Tag Archives: beaches

Vietnam, Hoi An

In case anyone thinks I’ve given up blogging about my travels – I haven’t but as I’ve spent the last three weeks with friends and on my own (planning the rest of this year and even 2021 travels) in a place I have often blogged about – I thought I would save this visit up for one blog with things I haven’t necessarily mentioned before although I have posted a few interim things on Instagram which is much faster!

I always love having people to stay at my place in Vietnam when I am there and this year I had two lots of visitors. Firstly my cruise and SE tour buddies – Luisa and Chris (and aren’t we glad we did the Asia cruise at the very start of the year thereby avoiding cancelled destinations and even cancelled cruise) and secondly Jo and Fliss – both of whom, like me, are rather enjoying not working. Jo is a regular visitor here but the other were newbies so it was fun showing them around.

Luisa and Chris pose by the pink wall in the old town of Hoi An. We enjoyed seeing the local temples and the Calm Spa in the rice paddies – water buffalo not included – we just chanced upon him and his owner on our way there.
Jo, Fliss and I loving not having a schedule anything more complex than gin time, spa time, food time, shopping time!
En route to cooking school – a stop at the colourful market in Hoi An is one of my favourite places to take in the freshness and buzz
Taking a rid in a traditional fishing coracle boat before we got down to some serious rice pancake making

My apartment is a very short walk from Marble Mountain but as is often the case I rarely visit there. But this time we took the short elevator ride to what I thought was just one pagoda but turned out to be a large complex of pagodas and temples. Pretty cool actually and literally on the doorstep.

Temples, pagodas and buddhas at Marble Mountain

En route to Marble Mountain there are about 10 massive – and I mean massive shops – selling marble everything. Again another place I had never beven into – but this time I decided that “Marble Bunnings” or “Marble B and Q” for my Brit friends had to be seen. So glad I did – check out photos below – not sure who buys these – and some are ginormous – but I did get a kick out of seeing what was for sale!

To give you a feel for the sheer size of these places – which also include an indoor area for the more delicate works
But it’s not just buddhas and lions. Do people really buy status of Washington and Einstein in Hoi An? I guess they might.
I actually quite liked these and could imagine one on my balcony at home – wherever that is!
And these made me giggle the most – there are about 12 of them – it was hard to choose my favourite 4

And a visit to Hoi An has to include shopping – ladies I’m looking at you! Of course I had to join in – such a bargain – so had some clothes and some shoes made (plus some Birkie lookalikes). We also bought a lot of other stuff – I won’t bore you….

Finally the two things I never tire of when I visit this part of the world – the evening light in Hoi An and the view from my apartment.

Dusk in Hoi An
Rain or shine doesn’t matter – I love “my beach” in Danang.

I will be back next year but now heading south to another of my “homes”……..

Seychelles (country 114) – a very wet three days

I’ve mentioned before that I am not a wild fan of beach destinations and now I have remembered why – when it pours with rain as it did in my three days here – bar a couple of hours there is very little else to do except watch TV box sets – am loving Succession and read and plan more travels in 2020 – so that’s what I did. However, given I was in Mauritius I knew I would never be closer again (2.5 hour flight) so decided it made sense to stop by and add it to my places visited list

A quick visit to Victoria, the smallest capital in the world – was indeed quick – it was very wet and very small. A market and a Hindu temple and ten minutes to walk around. Too wet to visit the botanical gardens

Market and inside the Hindu temple in the smallest capital in the World – Victoria

For the two hours that the sun came out I grabbed a taxi driver and asked him to drive me around the island – pretty I guess. I understand that the rules of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other UAE locations have brought up a lot of land and are building holiday homes and hotels there. It made me laugh that although they own their massive holiday homes they all choose to stay at the Four Seasons when they visit!

Beaches but also too much over building for rich visitors – the locals are not keen on this sale of the land

Beaches of Beau Vallon where I was staying

In a way I quite enjoyed the drama of the stormy weather – and at least it remains at least 26 degrees here however wet it is:)

Storms are gathering and the light in the building is looking back at my abode.

