We love our new followers!

Gday to all our followers and visitors! We have reached our all time high! Thankyou for checking out and following our blog. Enjoy and Happy travelling!

Love always ‘N’ xx

Advertisements

Wish list: Lebanon!

مرحبا (ahlan-hello); ‘N’ here again, checking in with all our fellow travelers. Hope all our Australians have had a Happy long weekend 🙂
As summer continues to kick in here in Australia, my dream destination is to visit Lebanon. A country known for destruction and war- people never seek to note the beauty of the country.

lebanon ice

DSCF0606

 

lebanon

Image

The reasons why i would LOVE to go to Lebanon is because the country has amazing views– from the country side, to the beautiful beaches, to seeing the tops of the mountains and being able to roam around in ice during winter; you are able to get a touch of every season all in one place at one time. Lebanon is believed to be the country where the cedars were planted by God’s own hands. This is why the people call the cedar tree “The Cedars Of God”, and this is why Lebanon is called “God’s Country on Earth”. The history of the country, is remarkable. I have heard and noted from many individuals they detail  that God has blessed Lebanon with many saints, for many of them are still there buried in their flesh- something i am sure i have to see and touch first hand.

The night life is stated to be unlike anything else in the world.   Sky bar, White Beirut, Pier 7, Cherry on the Rooftop, Beiruf- just to name a few; undoubtedly all of my friends and family say they head out to the clubs at around 12pm and that is when the night life begins. None heads home til the sun is beaming bright and early in the morning which tends to be around 6am. NOW that is what i call a great time. Some friends of mine have shown me these great photos of the nights clubs which make me so envious. Take a look 🙂

White

Pier 7

sky bar

There is something for everyone to love about Lebanon. The amazing food, the shopping- i have been told the central district is Lebanon’s prime location for shopping, entertainment, and dining. There are over 100 cafes, restaurants, pubs and nightclubs open in the Beirut Central District , and over 350 retail outlets distributed along its streets and quarters. Great activities include cannoning in the Jeia Grotto, dirt bike ridding- Faraya Mount Liban, swimming in the beaches- attending beach parties, legal shooting activities in the country side (something unusal). Must admit if i haven’t convience you yet to check out the great sights Lebanon has to offer, then when i do attend i will be sure to tell you all about it 🙂

DSCF0756

 

DSCF0774

DSCF0885

Farraya

Thanks for checking out my post everyone hope you will fall in love with Lebanon as much as I have! 🙂

Lots of Love ‘N’ xx

Nelsons Bay, NSW!

Hi there! E here.

I was thinking that today I would post somewhere a bit more local as I am a Sydney native. In the latest university holidays I spent five days in Nelsons Bay, which is about 2 1/2 hours drive north from Sydney. It is renowned for its beautiful beaches, scenery and dolphin cruises! My family and I (about 6 adults & 3 kids) stayed in a lovely penthouse apartment at the Mantra Resort. With so many people we definitely needed the space! Now I will tell you a bit about the place assuming you do not know much about it.

Image

The Weather

My goodness the weather was fantastic! I was staying there from around the 20th of September to the 25th, and granted NSW was having an unusual heatwave for spring. The whole time I was there it was at least 28 degrees celsius, with one day hitting 34! If you are familiar with NSW coastal weather, you would know that it is pretty nice during spring and summer. Because it is a coastal town and a lot of the activities revolve around water, I would recommend travelling there between the months of September-March.

Things To Do

Swimming in pools, spas, beaches, lagoons etc. This is what you come to Nelsons Bay to do! I spent most of my time by the pool in my hotel, which was lovely. I would make sure that wherever you are staying has a pool! There is also a few beautiful beaches. I have been told that One Mile beach is the most beautiful in the area, however we didn’t get to check it out on that trip. I also did a nice bush walk up to Nelson Bay lighthouse, which took about an hour there and back from the middle of town. The view from the lighthouse itself was absolutely amazing. I would recommend doing the walk at sunset so you can catch the lovely sky. The town itself is very cute, it has lots of little boutique shops. There are numerous restaurants such as Chinese, Italian, Thai etc. We ordered out from the Chinese restaurant (there is only one in town, google it!) and it was great – would definitely recommend that too. As I said I spent most of my time by the pool however there is lots on offer that I would have liked to do such as horse riding on the beach, sand dune riding and scuba diving.

