including cheese and ham filled croissants plus mini breakfast pizzas! After breakfast, we visited the Mercat Central which is the main market of València and is simply amazing - it cannot be missed. It is open between 7am and 3pm every day except Sunday. Full of beautiful stalls, we found everything from souvenirs to meats, herbs and an entire section just for fish, along with some huge octopuses and squids! We enjoyed a refreshing drink outside a nearby restaurant as we watched the world go by. Whilst visiting, don't forget to look up - the centre of the market features a stunning stained glass ceiling.

During an exquisite Valèncian lunch outside a beautiful little restaurant in the Plaza de la Virgen square, we watched as a stage was erected in the busy space and agreed to return later in the evening to find out what the entertainment would be. After an exhausting climb up the Cathedral's 207 stair spiral staircase, we witnessed for ourselves the incredible sights of the city from the highest accessible point in València and were taken aback by the view. I would recommend making the climb close to a change of hour – as long as you can bear being close to the huge (and very loud!) Cathedral bell as it chimes. The Holy Grail is also available in the Cathedral building with a history of how it arrived in Valencia.

Returning to the busy square later that night, we couldn’t have expected to see what we did next! Singers and musicians sat on the stage playing flamenco music while hundreds of locals and tourists watched the central space eagerly. The space was filled with Flamenco dancers! It was easy to tell who was local as they danced with clappers in their hands and were incredible to watch. Fortunately, enough people didn’t know what they were doing for me to get involved and join in without feeling too embarrassed! The music ended at around 12.15 and we got ready for the firework display we had seen being prepared behind us. A lovely local woman explained to us that they were 'stick fireworks', as they couldn’t reach the sky due to the surrounding buildings and risks involved.

The Festival combines numerous events across the city of Valencia, most of which are music-centered live concerts. Other attractions include wine fairs, comedy nights, sports competitions and childrens activities and workshops to give both locals and tourists a chance to get involved with the festivities. Valencia is definitely a place to add to your bucket list: especially if you can visit in July! Events programmes are available in languages including Spanish and English and can be found online at if you wish to plan your trip around the Festival! For those who wish to get involved with the Flamenco dancing night in particular, these events are listed under the term: 'Fair Soirée: Valencian dances in the open air' and honestly was an incredible and uplifting experience I will remember for a lifetime.

By beccyjane, Jun 15 2017 03:05PM

Experience the world through the eyes of an explorer and never forget to add to your bucket list - there are so many incredible adventures to be had in this incredible world we live in!

1. Have a sleepover with Giraffes

Spend a night (or three!) with the giraffes in the Giraffe Manor Hotel located in Nairobi, Kenya. The manor house is "set in 12 acres of private land within 140 acres of indigenous forest" and is a great experience for those who love something a little different. Treat yourself - you deserve it!

2. Visit Iceland's Springs

Take a dip in the incredible springs in Iceland. The nordic island is home to beautiful (and incredibly warm) geothermal waters and because there is so much to do and see, you should definitely stay for a few days and make the most of your trip!

3. Clear Canoe Travels

Take a journey in a clear-bottomed canoe (or a submarine!) for a mind-blowing birds eye view of the creatures lurking below the water. View the incredible fish from the safety of your canoe and see where the tide takes you! This can be done anywhere in the world, although clear waters will be the best for getting a perfect glimpse of the wonderful sea creatures this world has to offer.

This particular shot was taken in Bora Bora, Tahiti and shows a clear bottomed canoe over lemon sharks!

4. The Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote

Visit the unique lava rocks for an amazing trip and the chance to have lunch cooked above the heat from the volcano! You will be show demonstrations of the high temperatures which "reach between 400°C and 600°C ... Dry brush thrown into a hole in the ground catches fire immediately, while water poured into a bore hole erupts seconds later in the form of steam - like a mini-geyser." -

5. Extreme Picnicking

View the world from new heights during your next picnic and find out where you can have an extreme picnicking session locally!

6. Take Part in the Bristol Balloon Festival

"The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is Europe's largest annual meeting of hot air balloons, attracting over 150 Hot Air Balloons from across the globe." - Whether you are taking part of simply watching nearby sipping a cocktail, this is the perfect way to spend your time! The four day festival is an amazing sight to behold. If you don't fancy taking part in a festival, there are many hot air balloon companies worldwide and there is likely to be one near your local area which you can contact for prices and availability!

7. Watch the Northern Lights in Style

Did you know that there are rentable glass igloos in Finland where you can watch the incredible phenomenon that is the Northern Lights?! There are two bedroom and four bedroom igloos available with showers and saunas available in a nearby building and the Northern Lights season lasts from around 24th August until the end of April.

8. Walk Behind a Waterfall

Take a walk behind a waterfall for a unique and exciting experience! The waterfall shown below is the Seljalandsfoss waterfall in Scandanavia, Iceland, but there are many waterfalls which can be walked through across the world, including in Wales, UK.

9. Visit an Underwater Museum

This amazing museum is located in Cancun, Mexico and features over 470 statues which you can swim around! The museum tour costs $45 per adult and $22.50 per child and the fee covers all snorkelling equipment plus a tour guide!

"This 3 hour tour provides you with a 45 minute snorkel experience in the museum where you will also see the schools of fish, turtles, rays etc etc. After this, subject to timing and weather conditions, we will stop off at a second site which is full of marine life." -

10. The Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

This tour takes you on a route of the incredible Waitomo glowworm caves in a cute little boat! "Enjoy the world famous boat ride under thousands of magical glowworms and become a part of over 120 years of cultural and natural history." -

Witness the wonders for yourself and visit the tiny glowworms for a cost of $50 per adult and $23 for one child (and $16 to bring a second child along). The tour lasts approximately 45 minutes.

It may look a little like something out of a strange horror movie as the glowworms literally hang from the walls and ceilings throughout the caves.

11. Ziplining in Haiti - 'A Dragon's Breath Flight Line'

We have added one extra bucket list idea for the high flying adventurers!

Warning: if heights make you queasy, look away now!

"Enjoy breathtaking views as you zip down a flight line more than 2,600 feet long at speeds of 40-50 mph" with this amazing zipline experience in Labadee, Haiti. The take-off point is 500 feet above the beaches so this isn't one for those frightened of heights! Find out more here:

The experience (including a briefing, orientation, travelling to the zipline and having a go) lasts around 1 hour and 15 minutes and prices start from £80.66 per person.

We hope you have been inspired to take a little adventure on your next get-away! Do you know of anymore exciting bucket list ideas that should be on this list or have you been to any of these places and have some photos to share? Comment below and let us know!

Please note: all photos have been collected from Pinterest. Have a look at our boards for more bucket list and travel inspirations:

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The Ultimate Ways to see Her Next Smile

Here at HNS, our primary objective is to make people smile. Find the perfect gift for yourself or someone special and show how much you care. This blog will feature details on our collection of designs, special sneak-peeks of the creation processes, upcoming items, giveaways and more.