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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Discovering Aphrodisias with Neyzen: One of Turkey's Hidden Secrets

The next leg of our Turkey land tour with Neyzen Travel took us to the awe inspiring ancient site of Aphrodisias where were marvelled at the largest and best preserved ancient stadium in the world! Aphrodisias was also the location of a sculpture academy which was famous throughout the ancient world and where a large number of statues in remarkable condition have been discovered! We were so lucky to have Aphrodisias almost all to ourselves as it is one of the quieter ancient sites in Turkey but we certainly think it is one of the best and would highly recommend adding this amazing site to your Turkey itinerary!

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Journey Back in Time at Ephesus with Neyzen

I've always loved history and been fascinated to discover and read about ancient civilisations and their people. Coming from Australia which is still a very young country it is often hard to comprehend ancient cities and sites that are thousands of years old and without a doubt the best way to try and understand is to visit these incredible places in person. Ephesus is a place that has fascinated me since I first saw a picture of its iconic library and read about the people who lived here. We only had a few must-visit destinations for our Turkey itinerary and Ephesus was one of them and it was even more impressive than I had imagined! Neyzen arranged for a fantastic local guide to show us around Ephesus and truly allow us to fully experience and understand this amazing ancient city where incredibly 90% which is still yet to be discovered!

Ephesus Library Turkey

Friday, June 24, 2016

Assos: An Archaeologists Dream with Neyzen

Our next stop in Turkey on our Neyzen tour was the ancient site of Assos which is less than an hour south of Troy! Ancient Assos is located at the top of a hill surrounded by olive groves, charming stone buildings and crumbling city walls and boasts spectacular views of the Aegean Sea and the Greek island of Lesvos! Assos is an amazing site that in addition to its spectacular views and interesting history also is an archaeologists dream with fascinating ruins and fragments of ancient pottery scattered throughout the entire site waiting to be discovered!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Exploring the Incredible Ancient Site of Pergamon with Neyzen

Neyzen Travel have taken us to the very best of Turkey's ancient sites during our time in this wonderful country. Some have been the very popular, must visit sites whilst others have been incredible lesser known sites that you'd only manage to visit if you were travelling with a local. We've been more and more impressed everyday and they truly live up to their motto of 'Turkey by Design'. Today we visited the incredible, well known site of Pergamon and also the lesser known Asklepion. Pergamon is an enormous ancient city that has both the steepest amphitheatre in the ancient world along with the second largest library in the ancient world whilst Asklepion is an ancient healing centre that was dedicated to the serpent god Asklepius.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Truly Epic Story of Troy with Neyzen

After a few incredible days exploring Istanbul and an unforgettable day discovering Gallipoli our next stop on our Neyzen Travel itinerary was the ancient site of Troy! Most people only know about Troy from the movie but I learnt all about it both at school and at university and so to visit and explore the site with literally no one else around was such an incredible experience. The site of Troy was the home to a number of civilisations for more than 4,000 years and what remains today is a truly remarkable insight into the history of these civilisations!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Moving Experience Visiting Gallipoli with Neyzen

As an Australian we learn about the Anzac's and Gallipoli Campaign from a very young age and for as long as I can remember I have felt the need to travel to Turkey to understand exactly what happened here, learn just how this shaped our very young nation and to pay my respects to the thousands of Australians and New Zealanders who gave their lives here. During the eight month campaign around 100,000 allied and Turkish soldiers were killed and now lay beneath the today peaceful lands and beautiful sandy shores of the Gallipoli Peninsula. Today the Gallipoli Battlefields are silent and preserved as a national park with marble and bronze monuments dotted throughout it and it is one of the most emotional and moving places I've ever travelled to. We are very grateful for Neyzen Travel who helped us to arrange our visit to Gallipoli to pay our respects and for organising us a perfect guide to help us learn and understand the history.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Unique Experience of Istanbul by Neyzen

After two months of travelling we've just arrived in Turkey, our second to last country of this trip and are really excited to be here! We will be spending almost three weeks exploring this incredible country in depth with Neyzen Travel and Yachting. the leaders in luxurious custom designed Turkey travel. Our travels began in Istanbul, the cultural capital of Turkey where we spent three days exploring this incredible city with its mighty Byzantine walls, mysterious underground cisterns, majestic basilicas, opulent Ottoman palaces, breathtakingly beautiful mosques, buzzing markets and the ever-busy Bosphorus strait. Istanbul is a city brimming with culture, history and magic with traditions still alive that are rooted in over 2,500 years of history! Like no other city in the world, the city of Istanbul bridges two continents which has fused cultures, ethnic groups, religions and history in its own extraordinary way and is truly a unique, majestic city.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

10 Things to Not Do When Travelling In London

London is an incredible city with a rich history, however like any city it can also be a tourist trap that can lead you badly astray if you let it. So we've compiled a list of how to avoid the worst tourist mistakes with 10 things to avoid when travelling in London (and of course, what to do instead)!

London sunset Big Ben London Eye Westminster

Friday, June 10, 2016

Celebrity Chef, Donal Skehan's A Taste of Barcelona

The Times and The Sunday Times launched Insider City Guides in late March 2016, bringing together the expertise of the travel teams from The Times and The Sunday Times with the help of city-break experts at The Sunday Times Travel Magazine. We visited Barcelona in April and fell in love with the culture, city and of course food! If you are a regular reader of our blog then you'll know that we took a tapas tour which we absolutely loved and so were very excited when we discovered that as part of their guide to Barcelona, Insider City Guides recently published a fantastic article featuring five of Barcelona's top tapas bars! They then teamed up with Donal Shehan, the celebrity Irish food writer, cook and TV presenter who inspired by these top tapas bars created three tapas recipes which he presents in a 4 minute video which you can easily whip up at home in the kitchen! Donal's recipes are inspiring and accessible for the everyday home cook and he has over 375k YouTube subscribers! We're super excited to share three of these fantastic tapas recipes with out below that I am sure you will love!

