Tag: Hong Kong

The 5 most pressing destinations on my travel bucket list

Like many people I have a list of “must see” places as long as my arm, and the desire to see as many of them as possible is ever present!

Travel quote

I tend to take the opportunity to travel as it presents itself – perhaps there’s a good deal, or a cheap flight, for example. But there are some places that have my head and heart and remain ever present, no matter where else I may go meanwhile.

Santorini

Santorini

This has been on my list for a long time, at least the 11 years the husband and I have been together. We bonded over a love of castles and travel during the time we were “seeing each other” and deciding whether to throw our eggs into the relationship basket, and we used to look at pictures of Santorini and talk about wandering through white washed streets and watching golden sunsets. We’re currently right on the verge of booking it for this year, but we’re holding out for a chance we might get to go to our very favourite getaway from it all resort on mainland Greece, so maybe it will slip through our fingers until next year.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

I crave to go East so much, but the husband isn’t very keen. One of these days maybe I’ll take off Shirley Valentine style and tour Asia alone. Except I won’t. Anyway, Hong Kong. I have some Virgin airmiles that were due to expire, so I had a mooch around the Virgin Atlantic website and was surprised to see how relatively cheap it is to get to Hong Kong. So I looked into it further and it just looks amazing. Then I spoke to my Dad who confirmed that it is amazing. Cosmopolitan, lots to see, great food and of course the Eastern culture. So this one is high on the list and, if I get my way, we’ll go there next year.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Another place that has always kind of interested me, again my interest was piqued when I noticed some very cheap flights. The city looks so pretty with the canals and the architecture and the parks, and I really want to go. In December and January they have a festival of lights which looks incredible, so I might tell suggest to the husband that we ditch the oodles of Christmas presents we usually buy for each other and use the money for a long weekend in Amsterdam instead.

India – The Golden Triangle and Goa

Golden Triangle 2

India is a dream destination for me; the history, the colours, the culture and the flavours. I’d go there in a heartbeat. Again the husband is reticent. He worries about getting a bad stomach and a lot of unwanted attention (if you read my throwback post on Marrakech you’ll know what I mean – when you look very different to the locals, as he does with blonde hair and tattoos, people tend to stare and sometimes touch! Not in a bad way, but he doesn’t like it). As much as I would like to go to Goa, with it’s street markets, warm seas and whites sandy beaches, my first choice would be the Golden Triangle tour of Jaipur, Agra and Delhi. Seeing the Taj Mahal would be overwhelming, and the Pink Palace and Amber Fort would be so amazing. Of course it would make sense to add a few relaxing days in Goa on at the end…2 birds in one!

Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik

I went to Croatia about 9 years ago and was struck with the friendliness of the people, the beautiful weather, the flora and fauna and the visual history that’s a reminder of the Yugoslavian war, with abandoned buildings and bullet marks. Dubrovnik just looks amazing, with it’s medieval city walls and amazing architecture. Perfect for a city break or a pre-cursor to a longer trip taking in the coastline and national parks, it’s right up there on my list.

Where in the world is on your must do list?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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A massive sigh of relief, “I-tal-you”

From what, you might ask?

(or might not!)

Is it relief at having passed my job probation? Relief that the weather forecast in Wales has improved since my last desperate post? Relief that the Foo Fighters have rearranged some dates after cancelling Wembley due to Dave’s broken leg?

Nope. None of those things.

It’s relief that finally, at last, after weeks of deliberation and stress…

…we’ve booked a summer holiday.

I’ve mentioned before that I have a predilection to being dramatic, but in this case rightly so. I truly believe that we have never struggled to agree on a week away as much as this year.

Timing was an issue; we have so much on over the remaining summer months (I know, diddums) that we were struggling on when to go (and no point shoehorning something in for the sake of it). Realistically we don’t have time until mid October, by which point many of the traditional resorts in Europe are too cool temperature wise to guarantee a great holiday (not that it’s all about lying in the sun, but for what we were originally looking at that would probably have been the case).

Expectation was also an issue, because neither of us would commit to what we actually wanted from a holiday – was it just lying around doing nothing at all, or maybe with some sightseeing thrown in, or total sightseeing? We’ve danced around each other nervously, with husband eventually telling me that he would go along with whatever I wanted to do (probably because I was getting this wild woman of Borneo look in my eye and started twitching whenever a week off was mentioned).

Egypt was on the list; Sharm el Sheikh for late season sunshine and a day trip to the Pyramids as we’ve both always wanted to go. But recent horrors in Tunisia made us rethink that plan. Even if we scrapped the pyramid visit and just stayed in the resort, where there’s increased security, Egypt is a bit too close to the conflict for comfort; especially when attacks have happened from the sea. And do I really want to be sunbathing and watching an armed security team from the corner of my eye. Er, no.

Hong Kong was also on the list, but then with even more things popping into our calendar that require time off here and there, we don’t really have enough annual leave to do it justice. And it’s a bloomin’ long flight to only have 5 real usable days once you take travel time into account. Plus it would be full on doing and seeing stuff, which I don’t think is what husband really wants (although he’s too scared to say anything – negative or positive – by now, in case it finally tips me over the edge!!) So that was shelved.

Greece was a real contender, as it’s still warm into October and they really need tourist investment right now. But we’ve been to Greece for the past two years and weren’t sure if we were just considering it because we didn’t know where else to go.

And then I came across an amazing deal in Italy. Flying into Naples, staying just outside Sorrento in a cliff side hotel. Free minibus to Sorrento multiple times each day. Excursions to Vesuvius and Pompeii. A boat trip to Capri. A drive along the Amalfi coast. All options that are open to us, if we want them. OK, it’s not going to be scorchio in October. But it will, at worst, be t-shirt and shorts weather in the day, perfectly nice for sitting outside overlooking the sea and reading a book. Ideal temperature for sightseeing. And should the worst happen, and it rains, we’re staying at a fabulous all inclusive hotel so we can sit inside and eat and drink all day long.

I’m thrilled. Beyond thrilled, actually. I’ve been wanting to visit the Neopolitan Riviera and always just assumed we’d do a city break. This way we get the best of both worlds – relaxing AND sightseeing, It’s a really economical way to do it as well, which is always good (OK, that’s all relative, but cheaper than a city break and a separate chilling holiday, and also great value due to being all inclusive, as food and drink in Italy is expensive). We’ll probably eat out a couple of times, and obviously spend money on some excursions. Pompeii!! I come over all Frankie Howerd (oo-er) just thinking about it!

(and now my poor attempt at humour in the title of this post makes sense as well, no?)

Meanwhile, to get me even more excitable, here are some pics. Just wow!

Sorrento Sorrento 2

Pompeii

Vesuvius

Green Grotto of Capri Amalfi Coast

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Holiday stress (first world problems)

It’s rather ridiculous that something that’s supposed to be fun, something to look forward to and something to relax you should be stressful. But my head is about to burst this year!

I’m very much of the “let’s use our annual leave to see stuff and go places” school of thought. Husband would happily spend a week at home. I think that’s a ridiculous waste of time. I usually always win.

This year we’re a bit short on annual leave, as we both started new jobs in April and so our holiday has been pro rata’d accordingly. Hence why we found ourselves sitting down with a spreadsheet, no less, to carve up our annual leave. That kind of ruins the fun straight away.

We’d planned on a short break to Europe, 3 or 4 nights all inclusive where we could lounge in the sun, read books, eat and drink loads. I would have shoe-horned in a daytrip somewhere too, just to satisfy my wanderlust. We were all priced up and researched and ready to go to Majorca.

I mean, look at it. Why wouldn’t you?

Majorca

Then, in true us style, we faffed. Not because we didn’t want to go, but because life happens. And by the time we did come to book it, the price had gone up by over £100.

Arse.

I then suggested Greece. Loads of bargains to be had, and as long as you’re all inclusive and paid up front you don’t need money, right? Husband was reticent – pointing out that the hotels may run out of money to buy food. I poo-pooed him and would have booked but I have to say now, with events of yesterday, that I’m glad one of us has a sensible head (I hope he isn’t reading this).

And so we decided on Wales. Now that might seem rather a departure (pun intended) from beach and guaranteed sunshine. But North Wales is one of my very favourite places in the UK – so green and atmospheric and mountainous and just generally ace. And we had plans of going on sunny walks, searching out waterfalls, eating lamb (of course!), sitting in beer gardens and generally chilling out.

North Wales

Our plans were nearly scuppered when the only guesthouse we wanted to stay at was showing no availability online, but a quick call and some jiggery-pokery meant that the owner was able to accommodate us.

All well and good.

Until today when the bloody weather forecast has turned and is now showing a rather unseasonal 14 degrees and rain for next weekend. And husband’s colleague has just come back from North Wales and didn’t see any of last week’s heatwave.

What to do? I have revisited Majorca plans in a mad panic, as the thought of spending precious annual leave in a sodden sulk fills me with dread. And the cost of keeping ourselves occupied will no doubt boost the Welsh trip into the realms of European spend anyway. But am I being a brat? Should I accept my fate and make the best of it, whatever the weather?

Don’t even start me on how we’ll agree on the rest of our leave. I had grand plans for Hong Kong, even offering to pay for us from my redundancy fund, but husband has little desire to go East.

That week at home that he so desires may be closer than he thinks…

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