Oslo, Norway

Dan has been able to travel to Oslo a few times for work trips these past few months, so we decided that I would join him for a night to do some exploring!  It was as really short trip, as we flew in Saturday morning and I flew back Sunday night.  But it’s a really small city so it was really easy to do in a quick weekend.  So many people told us that Oslo is a really boring city, but we ended up really loving it and finding it incredibly beautiful!

We spent Saturday afternoon just wandering around the city’s shopping area.  It’s basically just one long high street.  But one beautiful high street and at the end of the shopping street sits the Palace up on the hill with a beautiful park.  When we reached the end of the walk and got to the park, we decided we should go ice skating in the park!  We rented hockey skates and as soon as we got them – it started to snow!  I’m talking the most perfect big fluffy snowflakes!  Living in London, we don’t get snow and I LOVE snow!  And how perfect to be skating in the snow in Norway!  Perfection!


As I only had one night in Oslo, we decided to try and visit as many places as possible for food and drink.  So we started off at the top floor of our hotel for a cocktail – which happens to be the tallest building in Oslo!  Next stop was a cave bar/restaurant for dinner and some Norwegian beer.  They were known for their sausages so we had to try them, and they didn’t disappoint!  After dinner,  we bar hopped at a handful of craft beer bars around the city.  The craft beer scene was fantastic there – especially the sour beers!  So many fun ones to try, I loved it!

On Sunday we decided to take a long walk along the waterfront.  We started over by the Oslo Opera House which is a stunning display of architecture along the sea.  The  building and sun created beautiful reflections into the water.


The remainder of my short time in the city was spent just wandering around, enjoying the wonderful weather and being with Dan.  We love weekends away where we can just take it slow and not feel rushed to see a lot of tourist sites.  Oslo was so beautiful and was the perfect quick (but slow) getaway! And I got my snow fix in 🙂

Australia [Cairns & Sydney]

After the most incredible week in New Zealand, the 2nd (and 3rd!) part of our Christmas trip begun. We began in the northern Australian city of Cairns. We chose this area as it was easily accessible to the Great Barrier Reef, it was known for its great beaches and it has a rainforest!

Kicking this part off with a bang, our first stop was the Great Barrier Reef! We did a full day tour with Passions. We chose them because they were one of the smaller tour companies, and their boat is a brand new catamaran! The trip out to the reef was about two hours, which to be honest, surprised both me and Dan! But let me tell you…it was WELL WORTH the long trip out there! As we were on a smaller boat and we lucked out with the weather/wind conditions we were able to visit some of the best reef spots in this area!

We were both blown away with the amount and variety of fish we saw. The schools’ of fish were massive! From teeny tiny fish swimming in schools of thousands, to massive parrot fish swimming together in groups of ten or twenty. I will let our GoPro videos speak for themselves – there really are no good words that I can use to describe the Great Barrier Reef. It’s something that you just have to experience for yourselves!
Oh! And we saw some sharks too! They’re just reef sharks, so they aren’t too threatening. The white tip ones are completely non-aggressive, but the black tip sharks can become aggressive if threatened. They were fun to swim around and watch.
We were able to spend about 3 total hours in the water snorkeling, which was perfect. I mean, mermaid Kirsten could have spent ALL day in there, but they forced me out J It was a magical day, we are so happy we were able to see the GBR. I will say, the colour of the corals were not at all what we expected, as they were a bit more muted than coral we have seen at other snorkeling spots (ie Zanzibar), but the fish and the vastness of the reef here were definitely one of a kind!

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It was really hard to believe that the next day was CHRISTMAS DAY! It was a totally bizarre feeling as it was our first time not having a white Christmas! I mean, technically we had a white sandy beach, so I guess that counts! We spent the day relaxing on the beach, swimming in the ocean and floating in our hotel pool. We found out that a lot of people from other parts of Australia come up to Cairns for holiday. We made some friends from the Outback that were there for Christmas weekend. We learned from them that the traditional meal for Christmas is barbequing meats and having an outdoor family-style picnic. They were so fun and let us enjoy some of the local fruits and snacks with them! That evening, we wanted to partake in this tradition, so we used the hotels’ awesome barbeque area and put some steak and shrimp on the Barbie!

We spent the next day exploring the Daintree Rainforest. We took a really cool glass bottom gondola ride over the canopy of the rainforest. The gondola offered a few stop off points along the way before ending at a little village in the middle of the rainforest. There, we visited a koala park where I was able to snuggle the cutest little koala bear! He (Charlie) was so sleepy, cuddly and soft! I had the hardest time giving him back to the handler!
After a full day in the rainforest, the last part of the day was the scenic railway back to our starting point. The train is a 2 hour journey through the rainforest over and through impressive bridges and tunnels. It was a stunning ride, and was nice that all of the carriages were open air.


On our last full day in the north, we spent the whole day relaxing. Both Dan and I aren’t ones to go on long beach vacations, and even if we go somewhere tropical, we tend to fill our time with activities rather than lay around and relax. But we decided we could use a little relaxation, so we enjoyed the incredibly hot tropical weather with our floaties in the ocean and the pool! We topped off our trip with a great meal at a beach bar.

