Berlin & Munich in snapshots

Breathe in, breathe out, release. 
Phew. So after writing my piece on Monday about how much of an emotional (but of course amazing) experience Berlin & Munich was due to the absorption of different museums & memorial sites, there of course is some joy that also needs to be shared. 
Travelling is like anything else in life and needs to be carefully balanced, because after all, what is joy without pain, love without hurt and excitement without fear. We need to experience the bad sometimes to enjoy the beautiful moments in life all the more, which is exactly how we did Berlin & Munich. 
Even though I sobbed for hours at a memorial concentration camp, I then laughed and squealed and spun like a giddy school girl that night when Morgs & I were walking through the magical Christmas markets, and even though we both left the SS headquarters museum with heavy hearts & drowsy heads, we still got out to marvel and explore the beauty that Berlin also had to offer. 
We found love and excitement and beauty all around us in both cities we visited – we had the light stuff with the heavy stuff and the joy with the sadness, we were balanced. 
So here is that balance, the joy, the fun, here is us, in Berlin & Munich telling our story through photos – because after all, a picture truly does tells a thousand words (or in my case, 2,000).
Walking with no particular plans and no desire to ‘have to’ be anywhere or see anything leads you to the best parts of a city … we stumbled upon the impressive parliament .. the man candy isn’t too bad either huh!!

Smiling even though it was about -4 and we’d been out most of the day … with Christmas markets to explore though we couldn’t go home just yet …
Morgs FULL of excitement with his first German beer on our first night in Berlin …
Cities by night are always such a beautiful sight & Berlin was no different, we stumbled upon Brandenburg Gate which is where the Berlin wall ran in front of to seperate West Germany from East Germany…
On the train, music on, WOWED & SO excited at the first sight of full on snow. One minute it was paddocks of green, then moments later, we were in snow territory. Fun train ride indeed…

Exploring the main square in Munich, on the hunt for the perfect pork knuckle (& sight seeing of course) .. p.s we found the perfect pork knuckle.
We have really, seriously, reallyyyy eaten our way around Europe..& it has certainly been no different in Munich / Germany in general. Morgs sampling the goodies from the many many market stalls
Having the time of my freezing life at the Christmas markets in Germany, this country sure does Christmas markets well, and by well I mean extraordinarily well.
Last night in Germany what else would we do but drink beer .. (& eat pork knuckle of course) 

The crazy beautiful mess & mayhem that is the Christmas markets in Munich..

Affairs of the heart with San Sebastian

As I’ve mentioned previously, putting in to words just how much we loved Spain and all that it offered up to us is truly hard to put in words and the same has undoubtedly applied to specific towns along the way. Whilst a dream came true in Madrid – I lived the Spanish moment I’d always wished & dreamed for, San Sebastian was equally beautiful in providing us peace, laughs, beauty and relaxation. I thought as an ode’ to this magnificent sleepy town I would list all the things that made San Sebastian so unforgettable.
I loved the beautiful sunshine peaking out from behind the clouds from the moment we arrived.
I loved walking to the apartment in the warm afternoon sun with the man by my side reflecting on how much of an amazing time we’ve shared together so far.
I loved the wonderful surprise of getting to our gorgeous apartment & it being so luxurious. 
I loved exploring the beautiful tree lined streets with bursts of Autumn colours surrounding us everywhere from fallen leaves.
I loved strolling slowly slowly through the small town stopping whenever it pleased us for dessert for lunch, hot chocolate for breakfasts and hot wine to warm us from the inside out.
I loved stumbling upon old town and getting lost in the tiny ally ways for hours and hours.
I loved walking through the old fisherman bay watching the men dock their boats for the day and show off their catch & tend to their tangled nets.
I loved just happening to get to the highest point in San Sebastian by chance right as the sun was setting over the ocean and being able to watch the beautiful sunset and taking the time to plan our next adventure on a whim.
I loved bar hopping in the old quarter to find the best tapas on offer – fact: there are no such thing as ‘the best’ in San Sebastian, it’s alllll delicious. 
I loved sitting on a ledge on the beach for who knows how long with Morgs watching the surfers catch wave after wave. 
I loved being able to go for a pre dawn run along the river and coast and perfectly timing the sunrise on my run home. 
I loved we found churros like we hoped & got to tick ‘eat churros in Spain’ off our list.
I loved sitting on the beach watching the turquiose water break calmy on a warm sunny day. 
I loved that I expected the town to be so much bigger and got a wonderful surprise when it was actually quite small and sleepy.
I loved we packed a delicious picnic and got to nap for a few hours after a plentiful lunch in the warmth of the sun the green grass at our feet in an empty park. 
But most of all?
I just loved San Sebastian. 
Spain, we will be back – thank you for the most extraordinary times and memories that will last the ages.
{ So excited by so many leaves to crunch, luckily I have a loving bf who totally understands my love of leave crunching and allowed this to go on for at least 5 minutes }
{ Walking blissfully around San Seb }
{ San Sebastian by night – beautiful any time day or night }

Dreams coming true in Madrid

I have a confession to make, a confession which, if you are familar with the blog, you will know from previous admissions, but I am a self confessed Control Freak. 

That’s not the confession though. The confession is that somewhere along this big beautiful trip, I let go. I seemed to stop being a control freak. In fact, not only have I relaxed more & given in to whatever goes, well, goes, I have actually loved plans that change or don’t always go according to plan. 
Which is exactly what happened with Madrid.
The booking all along was to fly from Mallorca to Porto in Portugal (then on to San Sebastian), but two weeks out of said flight, we were emailed from the airline saying the flight was cancelled, they could instead get us to some remote part of North Spain (not even in the same country as our original destination!) We said thanks but no thanks & cancelled the booking.

Now. Old Anna would have had a mini break down. Considering how badly I had initially wanted to go to Portugal and were now being told it was impossible from where we had the flight from & time permitting I normally would have been super super upset. Possibly even stewed over it for a day or so. The new me however literally just shrugged my shoulders, and admitted clearly we were just not meant to get there this trip around and the universe has something far greater planned for us…

Cue Madrid. 
For whatever reason, it never got on our original list but with 3 days now available we booked a flight to this unassuming city with a feeling that we were just meant to go there specifically – and as beautiful as hindsight always is – aren’t we glad we did!!
Madrid is truly hard to sum up. Just like I had always imagined San Sebastian to be bigger (post on that to come tomorrow), I had always imagined Madrid to be smaller, but it’s anything but. Not only is it ginormous in size, the city literally has something beautiful to stop & marvel at, or walk through or explore around every single corner, and I truly mean, every single corner. The moment we got there we both knew we just wanted to tread our own path. We stayed away from trip advisor suggestions, tour guides and hotel reccommendations – Madrid was ours and ours alone to explore & take our own incredible memories away from.
We walked, and walked, and walked & walked. We stumbled upon the palace, beautiful botanical gardens, Puerto Del Sole square, humongous shopping streets (la la loved the shopping in Madrid!), and huge squares to sit & drink Sangria in to people watch. There were street markets we got lost in for hours on the Sunday, getting caught up in the hype of shopping among hundreds of spanish people, flicking through old records of 80’s metal – for Morgs of course, and watching old men barter over old basketball cards. 
And then, there was the Flamenco. 
When putting Spain in big bright bold colours as a place we absolutely wanted to see, the way I had always envisioned it was sitting in a small bar, Sangria in hand, with my lover (cue Morgan!) the lights dim with a magnificent Flamenco show going on in front of me, and up until Madrid, a city we weren’t even meant to be in, I hadn’t gotten my Spanish moment. 
For those who aren’t aware, like I wasn’t until we accidently ended up in the city (& Morgans mum who had taught dancing for 30 years telling us) Madrid is actually the heart & soul of Flamenco in Spain…
Let’s just say, I got my Spanish moment. We by beautiful fate found a bar that did shows each night and the night we wanted to go just happened to be the night an award winning Flamenco dancer would be performing. It happened! It really happened just like I always imagined it, without any effort at all. There we were, in a small bar, dimly lit, with Sangria in hand, my lover by my side, and the most incredible performance of Flamenco in front of us and it was in that moment, I cried. I sat there without an embarrassment or care in the world tears streaming down my face. I don’t know if it was gratitude, or the feeling of pure & utter joy from the inside out, or feeling like another dream had just come true, but I didn’t care. I was happy & beautifully living in the moment.
So Madrid, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, not just for being an incredibly beautiful, remarkable city, and not just for the delicious and amazing food on offer, but for giving me my Spanish moment I had always dreamed about. 
But most of all? For solidifying for me once & for all that sometimes when things don’t go exactly to plan, there is always something greater for you waiting.
With a heart of happiness & love,
Anna x
p.s If you ever go to Madrid and want to see a show, this is the one we went to. There are 3 or 4 main ones in Madrid (tonnes more but 3 or 4 main ‘the best’ ones) and Cardamomo is one of them. We chose this one as it wasn’t so commercial and offered a more intimate traditional experience…and obviously I can’t recommend it highly enough!

Heaven in Mallorca

There are certain things in life, experiences we’ll say, that never will be forgotten – it could be the birth of your first child, marrying the love of your life, or whatever it is that makes your world spin just that little bit faster. I have discovered that the same thing applies for when you travel. Of course, every moment over here is surreal, from waking up knowing there’s a new city to explore, finding new amazing historical things to see, and hey, even not having worked for 3.5 months now. BUT..there are those extra special moments, those ‘pinch me’ / goosebump / call it whatever you will moments that go right up in the special experiences of life. I have had a few, but a huge one happened to Morgs & I the other night in Mallorca. It was extra special as it caught us so off guard and it’s one of our favourite things to see normally. 
What was it?? 
A sunset. 
This was no ordinary sunset though. No. This was the most amazing, spectacular, extraordinary  beautifulll sunset I’ve ever seen in my life. 
It had been an incredibly stormy day and Morgs & I were defiant to not sit around in the hotel so had hired a car to get around Mallorca and explore some of the coast & mountains on offer on the North side of the island. We drove wherever roads took us and stopped whenever we felt like it. Getting back to the hotel early evening, the storm had cleared & we felt compelled to take a walk in the cold before dinner and that’s when the magic occurred  Making our way along the coastline we had the pinkest of pink and redest of red clouds all around us and bursts of sunshine peeking out from the ominous clouds still threatening to give way to rain at any moment. We sat and took in what was almost too surreal to witness. 
It was a moment I’ll remember forever and was so grateful I got to witness. 
I felt like it was Mother Natures way of reminding us that of all our adventures we seek & pay for on the holiday, the best things in life really are free – & for me, that was seeing the sunset of my life with my soulmate by my side. 
Do you have a favourite travel story? Have you had any moments that you’ll never forget that happened when you least expected it? I’d love to hear them!
Love & Light,
Anna x
p.s I’m sorry the blog was so quiet last week! Our apartment in San Sebastian didn’t have any wifi but this week you’ll hear all about the end of our adventures in Spain – from Madrid to San Seb. 

Finding our groove in Valencia

There is this quiet internal struggle each time I try to write about Spain. How can you put on paper and choose words to express how we’re feeling, how much fun we’re having, and how much we truly love this country when we love it so much. Because we do. Alot. 
Spain just has this vibe about it. I couldn’t tell you what it is, or much other than every morning when I wake up, I’m smiling excited to hit the streets or country to explore, and I literally have an overflowing of joy from the inside out wherever I am in Spain. Spain & us just gel. 
Having 4 days in Valencia was heaven as not only did we get to go back to nature, but we managed to settle in to our b&b a little bit after having just spent almost two weeks in the south of france doing 2 nights, 2 nights, 2 get the picture.
The thing about sharing experiences when it comes to capital city after capital city though is this. A lot of our ‘things we want to do’ or do happen to ‘do’ are much of the muchness which when it comes to sharing said experiences, we don’t always have something ‘unique’ to share. Hitting smaller out of the way towns might throw some different adventures in the mix (which we’ve done plenty of), but our first trip overseas we really wanted to see everything we’d always read & dreamed about which all fell mainly to capital cities. 
Valencia was no different in the stakes of big ole cities. Lots of cathedrals, tours, parks, pubs & general city sight seeing. 
What I can tell you is this. Every new city we get to, it’s always mainly explored by foot, by boat if there’s a great canal, river or ocean to see, by a double decker tour bus, by train if there is something justttt a bit too far for foot and you will find us constantly being pulled without meaning to be to the highest point of a city to take in all it’s beauty. We get lost, everytime, re found, find amazing hole in the wall bars & restaurants, eat traditional food a lot of it, our growing bellys would say too much – we go out, we stay in, we people watch …. we just find our own groove
Valencia was all the above but so much more because it was all done on our terms, when we wanted and how we wanted. A highlight of course was catching a Premiership game at the Valencia stadium (they won!!) & soaking up the amazing atmosphere the game dished up. If you’re ever in Spain, even if you don’t watch soccer – you could call it football where you’re from – get to a game. The crowds are electric and seeing the players in real life truly is a remarkable experience. 
I could sit here and tell you to ride a bike around Valencia (very fun indeed), to visit the park that used to be a river, to hit the beach and eat some delicious paella, to get out to the country & see the real Spanish beauty, to get lost in their old town, spend hours wandering the markets eating all the tapas & foods on offer and to people watch to your hearts content in all the small cafes on the busy side streets. 
But I won’t. That’s what we did and it might not necessarily be for you – and you will find your own travel groove. 
That’s the important thing though. To find it. To listen to your gut, to not do something for the sake of doing it because somebody else has done it before you, or you think you should because you’re travelling. 
The best times Morgs & I have on this holiday – which is every single day of the trip so far – are the ones where we do exactly what our hearts and bodies tell us to do. If we feel like a huge sleep in at the hotel and a leisurely walk around the city vs getting up to go go go because we only have 2 days. Then we do just that. If we feel like watching a movie instead of going out drinking. We stay in, and have the best most relaxing nights in ever. If we don’t feel like going to see a museum or statue or cathedral just because its the cities top attraction. Then we don’t. Doing it this way, listening to our guts, our hearts & our bodies, has provided us with what has truly been & continues to be a trip of a lifetime.
When you let your days take you wherever your heart or instinct is telling you instead of booking things in as it’s the ‘done thing’, you will find much richer experiences & meant to be moments throughout your trip.
Travel really is about finding your own groove, dancing the beat to your own distinct drum, treading your own path & having the time of your lives…..
We did just that in Valencia, with no really crazy out there things to share necessarily – apart from the Premiership soccer game which was seriously seriously amazing .. but what was solidified for us was that trusting our gut and finding our own groove is the best way to see cities for us.
We have in a few days only 4 weeks left. FOUR WEEKS. I cannot believe, at all, that our huge trip is almost coming to an end, and can say although I don’t feel like it went fast at all, knowing when we’re home in just 4 weeks, it strangely feels like it flew by. 
With that in mind, I’m off to explore Madrid – hello more Sangria – are there anonomyous help groups for Sangria addiction? & tapas, but I hope your Monday is filled with something you love mixed with a whole lotta heart. 

Love & Light,

Anna x

A day out in Country Spain

You know when you have those days when you’re traveling that you never could have planned for, no amount of money would justify how special it meant to you and you can’t believe it really happened? Yes? Well, Morgs & I were so blessed to have had one of those days just gone by in countryside Valencia.
We had rolled in to Valencia late evening (after booking a late train to extend our time in our beloved Barcelona) & had no idea what we wanted to do the next 4 days in this city we had barely even googled. One thing we did both agree too though, is that we were c.r.a.v.i.n.g some nature. After 3 solid months in big ole cities (Greece & Croatia withstanding) we were ready to re visit Mother Nature & spend some quality time among her trees & fresh air…. however we could. After literally the quickest Trip Adviser check, an email to the tour guide & literally picking the first tour that came up without even reading reviews (how hardcore I know), We were booked in with a tour called “Do Valencia!” and were officially off in to the countryside the next day.

