Thursday, 10 September 2015

5 Days in LONDON |

London Eye - Round and round we go. The best and yes most cliche way to see the whole of London...but nothing beats a birds-eye perspective. With 360 picturesque views.

One thing I enjoyed the most was relaxing on the waterfront by the London Eye, bring a picnic because the atmosphere is amazing. Entertainment is provided by intricate street performers and in general people watching. Lucky for us London provided great weather to relax in the sunshine.

Big Ben - One of the very touristy, but compulsory London stops! Technically, Big Ben was the name is given to the massive bell inside the clock tower. (Weighing 13,760kg) Don't forget to snap some pictures, of this amazing piece. It also looks amazing at night when the clock faces glow.  

Oxford Street - A shopaholics dream! Amongst mind blowing architecture you'll find every shop you could imagine. I really couldn't help myself and may have spent a little too much. Find your self stepping into real life Monopoly, window shopping along Bond, Regent and Mayfair street.  

Buckingham Palace - A must see changing the guards, this happens at 11:30am check here for exact days. The ceremony is when the old guard hands responsibility of protecting Buckingham Palace to the new guard. The brass band carries through the air, as commands are shouted and the fully uniformed soldiers march. A very packed event, but unique, you must see this once in a lifetime.

Hyde Park - The largest of the royal gardens within London. Serpentine Lake is beautiful as the whole park filled with wildlife. 

Jack the Ripper Tour - The shadows start moving, as you discover the dark side of London. Brutal murders from 1888 has caused the British public to try piece together the mystery, in which the police and detectives never could. Visit the murder sites of one of the worlds most horrifying cases and detect your own suspect. The tour was intense and interesting, but sadly not as scary as I had hoped for.

Soho, London - a unique place to find entertainment, cute bars and boutique shopping.

London Underground - Of course you haven't been to London unless you ride the Tube. Also a quick and cheap option to get around. Buy an oyster card which you can also use on the red single and double decker buses. 

Don't forget to check out what events are happening in London when you are there. To my surprise I was lucky enough to meet the All Blacks, in particular Sonny Bill Williams, even though I was half way around the world.

Wonderground - Wandering along London's south bank, we were lucky enough to find this magical place, an adults carnival. FREE entry what could get any better? Day and night, both an amazing atmosphere with inside and outside bars a perfect place to relax in the sunshine or enjoy the shimmering fairy lights at night, along with the glowing London Eye. A true feeling of childhood nostalgia. I'm so excited that we found this mystical little place, a true highlight to London. So keep an eye out for what's on. 

 I secretly have an obsession with merry go rounds! My dreams came true when I found a REVOLVING MERRY GO ROUND BAR! 

After 3 years I was lucky enough to be reunited with my bestie Abbie. After being separated half way around the world and more miles than I could bare, we picked up right where we left off, feeling as if though we were never separated. This girl has been beside me since 2004. Here's a little sloppy appreciation of how much she means to me. Of course after our too short get together it had to come to an end and say goodbye once again. But remember....

"Goodbye's are not forever, goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean I'll miss you, until we meet again!" - Unknown. 

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

How to Fall in Love with Paris |

If you are lonely and want to find love heres my ultimate guide! A guarantee you will fall in love. Beware Paris is like every boy and breaks your heart, eventually you have to leave.

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Visit the outstanding architecture and home to Phantom of the Opera - Palais Garnier
Explore the bridges, with beautiful views a popular destination for wedding photos ( I saw 4 beautiful brides within 10 minutes.)  Also feel like Adele in Someone Like You, as this is the bridge she filmed her video clip. 

Galeries Lafayette - in my opinion one of the most stunning department stores. Not only the perfect place to be updated with the latest fashion trends and window shopping, but even better architecture. The best part is the jaw dropping view from the top floor, true love at first sight.

Lock your love to Paris and throw the key away at love lock bridge. Unfortunately during my love affair with Paris locks were being cut off Pont des Arts as the bridge was starting to collapse. (I told you Paris would break your heart) There is a second bridge with locks Pont de l’Archevêché, but be careful as this was used for 'lovers' not true love.

Create a food baby with Paris. From the amazing fresh smell of baguettes and croissants in the morning. Classic ratatouille. To melt in your mouth macaroons and Crème brûlée. Lets not forget delicious local wine.

