We had lunch with both our families to say good-bye. We would only be away for 4 months but it was the first time either of us would be away from home for longer than a week. The Football World Cup Final was being played and we would be missing it because we would be in the air somewhere.
Getting dropped of the airport was a mixture of excitement and sadness. More excitement of course but sad as we were not seeing familiar faces for another 120 odd days!
First stop was Singapore then Athens. And on the flight, we scored exit row seats which were right beside the toilets. Great having the leg room but not quite ideal having people queueing up for the toilet throughout the flight.
We were seated next to an older Greek lady who was ever so lovely but clearly a nervous flyer. As we were taxiing down the runway, she was repeatedly doing the sign of the cross and muttering prayers under her breath. This made us a wee bit nervous because flying isn’t really our cup of tea either. The stuffy-recycled air of aeroplanes is enough to make any head woozy!
Upon arriving at Singapore, she asked us if we could help her with exchanging some money so she could buy her son an iPod. So we trooped around with her to the money exchange counter before then guiding her to a sales assistant in a duty free shop to help with the iPod side of things (we did learn on the flight to Athens that the purchase was successful). And as we waited for our onward flight, we thought what the heck – we might as well ask for an upgrade to Business Class – sadly they didn’t have any available so looked like we were flying economy all the way! Despite being disappointed, we didn’t black list Singapore Airlines as an airline because in all honesty – they are superb in EVERY way imaginable.
We’re engaged! So to celebrate our engagement, we are having not only a party but also a farewell as we’re off to Europe for 4 months.
We booked our flights to Europe in November last year. In just over 100 days we will be gone. It’s been a hard slog, working 6 days a weeks to save up for this but sure it will be totally worth it!
So the itinerary looks like this:
Greece, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Ireland, Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Malta, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland…. Doesn’t seem like 4 months when we write it out like that!
We have family in Belgium, France and England so it would be a great opportunity to meet each other’s families.
Getting really excited!!
Hearing Mauritius always conjures up images of exclusivity, honeymooning, palm trees and beaches. And we suppose that those are the right images. But, there has to be more… and there is!
We arrived into Mauritius later than scheduled and were promptly picked up by the transfers. But as we drove into the night, we began wondering what we had gotten ourselves into. Was this a tourist trap? Were those idyllic images all misleading? Why did we feel this way, you ask? Well, we were driven in a van along roads that were NOT well-lit, actually pitch black to say the least and the only light we could see were spot fires off in the distance – and as the van sped on, the fires got closer and closer.
We soon learnt that they were sugar cane harvesting and not anything more to worry about. Sure enough, upon driving up to Le Meridian, all of our worries dissolved. The resort was amazing! We could not fault it in any way other than to say it was so big :-), our legs got sore from walking to the room. The view from our room was spectacular. A week of relaxing was in store.
But after one day of relaxing at the resort, we got itchy feet and wanted to do some exploring so we booked in a few day trips to see more of the island. We had not flown all this way from Sydney to sit by the pool – you can do that ANYWHERE! We visited Port Louis, temples, waterfalls, markets, volcanoes and truly got a taste of the real Mauritius that lay beyond the resort. Amazingly how many people at the resort had not ventured out the gates – they didn’t know what they were missing!
One particular thing we were ever so keen to see were the giant water lily pads at Pamplemousses Royal Botanical Gardens. Having read in travel guides, we were ready to be blown away. Its pretty obvious already from this build up, that it was a let down. Sadly, Mauritius had experienced a wet winter and therefore the lily pads were not as big as normal.
One thing that we hadn’t expected to see was Chamarel – which we didn’t know about until we were in Mauritius. It is basically a geological formation made up of dunes comprised of seven different colored layers. The colours were incredible.
As far as beaches go, Ile aux cerfs has to be one of the nicest we’ve ever seen. It was a lagoon in fact but that doesn’t stop it from being picture perfect and the spot to relax.
View more photos of our trips in our Photo Gallery.
Singapore is SO clean you could honestly walk barefoot down the street and not get any grime on your feet. There are a lot of rules that you need to abide by such as no chewing gum, no littering, no swearing but in turn it has made the country so safe and clean.
There’s no missing the hot and sticky weather. It was humid, really humid. There’s rain occasionally throughout the day, but they are more like quick sun showers.
The zoo, Jurong Bird Park and night safari were all really incredible; seeing all the animals and birds up close and personal and especially the nocturnal ones being active for once. The orang-utans were practically free-roaming – as we walked past a tree, we heard some leaves rustling and before we knew it, an orang-utan was scuttling down to the keeper for a banana. And yes, everything here was clean too.
Across from the Jurong Bird Park, there is a reptile park – it is sadly very run down but we gladly visited and saw some insanely big crocodiles. But despite being run down, it too was very clean 🙂
We used cabs pretty much everywhere. We had heard public transport was smooth and easy to use, but we figured in this heat, all we wanted to do was escape to somewhere with air-conditioning. The good thing about cabs too was that they were cheap.
Five days in Singapore was a perfect length as we felt we had done all that we wanted.
We can also say that we demolished a pizza which was HUGE. At the airport with what Singaporean money we had left, we decided to pick up breakfast. To use up all the money so we wouldn’t have to find a currency exchange place, we bought this pizza. When we ordered it, they said, “Are you sure you want a full pizza? They are really big!” And thinking we knew best that a full pizza was your usual large pizza, we insisted that it would be fine.
And when the pizza was brought out, our eyes grew large as saucers. The pizza was huge and was easily 40 cm in diameter, at least! We know! It wasn’t very Singaporean nor was it really breakfast material.
View more photos of our trips at Photo Gallery.