Image

For Kids

I came with my two nephews and niece (all 5 and under) and they had an absolutely blast. I would definitely say that it is a good place to take kids. We made sure our hotel was kid friendly. They had a pool, a kids sprinkler area and a games room. The kids spent most of the time in the pool, and I would recommend making sure you bring lots of pool toys and floaties (flotation devices) if they can’t swim to make the whole experience more relaxing. In town there were multiple play areas and children’s entertainment such as a clown making balloons! We also went to a wildlife park called Oakvale Farm & Fauna World which was about half an hour out of Nelsons Bay. If you’re into Australian wildlife and like to be able to freely pat a kangaroo, wallaby, koala and feed a cute lamb a bottle then this is the place for you! My nephews and nieces absolutely loved it.

Image

Until next time, E x.

Dubai

Marhba fellow travellers, it’s A with you! In today’s post I want to share with you about my little adventure in Dubai. Now you can probably guess how much I love my shopping by now, so as always I’m going to start with the best places to shop in Dubai!!!

1. Dubai Mall- This mall proved to be amongst the most expensive places to shop in Dubai, and unless you are prepared to pay anything from a couple of hundred dollars and up then I wouldn’t quite recommend this place for shopping. However, the set up of this mall is exciting and I would still recommend you stopping by for a quick visit.

Image

2. Emirates Mall-This mall caters for a more diverse range of people with high end shopping to moderate shopping and lower end designers too. This shopping centre was my favourite, not only because it had affordable shops, but also because it contained a large ski dome within the mall. It also had awesome places for dining such as ‘The Cheesecake Factory’. With glass walls surrounding the ski dome, you can enjoy views of it while dining in the well known restaurant.

Image

3. Gold and Spice Souk- Sound familiar to you? Probably because you have seen what it entails in the hip movie ‘Sex and the city’. The Gold and Spice market is a must visit place in Dubai. Amongst the gold and spices, they sell other little nicknacks such as plush camels, traditional embroidered arabian sandals and fabrics. It’s defiantly a worthwhile experience and an enjoyable one for everyone.

Well, shopping isn’t my only hobby while travelling because there certainly are other exciting things to do! Especially when in Dubai you would be foolish not to check out the phenomenal architecture. Quite simply, you will be amazed. The buildings and architecture Dubai has to offer is ethereal.

Image

Image

Transport: In my experiences it worked out best to hire a private chauffeur for the day, I mean with the exhausting 40 degree heat in the month of July you will appreciate the space and more importantly the air conditioning. You can travel in luxury cars, and be driven around for a daily rate cost from anything as little as AED$250. Otherwise you may like to choose the option of getting a bus, and don’t be alarmed, there is air conditioning provided at the bus shelter while you wait around for your bus!

If you can’t afford a stay in the Burj al arab, don’t panic because I have found other ways to step inside and experience the high society life at less than a quarter of the price! So here it goes…..Book a tour or you can even make reservations to eat in at the only 7-star hotel in the world! The interior of this building was more exciting than the amazing ‘sail’ structure of the exterior to this building.

Image

Image

The palm island is an artificially constructed island that was built in the shape of a palm tree. The island has a tree trunk centred at the heart of the island and an amazing 16 fronds branching out of the island! Apart from it being a major tourist attraction in the United Arab Emirates, this one of a kind concept is defiantly sure to blow you away and I would highly recommend you going for a drive along one of the fronds if not all of them!

Image

With the extremely hot weather in Dubai, you may like to consider a day out at a water theme park. The Wild Wadi Waterpark is one you may choose specially because it is still quite local to the main city and you wont have to travel very far from the inner mainland to get there. This waterpark is suitable for all age groups and consists of approximately 25 varieties of water slides!

