travel

Some Places Have It All

Milan, Italy

July 2013

In the European summer of 2013 I made my first foray into solo travelling. I had four days to fill somewhere in Italy between the day my family returned home to Australia and the day I would be meeting up with a friend in Germany. So where to spend it? Northern Italy was my preference, in order to avoid the heat of the south and lessen my travel time between Italy and Germany. I quickly ruled out a beachside location, as going to the beach is never as fun without friends. I wanted to go somewhere with a focus on culture and plenty of indoor activities and attractions, as I find that these are often more enjoyable solo than outdoor adventures. After much thought, I eventually settled on Milan. I am so glad I did. Milan, in my opinion, is a perfect destination for the solo traveller. To put it simply, Milan has it all.  (more…)

Indisposable Memories

Kosciuszko National Park, Australia

April 2007

I usually think of myself as a child of the digital age. There are moments, though, when I think back and realise that I wasn’t always the digital native that I feel I ought to be. I remember the joy of analogue, especially film photography, taking your photos to be developed and wondering how they’d turn out…  (more…)

At the House of the Apothecary

Amboise, France

June 2015

I’ve noticed that different travellers have very different views on hotels. It seems to range from “All I ask for is a place to sleep” to “My entire holiday is centred around enjoying this hotel to the fullest”. I think I would place myself somewhere in the middle of this continuum – travelling by myself I’m not really fussed where I stay, so long as it is clean and convenient for where I need to get to. That is not say, however, that I don’t enjoy luxury hotels when I get the chance to stay at one!  (more…)

When Home is Your Castle

Amboise, France

June 2015

I’ve heard it said that a man’s home is his castle, but it’s not that often that someone’s home really is a castle. That’s the case at the Château de Cheverny (pictured above), which has been continuously inhabited by the same family for over 600 years. Cheverny was one of six châteaux (castles, broadly speaking) that I visited in the Loire valley on a two-day extravaganza with Loire Valley Tours, starting out from the beautiful town of Amboise each morning, then spending the day exploring castle after castle in the frankly stifling heat of a French summer heatwave (40oC each day). The weather was hot, the walking distances were long and the schedule was busy, but these castles, brimming with history, were worth it (the air-conditioned van also helped).  (more…)

The Part I Always Forget

From my notebook, 23rd June 2015:

As far as travellers go, I would say I am a moderately seasoned one. No, I am not an expat who has lived all over the world. No, I have not spent a year of my life backpacking around Europe. I don’t travel for work (yet) or lead the nomadic existence of the permanently suitcase-bound, but I can find my way around a foreign city, successfully navigate airports and twelve-hour long-haul flights, and can communicate with moderate success using that combination of loud, over-enunciated English and haphazard hand gestures known to English-speaking travellers everywhere.  (more…)

Café Culture

Vienna, Austria

July 2015

Mum and I sat opposite each other on the train, speeding across Austria towards Vienna, the final stop on our European adventure. We were passing the time by compiling a list of the things we were determined to do before we headed home. By the time we arrived at our destination our list consisted of fourteen items. Of these, seven were things to buy and seven were things to eat – clearly some coffee, cake and retail therapy were in order!  (more…)

Seaside Sunsets

Darwin, Australia

July 2012

In Darwin the sun sets quickly. That glowing orb of burning gas plummets towards the horizon, crossing the sky in what seems like mere minutes. As it does so, it colours the evening in shades you wouldn’t believe. The vibrance of an artist’s palette, warm hues blending together as the sun sinks into the sea. That’s a tropical sunset for you.  (more…)

How to Get Sick on Holiday and Still Have a Good Time

Grindelwald, Switzerland

December 2010

Being sick is the worst. I feel that I can make this statement from a position of some authority as I’m currently lying in bed with the blankets up to my chin, a throat that feels like I’ve been gargling broken glass and a voice that sounds like a cross between a frog and Darth Vader (I have laryngitis, if I haven’t made that clear). But if being sick during your everyday life is bad, how much worse, then, is it when you fall foul of the latest bacteria or virus when you’re on your precious and hard-won holiday? I must say it is rather terrible timing when this does happen, but, surprisingly, when it happened to me I did find one or two upsides to being sick whilst travelling. Contrary to my expectations, it wasn’t absolutely the end of the world.  (more…)

A Zest for Travel

Wellington, New Zealand

January 2015

I don’t make any secret of the fact that I love food, and so it will come as no surprise to you to find that one of my favourite things to do when travelling is to eat. Understanding how a place views food is so revealing about how its people view life, and one of the greatest joys of travelling, for me at least, is experiencing the food culture of a new place.  (more…)

Lakeside Luxe

Taupo, New Zealand

January 2015

We drove north from Wellington along a winding highway. Rolling hills undulated by; we passed sheer cliffs carved by centuries of rushing rivers, and wide plains, stretching out in green monotony to the foothills of distant mountains. Four hours into our journey we crested a hill and were astounded by the vista spread before us. The massive bulk of Mount Ruapehu, the highest point on New Zealand’s North Island and one of the most active volcanoes in the world, dominated the scene, snow-capped despite the heat. As we continued along the highway, slowly skirting around the mountain, another came into sight – Mount Ngauruhoe, Lord of the Rings’ Mount Doom, almost perfectly conical, its summit shrouded in cloud.  (more…)