Our wonderful trip to Melbourne

Fun & Love in Melbourne 
Oh Melbourne. You MINX.
There we were. Like every trip, riding to the airport like two excited kids on Christmas eve (ok well I certainly raise the excitement metre and carry it for us both). We were off to Melbourne for 5 days to hang out, shop, eat and drink and we had been hanging out for the trip for weeks.
Getting to Melbs with my handsome man also just happened to be number 7 on my 25 before 25 list but it was so so much more than that.
We wanted a time out. We wanted some Morgs & Anna time. Breakfast dates. Wine dates. Relaxing dates. Just to be in each others company & Melbourne delivered in spades.
I think it’s no secret that we love to travel, in fact, the comment was made sitting together beer & pie in hand (because it’s rude to not drink & eat a pie at the footy right?) that we really do just want to travel the world together forever. 
So the vow has been made. Travel will always be involved in our lives – even when we start having little Morgan & Anna’s.

Here is what I challenge you to do though. BOOK THAT TRIP. You know, that trip you have been saying you really want to do, but still haven’t organised. The road trip down south, the quick flight to Sydney, the week holiday in Bali. Just book it. One of the biggest lessons that I still relish in every single day is there is never any point in waiting, for the right time, or more money. It’s not morbid to say, but you honestly, truly really don’t know just when your time is up. Imagine putting off living because you were worried about submitting a leave form, or asking your boss, or spending a bit of money. I have never let time, annual leave or money get in the way of a good holiday and once I commit it always works out, always.


In the true spirit of a travel post though, and after getting some amazing recommendations that truly made our trip, here is the roundup of where we ate & drank in case you want to give any of the spots a try.

P.s We stayed at an amazing hotel in between South Yarra & Melbourne CBD called ‘The Blackman Hotel’ .. highly, highly, highly recommend it. When we go back to Melbourne we will ab-so-lutley be staying there again.  

M&A’s Food Guide to Melbourne 

Newmarket Hotel – St Kilda … Fantastic hotel / restaurant with sexy atmosphere (& amaze wines). We went to visit some friends here & it was hard to leave to kick on for dinner. 
Naked for Satin – St Kilda … THE most happenin’ bar / restaurant that does Pintox for $2 a toothpick. We went, had some pintox, some wine, & chilled out with old friends on some comfy sofa’s. Absolute MUST do in Melbourne. Groovy story behind the name and history behind the place so do make sure you grab the story off the bar when you’re there.
China Town – Melbourne CBD … You can’t go to any city I believe without giving their China Town a red hot crack. We just stopped at the first restaurant we came across that was packed & settled down for lunch. Delish Asian cuisine and vibin’ little area. 
Dukes Coffee Shop – Windsor … This is where I had the world’s yummiest muesli. Absolute must do for Breakfast & Coffee if you’re in Melbourne. We kicked our morning off here with some delish food then shopped up a storm on Chapel Street (which is where this bad boy is located) Win freaking Win.
MerryWell Crown Casino – Melbourne CBD … Because honestly, a trip to Melbourne isn’t a trip to Melbourne without a visit to the Crowne. We opted for burgers and wine here & honestly, I’d go back to Melbourne for this burger alone. Amazing views over the Yarra river & skyline too.
Classico – South Yarra … Morgs & I wanted to give a red hot crack at eating most cuisines whilst in Melbourne so this gorgeous little restaurant dished us up the Italian of the trip. Intimate setting, incredible wine list, great sized portions, friendly service & awesome food. 
St Ali – South Melbourne … If you like coffee, get here. Just simply, get here. One of the best coffee’s we had in Melbourne & I would go back again. Freaking happenin’ little spot, awesome vibe and seriously good coffee. The food looked amazing too (but we had just gone for a taste of their coffee) 
Queen Victoria Markets – Melbourne CBD … We went for some market breakfast & coffee and turns out it was some devilishly good tasting coffee and THE best pancakes I’ve ever eaten in my life (massive call but I just made it). The Melbourne Markets are a must do if you’re in Melbourne regardless but don’t give their food stalls a miss. 
T-Roy Browns – Melbourne CBD … This is quite literally a whole in the wall but a hole in the wall that isn’t to be missed.
Rose St Artist Market – Fitzroy … We found this groovy little art market whilst wandering Brunswick street on the way to get some raw vegan goodness and stopped past to have a wander. It’s small enough to not get lost for hours and has some really (really) cool handmade stuff in there. If you’re going to shop or eat on Brunswick street then these markets deserve a visit.
Chez Dre – South Melbourne … We popped in to this divine bakery’esque place whilst grabbing a coffee at St Ali & can I Just recommend you do the same. Fresh style home made pastries and cakes and so mouth wateringly delish I can’t put in to words. Just GET there.
Slow Poke – Fitzroy … This place is another little gem hidding in Melbourne like an unsuspecting hole in the wall. We hit it up for Breakfast and I almost died over their Chai Latte (THE best I’ve ever had) and the bonus of the whole meal was their home made relish’s that accompany most dishes. This is a breakfast place you can’t miss in Melbourne (I’m serious).
Meatball & Wine Bar – Melbourne CBD … Almost every single retail staff member that was recommending us places to go in Melbourne told us we had to go here..so go here we went!! We popped past after the game of football we caught thinking we’d stay just to check it out before we kicked on somewhere else but ended up staying the whole night. It was SUCH an intimate awesome little bar and we loved the menu concept. Literally, pick your meatballs, pick a sauce, pick a side. SO yum – and we tasted the yummiest cocktail of our lives here also (their reds are imported from Italy as well so it made me get transported right back to our Europe travels). Don’t go to Melbourne without paying this place a visit.
Yong Green Food – Fitzroy … This place was reccommend by at least 4 people to us so even though we’re not Raw Vegan foodies (Which is what this place delivers in spades) we knew we had to def check it out. We could only stop for a morning tea (we had big plans for lunch) and gorged ourselves on raw cheesecake and a big delicious smoothie. All the food around us (there is also hot vegan food available) looked like some of the yummiest, freshest food I’d ever soon. Whether you are a raw vegan or not, get here to try some healthy goodness.
Veggie Bar – Fitzroy … Veggie Bar is literally down and across the road from Yong Green Food and we popped in a different day to give their own smoothies and raw desserts a try. It is a gorgeous place buzzing with people and the menu is drool worthy.
Gradi 400 – Brunswick … If you like Pizza, and I mean real, Italian style pizza this is your restaurant. Morgs refused to leave Melbourne without trying it (after it coming highly recommended) and we are SO glad we ended up paying it a visit. Gorgeous interior, amazing service and absolutley delish pizzas. The name comes from the fact they cook the pizzas for only 90 seconds, at 400 degrees. Ah-mazing.
Cafe Vue at 401 – South Yarra … We popped in to this unassuming cafe on our last morning as we walked in the general area of where we were staying and it was the most delicious breakfast we were so impressed. Their porridge (I was just so excited they did porridge) was amazing and Morgs said it was one of the best “big breakfasts” his ever had!

