Paris – it’s more than just the city of love!

Paris has always been one of my favourite cities in the world.  I don’t know what it is or why I fell in love with it but there’s just something about it.

There’re so many places to visit that a few days is never enough, and it’s not just the sights, the cafes, patisseries and restaurants are all charming.

This was my second visit to Paris, the first time I went was when I was 18 years old and ever since then I have had a love affair with the city and have always longed to go back.

It’s more than just a city of love, it’s a city of glamour, history and a way of life that is uniquely Parisian.

If you only have a few days there then be prepared to get completely and utterly mesmerised.  You’ll be exhausted from walking around but you must walk or bike around, because simply catching a cab or public transport will make you miss out on the Parisian vibe- oh yeah and the traffic is horrendous!

The Louvre June 2017

The Louvre

Clock face of the Musee d'Orsay

Clock face inside the Musée d’Orsay, June 2017

Sacre Coeur

 Sacré Cœur June 2017

Normally I would make a list of all the highlights you should got see or what I went and saw, but this is Paris we’re talking about, and well the highlights of Paris are the obvious: the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and the Sacré Cœur and so on and so forth. But don’t forget to get out and actually experience the city. Go for a drink on one of the many floating bars along the Seine, stop and have a coffee at a little local cafe and whatever you do you must see the Palais Garnier Opera House. This building is simply breath taking and will take you back to a time before television or the internet were a mere thought.

Now you’re going to Paris, let’s not pretend you’re not going to shop! I mean really?! The Galleries Lafayette are a great place to explore and shop at. Remember take your passport with you as there are freebies for tourists and you may also be entitled to a few discounts here and there. Otherwise like I said stroll the streets there are little boutiques everywhere.

If you have more than a few days then jump on the train and go to Versailles. The palace and it’s surrounding gardens is breathtaking to say the least. If you’re going to actually see the palace- and I mean really see the palace, then you need to put a whole day aside.  If you’re not up to strolling through the gardens there are options such as bicycles and buggies you can hire- and you’d probably need them if you’re taking the kids along. The gardens are  absolutely huge and you can also hire a row boat at the lake.

The food in the palace grounds is reasonably priced as well considering it is a tourist destination.

If you’re stuck for transport and don’t want to pay for a cab- because their transport system can be a bit of a let down (sigh), Uber is also available around Paris.

Paris can be a city of sensory overload and can be overwhelming. You will miss out on somethings, but thats ok you can’t see everything in a few days. Trust me the first trip I was there for eight days and missed out on a few things.

Bon Voyage!

 

 

 

Europes Changed Tourist Landscape.

Due to the rise of terror attacks throughout Europe in recent years, the European tourism landscape has changed drastically making it less inviting and harsher to the traveler. Drastic measures are taken to ensure the safety of tourists and citizens, but in doing so the romance of history has been ruined. It seems little choice but to position the military at landmarks and museums in most European cities. At first it’s confrontational, there are military personnel walking around inches away from you with machine guns at the ready, then it becomes the norm.

Once you get past the strange feeling of having people walking past you holding machine guns, your awareness of such a strong military presence doesn’t diminish but you do normalise to it.

Military presence in Paris

Military presence in Paris

With the recent attacks in Barcelona and the spade of attacks that have gripped Europe and the UK in recent months, military presence in tourist destinations has proven to be a necessity.

I was in Brussels in June and as I was exiting my hotel room, 3 heavily armed personnel walked past me. To say my heart stopped for a moment is an understatement. At first I was startled as to why there were 3 armed army officers in my hotel- your first instinct is a terror attack. Then I was advised by a friend that resides in the city that the hotel I was staying at was a base for the military and also offered them use of their amenities.

Should we ever get used to this? Unfortunately we have had no choice. I would have to argue that whilst I don’t like it (as many would agree), there is no choice but to take drastic measures to try and ensure that citizens and travellers are as safe as possible. Passing through scanners, bag searches and other security checks are mandatory at nearly every historical site or museum through out Europe and the world these days.

Because of the military presence many terror attempts have been foiled or deterred. For instance the attempt at blowing up the train station in Brussels Central in late June of this year may not have been foiled had the military not been present at the time, as have many other attempts in major cities.

These are difficult times and as such being a traveler it has meant that we have had to adapt to a vastly changing landscape. Unfortunately because of this it has meant that the romance and wonder you felt at landmarks such as the Eifel Tower and the Colosseum have diminished, and that feeling of being lost in a world of imagination has been replaced by the harsh reality of this new world.

 

Nursery Rhymes and Their Hidden Truths.

As children we’re all taught the classic nursery rhymes that we recite or sing at the top of our lungs. They are often taught to us by our parents and in school and are carried with us throughout our lives. In most cases we teach them to our children. However, some nursery rhymes have a sinister hidden meaning and are a historical reference to events that took place.

Once you’ve learnt their actual meaning, it’s like a history lesson that will literally eradicate the warm and fuzzies-makes you wonder why we still recite these classic nursery rhymes to children?!

There’s a saying that goes something like “every story has some truth behind it” well I guess this rings true with most nursery rhymes. A classic example of this dark history is “Mary Mary Quite Contrary” we all know it and I’m sure we’ve all recited it as kids.

But the nursery rhyme we all know has roots stepped into a sinister history. Its origins stem from  Mary Tudor or “Bloody Mary” the daughter of King Henry the VIII and the Queen of England from 1553-1558. The nursery rhyme refers to Mary’s staunch Catholic upbringing and the torture she inflicted on those that continued to be believers in the Protestant faith during her time as monarch.

We all know the rhyme and its famous line “how does your garden grow”. This refers to the graveyards that grew in occupants (for use of a better term) during her reign.

The rest of the lyric “With Silver bell and cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row” is in reference to the torture and execution tactics used by Mary. It’s believed that “silver bells” were the thumbscrews used to crush the thumb between two hard surfaces and “cockle shells” were instruments attached to the genitals for purposes of torture.

The reference to the “maids” is a reference to an instrument called a maiden, which was used to behead people – like the guillotine.

Not so childlike now is it?

There’s more to these nursery rhymes than you may think. We’ve all heard that “Ring Around the Rosie” was supposedly about the black plague of the 17th Century with “rosie” being the term used for the rash that formed around the neck of the plagues victims. With “atishoo, atishoo we all fall down” meaning those infected all died.

Other nursery rhymes whilst not so morbid include “ Baa Baa Black Sheep” which referred to the wool tax that was imposed in the middle ages.

The history behind nursery rhymes is fascinating and once you realise what they’re really about your childhood favourites aren’t as innocent as what you may have first thought. On the flip side they may be a good way for children to learn history and possibly retain events through these rhymes.

Fairy-Tale Prague.

If you’ve ever imagined being in a fairy-tale with a castle on top of a hill, cobble stone roads and little narrow winding streets that you’ll get lost in, then Prague should definitely be on your must explore list.

It’s a romantic city, there are no skyscrapers ruining its character, only the striking church towers can be seen rising across the skyline. The old town of Prague is magical!

Everything is within walking distance, so be prepared to do some walking. You’ll simply get lost in this gorgeous city.

Where to Stay:

Prague is split into Prague 1 and Prague 2. Prague 1 is closer to the old town and the city center.

I stayed at the very affordable Alveo Suites. This is a relatively new building refurbished in 2016 and is only a 10 min walk to the old town. The beauty about theses suites is that they are close to everything including supermarkets, which will come in handy as the suites have kitchenettes. The hotels reception is very friendly and helpful when making enquires and booking tours.

Must See and do:

 

Prague Castle.

View of Prague castle atop of the hill. Looking towards the castle from the Charles Bridge.

Prague Castle: This will take you at least half a day to see. Wonder around the courtyards, museums and visit the gorgeous gothic cathedral of St Vitus and St George Basilica.

Charles Bridge: Make sure you walk across the bridge and take in the views and also the statues that line the bridge from one end to the other. My tip is start at the castle and walk down the hill past the Lennon Wall to the bridge and head into the old town.

Astronomical Clock: Whilst I was there, there was some construction going on around it. However it’s still worth going to see this 600 year old mechanical marvel, which is situated in the old town square. Make sure you go just before the clock strikes upon the hour so you get to see the moving statues.

