A fun weekend in Sydney! Photo Diary


I had a splendid weekend with my partner in crime in Sydney catching a show, sightseeing and enjoying delicious food. I also got the chance to play with my new camera - the Sony RX 100 iv, so below is a mixture of photos from that and my S7 phone, as well as a little vlog I have already made for YouTube.
This was our third trip to Sydney already this year, except the last two times were just for specific things on that evening (a Puscifer and a Guns N Roses concert) and we didn't actually get to see much of the city.

This time we were going for Aladdin the musical on Broadway and we decided to stay for a couple of nights so this time we could actually enjoy some sights! (Hey that rhymed).
It had been five years since our first trip together to Sydney (and our very first overseas trip as a couple!) and I was determined to see again the magnificent Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, St Mary's Cathedral and explore the largest city in Australia some more.

Coming from Canberra, this time we decided to catch the bus, as the previous times we had driven and found it to be quite a nightmare. The traffic and driving around the city centre is rather terrible and as we were staying at an Airbnb, parking costs as well would have been through the roof. We went with Murrays Coachlines which was not badly priced and it was a pleasant enough journey (it still took four hours though because of the traffic).

Managed to catch a snippet of sunset from our Airbnb balcony
We arrived at around 6 pm on Friday evening and it was a 20-minute minute walk from the central train and bus station to Darlinghurst where we were staying.
After dropping our things at our Airbnb we ventured out for a much-needed beer or three in the Kings Cross area.


At around 9 pm we headed to Potts Point to Fratelli Paradiso which was an Italian restaurant recommended by our AirBnB host. It was very busy but after a short wait (another beer) they managed to squeeze us in. Highly recommended if you are in the area, the food was exquisite and not badly priced. I had the Tagliolini pasta dish and we shared a tiramisu for dessert.

Not the best picture - but I assure you it was delicious!
After good food and a bottle of red, we had one last nightcap at a bar before venturing back at around 1 am.

The El-Alamein Memorial Fountain
Despite a late night, we were up bright and early for a full day of adventuring ahead.
We had a most excellent brunch that kept us going for the rest of the day at a lovely little Italian cafe down the road Cafe & Cucina.



We had a big Italian-style breakfast each which was delicious (and needed). Their coffees were perfection and they also made fresh pasta dishes and their front cabinet was full of pastries, sandwiches and Italian treats - I would absolutely be there every weekend if I lived in the area!
Fueled, we headed towards the harbour, about a half hour walk away. We stopped briefly at St Mary's Cathedral for a peek inside which was at the halfway point.

The Westfield Tower




Next we powered on to the Opera House and Harbour Bridge which were just as impressive as ever. This time we actually went for a small look inside the Opera House where there is a gift shop and cafe. I would love to see a show in there and do a proper tour some day.










We then walked around to the other side of the harbour to The Rocks Market which is a great little market on every weekend. We browsed through the stalls before walking back towards the city centre.
After a stop in Dymocks and Topshop (where I fell in love with some shoes and have since purchased them) we headed back to our accommodation for a couple of hours rest.

Queen Victoria Building
Beautiful fountain in Hyde Park
Walking past St Mary's again
Once our legs had recovered we got ready to head out once more for the evening.
We enjoyed a couple of beers before finding a dinner spot before the show.

We passed the Capitol Theatre where the show is held along the way
We headed to Chinatown and stumbled upon this popular Korean BBQ restaurant Yang San Park. We ordered a mixed meat platter and a seafood pancake to share and it was so incredibly tasty. The service as well was great and by the time we left there was a long line to get in! Definitely a must-visit if you get the chance and you like Korean food.



At 8 pm it was show time! It was very musical - a lot of singing and dancing and the actors were very good. They turned it into more of a modern day comedy so it was quite entertaining.


We were both knackered after the show so we pretty much walked straight back and went to bed! On Sunday our bus home was departing at 12 pm so we were all packed up and headed out by 10 am.
We stopped for a nice breakfast at Basket Brothers where I indulged in French toast with dark chocolate, maple syrup and strawberries. Aside from being obviously very sweet - it was actually so very delicious! I had to stop myself from eating the whole thing.


That brings us to the end of our weekend adventure in Sydney. I hope you enjoyed the photos and little snippets of what we got up to.
I'm heading back again for the fourth time this year in April - so by the end of the year, I'm sure I will be more of an expert! Eventually, I will make a travel guide and top places to eat type of post once I collect more information and become more knowledgeable.

Here is the video I made for my YouTube channel if you would like to watch it:



Happy Travels,
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P A R I S | Top Travel Tips!


They say you either instantly fall in love with Paris or stay completely indifferent to the city for good. Before my first trip several people warned me saying:
"Paris isn't all it's cracked up to be, it's just famous because of the Eiffel Tower."
"Paris is so dirty."
"The people are all rude and snobs."
Well, let me tell you - I am so glad I'm not one of those people that let others form an opinion for me before deciding for myself.
Because all of those preconceived ideas or stereotypes are just out of the mouths of those who may have had a single negative experience, but you simply cannot judge an entire city from that.

Honestly, I couldn't tolerate a thought about not loving Paris. Paris is so close to being my favourite city in the whole world - with London only just nudging into first place.
I first visited in November 2014 for a week and instantly fell in love with it.
I was lucky enough to visit again in July 2015 and I'm glad I got to experience two different seasons (as both Summer and late Autumn were lovely times to visit).

This is my second post on Paris which are guides, particularly for first-time visitors. For my top recommended things to do check out my first post: P A R I S | Top Things To Do!
Here are my top travel tips for those visiting the city of love.


Getting Around

Walking around the city is my favourite way of getting around (if it's not too far!). I can't get enough of the beautiful cobbled streets and awe-inspiring architecture.
Otherwise, the Metro is an easy, comprehensive and safe way to travel around Paris.
You can download a free Paris metro map app for your phone to make it easier to navigate.
A river cruise along the Seine on a nice day is the perfect way to see Paris. There are hop on hop off boats called Batobus with nine different stops near the main attractions and highlights of Paris, which you can get one or two day passes for.

Enjoying a Batobus ride

Museums, art & history

Paris is home to many of the finest art galleries in the world, a large number of monumental churches and around 130 museums. If you love your history then you are in for a treat!
Aside from the obvious must-sees Louvre and Notre-Dame (featured in my first Paris post), I can particularly recommend the national military museum - Musee de l'Armee, which holds an impressive collection of weapons and uniforms, plus the famous Napoleon's Tomb.
Musee d'Orsay is another grand museum devoted to all the arts between 1848-1914.
Sainte-Chapelle is an impressive royal Gothic-style chapel that has stunning architecture and amazing stained glass windows. There is a lot - so be sure to do your research and pick your favourites to see if you're only going for a short time.

The Dôme des Invalides, which contains Napoleon I's tomb

Shopping

Let's be real - who wouldn't want to come to Paris and do some shopping! Parisians are forever well-dressed and chic - they take real pride in their appearance. Being the fashion capital of the world, there is no shortage for your retail therapy needs.
Visit Galleries Lafayette for the ultimate department store shopping experience.
Tip: head to the rooftop for great views over Paris!
The Champs-Elysees is like the Times Square of Paris and is a shopping-lovers haven, studded with many high end and designer stores. For independent eclectic boutiques- the Marais is the place to go.

Les Arcades Des Champs-Elysees

Cheap & free things to do

If you are a student then do bring along your ID card. You can get discounts and freebies on everything from transportation to museum admissions.
Paris is filled with many beautiful parks. Luxembourg Gardens, in particular is absolutely stunning. Take a picnic on a nice day and enjoy the surroundings.


To discover Paris on a small budget Sandeman's Free Walking Tour is a great way to get acquainted with the city. The guides are full of interesting facts and stories and walk you through several neighbourhoods and to most of the famous sights. They ask for just a small tip at the end, whatever you can manage and what you think the tour guide deserves for their time.
Pere-Lachaise Cemetery is a popular free tourist spot. See the graves of Oscar Wilde, Chopin and Jim Morrison among many more.


French etiquette

French may have the reputation for being rude, but it's more accurate to say they are formal and minimise interaction with strangers. Don't expect them to strike up a random conversation with you.
Try to speak as much French as you can - even if that is only 'bonjour' (hello), 'merci' (thank you) and 'au revoir(good bye). In France, this is basic manners they teach to their children from a young age, and being foreign doesn't exempt you. Failing to do this may earn you a rude treatment in return. 'Parlez-vous Anglais' (do you speak English?) is an expression you should try to learn off by heart before asking a question.



Avoid the queues

Many places let you book tickets online in advance, such as the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, the Eiffel Tower and many more. This is a smart option to choose a particular time slot, especially in the busy Summer months to cut down on waiting in line.
Otherwise, I would highly recommend heading to your attraction slightly before the opening time, because lines can potentially take hours up of your day, and time in precious!


Food & drink

Parisians take real pleasure in their food and drink along with good company.
During the day they love their coffee and you can find a cafe on practically every corner, as well as Patisseries (French bakeries) for fresh bread, filled sandwiches and baked goods.
Said Patisseries are an absolute must-visit - they are the best in the world! Everything in there is perfection - the baguettes, chocolate eclairs, croissants, layered custard slices... I could go on and on. Paris is also well known for their chocolat shops and of course their macarons.

Trying French treats on my first day in Paris!
The French are very social and spend hours enjoying their meals sitting outside in the quaint streets, drinking wine well into the hours of the evening with their friends (can I please be Parisian?). They tend to eat dinner at 8 pm or later. You may not find many restaurants open until this time, although the ones that are may offer an 'earlybird' special if you don't mind eating earlier.
French cuisine is flavoursome and hearty. If you're not sure what to order try some typical famous dishes like escargot (snails!) or duck l'orange (roast duck with orange sauce). Their soupe à l'oignon (French onion soup) is also obviously delicious!
I highly recommend ordering a fromage and bread platter at least once - their cheese and bread -  no words.
Their wine is also top-notch. Ask the waiter for recommendations if you're unsure of what to order on a menu - they'll usually set you right.
If you do have the time I would recommend doing a food and wine tour, it's great to learn more about their cuisine and they always give you their best quality goods to try.
A great option for lunch is to have a traditional crepe. You can choose your fillings, savoury or sweet and it's usually very large and filling for a reasonable price.

My favourite - ham, cheese and mushroom!

Be aware

Being a popular tourist destination do be aware of pickpockets, as they do prey on tourists in particular. Only carry one card with you and only as much money as you need for the day.
Take an official taxi from the airport and not random offers from people that don't belong to a company, they will charge you a lot more.
Ignore and avoid certain people at busy spots such as the big tourist attractions and train stations. There are many gypsies who are known to try and scam people.
Around these places there is also no shortage of people trying to sell you selfie sticks and cheap tacky Eiffel Tower souvenirs, so do ignore them and be firm if you have to, as some can be a bit confronting (unless of course you actually want to buy one).



Enjoy!

Paris is known to be the city of love and has that romantic reputation for a reason! The only way to truly discover it is by exploring for yourself.
It's an incredible city and one that I will forever hold dearly in my heart and I can't wait until I next return. If you are heading there yourself I hope you enjoy your time there as much as I always do.


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* This post contains some images that are not my own.

Three Greek Islands not to miss on your next trip to Greece



I spent an incredible week cruising through the Greek Islands back in August 2015 and it was the time of my life! I wish I could have spent longer in each place, but our particular trip just got a taster of six Aegean Islands nestled between Greece and Turkey.
It was great on the one hand to see so many different islands and to know exactly which ones I wish to return to next time for longer.
Here are my three favourite islands we went to, which you should definitely not miss out on your next trip to Greece!

Santorini

My ultimate favourite of the Greek Islands - Santorini is incredibly idyllic and absolutely beautiful. Set on a caldera, or old volcano, it was devastated by a volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC, shaping its rugged landscape.
Atop the towering cliffs, the views are like a looking straight into a painting. The iconic blue-domed white-washed churches and cube-like houses of its two principal towns, Fira and Oia (pronounced Ee-ya) make this island one of the most breathtaking places you will ever visit.





There is plenty to do for an amazing getaway including exploring the many cobbled alleyways and browsing the quaint shops, renting four-wheelers and scooters, visiting wineries, going hiking/on scenic walks, enjoying the delicious food on offer, relaxing at the many gorgeous beaches and catching one of the most beautiful sunsets you will ever lay your eyes on.
Santorini is a must-visit place for anyone, whether you're with friends, family or especially if you're looking for that perfect romantic holiday destination.

Don't miss the Atlantis bookstore in Oia!



Rhodes

Beautiful Rhodes is the largest and most popular of Greece’s Dodecanese islands, known for its ancient ruins and remnants of its occupation by the Knights of St. John during the Crusades.
A place with long history and rich tradition, the Old Town is among the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe, with strong walls, paved paths and an impressive castle.
With 300 days of sunshine per year, Rhodes is also famous for its incredible beach resorts, making it the perfect destination for both history lovers and sunshine-seekers.




