With Kristen still on maternity leave, we wanted to spend some time traveling, so with our two and a half month baby in tow and only our first Airbnb booked, we hopped on an overnight flight to Paris. The mission: see and eat as much as possible and get to Rome in two weeks time to fly home. We brought one baby carrier and no itinerary. We missed one of our trains and briefly lost all of our money (but don't worry, we took the next train, and, got all our money back).
Our first-ever trip to South America took us through the beautiful country of Colombia for eleven days. We started in Bogota, the high-altitude capital city, then spent a few days in Medellin, including a coffee farm visit, and then ended in Caribbean-influenced Cartagena. Plenty of tropical fruit, ceviche, and arepas were consumed.
After the sponsored DTour to Australia, we had a choice: go home or keep traveling. We opted for the latter and found ourselves in New Zealand for an extra two weeks of adventures, this time all on our own. We flew into Auckland, rented a car, and set out to see as much as possible on both islands before catching a flight home out of Queenstown. Here's how our improvised roadtrip went down.
We had a blast in the capital of Australia's Northern Territory - at the free Museum and Art Gallery, the saltwater wave pool, Aquascene fish feed, and Crocosaurus Cove. We also especially loved eating at Hanuman, Parap Market and Magic Wok. Thanks again to DoubleTree by Hilton for an amazing finale to an epic three-week #DTour of a Lifetime!
You can't get any more classic-Australian than with a trip to Alice Springs. Our four busy days included touring the Desert Park with Doug, holding lizards and snakes at the Reptile Centre, visiting Uluru and Kata Tjuta, riding camels at Pyndan Camel Tracks, and swimming in waterholes at the West MacDonnell Ranges. Who knew the desert has so much to offer?
One of Sydney's most outdoorsy activities is the Scenic Walk to Manly, which is indeed scenic. So much so that we stopped every five minutes and the four-hour walk took us much longer than that. After getting fresh barramundi fish and chips overlooking the sea in Manly, we hopped aboard the ferry back to Sydney for another scenic view: the beautiful harbour.
Apparently Cairns, a tropical Australian town sitting between two World Heritage sites, was built around a huge colony of fruit bats that refused to leave. That’s fine by us, because we love just about all animals. And as weird as it may be that there are mammals that can fly (basically rats with wings), we think they’re pretty cute. These particular guys are as large as cats and mostly live in a cluster of big trees right in the middle of the city. Every night around sunset, they slowly wake up and stretch, and then take flight in search of fruit to munch on. We were lucky enough to have an excellent view of the mass ascension from the 9th floor of the Hilton Hotel. And we were so captivated, we went back each night of our stay to witness the amazing event.
Being able to watch hundreds of hot-air balloons unfolding, filling and lifting off into the sky is an experience I'll never forget. While we did capture some great photos of the event, I decided to throw together a quick video showing just how amazing it is in motion. I shot several short videos with Vine and then later edited them together on my iPhone (with the iMovie app). Let's just call it an experiment in phone video production. The video quality leaves much to be desired, but maybe that's a good thing; you'll just have to go experience Balloon Fiesta for yourself.
Two weeks with family on our favorite Caribbean island.
Two weeks in Japan - Tokyo, Kyoto and Yokohama. Best sushi of our lives.