Vltava River Cruise: After a day of walking around, this is a great little cruise. The river runs through the center of Prague and will give you great views of the Charles Bridge and of Prague Castle sitting atop the hill whilst you sip on a glass of wine or beer (when in Prague….).

The Old Jewish Cemetery and Synagogues: Found in Prague Jewish Town, and steeped in Prague’s history both the cemetery and synagogues are a must see. The Spanish synagogue is simply breathtaking inside with intricate wall decorations.

Walking Tours: The walking tours are great, as you will gain an insight into Prague’s history. There are a few to choose from. I did two tours. The first was Enchanted Prague Night Stroll & Boat Cruise run by Absolute Tours, which included a river cruise. This was booked via the Visit A City app and called Prague by Night Tour (see my post about travel apps for the link).

The second was an all day tour run by The Prague Tour All Inclusive that was booked via the hotel. This is an all day walking tour with a river cruise and lunch (in a Medieval Restaurant) included.

 

Half-Day trip to Kutna Hora: This town is a must see! The old silver minning town is  situated about an hour and a half from Prague. Now the stand out site for this place is the Sedlec Ossuary (bone church- a bit morbid, I know) but this is something you have to see to believe. St Barbara’s Church also known as the Cathedral of St Barbara is stunning and one of the towns other must see sites. Again booked via the Visit a City app.

Spa Sessions: Now it wouldn’t be a holiday without a spa session! And yes gents, you’re absolutely included in this one!

Prague does have great beer and consumes the most amount of beer in the world per capita. So what better than a beer spa! There is a couple to choose from around Prague. I did the spa at Bernard Beer Spa and it was a truly unique experience. The spa is made up of hops, yeast and other natural ingredients excluding barley (for allergy reasons). You also get unlimited beer on tap (see guys, I told you you’re included here). If you’re going to try this you need to get the spa package with the massage, I mean why only go half way right?!

Food:

You’re in Prague, so you need to try their Beef Goulash. Most restaurants serve it and it will comes with various options. But go the dumplings! I mean you’re in a country where goulash and dumplings are part of a staple diet.

Other than that Prague offers a range of culinary choices so yes, comfort food like pizza and pasta are on offer if you’re not feeling to adventurous.

My tip is don’t eat at the town square as it is more expensive. It’s cheaper in the little alleyways and also just a bit further down from the astronomical clock.

Whatever you do and wherever you stay, you will fall in love with this city.

Happy Travels.

The Apps you need have on your travel checklist.

Planning on travelling through Europe? Checklists are a must when you’re getting ready to jet set. But, what we may be forgetting – other than your toothbrush, is the apps that we should be downloading before we leave the house.

Yes, that’s right travel apps are just as important as your socks and undies. If you’re travelling through Europe or else where there are a few apps that will inevitably be handy for your travels. In this instance I’ll be focusing on Europe and the apps that really helped me get around.

I found that Visit a City and Trainline EU were two of my most important apps- apart from facebook and instagram.

Visit A City is a great app that provides you with different itineraries of things to see and do. The great thing about his app is that you can download the itinerary to use offline so you’re not chewing into your data usage and you can also edit start times and delete things you may not want to see-basically allowing you to then create your own itinerary based on the suggestions provided.

Another great thing about the app is that it also offers you a range of guided tours and day trips in and around the city you’re visiting that you can choose from and book through the app. It really couldn’t be anymore convenient!

I personally found this app really helpful when I was recently travelling through Europe and only had a limited number of days in a few cities.

If you’re travelling through Europe and you’re not flying to all your destinations, the next app that should be on your checklist should be Trainline EU. This app allows you to book trains to travel in between European countries and also trains within the country. The great thing is it gives you a few options so you can choose your seats and preferred class. It also will keep a record of them on the app and send you your tickets via email.

The obvious app to have is Trip Advisor. The app will give you real customer reviews and help you get the best out of your holiday whether its local or international. The great thing about the app is that reviews are current and the app covers everything from hotels to tour groups.

There’s a whole range of travel apps that are great to help you plan your trip and advise you on what sites to see, where to go, where to eat and where to stay. They are an essential part of your travel kit.

Happy Travels.

Nelson Bay, NSW, Australia: The Perfect Short Break From The City.