Image

Ma’a Salame, all the best and as always safe travels!

A xx

Minnesota, US – ya!

Hello everyone! E again Today I’m going to talk about somewhere a little different. Minnesota in the United States of America. My boyfriend is from the great state of Minnesota – or so he likes to call it. That is why I have something to say about it. I have been only once at the start of this year, at the start of February. Yep you heard it – February. Not only is this the the middle of Winter, but Minnesota is on average the coldest state in the whole of America. For someone who has never even seen snow before to plunging into -20 celsius temperatures, this sure was an experience. I’m sure you at least know a little bit about the places we have discussed in this blog, however, unless you have a strange connection to Minnesota like me, I’m guessing this post will enlighten you a little bit.

isys3

The people

So Minnesota is known by other Americans as the friendly state. They don’t know what it is, whether they have to act happy because they have no other choice (staying inside 4 months of the year does that to you) but it is true. Minnesotans are ridiculously friendly. I was shocked to have a random stranger comment on my “gorgeous” coat as soon as I set foot off the plane in Minnesota, and have multiple people comment on the ‘awesomeness’ of my accent. My boyfriend is from a small town called Hutchinson, and I can’t speak for the people of the capital city St Paul, but they were all extremely hospitable and friendly. Everyone seemed genuinely happy in this town. My boyfriend’s mum was cheery when shovelling snow off the drive-way at 6 am, and also managed to maintain a smile when a snow storm cancelled our trip up north which she was highly anticipating. All in all, I can say you will have no issues with the people here.

The Weather

I have already spoken about the weather a little bit, my goodness was it cold! Being from Sydney, Australia born and bred, I was definitely not used to having to put on a singlet, a thermal long-sleeved shirt, a normal long-sleeved shirt, a vest, a sweater, a jumper AND a huge snow-coat. It was on average around -15 celsius everyday, and the sun did not peek out once when I was there. I remember one day it got pretty warm at about -1 degrees and it felt like summer! As previously mentioned, the snow had to be shovelled every morning just so we could get the car out of the garage. The cars also had to be turned on half an hour before we left so they would actually run! Air-conditioning was a necessity. No windows were ever open, and as I’m used to always having at least one window open in Australia whilst I sleep, this was interesting. I always woke up in the morning with a sore throat and sometimes a bloody nose because of the dryness in the air due to the air-conditioning! After a week my body began to get used to it, so don’t worry it won’t last for too long. Oh and be careful of the ice on the footpaths! The amount of times I slipped over was ridiculous! If I wasn’t with my family-in-law I don’t know how I would have survived.

Image

Things To Do

Minnesota definitely has some great experiences! I would recommend first off going to the Minnesota Zoo, it is fantastic! Every possible animal is there. There is an outside walking bit where you can see all the animals who live in the snow. My personal favourite were the wolves. I also went to an ice-hockey game in the capital city of St Paul which was amazing. The atmosphere was so great, I would definitely recommend it. I also went snow-mobiling on a huge frozen lake in a snow blizzard. I would definitely recommend that too. I also helped push a car out of a ditch in the snow, however I don’t recommend getting your car stuck just for that.Image

Anyway, hope you learnt a bit about Minnesota.

Cheerio, E! xox

Tips to Navigate Online Booking

Hi fellow travelers,

R here, thought I’d deviate a bit off the established path of this blog to bring you a post all about the murky underworld that is online booking. With everything online these days,  it pays to be cautious – as I learned the hard way just last night.

I’ll begin with what happened to me:

My best friend is getting married in America at the end of the year, and this little lady over here has been squirelling away money to put towards a trip (working 6 hours in a preschool while doing Uni doesnt exactly pay very well). And so finally, after searching out deals, persistently checking my bank account and being incredibly anti-social (saving all the dollars i could), I finally felt ready to take that huge step and actually buy a ticket. EEEP!