Fountain in Plaça d'Espanya Barcelona

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Wonderful Stay in Sarajevo at Villa With The View

During our recent visit to Sarajevo we booked our stay at Villa With The View, an amazing apartment located in a quiet, residential neighbourhood only a 20 minute walk from the Old Town and main places of interest in Sarajevo. Our apartment was elegant, beautifully styled and very comfortable and its location on a small hill overlooking Sarajevo meant that it offered what we believe to be the best views of the city and surrounding areas! Our hosts, the Teletovic family moved to Australia when they were 18 years old due to the aggression in Bosnia and Hercegovina. They lived in Australia for 17 years and a few years ago returned to Sarajevo with their two boys. They were amazing hosts and it was incredible to hear their stories and experience Sarajevo as a local in one of their beautiful apartments.

Monday, June 6, 2016

A Stressfree Transfer from Budva to Sarajevo with Kiwitaxi

We're currently travelling through the Balkans on a fairly tight and busy schedule and we really like to fit as much in as possible in each destination. When it came time to travel from Budva to Sarajevo we were a little stuck as there was very limited public transport options and they were very, very long journeys which would take up a lot of our precious travel time. As we were researching all our options we discovered Kiwitaxi, a company that offers private transfers all over the world and much to our surprise and delight offered transfers in Montenegro and transfers in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as taxis in Budva! The booking process was smooth, quick and simple and the transfer was comfortable and affordable as well as saving us a lot of time!

Transfer from Budva to Sarajevo with Kiwitaxi

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Short But Sweet Four Days in Montenegro

We recently spent a very short but sweet four days in Montenegro. Before we arrived we hardly knew anything about this small country in the Balkans and didn't mind that we only had four days as it was more time than anyone we know has spent there. The moment we crossed the border from Croatia we knew we'd made a mistake by booking only four days as Montenegro is drop dead gorgeous! We spent two nights in gorgeous Kotor where we hiked up the fortress and the mountain behind it. The fortress was incredibly impressive and the hike was amazing and offered the most gorgeous views of all of the Bay of Kotor! We got stuck in a torrential downpour of rain at the top of the mountain which saw the path turned into a stream and saw us hanging out with some mountain goats under shelter. I wish there was photographic evidence but it was literally raining cats and dogs and we didn't want to risk drowning our nice DSLR camera, so we'll just have to keep that as a memory. From Kotor we spent two nights at beautiful Budva staying at the luxurious Splendid Hotel where we had a mini "holiday from our holiday" and literally spent two days lying on the beach, swimming in the sea, eating excessive amounts of food and lounging by the pool between visits to the spa and sauna. We were bad tourists in Budva but after two months on the road we welcomed this relaxing break with open arms. On our final day in Montenegro we had a transfer from Budva to Sarajevo which took us through the very heart of Montenegro past Sveti Stefan and the beautiful coastline up through the mountains and along beautiful Tara Canyon and Lake Skadar. It was during this drive that we truly fell in love with Montenegro's stunning, unspoilt natural beauty and without even discussing it we knew that we hadn't truly experienced or ticked Montenegro off our bucket list. It is still firmly on the list and we can't wait for the opportunity to return one day and give this gorgeous country the time it deserves! x

Saturday, June 4, 2016

A Five Star Montenegro Getaway at Hotel Splendid Budva

Hotel Splendid Conference and Spa Resort is located in the charming town of Becici in Montenegro only 3 kilometres from Budva. The hotel was opened in 2006 and became the first Five Star hotel on the Eastern Coast of the Adriatic Sea and boasts an amazing sea front location and its own private beach. During our recent visit to Montenegro we spent two nights at beautiful Splendid Hotel and it was the perfect destination to switch off for a few days and relax in luxury! The hotel has everything you could possibly want or need meaning you don't even have to leave the resort during your stay if you don't want to! The hotel has four bars, three restaurants, the largest Spa in Montenegro and a Casino, in addition it is also the largest conference centre venue in Montenegro. The beachfront resort boasts some of the best five star hotel facilities in all of Montenegro and we loved every moment of our stay there.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Hotel Porto In: A Charming Boutique Hotel in Beautiful Kotor

During our recent visit to beautiful Kotor we booked a two night stay at the new Hotel Porto In which is a stylish, four star boutique hotel located within a few minutes walk to all the main sites of the town. The hotel is an excellent choice for visitors to Montenegro who are seeking an elegant, relaxing and affordable stay in a great location. Being a very new hotel it is very modern, beautifully styled and equipped with state of the art technology and everything you could possibly need for a great stay in beautiful Kotor!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

MedSailors: The Only Way to Sail in Croatia

We've just finished a week sailing around Croatia with MedSailors, a sailing company owned by 3 Kiwis who run group sailing holidays around Croatia, Turkey and Greece for 20-35 year olds! It was our first experience sailing and I'm happy to say it was one of the most incredible weeks travelling we've had in all our years of traipsing around the world. As an Aussie I gravitate towards the sunshine, salt, sand and sea and after two years in the UK I was in serious need of some Vitamin Sea. There's nothing better than waking up and diving off your yacht into the crystal clear, aquamarine waters of the Mediterranean Sea and then spending your days sailing, stopping in gorgeous bays, paddleboarding, relaxing and then docking up on a beautiful, new island each day to explore historic towns, try wonderful new cuisine paired with local wines and relax onboard your own yacht with your new friends, some who will become friends for life. A sailing holiday with MedSailors is truly the perfect way to holiday and we're already planning our next one!