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Love it or hate it London is beautiful – Photo Essay

Whether you love or hate London there is one thing everyone can agree on. London is Beautiful.

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Buckingham Palace London is beautiful

You either love it or your hate it. But no matter which side of the fence you sit on, London is beautiful.

London is Beautiful

To be honest we haven’t really given London the time of day since our flights to London nearly 2 years ago. Our first steps on UK soil were only in transit through Heathrow on our way to our new lives up north in Edinburgh. So even though a lot of our friends live in London we can’t decide whether we like London or not.

Our only memorable trip so far was when we went down for Wimbledon last year which was one of the coolest things we did in 2011. Luckily London turned it on for us and we ended up with some really beautiful weather. So we did have to concede one point, London is beautiful.

London is Beautiful, Big Ben

There a wide selection of affordable holiday apartments in London’s city center which allow you to tick off most of the major sights like Big Ben and the London Eye in just one day. Often you will find that apartments work out cheaper when you are travelling as a couple because you can then cook all your own food. And everyone knows London is super expensive!

London is Beautiful, London Eye

To save money on tourist traps like the London Eye its always a good idea to pre-purchase tickets. You can even get London hotel and show deals if you want to catch Les Miserables!

London is Beautiful, Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbeys white stone manages to catch and reflect the sunlight on the rare sunny days in London.

London is Beautiful, Westminster Abbey

We do enjoy all the greenspaces around London and I even found out this week that apparently 1/3 of London is actually designated parks!

London is Beautiful

Parliament House is beautiful in black and white and colour.

Houses of Parliament, London is Beautiful

Nothing says London is beautiful more so than the home of the Queen, Buckingham Palace.

Buckingham Palace London is beautiful

Have you been to London? What did you think? Love it or hate it? Let us know below!

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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42 Comments

42 Comments

  1. Ayngelina

    April 18, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    Love the photos but I don’t like London, I don’t hate it but I do hate how expensive it is.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 18, 2012 at 9:12 AM

      Cheers Ayngelina. We don’t technically hate it either (way to strong a word). But we don’t really enjoy our time there. Can’t believe how much some of our friends pay for rent!

  2. EurotripTips

    April 18, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    I love London with all my heart – the only place I love more is my hometown Montreal, but given the chance, I would move back to London in a heartbeat. In fact, I have several photo essays of London on my blog. I love your beautiful photos!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 19, 2012 at 10:16 AM

      Thanks 🙂 We were really lucky to hit it on such a nice day. And in our opinion, Montreal is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!!! We loved it there on our road trip across Canada. Definitely want to go back.

  3. Lucy

    April 18, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    I lived in London for 10 years and still have a love/hate relationship with the city. The crowds, the expense and being rammed onto the Tube are awful, but there are so many amazing things to see and do. Plus you can always escape the madness to some of the areas further out, like Islington for great bars and restaurants, or Hampstead Heath for a green oasis in the city. I wouldn’t live there any more but London still has a little place in my heart!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 19, 2012 at 10:15 AM

      It is just annoying that if you want to escape then it takes you an hour (or longer) on the tube to get around Lucy! But we should give it another chance 🙂

  4. D.J. - The World of Deej

    April 18, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Great pics guys…Not sure why anyone would hate London:)

    • Cole Burmester

      April 19, 2012 at 10:14 AM

      It’s a love/hate relationship I think it most cases!

  5. Aisleen

    April 18, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    Always interesting to see London and the UK as a whole from an ‘outsiders’ perspective! Us Brits are happy for you guys to view it in this light – your pics really do make it look beautiful – just keep out of the backstreets and the Boroughs or you’ll certainly change your mind!:)

    • Cole Burmester

      April 19, 2012 at 10:14 AM

      Haha point taken Aisleen. We really need to spend more time down there to give it a better chance I think

  6. Shanna Schultz

    April 18, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    Love it. Definitely love it. Great photos, thanks for my daily British fix!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 19, 2012 at 10:14 AM

      No worries Shanna! Glad we could help you out 🙂

  7. Geri

    April 18, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    Great pictures. It’s amazing how lovely London can look when the sun shines. We’ve been living here for almost a year and we have mixed emotions about the city, nothing negative enough to motivate us to move though!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 19, 2012 at 10:13 AM

      Have you checked out Edinburgh yet Geri? You might fall in love up here with it just like we did 🙂

  8. Rob

    April 18, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    I’m just impressed how you managed to pick a day when the skies were so blue. Its always cloudy when I go down there 🙂

    PS: Parliament House is called the Palace of Westminster or Houses of Parliament.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 19, 2012 at 10:13 AM

      Thanks Rob for the correction 🙂 I think I wrote it in various forms haha.

