“Built on 11 million wooden poles (houten palen) and more than 100 km of canals”…with open mouths we listened to our tour guide “Michael” enthusiastically informing us of how Amsterdam is a city built on a swamp. We chose to do a free walking tour on our first full day exploring the Dutch capital as a way of getting our bearings. Our guided tour started in front of the National Monument in Dam Square where a group of people quickly gathered around Michael, an American guy with an interesting hat and an orange umbrella with a sign saying “free walking tour”. We spent about 2 hrs following him around and learning a great deal about the history and other titbits about this intriguing city.
So happy our sister Angelita and her groom Juliano chose to come to Europe for their honeymoon, following their recent wedding in Brazil.
We are sisters that love spending time together, but we live many miles apart and therefore we grab every opportunity for a get-together. Although Virginia and I were not surprised that our baby sister chose to visit us in England to kick off her honeymoon, we were delighted ( if with a little trepidation) that she invited us to come to Paris and Amsterdam with them for the next leg of their honeymoon.
Many of our favourite travel bloggers have been raving about the advantages of staying in rented AirBnB properties when travelling for short and also for longer stays, so we felt it was time to check it out for ourselves.
After joining the AirBnB site, giving our details and having few attempts at choosing a good photo of me and hubby (easier said than done, since some were too serious, others were too smiley, or too cheesy…) and scouring available and suitable properties in the town of Seaton, we opted for a hill top property that had good reviews and looked rather old and charming. We sent the owners a request for a one night stay over the weekend of May 7th /8th 2016 and full of trepidation waited for their reply.
Not many places can truly do justice to the tag of “paradise beach”, but that was the exact word that came into my head as we arrived in La Digue, Seychelles
It was always in our holiday plan to visit La Digue, since it is famed for some of the most iconic beaches of the Seychelles, with a laid back vibe and lack of vehicles and traffic. It is also a very short ferry ride away from Praslin, where we had been staying for almost two weeks. Another reason for our visit to La Digue was to meet up with our new friends, a lovely Norwegian family we had been hanging out with around Praslin.
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.
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.
I have never climbed a mountain before, never mind climbing the highest one in the British Isles outside the Scottish Highlands, but one can argue that if you are going to start climbing mountains why not start with the highest? (although the Himalayas usually is what springs to mind when we talk about high mountains to climb and maybe one day I will get there). Snowdon has been on my bucket list for ages and it has became even more appealing since my son climbed it last year with his girlfriend Meghan and loved it. From their account it did not sound like an impossible feat for an unfit couple like Brian and I, but let’s just say that I had totally underestimated how hard it was going to be for me.
DAy 9, Sunday 02/02/2014 – We were not sad to leave Patong as a mini bus pulled up to our hotel to take us to the Ferry Port where we boarded the Ferry Cruiser boat to Ko Phi Phi Island ( we purchased our Ferry ticket to Ko Phi Phi Don a day before in one of the many tour agencies in Patong, it also included the minibus pick up from our hotel). We boarded the Ferry boat after queueing for a little while to collect a stamp like a ticket that we then attach (glue) to our clothes.
As we waited for our sleeper train to Chiang Mai, at Bangkok Station, we felt for the first time like we were real backpackers!
We heard that train travel in Thailand is easy, comfortable, inexpensive, and is the best way to see some of the Thai countryside. We booked a first class ticket. There are various combinations that can be made with shared cabins etc, but we decided to go for the single berth compartment, that although more expensive (about 1, 953 Baht, £40 per person, per compartment ), we felt that would give us more privacy and also a better sleep.