Australia and Oceania, Asia, Europe · 313 Days · 75 Moments · April 2017

The Big Adventure


13 February 2018

Ella, Sri Lanka - Wow! Ella is nestled in amongst mountainous lush rainforest. The town itself was far bigger than we expected and had heaps of great restaurants and bars. The walks took us to the top of mountains and through picturesque landscapes. Ella is relatively high above sea level and as a result the temperature is far cooler than other places in Sri Lanka. This cool change was welcomed! It is a stunningly beautiful place. This is where we part ways with William. He is back to Colombo for a flight home. We are heading back to Welligama for more beach time!!
Udawalawe, Sri Lanka - We left the coast and headed inland to check out some wildlife. We drove through some fascinating little villages and had the privilege of staying with some amazing people. We hired a Jeep and a driver to take us on a safari and saw lots of wildlife. Elephants, lizards, crocs, birds, buffalo and more were all on display. It was spectacular scenery full of amazing wildlife. We all loved it!

10 February 2018

Mirrisa, Sri Lanka - Beautiful beaches, waves, tropical fruit, beer, beach dining and great company. I don’t really need to say much more. Absolutely spectacular! Mirrisa is a beach side town full of bars, backpackers, restaurants, locals and amazing vibes. What a place!

1 February 2018

Unawatuna, Sri Lanka - Sri Lanka is an unbelievably relaxing place and the relaxing vibes continued into Unawatuna. I was in charge of accomodation here and came through with the goods. We stayed in the heart of the action surrounded by bars and outrageously cheap restaurants. Unawatuna is pretty touristy but still has plenty of Sri lankan charm. Another beautiful beach ensured our days were filled with sun, sand and salt. The bars came alive at night keeping us awake into the small hours. A great time was had. Can’t wait to see more!!

27 January 2018

Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka - First impressions of Sri Lanka can easily be summed up with the word ‘wow’. We added another traveller to the mix and met up with good friend William Perry. The three of us were completely blown away with our first stop in Sri Lanka. Pristine beaches lined with bars, restaurants and enormous waves. We sat for hours watching the surfers do their thing. We plucked up the courage to go for a swim in the massive waves and had a ball. The people in Sri Lanka are incredibly hospitable and treated us like royalty the moment we stepped off the plane. To say they are some of the nicest people we have come across is no exaggeration. With a first stop like this all three of us can’t wait to see more!!

25 January 2018

Phu Quoc, Vietnam - So we didn’t get many photos of this island. We met up with some friends we made along the way and pretty much spent the whole time playing cards, eating food, swimming in the pool and having a drink or two along the beach. The beach was really nice and the bars full of life. It was a very relaxing 4 days. Ready now to venture out of Vietnam and check out Sri Lanka!

20 January 2018

Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), Vietnam - The city was lively, vibrant, very busy and charming all at the same time. We stayed smack in the centre of the city and only had to walk a few meters before we were in the thick of the action. We walked the captivating streets and ate and drank as the locals do. The people were really friendly and nights never ending. We had a fantastic time full of food, drink and exploration! Exceeded our expectations!

15 January 2018

Mui Ne, Vietnam - We stayed in a very busy backpackers but somehow got put in the best room on offer! We had sea views from both sides of the room and had three different pools to contend with. Mui Ne itself was lively and full of nice places to eat and explore. We relaxed during the day and watched youthful exuberance fuel highly energetic games in the evening. Being at a backpackers surrounded by 18 - 20 year olds playing beer pong left us feeling slightly out of the loop. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves never the less!

8 January 2018

Quy Nhon, Vietnam - Quy Nhon is not yet on the tourist radar so it is quiet, authentic and really cheap! We stayed in a hostel literally on the beach. We read our books, played with the insanely cute puppy, walked around the tiny fishing village, ate great food, drank beer, played pool and met some great people. We had an amazing time and only wish the weather could have been slightly better so we could have made more of the beach. This was a great find and a change from the more chaotic areas we have seen so far in Vietnam!

5 January 2018

Da Nang, Vietnam - We stayed at a really nice home stay in the back streets of Da Nang city. It was a really local experience and we loved sitting in the courtyard of the home stay watching Vietnamese life unfold. We found a bar that looked after hurt dogs and to our surprise noticed one of these dogs was actually a pig. Da Nang was a refreshingly Vietnamese experience after the very touristy Hoi An. The train ride out of Da Nang was also an experience in itself! Loved it!

4 January 2018

Hoi An, Vietnam - Hoi An is an incredibly touristy destination but is visually stunning! Hoi An is the best kept example of a French colonial port within Vietnam. We found ourselves some great places to eat and explored the many markets and stalls dotted around the town. We spent a fair amount of time at a cafe that had dedicated itself to cat rescue and rehabilitation. It was really nice to see in a country that animal welfare is still very much an issue. Hoi An also had the added bonus of us staying in a really nice hotel with a lovely pool. Relax and explore! It was great!

30 December 2017

Hue, Vietnam - A one hour plane ride to the south of Hanoi took us to Hue. Unfortunately it rained pretty much non stop for the four days. This didn’t stop us getting out and about checking out the markets, local street food, rice paddies and pagodas. We had an amazing hotel with the best breakfast imaginable! We both ate ridiculous amounts giving us energy for walking the wet city streets. The rain prevented us getting a proper sense of the place but never the less we had a hugely enjoyable time!

26 December 2017

Hanoi, Vietnam - Christmas in Vietnam was a relative non event but we celebrated by eating street food all over the city and soaking up the Vietnamese culture. Hanoi is incredibly busy with scooters, cars, bikes, street hawkers, and tourists wizzing about all over the place. It took us about a day to acclimatise to the chaos of the city but once settled it was fantastic! Hanoi is a city transitioning between the old and new. Classy bars and restaurants are mixed in with the street side stalls and vendors. It was a fast paced and vibrant four days. Fantastic!

20 December 2017

Siem Reap, Cambodia - The minute we got onto our tuk tuk at the airport and drove through the bustling streets we knew we were going to enjoy Siem Reap. We loved the atmosphere in the city centre with countless bars, restaurants and shops to be found. It was a nice mix of local influence and tourist catering. We hired bicycles and took to the busy streets. We rode to the largest religious structure in the world ‘Angkor Wat’. The temple city of Angkor was the largest man made metropolis in the world during the 12th century and its impressive size and incredible masonry are still there for all to see. We timed the trip poorly and our 15km ride home coincided with rush hour. Rush hour in Siem reap can not be explained with words and it will suffice to say that we both needed a strong drink once we safely arrived back. Siem reap was fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable! Vietnam next!

18 December 2017

Koh Rong Samlon, Cambodia - After all our adventures on the mainland it was time for an island getaway. This little island off the south west coast of Cambodia was a gem! White sand beaches, clear blue water and few people. Paradise! We sat on the beach, read books in hammocks, ate delicious food and drank cheap beer. The wind was an issue on our side of the island but it only took 20 minutes to walk to the calm side. The journey back to the mainland was interesting with huge swell and chop making the water fairly unpleasant. But we made it back in one piece. Now off to the north !

15 December 2017

Otres, Cambodia - Otres is a tiny oceanside village near the touristy Sihanoukville. Otres has a primarily expat community with young Aussie and Europeans owning small bars and hostels. The place is incredibly laid back and incredibly cheap. We stayed in an amazing mini resort with a great pool and free pool table! The beach was surprisingly clean but we were warned not to swim on account of sewerage so we stuck to the pool. The place is teaming with young travelers either working for a place to stay or simply listening to music all day smoking pot. A very hippie vibe to the whole place. We took the opportunity to find a true hippie and enrolled in a three session yoga course. The guy running it spent 20 years in India to become a true guru and his teaching was patient and meaningful. It was a really rewarding experience! Otres is a super relaxing and colourful place and we could have easily stayed longer!

9 December 2017

Phnom Penh, Cambodia - We didn’t really know what to expect heading into the Cambodian capital. It did not disappoint!! Vibrant, fun, chaotic, and charming all in one. The people are kind and full of smiles. The place is full of life and walking down every street uncovers something new and fascinating. Some people who visit are quick to judge the rubbish and deteriorated buildings but for a county that was ravaged by a brutal genocide less than 40 years ago it is doing astonishingly well! We visited the genocide museum and learnt about the horrific events that destroyed the country between 1975-1979. It was both humbling and incredibly informative. An amazing first impression of Cambodia! We can’t wait to see more!

4 December 2017

Bangkok, Thailand - ahhh warmth! Cheap beer and semi organised chaos, what’s not to love??? Bangkok is a whirlwind of activity with everything and anything on sale from fried scorpions to high end designer wear. The shopping malls are the cathedrals of Bangkok and places where tourists seem to flock. We cruised around on the public transport and witnessed the spectacle that is rush hour in Bangkok. Insane. Although only a 9 hour flight from Vienna, Asia is truly a different world to Europe. The sights, sounds, smells, people, food and way of life are all completely different. We absolutely love it!!!

30 November 2017

More photos

25 November 2017

Kaprun & Vienna, Austria - So the cold weather finally got really cold and the snow came down. We set off into the Austrian alps to try our hand at skiing. The only place for us to ski was a glacier near Kaprun called Kitzsteinhorn. The issue with the glacier is that it is definitely not for beginners with zero experience. We were incredibly lucky to have Michal accompany us on days one and two which was without a doubt the difference between leaving with mild concussion and sore everything rather than ending up in hospital. With this in mind we decided not to revisit the glacier without Michal’s guiding hand. Mild injury aside it was truly an incredible experience. The snow was magnificent and the small amounts of time we found ourselves gliding down the slopes upright was truly exhilarating! Vienna is a very clean and pretty city but the outrageously cold weather left us very much longing for warmth! It is now time for us to say goodbye to Europe. It has been amazing. Asia awaits!

