Seychelles-February 2020

Leave a comment Standard

I once read an article about giant tortoises. They only exists in 2 archipelagos, the Galapagos and Seychelles. Neither location are easy to get to. When I was researching beach locations from South Africa, I found a direct flight from Johannesburg to Mahe. Finally, I get to see the tortoises.

I am not sure what my problem was but as soon as I arrived, I was ready to leave. Immigration was a bit interesting. I know I should not complain as visitors to US have to deal with worse. With the time change and the long flight, was night by the time I arrived at the hotel. It was nice but I was just not feeling it.

I did get out and toured the island. It’s quite mountainous. And they ran out of land on the main island of Mahe, so they created land to expand.

It was beautiful and I am sure there were much more to see and do then limited things that I saw. I just was not feeling it. And that’s ok, I had to go to learn that it was not for me. It will alway hold a special place for me, as it was officially the 60th country I visisted.

Until next time…..

Cape Town, South Africa February 2020

Leave a comment Standard

After an unexpected train delay, I finally arrived in Cape Town a day late. Since this was not my first time visiting, I was not worried as I done all the major tourist sites before. I was not expecting it to have changed so much. I am bit sad, as I was not feeling so great so I ended wasting some of my short time just sitting in my hotel room.

Funny how the first time I visited Cape Town, I was afraid to walk around, so different this time. My hotel was in Bo-Kaap area, known for it’s colorful homes. In 1834 when slavery was abolished, the freed slaves were able to purchase these homes and painted their homes in colorful palettes to represent the their freedom.

I had signed up for a food tour with Cape Town Culinary Tours. They were kind enough to let me know join the next day. It was really nice tour and the guide was quite engaging. I was able to sample food I would not have been game enough to try on my own.

I stayed at the Hilton Cape Town, that had clearly been renovated since my previous visit. There was a now an Art South Africa gallery in the lobby. What is with me shopping in hotel lobbies? Anyway, I kept getting drawn in by all the beautiful art. I could not resist and ended up purchasing the bronze piece, without thinking about my luggage situation. I am glad I did not resist, I met the lovely Barbara and her partner Florian. Her love of art and for the artists she works with was a gift in today’s world. I just wish I had more walls!

I really enjoyed my time in Cape Town, so much, that I wished I had stayed longer. I hope to return one day soon. There was so much more to discover.

Given the flight from Australia is easier then from Chicago, I hope one day is sooner rather than later.

Stay tuned, next stop my 60th country!

Rovos Rail, South Africa, February 2020

Comment 1 Standard

Sometimes when I “pretending” to work, I am really looking at travel blogs and dreaming about trips I want to take. One day I booked flights to South Africa, without plans as to what I was going to do while I was there. As much as I love safari, I was not about to do one alone again. Somehow I came across the Rovos Rail and well….

I booked 3 day trip from Pretoria down to Cape Town on the Rovos Rail. It worked out as this was the first train that worked with my flights.

I spent one night in Johannesburg before heading to train depot in Pretoria. I actually took the Guatrain. It was fairly simple and I would recommend it, if it’s option. It helped I was traveling with hand luggage only.

I had received a message a few days before departure that due to track issues, we were requested to show up early for the train. We were welcomed into a lounge area. There was a train museum that provide some insight into the history of the train and a random alpaca.

We then boarded and it was soon time to leave.

The train encourages socialization so they ask that we not use electronics in the public space. So originally I respected and did not bring my phone and take photos of the meals. I ate my first lunch alone. I appeared to be the only solo travelers, but the crew was amazing, so I did not feel alone. Luckily at dinner, 2 lovely ladies from Sweden, invited me to join them.

The food… where to begin. Wow. I never had a bad bite and they were very accommodating to food allergies. The wine and liquor pairs were amazing. Honestly I had no complaints.

On the 2nd night, it was fancy dress

The train did not run as planned, there were signal issues, flooded tracks, no power, dead locomotive, etc. But in the end I still really enjoyed it. Yes I was bit disappointed to miss Kimberly, but now I have another reason to go back and do it again! We ended up spending an additional night on the train. Which was no hardship, with the food and liquor following. I would 100% recommend the train. It was great to unplug and relax, and literally just watch the world go by.

Stay tuned next stop Cape Town!

Australia Day, Sydney January 2020

Leave a comment Standard

The American’s celebrate July 4th as our national holiday, Australian’s celebrate January 26th as their national holiday. The date is in commemoration of the arrival of the British and eleven boats of convicts. I am not going to get into the politics but if you want to read more about the history Australia Day check out this website.

With it being a long weekend, I popped down to Sydney to hangout with Katherine and Evander. I used points for us to stay the amazing Park Hyatt. It was the perfect location for the Australia Day weekend.

There was a whole lot going on.. here are some videos.

Tug boat ballet, they kiss!

But by far, the best part of the whole weekend, was seeing the Opera House lite up.

Sometimes is the simple unplanned weekends that urn out to be best. I am so thankful I took advantage of the opportunity to spend time with friends. Who knew just 2 months later we would not be allowed. Hopeful one day soon this shall pass. Until next time, stay safe

Fiji- December 2019

Leave a comment Standard

Back in January, I went to Fiji for a few days as I had a hole in my travels and it seemed like a good idea. Turned out it was the best idea ever, as Chicago was getting hit was a blizzard and I was enjoying blue skies!

I returned to the same place I stayed in January, Marriott Momi Bay, mainly because it there was just something so relaxing about it. Whoever designed this resort, really did a good job. With it being New Year’s the hotel was quite full. I still managed to avoid people! I arrived 2 days after a cyclone had passed thru, aside from a little wind, you would have never known. I still managed to have a perfectly lazy relaxing time.

The hotel put on a super show for New Year’s Eve. I was super lazy so I watched them from my room. Best place in my opinion

I should probably stop saying how wondering this place is, as soon it will be “discovered” and overrun with tourists. But I am not worried, the resort if really designed well and for those looking to escape crowds, it works, for those looking for a little social, it’s available. It’s really something for everyone. Plus Fiji Airways, just got an amazing new A350 that is worth checking out!

I’ve already booked my next trip! Can’t wait til return. Until next time time, Sota Tale!

London, December 2019

Leave a comment Standard

After a quick trip to Australia and New Zealand, next stop London. Only Flo would head home from New Zealand, via London. It was an opportunity to catch up with a few friends, so it was easy enough decision.

There were a lot of laughs, good food and liquor..what more could I ask for?

Katy flew down from Edinburgh. It’s been a while since we had an Adventure of Katy and Flo story. We met a lovely American couple, Jennifer and Terry, in the lounge, who loved hearing about our antics! I forgot how nice it is to meet new people!

We caught up with Madison and her family for lunch! Hopefully Christmas Tea can be an annual thing. (hint hint Madison).

Kate and Francesca took the train down from Manchester. We had a gorgeous lunch at Hide

And then we headed off to only what could be described as my hell…. Winter Wonderland. Francesca loved it, but man…..the things we do for love.

It was one of those weekends, you just need every now and then to maintain your sanity and remember how to laugh.

Heading home was a bit of a shit show, I left my jacket at the hotel. I went the wrong terminal at Heathrow and then to add to it, I got the dreaded SSSS on my ticket. I got home safely, just cold and annoyed.

So stay tuned ………..

Christchurch, New Zealand November 2019

Leave a comment Standard

The most I ever knew of Christchurch was that it had serious of events that made me spectual to visit. Funny comment, considering I go to London all the time……

Interesting fact, Christchurch has thousands of earthquakes on a yearly basis. But only a few hundred are actually felt and normally do not cause much damage. Back in 2010 and 2011, they has a series of earthquakes that leveled several areas. I had clearly not done my research before traveling over.

If you have been to Canterbury in the UK, you may think you are there when you arrive in Christchurch. It’s quite the qaint town, more like a village feel. Even with the new building being constructed it still has that small town vibe.

My lovely friend, Jane, played tour guide around Christchurch and local area. It was great to see the town with a local, you get a much better feeling of the area. We went to the beach but the winds were so crazy, we did not even get out of the car. We checked out Sumner and Lyttelton, places I probably never would have found on my own. Fun fact, New Zealand has more sheep then people. I maybe need to spend some more time there.

The next day I joined I headed down to the coastal town of Akaroa. It’s has a French /British history, that almost makes you wonder just in the world were you are. Luckily I was in town, when there was NO cruise ship, so it was not too crowded. If you are planning on visiting, not via cruise, I would suggest checking the cruise ship schedule.

The absolute highlight of the area was the The Giant House and Garden. The mosaic garden was just breathtaking. So much so I had to facetime everyone and anyone that would answer so I could share experience with them. Pictures just do not do it justice.

I underestimated how much time I would need to spend in the area. SO I guess I’ll just need to plan another trip. Who’s coming with me?

Until next time stay tuned……..