Winter Weekend in the Hunter Valley

I while back (well June long weekend last year) I was invited along to a friends hen’s weekend in the Hunter Valley. I only just remembered that I never published this post – so here is what I wrote almost a year ago to the day!

My friend picked me up from my place at 9.30ish and we took off on our way towards Sydney. The drive between Canberra and Sydney is always incredibly boring, but we had plenty to catch up on so it went by quickly. We drove onto the M7/M2 and through to the Hunter Valley Region.

It seems that the best way out to the Hunter is by car. I believe there are buses and possibly trains, but the quickest and easiest way would be to drive.

It’s so pretty out this way – there are so many vineyards and wineries along the way. I think it took about 4.5 hours for us to drive up, which is pretty good considering I live in South Canberra.

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The view from our cabin balcony

Accommodation

For the 10 of us staying, there were two 2-bed cabins booked at Cyprus Lakes Resort. These cabins were two storey, had a medium size kitchen, a lounge and dining area, and a big deck out the back. There was a fantastic view from the balconies too!

Sunset view from our Balcony

Sunset view from our Balcony

The top storey had the two bedrooms, with each room having it’s own bathroom. There was also a fold out sofa bed in the loungeroom.

To access the cabins, a 6 digit code it sent to your mobile number. During your stay, you must use this code to access your room. Not sure what you would do if you forgot your code and you had left your phone inside with the code in it….

Cheese and wine in the Hunter Valley Wine region Australia

An afternoon of cheese and wine

In the cabin I stayed in, the sink in the bathroom of the main room had not been cleaned properly. Actually, it looked like someone hadn’t cleaned it at all. It was very obvious too, so I don’t know how someone could have missed it. Everything else was clean and tidy though, with the towels rolled up on the bed looking every bit professional.

I found the doona on the bed not warm enough for me. But there was an extra blanket available,

We used the heater the second night and it definitely kept us warm. Just remember to turn it off when you leave otherwise you will be charged excess use fees!

Overall, I really liked these cabins, and I think I would stay here again.

Dinner at The Cellar Restaurant

This is a cosy restaurant with plenty of room for group dinners. There is a fireplace in the middle and fern trees around the window sides of the restaurant. I thought it had a lovely atmosphere. We were seated next to the fire and they let us know they could turn the fire down if it became too hot for anyone. Always nice to know that a customers comfort is important as well as the service and food.

The Menu

The Menu

There was a large menu of choices. We were told that if we ordered a main that we would need to order a side as well. Pretty much everyone at the table ordered a type of steak or whole fish. We shared about 7 sides between the 10 of us.

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Beans & Blanched Almonds, Roast Beetroot, and Sauteed Mushroooms for our sides

I chose the Sirlion steak cooked medium rare with the mushroom sauce. I loved the sauce and that it came in a giant ramikan jug. There was also a giant wedge of lemon served on the plate. I’ve never seen a piece of steak served with lemon on the side before, so I’m guessing it was for presentation reasons. This makes sense because the presentation was lackluster.

Steak and Veggies for Dinner at Polkobin, Hunter Valley

Steak and Veggies for Dinner

We didn’t stay for dessert, but we did look at the menu. There appeared to be no chocolate dessert. There were desserts with bits of chocolate in it or white chocolate, but no full chocolate dessert like a cake or mousse. I found that a bit weird and a little disappointing.

Drinks at Harrigans

This place is your typical Irish pub. We found a spot to sit and talk inside near the sports bar area, but were soon told that the chairs had to be moved away as there was a DJ playing soon. I have to say, whoever that DJ was – was absolutely terrible! There was terrible mixing (if any at all), beat matching did not exist, and the same songs were played twice within 30 minutes of each other. They were all typical songs that you hear a resident pub DJ play. It was kinda fun, but seriously, this person should not be allowed to DJ in public when they haven’t even got the basics!

Also, if you plan to get the courtesy bus from Harrigan’s – DON’T. We asked if the bus was going soon and the bus driver said in 10 minutes he would leave. After sitting on the bus for 20 minutes, he came in, turned off the lights and the bus and closed the doors. Maybe he forgot about us? We waited another 10 minutes before deciding to ask what was going on. The bus driver decided he wasn’t allowed to leave until the bus was full. Um… why didn’t you just say that to begin with? We could have caught a taxi home 30 minutes earlier. I was pretty annoyed about that…

(Ps I was sober for this whole experience)

Wine Tour

The company that we booked our bus through was James’ Wine Tours. I could not think of a better way to do this. James is lovely and informative and organizes a great tour. He gives you a run down for the day and then you can modify the schedule if there’s a specific winery you do not want to visit or really want to see. He has multiple buses that can be used, and can seat up to 12 people in each bus. He also has a smaller car for private tours.

The tour also involves stopping for lunch. Whilst I can’t remember the name of the restuarant, it was a cosy and warm atmosphere.There were a few gluten free options available. I chose the chicken and it was a delicious meal to have inbetween the wine tours (although I wasn’t drinking or tasting any wine that day).

Lunch stop for Hunter Valley Wine Tour - Gluten Free Grilled Chicken and Mash

Gluten Free Grilled Chicken and Mash

There were horse drawn carriages outside as well… I’m not sure if this was something the establishment offered or organised as well, but I would think that it would be a fabulous experience to take a hrse drawn carriage through a wine region.

Horse Drawn Carriages in the Hunter Valley

Horse Drawn Carriages in the Hunter Valley

The wineries we went to were:

  • First Creek – I purchased a bottle of Rose.
  • Domaine de Binet – I purchased a Semillon Savingion Blanc & a Tempranillo (Red wine similar to a Shiraz)
  • Hanging Tree Wines – I purchased a Sparkling Moscato

They were all very nice wineries, and I would definitely go back. Even in winter the Hunter Valley was beautiful. I would recommend that everyone visit the Hunter Valley and do a wine tour at least once in their lifetime!

Wines purchased in the Hunter Valley in Winter 2014

Some of the wines I purchased

Have you been on a wine tour in the Hunter Valley? Where would you recommend to go on a wine tour? Share your experiences in the comments!

Postcards from a Summertime Aussie Road Trip

My partner and I normally go away for the summer holidays around New Years Eve. Even if it’s just a few days, it’s nice to get away and come back to work feeling like you’ve had a holiday.

This year we wanted to keep it budget friendly… After all, with me still paying off my big Europe trip from this year and my partner saving for his own big Europe trip, we didn’t exactly have the money to do anything too flash.

We decided on a road trip up north for a few days. We did a similar trip last year when we drove from Canberra to Brisbane. It’s an epic drive between the two cities, taking us two days and about 27 hours of driving. Normally it wouldn’t take that long, but silly us forgot about the holiday traffic that generally slows down anyone’s trip.

So we picked a nice spot up north that could allow us to engage in some fun activities, like kayaking. It was a long drive, but as we planned our stops, this time it was an enjoyable trip, and with less traffic hassels!

Here is a selection of the photos I took whilst driving through country New South Wales and the beautiful Australian scenery we discovered on our trip:

Check out my post on my Road Trip Essentials

Vintage Barbie’s Best and Worst Travel Experiences of 2014

Vintage Barbie's Best and Worst Travel Experiences of 2014

As the year that was 2014 comes to a close, we all seem to reflect on the previous 12 months: What was good, what was bad, what we learnt and what we appreciate. This year was all about travel for me. I had planned this trip for over a year and dreamed about a big Europe summer trip for many years. It’s a little sad to know that it’s all over now. But nonetheless, in my reflective state, I thought this would be a great time to recap the year in travel moments.

