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Adventure Travel

Four Jandals ABC’s of Travel

A journey to the past to look back on our travels from our brief time on this beautiful planet we all call home.

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Toronto Skyline Four Jandals

We were recently tagged by the hilarious Lucy from On the Luce and D.J. from the World of Deej in the Travel Blogger’s “A to Z of Travel” meme that has been doing the rounds on the interweb for the last few months. We thought it would be a great chance to look back at not only our last 2 and a half years of travel as a couple but also our travels individually.

All of the questions were pre-picked so grab a cup of coffee / tea / juice sipper and sit back and join us on our journey into the past…

A: Age you went on your first international trip:

Cole – Does it count if I was in my Mum’s tummy when she travelled to Canada? If not then probably when I was a few years old to hop across the ditch to Surfer’s Paradise with the family. Went back several times and always loved the beach, weather and theme parks.

Adela – Not sure if this is the first trip but it is certainly the first one I remember. We went on a family trip to Noumea and I think I was about Seven. Having the luck that my family does it rained every day! And me being the bossy/naughty kid I was, I ran off from Mum and Dad when we were in town. Needless to say I was on a very short leash for the rest of the trip!

Toronto Skyline Four Jandals

Travelling as a couple on our extended Round The World trip

B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where:

Cole – Tough call but having a cold Bintang in Jimbaran Bay, Bali, always springs to mind when thinking about tasty beers. I think it’s more about the setting rather than the beer!

Adela – Singa beer in Thailand. I agree with Cole its all about the setting. Drinking in an outdoor bar right on the beach is pretty damn good!

C: Cuisine (favorite):

Cole – Since it’s about travel it has to be France apart from when I ordered just a plate full of beans for Adela with my hopeless grasp of the French language. Otherwise BBQ’s in New Zealand win hands down.

Adela – Italian! I could eat pasta every day!

D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why:

Cole – Favourite to date would be Jasper National Park because of it’s beauty. Least favourite would be Marrakech after kissing a snake and getting the runs for 2 weeks.

Adela – Favourite; Munich is an awesome city. The buildings are beautiful, especially the glockenspiel. The feel of the place is awesome with beer gardens and awesome food markets. Least favourite; London is just too big for me!

E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”:

Cole – Pyramids of Giza in Cairo, Egypt.

Pyramids of Giza in Cairo Egypt

Adela – Going to the “Edge of the World” in Jasper National Park.

F: Favorite mode of transportation:

Cole – Bicycling anywhere whether it is Mountain Biking in Scotland or cruising in Paris.

Adela – I definitely agree with Cole unless snowboarding counts?

G: Greatest feeling while traveling:

Cole – The freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want.

Adela – Seeing places that you have dreamed of and saved for months then turning those into memories that you will treasure forever.

Lake Annette Jasper National Park

Living the Dream

H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to:

Cole – Definitely not Scotland! But I would say Marrakech was fairly hot and we were only there in the off-peak season.

Adela – Probably Thailand. Lots of afternoon naps required.

I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where:

Cole – Always staying with friends and family when we travel. It is so nice to have a “local” show you around an area and cook a nice home cooked meal when you are on the road. Beats 5 stars every time (but that’s because we never stay in 5 star places haha).

Adela – I am goingto be cheesy and say we had some damn good service in Canada but then their motive is getting a tip. So its not really genuine good service haha.

J: Journey that took the longest:

Cole – We had to rush back home to New Zealand from Scotland when a loved one was sick. Not only was it the longest trip in terms of time, 37 hours, but it was also hard not knowing if we would make it in time.

Adela – Journeys that feel the longest are the ones where you get delayed. If you do get delayed use a company like Flight Delay Claims 4 U as you will not be ready for the time you have to spend in the airport otherwise! On the way back from Egypt we sat on the runway in Amsterdam for an hour and didn’t take off before spending a further few hours in the airport. Not fun.

K: Keepsake from your travels:

Cole – Photographs and this travel blog are our only ones at the moment. I did use to collect nail clippers until they started restricting them on flights!