I defiantly recommend enjoying a picnic on Seine river. Also treat yourself and eat like a true Parisian and enjoy a 3 or if your hungry a 5 course meal at a local restaurant.

Sadly I wasn't Parisian enough to try escrgot (snails) or cuisses de grenouille (frogs legs) but if your adventurous enough and do let me know!

 The royal gardens certainly lived up to their expectations! Beautiful architecture and areas to relax or even have a picnic. For those photographers, you will be in heaven with lots to snap. 

Have a date with the Eiffel Tower day or night, it defiantly proves to be Paris' most iconic love affair. Little did I know as I got a surprise that at night every hour the tower sparkles as you hear the crowd "ahhhh" enlightening every ones mood. Take a bottle of champagne and enjoy the magical moment. I even went on a second date going further this time and climbing up the master piece. The moment you climb the stairs to the first floor, you feel as if you’ve embarked on a fantastical journey. What a way to end it, when you reach the top in the lift. With mesmerising views and a must tick off your bucket list. 

The Egyptian gift to Paris (Obélisque de Louxor) also known as Cleopatra's Needle. Gifted in 1829, the edifice, which once marked the entrance to the Amon temple at Luxor, is more than 3,300 years old and is decorated with hieroglyphics. 

Pretend you are starring in Devil  Wears Prada and throw your phone in this stunning fountain! Pictures don't do this detailed piece of art justice so is a must see. 

Champs-Élysées is the French name for the Elysian Fields, the paradise for dead heroes, in Greek mythology. The French proudly call their world-famous boulevard "la plus belle avenue du monde" meaning the world's most beautiful avenue. It's the perfect way to people watch and experience the true Parisian life window shopping (I wish I could actually shop.) Stopping to follow amazing scents leading to food. When strolling down the street I couldn't help but sing in my head Parlez Vous Francais - Art Vs Science. Falling deeper in love with the streets and people of Paris.

The Louvre the biggest museum in the world. if you ever have 100 days spare, you could probably squeeze in every piece of art, but you could only spend 30 seconds on each piece. Home to Leonardo de Vinci's Mona Lisa is undoubtedly the most famous piece. With people from all walks of life travelling here to catch a glimpse of the world famous painting. What you may not know about the Mona Lisa is that it isn’t as big as everyone thinks, and is only 53 x 77cms. The Mona Lisa also has its own bodyguards and is protected by bulletproof glass.
Notre Dame de Paris is entirely free of charge. The large medieval Catholic cathedral, often said to be the finest example of French Gothic architecture, and is one of Paris' top attractions. With all the amazing buildings its hard to pick a favourite. 

Take a walk on the wild side! Find out Paris's darkest secrets. Visit Moulin Rouge (sadly being a broke student traveller, I didn't catch my dream and get to watch the show full of boobs and dazzling costumes.) Only one more reason to come back !! Instead grab your cliché tourist pic outside and wander the streets of the red light district Paris. With outrageous sex shops all lined up, I had to visit one to say I'd really experienced France.  

Butte Charmont shows views over Paris from an angle that few visitors get to see. The hike up the park is, unsurprisingly, very steep – it is called a butte, which is French for hill, but the reward outweighs the effort and is the perfect place to sit in the park enjoy the view.

St Christophers Inn is a great affordable place to stay, with modern pod beds to ensure a good nights sleep, as well as a restaurant and bar down stairs all on the water front! Couldn't get much better than this...I keep falling deeper and deeper in love with Paris. 

Au Revoir for now!

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Germany on a Budget |

Munich, Germany is famous for its annual beer festival, Oktoberfest.  (Which we sadly missed by 11 days ) I still of course got into the spirt and had to finish a 1 litre beer in a classic beer hall sharing a table with locals. 

There’s a lot more to Munich than drinking steins of beers. There is a beautiful historic city centre, large parks and gardens (with surfing), German food, and beer halls filled with friendly people.

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The English Gardens - Larger than both New York Central Park and London's Hyde Park, the English Garden is a must see. Legal nude sunbathing along the river. The cities oldest beer garden. Surfing on the river!

Olymipia Park - Where the 1972 summer Olympics were held. Venture through the massive park, walk around the lake with great views. Go swimming or my ultimate recommendation...Ice-skating. 

Walking Tour - THIS IS FREE! Adventuring through architecture and churches, through the town square where you get to see the famous glockenspiel. Through markets and beer halls. Learning fun tips and quirky facts. 

BMW Car Factory  - To keep the guys happy wander around sit and even test drive the latest models! The museum is about €10.00, which we never went in as there was enough to offer without. 

Wombat City Hostel  - Modern, central and a perfect hostel. Includes  complimentary welcome drink at the downstairs bar, a fun place to hang out. As well as amazing hammocks and areas to relax, all this whilst being right in the city near the main train station. 

Budget travel will turn you into an adventurer.

Monday, 31 August 2015


The funniest start to the most breathtaking country.....after using Euros around all of Europe we didn't realise that Switzerland used a different currency, Swiss Franks! We arrived late at night with no banks open so starved ourselves with snacks...oops...silliest mistake, but it's all apart of the amazing adventure! I should mention Swiss Franks are a beautiful, colourful currency. 

Day 1 - We stayed in one of the most scenic places a tiny town called Lauterbrunnen, we defiantly were close to nature! Through secluded valleys in the alps, between gigantic rock faces and mountain peaks, one of my favourite places to adventure around! We stayed at Camping Jungfrau in the most adorable wooden cabin, providing a cosy village experience.   

Wood fire BBQ with views that distract you from cooking your food leading to burnt sausages ops.

Day 2- Lauterbrunnen has 72 waterfalls and we went on a mission to see as many as possible! We hiked for over five hours. Through ice cold tunnels and caves. This is only a few of our favs. 
The Swiss Alps signature waterfall is Staubbach Falls, you can view it from most parts of the small town, it also has a romantic myth and lovers would go up to the falls at night. The coolest thing is you can hike up steep, narrow terrain leading to an underground tunnel which leads you behind the waterfall, on a rock balcony. Getting intimate and wet from the falls its hard to capture a good shot. The coldest most pure water comes from the natural drinking fountains located around the town. After travelling Europe and paying lots for water, this made me fall in love with Switzerland so much more. We drank water directly from other waterfalls getting as close to nature as possible. 

Stechelberg Falls is harder to find, we explored off track to get to where this picture was taken. The waterfall is amazing and you literally cant capture it all in one photo! It's endless. 

Trümmelbach Falls was an amazing experience and consists of 10 waterfalls that connect. It's only accessible from under ground, through a tunnel elevator! With glacier water from Jungfrau (the highest point in Europe) flowing over 20, 000 litres per second! Corkscrew Falls was a spectacular swirl of downhill water. 

Day 3- We enjoyed a picnic by the coolest pool I've ever been to. Swimming amongst snowy mountains, views of waterfalls, a fun slippery slide and amazing sun - so I got a mint tan. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. 


Day 4- An expensive train ride to Interlaken, the closest 'large town' exploring the clear lakes and rivers. We did a little shopping including quality kitchen knives, an adorable beanie and of course you cant go to Switzerland and not buy a famous swiss army knives, which I got engraved. 

Day 5- Taking the majestic cable cart and train to Mürren a true fairytale town. Hiking in alps, surrounded by wildflowers, bell-ringing cows and more waterfalls. We had fun playing life sized chess, amongst views I can't describe. 

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Next hiking up hill to Gimmelwald a picturesque village. Where we experienced a rare honesty shopwhere theres no shop attendant or prices on items ranging from souvenirs to food (ice-cream just what I needed after hiking in the heat) Its been successfully open for over 15 years based from honest people, things like this make me love the world.

It was a 3 hour hike back and we were circled by the kind of mountain panorama you only dream about.

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Over my stay I felt like a fat kid on Christmas who has never eaten before.....I binged on chocolate. It's the most amazing chocolate that indescribably melts in your mouth. Something even chocolate haters need to try, I swear on my life. 🍫 🎅🏼 🇨🇭
These of the worlds most famous mountains Eiger, which has an elevation of 3970m, Mönch is in the centre and the highest point in Europe is Jungfrau 4158m elevation and is famous for James Bond movies.  

As usual pictures don't do this magical place justice! I barely edited any of my pictures as they were already perfect. I will be back Switzerland! 


Maira Gall