How I made £5k in 6 months to go travelling

How I made £5k in 6 months to go travelling

‘How do you fund your travels?’

This is the golden question everyone wants an answer to! 

Anthea and I have a few different fingers in various metaphorical pies that allow us to continue to earn as we travel, including ESL teaching and digital marketing.

For me personally though, it’s no exaggeration to say that Matched Betting changed my life. Like many people I had a serious case of wanderlust but no savings to make my dream a reality. Once I discovered Matched Betting I was able to save enough money to start my travels and I haven’t look back since.

It’s always a bit awkward to try and explain what Matched Betting is in just a few short sentences, especially as when people hear the word ‘betting’ they immediately assume I’m just gambling – which couldn’t be further from the truth.

If you’re wanting to skip ahead to the ‘how and why’ of Matched Betting itself, go to my website to get more information on how to get started and find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. I also run a free ‘Matched Betting Support’ Facebook closed group that you can join for added help in making extra money each month.

(Please note, you need to be resident in the UK to do Matched Betting)

So how did I get started with Matched Betting?

I returned to the UK from a Working Holiday year in Canada in late 2015 and I was broke. Not the kind of broke people claim when they are spending all their money on Starbucks, takeaway food and alcohol each month, but the actual broke in which I had less than £20 to my name when I touched down back on English soil.

I was moving back in with family and searching for a job at the age of 27, coming up to a Christmas knowing that I couldn’t afford to buy any presents for loved ones. I did what I had to do and found a Christmas temp job in a call centre, and after a couple of weeks there a friend mentioned Matched Betting to me. I was as dubious as most at the start, and couldn’t afford to lose money taking a risk, but during the next couple of days I spent some time researching about it on my lunch breaks at work and when at home in the evenings.

Once I got my first pay packet, I figured it was worth a try. I signed up for the free trial with Profit Accumulator and spent hours watching the training videos, studying the guides, and reading on the forum to see what other people were saying and recommending. I wanted to make sure I completely understood what I was doing before I started, as I didn’t know anyone else who was Matched Betting that I could ask for advice.



How much did I start with?

I started with about £40 to do my first sign up offer, but as the money came in from my Christmas temp job, I began investing more money into the offers. Within a couple of weeks, I was making more money sat in a café on my hour-long lunch break Matched Betting than I was making from 8 hours that day working on the phones in a customer service job. My problem at the time was that I was spending the money I made Matched Betting, so I never really managed to build my balance up! However, after a few months, I’d saved enough to go travelling again. 

Fast forward to mid 2017 and I’d been Matched Betting on and off since starting, whenever I needed a cash injection, whilst doing online English teaching at the same time.  Then when Anthea and I decided we were going to go travelling to Mexico in early 2018 I started again in earnest. I wanted to save a minimum of 5k before we left, so that I had that money there when we landed in Mexico.

I decided to really focus on the Matched Betting, as there were plenty of offers each day that I wasn’t taking advantage of, which was just potential profit going to waste. I cut down my online teaching hours so that my earnings from that covered my bills and essentials, and then put all my time and effort into Matched Betting. I learnt how to do the offers I hadn’t attempted yet, and I scheduled my days around the frequent, higher earning offers. In short, I treated it like a job and it paid me back in kind. I hit my target of £5k in just under 6 months.

So what is Matched Betting?

At its most simple, Matched Betting is a system using bookmaker incentives to bet on both outcomes of a wager. It’s a betting technique that enables you to guarantee a profit from the free bets and incentives that bookies offer when you sign up. It requires no previous knowledge of sports, or betting, and is essentially just matching numbers – using the tools and calculators provided once you have signed up. I use a company called Profit Accumulator, who for a small monthly subscription,  provide the following assistance;

  • Full training modules, with both written and video instructions explaining each concept of Matched Betting.
  • Regularly updated offers page, with the offers broken down into specific categories such as ‘Sports book Sign-Ups’ and ‘Reloads’
  • A large ‘Offers Team’ – members of staff dedicated to finding potential profit opportunities and teaching users how to do them.
  • Step-by-step written, and occasional video, instructions on exactly how to complete each offer
  • A large, very active forum where every offer is discussed and there is always support on hand when required.
  • Multiple advanced calculators (including usage guides) and tools such as Odds-matcher and Acca-Catcher included in the subscription.
  • Full Customer Support, 7 days a week, via phone, email, forum, and Facebook Messenger

Whenever I’ve had a problem with anything, Profit Accumulator (PA) have been excellent at getting me up and running again. There are other companies out there, but PA are definitely one of the most comprehensive and well-run in my experience.

No doubt you still have more questions! There are a few questions that come up time and time again, and I’ve answered the most frequently asked ones on my website,, but I’ll cover some of the top questions here too:


What is Matched Betting?

Matched Betting is a system using bookmaker incentives to bet on both outcomes of a wager. It is a betting technique that enables individuals to guarantee a profit from the free bets and incentives on offer. It requires no previous knowledge of sports, or betting, and is essentially just matching numbers – using the tools and calculators provided once you have signed up.


Is Matched Betting just gambling?


Due to the word ‘betting’ being in the title, people are often immediately put off. Matched Betting is basically just Maths, and at its most simple, we are covering every outcome on an event so that we are guaranteed profit using the money that bookmakers give us (the free bets). We aren’t interested in whether ‘Team A’ wins or loses, because whatever the outcome we can, and usually will, profit.


Is it really risk-free?

Yes, but this is not accounting for human error. The golden rule is not to rush. Always double check your work and ensure you’re typing in the correct numbers and clicking the correct boxes. Slow down, double check your numbers (just like at school), and then Matched Betting is as close to risk free as possible. If you’re not sure about something then ask! This is why I set up my Facebook group, to give people a safe place to learn and ask questions.


Are Matched Betting profits taxable?

Gambling in the UK is currently tax-free and because matched betting is classed as gambling winnings, there is no need to declare any extra income you make from matched betting. There are no annual self-assessments to complete and no tax to pay.

“The fact that a taxpayer has a system by which they place their bets, or that they are sufficiently successful to earn a living by gambling does not make their activities a trade.”

For more information, you can read here what HMRC themselves have to say about it all.


Is Matched Betting legal?

Yes, although I appreciate it does sound too good to be true! Matched Betting is rapidly growing, and has featured in major news outlets, such as the Telegraph; in the Telegraph article there is even a quote demonstrating how the bookies themselves are aware it’s happening. A spokesperson from William Hill, says the industry does not have a problem with matched betting. “There’s no illegal element,” he says. “It’s a free bet and you can do what you like.”


How do I start Matched Betting?

To get started you don’t need to know anything about betting, or sport for that matter! Anyone can learn how to do Matched Betting and make some money. If you’d like to give it a go, use this link to sign up to Profit Accumulator and receive FREE access to the first two offers – worth around £35. You’ll then have access to a wealth of information including training videos, detailed offer write-ups, and an active forum all designed to help you increase your profit.

Last of all, check out my website, and you can also join my private Facebook group in which I provide advice, offer guides, and answer questions from members as well as making members aware of the best offers to take advantage of.

Whether you’re looking to make some extra money to be able to travel, like me, or just fancy a little side income, Matched Betting is a great way to generate cash. I hope I’ve inspired you to give it a go and if you have any questions just leave a comment below. 


This post contains affiliate links which just means if you click the link, we receive a small commission.  It doesn’t  change how much you pay and it means we can afford to keep this blog running and buy the occasional cup of coffee for Steve.


Singapore: Our (jet lagged) first impressions

Singapore: Our (jet lagged) first impressions

Having never been to Asia before, I honestly had no idea what I’d be walking into when planning our travels.

Our previous few months in Mexico got us comfortable getting around in Spanish and personally I was a bit nervous about being in a place where I didn’t know any of the local language.  Unsure of how I would feel in a completely different culture to anything I’ve experienced before, Singapore was planned as ‘soft’ introduction for us; having experienced it now first hand, I would say that Singapore feels different to anything else I’ve seen before, or after.

I didn’t really know anything about Singapore before visiting, and a brief glance in to the history makes for astonishing reading. It is renowned for transitioning from a third world country to a first world country in one generation, and various sources have deemed it the ‘Switzerland of Asia’ – due to its neutrality on international and regional issues. As well as this, it also topped the list in the Law and Order Index. Research firm Gallup says 94% of adults here feel safe walking alone at night, compared with the global average of 68%. The list goes on, but what should you expect if you are arriving for the first time in this city of 63 islands?

Steve eating ice cream in Singapore

Food in Singapore:

I’m going to start with one of my favourite aspects of Singapore, which is the food (obviously)! The variety of cultures within Singapore brings along with it an abundance of foods that I have no idea how to pronounce or what they include. Food and drink can be expensive, but if you take the time to do some research and a little exploring, then you can cut your food bill considerably.

Hawker centres filled with small food stalls are legion in the city and we went to one of the most famous, the Maxwell Centre in Chinatown, to try out the renowned chicken rice stall Tian Tian. The stall has been in business for over 30 years, and was even awarded a Bib Gourmand in the inaugural Michelin Guide Singapore in 2016. Celebrities such as Anthony Bourdain have visited and raved about the chicken rice here, and the result is often long queues as people flock to see what the fuss is all about.

queuing at Tian Tian Chicken rice stall in Singapore

We got lucky, and only had to wait behind one other person before managing to order our food which cost S$3.50 (just under £2) for one medium sized portion of, you guessed it, chicken and rice. It might sound (and look) simple but it was cooked to perfection and tasted incredible. Don’t ignore the other stalls in the centre though as there are a plethora of asian food options available. If you want to visit, be aware that the stores start closing around 5-6pm, as they mainly cater to the local workers instead of the late evening tourists.

As you’d expect, there are some flavours and foods that we just don’t get back in the UK. I must admit that ‘salted egg yolk’ gelato and chilli-crab cookies just don’t quite appeal to me when jet lagged and tired, so for snacks I stuck with what was familiar. If you’re wanting to experience other local delicacies and dishes, there is no shortage of new and exciting foods available to those who’ve never experienced much Asian foods, such as myself.

Street view of China Town, Singapore


Singapore Culture: 

As evidenced by the number of languages spoken within this tiny landscape, Singapore has an extremely rich and diverse culture, with numerous influences from the west and the east. Singapore was inspiring to us in many ways, and one of these was that it really focused on promoting the education of ‘what makes different’, and learning to be tolerant of other beliefs and ideas.

Cultural awareness sign in Singapore

One interesting caveat to this is that the locals can sometimes come across as a little bit ‘cold’. I’m unsure whether this was more noticeable having recently come from a country with a warm, embracing culture such as Mexico, but customer service can seem very abrupt.

Countless times I would be waiting to speak to a staff member and they would be playing on their phone, look up without a smile, answer the question, and then immediately go back to their phone. Sometimes they wouldn’t even have taken their eyes off the screen! I was a bit taken aback at first as most workers in the UK aren’t even allowed to keep their phone in their pocket. It’s not them being rude (as far as I know), it’s just one of those cultural differences that you don’t think about until you arrive. 


Singapore Language:

If you’re able to read this blog post then you’ll have no problems in the ‘lion-city’ of Singapore. The interesting thing for us was that at times we almost forgot we were out of England, as all the announcements are in British English and they drive on the left too. Obviously, as a previous colony of Britain this shouldn’t be a surprise, but it feels very comfortable when every single sign is in English primarily.

Fun fact: Singapore has FOUR recognised languages – English, Chinese, Malay (also spoken in Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia), and Tamil (also spoken in India and Sri Lanka). In 2009, there were over 20 languages identified as being spoken in Singapore! There is also a version of English, known as Singlish. As you might guess from the name, this is predominantly English with a Singapore twist to it; speakers of Singlish will usually end their sentence with a distinctive exclamation, and the three most common are ah, lah, ley and what – this can admittedly cause a little bit of confusion when listening to it spoken.

View across the river of Clarke Quay Singapore


Getting Around in Singapore:

The MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) underground train in Singapore is a delight to ride, and makes it so easy to get around the city. If you’re planning on doing a few trips on the MRT, it’s worth buying an EZ travel card from a 7-11 or similar style store, as it reduces the cost of transport by half, compared to single tickets. There are also tourist day passes available but since we were staying for four days it worked out cheapest to get the travel card.

