I didn’t think it would be possible, but I actually saw Paris in a day.

I didn’t think it would be possible, but I actually saw Paris in a day.

Of course, I was staying in London with my dad at the time, so our day started earlier than normal with a 6am train ride across the English Channel to London.

But it was so worth it. The moment, we stepped out of the station in Paris, at rue de Maubeuge, I was engulfed by the smells of fresh bakeries and coffee, serving up divine treats to both tourists and locals alike. Unable to resist the smells, we too floated to the nearest café for coffee and treat, before embarking on our jammed packed day of exploring Paris. We had a 9pm train to catch that night, and time was ticking.

Our first decision; which turned out to be a bad one, was to ride the hop on and hop off bus, this was a disaster. Traffic in Paris is a nightmare (and I thought Egypt was bad). We lasted all of 30 minutes on the bus before getting off at the first stop to go on foot. Glad I wore my flats.

We decided to charge on foot straight to the Louvre, with the hopes there wouldn’t be a crowd this early in the morning. Lucky for me, dad has travelled to Paris many times before. So, he made the perfect guide. All I had to do, was follow his lead and snap as many pics along the way as I could.

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Yippie! No crowds or large ques at the Louvre. Well, that’s a lie. There were a lot of tourists, however, instead of your standard 3 hour wait to get inside (which apparently is the norm), we only waited 45 minutes and we were in. It’s easy to lose track of time inside the Louvre, admiring not just the art and antiquities – but the actual building itself. We realise we have been inside for nearly 3 hours (whoops). Time to charge ahead and move to the next location.

One of my dreams has always been to walk across (maybe not the whole way) the Pont des Arts Bridge over the River Seine (well this one and of course the spectacular Pont Alexandre III also). The fence of Pont des Arts Bridge is covered with thousands and thousands of padlocks. Locking all the secrets from lovers, friends and family. Similar to that of friendship bracelets, the locks are a commitment of sorts, between two people. You lock the padlock (some with inscriptions) on the fence and then throw the key into the River Sein for safe keeping.

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I don’t make it far across the bridge, before dad pulls me back reminding me of our time limit. I take just enough photos, before we are off again (I thought I would mention, I also got a chance to walk a little way along the Pont Alexandre III – second Paris dream achieved).

Onwards to see the famous Notre-Dame. A massive crowd is starting to form at the Notre-Dame, so I que up quickly to take my turn in the church. It’s certainly megalithic inside, but it’s absolutely chaos inside though and I hate big crowd, especially ones made of tourists (even thought I am one LOL). I take my turn wandering the halls through the Notre-Dame as quickly as I can, absorbing its breath-taking ambience before scrabbling back outside.

I snap as many pics as I can, of the stunning Parisian lifestyle as we charge through main streets, side streets, past exotic restaurants and glorious delis, and find a cute little café for a quick lunch along the Boulevard Saint-Germain. Of course, you must do the French thing when in France, so I order myself a French baguette with the lot – delicious. After lunch, we continue our long walk (it’s approx. an hour walk from the Notre-Dame to the Eiffel Tower) until we finally reach the pis de resistance; the Eiffel Tower.

We are super lucky also, as there seems to a lull in the crowd; possible as everyone is out eating lunch still. So, it’s only a 30-minute wait in the que until we loaded into the elevator of the Eiffel Tower and begin our long ascent up the tower. Did I mention I hate heights? LOL. Yep, terrified of them. But, the ride is not too bad. Perhaps my excitement is outweighing my fear. I’m not sure, but I am happy for it. Once we make it to the top, we decide a hot chocolate and donut is in order whilst kicking back at one of the bar tables outside and admiring the magnificent view of Paris city. As you can image, being so far up and away from the noises of a busy city, it’s very peaceful hear. After an hour or so, we make the long decent back down to the ground.

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As it’s now late in the afternoon, and it’s almost winter here – the light has already started to fade. We take a walk in the Champ de Mars park; which is the best spot in Paris to admire the Eiffel Tower in its full glory. Especially at night, when its lights turn on. Spectacular.

Weary from all the walking and now super cautious that time is slowly disappearing, we don’t have too long now before we need to make tracks back to the rue de Maubeuge (get it, tracks for the trains station HAHA), to make the 9pm train back to London. The last iconic tourist spot on the list of things to see, is the L’Arc de Triomphe. So, rather than racing there on foot (as it’s too far), we catch the train instead and I manage to purchase the cutest red beret at a hat shop inside the station. So, French J

I’m really happy we left the L’Arc de Triomphe as our last tourist stop of the evening. It’s super pretty at night there, with all the lights illuminating the great structure in a shield of gold. As we are taking photos, we notice a few tourists enter through a secret door we hadn’t noticed before and we stop one of the tourists to ask what they are doing. Apparently, they have now opened the Arc for tourists to climb the 284 steps to the top view. You only live, once right? So, dad and I decide to do it. By the time, we get to the top, I can’t feel my legs, nor my feet. The 2-hour train trip back to London is looking more and more good.

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What an amazing adventure in Paris. I can’t believe what we managed to achieve in 1 day visiting Paris. Of course, we didn’t get a real chance to explore too much of the beaten track (as it’s said). But you know what, for my first trip to Paris it was the best way to spend the day.

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Notre-Dame
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Inside the Lourve Palace

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Secret Parisian windows
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Inside the Lourve Palace
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Eiffel Tower view

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284 steps to the top of the L’Arc de Triomphe

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My picture diary of Coolgardie

My picture diary of Coolgardie

Did you know, the population of Coolgardie in the late 1800s was more than the population of Sydney?

During the Gold Rush period, Coolgardie hosted an incredible amount of gold, which made Coolgardie the third largest town of Western Australia in the 1800s (after Perth and Freemantle). Making its population more than that of Sydney city at the time.

Coolgardie is a fascinating little town that consist of a small population of 1000 and boasts some of the most amazing Gold Rush antiquities I did ever see. Including the small streets lined with beautiful historic buildings in perfect condition, where the past still lingures and where the ghosts of miners and colonists still roam. No, really. There are many stories of ghosts who wander the streets still searching for gold. There is even a ghost cats that haunts the old Warden Finnerty’s Residence. And, if you are feeling brave, you can take a ghost tour of the local cemetery at night, where you get to hear all the gruesome old tales of murder and mystery.

Instead of listening to me blabber on about all the great things in this neat little town, I thought I would share with you some of my favourite pictures we took whilst visiting Coolgardie – enjoy.

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Old Gaol
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Old Miners Tin Cabin

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Old Miners Tin Village

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Australia’s rugged landscape

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Old Miners Tin Cabin

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Warden Finnerty’s Residence

Coolgardie is located in Western Australia, approx 558km east of Perth (the capital city of WA).

 

 

 

 

I love Christmas in Sydney

I love Christmas in Sydney

Sydney does Christmas really well, so I thought I would share some of my favourite things to do.

I’ve always loved Christmas, and although it’s always so hot here in Sydney (most of the time) during the holiday period, that doesn’t mean us Aussies don’t know how to put on an amazing Christmas display of festivities.

Here are 5 of my favourite activities do in Sydney during the Festive Season.

Santa Land: is a brand new event being hosted in Sydney this year and promises to be pretty spectacular. Wander through the enchanted Alpine forest in search of Santa and take a toboggan ride through the snow.

Where and when: The Entertainment Quarter, 122 Lang Road, Moore Park. Everyday from 7-24th December 2016, 10am to 9pm.

The lights of Christmas: is when the famous St Mary’s Cathedral on College Street becomes the centrepiece of a spectacular Christmas display. The theme this year is ‘Joy to the World.’ This will feature some old world classics, like: The Nutcracker, which is projected through an amazing light show onto the building of the Cathedral.

Where and when: College Street, Sydney from 8-25th December 2016 8.30pm to Midnight.

Lego Christmas Sleigh: is a giant Santa sleigh (reindeer and elves included) which has been made entirely of Lego. And the best part is, it’s life size, which means you get to sit in the Lego Sleigh for an amazing and unique photo opportunity.

Where and when: Martin Place, next to the Christmas tree. From 15-26th December 2016. Thursday to Friday 5pm to 9pm, Saturdays 4pm to 9pm and Sundays 12pm to 4pm.

The Rocks Very Merry Markets: is the perfect location to shop for all of your last minute Christmas presents as the markets will be trading after hours every Friday from no until Christmas. Enjoy browsing through seasonal styles, gourmet goodies and stunning homemade gifts.

Where and when: 15 Argyle Street, The Rocks. Every Friday from 2-23rd December 2016, 4pm to 8pm.

The Sydney Santa Spectacular: is held every year at the Rosehill Racecourse and truly is a spectacular events for both young and old who love this time of year. Enter Santa’s wonderland and explore the magic of the North Pole in lights. Or maybe take an ice skate along the frozen lake.

Where and when: Rosehill Racecourse, Rosehill. Every day except for Wednesdays and Christmas Day. But be quick as tickets are selling fast (all ticket purchased also include free parking).

This email has not been endorsed my any of these brands.

We went stargazing in Chillago and saw the Milky Way for the first time.

We went stargazing in Chillago and saw the Milky Way for the first time.
(Pic: Balancing Rock in Chillago National Park. Image c/-FranSo Photography: http://www.franso.hk/photo?type=Starscape)

Growing up in the city, I’ve never really had the opportunity to look up into the night sky and admire our stunning Milky Way in all its glory.

Sure, there were times where I made a trip to the Sydney Observatory and looked upon some amazing planets and stars through the ancient telescope. And I probably did get a glimpse of it at one time when I was a little kid, back in the days of camping and what not – but as a kid you don’t truly appreciated such wonders.

So, when my partner and I heard there was a small observatory in the middle of a small desert town of Queensland, where you could look up in awe at the night sky littered with millions of stars. We had to go.

If you have never heard of Chillago, it’s a small desert town around 3 hours west of Cairns in Far Northern Queensland. It’s a dusty little town, with a population of around 192 people.

Back in the day, Chillago was a thriving mining town, which boasted a wide range of minerals from zinc to iron. And it’s been said by leading Geologists, that Chillago has one of the most diverse geology in the world.

Although there isn’t a huge amount of activities available in Chillago, they do host a most spectacular event every night at their mini star gazing observatory. And I’m not exaggerating when I say mini! The observatory was so tiny, most of us had to wait outside until it was out turn to climb the small staircase of 6 or so steps to peer through the telescope lens.

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The iddy biddy observatory

But, boy was it a treat and so worth the wait outside in the balmy desert heat.

Even without the use of the telescope, the night sky delivered on what was the most spectacular sight; the Milky Way. It’s exactly how everyone describes it. A perfect line of millions and millions of shiny dots streaked across a velvety black sky. I’ve never seen so many stars, glittering in all their splendour.

It’s definitely an experience I will never forget and one I would recommend to anyone.

The observatory is part of the Chillago Observatory and Eco Lodge. When you book your accommodation, spend the extra $25 pp for the late night observatory experience. and if you’re looking for other activities to do there, just out of town is the Chillago-Mungana Caves National Park, which contains anywhere between 600 and 1,000 stunning limestone caves to explore.

Most of the caves are open to the public to tour on your own. However, you do need to report yourself to the rangers station for some specific caves that go very deep into the ground. This is to ensure the Rangers can keep track of which cave you went into, in case you go missing. It makes it easier for the search party to come find you, if you never return.

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The old mine
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Hope a train isn’t due!
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Limestone Caves
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A local
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Standing Rock
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Limestone Caves
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Ancient Aboriginal Art