Vintage Barbie's Best and Worst Travel Experiences of 2014

THE WORST

Every person has their share of travel nightmares. Most of the time, these end up turning into great stories that travellers share with family and friends when they return, or laugh about in future years with otherlike-minded travellers. Here is what I would consider the worst travel experiences I had during 2014:

Inconsiderate Hostel Guests

I was pretty excited about Yatch Week in Croatia. Whilst I was not going to be on an official Yatch Week boat, I knew that everyone in Split was here for the same thing – to set off sailing over the next week indulging in alcoholic beverages and getting a serious tan. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for at least 8 years, so I was pretty damn excited to be doing a Contiki Croatian Sail during Yatch Week.

I got into Split a few days before my friends. I decided to get a small private room at a hostel so I could properly sleep before the big sailing experience began. The room was part of an apartment style set up: there were three rooms, each with a desk and TV, a communal bathroom, then there was a common area for the kitchen and lounge. It was a nice and cosy little set up.

The day before my sailing tour I met a couple of people staying in the other rooms. Being fellow Aussies we began chatting and I realised they too were doing a sailing tour for Yatch week. They asked if I wanted to join them for some clubbing that night but I decided I wanted to have an early night.

At about 4am I could hear this tapping. Someone was knocking at the door. I definitely was not getting out of bed to answer the door. Firstly, I would need to get dressed. Secondly, I didn’t know who it was and I didn’t want to accidentally let anyone in to the rooms if they weren’t staying in here. (I hadn’t met the other two roommates). I figured that if they were staying with the other people that their friends would let them in.

The knocking stopped and I tried to go back to sleep. Then it began again about thirty minutes later. I decided I should properly just answer the door and see what is going on. Luckily, the person that they were after came back to room. I could hear them arguing about having to wait on the door step for this person etc etc. They came inside and one person went to bed, the other went to the kitchen. This person in the kitchen appeared to be the girl I talked to earlier today, and it seemed like she brought home a new “friend”.

That’s when the noises started. It was disgusting. So I turned on the TV in my room, sort of passive-aggressively indicating that I could hear what was going on, and if they could please keep it down so I could get back to sleep. Obviously it didn’t do anything. They got louder. So the TV was turned up louder. It was like a war of noises. Eventually her friend yelled out at her and told her to shut up. Thank god.

The noise subsided and I thought I could go back to sleep. But I couldn’t sleep.

Then at 6am the knocker started again with the incessant consistent knocking. I had had enough. I quickly put on some clothes, and answer the door asking what the hell is going on? I had a few words with the poor guy, letting out my frustration on him. His friend came out of the room to let him in and also apologise to me and I stormed back to my room. I decided I may as well get up.

My friends had just got the overnight ferry from Italy so I decided to go meet up with them. We got some brekkie and I told them about the unfortunate noises I heard during the night. We returned to my accommodation to get something and I noticed that the inconsiderate hostel person was sleeping in the kitchen. I decided I would now be loud in moving around my room (as it was next to the kitchen and away from the other rooms).

When I went to the kitchen to get a drink I noticed an ugly sight – she was not just sleeping, but she was passed out, sprawled across the couch with her vagina out for the world to see. I think I may have vomited a little bit in my mouth. After that discovery we swiftly left the hostel.

Yep, pretty disgusting. That’s why it’s up there with the worst travel experiences of 2014!

Vintage Barbie's Best and Worst Travel Experiences of 2014

Carrying around 25kgs of luggage in a broken suitcase is definitely not a good experience…

Loosing my phone and camera

You would think that having your camera stolen on the 3rd night of your trip would tell you to be more careful with your belongings. But sometimes alcohol makes you forget about those important things…

My camera was stolen out of my handbag when I was in a Mykonos nightclub. Pretty devasting as it was a birthday present earlier that year. My partner bought it for me because it was shockproof, waterproof and had plenty of great camera features. I just tried to look on the bright side that it wasn’t all the photos from my trip on there.

When I left Greece I bought a cheap camera at the airport. This would get me by for the next 2 months. I’d also been using my iphone to take photos and considering the picture quality of iphone 5 is pretty good, I was ok with using it instead of a “real” camera.