The city is well covered by the MRT and there are further expansions planned for routes that will join up a couple of lines to make it even easier once they merge, but you can get everywhere with ease. There’s a line that connects the city to the airport too, although we didn’t use this when we arrived. After a 13 hour budget flight from London with Norwegian Air, we could barely even speak when we landed, much less navigate an unfamiliar city and so opted for a taxi to take us straight to our hostel (S$30 or roughly £17). On the way back we did use the MRT and with the travel card it only cost us S$2.50 to get from China Town to the world renowned Changi airport.

As of 2018, Grab bought out Uber in Asia, but it works the same. Just download the app before you arrive and you’re good to go. The MRT really is the best and cheapest way to get around though, and the routes are easy to navigate.

Gardens by the Bay Singapore

Accommodation in Singapore:

Where should you stay in Singapore? Or maybe this section should be called where not to stay! Let’s get one thing clear, Singapore is expensive. Like, you really don’t get much for your money and as budget travellers, this makes things a bit of an adventure. For the first time since we started our travels, we weren’t happy with where we were staying. Ouch.

On a bit of a whim, Anthea had booked us into the trendy looking Hotel Galaxy Pods in China Town. With it’s great location and decent reviews, at £85 a night for a plastic double ‘pod’ we were already way over our preferred accommodation budget.

Pod hotel in Singapore

What we hadn’t factored in was just how rubbish we’d be feeling after the long flight and the jet lag, and how much living in a tiny box with no privacy and a shared bathroom would challenge us. We’d paid for the previous night so we could check in at 8am after our early flight arrival. Once we’d slept for a few hours and tried the tiny shower/loo cubicles in the shared bathroom (what is it with Asian showers being over the toilets?) I decided that we couldn’t stay here for the entire four days and we booked into a hotel down the road, with a proper bed and our own bathroom.

Luxury! Or at least it felt like it until the bar opposite the hotel started playing loud music. Every night. Until 2am. Luckily because of our jet lag we were wide awake till 5am anyway, so the music didn’t bother us that much. Other than that the Butternut Tree Hotel was lovely and we enjoyed staying there.

There are numerous accommodation options in Singapore at various budget levels. We definitely can recommend staying in Chinatown due to it’s proximity to many of the main attractions.

We use when searching for hotels. You can save 10% using our link 🙂


Steve outside the Buddha Tooth temple in Singapore

What to See in Singapore:

We can’t exactly give too much info on what you should and shouldn’t miss, as we really struggled with our jet lag and so didn’t get to do everything that we had planned.

We did spend a day exploring the incredible Gardens by the Bay, including the Cloud Forest which holds the world’s largest indoor waterfall, at 35 metres. Take the time to visit the area, and you can get a great view of the coastal area, including the Gardens, from the top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel. There is an observation deck you can pay to go in, but instead spend a couple of extra dollars to visit the rooftop restaurant, buy a cocktail, then admire the view and you can even watch the light show that happens at 19:45 and 20:45. 

Marina Bay Sands hotel view from the Super Tree Grove, Singapore

There’s plenty to see in China Town too, as I already mentioned, with food stands and shops which come alive at night and the impressive ‘Buddha Tooth Temple.’ 

Head over to Little India and check out the Mustafa Mall which stays open 24 hours and is jam packed with merchandise and food, or the Arab section with it’s Mosque and adjoining streets packs with boutiques and street art. Perfect for Insta lovers!

Street art in Singapore

If there’s one religion that reigns supreme in Singapore it’s shopping. Malls are everywhere and the air conditioning offers a welcome respite from the oppressive humidity outside.

There are plenty of other things to keep you busy in this fantastic city, including a night safari, botanical gardens and Universal Studios.  You can see more of what Singapore has to offer at

Although we were only in Singapore for four days, and admittedly not at 100% for those days, the city made a big impression on us and we are looking forward to revisiting it again with a bit more energy!

The BEST way to get from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido

The BEST way to get from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido

Getting from Oaxaca City to the popular beach town of Puerto Escondido, Mexico is surprisingly difficult, considering it’s only around 140 miles. This is due to the dense jungle clad mountains lying between the two, meaning that you either need to take an 11 hour coach ride around the mountains, a bumpy 6 hour minibus through the mountains, or, as we did, opt for an adventurous 30 minute flight over them.

A quick Google search brought up a couple of old blog posts from travellers who had tracked down and flown with the elusive AeroVega. Since there really wasn’t a huge amount of information around the flying to Puerto Escondido option when we were researching how to get there, we decided to write this blog post to help anyone else who may be facing the same dilemma we did. 

Flying from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido (or vice-versa) is the most expensive choice but it’s also the fastest, arguably the most comfortable and definately the most adventurous. If you’re on a budget, have lots of time or like overnight buses then you should absolutely take the road option. If like us, you prefer to spend more time in your destination and like a bit of adventure, read on!

There are actually a couple of options for flights from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido. The first is the small airline ‘Aero Tucan’ who operate daily flights.

The second is the option we took; ‘AeroVega’

I never managed to find a website but eventually I tracked down an email address for Señor Vega who is the pilot, CEO, baggage handler and every other role you can think of. I emailed him with our dates and then waited patiently for a reply. We’d set our minds on flying we were worried that he might be booked up or unavailable but we needn’t have feared, a few days later I received the short reply that yes, 2 persons to PE, 2000 pesos each. Excitedly I replied to confirm details and several days later, again received a brief reply saying to meet at 8.45am in the ‘general aviation’ building (next to the main terminal). Nothing resembling a ticket was provided. Just the email.

Oaxaca airport 'general aviation' building

Reassured from reading the experiences of others that this informality is totally normal, we arrived at the airport in good time, and waited. There was no security, no X-rays, no desk. We just sat in a small waiting area and waited. Eventually Señor Vega turned up around 9.30am and we were asked to write our names down on a piece of paper. He took our backpacks off us and after another 15 mins we walked out onto the tarmac and were lead to our single propeller, 4 seater plane.

inside the plane to Puerto Escondido

Which looked like something that had seen better days! I laughingly tried to reassure a slightly panicked looking Steve that although it was about the same size as the 1985 Fiat Panda I used to drive, it was undoubtedly a ‘good runner’ that had made the trip many times. Apart from the four seats, there was a small space in the back where our backpacks were stored and that was it. 

back of the plane with aero Vega

Steve and I sat in the two back seats while another passenger had the privilege of sitting in the co pilots seat next to Sen Vega. As the engine started and we bounced along towards the runway, we looked at each other and wondered if this was the end…. 

And then we were up!

The tiny plane felt every breath of wind and turbulence as we went through the clouds but the views over the jungle mountains were spectacular. It’s not often that you get to feel like a bird soaring in the azure blue sky. The lack of cabin pressurisation unfortunately meant that my ears hurt like a MF for the last part of the flight but it was all over pretty quickly.

views from the plane flying from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido

Finally we could see the coast, and then the runway of the small Puerto Escondido airport coming into view. Trusting that Señor Vega, having made this trip a few thousand times, knew what he was doing, we nevertheless found the steep angle that he took to land rather disconcerting. We needn’t have worried, he landed the tiny plane like a dragonfly on a leaf.

After we ‘exited’ the plane and removed our bags from the back we all walked towards the airport building together. We didn’t even have to go inside! Just handed over the $4000 pesos in cash and were let out through a gate at the side of the building which led straight to the entrance. From there we were able to find a taxi to take us to our accommodation. Easy as pie.

I hope this helps anyone who is trying to work out their options for getting from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido. Would you have done as we did and taken the flight? Or do you prefer to take the longer, cheaper route?


Aero Vega

Cost = $2000 MEX per person (single trip) cash on arrival

Journey time = 35 minutes

Adventure points = 100

Iceland – An easy 4 day itinerary for first timers

Iceland – An easy 4 day itinerary for first timers

Iceland, the land of Fire and Ice

Plus waterfalls, volcanoes and more Game of Thrones settings than you can shake an ice dragon at.

Whilst this beautiful country has exploded in popularity as a tourist destination in the past few years, it still remains off the radar for many travellers and holiday makers, which makes now the perfect time to discover this unspoilt gem.

Highly deserving of it’s bucket list status, we chose Iceland as the perfect place for a short stay in between our time in Mexico and Asia, to experience something totally different and because, well, we’d always wanted to go. Usually we like to spend as long as possible in a country to fully immerse ourselves but Iceland actually lends itself nicely to short visits. While we can’t wait to go back and see more, four days allowed us to see everything we wanted without being too full on. Plus, Iceland is definitely NOT a budget destination, with food, drink and accommodation particularly pricey.

Icelandic horses are then cutest!

 Iceland is a horse lovers paradise!

However, it can all seem a bit overwhelming when you first start to investigate a trip to Iceland.

When to go, how much should you expect to pay and what’s the best way to get around are all questions we had when we started planning too. Plus many more!

The itinerary we ended up doing worked a treat so we wanted to share it as a suggestion for how to spend a really good four days in Iceland. As first timers, we managed to enjoy all the main attractions in the south without killing ourselves trying to stuff in too much. Next time we go (and there will definitely be a next time) we’ll look for more off the beaten track places to see, but for our first time, sticking to the main tourist sights was perfect.

This guide is designed to help you plan your first trip to Iceland by sharing how we did it and some of the costs. Of course you can adapt and switch things up to suit your own needs but hopefully you will find it helpful, at least as a starting point. We researched hard and read many articles and blog posts before going to ensure that our time in Iceland would be as awesome as possible. It’s thanks to all the people who took the time to write about their experiences that we were able to plan the perfect itinerary and had the most amazing time. We hope that this guide might do the same for you, inspire you to go to Iceland too and help with planning your perfect trip.


Travel Tip: Book in Advance.

Because of it’s popularity, demand outstrips supply for accommodation in Iceland. Which means high prices and not a huge amount of choice (especially if you’re on a budget). Even when we booked 6 months in advance many places were already sold out on Don’t leave this one till the last minute – plan ahead

BONUS – Use this link for you’ll receive 10% back. You’re welcome.



You can stay on a goat farm in Iceland

Stay on a goat farm at the Skálatjörn Guesthouse. We’re not ‘kidding.’


When is the best time of the year to visit Iceland?


We went in mid September which is considered shoulder season. It’s a great time to go as there are less tourists after the peak summer months, the weather is still fine and it’s the start of Northern Lights season, yay!

We were really lucky with the weather as we had sunshine every day, temperatures around 10°C that dropped to just above freezing at night. We didn’t have to contend with any rain or icy roads, nor did we experience any of the high winds that can assail the island. Be aware that the weather can be highly changeable and plan accordingly. 

Iceland black sand beach in the sun

Beach days are still possible in September, although swimming is optional.


Another consideration when choosing time of year to visit are the daylight hours. In September it’s dark by 9.30pm and light at 7.30am so you get lots of daylight hours for exploring but it’s also dark when you want to sleep. If you go in high summer there are only a couple of hours of darkness, which can make sleep difficult for some people. Similarly in mid winter, darkness prevails which limits your activities.


Getting to Iceland


Several budget airlines now offer routes from the UK to Iceland. It’s an easy, direct, three hour flight and the time difference is only 1 hour, so there’s no jet lag to factor in. We flew with Wizz air from Luton airport to Keflavik and paid around £100 each, return.

We love budget airlines because you can choose what extras you want to pay for and what to leave off. Just be careful to read the baggage policy! We opted to just take hand luggage as we prefer to travel light and save pennies. Wizz Air only allows you to take one piece of hand luggage each onto the plane, unless you pay for a Priority ticket ie no handbag/laptop bag. We got around this by taking one small day bag, which we just stuffed into one of the main carry on bags whist boarding, then got it out on the plane.

Always check how much extras will cost you when comparing flight prices. We only took hand luggage, our own snacks and refillable water bottles but did pay for seats together.

It's easy to fly to Iceland from the UK

Do you prefer the window or aisle seat?



What’s the best way to get around in Iceland?


There are no buses or trains to help you get around Iceland and taxi’s are very expensive. There are plenty of tours that you can book on to see the main sights but we found the best way to experience Iceland was to hire a car and drive.  Without doubt, hiring a car is the best option for getting around because you can set your own pace, stop where you want and save money on tours or taxi’s.

Trust me, the landscape changes around every corner which means you’ll want to stop and get out A LOT.

Another cool way to get around is to hire a camper van but we prefer to have a proper bed to sleep in and also need wifi to work.

hiring a car in Iceland is the best way to get around

Hiring a car allowed us to discover some unexpected gems


We hired a small, 1.2l automatic which was fantastic for our trip as we weren’t wanting to go off road and we stayed around the warmer south coast. If you go during the winter or want to go up into the mountains you would be better off with a 4x4 and snow tyres. Make sure you have adequate insurance as potential damage from sand, ash or gravel are real possibilities. It’s also not uncommon for strong winds to gust and cause damage to doors when getting in and out.