20 November 2017

Budapest, Hungary - Quite possibly the best city we have been to. It is an incredibly cool place with extraordinary bars dotted all over the vibrant and remarkable streets. The buildings, particularly the government building, are incredible and need to be seen to be believed. We spent a whole week in Budapest and it could have been longer. The place is incredibly cheap too with dinners out costing little more than $7 each and beers as cheap as $2 a pint!! We did a huge amount of relaxing in our lovely apartment which was much needed after being none stop for a while. The ruin bars of Budapest are definitely the coolest bars you could ever hope to go into. They are massive unrestored buildings post WW2 that have been converted into multi level bars/clubs full of antique furniture, live music, rustic decorations and an insanely fun vibe! We loved Budapest!!

12 November 2017

Bratronov, Czech Republic - We didn’t really know what to expect heading into the Czech countryside with people we didn’t know all that well. It’s safe to say that all our expectations were well and truly exceeded!! It was fantastic! Michal and Kristy were incredible hosts and gave us some memorable experiences. We went for drinks with some of Michal’s friends in a 13th century castle that his friend had a key for, we went for a free plane ride with Michal as he is a training pilot, we went to the local dairy farm to get milk, we went walking in the woods and picked wild mushrooms learning about which ones would kill us and which tasted delicious, we went to the neighbours house to try some freshly brewed cider and watched the men measure out hops for their homemade beer, we had a massive bonfire in minus degrees and overall had a genuinely fantastic time! The Czech countryside is like nothing we have experienced before. It’s kind of like going back in time. Amazing experience!

7 November 2017

Prague, Czech Republic - A stunning city with cheap prices, insanely deep metro and terrible November weather. We walked and walked and walked and saw all the tourist sites. We were staying with some friends we made along the way so got a bit of insider info about places to go and see. The city buildings are incredible so walking around was hugely enjoyable if a little touristy at times. The cheap prices saw us go to a Michelin star restaurant for average Australian food prices. This was far and away our fanciest meal of the trip and it was truly spectacular! The beer in Czech Republic is brilliant and cheap so we spent a fair amount of time in bars sampling the various local brews. Overall Prague is a fantastic city with much to do and see! From here we head into the Czech countryside to the hometown of Michal and Kristy.

2 November 2017

Krakow, Poland - Without a doubt one of the best cities we have visited. The district we stayed in was lined with cosy bars all selling delicious beer and mulled wine. The cold weather was managed by only needing to walk 20m or so from our apartment to find a warm pub to enjoy. During our stay we took a day to catch the bus and visit Auschwitz. Visiting the site of where more than 1.5 million people were murdered can’t be described as an enjoyable experience but we definitely felt moved and glad we went. The amount of information available is incredible and the sickening reality of what happened in Poland in WW2 is incredibly sobering. The last few photos are from the border town we stopped at for two nights on our way to Prague.

30 October 2017

Warsaw, Poland - Cheap food, cheaper beer, beautiful buildings, cold weather, incredible history and really nice people. We got a great first impression of Poland. We went to a Warsaw history museum and saw the remains of the city after WWII. It is simply incredible to see the city now compare to what was left of it after the war. An incredibly resilient people. The cheaper prices meant we could afford a nice apartment in the center of the action. The cold got the better of us on occasion and when we hit the minus degrees we decided to retreat to our apartment rather than go anywhere! Aside from the crazy cold weather we loved it and were sad to leave!!

26 October 2017

Berlin, Germany - Berlin is a fascinating and vibrant city with an extraordinary history. We visited museum after museum reading about things that defy belief. Germany doesn’t shy away from what happened within the country and free museums can be found all throughout he city. We didn’t get many photos of Berlin as when visiting places like the memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe taking photos was not on our mind. As well as being a great place to learn about European history Berlin is also a really cool city. It has a great atmosphere and we loved walking around during the evenings and finding great little restaurants and bars to spend our nights! From here we head into Poland!

3 October 2017

Scotland - We decided the best way to see Scotland was to hire a campervan and drive around. We were rewarded with possibly our favourite experience of the trip. We drove what is called the north coast 500 taking us to the northernmost tip of Scotland following its stunning coastline. Scotland is an indescribably beautiful country. Breathtaking landscapes, incredible beaches, lochs, stunning castles and pure rugged beauty were abound. It was like driving in a fairytale with some of our most used words being ‘wow’ ‘look at that’ ‘that’s amazing’ and ‘incredible’! Our campervan was definitely our favourite accommodation yet as we had the luxury of pulling up where ever we liked and making that our home for the night. Scotland is hands down the most beautiful country we have been to so far. It was two weeks of epic adventure and sheer unspoilt beauty!

26 September 2017

Rhodes and Tilos, Greece - Rhodes was the busiest of the Greek islands we visited and we didn't get many pictures. It was full of life and not too over the top touristy. The food was amazing and we thoroughly enjoyed our brief stay. Tilos is a tiny Greek island with about 300 residents. We stayed in an amazing apartment overlooking the bay and town. We had a car that came with the accommodation so were able explore the many beaches of the island. We spent our days beach side with our books and snorkels. Each evening we had home made piña coladas and took in the spectacular view. It was the most relaxing time we have had so far and we loved every second! The charm of Tilos was evident from the moment we arrived with tavernas selling delicious Greek food lining the bay and locals buzzing around going about their lives. Tilos much like Karpathos was the Greek experience we were craving! It was stunning and will be sorely missed. Greece was incredible!