Interesting places to visit include the Acropolis of Lindos, the Monastery of Filerimos, the Aquarium and the Valley of Butterflies. 
For the best beach resorts, Kallithea and Faliraki are the most popular places with many great facilities and restaurants. Due to the large size of Rhodes, you can find plenty of beaches for all preferences, even totally secluded places. 
Have some fun windsurfing and kite surfing and jump off the diving board in the open sea on Elli Beach. A drive around this Greek island will also bring you to many lovely spots and picturesque villages. 






Mykonos

Mykonos is a white-washed paradise, popularly known for its summer party atmosphere, the picturesque Cycladic architecture and the fabulous beaches. The row of 16th-century windmills are iconic landmarks perched on a hill above Mykonos town.
There are many exciting things to do for all ages, such as exploring the narrow streets of Chora, watching the beautiful sunset from Little Venice where you can dine on the freshest seafood practically on the water, enjoy swimming in the exotic beaches and stay in gorgeous luxurious hotels. 




Paradise, Super Paradise and Kalo Livadi are excellent places to swim and spend a day in the hot sun. In the evenings head to Mykonos Town and enjoy a night out. Massive dance clubs attract world-renowned DJs and typically stay open well past dawn. Thought to be the 'Ibiza of Greece', apparently you haven't really partied until you've partied in Mykonos.
There are plenty of quiet spots on the island as well, making this popular island perfect for families, couples and party-goers alike.






The Greek Islands are all incredible to visit and I long for the day when I return again.
Do you have three different favourite Greek Islands of your own? Let me know in the comments - I'd love to read them.

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Best of Rome: Three Day Itinerary


Aah, Rome. The Eternal City is one of my all-time favourite places to visit in Europe.
It is bursting with astounding history, incredible art, the world's best pasta and gelato to indulge in, Baroque churches, infamous landmarks and fabulous shopping.
After more than 2000 years in existence, there is enough to explore to keep you busy for years, but if you only have a few days to explore Rome- here is a three full-day itinerary which is perfect for a first-time visitor. 
Of course, do customise it how you like, these are simply top places to visit in central Rome with some insider tips to help make the most of your time there.


Day One

8.00 am Start your day the Italian way and have a standing espresso and a small pastry to fuel up for a big day ahead. (You are charged for 'table service' if you choose to sit down).

8:30 am Begin your epic Roman adventure with a visit to the must-see Colosseum.
(It opens at 8:30 am but do arrive earlier if you don't have a skip the line ticket or especially in the Summer months to beat the queues). Marvel at the largest amphitheatre of the Roman Empire with its bloody history beginning in 80 AD.


Top TipI highly suggest buying your tickets in advance. For 12  you can purchase a double ticket valid for two days that allows for one entrance to each one of the two sites Colosseum and Forum/Palatine hill. For more information on how to buy tickets visit: here.

11:00 am Once you've taken your time inside head back out to see the Arch of Constantine and walk around the entire Colosseum to get those winning shots.

Top Tip: Near the Colosseo metro station is a free water refill station which has a sparkling water option! Also, do try to make time to see the Colosseum again at night- it's all lit up and looks stunning.

12:00 pm Only a five-minute walk from the Colosseum is a great little Trattoria called Luzzi. It's a perfect place for both lunch and dinner (I've been for both multiple times).
I highly recommend the lasagne, Caprese salad, pizzas and the inexpensive chiantis of red wine.


Top Tip: If you decide to have dinner at Luzzi, do arrive early as it's so popular the lines are usually down the street and the lasagne tends to sell out fast.

1:00 pm Take your time to wander Via dei Fori Imperiali- the road leading from the Colosseum to Altare della Patria and admire Trajan's Column along the way.



Head to the top of Altare della Patria for amazing panoramic views over the city.
It's free at the first point (where the photo taken below was) or pay 7 € to take the elevator to the very top for even better views.


2:00 pm  Spend the rest of the afternoon strolling amongst the incredible ruins of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. See remnants from Imperial and Ancient Rome that dates all the way back to 500 BC.


4:00 pm By now I'm sure you are exhausted after a long day of walking and exploring! It could be a good time to head back to the area in which you are staying for a rest or to find a nice place for an aperitivo before a well-deserved pizza or pasta dinner.

Top Tip: When choosing a restaurant, I recommend taking advantage of local knowledge. Ask the reception or people from where you are staying for their favourite places for example. Try to avoid places that have pictures of food on their menus and are in major touristy areas. They will be overpriced and not as good quality as getting more off the beaten track.

Today's map with pinpoints from left to right: Altare della Patria, Roman Forum, Colosseum, Luzzi.

