Croatia · 194 Days · 345 Moments · April 2016

Hilary Murray

Hilary and Scott's Flashpacking Adventures


27 October 2016

Well I must say,all good things must come to an end😢After 193 days of travelling through some of the most stunning countryside this world has to offer,we touched down in Oz.We caught 25 flights ,12 different airlines✈️Those who know me,know I hate flying😱so quite an achievement for me.Although I did crap myself on an internal Air India flight when I saw how old the plane was and exposed wires in the seat in front😱We also survived 17 train trips,in some dodgy trains🚊14 ferry crossings⛴and 12 bus trips🚍We slept in 58 different beds😴All in all,we got on very well,considering we lived in each other's pockets 24/7.I will definitely not miss packing suitcases,carrying suitcases between stops,the hassle by tuk tuk drivers in Asia and also the persistence of The H'Mong women in Sapa.I will miss the gorgeous people we met during our travels and the friendliness and helpfulness of many people throughout most countries. So many wonderful memories. Here's to our next venture💕

25 October 2016

Today we visited Marina Bay and window shopped at some crazy designer shops.Saw the most gorgeous diamond ring.Sad thing is,I would have had to sell our house to buy it 😱($599,000) Lovely to see how the other half live😜I've never seen a city so clean,organised and perfect in every way. We had a delightful lunch at Long Chim, a restaurant owned by chef David Thompson. We also caught up with friends for dinner at a local Chinese restaurant.The restaurant in Bugis has been operating for over 100 years. The food and service was pretty amazing🍽 After dinner we walked through Little India. What a spectacular sight as the streets were lit up for Diwali festival🎉
Our taxi ride from Fort Cochin🇮🇳to airport in Cochin was as adventurous as our trip in Cambodia.Almost collected a few passengers on the way while the driver cut in and out of traffic.He spoke little English so it was an awkward and frightening journey. Anyhow,we arrived in one piece and we flew Malindo Air to Singapore.We departed earlier than scheduled and landed early too😳 We took the MRT( metro) from Changi airport into the city. Terrific transport system which was easy to understand,cheap,clean and punctual😀Hotel for three night was The Daulat in "Little India", a few streets from Bugis Street. It was very compact,funky and had everything we required and the building was heritage listed,so the exterior could never be altered in any way. We did our fair share of shopping and also visited Sentosa for the day. Weather was overcast, so we just had a lovely walk around, recognising all the changes since our last visit there in 2001.
Singapore💕

24 October 2016

Diwali with friends in Little India ,Singapore❤️

21 October 2016

The last two days here in India🇮🇳We caught local ferry from Fort Kochin to Ernakulam at a cost of 8 cents Aussie each for the 20 minute trip😳.Checked out Broadway and the veg markets,then caught a tuk tuk to Lulu Mall (250 rupees) or 5 Aussie dollars for 15 km ride😱Shopped for a while,had lunch and caught a local bus back🚌Great atmosphere on the bus, Indian music pumping loud and locals happily chatting away after finishing work. These people don't have a lot in life but they're happy and we have found them nothing but respectful, polite and helpful😍Not once have we felt unsafe in India. Gonna miss the people here for sure. Tomorrow night we fly to Singapore. Getting butterflies with the excitement that Australia is only days away and seeing the family friends and animals,after 7 months away,cannot come soon enough 🙏🏻💕

20 October 2016

Broadway, Ernakulam

19 October 2016

Spent our last day in Goa relaxing as we were getting prepared for our long train journey. Got picked up by taxi and dropped off a few hours early. Train was running on Indian time and was 1 and a half hours late,so we had a bit of a wait. We organised a porter for 200 rupees/$4 to carry our luggage onto the train for us.Took the pressure off us trying to juggle our now somewhat condensed cases. They are bulging at the seams but much easy to juggle on the train.Thankfully the train was not overcrowded and we easily managed to find out beds😱The train had come from Delhi and had been going for 38 hours before we got on so you can imagine the mess😳I couldn't sit down without at least trying to clean up what other people had just thrown about. Had only one other man in our cabin, an older guy who manufactured cashew nuts.Very friendly,although during the night he made weird noises with his nose and snorted "snuff"and farted loudly several times😂😂 The joys of travelling💕
Train trip and some lovely girls we met. They are all studying dentistry and were on their way to a 3 day conference. They had been on the train for 2 days😱

17 October 2016

Hired a scooter for the day for 400 rupees or 8 dollars🏍.Was pretty rusty and had more bashes on it than a stock car racing car,but this is India remember😱Scott did well driving in the traffic as they drive pretty crazy here but you kind of get used to it. Drove out to the two forts in the area. The first one, Chapora Fort, I wouldn't say there was much of a fort remaining,just the perimeter wall, but terrific views from the top. The other was Aguada Fort, built in 17th century by the Portuguese and was well maintained. It had a nearby lighthouse that you can visit also. Had lovely early dinner at "Inferno" and decided on an early night, just in case our upcoming 17 hour train trip was challenging 😱

16 October 2016

Our first few days in Candolim were spent relaxing, eating great food🍽 and seeing as much of the area as we could. Food here is way cheaper than restaurant prices in Delhi. Taxes don't seem as high😀 Alcohol is served cheaply everywhere too even in supermarkets😳Walked 5km along the beach👣and caught the local bus back into town 🚌 Cost 40 cents for both of us😳Also took local non aircon bus into Panjim.Cost of $1.60 for both of us.A local man gave up his seat for me which was generous of him.Scott stood the whole 40 minute trip.The bus was so packed I couldn't see him at one point😳There was no such thing as personal space haha❗️I felt "everything" push against me on that journey😱Lucky I'm open minded and accept that this happens when travelling in crammed public transport in India 😂😂
Fort Chapora

15 October 2016

Candolim and Calangute Beach😍

14 October 2016

We got picked up from the hotel by taxi to head to the airport. The driver was rather speedy but we arrived in one piece. Checked in luggage and had to pay for 15 kgs. Scott slipped the guy a couple hundred rupees and he knocked a few kilos off so we didn't have to pay so much 😱 While in India do as the Indians do😜Plane was 45 mins late in taking off and it was definitely one of the oldest planes I've ever flown in. Had to be early 1990's😳I felt very nervous and was relieved to touch down safely 2 hours later. Must admit I prayed many times during the short trip🙏🏻Took taxi to Candolin from airport.Had to bargain to get fair price of 1200 rupees. We did think it was still a bit pricey but we were almost 45 mins in the taxi for 24 dollars so can't complain really. He was lovely driver😀 Checked into our villa. Lovely and quiet and very central. Lots of lovely bars and eateries around us 😳Looking forward to relaxing 💕
Last full day in Delhi was spent with our tour group visiting Old Dehli😱Traffic was chaotic but we did manage to visit The Mosque there and The Red Fort. Scott bought a bag of chocolates and sweets for the street kids and upon entering the mosque he transformed into the Pied Piper!! I kid you not, all these kids came from nowhere tugging at his shit for something to eat😳Went for lunch with Ibrahim(our tour guide)then walked through the spice market. The smell was so overpowering with spices that many of us were starting to cough and sneeze😷Crowds of people there too made it impossible to move,so we all decided it was best to head back by metro to The Crowne Plaza😍Few hours rest then we all met in The Metro restaurant nearby🍽Great night and goodbyes were said as the tour was officially over📸Met amazing people who made the whole trip fun. Gonna miss the fun times and laughs 😂😢
The sights and food market in Panjim and football in Candolim 😍
Candolim air BnB 💕

12 October 2016

Last night in Delhi 😢

11 October 2016

We left the city of Varanasi with vivid memories that will be etched in our minds forever, but also a feeling of calmness too🙏🏻Caught bus to train station,traffic was heavy but we made it there in plenty time. Boarded the train for the 11 hour overnight jaunt🚅Definitely less stressful than our previous trip. Our tour guide Ibrahim managed to slip a few rupees to the train guy in order to allow us to all sleep in same area.. Money talks,even if it is just a few dollars or rupees. We had a fantastic journey. We slept well,after chatting and laughing til midnight😂We arrived at our hotel In Delhi around 9.30am, just in time for our lovely breakfast. Headed out and about,up some side streets and Scott got his glasses fixed. The lovely guy refused to take any money. How sweet was that😘Bought phone card and had a quiet night in the hotel 💕

10 October 2016

Train trip to delhi🚅
The following morning we went for a sunrise cruise on The Ganges. Beautiful and peaceful🙏🏻Learned a bit about Aghory and how he has sex with the dead and eats human flesh. Weird I know but seemingly true😱People washing clothes in the river and some cleansing themselves in the holiest place in India🙏🏻 Fascinating to sit back and watch. We witnessed a body being placed in the river just before cremation. During cremation,each body requires 200kg of logs. Certain bodies are exempt from cremation such as pregnant women and children,those with leprosy and people who have been bitten by snakes.Such a contrasting place with colourful saris and children having fun in the water while bodies are being burned at The Ghats. Dead animals lying around.A dead cow floated past us😳The stench of urine and faeces intermingled with perfumed inscense and rose water. No words can describe this place. Hopefully one day I can return 💕

9 October 2016

Our journey to The Ganges was firstly by bus,then we all hopped on a rickshaw(400 rupees return)as traffic was so bad due to Indian festival being on. What an experience witnessing this city and its traffic! Cows, push bikes,rickshaws,motorbikes,cars,you name it it was there,trying to push through🐃 Then,we walked down a few lanes to get to the river. While we were walking,there were two bodies being carried past us draped in the orange silk cloths.These cremations continue 24 hours a day,7 days a week.Very moving to see.Our guide took us to places that visitors normally would miss so we felt very privileged to have witnessed these cremations.Scott was crazy and had a swim in The Ganges.As it turns out,one of the waiter's friends at our hotel was in the group of lads that went swimming in the Ganges with Scott.How ironic,with 1 million people living in Varanasi that this could ever happen😱Wasn't til the following day at the hotel that they spotted Scott and showed us the pics💕
We arrived safely in Varanasi after sleeping a few hours on the train. What an eye opener at the station😱Firstly getting off the train was a challenge,as there were people sleeping in the doorways blocking the way. Later we found out that they don't buy tickets,they just get on the train and slip the train guard some money and he allows them to sleep in the walkways outside the toilet😳So many undernourished people sleeping on and near the platform and cows walking around,dropping shit when they feel like it😱We just had to put heads down and navigate around the obstacles until we made it on the bus😍After arriving at Hotel Clark, we had breakfast and relaxed til late afternoon when we went with our group to The Ganges. 👀
Saranath near Varanasi Budhist temple 💕
Varanasi 😍

8 October 2016

The Ganges at Varanasi 💕
Varanasi and The Ganges😱
Quiet morning the day after our big day visiting The Taj.Lazed around the hotel and Scott played pool with the tour guide Ibrahim. Caught up with all emails and packed up for our next leg of our journey to Varanasi. On the way we visited the Agra Fort. Yet another amazing building whose perimeter covers around 2 miles. It's one of the largest forts in the world. Truly spectacular💕Took bus to train station in Agra for our overnight trip to Varanasi. Wow😱..rats running around us as we waited on the platform😱and people everywhere😳Getting on the train was a challenge and Scott flipped it on the train as someone was sleeping in his allocated bed😂 I laughed so much at him while he was going off with lots of F..k words flying . Thank goodness the Indian people didn't fully understand him😂😜
Set off by bus early from Jaipur to Agra( 6 hours ).On way stopped by Abhaneri the largest and deepest step well in the world.Amazing piece of architecture😱Such poverty around the area with begging kids and adults😢We headed to The Taj Mahal after this and security on entry was paramount.Handbags checked and my lollies were thrown out😢So many people everywhere.Couldn't relax fully for fear of being pick pocketed.We had to be on guard at all times.Despite this we had a fantastic time at The Taj. The marble decor is just spectacular and all the black onyx hand cut inlaid work is magnificent😳Walked into town for dinner about 1 km away. Decided to eat Dominos pizza just for a change .Tuk tuk back to hotel cost us $2.00.I must add, the previous night in Jaipur,we were adventurous in having our first taste of Indian Street Food. Chapati cooked in a home made tandoor oven with chana masala( chickpea curry)😜All for 50 cents Aussie 😋Cheapest meal and one of the tastiest ever💕

7 October 2016

Agra Fort 💕

6 October 2016

Taj Mahal💕And the Steps well
Taj Mahal 💕

5 October 2016

We were supposed to reach Jaipur in approx 4-6 hours but traffic was at a standstill,so it turned out to be nearer 7 hours. Bus driver was great and we felt very safe. We visited Jantar Mantar and City Palace. Both interesting sites and loved the palace. The following morning we stopped at Albert Hall museum and also Hawa Mahal, and Jal Mahal. No entry was allowed so took lots of beautiful photos📸Highlight of the day was at Amber fort. Amazing and well worth a visit😀We were transported up the short windy cobbled road by jeep, seeing cows,camels,dogs,goats and monkeys!! You name it, it was there. Hassled to the max near the temple by hawkers selling there wares..5 at once in your face hoping for a sale😱 No luck with us,but we did splash out at a local silk,carpet and tapestry emporium😍Blew our minds to see these workers working 7 hours a day, 6 days a week for two months to complete one 6x4 rug😱
Jaipur💕
Jaipur😍

4 October 2016

Jaipur and Amber Fort 💕

3 October 2016

Day 1 of our 12 day tour in the northern part of India.Checked into The Crowne Plaza Hotel which is situated in north Delhi.Nice hotel to chill out in and escape from Delhi's hustle and bustle😜Set off by bus with guide Ibrahim from Himalayan social journey. First stop was Qutub Minar site,which has both Hindu and Muslim influence.In 1981,45 people were killed inside the tower when a power outage occurred resulting in a stampede.Most of the deceased were school children😢We also visited The lotus Temple and India Gate, which is a monument to commemorate 80,000 deceased Indians of WW1.Lastly,we visited Lakshmi Narayan Temple,which was built in 1933🙏🏻We finished the day visiting an Indian Emporium.Carpets and rugs were stunning but expensive and really we have a house full of rugs.They tried hard to push a sale but in a nice way,I guess😂Some of the tour group bought some saris😱so we managed to escape to the bus haha without feeling the need to buy items we didn't need💕
Delhi😍
Delhi 💕

2 October 2016

Caught a taxi to airport 300 dirhams(40 Aussie), about one hour away. Bit crazy just before checkin but seemed to get in order after that.They queried our evisas for India and advised us to print out our receipts as proof that we had paid,so we did that in Doha. Flight to Delhi was amazing. Newest aircraft I've ever flown in and very comfortable. We had just touched down when many passengers took seat belts off and started pulling all their luggage from the overhead lockers😱It was absolute nuts😳Seen it before but this definitely took the prize😜 When asked to sit down everyone seemed to be deaf until a "head honcho"guy came and immediately they were all forced back to their seats❗️The plane still had to taxi another 3-4 km down the runway at speed of around 80 km an hour👀 I wish someone would invent overhead locker locks that can be controlled only by cabin crew.Then they would have no reason to get up quickly and be complete assholes who think they have a law unto themselves 😡

30 September 2016

Our day began early,leaving Riad Etoile d'Orient and catching a taxi (40 dirhams) The journey to Casablanca took just over 3 hours. Luckily we boarded first,so managed to put all our luggage overhead. The carriage filled up soon after with local people. No one spoke the whole journey, probably because they couldn't speak our language and we couldn't speak theirs. An older man fully dressed in traditional clothes did offer us a drink from his coffee cup😱Kind offer, but no thanks 😳Don't think our stomachs are that strong❗️At Casablanca train station, we accidentally got off bit too early which made our taxi trip slightly more than expected. We haggled with the driver as we knew how much we should have paid( but from the closer station)! Anyhow we upset him in the process but managed to get away with paying 50 dirhams😀Much to his disgust😳Checked in to Kenzi Basma Hotel for two nights. Must add 2 nights is more than enough in Casablanca😱
Oudaias Fort ,Rabat
Rabat💕
Our last day in Marrakech was spent having a browse through the souks and picking up a pair of converse shoes and a couple pairs of locally handmade leather slippers👟Afternoon was a first time experience for us having a "Hammam" Not for anyone intolerant to very hot steamy conditions,but very relaxing especially as we followed it with an hour long massage. 49 euros each for two hour treatment at our Riad😍At night we ate at Nomad restaurant. A little different and a bit more expensive than other eateries in The Medina but we thoroughly enjoyed the food. Then back to our Riad to pack for our early start the next day💕

29 September 2016

Rick's Cafe💕
Mosque, Casablanca

27 September 2016

Escaped the madness of the city and took a tour up to Ourika Valley⛰On the way we visited a local Berber family home where we were served fresh bread with olive oil, honey and butter made from their very own cow 🐃which along with their donkey,stays in the home too👀The bread was accompanied with fresh mint tea prepared by the mother of the house,who had 8 children,relatively small in Berber tradition.Many have up to 15 children😱The house was typically built of clay and the cracks in the walls are visible,as in summer the clay dries out causing shrinkage.We stopped by an Argan oil factory where you could buy pure Argan oil relatively cheaply. Our hike up the Atlas Mountains for us,was an easy hike.Some people didn't come prepared and found the terrain rather challenging⛰Took almost 1 and a half hours to climb to our view point (4,800m)above sea level,so not for those scared of heights.The tracks are steep at times with sheer drops and no barriers😱Great day, great views💕
After our experience in the back alley ways of Marrakech,we have spoken to several people who were caught up in a similar situation as ourselves,but paid up what was demanded😳Such a scam and one that any visitor should be aware of.It's easy to feel intimidated because that's how they operate,so you just have to be careful and have your wits about you.At the night food market,we were checking out somewhere to have a bite to eat,as every where seems to offer exactly the same menu😜Came across a stall and the young lad trying to get people in to eat,assures us that his place is "100% guaranteed no diarrhoea for ten years😂" Must say this has to be the best quote of our visit so far😂We decided not to eat there,but chose a restaurant near our Riad and I ordered Couscous Royal vegetariene expecting cous cous and veggies. Seemingly "Royal"means everything so the dish looked liked all the meats from the kitchen piled on top of the veggies and couscous😱 Was pretty disgusting 😨
In Marrakech, good piece of advice is, always look like you know where you're going,even if you're lost 😂We stopped to check our map and ended up being led by a young guy to the tanneries,which was where we were going.He then passed us to another guy who said he worked for the tourist board,which we thought was suspicious and brought us inside this putrid smelling area where animals are skinned and all the fat is scraped from the hide😢Then it's soaked in Pigeon poo to soften the hide and then put through a number of colouring processes.He then led us to the next stage and the final stage was the shop selling leather goods😳This was when we felt more uneasy as we were brought down several small lanes and had to pass massive burly "underworld looking guys",Got into the shop and I said to Scott,"we're getting out of here quick!" We turned around and were followed by the guy demanding 200 dirhams.We handed him 25 dirhams and took off running ,looking over our shoulder😱Scary!!!

26 September 2016

So the day began by having breakfast in our Riad followed by walking through The Medina til we reached Palais Bahia👣Amazing building of 160 rooms built before the 20th century. The architecture is simply stunning inter mingled with hard wood from the Atlas Mountain Range. A lot of the ornate work,constructed of plaster and the mosaic design are simply stunning and colourful😳. From here we walked to Ben Youssef Medersa, which resembled a boarding school almost and was used as an Islamic College, founded in 14th century and was one of North Africa's largest Theological Colleges, which housed up to 900 students😳 We did a small bit of shopping in the Souks and had to haggle so much to get a fair price on a scarf😱I think I pissed the guy off so much,he basically told me to leave his shop and don't come back😳But he wanted to charge some crazy price! It makes me so angry that they think we will pay the price they say! I got my scarf for my price in the end much to his disgust😜
Atlas Mountains💕 Ourika Valley
Views from The Atlas Mountains 💕
Berber house with in house animals 😳

25 September 2016

Medina in marrakech😳

24 September 2016

Medina Marrakech 😱
Riad Orient D'etoile in Marrakech 💕
Wow 😱what a morning at Malpensa Airport.We arrived at 9:00 pm for our 6:00am flight.Saved us accommodation for one night and chilled out at the airport til checkin time at 4:00am.Couldn't sleep for kids running around making noise, but that was nothing on what was to follow😳Lined up at check in desk and one line became three very quickly. Scott stood his ground and gave them all "The Look"😳We went through the departure gate and we were waiting for an hour and a half to board when the guy at the desk announced in Italian that flight will not take off cause one of the crew called in sick❗️All hell broke loose amongst the passengers ,who were shouting and yelling at the check in guy😱Security came running 🔫 and calmed the situation a little but some were still pissed off,ranting and raving!Entertaining but unnerving ,as we had to board this plane with all the hot heads😱Situation settled once a replacement staff member showed up and we were allowed to board🙏🏻 Arrived safely💕

23 September 2016

This our last day in Milan.We spent two days and one night at Ostello Bello Grande hostel.Exceptionally friendly staff and great position from Milan's Central train station.The accommodation was all we needed and very clean.Private room was 118 euros,so not cheap but affordable as far as Milan prices go😱Walked around the city and visited The Duomo Piazza and wow what an amazing cathedral building too.The shopping centre is a must see,even if it's just to window shop and people watch😳 We spent a great part of our day just watching the world go by.Fascinating fashions in Milan 🤔Well I guess, "The Milan Fashion Week" is on so possibly some weird and wonderful 'get ups' can be excused😂😂
Our final couple of days in La Spezia we spent visiting small villages in The Gulf of Poets. Definitely a must for anyone visiting the area. We caught the local bus to Lerici and Torello. Not much in Torello but very picturesque. We spent a few hours at the small beach in San Terenzo and even went for a dip in the ocean 🏊🏼A tad cold but refreshing,although Scott didn't agree😱 Enjoyed one of the best pizzas in Italy at Bella Napoli. Well priced wood fired authentic base.Yummo❗️
Milan 😍
Milan💕

20 September 2016

Lerici, San Terenzo, Torello💕

19 September 2016

Day trip today to Cinque Terre,first we took the 20 minute train trip to Monterosso,the furthest of the 5 villages and worked our way back by train to Varanazza,when we jumped on a boat to Riomaggiore😳 Enroute we passed Corneglia and Monterola.All very distinctive with their coloured houses and the bluest ocean that surrounds them.Had lunch in Riomaggiore at a pizza bar.The owner and daughter were so grumpy and rude. Working in a strip club or brothel would be more apt for them😱We should've walked out straight away but we didn't.After finishing our pizza Scott had a coffee supposed to be included which still never arrived after asking 4 times and waiting 45 mins❗️Ended up paying and walking out with no coffee.Pissed off was an understatement but thought better not argue with them, they looked pretty 'crazy' 😂
CinqueTerre💕
Cinque Terre💕

18 September 2016

Day trip today to beautiful picturesque Porto Venere💕Local bus took us there along narrow winding 12 km road for 5 euros for both of us😍Gorgeous scenery en route even though we stood all the way.Walked around and captured some amazing photos📸 Weather was forecast to rain and so it did but we got lucky with the thunder starting just as we were leaving.Hopped on the local bus back and the driver was a youngish grumpy bugger who had his feet up on the steering wheel and was totally immersed in his mobile.I told him that we didn't have tickets and could we buy them on board and initially he mumbled something which indicated we buy up the street, but we couldn't find anywhere so we jumped back on the bus and I said I can't buy tickets!Think he didn't care.Muttered something in Italian and we just stayed on board without paying😳The bus driver who brought us there in the morning allowed us to pay on board but this dude obviously couldn't be arsed issuing tickets as it cut into his phone t
Porto Venere💕
Porto venere 💕

