Sunday, 6 July 2014

Final Destination - Malaga, Spain

We had talked a lot about where to go after Australia, it was probably going to be our last destination of the trip so it had to be somewhere good. I had 1 priority - sun! Russell only really cared that it was somewhere new. With it now being June, Asia was in monsoon season so that was a no go really so we thought about Europe. After looking at lots of flights and weather websites I came up with the idea of Malaga in Spain. We both love Spain & have never been to Malaga. The thing that really swung it was that Russell's cousin Steve & his fiance Ursula & son Tristan were in Malaga until the end of June as Ursula is from Malaga, perfect. 

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Melbourne, Victoria.

Chapter 1. Meat flavoured party pies.

I read about an official music walking tour (and pub crawl) around the 'legendary' live music hub, St Kilda. With a map that I had tattooed in a key of stars and other scribblings we hopped on the tram. Starting with pints of bulmers and blue moon at a chain British pub, Elephant and Wheelbarrow. Then we headed to the George Hotel, now a collection of bars and pubs. Back in the 1970's and 80's, it was a major punk-rock venue. We shared a jug of Carlton beer in The White Room. Next (and probably my favourite) was St Killda Cellars. It may be a bottle 'o' (bottle shop) but it is also a bar and live music venue. I ordered a pint and noticed the sign behind the bar that said "PARTY PIES - ONLY $1" Cat grabbed a bottle of cider from the fridge and arriving at the bar she asked the half cut barman what flavour was the party pie? He replied "meat flavoured"

Monday, 23 June 2014

Smashing Sydney

"Hey Russ. Guess who is playing Sydney Opera House when we are there?" Cat asked as I finally joined her, poolside in Bali. "Pixies!!" Sheeeeeeet! We're going. Tickets booked and as soon as I could say "where is my mind" we were sat in our seats waiting for our favourite band. Full of anticipation and drinking our pocket wine the band walked on stage. But not to a standing ovation? In fact when the opener had finished, still no one had stood up. Then the second song with the same response. I could see two girls downstairs stood at the side of their seats dancing. Screw this, we're off!

Weird Australia

Tiny man in a tree

Home and unpacked. Real life isn't all its cracked up to be.

Preparing for Glastonbury Festival is helping. I wrote the following three posts while travelling around Australia. Here is the first one. 

Winter is in June and the water drains anti clockwise in a sink. Wolloomoollo? Who came up with these? Fannie bay? Booby island?? The street names are just as funny, Batman Avenue!! There are more deadly snakes here than the whole world combined. You can't walk into a supermarket and buy alcohol. You have to buy it at designated stores called Bootle-O's. They have drive through Bottles-O's. Seriously. Drive through?! The beaches and oceans are beautiful but off limits in half of them. If you are not stung to death by box jellyfish the crocodiles will eat a piece of you (crocs in the sea?) You can't take alcohol into a hostel in Darwin but you can take it into the Sydney opera house (hidden in your bag of course). You can pick up a very drinkable bottle of wine for $5 which is the same price as a 350ml bottle of domestic beer. When the country was becoming a country the people in charge could not decide on which city should be its capital. Deadlocked between the two only real contenders - Sydney or Melbourne. They grabbed a map and put a pin in the middle of the two and that's how the tiny farming town of Canberra became the capital of Australia.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Cairns, Queensland. Australia

We decided to go to Cairns & stay for 5 nights for 2 reasons - 1)The Great Barrier Reef 2) The weather. The weather was supposed to be nice in Cairns, in fact, they call it the sunshine state. I had a bit of a tantrum when we landed to grey skies & pouring rain.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.

Chapter 1. Give it some vegemite!

Mike of Mike's Whips must have gone to the David Beckham school of speaking. Amusing and strange were his soft tones. Volunteers lined up to crack whips. With one hand on their hips the other hand twirling a whip above their heads and Mike whispering instructions. "That's it mate, nah win the whip is behind ya hid pull it down towards the graand and behind ya. That's it mate. Nearly, nah give it some vegemite!

Birthday girl in Bali

We arrived in Bali 5 days before my birthday and every day felt like a birthday to me. Russell worked really hard to make sure I enjoyed the last few days of my 20's. He bought me presents & a Shellac manicure & pedicure, we ate at places I wanted to go to & we basically did what I wanted to do. Great way to see out my 20's.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Bali. Surfs up.

The beach is a little dirty. The sand has a muddy feel to it and the sea resembles the sea of Blackpool. But, the surf is good! Gnarly waves beat the hell out of me. I caught a few and loved it. My shorts and chest were badly damaged. Possibly by a shark. Possibly by the board.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Well over due Review

Believe it or not I haven't done a month review since 22nd March. I'm totally blaming it on crappy wifi, I have tried a few times to do it but haven't been able to. So I'm going to do a review from 22nd March to now. Then I guess the next one I do will be when we're back in sunny Leeds in the middle of June (ish).

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Boracay - sunsets, beaches, eggs & more sunsets

Boracay was the reason we went to the Philippines, I had heard about the beautiful beaches & best sunsets in the world. The main beach most stay on is called White Beach & has 3 areas - Station 1, 2 & 3. Station 1 is the more expensive, luxurious accommodation, Station 2 is the mid-range area where most of the bars & restaurants are and Station 3 is cheaper & quieter. We chose to stay on Station 3 & we're glad we did. We walked to Station 2 each night along the beach for food & drinks but wouldn't have wanted to stay there - you could hardly move on the path it was so busy.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Peurto Galera

We were supposed to fly straight out of Manila to Boracay but had a change of heart last minute & decided to check out Puerto Galera which was just a 2 hour bus ride & then a 2 hour boat ride from Manila. There are 2 main areas in PG - Sabang & White Beach. We couldn't decide between the 2 so decided to do both as they're quite near to each other.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Philippines. Manila all filler, no thriller.

You will find yourself in Manila whether you like it or not if you travel to the Philippines. All roads lead to Manila. We have seen the capital three time in less than a month. The first impressions of Manila were all good. The customs guys were cool about the bullet keyring and the man inside the currency exchange kiosk said that I looked like Kurt Cobain. Nice compliment, but a lie. Leaving the airport with poverty under the cover of darkness. I found myself surrounded by all these stretched super shiny Jeeps. Manila's most popular form of public transport. The Jeepney.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Singapore. Day Four and Five.

Singapore has the coolest Chinatown we have ever seen. Home to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. It's an impressive looking multi storied temple that has Buddha's tooth encased in a golden box which can be viewed via video link on an LCD TV. Very strange. There is also this 'secret rooftop garden' & giant prayer wheel. I'd read about the 'secret garden' & it had a sign pointing the way. Huge secret. We got lost around level 3 or 4 & walked around places where I don't think we should have been. It was pretty cool. Unlocking doors and walking outside onto the balcony facing Chinatown's Food Complex. I could see people playing chess & others taking a nap on the tiled benches. We lit Joss sticks & made a little prayer. I always find the offerings to Buddha very interesting. Strawberry Fanta must be a favourite of his as half empty cans are always at these shrines. Skittles was a new one.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Singapore. Day three.

We were centrally located near Bugis Junction. It was a cool area full of boutique shops. Private A/C room for £25 a night, which was much lower than any other accommodation that we could find. Too good to be true? Yeah. We didn't have a bathroom. The website was a little misleading to say the least. The shared bathroom was down a long flight of stairs. Bit of a pain but no big deal.

Singapore. Day one and two.

The Republic of Singapore is a sovereign city-state and island below Malaysia. It is one of the most densely populated countries on planet Earth. It is only 55km from one side to the other. It is unlike any other Southeast Asian country I have ever seen. And because of that, it is such a nice break from Southeast Asia. It is cleaner than clean. Someone told me that chewing gum is outlawed. The streets, the parks are flawless. Its public transport is brilliant! the MRT (Tube, Subway, whatever) is cheap and super convenient. Riding around all day for both of us on single ride tickets never cost any more than 10 Singapore dollars, which is about £5. The landscape of the country is amazing. The architecture is really cool and the public parks are so trippy.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Misery Business - Singapore Changi Airport

Singapore's Changi Airport is in the business of misery. We have flown in & out & both times were possibly the most frustrating & stressful times of our travels. Singapore is like a perfect city - so clean and sparkly but full of rules that must be adhered to, so I guess to keep it that way the airport has to be the same.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Hanoi. Vietnam.

Hanoi was the end of our Vietnamese tour and it started with a nineteen hour bus journey. The first four hours were on a rickety old bus with no A/C and broken chairs. The next fifteen hours were on the top bunk of a sleeper bus. Comfort was far from mine. At 5am three hours before we arrived in Hanoi the douchebag driver decided to replay the travel 'entertainment' which was the Vietnamese version of Pop Idol. At maximum volume. Shortly after this it started to rain. It didn't stop raining for a further five hours. I had been wondering where all this Vietnamese rain was. We found it in Hanoi.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Hoy! Hoi An, Vietnam.

I was recommended a vegetarian restaurant & place to stay by a Dutch guy on the booze cruise. After walking in circles for about an hour, while being offered tailor made suits by ladies on bicycles, we finally found the restaurant. We ate here 19 times & even did a cooking class. We have been meaning to do a cooking class since India but it just never happened.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Nha Trang, Little Moscow. Vietnam.

On the South China Sea. With a full band behind us we sang Wonderwall. The booze cruise was almost in full swing. The band knew a song for every country & we all took turns at embarrassing ourselves. With a floating bar in the middle of the sea. Trying to anchor yourself onto the bar with your feet & getting the next rum & pineapple 'cocktail' without getting any sea water in your plastic cup was not as easy as it sounds. Oh, and all the while, getting stung by jellyfish.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Delightful Da lat, Vietnam.

Loaded with a map that had been photocopied one hundred times and looked like an old man's tattoo, we headed out regardless. In search of Hằng Nga. Popularly known as the “Crazy House”. With lots of local help we found the Crazy House & it did live up to its name. Along the way we stopped for brunch at a street vendor. We bought baguettes with laughing cow cheese. Baguette, salad, one triangle of laughing cow cheese & sugar. SUGAR!? What the hell. All the sugar in my sandwich had gathered at one end. Half of the the sandwich was a regular cheese & salad the other was a doughnut.

Ho Chi Minh City AKA Saigon

Before we start - interesting fact - Ho Chi Minh City used to be called Saigon but was re-named Ho Chi Minh after the war, it was named after the prime minister that was in charge during the war.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Month 9 in Review

Greetings from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, AKA Saigon. Yesterday we celebrated our 9 month anniversary of travelling so here's a re-cap.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Kampot - home to the king of condiments

This is our 100th post, WooHoo! We are almost at 10,000 views & have just celebrated being together for 10 years so we are hitting milestones all over the place.  

We dragged ourselves away from paradise to Kampot as our visa's were coming to an end & we needed to sort out our Vietnam visa & wasn't sure how long that would take.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Koh Rong - But so right!

From Sihanoukville we took the slow boat to Koh Rong. It was supposed to take two hours. Due to a lengthy stop at another island it took almost four. The slow boat was not just delivering tourists. It delivers everything to these islands. These boats really are the Island's lifeline. There is no electricity on the island. Everything is run from generators. Generators which are used sparingly. Usually in the morning and then again in the evening. Thankfully giant blocks of ice are used to keep the beer cold. Wifi is also fairly rare. I understand that Koh Rong & its smaller neighbouring island only become a tourist destination a couple of years ago.

Sihanoukville. Sun of a beach!

Each day we would take the most interesting walk to the beach. It was through a Khmer neighbourhood. We both really enjoyed our daily passage through local life. People preparing food. Washing clothes. Children playing. Even some small businesses were located here. I would say this was a Cambodian middle class area. With a construction site. Open drains & wooden 'bridges'. Everyone was friendly and all the children would say hello as you dodged the dogs, cats & chickens.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Phnom Penh - Horrible histories & a day/night at the cinema

Ok so before I start this post I have something to admit. I (Cat) am a sick weirdo. I love stories of torture and I love prisons (I went to Alcatraz on honeymoon). I don't know why but I have a morbid fascination with them (actually, it might be because of my Dad, he used to tell me torture stories & take me to prison museums), I can't be the only one though or Alcatraz, Auswitch and The Killing Fields wouldn't be massive tourist attractions. If you have no interest in this and/or have a weak stomach I would scroll down to the bit about the cinema, cos you won't enjoy this at all.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Siem Reap. Cambodia.

Following the ridiculous journey to Siem Reap the next day was my Grandfathers funeral. We wanted to celebrate his life. Sitting in the sun. Which is something he loved to do. By the pool toasting a beer to him. Things started as I had hoped but soon I felt as sad as I have ever felt. I was not in a good place. On the third day we tried our best to pick ourselves up & went into town for some lunch. Day quickly turned into night. We grabbed cocktails at Red Piano 'famous' as it is the restaurant where Angelina Jolie dined while making the Tomb Raider movie. Later while heading home we walked past this cool looking bar. One for the road we said.


It did not take long to find out why this country has been nicknamed Scambodia. Four hundred Thai Baht (£8) from Koh Chang to Siem Reap. We had been quoted prices ranging from one British Pound to twenty US dollars for the Cambodian Visa.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Koh Chang to Koh Kut back to Koh Chang

Koh Chang was our final bash at Thailand. Or, Koh Chng was it's final bash at me. Arriving via bus, ferry then tuk tuk. Lonely beach was our chosen destination. Lonely it was not. Infinity pool on the beach? Very cool! The bungalow that Catherine chose was better than the one she was shown. How bad was the one that she was shown? The stairs were broken & missing. Andre The Giant would have struggled making the leap from step one to two. Soon realising it was easier to climb the disgusting mattress that was perched against the bungalow to the balcony floor. Only to have the manky mattress removed the following day. Inside was no better. Part of the wall was missing! The section of wall must have looked around and thought - screw this I am off to a better bungalow. The worst beach bungalow I have ever rented. Our new friends Gizzy (Geoff & Lizzy) along with Catherine thought it was fine. Obviously.

Saturday, 22 February 2014


With a heavy heart we left Bangkok for Kanchanaburi, the whole reason we were going here was for Russell's dad as it is the location of the Bridge over the River Kwai & has lots of history and war museums which is right up his alley. I think the most uttered phrase was, "your dad would have loved this".

Friday, 21 February 2014

Month 8 in Review

Chomreabsuor from Siem Reap, Cambodia! Today is our 8 month travelling anniversary & quite a month it has been. Here's a re-cap.

Bangkok - Part 2 - the one with the in-laws

We arrived back in Bangkok at about 6am at the Southern bus terminal, last time we were there on our way from Laos to Koh Phangan for NYE we easily got a metre taxi so we expected the same again - Wrong!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Khao Sok

Khao Sok is a national park in Thailand that is conveniently located between Phuket & Bangkok so we thought it'd be a good idea to go there on our way to meet Russell's mum & dad in Bangers, we booked 4 nights there in a nice looking resort with a pool & only 5 minutes walk from the park itself. The plan - lots of relaxation, clean air and nature before crazy Deb & Russ arrive in crazy Bangkok. 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Phuket. Shaken not stirred

Ferry over the Andaman sea back to Thailand. We have entered Thailand three times in two months. We then took a bus back to Phuket. Staying in Old Phuket town, Ghost town more like. When we were last in this part of Thailand we forgot about James Bond Island. Which is the reason for our return.

Rose ring made from three straws by a nice Thai lady.

The man with the golden gun was filmed here. The one with Roger Moore & Christopher Lee. It was worth the travel back to Phuket. The rock standing precariously in the middle of the sea is quite the sight.

The tour included three other islands. Soft drinks all day & a buffet lunch. The nice lady who booked the tour for us pre-warned the boat there was going to be a vegetarian on board, the lady on the boat asked who that could be so both me & Catherine raised our hands. There was nobody else so we had our very own buffet, sharing with nobody but each other and without strangers breathing and sneezing all over our noodles.

After James Bond & lunch we headed to Hong Island. Where some canoeing was awaiting us. No thanks. We laid our beach towels on the deck of the boat & caught some sun. Next up was Penang Island. Same again. More canoeing. Again we stayed put. Sun bathed & watched dozens of eagles circle above. Then an eagle feeding boat trip sailed up next to us. Dozens of eagles turned into hundreds. That was pretty cool. The fourth & final stop was at some bay. I have forgotten the name. Even though we hardly got involved with the activities. We had a fun day out. Again, doing what we wanted & not what we felt like we should. Besides all we were interested in was Bond's Island.

While on our travels. We had learned something a little interesting. Maybe a little weird. South Korean couples celebrate being together for one year by wearing identical clothes. When they have children the whole family wear matching clothes.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Langkawi. Or as mum likes to calls it. Line of cowie.

On the advice given to us by our hotel receptionist, we arrived 40 minutes before the ferry departed Penang for Langkawi. He said we did not need to buy the tickets in advance. That guy knows nothing! Both ferries were sold out. We were put on the waiting list & hoped for a cancellation. No luck. Or so we thought. We got chatting a to a couple from Malta. They had a plan b. We would get the ferry back to Butterworth, jump on two buses then get to another ferry port where a ferry departs to Langkawi every hour. We landed in Langkawi at roughly the same time as the original planned route & it cost half the price :D

Friday, 31 January 2014

Penang, Malaysia.

Ten hour train journey from KL. Arrived in a place with a humorous name. Butterworth. This name was left behind from the British colonial days I assumed. We spent the night here & in the morning caught the commuter ferry to Georgetown. No accommodation booked we hopped on to a free bus which circles the city. Jumping off at what appeared to be & turned out to be the city centre. After walking around in the midday sun & checking out a hotel which was obviously far beyond our budget (£800 over the budget). We settled on a place which was in fact the first hotel we enquired at.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Gemma & Cat had booked the worst accommodation we had stayed in since our first few days in Delhi. The place was rank. It was in China town. And like almost all china towns. It was a hole. Once we had ditched our bags we headed to the monorail to check out the Petronas Towers which were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 - 2004. Today they are still the tallest twin buildings. I remember watching one of those really boring "how do they do that" shows. The bridge that links the two It is not attached to either structure. It is designed to slide in and out of the towers to prevent it from breaking.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Koh Lanta - sunsets, buckets & a bamboo tattoo

Koh Lanta has been high on my list for a long time. I read a lot about it & Sterry raved about the place - if anyone knows Koh Lanta it's Sterry so I was really excited to go. Imagine my surprise when Gemma told me she's been and didn't like it, so much so that she left after 1 night! But Gemma being the laid back chick that she is was happy to go back & give it another go - I'm pretty sure she's glad she did.