18 September 2017

Karpathos, Greece - The beauty of this place has to be seen to be believed. We first stayed in a place called Olympos and the view from our balcony was quite possibly the best view possible from any balcony. It was simply breathtaking. Olympos is a very un touristy place to stay and still retains much of the traditional Greek culture that is missing on many of the busier islands. Women still dress in traditional clothing and the whole place irresistibly Greek. We were welcomed immediately and loved our time there from the very first second to the last. We found an amazing beach and went on a massive walk to find a centuries old church amongst the cliffs. The drive to and from Olympos was a little terrifying but we survived! The next place we stayed was on a beach with pool like water. We spent everyday sitting on the beach, snorkelling and loving life. Karpathos had the added bonus of our flight out being messed up and the airline paying for us to stay in an all inclusive 5 star resort

8 September 2017

Gozo, Malta - Gozo is the baby brother of Malta. This tiny island is another special place as it is where Chels' Grandad's family comes from. As the island is so small it can be explored fairly easily. And what an island to explore it was!!! Stunning! We got the car ferry across so we had the freedom to drive around the island exploring. Unfortunately many of the well known areas of Gozo have been overrun by tourists. As we had the car though this wasn't an issue. We found our own quieter places which were equally as stunning. Much like Malta we explored the small villages and paid a visit to San Lorenz which is where Ronny's family comes from. The small villages were full of charm and amazing people. The island is much simpler than Malta as it doesn't have the number of fancy hotels, restaurants and bars that Malta does. Due to this we got a very real sense of culture there which was fantastic. Gozo was incredible. The Maltese islands were everything and more than we hoped for! Magic!

6 September 2017

Malta - Malta was a special place for us to visit as it is the birthplace of Chelsea's Grandma. Malta is a magical island. Surrounded by clear blue water the landscape is arid and very middle eastern. Driving around the island was a joy with incredible panoramic views of the sea around every bend. We explored the tiny villages including Birzebbugia where Violet (Chels' Grandma) comes from as well as the more built up areas containing endless bars and restaurants. With the luxury of our own car to drive around we were able to find some spectacular beaches away from the crowds. We got a tip from a local about a giant hole in the cliff which we could jump from. Chels jumped in with annoying ease and it took me a little while to build up the courage for the plunge. The Maltese people are incredibly kind and welcoming and ensured our stay was memorable. Malta was unbelievable. We loved every moment and it was sad to say goodbye! Definitely one or our favourite places so far!

25 August 2017

Tuscany, Italy - Two weeks of driving around the famous Italian wine region. It was magnificent! The food, the people, the small towns and the charm were all incredible. We stayed out of the cities in small home stays. This was a great choice as we got to live like a local rather than being with all the tourists taking photos of their own faces in the cities. Having said this, day trips to the cities were really enjoyable and the cities were beautiful. The highlight was staying with a family who invited us for dinner. The bloke was a chef who prepared unbelievably delicious food which we ate with the whole family. Unforgettable evenings with an endless supply of some of the finest wines in the world! The view from our room wasn't bad either. Tuscany is a beautiful place. Time to say goodbye to Italy. It's food, people, charm and culture are all infectious and will be greatly missed! Off to Malta next! Bring on the beach!!

18 August 2017

Split, Makarska, Mljet, Dubrovnik, Korcula, Hvar, Omis, Croatia - We booked with a company called Koda Sail to take us down the Croatian coast for 7 nights on a massive boat. It is futile to try and express with words how amazing this experience was. We were on board with 30 other people who were all similar ages to us with massively diverse and interesting lives. We regularly swam off the boat jumping from the top of the boat into the sea which was exciting and scary. We went to one of the best night clubs in Europe and had an unexpectedly amazing time! We went cycling around a stunning lake at Mljet national park. White water rafting and zip lining in Omis. As well as exploring the towns listed above. The real highlight though was cruising down the coastline with some amazing people drinking beer and cocktails and eating the amazing food prepared by the onboard cook. This was our big 'treat' of the trip and it was spectacular!!!!

16 August 2017

More photos.

7 August 2017

London, England - So we didn't get many photos of London. Not because we didn't enjoy it but because we were too busy. We caught up with Simon Grant a school friend of mine. It was fantastic! He took us to see some of the sights and had us over for dinner in Notting Hill. We were very impressed! We also caught up with another Simon, Chels' friend from Townsville. He took us to a few local bars in a trendy area and we ended up having numerous pints on an outrageously cold summer night. Overall London really impressed us. Even with the most pathetic summer weather imaginable the place had a really good atmosphere. People were friendly and there was heaps to do and see! England has been amazing. Time for some sun and sea.. Croatia!

5 August 2017

Looe, England - One day in Looe gets its very own entry as this particular day was a perfect day. We were up early and walked to a beachside cafe for breakfast. The weather was perfect and the food was yum! We then set off in the car to get to the start of an epic walk. The walk was along the cliffs overlooking some of the most spectacular sea views either of us have experienced. We walked about 7kms and arrived at a little sea side town where we had a delicious lunch. By the time we got home we had been walking for around 6 hours and had a well earned rest. Julie cooked up a delicious vegetarian feast then as the sun set Chels took me down to the beach where she pulled out a picnic rug, some strawberries cream and chocolate, some champagne and put on a playlist of our favorite songs. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and the moon was huge! Chels then asked me to marry her. It was perfect. We are now happily engaged! This was a day neither of us will ever forget. It was so special.

4 August 2017

Looe, England - We stayed with family friends Dave and Julie and were once again treated like royalty. We had a simply stunning five night stay in which we had all manner of exciting, fun and breathtaking adventures. Dave and Julie live in a beautiful house with unbelievable views of the sea. Day one was pissing down with rain but that didn't stop us going on an amazing walk in the countryside. We were soaked to the bone and found refuge in a warm pub and ate delicious homemade pies. We had Tim (Dave and Julie's son) come over with his girlfriend for dinner which quickly turned into hilarious alcohol fuelled games. The next day we played frizz bee golf which I loved! We went mackerel fishing which was a little different to the fishing we are used to but getting out on the water was magic. Overall the stay was hugely memorable. An absolutely fantastic time was had!!

28 July 2017

Lincoln, England - Staying with my Uncle Joe and Auntie Trace was amazing. We got to meet my cousin Charlie for the first time which was joyous. We visited the Lincoln cathedral which was one of the most impressive buildings we have seen so far! We spent many an hour playing games and sipping wine in the beautiful garden. Joe took me to the pub for a pint which turned in to five or so. We played pool and met some hilariously interesting locals. Taking Charlie to a horse sanctuary was a great day out where we got to see yet more beautiful English countryside. We felt very at home and were very sad when it came time to say goodbye. An amazing stay. We can't wait to be back!

24 July 2017

The Lake District, Kendal, England - The home of Beatrix Potter was as magical and beautiful as the children's books lead you to believe. The scenery was jaw dropping. We went on stunning walks through the country side and visited some quintessentially northern English towns. Chels had her first taste of northern English fish and chips paired with a boiled meat pudding. It's safe to say the pudding was as awful as it sounds and she did well to keep it down. Jane and Martin were unbelievably welcoming and we felt at home instantly. We were treated like king and queen and were completely and totally spoilt! This place is surely one of the jewels of England and a place not to be missed. We had an unbelievably good time! Amazing!

20 July 2017

Macclesfield, England - From the moment we were greeted at the airport by my uncle Gary England became a very special trip. Macclesfield is nestled in the stunning countryside near Manchester. Each day we were off doing exciting things and seeing many of the places where I lived my first eight years of life. As well as going on some beautiful walks in the countryside we went into Manchester city centre which is a super cool city with lots going on. We went to some proper English pubs as well as having expertly cooked British staples - the Sunday roast and the full English breakfast (nice one Gazza) The whole trip was very English and we both absolutely loved it. We could have stayed for months. A special five nights!

17 July 2017

Ghent, Belgium - We went to Ghent as we met people in Valencia who recommended a festival here. It was amazing! Belgium is a special place with beer, fries and chocolate being the three things it is famous for. The city itself was stunning! The guy who gave us the recommendation was extremely generous and had us over for dinner and took us around to see the sights. We had a big night out at the festival in which the lead band were so impressed that Australians were in the crowd we got a shout out and they even approached us after the gig for photos. We thought this was hilarious. The whole festival was amazing. The best free event either of us have been too! The people were friendly, the food was great, the beer was the best in the world and the city was stunning. It was a perfect visit! Off to England!

12 July 2017

Amsterdam, Netherlands - After staying in such a beautiful house in the country it was always going to be difficult to pay almost double for a box without windows at a backpackers in Amsterdam. We enjoyed Amsterdam for roughly 20 mins and then we couldn't wait to leave. It was crammed with tourists pouring over each other to glare at plastic looking women in the red light district. If you like smoking weed and sleeping with prostitutes then central amsterdam is right up your ally. Amsterdam does have a rich history and the Anne Frank museum would have been great. Only problem is you have to pay for a ticket that allows you to line up for over an hour to enter the museum for a restricted time. Madness. Moving out of the red light district the night life is buzzing with drunk tourists (mainly brits) so no sense of Dutch culture is around. After we saw a guy vomit all over the street we stayed in our backpackers and watched a movie. Everyone watch 'Chasing Coral'! Get me out of here!

10 July 2017

Ophemert, Netherlands - After a run of cities we were craving a quieter place to be. We found one! We randomly chose an airbnb in the Netherlands countryside. It was amazing. The place itself was incredible with a luxury house situated amongst horses, goats, chickens, ducks, dogs and cats. We drank wine, played cards and relaxed. The animals were fantastic with the goats being particularly amusing. The countryside was stunning. We went on a bike ride though various small towns and fruit plantations. The place was heaven and we could have stayed much longer! Next is Amsterdam which I'm sure will be a massive contrast to this countryside oasis..

