Travel

Remembering the Amalfi Coast

It seems like an eternity ago now that my feet touched down on Italian soil after a dream Greek escapade. In reality it was only 5 months ago that our plane took off from Santorini and landed in Naples via Athens. All those memories come flooding back to me now. The ease of changing countries in Europe, the splendour of short flights and the eagerness to see everything that a country has to offer. I love to travel. To expand my horizons and explore new places with open eyes, a yearning soul and a refreshed mind. Every day to awaken and get excited for all that is planned as well as the unexpected surprises. To travel is to live.

Flashback to the end of March and the start of beautiful spring weather. We didn’t spend much time in Naples until after visiting the majestic Amalfi Coast so our first point of interest was finding the bus that would take us directly to Sorrento. That was our base for this leg of our trip and a glorious town where lemons grew in abundance and their scent filled the air. Specialty shops sold limoncello and you could walk down long, picturesque streets and shop for all the souvenirs your heart desires.

We took a guided tour of the Amalfi Coast from Sorrento in an 8-seater mini van and our extremely confident driver Massimo who navigated all the twists and turns of the road with great precision and confidence. Our first stop was Positano, the jewel of the Amalfi Coast, with its vast mountain vistas and multi-coloured houses stacked on top of each other like Rubik’s cubes. We were only given an hour to spend in that enchanting town with sparkling blue water but since we were there so early in the morning it felt like we had the entire place to ourselves.

Next on the tour was the thriving and extremely beautiful town of Amalfi. The crowds in late-March were plentiful and it would be crazy to imagine what goes on there in the peak of summer! Our driver gave us about 1.5 hours there so we quickly ran up the steps and entered the miraculous Duomo di Amalfi. The interiors of the cathedral were intricate and ornate and I highly recommend a visit even if you’re pressed for time. Amalfi had everything one could possibly want and more. For the brief amount of time I got to walk its streets I could already see that this town was pure gold in terms of lifestyle, shopping, food and relaxation.

For lunch our tour guide took us to the oldest and most marvellous hillside town of Scala where we devoured a light three-course meal. The views from that place were to die for!

Finally we made our last stop in gorgeous Ravello. The home of two lavish villas – Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo, though we only had enough time to visit the latter and what can I say, every square mile of that place was perfection. Our visit was just before the flowers started to bloom but nonetheless the views totally impressed us.

When researching which tours to take along the Amalfi Coast we were spoilt for choice. As it was low-season we waited until we got to Sorrento and then booked our tour from the Information Centre next to the main train station. The company we went with is Amalfi Coast Tour Select. Our driver was witty and charismatic, knowledgable, precise and with a great sense of humour. His driving along the winding roads was incredible. In my experience a tour is always the most memorable part of a trip and having the right tour guide is ultra important. On this occasion, we were thrilled with our tour even though it was a bit of a rush from start to finish. The more you see the better, right?

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Travel

Santorini

Travelling from Athens to the Greek paradise island of Santorini takes only 30 minutes by plane. Leaving the hustle and bustle of Athens behind, you are essentially landing in a green oasis where the Aegean Sea surrounds you and whitewashed houses and churches with their blue domes welcome you. Santorini truly is a magnificent place.

We chose to stay at a lovely apartment complex called Anemomilos in the upper class town of Oia. By visiting in the low season we got to see a quieter side to the town with locals renovating and fixing up their dwellings in time for the peak season everywhere we looked. We also experienced a high level of gusty winds and power outages, as well as lightning and thunder. Tourists still flocked to the island in droves and the charm of the city was diminished the moment a group of loud, camera toting tourists descended on the otherwise peaceful village. Overall, exploring Santorini was an absolute dream come true.

Travel

Postcards from Athens

Currently I’m sitting inside my hotel room in Santorini, Greece, watching 90km/h winds sweep across this enchanting island. I’m not likely to be braving the elements so decided to showcase a few photo postcards from my previous holiday spot – Athens.

Athens was charming and historic at the same time as funky, edgy and full of character. Its people were very welcoming, as is the case all around Greece. Its streets were filled with family-owned tavernas and irresistible corner restaurants. We stayed at Hotel Phaedra, located just below the mighty Acropolis hill which is where the ancient Parthenon stands. The hotel had everything we could ever have needed for our stay, including a sublime rooftop terrace with 360 degree views of the entire city. I recommend staying in this hotel as it’s very central, yet quiet and budget-friendly.

It was super simple to explore the city on foot as everything was within close proximity from each other. From Plaka a 10-minute walk would get you to Syntagma Square where the presidential guards or efzones could be seen. At the same time you’re also close to the peaceful village of Anafiotika as well as many ancient sights, the national gardens and of course the main attraction – the Acropolis and its ruins.

I didn’t fall in love with Athens the way I did with Barcelona, Paris or Venice but the city had all the right components for an enjoyable holiday including a nice mild climate, delicious food, friendly locals and just the right balance of historical sights and modern-day marvels.

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Best Moments of 2017

This year was quite memorable and eventful for me. From holidays to concerts, leisurely bike rides to reading and writing long hand-written letters to friends, I’ve truly enjoyed most of what came my way this year. It’s almost time to welcome in the New Year, but before that let’s take a look at my favourite memories from 2017!

In January/February, I returned to my favourite city of Barcelona for a month-long visit! During this time Montserrat and Cadaques were also covered on day trips and overall this holiday was everything I could have ever wished for!

In March the superstar that is Adele came to town for an unforgettable summer’s night of raw emotion and a powerhouse vocal.

In July, I was fortunate enough to attend the concert of one of my favourite singers – Gavin DeGraw. Meeting him after the show was such an honour and his show was truly something special.

That same month one of my favourite musicals “My Fair Lady” was also playing in town at the Princess Theatre. I absolutely loved it!

Taking a bike ride along Port Melbourne’s foreshore never ceases to impress me.

I’ve absolutely loved making new friends through the art of handwritten letters and re-connecting with old friends.

This year I launched our “Cute Parcels” concept and recently was a market vendor at Carols by Kingston! Thank you to everyone that has supported us over the years!

This year I also took the time to engage with nature more, practise my photography and spend more time with the ones I love.

Just this month I was in the company of two more “One Tree Hill” alumni when Tyler Hilton and Kate Voegele came to Thornbury. They brought the house down!

So thanks 2017! You’ve been a pretty great year.

Bring on 2018!