Iceland roads are not very busy

 Highway 1. Traffic really isn’t an issue in Iceland


Don’t let that put you off however. Just make sure you have the right vehicle for the type of trip you’re doing and you read all the fine print for what you’re covered for and take out extra cover if necessary. We didn’t experience any issues at all on our trip and once I got used to driving on the wrong side of the road (Icelanders drive on the right hand side, the UK on the left!) it was really easy. The roads are well maintained and largely empty.

Indeed, outside of Reykjavik there is barely any traffic, just miles and miles of mostly empty roads.


Travel Tip: Use SkyScanner to compare car hire rates.

Not only useful for comparing flights, SkyScanner also does a handy car hire comparison. We ended up booking with Avis as they gave us the best deal and we didn’t have any problems. Always take pics or video of the car when you pick it up and make sure you check the damage on the report matches the car and report it if it doesn’t.

We paid £205 for a 1.2 litre automatic VW Polo for four days on a ‘full to full’ petrol policy. We only needed to fill up once and petrol prices were comparable to the UK, around £50 for 3/4 of a tank.



What are the main attractions to see in Iceland?


Here is a map of our Iceland itinerary. Click on it to view in Google and see each of the tourist spots, where we stayed and the routes we took each day. As I said at the start, as Iceland ‘first-timers’ we wanted to see the main tourist attractions so we planned our itinerary around the Golden Circle and the south coast. We weren’t disappointed with anything we saw, even with our expectations high, Iceland still blew us away. 





Our 4 day Iceland Itinerary


Below is a break-down of our 4 day Iceland itinerary to help you plan your own trip:


Day 1: Arrival and Blue Lagoon

Arrived at 9am at Keflavik International Airport

Collected hire car, drove to supermarket and stopped for lunch at a cafe near the airport.

25 min drive to The Blue Lagoon for the rest of the afternoon

Short drive to Grindavík and overnight stay at Anita’s Guest House


Day 2: The Golden Circle

Set off early along the coast road and join the Golden Circle route, stopping along the way to look at horses and views

Thringvellir National Park

Geysir hot springs area

Gulfoss Waterfall

Drive back south towards the coast to our accomodation for the next two nights, Skálatjörn Guesthouse goat farm

Keep a look out for the northern lights!


Day 3: The South coast and Vik

Head east along the south coast towards the town of Vik

Urrioafoss waterfall

Skogafoss waterfall

Arrive at Vik for lunch – we ate at Sudur Vik and can highly recommend!

Wander around the town then drive back stopping at Reynisfjara black sand beach

Drive back towards our guest house, stopping at Seljandsfoss waterfall as the last stop of the day. We decided to do this one last because you will get soaking wet going behind the waterfall!


Day 4: Horse Riding

Reluctantly leave our guest house and the gorgeous goats

Head north back towards Reykiavik

Private horse riding tour at Viking Horses just outside Reykiavik.

Head to our final night’s accomodation Maxhouse Reykjavik

(We had planned to check out Reykjavik on our last night but were too tired after the amazing horse riding)


Day 5: Depart

Early check out and drive the 40 mins back to the airport. Return the hire car and fly back to the UK



Travel Tip: Take snacks

– and tea bags, a thermos flask and reusable water bottles are all a great idea for the road. All the main tourist spots have cafe’s but they are not cheap, think £5 for a small cup of tea or coffee. We went to a supermarket on our first day and made packed lunches most days.



So what exactly are all these hard to pronounce places we keep refering to?


The Golden Circle

The ‘Golden Circle’ as the name suggests, is a 300km popular circular route that is easily accessed from Reykjavik and can be done comfortably in a day. Along this route you find three of the top tourist attractions within close proximity to each other; Thingvellar National park, Geysir and Gulfoss waterfall.


Thingvellir (Þingvellir) National Park

Designated a World Heritage Site since 2004, Thingvellir is celebrated for being the historic seat of Iceland’s parliament from Viking times until 1794. The park is also situated in the inter-continental rift between the Europe and North America tectonic plates. Here you can literally stand between two continents, one of the only places in the world it’s possible to do so.

When you arrive at the visitor centre it’s necessary to pay for the car park (one of the very few places where you have to pay.) It costs about £5 and you can pay easily by card using the touch screens in the toilet building. If you want to go in the exhibition in the Centre you’ll have to pay for a ticket, otherwise entry around the site is free.

It’s worth pointing out that, as everywhere in Iceland, snacks and drinks in the cafe are expensive; £5 for a small cup of tea/coffe for example. We made our own packed lunches and took flasks of hot drinks and reusable water bottles, which you can fill from the tap. It pays to be organised and plan ahead in Iceland, otherwise you can end up spending a lot of money.

We didn’t take any cash with us and had no problems as everywhere accepted card payments.

Thingvellir National Park

Culturally and geographically significant Thingvellir



Geysir Geothermal Area

About 40 mins further on from Thingvellir is the geothermic hot springs area where you can see boiling mud pits and water erupting out of the earth. The generic word ‘geysur,’ meaning an erupting hot spring, actually derives from Geysir as the one in Iceland was the first to be recorded. Geysir itself has been mostly dormant for many years, leaving the Strokkur geysur as the main attraction, erupting reliably every 10 minutes or so. 

There is a large visitor centre at the site with lots of free parking, a big gift shop, restaurants and toilets.

geysir erupting in Iceland

Strokkur geyser putting on a show


Gulfoss Waterfall

Gullfoss (meaning golden waterfall) is one of the iconic waterfalls of Iceland and a vision of unspoiled nature at it’s finest. Fed by the Hvítá (White) river which gushes down from Iceland´s second biggest glacier, water plummets down in two stages into a rugged canyon some 70 metres high.

There are walkways that allow you to get very close to the waterfall and there are many great spots to photograph it from. In the winter these paths are closed when the weather is bad but in September we had no issues.

Gulfoss waterfall, part of our easy 4 day itinerary in Iceland

 Gulfoss waterfall. Worth the drive

Seljelandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls

Two more awe-inspiring waterfalls to see along the south coast, which fit in perfectly on the way to the town of Vik, are Seljelandsfoss and Skogafoss. While there were plenty of other tourists around when we visited (which was at peak time through the middle of the day) it never felt overcrowded and we still managed to get good pics.

Mighty Skogafoss often has the added bonus of a rainbow to add to it’s appeal and at Seljelandsfoss you can climb up behind the waterfall to gain an entirely new perspective. Both are well worth visiting and to give you an idea, we probably spent an hour or so at each.


Skogafoss in Iceland

Skogafoss waterfall, complete with rainbow and tourists



The most southerly point in Iceland is the pretty town of Vik and the famous black sand beach and rock formations at Reynisfjara. Easily accessed from Highway 1, if we had more time to explore further around the coast, we would have potentially stayed in Vik. The town itself is quiet and quaint and we enjoyed a lovely lunch at a cute restaurant Sudur Vik.

There were quite a lot of tourists at the beach when we arrived but considering it was mid afternoon, it wasn’t too bad and the beach is pretty vast. Watch out for the ‘sneaker’ waves that come up higher than expected and can knock you off your feet!


black sand beach, Iceland

The curious rock formations and black sand at Reynisfjara beach


Horse Riding tour

On our last day we headed back towards Reyjavik but rather than explore the city, we went on a horse riding tour in the countryside just outside. The city does have some interesting things to see and most likely we’ll do this next time but we were more interested in seeing Iceland’s natural splendours than it’s urban sprawl.

Horses are everywhere in Iceland. Indeed, they are the only breed of horse permitted on the island and Icelanders are fiercely proud of them. Seeing the countryside from horseback was a truly special experience and probably the highlight of our whole trip. If you’re unsure whether to do this or not, don’t hesitate!

800 year old red lava field from horseback


There are many places where you can book a horse riding tour in Iceland. I researched carefully and ended up booking with Viking Horses because of their high rating, and because they offered the option of a private tour. Since Steve had never ridden before safety was especially important and we wanted to ride at a pace he felt comfortable with.

All the equipment was provided and we were given time at the start to allow us to get to know our horses and have a practice ride in the paddock before setting off. The three hour ride saw us go  through forests, lupins meadows and accross red lava rock fields. We even tried the tölt, which is a special kind of comfy trot. Afterwards we feasted on a hearty meal of lamb soup and Skyr (Icelandic yoghurt).

We had an exceptional time with Viking Horses and whilst they weren’t the cheapest, the experience was priceless.


The best way to experience Iceland was by horse

The best way to experience Iceland (even if you’ve never ridden)


The Blue Lagoon

No trip to Iceland would be complete without visiting the Blue Lagoon spa; Iceland’s premier tourist attraction. Roughly 80% of all tourists to Iceland go to the Blue Lagoon, a staggering statistic. Much is made in the media and by bloggers over whether it’s worth forking out the continually rising entrance fee for, and yet people still flock in their thousands to relax in the hot, milky blue waters.

You can read our take on whether the Blue Lagoon is worth a visit or not here

(spoiler alert – YES!)


relaxing at the Blue Lagoon

 The Blue Lagoon. Why wouldn’t you?



So there you have it. Our full four day Iceland itinerary broken down for you to help plan your own perfect trip. I hope we’ve provided a little inspiration and guidence for you to go and enjoy this incredible country. As always, if you have any questions, just shoot us a comment below or get in touch on our Facebook or Instagram pages.

Happy Travels!

Iceland’s Blue Lagoon – is it worth it?

Iceland’s Blue Lagoon – is it worth it?

Honestly, I was really worried about visiting Iceland’s Blue Lagoon. Okay, so it’s one of the 25 Wonders of the World and yes, it’s the premier tourist attraction on the island, is the top of many people’s wanderlust wish-list and hugely Insta-famous. 

But it also attracts a lot of criticism for being over hyped, cliched and expensive. So I had mixed feelings when I booked the tickets online. Could it possibly live up to expectations? Would it be worth the hefty £140 price tag for two basic entrance passes? Yes, that’s £70 EACH, essentially just to get in.

 relaxing at the Blue Lagoon


Well since you’re reading this and are therefore most likely interested in visiting the Blue Lagoon, you’ll be pleased to hear that I needn’t have worried. As soon as we immersed ourselves in the heavenly 38 °C/ 100°F milky blue water, I just felt my cares drain away. It was magical! 

What to expect when you visit the Blue Lagoon


Because it’s so popular and busy all year round, you need to book online in advance in order to visit the Blue Lagoon. Once you arrive and show your e-ticket, you are given an electronic wrist band which allows you to access a locker in the changing area and also to buy any food or drinks whilst you’re there. So no need to mess around with money or risk losing locker keys, which is great. You’ll also get given a towel. Robes and slippers are available to rent as extras, but honestly I don’t think they were worth it for the price.

view from the cafe over the Blue Lagoon

Changing areas at the Blue Lagoon

Once you’re through to the changing area (there are separate male and female locker rooms) you are required to shower without your bathing suit on before you go into the lagoon. The logistics of this are a little bit fiddly, depending on how shy you are. There is one changing cubicle with a door and a shower with a door, otherwise it’s all very communal if you pay for the basic ‘comfort’ ticket, as we did. The more expensive ticket options provide you with your own changing area and entrance to the lagoon with presumably fewer other people around.

What about your hair?

It’s also strongly recommended that you use the conditioner provided in the shower, apply it to your hair and leave it in, before you enter the lagoon. The highly mineralised water can make hair rather crispy so the conditioner offers some protection. I followed this advice and had no problems with my hair after at all (although I wore it up and out of the water for the most part). If you are worried or have sensitive hair then either wear a hat or just keep your head above the water. Worth knowing that there is also a hair dryer just outside the changing room,  if you want to use it after your visit.

Blue Lagoon Iceland entrance to the water

After you’ve showered and put on your bathing suit, I’m not going to lie, it’s an uncomfortable walk out into the cold air and quickly into the lagoon. But the feeling of being enveloped by the heavenly, hot blue water after the cold air is something truly special!

Despite many visitors being there at the same time, the lagoon is so huge, often with mist above it so that it’s easy to find a quiet spot away from the crowds and feel like you have some space. We enjoyed swimming around the whole area, feeling the changes in water temperature and just floating our cares away. 

