Around The World · 95 Days · 55 Moments · July 2017

Aotearoa & Beyond

1 November 2017

San Francisco! Our last stop and what a fantastic city to end with. San Francisco or more commonly known as fog city was unforgettable. On our first day we ventured out into town and stumbled upon a really great market on the pier. We continued along the coast in search of our view of the spectacular a Golden Gate Bridge only to find it was completely covered in fog, apparently a common occurrence. Luckily, on our last day there we were treated to a crystal clear view of the famous sight. We honestly did expect to love America as much as we did. We will definitely be back!

30 October 2017

26 October 2017

More New York adventures. Our trip is quickly coming to an end, with only one more stop left on our adventure before we make our way home. We made our way to Brooklyn Bridge today and made our way across. We were treated to another view of this spectacular city. We are loving our time here, the city has so much life to it!

24 October 2017

Central Park, a marvel in itself. The park boasts 843 acres, including 7 man-made lakes and even a zoo. The backdrop for many movie scenes, it was fun exploring all that it had to offer.
New York, New York! We are loving NYC. It definitely lives up to the hype that's for sure. Kinlon managed to get tickets to Live with Kelly & Ryan which was so much fun. We had to wait almost 2 hours outside but once we got in the excitement took over. Nothing says New York like Times Square, named after the NY times. The huge neon signs, yellow cabs, shops and people all come together. To say it was bustling with tourists is an understatement. It is reported that 330000 people visit the square daily. I can't wait to see it at night!

18 October 2017

We made it! And the rain followed us! Unfortunately it insisted on raining the whole entire time we were there. But we set out to Stanley Park nonetheless. Apparently one of Vancouver's best known parks, a magnificent green oasis in the city. The autumn trees were gorgeous. Never have I seen Autumn done so well. Red, yellow, orange and green- it was amazing to see how vibrant the colours were. Another highlight was seeing some of the Inuit art. Interestingly enough it is quite similar to Maori, the totem poles depicting their ancestry and the long meeting houses. It’s fascinating to see the similarities in indigenous cultures across the world.

14 October 2017

Shanghai! Who ever thought we'd be back here again? Shanghai will always hold a very special place in my heart being my second home, I made so many wonderful friends there and some great memories. So when we had the chance to pop in and hit our favourite spots, how could I say no? We couldn't very well visit the Hai and not eat out at Sichuan Citizen. That would just be rude. As expected, the food was incredibly delicious and catching up over a basil martini or two is my kind of night. A wonderful few days back in the Hai.

13 October 2017

Yes this post is purely dedicated to food! Oh my goodness Seoul you put on a good dinner. Tonight we met up with some of Kinlon's old colleagues. I was treated to Dakgalbi for the first time, a spicy Korean chicken dish with ramen. It was delicious!! My new favourite Korean dish! We finished it off with a Korean specialty, bingsu (or shaven ice).
I could absolutely see myself living here! I didn't quite expect to like it so much. But between the delicious food, the people, the cheesy socks and the giant soft toys. I'm in! In hindsight, I wish we booked longer here but nonetheless I am grateful for our 3 short days here. We stayed in Myeongdong, right in the heart of it. The neighboured is lined with beauty shops, sock stalls, street food and so much more. Walking down the road at night is truly experience with neon lights almost blinding you whilst the undeniable smells of sweet potato, Korean chicken and spicy rice cake waft through the streets. During our short stay we also visited Gyeongbukchung Palace. Reminiscent of Forbidden city, it was overflowing with hanboks and a rich history.

10 October 2017

Yes, our photos from Kuala Lumpur mainly consist of food. Who knew after our experience on the island the food was so delicious in KL. We were based right in the heart of KL so our food options were endless. The infamous Jalan Alor night markets were only a street away. The place comes alive at night with the fragrant smells taking over your senses, waiters trying to lure you in shouting "lai, lai, lai". We sampled the butter crab, Kway Teow and crispy satong. The next night we had to go back for their coconut ice team which was to die for. The stall holder couldn't have been more accommodating, the Malay are such friendly people.

9 October 2017

1 October 2017

This is my idea of paradise. Blue skies, sunny days and clear waters . Pure tranquility. After travelling non stop for two months, it was high time for some R & R. Kinlon and I had parted ways for the week as he headed to India and I spent some time with the girls. Let me tell you it was a mission to get there but well worth it - just look at the photos, need I say more? This trip was good for the soul. After a week of catching up with my girls and laying in the sun I was ready for our next adventure. While we were there we saw monkeys roaming from tree to tree and giant salamanders crawling from under the huts.

