Travel

Muizenberg Beach Huts

Cape Town Adventure

I have been asked by several people about our recent trip to Cape Town. Rather than write the same email 15 times, I thought I would share the details behind our trip.

After securing flights at a great price thanks to Jack’s Flight Club for my wife’s birthday, we quickly found ourselves with a trip to Cape Town on the horizon. But where do we stay? After a little research, I quite liked the idea of combining the best of a city and beach break so narrowed down our options to Camps Bay, Sea Point and Simon’s Town.

As a man of a certain age, there was something incredibly appealing about Simon’s Town being a quaint little town with delicious food, and waking up to a beautiful view of the harbour. It is 45 minutes away from the main city but everything we wanted to do was on the doorstep and I loved the idea of retreating from the hustle and bustle at the end of each day.

I am a simple man of simple pleasures and my only demands from any accommodation is Free Wi-Fi and Free Breakfast. Simon’s Town Quayside Hotel had all this and a killer view to wake up to each morning, and for seven nights, it only cost £435 through Booking.com, so it seemed like a no brainer.

Day One: Boulders Beach The Penguin Colony

A short 15-minute walk from the Simon’s Town Quayside Hotel is Boulders Beach where you will find the famous colony of African Penguins. Two breeding pairs arrived at Boulders Beach in 1982 and founded their little colony. Since then, numbers have grown to around 3,000.

Boulders Beach Penguins Simon's Town Guide

In the afternoon, we took it easy and decided to soak up harbour life in Simon’s Town.

Day Two – Cape Town Explorer

As Cape Town is a 40-minute drive away and we were not driving, I wanted to find a private tour that would enable us to see Table Mountain, Robben Island, Bo Kaap and VA Waterfront all in one day. My Google search led me to Anna-Marie Marrs who provides custom-designed private tours for optimum flexibility, maximum enjoyment, and best combinations for individual preferences.

Anna-Marie was the perfect guide who ensured we saw everything we wanted plus a few surprises too. She shared her passion for the natural outdoors, wildlife, and cultural heritage of the Western Cape to provide a and rewarding travel experience in a world-class destination.

Following Anna-Marie’s advice, we purchased tickets in advance for a morning slot to Table Mountain and a 1pm Ferry to Robben Island and she took care of everything else.

Top of Table Mountain looking down at Lions Head, Robben Head, Green Point Stadium from 2010 World Cup and little old me

Day Three – Snorkel With Seals

The idea of taking a boat into the middle of nowhere and jumping into the water with the Cape Fur Seals and have a blast with the clowns of the sea was too hard to resist. The destination was Partridge Point which is home to a few hundred seals.

My wife was a little nervous about how to get in and out of the boat and is not a very confident swimmer. But the staff at Pisces Diving were first class and instantly put her at ease and ensured she too had the time of her life. The seals are extremely curious and playful and entertained divers and snorkelers alike. They mostly hang around the surface when they are in the water but also dive down to 25 meters to Scuba divers.

An experience that will stay with us both for the rest of our lives.

Snorkeling With seals Simon's Town

Day Four – Shark Cage Dive

When staying at Simon’s Town Quayside Hotel, breakfast is served at the Saveur Restaurant which is a 2-minute walk away. Next, to the restaurant, you will find Apex Shark Expeditions where you can experience a shark dive in a metal cage.

On the way, we encountered a school of dolphins before anchoring by seal island which is home to over 80,000 seals. Based on the weather, Apex will decide on the best spot to weigh anchor and begin attracting sharks to the vessel. The cage is then deployed, where it floats next to the boat.

Once a shark approaches the boat, bait is kept in the water to keep the shark around long enough for identification, viewing and cage diving purposes. The sharks come very close to the boat. Although it might sound scary, it really isn’t, but it is an amazing experience that you will never forget. We were also incredibly fortunate to encounter a school of dolphins on the trip which made the day even more special.

