Sunday, 25 August 2013

Story behind the photo - Naples

When I visited Naples earlier this year, my main reason for going was to visit Pompeii. I knew that Mt Vesuvius was near to the city, but I didn't realise just how close until the plane was coming in to land - I remember looking out the window and being shocked to see it right there...This is a photo taking down at the bay in Naples, looking across to Mt Vesuvius.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Travel Tuesday - Incholm Abbey

Scotland would rank up there as one of my favourite places I've visited, and I've been there fairly regularly in the time I've been in the UK. On one of my visits to Edinburgh, I knew I wanted to see the Forth rail bridge (pictures to be shared another day), and while reading about it, read about Incholm Abbey. I decided I'd go visit, and was very glad I did. It was a beautiful, peaceful place to spend an hour or so. You have to take a sightseeing cruise around the Forth to get there - those are with a company called Maid of the Forth . And just a word of advice - if you're visiting over lunchtime, take your own food. There's a small information centre, it sells drinks and snacks but nothing more substantial. And now, for some photos:

A Compass Rose

linking up with Found Love. Now What? and A Compass Rose

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Story behind the photo - Capri

I visited Naples in January of this year, and took a trip out to the island of Capri one afternoon. To be honest, I didn't enjoy Capri as much as I had hoped - I suspect its a better place to visit during the tourist season, rather than the off season.

After spending a few hours on the island, just wandering around in the grey, overcast weather (I'd hoped to visit the Blue Lagoon, but the weather meant it wasn't possible), it was time to get the ferry back to Naples. Walking to the dock, I spotted this bin floating in the harbour. I have no idea how or why it was there, but the picture makes me smile none the less.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Expat to Expat Q&A - August

As I slowly get back into blogging, I'm discovering all sorts of expat blogs. I figured I'd join in this month for this fun-sounding expat linkup :-)

1. What is your favourite food store in your city and why?
Purely because its the closest to my flat....Sainsbury's. I also live within easy travel distance of a Tesco and an Asda, so if I'm looking for something specific (for example, Asda has crispbread that's a pretty close substitute for Cruskits) I'll head there

2. For your answer to number 1 is it ok to buy the store brand items or do you pay extra for a name brand?
Yep! I've got a mixture of store brand and name brand items in my kitchen cupboards. Depends on what it is as to whether or not I'll go store brand or name brand.

3. What do you think is the best way to get about your city? i.e. bus, bike, car, etc
Hands down, public transport. I can't imagine driving in London on a regular basis and keeping my sanity

4.. Which store do you turn to for basics like toilet paper or cleaning supplies?
Whichever supermarket I've gone to that week.

5. Where do you think is the best place in your city to get a cup of coffee (or beverage you prefer) and catch up with friends?
I'm not really a tea or coffee drinker, so I don't really know. Of the coffee chains, I generally end up in Costa over the others, so I guess that's my answer...

Bonus questions :
What was your “eureka, I’m practically a native” moment?
Realising that you don't *have* to take the tube everywhere....other modes of transportation can sometimes be easier (and quicker). Oh and not having to look at the tube map every.single.time.

Does your real accent get in the way?
Depends on who I'm talking too...some people say I don't have a very strong Aussie accent, for other people they can pick it straight away. I do have to remember to slow down sometimes when I'm talking though...(see here for a few more of my accent tales...)

Found Love. Now What?

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Story behind the photo - Herculaneum

To be completely honest, I'd never really heard of Herculaneum before I started researching my trip to Naples earlier this year. A couple of friends recommended that I should visit, and I'm so glad I did. Herculaneum was destroyed in the same eruption of Mt Vesuvius as Pompeii - which is far better known. This photo is taken as I was walking down into the ruins - you can see just how close they are to the modern day town. In my opinion, Herculaneum is definitely worth a visit from Naples - it was quieter than Pompeii, and a bit more manageable size-wise as well.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Hints for international posting

A couple of years back, I wrote about Things I have learnt at the post office . Looking back on the list, everything still holds true.

I need to add one more thing to the list - almost a caution for anyone living in the UK with family/friends overseas who send you parcels (or vice versa)

  • For parcels coming into the UK from outside the EU, if they are valued over a certain amount, then you might have to pay tax in order to pick them up from the post office.
This also extends to gifts sent to you in the UK from family/friends overseas. I had to pay VAT (Value Added Tax) before I could pick up a parcel from my family earlier this year. The worst bit....the parcel contained birthday presents! This was the first time this has happened to me, but it happened to a work colleague also - so just wanted to make people aware.

Disclaimer - this is only my experience, I don't know if this applies to all parcels sent into the UK.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Travel Tuesday - Icons of Venice

Ah, Venice. Possibly my favourite city I've visited in all my time in Europe. I can't put my finger on exactly what it is, I think its a combination of location, history, and the fact that Venice is a city on water. Truly a a place that I would recommend to anyone visiting much so that I'm heading back for my third visit later this year!

For today, I wanted to share some of my photos of that most classic of Venice icons, the gondola:

Found Love. Now What?

linking up with Found Love. Now What? and A Compass Rose for Travel Tuesday

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Story behind the photo - London 2012

It's a year since the eyes of the world were on London for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, so this seemed like an appropriate time to share this photo. I can remember the excitement back home during Sydney 2000 - and I watched that on TV - so trying to get some tickets for London was a bit of a no brainer. I was lucky enough to get one ticket for the Olympics (fencing) and a few more tickets for the Paralympics. All the sessions I went to had a brilliant atmosphere, and just being in London during those 6 weeks was amazing as well (anyone who was here at the time will know what I mean).

This photo is taken in the Olympic Park - the main stadium is on the right, and the 'Orbit' is on the left. I took the photo as I was leaving the aquatics centre after a brilliant night of Paralympic swimming...where the crowd did their best to lift the roof off the place with the cheering! And the sound coming from the stadium as I was leaving makes me wish I had managed to get a ticket for athletics as well....

The Olympic Park is to be renamed the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (go here for more information). Its currently undergoing a transformation, and will be fully open in 2014. If you're visiting London before then and want to get a view of the stadium and the Orbit, then head to Westfield Stratford shopping centre, and head to the viewing area on the 3rd floor of John Lewis. You'll see pretty much the same view as above, just from a bit further away and with the Aquatics centre in the foreground.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Foodie travels - Italy

What: gelato
Where: everywhere in Italy....this particular photo was taken in Naples
How much: A cone like this (one scoop) is usually around 2.50 euros (nothing like this has ever happened to me....)
Taste: obviously going to depend on the flavour (this one is lemon, my favourite)
Verdict: yum! Whenever I go to Italy, I'm aiming for at least one gelato every day...