Off to colder climes for a bit on my next stop ………

Mauritius (113th country) – lots of beach chilling and Walking with lions

Great relaxing end to our visit to South Africa was a six day chill in Mauritius – another new country for me.

Our hotel – Sands Suites was situated on Flec en Flac (love saying that!) beach. Even when it rains it clears up very quickly so an easy place to just sit and watch the ocean.

Sands Suites Flic en Flac

We also took a walk through the forest along the coast to Tamarin Bay – very pretty.

Tamarin Bay

A huge highlight for us was Walking with the Lions at Casela Park (thanks for the recommendation Lorna) and sanctuary. Luckily these animals are well fed (!) and you get an hour walking and interacting with them. Very cool – once I stopped being scared!! We spent our hour with two white lionesses. Magic.

Watching the girls do their thing

Walking with lions involves being led by them as you hang on to their tail. And like household cats they love a good petting

As we walked around the park we encountered more lions on the safari drive.

Lions having fun

And very excitingly we also got up close and personal with the white and golden tigers. They are BIG. Apparently they tried to do visitor interactions with them way back when it they tended to attack for the fun of it – so as that was not very good for business they stopped it.

Tyger Tyger burning bright

The ocean does t just look good during the day- it also produces a lot of sunsets like these.

Sunset from Sands Suites Flic en Flac

And finally I had to say bye to Trudy and Alan – as they headed off back to the UK while I am off to another beachy spot.

The end of a great trip to Southern Africa

Bermuda – friends, sea, sand and rum cocktails – and 99th country visited!

Always exciting to visit a new country and even better when you are getting together with old friends – Marjory from Vancouver Island and our hosts Beth and John who I last say 7 years ago.

Bermuda is a charming place to visit – although pricey since everything is imported. First day was a Sunday so the lovely Coral Beach was a must – and it has been ages since I’ve had a beachy lazy day. The weather and sea colours were glorious

Then a visit to St Georges – on another side of the island (which is about 21 square miles). It was the old capital so lots of nice buildings and churches. Also a chance to view some of the pastel coloured houses that are all over the island.

A glass bottom boat tour is a must – we ended up on a huge boat with just six of us – it is the end of the season although the weather was still warm. Shipwrecks and feeding fish were fun – apparently there are a lot of shipwrecks around Bermuda (that triangle had a lot to answer for)

Time in the capital Hamilton enabled us to visit the Hamilton Princess Hotel which has a superb collection of contemporary art – and a chance to see a Kusama pumpkin in a neutral colour.

And then to the Arts Centre which had a Sheridan Fairley exhibit – I have seen some of his street art around the world (Obey campaign) so was thrilled to see this and a very good video with him discussing his art.

And all good vacations include wonderful friends and good food and drinks by the sea – this was no exception. Thanks to Beth John and Marjory for making it extra special.

Australia, Wilson’s Promontory, Victoria

My very last Australian road trip before I leave had me and my regular visitor from Canada Marjory taking a long awaited visit to Wilson’s Prom – at the helpful suggestion of one of my former colleagues Jo S (Thanks). What a gorgeous part of the world and only a couple of hours away – why did I wait so long to visit? Possibly was waiting for someone to drive me there – I have driving myself!

We stayed at lovely Bear Gully Cottages in Walkerville about 30 minutes from the park and relaxed on beaches, hiked a bit (one day was 41 degrees so a smidgen warm but obviously a good time for pesky flys) and got close to some koalas in the wild (and they are not bears in case you were wondering?). Stopped off at some lovely little towns along the way – I particularly liked Loch for the best salted caramel slice ever at Olive’s and Fish Creek because the have a mullet on the top of their tiny hotel. Squeaky beach is not just lovely but the sand really does squeak when you walk on it – sounds like You stepped on a mouse.

I will miss this place:(