01.10.2006 - 20.09.2013
Ok so I have a confession to make.. I am kind of a blog whore... I have numerous blogs around cyberspace and I can't seem to stop writing them.. Hence the reason I am writing another one here!
So I have just returned from my 5th big overseas trip - I do not count the numerous flights between New Zealand and Australia as I have actually lost count of how many there have been. Little background - I am from Christchuch, New Zealand, which I love & adore and currently live in Brisbane, Australia and to all those people who I meet on my travels - NO I AM NOT AUSTRALIAN!!!! I am very proud of where I come from and I am only living in Australia at this point because of work. I am planning on moving home next year after 11 years in Australia - which, quite frankly, is a surprise I have lasted this long... anyhoo... that is a subject for a completely different type of blog!
In the last 7 years I have been to Vietnam, UK, Paris, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, USA, and Canada... it seems like a lot of places but in reality whilst i say I have been to Canada it was really only Vancouver & Victoria for about 8 days so I am definitely not an expect on all things Canadian, Eh! Because I haven't written anything previously I will give a brief overview of my travels so far
Vietnam - So, this was not my first choice of my first overseas trip other than from NZ to Australia, but my brother got married in Ho Chi Minh City to a lovely Vietnamese girl and a few of us went over for the wedding. It was October 2006 and we spent probably about 5 days in Ho Chi Minh followed by a few days at the beach at Phan Thiet and about 4 or 5 days in Da Lat. To be honest I didn't really love Vietnam, I am not a fan of Asian food or culture - which might sound harsh but I like what I like and don't like what I don't like. It is in no way meant to be racist towards Asian's but I have to be honest don't I. I did like Da Lat and being at the beach in Phan Thiet - the place we stayed here was right on the beach and we were able to see all the comings and goings of the fishing boats. It was a definite culture shock for me and I can honestly say that I wouldn't rush back.
UK - Ok so being from NZ, we are pretty English really. I didn't realise just how English until I actually went there. My sister and I went London, South West England and Paris for about 18 days in November 2010 and I loved it! Well maybe not Paris so much but more on that in a second.
London - I loved London so freaking much! It is been almost 3 years but I think about being there every single day. When I use to think about my holidays, I use to think about going home first and foremost - it has only been in recent years that I have moved away from that mindset. Now when I think about holidays I think about going to London first but then I decide I need to see more of the world. I can't explain why I loved London so much but it feels like home - I feels like it's where I am met to be. Favourite places in London? St Paul's, Apsley House, Greenwich - just to name a few!
South West UK - After about 10 days in London, we hired a car and drove down to Exeter for about 8 days. We were going here because my sister is a family history nut and wanted to go to one of the places some of our family originated from. It was quite something to go to a place where our ancestors where over 200 years ago before emigrating to Australia & New Zealand. It was weird walking in their footsteps and seeing the graves of our family who lived hundreds of years ago. New Zealand has a very young European history so it was strange to be in place where our family lived long before New Zealand was even settled by the Europeans. Whilst in Exeter we did a lot of day trips and visited a lot of places including Bath (LOVED!!), Stonehenge (not as big as I thought), Lyme Regis (horrible day but really liked this seaside town), Lulworth Castle (Loved this place!), Corfe Castle (my first real ruin) and Christchurch (the UK one!). Driving around the small country lanes was... how to say this... interesting to say the least! That goodness for my friends GPS that he lent us!
Paris - I know I should love Paris because everyone loves Paris - or so I thought. Well I didn't, sorry to say. After London I actually found Paris a bit 'meh'. Don't get me wrong, the architecture was beautiful. The Eiffel Tower was a massive highlight and I loved seeing it. But the rest of it was just kind of boring - felt like all the buildings were kind of the same. It just didn't jump up and hit me in the face with it's awesomeness to be honest. We did see quite a bit tho - Notre Dame (I wasn't impressed sadly), Versailles (over the top ostentatious but the gardens and sculptures outside were lovely and Hall of Mirrors was amazing!). I did come away saying that I wouldn't go back but I think that because I only had 3 days there maybe I didn't have time to appreciate it's charms so maybe I do need to visit again, just won't be in a hurry.
South Pacific - this was a cruise for my great nieces 18th birthday in May 2012. It was my first cruise and we left Brisbane for Noumea, Lifou and Port Vila. My favourite place was definitely Lifou - it was an island in the middle of nowhere but it was just perfect! I even swam in the beach which is something I NEVER do!!!
USA - So this was for my 40th birthday - November 2012 (yes I am that old and yes it is hard to believe ). I kind of wish I had chosen a different place to spend my actual 40th. You want a milestone birthday like that to be pretty amazing but it didn't come up to the standards of my 38th birthday - but then again, seeing the All Blacks play England at Twickenham, London on your birthday is something that you will not forget in a very long time!!!! So anyway a couple of my nieces and I went to Hawaii for my 40th - this was the start of a 3 week trip to the States.