27 September 2017

24 September 2017

23 September 2017

To Russia with love. St Petersburg was alive with people, even during the night there were people everywhere. Our favourite dish was definitely the pelenyas. We found this amazing restaurant that served dumplings from around the world, the food was so good we went back twice. The Russian dumplings, pelenyas, were served with sour cream. Strangely enough, it worked.

18 September 2017

Stockholm or otherwise know as, Venice of the North as the city is made up of 14 islands. As we ventured into the city our train skipped from island to island. Stockholm is the home of innovation. They are creators of the pacemaker, the seatbelt, ultrasounds, the computer mouse, more recently; Skype, Spotify, Minecraft and Candy Crush. With one of the highest tax rates in the world, the government invests a lot into R&D.

16 September 2017

Wow we fell in love with this small Portside town. I could totally see ourselves living here. It's got that quaint small town feel but it's not too small, if you know what I mean. The old white weather board houses are gorgeous. The waterfront and town centre was bustling with tourists and locals. This is home for Nichola, she lived here for 7 years. It reminds me of Nova Scotia. An absolute gem, we really loved it especially after all the big cities.

15 September 2017

What can I say? I survived!? Going into this I knew it was a 4 hour hike, there and back. I don't which was worse going up or going down. I'm not the most coordinated person so when you combine gravel and uneven rocks with my amazing lack of balance, it makes for fun times. I will say this though, the view was absolutely worth it. We were lucky enough to have great weather, I'm told this is often not the case. The views are insane, this is Mother Nature at its finest.

12 September 2017

We couldn't leave without sampling what Copenhagen had to offer. They are big on their hotdogs or pølser here, topped with fried onions makes it that much more scrumptious. Another local favourite is s'morebrod, essentially rye bread topped with anything you can imagine. Yum!
Home of Lego - it'd be rude not to visit a Lego store. We also paid a visit to the ultimate Disney princess, the Little Mermaid (alongside all the Chinese tour groups!!)
Copenhagen, you have stolen my heart... and sadly my wallet. Tooted as the happiest and safest city in the world I did hold out hope for my dear wallet. But alas. Walking around the streets of this beautiful city is an attraction in itself. The first time we stepped out we were astounded at the sheer volume of bicycles everywhere. Bicycles in all shapes and sizes; red bikes, blue bikes, every colour you could imagine, bicycles with wagons to transport your kids, pets - this city was built for bikes! My favourite spot was probably down on at Nyhvan harbour so much so I made us visit it twice. You know me and coloured houses!

10 September 2017

A beautiful small town that both of us were pronouncing horrendously wrong. So much so it somehow morphed into the beginning of the Lion King song. Don't ask. Despite its size, Ljubljana had a lot to offer. On our first afternoon there we had a scrumptious lunch at Druga Violina on the outskirts of the town before getting caught in the rain. The main attractions amongst the cobbled streets are the triple bridge, the dragon bridge and the castle. The main town runs along the river with cafes and bars bustling out onto the streets. Further out along the river they run an outdoor library which I loved and in various spots around the city were mini libraries, following the mantra of take one, leave one.

5 September 2017

Dubrovnik, known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, is a medium sized city situated on the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia. I can't remember the last time I'd seen such crystal clear water. We started off exploring Dubrovnik by walking the city walls which encircle the old town. It was surreal walking through the medieval streets of Dubrovnik. This was also yet another one of the GoT's filming locations, Kings Landing. The next day we jumped on a boat to the Elaphati Islands. The sun was shining and the water was some of the clearest we've seen. Such a beautiful city!

3 September 2017

Interesting fact - Serbia is one of the largest exporters of raspberries. They're known as red gold in Serbia.

2 September 2017

We made it Nichola! Who would've thought we'd find ourselves in Serbia? It was so wonderful catching up with Nichola and exploring her new home, Belgrade meaning White City. Serbia has a huge history which I confess we don't know much about. Serbia along with 6 other nations were previously part of Yugoslavia which was established as a kingdom in 1918 and as a socialist state by Josip Broz Tito in 1946. Serbia and Kosovo have a long history. Once the capital of the Serbian empire, they lost it to the Ottoman's for 500 years, After Serbia took back control of Kosovo in 1913 from the Turks, Albanians had migrated there. Serbia gave into Kosovo's demand for autonomy and let the ethnic Albanians rule. However, in 1989 a new president was elected, Slobodan Milosevic rallied the nationalists and capitalised on the resentment towards the Albanians. This eventually led to the 'ethnic cleansing' and NATO bombing.