So, with the resolve to part with my hard earned moolahs, I sat in front of a computer and prepared, with my father at hand, to purchase a trip in a flying metal tin can that would take me to my destiny. Or America. Whatever.

So sitting ready to go we began searching – I’d seen a really well priced ticket but then we realised that I’d have to change days to avoid the Thanksgiving rush, and so we began our search a new.

And VOILA, we found an AMAZING deal, not to be missed, OMG how could we walk passed it?? So we clicked select to find out more, put in our details (expecting at least 3 “you sure you want to pay” prompts” in order to see the final amount, and suddenly- money was taken from my account. Too much money. The Bastards.

I started getting really nervous – they hadn’t asked about special meals (which I need because I’m super special), they hadn’t confirmed baggage or anything – they’d just processed the payment and that was it. So my gut (which is usually reliable)  was yelliing “GET THE HELL OUTTA HERE” as loudly as possible and I reviewed. Which brings me to tip 1:

ALWAYS REVIEW YOUR WEBSITE BEFORE YOU PURCHASE ANYTHING: because every single review (bar one) was negative to the point of “they’re a scam” and “do not use them, they constantly deduct money” and “they don’t actually have a deal with airlines, they lie about prices and then leave you high a dry”.

Which brings me to tip 2:

ALWAYS READ UP ON THEIR REFUND POLICY: Thank goodness this website had a four hour full free refund after booking. It had only been 10 minutes, so we jumped online – finally contacted them and organised a refund.

Which brings me to tip 3:

ALWAYS PRINT OFF ALL DOCUMENTATION INCLUDING EMAILS, PRINT SCREENS OF ITINERARIES, RETURNS POLICIES: This way when they question your actions and motives, and you can be like BAM (and the dirt is gone… sorry, couldn’t resist)It keeps all your cards close at hand, and means you can notice things like even though your Itinerary Reciept says NON-REFUNDABLE in scary bold black letters, the website promised a four hour grace window that you could cancel it for full refund and no charge.

So that’s what I did. It’s going to take at least a week to process through (DAMN THEM) meaning that for the moment my travel plans are on hold – I’ve been bruised but not scarred and I am now far more savvy when it comes to booking online.

So to recap:

1. Stick to reputable websites that have good online reputations – generally Websites that are well designed and not bombarded with weird cheap advertisements (you know the ones I mean)

2. Do your research – re: prices, and what added extras might pop up once you hit select – ie a ticket that claims to be all inclusive then added another $90 due to “unexpected taxes”; airlines may charge extra for baggage and what not

3. Read up on their refund policy – always make sure you have a way out that will be relatively easy and won’t do too much damage to your bank account.

4. Print off all documentation and screen shots for future reference.

With these things in mind and a good deal of common sense (which I was clearly lacking – it’s just been one of those days), you should be ready to enjoy your trip hassle free (or as hassle free as travelling, airports, customs, visas, lost baggage, missed flights, and cancellations can be – it’s all part of the fun isn’t it?).

Bon Voyage, Safe travels and Good luck!

x R

Washington Update: Gov’t Attractions Closed

Hi everyone,

Friendly warning – my sister is in Washington at the moment, and due to the Gov’t shutdown, all major monuments and Government funded attractions are closed- this includes (but is not limited to):-

– Smithosonian

– Washington Monument

– The Capitol Building

– Lincoln Memorial

This also includes national attractions in other cities, e.g. the Statue of Liberty. We will let you know when they are reopened, but in the meantime you can stand outside and look at them, but you cannot go in. Hopefully this all blows over soon and they will be reopened quickly.

X the sisterhood team

London

Hello there! It’s A again, this time I’m sharing with you a few of my experiences in London. Before I go any further, I think you should do know that the myth of London being gloomy, dark, miserable and raining all the time is a big, fat myth! I experienced London during the month of July, and well all I can say is it was fabulous!