Fast forward almost 7 weeks later. I’m waking up after a night of too many buckets of cocktails on my last night with my Topdeck tour. My handbag is missing. My phone, camera, keycard and my friends wallet was in there. Oh no…

After balling out my eyes at breakfast, it appears that the tour leader spoke to security and found my bag. Fortunately my friends wallet was in there, as well as my keycard. However the phone and camera were gone.

It was horrible knowing I couldn’t easily contact people back home. I’d also lost ALL photos from my trip as I used both my camera and my phone to take various pictures. I lost all the contact info from the amazing people I had met on my trip. And the worst part was that I already had my camera stolen earlier in the trip – how could I left this happen again?

I now know what to do to avoid these things happening again, but dear hindsight, why couldn’t I have just avoided this happening at all?

Read about the mistakes I learnt while travelling.

THE BEST

They say you can only appreciate the good when you have the bad. And when it comes to travelling, most of the time it’s the good experiences you will remember. For me, I had so many fantastic experiences when I travelled this year, so it’s hard to narrow it down to only two favourites. There’s the London Jungle night time visit, sunset at Santorini, exploring the mountains of Greece, visiting the windmills in Holland, walking the city walls of Dubrovnik, Ultra Music Festival in Croatia, my entire Topdeck tour… It’s definitely hard picking the best of the best, but I have to say there were two definite stand outs:

Paros Boat Trip

I absolutely loved my Busabout Greek Islands tour. The people in the group, the activities and the sights made it a fantastic experience. I had a fantastic and fun time on this trip and would most definitely do it again.

Vintage Barbie's Best and Worst Travel Experiences of 2014

One of the highlights of the trip was the day tour around the adjoining Islands of Paros. Paros is small, less well known and one of the quieter Islands of the Greek Islands. The island follows a strict siesta between 2pm and 5pm, but the shops reopen around 5-6pm and stay open until about 1am. It’s not a party island like Mykonos or Ios, but it was still a fun and beautiful place to visit.

As part of my Greek Island tour with Busabout, we were offered an optional extra activity of the Paros Boat Tour. I had read lots of good things about it so I was definitely keen to do this activity. I decided that €45 would be worth it.

Our day trip started relatively early as we had to get down to the port to board our boat. The boat reminded me a bit of a sailors boat out of a cartoon, so I instantly liked it’s kitsch look.

Vintage Barbie's Best and Worst Travel Experiences of 2014

We boarded the boat and started off into the sea. We all just sat back and took in the beauty of the water. It was truly amazing how blue the water looked! Then we stopped for a swim and the water was… Well, salty. I have never swum in saltier water! It was definitely something different!

After the first swim spot, we again moved on to see more beautiful hidden gems of the Greek Islands. When lunchtime came, we headed off to another secret spot to have a Greek BBQ lunch. We also had some homemade Greek wine and Ouzo. I quite enjoyed the Ouzo… Maybe a little too much! I think the rest of the group enjoyed the alcohol as well!

Vintage Barbie's Best and Worst Travel Experiences of 2014

After lunch we set off for another swim spot and this is where I saw the worlds best ocean water. Even after all that wine and Ouzo, I still remember how crystal blue the water looked. I was truly blown away.

If anyone I know does the Busabout Greek Islands tour, I always tell them that they have to do the Paros Boat Trip. It was so much fun, and set the mood for the rest of the holiday to be a fun filled adventure!

Climbing the Eiffel Tower

I don’t care how clichéd it is – it has always been on my bucket list to climb the Eiffel Tower. The first time I went to Paris I didn’t get a chance to climb it – the people who said the lines would be too long if I didn’t get there first thing in the morning were right…

This time was my second time in Paris, and I once again didn’t get up early enough. So instead I explored the beautiful city and decided a picnic beside the iconic structure would do just fine. After my dinner and taking lots of photos with the sun setting behind the tower, I decided to have a peak at the length of the lines.

Vintage Barbie's Best and Worst Travel Experiences of 2014

I wanted to climb it myself, rather than take the elevator, so I had a look at the line on the stairs entrance, and to my suprise, it was pretty much empty! I didn’t understand how in peak season, at sunset, there weren’t more people experiencing the climb. I decided that this is the best opportunity I would ever get to climb it, so I joined the small line, waited about 10 minutes and before I knew it I was climbing the Eiffel Tower!

Vintage Barbie's Best and Worst Travel Experiences of 2014

A standard travel selfie

I reached the first floor and I’m sure the smile on my face was clear to see – I was actually here! I wandered around the tower, looking through the glass floor in the middle of the tower to see how far up I had climbed. Although, my fear of heights prevented me from stepping too far onto the glass…

Vintage Barbie's Best and Worst Travel Experiences of 2014

I then took the stairs on the Sienne River side of the tower to continue up to Level 2. I felt a sense of accomplishment from climbing up the stairs. I shook my head at those who lazily took the elevators. Did they realise what kind of experience they were missing out on?

I took well over a hundred photos. The sun was still setting and the sky seem to glisten. The whole time I was by myself but had a great time: I saw amazing sights and completed a long time dream. Cliched or not, this will always be one of my favourite travel moments.

What were your top travel moments of 2014? Or do you have some horror travel stories to tell? Let me know in the comments below!

Think twice about packing certain items…

I recently read an article telling people what not to pack when they travel. The problem is, I listened to an article like this and it cost me big time (in terms of both money and time) so I would like to share my response to this article by going through and telling you whether or not I agree with this post

15. Shampoo. Yes it can be bulky and take up important space and weight in your luggage. But if you are going away for an extended period of time, and you love your locks, then just take the shampoo (and conditioner). I took a travel size shampoo and conditioner and they lasted quite some time with me only washing my hair once a week. Only large scale chain hotels seem to offer shampoo and conditioner, and it's even harder to get it at hostels. I eventually had to go buy some more shampoo and conditioner and it was a struggle to (a) read the labels in another language and (b) find what stores actually stocked it! I did come across what appeared to be shampoo and conditioner 2 pack but later realised it was a 2 pack of combined shampoo and conditioner in each bottle. Not what I wanted, and my hair has never been the same since.

Verdict: Pack shampoo and conditioner

14. Clothes for every occasion. I am guilty of this but I am getting better. It's part of being a woman with a shopping addiction! When I pack I will try to make it so my clothes can work for every occasion. And something to remember is that a lot of clothes can be bought at most destinations.

Verdict: make sure your clothes can mix and match for different occasions

13. Gadgets. I took my smartphone, camera and ipad with me when I travelled. This post says just take your smartphone. I think it would be down to personal preferemce, but I am extremely glad I took all three. Mainly because my camera got stolen in the first few days and my iphone was stolen later in the trip. Even without those unfortunate instances, I would have used all if my gadgets throughout the trip, because I constantly use them at home.

Verdict: if you use your gadgets at home, you'll want them on your trip.

12. Guidebooks. The post says use the internet or talk to hotel staff. Well news flash: the internet has a lot of useless crap on it and hotel staff don't always know the answer. A guidebook author has researched every little detail of the place of interest, so they know what they are talking about. I took one with me around Europe and I loved it. I read it when travelling on planes and trains. I've also got an electronic copy of the Lonely Planet's Europe on a Shoestring guide. Both were extremely helpful, and I would recommend getting at least one kind of guidebook to help you with your travels. But there is the downside: they do take up a lot of space and add to the weight in your bag. You can definitely get amazing advice and tips from people who live at your destination, but it also helps to be prepared and avoid the lost in translation situation.

Verdict: An electronic copy will save space and weight in your suitcase.

