The 25 April is a special date for Aussie’s and Kiwi’s – a national day of remembrance for the Australian New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought in World War I at Gallipoli, Turkey so many years ago.
Just being at the site that so many were killed 98 years ago was quite
surreal and very overwhelming. Camping out under the stars in only a sleeping bag amidst 6,000 other like-minded people, there to pay their respects, was an experience I’ll never forget. Compelling war documentaries were shown on the massive projector screens all throughout the night until morning breaks and the dawn service begins. After the joint dawn service the Australian’s walk up to Lone Pine to commence their Australian service and the New Zealander’s trek up to Chunuk Bair. Experiencing Anzac Day in Gallipoli, Turkey is truly amazing.
Egypt is at the centre of all routes leading to and from the 3 continents of Asia, Europe and Africa; throughout the Middle East it is known as “The Mother of the World”, with over 6,000 years of history it is also deemed the birthplace of modern civilization and religion. But more plainly an Egypt tour takes you to a destination that truly captures the imagination of us all; Egypt is a name that one cannot utter without a hint of reverence, intrigue and mystery. We all have our own visions of Egypt, which Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade helped to bring alive our romantic notions of pyramids, tombs, treasure and of course adventure, beckoning us all to her golden dunes.
The Pyramids of Giza are the last surviving member of the original Seven Wonders of the World, they are incredible tributes to one of mans’ greatest architectural feats. Words cannot come close to eliciting the feeling that one gets upon gazing at these ancient structures that have endured so much and still stand so proudly, but may leave you understanding the Arab proverb that says “man fears time, time fears the pyramids”. Read more…
When conjuring up images of the Greek islands, most picture sun-kissed days spent lying on the white sandy beaches and swimming in the refreshing sapphire sea with the quintessentially Greek white-stucco buildings in the background; then warm Mediterranean nights spent sipping on cocktails while watching the lights bounce off the water and the boats gently rocking in the harbour, or partying all night in a club until you can watch the sun reappear over the horizon… And they wouldn’t be far wrong.
With over 2,900 islands and islets, 1,400 beaches and endless stretches of coastline framed by the crystal clear ocean, to sail Greece seems to be the natural choice to explore all of this, and have a true holiday of holidays.
The islands that form the Cyclades are typically the first choice of charterers who sail Greece. These islands sit in the centre of the Aegean and get their name from the Greek word ‘kyklos’ meaning “circle” as the islands form a circle around Delos island, which hosted the ancient city that was the region’s centre of commerce. This collection of islands varies from the lively waterfront towns and nightlife of Mykonos and Ios, to the quaint charm of Páros and vistas of Santorini. Read more…
To put it simply Sail Croatia = cloud nine….sunbathing, swimming, drinking, eating, exploring, partying and sleeping.
I have heard so many amazing stories about Croatia yet this trip definitely exceeded my expectations! Not many people can say they have lived on a pirate ship for 8 days sailing the most stunning stretches of coastline that Europe has to offer. No matter where you look it is a million dollar view, a real paradise. It is definitely an understatement when I say I was living the dream.
Each day we would set sail early in the morning then stop for a swim en route to our destination. Swim stops meant jumping off the boat into the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic, floating on lilos while drinking a cheeky cider then drying off by laxing out on the deck, catching rays and reading. Lunch time would roll around and we would head inside for an amazing lunch on the boat. After this we’d then pull into our destination for the day/night.
We got to visit all the top islands including Brac; with the awesome cave bar, the beautiful Makarska; which is nestled under the picture perfect Biokovo mountain range, the famous party island Hvar; where we partied at the biggest open air club in Europe, Korčula; the birth place of the famous Marco Polo, Mljet; where we got the chance to kayak, cycle or scoot around the breathtaking salt lakes in the National Park, as well as visiting the coastal cities of Split, Slano and finally, the gem of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik.
I have had friends go on this turkey tours and highly recommend it, but I have to admit I didn’t know much about Turkey, so wasn’t sure what to expect at all, but thought why not give it a try, and as it now turns out this is one of the best trips I have ever done.
We started off in Istanbul, and I have actually been here before, but just for one day, so my original first impression wasn’t that great. But going through Turkey with a local guide is completely different; not just for the history of each of the sites we visited, but also at night to have someone to recommend where to eat and what to order adds so much more to the experience.
The rest of the trip carried on along the same note. Visiting ancient sites such as Troy and Ephesus-which is by far one of my highlights for historical reasons, walking through a site which is said to have been host to likes as Cleopatra, the Virgin Mary,Saint Paul, and even Elton John is an experience you just can’t explain. Each location was a completely different side to Turkey; and I never realized just how vast and beautiful it is!
In my eyes the tour was laid out perfectly, having the first 3 days of quite full on sightseeing and traveling, then the next couple of days to relax by the coast, and even party a little was brilliant.
This is by far one of my European highlights. I had no idea of just what to expect when I walked through the main gates to where all the beer tents were… Now when you think of a ‘beer tent’ nothing quite prepares you for this scene… Nowhere have I ever been in a tent that holds upto 10,000 people!
When you hear ‘beerfest’ you just think lots of people getting drunk right? Well this is only part of it. Walking through the main gates in your Dirndl or Lederhose to see the tents all in a line, thousands of people all dressed up, tradional bands striking a chord and a rollercoaster in the background… well ‘beerfest’ just doesn’t quite cut it.
You definitely don’t have to be a big drinker, the atmosphere is amazing, and there is lots to do other than just drink all day (though don’t get me wrong a Mass or two is definitely in order); like all of the rides and stalls to explore, not to mention all the food to sample.
The atmosphere inside the tents is second to none; yes everyone is mostly drinking, but everyone is in such great spirits, not once out of all of the thousands of people did I ever see one bit of animosity, you are more likely to be embraced by a table of germans than see any trouble (which if you think about having this number of people at a sporting event, to not see one scuffle would be very rare).
Having come from the area of today’s Morocco, Moors have left a lasting impact on Spanish architecture and the way of life. Powerful and benevolent rulers, they have turned 8th century Iberian Peninsula into a land of plenty. While the rest of Europe suffered from food shortages, Moors introduced an irrigation system to dry Spanish land and grew pomegranates, oranges, grapes, cotton and rice.
The architectural style that developed from Christians and Muslim living side by side for centuries is called Mudéjar style and can be seen today in Spain and Portugal.
Travelling to Gallipoli for ANZAC Day has always been a dream of mine since childhood. It returns our family to the place where my Great Grandad faced the most difficult time of his life in the fight for peace. He never spoke about it on his return to New Zealand but it was with him for the rest of his life.
To be at Gallipoli for ANZAC Day and particularly to experience that moment was something I don’t think can ever be topped. It was so beautiful and peaceful; it was hard to believe that 97 years ago it was full of war and bombing. Words can’t describe the feelings of pride, sadness and admiration that you feel for the people who served there. I’ve never in my whole life felt so proud to be a kiwi. Read more…
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