  9. dtravelsround

    April 18, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    London is definitely charming and beautiful. That being said, it isn’t a place I fell in love with. I found it to be quite crowded and overpriced. I would rather explore the smaller towns and stay there, then maybe bop into London for a day or so.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 19, 2012 at 10:12 AM

      Totally agree with you. We prefer Edinburgh just because we can walk everywhere and don’t have to hop on the tube for an hour to visit friends!

  10. Lesley Peterson

    April 18, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    I LOVE London! Spending rainy afternoons in a fabulous museum or settling into a historic theatre to watch one of my favorite actors or two in a play, having a g&t at intermission, then going for fish & chips, wonderful…

    • Cole Burmester

      April 19, 2012 at 10:11 AM

      We are still planning on seeing a show down there hopefully soon Lesley! Thanks for pushing us back in to organising that 🙂

  11. Natasha von Geldern

    April 19, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    Ha, London is not as expensive as living or travelling in Australia or New Zealand these days! Great photos guys and yes it is gorgeous on a good day.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 19, 2012 at 10:11 AM

      Haha point taken Natasha 🙂 We haven’t been home in a while but have heard horror stories on how expensive it is now in NZ!

  12. Bobbi Lee Hitchon

    April 19, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    I love London! I studied there about 5 years ago now and my favorite this about living in the city is that you’ll always find something new. No matter how many times I walked a route or even just one street, I always found a new alley way full of stores or something special. Great photos!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 19, 2012 at 7:51 PM

      We definitely need to spend more time down there checking out some of those hidden spots then Bobbi!

  13. Christy @ Technosyncratic

    April 19, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    I’m in the “love” camp as well – Kali and I think London is the bees’ knees. I think a large part of that is because we got to spend so much time in the city (a month) AND we were housesitting so we didn’t have to pay for it! At that point London would have had to been horrible for us to hate it, lol.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 19, 2012 at 8:06 PM

      Haha not paying for it might have been a huge plus!

  14. Laurence

    April 24, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    I love London. I lived there for a couple of years, and enjoyed every minute of it. I never liked it prior to living there though – found it too busy and expensive as a visitor. When I lived there though I was able to live centrally, and thus walk pretty much everywhere. Once you no longer rely on the public transport system, you feel less like a badly treated cow, and can enjoy all the beauty of the city at your own pace. It is, admittedly, seriously expensive, but I thought totally worth it as a life experience 😀

    • Cole Burmester

      April 24, 2012 at 11:58 AM

      We definitely need to experience living there before we can really pass judgement. But so far it is leaning towards dislike!

  15. Wanderplex

    April 25, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    I’m not sure why anyone would hate London… but then again, maybe that’s because I’m Australian and we all pretty much aspire to move there one day, haha. I think it’s a great city with lots of beautiful historic buildings, amazing (and free!) museums and fun people.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 28, 2012 at 6:59 AM

      Have you been to Edinburgh? You might prefer it over London like we do 😉

  16. Stephanie - The Travel Chica

    April 26, 2012 at 1:25 AM

    That first photo is one of my favorite buildings in London.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 27, 2012 at 9:50 AM

      I think we were just lucky to get it on such a nice day so it made it all look so great. Love that building too though as it is nestled between all the office towers.

  17. Lee Carter

    April 29, 2012 at 12:23 AM

    Would never live there but love it every time I visit.

    • Cole Burmester

      May 7, 2012 at 9:31 AM

      We have been tossing up whether or not to try living there but love Edinburgh too much!

  18. Laura @Travelocafe

    April 29, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Wow, great pics! The buildings look as amazing as I remember them. I would love to move to London and live there for a year.