17 September 2016

Well our fantastic two week cruise around The Med is over today😢Had a fab time meeting lots of great people,some eccentric,some who think their 'shit don't stink'😱and some just genuinely nice people😍Our final two days were in Corfu,Greece and Sorento,Italy.Only had a day in each place but managed a swim in both. Did a bit of shopping and climbed to the Old Fort in Corfu.Sorento on the other hand had an old Italian fishing town feel to it with reasonably priced shops and restaurants and friendly locals.Had lunch with drink for 5 Euros each overlooking the small marina🚤Last night we set sail to Civitavecchia near Rome where we boarded a local train to La Spezia for 5 nights🇮🇹Were on the road again😳💕

16 September 2016

Sorento💕

15 September 2016

Leaving Corfu for Sorento💕

14 September 2016

Corfu, Greece💕

13 September 2016

Feeling a bit unwell today on arrival at Kotor, Montenegro.Think I ate dodgey food,so I decided it was best to stay in my room.Just in case I couldn't make the toilet somewhere😱Scott went off on his own,but it wasn't long before "Mr Sociable" met up with a couple of guys from New Zealand.Together they climbed up the mountain top,a steep incline for 45 mins 😳 I'm sure you'll agree that the photos look amazing from the summit📸 Hoping tomorrow will be better day for me 🙏🏻as we sail🛳 to Corfu tonight, arriving early morning💕
Sailed into Dubrovnik early morning.Shared a taxi with another two ladies on the cruise and headed up to The Old Town.Many areas in the old town were used in the set of The Game of Thrones series.We booked a short one hour tour at 1.00pm which took us to the highest viewpoint overlooking the city⛰It was thankfully a short but hairy drive up with stunning views at the top.We witnessed where fighting took place during the 1990 -1992 Croatian war🔫Defending their fortress at the top,The Croats lost 2 men and The Serbians lost 200 at this exact area and shelling is still visible on the buildings.Bunkers also still remain with graffiti slogans now.Rather interesting as it's very recent and the tour guide explained the war times from a neutral perspective, which I thought was good🤔
Kotor,Montenegro😍
Kotor💕

12 September 2016

Dubrovnik💕
Dubrovnik😍

10 September 2016

We had one day at sea before sailing through the Grand Canal and into Venice for two days💕Truly spectacular sight sailing in with St Marks Square on our balcony side☀️Decided to see Venice on foot so set off at 8:30 am👣We joined a free walking tour of the city for two hours.The tour guide was extremely knowledgable about Venice giving us insight into local history,culture and tips where to eat and visit😊We headed off after the tour and continued on foot around Venice,exploring many of the 400 or so bridges,sampling yummy gelato at Nico.We actually lost ourselves several times,which is not that difficult in Venice,but this is when you come across the best sights😱Scott and I lost each other for 15 mins in the crowd at St Marks Square.Can you imagine Scott's reaction when he found me😈 He said "I thought you'd taken off!" I replied,"what.. In a bloody gondola! " seriously.I was my usual chilled out and he was in a panic haha😜Returned to ship at 7:30pm Clocked up 43 km👣Great day💕

9 September 2016

Last few of venice💕
Venice💕
Venice💕
Venice💕

8 September 2016

Our third port was changed on the itinerary.Was supposed to be Kusadasi in Turkey but due to the country being highly unsafe for visitors,Cunard decided against stopping there,so instead we berthed off Albania and the ship's tenders took us ashore🛳Well I must say, not much going for it. We did take advantage of using wifi at a local cafe.That was as exciting as Saranda got😱.So many Mercedes cars but seemingly most of them are stolen👀 Several had no number plates so that probably explains why❗️We didn't hang about too long before we returned to the ship and set sail at 5.00pm for Venice💕
Our second port on our cruise was a town called Katakolon,Olympia🇬🇷We disembarked at 9:00am and had most of the day to ourselves.We decided to take the local bus to Olympia to visit the archaeological historic site of The Ancient Olympic Games 776BC.The local bus was 10 Euros each and it took approx 40 mins to get there. Cost of entry to the site and museum was an extra 12 Euros.All worth seeing if you're keen on history.Especially the running track with its few stone seats placed neatly at the side for officials and judges😀Of course I had to do a handstand at this exact spot and also got a telling off for standing on one of the stones😳 My red hair gets spotted a mile away❗️Every 4 years the Olympic Games torch is lit from this exact site in Olympia,before it travels to its final destination ...the host city💕

7 September 2016

Saranda,Albania🤔

5 September 2016

Joined The Queen Victoria two days ago but wifi is not the best so taking opportunity to post when we can.Set sail from Athens and berthed just off Santorini next morning.Glorious sight but weather has been extremely dry so this was visible in the landscape🌄We climbed the famous donkey trail to the top of Fira. Scary at times as the donkey population seems to have multiplied significantly❗️Took some snaps📸 then hopped on local bus to Oia.Cost 1.80 euro each way for 30 min trip along mountain roads with a sheer drop😱 Beautiful photos at Oia although I do feel we saw Santorini at its best 2 years ago at the start of their Summer 💕
Olympia💕
Olympia💕

4 September 2016

Santorini💕
Santorini😍

2 September 2016

Last full day in Athens💕Did the whole touristy thing on foot👣Walking up to The Acropolis site,Hadrians Arch, Temple of Zeus and The Modern day Olympic stadium,built for the first Modern day Olympic Games in (1896) Super hot day and we covered substantial ground,seeing some fantastic ancient ruins and sites.Of course I wouldn't be "Hilary" without getting a whistle blown at me by security for climbing on a wall,that seemingly was out of bounds😱Scott says" what's new?"😜We spent a bit of time trying to find somewhere to upload our documents for our Indian Visa application!That in itself was a mission.Each place we were sent to,we thought "yes surely we can get it done here"and we got sent on to yet another place.Finally managed to do it at a travel agent and had to pay 16 euros😳We were so over it by then that it didn't matter😡Finished our day having lovely salad and pizza at a local restaurant.They claim to have the best pizza🍕in Athens and they were pretty good💕
Ancient Athens💕
Acropolis 💕
Athens💕