11. Medical kit. The post says that you can get bandaids and other things from your hotel… But this is not always the case. When I got to Greece, i needed bandaids for the blisters on my feet. It was extremely difficult trying to explain what a bandaid is – I didn't realise that it was the brand name for them, not the actual item itself! I think everyone should pack a simple medical kit for any extended travel with things like bandaids, pain killers, cold and flu tablets, sanitiser, throat losenges, and electrolyte drinks. This covers the basics. This also avoids the problem of trying to explain to someone what is wrong with you when they can't understand what you are trying to say.

Verdict: pack a basic medical kit for any extended travel

10. Sports Equipment. I do kinda agree with this one. I took snorkling gear with me to Vanuatu, but I only used it for about 30mins (because it was the first time I had ever snorkelled). It was a waste of money buying the snorkelling gear and a waste of precious suitcase space bringing them on the plane. As far as I'm aware, most places where you go for certain sports activities also offer sports equipment hire. I would definitely stick with hiring when you get there if you only have a small part of your trip based around the sporting activity.

Verdict: leave the sports gear at home

9. Workout Gear. Also another one I agree with. Unless you are a hardcore fitness fanatic, or you have scheduled in your workouts, there's no point taking the gear that you're not going to use. However, if the gear can also be worn during the day for things like walks and exploring, then definitely pack it. Comfortable walking shoes and comfy breathable clothes are definitely important for exploring sights.

Verdict: only bring if you can't go without a workout or if it has multiple uses.

8. Sunscreen. Yes, other places may sell sunscreen, but do you realise how much it would cost? I didn't pack sunscreen on my epic europe adventure because I thought I could just “buy it when I get there”. When I did get to Greece, it took me ages but eventually I found sunscreen… For €27! I'm not joking! It was actually that much. Then it cost me a further €17 when I fly in to Croatia. Essentially I spent $60aud on goey, gross sunscreen, when I could have just paid $15 in Australia for the sunscreen I like. Any tropical destination requires sunscreen, so they will definitely jack up the price for silly tourists who don't pack it.

Verdict: pack the sunscreen is going to a tropical or beach location

7. Towel. Whilst a lot of 4-5 star hotels provide towels, and some modern hostels, it is not guaranteed. Then you have to pay for hiring a towel or buying a towel. Towels may take up lots of space,but there's plenty of smaller, microfibres towels that are specifically designed for travel. Plus what if you go to the beach? Pretty sure you're not allowed to take the hotel towel with you…

Verdict: pack a lightweight, small, microfibres travel towel.

6. Anything valueable. Definitely agree with this one. For this reason, I didn't take my GHD hair straightener or my DSLR camera with my on my Europe trip. I knew that I would be staying in hostels and I didn't want anyone swiping my pretty (and expensive) straightener. I was also worried about my DSLR being damaged or stolen whilst overseas, and I didn't want to risk anything happening to it.

Verdict: valueables should be left at home.

5. Hiking boots. Yeah, I don't know why you would bring them along if you're not going hiking… But at the same time, if you love them, wear them often, they are comfy, they go with all your items and they are appropriate for the trip, then go ahead and pack them. It just means you won't be able to pack another pair of shoes…

Verdict: only pack if they're appropriate or they're a staple in your wardrobe.

4. A second jacket. This really depends in the situation. And depends on the jacket. I think it's ok to pack a second jacket if this jacket is completely different to the other one. For example you might pack a trench coat and a blazer. The blazer instantly dresses up jeans and a dress, and the trench coat can be layered over many different items, including the blazer. So you can wear them for varying temperatures.

Verdict: only pack if they are very different in style, occasion and purpose.

3. More than one book. Once again, this is situational. Are you spending lots of time sitting by the pool or lounging around? Are you spending a lot of time travelling on planes, trains, buses and boats? Will you have long flights or long layovers? Do you enjoy reading? Are you a fast reader? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, the. It's likely you will pack more than one book. But be careful with your choices as heavy books can equal going over your luggage weight allowance.

Verdict: if you're a bookworm or need to pass the time, two books might be acceptable.