7 July 2017

Cologne, Germany - After Luxembourg we weren't overly excited about another city. As soon as we stepped out of the train station this all changed. We were met with the Cathedral pictured and the size and beauty blew us both away. Possibly the most impressive building so far which is a massive call. Cologne was fantastic. We ate German food (once - as it was horrendously unhealthy), drank German beer (incredible stuff), went to a park which weekly turns into a massive outdoor drinking venue, watched a gay pride parade and soaked up the German culture. Additional to this we spent four hours inside an old gestapo headquarters that has been turned into a museum. The horrific history had us both close to tears and was a shocking reminder of the events of WWII. It was a truly moving experience. The German people were all incredibly friendly and welcoming. Cologne was a fun, interesting and welcoming place. We loved it!

5 July 2017

Luxembourg - To be completely honest Luxembourg was pretty uninteresting. It is an expensive city with little charm. We saw some nice bridges and had a great air BnB but aside from that there really wasn't much to write about.. Germany next!

2 July 2017

Paris, France - We were told that Paris would be expensive and busy so we weren't overly excited to get involved. Yes it is very expensive and yes it is busy but holy shit it is stunningly beautiful. Far and away the most beautiful city we have seen. The experience of being there was surreal. From the streets to the buildings to the people, everything was stunning. We walked 20km in one day and still didn't manage to see everything. Even sitting inside a Parisian coffee shop is an experience as the decor in every building we went in to was jaw dropping. We got to experience a mass service inside Notre Dame Cathedral which is one of my favourite experiences so far. Sitting at wine bars and watching the world go by was thrilling. Paris was incredible and we enjoyed every moment! Time for us to say goodbye to France..

28 June 2017

Lyon, France - A pretty city with a cool vibe but nothing that really blew us away. It's full of nice bars and restaurants which kept us entertained. The streets were nice and there were plenty of fascinating buildings to see. It's primarily a place to shop and eat nice food! We had an amazing Lebanese dinner and a sensational cheese and meat tasting plate for lunch which were our highlights. Off to Paris next!!

26 June 2017

Annecy, France - Wow! I really should just let the photos do the talking as this place was indescribably beautiful. This is the most spectacular place either of us have ever seen and we could have stayed for months. The views, the food, the activities and the awe inspiring French Alps could possibly be the highlight of our trip thus far. We went on an stunning hike through small towns and into the countryside on one day and an enormous walk around half of the lake on the next. The first day we went to the local markets and chels found her dream cheese. We cooked our dinner each night in our amazing air BnB sipping on French wine and local beers. Annecy is a must for any visit to France. We hope to be back! I feel the need for double sets of photos so here they are..

25 June 2017

21 June 2017

Aix-en Provence, France - We stayed smack in the centre of town in a tiny loft apartment. The nightlife was insane and we had pubs galore right on our doorstep! The area reminded us of Fremantle, Perth which is definitely a good thing. The weather was very hot and our loft apartment retained the heat so nights were uncomfortable and days were not best spent wandering the streets. With this in mind we set off to find a beach. The beach was stunning and the water warm enough to swim and enjoy. It made our trip and rejuvenated us for a night on the town! We went a little stir crazy in our tiny loft and chels was still getting some pretty bad cramps but despite this we thoroughly enjoyed Aix. Off to the French alps next!

18 June 2017

Toulouse, France - The French have a reputation amongst many Europeans as being rude and unwelcoming. This was certainly not our experience in our first stop in France. Everyone was kind, friendly and welcoming. However the stereotypes of berets, croissants and baguettes are entirely true. Within minutes of arrival we saw a French man wearing a beret holding a baguette whilst eating a croissant. Brilliant! Toulouse is a clean and pretty city. Chels' health was on the up but not 100% so we didn't go overboard. Strolling around getting amazingly fresh food from the markets, sitting in our beautiful French studio apartment and having French wines was enough to keep us busy for our three day stop over. The weather is very hot for this time of year and unlike Australia air con is not a given so we are craving some cooler weather or a beach to cool off at. Fingers crossed for the next place!

14 June 2017

Madrid, Spain - Madrid is a must go if parties and nightlife are high on your list when travelling. The place had an amazing vibe and the backpackers we were staying in was really close to all the action. Unfortunately these truths only compounded the disappointment as Chels was too sick to leave our room. The few photos you see I took on a walking tour I went on while Chels slept. Hugely unfortunate as Madrid was probably the most lively place we have been so far. Improvement on the illness front has been made so fingers crossed the next stop will be back to normal. We are on our way to France next!