31 August 2016

Arrived a couple days ago in Belgrade.Couldn't sleep as we always had to have our wits about us on the train trip👀A few dodgy guys came on half way through the journey,filthy as.Played their music loud and just had no respect for the local Serbian or Hungarian people.Made me quite angry😡 No wonder some don't fit in to the adopted country with behaviour like that😱Arrived after 9 hours.I asked the taxi driver how much to our apartment and I thought he said 10 hours❗️I replied but it's only 2 km away so how can it take ten hours😳 Then he went onto say what I thought was "2 dinners"❗️And I'm like what👀Maybe he's expecting us to pay for his dinner too😱To cut long story short,his "ten hours"was ten euros and the "dinner"part was the Serbian money Dinars😜I was so not tuned into his English and I really thought he was trying to rip us off in some shape or form😂Poor guy.But I had to laugh looking back on it 😂😂😂

30 August 2016

Belgrade castle area and local "artwork" on the street💕
Belgrade💕
Belgrade 😍

28 August 2016

So two days have passed and we've endured a busy but enjoyable time in Budapest.Visiting The Castle overlooking the city was most memorable as we experienced the funicular railway ($8.50) which was constructed in 1870 and bombed during the war and reconstructed in 1986.It brought us to the top in three minutes with stunning views on the way and even more so at the summit🌄Well worth the money😀We also strolled along the banks of The Danube. The river separates the city into Buda and Pest🏞We enjoyed dinner in The Jewish quarter.Many classy restaurants with many to chose from.We ventured on the local metro.And believe me my feet are saying " Thank you"!Took many glorious photos of this fascinating city📸 The upsetting part of Budapest is the beggars in the street,with homelessness being an obvious problem in certain areas😢
Budapest😱
Budapest😍
Budapest💕

26 August 2016

Our last day in Prague before we embark on a 7 hour train trip to Budapest,Hungary.Packing is as much fun as living out of a suitcase for 7 months!!Scott and I have got on really well,but packing seems to have just pushed both our buttons and has caused the most arguments during our whole trip😈Yesterday,Scott got called "communist fuckin scum"for wearing his only remaining clean t shirt,which had a face of Che Guivera❗️The guy was rather tall and well built and Scott shit himself just a little😂I may add it was removed pretty quick smart when we returned to hotel😳Today we combined a river cruise with a day pass to Prague Zoo.Walked for almost 30 kms,seeing Prague's best animals.Great day out,even though our boat seemed to have a long wait on the river due to the lock system being very slow and many boats waiting to sail through at the same time😍
Prague river and zoo💕
Prague zoo 💕

24 August 2016

Arrived in Prague,Czech Republic and fell in love with this vibrant city❤️So much life which has a buzz about it.Everyone seems happy and friendly😀it's kind of what we love in a city and also has the most amazing architecture from yesteryear🏛Walked til we dropped for the last two days,visiting Charles Bridge and Prague Castle and today clocking up 25 km wearing thongs on cobbled roads and footpaths was definitely not the best choice,I must add👣Enjoyed a refreshing drink back at the hotel.Fixed our sore feet💕
Prague💕
Prague by day 💕
Prague day out💕

22 August 2016

Last couple of days in Berlin have been busy,spending time at the zoo and exploring the city day and night.Met up with Marie,who we met whilst in Vietnam,so it was very exciting and lovely to catch up and have dinner with her in Berlin😀The zoo was average,but I guess we have been spoiled visiting other amazing zoos around the world,so our expectations were probably a bit too high😜The 'finale' was an unexpected,full action shot of two elephants humping😂😂Nothing quite compares to Singapore zoo or Taronga in Sydney,they are still our favourites🐘🐅🐊Still we had a beautiful day out visiting all the historical sights in Berlin and today we toured the Reichstag building where Federal Government hang out and all the decision making for the country happens here.The fascinating glass dome part was designed by a British man Norman Foster and symbolises the reunification of Germany in the 1990's🇩🇪
Berlin 😀

20 August 2016

Arrived in Berlin yesterday🇩🇪Hotel is ok,not the best but good position,and has a comfy bed,even if we did have to ask for another doona 😳Somehow a single doona just doesnt doesn't quite fit a queen bed😂Covered the city on foot👣all 20 km, seeing sights of this fascinating city...Brandenburg Gate, Charlottenburg Palace, Jewish memorial and Victory Column😳 Restful night at The Arcotel tonight 💕
Wow it's been a few days since I've posted anything😳Our last few days in Scotland were mixed emotions.Mum was fantastic when we went for a beautiful afternoon tea at Durn House in Portsoy with Rhonda,Robecca,Ian and Edie.She was in fine form,in fact amazing and I will remember this special afternoon for years to come.Mum surprised us all,but definitely struggled the following day and wasn't too good when we were about to say our goodbyes😢As usual,when I leave Scotland I just say "see you all soon". It's easier for all and the reality is,that mum isn't aware of time so it's better for her too❤️ Had a fantastic time in the home country and we will miss all our friends and family💕Sometimes it sucks to be on the other side of the world but that's the life we chose.We are grateful that we are able to visit each year and have amazing friends who always take care of us❤️
More from Berlin 💕
Berlin💕