Adela – Badges that I sew on my backpack. Except my backpack broke so now I am just adding to the pile of badges under my bed.

L: Let-down sight, why and where:

Cole and Adela – The Mona Lisa. Its smaller than we pictured it and you have to fight your way to get a spot to actually see it. In fact the whole of the Louvre was pretty boring. Have been to wayyy better museums elsewhere.

The Louvre

The Louvre – Big time boring

M: Moment where you fell in love with travel:

Cole – I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love travel. It was always just one giant adventure as a kid and when solo travelling and now with a partner it is completely different again.

Adela – I used to browse through travel brochures as a kid. Probably a sign I was always addicted to travel.

N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in:

Cole – No places immediately jump out at me. I guess I am too much of a cheap-ass to afford a nice place.

Adela – Kata Beach Hotel in Thailand. Right on the beach, amazing pool and great value for money.

O: Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?:

Cole – Landscapes. Nothing beats Mother Nature. I just hate that my pictures never look as good as the human eye but I am getting better.

Adela – Capturing the locals in their daily lives.

P: Passport stamps, how many and from where?:

Cole – Wow I had no idea how many Countries I have been to (with an overnight stay) until now! So make that 18 countries with at least another 2 to be added over the next couple of months.

Adela – No one will stamp my British passport as I am part of the EU which sucks!

Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where:

Cole – Drumheller in Canada where they have the world’s largest T-Rex statue.

Adela – There is a bridge in Paris where people stick locks on to show there love for their partner. There are so many on there its crazy!

Drumheller Dinosaur Park T Rex

Drumheller Dinosaur Park in Alberta, Canada

R: Recommended sight, event or experience:

Cole – Oktoberfest was a highlight from last year although I cannot remember a fair chunk of it…

Adela – Snowboarding in the Canadian Rockies.

S: Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling:

Cole – We are stingy when we travel and hate forking out for a cup of coffee to warm our freezing hands. But for the sake of a good night sleep we usually stay away from hostel dorms unless sharing with friends.

Adela – Fruit. Its really lame but I have to eat healthy even when I am away. Gotta keep up the 5 plus a day.

T: Touristy thing you’ve done:

Cole – Funny and stupid touristy photos wins whether it is in front of the Eiffel Tower or the Pyramids. We nearly even won free travel trip through our stupid photos!

Adela – I felt the most touristy on the tour in Egypt. On the bus, off the bus, on the bus, off the bus. But a tour is the best way to go as its safer and you know you are not getting scammed for your money as you have a local guide.

U: Unforgettable travel memory:

Cole – Every time we travel it is unforgettable. I love waking up in different countries.

Adela – Sailing around New York Harbour watching the sunset over an incredible skyline.

New York Harbour Sunset Statue of Liberty Cruise

V: Visas, how many and for where?:

Cole – My first visa was for 5 months to work at Mammoth Mountain, California for a winter in 2006. Then Jasper to work at Marmot Basin Ski Area and as a White Water Rafting Guide in Canada for a year in 2009/2010. Now we are living it up in Scotland and have been here for just over a year now. Looking to extend that before heading to Asia to teach English in the not to distant future.

Adela – Canada for a year but it was not long enough! Plus I am one of the lucky ones who has a british passport 🙂

W: Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where?:

Cole and Adela – We are not really wino’s unless it is at a BYO somewhere and then it is always the cheapest from the local supermarket.

X: eXcellent view and from where?:

Cole and Adela – Sshhhh, it’s a secret spot in Jasper called “Edge of the World”.

Edge of the World in Jasper

Y: Years spent traveling?:

Cole – If we just take our current trip in to consideration then 2 and a half years so far. I would say we are about halfway at the moment!

Adela – 26? travel with mum and dad, with sport, with friends and now with Cole. Enjoyed every bit of it.

Z: Zealous sports fans and where?:

Cole – Kiwi’s are proud supporters anywhere the All Blacks play even though we act all staunch but we have nothing on Europeans and their fanatical watching of football.

Adela – I  realy like the tennis especially Nadal 🙂 Sorry Cole hahaha.

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Neil

    March 1, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    Love the T-Rex pic, but that last one of your secret spot in Jasper is unreal.

    Fun read guys, thanks.

    • Cole

      March 1, 2012 at 12:10 PM

      Cheers Neil! We love taking stupid photos haha

  2. Jessica

    January 28, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    Love this, will have to do a post like this one day! ( If thats ok!)

    I just started a travel blog, and am very new to this all. Feel free to take a look at my blog- any feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much!

    passionfortravels.blogspot.com

    • Cole Burmester

      January 29, 2013 at 8:31 AM

      Would love it if you did a post like this! This one was a series of posts that went around to lots of bloggers at the time so feel free to link to any posts 😀

      I love the simpleness of your blog! Would just recommend buying the full domain so you don’t have to use the blogspot one 🙂 Also check out the Facebook groups (if you haven’t already) called “Global Bloggers Network” and “The Business of Blogging”. Just request to join!

  3. Hannah @ Getting Stamped

    February 23, 2013 at 1:39 AM

    I love this! Super fun idea! We hope to make it to Octoberfest on our upcoming RTW trip! Also would love it if you could check out our blog and give us any suggestions for changes, how to get more followers, etc.

    Thanks again!

    • Cole Burmester

      February 23, 2013 at 9:11 AM

      Thanks for dropping by the blog! The key is to just keep writing for yourselves Hannah 🙂 The followers and everything else unfortunately just takes time to grow. There is definitely no set way to make it happen immediately!

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Adventure Travel

Tips for Planning Your Uluru Tour

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Located in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, the magnificent sandstone of Ayers Rock or Uluru stands tall at 1,142 feet above ground. The natural formation is widely known for being one of the most sacred places to the indigineous peoples in Australia. At the same time, it is also popular for attracting tourists from all over the world to the land down under.

If you want to visit Uluru in order to pay tribute to this wonder of nature, then doing so through the right tour is in your best interest. It’s not only because Uluru is located at least a few hours from civilization, but it also because such a tour allows you to enjoy the picturesque sights that come along the way within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

So what sights are there to see along the way and what other general tours suggestions you should keep in mind while visiting Uluru? To help you answer these and some other important questions, here are 5 top tips to keep in mind while visiting Uluru.

Don’t Climb the Monolith

First things first, while it is legal to climb atop Uluru, it is recommended that you do not attempt such an action in order to show your respect to the indigenous peoples.

It is a pretty easy rule to follow when you pay attention to the emotions of the indigenous tribes who have recommended time and again for people to not climb Uluru.

But that doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy the natural beauty that Uluru has to offer. In fact, you are encouraged to visit the sandstone and take in its natural glory by standing right beside the formation. That’s why 4WD tour is highly recommended. The tour guides would be able to tell you what you can and can not do.

Visit During Sunset

Ask anyone who has visited Uluru about the best time to see the formation, and you will instantly get the answer as “sunset.”

It’s because Uluru is not an ordinary monolith, but one that is formed through arkosic sandstone. This allows the rock to actually change its color according to the position of the sun. As a result, you can expect the formation to sport a different color depending upon what time of day you reach it.

At sunset, Uluru projects an amber glow that is surreal to take in, especially when you are seeing the formation in person for the very first time. That’s why, it is recommended that you time your trip in a way that allows you to experience this magnificent sight.

3. Take Your Time to Plan the Trip

Perhaps the best way to visit Uluru is through the nearby town of Alice Springs, which has various amenities and accommodation options for tourists who are making their way to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

The drive from Alice Springs to Uluru can take around 5 hours, which is why it is recommended that you arrive at least a day before you are planning to tour Uluru.

This way, you can reach the national park while feeling fresh and rested. This also gives you time to plan longer trips to the park in order to enjoy all that it has to offer.

4. Take in the Sight of the Rock Art

Uluru is not just a wonder to look at by itself, but it also holds several little pieces of wonderful art within it.

The caves at the bottom of the formation hold several pieces of rock art that can only be found at Uluru. If you love learning about other cultures through their art, then this will be a must visit.