    • Cole Burmester

      May 6, 2012 at 3:55 PM

      Thanks Laura 🙂 If you make your way to the UK then you should definitely consider Edinburgh as a spot to live as well. We prefer it over London (but just our opinion haha)

  19. Ali

    April 30, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    I haven’t spent enough time in London to have enough of an opinion but I love how much history there is in one city!

    • Cole Burmester

      May 6, 2012 at 3:57 PM

      We are the same Ali. We really need to spend more time there before we make up our minds as some people reckon it can take a year for it to grow on you!

  20. Wandergirl

    May 17, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    I think London is a place that grows on you. I don’t think it’s really good for tourists, despite all its attractions. I lived there for almost a year and spent the first few months feeling uncomfortable, homesick, suffocated and constantly ripped off. Haha. But then it was like one day I woke up and suddenly I was IN LOVE. I miss it so much, though maybe now that I’m living in London, Ontario (which is not terribly exciting, haha) I’m idealising the “real” London too much.

    I love Edinburgh though! My sister-in-law and her fiance are moving from London to Edinburgh so we’ll see which they like better! 😉

    • Cole Burmester

      May 18, 2012 at 2:01 PM

      Haha you always remember the good stuff (well most of the time) of places you visit. We quickly forget the bad things which is quite good I guess. They should get in touch with us when they get to Edinburgh!

  21. Cornelius Aesop

    October 24, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    Wonderful photos. I can’t wait till I start my adventure, I’ve been improving my photography skills so that I can take some great photos like these.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 31, 2012 at 9:30 AM

      Photos will be one of the best things you take away from your RTW trip! Enjoy 🙂

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Adventure Travel

Walking the Camino de Santiago Photos

These are my favourite Camino de Santiago Photos from my pilgrimage along the French Way in March. A truly beautiful way to spend a few weeks.

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Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

El Camino de Santiago kicked my ass. Well technically it kicked my feet. Turns out my minimal preparation for the Camino de Santiago was terrible. After a miserable effort of only 4 days, the doctor in Legrono told me that I wasn’t allowed to go on until me feet healed. I had walked just over 100 km’s and my feet were bloodied and blistered.

To be honest, I was relieved.

The thought of putting back on my shoes made my shudder. For the last 9 km’s I had stumbled along in jandals and socks. One of the travelling fashion sins I vowed I would never break.

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

So while I have unfinished business with the Way of St James (an upcoming post), I did want to share with you some of my favourite photos from the Camino de Santiago. Because I had yet to reach some of the more “unsavoury” parts of the Camino that Sherry Ott had discovered, every step of my pilgrimage had been beautiful.

Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

Puenta La Reina Bridge – Camino de Santiago Arrows

There is no way you can get lost on the Camino de Santiago. Arrows, scallop shells and signs point you in the right direction at every bridge, road crossing and intersection.

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Reaching the top of Alto Pedron gave views back the way I had come from Pamplona, as well as views to where I was going. The rocky path on the way down proved to be my ultimate downfall, as my too small shoes caused my toes to smash into the front.

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

There were so many beautiful old churches along the Camino de Santiago. But since I was walking in early March, it seemed that most were yet to open for the busier summer season.

Church of Obanos

The Church of Obanos

And between every small village the well-maintained pathways of the French Way wound across the spectacular Spanish countryside.

The French Way - Camino de Santiago

The French Way – Camino de Santiago Photos

Puenta La Reina

Puenta La Reina in the evening

Puenta La Reina has one of the most amazing bridges I have ever seen. It was also the 1st village I had the pleasure of sleeping in after busy Pamplona.

Puenta la Reina Bridge and Sunrise

Puenta la Reina Bridge at sunrise

Most mornings I was up and walking before the sun began to sprinkle across the horizon.

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Every village and town was built on a small hill. Sure it looks beautiful until you realise you have to go back up again to go through them all!

Church of Santa Maria - Los Arcos

Church of Santa Maria in Los Arcos

While there were only about 20 pilgrims walking each section every day, it wasn’t uncommon for you to encounter them all. The people I met along the Camino de Santiago were some of the most inspiring and remarkable people I have ever spoken to. They are the ones that make the pilrgimage so special.

The endless French Way

The endless French Way

Irache Wine Fountain - Fuente del Vino

The free flowing Irache Wine Fountain or “Fuente del Vino”

Hay bales along the French Way

Hay bales along the French Way

Every village had at least one ancient church and it wasn’t uncommon to find them dotting the landscape in remote locations either.

Ermita de San Miguel

Ermita de San Miguel

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

I have travelled through Spain in the past, including cycling in Costa Brava and surfing in San Sebastian with both independent planning and a vacation planner. But having the opportunity to walk at my own pace through some of the most beautiful scenery in Spain on the Camino de Santiago has so far topped them all.

Natural arches - Camino de Santiago

Natural arches on the Camino de Santiago

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Adventure Travel

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

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Trekking through the valleys of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys with Middle Earth Travel feels more like the set of a Star Wars movie than a historical region once carved out and lived in by humans. Churches, homes and pigeon houses are scattered throughout the valleys, all waiting to be explored. The best part is, Middle Earth Travel know all the hidden secrets.

Standing at the top of Cappadocia

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

On the 26th of July (which just so happens to be my birthday!) Middle Earth Travel took us on their private and guided Top of Cappadocia day trek. From Pasabag, along the top of Cappadocia and down through the Gulludere Rose Valley to Goreme, we trekked 15kms in one day! (We recommend getting your bearings with this map)

Upon arrival to the Middle Earth Offices, we were warmly greeted by our new friend Atil whom we had met a few days earlier while mountain biking through the Kizilcukur Red Valley. We were then introduced to our guide and given a briefing regarding the day. Normally, the Top of Cappadocia tour would start from Çavuşin, however, since we had already explored Çavuşin Castle, they adapted our tour to compensate ensuring we would explore new terrain!

With charged cameras, plenty of water and our running shoes on, we were driven to our starting point of Pasabag. We wandered through the fairy chimneys, coming across camels and markets – then the true hike began.

Pasabag in Cappadocia

The police station in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

It was a slow and gentle incline. With no trees to provide shade, I quickly realised why our tour guide had chosen to wear fully covered clothing! As the sweat quickly set in (a waterfall in Moss’s case) we snapped away with our cameras and enjoyed the entertaining shapes of Imagine Valley and the amazing view. We also passed a lot of rock piles, which according to our guide mean ‘father’ and are built to help lead the way.

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Middle Earth Travel, Cappadocia

Making our way to the top of Cappadocia

Father leading the way (rock pile)

Father leading the way (rock pile)

The higher we trekked, the more breath taking the views became! As we walked along the summit of Bozdag mountain (the Top of Cappadocia) we could see EVERTHING – Pasabag, Çavuşin Castle, Kizilcukur Red Valley, Gulludere Rose Valley and Goreme. We were on the Father of Valleys! After a quick nod of agreement to the guide, we pushed ourselves the extra distance and made our way to the flag, as this HAD to be the highest point and was definitely worth a photo and a selfie or two!

View from the top of Cappadocia

View from the top of Cappadocia

Flag at top of Cappadocia

From the flag we looked down upon Aktepe Hill which is known as a popular destination for watching the sun set and could spot Kizilvadi Restaurant, our destination for lunch! Kizilvadi Restaurant is an attraction of its own. With its own historic winery and Grape church, plus some Middle Earth Travel treks even stay there for the night! After having a massive feed of soup, salad and pasta plus a surprise birthday cake, we made our way down into Gulludere Rose Valley.

Kizilvadi Restaurant

Kizilvadi Restaurant

The scenery is amazing, with strong colours visible in perfect layers on the chimneys, you would wonder what an artist was thinking, had it been a painting. Also, hidden to the side of the track we walked across a little bridge and not expecting anything to be there we were wowed by the massive church carved. It was absolutely huge and hard to believe that its most recent use has been as a pigeon house!

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Church in Gulludere Rose Valley

Hard to believe this Church is carved inside a fairy chimney!