Picturesque Nelson Bay is the main town that’s part of the Port Stephens area. Situated on the New South Wales North Coast a 3 hour drive from Sydney or a 1 hour drive from Newcastle.

This town is not just a great destination for summer, it’s great all year round. So whilst there are beaches I could write about (they’re absolutely beautiful) this piece is more about the other activities you can enjoy when you’re not visiting in the summer months and my picks on where to eat.

The seaside town offers a variety of attractions and things to do within itself and its surrounds. I spent a few days there and whilst I did get the chance to take a quick dip at Fly Point which is a small beach just past the marina as you head towards Shoal Bay (yes, I know its May and it’s getting cold in the southern hemisphere – however, the weather was glorious) I also managed to get in some activities.

Do:

Other than enjoying the stunning beaches and clear waters that the bay and its surrounds have to offer there’s a plethora of activities to choose from especially if you’re not visiting in the summer months. With so much to do and see in and around Nelson Bay you can be here for over a week and do something different every day. If you’re only going for a few days then these are a must do.

Horse Riding – Sahara Trails in Anna Bay is a short car ride from Nelson Bays town centre. You have a few choices in what type of rides you want to do. If you’re like me and it’s your first time then opt for the Aussie Bush Trail Ride. The experience lasts for an hour and it’s a good introduction into horse ridding. Alternatively you have the beach ride if you’re more experienced.

Tomaree Head Summit Walk- The views from the mountain are spectacular. The walk up the mountain to the summit will take about 45mins with a few stops in between if you are taking in the view as you go up (or if your fitness level- like mine, is not up to scratch). Whilst you’re walking up take in the views of Shoal Bay and Zenith Beach. Walking back down may be quicker depending on which route you take , there are  gun emplacements from World War II you can walk to on your way back down, however, when you’re up there take a few minutes at the top to appreciate the views.

Dolphin Cruise- There are a few different companies that offer cruises around the bay and if you’re lucky enough you may see a few dolphins or a whale. The type of cruise you’re after is dependant on your itinerary and how much you want to spend and of course the time of year.

Eat:

Nelson Bay and Shoal Bay (5 mins up the road from the town centre) have plenty on offer. Especially seafood, after all this is a bay and they do have a great little fish market down at the marina. Below are a few places I tried out that I recommend ( there were others that didn’t make the list):

Casa De Oro- If you like tapas then this is a nice little restaurant that offers a range of tapas dishes on their menu. Try the pork meatballs and mussels in tomato and chilli salsa they are flavoursome especially when accompanied by the Fried Potato with Tomato Salsa & Aioli. The sangria is also very good. My only negative was the Bruschetta with Tomato, Basil, Bocconcini & Prosciutto, for me it lacked flavour and the piece was small for the price they charge.

Little New Cafe

Bacon and Eggs & a Carrot Colada at the Little Nel Cafe. Photo: Maria Schindlecker

Little Nel Cafe- This cafe is located in The Nelson Resort just as you enter the towns centre on Government Road. It’s a great spot and the food is delicious. Breakfast and lunch servings are a decent size and will leave even the most ravenous holiday maker feeling content. If you’re looking for an energy boost I recommend skipping the coffee and getting the smoothies in particularly their Carrot Colada. Their Falafel Bowl is also a great option for lunch.

Sunset at the Little Beach Boathouse

Enjoy a drink with this view. Photo: Maria Schindlecker

Little Beach Boathouse- this is a little piece of heaven where you can either go for drinks and nibbles or enjoy a meal at the restaurant upstairs. My recommendation is to get there just before sunset to watch the sun go down as you sip on your wine. The best spot to sit and relax (trust me the view will put you at ease) is on the deck- if you can get a spot. The boathouse cater for special events as well and after you see the sunset you’ll understand why this place is a popular location for tourists and locals alike.

Scones at the Inner Light Tea Rooms

Scones at the Inner Light Tea Rooms. Photo: Maria Schindlecker

Inner Light Tea Rooms- If you want to have lunch or afternoon tea with some of the most beautiful ocean views- this is the place! The Inner Light Tea Rooms offer a variety of food choices for breakfast or a light lunch. However, if you want to just enjoy a coffee (or milkshake) with some scones this is the place. The scones are divine and will definitely take care of your sweet tooth.