The cheapest and most incredible experience I encountered in London was being surrounded by the wonderful sound of British accents. Be sure to have a conversation with some locals and learn about their culture (or pretend to be listening to what they are saying and enjoy the sound of their accents, just like I did!)

Confessions of a shopaholic: Shop, shop, shop till you drop!! One of the finest places for shopping in the heart of London is the mall ‘Harrods’. Harrods is the largest department store in Europe with the store covering an outstanding five acres of land! So if you love shopping, then this is the spot to be!

Image

Not only is London famous for having the largest mall in Europe but it is renowned for having the largest mall in Europe, but it is known for having the biggest ferris wheel in Europe! The Big Eye has a diameter of 120 metres and well, lets just say it is one of the most highly visited tourist destinations in the UK.

London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down…..Now I’m sure the majority of you reading this blog just read that to the rhythm of the nursery rhyme and if not well I’m sure you know the famous landmark. It is situated in the River Thames, so it is a perfect opportunity to take a river cat or cruise under the bridge to ensure the best opportunities for photos.

London-Bridge

After passing the famous London Bridge, you will sail further along the River Thames where you will see the iconic Tower Bridge. Once again, by taking water transport you will be able to take better photos where these viewings are big contributors to the full London experience.

Well, Well, Well Im sure many of you are thinking hmmm did this girl actually travel all the way to London and not visit the one and only Buckingham Palace? Well of course I did! I was even hoping to get a quick glance at the royals (that dream shattered into bits) but that’s okay, because I was lucky enough to watch the renowned Guard March!

Other places you may like to consider going to is the Big Ben & Parliament House or even the outstanding Westminster Abbey where the treasured royal couple Prince William and Catherine Middleton had there wedding ceremony.

20130708_121426

20130708_120609

Tip: As the majority of these iconic landmarks of London are fairly close to each other I recommend you purchase a ticket for the ‘Hop-on-Hop-off’ bus. This form of transport is the cheapest way of getting around the city and they are quite convenient with a great number of bus stops located around the city. Yo can prepay for your ticket online or you may even choose to organise it through the hotel, but I do highly recommend it especially with informative tour guides on the buses and the freedom to pick and choose where you would like to go and how long you would like to stay at each place for. The buses come every 10 minutes! So there is no waiting and no time wasting either!

Happy travels, until my next post.

Love A xoxo

Aloha from Hawaii!

Aloha to all my fellow travelers. I am a new blogger checking in today- please call me N. I would love to  take you all aboard the flight to Hawaii. As summer is fast approaching here in Australia, over in Hawaii it is summer and party season all year round. If your the kind of person who loves to party and enjoy the sunshine than keep on reading this blog because Hawaii is the place to be !

Image

The main reasowhy i love Hawaii so much is because it is a one stop shop. It has everything i love – shopping, sun, sand, beaches and great sight seeing adventures. When i visited Hawaii  i stayed on the Big island also known as the main island. I must advise you on the best places to go when in Hawaii must, these include:

– The Ala Moana shopping mall: there are over 1000 stores and i was still unable to visit them all. Might i add that i went there three consecutive days, because the place is so big. Even for a shopper holic like myself i was still unable to visit each store. The shopping mall and the factory outlets- Waikele Outlets in Hawaii are so great what makes them even better is that they are so reasonably price unlike many places here in Australia. 

Image

– The Wolfgang’s steak house was AMAZING if you love your meats be sure to visit. The meats are so tender; everything in Hawaii is served in such large proportions (even the ice-cream at Baskin and Robin are huge!). Ordering a salad in Hawaii; you don’t receive a normal proportion sizes are huge no matter what you order.

Image

– The cheesecake factory: great if you have a sweet tooth as they have over 30 different kinds of cheesecakes for you to try; though might i add make sure you book early if you ever do want to dine there as they have a huge waiting line 24/7 er one let me just tell you it could feed 5 people.