We LOVED Cairns, particularly the Palm Cove area. We felt like we were in the coolest, hip local village. Everyone was so friendly! It was really hard to leave, but we left feeling relaxed, tanned and ready for a NYE celebration! We took a super early 6am flight down to Sydney to start the last leg of our trip!

This part of the trip was super special because we joined up with our friends from London the Phelps! They spent a week in Fiji before joining us in Sydney! We rented a really cool AirBNB flat in the Surrey Hills area. We didn’t know it when we booked, but that area is super trendy and filled with some of the best restaurants in Sydney!

Dan and I spent the first day relaxing at our AirBNB and jogging down to one of the marinas while we waitied for the Phelps to arrive that evening.


The next day we did the famous Congee to Bondi walk!  It’s a stunning path that follows the stunning coastline for about 6.5 km.  There are beautiful beaches and swimming spots along the way to stop and enjoy.  We started first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds, and are so glad we did because by the time we got to Bondi – it was PACKED! We stopped twice along the way to swim (we even saw some sting rays!) and ended in Bondi for lunch at a beachside restaurant where we enjoyed fish & chips!

In the evening we went to another lovely pizza dinner.  We did so good with restaurants in Sydney! Not a single meal disappointed!  As our AirBNB had an awesome outdoor deck on the 2nd floor, every night after dinner we found ourselves hanging out playing games enjoying the weather!

Our next full day was spent doing our own version of a city walking tour. We hit up the typical spots:  Sydney Harbor bridge, botanical gardens, the Opera House and walked many of the streets in and around the area.


The next day was our last full day in Sydney – an it was New Years Eve!  We had our big NYE celebration in the evening, so for the day we decided to relax and take the ferry over to Manly Beach to hang out for the day.  The ferry ride was so pretty – I can see why people use it to commute daily!  What a way to get to work!

While Gina, Charles and I spent the day relaxing on the beach…Dan hit the waves for some surfing!  It was quite busy, and the waves were pretty small – but he spent the better part of a few hours *trying* to ride the waves 🙂

So that night was the big one! Although not the main reason we came to Sydney…but one of the big ones! NEW YEARS EVE!!! We ended up going to an island party at Shark Island in the middle of Sydney Harbour. There was a ferry that took everyone out to the island, then we had the whole island to make a picnic spot and enjoy the evening. Dan was incredible and sprinted off the boat and went to what we think was the ABSOLUTE BEST spot on the island to secure out spot for the night. We had the most perfect view of the bridge where the fireworks are set off from! We set up our little picnic spot with all of the goodies that we brought with us and enjoyed a few hours of eating and games before the first round of fireworks went off. They do two sets, one at 9:00 for kids then the big show at midnight. I had pretty high expectations for the fireworks…and they still completely rocked my socks off! They did such a fantastic job. It was so uhh-mazing! If we were ever to go again, I can say we did NYE perfectly. From our spot on the island, the ability to bring our own picnic, the perfect weather, the friends we were with, to the unbelievable fireworks show – all perfection!


Australia was so much fun.  We already know we want to go back someday and explore the incredible continent further.  There is so much more there that we didn’t see, but what we did was amazing.  It was so fun to be able to experience Sydney with the Phelps too!  They were so fun to travel with and we can’t wait to do more together!  Not sure if we’ll ever be able to top this Christmas and NYE!

New Zealand [South Island]

For our Christmas adventure this year, Dan and I decided we’d go really big.  We quickly decided on Australia and New Zealand! While planning our route, we decided to make it an AROUND THE WORLD experience by first travelling to LA, California.  DSC07327 (2)Dan’s brother, Scott, and his wife, Christine, recently moved to the LA area AND just had a baby so we were anxious to meet our new nephew, and we figured the few extra flight hours on an already long flight were totally worth it!

We spent our two day layover loving on our nephew, Henry, and catching up with our brother and sister.  We loved seeing their new home and lifestyle in LA.  Their neighborhood is beautifully located in the hills near Pasadena.  Our time with them is never enough, but it was great to see them and catch up (last time we saw them was in Japan!).  And how handsome is my nephew…I couldn’t get enough snuggles with him!!!

After LA, we flew into Auckland, New Zealand which is in the North Island.  This is the only way to get to New Zealand via international flight.  After a quick layover, we few down to Queenstown on the south island which was our base for the next week.  We picked up our Jucy campervan at the airport and headed off!  The best way to do New Zealand is by campervan, and ours was absolutely perfect for the two of us.  The converted minivan’s backseat area turned into a full bed for sleeping, bench seats and a table for dining and the trunk was a kitchen, full with a stove, sink and mini fridge.  We were really impressed with Jucy, their service was great and the campervan was in great condition.  We also loved seeing other bright green and purple Jucy van’s on the road and everyone honked and waved as we passed by!

Our first stop and campsite was in Wanaka, just about an hour through the mountains and north of Queenstown.  We explored the nearby lakes (including the infamous “Wanaka Tree”) and the town before settling into our first campsite.

On our first full day in NZ, we drove up to the base of Mt. Cook, which is the tallest mountain in the country.  On our way there, we stopped by the Clay Cliffs.  These striking cliffs are quite the site as they are HUGE and so different then any of the other landscape around it!

Once at Mt. Cook, we did a long hike through the Hooker Valley which sits just below the mountain.  The hike was beautiful (and hot!), but we were both surprised at how busy the trail was.  Most of NZ was very quiet and we never saw that many people, but out of the whole trip, this trail was the busiest (although we’ve become pro’s at making our photos look like it’s just us and nature!)

After our long hike, we drove back down south to Lake Hawea for our 2nd campsite.  This was our favourite campsite out of the whole trip.  We were able to park right on the lake and we were virtually the only ones there!  It was such a serene place to relax.

We were fortunate to be visiting NZ during their summer time, and even more fortunate to visit during the longest day of the year.  Our days were incredibly long, with the sun rising around 6am and setting at almost 11pm.  So we woke up very early and had nice long full days to enjoy! We went back into Wanaka the next morning to shop around the little town before heading into Queenstown to explore the city and check out Fergburger.  We had heard a lot about this burger place, and were warned that queues are usually around an hour for lunch and over two hours at dinner!  Lucky for us, we only waited about 30 minutes!  The burgers were good (and huge!), but definitely not worth waiting two hours in a line for!  Fun to try!

After lunch in Queenstown, we drove down to Glenorchy.  The drive to Glenorchy is known as the most beautiful drive in all of New Zealand.  And it did not disappoint!  It was incredibly scenic, with twists and turns along the lake and through the forest.

When we got to Glenorchy, we did a horse back riding tour around the Reiss River Valley.  This area is stunning!  And it serves as the filming location for many films such as, Lord of the Rings (Isengard), Mission Impossible 6 and X-Men Wolverine!  It was a really cool ride because we got to go through rivers and do a fair bit of trotting!  It was a great way to spend the afternoon!

That evening we made our way to our next campsite.  We camped alongside Moke Lake, which is 15 minutes outside of Queenstown.  It was a cool site because it’s up in the mountains alongside a lake, surrounded by a horse farm, a cattle farm and a sheep farm!  So nature and animals were all around us!  We made a wonderful stirfry for dinner and enjoyed some local wine before going to bed early so we could wake up in the middle of the night to star gaze.  Living in London, we don’t see a vast array of stars.  So we set up on top of our van and enjoyed the beautiful night sky!

Our next day started bright and early with a 7am flight to Milford Sound.  The fjord’s were at the top of our list to see, but to get there by car, you have to go all the way around a mountain range which takes 5.5 hours EACH WAY!  So Dan found a flight company (Air Milford) that gets you over to Milford Sound in just 45 minutes!  It was an incredible flight (Dan got to be co-pilot!) over the lakes and mountains!

When we arrived at Milford Sound, we hopped on a cruise boat for a tour of the area.  This area is remarkably breathtaking.  It’s been unofficially titled the 8th Wonder of the World – and I totally agree.  The striking coastline, the waterfalls, the wildlife (seals, otters, dolphins, penguins) and the water all make this place magical.  Our boat tour was only two hours, but I could have spent all day in the sun enjoying the views!

We hopped back on the plane after the boat tour for a quick flight home.  But our pilot told us it was very rare to have little to no wind in the area, so he wanted to have some fun and took us a little out of the way to see some cool glacial lakes and more views of the fjords!

That afternoon, we went back into Queenstown where we took the gondola up to the top of the town.  Dan did downhill biking and I enjoyed the sun and read my book 🙂  Dan LOVED the biking!

For our last night in NZ, we stayed in Queenstown at a Holiday Park walking distance to the town.  We spend that evening having dinner in the town before catching a good night’s sleep for our last big NZ adventure…

…BUNGY JUMPING!!!  The first thing we did after booking our flights for this trip was book bungy jumping!  We’ve had this up on the top of our adventure lists for awhile now, and why not do it at the home of bungy!?  This was the most UHH-MAZING experience!  Words cannot describe the feeling you have as you freefall 134 m over a gorge!  Both Dan and I loved every second of it and we can’t wait to do it again!!!

Shortly after bungy jumping, we boarded a plane and made our way over to Australia for the next part of our Christmas Trip!  New Zealand was incredible; if anyone gets the chance to go you have to take it!  We loved everything about it and are ready to go back and explore some more!

Oh – and if you didn’t notice…we FINALLY GOT A GOPRO!!!  Our parents got us the new Hero6 for Christmas!  We were finally able to capture some of our crazy adventures!  We hope you enjoy some of these fun videos!








Saint Petersburg, Russia


Russia has always fascinated me.  The history, the vastness of it’s land, the people, everything about it interests me.  I also love the cold, and the ballet, and beautiful architecture, so Saint Petersburg in December sounded like the perfect trip for us!

The trip is very easy to accomplish in just a long weekend.  Unfortunately because of the time change, you need almost a full day to get there from London.  Although the flight is only a little over three hours, the three hour time difference means a six hour plus travel journey.  But the city is pretty small and condensed, so having just two days to explore works well.

