Where We Have Been in the World
I write a lot about where I would love to go to but I have yet to post where in the world we have visited. Since our wedding day in January 2006 we have been very lucky and previledged as we have visited and travelled more then I could have ever hoped and dreamed. We have gone far and wide and in fact all the way around the world. The more I travel the more I love it! Here is a list of all the places and where we haven been in the world (outside of the UK) before our little adventurers arrived. Warning, there is photo overload below!
For our honeymoon we went to Malaysia and visited Penang, Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur. The trip to Langkawi was very improprtu and we booked it whilst we were there. Malaysia is a true fusion of all things, culture, religions and food, a true melting pot. You can read hear about why I think Malaysia is truly marvellous for family travel here! Langkawi is truly beautiful, and you feel like you are miles away from your troubles and woes. Penang was a real hub of activity, with lots of activities on the beach and further afield. I think your first holiday as a couple (and my first abroad without my parents, I did get married at the tender age of 24!) will always be one of the memorable and will aways hold a special place in your heart.
Our trip to Rome was very last minute, we had two weeks off work and looked for a break for a few nights. I had always wanted to go to Rome but it had never really appealed to Doc. However, following our visit, he returned totally in love with city. Rome is a real life history book, you walk down any street and you will see ruins, buildings, culture at every turn. It was one of my favourite cities in the world and it is so far the most romatic places we have been. We visited the Colosseum at night, it looked even more amazing then during the day, beautifully lit up in the night. There were a few other couples there and we just lay down and stared and were totally wowed by it. The sense of serenity and peace I felt and to stand in front of soemthing that has such an fascinating history was a truly awe moment. Rome also has the most amazing pizzas and ice cream (ladies pack wisely, you will gain pounds!)
This was a big family trip to Paris, there were members of both mine and Docs family. We visited Disneyland Paris (it was pouring rain and we had no waterproofs or jumpers) and a few touirsty things in Paris. I have been twice but still not fallen in love with the city. Don’t get me worng, you will have a great time but I didnt love the city like I thought I would. Disneyland Paris is fantastic! If you are planing on going, these posts may help with the journey, of things to buy before you go and Tips & Cost cutting for a trip to Disneyland Paris
At the time I was employed and my only expense in life was travelling (I know awesome right?). So I had the luxury of treating Doc to a real birthday present and I paid for the both of us to go to Hong Kong. We stayed at the Langham Hotel which was a beautiful, fantastic hotel and the location was in the heart of Mongkok, which is away from the touristy areas which was a fantastic experience. Whilst in Hong Kong, I had one of those perfect days, you know when everything kinda falls into place. We lazed in the rooftop pool in the morning, headed off to Disneyland Hong Kong (was awesome and the underground with Mickey shaped windows were great!), and ended the day with a lovely meal for two. I’m not foodie but it was perfect end to the day. It was also in Hong Kong when we were caught in the thickest fog that I have experienced. We ventured to Ngong Ping 360 to see the Buddha statue and we literally could see nothing. It was super creepy and very cool.
Our first wedding anniversary we spent in Marrakech, this was a bargain . I had really high hopes for Marrakech but after numerous people tried to scam us and blatantly lied to us, including being told that the souks were closed due to the public holiday for the start of the Islamic new year we were a little disgruntled and overall left us with that feeling of discontent. We did enjoy the spirit in the Jama el Fana and the Ourika Valley was beautiful but I think we would need to revisit to have our minds changed as it sounds like a place we would love. That said we did have a really good few days, and for £100 for us both, we shouldn’t really complain!
Before our round the world trip we had a super cheap (its so expensive whilst you are there) trip to Oslo. We managed to snap some of the infamous Ryanair flights for 1p each return and then Doc found the best hotel in Oslo the Radisson Blu were selling nights for £70 for 2 nights (normally £200 + per night) so we stayed here and in hostel for the reminder. Oslo has a super chilled vibe about it. We spent hours at the pier just sitting and enjoying the peace. The Norwegians are really lovely and we had a fab few days. We took a trip (with hindsight it was way too packed) to the Norwegian fjords. The fjords were amazing and no photos in the world would do them justice.
Our Round the world trip
We left for our rtw trip in November 2007 and we did put a lot into 3 months but it was the most amazing trip we have ever taken, every day was a new adventure with endless possibilities to explore, seek new adventures and to immerse yourself into a new culture each and everyday. I can honestly say, leaving everything behind for a few months is the most liberating feeling that you will ever have. Trouble is thats it you will well and truly have the travel bug for life!
So our first stop was Japan. That was a late entry into our trip and we are so glad that we went. Japan is one of those places that is totally unique to anyplace else we have been. The sense of humour, living and culture is so different to anything that we have experienced or seen before. First stop was Tokyo, it was crazy busy, every time the green man would come up on the pedestrian crossing the number of people you had crossing was something else, there was literally swarms of people. We also visited Disneyland there and spent a few days in Kyoto. Kyoto was such a contrast to Tokyo and has lots of culture and tradition that you can immerse yourself in. We visited whilst the leaves were changing and all the temples had special events and were lit up and looking more amazing then normal. We travelled on the bullet trains and liked everything Japanese it was a well oiled and perfect experience. One thing that has to have special mention is the toilets they were the most gadgety seat ever!
On we went to Bangkok and it was a real change to Malaysia (we had always thought the two would be more similar). Its busier, more crowded and its one of those Marmite places you will love it or hate it. We had an amazing time taking in the Grand Palace, What Po and the Golden Temple to name a few. Bangkok is also a foodie heaven and you can have a massage a day (or sometimes two and its so cheap!). Be aware though there is lots of scams usually involving gems and supposedly closed temples!
No trip to Thailand is complete without a visit to one of the amazing beaches. We chose Phuket and initially decided to stayed in Patpong and we were totally unimpressed with it. I found it too busy, a little sleazy and generally wasn’t somewhere that I would recommend, especially for families. We did move to other accommodation on a quieter beach area and it was much nicer, laid back and had a really good vibe to it. We gave Thai cooking a go and some fruit carving!
We spent Doc’s birthday in Singapore and I was totally impressed with the city and country. I know its not the real Asia experience that travellers want but I think its [perfect for a family holiday. The people are pleasant, there is loads to see and do, its safe and cultural shock especially if you have younger children is next to nothing and I totally fell in love with the country. In fact it topped my list of places I would love to move to in the future. We went over to Sentosa Island which was lots of fun packed into a really small place. We were one of the first people in the world to try out the fish spa which then took off all over the world. I know that Sentosa Island has since grown even more and will be even more fab with children.
Growing up in the UK in 80s/90s all the Australian soaps brought the Oz lifestyle into many UK homes and this was one of the places i have ALWAYS wanted to travel too. The country is vast, amazing, beautiful and in so many places, desolate but stunning in the sense of its isolation. We spent a month here and started in Darwin, travelled to the Red centre in the middle, a 3 day road trip to Cairns. Here we crossed miles and miles of plains with nothing in sight expect for red desert and deadly creepy crawlies (we found a redback…) here and there. It was in the middle of one of the plains that I saw the most amazing night sky, as there was no light pollution, we were treated to a star speckled sky. It was so amazing that it was scarily frightening and humbling to come to the realisation of how insignificant we are and how vast our universe actually is. Once we arrived in Cairns we then worked our way down the East coast, we had fantastic trips to the Great Barrier Reef and Fraser Island (the beaches are amazing here!). We did New Years in Sydney which was great fun and ended our trip with Melbourne (and Neighbours). Australia was so expensive in 2007, it was hard to find many things to do that didn’t break the bank but it was an amazing month and I would love to go back and explore so much more. If you love the outdoors, Australia will be an amazing holiday destination for you.
Wow, wow, wow, thats the only words I can use to describe New Zealand. This has so far been my favourite country in the world and I totally fell in love with South Island. We started in Christchurch and hired a car, having your own mode of transport opens up a whole world of opportunities and cannot be recommended enough. We had 3 weeks to explore the country but you can spend months there and still be wanting more! We had no clear plan in mind, just that we had to get to Picton after 2 weeks for our ferry crossing and drop the car off in Auckland. In the south Island, whichever direction you set off you will experience some of the most breathtaking scenery that you will see. The water in NZ deserves a special mention here, never will you see a bluer colour, the water was amazing! I love learning about the Maori traditions and there was such an incredible amount to do, you will be lost where to start! We loved the hike up Franz Josef Glacier, going to see the glow worms in Te Anu, Wanaka was such a fab place to visit, the Geysers of Rotorua and no trip to NZ would be complete without a visit to the fjords! We didn’t get a chance to see as much of North Island but we will be back one day and explore so much more! This was the first destination where we required medical treatment as I fell in the bath and needed stitches.
We thought we would add in one of the “island” holidays in our rtw trip but some of them were too expensive so we settle on Fiji. Unfortunately, a cyclone hit the island a few days before we arrived so everything was murkier with usual. We had the most amazing day snorkelling and the seas are clear, beautiful and you will be treated to an amazing array of marine life.
This was our last stop and our first time in the USA. We were exhausted by this point (and all snapped out hence the lack of pictures) and it was absolutely freezing when we arrived. We got soaked and chilled to the bone and we had to go shopping for some jumpers, good way to introduce ourselves back to the miserable February weather in the UK. It was a total shock to the system after being in plus 30 degrees weather for the last 3 months. We did the touristy things in Hollywood and had a great day in Universal Studios. We will definitely need to go back to explore (perhaps in warmer weather!).
In July 2008 we had our last trip abroad before the arrival of Maya. I was 3 months pregnant (I don’t suffer from sickness so was well up for an adventure!). It was roasting in Luxor but we learnt so much about Egyptian history. We had an amazing tour guide and it was fascinating to learn and see so many artefacts from an empire that I had heard so much about in history lessons. We got to see mummies and worked in the tombs of some of the most famous pharoes. I would love to take the little adventurers here, it is history lesson not to be missed.
So there you have our first three years of travelling. It was an amazing experience and we were so lucky to do so much. As I have looked over this post I remember all the adventures and experiences and realise how much of the world we have seen (and still have to see)