When I visit a new city or town one of the first places I hunt down is the local market. And it’s not because I’m on a hunt for great bargains, but because they are often a great insight into the people and culture of the place. Some markets are major tourist attractions like the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul or Melbourne’s own Queen Victoria Market, but some of my favourite travel experiences have been wandering around ‘local’ markets without a tourist in sight. I have been to hundreds of markets around the world from Irkutsk in Siberia to Port-au-Prince in Haiti and whether the market is full of food, trinkets, clothes or even camels I can spend hours wandering around. It wasn’t easy choosing, but these are my Top 10 markets that I have toddled around: Read more
Over my years of travelling I’ve figured out a few little ways to make long-haul flights more enjoyable – from the check-in to being airborne to getting out of the airport at the other end. There are a couple in my list that aren’t quite kosher, but mostly these are some simple ways to get the most (or least) out of hurtling through the air in a giant tin can. Read more
I love desserts – and after pigging out this recent holiday season on cheesecake and pavlova and a gingerbread house made entirely of chocolate, so does my waistline. But it’s not just in the holiday season that my sweet tooth has its way. I have savoured and salivated over countless desserts in my travels and have even gone totally out of my way to satisfy my love for the perfect pudding. This blog took me a while because I started to write a list of my Top Ten desserts from around the world, but half way though I had to rush out and buy a cheesecake… Read more
It wasn’t a big travelling year for me, but I really shouldn’t complain. I still got in a few overseas and local trips that were full of great highlights, including hanging out with some wacky monkeys, jumping off a cliff to celebrate 30 years of skiing, discovering a deserted beach in Borneo with my daughter and snorkelling with a manta rays the size of cars off the coast of Bali. So, without further ado here are my Top Ten Travel Highlights from 2015 (in no particular order): Read more
A few years back I spent Christmas day with George Michael. Really, I did. Well, with George Micheal and a couple of thousand other skiers on the Les Diablerets glacier in Switzerland. Coming from balmy Australia I wanted my first ever Christmas away from home to be a white Christmas, so I had booked a ski chalet in Les Diablerets for me and 15 drunken Aussie and Kiwi backpackers who I shared a house with in London. Mind you, only six of us actually skied on Christmas day because the rest were too hungover after drinking all night on Christmas eve.
On Christmas morning we wrapped ourselves in tinsel and caught a jam-packed cable car up to the glacier. George Michael, however, didn’t bother with that cable car caper – he got dropped off in a helicopter. The cable car queue was horrendous because nearby resorts had no snow (including Verbier, where George Michael was probably staying), so people were being bussed in from miles away to Les Diablerets, which had glacier skiing. George Michael wasn’t hard to spot amongst the masses, though. He was wearing a fluorescent pink one piece ski suit (it was the 80s!).
I didn’t have my Christmas lunch with George, however. I don’t think that he would have been happy sitting on the floor of a crowded mountain restaurant eating frankfurters and chips.
On my recent trip to Queensland I stayed for a night at my brother’s house in Hervey Bay. I was up there for his birthday party and, although it was a fun party, I had a terrible night’s sleep. That’s because the other interstate visitors had arrived earlier than me and got first dibs on the spare beds leaving me with the couch. Actually, I had the choice of two couches, but one was just about in the middle of the party (which was still going on when I was ready for bed). The other couch was in the second lounge room, which wasn’t quite as noisy, but it was even shorter than my diminutive stature, so I spent a very restless night firstly listening to drunken and rowdy singalongs, then tossing and turning trying to get comfortable. And finally when I’d just got comfortable the sun came up and bathed the room in bright light. This, by the way, was something like 4.00 in the morning because Queenslanders don’t have daylight savings because it fades their curtains. Read more
I’m excited because I’ve just booked my tickets to the upcoming Andy Warhol exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. I love his work – so much so that I have a large collection of framed Warhol prints (not originals, though, sadly) scattered around my home. The prints are gallery posters that I have collected in my travels (from galleries that I have visited), and not only do they make for great pieces of art, they also make for wonderful mementos.
Visiting art galleries has always been a big part of my travel experience and I have gone out of my way to visit hundreds of them over the years. My love of art began in high school and I left after year 10 to go to art school for two years, followed by a three year Visual Communication’ degree at Uni. One of my favourite things about visiting galleries is when I see a painting that I had stared at in books for years – it’s like seeing a celebrity that you’ve seen hundreds of times in magazines in real life! Read more
A couple of weeks back, while I was up in Noosa in Queensland, I tried out stand up paddle boarding for the first time. My old college friend John just happens to be a stand up paddle board teacher (so I got a free lesson), but it was mostly because I was on a ‘holiday’ that I did it. There are stand up paddle boarding classes and hire only a ten minute drive from my home, but it’s amazing how often you try something new when you are travelling or on holiday. And stand up paddle boarding isn’t the only water based activity that I tried for the first time when I have been away. In fact, there’s quite a list of activities from the serene to the ridiculous: Read more
Last week a friend asked me how I planned my recent trip to Borneo. She asked me how I decided what to do, where to stay, how to get the cheapest flights, what tours to do, etc. On our Dad and Daughter Great Adventures I like to travel around and stay at different places, so we can explore and experience as much as we can (and thankfully my daughter quite likes to do that too). I pretty much follow the same steps no matter where I’m going, but this is how I planned our Borneo trip: Read more
The AFL (Australian Rules Football) finals are in full swing here and we are only 10 days away from what I think is one of the greatest sporting events in the world – the AFL Grand Final (although my team didn’t make the finals, so not as grand as I’d like). And yes, I may be a little biased being bred on footy in Melbourne, but it definitely is up there with the best sporting events that I’ve been to around the globe. Read more