9 June 2017

Lisbon, Portugal - Arriving in Lisbon expectations were high and it did not let us down! Turns out June is a month of festivals with the peak of festivities being at the exact time we booked to stay. The whole city was a big giant party. It was fantastic to see. The city is breathtakingly beautiful and it's people fun, vibrant and full of life. The iconic food of Lisbon is BBQ sardines so that was interesting. Unfortunately Lisbon festivities were short lived as Chels got severe gastro. The symptoms were pretty intense so we had to go to the clinic. She spent two of our three days in bed and in pain. As I write this she is still pretty unwell and restricted to bed rest. Improvement has been made though, so fingers crossed soon it will be back to normal. Lisbon was really incredible and again a strong contender for our favourite city. We can't recommend Portugal highly enough. Off to see the capital of Spain now.
Porto, Portugal - From the outset Portugal impressed us. First impressions matter when visiting so many places and the friendly, helpful way we were treated at the airport and train station set the tone for the stay. Porto is a stunning city and the Portuguese are incredibly warm and happy people. Walking the beautiful streets was impressive enough but when we got river side, things really started to become jaw dropping. The colourful buildings matched with the historic and grand design of pretty much everything was amazing. The food was very interesting with a cheese covered steak, ham and sausage sandwich in a secret sauce being one of the signature dishes. It was delicious! The port brewerys were over touristy for us to enjoy but still nice to see briefly. Porto was amazing and is a strong contender for city of the trip. We were sad we only booked three nights. Off to the capital next!

1 June 2017

Canyamel, Majorca, Spain - Six days of pure relaxation bliss!! We booked the smallest possible town we could find on the island of Majorca and found our paradise. 70m from the beach in our best accomodation yet! Small beach bars, live music, and Pina Coladas. We could cook at our apartment which was a nice change. I conquered my fear of driving on the wrong side of the car/road and we hired a car for the six days. It was brilliant. We explored the island and had freedom to move around at our leisure. I didn't think I would be saying this but we found a beach to rival the best in WA which is quite a statement! We went on a 10km hike which turned out to be much more intense than we initially thought. Cliff side hiking was slightly terrifying for parts. We had ourselves another delicious paella and drank outrageously cheap beer. $2 for a 6pack!!! We are relaxed and tanned. Canyamel was pure bliss. Time for a new country!

30 May 2017

Valencia, Spain - Beautiful buildings, great paella, aqua de Valencia and a buzzing nightlife. Valencia was super fun! It is the first place we have been where we have been able to find a backpackers cheaper than air BnB. It was fantastic! We immediately made friends from all over the globe. We spent the first evening drinking laughing and trying to decode the broken English of friends from Belgium, Netherlands, India, Italy, and France. The Italian bloke in the photo with the wine was the driving force behind the drinks and hilarity with a fantastic personality that won't easily be forgotten. He made carbonara for a massive group one arvo which quickly turned into drinking games and laughter. The blokes from Belgium put on a Belgium beer tasting session which was fantastic! We now have places to stay in London, Belgium, and if we have the energy Mateo the Italian said he would drive us around Italy for a few weeks to party and see the sights. Valencia is a vibrant city! Loved it!

26 May 2017

Barcelona + Sitges, Spain - Okay so you won't see many photos of these two areas. This is in no way a reflection of how much we enjoyed our maiden stops in Spain. It's rather a reflection of how busy and entranced we were. Sitges was a beautiful smallish seaside town 60km south of Barcelona. We had an amazing air BnB run by a gay French couple. They were fantastic and we spent much of our time chatting, drinking and enjoying their rustic Spanish townhouse. The nightlife in Sitges was insane and we got carried away and both can't really tell you much about our night. A great time was had. Barcelona is a city to visit for sure! Incredible architecture matched with spotlessly clean streets and a bohemian trendy vibe. Art, shops and bars. Lots of bars. The beach was unreal with near naked Spanish women and men everywhere you looked. The nightlife in Barcalona is unbelievable with pubs, clubs and young people everywhere you looked. We wished we had longer :(. A spectacular city! South!

15 May 2017

Maiori on the Amalfi Coast, Italy - After two hectic cities we were craving a more relaxed location. We found it! We booked three nights and stayed seven. Maiori was bliss. A small sea side town on the Amalfi Coast. Crystal clear water and sheer cliffs -the place was magic. We quickly developed a routine spending the days on the beach doing as little as possible followed by afternoon drinks at our favourite beach bar followed by delicious pasta at a beach side cafe. We booked Maiori last minute and thought we booked a dodgy place. Turns out it was a 5star BnB that we got for a massively discounted rate as we booked last minute. Big win! The people were far more relaxed than the city folk and we felt very welcome as we wandered the beautiful Italian streets. Maiori was exactly what we needed. Batteries recharged. Spain is next!

13 May 2017

Naples, Italy - A mad chaotic and super interesting city. Arriving in Naples it took just 100m of walking out of the train station before someone had managed to unzip all of the zippers on one of our bags. Fortunately nothing was taken and a lesson was learnt . The place we were staying was smack in the middle of the historic centre. Prefect location! The narrow cobble stone streets were packed full of food, bars, shops and history. Pizza is pretty much the only thing on the menu but wow did they do a good pizza. We thought we would try something different than your standard pizza and went for a deep fried pizza.. yes that's right a deep fried pizza. It was delicious! We explored the Naples catecombs and learned a bit about the history of Naples - fascinating stuff. Those paintings you can see were 1st century pagan. Amazing. We went to Pompeii which was eerie and fascinating. Some of the buildings that are still standing date back to 300bc. Incredible! A rest is now needed! Onwards...