Mod Thai (Shoal Bay)-  There are two of these restaurants near each other. One is in Nelson Bay (not much of a view) and the other that I had dinner at is on Shaol Bay Road in Shoal Bay, a very short (like not even 5 min) drive from Nelson Bay town centre. I’ve eaten a lot of Thai food, however this place has some gorgeous food. Whilst the menu isn’t huge there is a choice of dishes (sorry no laksa though).  The spring rolls are delicious as is their beef pad Thai and exotic seafood special (a combination of seafood in a red curry).

Nelson Bay is great if you want a short family get away, romantic weekender or just want to chill out and relax with your friends. There are more activities like quad biking, kayaking and camel riding that you can do if you have the time.  If you get a chance head out to Murray’s Brewing Co. and sample some local beer and wine.

For more information on Nelson Bay go to visitnsw.com

Happy Travels!

 

Social Media: We’re Spending More Time On It Than We Actually Realise

Have we become slaves to social media? If you think about it how long have you spent on your Instagram, Twitter or Facebook today? Yesterday? All of last week? Don’t feel bad, we all do it and don’t realise how much time were actually wasting doing it rather than getting out and enjoying our selves or relaxing. When you add it up it accumulates to a few hours a day.

Now, before you presume that I hate social media – I don’t! In fact I think its possibly one of the greatest technological inventions of our time. But, I do think that perhaps its consumed us more than we realise and perhaps taken away from our  experiences and also down time that could be used to do other things.

There results are staggering to say the least, according to Social Media Today :

On average people will spend nearly 2 hours a day on their social media accounts- 116mins a day to be exact! This amounts to an astonishing 5 years and 4 months over a lifetime.

The bad news is this figure is set to rise. If you think about it you probably don’t even get 2 hours to relax during the day. You know that thing where you just sit back and do nothing, not even stare at Facebook. 

So with this in mind what’s happened to us? Have we completely forgotten how to live without social media? Our lives have become so intertwined with our social media obsession that it seems we can’t manage to put or phones or tablets down. Everything we do is recorded, posted and expressed on these channels that we’ve forgotten to take a step back and appreciate what’s actually happening around us.

social-1958774_1920

Image: Pixabay

I mean for instance, I’m fairly confident to say that nearly everyone who’s attended a concert has either been snapping photos, recording or streaming live on their social accounts (I’ve done it too!).

There was a time when we used to be so enthralled with the show that we wouldn’t have considered pulling out our phones and uploading content to our accounts. Nowadays we can’t help but dodge the line of phones held high blocking our views of the stage as people simultaneously stream and record their experience. But can you even call it that anymore? Is it really an experience that we’re having? We’re all looking at the recordings on our screens rather than actually looking at the artist who is right in front of us.

We’ve become so obsessed with “checking in” and showing everyone where we are that we don’t really give it all our attention and enjoy the moment. A few years ago I wrote a piece for The Scavenger, on how social media is running our lives even at the dinner table. It was all about the “check in” and conversations we were having with our friends on the social channels rather than conversations with our friends at the table we were sitting at.

This is much of the same argument. We’re so focused on “checking in” than actually “checking out” and enjoying what was happening around us.

Don’t get me wrong I love Facebook as much as the next person and I can’t deny that. It has helped people connect with each other all over the world and made families closer. What my argument is, is that perhaps we need to put down the apps and start enjoying our surroundings a bit more and take in what is actually going on in our world not just what we’re seeing on our screens.

At the end of the day we need to get back to basics. Stop, put down the phone or tablet and enjoy what’s in front of you, otherwise you could be one of those people who has literally wasted over 5 years of your life starring at something through the small screen when you could have been staring at it directly and appreciating the moment.

 

Picturesque Amsterdam

This city is one of my favourites. It’s easy to get around in, it’s clean and the people are friendly.

You can explore the city by either walking or hiring a bicycle, however, if you are going to hire a bicycle be aware that it can get a little crazy on the roads and if you’re unsure then walk. Really! Things aren’t that far from each other and if your legs get tired you can pop into a café without having to look around for a spot to park your bike.

