The Travel Bug Continues…#Summer16
So its been a long summer, well a jam packed one and now I’m finally getting around to uploading it all. So watch this space!
My first trip to Africa and I have to say it was beautiful. The tiled mosaics, the authentic architecture, the ornate designs, the patterns, the colours, the pillars, the stained glass, the lights; I was in awe of it all!
Staying in the old city, in a hide away little ally, just besides the midst of all the hustle and bustle; I got to experience the real Marrakech. Dar 73- the perfect combination of a classic Moroccan riad and a modern apartment; i couldn’t of been happier. Just a few steps out was the jewish quarters (random I know, but believe it or not there were more jews in a muslim country than I ever anticipated. Another fun fact: everyone spoke French first and then came the Arabic and few English speakers) a local spice market, the Bahia Palace and then of course the in famous Souk markets that filled the streets and main square at night. I visited during Ramadan, so it was very quiet during the day and everything came to life after dark.
Within the old city, I would recommend going to both Marrakech Art Museum and the old Islamic school; Ben Youseff. Just next door to each other, you cannot go to one without the other. Full of years of history and beautiful interiors (I’d be lying if I didn’t say exteriors too) its a part of Marrakesh not to be missed. The fine intricate detail in absolutely everything was mind blowing and not to mention the fact it was all so authentic and picturesque.
Outside of the walls of the old city; the new city! Not as much as a traditional feel, but it defiantly had its fair share of gems. Of course there was the classic desert, camel rides and quad biking (which was a lot of fun). But, highlight has to be Jardin Majorelle- Yves Saint Laurent gardens! As a fashionista, you know anything that starts with YS and ends in L is going to have my head turning. Once owned by the French artist; Jacques Majorelle, these beautiful grounds were saved from real estate developers by Pierre Bergé and our runway favourite; Yves Saint Laurent. Originally commissioned to have an artist’s studio in the Art Deco style, the grounds are full of exotic plants, beautiful flowers, rare species and the classic “Majorelle blue” house. Since then, the garden has been restored and now includes a bookstore, cafe and boutique. After YSL’s passing in 2008, a memorial to the French fashion designer has been built.
Moving away from fashion but sticking to amazing sites and photos that say a 1000 words; and slightly further out- La Mamounia! Perhaps the prettiest and fanciest hotel I have ever been too (yet). The grounds were beautiful- I could picture myself getting married there (yes a Catholic in a Muslim country, surrounded by Jews, getting wed). Every plant was perfectly placed, there was event vegetation growing. The atmosphere was so tranquil and again the decor – inside and outside was breathtaking! There were so many little courtyards (I’m obsessed with them and love that inside-outside feel) with more intricate tiling, elegant pillars, water features and grand designs; every aspect so beautiful and more spectacular than the last. The ceilings inside also shared the wow-factor, the elaborate chandeliers, luxurious carpet and miraculous archways; I fell in love! With the decor and sites of Marrakech aside, the food was also pretty good and lets not forget the shopping- who doesn’t love a good market eh?
So all in all; a perfect getaway- albeit there was no beach; but the fact I was in the sun was more than enough- until next time that is! #ChasingThe Sun
A trip to this Greek island for a friends wedding. The weather was great, the food too and lets not forget the views!
Just a quick spontaneous weekend away (thanks to the RyanAir flash sale- the only good thing to come from the Brexit referendum); I enjoyed a sisterly trip to Berlin. With my sister, my best friend and her sister; the four of us had a weekend to remember; exploring the city, partying- Berlin style, eating good food and lets not forget the fashion, fun and freebies at Bread & Butter! Oh and the history lesson at Berlin’s “Memorial of the Murdered Jew” [Image below].
Nerja, Spain – just East of Malaga is a coastal destination I’ve been to many a times! As a family holiday, we’ve been to the same place for summers on end and I would highly recommend it. Its the perfect “chill” break away! Right on the beach, beautiful weather and fresh seafood; how can you possibly go wrong!
I was there, yet I myself am still speechless!
With that said, I won’t distract from the amazing shot above with a hundred words. After all, A photo is worth a thousand words and I am sure you’ll agree with me when I say that this particular view is worth a couple of thousand words. Unspoken words that is!- Undoubtedly when it comes to Mother Nature, this is the best and only kind!
…Being back here. In Paradise. Listening to the slight breeze in between the palm trees, with the sounds of the ocean washing up upon the shore in the distance. As much much as there was a “noise” there was a blissful silence in the air. To go with Mother Earth’s whisper, her vibrant shades of blue and green took over the landscape in a beautiful panoramic view of tall coconut trees, mountainous land and crystal clear waters.