10 May 2017

We took an unconventional route and looked for the lesser populated basilicas and buildings. We missed some of the 'big' attractions but thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We saw the pope saying some Italian stuff to a load of Italian people. They seemed pretty pleased with what he had to say but we didn't have a clue. It was a surreal and unforgettable experience non the less. Our air BnB was super comfortable and the balcony was perfect for an arvo beer and wine. We walked and walked and saw some amazing things. Rome was incredible. South we go..
Rome, Italy - Wow! Food, churches, shops, and really really really old stuff. The cliches are true, Italians are really Italian and Italian stuff is also really Italian. Rome is an amazing city full of hidden wonders that continue to mesmerise and astonish. The buildings are out of this world and truly create a sense of time travel. Rome is a modern day city very much set amongst ancient architecture. The people are loud and colourful and the food is fresh and delicious. Italians in Rome have cake and coffee for breakfast closely followed by gelato, pizza and wine at lunch. We didn't make an Italian dinner as they eat at around 9:30pm which was way past our jet lagged bodies bed time. The big negative from Rome was of course the hoards of tourists for the big attractions.

4 May 2017

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - We somehow managed to choose what can only be explained as a million dollar apartment on our budget which was a slice of good luck. Amazing views from the room and an infinity pool to rival the best. We managed to have a relaxing time in a very hectic city. The sounds, sights and smells were relentless outside of our indoor oasis. Evenings in the city came to life with street vendors, music, food and lights everywhere you looked. The mosques started to test the nerves when hour long praying sessions bellowed in the early hours of the morning. A cultural experience no doubt but one that, at the time, was difficult to appreciate. Onward we go..

2 May 2017

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia - After the most terrifying 6hr bus ride of our lives in which we saw cars that had just flipped over and a dead man on the road, we made it up into the mountains in more central Malaysia. We were sad we only had three nights as this was an amazing place. Day one we went on a walk to find the tea plantation which was spectacular. We hitchhiked home and got into the tray of a ute travelling through the mountains. The next day we conquered a mountain that was 1500m above sea level. The hike through the rainforest was beautiful and the return through neighbouring towns was fascinating. The air BnB we stayed in was amazing with mountain views from our room and awesome people to meet. We made friends with a couple from Czech Republic who enlightened us about Eastern European struggles and way of life. We are going to stay with them in rural Czech Republic so that is a massive win! Overall Cameron highlands was absolutely amazing! Moving on...

27 April 2017

Langkawi, Malaysia - We stayed in a 100 year old Malaysian farmers hut. It had beautiful surroundings with water buffalo, chickens and monkeys. Went on an amazing jet ski adventure island hopping and learning a bit about local beliefs and practices. Our time mainly consisted of riding our bicycles and having cheap food and drinks at the beach. Chels found her favourite cocktail which blew the bank at $6 each! Fantastic sunsets in the evenings. One evening got a little out of control when a wealthy Malaysian couple decided to buy us drinks and take us out for dinner with some other Aussie friends we made (one of which happened to be a friend of Sarah the psych from Derby - another mental Derby coincidence). Overall Langkawi was a little touristy for us and it was very hot without precious aircon in our room. It was still a great few days with some unforgettable moments. On to the next adventure...

25 April 2017

More photos

23 April 2017

GeorgeTown Penang - three days full of the amazing sights and sounds of Penang, Malaysia. From mosques to temples, street art to wildlife. The food was out of this world with street vendors selling every type of Asian cuisine imaginable for almost no cost at all. Chels found her food paradise at a place called 'Food Paradise'. We conquered a 10km hike up Penang hill through the rainforest. We both thought it was going to kill us at one stage or another but we made it to the top! We took a cooking class and met some amazing people who educated us on Malaysian history and way of life as well as Malaysian cuisine. The market tour was unbelievable with massive quantities of the freshest fruit, veggies, fish and meat! We had a night on the town and bumped into a friend from Derby.. what are the chances of that???!!!! A very drunk local man licked my ear which was an unusual experience. An amazing start to the trip!
Goodbyes at the airport! See you in a year Australia!

22 April 2017

Last night in P town! Thanks for a great night Bill, Jobs, Polly and Steve. Don't forget to sign up for touch rugby boys.

20 April 2017

Spent the last two days camping at the beautiful Lane Pool Reserve. Conquered a 15km walk and ridiculously cold temperatures!

15 April 2017

Love.

8 April 2017

Last night in Broome. Great friends. Hundo P excited for holidays!
Bye spocky!

7 April 2017

At Emmy and Ali's house for the weekend. First stop on our year off!
The little people

6 April 2017

Goodbye derby town