Planes, Trains & Automobiles…. just for a start!

 

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One of the fun parts of travel is that you get to go on (or at least see) the most amazing  transport methods….. just for a start, you have the standard planes, trains and automobiles…….

There are the Hop on Hop Off Buses in every major town, there are Gondolas in Venice, the funny little three wheeled cars and the reconverted motor bikes in Peru, bike buggies taking you from the museums to the Champs elysees in Paris, you can ride bicycles at the water park in Mexico whilst wearing bathers ( not a good look for a 50 year old), and of course, you can have river cruises on the Seine.

There are sailboats in Santorini where you can have a BBQ on board, go for a scuba dive, lie in the sun on the fishing nets and watch the sunset, or jet boats that take you from Venice to Burano to check out the glass making and of course, cruise ships are absolutely amazing- floating hotels/shops/casinos… basically.

Then there are really unusual transport methods like the funicular up the hill in Santiago Chile to ride the sky rail, the vistadome train through Peru, the fast train from Venice to Florence and all the way down to Rome, and ferries taking you between the towns of Cinque Terre.

I hope that this blog inspires your next holiday, and you get to find planes, trains, automobiles and all manner of other forms of transport.

Santorini….. sunsets, sailing and sickness

One day i wish to return to the Greek Islands, to get the chance to get it right, as all started to decay on the isle of Santorini!

By the time we had the pleasure of visiting Santorini in 2014, we had been travelling for over 3 weeks………… we had travelled throughout Paris and ticked off SO MANY of MY bucket list items………….. i visited the Mona Lisa, hung out at Montmarte, i danced beside the Seine, we placed our very own love-lock on the Ponts De Arts Bridge near the Louvre, and i caught the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower, where i received my original vow ring back and i re-declared my love. So many bucket list items of mine!

After a whirl-wind week in Paris we had travelled all over Italy (from Venice, Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Siena and Rome) ticking off more and more bucket lists items as we went….. We rode the Gondola, we cast our eye on the magnificent Statute of David, we posed with the Leaning Tower, and we trekked between the towns at Cinque Terre. Bucket List…. tick, tick, tick…….

And then finally after a couple of days in Athens Greece, it was finally time to fly into Santorini to tick off hubby’s MAIN bucket list item- we finally got to the part of the trip where he chose his one true bucket list item, his dream come true…..to board a sail boat in Santorini and watch the sunset.

Whilst we DID board the booked sail boat, and we did watch the sunset, our time in Santorini fell short. Reality did not meet expectation, and decay started it creep in during this portion of our trip.

The bucket was not full of love and happiness in Santorini…… 3 weeks of travelling, exhausting 8 hr days of sightseeing and the kind sole on the plane who spread their germs coughing and spluttering everywhere actually ended up filling the bucket with sickness for me.

Flu took over, chills and fever ravaged and hubby’s idea of romance in Santorini was thrown away. I spent the majority of the 4 days on Santorini in bed sick, whilst hubby stayed around the hotel and didn’t get to visit much of the island. The only time i ventured away from the hotel, was to grab a meal for dinner and to board the sail boat.

Burning up with fever did ensure that i looked flushed and hot ( and not so bad) during photos… it was just a shame i felt like hell, hot sweaty and trembling with fever.

Santorini is a such beautiful place, and i feel sad that we just never really experienced it as we SHOULD have. Such a missed opportunity and i was so upset that my illness put a dampener on hubby experiencing his bucket list properly.

One day i really hope to return, to island hop from Mykonos to the other islands, and make sure that we returned to experience Santorini as it should have been experienced in the first place, in good health and with love in our hearts and heads.

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Fancy sleeping in a fountain?

One of the best parts of travelling, is to find the little gems, the unexpected and to come home with a story.

Whilst my trip to Europe was not the “trip of a lifetime” story that i had initially dreamed it was going to be, the blogging of my adventures most recently has been wonderful-  as it has afforded me the opportunity for a little therapy, a chance to actively look for positive memories of the trip, to re-visit my holiday snaps and to remember how lucky i really was.

One of the best memories of our Europe trip was sleeping in a fountain. Yes, you read that correctly….. when in Rome, we did like the romans…. we slept in a real, working fountain…. the Moses Fountain.

It was on one of the main roads, in the heart of the city, a short walk to the train station and with views of the Government Offices. The tourist buses even stop in front of the fountain, for the tourists to take their photos. It wasn’t as impressive looking as the Trevi Fountain, but our hotel was at least a working fountain at the time we visited (as the trevi had been drained and was being repaired when we were in Rome in Sept 2014).

You entered the hotel via a side wooden door that you wouldn’t even notice unless you were told to look for it, you climb two sets of steps to reach the main entrance door of the accommodation rooms that were hidden at the back of the fountain, up another two sets of stairs, and then you finally find the front door to your apartment. As i always tell people who are travelling in Europe- there are stairs everywhere!

 

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The apartment was lovely, roomy but the only weird thing that springs to mind now (apart from it being inside a fountain, that is) was the space-ship styled bathroom shower. Not only where you standing in a circular room, where you enjoyed water and steam showering, you also got to view the traffic below, thanks to the peephole window right in the middle of the shower.

Needless to say, me, i showered on the floor of the circular room, as i had no intention of peeping at traffic as i washed myself and i was pretty sure the traffic didn’t want to peep at me either!

Sightseeing, Salsa Dancing and seeing in the New Year

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Chile was hot hot hot…. and the weather was great too.

Above is a highlight real of our day sightseeing, and shows a few photos from the New Year’s Eve Function we attended ( where we got to Salsa into the night before the fireworks really started).

If you want to read more detail, hit  “Chile” in the main menu at the top of the page, and you will see all the blogs written about this wonderful place.

Another memory….. prompted on a daily basis

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Back in early 2014 we noticed this wonderful artwork piece in an art store at our local shopping centre, and i remember mentioning how lovely the painting was………….. i loved the course texture of the paint and of course i loved the fact it had the Eiffel Tower in it….. but i thought it funny that the artist would ruin a perfectly good painting of Paris -by putting a tram dead centre in the picture!

I got that the artist might add the good old fashioned horse and cart, as that is romance personified… but a tram… Since when did Paris have Melbourne Trams?

Hubby offered to purchase the artwork for me, as he knew i was excited about our upcoming trip to Paris at the end of 2014, but i declined, as that painting made absolutely no sense to me…. come on,  a tram ?!?! No thanks, i’ll pass on the painting.

So August came along, we hopped on the plane and jet setted off to the city of love.

One of our planned days in Paris, we did a walking tour of the city, from the foot of the Arc de triomphe, along the seine, past the Little and Grand Palaces, past the Louvre, we checked out Notre Dame Cathedral, Saint Chapelle Church and we wandered across to the Ponts de Arts Bridge (The love-lock bridge) to leave our own little momento in Paris.

On another day, we headed to Saint Germaine Area and wandered down to the River edge and participated in the Dancing by the Seine festival that takes place every August, and then after a full day of walking, we settled ourselves at a little french cafe for a light meal as the sunset…… and what should we see but….

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A TRAM, IN PARIS!

At the time we laughed and commented that the artist knew more than we had known, and we stood formally corrected. lol

And as a special Christmas surprise, in 2016, i was given the artwork shown above. Hubby knew i liked the painting back in 2014, and now that we knew that trams DO run in the streets of Paris, it was a perfect gift to capture a special memory of our trip.

Now i have the pleasure each morning of gazing upon it…… bringing me back to the memory of my vin blanc (white wine) and the yummy baguette au fromage (crusty bread filled with cheese) that we enjoyed at that little cafe on the corner in Saint Germain in the 6th arrondissement.

Having those little mementos to transport you back to a time and place that warms your heart is the best part of the travel experience.

Capturing a memory- to keep forever….

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When travelling, you experience all types of things……. some are special, some sad, some catch you by surprise, and sometimes things happen that are just plain funny………….. and those surprising or funny little antidotes you simply NEVER want to forget.

