Top 5 Countries I miss the MOST

There is a time for travel, and there is a time to work . The time now is work time.

Don’t get me wrong! I love living in Sydney and being here with friends and family and exploring my city. But there are also some countries that are in my heart that I miss terribly throughout the year and CANNOT WAIT to get back to.

1. INDIA

India has not just been a place I have visited. It is  a country that now rests in my heart. I can honestly say I think about it every day and I’m just so excited that I get to go back again in December this year. To taste the curries, to party in Goa and to laugh again with the wonderul, warm and kind people of the country.

Sunset in Goa

2. MEXICO

Mexico, tu eres en mi corazon. This is very wrong. haha This in literal translation says Mexico you are in my heart, but they don’t say it like that. Mexico is fun, vibrant, interesting, complicated and diverse. It’s rich in culture and extremly proud of it’s heritage. The people are fantastic and I really felt at home when I lived there. Quiero ir a Mexico pronto. I want to visit Mexico soon.

3. ENGLAND

England will always be my second home as my family lives there. I feel a strog sense of self when there and can really relate to the country. I love the history of the country as it is so much older than my baby country Australia. Whenever I hear a pommy accent, my heart instantly melts and I become nostalgic and longing. Ello ello ello!

4. GERMANY

Ich liebe Deutschland. I visited Germany in 2006 for the first time and subsequently reuturned twice more in the one year. I was lucky to have good friends spread out in many cities in Germany but I really found the people I met there to be so friendly. The food is amazing and I crave it constantly. It’s carb heaven! Prestzels, Knudle, Liebkuchen, Stollen, Magenbrot, Weiss wurst and the best breads you have ever tasted. Oh and of course, BEER!

5. USA

I know this may seem like a funny one to add as some people think that the USA is a lot like Australia, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Our cultures are completely different, as are the histories, the diversity of people and the food. I must admit, I don’t miss the kilos that I piled on there whilst eating the junk food. But I do miss the interesting and surprising places that I visited. USA is HUGE and there is so much more I need to see! Also, one of my favourite people in the world, my Cuz Bill lives there!

So my Top 5. I hope to get back to all of them this year.. but we have to wait and see!

Experiencing Australia

I asked my new pal Court Tallon of the USA to write a guest blog about her experience in Australia so far. She has been here a month or so and I wanted to see what she thought so far. Court and I met through http://www.explorergirls.com through our shared love of Travel and Adventure

Take Courts advice, come to OZ!

I’ve wanted to visit Australia for as long as I can remember. As a member of my hometown beach patrol, I’ve been enticed by stories, photographs, and personalities from the Land Down Under for the better part of a decade. I dreamed of the day I’d enjoy blue waters, cold beers, and fresh fruit.

I could see myself munching on some toast spread with Vegemite while listening to Midnight Oil and watching out for Mad Max, Steve Irwin, crocs, ‘roos, and spiders.

I’ve been in Sydney for just over a month and have done… pretty much all of those things. The activities and imagery for which Australia is stereotypically known are possibly the best in the world: great sport, great beaches, incredible cultural, ecological, and biological diversity, fantastic Thai food and friendly, sun-kissed, happy people.

But, as a student of history and as a citizen of the United States, I know that stereotypes can be a dangerous and hateful business. I won’t lie: I’ve enjoyed indulging in my share of shallow engagements with the continent; but, I’m here to study and study I have- from parliament to cricket, soap operas to coastal walks, wine tasting to goon tasting, surf comps, Chinatown, the Rocks, the Eastern Suburbs, and open markets. Australian (and let me qualify here: urban, eastern, coastal Australian) culture is as engaging and entertaining as I had hoped.

When I stepped off the plane at SYD, I was greeted by the usual scents of an international airport- cleaning product, coffee, air conditioning, etc.- but Sydney offered something more… a hint of sunscreen.

Instead of a German Sheppard, I was greeted by a Beagle and instead of walking out into a blizzard, I walked into 80-degree, err… 26-degree weather. That first scent of coconut anti-aging skin product had me hooked on this country. I love the coastal baths. I love the enormous spiders. I love the headlands, the water, the trees, the birds, and the free-to-air television. I love the politics, the history, the people, and the art.

I scored a three-day school week and met up with some Explorer Girls- Emma and Krystle and I joined the Outdoors Club at UNSW. My flat mates and I have battled three species of cockroaches. This has been a proper Sydney visit.