Our Complete Europe Itinerary

So here it is. Our holy grail. Our complete itinerary from our UK & Europe adventure which lists our cities, time spent in each place, and most importantly (and let’s be honest, what I think most people really want!) .. the links to all the accommodation for the whole trip. I’ll also be listing all the websites that we used to get all the information we needed to help you in your own scheming and planning. Hooray!

Our trip included visiting 48 cities in 20 countries. Wowee I had never counted that before until just then…god I miss being in each and every one of those 20 countries. 
An important disclosure before I share allll of our info however. I am, in no way shape or form sharing this for you to take the trip and do it exactly the same. There is no way you could ever replicate a trip from doing so. Our itinerary worked perfectly for us as it was exactly what we wanted but every single person is different and you really need to find your own travel groove. Take a little or take a lot but just use this as a good inspiration and guiding light to get started. 
Are you ready?
Our Europe Itinerary for 4 & a half months

London for 4 nights & we stayed here 

Cardiff for 1 night & we stayed here
Dublin for 4 nights & we stayed here
Belfast for 2 nights & we stayed here
Inverness for 2 nights & we stayed here
Portree for 2 nights & we stayed here*
Elgin for 2 nights & we stayed here
Edinburgh for 4 nights & we stayed here
Amsterdam for 3 nights & we stayed here
Brussels for 2 nights & we stayed here
Athens for 2 nights & we stayed here
Santorini for 7 nights & we stayed here & here
Mykonos for 3 nights & we stayed here
Split for 3 nights & we stayed here
We then Sailed Croatia for 7 nights (highlight of our trip) & used this company
Budapest for 3 nights & we stayed here
Kirchburg for 5 nights & we stayed here
Vienna for 3 nights & we stayed here
Prague for 4 nights & we stayed here
Rome for 4 nights & we stayed here
Naples for 2 nights & we stayed here
Positano for 2 nights & we stayed here
Amalfi for 2 nights & we stayed here
Florence for 3 nights & we stayed here
Venice for 3 nights & we stayed here
Milan for 2 nights & we stayed here
Vernazza (Cinque Terre) for 2 nights & we stayed here
Monte Carlo for 2 nights & we stayed here
Nice for 2 nights & we stayed here
Cannes for 2 nights & we stayed here
St Tropez for 2 nights & we stayed here
Toulon for 2 nights & we stayed here
Nimes for 2 nights & we stayed here
Barcelona for 4 nights & we stayed here
Valencia for 4 nights & we stayed here
Mallorca for 2 nights & we stayed here
Madrid for 2 nights & we stayed here
San Sebastian for 3 nights & we stayed here
Paris for 4 nights & we stayed here
Luxembourg for 2 nights & we stayed here
Berlin for 3 nights & we stayed here
Frankfurt for 2 nights & we stayed here
Heidelberg for 2 nights & we stayed here
Munich for 2 nights & we stayed here
Interlaken for 5 nights & we stayed here
Dubai for 6 nights & we stayed here
Websites that we used to book all of the above – & spent a million hours researching on…
Skyscanner – to book all of our flights internally & across countries
Airbnb – an ah-ma-zing website that we adored. This is how we stayed in luxurious apartments for so cheap.
Hostelbookers – you can’t backpack through Europe without staying in hostels & this was the best website.
Hostelworld – also good for booking hostels but less variety than hostelbookers & a little more expensive.
Booking – great to find hotels & hostels when the other websites can’t find you many options.
TripAdvisor – we didn’t use this to book, but great to read honest reviews of hotels from previous guests.
Also, the only iPhone Apps that we couldn’t live without over there was the following.
AroundMe – SO helpful in any and every city we went too when we needed to find an ATM, restaurant, toilet, the list goes on! It would pick up on where you were and then point you to the closest everything. It saved our butts many times.
TripAdvisor CityGuides – TridAdvisor is obviously every travelers best friend so this app shouldn’t surprise you! Before reaching each new city we would download it to the app so once there could look up all the top attractions, tours, restaurants and activities. It would map you there from wherever your starting point was as well so if the mood called to use it we could just get the app up and map ourselves to the tourist thing we wanted to do at that moment. Fan-tastic!

[Left; Budapest      Right; Cinque Terre ] _________________________________________________________________________________

So there you go. 4 & a half months of trip of a lifetime travel condensed here, for you, with love, in just 3 paragraphs. This is the thing though, I am trying to encourage as much as humanly possible for you to just book that trip. Just go. Stop telling yourself that you never have the right timing, or money or circumstance because let me assure you, if you keep telling yourself that, then you never will. I had told myself, that no matter what, when I finished uni, I’d go to Europe. I spoke it aloud, I wrote it down, I shared the dream, and last year I did just that. I would love to see 2013, or the years to come manifest in to the year you took a trip to the place you’ve always dreamed of but never deemed possible. I truly believe, with the right belief, planning, research, saving & tools you will be able to do it. And this is exactly what I hope my 2 Europe posts will do for you.

Your turn.

If you have any cities that aren’t on there that you think people would love or should know about then I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. Also share any other websites or Apps that you have found amazing when traveling, let’s help people grow their travel dreams together.

Love, light & big wishes,

Anna xx

[ Madrid ]

[ Croatia ]
[ Nimes ]
[ Kirchburg ]
[ Vernazza ] 

[ Munich – Oktoberfest ]

Some BIG & Exciting news

On a beautiful and calm December morning as Morgan & I were floating low over the sand dunes in Dubai in a hot air balloon at sunrise, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife….
It was the most surreal, peaceful, romantic, happiest moment of my life and I can’t wait to become his wife (& he assures me he can’t wait to become my husband either-hooray!) We had never ever discussed marriage as it was both something we knew would happen on our own time and terms and I always just wanted it to be a surprise, and he sure did surprise me in the most spectacular way ever. 
We’re taking things s-l-o-w-l-y though. Not too slow of course, but slow enough to relish in every second and every moment of this new chapter of being engaged. 
No matter how many times I say fiance’ or I’m getting married I still giggle and swoon a thousand times more when I hear it come out of his mouth – it just sounds so, so…perfect.