Excitement Plus. 

Not sure of what the tour entailed exactly or what we could expect, we stayed true to our adventure spirit  and were getting picked up by our friendly local Spanish guide ‘Migeul’ first thing the next morning & were on our way.
Holy mother of all things holy though – our day was remarkable. Not only was it exactly what we needed – some quality time with nurturing mother nature, it was FUN & provided us with what we’re always craving every new city we go to which is…an authentic experience. 
We visited waterfalls, swam in the most gorgeous crystal clear hot spring waters and climbed down hills to explore rivers & rocks. My favourite part of the whole day though was lunch time (does that really surprise anyone?) when Miguel took us to this tiny out of the way ‘hole in the wall’ restaurant in the smallest country town. The owner, a gorgeous old Spanish man treated us like family & from the second we walked in I knew I wouldn’t want to leave! We ate the most delicious traditional Tapas I have ever eaten (& probably ever will), drank local homemade wine from a goat bag, and sipped cinnamon homebrew spirits as the owner explained how he made the wine, spirits & food (all in Spanish whilst Miguel translated in English). I tried Snails for the first time (I actually really liked them! They reminded me of lamb) and we did shots of green something’ something’ where first we had to dip our finger in it & the owner lit it on fire. Outrageous I know but I haven’t laughed like I did in that restaurant with complete strangers (others from our tour) ever. 
It’s days like that, almost unplanned, with complete strangers & no expectations that make me realise why I love travel so much … they say travel is the only thing you buy that can make you richer and yesterday was a true testament to that. 
I am rich in every way possible through all that this trip has given to me in the way of life experiences, laughter, love & lessons and I will remember most of my days lived over the past 3 months (+ 5 weeks to go) till the day I die. Whether it be a quiet coffee with the man I love in an empty cafe, swimming in freezing water just because it was too beautiful not too, eating strange foods in strange countries, bike riding through snow capped mountains, crying as I embark on the walk of the Cinque Terre just because I’m that happy I was there I have realised one thing. I am RICH, happy and fulfilled beyond my wildest expectations…& I have travel to thank for that. 
The best things in life really are free and it’s been the moments and experiences I’ve had on this trip that make me realise how beautiful life really is and how lucky I am here to be living.
All it took was some of natures beautiful scenery, a small bar, some snails, strangers & the love of my life to make me realise it.
With a heart full of love &  a belly full o’ gratitude,

Anna x

Our day trip to Capri

Arriving in to Naples via train Morgs & I were ready for a relaxing afternoon and an early night ready for our big day trip to Capri the following day. We were doing 2 nights in Naples purely for Capri, but wanted to make sure we also had enough time in the city itself to try out it’s famous food – pizza!! – Which we managed to do & film but that is staying just for us!
All our plans came together perfectly though and at 9am the next morning, we were bound for Capri cruising smoothly along on a fast ferry. 
Docking, we had no plans. Like always. The plan everywhere we’ve gone so far is to arrive, go for a walk to get comfortable with the town, stop for a cappuccino to relax & people watch – steal some wifi from a cafe, scope out what’s groovy to do around town & go from there. This normal plan didn’t change much at all for Capri and so we found a great path leading up to the main little town in Capri called Ana Capri to tick off the walk part & the ‘find the great coffee part’. As we reached the top of town there was a gorgeous little square with 4 small cafe’s in each corner – the beautiful thing about being on holidays we realised this particular day is that our biggest problem for that day was choosing which cafe to sit at, but rest assured we managed to solve this problem & got in our first coffee for the morning. 
Feeling ready for the adventures we very casually mapped out our day and off we went. 
We walked down to Via Krupp – a private beach with spectacular views of the clearest ocean waters I’ve ever seen we were stopping every few metres to stare in awe at what surrounded us. When we finally got there you actually had to pay to go on to the beach – Note: Capri we found was the biggest tourist trap so far on the trip – so we opted to sit at the private restaurant right on the beach for lunch & wine instead which turned out to be the best decision as we ate the best seafood risotto of our lives. I adored the story behind the restaurant too. It has been owed by the same family for 70 years and the current chef (owner) is the grandson of the original owners. Every day they get their seafood fresh from 2 elderly local fisherman & you can see how much pride they take in their cooking. The views from here were simply unbeatable.
From Via Krupp we walked back up in to the Gardens of Augustus for even more amazing views of the island, it’s surrounding waters & incredible cliff faces. 
Now here is where the lesson is for the day. We had heard of/been told to do/read up about a place on Capri called the Blue Grotto – I posted the video of our experience here.  We hadn’t gone to Capri with the full intention of doing it, & hearing about how it cost to go on the boat out there, then cost again to get rowed in to the actual grotto we were almost not going to do it thinking it wasn’t worth it. BUT ALWAYS GO WITH YOUR GUT whilst travelling & mine wasn’t settled that we weren’t going to do it. I felt like I’d regret it if we left without seeing it. 
So off we went. 
We booked a boat tour around the whole island, which took us not just to the Blue Grotto, but also the Green grotto AND the white grotto and through the ‘kissing cave’ which is a huge rock just off shore in the ocean with a natural archway carved in to it. All up it cost us $28 euro each to go on the boat tour (2 hours) + entry in to the blue grotto and was worth every cent. 
We LOVED it. 
If you ever do Capri don’t be put off by bad reviews – the Blue grotto on Trip advisor has some shocking reviews but it was actually the most amazing, fun, insane experience of the day! – find your own fun & adventure & like with all travel….trust your gut.
One thing we’re learning is if you’re un sure about something on holiday ask yourself if you DON’T do it will you regret it. That simple question alone helps us dictate most of our touristy decisions – and it has worked to our advantage every time. 
Capri was a magical experience & we may have even said we’ll be back!
{ The pathway leading down to Via Krupp }
{ Left: Morgs & I both went with the Seafood Risotto’s and it was one of the yummiest things I’ve ever had – apart from mums Lasagna’s & Savoury Lamb… Right: The restaurant we wined & dined at at Via Krupp }
{ Via Krupp – the private beach in Capri – the view from the restaurant over the water }
{ Being blow away in the Blue Grotto }
{ On our boat tour about to go through the ‘kissing rock’ }