Since my arrival, I have certainly had a somewhat structured experience- there are limitations, social and otherwise, being a study abroad student from the US. Not a typical traveler, I have several novels to read, plenty of papers to write, and whole new government system to learn- I have homework.

I’m trying my best to become fully immersed, but there’s really only so much you can do in four months with limited cash and lots of lectures to attend. This trip is really just a foot in the door for me.

I can’t wait to come back!

Delhi Delights – My Top 8

New Delhi is the National Capital of India and one of its most fascinating cities. Being the Political centre and having the second largest metropolis by population, the city has a strong effect on the people of India and the direction in which the country has developed.

 

I love Delhi for its amazing diversity and interesting culture. The markets, the temples, the bustling business, the stunning sunsets and the great night spots. I would be difficult to ever get bored in this city. Here are 8 of my favourite things to do and see when in Delhi:

 

1. Bahai Lotus Temple

This is a temple dedicated to the Bahai faith and is a more recent addition to the architectural jewels of Delhi. I have never been close to it but I have driven past many times and it is just as spectacular at night as it is in the day. Reminds me somewhat of the Opera House and the Waratah Flower of Australia, maybe that’s why I like it so much. It took me at least 4 sightings of this to finally get an understanding of what it was and it is always at the top of my list for must sees in Delhi!

http://travelinsider.qantas.com.au/lotus_temple_south_delhi.htm

2. Qutub Minar

The World’s tallest free standing brick Minaret. An islamic structure which has a number of beliefs surrounding it. The intricate detail and craftwork which covers the entire structure is worth a look alone. Entry here is cheap and there is a fabulous mix of cultures all marvelling at the magnificence of this unusual sight.

http://www.info2india.com/rajasthan/qutub-minar-delhi.html

3. Dilli Haat Markets

Resembling the traditional craftsmen and trade markets, Dilli Haat offers the traveller a chance to experience a unique style of shopping . It’s the first permanent fair for regional foods, crafts and cultural activities. It’s a completely new experience and a great day out.

http://www.delhi-hotels-india.net/dilli-haat-delhi.htm

4.Red Fort

The Unesco World Heritage Site which could easily be mistaken for the Taj Mahal…. except that it’s red. I was very confused when I first saw it as it was so similar to the Taj Mahal in style, but once you see them in comparison, you understand the difference. This is where the Prime Minster addresses the people at the celebrations of Independence day, 15th August. If anything, it’s a beautiful building to see, octagonal in shape as is the style of such Islamic architecture.

http://www.tourmyindia.com/states/delhi/red.html

5. GK1 M- Block Market

A trip to Delhi is not complete without visiting this more upmarket area and the great set of shops and stalls located at the centre. The areSouth Extensiona is called Kalisah and it’s where the wealthy come to do their lower end shopping (so my high end.) There is fabulous jewellery, great snacks, luscious hair and beauty salons and shoe stalls as far as the eye can see. You may even spot an Indian Celebrity (I saw the queen of Beauty and skin care products of India… well, you couldn’t miss her! Diamonds covering every spare bit of flesh- LOVE IT!

http://www.delhilive.com/gk1-m-block-market

6. Shalom (Restaurant)

Amazing Mediterannean lounge bar with great decor and a very trance vibe. You can smoke sheeshah (hubbly bubbly) with flavours like apple and cherry and you can sip on sumptuous cocktails! Chill out sessions playing in the background with low lighting provide the prefect relaxing atmosphere for a great night out.

http://shalomexperience.com/


7. New Delhi Parliament

The Indian Parliamentary Buildings and India Gate are essential to the Delhi City Tour. It’s best to go here with a guide who can explain the area and chances are you will probably only see it from the car. Security is quite strict in this area and it can be difficult at times to get close. It was only in the 1920’s that Parliament was moved to Delhi from Calcutta and it has remained their since.

http://www.indiasite.com/delhi/places/parliamenthouse.html

8. India Gate

A slow drive down the Rajpath will allow you ample photo opportunities of the India Gate. This is a war memorial to over 90,000 Soldiers who lost their lives serving in World War 1. It’s a magnificent structure and a testament to the Indian people and their contributions during British Colonialism.

http://www.indiasite.com/delhi/places/indiagate.html

I hope you are able to see some of these great sites in Delhi. I strongly recommend going on a city tour or hiring a tour guide for one day to really get a good understanding of the history of the city and the many facets which make it the wonderful city it is today. To find out about the best markets and where to eat, chat to a local. The Indian people are very friendly and always more than happy to stop and give some advice to visitors.