Wandering Wives – L Beach 2016

Author: , April 29th, 2016

L Beach 2016 Wandering Wives

We’ve just returned from a crazy weekend of pool parties, live music, breathable waterproofs, DJ’s and bracing sea air on the Baltic Coast. L Beach is an annual festival now in its seventh year, which brings together around 4000 women in the German resort of Weissenhauser Strand. We didn’t really know what to expect when we arrived at L Beach 2016, aside from the sound of 4000 pairs of comfortable shoes dancing until dawn. We love live music but we weren’t familiar with many of the musicians who were playing. We decided to go with the flow and see as many acts as possible, we had an amazing time and are pleased to say we were blown away by the range of talent at L Beach. We genuinely loved all of these artists and will be updating our music collection immediately. Here are Wandering Wives top five live performances from L Beach 2016:

5. Chefboss
Chefboss were a great surprise for us, we never planned to watch their gig but we are so glad we did. German hip hop doesn’t usually feature that highly on our list of favourite music genres, but the Chefboss chicks brought so much energy to their performance we were jumping around with the crowd and begging for more! It didn’t matter that we couldn’t understand the words to the songs, we were carried along in a wave of excitement and loved every minute of it. They beat some great English speaking acts to a place in our top five live performances at L Beach with their awesome stage presence and enthusiasm. With their team of hot dancers wearing wrestling masks, they not only owned the stage but the whole festival. There is only one word to describe the Chefboss crew: Fierce!…read more on Wandering Wives

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Wandering Wives – Kangaroo Spotting

Author: , January 13th, 2016

Yanchep kangaroos

Driving north on a day trip from Perth, there are two outstanding national parks well worth a visit. Both of the naturally beautiful parks are great places to relax and visitors should easily manage to spot a Kangaroo or two. If you set off early enough, you could see them both in one day. Nambung national park is around two hours’ drive from Perth and Yanchep national park is less than hour from the city. It is hard to believe the equally stunning parks are so close to each other as they are set in very different environments.

Yanchep feels like a Victorian country park with historic buildings, gardens and a boating lake. We spent a day strolling around the lush green lawns and enjoying the beauty of the park. To us, it felt a lot like the parks in England, except of course for the Koala board-walk and the kangaroos. We strolled along under the gumtrees and spotted a few Koalas sleeping amongst the branches. None of them were brave enough to climb down for or a closer look or to pose for a picture like the Koala we met a Wilsons Prom.

The kangaroos on the other hand were certainly not camera shy. They bounced around the park without a care in the world, stopping to eat and allowing us to take their picture. The collective term for a group of kangaroos is a mob, which makes them sound like a frightening teenage gang. It conjures up images of inner city kangaroos hanging around their local skate park. Neglected since they were joey’s, with nothing to turn to but their mob family. Dressed in hoodies the kangaroo mob terrorise the neighbourhood in a spree of drugs, crime and violence. There is clearly a zero tolerance policy to gang culture in Yanchep, as the mob of kangaroos we met were very unthreatening. Leading us to question if the collective term should be changed to something less aggressive, a bound of kangaroos would be much more fittingread more on Wandering Wives 

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Wandering Wives – Kalbarri & Geraldton

Author: , January 9th, 2016

Kalbarri coast

Breath taking coastal vistas and vibrant rock formations are the main stay of Kalbarri National Park in Western Australia. In land, the Murchinson River has carved out an 80 km gorge through striped ochre sandstone as it snakes its way to the ocean. Hikers and paddlers flock to the gorge to enjoy the wilderness. Coastal cliffs offer bracing walks high above the crashing waves below, with eagles soaring overhead.

At least that’s what it says in the guide book. Google offers amazing pictures of the striking banded rocks and orange cliffs set against perfect blue skies. Having visited so many of the national parks in Australia, we were excited to find an adventure in Kalbarri. The day we visited the park the weather was not in our favour. The sky was grey, the wind was howling and the park did not quite measure up to our expectations.

We had recently visited Karijini national park and had marvelled at the inland gorges and wildness of the region. We also had excellent experiences exploring Wilsons Prom and the national parks in Tasmania. Maybe we had been spoilt by our other outstanding national park visits or perhaps it was just the dull weather. We had a pleasant enough hike above the gorge, the dull sandstone not quite jumping out as it should. Next we headed to the cliffs to blow away the cobwebs in the sea breeze. It wasn’t terrible, but it failed to wow us in the usual national park way.

The problem with travelling the world full time is that you get to see the most beautiful sights on an almost daily basis. Things that would be extraordinary often become ordinary, mundane in fact. We realised at Kalbarri that we had become so accustomed to wonder…read more on Wandering Wives

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Wandering Wives – Shark Bay

Author: , January 6th, 2016

Shell Beach

At the most westerly point of Australia, just below the tropic of Capricorn, lies UNESCO listed Shark Bay. The pristine coast is a haven for all kinds of wildlife with humpback whales, rays, sharks, sea turtles and dugongs spotted in the waters. Still not over a childhood obsession with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Sian was particularly excited at the prospect of seeing a turtle.

We headed up the thin cape of land next to shark bay in the hope of seeing some exciting wildlife. Our first stop was at Hamelin pool; our guide book explained that the stromatolites in the water were unmissable. The stumpy coral like formations are made of bacteria almost identical to organisms that existed 3500 million years ago. These organisms are responsible for creating our current atmosphere by using photosynthesis and paving the way for more complex life forms. The revered stumps were about as interesting to look at as they were to learn about and had us considering turning to creationism to avoid spending any more time with them.

We continued up the peninsula in the hope of spotting something more interesting than a stromatolite. As we progressed into the wilderness the rain began to pour from the sky in biblical proportions. It was clearly a sign from someone about something. Maybe the stromatolite Gods were sending us a message about waterproof trousers. Or perhaps Splinter was trying to communicate with Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello. We didn’t know, so we decided to just keep driving until we came across another sign. Like an Ark or something.

Our next stop was Shell Beach, one of only two beaches in the world made entirely of shells. The beach covers over 100 km of coast line and even in the rain it is stunning. Shells cover the entire beach and crunch under foot as you walk on them. When you pick them up to examine them you can see all of the minute details and flecks of colour in the tiny shells…read more on Wandering Wives 

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Wandering Wives – Hill Tribes Of Vietnam

Author: , December 16th, 2015

Sapa mist

Anyone visiting the north of Vietnam should visit Sapa. The journey to Lao Cai on the overnight sleeper train is an adventure in itself. Then an hour long bus ride along twisting mountainous roads, up into a higher altitude above and beyond the clouds. To say the views are breath taking would be an understatement.

Sapa is close to the Chinese border and populated with ethnic minority tribes who have lived and worked on the land for centuries. The awe inspiring landscapes are perfect for getting back to nature and trekking is a popular activity in Sapa. The mountains have been sculpted into terraces for growing rice which are spread out in to the distance as far as the eye can see.

The Black H’Mong women lead treks up into the mountains, where you can visit villages, see traditional houses and even experience a home stay in the mountains. The women are industrious and resourceful, they make clothes and souvenirs which they sell to tourists during the trek. Most backpackers leave with at least one bracelet, but many end up purchasing scarves, bags, wall hangings and place mats.

Trekking in the heat over rough terrain can be arduous and the Black H’Mong ladies put everyone else to shame. Wearing full tribal dress and flip flops, carrying their items for sale and often with a baby strapped to their back, they sprint up and down like mountain goats. They have little formal education but most speak  excellent English and will chat about home life and their children…read more on Wandering Wives

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Wandering Wives – Bath At Christmas

Author: , December 12th, 2015

Christmas markets Bath

The city of Bath is a wonderful place to visit at any time of year but during Christmas the UNESCO world heritage listed site is a real treat. Throughout December one of Bath’s main attractions, Bath Abbey, is flanked by more than 180 Christmas Market chalets which line the surrounding streets. Festive tours of the church are available and carol singers are strategically placed around every corner. The stunning Georgian architecture in the city seems even more pleasing than usual when smothered in liberal amounts of festive cheer. Visiting Bath at Christmas is a quintessentially British experience and one which we highly recommend. A few days of shopping at the Christmas markets makes an ideal festive break and there are plenty of excellent quality hotels to choose from in the city. We stayed at Grove Lodge, where we lived the high life, experiencing all the trappings of upper class Georgian living.

During December Christmas markets seem to pop up all over the place. High streets across the UK are transformed into tiny villages with wooden cabins selling all kinds of festive treats. Although, not all Christmas markets are created equally and some towns offer nothing more than a row of sheds covered in tinsel. Mulled wine, festive gifts, Christmas decorations and for some unknown reason German sausages are the staple goods on sale. Bath, we are pleased to say, is one of the places that hits the festive nail right on the head. The great thing about the Bath Christmas Market is the emphasis they place on local traders and their produce. Rather than shipping in vendors with merchandise from across Europe, the city of Bath have decided to keep things local. You can buy locally produced cheese from the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company. You can shop for gifts with local craft makers like Felt So Good and get a much needed sugar rush from The Bath Waffle Co. There are locally brewed beverages from Bath Ales and Severn Cider. You can even celebrate Christmas in style by visiting the pop up gin bar from local distillers Bath Gin. With all of the excellent local produce on offer we were happy to overlook the obligatory German sausage stall.

One of Baths greatest tourist attractions is No1 Royal Crescent, a beautifully restored 18th century town house. The house is crammed with original features, period furniture and interesting artefacts. During the festive period No1 Royal Crescent is decked out in style for a Georgian Christmas, complete with traditional decorations in the grand hall way and a sumptuous feast laid out in the dining room. If you have ever watched a Downton Abbey Christmas special this is everything your dreams are made of and you will not be disappointed…continued with pictures on Wandering Wives

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Wandering Wives – A Parisian Christmas

Author: , December 9th, 2015

Wandering Wives Christmas

Paris at Christmas time is simply wonderful, there is no better time to visit the city. During the biting cold of December the French capital is warmed under the glow of a million twinkly Christmas lights. The city of love is a great place to stock up on Christmas presents, romance your special one or simply fill your belly with buckets of mulled wine and hot chocolate.

During the festive period, Paris has a break from being the European capital of chic and instead covers itself in sparkles and lights. It’s a bit like that cool girl in the office who doesn’t speak to anyone all year then gets drunk and comes to the Christmas party wrapped in tinsel and wearing a santa hat. She belts out Mariah Carey on karaoke and everyone surprises themselves by actually loving her. In December, Paris is that girl and guess what? We love her!

In Paris at Christmas fancy boutiques and designer stores adorn their facades with lights and baubles. Christmas trees take over pavements and Vin Chaud (hot wine) replaces coffee as the drink of choice. After spending last Christmas in the heat of Queensland, we found wandering the Christmassy streets of Paris an utter delight. Even the iconic Eiffel Tower had a huge Christmas bauble hanging from its middle. Albeit a giant Shepard Fairey Obey bauble, but a Christmas bauble none the less.

The festive marchés de Noel (Christmas markets) are spread along the length of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.These are the largest Christmas Markets we have ever had the pleasure of visiting. Hundreds of wooden cabins line the iconic street selling everything from woollen socks to Russian dolls, French cheese and Bavarian sausages

We wandered up and down, taking our time and enjoying the sights and smells of Christmas. We set up camp in the food and drink area and enjoyed a few too many glasses of Vin Chaud. On our first evening in Paris we walked the entire length of the marchés de Noel and somehow we kept getting drawn back to it each night of our trip. It was cheesy and chintzy and everything France usually is not, but we loved its Christmassy charm and feel good factor…continued with more pictures on Wandering Wives

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Wandering Wives – After The Paris Attacks

Author: , December 5th, 2015

Republique memorial

On Friday the 13th November 2015 Paris was subjected to a vicious terrorist attack which killed 130 people. Less than three weeks after the Paris attacks we visited the city of love and witnessed a city wide outpouring of grief.

We took a walk along Boulevard Voltaire and saw flowers and candles covering the ground where some of the attacks took place. A large memorial site has been claimed across the road from the Bataclan Theatre, which is still an active crime scene. Poignantly, Eagles of Death Metal, (the name of the band playing that night) remains unchanged on the sign outside the building. Since the 1970’s the venue has been the home of live rock music in the French capital. Under the roof of the Bataclan, generations of Parisians danced a youthful, lusty rebellion to their own era defining tunes. Once synonymous with youth, joy and pleasure, the Bataclan will be remembered very differently from now on.

The place de la republique has become a focal area for the collective grief of a city standing strong against terrorism. Messages and memorials from around the world sit at the feet of the bronze statue of Marrianne, the symbolic personification of the triumph of the French republic. We witnessed many people in the area lighting candles, laying floral tributes and leaving messages. Most of the notes offer support and friendship, some express horror, question why or urge unity. But above all the most overwhelming message is that of Love.