There isn’t a lot I wouldn’t do to be back here.
It’s like preaching to the choir!
4 out of 7
…Not a bad statistic right?
So in the last few years I have managed to tick off 4 out of 7 of the “New 7 Wonders of the World”. First The Colosseum in Rome, then both Machu Picchu (Peru) and Rio’s infamous Christ the Redeemer- just a matter of weeks apart on my amazing journey through South America and then of course The Great Wall of China just last week!
Although I merely saw a fraction of the Great Wall; since it is over 13,000 miles; it truly was amazing and most certainly left me wondering. Like most of the 7 Wonders, The Great wall of China had me wondering how? Just how? How? How? Granted, it was over built over a period of different dynasties, and thousands of years (as early as the 7th century BC) but this Wall is absolutely magnificent in length alone! Not that I saw it all (no where close), but do you know how long 13,171 miles is? The answer is, LONG! To put it into perspective, it is just under 11,500 miles from the UK to New Zealand! Yes, that long!
I don’t think we appreciate just how amazing this wall is. I know I certainly didn’t. Not until very recently anyway. Of course I knew The Great Wall of China was a long long wall that went across (east-to-west) China, but in no way was I made aware, nor did I expect to hear that it was [correction; “Is”] that long!
Separating different Kingdoms, the Great Wall was originally built across the historical northern boarder of China, to protect the Chinese state and Empires from the Eurasian Steppe their desire to raid and invade. Several walls were built, then these were later joined together; made bigger, stronger and of course longer; into the Great Wall it is today!
Not everyday “Fly” me Away…
…Sometimes it just a middle of the week, weekend…(Without the jet)
…Ok, it wasn’t quite the “middle” of the week, but as far as i’m concerned and the calendar for that matter, a Thursday-Friday is not the conventional weekend. Long-story-short; I went away for a couple of days on a “spa weekend”- on a weekday! It wasn’t the the Maldives, but it most definitely was a well deserved and much needed break away. Not only was the spa relaxing, but it was in Malvern. As in; out of London! Away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Away from the capital smog and into some fresh country air. Admittedly, the countryside isn’t always my first choice. Hell, who am I kidding, its never my second or third choice either, nevertheless it was wonderful and like I said; a well deserved and much needed break away!
Malvern, Malvern, Malvern…A spa town up north; surrounded by countryside and known for the Malvern Hills; it was the perfect little get away- before the big get away [Watch this space]. Even with 2 (and some) hours on the motorway, it was worth it.
Anyways, as I was saying it was a delight. I mean you simply can not go wrong with an indoor/outdoor heated pool, thermo power jets, a much needed classic steam room, 2 types of saunas and a weird salt room. Oh and lets not forget the 4 types of cold showers (one to which involved a bucket) and ice falling from the ceiling into an elevated ceramic bowl just for when it gets too hot and a little overbearing (i’m not complaining). The deck chairs, sun rays and natural light coming through the large glass windows made it all the more relaxing and stress free. Imagine living in a swimsuit, robe and slippers all day and having no where to go but the “facilities”. Like I said, it was the perfect little get away! And better yet- the food wasn’t half bad either! FineDining, i’ll say! We had dinner for two and breakfast the following morning-and I have to say I was impressed Malvern! It was posh plates of food; complete with perfect presentation; plus it tasted pretty decent.
Take me back any day, please and thank you!
…When the simple things in life make you smile the most.
I’ve always been a believer in “the little things, matter the most”, but this photo of a young boy from a floating village in Siem Reap; who has a lot less than most children his age (in the Western World, that is); really reprsents such. He radiates with happiness- from the simple pleasures of life.
The photo pretty much speaks for itself and that’s what I love most; because you can’t help but smile as well!
Taken on a recent trip to Cambodia, the shot captures a moment pure joy! He was riding his bike (that is clearly too big for him- yet it never phased him), along the river with his friends, before he fell off. Naturally, falling off your bike would be something to cry about, however this was not the case for this young lad; he got straight back up and decided to push the bike for a while instead; all with a huge grin on his face. This kind of moment/ photo really makes you appreciate the little things! No matter what happens in life, no matter how many times you fall, you have to get back up and most importantly; with a smile!
Photo cred: Dad.
From reluctantly switching up my fancy 4-wheel, easy-glide suitcase to a typical backpackers’ rucksack; I am finally back to the “high life”, and living the luxury of not having to carry my wardrobe on my back!
As much as I enjoyed the travellers life and adventuring through South America, I could not wait to ditch the backpack and return to the suitcase life. What better way to do it than with a spontaneous, last minute trip to Bali, Indonesia. Full of culture, food and fun my experience; as short as it was; was amazing. With only 10 days, it was most definitely well spent. Funny enough, it was pretty action packed yet there was still enough time to relax, do nothing and take in the beauty that was Bali.
Staying in Nusa Dua was the best choice of a “hub”- so to speak and perfect little spot to call home for just over a week. With day trips to Uluwatu to see the classic temple on a cliff and one of many monkey forests, to Jimbaran Bay for their authentic Balinese grilled seafood. A quick stop at Padang Padang hidden yet beautiful, little beach, an adventurous elephant ride, witnessing rice harvesting and the view of hundreds of rice paddies from a terrace deck. To visiting a coffee plantation, local fruit market, a few more spiritual temples. As well as a trip to built-up, slightly western; Kuta with one of the best sunsets seen and surfing hotspot (apparently). To a long drive to Ubud for its traditional markets and site seeing to an even longer boat ride to Gili Trawangan Island for a night and another b-e-a-utiful sunset! I can safely say I had a good time, made the most of my trip and got a taste of Bali; big enough to want to go back (some day). It was a short but very sweet holiday!
When its Cold Outside…
So, I’ve had “Go see The Northern Lights” on my bucket list for as long as i can remember, therefore its inevitable that i will go some day, however all the signs are telling me to go sooner. The lights look amazing, somewhat breathtaking i’d imagine but as well as the main attraction, lately there have been a few other elements drawing me closer and closer in to one of two winter wonderlands. Yes, you can see The Northern Lights from about ten different places around the world, including Alaska, Canada, Norway and Denmark, however there are two specific destinations that stand out to me.
Iceland and Finland; two places I never thought I’d say “let’s go” nevertheless, in relation to seeing one of my “Wonders of the world”-The Northern Lights, these countries are currently the top contenders. Iceland is attracting me because of the Blue Lagoon (geothermal pool) and Finland for its glass igloos. Surrounded by snow, the contrast of the natural hot water spa would be like heaven, not only because I’m pro-heat but because it looks amazing. Outdoors in a bikini in the snow, yet relaxing in a hot pool provided by mother nature, whats not to love. Then again, the glass igloos look super cool and quirky. More to the point, its just a different experience, again-what’s not to love.
Admittedly, as much as I want to see The Northern Lights i am quite terrified of one major thing; the cold! I’m not a snow lover, no no no. Furthermore, I’ve always said that I would never pay to go somewhere colder than I already am and living in this typical British weather, I’d rather not up and leave to somewhere with far lower degrees. Having said that, there are so many signs telling me to stop being a baby and just go. #yolo. From recently and more frequently being faced with imagery of The Northern Lights on social networks, to people I know going, talking to customers who have coincidentally been and a newspaper article that caught my eye; its like The Northern Lights are haunting me. This is defiantly a sign. So come rain, shine or (i hate to say it) snow, Im going to go. From being on the list to now a highlight on the list, the next decision is whether I go to Iceland or Finland. Time to get researching!
In a Nutshell!
With this awfully cold weather, on top of not having a summer holiday, I am in need of a holiday! Somewhere where the sun shines everyday, somewhere where the sun isn’t only bright but hot, somewhere where I don’t have to worry about bringing a jacket and somewhere with good food. Take me there!
….Yes I miss the beach, the beautiful sites, amazing food, tropical surroundings and breathtaking views, but more than anything, I miss the sun. I’m dying for some heat. As lame as it sounds, I miss being too hot and complaining about the heat. I need the sun back in my life!
After four months abroad and an entire summer in the UK, I think it’s that time again; time to seek out the next holiday destination! With almost everyone I know jetting off this summer, I think it’s only fair I get back in the game, especially since the last 2 weeks have been grey, cloudy, cold and wet-everything I detest! And with winter approaching, it’s only going to get worse, meh! Therefore, that only leaves on conclusion; it’s time to get researching!
Checking off the “7 wonders” of my world. Yep, my world. There are so many variations I decided to come up with my own- well, places on my bucket list that make me “wonder” how long until I get to tick them off.
In the last 3 months I have been able to tick Brazil off my list, because let’s face it them beautiful people, popular beaches and so called “danger” zone is a wonder in itself that I just had to see for myself. Admittedly there were times I didn’t feel the safest but I had to experience it for me in order to stop wondering, start living and being able to say “been there, done that”. The Iguazu Falls also got checked off, with two ticks; just because it was so amazing. Plus it only just got on the list a year ago because before that I was clueless, so I got to appreciate it even more. Tick, tick. The most recent place I can stop wondering about and get to mark as done is Peru’s gringo (tourist/ foreigner) calling; Machu Picchu.
