The first emergence of summer appears in the the big apple and its time for a very unlazy Sunday.
Recovering slightly from a heavy night on Saturday you make your way to Syvlia’s in Harlem for some match needed Southern carbs, the fried chicken is the one for me. Whilst there you sip on some energising Sweet Tea (and I mean sweet) and take in the electric live gospel music.
When you finally tear yourself away from the tunes you head down to Central Park. Exploring the first blooms of summer you work your way through the park. You stumble on one of the many baseball games in motion and absorb the competitive excitement.
When you finally emerge back into the concrete jungle its time to embrace the wild, of course its time to hit China or Korea town depending on your preference. Go round the many little shops for some souvenirs and eat dumplings or drink bubble tea. Then there is only one course of action a little power nap before exploring the NYC night life.
Waking up refreshed you head over to emerge yourself in the electricity of Times Square at night. Exploring the lights and sounds absorbing the atmosphere. Of course a trip to times square isn’t complete with a much needed visit to Hershey Chocolate shop. Then once you are chocolate filled, its time to head to West village for one of the many great Jazz bars such as Arthurs Tavern.
Then its time to stumble home for some much needed sleep.
In my experience cities can often have two major effects; they can drain or energise you. Barcelona makes you feel like the Duracell bunny.
Stroll out after a siesta around 9ish (yes life starts late in Barcelona) hit up Carrer de Blai for some tapa, strike up a conversation with locals and see where the night takes you. I know it sounds hard, especially if you are on your own but its the best way to experience Barcelona. If you want to do a little cheat go on to the couchsurfing app and there are loads of lovely locals wanting to grab a drink.
So I personally would just suggest wondering around and seeing where it leads. However I know my readers like little tips, so here are my favourite spots:
- Bunkers Del Carmel-for a great view of the city head here for sunrise. There’s nothing quite like a Barcelona City sunrise (sunset tends to be more social and crowded).
- Sagdrada Familia– I don’t usually recommend mass tourist paid spots, but Sagdrada Familia is the exception to the rule. It is a truly marvellous architectural delight, and has become my number one Cathedral.
- Parc de Monjuic-As readers know I love nature and this is the closest you really get in Barcelona. With the winding pathways its another chance for a great view of the city.
If it doubt just get to Barcelona… You won’t regret the decision.
This is part 2 of the places around the world I truly love. Check out part 1 here
Cathedral Cove, New Zealand: One of the first places I truly fell in love with. Its remote, has the natural beauty that makes New Zealand such a special country and is truly peaceful.
Copenhagen, Denmark: if you ever wondered what a place full of beautiful people is like head here. Copenhagen is a perfect weekend gateway-its cool, a little funky and has some great food markets.
Great Oceon Road, Australia-Victoria: this was towards the end of my journey and I started to feel a little travel fatigue until I came here. Some of the best natural oceanic formations I have seen.
Budapest, Hungary: Europe has some truly amazing architecture. In my opinion the best in the world. To find the best of the best head to Budapest. Take in the amazing sights in the morning, head to the bathes in the afternoon and finish with a river cruise at night-perfect.
Interlaken, Switzerland: If I am forced to choose my favourite place in the world then Interlaken has my heart. What can I say but WOW. Everything is just beautiful from the buildings, the hiking, the world class views and the friendly locals.
Where will your next adventure be?
I have been back in England for a week now from the most amazing 11 months (30 countries) of my life. I have finally sorted through my photos and wanted to inspire your next adventure.
Plitvice Lake, Croatia-For an amazing hike to a range of fitness levels no place does beauty like Croatia.
Mt Taranki, New Zealand– Are you fit? Then Mt Taranki is the one for you. An extremely difficult day hike but once you climb past the clouds its pure serenity.
Gibbon Experience, Loas– Still a big kid? then this is for you. Spend your days ziplining through a jungle and your evenings sleeping in giant treehouses
Rome, Italy– For the history lovers there really is no place like Rome.
New York City, USA– Not my favourite city, but one that has to be done once in your lifetime.
Waya LaiLai Island, Fiji– The friendliest people on the planet. There’s no better place on the planet for a relaxing time.
Rotorua, New Zealand– If you can get over the smell of Suplher and want something a little different then this is the place for you.
Srebrenica Genocide Memorial, Bosnia– For something different check out this memorial. Its interesting but extremely sobering, so not for the faint hearted. Make sure to fully explore Bosnia afterwards as an amazing country.
Want to know more about any of these locations then check out my guides or ask me a question in the comment box.
To be honest when I got to Sydney I wasn’t particularly impressed. It felt like any generic medium sized city in the world. It probably didn’t help that I loved Melbourne so much and was making comparisons.
However the fact that Sydney is a Coastal city gives it some absolutely lovely walks especially in the Aussie summer. There is a whole host of walks you can do but I would personally recommend a few:
Also for a good selection of asian food check out Spice Alley (BYOB as well).
So I have seen a lot in the last year. To round it all off I wanted to share the best of best with you. Peace out.
Best eat– Mary May’s Tea Room in Atlanta: Chicken pot pie with mac’n’ cheese followed by peanut butter cake with oreo crust
Best view– Interlaken in Switzerland
Best party town-Barcelena
Best drink-Dark and Stormy from Hamilton,Canada
Best hostel– Nomadas in Merida, Mexico
Best experience-Gibbon experience in Loas
Best people-Fiji they have the best rythym on the planet
Most tranquil place in the world-Top of Mt Edgmont (New Zealand) just after the ice.