With this being my shiny place of inspiration for all things on life & love you might see a few more posts pop up about the process I am about to go through in letting this beautiful fact of actually being engaged sink in, the engagement party (that we officially booked today, hells yeah) and wedding ‘stuff’ as time goes on (like how I am already learning just howww important your wedding photographer is on the day, hell-o h.o.u.r.s of upcoming research!)
Here is what I know to be truer than true in the whole of my heart already though.
I love this man I get to now marry more than anything (even saying I am getting married makes me well up, so help me on my wedding day!) So as much as we’re aware that the wedding will be the most important day of our lives, we are more focused right now on the day after the wedding day and that little part of ‘forever’ we then have to work on. Our Marriage. And that’s why we’re not rushing it. (think middle to end of 2014). We are working together on all aspects of what is ahead of us – which of course includes things like themes and colours and guests lists, but also talking about what marriage means to each of us and how we would raise children. 
We’re excited. Excited x infinity in fact. It is the most surreal and unreal time for us both and I felt it time to share with you beautiful readers the news that made my 2012 the most memorable of all. 
That I, Anna, get to take Morgan, my kind hearted, beautiful souled, handsome, amazing (lolly & cordial obsessed) man, as my husband and that makes me feel like the happiest and luckiest girl alive.
p.s if you’re new to our love story find some back history here and here x

{ Walking through the desert on the way to the balloon basket blissfully unaware what Morgs had planned }

Bologna 101; Italian food + Tours

{ Fresh Egg Pasta freshly made }

Not being ready just yet to let go of travel inspired posts I have an extra special post for you today my gorgeous readers! Do you remember the time in Italy that Morgs & I did our very own food tour of Bologna? I had shared our take on this gorgeous Italian town and the fact that the best food Morgs & I tasted in Italy came from Bologna. There was some big non negotiable’s for us both when travelling and eating & drinking our way around Italy was high on that list. We were so lucky to end up following our noses and stomachs to Bologna as it turned in to our yummiest and one of the most random/adventure packed days from our 3 weeks in Italy. It was such a lovely surprise when Gabriele from the website Emilia Delizia contacted me after reading my post on our food tour in Bologna! I asked her to do a special post for you guys on her personal take on ‘What to eat & drink in Bologna’ which I am sharing with you today…

If we had of found this website when we were in Italy there is no doubt we would have been one happy traveler – I can’t encourage a bookmark of this website if you are ever heading to Italy as it will make tour booking so much easier. Hopefully you guys enjoy learning about traditional Italian food as much as I did from her piece.

So Gabriele take it away!

“What to eat & drink in Bologna”
This short guide provided by emiliadelizia.com about eating out in Bologna will help your readers to choose food and drink while they are in Bologna. This town is called the fat because of its opulence in the cooking department. Dishes tend to be quite elaborate, rich and decadent. In Bologna you will drink red sparkling wines and you will eat “English soup” as dessert!
Fresh Egg Pasta
Bologna has no durum semolina pasta in its tradition, all the pasta you will find here is made fresh from soft from wheat and eggs as a protein binder. The results come in many shapes from the simple Tagliatelle, to more elaborate Lasagne, Tortelloni and tortellini. Tagliatelle are served with ragu’ which is a meaty sauce resembling more to a stew than a pasta sauce. Certainly you can also find the famous pasta strips topped with porcini mushrooms or a Parmesan cream with truffles, possibly from the nearby town of Savigno. 

On the other hand Tortelloni have a more elaborate hat shape and they are stuffed with ricotta and herbs, the condiment could be just tomato sauce and basil or butter and sage. The king of the Winter months is the Tortellino. These smaller versions of the hat shape are best served in their capon broth with a rich sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. You should look for restaurants or delis which serve hand made Tortellini to really fulfill this experience.

Bread, bread and more bread.

Italy probably will make you forget about your carb free diet for awhile, as you might know it is all about eating wheat products such as bread, pasta, foccacia, pizza and so on. Bologna is no different but there are some special breads that are worth a mention (and for you to try!)

For example, Crescentine are small round breads that in the good old days were cooked between clay disks (tigelle) near an open fire. These small breads were originally the staple of the poor farmers on the Bologna hills. They are still very popular today and they are cut in 2 halves and served like a modern sandwich with cured meats like; Prosciutto di parma, Mortadella di Bologna, Coppa, Salami, Culatello and the list goes on!

{Crescentine bread}

Piadina is another example local bread and it is a street food and you can easily sample in Bologna. Originally from the Eastern part of the region namely Romagna. Piadina is a flat bread traditionally prepared with pork clarified lard and cooked on a cast iron pan. The lard will give a nice fragrance to the bread that it is going to be served with squaquerone cheese and cabbage if you follow the farmer tradition, but today you can top it with anything you like. 
Wine drinking in Bologna

Bologna when it comes to wine is very eclectic. On the Eastern hills we have Sangiovese wines which are made with homonymous grapes. Sangiovese is a full bodied red wine and when aged it has a lot of pleasant structure with hints of rustic charm. On the Western part of Bologna you will find Pignoletto, a white and sparkling wine which is served young, soon after the harvest. We also find Lambrusco, a unique red sparkling wine which is also served young and in Summer is best served chilled. All of these wines are just perfect with the local cuisine. 


No meal is complete without a dessert! In Bologna you will have plenty of choices but one stands out more than the other; Zuppa Inglese, which translates in to English Soup. It is in fact a trifle mimicking the famous English trifles but with local Bolognese ingedients. It has a base of savoiardi biscuits soaked in liqueur and topped off with egg and chocolate custards.

If your headed to Italy soon or know of any family that are send them to emiliadelizia.com – Morgs & I looked in to a lot of food and wine tours when we were over there but didn’t find any that were perfectly suited to us, but if we had of found emiliadelizia it would have been a different story.
Now…who feels like some pasta?
Yours with dreams of red wine & pasta in Italy,
Anna xx

Finding Love & Magic in Interlaken

If there were 5 words to sum up just how truly amazing, beautiful and memorable our time in Interlaken was they would be…
It can’t be summed up. 
It truly can’t. 
How can you honestly put in to words one of the most incredible, exciting times of your life? WE SAW SNOW. Cue fireworks and band music now. But not only did we see snow, we saw some remarkably heavy heavy snow that covered the whole town in white and allowed us to frolic like we were 12 year olds, do snow angels and have snow fights all whilst the snow was still falling. It was un-real. 

Here is the clincher though – Morgs & I had put Interlaken on the list (Switzerland in general) for 2 reasons … 
1. To go Skydiving over the Swiss Alps.
2. To go skiing for the first time for us both ever
And guess what? Both of these amazing events couldn’t or didn’t end up happening because it was snowing so heavily. Initially I was pretty sad that two of the big to do’s on our trip list couldn’t end up happening – in fact to say I was gutted about not being able to skydive would be an understatement. But here’s the beautiful thing, remember me first sharing how much I’d let go on this holiday? Well that came in to play hugely, but alongside that, I had Morgs who without skipping a beat shrugged the whole thing off like it wasn’t no’thang’, immediately said it was for the best as there were obviously better plans for us – have I mentioned how much I adore this man? and dragged me back out in to the snow for some more laughs & incredible awe inspiring moments.
I don’t think either of us can really explain what it was about Interlaken that was so so amazing for us – it’s just snow after all (right? wrong!), but being two snow virgins being out in falling heavy snow was one of the most magical moments of our life. 
The awesome thing that happened as well is that because we couldn’t go skiing or skydiving it opened up two whole days for us to explore the surrounding mountains which ended up being some of our favourite memories from Switzerland. Being able to train up to Lauterbrunnen and Grindewald to have big lunches, play in even more heavy snow and laugh till our cheeks hurt from the fun are moments and memories we get to now cherish forever. 
The other cool thing that happened was we declared to the universe obviously Switzerland wasn’t meant to give us all of our experiences and falling snow and being in snow was what we were to take away from Interlaken. We are now exploring the option of booking a ski holiday in Queenstown New Zealand and exploring different sky diving options at home (jumping over the ocean is high up our list as is doing it when we get over to Melbourne this year), both things we never would have gotten to experience otherwise which we are totally claiming as beautiful blessings in disguise. 
With all of this love talk about Interlaken here are just a few other incredible lessons we took away from our time in this magical white winterland…
  • To live, laugh and love with carefree abandon. I really mean it.
  • That acting like a child again was some of the most freeing and hysterical fun we had.
  • That when plans fall through, plans we had your heart set on, it was for the best and the universe has so much more in store for us.
  • To truly be in the moment and show up for ourselves. 
  • To find peace in the quiet moments. And I really mean Peace.
  • To do exactly what I felt like doing when moments called for it (like spinning till I fell over, screaming from excitement and running out in the cold with barely any clothes on to feel what its like) was some of the most fulfilling fun moments of our travel trip. 

Even sitting here quietly now, back in my beautiful sunny home town Perth writing about our Interlaken experience actually makes me tear up, it was truly just that fun and memorable. Like the whole rest of our trip though it just worked, everything that was meant to be happened for us and it couldn’t have been a more perfect town to end our huge 4 and a half month adventure in. Leaving Interlaken bound for the Zurich airport to start our trip home I felt relaxed, fulfilled and truly blessed for 5 days of pure magic. 

Can you believe this is it though? Interlaken was our final destination in Europe and although I have a post to do on Dubai – oh myyy god did we love Dubai! – our big adventure is over. I will be sharing a few more posts to do with Travel before it’s back to business around here and I have some exciting & huge plans for the blog in 2013. 