Day Five –  Muizenberg Beach Huts and Kalk Bay

From our hotel in Simon’s Town, we got an Uber to Muizenberg Beach to check out the Instagrammable red huts for around £6.00. Bright, vibrant and very photogenic, the Muizenberg beach huts continue to be an Instagrammer’s delight and a perfect backdrop and location for film and commercial shoots. The beach with its huts is a perfect setting for safe swimming, family outings, learning to surf, sun-bathing and ice-cream eating.

Muizenberg Beach Huts

Once we had secured our cool pics, we hailed another Uber to Kalk Bay which cost £3.00. Forbes Magazine’s Ann Abel finds up-and-coming neighborhoods slightly out of the mainstream where local creatives live and work. In her list of the 12 coolest suburbs in the world, you will find the quaint and rustic Kalk Bay. With its old world charm and fab restaurants like the acclaimed Olympia Cafe, Kalk Bay is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

The main road is filled with colourful clothing and bric-a brac stores, coffee shops and art galleries. And there’s music if you’re in the mood at spots like the iconic Brass Bell and the laid back Cape To Cuba restaurant. Having soaked up the cool vibe and grabbing something to eat and a cold beer, we used the free wi-fi to grab an Uber back to Simon’s town for only £5.00.

Day Six – Cape Point

A combination of having no public transport and Simon’s Town being a little out of the way, getting to Cape Point was more of a challenge than I expected. The first option was to get a boat cruise around Cape Point. But we wanted to get off and walk up to the lighthouse so this was out of the question. With no apparent trips from Simon’s Town, it was looking like we would need to get an Uber to Camps Bay and get the Red Bus trip to Cape Point, but this seemed very inefficient.

The problem with getting a cab is that the paid entrance gate to Cape Point is 15km away from Cape Point itself. So you need to pay the entrance fee of the cab driver and they will have to wait for you. Luckily, we befriended an Uber driver who advised he would take us to Cape Point, wait for 2 hours while we look around and then take us back to Simon’s Town for 500 South African Rand which is only £25.

The driver picked us up at 08:15 and we arrived at 08:50. South African residents only have to pay around £4.00 entrance fee so we covered this and he waited in the car for us to return. From here, we had a few options. It’s a 90-minute return hike to Cape Point, or you can buy a single or return ride on the Funicular and be at the top in just a couple of minutes. We got the first Funicular ride of the day at 09:00 and were the first people at the top before the busloads of tourists arrived.

Simon's Town to Cape Town

We stayed for two hours and was back in Simon’s Town by lunchtime.

Day Seven – Simon’s Town and Long Beach

Our hand was forced today as all the roads were closed due to the Cape Town Cycle Tour running through Simon’s Town. We enjoyed a lazy day cheering on cyclists, soaking up the atmosphere and visiting the nearby Long Beach.

Long Beach Simon's Town

Day Eight

As we headed to the airport for our flight back to the UK, my wife and I began discussing the possibility of one-day retiring here in Simon’s Town and waking up this view every day. I cannot think of a better compliment than that.

Quayside Hotel Simon's Town

In 7 days, we both fell in love with how diverse activities in Cape Town. Where else in the world could you hike up mountains, swim with sharks, dance with penguins and swim with seals? As I stood with my head in the clouds at Cape Point while fending off baboons, I found myself reflecting on the incredibly humbling trip to Robben Island and being inspired by the story of Nelson Mandela.

Our Cape Town adventure was full of experiences that we will never forget and I wish you the best on yours too.

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Room 217 Stanley Hotel

The Shining Jack Torrance Speech And A Night In Room 217 Of The Stanley Hotel

The Shining has so many memorable and dramatic monologues. There are probably more than a few frustrated writers that could relate to Jack Torrance played by the intense Jack Nicholson as he delivered a foul-mouthed, annoyed reaction to wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) when he shouted, “You’re Distracting Me.”

Wendy, let me explain something to you. Whenever you come in here and interrupt me, you’re breaking my concentration. You’re distracting me. And it will then take me time to get back to where I was. Understand? I’m gonna make a new rule.

Whenever I’m in here, and you hear me typing, whether you don’t hear me typing, whatever the f*** you hear me doing in here, when I’m in here, that means that I am working. That means don’t come in. Now do you think you can handle that? Why don’t you start right now and get the f*** out of here?

I recently stayed in room 217 of the Stanley Hotel. This is the room that Stephen King spent a night back in the 70s in but the entire hotel was empty. After a few nightmares and seeing a few spooky things, it inspired him to write The Shining. A few years later Jim Carrey filmed the Dumb and Dumber movie here and also decided to spend a night in room 2017. But he only lasted half a night and to this day refuses to talk about precisely what happened in this very room.

The Shining used to be continuously streaming on channel 42, but because of copyright issues, it has since been removed. So I took a walk down to Estes Park to pick up a copy of the DVD. So to set the scene, we’re staying in 217, we have a copy of the Shining on DVD, and a glass of bourbon on the rocks just like Jack Nicholson did in the movie. About an hour into the film at the moment where things start to go a little bit dark where Jack Nicholson starts talking to a ghostly barman, the DVD player powered off.

This was more than a little spooky because we were watching the movie in the dark. But, hey I’m a tech guy, so I tried to troubleshoot the problem. I traced the power of the DVD player to the back of the big bulky unit which was very difficult to move. I completely removed the power, and after around three attempts I managed to get it working again and sat back in bed to enjoy the movie. 20 minutes later, things started to go a little dark again, and the power went one more time. But this time it was not coming back.

I couldn’t even remove the disc and concluded that either the DVD player is faulty of there’s something in this room telling us it didn’t want this to watch it, I don’t know which it was so I gave up. In the morning when I was preparing to check out the DVD player was working absolutely fine and removed my disc without any issues.

If you have stayed in room 217 or thinking about spending the night, please contact me and share your experiences, after all, All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

4 Days in Reykjavík, Iceland

When planning a father and son trip to Reykjavík, it was easy to pick up cheap budget flights by booking six months in advance. But, Iceland is notoriously expensive, even a three-star hotel can set you back £200 a night.

However, we picked up a reasonably priced apartment from Airbnb that acted as the perfect base for our travels. We got the Flybus from the airport and got off at the Reykjavík Marina which is just a 5-10 minute walk away from the apartment. There is free wi-fi nearly everywhere in Reykjavik and even the tour buses have a handy USB charging dock to charge your phone or cameras much to the delight of my son.

All the trips we booked through Reykjavík excursions also picked up from the Marina too. The Blue Lagoon books up in advance so make sure you book before you travel to avoid disappointment. It’s a unique experience that has to be ticked off your bucket list.

Next up was a Game of Thrones tour. The day covers many memorable locations from season four such as the Bloody Gate. You also get to see where the Hound and Brienne of Tarth fight for Arya Stark and the stomping ground of the White Walkers. The trip is a great day out that lets you see some beautiful scenery and add something different to your holiday.

Next up we went on the South Shore Adventure where we got to see the gorgeous Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls. Seljalandsfoss is part of the Seljandsá river, which has its origins in Eyjafjallajökull glacier.

The waterfall was also used in the films Thor: The Dark World and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. We also went to Reynisfjara black sand beach, with the Reynisdrangar rock formations, columnar basalt and hundreds of puffins.

Finally, a must see for any visitor to Reykjavik is the Golden Circle Tour where you can see some of Iceland‘s most stunning sights. Thingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Area, and the Gullfoss Waterfall will blow you away.

Make no mistake, Iceland is a beautiful country, but it also happens to be one of the most picturesque too. The breathtaking Nordic landscapes look like something from another planet. Maybe this explains why Hollywood directors spend so much time there.