In the days after the attacks the world pledged its support to France. Citizens from nations across the globe joined together in memorial services and expressed their shock at what had happened in Paris. People who felt powerless to do anything physical pledged their support via the internet, using hashtags like #prayforparis or adding a tricolour to their facebook photos. People needed to feel they were doing something and show that they were not going to take the attacks lying down. The hashtag #sprayforparis led to street artists picking up their paint cans and offering messages of support from around the world. At the place de la republique the street art is evolving on a daily basis with messages of support being covered over as quickly as they appear…continued with pictures on Wandering Wives

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Wandering Wives – Over Packers Anonymous

Author: , December 3rd, 2015

Backpacking

Unfortunately, when packing for any trip, my motto has always been “Give me a bag and I shall fill it.” I should have this phrase tattooed on my body as a permanent reminder of my over packing urges. It is also highly likely this phrase will be inscribed on my tomb stone and eulogised by friends and family upon my passing. Every trip I have ever taken, I have over packed for it. I regularly pay excess baggage at the airport for no other reason than that I had space in my bag so I packed an extra jumper, pair of shoes, dumbbell, kayak or other unneeded item.

BackpackersThe last time I went backpacking, I took a 70 litre backpack with a 15 litre detachable day sack. After a week in India I sent some things back home and got rid of some unneeded junk (sleeping bag, extra shirt, bike wheel, anchor etc). Oddly enough I literally felt as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Although with the extra space in my bag and the afore mentioned life motto, it was only a matter of time until my luggage filled up again. Of course I needed the new Beer Saigon vest, four different novels and the emergency jar of peanut butter. Why carry one guide book when you can have three? I even bought two extra bags whilst on my travels which I often used in unison with the others. Essentially I was carrying around 100 litres of junk with me every time I moved places. But this time things will be different. This time I have a plan!…read more on Wandering Wives

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Wandering Wives – Sugar Rush In Quimper

Author: , December 2nd, 2015

quimper

We recently took a day trip to the picturesque French town of Quimper. This is pronounced “Kam-pair” but being British we take no notice of the official French pronunciation and say it as we read it. So half way between a quiver and a whimper lies the trembling town of Quimper.

We had begun our day with a healthy cereal based breakfast but we took our time getting going and then we needed to stop for petrol so ended up missing lunch. Luckily we had a couple of emergency Kit-Kats with us to save us from getting hangry (a heady mix of hunger and anger that turns even the most mild mannered person into a monster). In France it can be pretty difficult to find food outside of designated meal times, so we decided to snack our way around the town instead. Our first stop was a cute little coffee shop where, due to our terrible understanding of French, we ended up ordering drinks with more calories in than regular desserts. Sian’s coffee with served with a spoon in order to dig through the mountain of whipped cream and chunks of meringue that covered it. High on sugar we had a great time colouring the walls with chalk provided by the establishment.

As is often the case in Brittany, it was raining in Quimper. The town has a pretty river running through it with beautiful old buildings jutting out over it. The constant rain was driving the flow and it surged at speed through the town. After a quick look at the river and a soaking from the rain, we took shelter in the best shop ever. Maison Georges Larnicol sells traditional baked goods, hand crafted chocolates and rows of brightly coloured macarons. After inhaling the wondrous smell and ooo-ing and ah-ing at the amazing displays, we picked up a couple of salted caramel macarons to try and continued on our way.

Back on the street the rain was relentless so we decided to take shelter in the largest land mark we could find. Even the tiniest of Breton villages have impressive gothic style churches looming over them and Quimper is no exception. The humongous Roman Catholic Cathedral of Saint Corentin of Quimper sits in the middle of the town square and is open most of the day. When we entered the cathedral someone was playing the organ and the whole building seemed to reverberate with the sound of the pipes. Thankfully it soon stopped and we were able to walk around the vast space marvelling at the impressive architecture and stained glass windows. It was a week after the terrorist attacks in Paris so we lit a candle in remembrance of those that were killed.

Walking past Maison Gorges Larnicol again we decided to go back inside to pick up some gifts. Waiting in the queue we spotted something we had failed to see before. A scale model of the Quimper Cathedral made entirely from chocolate. It was enormous and how we had missed it the first time is anyone’s guess…read more on Wandering Wives

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