19 August 2016

17 August 2016

Durn House, Portsoy
Burghead and Lossie catch ups

15 August 2016

Just returned from an amazing two day trip to Skye.The sun came out to greet us,which was an added bonus☀️Drove around the top of the island stopping and taking some fantastic photos of stunning scenery on the way🏞Lots of single track roads and quaint cottages paint a picture of absolute serenity❤️Checked into a B &B called Griannan House right on the banks of Loch Duich with spectacular views of The Glen Shiel Mountain Range⛰ Beautiful accommodation reasonably priced run by lovely couple,bit eccentric,but lovely overnight stay.Met a lovely couple from Brisbane at The Clachan,where we had dinner.So hopefully will catch up when we get back to Oz💕

14 August 2016

Eileen Donan and Skye
Eileen Donan Castle
North Skye

11 August 2016

Been enjoying quality time with family and friends in between a trip down to Edinburgh to see Madness in concert.Planning a couple of days down the west coast of Scotland but the weather hasn't been the best.My mum has been looking much better and I've managed to take her out several times which has been lovely. Brought her to Lossie and I'm sure all the familiar places made her feel very happy😃When I asked if she remembers,she said she did and smiled😍Visited the cemetery and had a good old chat with "Jackie Cock" AKA my dad.As usual rain poured down.Always does when I'm there.I could just hear dad laughing,as it happens every single time I visit 💕

5 August 2016

Dalwhinnie, Leith harbour and mum looking gorgeous💕

3 August 2016

Great day at Fort George,which is situated between Inverness and Nairn.It's currently being used to house and train Army personnel,presently The Black Watch Regiment of Scotland.Built during the aftermath of the Jacobite rising in 1745,to pacify The Scottish Highlands.The fortress has never come under attack and today it stands proud, overlooking The Moray Firth🐬with its abundance of dolphins🐬💕
Visited Findhorn, where my mum used to live. Her father,my Granda was a local policeman in the 1930's in this area.
Took mum to Cullen for an ice cream and a drive around the neighbouring coastline.Beautiful day,so stopped to capture a few photos.Favourite part of the North East of Scotland💕Weather was kind this afternoon 20 degrees😳Even had to remove a layer of clothing 😱
Good times💕
I've been missing in action for a few days😜Just been busy spending quality time with mum😍Glad to say she's feeling bit better with glimpses of her old self and cheeky faces from time to time,which always make me laugh😂She's a professional at expressing herself with her eyes😍Love these times and feel grateful that I've been able to take her out and about💕
Fort George💕
Fort George pics 💕

2 August 2016

Cullen and Findochty 💕
Cullen💕

30 July 2016

Findhorn in North East Scotland 💕

29 July 2016

Today we we explored "Scotland's secret bunker" which was built for the purpose of controlling military operations should a nuclear attack occur during the Cold War.When you see how they would've communicated forty years ago☎️really blew me away as to how technology has advanced in such a short time💻Underground was approximately the size of 2 football pitches and was able to accommodate up to 300 people at any one time.Afterwards we walked around Elie.Couldn't believe that there were people swimming🏊🏼Temperature was only 18/19 degrees brrr😱
Spent yesterday in Dundee shopping and visiting The Discovery centre of Captain Scott and The Antarctic Expedition❄️Pretty impressive museum containing lots of interesting information on The discovery of Antarctica.Learned that The Discovery boat was built in Dundee because the boat builders there at that time were accustomed to building whaling boats and a similar style was required for the Expedition to Antarctica.We then boarded The Discovery and witnessed what life would have been like back then.😳
Elie💕
Scotland's Secret Bunker

28 July 2016

The Discovery and some Oor Wullie in Dundee

26 July 2016

Lovely day today at St Andrews visiting The Old Course with Steven and Brooke.Managed a few holes of putting and enjoyed a cuppa in the old pavilion.Interesting to see how difficult it is getting a game of golf on the old course,but if you're a member, you can play pretty much any time🏌We scored some fab photos near the course📸Finished the day with a beautiful walk around the town and came across some interesting ancient buildings💒Dinner was in Anstruther at The boathouse Inn🍽 Really enjoyable with great service💕
St Andrews💕
St Andrews💕

25 July 2016

Great day trip to Scotland's capital city of Edinburgh today.Caught the train 🚃and headed to The Castle which dates back to the 12th century.While Scott and his friends went into the castle,I managed some shopping before we headed back to Kirkcaldy by train,then drove back to Kilconquhar.Walked into the village for dinner at Kinneuchar Inn.Beautiful Summers night but definitely on the chilly side on the way home⛄️
Kilconquhar and Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh💕

24 July 2016

Been rather quiet this last few days.Before we arrived in Kilconquhar, we spent as much time with mum as possible.Quite sad seeing her deterioration😢She makes me happy when I see glimpses of her former self tho 😀 Haven't been able to take her for a drive in the car as yet but hopefully we can manage a Cullen ice cream when I get back up north at the end of the week🙏🏻Presently, Scott and I are staying in a bungalow on the grounds of Kilconquhar Castle in Fife with our friends.Out and about today in Anstruther,Elie,and Pittenweem. Gorgeous fishing villages which have lots of 'oldie worldie' charm.💕

21 July 2016

Yesterday was an extremely bittersweet day.I was so excited to see mum,but sadly,quite upset in her deterioration.I can see she's fighting hard to work everything out in her mind and to be honest,she looks exhausted.I was trying to imagine what she must be going through.For someone to have been such a great speaker and communicator,to barely saying a word is just devastating.I just wish I could make things better for her🙏🏻🌹💕
We left Paris for Aberdeen ,after spending a delightful week there ✈ I must say,security was tighter than ever and with the recent terrorist attacks in Nice,it took almost two hours of queuing,searching and bag emptying before we were allowed to board.Picked up hire car from Hertz and stopped by Huntly cemetery with some flowers🙏🏻.Beautiful day 25 degrees and pleasantly warm for Scotland.So perfect arrival into such a lovely country.Wish there were more days like that😍

