Hiking Kauai; Top trails on the Garden Isle

If Kauai wasn’t known as the Garden Isle, it should be called the Hiking Trail Isle (although this wouldn’t be as catchy).  There is a wealth of incredible trails weaving through the landscape, allowing you to appreciate the stunning Island from many different perspectives.  Not to mention getting some pretty decent exercise and fresh air to boot!

With so many easily accessible hikes, for all levels of ability, there is no excuse not to put down that iPad, grab your hiking boots, and hit the trail!

In this post I’ll talk about three different hikes which we’ve really enjoyed doing (perhaps “enjoyed” isn’t the right word for my night time trek back on the Kalalau Trail in the rain… but more on that later 😳).  Read on for my recommendations..

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January 2018: Update on Jack Harter Helicopter tours, Kauai, Hawaii

Aloha! I’ve just updated my previous post to include our most recent helicopter tour over this magical island – this time in the AStar, doors included!  This will give you an idea of what to expect from each tour.  Doors or no doors – it’s up to you – but don’t miss this incredible experience if you’re visiting Kauai 😀

Come fly with me! Magical Kauai from the air (doors optional)

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Cozying up in the Cotswolds

A perfect Christmassy retreat at The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe

“I need to get out of town. You know, I think I need some peace and quiet… or whatever it is people go away for…..You know, I want to read a book! Not just a magazine, an actual book” – says Amanda (Cameron Diaz) in The Holiday.  And if she hadn’t ended up staying in Kate Winslet’s beautiful cottage, The Manor House Hotel, nestled in the beautiful village of Castle Combe, would not be a bad option!

The website of the The Manor House perfectly describes the location and atmosphere..

Breathtakingly situated in Wiltshire and on the outskirts of Bath lies Castle Combe village. Untouched since the 17th century, this chocolate box Cotswold village is home to the definitive country retreat. Whether you are joining us for business or pleasure, take time to explore the grounds, get lost in our Italian gardens and stroll through the flourishing kitchen garden, growing the finest produce for use in our award-winning restaurant and bar. And when your tummy begins to rumble, why not opt for a spot of afternoon tea out on our sunny lawns or hideaway in one of many nooks and cranny’s to simply relax.

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A perfect November weekend in Venice

“It is the city of mirrors, the city of mirages, at once solid and liquid, at once air and stone.” Erica Jon

If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that we like to visit our favourite European cities in the quieter times of the year, during school term time and often during the colder months.  If you are able to travel during these times – and you don’t mind some winter weather – you will discover a very different side to these beautiful and historical cities.   In my first post about Venice, here, I talked about how it is perfectly possible to wander the canals and bridges without encountering crowds (and sometimes find yourself completely alone at night!).  You just need to know the best times to travel and where to stay.

This month, my partner chose his Birthday weekend to visit Venice again (we needed an excuse to go back as we were having withdrawal symptoms 😆).  This trip was all about relaxing, taking strolls around the city, and dining in fantastic restaurants.  Of course with some Opera thrown in!

Read on to discover some more of my recommendations for this spectacular city..

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Politics & paella; A sunny Autumn weekend in beautiful Barcelona

It’s a cold, dark day in Amsterdam… the Christmas lights have been put up on our street, the clocks have gone back, the rain is lashing against the windows as I write.  Hard to imagine that three days ago I was bathed in the warm Autumn sunshine of Barcelona, strolling down the Passeig de Gracia, popping into shops and stopping for delicious tapas!

There’s always something going on in Barcelona, and of course, you can’t look at the news without hearing about the Catalonia “crisis”, and the current political turmoil in this beautiful city.  On Sunday, the streets were full of pro-Spanish unity supporters, draped in flags, peacefully (at least to my eyes) having their say.  We walked among them, quietly observing, acutely aware that an important and decisive part of this country’s history was unfolding around us, whatever happens next.

All in all, it was an interesting time to be visiting one of my favourite cities!  I recommend October as a great time to visit – the weather is still glorious, but the city is a lot less crowded.  The daytime temperature is in the early 20’s (c) – a lot more comfortable than it can be in the height of summer, with cooler evenings.

Read on to discover my hotel and dining highlights and recommendations from this trip…  

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Autumn in Rome

“My heart remembers fountains where children played…
Gardens where dreams were made”

Of all the times to visit this magnificent city, Autumn is probably my favourite.  The first time I visited Rome was at this time of year, and we have travelled there each October since (as well as summer and winter, of course 😊). For warm sunny weather (around 23/24°C) with fewer crowds, October in Rome is hard to beat.  Tony Bennett (and Andy Williams and Peggy Lee….) felt the need to sing about it, and it’s easy to see why.

Read on to discover some more of my recommendations and dining highlights.  Don’t forget to check out my previous Rome posts for more ideas and inspiration..

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Wild & beautiful Agaete: a hidden gem in the Canary Islands

In my last post about this stunning island, here, I wrote about the luxurious Sheraton Salobre resort in the South of Gran Canaria.  If you want to try somewhere completely different (but still with a dose of luxury!) – this is it!  It’s a 4* resort in the Northwestern part of Gran Canaria, in Agaete.  Close to the fishing town of Puerto de Las Nieves, with stunning views across the Northern coastline of the island.

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