Tag Archives: Sea

CALIFORNIA // TRAVEL DIARY // AUGUST 2016

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The final destination on my three month travel trip was California. I split my three weeks into Los Angeles, San Francisco and Yosemite National Park. I arrived at LAX on the 14th of August, and was kindly picked up by my Airbnb host. I was staying in East LA and mainly used yellow cabs to travel from place to place.

It was not my first time going to Los Angeles, but it had been several years since my last holiday there. Due to the fact that I didn’t have a car, I relied a lot on taxi rides and organised tours. The first tour I took was a one which covered places too difficult to reach on foot or too expensive to travel by taxi. The tour was by LA City Tours, and it included the Hollywood sign, Mulholland Drive Road, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, Bel Air and the Sunset Strip. I managed to take lots of photos, and had the opportunity to see places I wouldn’t have been able to through walking.

I took part in a Warner Bros studio tour where I saw all of the sets and studios which were used for some of my favourite films and TV shows. In addition to the various tours, I also visited Burbank, Glendale and the rest of downtown LA. Unfortunately, I didn’t get so visit other places which I was looking forward to visiting such as the Griffith Observatory and other parts of Los Angeles including the various beaches. Hopefully I will be able to return to LA and be able to tick them off my list.

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During the second week of my trip to California, I left Los Angeles on the Greyhound bus to San Francisco. When I arrived, I checked into the HI Hostel San Francisco Downtown, a stunningly decorated, well-located hostel at the centre of everything. I was only in San Francisco for a few days, but I managed to cross off a lot on my list!

I visited Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf, had lunch at In N Out, visited the Japanese Tea Garden and took photos of the Golden Gate Bridge. One of the things I really wanted to do whilst in San Francisco was to visit the Walt Disney Family Museum. It was incredible, and I would really recommend it – particularly if you are a Disney fan, or someone who loves and appreciates art, film and a pioneer’s journey moving from strength to strength. The museum itself covers Walt Disney’s early life, his family and career beginnings to his first successful full-length feature film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and each film up until his death in 1966, and also includes the more modern films up to present day. One of the things I enjoyed most about the museum was the old film rolls and character doodles – particularly those of Mickey Mouse.

Everybody in San Francisco was so friendly and happy to chat, especially the taxi drivers, the people running the hostel and the staff in the Walt Disney Family Museum gift shop. I will definitely be going back.

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My third and final stop, both of my three month trip and of my time in California, was the beautiful Yosemite National Park. I travelled on the Greyhound bus from San Francisco to Merced, where I then picked up the YARTS (Yosemite’s public transport) to take me to Yosemite Valley. I got of the bus and walked up a hill through cricket sounds, dust and heat, and finally reached the place I was staying at for the next few nights, the Yosemite Bug Lodge. It was a mix of fully equipped cabins for families on holiday, as well as rooms for couples, and other rooms for people like me – hostel style rooms with various bunk beds and shared showering facilities. There was a main restaurant area where they served breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a laundry room and mini spa, which contained a hot tub, sauna and private baths which could be used alongside botanical treatments which was a definite necessity after spending the day hiking through the forests of Yosemite.

Walking through Yosemite National Park itself was just breathtaking. I have been before, but wasn’t able to appreciate its full beauty due to being quite young and tired of walking. The height of the trees amazed me, and the feeling of standing right at the edge of such high cliffs made me feel like I was on top of the world. If you ever get the chance to go, take it – you will not regret it.

So California rounded off my three month trip travelling solo around the world. But I’ve been to more places since then, which will all be recorded here, along with separate tips and tricks on what I pack in my suitcase, how I prepare for long travels as well as how I handle travelling around the world with a mental health condition.

Stick along for the ride!

ARIA 

 

Places Visited/Mentioned: 

FIJI // TRAVEL DIARY // AUGUST 2016

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The fourth country on my travel list for the Summer of 2016 was Fiji. It was a place which always made me think of sun, white sandy beaches, blue skies and even bluer seas. It did not disappoint. I flew from Auckland, New Zealand to Nadi International Airport in Fiji on the 2nd of August. As soon as I landed, I was greeted with relaxing ukulele music, beautiful leis and lovely people. After leaving the airport I got driven to my accommodation for the night, a backpackers and hotel right on the beach called the Tropic of Capricorn. That night I ate my dinner by the beach and relaxed in a hammock on the shore, watching tiny crabs run under my feet and into the ocean.

The following morning, I was up early with my suitcase and was picked up by my guide, who would be with the travel group and I for the rest of the trip. After meeting my new companions for my time in Fiji, we were driven to a little boat port. We boarded a shikara-style boat and travelled on a river cruise, then across the lagoon to our first island stopover – Robinson Crusoe Island. It is a small island off the coast of Viti Levu (the main island) and has a 3,500 year history. As we pulled up to shore, we were greeted by singing ukulele players who were standing on the beach ready to help us unload and unpack. After exchanging pleasantries, we were then taken to our accommodation which was a large hut 13-bed dorm. It had a shared bathroom with a bucket shower which I was really looking forward to using. The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent relaxing on the white sandy beaches, swimming in the turquoise sea and watching people play volleyball on the shore. As the evening moved into the night, we were given a performance by the island employees which included traditional Fijian dancing, chanting and singing, as well as a fire dance show, all whilst eating the amazing food which was prepared for us.

After Robinson Crusoe Island, we then travelled back to the main island and headed to Uprising Beach Resort where we stayed in a traditional Fijian hut. This resort was absolutely stunning with the friendliest people, a swimming pool to relax near and a bar which served the best cosmopolitan cocktails! Other excursions and activities we partook in around this time included visiting a local village for a traditional kava ceremony with the village chief and bilibili rafting along the river.

A couple of days later we drove along the scenic coast, headed towards the village of Biausevu where we took part in another kava ceremony with the village people and where we also had a chance to buy a variety of different trinkets and souvenirs, made by the local people. After the ceremony we then went on a hike through the near by Coral Coast rain forest, crossing streams and climbing rocks to get to the Sava Nu Mate Laya waterfall.

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After spending time swimming and jumping off of waterfalls, we then travelled to Beachcomber Island where we spent our time relaxing on the beach, eating good food and drinking cocktails with other travellers and gap year students who were also staying on the island. Even though it rained for the majority of the time we stayed on Beachcomber, that did not stop us from enjoying ourselves alongside our new friends.

Our next stop was Mantaray Island which I definitely think was my favourite stop. After travelling there by boat (with occasional seasickness on my part), we were greeted by resort employees who gave us a welcome speech and then sent us to our various dorms. The accommodation was incredible and the island offered lots of activities to entertain us including snorkelling, surfing, manta ray spotting (hence the name of the island), boating and for people who preferred indoor activities – karaoke, movie nights and indoor crab racing! I met new friends on this island and we spent time together taking photographs on the beach (it didn’t matter how many shots were needed for the perfect photo), snorkelling through the reefs and eating together at the island restaurant, chatting and laughing. This resort was definitely aimed at families with young children as well as backpackers which was really lovely to see.

After our island hopping had come to an end, we then travelled back to the main island where we had two nights to do what we wanted and stay where we wanted.  I spent one night at the backpackers where I started the trip at, and one night in a hotel by the beach.

I will definitely be returning to Fiji, it was everything I imagined it would be. How many of us can say that we’ve stayed in a tropical paradise for two weeks?

ARIA

 

Places Visited/Mentioned: