Just when you thought I'd posted my last article of the year, my friend Kate of adventurouskate tagged me in her A-Z of travel.
So here are my A-Z where you might learn a little more about little old me!
A: Age you went on your first international trip:
Not that I remember but I've been told by my parents that they took me to Tenerife when I was about one. I can't recall seeing any photographic proof so I take this on trust.
B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where:
I like to try the local beer of any country I go to but the one that sticks out is Macs in New Zealand. When we lived there I would always pick up a six pack of Macs Blonde on my way home on a Friday night.
C: Cuisine (favorite):
Street food anywhere will amaze me (even the mention of it gets me giddy!) and the markets of Singapore and Hong Kong are among my favourites. The atmosphere at Kowloon's night market probably just edges it.
D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why:
My favourite has to be Langkawi. It was completely random how we ended up there as we hadn't planned to go. A Swedish couple we met in Penang said they were going on a ferry there the following day so we joined them. It was one of best weeks of our Round the World trip and is where Angela and I officially became a couple.
Least favourite was Kuala Lumpur. Everyone we met referred to it as KL and said how we'd enjoy it. All we got was three days of rain, dodgy cab drivers and when we tried to leave on a train to Butterworth we were told it was full and had to stay another night before catching a flight instead.
E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”:
When we were in Cairns there was news of a typhoon on its way. We had to lock ourselves in overnight in a hostel with no communication to the outside world. When we ventured outside the following morning and saw metal posts bent at 90 degrees and 20foot trees completely uprooted is was kind of a mother nature wow moment.
F: Favorite mode of transportation:
This is a toughie but am going to opt for train travel as it's more relaxing even if some journeys can take forever.
G: Greatest feeling while traveling:
There's nothing better than a hot shower after long hours of flying
H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to:
Not many that I can think of. Hong Kong and Singapore were more humid so I think I'll go with Morocco.
I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where:
When we arrived in Rarotonga on our final leg of our year long trip the hostel owner couldn't find us on her list of guests when picking us up from the airport. She kindly took us to the hostel anyway and found us a bed for the night in a dorm. Realising the next morning that she'd screwed up the booking she found us a empty beach bungalow a couple of doors down from their hostel so our final week was spent in relative luxury with our own private kitchen and room.
J: Journey that took the longest:
I've done a couple of long distance jaunts - longest train journey was from Palmerston North to Auckland in New Zealand which took around 11 hours but longest overall would be London to Singapore which I think took around 13 hours (plenty of film watching on that flight!)
K: Keepsake from your travels:
POSTCARDS! I do try and buy one from places I've been but don't always remember. However I do buy a fridge magnet for my Mum from anywhere new I go.
L: Let-down sight, why and where:
A few years ago we went to Paris over New Year and for New Years Eve we went to Disneyland. Expecting a huge firework finale to the year we waited for hours in the freezing cold for what turned out to be two minutes of a display. Disney isn't always a magical place.
M: Moment where you fell in love with travel:
When I stepped foot in Sydney it fulfilled a lifelong ambition to visit and I think that really ignited a spark in me that no matter where somewhere is in the world, you can also visit. There's nothing better than experiencing first hand what you've seen in books or on TV or what someone has written about.
N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in:
Best for view was Sonaisali Resort in Fiji - looking out on the veranda over the beach and ocean.
O: Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?:
Oh, there are so many. I've been outed as a dome and archway fanatic after my trip to Innsbruck but the one thing I noticed myself was that of animals whilst wandering around zoos. I have hundreds of photos of otters, red pandas and meerkats!
P: Passport stamps, how many and from where?
There's quite a few in there but now that I've started to visit Europe more I don't get any stamps anymore. I've just added Slovakia as my 18th country which follows Spain, Bulgaria, USA, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Cook Islands, Belgium, France, Morocco, Cape Verde, Thailand, Austria and of course the UK.
Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where:
The quirkiest on purpose was Puzzling World in Wanaka on New Zealand's South Island which was full of optical illusions and a maze which we got lost in. We also by accidentally came across the World's Largest Shearer in Te Kuiti on the North Island which a statue that celebrates the shearing industry.
R: Recommended sight, event or experience:
If you're in Auckland book yourself a meal at the top of the SkyTower, the food was outstanding and relatively cheap in comparison the other prominent restaurants.
S: Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling:
I don't mind paying for things that I know I'd regret if I didn't do it. Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Skiing in the Remarkables and Hiking on Fox Glacier and things that I really don't mind paying for.
T: Touristy thing you’ve done:
I always do touristy things, kind of a guilty pleasure. Visiting Madame Tussauds in New York maybe the most though.
U: Unforgettable travel memory:
As a whole our Round the World trip will stay with me forever from the places we went to the people we met.
V: Visas, how many and for where?
Two visas and I wasted one of those. When I went to Australia in 2005 I was told that we had to get a working visa if we wanted to stay longer than three months. Wanting to stay for longer I got one only to never use it so never got the chance to go back to Australia to actually work. The other was for New Zealand where we spent eight months and made full use of our working visas.
W: Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where?
We bought a great bottle of red from the Swan Valley region outside of Perth in Australia whilst visiting friends there. We weren't really wine drinkers until that bottle, now we can't stop hic!
X: eXcellent view and from where?:
It's hard to beat the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. A complete 360 degree view where we could see the harbour entrance to the Blue Mountains and when you look down..oh there's the Opera House.
Y: Years spent traveling?:
Technically I've travelled most of my life on holidays but the real travel bug caught on in 2003 which makes it just over eight years.
Z: Zealous sports fans and where?:
None more so than Australia and New Zealand rugby fans - mix them together on the steps of the Sydney Opera House in front of a giant screen to watch the 2003 Rugby World Cup semi-final. Brilliant!
And now it’s time to pass it on! I tag: