Planning a holiday is always an adventurous task for me and my husband. We literally take a virtual tour of the entire world before deciding on our final destination! One day we’d be thinking of a road trip somewhere in Europe, the next day we’d be scuba diving in Maldives, the following day we’d be on safari in Africa, and eventually just end up watching a repeat episode of our favourite series (any guesses?) on the couch! So to make your decision on the next destination easier, I’m going to blog about some of the one’s we have been to so far …. Fasten your seat belts, coz we are now ready for take-off!
Historical tours with an Italian accent? Yes please! We planned a week long trip in which the majority of our time was spent in Rome, followed by an overnight stay in Venice and a day trip to Florence. Rome was mainly history and I loved our evenings spent at the Piazza Navona and Spanish Steps. The architecture was beautiful! Venice was love at first sight and such a romantic maze. Thank God I was with someone who has a great sense of direction otherwise I would have been a lost soul. Florence had the coffee culture vibe I absolutely love. Although the weather wasn’t on our side that day, it didn’t stop me from exploring the shopping at Ponte Vecchio. I must say the variety of colours in everything in Italy is quite amazing! Oh and don’t even get me started on the Gelato as otherwise we will never get beyond Italy today. I’ve already made plans to go back again soon as the Amalfi Coast and Capri remain on my bucket list!
Tip: Pack your most comfortable shoes as it is mostly cobbled streets in Rome. Staying true to myself, I didn’t and had to buy a new pair of flat sandals in a mad rush.
“What’s your ‘koala-fication’?” That’s the first thing our tour guide asked us! It struck my funny bone and has stayed in my mind ever since!! So we finally braved the loooooong flight Down Under and booked a two week stay in Australia. We spent around 3 days in Sydney (it was freezing cold) and the remainder of our stay in Cairns, highly recommended for the adventurous and brave at heart. The Great Barrier Reef, Hot Air Ballooning at sunrise (someone wasn’t too happy to be up at 3am for it), and white water rafting were some of the activities we indulged in, to name but a few. However, the stars of the show were the koala bears. We weren’t allowed to pet any in Sydney (it stresses them out apparently) but luckily got to do so in Cairns. They apparently sleep for 22 hours per day .. !!!
Tip: I was in charge of the Australia hols and in my excitement, I had planned a tour activity for every single day. Don’t make the same mistake and give yourself some mornings to have a lie in as otherwise it can get pretty hectic.
Snow-deprived? Not anymore … This trip was planned while we were still living in London and I realised I had never seen snow except in the movies. In order to change that (as if my life depended on it) we booked a quick weekend trip to Switzerland. We spent the first day in Zurich which I think I mostly spent exploring chocolates but since the main purpose of the trip was to see snow, we spent less time in the city and more on Mount Titlis. The ‘gondola’ ride to the top rotated to give us 360 degree views which was breathtaking. There was even an ice cave that we went to, but the name escapes me at the mo! But let’s face it, we were really here to put our snowman building skills to the test. But forget snowmen, when I was surrounded by snow I wasted no time in picking up a snowball fight with my husband, who much to my surprise, took me up for the challenge! Haha … the pics of that trip are priceless! 🙂 From the little time I did spend in Switzerland, it was enough to realise the best way to really justify and explore the real beauty of the place was to book a proper mountain village holiday! Nature at its best indeed ….
Tip: The Switzerland rail system is famous for running on time! So buy that coffee and croissant later coz you are about to miss your train ……..
Opa! Time to eat and explore. This trip was more of my husband’s plan as he lived in Athens for a few years and wanted to return and show me around his favourite places. If you’re a history buff, then Athens is the place for you with its ancient, well-preserved monuments. No trip to Athens is complete without a trip to the Acropolis and rightly so! I also found the Change of Guards ceremony to be quite interesting and impressive. Particularly how the guards stand perfectly still for 60 minutes and do not get the least bit distracted by the number of tourists getting pics taken next to them (myself included!). We also booked a cruise to the 3 islands Hydra, Porous, and Igina which was quite fascinating. Particularly Hydra, where there are no cars allowed by law and people actually commute on donkeys. Can you imagine the fresh air? Amazing!