2. A pillow. Some airline companies provide travel pillows for long domestic flights, but not all airline companies are equal. I definitely would not recommend a regular size pillow for travle, but an inflatable travel pillow is an excellent alternative. I was so happy that I had my travel pillow with me on long flights and bus rides. The best part was that it can be rolled up neatly into a small roll and placed in my carry on bag when I'm not using it.

Verdict: take an inflatable travel pillow to save space

1. What if items. I do agree about the what if items. This mainly is for clothes though. If you plan your packing list and what you are going to wear then you will figure out how to make your items mix and match with one another. You should have versatile items that can be used for a variety of occasions.

Verdict: pack items with multiple purposes and forget about the what if items.

 

 

 

 

Waterfront Dining at Waterfront Cafe

Last week I decided to spend the weekend with my family in my home town. My sister and I drove down Saturday afternoon and same back on Sunday night. I had been hoping for sunny weather so I could chill out and relax at the beach… But Mr Weatherman decided to rain on my parade!

Although it was disappointing that I’m cursed (it rains every time I go to the coast), It was so nice to see the family and catch up.

It was also great to go out for lunch. We were planning on going to Oaklands, but they were booked out with people crammed inside whilst it rained. So we decided to head into Merimbula and find a spot to eat.

We decided on the always busy Waterfront Cafe. I’ve been here for many meals before, so I was happy to go back again.

Flashback to a sunny winter day, enjoying a delicious breakfast and coffee

The menu has changed a lot over the years. This menu appeared to be very “hipster-ish”. There were none of the regular wedges and toasted sandwhich type meals that I had come to expect. Instead, there were plenty of gluten free options and many of the hit health foods. I have no qualms with that… However, the prices were something a little less inviting…

My dad and sister chose the Lean Beef Burger, and myself and my mum chose the Lamb Salad. I wish my mum chose a different salad so I could have tasted that as well! The great thing about the salads is that they can all be made gluten free. I know I’ll definitely be back to try out some more food!

The burgers did not automatically come with chips – it’s an additional $2.50 for that. But they came out looking fresh and very tempting for the gluten-free individual!

However, my sister was not too impressed. Being a picky eater, she said that there was too much meat. Umm.. Is that even a thing? I’m pretty sure I would have gobbled down the whole thing, just like my dad did.

The lamb salad came out with a large peice of lamb, sliced into about 5 slices, and placed over the bed of baby spinach, roasted capsicum and chickpeas. Baby carrots were strategically placed around the sides of the dish. There was dukha sprinkled over the salad, and a tahini dressing, giving the salad a hummus-like taste.

 

The salad was beautiful, but I was undecided about the meat. I just couldnt quite put my finger on it. The meat was tender, cooked well and tasted nice, but it had something missing. I feel that it should have been sliced into smaller pieces and tossed with the rest of the salad. Maybe this would have given it the oomph and flavour that seemed to be missing.

The coffees were also good. I got a nice large latte in a mug and my mum got a long black. You know that the coffee is good and made well when you have the slight foam on the top of the coffee… Which I had to explain to my mum. She thought they had out milk in her coffee – No mum, they just made good coffee, that’s all!

My sister was also happy about her drink choice – an iced coffee! Although, she doesn’t seem too impressed in the picture:

Despite being run off their feet with lots of customers, the staff were very friendly and helpful. It appears that they forgot to place water on our table, and I had to ask for it, but we did just walk in off the street during their peak time, so those kind of things would definitely be forgiven 😉 The staff quickly set up a table for us when we came in, and they attentive to the fact that my sister didn’t finish her burger. Nothing was wrong – the skinny girl just can’t finish her meals!

 

 

 

 

 

Travel Tuesday: Postcards from Hong Kong

Has anyone every gone on a holiday and then struggled to remember what you actually did?

You know you went, you experienced a fair bit of culture, but you can’t quite remember the details of the days or what you actually saw.

