It is hard to believe that we are well into the month of December. The perfect to time to reflect on our year of travel. I’ve made a coffee so why don’t you join me for a recap of Budget Travel Talk from November 2013 to November 2014.
We returned to Australia from Turkey and Cambodia. This trip was one of our most memorable and Turkey strode to the top my favourites list.
As budget travellers we don’t spend a lot of money on accommodation, but that doesn’t mean accommodation is not important to us. Our travel days are spent walking, talking, listening, eating, absorbing and then returning to our home away from home to process it all and recharge. Although we had our share of dramas, like being relegated to the street by a wonky lock, those dramas have now transitioned into quirky travel memories.
Our first seven days in Istanbul were spent in a huge minimalist Airbnb apartment in Galata. Timber boards underfoot, an occasional rug, an old piece of furniture, a bank of windows that flooded our space with light, a huge mirror propped in the dressing room, the kitchen window I squeezed into – to peer out of, a rustic balcony with old cigarette butts in the tray. At night we sat with feet propped on that balcony rail. It was there that we discovered the cunningly hidden mosque amongst the trees below – our own melodic early morning call to
prayer wake up and roll over.
The Light Filled Bedroom
When we saw Galata Tower we knew we were home.
Phnom Penh Memories
Although Turkey worked it’s way into my psyche, the humid heat of Cambodia spoke directly to my North Queensland soul, welcoming me back to the tropics.
Cambodia was a challenging place to visit. A tragic past that saw the ruling government annihilate the educated population, left deep scars and horrible poverty, but still the people smile and welcome.
Phnom Penh days were spent in slow motion to accommodate the heat. Evenings consisted of shooting the breeze with what seemed like half of the population on Sisowath Quay. The parade of motorbikes was endless; the exercise classes and football games entertaining and the riverside temples a cacophony of Khmer music, flowers, colour and people. We devoured plates of tasty Amok (steamed curried river fish), breathed incense and sewers in equal quantities and embraced Remorks (the Cambodian version of Thai Tuk Tuks) with glee.
Alibi Villa Guesthouse was our Phnom Penh haven. An oasis of shining clean floors, welcoming staff, huge beds, cool showers and delightful courtyard breakfasts that lay hidden behind a gate at the end of a nondescript lane. I would be lying if I said that their Air-Con did not feature high on my list of things to like as well.
We rented a three bedroom home for a week through Ray White an Ingham Real Estate Agent. Days spent catching, cooking and eating mud-crabs, followed by a good night’s sleep in a comfortable bed ensures a return, and for only $465/week. It was delightful reconnecting with our early lives together. Both of our families had caravans in Lucinda’s Wanderers Holiday Park and with our young kids in tow we spent a good percentage of our family holidays in this casual North Queensland seaside town.
Sunshine Coast Memories
We were so excited to spend two weeks house and pet sitting at Mudjimba on the Sunny Coast north of Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland. We belong to and recommend trustedhousesitters.com. With a gorgeous home and a beautiful red cattle dog/staffy cross to look after we were in heaven. Our temporary home was vast, with pine floors, a sunken lounge the size of a small home, a large airy family room, timber deck, inground pool, two huge bedrooms, two offices and one massive upper storey bedroom. It had one of those ducted vacuum cleaner systems that made cleaning the house a breeze. From the garage there was a servery door that led directly into the kitchen pantry to save carrying groceries through the house – what genius. A morning stroll to the newsagency/coffee shop and an afternoon beach walk, with our eager guide Mazzy the Surfer dog formed the bones of our day.
A few words from Mazzy 🙂
Mission Beach Memories
We grabbed a few days away at this relaxed beachside community situated between Townsville and Cairns. This iconic North Queensland destination inspired long languid beach walks, gourmet pizzas and unending ocean and island views – a typical relaxed beach break. Our home here was called Onna Mission – we had the bottom half of the house to ourselves and it was right on the ocean at Wongaling Beach.
Onna Mission beach front.
Autumn Colours at Ginkaju-ji – the Silver Pagoda, Kyoto.
Our Initial motivation to visit Japan was cheap Jetstar flights from Cairns to Kyoto. We had been watching and waiting for the perfect opportunity, but before booking we needed to find somewhere to stay during Kyoto’s busy Autumn Season. Luck was on our side when we found a newcomer on the Airbnb scene who found us a vacancy – our room was large with two floor beds (self framed mattresses on the floor) and the perfect location in Southern Higashiyama. This was an incredible piece of luck as it is usually necessary to book six months in advance for Spring and Autumn in Kyoto. So many interesting people shared the Airbnb House during the two weeks that it became one of the highlights of Kyoto for us.
We have seen the amount of Budget Travel Talk subscribers jump enormously since sharing our Japanese experiences on the blog and there is still more to come.
Whether you are working through the upcoming Christmas Holidays or putting your feet up for a well earned rest, we look forward to seeing you in the new year.
In the words of the 16th Century English Christmas Carol:
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Next week the blog there will be more Bright Lights of Osaka.
Share your 2014 travel (it can be a link) in the comments for us all to read.
Visit Nancie’s Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox.