Marseille

Make way for… hens hens hens! 🐔

For my gal pal Liv’s hen-do (‘bachelorette party’ for Yankees), we flew down to the Marseille for a quick 36-hour visit. Around 30 of those hours were spent drinking rosé, signing karaoke, dancing, and sleeping. But here’s what I managed to see of Marseille in the little time we had there.

Marseille is France’s biggest port city. This 2000-year old city has had a bit of a bad reputation it’s trying to overcome. Over the last few years, it has reinvested itself as a gritty, stylish getaway for sunseekers on a budget. Marseille’s renaissance has produced some excellent restaurants, bars and even coffee shops. Continue reading

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Barcelona

To celebrate our friend Alex’s 30th birthday, half-a-plane-load of us went to Barcelona.

Ok, it was more like a dozen of us, but that’s still a testament to 1) Alex’s popularity and 2) Barcelona’s popularity. This seaside city is full of great architecture, beautiful views, and endless tapas bars, making it a world-class destination for merry-making.

But Barcelona doesn’t need any endorsements. In fact, the residents of Barcelona probably want people like me to stop raving about how amazing their city is. Barcelona is attempting to tamp down its tourist arrivals. Approximately 32 million visitors came to Barcelona last year, which is home to a mere 1.6 million. Continue reading

Slovenia

To say that Slovenia is stunning, would be an understatement. The small central European country is often overlooked in comparison to it’s popular neighbours – Italy, Austria, Hungary and the Balkans. But, Slovenia borrows something from each of its neighbours making it a travel destination that suits every palette.

Outdoor pursuits and culinary delights are Slovenia’s biggest offering. It takes less than five hours to drive the length of this country, so our four-day road trip should have been plenty of time to thoroughly explore Slovenia. But, as the saying goes, don’t judge a country by it’s size. There is always another restaurant, another winery, another hiking trail to explore in this little gem of a country Continue reading

Belgium

Chocolates, waffles, pommes frites, beer – why wouldn’t you want to pop over to Belgium for a weekend getaway?

Despite the proximity and appeal, I only made it to Belgium this December. This compact multilingual country is both historic and hip. There are countless castles, innovative museums, and cosy beer bars that dot the entire nation. At the same time, the Belgian people are still reeling from the terrorists attacks this year. Tourism in Belgium dropped 13% this year. Even in the picturesque city of Bruges, which usually attracts a lot of visitors.

On the bright (and frothy) side, Belgian beer was added to Unesco’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List (I rambled a lot about it during my Viennese coffee houses post last year).

Bruges Ghent Bruges BrugesSo if you are anywhere near Belgium – go! And go on an empty stomach. Continue reading

Milan

I don’t understand why Milan gets a bad reputation. I’ve heard it being called industrial, dirty and uninteresting. A friend also once referred to it as “the Manchester of Italy”. If that’s the case, I’m looking forward to going up to Manchester because I had a fantastic weekend in Milan this month.

People usually go to Italy for good weather, history, food, and architecture. Milan ticks all those boxes along with being modern, prosperous, and a gateway to exploring northern Italian lakes.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele Milan Duomo Milan MilanWith less than 48 hours in Italy’s fashion capital – half of which was spent exploring the said northern lakes – we tried to pack as much as we could in a day, fuelled by coffee and Campari, of course.  Continue reading

Bratislava

Bratislava may be called “Prague’s ugly sister”, but it’s certainly funner of the two siblings.

When I booked a trip to the Slovakian capital, I wasn’t expecting to be blown away by its natural beauty or historic architecture. My friends and I really just wanted to get out of London (and with Ryanair prices, a flight to Bratislava is equivalent of an expensive taxi ride on the weekend), and have a fun night out. I also selfishly wanted to up my country count. Long live the travel nerd in me!Bratislava Bratislava Bratislava Continue reading

2014’s favourite travel instagrams

Bloggin’ ain’t easy. Especially if you have a full-time job, an active social life, aaalll of London to explore, and only 24 hours in the day.

That’s where Instagram saves the day. It’s quick to snap a photo and share it with your followers, no matter where in the world you are. (Did I mention it’s my favourite app?)

Last year, I recapped my favourite instagram travel posts on the blog and it was a hit with you guys. Here are my favourites from 2014:

Continue reading

Tallinn

I absolutely loved Tallinn. And I am sure so will you if you like a bit of medieval flavour coupled with an architectural culture clash of Nordic and Russian influences at affordable prices.

Tallinn skylineDuring the August long weekend, my coworker Melissa and I went to Helsinki for three days and decided to take a day trip to Tallinn, which actually ended up being the highlight of our holiday.

We got off the ferry and headed straight for World Heritage-listed Tallinn Old Town. The cobblestoned streets and the bright buildings feel a bit like a romantic film set. It’s your quintessential medieval town, but better than most that I have seen. Literally every corner we turned was stunningly picturesque, so we were shamelessly trigger happy as we set to explore the city.

TallinnTallinn Continue reading

Lausanne and around

It’s taken me wayyyy too long to visit Lausanne. Almost as long as it’s taken me to finally get around to writing this blog post.

One of my best friends – and superstar extraordinaire – is from Lausanne. Well, he’s actually from Berlin and we were flatmates in Sydney – but his life deserves another blog post of its own.

A’ite back to my story: So as I was saying, my friend Gerrit is from Lausanne and over the years I have virtually/electronically/telepathically gotten to know many of his family and friends. Obviously I had to go visit the beautiful lakeside Swiss town one day, both to enjoy the heavenly Alpine scenery and to say hello to all these lovely people I keep hearing about.

L13 L14 Continue reading

Porto

Even though I have travelled a fair bit this year, I keep going back to familiar places. India, for example. And I travelled again to Spain in March and went to Amsterdam twice in May alone. It’s been a great first half of 2014, but my geeky country count has been at a standstill.

In the hopes of checking off at least one new country, I decided to go to Portugal. I flew to Porto and met up with my old friend Sheila, who currently lives in Barcelona. We are both active travellers so we checked out almost all of Porto in 40 short but action-packed hours.

Porto PortugalSet gracefully at the bank of Rio Douro, Porto rises steeply upwards with orange-hued roofs chaotically spread among the narrow streets of the old town. It is a romantic little cities with a lot of medieval flavour. We walked through the narrow and steep streets checking out old relics, towering churches, abandoned monasteries and vibrant river-side of Ribeira. Continue reading