Having fun in the Blue Lagoon, Iceland

The basic ticket also includes one complimentary drink which you can get from the swim up bar. No need to leave the water at all! The choices are soft drinks, fruit smoothies, cider or a selection of wine and prosecco. Naturally we went for the prosecco. If you want to order any more drinks you just ‘swipe’ your wristband and you pay when you leave. There is a drinking water fountain in the lagoon too so you can stay hydrated too. For food there’s a cafe and a fancy restaurant, if you really want to splash out.


How long can you stay at the Blue Lagoon for?

You book an arrival time when you buy your online ticket so you can stay for as long as you like at the lagoon.  We found that after a couple of hours we were turning into prunes so got out for a bit. You can get in and out as much as you want, or as much as you can stand to, depending on the air temps! There are pegs for towels (or robes) near the entrance and if you misplace yours the staff are on hand to replace it.

No filter travels wearing our silica mud masks at the Blue Lagoon

There’s a waterfall which is fun to stand under and you can help yourself to the complementary silica mud to use on your face. It’s said to be rejuvenating and beneficial to skin if applied for 7-10 minutes. It certainly felt nice and we had lots of fun smearing it on and laughing at how daft we looked. Obviously the Blue Lagoon is insta-heaven so make sure you take a waterproof phone case to get those envy inducing shots! I took my GoPro, which is waterproof, but I wasn’t prepared to test it actually in the water. 


Fun Facts about the Blue Lagoon:


The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal pool, spa and hotel on an 800 year old lava field in the Southwest of Iceland

The 6 million litres of geothermal sea water is totally replenished every 40 hours

The Blue Lagoon is not natural, it’s basically a run off from the geothermal power plant next door

The temperature of the water is around 38°C/100°F – perfect for relaxing in and even when the air temps are freezing, keeps you surprisingly warm.

Water comes from 6.500 ft/1981 metres below ground where the temperature is a scorching 240°C/464°F

You don’t need shoes in the Blue Lagoon, the floor is smooth rock and quite pleasant to walk on

It’s possible to get a reservation for an in water massage, if you book in advance. There’s a separate roped off area next to the main pool for treatments


Getting to the Blue Lagoon

Getting to the Blue Lagoon is really easy since it’s only a 25 minute drive away from Keflavik International Airport. For that reason many people go on the first or last day of their stay in Iceland. We arrived early in the morning from London and went straight there for the rest of the day. It was a great way to wash away the stress of an early morning flight! It’s possible to stay at the Blue Lagoon Hotel itself but we stayed 10 mins away in Grindavik at the lovely Anita’s Guest House, for a fraction of the price via

You can get 10% off at using our referral link here 

Blue Lagoon


I hope this blog post has answered some of the questions you might have had about visiting the Blue Lagoon. Okay, so the locals don’t go there as it really is just for the tourists. Icelanders prefer to use the much cheaper, naturally occurring hot springs that are all over the island. But even so, for us first time geothermal pool users wondering is the Blue Lagoon worth it, the answer is a resounding YES!

Do you have any questions about the Blue Lagoon? Do you agree with us or do you think it’s over-rated? We’d love to hear what you think, tell us in the comments…

If you want to read more about our Iceland trip, including the route we took, check out our blog post Iceland – an easy 4 day itinerary for first timers

How to spend 5 days in Guanajuato

How to spend 5 days in Guanajuato

Ah Guanajuato. Charming, quaint and rather hard on the legs! 

On our recent trip to Mexico we spent 5 days in this picturesque, colonial city in the heart of the country. Overall we loved it but it wasn’t all roses and unicorns. In this guide we’ll share the things we did and what we loved about Guanajuato, plus the stuff we didn’t love quite so much, in case you ever decide to visit. Which you absolutely should.

We went during June and the weather was, well, perfect. The 6600ft altitude meant that whilst the days were hot and sunny it wasn’t humid, and the night temperatures were cool enough to sleep without air con. Heaven. Having come from the unrelentingly steamy west coast we were very grateful for the respite.

Where to stay in Guanajuato

We stayed in a private room at Hostel Casa De Dante, partly because it came highly rated and partly because we were ready to meet some other travellers. We try and do that every now and again so we get to speak with other people and don’t and up killing each other; one of the challenges of couple travel when you live in each others pockets. 

Overall it was pretty good. Our room was comfy enough and the staff were helpful and friendly. The breakfast was the best we’ve had in any hostel anywhere so far in Mexico with fresh juice, fruit and a hot dish each morning. We even arrived back one day to find a Union Jack flag on our balcony, which was a cute surprise.

Our hostel balcony in Guanajuato, decorated with a Union Jack flag to help us feel at home?

Can you guess which room was ours?


What we weren’t quite prepared for was the location. Although clearly stated upon booking that ‘the property is located on the top of a hill and is accessed by a long, steep stairway of 150 steps’ we really weren’t prepared for what that actually mean’t. Because of the way the city lies within the mountains, the steps were VERY steep, uneven and 150 felt like a lot more than it sounds. At the high altitude and carrying backpacks, it was tough!

the steep steps to reach our hostel in Guanajuato

 No need to go to the gym in Guanajuato!


Plus side, we got awesome views from the roof terrace. Downside, we had to walk up and down the stairs anytime we wanted to go out which, sadly, due to the patchy wifi or desire to use the cooking facilities, was pretty often.  

Unless you’re staying right in the heart of the Guanajuato (in which case you are probably going to get a lot of noise) this is a city that requires a lot of walking and up and down steep steps. If you’re young and/or fit, lucky you! We found it quite a lot of hard work.


Things to do in Guanajuato City

So apart from getting a decent leg workout, what else is there to do in Guanajuato? Thanks to the University, one of oldest in Latin America, this is a city with a cool, laid back, youthful vibe. There is an energy and a diversity that gives it a modern feel, which seems a bit at odds with the strong colonial architecture and history but adds to the city’s uniqueness.


Wander the streets and marvel at the beautiful architecture

Established in 1548, Guanajuato was an influential colonial city due to it’s abundance of mineral wealth. Some stories from the pre-hispanic era report that gold nuggets could be found just lying on the ground and that the Aztecs established a presence there to collect metals for their religious elite.