I feel like that about my week in Hong Kong. It was a last-minute decision to go to Hong Kong for a week-long break. Well, kinda last-minute – we booked it three weeks before departure. My partner and I hadn’t been overseas together, and his mum had just been to Hong Kong and said how great it was so we decided to pack up and go!

There’s nothing wrong with a last-minute decision to travel. In fact, we had a great time.

The only problem was that we did no research on what to see or do. And we both had never thought of going to Hong Kong before, so we decided to just wing it. This meant that we were unprepared. We had no idea what we were doing or what we should see. Sometimes its fun to get lost in a city. Other times you just feel frustrated and realised you missed out on a lot of important things.

Nonetheless, we still did a lot of fun things. I remember that we explored the city streets, including the funky Soho district. We visited Ocean Park with its fun theme part rides, massive aquarium and zoo of exotic creatures. We went up to the Peak to get an amazing 360 degree view of the city and its surrounds. We ate and drank a lot. We went up to the highest building in Hong Kong and drank wine in the worlds tallest bar. We saw the nightly lazer show. We drank cocktails in the rooftop pool at our hotel. We visited some street markets. We got lost my partner was too stubborn to listen to my directions in the subway…

We definitely did a lot. But sometimes it’s a little hard to remember. That’s why I try to take lots of photos. The jog the memory and keep you reminiscing for many years to come.

Here’s some snapshots of what we got up to:

A kaleidoscope of lights and coloured signs: Exploring the streets of down town Hong Kong

The Junk stopping by the pier walkway to say hello… and give us tourists some excellent photo opportunities!

It rains a lot in summer in Hong Kong, so there’s the perfect opportunity for a rainbow to brighten up the towers and city skyline

The stunning view from the top of our hotel on the Kowloon side of the city

The picture-perfect place for an afternoon swim… and poolside cocktails!

A traditional Cantonese dinner for two

Quintessential Asia: a panda bear at an enclosure at Ocean Park Theme Park

There eerie glow of jellyfish swimming around the darkened aquarium at Ocean Park

The tallest building in Hong Kong… this building has a 5 star hotel contained within its walls, leading all the way up to the bar around 500 metres off the ground!

The perfect viewing point above the city skyline: Up on top of The Peak

 

These photos were all taken on a worn out point and shoot camera, so I’m really keen to go back to Hong Kong and take some fabulous photos of the skyline, including the amazing laser show that is on every night at 8pm. I wish I got better photos of the outside of a temple we visited, and the funky street markets. I would also love to visit the Giant Buddha and see the Ladies Market. This is all on my to-do list for my next visit to Hong Kong!

Thank you for reading my first #traveltuesday post. This post is also linked up to the following link parties and travel blogs:

Travel Tuesday

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the Adventures of Vintage Barbie

Ok, here it goes… That big nervous step of being simply a reader of blogs to a blog writer (well kinda…) Now that the initial nervousness is fading, let me say a warm welcome to the wonderful adventures of me, AKA – Vintage Barbie.

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I’ve decided to start a blog to document my adventures involving food, fashion and travel.

I plan to do all kinds of travel – from independent travel to travel with friends to travelling in tour groups to travelling as a couple. From partying in clubs and at festivals to visiting cultural, religious and historical sites to adventure sports and adrenalin activities. From staying in 5 star tropical resorts to hostel dorm rooms to mid range hotels to camping. From eating street food to relaxed cafe meals to dining in beautiful restaurants.

Travel is my passion and I want to experience it all.

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And what is a travel experience without the memories to share with your loved ones back home? I’m always known to have a camera with me, and I want to capture everything through beautiful photography and sensational videos.

But how could this blog be called “the Adventures of Vintage Barbie” if there were no references to fashion? Well, of course there will be fashion, and beauty, and style. I believe every girl can travel with style yet still be comfortable. Oh – and shopping should always be on the to-do list when travelling!

Having started my travel adventures in 2012, I already have some stories to tell.

Come and share my adventures my adventures with me, Vintage Barbie!