30 August 2017

While we were in Cairo we also had the privilege to see King Tutankhamun's exhibit. Now I'm going to be honest the only thing I remember from my Ancient Egypt topic in primary is King Tut. Turns out the only reason he's famous is because he's the only pharaoh to have all his treasures with him. In 1922, archaeologist Howard Carter discuss very his tomb containing 5000 objects. It was truly unbelievable. He was found in a coffin nested inside 4 golden rectangular tombs. It was reported to be 725kg of pure gold. The intricate detail in his two coffins is simply amazing. You just wonder how on earth they created such magnificently elegant things in that age. King Tut became King at the young age of 9 and unfortunately died when he was only 18 or 19.
Cairo, Egypt - Wow. This was again out of my comfort zone but I'm so glad we did it. What a fascinating country with so much history. Cairo is home to roughly 9 million people and 9 pyramids. There are in fact 100 pyramids around Egypt but the very first one was built in Saqqara, north of Memphis. What started as a flat roofed tomb soon became a 60 metre tall step pyramid. The Great Pyramid was built over 2000 years ago during the Old kingdom. It took between 10-20 years and consists of 2.3 million blocks. The pyramids are guarded by a sphinx, half human and lion - this was carved out of a single block of limestone.

29 August 2017

28 August 2017

The streets of Morocco are not for the faint hearted. After four days in Marrakech, I was overwhelmed with walking down the street - competing with not only people but motorbikes, prams, bicycles, trolleys and on top of that roadworks! Our visit to Marrakech was an insightful experience.

26 August 2017

25 August 2017

The Ben Youssef Madrasa, a Quranic school, dedicated to the teaching of Islamic scripture and law, was founded in the 14th century, then enlarged in the 16th century. It was the largest Islamic theological school in Morocco and closes down in 1962.

23 August 2017

Porto, Portugal- Another fascinating city in a wonderful country so rich in culture and history. Kinlon was brave enough to try the local dish, Francesinha. It's a sandwich with beef, sausage and cheese covered in sauce. We loved strolling through the narrow streets filled with the azulejo covered buildings. The epitome of this style of architecture is seen in the Chapel of Souls. It's famous for its blue and white tiles depicting the lives of saints. World famous for its port wine, it is the second largest city in Portugal.

21 August 2017

Pastel de Belem, open since 1837. Where the pastel de natas originated and would eventually be taken to Macau and adopted by the Cantonese. We treated ourselves to a couple of pastel de natas and they were delicious. I think I might even like them more than the custard tarts at yum cha!
Azulejos - a form of Spanish and Portuguese tile work used on the interior and exterior of buildings. They made the buildings absolutely stunning, we could not stop faking photos of them. They were not just used in a decorative manner but for temperature control.

20 August 2017

19 August 2017

It's amazing to see the difference in cities within one country. I have really valued the opportunity to thoroughly explore Spain and France. Today we arrived on Seville which has a life of its own. Some say more traditional and authentic. The moorish architecture is definitely more prominent here. Seville is famous for its flamenco dancing. The tapas here were notably different, sadly no more patatas bravas - no Seville is know for their spinach and chickpeas and Iberian ham.

18 August 2017

Alcazar, Seville -Originally built as a moorish fort in 913 it was expanded into a royal palace under moorish rule in the 11th century. Alcazar is a Spanish synonym for fortified castle. Because the Muslims do not depict people and animals, the building is filled with lots of patterns and shapes. Interestingly enough, in 711 an oppressed Christian chief went to the governor of North Africa and appealed to him for help against the cruel and tyrannical Visigoth leader of Spain, Roderick. In response to this General Tariq bin-Zayid was sent in and conquered Spain. By 720 much of Spain and Portugal was under moorish rule. The heartland of Muslim rule was Southern Spain or Andulusia. The decline of Muslim rule came from the internal rebellion within the moorish leadership and the increasingly aggressive Christian opponents. In 1492 they lost all their power. Alcazar is one of the oldest palaces in Europe still used as a residence by the Spanish king and queen.