Our top tips for Prague

{ Prague snapped at night by Morgs – a view of the Charles bridge from the side with the Palace in the background }

Praha. Where do we begin with beautiful, beautiful Praha. The whole city & experience shot straight up to one of our favourite places so far. We had heard wonderful things about Prague, as we’re sure you have to, but it’s not until you go there & experience the city & vibe & sights yourself that you truly understand what is so extraordinary about this vast city. 

And extraordinary & vast it is! It was, without a doubt, love at first sight – or arrival if we were to speak in travel terms.
What we realised though, is the city really is so huge, & so eclectic – with a bustling city on one side & a beautiful hilly park on the other – that we would do our own ‘how to’ or ‘guide’ to Prague to help future adventurers plan there own days there. 
p.s Before hitting each new city Morgs & I google till our keyboards are worn out on the history of a town, learn a few of their words in the local language and find out what’s on offer so we can best plan our days so we really do feel quite qualified to offer you this advice….
So grab a cup of coffee (or tea if you’re that way inclined – like my mum, HI MUM!!) & settle in for ….
1. Walk Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge was a ‘how cool we’re really here & really walking this piece of history’ moment for sure, and something we truly enjoyed doing. We had actually found the bridge by accident whilst walking to find a quaint cafe in old town but had in fact slapped it on our to do list the day before so it was divine timing – which has happened this whole trip for us, I’m putting it down to my Nanna, thanks Nan.. But don’t worry, you don’t need divine timing & my Nanna as your guardian angel to find it, the crowds are a dead give away. The bridge itself is 621 meters long & is lined with statues, buskers and merchants offering their goods for this & that euro. We were told through our googling it is considered to be one of the most astonishing civil gothic style buildings in the world – and when we got there, we could see precisely why. We walked slowlyyyyy slowly soaking in every sight & sound possible & stopped at almost every – ok no I lied, it was every single stall that was doing characteruters of tourists paying to have there’s done – it was so incredible & fun to watch their cartoon transform on paper in front of us. The views alone of Prague that you can see from every vantage point on the bridge are worth the adventure itself as you can stand and soak in the Vltava river & get some great shots of this area. Don’t forget to make a wish at the statue of a saint with 5 stars & a small dog that allegedly comes true … you just rub the area that a million other tourists have rubbed, and voila…wish come true – stand by for an update if ours does!! – FACT: Morgs & I had in depth negotiations over coffee that morning pre bridge visit to succinct our wishes so we had extra wish power by wishing for the same thing, genius idea we know & we’re happy to share the idea for future wish placers like yourself. 

2. Visit & get lost in old town

This was by far our favourite area of Budapest and where we spent the most time. If you couldn’t find Morgs & I you didn’t have to look any further than old town, where we could be found wandering every street stopping when we fancied for the 12th cappuccino of the day…or for cheesecake, or for lunch or for every other delicious thing you can imagine. We really (did I mention really?) adored old town and loved every knook & cranny, every ally way & every groovy little cafe that all offered seats in the sun to watch the world go by. If you only have one day in Prague – this is where you should spend it. 

3. Marvel, yes, Marvel at the Astronomical clock

So there is a remarkable story behind the clock but should you ever go to Praha and partake in said marvelling at it’s size & detail I wouldn’t dare want to spoil the story & fun for you. Let’s just say, the clock, since it’s beginning was the main attraction that brought merchants from across the seas to sell their goods but more so to see the clock, but by bringing their goods, it also brought many other people & money to Praha. The architect of the clock had something terrible happen to him from masked men (therein lies the story!) & so he went & destroyed part of the clock and then, sadly, and allegedly died of a broken heart. It wasn’t until some Two hundred years later, that another clock ‘genius’ figured out how to fix and return it to it’s full working capability – and it still works today. Local legend has it though, that when the clock strikes & rings out on the hour you can still hear the architect laughing in joy that the culprits who inflicted the terrible incident on him never got to hear it work again. It’s incredible, it’s huge and it is in the middle of old town so is an absolute must see. 

4. Do the 2 hour bus tour around all of Prague

{Pretty views out of our window}

It shouldn’t surprise anybody – who follows the blog – that Morgs & I jumped on another bus tour of a new city…we still maintain it is the best way to see a city first up and to learn of it’s rich history. This took us all through Praha – including through the Jewish quarter & up near the palace so it was the perfect way to suss out what we wanted to go back and see, where we wanted to visit… and of course not to mention how much we learnt in those lovely 2 hours. Being huge walkers and huge ‘let’s run around like crazy tourists every waking minute of the day’, the 2 hours sitting quietly on a bus is actually a serene time to relax & take everything in not on foot. It cost us $15 euro each & was worth every cent. 

