Bucharest

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Arrival in Bucharest was a bit bedraggled with Joel smack bang in the middle of a vomiting virus and me on the tail end of it. To be fair it felt no worse than the last four months of morning sickness, but poor Joel was suffering (oh he has no idea!). So it was with much relief that we were welcomed by our gracious hosts Stefan and Raluca in their historic house in the old Jewish quarter of Bucharest. As we were to find the remainder of the trip, the Romanian locals go out of their way to give you a good experience, and are truly proud of their country and it’s hidden subtle appeal. Continue reading “Bucharest”

Ljubljana II

Ljubljana view

As our train chugged into Ljubljana’s central station I was determined to show mum the best this fairytale city had to offer. Joel and I had spent a lovely two days last June lingering by the banks of the Ljubljanica, and it had well and truly cast its spell on us. We had but a day to soak in the lively cafe culture, jade-green river, imposing castle, vibrant townhouses, cobblestone streets and local markets.

Joel was due to join us that afternoon and we were both soaring high with anticipation. We checked in to our airbnb apartment and spent a fascinating hour speaking to the lovely owner – a young chap with a passion for his city. Mum duly interrogated him about the history of Slovenia and the socio-economic situation of the country as we sipped tea together. Of course in return we educated him about the little known island country of ‘Australia’. Continue reading “Ljubljana II”

Vienna

Side alley walking towards St Stephen's Cathedral and it's beautiful roof

We had one of those travel disasters trying to reach Vienna (well maybe not technically classified as a disaster, but I digress). Oh, by the way, this was April 2012, we are very behind on the blog!

Apparently the central station in Budapest hasn’t quite caught up with the times. There was one ticket office for the throngs of impatient crowds clamouring for their much needed train, and the most inefficient system to deal with the punters. Despite masterminding our car rental return outside the station with an hour and a half to spare, we were waiting with gritted teeth and white knuckles in the queue of all queues until there was just one person left in front of us. The problem was by then our train left in five ‘evil’ minutes. Of course the person in front of us seemed to occupy all the time between now and eternity, and we missed our train by a whisker.

I sulked in the corner and swore under my breath for a substantial amount of time before we lugged our suitcases on a two-hour grand tour back in to Budapest whilst we waited for the next train. In hindsight, perhaps that two-hour lugg-a-thon was not a complete waste of time, as during my pit of misery, my self esteem was low enough to make my first birkenstock purchase – a life-changing move. So maybe I should thank that dodgy ticket counter. Continue reading “Vienna”

Budapest

Chain Bridge

In April 2012 I was lucky enough to welcome mum to the freezing shores of our British Isle. We had a wonderful time showing mum how we have carved out a life here, visiting some much loved spots around London before we hit the road. It was a happy but sad occasion, as Dad and Joel should have been joining us. We had been anticipating it for such a long time but heartbreakingly Dad had an accident the week before Mum & Dad were due to leave, which revealed to us that his brain tumour was growing back. Therefore he could not make the trip for risk of further seizures. It was one of the most devastating moments of my life receiving that phone call – as it sank in that Dad would never be able to make the journey to our new found home. After emotions had calmed a little I was glad that mum decided to keep the travel plans, and we instead exchanged Dad’s ticket for a flight for me to visit Australia in May.

So…a girls trip it became, and I was grateful to spend some mother-daughter time together even though we both carried Dad with us in our hearts. He was close to us in all our adventures even though he was not there in person. My mum is an absolute riot when travelling… she has a child like wonder and appreciation for everything, and you are guaranteed to meet some interesting characters, as mum will literally talk to a.n.y.o.n.e!

Budapest was on the agenda as people tend to rave about how fabulous it is, and being fans of Eastern Europe we decided to give it a burl. It was 25 degrees the week before, but when we arrived it was hovering around zero. Welcome to Europe! Thankfully I was prepared with two coats which mum and I shared between us as we skilfully navigated the public bus and train to the city centre to find our gracious airbnb host – who profusely apologised for the fact that we had to travel without our men. We encountered this type of lovely hospitality our whole time in Hungary, particularly in the countryside, but that’s another story. Continue reading “Budapest”

Barcelona

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I am ashamed and horrified to admit that it has been almost one entire year since our last blog post! So much so, that it has taken me the better part of an hour to work out the new settings on WordPress so that I could actually start typing this! London life is pleasantly busy, but I think the reason our blog is lagging is because of the sheer volume of photos to sort through. This is a first-world problem that I avoid a) because it’s time consuming b) it drives home the reality that the trip, is in fact, over! The beauty of photos is that vivid memories come racing back to you, and for this I am incredibly grateful, but also terrified of the longing that creeps back in my heart to head straight to Heathrow for the next adventure. Despite the absence of travel blogging, I hope that you have been enjoying our more current photos on Instagram/Facebook which is a quick and easy way of sharing snapshots of our travels.

People often email me to ask how we afford to travel so much. The answer to that is because we prioritise it. We make sacrifices in our day-to-day lives to ensure that money is available for travel, and we have become experts on traveling cheap and booking in advance! Joel has a crazy amount of school holidays, and with my overtime, we have so far managed to squeeze a trip in each break. This is an art (and a discipline that I have become very good at), much to Joel’s bemusement. We have not even started one trip before I am booking the next, and poor Joel has spent many exhausted nights on the Easyjet, Ryanair and Airbnb websites trying to find the best flights and accommodation!

We actually visited the vibrant city of Barcelona in October 2011 so I am stretching the elasticity of my brain a little with this one….here goes! Continue reading “Barcelona”

Prague

Evening sunsets waiting for the lamposts to take over

The infamous Prague! I am now casting my mind back several months with blog delay becoming a bit of a disease in the hurried environment of London life. However, I will persist because each place is worth documenting, and indeed sharing with others! So I apologise for the time-lag…

Nevertheless! So we departed the much loved Cesky Krumlov with mum proclaiming that “The Cesk” would never be beaten, so in some ways we had low expectations arriving in Prague as we dragged our suitcases through a maze of cobblestone. At this point I have to add: cobblestones are my enemy and I was looking forward to brushing my hands of them at the conclusion of our trip. Whilst they may be pretty, they do not cooperate with suitcases that must be wheeled! We arrived at our accommodation and gave ourselves high fives as it was spacious, close to the centre, and cheap for a major city. It was then a 180 and back out the door for some Prague lovin’!

This is where it gets good: my fave memory of Prague…mum’s entrance to the city square. Her eager trot became a bit of a gallop as she raced around the square in ecstasy going wild with her camera, to the point where I thought it might be wise to confiscate it. When Joel and I managed to pin her down, the eruption came – “This is the BEST city in all of Europe!”… Followed by a frantic “Forget Paris. Forget Rome. Forget London. Prague is the most beautiful of them all!”. Amidst the laughter and the admission of this moment to my memory bank, I had to admit mum had a point. The square was stunning – vibrant colours, regal statues, sparkling cobblestones, horse-drawn carriages, cathedrals and a mill of people amidst the dying light of the sun which was bathing the square in a warm hue. Continue reading “Prague”