I have been lucky enough to spend about two weeks exploring Melbourne and have come to the conclusion it is one my favourite new cities. It is diverse both in terms of urban verse nature and its people, has a great transport system and one of the most relaxed cities I have visited.
I know most people wont be lucky enough to spend so long in this great city, so I wanted to share a few must do’s that are Melbourne unique.
- Shrine of Remembrance and Botanical gardens: this area combines the second biggest botanical garden in the world and a beautiful war memorial/museum. On a sunny day combine with a picnic its a great day out.
- Tram 35: if you want to get to know Melbourne quick get on the free tram 35 and take a circuit of the city. It takes about 45 minutes and you will have your bearings in no time.
- Gelato at Pipapidos: there’s always a line but it goes quick; this Gelato was on par with what I had in Florence.
- ACMI: I love a good free museum and this audio/visual one is the best of its kind. It is super interactive, good for all ages and has some super cool gadgets to play with.
- Brighton Beach: With its colourful sheds this is the perfect place to see sunset over the city.
Other goodies in Melbourne: hit one of the numerous roof top bars, visit the Victoria Art Centre, visit Melbourne museum and the surrounding beautiful park,
and/or hit Fitzroy for some good eats and drinks.
Outside of Melbourne: the Great Ocean road is a must do-with some of the amazing views Victoria has to offer.
I have been a bit laxed since getting to Thailand. I have been either chilling out in cool areas like Pii or partying on the Islands. So it was amazing to get back to one of my passions, hiking.
Khoa Sok National Park for those not planning a multi-day hike can be split into two sections
Section 1: The National Park forest trails-these are accessible via Surat Thani town. They can broadly be split into three parts.
- Main paths via the main entrance in town- this section is super accessible and although the forums say you need a guide they are so well laid out both in terms of the path and signage, even if you haven’t hiked before you will be fine.
- Advanced path via the main entrance in town-these trails are a follow through from the first section-you will see signs once you hit the restaurant. You may read on forums that you get fined without a guide-this is bullshit. It is true that the paths are more difficult and the signs are limited but if you are a semi-experienced hiker you will be fine. If however you haven’t hiked before this is where a guide will come in handy.
- The forgotten path via motorway 401 near the Khao Sok Valley viewpoint. This path leads to a beautiful waterfall and flora. However the paths are confusing. I went with another experienced hiker and we got very lost. Lucky we used logic and eventually made it back to a waterfall we recognised from a previous day hike. Please don’t attempt this on your own, you will need someone with experience as there is no real information online about the geography of this trial.
Section 2: The National Park lake and caves-this is accessible via the Phang Kan region.
Broadly speaking there are two ways to do this:
- Good old fashioned tour (please note the park entrance is 300, cave entrance 200 on top of the price you pay). From what I could see you can do a day trip or a two day with an overnight stay.
- Do it yourself-Really you need 4 or more people to make this work. In essence you need to get to the pier of Phang Kan. Personally I hired a scooter with a friend and drove from Surat Thani as the views are amazing. Once you get to the pier you need to negotiate a price for a private boat-don’t pay more than 2000BHT in total (500 each if four). Then sit back and enjoy a private tour for a friction of the price.
Enjoy your trip to this amazing park. Also Jungle Hut Hostel has the best beds in Thailand.
I have been travelling now for almost 10 months (10 amazing life changing months). One of the questions I often get from friends back at home aren’t you fed up with travelling now. I understand that question completely of course, but its a strange question when every new person I meet on the whole just wants to travel forever. So I thought I would try and explain the two sides via quotes.
“I would rather have a passport full of stamps than a place full of stuff” Vs. “A man (or woman) travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it”
“I wake up each new day and wonder what I will discover next” Vs “nothing is better than going home to family and eating good food and relaxing”
“Home life is no more natural than a cage is to a Cockatoo” Vs. “There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort”
“Travel makes one modest- you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world” vs “The ache for home life is in all of us , the safe place where we can go home as we are and not be questioned”
“Travelling leaves you speechless-then turns you into a storyteller” vs “Home is where one starts from”
Where do you stand on the debate?
So a couple of days ago I went to the full moon party on the Thai island of Koh Pha Ngan. Instead of sharing my experiences as this blog is purely PG 😉 I wanted to explain what’s it all about outside of all the hype.
In its bare form its about a mile of beach, which 40k plus people descend on to have a party. The beach hosts a number of bars/clubs. From what I could tell the beach could be broken into around 4 sections.
- Techno/ drum & base
- Food stations
- Pop music
- Old school 70/80’s remixed
The majority of people will be tourist on the younger side, covered in body paint and will be wasted or chemically altered.
People go to have a good time, so expect people to be partying hard, and if your foot is stepped on only a few times that’s a great night.
Drinks and food
So drink prices vary a lot between bars and side streets, so if your on a budget shop around. To the most part people will be drinking buckets. Just a caveat these are super strong so unless you don’t want to remember the night pace yourself because they hit hard.
Food is a crap take on western classics e.g. pizza’s/burgers, but when your altered you don’t really care.
If substances are your thing look for locals in the side streets outside of the bars.
That’s all folks- just a piece of advice if you are older and don’t bounce back like the youngsters don’t hit the Jungle party the night before….I made that mistake.