15 August 2017

Valencia - An unexpected surprise as we diverted from Malaga due to the lack of trains and the Barcelona airport strikes. I've got to admit, we enjoyed it a lot more than we though - even if everyone hung was closed! Not only did we arrive in summer where apparently most of the city is only holiday but it was a public holiday so apart from the tourists wandering the streets there weren't too many people around. Prior to our visit the only thing I knew about Valencia was their oranges! That was evident in the beautiful orange trees that line the streets of the city. Supposedly they taste awful though!
City of Sciences - A collection of modern buildings, interesting shapes and angles pushing the boundaries. This is what I imagine Singapore to look like. Found at the end of the former riverbed of the river Turia, which was drained and rerouted after a catastrophic flood in 1957. Designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, the project began the first stages of construction in July 1996. During our foray into the city we sat down for a quick Valencian treat, horchata and farton. A milkshake like drink made from ground tiger nuts and a sweet pastry.

14 August 2017

Barcelona vs. Real Madrid - what an atmosphere! Final score 3-1.

13 August 2017

Sagrada Familia - A truly fascinating piece by Gaudi. An unfinished catholic church that commenced construction in 1882. It was less than a quarter finished by the time Gaudi died. After his death the construction continued slowly and interrupted by the Spanish Civil War. In 2010 it reached its halfway mark. It's projected to be completed by 2026. It is comprised of 3 façades, the Nativity façade bears the most influence by Gaudi. The Passion façade was finished in 1976. The Glory façade is yet to be finished and is supposed to be the most prominent. This building is simply fascinating, there's so much detail to it and if you look closely enough you will always find something new.
An incredibly busy food market humming with the buzz of tourists. Fresh fruit juice everywhere with any flavour your heart desires! The smell of tapas attempting to draw you in as you walk by.
One of Gaudi's biggest masterpieces

12 August 2017

Casa Batlló - another Gaudi masterpiece. This photo doesn't do it justice. It's also known as Casa dels ossos locally (house of bones) because of it's skeletal look. The roof resembles a dragons back. The turret on the roof supposedly represents St George slaying the dragon. If you look carefully the railings are shaped like masks.

10 August 2017

Bordeaux- you were amazing. We both really loved this city. The culture, the buildings and the atmosphere. It has a life of its own. As you make your way through the hustle and bustle of the streets there is an abundance of restaurants, you're spoiled for choice! Albeit we had some hits and misses, all in all we got to sample some great French cuisine. The wine is something else, although we're not big wine drinkers we had a glass or two and I've got to say it was definitely smoother than anything I've had before. Drink up!
Canele - A traditional rum and vanilla cake with a caramelised crust originally from Bordeaux.

9 August 2017

A beautiful day out exploring St Emillion! A short train ride away from the city centre of Bordeaux. It was absolutely beautiful. Vineyards for miles.

6 August 2017

Montpellier- We had the pleasure of staying at Chrystelle's place in Montpellier with her chihuahua, Lennon. She was a breath of fresh air and a free spirit. The first night we were there she invited us to the beach for a night out. It was a pretty cool set up with bars right on beach. The DJ was playing his beats while we danced in the waves under the moon.

4 August 2017

Roaming the streets in Old Town Nice. Loved the alleyways and beautiful old buildings. At the entrance is a lovely market where you can find anything from olives, veggies to soap and cheese.
An absolute delight! We thoroughly lived Nice, it definitely left an impression on us despite the heat. We spent a few days here gracing the Promenade de Anglais, translated it means a walkway for the English upper class. Interestingly paved in marble. The water was divine. We couldn't get over the turquoise colour and after a hot day in the scorching sun, the water was a treat. The only downside was the stony beach, I had to laugh I really don't think I've ever had so much trouble getting out of the water. Nice is definitely our favourite so far!

3 August 2017

Life of the rich and famous! Wow! I have never seen so many super yachts in one place. This morning we popped over to Monaco for a few hours to lap up some of the atmosphere. With the sun beating down on us we ventured through Monte Carlo, dropping in at the casino and the port to see how the other half live.

31 July 2017

Exploring the streets of Marseille in the blistering sun had us exhausted! 35 degree days - cold showers never felt so good! We spent Monday at the plage du prado, enjoying the beach. Next we attempted to explore the city by foot - Longchamp (turns out it has nothing to do with the label) and perhaps our favourite, Le Panier. One of the oldest parts of town, where the Greeks originally settled. We loved roaming the colourful alleys, taking in the liveliness of it all.

29 July 2017

Wow! Absolutely breathtaking! The vivid stained glass windows are something to be in awe of.
And we're off! First stop on our 4 month adventure around the world - Paris! Rediscovering some of our old faves and exploring the new. First up was the Sacre Coeur, a quick walk through Montmartre then off to Lafayette Galleries in search of a travel diary.