Day Two

8:00 am Spend the morning in the world's smallest country! Do a morning half day Vatican City tour either with a group such as Viator or if you would rather go through yourself I would still highly recommend buying in advance skip-the-line tickets. Lines can be up to two hours long so it is worth the money to save your time and sanity in my opinion! Check this link for more information: here. Enjoy St. Peter's Basilica and Michelangelo's incredible Sistine Chapel.

Top Tip: It is closed on Sundays and make sure your shoulders and knees are covered or you could be turned away.



12:00 pm Cross the scenic River Tiber over one of the many beautiful bridges and make your way towards Centro Storico.


Have a bite to eat and a rest from the busy morning before getting lost in the countless streets and alleyways where you’ll find churches with Baroque art, boutiques selling everything from carved wooden figurines to jewellery, private courtyards where the wealthiest Romans live and plenty of enticing cafés and restaurants.


3:00 pm If you're up to walking a bit further head to the Pantheon, a former Roman temple and admire the architectural marvel from outside and in.



3:30 pm Reward yourself for a day well-spent at one of the most famous gelaterias in Rome- Giolotti, only a four-minute walk from the Pantheon. It is always packed no matter what time of the day or year but it's worth the wait with over 100 delicious flavours to choose from.


Top Tip: Another excellent gelateria is called Fatamorgana, which you can find at different locations all over the city.

4:00 pm Knackered yet? Find a nice spot with happy hour specials or head back to your accommodation to rest before carb-loading on pasta before your final action-packed day!

Today's map with pinpoints from left to right: Vatican City, the start of Centro Storico, Pantheon, Giolotti.

Day Three

8:30 am Begin your day by tossing a coin in the Baroque masterpiece Trevi Fountain, bright and early to avoid the crowds. (If you get a chance to visit at night, it is beautifully lit up as well). Legend has it that anyone who throws a coin in the fountain will return to Rome.



Top Tip: Not far from the fountain is Enoteca where you can enjoy free limoncello tastings of all sorts of delightful flavours.

9:00 am If you fancy a spot of shopping most of the best stores are concentrated around Via del Corso near the Spanish Steps. Work your way up the street on your way there. If you're looking for (or just interested in browsing) high-end fashion, you'll want to hit up Via dei Condotti. Here you'll find high-end fashion brands like Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Gucci, Prada and various others. For smaller brands, check out streets such as Via Frattina and Via del Babuino for the best boutiques.

11:00 am Head to the Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna) and climb the famous steps leading to the Trinita dei Monti church to admire the piazza and Bernini’s ship-shaped fountain from above. It's also a great place to kick back with a beer in the late afternoons and people-watch.



11:30 am Literally a two-minute walk away from the steps is where you can find the best tiramisu in Rome at Pompi. It is an absolute must-try and also a great place to have lunch if you can find a table available! Otherwise, you can always eat on the Spanish Steps. (There is also gelato and many other delightful cakes and treats to choose from).


1:00 pm After lunch and a twenty-minute stroll (to help burn it off) from the Spanish Steps is Galleria Borghese. Nowhere in Rome or maybe even the world will you find such a magnificent collection of Baroque art. Tickets must be reserved in advance for slotted times. Prices start from 15 € for a two-hour slot from 1-3 pm for example. Check here for more information.


Top Tip: It is closed on Mondays and there is free wifi available.

3:00 pm I daresay your legs must be tired by now. Time for a pick-me-up espresso or to head back to the hotel for a small rest and pack your things for your next destination. Why not book in advance one of Rome's best restaurants for your final night? You can check them out here. Enjoy your final evening, have a red wine, some more delightful Italian cuisine and a mandatory daily gelato.

Today's map from bottom to top: Trevi Fountain, Via del Corso, Spanish Steps, Pompi, Galleria Borghese.

It's going to be an action-packed three days, but undoubtedly very enjoyable.
If you can stay for longer I would really recommend it as there is so much more to do than just the highlights I have mentioned. Do leave me a comment if you have anything else you would add!

Happy Travels,
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Eleven Quotes to Inspire the Travel Dreamer in You


I do love a good quote.

They can bring a comfort that those wild dreams you long to chase might not be such a crazy idea after all.

There's a dreamer in all of us, and sometimes we just need a boost or reminder that it is really possible to achieve anything you set your mind to.

If you're in need of a little motivation today, I've put together eleven of my favourite quotes using my own photos, to hopefully inspire the travel dreamer in you, and to get out there and live your best life.

Let's do this!

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Which quote is your favourite?

Happy Travels,
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