Thank you to all you gorgeous souls though for following along on Morgs & I’s crazy adventure – we felt connected through all of your comments on the blog, tweets and instagram comments….a big thank you post is on it’s way but for now, just know having you all ‘along for the ride’ made our trip that much more special and memorable.
I hope you’ve loved sharing our experiences as much as we loved living them and writing about them. 
SO much love + gratitude,
Anna (& Morgs) x x

We heart Heidelberg

It’s hard to put in to words just how beautifully surprised we were when we first arrived on Heidelberg’s doorstop. Our biggest no-no when travelling was from the very get go to never go in to a country or city with expectations from ourselves, and especially from others so Heidelberg was of course no different. We arrived with no expectations just a little knowledge of this old town full of character and our heavy backpacks. Can I just say here though, if we did have any expectations, they would have been exceeded, exceeded so much that to use metaphors, the ball of expectation would have been smashed way out of the ball park, down the road and around the corner, we were that surprised and that immediately in love.
It’s like with any new city or town or country that we went to and fell in love with though. You can’t put your finger on exactly what it is about that place you love so much. I mean, after all, it’s just a new city, with similar shops elsewhere in the world, an old castle that most other old cities had, and friendly locals willing to help out if need be. But you don’t love it any less. 
Heidelberg for us was it’s Baroque old town, its gorgeous cobblestone streets, it’s incredible Christmas markets scattered all over the city and it’s beautiful old, rich rich history. The town had originally been slapped on our travel map as when looking in to Germany we discovered it was one of the only towns that escaped bombing during WW2 which meant that the town stood originally as it did many moons ago, which was a huge attraction to us. Once there though we both fast said it was one of our favourite places visited in Germany and we loved how we could be surprised with new things to see or do each and every day. 
We walked for hours everyday getting lost in it’s old town streets, we wandered up to the medieval castle high a top the hill, we found hole in wall cafes to drink hot cups of coffee out of the snow and we went for food and fun every night in the Christmas markets alongside all the other locals and tourists searching for the same thing as us – memorable times with loved ones. 
When we spoke of going to Germany, everybody gave us fantastic recommendations on where to go like Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt and all the normal places you would expect to go….but if I can give you our own recommendation put Heidelberg high on your priority list (and make sure you stay in old town, it’s the heart of this beautiful city). 
Your turn…
Have you ever been to a city you’d never heard of before and it been one of the most magical times ever? I’d love to hear about it and get inspired for our next trip.

I’m still here…promise

Hello gorgeous souls,
I am aware I have been rather M.I.A around here at the moment but for good reason – the last week has been the most surreal, craziest, biggest of my life to date. For those who follow me on Instagram or Twitter you will know the big news and for everybody else, I’ll be doing a big post on what has gone down very very soon. For now though I just wanted to say a big HI, I’m still here, and I have SO much to share with you all in the coming days, weeks and months. 

As you read this, Morgs & I will be on the 10 hour flight home…it’s over. O-v-a-h. Our 4 and a half month adventure has come to a close and there are so many emotions flying around right now. We are reflective, blissed out, relaxed, excited, grateful, and of course me being the sometimes sook that I am, a little emotional. I will be sharing the last few stops of our trip in the next few posts + big news personally + big news for the blog. Of course there is going to be a huge wrap up post of the adventure & I’ll be sharing tonnes of advice, how to’s and links to most of the places we stayed to help you guys with your own adventures!

So hang in there, life will return to normal around here very soon and I can’t wait to start writing down all that is in my head & heart and get myself (& anybody else who needs the help) ready for 2013. 

Watch this space…

x x

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..

