I'd spent nearly four months in Asia and had visited 4 countries. My plan of travelling slowly was working, but things were about to go crazy quite quickly.
June 2012The plan for my round the world adventure was to follow the sun. All was going to plan until I landed at Heathrow on 4 June. It was cold, really cold ... and it's supposed to be summer London! I was met at the airport by my fabulous friend Kristen. In all of my travels I've just sauntered out of the airport past all of the people being greeted by friends and family, so to have someone waiting for me was so very special. It called for a celebration ....
It was Jubilee weekend in London, so the streets were full of parties and people enjoying the extra long weekend. It was an amazing atmosphere and I was having a great time despite the weather.
I had a ball playing tourist, visiting all that London has to offer. I popped to the palace to have a cup of tea with the queen, watched the changing of the guard at Windsor Castle and marveled at the site of Stonehenge.
Taking a break from London I hopped onto the Eurostar to Paris. My first glimpse of the Eiffel tower made me laugh out loud and wandering the streets of this very chic city was so much fun. I'm not sure why, but I didn't encounter any of the typical French arrogance that people talk about.
I got up close and personal with the Mona Lisa, was amazed by the Notre Dame but even more blown away by a little chapel hidden in the Latin quarter.
The end of June I was back in London, catching up with a load of friends I'd made during my time at Rawai Muay Thai training earlier in the year and some fabulous friends from home.
July 2012I had started to get chills in my bones from the London summer so decided to find some sun. Sunny Beach, Bulgaria was a very cost effective destination so I popped over for a week. The weather was hot, I spent my days in the ocean and reading on my beach sun lounge. I had a blast but found Sunny Beach quite an odd place.
Back in London, Kristen and I decided to head to Brighton for a Sunday by the sea. It was pouring rain when we left Balham, but the sun shone down on us as we walked the pebbled beach of this famous seaside town.
My stay in London was longer than initially planned due to my favorite Aussie '80s band Cold Chisel playing a gig at the O2 in Shepherd's Bush. We had an amazing night, drinking cheap wine and singing at the top of our lungs.
All too soon it was time to pack my bags and head to the airport. After a very sad goodbye to Kristen, I hopped on a plane bound for Cairo. Due to the unrest in Egypt I decided to join an intrepid tour.
Egypt is one of those countries packed full of amazing sites ... from the pyramids, Abu Simbal, temples, burial chambers in the Valley of the Kings and museums better than I'd seen anywhere in the world.
But I think the most amazing moment I had in Egypt was seeing the sun rise over the Nile and the Valley of the Kings from a hot air balloon.
August 2012I landed in Jordan at the beginning of August. It was still Ramadan so the streets of Amman were nearly deserted during the day with the city springing to life after sunset when the day's fast was broken.
The reason I had decided to visit Jordon was to explore the lost city of Petra. And it didn't disappoint. This is one place that I wish every person could experience. To stand in front to the enormous buildings carved from the rock just makes you marvel at how these structures were actually built thousands of years ago. Bloody amazing really.
Turkey was my next stop and I had decided to stay about a month. And it seemed my instincts were right, I fell in love with Instanbul on the first day and it just kept getting better and better.
I explored the Gallilpoli Peninsular, such a sad and sombre place to visit. It made me feel very proud to be an Aussie and quite homesick as I walked around the graves at Lone Pine and Anzac Cove
The ruins of Ephesus near Selcuk in Turkey are about the best roman ruins going around .... and I'd know as I've seen A LOT. (Read previous blog posts and you'll get an idea).
Turkey is a miriade of amazing landscapes. I spent time in Pamukkule and Cappadoccia .... both places are like another world. So very crazy ...
I relaxed on the amazing beaches near Fethiye then popped to Rhodes in Greece for a few days.
September 2012I finished touring Turkey and grabbed a flight to Madrid, keen for some sangria and tapas. Madrid left me slightly undewhelmed but I fell in love with Valencia, amazing architecture, manicured parks and very cool street art.
I also fell for Barcelona, the cathedrals, museums, wandering along La Rambla ... and the wonders of the perhaps crazy Gaudi making this city very unique.
Late September it was time to put Spain on hold for a bit and pop to Greece for some island hopping. Together with Kris, Tash and Jen, we relaxed on Paros and watched the sunset from Ios on Santorini.
It was a fun trip with these crazy girls, relaxing on the beach and swimming in the beautiful clear water.
I finished off the month checking out the city of Athens, a city that was quite underwhelming. It felt like the financial troubles of the past few years have sucked the life out of this once magnificent city.
October 2012I started the month in the magnificent city of Vienna, Austria. Magnificent architecture, cathedrals, palaces, parks and oh so much more.
I headed south to Velden to catch up with my friend Andre. This town is like a postcard.
After a quick stop in Venice .... which I can't talk about .... I flew back to Spain to check out Seville and Granada. These two places quickly became favourtis, full of Spanish charm and friendly locals.
Once again it was time to leave Spain, this time I was off to Morocco for a couple of weeks. I covered so much of the country ... the middle atlas and high atlas mountains, slept in the Sahara Desert and wandered the medina and souks and enjoyed the beachside town of Essouira.
November 2012Portugal was to be my home for a few weeks in early November, but I only lasted a week. Lisbon is a fabulous city but I was so sick (I blame Venice) and it was so cold that I had to head to a warmer climate.
After a quick google search I found that Malta was warm, booked a very cheap ticket and hotel. I spent a week recuperating, finally getting my voice back (it's hard to be me and not talk and even harder to travel solo without a voice!) and shaking the awful flu bug that had knocked me for six.
I popped back to Spain, got caught up in a protest that shut down the city and hung out with riot police
Phew ... what a hectic time. Fourteen countries in five months, I must have been crazy. But it was a blast.
Now bring on Mexico!