– I recommend you take a tour bus around the island; my family and i were able to see the whole island in 9 HOURS with pit stops. We visited the Buddha temple which is remarkable coming from a Catholic community and visiting the sacred temples of other religions was really beautiful.

Image

 

-Seeing the remarkable beaches where the waves reach over 9 meters high during there peak season (which is usually Jan-Mar), your able to try your surfing skills out

– Getting off the bus to visit the pineapple farms was one of my favorite pit stops; still till today i have the sweet taste in my mouth. May i just say they taste nothing like the pineapples here in Australia. Pineapple ice-cream, lollies, fried pineapple- anything pineapple they had.

– Going to one of the Gridiron games was phenomenal!! I never knew the games went for over 5 hours- reason being unlike NRL footy games here in Australia they don’t stop every time someone is tackled although in America every time someone is put to the ground they reset the game; this process takes up most of the time though as shown in the picture below it is an amazing view; felt as though i was going to fall off a cliff because the seats are so high up.

Image
– MUST DO snorkeling so beautiful being up close and touching the sea turtles and fish in the Hawaiian oceans was breath taking. Also, if you love the water make sure you do some great water sports as they offer great activities such as stand surfing. You could be out in the ocean as far as 10meters though there are still shallow patches and people still manage to find there way back to shore.

Image

Image

Over all may i just stay make sure you take a visit to Hawaii you will be amazed by how much they have to offer. Their generosity is beautiful and the view in general is something which will take your breath away.

Until next time Mahalo
N xx

Hong Kong!

Hello! R again, with another exciting travelling destination – Hong Kong!

Man that is one heck of a place – its so fast paced and busy and smoggy and amazingly fun! To be fair I was only there for like two days when I was 14 as a stop over, so everything looked and felt big and intimidating to me then, but whadayagonnado?
Alright – let’s begin shall we?
People: Ridonkulously friendly when you’re not in the airport. When you are in the airport, it’s like some mass contamination is threatening the nation and you are personally resonsible for it. Also, there are no chairs in the airport. So when I was on a 6 hour stop over with mono (long story) and I was waiting to find out which gate was going to be my gate (they only assign it two hours before the flights) I had to sleep on the floor with the creepy Hong Kong military people walking around who are probably very nice but should smile more often. Particularly to jet-lagged glandular-fever suffering Australians. TANGENT OVER (can you guys tell I am particularly hyper today?)
Things to do: Shopping. There are seriously places everywhere that you can go shopping – and you can get technological things for SO FREAKING CHEAP. I legit bought an iPod there (back when the nanos were cool – remember those?) for like 100 bucks. Maybe a bit more, but you get the idea. From huge centres, to streets lined with super amazing stores (perfume for $5 OMG), to their markets, it’s a shopaholics haven! I mean, yeah you’re probably sitting at home thinking “I could get all that stuff from Hong Kong on ebay, why do I need to go?” I’ll tell you why – it’s the vibe of the thing (ten points if you guess where I’m quoting from). The whole place is buzzing and alive with people and places and things and stuff and smells (although those aren’t necessarily so amazing, to be honest).
Things to do but not expect too much from, even if you are 12: Disneyland Hong Kong. It’s shit. Excuse the language. But really, there are no rides – the most ‘actiony’ ride is one down a river where you go to Tarzan’s tree and you see the gorilla and the elephants spray you. Apparently Hong Kong doesnt like excess excitement. I dunno, but even at 14, and my sister at 12, we did not really have such a great time which was sad because it was Disneyland ya know? The taxi driver who took us there was hillarious though – he drove like we were in a roller coaster and stopped off because he needed the bathroom. Still though, if you have a day and money to throw away because you’ve already bought all the iPads you can optimistically fit in your suitcase then sure, go to Disneyland, just don’t expect it to be American Disney, because it’s not.
Ultimately though, enjoy the people, the vibe, the food, the shopping – it’s all so similar to the West and yet so fundamentally different that it’s a vibrant colourful city that you can spend days walking around. Or you can spend those days getting $5 manicures. To each their own!
x R 🙂