Sanur, Bali, Indonesia

Sanur is famed for it’s 4km beachfront. It’s pleasant, child friendly, has nice eateries. It’s slightly too generic to be a favorite (we’re island people at heart!) Highlights include the night market, trying Kopi Lewak (cat poo coffee) posing at the picturesque Big Garden Corner, and our beautiful hideaway at the Villa Sayang Tamen.

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The Great Ocean Road & 12 Apostles

How do you top last year’s birthday at Marina Bay Sands? You can’t really! So this year the theme was nature, and the mission; to see a wild koala. So we set out for 48 hours along Australia’s Great Ocean Road. Here are 8 gems we found along the way…

1) Queenscliff – A nice beach-side picnic spot if like me, you can’t wait to tuck into the picnic just 2 hours out of Melbourne.  Great views of Sorrento across the bay.

2) Torquay – The real ‘surfers paradise’ with tons of surf brand outlet stores. You can pick up Quicksilver bikini’s for $10. Perhaps not the ideal purchase when 6 months pregnant, but such a bargain I couldn’t resist. The Imperial Rhino cafe’s menu tells you everything you need to know about this town; ‘Berocca over ice’ for weekend hangovers.

3) Apollo Bay – Packed with tourists year-round, so lots of cute coffee shops & a small Sunday farmers market. If you want to stay off the beaten track however check out….

4) … Yuulong – One of the best Air B & B’s we’ve ever stayed in. Michelle’s rustic countryside home could be straight out of Grand Designs. It took 20 years to build (the wooden beams were shipped in from the old Sydney pier!) The breakfast & views are out of this world.

5) 12 Apostles – There are only 8 left but they still attract 2 million visitors per year! Loch Ard Gorge is the best spot for walking trails. A winter version of Maya Bay.

6) L’Artisan Cheese Cafe – A beautiful stop if you travel inland along the Timboon Road. They do tastings & lunch platters in the garden from $15pp. http://www.lartisancheese.com.au/

7) Timboon Railway Shed Distillery – Whilst you’re in ‘tasting mode’ stop for free samples of fruit vodka & the creamiest chocolate liqueur. We bought a bottle an anticipation for baby’s arrival 3 months from now.

8) Great Otway National Park – Last but not least, this place is koala spotting  heaven. Mission accomplished for another year.

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Pic of the week; 1929 Hotel

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For one night only; the incredible outside bathroom terrace of Keong Saik road’s 1929 hotel. Some of the best customer service and qwerky touches in the city. (Free unlimited apple juice and iced jems biscuits!)

 

Pic of the week; Tirana

The view from the Mondial Hotel rooftop pool. Maybe not what you'd expect from the Albanian capital?

The view from the Mondial Hotel rooftop pool. Maybe not what you’d expect from the Albanian capital?

Berat, Albania

We’re ignoring poor Durres as our first introduction to Albania because Berat redeems it in every way. Berat is everyone’s favourite Ottoman era ‘city of 1000 windows,’ complete with UNESCO’s seal of approval. I spend the 90 min drive from coastal Durres trying to photograph Albania’s famous old war bunkers. Easier said than done, they really are cunningly camouflaged. Much more prolific is the word ‘Shitet’ which is boldly plastered across cars, apartment blocks, and I imagine even the odd donkey. In a far cry from Albania’s communist past – everything seems to be ‘on sale.’

We’ve seen our share of pretty old towns these last weeks in Croatia and Montenegro but Berat’s 13th century castle is in a different league of cool places to spend a few nights. We stay at Guesthouse Kris, inside the city walls, which itself is a mini fortress shielded in fig fruits and grape vines. It’s one of the most serene places I’ve ever slept, with homemade breakfast too for only $25 a double room. Not that you can put a price for waking up in a castle!

Previous Older Entries

An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

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