Wow, wow, wow and wow again. Another breath taking view- in both respects; so beautiful and unreal to gaze at, yet to get to such heights the climb certainly made me breathless (quite literally taking my breath away). Ok, so I didn’t do the Inca Trail, but I still had to make my way to the top like everyone else; and to be honest, I’d have only been kidding myself and crying for four days if I even entertained the idea of such craziness.
Back to Machu Picchu. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; wow, wow, wow and wow again. It was just b-e-a-utiful! I have never been surrounded by so many mountains. Nor have I been up so early, (4am) and thought damn, this is so worth it. Driving up and around the mountains at the crack of dawn, I thought I was on a film set or something; entering Jurassic park or Pandora and waiting for some mystical creature or dinosaur to come flying out at me. It really was quite a picture and not a single one of the ones I took can portray what I’ve seen. Mother Nature certainly is a beauty and I can not wait to see what else she has me wondering about, because I have well and truly caught the travel bug, so I’m sure she will strike again. Without further ado; watch this space!
When I run away this is where I’ll be!
Itacare; the place I can’t seem to leave. Six hours south of Salvador, the small fishing town of Itacare has become like a second home. I just love it here. It’s so chilled, safe, relaxing and just has this great energy about it. With only 5 nights originally booked I’d have been silly not to extend; what do you know; it’s 2 weeks later and I’m still here.
It’s kind of villagey but in a cool way; the main street is cobbled with an array of shops, bars, cafés and restaurants lined either side. On one end there is a tranquil sea front view where the ocean meets a river, a quant little light house and sandy beach that lines the coast. At the opposite end and a 10 minute walk down the road are 4 amazing beaches; with powdery sand that make a funny noise under your feet and clear warm waters that have become popular to surfers; it truly is an ideal get-away.
A further 40 minutes, on a mini trek through the wilderness, across a river, passing waterfalls and down a fairly steep incline is the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. It’s so breathtaking, quiet and picture perfect. Surrounded by the most palm trees I have come across at once, white velvety sand and brochure-like water, it was well worth the hike in the heat. I’d do it ten times over, just to get to the end again. There’s a point in trees and dirt path where you get so hot, tired and dehydrated that you just can not be bothered anymore; then it hits you and you can hear the rush of the ocean, so speed up with delight. As it gets less green, you can see more blue and that’s when you know your in paradise.
Mother nature at her finest
It’s the best I’ve ever seen. I love love love waterfalls, but now that I’ve seen the Iguazu Falls, from both the Brazilian and Argentinian side, I really do not think i’ll ever see a better falls. It was absolutely breath taking from Brazil and even more so from Argentina. We take Mother Nature for granted but this is one of the main reasons I love to travel; to see her at her finest. The views were beyond beautiful, jaw dropping and out of this world. I could just sit and stare at the Iguazu falls forever. Listening to the roar of the water, the tranquility and the amazing view was an experience in itself and definitely a highlight of my South American adventure so far. Although no photograph nor video can portray this kind of natural beauty, here are a few of my favourite shots.
I finally made it. I can actually start checking South America off my list. It’s been a long time coming, but I made it. Got to stamp to prove it too. It’s not even been a week yet, but so far I’m loving it. To be honest the sun alone would have been enough to raise my spirits, boost my morale and make me a better person.
There’s something about clear blue skies and sunshine that makes me happy and of course the beach; a beautiful beach too; so why wouldn’t I love it. Rio alone is amazing; the views are unreal, the weather is perfect, the food is great and the cocktails are even better. Being here makes me want to whip out my camera and start snapping away every chance I get just to capture the moment. As for the pano feature on the iPhone, I love it. I don’t think I appreciated it before but now that I know what it’s like to take a truly awesome picture; one to which shows off a b-e-a-utiful scenery in its truest form (well closet to the real deal); I can’t stop. From what I’ve heard it’s even more beautiful north and south of Rio as well as other parts of South America, so it seems the best is yet to come. Watch this space!
Bring it on.
Forget counting down the days, its time to consider the hours and minutes, because this time tomorrow I will be flying high. And I can not wait! Yes its a long flight but if it means stepping off the plane in the exotic and cultural land of South America then bring on the uncomfortable seat, unbearable AC, lack of leg room and shitty food, because I am so ready!
The clock is ticking.
Tic-toc, tic-toc. With the days, hours, minutes and seconds constantly ticking away (literally), I can’t help but feel excited. Well at least that’s what I tell myself. As much as I am genuinely looking forwards to the sun, beach life and exploring the culture of South America, I am a bit anxious. Anxious-excited, that is. I know I will be anyway, because to be honest it actually has not hit me yet. Tic-toc, tic-toc. Maybe I’ll start packing; that will get me all geared up. Then again, I do still have a bit to buy and check off my list before I can really get excited about packing. To be honest, I should probably get back to reading and researching. Where am I gonna go? What am I going to do? What do I even want to do? Tic-toc, tic-toc. one thing i’ve got is time. We’ll not necessarily time before I go, but defiantly once I’ve gone. Time to think. Time to read. Time to do whatever I desire. So bring it on!
Guess who is off to South America?!
So I am FINALLY doing it; finally jetting off to South America. It is officially my “gap year”. Even though I have been to uni and I have graduated (with a first class degree might I add), I never did the “gap year” thing. So i am taking my chances while I CAN! I’ve worked so hard in the last year its time to go and play hard. Time to Eat Love and Pray (my version of it anyway). Yes, I am back-packing it again and just like the last time I have surprised myself again in that department; since I am still convinced I’m a suitcase kinda gal. Clearly not. I’ve moved on to bigger and better (or have i?). Anyways, my point is, I am going. Come Feb 2014, I am out of here. I can not wait. Its about time I get a little (or a lot) of Sun, Sea, Sand and more Sun!
Ticking it off the List
With parents who both love to travel and enjoy getting out of the hustle and bustle of London every now and then; I was always going to be a traveller. Especially since my mum and dad went backpacking across The States and came back with a bump; (i.e. Me); therefor there is no question about it; I was made to travel! Its simply my destiny; to go see the world and to explore!
Even though I have been here and there, until last month I was unable to mark Asia off my map; but now having travelled up and down Thailand for a month, I can finally check it off my list.
Whilst I had an amazing time, my Thailand experience went a little different than expected. As beautiful as it is, I found myself constantly seeking out the “googled” images! The clear blue waters and white sandy beaches surrounded by mountain , majestic tigers playing with humans, happy elephants spraying water at tourists and fancy elephant rides. Although I captured and documented these snaps through; the beauty of Maya Bay, Pileh Lagoon and Phiphi island, together with tame tigers and little elephants; my experience behind and in front of the camera was an eye opener. More than just a vacation, but really seeing a place for what it is, it was definetly a step away from your typical holiday brochure.
Having bought a backpack,stayed in a hostel and spent 14 hours on a sleeper train, this was my first trip that I can actually say “I travelled”. Yes, it had its difficulties, but I did it and I am ready to do it again. I’ve well and truly caught the travel bug!
For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to go to Thailand. To see the tigers, ride the elephants, eat the food, sun bathe on the white sandy beaches and swim in clear blue waters. And now I can say it; “been there, done that…Got the stamps too!” -Maybe its the traveller in me, but I actually get really excited about getting stamps in my passport. Doesn’t matter how near or far, if I’m crossing an ocean, border or state, I want a stamp. With this said, my current passport expires in 2019, so that give me 6 years to fill it. Where to next eh?
Let the Travels Begin….Thailand and Malaysia, here i come!
Despite the fact I am an avid traveler, I have never done the whole “backpack” thing. Yet. As much as I love to see new places, embrace and experience different cultures and surroundings, I always told myself I wasn’t the backpacking kind. Emphasis on the BACKPACK. I am more of a hand bag and heels kinda gal, so the idea of any kind of ruck sack did not appeal to me. At all! Even though I always knew I wanted to travel and go from one place to another; week-by-week and day-by-day; whether it is a plane, train, boat, bus or automobile; I always imagined myself pulling my big pink suitcase behind me. Not a large RUCK SACK, that’s more than half my size.
Ignorance aside, I have come to face the truth, the harsh reality and to do the right thing. Yep, I did it. I bought a damn back pack. And it makes its debut in 2 days. As excited as I am to hit south-east Asia, I am scared for my back. Can you believe it? Of all the horror stories, dirty hostels, creepy crawlies, foreign ghettos and weird food; the thing I fear most is the health of my poor back and also what an idiot I am going to look like with that thing strapped to me. I’m hoping it’s not going to be on my back for too long at a time, but then again, I am an ity-bity thing, so just making it down 4 flights of stairs to the front door is going to be enough for me. So wish me luck!
Whilst I am leaving my Marc Jacobs bags, Louboutins and pretty pink suit case behind, I still plan to be as fabulous as ever. Who knows I may pick up some more designer goodies on my travels. So I say, let the games begin….
More coming soon: Travel tales, tips, trips and pics!