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!
I just love that redbubble have branched out from print products (cards, wall art, calendars) to make iphone cases, throw pillows and tote bags. What a great souvenir of your travels! Instead of putting photos in an album you can upload them to a redbubble profile and make a product that you can use every day. You could give your photos to others as gifts!
Here are some of my recent favourite travel photographs as fancy art products.
All this world cup fever has me lusting to visit Brazil, and especially Rio De Janeiro.
This city has been on my bucket list for a long long time. Well before I even began serious ‘Overseas Travel’ (which was in 2005, just for trivia’s sake).
I long to stroll along the Copacabana beach, go Giselle spotting at Ipanema and climb the hill to see the views from Christ the Redeemer. I almost went there in 2010 but our plans changed and we did Mexico instead.
One day my baby will smile at me and I’ll go to Rio.
Dreaming until then!
Image courtesy of photog63 @ flickr.com
Image courtesy of christianhaugen @ flickr.com
I had the joy of visiting Cottesloe Beach on the outskirts of Perth in April for a friend’s wedding. We decided to stay for 4 days and make the most of this sleepy seaside town. A location this close to the Sydney CBD would be crowded with tourists (both travelling through and living there), heaps of restaurants and bars, not enough car parks and regular heavy weekend traffic.
Cottesloe has a much different vibe. Relaxed, one main road that snakes the coast next to the beach. A few take away shops, cafes and upscale bars, with a few simple necessity shops and an old pub (location for the wedding ceremony). We stayed across from the beach and enjoyed walking the boardwalk every day, grabbing coffee and banana bread, or cocktails or fish and chips. Walking around the neighbourhood revealed the most glorious homes, decadence reminiscent of a bygone era, all sweeping verandahs, gazebos and formal gardens.
The water always looked inviting, crystal blue with very little waves (perfect for water wusses like me) but with wedding preparation keeping us busy each day we only got to the water once. It may have also been the numerous tales of shark attacks that kept us apprehensively out of the ocean too!
The ‘Freemantle Doctor’ definitely rolls in each afternoon and unfortunately turned the ocean into a carnivorous-like attack of waves just when we decided to bravely enter the water. If visiting, it’s best to head for a swim in the morning.
And of course Cottesloe is the best spot for the ‘daily sunset watch’, such a treat for us East Coasteners who don’t get to see the sun set over the water…and I’m rarely up for sunrise over the Pacific!
1. Alcatraz! ‘The rock’ is a great day trip, the audio tour head set thingy is very interesting. Plus the ferry ride is great!
2. Segway tours… 3 hours of cruising fun, we booked with city segway tours.
3. Eat seafood chowder and shrimp down at the Wharf. Anywhere at Fisherman’s Wharf will be yummy.
4. Watch the seals relaxing and playing at Fisherman’s Wharf.
5. Ride the cable cars, worth the queue for people like me who live in non cable car cities and it’s still a novelty!
6. Hang out in Union Square, shopping, people watching, flower buying…
7. Walk the steep streets, go down them on a segway if you dare!
8. Wander the grounds of the Palace of the Fine Arts, pretending your in Europe
9. See the fog roll in across the bay… especially around the Golden Gate Bridge!
In the middle of my 2 week sojourn through Vietnam we arrived at the quaint riverside town of Hoi An. A historic, heritaged listed attraction, Hoi An is popular on the tourist trail and it was easy to see why. Famous for custom designed and crafted clothing and shoes, cute streets with lanterns, a river that floods and spills into the streets and the beach nearby. Of course we hit up the fabric shops to get clothes made, I was in my element designing boots where you get to pick the leather, heel, cut, length and of course measured to fit (what fat calves?), ready in 24 hours!
Some fabric and clothing stores were better quality than others, some items were perfect but others didn’t quite translate when they were made (which could be due to the translation of language). Some of my shoes didn’t last, and some of the dresses lost their stitching. If you are serious about getting clothing made (one couple had 50 items made between them) it pays to shop around, inspect the quality and ask others for recommendations. A fun process nevertheless.
We were content (whilst waiting for our clothing to get made) to wander the streets, crossing over bridges, restaurant hopping (modern, western and asian fusion, try The Cargo Club for breakfast or Friendship down by the river), cruising the markets and taking a bus ride out to the ruins of My Son – Vietnam’s oldest ruins, dating from the 4th century.
1. Having to go on a moto ride to the ‘other’ shop to pay for my pairs of boots with the shop owner, who left my 2 friends in charge of her store!
2. Blackouts in the middle of meals in restaurants, Vietnamese style dining in the dark…
3. Enjoying the vehicle free streets all lit up with lanterns during the full moon festival, where the lights are switched off to full appreciate the lanterns
4. Eating western Vietnamese fusion penne pasta. With chopsticks.