We spent our first morning visiting Saint Isaac’s Cathedral.  It is the largest orthodox basilica and the fourth largest cathedral in the world! Also – the dome structure at the top was actually the inspiration for the United States Capital Dome!  The interior of the church is jaw-dropping.  The amount of gold, marble, granite and bronze decorated throughout is magical.  I loved the bright green from the emerald columns and the glittery bright mosaic’s that scattered the ceiling and walls.  The cathedral also had an external staircase up to the top which gave way to some of the most beautiful views over the city.

IMG_0165Standing atop the cathedral, I spotted a massive turquoise building, adorned with gold and white trim and immediately declared we had to go there.  Having done very little research on the city myself, Dan quickly informed me that it was the Winter Palace, and that was actually already our next stop on the trip! (He’s so good at planning and research!)

A quick walk from the cathedral and we arrived in the Palace Square.  And what  MASSIVE square this is…but for some reason, I just expect everything to be huge in Russia. I mean they have so much room for everything!  The square itself was home to many significant historical events, including the Bloody Sunday massacre, assassinations and parts of the October Revolution.  But now, it’s just a beautiful square in front of the Palace, and they even had magical horse drawn carriages dotted throughout for rides throughout the city!

We spent about two hours wandering the Winter Palace.  The Palace has a long and complicated history.  Changing hands a lot and suffering wars, fires and battles. The last time royals lived in the palace was early 1940’s, and since it’s been a tourist museum.  As we went in the non-tourist season, the place was relatively empty so we were able to make our way through very quickly.   What impressed me the most were the ceilings and the floors!  Each room had it’s own character, with it’s own ornate ceiling design and floor design.  It was incredible to imagine the amount of work that went into creating everything.  I think I took at least 100 photos of the ceiling, and I think my neck even hurt a bit from looking up the whole time! I thoroughly enjoyed our time at the Winter Palace, it was one of my favourite palaces/museums we’ve visited since moving abroad.

After the Palace, we spent the remainder of the afternoon wandering the streets and canals of the city.  Deemed “Venice of the North”, the city is dotted with many rivers and canals, which adds to the picturesque-ness of the city.

That evening, we went to a Georgian restaurant for dinner, followed by the Russian Ballet!  I love the ballet, and the Russian ballet was one of the big draws to going on this trip.  We saw their performance of Cinderella.  It was incredible!  Definitely a once in a lifetime experience – amazing!

On our last day in the city, we started off with breakfast at an adorable café where I discovered the Russian coffee drink – the Raf.  It’s basically a latte, but it’s made completely different with everything being put in the frothing mug then frothed together (versus just the milk being frothed and poured on top of the espresso).  They also dotted the top with about 2 whole cups of marshmallows, so I was in espresso heaven!

After breakfast, we went over to The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood.  This is one of the most striking buildings I’ve ever seen.  The ornate, colourful domes stand out and provide a stunning backdrop along the canals.  (Sadly, the very top of the cathedral was under construction so there was some scaffolding on the top – but nevertheless, it was still STUNNING!


We spent the remainder of our time waking around and shopping!  We loved our experience in Russia.  Saint Petersburg had a wonderful Eastern European feel with so many colourful buildings and all of the water makes is so charming.


As a side note, we also hosted our 6th annual Glaser Holiday party! We did a crazy wig theme this year which turned out pretty amazing!  Everyone smashed the theme and looked great!



Germany + Netherlands Heritage Trip

Dan and I have always known we had a bit of common German and Dutch heritage, but it wasn’t that long ago we found out how close our family’s history’s actually were.  Dan’s dad’s side of the family is from the Leer area in Germany, which is just east of the Dutch/German border.  Dan’s mom’s family is from the Friesland area in the Netherlands, which is just west of the Dutch/German border.  Crazy how close they are to each other!  Then we come to find out, my mom’s side of the family is also from the Friesland area of the Netherlands! We decided we needed to go explore these areas to learn more about where our family’s are from.  It was a quick trip (although was unexpectantly extended…will explain later!), but it was a great one.

Dan’s family provided us with a lot of information and detail of actual places/homes to check out which was incredible to see.  Unfortunately, I didn’t really have much information from my side, except that Groningen was the main town that they were from.

We flew into Bremen, Germany early Saturday morning, grabbed our rental car and start our journey.  Our first stop was in the adorable little town of Oldenburg, about halfway from Bremen to the German/Dutch border.  We don’t have any evidence of either of our families spending any significant time there, but it was fun to check out and have an incredible German lunch.  The restaurant has been there since 1886! It was fun to visit small German cities where English is not widely spoken.  It was a great chance for me to practice mein Deutsch!

IMG_0057After lunch we made our way into the Netherlands, all the way over to Balk (Beam).  Balk is where Dan’s mom’s side of the family was from.

We were able to see Dan’s Great-Great grandparents house and the church where they attended and his Great-Great grandpa played the organ.

That night we stayed in Groningen at an adorable little hotel in the countryside.  We went into town that evening for dinner at a local pub, but were exhausted from our early flight we called it a night early! We went back into Groningen Sunday morning for coffee and breakfast and the chance to explore a bit in the daylight.  It was fun wandering around knowing some of my great-great-great grandparents walked there as well!