Emotions in Berlin + Munich

{ Touching a piece of history – The Berlin Wall }
{ Wondering all the stories and secrets this particular piece of wall held – Berlin Wall }
It’s been a little quiet around here for a week but there’s a good reason for that… Germany needed my full and undivided attention, and, when we were done for the day of complete & utter living & being in the moments, I would curl up with Morgs at night and need to have a red wine, watch a movie, journal or read something inspirational, I couldn’t sit & write. Why? Because Germany was so immensely emotionally intense for me. Not in a bad way either, in almost a necessary, it was always going to be that way, kind of way.
This trip, I was by far most excited about my dream destination Santorini, and then my be all and end all country, Spain. However, there has been excitement and anticipation for every day and city along the way also. Every city we have visited we have adored, loved, lived it up, drank it down, belly laughed, explored till our feet hurt and just totally and utterely vibed off the different energies each city has offered – all different, unique & amazing energies at that. But Germany was always going to be a little different for me. Morgs was really, really excited for it, and I was totally as well – for me though, it was alllll about the history, the same can be said for Morgs but he was also excited about the food & beer – understandably. Even the cities we picked in Germany were to make sure we got the most out of what we wanted which was to learn about this countries rich rich history, and oh, oh my did we get just that.
The two most energy zapping, emotional days for me on this whole trip by far came from Germany. Day 1 was in Berlin visiting the Topography of Terror, which is the site where the SS during WW2 had their headquarters and gave the most terrifying orders and tortured people in holding cells. Today it is a well laid out museum that goes through the history of what exactly went on in those inexcusable years through the war (& before) and names and shames the men behind the orders, torture & terror that went on. We thought we’d only spend an hour or so but ended up there all afternoon and in to late evening and heading back to our hostel that night we talked and talked about how could any of this truly have happened.
The second and most emotional day for me however came in Munich when we visited the Dachau concentration camp. It was here that thousands and thousands of innocent men died from execution, starvation, disease and even sick medical experiments. There were moments walking around the site the energy almost felt too strong, too horrifying that it made me have to stop to catch my breathe, or focus all my might to not vomit. There was one particular spot I became so overwhelmed and nauseous and covered in goosebumps I had to leave the area. It came as no surprise moments later reading plaques and information boards around the area I discovered it was the place that 90 Soviet Union prisoner of war men were shot  dead execution style. 
The videos, photos, feelings, and buildings still standing you can walk through today made me sob like I had lost a loved one, the heartache was that bad. I couldn’t understand how man had inflicted such torture and terror upon his fellow man all in the name of … of what? 
There is some good to this story though I promise and it came in an unsurprising manner. 
This is the part where I tell you what was so remarkable to me though, which gave me goosebumps of a different kind, which made my soul soar and heart leap that good did triumph over evil after all. Amongst all that terror in the camps, all the prisoners suffering and pain and inhumane treatment, I saw solidarity amongst prisoners. I saw smiles in photos when the men would gather in what tiny free time they had. I saw brotherly love. I saw men risking their lives for fellow prisoners, picking them up when they’d fallen from exhaustion and carrying them when they had nothing left to give. I saw a fight in their eyes. I saw a determination to not give in, no matter what, even with no rights or dignity. I saw and read of hope, that it would end for them and what they went through wouldn’t be for nothing. 
I saw the human spirit in its most rawest, extraordinary form in every one of those prisoners who supported their fellow men and fought against the indignity.
So I left each of these days, feeling sad and regretful for what had been and what they suffered but inspired that against such evil and injustice there was still freedom in the mens minds to hope and support and hold on. 
With every experience comes lessons however which is the beauty of experiences themselves, no matter how emotional or amazing they are…, and this is what I learnt – I learnt that even though I couldn’t and can’t understand how it was man inflicting terror upon man, soldiers against prisoners, I also saw that it was man who supported man and got each other through. And that was a beautiful thing I got to take away from each of these days. I learnt that it’s so important to have a strong mind, to believe, to hope, to keep human spirit alive even in your darkest days and hours.
I learnt more in those days at the museums and memorial sites than I have ever absorbed from a history lesson in school or test or book or movie and as heavy and committed I got emotionally, I would do it again to further honour the lives that were taken and absorb even more. 
But that’s where I’ve been .. relaxing and recovering from an intense few weeks in Germany, learning in person about our worlds history. It’s been draining but amazing and necessary and I will take away what I felt & learnt and remember it forever. 
I am sharing such honesty and stories with you today because throughout every museum we went too, but particularly the concentration camp the message was clear and the story was the same from the men who died or survived – “we will get through this and when we do, it won’t have been for nothing”. And they did, and it wasn’t. I am sharing my experience to always look back on my opportunity to visit these sites and in my own way, honour & remember the lives lost in both the camps and for our men women who fought the war outside of the camps for freedom. 
With all of that said and done however I have this final thing to say … Even with all the sad things you can learn whilst travelling the world I still say … 
Here’s to traveling…. for the uplifting moments, the sad moments, the extraordinary moments .. and every other moment in between.
{ The gate that prisoners walked through that is said they never knew when they would exit it again … “Arbeit macht frei” – Work will set you free … It was sick but Hitler & the Natzi’s said that concentration camps were ‘protective custody camps’ & ‘re educational camps’ … }

{ The tunnel that was in between the two blocks of prisoner blocks … the pictures of prisoners chatting and hanging together in this exact path is what gave me hope. It is where the prisoners spent their tiny amount of free time keeping each others spirits high }

{ The massive courtyard area in which every prisoner had to stand for hours and hours at a time twice a day for ‘roll call’, even the dead would be dragged out to make sure their numbers were correct. The sick would be marched through here once a day, mainly naked, even in -20 degree weather to ensure their dignity stayed lost, and they stayed sick – tormenting to even think about how horrific this all was }

