Barry and I tried to stay active while we were in Mauritius. It was hard pulling ourselves away from the relax mode we very quickly slipped into but needs must. I was hitting the end of the Marcothon (daily 5km/25 minute running challenge for December) and needed to keep on running, for a few more days at least.
It was a bizarre experience running while it was actually snowing (and pitch black) in Northern Ireland one morning, to slugging through the sand as the tropical sun set into the ocean, 24 hours later.
The sand was pretty hard work for running (even if you can jump in for a swim immediately after) so I was pretty keen to head to the Black River Gorge National Park to try out some of their trails.
Barry and I sometimes have trouble agreeing on where to go. Our post-Christmas, on the way to Australia adventure was no different.
Norway, says Barry? Too cold. And expensive.
Sri Lanka, I say? The reports of poor Wi-Fi are too stressful.
Vietnam? Already been there a few times.
Senegal? Too hot, maybe. Do they even have internet?
This Thai island we’ve never been too (that has a Coworking space)? Maybe, but I’m not excited.
Madagascar? But the internet doesn’t really exist.
Spain? Not really far enough/exotic enough/crazy enough.
Sigh. We’re in such a great position to have problems like these. In the end our BA points and our free companion voucher landed us in Mauritius. Just as well, we were running out of time to decide. Mauritius was the first place we talked about that both of us were excited with. Geographically on the way to Australia too. Just head south from the UK, turn right (or left?), stop at Mauritius then head straight across to Perth (then Melbourne) two weeks later. Simple. And who cares about cyclone season?
The meetup in Bulgaria was a long one which meant extra weekends for tourist action. This time, something Bulgarian.
My favourite person in all of Bulgaria is Irina.
Bulgaria is on the way from Melbourne to Edinburgh, you see?
Splitting our lives between Australia and Scotland sometimes means we don’t have time to holiday/travel as much as we’d like. As there isn’t an aeroplane with a big enough tank to fly (actually) direct between our two home cities, we try to pick somewhere interesting for a stopover.
I like to go somewhere new.
Barry likes to go somewhere where he’s confident that the Wi-Fi will be reliable.
Funny, the more successful the company gets, the more stressed about internet quality Barry becomes. Sometimes it takes awhile to get the balance right. On leaving Melbourne at the end of April 2017, it had been almost a full year since Barry’s remote team had seen each other in real life. And some new folk had never met, apart from the Skype or Zoom Room. So we ended up in Bulgaria for a month, obviously.
I’ve never been there (tick), and there’s a Coworking space in the mountains set up by Matthias, who ran the Coworking Camp in Turkey where Barry launched his company.
Where in Bulgaria?
Wanting to get over jetlag (and explore new places!) Barry and I first spent a few days in Sofia. It turns out Sofia is an excellent place for a European city break. I’m not sure if it’s just that I’d spent the previous six months at home in Australia and stopover in Kuala Lumpur but Sofia felt very European. It felt like I was home (again).
Sofia is also an excellent place for a budget traveller (like me, obviously).
I did a free walking tour of the city (well, I gave a tip). I learnt lots of stuff.
Sofia, patron saint of the city.
The ancient city discovered underground
Arriving in Reykjavik was a wet experience for Julie and I. After checking in at the Bus Hostel, Julie and I strolled into town. It wasn’t raining when we started but we were fairly drenched by the time we reached the noodle bar. We dried out a bit while eating some okay noodles but got pretty soaked again in the short walk back to the hostel.
Luckily, our private twin room was roasty toasty and we were able to spread all our clothes around to dry out. By the morning, my jeans were dry and so was the sky. It wasn’t a clear sky but you can ask for everything.
The massive cloud over Reykjavik was not uncommon so it surprised me how many buildings were so grey. The Hallgrímskirkja Cathedral, one of the city’s major landmarks was depressingly concrete, the only splash of colour the red on the double doors at the front.