We have sailed with Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas a number of years ago for a 7 day cruise from Singapore to Hong Kong visiting Vietnam (Nah Trang) and Thailand (Pattaya and Chabang) and we loved it. As first time cruisers our expectations were all met hands down! We were impressed with our room and service, dining, entertainment and activities and shows onboard, never a dull moment.
When I asked my friends who are based in Brussels if it’s possible to visit Antwerp and Ghent in a day, they hesitantly said yes you can, but you’ll not see all the attractions, there are so many things to do and visit in both cities. Oh well, since I’ve got only one day to spare, I’ll take a punt and persevere. Most likely no museum visits this time, just feel the vibes of both cities. Rewind, a few years ago when I visited Brugge (link here), it took me a full day to appreciate everything this city had to offer.
If you are planning a quiet tropical getaway, the Island Garden City of Samal in the Southern Philippines is a great destination for sun, sea, sand, diving and island hopping. Easily accessible from Davao City, the island offers holiday makers a relaxing break in a tranquil setting away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether for a longer break or a nice relaxing day out, the island has you covered.
When I think of decadent chocolates, beers, top restaurants, vintage markets and medieval buildings, Belgium tops my list as a-must visit. This is my fourth time to explore Brussels and I never get tired of the attractions this cosmopolitan city has to offer. Two years ago when I was there in September, it was the yearly Car-Free Sunday where motorists are encouraged to give up their cars for a day. Car traffic not being allowed in the Brussels Region from 9:30 am till 7:00 pm. It’s almost surreal how good the feeling is walking along the empty streets. Numerous activities take place during the day like push bike riding, flea markets and street parties, it’s so much fun!
Belfast to Dublin: (continuation from previous blog)
Driving on M5 from The Giant’s Causeway to Belfast was pretty straight forward, we managed to return our rented car to Belfast International Airport on the dot. From the airport we caught a cab to Glengall St to catch the Dublin Coach M1-Express departing at 5:30 PM. Traffic was very heavy around the city centre but thankfully we got there with just enough time to go for a quick comfort break, our bus was waiting and ready to go bang on time!
We got up early hoping to hit the road to beat the morning traffic. The Premier Inn provides an array of breakfast options, full and continental for £8.99 and you can eat as much as you like at the self-service buffet. Just in the nick of time, we managed to have brekkie and checked out before the free parking time slot expired.
We flew from Manchester catching a morning flight on Flybe Airlines to Belfast, flight time was around a half hour onboard a Dash 8 Turboprop. Since it’s a smaller aircraft, carry-on luggage must adhere to the correct weight and size required for stowing overhead. Crew at the desk will check your bag, if it doesn’t fit the gauge, it will be placed in the hold. Ours were fine weight wise, but were a touch too bulky thanks to rolled up jackets to be accepted on board. We were not the only ones, it really is a squeeze so bear this in mind when packing or book the extra baggage required. Thankfully we didn’t pay any extra charges. It was a pleasant flight with a lovely skirting over Lough Neagh and the Irish countryside surrounding it.
Hamad International Airport (HIA) is a combination of sleek architecture and world-class facilities, a destination in itself! It’s a huge and ultramodern airport with gleaming surfaces and spotless amenities, it’s 11:00 PM and it feels like an early evening rush in a big shopping mall. Arriving and departing passengers flock to the multitude of shops for last minute gifts and necessities, restaurants and bars full of people waiting for flight announcements or passing layover time. With less than two hours to spare, my first priority was to get to the business lounge area via the duty free shop and continue to experience what Qatar Airways has to offer.
I am pretty much back in the swing of things after two months of galavanting about in the Philippines, Europe and Qatar. I can’t say that living out of a suitcase was easy, it seemed to become heavier each pack despite all the stuff I lost! That’s part of the rich tapestry of travel I suppose, some great highs and a few lows but plenty of fun along the way. If you’re planning a trip for an extended time like I did, carefully plan your entire trip taking into account layover times, local facilities and connections, if necessary have a Plan B as a contingency.
Newsbreak: Two new low pressures have been spotted near the Philippines, rain forecast for today, blimey! Upon hearing the news from the telly, I quickly pressed the electric button to open up the curtains of our accommodation. Viola! The sun is out so hopefully this condition will continue throughout the day and any rain should not hamper our plans.
We are already half way through our Philippine-Europe-Qatar vacation but only now are we able to update our socials, the schedule has just been too hectic! Yes, we made it! We left Sydney on a beautiful spring day only to be welcomed by a rainy evening in Manila. I guess we shouldn’t complain after all it’s the tropical monsoon season. Be good if we could re-direct these heavy downpours back home to help ease the current Sydney and nationwide water shortages.
Bundeena is a village located in the south of Sydney that we often visit for a coffee, bush walk and a swim at one of