The only downside is how expensive everything is. A Big Mac will set you back around £12, lunch around £20 and if you fancy a beverage of the alcoholic variety then expect to pay £8 a beer, £16 for a cocktail and £17 for a bottle of wine.

Thankfully, we came to Iceland for none of the above, but to appreciate the country for its beauty and this is priceless. Maria Helena was the perfect host at our Airbnb accommodation, and we left with amazing memories of our time in this fantastic city.

West Coast America Itinerary (San Francisco, LA and Vegas)

Tours of the West Coast USA are often overpriced, and you end up missing more than you actually see, so decided to see if I could put something together cheaper myself. Before putting my plan into action, I secured cheap flights through Skyscanner. We would fly into San Francisco for four days and will then fly into Vegas for five days. Now the fun part begins, how much can we squeeze into a ten-day adventure?

San Francisco

As we were not planning on spending too much time in our hotel and the City is notoriously expensive, our requirements were quite basic. A clean room in a good location with free Wi-Fi and breakfast were top of the list and Cornell Hotel de France fitted the bill perfectly.

Our perfect base was within walking distance to Powell Street, Chinatown, etc. but my favorite part of the hotel was how it oozes character.

Dylan’s Famous City Tour

As we only had a few days to spare in San Francisco, we didn’t have time to get our bearings so decided to book Dylan’s Famous Tour, and it was probably the best decision we could have made. On one day, we get to see everything the city has to offer and even had a chance to escape the hustle and bustle to spend over an hour in Muir Woods National Park.

The tour covered Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, City Hall, Twin Peaks, The Mission, The Castro, Pacific Heights, Presidio, Golden Gate Bridge, Fort Point and Tenderloin. It was the perfect introduction to San Francisco and enabled us to see where we would like to return to and soak up the vibe.

Although the tour is a little pricey, there was an offer at the time that gave us a discounted bike rental.

Bike Across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito

High on my bucket list was to cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge and head down to Sausalito. A little research revealed that it would be a steady 9-mile ride and downhill getting there, but getting back is a little on the steep side.

We were faced with two options.

1. Cycle down to Sausalito and then face the challenging ride back
2. Cycle down and get the ferry back.

We chose an alternative and hired electric bikes, which many will consider cheating, but we loved every minute of it. I must confess that it felt good to glide past people effortlessly while they were swearing and sweating on the big climb back.

If the weather is good, I cannot recommend cycling down to Sausalito enough. Cycling across the iconic Golden Gate bridge not once but twice is a memory that will stay with you forever, and Sausalito is incredibly beautiful too.

San Francisco Movie Sights Tour

As a film buff with strict time constraints, we decided to go on the San Francisco Movie Sights Tour. The 3-hour tour includes clips from over 50 of the most famous movies filmed in San Francisco. Actors-turned-guides lead you on this interactive city tour, as they match clips with locations right outside the bus’ windows and share their wealth of San Francisco and cinema knowledge.

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Bodyboarding in Croyde Bay With a GoPro Hero

People often ask me where I find my inspiration and energy. As a guy that spends far too much time staring at a screen and tapping away at a keyboard. I think it’s getting out and about in the great outdoors that helps me maintain a very positive outlook.

My two favourite places in the world would be the Glastonbury Festival of contemporary performing arts where I can go completely offline and lose myself for five days soaking up over 1,000 different acts across a 900-acre site. My second favourite place is Croyde Bay in North Devon where I can hit the beach armed with a cheap wetsuit from eBay and a £20 bodyboard.

Sure, learning to surf properly is high on my bucket list. However, a distinct lack of time, money and water near my home makes it quite difficult, but one day I live in hope of spending my final days as a Johnny Utah style character in Croyde.

Until that day, it was time once again to hit Croyde Bay in October to store up my last shot of vitamin D to get me through the winter. And recharge my mojo by catching a few waves in my favourite place.

This year I borrowed my son’s GoPro Hero camera to try and capture some of our antics and also see how this much cheaper model handles the sea. I have to say that this £90 model seemed to capture just how much fun we had and presently surprised at the HD quality.

For anyone that is wondering if the cheaper and original GoPro Hero offers a high enough level of quality, I hope this video helps you make a decision.

No more trips are planned for 2015, but once again I have been fortunate enough to have made some amazing memories and enjoy the company of my friends and family. Although, I am back in front of the screen, it won’t be long until I am scouring Holiday Pirates for my next cheap flight.

Hiking to Kjeragbolten and Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock)

Any parent will tell you that the summer holidays can be quite challenging when your tiny children become teenagers. All theme parks have long been ticked off their bucket lists and everything you suggest seems to fall under the labels of boring or too childish.

I spend most of my time writing about the latest technology trends and often find myself conflicted by the benefits and negative aspects of this digital age. I am also increasingly conscious of the amount of time that both my son and I spend staring at screens and don’t want to be the dad who says “in a minute” paying more attention to email than each other.

The older that I get, the more I realise that its experiences rather than possessions that truly make us happy, so decided to take my teenage son on a father and son adventure to Norway. A short 90-minute flight from the UK into Stavanger would allow us to soak up some of the finest scenery that this world has to offer and allow us to spend quality time together.

Our base was the Scandic Stavanger City hotel which ticks many boxes for anyone sightseeing in the Stavanger region. The airport bus drops you across the road from the hotel, it offers an all you can eat breakfast and the all important free wi-fi.

P1040818

Hiking to Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock) simply involves crossing the road and getting on a ferry (pay on board) to Tau, then hop straight onto one of the buses waiting (pay the driver) and begin your hike. Refreshingly you are encouraged to pay on your card rather than using cash on your travels making the whole trip incredibly simple.

Hiking with your dad could still be interpreted as boring to the typical teenager, but I had something special up my sleeve. The plan was to climb to the top of Kjerag and stand on a large boulder (Kjeragbolten) wedged in the mountain’s crevasse for the ultimate Instagram moment.

Although, the photo’s give the impression that standing on the boulder is incredibly scary, it is much bigger when close up and reassuringly nobody has ever slipped or fell off the precariously placed rock. Maybe, it’s a combination of a survival instinct kicking in and the channelling of one’s inner mountain goat that comes to the rescue when the health and safety risk assessment police are nowhere to be seen. (more…)

New York City Second Time Around

I was fortunate enough to visit New York for the first time around 7 years ago and, as a rule, I don’t return to the same place twice because I feel that you are missing out on somewhere else.

However, I had unfinished business with NYC and my first visit consisted of rushing around like a madman trying to see as much as I could racing to the top of the Empire State, Statue of Liberty and the Rock frantically attempting to tick as many things off my bucket list as possible.

Now that Grand Central Station, Central Park, Times Square, Wall Street and Brooklyn Bridge are a fading memory, I thought it was time to return and soak up the other things that New York has to offer at a more leisurely pace with 5 full days for our return visit.

NYC2

Arriving into Newark on an internal flight at 21:45, we got the train from the airport to Penn Station for only $12.50 which was only a 2 minute walk to our hotel the New Yorker and there were no safety concerns at all and everywhere was very busy despite the arriving in Manhattan quite late.

Day 1

It was time to learn and conquer the New York Subway so purchased a one-week unlimited subway and local bus pass for $30. NYC is a big place, so having the ability to zip around the city without scrambling around for loose change was the best decision I could have made.

Understanding the metro system offered a slight learning curve, but again the beauty of the unlimited pass means any mistakes were quickly rectified when I understood the difference between uptown and downtown or express and local service.

