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In November of 2019 I went to Nepal to trek Everest Base Camp with INTREPID TOURS. It was truly one of the most treasured experiences for me. The hike itself was 12 days and we trekked over 150 kms. Base camp (5,365m) on Day 8 after a 7 hour hike that day in blistering wind in places, was so worth it. We had stunning weather and apparently we were extremely luck according to our experience and fun guide. Sunny, gorgeous days to enjoy the incredable views along the way. We experienced the wonderful and friendly people of Nepal in the basic but very adequate "Tea Houses" along the way. Our first sighting of Everest was breathtaking and staying at Tengboche and visiting the Monastery were extraordinary highlights.
In June 2019 over Queens Birthday Weekend I took a 4 night trip to Honolulu with my Mum and Sister. We had a blast. Whats not to love about Hawaii. The weather is awesome all year round. You have amazing shopping, cafes, bars, the beach and travelling around the island in a "Ford Mustang" with the top down is a must. A very relaxing and easy going weekend away with the girls
In April 2019, I took a vacation to Vietham again with INTREPID.
I find these tours suit my budget and ticket off the places that I wish
to visit in each country. We started in the business of Hanoi and its just an eye opener with how many motorbikes there are – millions. But they are orderly and can carry anything from Fridges to TV’s to families of 4 to 5. The sights and sounds of Vietham was magical. I went from North to South We started with an ovenight in the picturesque Halong Bay. Next came the historic Hue
and down to Hoi An. Hoi An was a vibrant place from the colors of merchandise to the smells and tastes of the devine street food. We ended the stay in Saigon (Ho Chi Mihn). We took a trip down the
mekong and enjoyed the dicodamy of French to Asian cultures that make the vibe of the city.
Over the Auckland Aniversary weekend I took a quick trip to gorgeous Melbourne. What a fun city and so full of life! I was lucky to score amazing tickets to the LADIES FINAL of the Australian Open. A magic event and I would highly recommend attending. They city is well laid out with the free inter city trams, the Queen Victoria Market is a cool place of breakfast or lunch and to visit the many stalls promoting Aussie items. I stay at the Ibis on Terry Street (great, convenient location) and used UBER to get to St Kilda's, and other city highlights. The shopping was off the charts...
I was very lucky to go on an AZAMARA CRUISE from Singapore to Thailand and Vietnam. Please take a moemnt to read my review by clicking on the link below
In October this year - I was very lucky to travel to London - England, Brussels - Belgium, Paris - France, Lausanne - Swizerland, Avignon - Frances and ending in Barcelona - Spain. This trip spanned over 8 days and our focus was to go by RAIL and to see the sights in each place.
We arrived into London and experienced using the VISITORS OYSTER CARD (Londoners Rail Pass). This is a fantastic item to purchase prior to leaving NZ for London. It is a pre-loaded card, so you are able to use the underground train system which is fantastic in London and also this card gives you many discounts thru out London. You can top it up as you need also. (A must buy before you go off on your travels). We also got to go on the "London Eye" which has amazing views of London.
The next day we took the Eurostar from London to Brussels. Rail is such an effortless way to travel thru out Europe. You show up around 20 - 60 minutes prior to your travel time (60 minutes for the Eurostar go to thru the easy customs process) and then board. You are off in comfort and arrive in the the city centres. In Brussels, we walked to the famous "Grote Markt" which is truly magnificent at night. Of course, here one had to try "Belgium Chocolate" and the "Belgium Waffles" - yummy...From as little as 1 Euro for a waffle.
Paris was the next stop. And we took a very fast train from Brussels. Sometimes the trains to up to 300 kms per hour on parts of the journey. On arrival we got on the "metro" to go to the "Opera" district to collect our PARIS PASS. This two day pass was a fun way to see Paris. You get a metro ticket, hop on hop off bus tickets and free entry & discounts to many sightseeing pptions. We used the "Hop on Hop off" bus around the city and walked down from the "Louvre" to the "Arc de Triomphe". With the Paris Pass ,you get free entry to many of the iconic sights and we took advantage of the FAST LANE benefits, to climb up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. Here you get one of the best views of Paris. You can see for miles. We also got to see the Eiffel Tower, Notra Dame and Le Sacre Coeur Cathedrals, Montemarte area and experienced the "Paradis Latin" (Your iconic Paris show).
After Paris came a 2 day stop in Lausanne, Switzerland. Situated right on Lake Geneva, this little gem was so picturesque. Any guest staying from hostle style accommodation to your poshed 5-star resort, gets given a TRANSPORT CARD and this gives you free travel on the metro or the buses in zones 11-12. Was so simple to use and easy to get around. Most people spoke English or French. In Lausanne we had excellent english speaking guide that gave us a walking tour of Lausann
This past Easter I was lucky to go on a "CRUISE TASTER" - the Cruise to nowhere, we nickname it. A 3 night P & O Cruise out of Auckland. It was a wonderful break and the whole family went. There is only 9 of us, but it was an fantastic time to bond. I ended up in a mini suite with my niece (17) and newphew (15) and it work perfectly for us. Cruises are just brilliant as there is something for eveyone to do or take part in. A fun and yummy time!!!
My vacation this year took me to South America and Cuba. It was a magical time. I spent 15 days in Peru and ending in Bolivia. My goal was to hike the Inca Trail and it lived up to my every expectation. TIP: I would definately have some training under your belt - enjoy it more. There were a couple of folks that had not had any exercise in the diet and they managed the trek at their own pace. It has some very difficult parts and to enjoy it - be fit...Cusco was also a highlight with also of Peruvian feelm sights, sounds and tastes. Lake Titicaca on the shores of Puna was a very fasinating destination with the islands of reeds where many of the "Uros" people live. This trip ended in Bolivia where many of the tour group was off to see the Salt Flats. From here I flew to Santiago, Chile to enjoy this city. I went on a day trip to Valpariso and put my feet in the Pacific Ocean from the East side look back to New Zealand.
From South America, I continued my travels on to Cuba. I just fell in love with Cuba. This place has so much history and I was fasinated by this and loved all of the learning that went with this tour. I was again on an Intrepid Tour - Beautiful Cuba - 8 days. I was met at the airport by a very nice young man who transferred me to my accommodation - a guest house in Old Havana, which the locals call La Habana. La Habana is wonderful to wonder around and I felt safe morning, afternoon and night time. There was beautiful live music around every corner and yummy smells. The food was simple and tasty. Avocados are on steriods and are about 6 times the size of kiwi ones. All the fruit and veg was yummy tasting, fresh and colorful. The Cuban people are friendly and accommodating. Tourism is a large party of the economy and many locals in the smaller towns have a quest house with 1 or more rooms they rent out.
I was on an Intrepid Tour again. Our accommodation comprised of these guest houses where your breakfast was included daily. It was an interesting experience to arrive in a new place and be greeted by your host and taken off away from the group to stay in the guest house. The whole time in Cuba, I felt safe and secure when walking around on my own.
A highlight was having a tour in a Classic Car. You negotiate the price directly with the driver and they take you off for around 1 hour and take you thru old and new Havana, stopping along the way for photos. This ride was CUC35 to 50 (USD$35 to 50) and we also tipped the driver an extra CUC5.
In September this year I decided to go to Egypt and Morocco with Intrepid Tours on my vacation. I had a fantastic time seeing the wonderous sights of Egypt and learning and experiencing the history of this amazing destination. The Pyramids of Giza and then seeing the Valley of the Kings outside of Luxor were two of the highlights. I had 8 days in Egypt starting in Cairo to see the iconic Pyrimids and then being able to see King Tut's golden mask in the famous Cairo Museum. From there we travelled by train to Aswan, and took an overnight falucca on the famous River Nile -floating past the famous Hotel Cataract where Agatha Christie wrote Death on the River Nile. We also experience the UNESCO sight of Abu Simbel Temples and soaked in the beauty and magic of Egypt's amazing Ancient Kingdoms.
I left Egypt and flew on to Casablanca Morocco and joined again with my second Intrepid Tour. These are small group escorted tour and so you are able to have more of a personalized time, being able to ask the guides more questions and also you are able as a group to add in little side trips into your experience.
Morocco is very multi-cultural experience with a french influence through the country side. The food is fresh and with out many of the preserves we are use to in the west. The most fasinating experience was in the old towns/markets in Fes and Marrakech
From Cairo Egypt I then flew into Casablanca Morocco for the second part of my vacation. I joined the Intrepid 13 Days Morocco Uncovered tour. Morocco is a very multicultural experience with a heavy french influence.
One of the most interesting and educational experience is to tour medieval Fes - a vibrant medina where you feel like you are stepping into the past. This old medina has over 9000 streets and allyways - some where only one person at a time can walk thru. The only transport in this old part of Fes is walking, donkeys and carts. The food was so fresh and with lots of flavour. Their salads were tasty and you are offered BREAD at every meal as part of the culture.
Another higlight was Chefchaouen, known as the blue city in the North of Morocco. A very easy style to this truly beautiful destination. We also visited Ait Benhaddou - the background to many famous movies - like the Gladiator and the TV Series Game of Throne
The true higlight was the overnight camel ride into the Sahara Desert Camp. We travel out at sunset onto the Sahara - just wow!!! We arrived at this gorgeous camp and climbed to the top of the sand dune just in time to see the last of the sun. Peaceful and magical.
We stayed the night at a tradional Berber House and experienced local life and flavors. Very welcoming people.
Morocco has the ocean, the desert, vibrant cities, places where you feel you are back in time, history, USNESCO sites (Volubilis - Roman Ruins), amazing cuisine and warm and welcoming people.