Flashback to my Croatian cruise – Split to Dubrovnik and back in August 2007. Glorious weather, with plenty of sunbaking, swimming and sailing, interspersed with wandering around gorgeous little towns and eating all sorts of Mediterranean / Greek / Adriatic inspired food.
Croatia has to be one of my favourite countries, I had very little knowledge of the country or the specific places I was going to visit before landing in Split on balmy Tuesday night, around 35 degrees Celcius at 9pm. Sometimes its best when you know little, you then usually have a fantastic experience.
Especially one that starts with climbing 5 storeys to stay in some old lady’s attic with UK Michael and American ‘Reckless Maggie’ who then take you on a 2 km bar hopping adventure, wading in the ocean at 10pm and having drinks with random Croatian strangers…
But that night is a tale for another day!
While turboing through the Mexican countryside of Puerto Vallarta on a Quad bike day tour, we stopped at a tiny farming village for a much needed coke and to rest our bottoms from the bumpy workout on the ‘off road’ track.
- some cute-as-all-hell kids playing on a dilapidated playground
- what appeared to be a coke bottle opener nailed to a tree
- a farmer just herding his cattle through the village like you do on a Monday afternoon in Mexico.
After our stop we headed down to a swollen river to do burnouts through the run off and a few splash-worthy creek crossings. Was an awesome day!
Anyone who does long haul flights realises just how different the sleep portion of the flight can be with the right neck pillow. Or if you are like me the ‘eyes are closed and trying to sleep but cannot sleep’ portion of the flight. I normally take a blow up / inflatable neck pillow to save space in bags. Which of course, has its benefits. But I stare enviously at those with snuggly, squishy bean bag style pillows and curse for not ever buying one!
For my upcoming 35 day trip I AM going to try out one of these, despite the obvious ‘where do you put it between flights issue’. I chose a black and white striped one, like below. I’ll report back on the success! However if I ditch it mid trip we may be rethinking the idea ie: not a success!
This month’s edition of SHOP TILL YOU DROP featured 2 photo shoots set in Turkey, one in Istanbul and one in Bodrum. I love when fashion and travel combine!
When I visited Istanbul in 2007, my friend was living and teaching there (she still does actually!). This was her favourite mosque, in the fishing town of Ortaköy. A place you probably wouldn’t see as a regular tourist, with great views out over the Bosphorus and the bridge.
At the northern most point of Sydney lies Palm Beach. Famous for Home and Away, rich celebrity homes and wedding destinations, us mere mortals can enjoy a leisurely drive up the Northern Beaches peninsula and a wander around the beach, bay and headland.
We often go for a drive up to Palm beach and simply walk along the beach, walk around the rocks and the ocean pool and if we’re feeling adventurous, climb up North Head to visit Barrenjoey lighthouse and lookout.
Last time we found a delightful little path that links the beach and a road further back that meanders through some rainforest reserve. A great local find which didn’t look like much from the road.
I remember on my last day of high school, half of the cohort of students caught buses to Palm Beach (a good hour journey) to have BBQs, drinks and sleepovers on the beach in sleeping bags (not sure who decided this was a great idea since it was September and it rained! ) A fun carefree night nonetheless.
And recently Palm Beach was the scene of a very romantic wedding proposal, at night under a supermoon – of course I said yes!
Getting There: Allow about 90 minutes from the Sydney CBD
Look Out for: Ocean Pool, Lighthouse headland walk, Large rocks by the beach, Summer Bay scenery
Eat At: The Boathouse, Dunes Restaurant
Lightweight, stylish, waterproof, wind proof, scrunch proof… A travel jacket / parka / windcheater is the best when layered over other clothes and protecting you from the elements. A detachable hood is a bonus. I am still on the lookout for a great waterproof one, I usually take a puffy jacket then a waterproof thin poncho jacket to put over the top.
Alas, my four pound Primark ‘packed in a bag’ poncho was in my stolen backpack last year. Sad Face. I think I’ll buy a parka though for my next travel jacket to eliminate the need for 2 jackets.
Here are some options I like:
The Capilano suspension bridge is a great little day trip, half day excursion from Vancouver. Somehow we managed to get a variety of buses from central Vancouver across to West Vancouver and up to Capilano Rd. The suspension bridge is one attraction, along with the thousand year old trees and the treehouses and paths that connect through the forest. It reminded me of an Ewok village!
An added bonus was on our return journey across the suspension bridge we saw a baby bear playing at the water’s edge below us. Our second bear in the wild sighting in a week! Of course when I returned to Canada 3 years later I was convinced we would see a bear, but no luck!
Love a good Chinatown. And thanks to China’s expanding population, there’s a ‘Chinatown’ in nearly every major city you visit. Cheap yum cha, souvenirs, fabrics, dragons, lanterns, herbal teas. It almost makes you feel at home!
Singapore’s Chinatown is lovely, great streets with decorations, amazing restaurants with cheap meals, local beer and spirits and all your Chinese favourite dishes. It was the day after my Thailand – Singapore 2 week tour and the remaining team headed there for a night out. The boys drank a lot of alcohol and I dashed in and out of the restaurant for last minute souvenir shopping, which was super super cheap! Got a few more watches (who me buy 10 in one holiday?) and some more crazy things for my students.
I love visiting caves but have realised I love big open caves with awesome lighting, as opposed to small ‘crawl in’ style spelunking adventures. Claustrophobia? Lack of interest in belly crawling? Lazy traveller? Pea brain that likes pretty colours? Whatever…. big bright caves are for me.
Just recently went to the Ngilgi caves in Western Australia, super awesome but feel that it was the artificial coloured lighting made them look ‘super awesome’. The cave torch experience is something different, but you can’t beat blue lights on stalactites and stalagmites.
Other memorable cave moments :
Natural Bridge, Queensland, Australia
Wieliczka Salt Mines, Poland
Dau Go Cave, Halong Bay, Vietnam
Dark cave tour - Batu Caves Malaysia
Burial Caves, Sabah, Borneo
Waitomo Caves, New Zealand
For someone who has visited London twice and lived there for 9 months, I have hardly any travel photos. It seems I have lots of photos of me and other people (including some random strangers) and many are from some crazy night out in the West End or (god forbid) the Shebu Walkie.
It wasn’t till after my 9 month living-working-in-London-travel-round-Europe phase that I really started to get into photography and take photos for a different purpose than simply catching me standing dorkily or derangedly in front of the famous monuments of the world.
So this is a selection of my very limited photo collection of (selfie-free) shots of England’s capital and one of my favourite cities in the world – London. It was hard not to like it when you live in Notting Hill around the corner from Portobello Markets and Sienna Miller (true story). The food scene in London is amazing, with heaps of cusines on offer, so many neighbourhoods to explore (eg: shops to seek!)
I have some great memories of my time in London, seeing as I was fortunate to live there at a time with 10 other friends. Oh the good old days.
Places I love in London: Notting Hill (obviously!), Brick Lane (had my first real Indian food experience and have never looked back), Spitafields Markets, Greenwich, Kensington Palace, Oxford St for High Street shopping, West End and the many many theatres, Camden for the funky markets, Hyde Park for serious green time, Pall Mall and the Palace to say hi to Liz, Knightsbridge and Harrods, Portobello Rd Markets, The amazing museums on the river, National Gallery, Picadilly Circus for people watching, The many Thames bridges, Fulham and Putney for the pub on the river scene, Marble Arch, Bakeries in Liverpool St Station, Canada Waters, Northern African Food round Bayswater… just to name a few!
The Hoboken Arts and Music Festival is held each Spring and Fall on Washington St, in Hoboken New Jersey. I was fortunate enough to attend during my first ever trip to New York in 2007. Random traveller luck would have me meet a Hoboken Native whilst travelling in Prague who offered me her couch when I was travelling to NY later that year. Seeing as the cost of accommodation in Manhattan was out of my poor measly backpacker budget I accepted her offer and found myself busing from JFK to the Port Authority Bus Terminal on a Saturday night then getting the bus out to her apartment, on Washington St. We caught the ‘path train’ under the Hudson river to party in the East Village all night (felt like a real New Yorker saying that!) and then woke up Sunday morning to climb onto the fire escape (again, so New York) to find the Arts and Music festival happening at her door step.
What a great festival, full of interesting art, artists and stalls, amazing food and performances. Hoboken is a great little city right across from Manhattan, with lots of cool bars and restaurants, including one of my all time faves, Johnny Rockets! The festival was a great start to my week in NYC!