At the end of each month I am going to send out a summary of the highlights of the month. I will tell you about any travel bargains I’ve found and update you on our plans for upcoming trips and activities. Here is the summary for April 2017.

It’s Time to Go!

Gosh, I can barely remember the first half of April! it was a whirlwind of organising, packing and getting together with friends and family. When we got on the plane on the 13th it hadn’t sunk in that we really are away for twelve months. In fact, it still hasn’t really sunk in.

Our first stop was a few days with friends in Newcastle, a couple of hours north of Sydney in New South Wales. We had a great Easter with them, enjoying some much needed down time from the chaos before we took our first  international flight.

ANZAC Bridge

ANZAC Bridge with the sun going down.

And what a flight it was. Suites Class on Singapore Airlines! I have been ruined for life, and when it came to getting on our 12 hour economy flight from Singapore to Copenhagen I was not looking forward to it at all.

Singapore Suites

The beds all made up! The teddy bears were a cute touch.

To add to the contradictions of our trip, we spent our first night in Singapore at a backpackers hostel before moving to the five star Marina Bay Sands for two nights of luxury. Swimming in the infinity pool on the 57th floor had been on my bucket list for years and I finally did it. While I am glad we stayed there, I’m not sure it offers value for the ~$500/night price tag beyond the novelty of swimming in the pool, so probably wouldn’t go back.

Marina Bay Sands

Enjoying the view from the 57th floor

Most we hung out at Marina Bay Sands and surrounds this trip, but we did venture out to Haw Par Villa, a “theme park” with some bizarre displays. It is really old and kitsch, but that is the appeal. Well worth an hour or two to look around.

Haw Par Villa

The lake under the temples is home to lots of turtles

Next up was Oslo and the 2017 Bookcrossing Convention. As always it was a fun few days catching up with people I hadn’t seen since last year’s convention in Athens, and meeting new people I will look forward to seeing agin next year. I did mss the usual Aussie contingent, and the wine of Bordeaux looks like it is drawing them in for 2018.

Norway

Oslo is so pretty!

Bookcrossing

Welcome to Bookcrossing!

On our first evening in Oslo I saw real live snow for the first time. As we were getting out of our Uber back to our accommodation, a few flakes of snow landed on me and I was dancing around like a three year old! The snow was all dissolving as soon as it hit the ground, but still, it was snow! After the convention we did the Norway in a Nutshell trip through to Bergen. As we left Oslo, it really did start to snow, and for much of the four hours on the first train section we were travelling through winter wonderland. I took way too many photos!

Norway

This is so pretty! Just enough snow.

Norway

A winter wonderland

Norway

Green house in snow!

Bergen was the cutest little town! After twelve hours of travelling though, the realisation that those beautiful hillside views also meant the walk to our AirBnB was all uphill with our packs was almost devastating. It was about 4 degrees (Celsius) so colder than I have ever really dealt with before, and boy were we happy to walk into  our beautiful, and above all, warm AirBnB.

Norway

Bryggen, the old touristy area of Bergen

Bergen

The lookout over Bergen. We considered walking up there, but it was hard enough just getting to our AirBnB

We moved on to Amsterdam, arriving in time for Kings Day. This is The Netherlands national day, everyone wears orange, hits the streets and parties! It’s the one day of the year the locals can set up a stall on the street in front of their house and sell their brick-a-brack, or food, or drinks, or even charge people to use their toilet.

Amsterdam

Kings Day crowds

I had made contact with a local and we spent a few hours wandering the streets of Jordaan soaking up the atmosphere. Eventually we made our way back through the crowded streets to Central Station. The atmosphere was electric with the whole population either on the streets or on boats on the canals. So much fun.

Amsterdam

The crowded canals on Kings Day

Our last day in Amsterdam the Rijksmuseum was our first visit, looking at famous artwork by Rembrandt and Van Gogh. We got the best photos we could with the IAmsterdam sign at the same time as fifty other people. We then walked a lot around the streets just looking at the buildings, the canals, the people, and then through Vondelpark.

Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum

Next is gay Paris! Well, not so gay since our accommodation seems to be in a really dodgy area! Our room is tiny, but clean and the beds are okay and it is fairly cheap. Unfortunately smoking is allowed in some parts of the hotel and the smell goes right through the air conditioning. Our window opens to give a little respite!

To escape the area the first afternoon we jumped on the metro and headed to the Louvre. After discussion, we decided not to go in, but that didn’t matter we were so gobsmacked by the outside. Again we just walked the streets, mostly looking for something to eat, but also just looking.

Paris

The Louvre

The final day of April we spent at Versailles. All I can say is WOW! There were some good “wow’s” (the place has to be seen to be believed) and some bad “wow’s” (the lineup!)

Versailles

The line up! We looped back and forwards across the square eight times before we reached the entrance.

Coming Up

Look out for blog posts on Norway, Amsterdam and Paris coming up soon!

We continue our hectic schedule for most of May before the kids fly home on the 20th. After that we don’t have any set plans, except to stay in Italy. I am thinking we might head down to the Amalfi Coast for a few days before heading north.

1 – 4      France
4 – 9      Germany
9 – 12    Poland
12 – 16  Hungary
16 – 31  Italy

Catching Up

In case you missed them, here are my April blog posts
March 2017 Summary
Canberra on the Cheap
My Favourite Things about Malaysia
Gap Year Preparation as a Forty-Something
Kurri Kurri – A Town of Murals
Travel Diaries – NewCastle, Australia
Sydney to Singapore – The Suites Way!
Travel Diaries – Singapore
Haw Par Villa, Singapore’s First Theme Park

Don’t forget to follow along on social media where you will see some content that does not make it onto my blog.
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/josiewanders
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/josiewanders
Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/josiewanders
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/josiewanders

Blogging Wins

I’ve added this new section this month, to talk about any wins I have with my blog on the road. As of today (1st May) my blog is six months old. It has come a long way, but has even further to go.

This month I have added “Travel Diary” posts. I have to say I am not sure how these will go, but I know some people want the story of my trip, not just informational posts.

April saw my first invitation to attend an event, be part of a photography workshop and be wined and dined so that I could write about it and promote to my readers here and on social media. Unfortunately it was in Adelaide, the week after we left. But I was so happy for the invitation.

My second win for the month was my first affiliate sale through my site. It was only a few dollars, but I have to start somewhere right?

Here's what I got up to in April.

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