5. Visit the Palace

Just another Palace? – you would understand this statement if you’ve been to Vienna..where there are palaces everyyywhere. Nay.. It’s not just another palace. Why? Because the President of Vienna actually operates & has his offices inside the palace so it’s a living breathing official royal place. Very cool!! Very cool indeed. Not to mention there is tonnes to do & even more to see once inside the big pretty golden gates. Our most favourite part about the palace &  our visit though & something we personally think you should go for even just for this alone is…. The palace gardens – even if you’re not in to gardens, don’t think we’re lame garden people. Morgs & I actually walked up to the palace gardens the day after the initial visit just to marvel at it’s beauty again. It is stunning. And the views of Praha you get from a top here are honestly unbeatable. 
6. Ice Bar & Karlovy Lazne (5 story club in Prague)

So if you’re in to nightclubs & music then this is a must see – otherwise obviously don’t do it. You can visit the ice bar seperatley during the day if you so wish but seeing as though it costs to get in to the ice bar, and costs to get in to the night club we just went to the ice bar at night & only paid the one price to enter the nightclub as the ice bar is just another area on the ‘ground floor’ of the nightclub – ahh the tricks you learn once travelling. Admittedly it’s all a rip off in terms of entrace fee’s and drink prices – we’re talking Perth prices compared to Europe prices everywhere else – but was a fun experience and something we ticked off our to do list! We had a few drinks, explored all 5 levels of the nightclub, danced to some old 90’s music & I busted out to some hip hop – each floor has a different genre of music – & then like the crazy kids we are these days….were still home in bed by midnight.  

7. Underground Catacombs tour

{Terrible photo of me but a true indication of the emotion I was feeling on the tour! A lot of fun but a lot of fear}

Now this is an absolute must do. We were both very well aware going in to each new and very old city – Naples & Rome included – that there would be the option to do catacomb tours. But alas, there was just something about Prague that we knew this was the city we’d do it in, and aren’t we glad we made that decision as it was a highlight of our Prague visit! What happened, which is what we’re learning has almost happened in every city we’ve visited, is that as the centuries plod along, new cities are just literally built on-top-of old cities. So as you walk & live & sip your coffee in new cities like Prague, far below you are whole cities and passageways that were once a vibrant city. We had done our tour at night – which is when you do them – booking what was to be just a simple tour to learn the history, not a ghost tour or a scary tour or anything like that. BUT… it’s exactly what it turns in to!! You enter the Catacombs through a long downward stair case behind a locked door under the Astronomical clock – I know I couldn’t believe it either! & you’re handed a lantern. I had thought the whole thing would be lit with electricity so panicked a little when I knew I was going to be underground, in the dark, with a dimly lit lantern – now is a bad time to admit I’m scared of the dark- but panicking & darkness aside…we pressed on like the professional tourists we are! You’re then taken for an hour through rooms & passageways & doors & huge scary dark old houses with big wells whilst being told stories of the history of this old underground city. What got me though was after the city was built on top of, and they realised that you couldn’t hear the screams or noises from the new town from ‘down there’….they turned it in to a prison where people waiting to be executed were tortured & we were such stories like when a prisoner died, their dead body would be thrown in the well for other prisoners to smell & see – which was another form of torture for the remaining prisoners  The picture above came from the scariest part of the tour for me that Morgs thought was hilarious (due to my panicking, not the history)…we had just stepped in to a huge room through a thick wooden door & I immediately started sweating even though the room was cold, and I mean s-w-e-a-t-i-n-g. I burnt up, felt sick and got stomach pains. I turned to Morgs & quietly said something is wrong, this room isn’t good I’m truly in pain…the guide then started up his spiel of the history of the room and low & behold…it was the room where the actual torture itself took place and where the executioner tortured & killed all the prisoners!! Cue spooky music right? Don’t worry, I was freaked out too. It was one of the most fun/scary/exhilarating tours we’ve done on the trip so far & a MUST DO if you’re headed to Prague. 

8. Walk everywhere

{ We found a tiny hole in the wall on our walks that sold traditional czech sweets, which we devoured}

“Wow Anna, how different, how insightful”. Oh stop it I know I should be an in depth travel writer – not. But honestly, by not catching one piece of public transport the whole time & seeing the city the old fashion way – with two feet & a heartbeat as they say, we saw Prague in so many different ways & got to see things we’d never find on a tram or bus. One day we clocked over 22km by foot but it was one of the best days there as we happened to find by accident the Jewish quarter, the Spanish synagogue, new town (just past old town, who’d have thought! ha) and tonnes of different ally ways with gorgeous cafes where we stopped at for cappuchinos & milkshakes (milkshakes yes, a new addiction we have acquired on the trip, along with nutella, & croissants). Walking Prague will give you the best experience it offers – which is a pretty amazing one at that.