Middle Earth Travel Review

  • The team at Middle Earth Travel were extremely knowledgeable and certainly know Cappadocia’s hidden secrets. They have friendships with local tea garden owners which is also of benefit as it gained us entry to locked churches and hidden rooms that we would not have otherwise seen.
  • We covered a lot of ground, however we did not feel rushed. The whole day focused on showing us the region, therefore we had as much time as we needed to explore each church and to take ‘just one more photo’.
  • It wasn’t all about trekking. With a whole day and 15kms to cover, there were a few silly poses (especially in Imagine Valley), and we learnt a lot about the myths, legends and way of life in Cappadocia.
  • In conclusion I highly recommend Middle Earth Travel if you wish to go trekking or mountain biking in Cappadocia.
  • Cost: Day treks with Middle Earth Travel range from 50-90 euro, depending on the number of people taking part. This includes lunch, guide, vehicle transfers and entrance fees to historical sites, but excludes alcoholic and soft drinks.
  • Middle Earth Travel are outdoor enthusiasts and offer multi-day over night treks, mountain biking, abseiling, or custom made itineraries, in multiple regions throughout Turkey.
  • www.middleearthtravel.com

Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the trek with Middle Earth Travel, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.

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Europe

Amsterdam Food Guide

If you think of Amsterdam you don’t think of food. However if you try the food here in our Amsterdam food guide you might get lucky.

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Amsterdam Food Waffles

We are total foodies and our travelling has allowed our passion for food to grow considerably (not to mention our waist lines)!  We love trying new food when we visit foreign countries and always make a huge effort to eat the local cuisine. Check out some of the food we ate below in our cheap and delicious Amsterdam Food Guide.

Amsterdam Food Waffles

We had heard from a number of people that the Amsterdam food was nothing to rave about. To be honest food was not really our main interest in visiting but then again neither was an Amsterdam Peep show and we ended up enjoying that!

However we were pleasantly surprised. I think the people whom we had talked to had it wrong. Sure Holland doesn’t really have a local cuisine but once we got over this fact we realised there is still some damn good food to be had from the various Amsterdam Restaurants.

Amsterdam Food

The best meal we had was actually next door to the Red Light district in Chinatown. Crossing the canal to the east away from the neon lights your nostrils are attacked and your mouth begins salivating from the delicious smells wafting along the narrow cobbled streets.

As we walked into Bird Thai restaurant the enticing aroma hit us instantly leaving us drooling in anticipation. It was definitely up there with some of the best Thai food we have had. We went for the classic Green curry, fried rice and duck combo.

The Green curry was so flavoursome with the richness of the coconut milk blending perfectly with the traditional spices.  The duck was cooked to perfection and for the first few minutes of the meal all you could hear was the crunching of the crispy outside layer as we devoured the duck in minutes. Needless to say the fried rice was a taste explosion too!

Cheap and delicious Amsterdam food is easy to come by. With hangovers and munchies affecting your hunger it is no surprise that there are an abundance of Fast Food chains and takeaways in Amsterdam. In fact it was actually more the way that the fast food was served that surprised us as you could buy it out of massive vending machines at Febo!

Amsterdam Food Febo

Hidden workers stand behind the vending machines churning out burgers, fries and sausage rolls so all you has to do is insert a Euro and “hey presto” you have a hot meal in your hungry hands.

Then there were the frites stores which seemed to be on every corner. The first thing you noticed about these was the tantalising smell. There is nothing like the smell of chips straight out of the fryer and covered in salt to get you tummy rumbling. Served in a triangle cardboard carton and covered in mayo which meant that that you couldn’t reach the chips at the bottom without covering your greedy fingers in sauce. Just a tad annoying!

But there is nothing like hot chips to warm you up on a cold day.

Finally, while hot chocolates are not typically food I feel they still deserve a mention especially because the usually come paired with waffles! Ahhhh the perfect breakfast.

Amsterdam Hot Chocolate

We loved nipping into a cafe or bar like Cafe Bar Eddy in Amsterdam to warm ourselves up with a hot chocolate. It literally tasted like they had melted chocolate down and added cream. Heaven in a cup. And the choice of waffles was daunting as you could have whatever you wanted. Fruit, chocolate, syrups, cream or all of the above!

If you are heading here then don’t expect to find an array of traditional Amsterdam food. Instead treat yourself to a hot chocolate and waffle for breakfast, grab a quick bite from a vending machine and sample some of the different cuisines found near the Red Light District.

If you stick to this Amsterdam food guide then your taste buds will have a great holiday too!

If you have visited before then what did you think of Amsterdam food?

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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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