Browsing Category : Experiences

The Restaurant Nazi


One episode of Seinfeld that anyone who’s a fan loves is The Soup Nazi, with it’s infamous “No Soup for you!” battle cry. While on the way to Antalya, we experienced a Turkish version, who we dubbed The Restaurant Nazi. As part of its tour offerings, Globus runs optional tours. This particular one was to (more) Roman ruins and a…

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Chatted up by a handsome Turk in Bursa


Today we drove to Bursa from Istanbul, with a ferry ride considerably lessening the hours we would have to have driven. I was captivated by Istanbul: it was big, loud and noisy – a symphony for the senses. Walking around the Topkapi Palace (which is now a museum), through Hagia Sofia and its huge domed ceiling (it reminded me of…

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Former Yugoslavia: the journey so far


I’m sitting in a cafè in the old Port of Dubrovnik, sipping my cappuccino. Now that I have a few minutes – it’s been a packed schedule – thought I’d update you on the journey so far. The tour Our tour guide is Osman, nicknamed Ocky, and he is very good. His English is excellent, although he uses some interesting…

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Pardon me?


I think I mentioned that there are mostly Americans on this tour. The majority come from New York: The Bronx, Long Island and upstate New York. Others are from Texas, Ohio, Connecticut and California. The most annoying thing about having so many Americans on this tour is that most – but not all – just can’t understand a word I…

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Roaming around Rome


It’s lovely being back on land. The freedom to just wander round a strange city, exploring, can and should not be taken for granted. This morning, I had brekkie in the restaurant with some of my tour people, who I met yesterday when I checked in. There is a retired Australian couple who are doing their first overseas trip, and…

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Eyes on the road, Rhonda!


There is an ad screening on South Australian TV that shows a woman (Rhonda is her name) in Bali (or similar) who has saved money on her car insurance, and can therefore afford a holiday. She lies on a beach, drinking cocktails served to her by the delightful Ketut, who tells her she is “hot like the sunshine” and “eyes…

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I really wanted to like Dubrovnik…


I woke up this morning and looked out my window porthole, and for the first time in a while was wowed. Dubrovnik is such a pretty town. White houses with terracotta roofs are built into the mountains like layers of cake either side of the Port. The protective fort and walls surround the old town. Narrow steep streets branch off…

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Sea days


Today, we are sailing to Dubrovnik from Civitavecchia. It is a sea day, and I have done absolutely nothing, which I have needed to do. I ordered room service for breakfast and lunch, and snoozed and read my book in between meals. I have only just gotten up (it’s 1pm) and had a shower because I need to do some…

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The Noordam was home for three weeks. Check out my initial thoughts on this majestic ship.

On cruise control


Cabin fever This is the life! I’ve now spent two nights on the Noordam, and am truly impressed with the attention to detail. My cabin is kept scrupulously clean by my steward, Ivan. Every time I leave my cabin, things are straightened and wiped down. I have ship newsletters and notices neatly placed on the end of my bed, and…

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Three countries in three days


Today I visited two countries: Monaco and France. I woke up and looked out my window and had the lights of Monaco twinkling at me. Oh, wow. My tour bus wound its way through the streets of Monaco (and yes, we did drive on part of the Grand Prix circuit) and into France and the French Riviera. The scenery was…

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Two funny stories from Rome


A funny thing happened to me while I was wandering around Rome… I look like a tourist. I wear comfortable shoes, shorts and have a camera permanently wrapped around my neck. I was getting my bearings on my first day by wandering around taking photos. I’d ventured out past the Piazza del Popolo into a more residential area, when a…

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Notes from Rome


Having been in Rome for a day and a half, I feel compelled to make some observations: The food The food here is cheap, cheap, cheap. And delicious. You can get a pannini, with a 750ml bottle of beer plus a bottle of water for €11, which is about $8 AUD. A glass of wine alone costs nearly that much…

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I’m leaving on a jet plane


Tomorrow, I will be embarking on what – for some – is the trip of a lifetime. Five weeks in Europe. I’m excited, but I’m nervous. I have never been away from home this long (five weeks) and I’ve never been this far (I’ve been pretty much sticking to Asia). But being a Nervous Nellie is not a condition I…

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Qantas tries to put things right


Readers of this blog will know that I had an awful time getting to China via Qantas. I was particularly vocal on Twitter about my experience when I returned, because I felt that what happened just wasn’t taken seriously. However, after a staging what I call a Squeaky Wheel Campaign, I was contacted by the Social Media Manager of Qantas…

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China 2011: highlights and lowlights


This tour of China has been just go, go, go. I have had no time to write or process what has happened, what I’ve seen, or how I’ve felt about the whole experience. So I will just pick out the lowlights and the highlights. Lowlights The flight to get to Beijing – I’ve written about how awful that experience was,…

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First overseas trip ever: what I learned


I loved, loved, loved my first trip to Vietnam. It was hard (in places!) and tiring, but amazing at the same time. Would I do it again? Absolutely! Would I do it differently? Some things, possibly, but that’s only because hindsight is 20/20. So here goes. This is what I learned. 1. What didn’t work so well: Don’t take two separate…

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Rubbish and street vendors


A couple of (sad) things I have noticed about Vietnam: rubbish and street vendors. The rubbish – mostly plastic bags – literally litter the landscape. In some places, there are piles of it. It would be a major job – probably lasting a couple of years – to clean it all up. The river running through Saigon and feeding in…

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