From Groningen, we drove back into Germany to Leer where Dan’s dad’s side of the family is from.  Our first stop was a funny one, because it was to a Chinese buffet.  If anyone knows me well enough, you’ll know it had to take a lot of convincing to get me in the door as Chinese buffet’s are at the low side of my kind of restaurants.  But we were under the impression that the building was an old hotel in which the family had stayed many, many years ago.  So we did it! … come to find out the building actually had no real significance to the family, it was just a hotel that Dan stayed in with his family when they visited the area in 2000. Ha!  But it was a funny experience and we have comparison photos of Dan then vs. now!

We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the town of Leer and the surrounding Holtland area.

After checking all the heritage places off our list, we then started making our way back to Bremen where we experienced their Christmas market and did a bit of shopping!

We were supposed to fly out of Bremen back to London that evening.  Unfortunately, our flight was cancelled which caused quite the stir.  We took a train over to Hamburg with the intention to fly out of Hamburg back to London, then found out our Bremen flight was rescheduled for first thing the next morning.  So we took the train back to Bremen, stayed in a hotel for the night and eventually made our way back to London mid-day on Monday!  Quite the exhausting travel experience, but we made it!



My mom visits London & Almafi Coast

A few weeks ago, my mom was able to make the trip over to London! We were excited to show her our London life.  We spent a whole week in London showing her all of the hot spots and sharing all of our favourite local places.  We did an afternoon tea at Kensington Palace, brunch at Duck & Waffle, a river ride down the Thames, saw Wicked the musical, had coffee and macaroons at Laudree, checked out Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London. It was full on London!

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After getting her acquainted with London life, we took her over to Italy for the weekend to show her a bit more of Europe.  We flew in and out of Naples, which is the perfect gateway to the Almafi Coast.  We spent the morning of our first day there exploring the Pompeii and Hurclean area.

From Pompeii, we drove (ahem – Dan drove) the super windy, beautiful roads over the mountains to the Almafi Coast.  We stayed in a little village just south of Almafi town.  It was beautiful!  Our hotel had an amazing balcony with views of the sea and coast line and a fun rooftop bar where we enjoyed a night cap watching the sunset over the coast.  We spent the afternoon laying on the beach and swimming in the sea before heading into Almafi for some shopping and a wonderful pasta dinner on the water.

The next day we drove the entire Almafi coast from Almafi over to Sorrento.  It was incredibly beautiful!  Although we were only in this area for less than 24 hours, we decided we liked this area much better than the Cinque Terre area.  Much less crowded and stunning 360 degree views from every angle!

From Sorrento, we hopped on a ferry to go spend one night on the island of Capri.  It’s a quick 30 minute ferry and the views when you arrive are breathtaking.  To be fair, every view once you’re near, or at Capri, are breathtaking!  Our AirBNB for the night was up at the top of the island which provided some great sunset views.  We spent the afternoon down at the beach in the turquoise water and the evening indulging in more delicious Italian pasta.

The next day we took a boat tour around the whole island.  The weather was absolutely perfect for a day out on the boat.  Capri was lovely.  We loved it.  It’s quite touristy, but we went in the shoulder season, so it was just perfect.  The food was incredible, the people were nice and the scenery was gorgeous.  It would be a great place to go back to for a relaxing weekend, as there isn’t much to actually do.

We ended with a ferry ride back to Sorrento and a drive to the Naples airport.  We made a quick pit stop in Naples to walk around and grab one last gelato before dropping the car off.  It was a great weekend and it was nice to be able to show my mom how we do our short weekend trips!

My mom left London the day after we returned from Italy…and I started a new job! It was great finally getting her over to Europe!  We love showing our friends and family our life over here!


Oktoberfest: Munich, Germany

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile now, you’ve probably noticed how often I say “This was a bucket list trip!”  We’ve been so fortunate to be able to cross so many items off our “list” since moving across the pond!  And this past weekend, Oktoberfest in Munich was another cross of the list!

Oktoberfest is unlike any other celebration in the world.  It’s hard to compare the experience.  It’s not quite a festival, it’s not just a big party, it’s a mixture of culture, traditions, fun (and yes lot’s of beer and food)! And it was bigger and better than I had  even dreamed! Prost!

We arrived Saturday morning and immediately made our way over to Theresienwiese, the official Oktoberfest grounds.  Dressed in our liederhosen and dirndl, our group quickly took in the sights, sounds and made a quick decision to soak up the beautiful German sun and enjoy our lunch in a beer garden.  (Side note: I totally fell in love with my dirndl, and wish I could wear it every weekend!) We were super lucky and were able to grab a picnic table immediately.  Our first Oktoberfest stein’s and taste of Bavarian food was perfection.

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After lunch, we moseyed around the Oktoberfest grounds to find a spot to enjoy our afternoon.  We learned quickly that once you get a table at a tent or beer garden…you stay there!  The place gets completely packed and it’s not worth giving up your spot because it is unlikely you will find another one.  We were incredibly lucky to find a spot in the Lauenbrau beer garden where we parked ourselves for the afternoon/early evening.

The next day, we decided it would be a wise choice to take a break from the main tents and festivities.  As Dan and I had already been to Munich a few times before, we didn’t have any specific sights to see, so we rented bikes with the Phelps for the day.   The weather was perfect and we biked all through the English Gardens.  We even came across an amazing Hofbrau Haus beer garden in the middle of our bike which was the perfect pit stop.  The boys loved biking down the hills and we all enjoyed watching the surfers in the river.

That evening we went for an early dinner with the whole group at the Original Hofbrau Haus.  It’s a complete tourist trap now, but I still think their food is incredible!  And the building is so beautiful! I think it’s totally worth going to on every trip to Munich!

For Monday, we had a table reservation at Pschorr-Brauosl.  We spent the majority of the day drinking steins, eating the most incredible (and filling) Bavarian food, dancing on tables and singing along to the oompah music.  Not to mention, singing Ein Prosit every 15 minutes…:)  One of the best parts about Oktoberfest is that everyone is your friend.  As soon as you enter, you have hundreds of friends who want to eat, drink, dance and laugh with you.  It was so fun!


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Unfortunately, it was a quick weekend and that night we all had to fly back to London.  This was a total bucket list success.  We already have so much love for Germany (especially Bavaria), and Oktoberfest made us love it even more! We’d love to go back someday!  Auf Wiedersehen!

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French Rivera & Cinque Terre

It’s hard to believe that SIX years ago Dan and I exchanged “I do’s” and promised our lives together forever.  I feel so blessed to share my life with my best friend and adventure all around the world with him.  For our anniversary, we decided to take another road trip.  This time we went to the French Rivera and Cinque Terre, Italy.  We decided to make it a long weekend as it was our anniversary! We did a nice loop, starting and ending at Nice. It was a lot of mileage, but the views along the way were unbeatable!


We flew in Thursday morning and grabbed our rental car.  We checked into our hotel and quickly hit the beach.  Our hotel was located in a quiet, secluded area between Nice and Monaco which provided us with the most amazing little cove of private beach.  We spent the afternoon floating in the turquoise water and walking along the coast.  That evening we went into Nice’s city centre to have dinner and drinks.  We found this amazing cave restaurant where we feasted on great Charcuterie and cheese and had great wine.

The next morning we drove into Monaco.  I’ve never seen so much wealth in such a small concentrated area!  Dan was in super car heaven, as every 2 minutes another insane super car would drive by!  And the yachts…don’t even get me started!  It was unreal how large these “boats” were…and how many of them there were!  Not just one or two big boys…we’re talking hundreds!  I thought some of them were cruise ships…but no…just private family boats 🙂 Monaco was a lot of fun.  You probably don’t need more than a half a day there, but if you’re in the area, it’s 100% worth checking out.  We really enjoyed it.


Side of the road swim spot20170908_153742

After lapping in the luxury, we hopped back into our little European car and started making our way over to Portofino.  Of course, after about an hour of driving, we had to stop on the side of the road for a dip in the water 🙂

The stretch of drive from Monaco to Portofino was our favourite of the trip.  The expressway follows the coast and ducks in and out of mountains the whole way.  Bridge, tunnel, bridge tunnel, bridge, tunnel…you get the point!  It was really beautiful.  We arrived at our AirBNB just outside of Portofino (in Rapallo) in the early evening where we freshened up and headed into Portofino for dinner.  What a night it turned out to be!  About 10 minutes into our drive we were stopped by the police!  We were informed that as Portofino is really small, they weren’t letting any more cars in for the evening because it was already full.  After a few minutes of discussion, we were somehow allowed to advance and try to get in.  We found a parking spot and quickly found out the reason why the town was shutting down…Ferrari was hosting an event in the town square, literally taking up the entire space! They were holding the world premiere of their new Ferrari Portofino!  The whole town was lined with a red carpet, massive tents, fancy tables and guest dressed to the nines!  We clearly didn’t fit in…ha!  We were able to walk around the edges of the town and catch the views from the peripheral.  Our dinner plans were also thwarted as Ferrari had booked out every restaurant on the waterfront…!  But we were able to grab a pizza 🙂 It was quite the scene and we really enjoyed the environment.  It was a bit unfortunate that we weren’t able to do Portofino as we had hoped, but we got to see the premiere of the car and walk the red carpet which was quite fun!


20170909_155550The next morning we made our way down the Italian coast for the Cinque Terre portion if our trip.  Cinque Terre (CT) literally means 5 towns; and these towns are cute little colourful towns built into the seaside cliffs.  We stayed in the most southern town, Riomaggiore.  We ran into a few hiccups during our time in Cinque Terre.  Our main plan for our time there was to hike from our town up the the northern most town, Monterosso.  Unfortunately, the hiking trails from our town up to the third town were closed for repairs.  Okay…so we start at the third town and make our way from there!  We bought our tickets (you have to have a trail pass to walk the trails), and started our trek!  We hiked for about 10 minutes when we reached the first trail checkpoint to show our passes…and were informed that all of the trails are closed for the day because there is a “chance of rain”.  SO – during our few days in CT, because there was a chance of rain in the forecast, we weren’t actually able to hike at all! It was super unfortunate as we love hiking and there really isn’t much else to do in the area besides take in the views!  (Oh – and it only rained at night! The sun was out during most of the day!)

