Brian, Yvonne and I boarded the Qantas flight from Perth to Brisbane and after about 5 hours crossing this huge country from West to East we landed in Brisbane, capital of the sunshine state of Queensland, Australia. Cousin Carol (Yvonne’s sister) was waiting at the airport terminal to whisk us to the seaside town of Caloundra, just an hour’s drive away from Brisbane.
We had never met Carol before, but over the following few days we got to know her well since she allowed us a glimpse into her life and entertained us with many stories about their family move to Australia as “ten pound pom” migrants. She is a storyteller with a big personality and a very generous heart, we stayed at her lovely home in Caloundra from Thursday 9th of February to Monday 13th of February.
Brian and I were beyond excited with our three weeks planned trip to Australia, not only because it was a dream trip for us, but also because we were about to reconnect with Brian’s long lost Scottish relatives on a three weeks trip that would take us to Perth, Brisbane, Caloundra, Hamilton Island, Airlie Beach and finally to Sydney.
Bleary eyed after a long flight from London to Perth via Dubai with Qantas Airways, we landed in Perth at an unsociable 2 am local time and we were delighted to come out of arrivals straight into the welcoming arms of lovely Yvonne, who kept herself awake with copious amounts of strong coffee to greet us so warmly on our very first trip Down Under….Welcome to Australia!!!
We visited the protected Curieuse Marine National Park on an organized day trip from Praslin. We were particularly interested in seeing the giant Aldabra tortoises that roam free around Curieuse Island.
The boat tour was organized via our Resort and a small minivan picked us up at around 9 am from our apartment to take us a mile down the road to a small beach where our tour boat was anchored and waiting for us. Our tour crew consisted of another dozen people from various different resorts around Praslin, our boat Capitan, and one crew. After boarding the boat we were told what our day was going to be like, and all information was given both in French and in English. The boat ride to Curieuse Island from Praslin was a very pleasant ride of only about 20 minutes.
Brian and I were truly wowed by the pristine, unspoiled beauty of the Island of Praslin in the Seychelles, our home for two amazing weeks of relaxing, exploring, swimming, snorkelling, making new friends, fishing and eating delicious food.
There is a reason why these beaches are so pristine and unspoiled; it is quite a trek to get here, we had to take three flights from London since there are no direct flights from the UK. We flew from London to Abu Dhabi with Etihad, and from Abu Dhabi to Mahé, which is the main island, with Air Seychelles and then finally a very small aeroplane with scary little propellers took us from Mahé to Praslin.
Ever since doing my very first mountain hiking up Mount Snowdow, North Wales, in July/15 I felt compelled to hike again and so Brian surprised me by organising a trip for my birthday.
There is something very inspiring about hiking up high places and the challenge of pushing oneself physically. After climbing Mount Snowdon I felt a great sense of accomplishment, exhilaration and gratitude to be alive… although half way up I was already regretting it and thinking of excuses to turn around and give up.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome ( IBS ) also known as a Functional Gut Disorder is a benign condition that affects about 15% of people worldwide.
The condition is not life threatening and it does not increase risks of developing bowel malignancies or any other more serious Gastro – Intestinal (GI) Disease, but IBS symptoms can severely reduce quality of life and sufferers often report being unable to leave the house for fear of not getting to the toilet in time, or having a bout of severe abdominal pain.
From 18/09/15 to 27/09/15 we travelled around Iceland’s Ring Road in a Camper Van.
September is a great time to visit Iceland since in the shoulder season prices are lower, there are less people on the road, and there is still plenty of day light but there is also a good chance of seeing the elusive Northern Lights since the nights are getting longer and temperatures are still mild. We spent 9 days in Iceland with 7 night sleeping in our Camper Van and our last 2 nights in a hotel in Iceland’s Capital Reykjavik. Iceland’s Ring Road, also known as Route 1, encircles the entire Country, covering about 800 miles of good tarmac road, and many of the main attractions are on the Ring Road or a short distance off it. We did not have a 4 wheel drive and therefore we drove only on Route 1 or used other equally good roads. Read also my posts on our amazing road trip.
It is day 4 of our Iceland road trip and we left the small fishing town of Hofn behind and continued on the Ring Road (Route 1) towards the East Fjords. We knew that today was going to be specially scenic, we have driven more than 650 km from Iceland’s Capital and we started noticing that there is hardly anyone on the road. We travelled on a virtually empty road for ages before we come across another car. We are now too far for day trippers from Reykjavik and also this region is very sparsely populated and therefore road traffic here is very minimal. As our little van climbs higher and higher the drama starts unfolding, and we get more and more excited to see what is around the next hairpin bend on the road as sheer mountain side drops etched with waterfalls reveal themselves in one side of the road and the cold waters of the sea in the other.
From 18/09/15 to 27/09/15 we spent 9 amazing days in Iceland, including 7 days travelling the Ring Road, also known as Route 1 and our final 2 days we spent in Iceland’s Capital – Reykjavik.
As we landed in Keflavik, Iceland’s main airport, it became clear to us that this was going to be a place unlike any we have visited before, and I could see why people describe it as like “landing on the moon“. We looked out to see a breathtaking landscape of solidified lava flows covered in a velvet green moss with reds and yellows thrown into the mixture; steam was coming out of the ground in the nearby “Blue Lagoon”. Iceland has been in our bucket list for ages in fact our son James visited it with his High School Geology class few years ago and loved it so much he is coming back again with his girlfriend Meghan, they are both Geology students at University and Iceland is like a big playground for them. It is a relatively young country in geological terms and it is still growing, moving and transforming itself by powerful natural forces that will continue to shape the Icelandic landscapes.
Chloe and I chose the Gorgeous Greek Island of Zakynthos for our annual mother-daughter holiday in June/2015. Every year the boys go fishing in France, and every year the girls go play in the sun!
We had been in the Island for about 3 days already when we decided on a boat tour to the Island’s most famous landmark, Navagio Beach, also know as Shipwreck Beach. We chose to go with a tour company called “my Tours” and we were picked up from our hotel at about 7:30 am and taken to the Harbour Port in Zakynthos capital town, which was just about a 20 minutes bus ride away from our hotel. We boarded our glass bottom boat with another 20 to 30 fellow cruisers of various different nationalities and found ourselves a seat at the back of the boat, and under a canopy since the sun was quite hot already. Both Chloe and I were very excited to visit the Shipwreck at Navagio Beach, which is a small cove on the Northwest side of Zakynthos Island. The cove is surrounded by high cliffs and accessible only by boat. I had seen pictures of this beautiful little cove made of white pebbles and surrounded by turquoise water and heard the stories about the Shipwreck (MV Panagiotis) which sunk on the shore around 1980, apparently carrying smuggled cigarettes, and so I felt compelled to visit it. The boat trip from the main Island Port to the Navagio Beach is about a 1:30 hours and the sea looked calm like a pond, therefore I was surprised when a started to feel a little queasy and headachey. I tried to distract myself by looking at the pretty scenery of caves and white sandy beaches. In the distance we could see the pretty Island of Keffalonia, but the nauseous feeling just kept getting worse, I felt very hot and my heart started racing, I realised then that I was experiencing motion sickness, but there was nothing I could do to stop it since Chloe and I were not carrying any anti sickness tablets. A big mistake that I came to regret.