Just make sure that you take the time to learn about this art through a local tour guide or via the information provided within these exhibits. This ensures that you have an immersive and informative experience which you can remember for a long time.

5. Don’t Forget the Natural Attractions Around the Rock

Enjoying the breathtaking sight of Uluru sounds rewarding enough for a trip to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. But it’s not all that you can do during a tour of Uluru.

From seeing the red kangaroos and other marsupials to spending some time with the camels, and from seeing the one of a kind formations of Kata Tjuta to taking a walk by the Valley of the Winds, there’s so much to see and do around Uluru.

That is why, it is recommended that you take your time at the park and put aside at least two days to enjoy all of the unique activities that the area has to offer. It would give you a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of daily life while also allowing you to make the most out of your long journey to the sandstone.

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Adventure Travel

Best Time to Visit Panama and Costa Rica

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The fact that Costa Rica and Panama are close makes both countries perfect for visiting. During your holiday there, it’s easy to travel back and forth between the two countries and enjoy all the wonders they have to offer. Keep in mind that the timing of your holiday will influence what sorts of sites you can visit and what activities you can make part of your plans. By understanding a little about what to expect, it’s easy to determine the best time of year to visit both countries, based on what you would like to do.

Learning More About the Dry and Rainy Seasons

If you’re the type who prefers the hustle and bustle that comes with holidays during the tourist season, plan on being in Costa Rica and Panama during what’s known as the dry season. Expect plenty of sunshine and warm weather during this part of the year. Many of your activities will be outdoors, although you will find a number of indoor sites that you will want to include in your plans.

The dry seasons in both countries overlap. The dry weather for both typically arrives during the first to the middle part of December. In Costa Rica, the dry season usually lingers until sometime in April. Panama enjoys a slightly shorter dry season, with it usually ending sometime in March.

Keep in mind that since this dry period is the height of the tourist season, the cost of visiting from December to April will be higher than at other times of the year. Even so, if your plans include spending a lot of time exploring the rain forests or soaking in the rays on one or more of the beautiful beaches, the dry season is the only time to consider.

Making the Most of the Dry Seasons

During the dry season in both nations, do expect the weather to be more humid and the day temperatures to be a little higher. There is some variance depending on which regions you plan on visiting. As a general rule, locations nearer the coast will include warmer weather and higher levels of humidity. By contrast, the more mountainous areas will offer slightly cooler temperatures and lower humidity levels.

During this time, do plan on enjoying the lush greenery found in the rain forests. During much of the dry season, the abundance of rain from what’s known as the rainy or green season ensures that the forests are at their best. Consider adding some variety to your holiday by spending time at the beach, soaking in the nightlife along the coast, and doing some shopping at many of the open air districts. This is also the perfect timing to enjoy some of the local cuisine while dining outside.

There are special events to celebrate during the dry season. President’s Day in Costa Rica occurs during this period. Along with locals, you can enjoy a number of celebrations, open-air festivals, and just about any type of entertainment that one can imagine.

Since the dry season does attract more tourists, it pays to book your lodgings in advance. Along with President’s Day, there’s also spring break and the Easter Season to consider. While you could look at different hotels and other properties near beaches, there are also hostels that make perfect places to sleep. After all, how much time do you plan on spending indoors when there’s so much to do?

Things to Do During the Rainy Seasons

In spite of the name, it isn’t always raining during the rainy or green season. Most days, there will be brief periods of sunshine that do allow you to spend some time at the beach and other outdoor venues. Do expect the evenings to be cooler. At times, the temperature may make wearing long sleeves or possibly a sweater a good idea.

Even if you’re out and about while it’s raining, there are plenty of things to see. Towns and cities in both nations offer indoor concerts, a number of restaurants catering to all sorts of tastes, and clubs and other settings for entertainment. You will find museums that will tell you more about the history of indigenous peoples and the complexity of their cultures.