Luckily, our friends Gina and Charles ended up being in CT the same time as ourselves so we are able to hang out and make the most of it!  We took the train from town to town, ate a lot of pasta, pizza and gelato, drank incredible wine and spent a lot of time relaxing!

Cinque Terre was beautiful!  Although we had some unfortunate circumstances, we were glad we went and we’re able to see it.  I do think the area has become overrun with tourists.  We felt like we were in Disney Land being shuffled around with all the other tourists.  It’s sad that the natural beauty and history of the area is not overshadowed by pushy foreigners.


We also managed to shoot a beautiful six year anniversary photo!  We’re past the point of being able to take selfies now – need two hands!

Six Years!

For our last day, we had intended to stay in CT for the full day, but as the trails were still closed (with no rain…) we decided to make our way over to Parma to check out the home of Parmesan cheese!

We went to Hombre Farms for a tour of the Parmesan cheese process.  They are a unique farm because they are a fully closed circuit.  Meaning, everything comes from just them!  They grow the feed for their cows and their cows provide everything for the cheese. And they are 100% organic.  The owner is also an avid car collector, so we were able to walk around his “garage” to see some of his collectibles!

As we still had a few hours to spare until we needed to head back to Nice, we decided to check out the Ferrari museum and factory in the neighboring town of Modena.

After drooling over cars we’ll never be able to afford, we started the trek back to Nice!  We arrive back just in time to catch a little of the sunset on the beach before dropping the car off and flying back to London! Although not everything went as we had hoped, it was such a beautiful trip.  We love taking road trips! Happy SIX YEARS DAN!


Adventure in the Swiss Alps

Earlier this summer Dan and I started planning a big hiking trip in Switzerland.  We had planned to do 4 full days in the Jungfrau region of the Alps hiking up, along the ridge, down and from hut to hut…well that was the plan until we got back from Asia…In my last post you may have read that I came down with an illness after our Cambodia trip.  Well this illness was unlike any other illness I’ve ever had.  I was completely out for 3 full weeks and now a month later, am still seeing some of the after effects.  Leading up to this trip I still had limited energy and very weak muscles.  So we had to tweak our trip quite a bit to accommodate…

Luckily, we still have an incredible time! With Dan’s master planning skills, we were still able to see and do a lot!

We flew into Zurich very late Thursday night.  We didn’t arrive until almost midnight.  We headed to our first campsite just outside of town along the shores of Zurich See.  We set up our tent and crashed for the night, and woke up to the most beautiful setting!  It was so fun waking up to such a picturesque setting, as we arrived in the dark having no idea where we actually were!  We packed up and headed over to Interlaken.

Just a half an hour into our two hour drive, we decided to take a pit stop for some breakfast in Lucerne.  It was such a beautiful little town!  The river is the most perfect shade of blue, and the main bridge is unlike any other.  We enjoyed our coffee and breakfast pastries by the water before continuing our journey to Interlaken.


After a beautiful, scenic drive, we arrived in Interlaken.  First stop: Swiss chocolate!  We headed directly to the chocolate shop to grab some chocolate fondue.  I don’t know how the Swiss do it, but their chocolate is truly the best! We definitely took advantage of it and indulged in copious amounts of chocolate throughout the weekend!

IMG_1105After filing up with chocolate for the morning, we drove over to Mürren for our first adventure activity, the Via Ferrata [Klettersteig auf Deutsch]!  This is essentially hiking along the side of a mountain using steel cables and holds to move along.  It was so cool!  I don’t think I stopped smiling the whole time!  I kept waiting for Dan to get annoyed with me because I kept stopping to tell Dan how cool the views were; but he was just as excited as I was! 🙂  We both agreed that our favourite parts were the cable bridges!  We’re both a bit of adrenaline junkies and loved the feeling of the waterfalls rushing below us while bouncing on a little cable above! [have fun trying to spot us in some of these photos!]

That evening, we made our way back to Interlaken where we set up our tent at a campsite on the western lake, Thunersee.  We had a wonderful fondue dinner in town, before enjoying the sunset over the lake.  One of the things I love about adventure/camping trips is going to sleep so early 🙂  I love going to bed just after sunset and waking to the sunrise.  It’s so rejuvenating!


On Saturday, we had our second adventure activity, white water rafting!  Neither of us had ever done this before [surprising!] so it was something we were really looking forward to.  We rafted on the Lütschine river, which had mainly class 4 rapids.  As the water flows down from the melting glaciers, it was freezing cold, so the weather was absolutely perfect for this adventure, 80 degrees and sunny!   We were  put at the front of the boat to be the leaders, which was really fun and challenging! We both absolutely loved this experience, and can’t wait to do it again! [Thank you Alpin Raft!]


That evening, we drove back into Interlaken to check out the Unspunnenfest.   We were super lucky to have caught this, because it only happens once every 12 years!  Think of the festival as the Swiss Olympics…stone throwing, wrestling and yodeling!  We didn’t get to see the actual games as we didn’t have tickets, but we were able to enjoy the outer festivities and we even made friends with a yodeling group which we hung out with for awhile!

After getting our yodeling  fix, we drove over to Grindlewald to camp in the valley of the area we would be hiking the next day.  It was another beautiful campsite.  We couldn’t believe how quiet the whole area was – it was such a nice change from busy London.

IMG_1229Sunday was our big hike day.  Adventure number three began in Grindlewald and ended at the Gleckstein Hutte – 2,317 m high up Mount Wetterhorn.  We had researched a lot of hikes and there are so many in the area.  As our initial plans changed, we decided to let the locals help us with what to do!  We wanted a hike that was very secluded, picturesque and particularly one in which no cable cars could get to to keep the tourists away.  SO we ended up with this hike as the locals recommended it would be perfect as not many people do it and the hut at the top is one of the best views in the area.  Little did we know how difficult the hike would be! We quickly found out it was a very steep ascent on very rocky ridges! [picture on the right shows what the terrain was…!]  After hours of heavy breathing and strategically placing each foot, we rounded the corner to the most beautiful sight – our mountain hut for the night!

The hut was adorable.  There were about 8 other hikers staying there with us for the night.  Some of the hikers were locals that told us this was in the top 3 most difficult hikes/huts to get to!  The hut owners provided us with a delicious, hearty dinner and breakfast which was much needed after a long day of hiking.  After dinner we had a lovely surprise with a heard of Steinbock’s visiting our hut!



The next morning we started adventure number four…making our way back down to the valley without falling face first. It was a beautiful hike down, as the air was much cooler and the descent takes so much less effort!  We enjoyed scampering down the rocks, taking in our last views of the mountains.

We rewarded ourselves with one last fondue and raclette meal in Grindlewald then made the drive back to Zurich.  We decided to stay in the same campsite as we did the night we arrived because we loved it so much.  As we arrived in the afternoon, we were able to swim in the lake and enjoy the sun and relax for the afternoon.  We cooked a lovely pasta camp meal before crashing early in the night for our 7am flight back to London in the morning.

I was so proud of myself for being able to do everything we did.  And so thankful my health is finally almost back to normal!  We absolutely loved this trip.  Every moment was perfect!




Siem Reap, Cambodia + Hong Kong

After a lovely trip to Bali, we hopped on another plane and made our way north to Siem Reap, Cambodia!  To be honest, the thought of visiting Cambodia never really crossed my mind.  But after some research and discovering the Angkor Wat…Dan and I were sold and knew we had to go!

We arrived mid-afternoon and got settled into our hotel.  Once again, our hotel accommodations were incredible.  We were treated like royalty at this place!  It was the cutest little boutique hotel in the heart of the city, and just a quick tuk tuk ride to the Angkor Wat! Check it out: Privilege Boutique Hotel

That afternoon we relaxed by the pool then had an incredible dinner at the Chanrey Tree Restaurant.  Cambodia food is very close to Thai food, so we both loved it!  And the Cambodian people are so much like the Thai – friendly, happy, super smiley, and helpful!  We loved the service we received at all the restaurants!

Tuk Tuk!

The next morning was our big exploring day.  We hired a tuk tuk driver for the day and set out to the Angkor Archaeological Park, which is the 150+ square mile area that houses many famous temples. [Side note: you may notice that Dan and I are in all sorts of funny outfits throughout this post.  Due to different religious traditions, we had to cover up differently.  Lots of random scarves, dresses, etc!]

First stop:  ANGKOR WAT!  The Angkor Wat is the WORLD’S LARGEST religious monument!!!  It was originally built in the 12th century as a Hindu temple, but has switched back and forth from Hindu and Buddhism based on who was in power at the time.  There really are no great words to describe Angkor Wat.  It’s absolutely breathtaking.  Just take a look for yourself [although these photos do not even do it justice!]:



After spending a good amount of time wandering around Angkor Wat in awe, we decided it was time to move on to the next site.  Which ended up being my favourite of the day! This one was called Angkor Thom, which translated means “Great City”. It is essentially an old walled city, filled with the most impressive sculptures and monuments.  Again, I can’t even begin to explain the feeling we felt as we walked around.  I’ve never seen anything so impressive before.  The detail, the enormity, the grandeur…it all just took my breath away. And it all just made me feel so happy!  In all of the sculptures, all of the faces were smiling, the monkey’s were dancing and everything just seemed so cheerful! I couldn’t stop thinking about how talented and skilled the men were that constructed this in the late 12th century.  Can  you imagine something of this detail being constructed today?


After ticking off a few smaller temples, our tuk tuk driver took us to a “locals restaurant” for lunch.  We had a fantastic meal – Dan had a delicious curry and I had a green mango chicken salad.  [However…I’m pretty certain this is the meal that gave me a horrible parasite and salmonella…that when I got back to London made me horribly ill for almost 3 weeks!]