Carcassone

Exploring a medieval walled city in 2005. Dam those bus trips and tour guides, no where near enough time spent at the South of France glory that is Carcassone. How can I fit site seeing, photo taking, eating and shopping in 1 hour!

Grabbed the world’s best meringues though. Living the fairy tale I tell you.

Love that the Kate Mosse book ‘Labyrinth’ is set in Carcassone in the 1200s!  It was a great book to read on the 20 hour flight back to Australia from Europe too.

Oh god, just discovered they’ve made a mini series of the book, straight to to the ‘to watch’ list!

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Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu is Malaysia’s thriving capital of the Sabah state, on the island of Borneo. A two or so hour flight from Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu is the gateway to Sabah’s playground – Orangutans, Snorkeling, Hiking Mt Kinabalu, Diving, Rafflesia flowers, Nature Reserves, Islands, Cultural Villages.

It’s mainly a sea port, head down the coast or out to the islands to enjoy the sun and sea around Kota Kinabalu.

Osoyoos

Don’t try to pronounce it, especially at the USA border crossing, just drive the 4-5 hours from Vancouver to Osoyoos, a gorgeous part of Canada, right near the USA border, featuring Canada’s only ‘desert’ region (I think it’s a bit of a stretch!)

Keep an eye out for bears along the way, visit the gorgeous wineries, restaurants, cafes and lakes. I was lucky enough to go to a wedding at the gorgeous Spirit Ridge winery, overlooking the lake and adjacent to the golf course.

Amorgos – Greece

Lesser known of the Greek Islands, but just as stunning as Santorini, Mykonos, Paros and the others. Amorgos is mainly famous for being the setting of the 1988 Movie “The Big Blue” .  Visit a taverna in town and it’s likely to be playing the movie or have retro posters on the walls.

Take a bus trip (precarious, eyes closed) to see the 1200 AD monastery built high into the cliff face. Cool down on one of the pretty pebbly beaches. As Amorgos doesn’t have an airport, the best way to visit is to sail in on a yacht, like I had the pleasure of doing.

Bucket List – The Dead Sea

Back when I was reading about Hippopotamuses on roofs and Tigers who came to tea, and Ducks on a wise-eyed boat, somewhere, somehow I read about a magical place in a faraway land where you could sit upright and bob around in a salty salty sea.

My childhood self was mesmerised and dreamed of one day swimming in ‘The Dead Sea’. It’s still on my bucket list. Especially after I discovered at age 10 that it was a real place.

 Photo Courtesy of Tracy Hunter @ Flickr

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Tracy Hunter @ Flickr

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of  Ian Bothwell @ Flickr

Travel Essentials – All Purpose Wrap

Scarf, wrap, pashmina… call it what you will, just make sure you pack one in your hand luggage. A large, wide cotton one is best, I have a few which have seen a lot of sights and saved me a lot of times. Here are some of my faves…

Since European backpackers now cannot allow sleeping bags they provide bed linen. Though at under ten pounds a night bed linen could mean a dirty handkerchief sized pillow and one sheet. Hello wrap – instant bottom sheet or pillow cover. And yes I realise you get what you pay for.

Chilly planes and air conditioning means you can wrap your wrap (he he) around what ever part of your body is cold, even your feet or drape it over your head to block out light, or scrunch it up to lean on when you’re trying to nap in transit.

If you somehow leave your towel on an island in a lake in an island, or it happens to blow overboard your yacht (who me? lose stuff?) A cotton wrap can work as a light towel in hot weather until you get a chance to buy a replacement.

Balmy weather calls for sarongs, but a good cotton wrap can be draped around the waist for trips to the beach or pool.

If sightseeing in the heat and visiting mosques and churches, a wrap can be draped over the shoulder or even head (I’m looking at you Turkey) to make your outfit more respectful and appropriate.

Can’t fit it in your hand luggage? (who me? over pack?) simply tie it around the straps of a handbag or luggage bag like you’re jet setting in from Paris.

 

Cabo San Lucas – Mexico

Sea, Sand, Sun, Snorkelling, Seals, Sangria… This is Mexico’s playground – like Madonna, Beyonce and Rhianna, it now only needs one name… Cabo.

Spicy food! Not so great with hangovers. I blame the margaritas.

Shopping… Souvenirs success all round, including a great but terribly difficult to carry wedding gift!

Famous for a day trip out to Lands End to see The Arch, Lover’s Beach (Playa del Amor) where the Pacific Ocean meets the Gulf of California, or just cruising the main beach Playa Medano.

A one day adventure from the sexy decks of the Sea Princess Cruise Ship.