17 July 2016

Visited Notre Dame Cathedral and The Louvre.Again lots of queues and lots of security,so we didn't venture inside.Amazing to see these buildings in real life and how large all these iconic statues and monuments are when up close😳Walked through Les Jardins de Tuileries .. Beautiful🌷🌺💐 We have been shocked at the 'gypsies' around the tourist areas,ripping people off in the street with their scam games.Tourists who haven't done their homework have been sucked into the scam and can lose 50 or 100 euros in seconds😱 Really needs to stop as it spoils this beautiful city💕🇫🇷
We travelled by metro and train to Palais de Versailles🚊Couldn't believe the queue.Even tho we had pre purchased tickets,we still had to wait an hour to get in.So many Asian tourists who kept us entertained with their selfie posing and taking😂Walked around the palace and it's beautiful gardens for several hours💐🌺🌷🌹Also visited The Petit Trianon linked to Queen Marie Antoinette👑She stayed in the small chateau when she wanted to escape the pomp and ceremony of Versaille Palace life.There was a musical fountain which we didn't stay around for,as we had been walking since 8:00am.Came back to apartment on 25 Rue Paul Valery and chilled out💤Went for dinner at a local restaurant.Enjoyable meal but Scott said the beer was awful😜
Palais de Versailles
Palais de Versailles

16 July 2016

15 July 2016

After yesterday's horrible events in Nice,I honestly didn't feel like leaving the apartment this morning but Scott had the day planned and I couldn't let him down.We both decided that if we stayed in,all we would hear on the news was extreme sadness😢We headed out on foot to Monmartre and Sacre Coeur,then along the street to Moulin Rouge,finishing up at The Eiffel Tower,where we booked our ticket to the summit.Was fantastic up at the summit but Scott was rather nervous and scared of heights,especially in the lift. Nevertheless,he made it and seemed pleased with himself that he made it😍 We walked down rather than use the lift from 3rd level. Probably several hundred steps but not too bad😜Finished the night off having dinner at La Campanella.Good meal with 30% discount on food😀Another one of Scott's bargain finds on La Forchette😜So a great day all in all with a total of 29 km travelled on foot👣
Eiffel Tower visit
This is an extremely sad day(Bastille Day) as I write this blog from Paris🇫🇷84 people dead in the city of Nice with hundreds injured,not to mention the psychological damage they will endure for the rest of their lives,when a mad terrorist drove a truck into a crowded esplanade.While all this was unfolding,we were somewhat enjoying the fireworks at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in Paris,until people starting pushing and squashing us.Ten minutes before the end,we decided to leave and head back to our apartment.This end to our great day marred with the most horrendous atrocities.Thoughts and prayers are with all of France at this time.🙏🏻

14 July 2016

Bastille Day 🙏🏻

12 July 2016

Arrived in Lisbon early morning on Sunday after ten hours on overnight train from Madrid.We sat in regular compartment and were subjected to incessant talking,laughing,yelling by a feral family.I was so close to telling them to shut the f..k up😳Made me so angry as I only slept for an hour and a half 👹So Sunday was a very kranky day.Walked into Terreiro do Paco at night to watch the European cup final.Crazy atmosphere with the biggest crowd I've ever witnessed outside a football match⚽️Couldn't get over the fact that alcohol was allowed to be consumed on the streets.Decided to start walking when extra time began and saw the winning Portuguese goal up the street.People were going "nuts"after the game.Never heard noise like it,which continued through the night and into the next day 🎉Monday we hopped on and off trams,buses and metro visiting the best of Lisbon 💕

11 July 2016

Out and about in Lisbon💕

9 July 2016

Not quite 20km yesterday,but close enough with 15.5km👣Took a closer look inside The Royal Palace👑was truly a spectacle never to be forgotten😳With its 3418 rooms of grandeur and it's enormity,it was stunning to see inside😍After which,we headed to lunch at East 47,which is part of The Real Villa Hotel.Very enjoyable meal with top service🍽🍷Regular pricing is not cheap but Scott secured a special price which had 50% discount,so very good deal😜If there's a better or cheaper way Scott will find it❗️Mr bargain hunter and Tour Guide extraordinaire❤️I was buggered by late afternoon as temp was 37 degrees. Stopped for refreshments on our way back at "TGI Friday". Happy hour from 5 til 8 with cocktails at 3 Euros. Early night for our last night in Madrid before we head to Lisbon,Portugal 💤Have had a great time in this amazingly beautiful city💕

8 July 2016

Royal Palace ,Madrid
We walked and walked til we dropped yesterday👣20.35 km in total,all around this amazing city.Our first attraction was "Parque de el Retiro"where we hopped on a small rowing boat for 45 mins (6euro) and sailed around the beautiful lake⛵️with Monumento Alfonso XII on the foreshore.Also visited the Cathedral near the Prado museum.We're amazed by the architecture of this city and how clean Central Madrid is😳We celebrated my birthday by stopping off for a few cocktails on our walk around 🍹and finished the evening with a lovely dinner at "La Antonita", 🍰Scott managed to get one of his special discount deals ,50% off food menu. Unfortunately didn't overdo the Bacardi as they cost 8 Euros(12 Aussie) each😢11:30pm we headed back to our hotel and it was a pleasure to see so many people still having dinner 'al fresco' and families just chatting and relaxing over a glass of wine🍷 Gotta love the European culture 💕

7 July 2016

Finally in Madrid,after our longish flight from Hanoi via Bangkok to Doha then to Madrid.Enjoying less humidity than we have in the last 3 months.Still hot,30 plus degrees but a different heat🌞 We were privileged to witness the changing of the guards at The Royal Palace👑 Watched most of the procession,only to be startled by the cannon blast😱I honestly thought a bomb had gone off as the street was packed with people and I didn't expect it.We walked for few hours around the city,checking out the most amazing buildings and architecture.Had a quick look in the shopping centre but pretty pricey😜 Visited a local bar near the palace and a trendy tapas food court.Both busy places.Fell asleep afternoon and didn't waken til 10 pm,at which time we were hungry! So we headed out and grabbed a doner kebab from a small nearby eatery.Cause we were a bit jet lagged with the flight,we decided to have my birthday meal the following night💕

6 July 2016

The first photo is of The Palace from our apartment 💕