9. Petrin Hill & the Observation Tower

{View from a top the Observation Tower }

This was an absolute highlight for us – although really, what wasn’t – as we adored how one minute we were in the depth of a vast bustling city, and walking a few km’s up a stunning hill you’re all of a sudden in lush forrest .. all whilst still in Prague! The Observation Tower & Petrin Hill is the highest point of Prague and offers stunning views – naturally, and some beautiful scenery that is green green green! We walked the hill but rest assured people who actually like to relax on their holiday and not walk everywhereee, there is a tram type cart that can take you up to the top. My advice if you’ll have it though is to walk it though as it truly is a magical hike through quiet trees & nature. Once you reach the top you find the Observation Tower that is actually a mini replica of the Eiffel Tower – fabulous! We climbed to the top of this & from there saw spectacular 360 degree views of Prague. Don’t rush this experience. I noticed tonnes of people reaching the top, snapping a few quick photos then begin the descent down. Soak in the fact you’re a top Prague with stunning views & don’t just witness it through your lens camera. Share a smooch, a high five or some wow moments once you get there & it makes the experience all the more worthwhile. 
So that’s it – our 4 days summed up in to a what to or how to of Prague. There was plenty more we did too, like visit a chocolate museum – that kept our chocolate & red wine nights a go go – & the Spanish Synagogue but they were our own fun little experiences shared & you will find your own extra activities too.  It truly was one of the most amazing cities we’ve visited yet though & we adored every second of it. 
Love & Light xx

Living your dream in Santorini…on a budget

[ In Oia for dinner & drinks to watch the sunset ]
Sometimes experiences and places are so out of this world and magnificent there are in fact no words for them. These types of experiences and places are so far & few in between, but when you do experience it or find such a special place you can’t quite sum it up in to words. Santorini is exactly that. There are no words for its beauty, I don’t feel words like extraordinary, beautiful, breathtaking…no, none of them can quite do it justice.  We had an inkling that we were going to fall in love with the place, hard, which is probably why we had booked 6 nights – disclaimer; I had booked 6 nights as this was my pre empted destination that would be my omg moment, and it was, and although 6 nights was enough, naturally, you could and we could have stayed on much longer. 
We swam, ate, read, and soaked up as many sunsets as possible – it would be nearly impossible for you to miss a sunset on the island as no matter where you happen to be, or what you’re doing, as soon as you know that the sun is going down you want to get to the cliff’s edge as fast as possible – it’s almost like mother nature casting a spell on you, it’s that beautiful. Not an evening went by as we clinked our glasses to toast another incredible sunset that we said how it didn’t seem real, it was almost too beautiful to feel like you were really in that moment. No photos would do it justice like being there, cliff side, witnessing the sun going down on another warm day in such a stunning town.
There are, in my opinion only really 2 towns to stay in if you are there (of course there’s lots of little other ones but if you want the realllll omg moments here is your guide). 
Fira or Oia. 
Fira is the capital of Santorini and is where we stayed. Oia, is the infamous town where you can see the sunset on the ocean (not behind the volcano) and is allegedly more ‘Blue & White’ than the rest of the Island. Luckily for those that haven’t been yet and wouldn’t know what to do – here is our take on it.
BOTH towns are incredible. There are more restaurant options than you can poke a stick at in both Fira & Oia (but Fira has more) and the whole island is Blue & White – not just Oia – so you get the real Santorini experience & beauty in both towns. After staying in Fira however & visiting Oia countless times – I ended up preferring Fira. Both towns offer the same spectacular views, the same beautiful Blue & White landscapes, the same great restaurants & sunsets….but Oia is more expensive. I found that there were more restaurant options in Fira with uninterrupted views than in Oia, where there are only a handful of restaurants that offer the views you are staying on the island for. 
Here is the real kicker as well that I think should be considered when booking your own dream holiday to Santorini.
Oia – most restaurants that have sunset views only allow you to dine in their restaurant at sunset if you’re going to have dinner, i.e. you can’t just go in and have some cocktails (or beer…or whatever!) and watch the sunset. 
Fira – Way crusier. Every single restaurant that has the most incredible sunset views cliff side, (believe us we ate at most) allows you to just have drinks for the sunset if that is all you’re after. 
Remember as well, the sun sets in the WEST, so you want a hotel that is on the West side of the island (check this carefully as a lot of hotels on the East side lie and say they’re west facing). Naturally with this being the main draw card of the island everything is populated around the West side – shops, restaurants, hotels, ice cream stores, mini markets, – the lot! 
There truly was no part of Santorini I could say was my favourite. Wandering completley aimlessly armed with a camera and ice cream through the hoards of white cobble stoned allys, watching sunsets, drinking cocktails by the pool, walking the hill to see the Donkeys – it all made our experience something we’ll remember forever. 
So why the name of the post you might be wondering as you near the end of our Santorini experience. Well, it’s not as expensive or unreasonably priced as you may think. So, to spur you on in slapping Santorini on your own bucket list, travel list, whatever list – I wanted to list 3 main suggestions for you if and when you get to the magical island – Accommodation, Restaurant, & inexpensive dining options. 
If you want to live your dream, in luxury, with some of the best views on the island, the best food & do it all within a budget you probably didn’t think possible, here is our guide on Santorini.
This is where we stayed … cliff side, sunset views from your own private balcony (or from the restaurant balcony or pool area .. or anywhere in the hotel. The room was gorgeous and just what we needed and we had a view of the ocean from our bedroom window. Bliss. 
This is where we had dinner with amazing sunset views – we ate at different cliff side restaurnts (in both Oia & Fira) every single night, all with fantastic food, fantastic service and even better views but this place was insanely well priced for restaurant dining with kick ass views. You would look at paying almost double (+) for the same menu items in Oia, and close to double at other restaurants spotted along the cliff with sunset views in Fira. Lithos was our pick of restaurants in Fira for the budget savvy (& it was some of the best food we had!) 