Next to the New Yorker Hotel Tick Tock restaurant is a subway station that allowed us to hop on the A, C or E line downtown to ground zero where the freedom tower has recently opened. Upon leaving the subway station, we were a little disoriented and unsure which direction to take but we turned a corner there it was and the sight takes your breath away. (more…)

Sorrento and Amalfi Coast Itinerary

A few people have asked me how we planned our recent trip that covered Sorrento, Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius, Herculaneum, Capri and the Amalfi Coast so I thought it would be easier to point people to this blog post and show how you can make this dream trip a reality without breaking the bank.

Tour operators and travel agents will try to convince you that trips like this are too hard too plan on your own and you should be paying around £1,200 per person to let someone else do this for you, but it really isn’t unrealistic to book a holiday like this for around £900 (or less) per couple in June which makes this beautiful trip much more affordable.

Depending on where you are located in the UK, your first job is to secure cheap flights to Naples and you need to do this sooner rather than later, but once you have your flights, the fun part of planning the trip can begin.  (more…)

3 Nights in Marrakech

Back in January, I was browsing HotUKDeals during my lunch hour and came across a 3 night break in Marrakech for two people with a mouth watering and tempting total price of £259 . This price included flights and accommodation at the Las Palmeras Hotel in a deluxe room that also offered free breakfast and Wi-Fi. Could I afford this trip? Probably not, but this a bargain that I couldn’t walk away from and it was all booked up before I had time to talk myself out of it.

Everyone has a guilty pleasure of looking up destinations and accommodation on the infamous website Trip Advisor where it never ceases to amaze me how so many people like to complain at the smallest thing and how you can read through 100 positive comments but only pay attention to the handful of negatives.

Our booked accommodation the Las Palmeras Hotel gets very mixed reviews on Trip Advisor that can be summed up by the following.

Positives

  • Quiet and Peaceful allowing you to escape the madness of Marrakech at night.
  • Mustafa and Martine go out of their way to ensure you enjoy your stay.
  • Rooms are clean and comfortable.

Negatives

  • 20 minutes from Marrakech and expensive taxis to get anywhere.
  • No shops or restaurants nearby.
  • No actual restaurant or even menu.

I don’t go on holiday to sit around and complain about my accommodation because it’s essentially just a base that I return to after spending the day seeing as much as I can of the chosen destination, and for this reason, I try not to pay too much attention to some of the Trip Advisor but simply take a few pointers.

We had 2 full days to make the most our time in Marrakech, so there wasn’t time to argue with taxi drivers or hotel owners about the lack of a shower curtain and figured if Taxi’s were going to be expensive anyway we will book a few tours and trips in advance of our visit to avoid all of the usual bullshit that some people appear to walk into on every trip they take.

Click Excursions ticked all the boxes with great prices and reviews, so we booked a full itinerary a few weeks before travelling and didn’t even need to leave a deposit, so simply has to pay for everything when we embarked on this exciting trip.

So with everything booked, nothing could possibly go wrong, could it?

Day  1

Arriving at around 5pm and feeling a little tired and hungry, we quickly regretted not packing a few cheeky bags of crisps, biscuits or emergency chocolate bars and understood how isolated some previous visitors have felt, with no handy shops nearby to stock up on a few nibbles.

It’s worth pointing out that the Las Palmeras is not a hotel in the traditional sense but a ‘Riad’; this is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard. I see this as a positive though and a small family run guest house that feels homely is much better than just another soulless 5* hotel chain that looks exactly the same no matter what city you stay in.

Las Palmeras...

Las Palmeras…

A quick chat with Martine and she advised that the evening meals start at 8pm, so after a few hours of anticipation, we were now ready to eat whatever was available which was quite handy as things suddenly got quite bizarre.

There was no menu, prices or even told what we were eating so opted to simply eat what we were given, our starter was a soup and to this day, we have no idea what was in it but it was very nice. Main course was Chicken b’stilla (we Googled), a classic Moroccan dish that is a pie with chicken, eggs, almonds, caramelised onions and saffron. Finally desert was served Moroccan Sliced Oranges with Cinnamon, Sugar.