What are some of the activities you can enjoy during this time of year? Both Costa Rica and Panama offer options to go horseback riding. Generally, this will happen during the morning when the sun is most likely to be out. Walking tours are also a great way to learn more about the culture and possibly find some interesting places that you will want to return to a little later. Don’t overlook the opportunity to get in some fishing when there’s a sunny morning coming your way. There are changes to engage in freshwater fishing as well as charter boats that will take you to some of the better places to enjoy salt-water fishing.

Coffee and rum tours are also something to consider during the rainy season. These tours allow you the opportunity to see different facilities and how they produce their products. As a bonus, you get to enjoy some taste-testing at many of the places that you visit along the tour. Some of the sites will also have bistros or restaurants included, allowing you to enjoy a nice meal or snack with your coffee or rum.

In terms of museums to visit, San Jose offers some of the most interesting museums in Costa Rica. Many of them are located in or adjacent to what’s known as the Central Market. It’s a great way to enjoy time indoors during the rainy afternoons and early evenings.

In Panama, check out the Panama Canal Museum in Casco Viejo. You can make use of headphones that offer the guided tour in multiple languages. If you happen to be proficient in Spanish, feel free to check out each exhibit on your own. You can also check out the Biodiversity Museum, which features exhibits on the over 1,000 species of animals and plants that are found in the country. Make the most of the discounts offered on Sundays. Retirees also get to enjoy discounts when visiting these museums.

Which season is the best time to visit Costa Rica and Panama? It’s really up to you. For those who prefer a slower pace and don’t mind rain during the afternoons and evenings, the raining season is ideal. Those who thrive on activity, sunshine, and plenty of tourist activities will enjoy going during the dry season. Whatever your choice, plan on coming back a second time. It’s rare for anyone to see everything they want to see during a single holiday.

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Adventure Travel

Most Underrated Travel Destinations

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Everyone knows about Paris and Rome and London but there are so many other beautiful travel destinations that are amazingly underrated. The fact that so many beautiful countries go unexplored by travelers is a tragedy. Not only because so many people are missing out on rich cultures and picturesque views, but also because a lot of these destinations tend to be a lot cheaper to travel to than popular cities. 

A majority of Americans, when asked about traveling abroad, will likely shake their head and say they can’t afford such trips. Many people deal with multiple monthly bills, such as mortgage or rent, student loans, and title loans, which are all stress inducing. 

But what a lot of people don’t know is that there are gorgeous, underrated foreign cities one can visit for a fraction of the price of touristy European cities. Forbes recently published a collection of the ten most underrated destinations you should consider visiting. 

Here are a few of them:

Yerevan, Armenia

Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, is known for its magnificent sights of Mount Ararat, historical monasteries, and its many striking temple ruins. Armenian cuisine is other worldly with classic dishes like rabbit stew, sautéed eggplant rolls, and lamb tartare. 

Telč, Czechia

Telč is a colorful town with Italian influences in Czechia. It boasts of Baroque-Renaissance architecture and has a castle of its own with exciting tunnels and passageways that you can explore underneath the town.

Santiago, Chile

Santiago is the capital of Chile and features gorgeous architecture from the neoclassical era. There are towering cathedrals and, of course, plenty of quality Chilean wine. Plus, the city of Santiago is a great place to kick off your exploration of Chile’s wine country. 

Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Rotterdam is often ignored due to the popular neighboring city of Amsterdam, but it is a bastion of underground music and street art. The architecture is strikingly modern since the city was heavily bombed during World War II and thus had to be rebuilt from the ground up. The city is filled to the brim with amazing cuisine and museums.

Lagos, Nigeria

If you are looking for a big city destination, Lagos is a metropolis that has plenty to see and do so that you’ll never be bored. And whenever you need a break from the urban marketplaces, private beaches are just a short drive away.

Con Dao, Vietnam

Con Dao is a Southeast Asian island that makes an excellent beach destination with two resorts and tons of fascinating history. Once host to a brutal French prison, the island is also home to the tomb of the Vietnamese martyr Vo Thi Sau. 

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

This is one of the oldest cities in Uruguay dating back to the 17th century. The city has a vibrantly decorated historic quarter and a three-century-old convent. It’s also only a short trip away from the bigger city of Montevideo.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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