Waikiki - I am not sure how to describe Waikiki, I did tell a few Aussies that it was like the Gold Coast on drugs. There is always something happening, our first day one of my nieces and I managed to meet some local druggies who had just gotten out of jail and some cops (who were talking to the druggies who just got out of jail), we also managed to almost lose my other niece! I should mention - my nieces are like 38 and 31 so it's not like I was talking my 7 year old nieces on a trip to Hawaii with me! I am the youngest of a lot of kids and some of my nieces and nephews are closer in age to me than some of my siblings... Anyway, Waikiki was nice - that is pretty much all I can say. I have told quite a few people that I don't think it would have matter where we were but that face that the 3 of us were together is what made this holiday special.
New York City - after Waikiki, one of my nieces and I flew out to NYC whilst the other one went home. It was my first time in NYC and I hated it.. man I sound like someone who shouldn't travel - first Paris and now New York, what the hell is wrong with me!!! I can tell you now that I have a different appreciation for NYC than when I was actually there. I think that there was such a massive culture shock - everything is bigger, everything is nosier, everything is more crowded.. it was very overwhelming and it kind of depressed me... don't worry, I didn't sit in my room waiting for my time in the city to be over, I went out and did stuff! Went to Staten Island, up the Top of The Rock, went to the Rockettes Christmas show, went to a Jake Gylenhaal play, saw Times Square, went to Grand Central Station, ate a hot dog from a street vendor, went to Brooklyn.. so I did get out and do stuff, I just didn't enjoy it.. haha no not really. I had fun and that's all you can ask! I would definitely like to go back but there re other places I would like to go first.
Washington D.C - whilst in NYC I took a couple days to go south to D.C and Philly - I kind of thought "why not? when am I gonna be over this side of the world again?". After the craziness of NYC I loved D.C! I loved the wild open streets, the fact that the buildings were not so tall that they cut out any sign of the sun, I liked the buildings.. it was just a nicer place to be. Highlights for me were seeing the Lincoln Memorial (just incredible), the Korean War Memorial (very moving), Mt Vernon (LOVED!!!), Arlington (again very moving), going to the top of the Old Post Office (free and amazing views!), seeing the Capitol building for the first time!
Philadelphia - Ok so it is safe to say that I loved Philly. It was just gorgeous - well the parts I saw anyway... I was only there for like one day, which was so not enough time! I was lucky enough to have a private tour guide as a present from a friend for my birthday, it was great having Lois show me around. We went to Independence Hall, saw the Bell, went to City Hall, drove around the city, had a philly cheese steak sandwich. It was a beautiful autumn day and it was one of those perfect days that I will remember for a very long time.
Canada - Ok so really it was Vancouver, Whistler and Victoria not the WHOLE of Canada. This was my latest trip and I returned less than a week ago (20th Sept 2013 to be precise). Vancouver reminded me a lot of Brisbane actually, it s a very young city and it shows. There wasn't a lot of 'historic' buildings around - even the 'historic steam clock' in Gastown is younger than me! One of my favourite places in Vancouver is English Bay - I was lucky enough to be staying here and it was a great location - heaps of food places, right near the beach and local transport - it was a great area. LOVED Whistler so much! Did a day trip from Vancouver and wished it was longer. It was so clean and crisp and fresh up there! I really, really loved it. Victoria was nice - the highlights for me were the Butchart Gardens (have to be seen to be believed!) and seeing the Parliament Building lit up at night - really special. Oh and Miniature World - it as so freaking cool!!
Alaska - from Vancouver I did a 7 day Alaskan cruise up to Hubbard Glacier - which was unbelievable! You see things in pictures and videos but nothing quite prepares you for seeing it for yourself. The Glacier was like it.. it was freaking huge! The weather was crap that day but it didn't matter because just being there and seeing it was amazing! We also went to a little point called Icy Straight Point - just down the road from Hoonah. Weather wasn't nice but it was a cute little place with really nice red buildings (it's the little things!). We went to Juneau, which I loved!!! Whilst there we went to the Mendenhall Glacier which was equally amazing as the Hubbard (just not as big!). Last stop was Ketchikan, another really cute little place which I really liked too. I really enjoyed Alaska and I would actually love to go back and see more of it. Oh and we were lucky enough to see the Northern Lights not once but twice!! It wasn't really really strong but we definitely saw them and I want to see more!!!
So there you have it.. these are the places I have been so far - this does not include the places in Australia & New Zealand I have been.. I think it would a whole other post for those places!!!
P.S - Photos.. all photos are taken and edited by yours truly. I haven't had a chance to edit any of my latest trip yet so those ones are straight from the camera