Tip: Make sure you have enough time to visit the amazing Santorini island during your stay in Greece. Unfortunately we didn’t, and I always regret that every time I hear about it … Oh well, perhaps I’ll enjoy it even more as a blogger now! 🙂
New York: The city that never sleeps! Neither did I on another long flight to New York! We stayed at Times Square and that place was so buzzing and full of life it was incredible. Being a huge fan of Friends, of course we visited Central Park and decided to rent bikes. I had not biked in yeeeeeeeears but thought how hard could it be right? All I’ll say is my bike and I walked more than we cycled! (the seats used to be far better cushioned when I was a kid or maybe I was! Haha .. oww). The cruise we booked was simply breathtaking. It started at noon so we got to see the famous skyline in daylight and then made its way back just after sunset, which added to the wow factor by a gazillion. Highly recommended!
Tip: Do not forget to take your camera! My husband decided not to take his on this trip and regretted it the minute we got there as the views were amazing. So for a change, this time we had to make a quick stop to buy a new camera for him instead of flat shoes for myself. Haha!
Chicago: After New York, Chicago seemed relatively quiet. This trip was mainly to meet and greet with a few relatives. The best place to get an awesome view of Chicago is the John Hancock Tower. They had their newest ‘Tilt’ attraction happening at the time which seemed like a must-try and easy peasy. If you know me by now, then you know what’s coming next! So picture this … we are on the 94th floor of an enclosed glass viewing platform, 1000 ft high, which then tilts forward to give spectacular panoramic views of the city! So do you still blame me for chickening out at the very last minute? My husband went ahead with it, loved it, and then couldn’t believe he had just done that. Lol! The guys were still nice enough to give me a sticker that said I had tried it (they must have known I was visiting in-laws and needed to show off). Navy Pier was a wonderful and relaxing experience and we even rode the Giant Ferris Wheel which also had nice views actually.
Tip: You have to try the Cupcake ATM machine at Sprinkles! I kid you not, just as a normal ATM machine hands out money, this one has an impressive variety of cupcakes. You even get to personalise your own cupcake just the way you want it. My excitement level was that of an 8 year old!
It was time for cool, cool Canada! We decided to ditch hotels this time and stayed with relatives (that time of the trip when you crave for some real home cooked food). While they enjoyed the “sunny weather” calling it pleasant, the two of us were freezing cold in our jackets. The highlight of any trip to Canada is of course the Niagara Falls. I had always heard about it and seen it on TV, but actually being there is another experience altogether. It was probably the first time in my life I was not petrified of being on water coz the views were spectacular! Although I am sure there is a lot more to explore in Toronto but we were a bit exhausted to be honest and spent the remaining trip gossiping with relatives and indulging in heavenly desserts (my kinda holiday! ;)) … There is a whole ‘missing suitcase’ story that starts from here, but I will need to save that for another post. Let’s just say, our suitcases loved Canada so much they decided to stay there just a tad longer … lol!
Tip: Book an overnight stay at the Niagara Falls instead of a day trip. I’m sure the sunrise and sunset views would be breathtaking. We just had time for a day trip, but next time I’m definitely staying longer ….
Lunch in London and tea in Paris? Why not? It is close enough! Haha, I’m just kidding, we aren’t that adventurous! Paris was another weekend trip during our time in London. I still remember those long beautiful walks on the Champs Elysees on most evenings, up until the Arc de Triomphe. I still regret not going up the Arc de Triomphe as the views from up there must have been spectacular. But it just felt a bit too claustrophobic to do at the time so we decided against it. Standing in front of the Eiffel Tower was a dream come true and it really came to life during the light show. The show starts after sunset and is on every hour and is simply gorgeous! Best to watch it from a place where you can see the Eiffel Tower completely! Absolute wow!
Tip: Don’t forget to try the Nutella & Banana Crepes in Paris. Mmmm mmm mmmm!! I discovered those just by chance as I waited for my husband to satisfy his love of photography. And no, I did not share it either!
Wow, I never knew holiday talk could be so tiring! At least it has killed the urge of jetting off again any time soon. Though I still have quite a few more places left to talk about, perhaps I’ll save that for another time. Or maybe even put it up on my instagram account.
Which countries have you visited so far? Would love to hear all about it …
Until the next post, Let’s Keep it Strictly Lighthearted!