{ A photo of a packed prisoner block of where they all slept. It was documented that the prisoners had to keep their beds spotless – no spots of blood, sweat, nothing, for that would incur discipline such as being hung on a stake for hours on end in freezing cold. It’s said the level of cleanliness the prisoners had to upkeep in the camp was a form of torture in itself}

{ Standing in one of the rooms, overcome by emotion trying to fathom just how horrific it really was, the view from this window back in 1938 – 1945 was of a concrete wall, as the next prisoner block was just outside the window. There are only 2 blocks standing today with concrete slabs to indicate where the others had gone in a row }

{ A watch tower off in the distance that would shoot to kill any prisoner who crossed in to the escape zone. Where the snow starts and goes for about 5 metres is the zone. If prisoners couldn’t bear the terror any further its documented they’d run in to this zone to be shot deliberately. The other atrocity was that soldiers would throw prisoners hats in to the zone and make them ‘go and get them’ knowing they’d be shot dead’ }

To Paris, with love

Dear Paris,


Just wow.

What a remarkable, beautiful, magical, inconceivable, extraordinary city you are. Where do I even begin? 
We arrived by your rail system when the sun had set so got to experience exactly just why you’re called ‘city of lights’ from the minute we arrived. Coming out of the subway and having the Eiffel tower in front of us, lit up like it was is something I will remember forever. 
I can’t quite explain just how you made me feel… it was like it was Christmas eve and I was 7 years old again not able to sleep as I knew how many presents I got to open the next morning…except, I’m not 7 and it wasn’t Christmas eve. I’m 24, it’s November, and there were no presents, just pure & utter exhilaration & adoration for your parks, streets food & sights, the whole city was ours to unwrap and I literally couldn’t sleep from excitement. 
You have this romantic vibe to you that is undeniable, I connected to the energy like it was nobodies business, in fact, you probably saw Morgs & I stop to steal a kiss at one too many of your sidewalks or cafes but I’m sure you’re already used to that. 
I feel like the Champs Elysees & I had a connection, like a real connection – of all the beauty and all the sights and all the wow that you have to offer, I just couldn’t stay away from this street. The Christmas Markets were running along them, which admittedly could have only strengthened the connection. Walking the stalls and stopping every second or third to try a new piece of chocolate, marshmellow, nutella crepe, ice cream or churros really had me adoring the whole experience. 
Oh & don’t even get me started on the ice skating. I sent you such loving vibes after Morgs & I were walking home hand in hand after our night of ice skating. You probably saw me pinch myself more than once, literally, it just didn’t feel real. I adored Morgs did it with me, I think you had something to do with that however, your magic vibe is inescapable. 
I couldn’t name a highlight, no siree, all that we did and all that we saw was so so so amazing and special in it’s own right. Night one, we hadn’t even been in your city 2 hours and we were sailing the Seine River on a luxurious boat, dining on 4 courses of delicious food & too much wine. The whole experience was totally and utterly unforgettable, cruising on a glass boat seeing all the monuments lit up, live music cooing in the background with the wine flowing, it was just too perfect for words. We were also utterly flawed by the live Moulin Rouge show we took in with the champagne flowing a plenty of course. The whole show start to finish had me gasping and oh my god’ing – you really do know how to put on a good night of entertainment. 
I don’t really properly have words to describe my awe, love & fascination with your mighty structure that is the Eiffel Tower. Morgs & I made sure to visit a few times to really soak the whole experience and atmosphere in properly. One of my favourite evenings happened when we decided after a solid 8 hours of exploring your streets and museums that we’d just ‘quickly’ go across the street to visit it again. We ended up sitting there together for about an hour at the base of it just watching everyone get excited that they were there (along with us), and basking in the amazing loving energy all around. The sun set and it lit up right before our eyes. We kissed, laughed and planned future travel right there and then, so thank you from the bottom of my very heart for providing us with that experience. Lets not forget taking the elevator to the very top, my god was that another pinch me moment. There we were, up the top of your magnificent tower literally among the clouds, looking down on Paris falling more in love than ever. It’s one of those stories I will take joy in telling future grandchildren. We were so so lucky to have found an apartment quite literally across the road so took major major delight in going to sleep and waking up with the Eiffel tower right outside our window.Like I said Paris, you are Magical with a capital M.
We climbed your Arc De Triomphe, visited your Louvre, walked through your magnificent parks, ate in your dimly lit, incredibly sexy restaurants….we got exactly what we wanted in all that we did, ate, saw & felt. 
We vibed with you, loved you and just wanted to thank you…for being who you are, and giving Morgs & I some of our most unforgettable memories on what truly is our trip of a lifetime. 
With a heart full of thanks & utter joy & awe,

Anna x