Must see and Do:

Canals cruise: Apart from other things (that are illegal in most countries) Amsterdam is well known for its canals. The best way to explore them is on a canal cruise and there are a few to choose from.   If you get a standard cruise it lasts for about an hour and is a great way to see the city.

Van Gogh museum: This is one of those must see sites, and gets absolutely jam-packed, and lets be honest why wouldn’t it. It’s only the best display of Van Goghs artwork. To get in you can either join a very long queue or buy your tickets online. I literally bought my ticket 20 minutes before heading in. It was either that or join the queue that would’ve meant I’d be waiting for hours. Now, in my case, I was lucky that my time slot had a few spots left online. But truly, the online tickets are the best way to go.

You will be blown away at the genius of this artist and the experience of actually being within arms distance of his artwork is something you won’t be forgetting.

 

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Rijksmuseum: This is the country’s national museum. If you’re like me and want to see everything you will need a few hours in here so make sure you plan ahead. Amongst many fascinating displays and artefacts the museum houses Rembrandt’s paintings and amongst them his famous “Night Watch” painted in 1642. The best way to see the museum is to download the free app from the app store.  The app allows you  to choose what tours and the length of time you want to spend looking around.

The Mouse Mansion – Shop and Studio: This place is not just for the kids (I don’t have kids and I was excited to go), although they’ll love it! The shop and studio opened in 2015 and is fascinating to see how these little creatures are made and brought to life. The actual mouse mansion itself is on display at the Public Library of Amsterdam.   For more information see the Mouse Mansion website.

The Red Light District: It’s an eye opener! You can’t take photos or film of the women in the windows (out of respect that should be a given) but the area is a great place to walk through and experience – if you’re open minded. The Red Light District is an interesting place and contrary to what you may have heard it is relatively safe to walk through.

Get out of the city and explore the country side….dscn0486.jpg

Tour of the Zaanse Schans Windmills, Volendam and the Clog Factory in Marken: This is a half-day tour and is a good way to see the windmills, cheese factory and clog factory if you haven’t got enough time. The windmills are beautiful and are still functioning; you’ll get a tour of a wood sawing windmill and get to look around the town. Unfortunately because of the limited time the tour is a bit rushed through Volendam where you only have a limited time to grab a bite to eat. The seaside town is pretty and if you like cheese – like I do, it’s worth the visit! The tour ends with a boat ride over to Marken where you will get to see the clogs being made. The tour was booked through Lindbergh Travel, you can find their office close to Amsterdam Central train station.

Whatever you do picturesque Amsterdam is a great place form solo travellers to families.

 Happy Travels!

Social Media & the rise of Celebrity Worship Syndrome

A few years ago I wrote on the impact Celebrity Worship Syndrome (CWS) was having on people.   Whilst the syndrome has been around for a while the impact social media has had on its increase cannot go unnoticed.

Prior to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like, the only access to these celebrities’ was through television interviews and what we read in magazines.

Now nearly every celebrity has a social media account on nearly every platform you can think of. We have more access to them than we ever did. We see their lives unfold almost instantaneously. What they are doing during their day, what they eat, what country they’re in and most of the time a sneak peek into their homes.

We know that CWS is when a person becomes attached to a celebrity’s personal and professional life, finding commonalities between their life and the celebrity and creating a psychological bond with that celebrity.

This vast array of information has perhaps led to an intensifying of CWS. The access we have been granted by most of these celebrities has allowed for fans to have a sneak peek into their world. However when it comes to someone that has the syndrome this sneak peek may hold more to them than just a tiny glimpse.

The more they post on social media about their daily lives the more we find ourselves having a connection. Sure for most people we would think ‘oh isn’t that nice, I do that too’. However for people with this syndrome they develop a more personal relationship, finding commonalities and connections that most of us would not have considered.

Dr Mark Griffiths – Professor of Behavioural Addiction at Nottingham Trent University claimed in an article in the International Business Times that he believed that social media has contributed to the rise of the syndrome as celebrities can interact with their fans regularly via their social accounts.

To it’s extremes it can lead to fans stalking their favourite celebrities everywhere they go. An example of how social media can encourage fans to track down celebrities was given by a Justin Beiber fan earlier this year when the singer visited Australia. Miss Del Rosario said in that article “You can find hotels and such from looking at the details in the background, listening to what’s happening, and the signs.” This is a perfect example as to how easily accessible celebrities have become via social media.