This is what & where we lived on for lunch – and it cost us $2.30 euro believe it or not. Lucky’s offers up THE best gyro’s (that’s kebabs for you Aussies back at home) on the whole island – this advice doesn’t just come from us, it comes from everyone, the locals and other tourists. There is a lot more on their menu than just gyro’s as well all for around $2 – $4 euro.

So there you have it – Santorini. It really is as beautiful as the pictures make it out to be and we will absolutely be back. And who knows – maybe we’ll see you there too.

Light & love xx

[ View from the balcony of our Accommodation ]
[ Oia – spent an afternoon exploring the sea of White & Blue ]

[ Out on the Aegean Sea – we thought we’d do the romantic thing & did a sunset cruise – very fun! ]

[ Our day of exploring Oia ]

[ The view from Lithos Restaurant – I got double the view 😉 Morgs AND the sunset..lucky gal ]

Don’t write Athens off

Stepping off the plane the heat hit us before the sunlight did – Athens. Historic Athens. We’d made it to the Greek Islands and were so ready for the sun after spending 3 weeks in mostly cold(ish) tempretures and sometimes rain that is the UK. We seem to have let go of expectations and first impressions as things always change and cities will always surprise you in the most amazing ways – which was no exception with Athens. We had been told – by everybody – every.body that Athens wasn’t even worth visiting and that even 2 nights would be too long. When we got there, every other young tourist that we got chatting to, said the exact same thing. Never being ones to listen to other people’s opinions however we still went ahead and booked our two nights in this now seemingly mysterious town – namely, to see the Akropolis, and you know what? 2 nights wasn’t enough!
We loved it, all of it. The people, the gyro’s – that’s kebabs for you Aussies back home – the history, oh the history, the sights, the adventures, 
Admittedly, I think we struck it lucky. When planning the trip Athens got put on the Greek Islands hopping map because of the want to visit the Acropolis – so when booking accommodation, I had researched places close by, and our apartment literally ended up being a 5 minute walk from there – if that. There were cobble stoned & marble streets – evidently you can’t escape them over here and I love it! – all around our area full of bustling restaurants and cafe’s and some of the best ice cream we’ve eaten all trip. 
We visited a roof top bar – sipping cocktails whilst watching the sun set over the Acropolis, and that was just night one! Our first day there we decided to embrace the overwhelming but welcoming heat and do a walking tour of Athens – 3 hours with a traditional guide that cost only…6 euro. I learnt more on history in that 3 hours of walking Greece than any school or textbook has ever taught me. 
I fell in love with the story of the battle of Marathon – where the Persians almost took Greece but cunning battle strategy saw the Greeks win. The Persians were quick to try to outwit the Grecians though & started to sail around the island to the front gates tricking the city in to opening their gates for them even though they had lost. The army head was aware of what they were trying to do so sent a young warrior boy who had  just finished battle to run 42km to the city gates to let the people know they’d won, and to not open the gates for the Persians. He made it. He never stopped running and with his last breathe he got out “we were victorious” before he died from exhaustion. The city gates were never opened and the victory was still held by the Greeks. They say this is where Marathons now come from – the battle of Marathon, to celebrate human spirit and life in the courageous 42km run the boy did to save his country. 
With a new determined spirit we finished our walking tour & decided to tackle the highest hill in Greece – with the most spectacular views over the whole city. It was breathtaking and worth every step that we took in the overbearing heat. You could sit, in wonder and stare across the whole of Athens in the comforting shade a church offers at the very top. 
Our final ‘to do’ in Athens was the sole reason that we came – The Acropolis. Most, in fact all historical archaeological sites across Athens shut at 3pm to tourists…except the Acropolis – that shuts at 8pm, so we knew exactly when we were going to go to that… for sunset. The walk up is nothing compared to the hill we had done earlier so most able bodied persons could do it with ease and like most raised areas in Greece the view was well – spectacular. As you walk through all the ruins from many many many grandparents ago – i.e eons of years – you can’t help imagine what went on here, the feasts, the battles, the prayers, the traditions, it’s incredible to visit & more incredible to just sit and soak up the atmosphere of Athens from there. 
At the end of our two nights we were quietly wishing we maybe had just one more night – for what? Who knows, but in a city so full of music and laughter and history – I’m sure we could have found our own new adventure. 
So promise, if you are headed to Greece, and you haven’t heard the best things about Athens, let go of your pre determined opinions and give it a go – slap it on your travel map and create your own beautiful adventures in a city that is willing to let you.
P.s If you are going to head there, we can’t recommend where we stayed enough! Amazing area, fantastic accommodation & tonnes of things to do around there. Here is where we stayed – just in case it’s made your travel list. 

[ It reminded me of ‘the secret garden’ – A gorgeous park in old Athens where you can seek peace & quiet in an otherwise buzzing city ]

[ A top the highest point in Athens – we walked, but you can get a cable car up .. Morgs snapped this as I was quietly contemplating life & the universe ]

[ A view from the highest point in all of Athens – it is so breathtaking up there, and bright! So so bright ]

[ A pic snapped whilst exploring the Acropolis – so many beautiful ruins up there ]

[ Waiting for the sun to set exploring every inch of the Acropolis & all of it’s old ruins ]

[ Relaxing a top the Acropolis ]

[ The Pantheon – in all her glory ]