A visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau

I pre-booked online my day tour to Auschwitz-Birkenau and The “Wieliczka” Salt Mine on Viator before arriving in Poland. It cost AUD $121.11 and that included lunch, hotel pick up and drop off. Krakow Shuttle Tours was the company that handled the tour. All communication was done via e-mail. On the day of the tour, the driver/guide was extremely prompt for my hotel pick up, on the dot at 07:30. Vehicle was a Mercedes Benz mini bus, comfortable with a total of 8 passengers including myself.

Krakow, Poland a great value destination

I took an early Ryanair flight at 06:35 from Brussels-Charleroi Airport and landed in Kraków John Paul II International Airport around 08:30 a less than two hour flight. Charleroi airport is small, nothing much to do for an early departure except clear security checks and wait for the boarding announcement. Plane departed on time and cruised into the sunrise over Central Europe. Views as the plane approached Krakow were an endless spread of colourful fields. I felt the morning sun slightly slanting on my window seat, it looks like a glorious day ahead!

Sampler cruises, a fun weekend gateway

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.

Antwerp and Ghent in a day – a Guide for those short on time!

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.

Relaxing break at Club Samal Resort, Philippines

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.

Things to do in Brussels, Belgium

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!

Driving from Dublin – Galway – Dublin

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!

Belfast City in a day!

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.

Take a look inside Qatar Airways Airbus 350-900 business class, Doha – Manchester (continuation)…

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.


Take a look inside Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300ER business class, Manila – Doha

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.

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