When we travelled to Venice in September 2014, a little piece of me was left behind……. and i kind of feel warm and fuzzy about it.  A little piece of me is STILL  in Venice, today, in 2017 and i assume it will remain there until the canal is drained dry ( which is highly unlikely given the place is known to be sinking in even more water)!

 

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So the story goes…….We flew into Venice at night, we caught a private water taxi from the airport to the door of our hotel (Palazzo schiavoni) and as the taxi driver lifted my small suitcase from the taxi to the street ramp, the handle of my bag broke, and whilst we managed to grab my bag in time, my luggage tag fell into the canal….. and there it stays today, in the murky depths of the canal!

We managed to find the screw from the handle, i borrowed a screwdriver from the hotel concierge, and fixed my bag…. but the luggage tag, with my name, address and itinerary remained firmly at the bottom of the canal.

To remember this funny little story, during our stay in Venice, i took the opportunity to spend an afternoon by myself on the bridge that stood right outside our hotel, where i unpacked my paints (that i purchased in Paris) and i painted a small artwork of the canal ( see the painting shown on my scrapbooking page in the photo montage above).

We also have a large artwork that my husband purchased as a gift for me, back in Melbourne , that was given to me for christmas. He purchased it as he thought i would like a painting of Venice.

But  the funny thing is, the beautiful large artwork piece that he picked out really does remind me of the water taxi ramp, the canal and my luggage tag every time i walk past it. The painting doesn’t just remind me, it shows the taxi ramp, the canal, the walkway right beside the hotel…..

We have been lucky enough to purchase a few original artwork pieces and little mementos during our travels, and each and every time i walk past them, i am drawn back to the time i was there holidaying and feel a warm glow as the memories flood back.

 

Want to visit South America? Our agent knows the BEST hotels to stay at.

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Nicole from Destination HQ in Beaumaris was responsible for almost all the stunning, beautiful, amazing places we stayed, whilst visiting South America.

From the first hotel we visited in Santiago Chile – Hotel Plaza San Francisco – the moment we entered the foyer, we just knew we had put our faith in the right person!

We were staying in Chile for New Year’s Eve, and the hotel she suggested was actually hosting one of the biggest functions in town. A Black & White Ball, with those great masquerade masks and salsa music… plus it also provided the best vantage point to view the fireworks, just outside the main doors- so what can i say….. the best way to spend New Year’s Eve!

After a wonderful few days in Chile, we flew to Peru and Nicole had us staying at the Casa Andina Private Collection Chain of hotels. ( a great way to get discount and the perfect way to get an upgrade or two).

Our first stop was Casa Andina Cusco, in the heart of town, and a short walk to the main town square and all the tourist shops. With an upgrade to a superior room, a cave style room no less, our first stop in Peru was pretty amazing.

The second stop in Peru was at Casa Andina Sacred Valley, and wow… talk about heaven. Fresh air, mountain views, a built in star observatory, open fireplace in the main hall where you could sit and enjoy a wine and hammocks on the grass to just lie upon and watch the clouds flow past.

The final Casa Andina Aguas Calientes ( the small town at the mouth of Machu Picchu).    A small hotel nestled between the railway line and the fast flowing river…. boasting stunning views of the river as you sat to eat your breakfast in the restaurant, and also from your room or balcony.

But the peace d resistance of the whole trip was booked in by Nicole at our request, as it was selected by my husband, as a special treat for us for our 30th Wedding Anniversary….. Mexico………. The Royal……… in Playa del Carmen, about an hour from Cancun.

Simply stunning….. pinch yourself to see if you are dreaming….. check in with a glass of champagne in hand styled hotel !

An Adults only, all inclusive – that’s all you can eat AND drink (apart from Lobster) hotel- that’s EVERYTHING you can see, think or imagine…… you can have !  A never ending always refilling mini bar in the room, to hold your hand up at the pool and they deliver you a cocktail style hotel.

So if i have #inspiredyournextholiday  then get in touch with Destination HQ to see what they can do for you!