Traditional Moroccan food, home made with natural ingredients was hard to fault but we still left the table a little confused. Why no menu or choice? What had we just eaten? How much did it cost? I asked Martine the following day as the cynical traveller in me, thought we were going to get stung but the 3 course meal with a bottle of wine for two people had cost 400 Moroccan Dirham’s which although was a little more expensive than restaurants in the city, it wasn’t too bad.

Day 2

Half Day Tour

Abdullah picked us up at 9am, and drove for 20 minutes into Marrakech before handing over to Jamal as we embarked on a 3 hour tour of the city. Jamal is the perfect guide who spoke with great knowledge about the history of Marrakech and we learned more from him than we ever could of from a guide book.  When we reached the Souks, I don’t mind admitting it was nice to have Jamal escorting us because it was just as crazy as you could ever have imagined.

Snake charmers, monkeys in dresses and traders are all desperately trying to get your attention but with Jamal by our side, we could concentrate on exploring and learning about Marrakech.

Horse and Carriage Ride

Horse and Carriage Ride

We bid farewell to Jamal and now it was time to escape the madness and enjoy a romantic Horse and Carriage ride through the city and could just sit back and soak up the many sights on offer that we could never have covered on foot alone before stopping for a nice hour in a place of serenity and shade, at the Jardin Majorelle.  Wandering within the paths of this small garden full of palms, bamboo, cacti, coloured pots and buildings, birdsong and pools is quite a contrast to the souks just a few hours earlier.

Camel Ride

Camel Ride

obligatory camel-ride…

After the gardens, our new friend and driver Abdullah drove us to our camel ride adventure at La Palmeraie which is on the north side of the city in a very peaceful surrounding. This was the moment I get to ride a camel like Peter O’Toole and the perfect end to or day.

Abdullah had one more surprise for us tough and that was introduction to Morocco’s national drink: Berber whiskey, but he cheekily advised “whiskey without alcohol…its mint tea” and this wouldn’t be the last time that I would get to enjoy this national drink either.

As we head back to our accommodation, I ask Abdullah if he could stop somewhere so we can buy some snacks for our room. He selflessly said shops were too expensive but stopped somewhere that we could get a “Special Moroccan Price”

We returned to our Riad armed with snacks a plenty and many stories.

Day 2

Ourika Valley Tour

Once again our new friend Abdullah picked us up at 09:00am and we headed out to Ourika Valley for a day trip/adventure.

ourika atlas mountains

Another opportunity to escape the madness of the city and head for the Berber villages located 46 kilometres away. You will be rewarded with scenic landscapes and photo opportunities aplenty before being greeted by our guide Mohammed who will take us up to the Sitti Fatma waterfalls. There are seven of them but only the adventurous and fit tourist hikes to the top so make sure you take sensible shoes.

As we return home with many crazy stories, great photos and happy memories of enjoying Moroccan Whiskey with our friend Abdullah, our short time in Marrakech will always have a special place in our heart.

Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest – 4 Capital Cities in 8 Days

After a moment of madness and maybe too much Google one night, I discovered that it was potentially quite easy to take in 4 European Capitals in around 8 days, quite comfortably.

When I returned from the trip, a few people have asked me for the details and how easy it was to organise. It was a fantastic holiday that believe it or not did not feel rushed and only cost around £450 per person for the entire trip. Considering many operators charge around £900, I thought I would post just how easy it is on here for anyone that is interested in seeing 4 capital cities in 8 days.

trip

All I needed was to make the most of online resources such as Seat61 and Trip Advisor, before planning the trip I always start with the most important aspect which is the flights, so I booked a flight into Prague and a flight home 8 days later from Budapest. That’s the easy part sorted; now it was time to plan our trip.

As we are only spending a couple of days in each city, I only ever have three rules to follow and that’s to book a hotel with free Wi-Fi, free breakfast and most importantly located within a 5 minute walk of an underground or rail station. (more…)