In another article psychologist Meredith Fuller suggests that the influx of information regarding celebrities that we now have access to has made our obsession with celebrities more extensive. She even goes on to say “We get a lot of our identity from them. We get visual clues of these glamorous lives and a little bit of us wants to imagine we lead [the same life]..They’ve got the money, contacts, parties and amazing clothes, so we want to relate to them.”

Whilst for people like Miss Del Rossario who knows when to respectfully stop following people like Justin Beiber, this is not always the case with some people.

In recent times the extremes of peoples celebrity obsession has lead to the murder of former US voice contestant Christina Grimmie who was killed after a concert by a deranged fan. The killer stalked her social media accounts and followed her every move.

Whilst Kim Kardashians Paris fiasco was not related to CWS you can see how the dangers of these celebrities playing out their lives on social platforms can present it has lead to people knowing where they are, what they are doing and the valuable items celebrities have with them or in their homes allowing them to be exposed to many different attacks, whether it be fans stalking them or being robbed and their lives being put in danger.

Whilst social media is a great tool to have your voice heard and your brand promoted it has also created a platform where for some interaction with celebrities and their lives can sometimes lead to a blur between reality and how much we invest our emotions into their world.

Port Douglas, Australia – More Than Just A Couples Destination.

Port Douglas has to be one of the nicest places I have been too in Australia. Situated in Tropical Far North Queensland (TFNQ) about an hour or so’s drive from Cairns, this small piece of paradise has a lot more to offer than just a romantic  weekend getaway for couples.

This destination hotspot is great to explore with a friend or group of friends.

If you don’t hire a car, then your best place for accomodation would be in or around the town centre. This place is buzzing with shops, restaurants and pubs.

Whilst the resorts are nice and not to far from the town itself you will need transport as they can be a bit of a walk to get to the main strip, unless you plan on catching a taxi. But if you do get a car you can travel around and head out to the other small towns around the area that are equally as beautiful.

We stayed there for 2 days at the Regal Port Douglas situated on Macrossan Street (main strip) in a studio room.

The location was perfect and the studio was clean and had a great bathroom. The only bad thing was that the actual toilet had Louvre doors – so privacy wasn’t as “private” as it could have been. But when you’re with friends sharing a room, when is it ever?! If you can get past the fact that you may be able to hear a few noises from the  bathroom then this is ideally the place to stay.  If you can’t then turn on a tap when you have to go! Really the studio apartment was a great little spot and the complex has a pool.

The main part of the town isn’t huge and you will be able to walk around it in a few hours and have lunch then go from there.

Port Douglas

Port Douglas. Photo: Maria Schindlecker

Port Douglas is a gateway to the barrier reef , so make sure you book a tour to Agincourt Reef . This reef offers 16 different dive sites and a variety of sea life which makes it the perfect spot to dive or snorkel. Bear in mind that you will more than likely have to wear a stinger suit depending on what time of the year you go. My tip is if you do go out on a rainy day (because hey- it’s the tropics!) then take some sea sick tablets as getting out to some reefs can be a bit rough. Once you’re there however it’s a great experience.

Then there’s the rain forest. There are a few tours to choose from, you can go right up to Cape Tribulation or do more localised tours. Who knows you may even get to see a crocodile.

Crocodile

Daintree River Cruise. Photo Maria Schindlecker

We went on the half day tour  that included a river cruise on the  Daintree River and then a stope over at Mossman Gorge that took you into the stunning Daintree rainforest.  The river cruise was great however there were mosquitoes so take your replant with you( again, it’s the tropics!). The highlight was seeing a crocodile that was literally meters away from the boat. Whilst we did end up going on one of the wettest days of the year the gorge was still beautiful and well worth the trip. The gorge is situated about 30 mins by car from Port Douglas’s town centre.

Mossman Gorge

Mossman Gorge. Photo : Maria Schindlecker

The great thing about Port Douglas is that you can get out and explore or you can just sit back and relax and do nothing. It’s a great location for a weekend away or even a few days.

For more info about Port Douglas and its surrounding areas visit Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree.

Bon Voyage!