Once the Spanish found the gold they soon sent soldiers and started mining the rich veins. One of the mines was so rich that, at it’s height, it was responsible for two thirds of the worlds silver production. The wealth of the city at that time resulted in the construction of particularly magnificent churches, some of which are considered to be the most beautiful examples of Baroque architecture in Central and South America, influencing later buildings throughout central Mexico. Wander around the city centre and you can’t really miss two of the highlights; Templo de la Compañia and Bascilica de Guanajuato


One of the finest baroque churches in latin America,Templo De La Compañía, Guanajuato

Templo de la Compañia is considered to be one of the finest examples of baroque architecture in Latin America


Hard to miss! The basilica de Guanajuato

 Strikingly yellow hued Bascilica de Guanajuato


Guanajuato is a city of brightly painted houses that spill down the mountainsides in a kaleidoscope of colours. The old mining tunnels, now turned into roads, criss cross below a city that appears deceptively small. Definitely the best way to appreciate Guanajuato is to just walk and get lost in the steep, narrow streets. When you’re not sure which way to go, just head downhill and you’ll eventually reach the town centre.

Old mining tunnels now used as roads and Pipila statue above the city of Guanajuato, Mexico

The maze of old mining tunnels, now roads, help keep the traffic off the streets in the centre.


Hang out at Jardin Unión

At the centre of Guanajuato is the main square ‘Jardin Unión.’ Here you’ll find the usual assortment of restaurants, bars and hotels surrounding a densely shaded plaza which, in the evenings, also plays host to numerous mariachi bands that vie with each other to play for the tourists. This is also the location of Starbucks, worth knowing if you need decent wifi, like we did when in Guanajuato. 


Enjoy dinner and mariachi music in El Jardin Unión 


Ride the funicular and visit ‘El Pilpa’

Overlooking Jardin Unión is the monument of local hero ‘El Pilpa.’ He can be reached either by a 15 minute hike up the steep steps, or by taking the funicular train just behind Jardin Unión. We found the best option was to go up in the funicular, which only takes a few minutes, then back down the steps. As a bonus, there’s some cool street art on the sides of the houses most of the route down. Also, marvel at how anyone can live in such hard to reach places – after all, there’s no Asda home delivery here!

Give your legs a break and take the funicular for the best views in Guanajuato

Trust us, take the funicular up to the top


Statue of local hero 'Pipila' in Guanajuato

El Pilpa was having some work done while we were there, but still impressive.


Take the steps back down and enjoy some street art along the way


After all that effort and excitement you’ll no doubt be ready for a sit down and some refreshment. At the bottom of the stairs as you head back towards the town centre there’s a trendy little gastropub that serves good food called La Santurrona which we ate at and can recommend.

 La Santurrona makes a great pitstop


Get romantic at ‘El callejon del beso’

Other things to do in Guanajuato include having a snog in  ‘El Callejon del beso’ or ‘alley of the kiss’. In true Romeo and Juliet style, legend has it that in Guanajuato there once lived a girl who fell in love with a lad from the wrong side of the tracks. Unable to be together due to the girl’s father’s disapproval, the young man rented the room across from the daughter’s which, due to the very narrow alleyway meant that they could lean out from the balconies and kiss. Sadly the tale has a tragic ending, with the father finding out and killing his daughter, but tourists still flock to the alley where it’s said that if you share a kiss on the third step, true love will be yours forever.

Seal your love for 7 years with a kiss in Callejón del beso, Guanajuato

 Best not to take chances with true love!


Get creeped out at ‘Museo de las momias’

One place we really didn’t enjoy was Guanajuato’s premier tourist attraction the ‘mummies museum.’ Containing the gruesomely well preserved remains of some of the towns deceased residents, whose families were unable to pay the burial tax dating back as far as 1870. Due to an outbreak of cholera in 1829, cemetery space in the town was running out so the local authorities introduced a new ‘burial tax’ to enable bodies to remain at rest in perpetuity. Those unable to pay the tax had their loved ones disinterred and stored in a nearby building. Some of the bodies remained weirdly well preserved (thought to be due to the dry climate) and by the 1900’s these ‘mummies’ started attracting tourists and the caretakers began to charge a small fee to view them.

Today, the museum is one of the most popular attractions in Guanajuato and a reminder of the cultural difference in how death is reviled by us Brits yet celebrated by Mexicans. We found it uncomfortable and creepy and couldn’t wait to get out. The Mexicans, on the other hand, were happily smiling and taking selfies with the mummies!

If you’re of a sensitive disposition you may want to skip this particular attraction.

Creep yourself out at the Mommies museum, Guanajuato

Not for the faint hearted ‘El museo de las momias’

Where to eat in Guanajuato

There isn’t a shortage of good food options in Guanajuato, with everything from tasty cheap street food to high end restaurants. Some of the places we ate at and can recommend include:

La vie en rose  Owned by a french family, this gorgeously decorated cute cafe offers beautiful cuisine that’s a welcome change if you’ve had enough of tacos.

Truco 7 Authentic yet quirky Mexican decor and decent food with a good menu selection

Santo Cafe Cosy atmosphere with a good selection of affordable food, plus some vegetarian options.


cute cafe Santo in GuanajuatoCoverted seats at Santo Cafe 

Do a day trip to San Miguel De Allende

If you don’t have time to go and stay in the UNESCO World Heritage city of San Miguel De Allende, it’s totally possible to catch the bus and do a day trip from Guanajuato. We did just that and you can read about our top 5 things to do in San Miguel de Allende.

We used Uber to get from our accommodation to the bus station and always had a great experience, knew what we would be paying up front and never waited more than 5 minutes for a driver. Other than taking the local ‘chicken’ buses or ‘collectivo’ minivans, it’s the cheapest way to go. Just be aware that it isn’t available everywhere in Mexico yet.


Other stuff we didn’t get chance to do in Guanajuato

There were plenty of things we didn’t get chance to do in Guanajuato and would do if we ever decide to go back. For example, we never made it to the home of the celebrated Mexican artist Diego Rivera, which is a now a museum showcasing some of his works. Or either of the two theatres, which apparently have wonderful musical performances for a modest entrance fee. We also didn’t bother to join one of the nightly troubadour tours, which, for around £10, sees you serenaded around the city by a gang of velvet clad musician/tour guides.

Something we’ve learned on our tour around Mexico is that if we try to cram everything in each time we visit a new place, we get burned out pretty quick! Long term travel as digital nomads requires a balance of being tourists, having days off where you just chill out and watch Netflix, as well as working. So we don’t beat ourselves up now when we don’t manage to see everything. Anyway, it gives us an excuse to return one day 😉


So, should you put Guanajuato on your bucket list? Definitely yes. Just remember to do your leg stretches first.

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