Wow what a great month of travel that was! I ended up in places I didn’t think I would be traveling to, I added 3 new countries to my count and I had amazing layovers in every destination I visited. All in all a great month. That’s one of my favourite things about this job, every month is different and you can never know what to expect.
This month I travelled to China, Cyprus, Hungary, France, Maldives, Ethiopia, Nepal and Djibouti. Cyprus, Ethiopia and Djibouti were all new countries for me to visit so my count is now at 63!
I’ve travelled to China a few times before but this was my first time to visit Chongqing. I received this flight from standby so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this destination. I was pleasantly surprised. Chongqing is a very happening city, it reminded me a lot of Shanghai with its busy nightlife and yummy street food.
My first stop of my layover was Ciqikou, the ancient town of Chongqing. Here you will find pretty streets filled with lots of street food, souvenirs and Chinese herbs and spices.
This crazy man was making a traditional noodle dish whilst shouting and banging ferociously on his cooking utensils…. got to love China
Here you have some of the Chinese spices on display… Chongqing is famous for its Sichuan cuisine so their dishes are super spicy!
After exploring the old town, I headed into the city centre of Chongqing to visit their version of “Times Square”. Having been to the REAL Times Square in New York, all I have to say is nice try China.
Not far from Chongqing Times Square is a street famous for it’s street food… they actually refer to it as “food street”. They aren’t lying when they call it “food street” because this street is super long and all you will find here is food vendor after food vendor. There’s even a heap of alleyways off the main road which lead to more street food and restaurants serving Chongqing’s signature hotpot. If you are hungry, look no further!
My final stop of the day was Hongya Cave, a really interesting multilevel complex which was built leaning against a mountain (hence the label “cave”). Not only is it architecturally stunning but the building itself is great – it’s filled with lots of FOOD vendors, bars and shops. It was really busy on the night I visited, it seems that it’s not only a tourist attraction but also a popular hangout spot for the locals as well.
How beautiful is it at night? It’s also situated along the river which runs through the city… beautiful!
Another great layover in China, I just love exploring this country. There are so many different facets of it, you can’t get bored!
Aiya Napa, Cyprus
After my flight to China, rostering were kind enough to give me a few days off so you know what that means… VACAY!
I decided to visit Cyprus, a new country for me. I went to an area called Aiya Napa which is around 45 minutes from the airport. Here you will find the most beautiful water, amazing beaches and great nightlife. I basically spent 3 whole days visiting different beaches, it was the ultimate summer vacation!
Here’s just a few pics of some of the amazing places I visited in Aiya Napa…
The sea caves were amazing and unlike anything I ever had seen before!
I had such an amazing time in Cyprus, I’ll definitely be back soon. I would even like to visit in the winter as I heard there are a lot of beautiful hikes you can do near the mountain side.
This was not my first time to travel to Maldives, but it was my first time to visit one of the picturesque islands! I wasn’t expecting to do this flight and I even wasn’t expecting to visit the islands on this layover as it’s very short and I told myself I will save my money for a time when I can go on my leave and spend proper time here opposed to just 6 hours before my flight back to base.
However, on this occasion I was convinced to go to the island with a few of the crew and I am so glad I did. Even though it was a short stay, it was totally amazing.
We visited the resort Club Med for a relaxing few hours before our flight home. We spent the day photo shooting as you can see, swimming, tanning, eating and drinking non alcoholic beverages (since we had to operate a flight later that day… bummer!)
I always thought the Maldives were a bit overrated but I guess my mind slightly changed after this trip. I can’t wait to go back one day and spend a few days here enjoying the crystal clear waters this paradise has to offer.
See you again Maldives!
Back to one of my favourite cities in the world!! I can’t and won’t ever get over Budapest – if you’ve never travelled there, put it on your list and go!!! You won’t be disappointed. It’s the most beautiful city, it’s super cheap, it has so much history, nightlife is amazing, food is amazing, coffee is amazing…. It’s just a great place to be! Especially now during summer, there are so many people about, I absolutely love Europe at this time!
On this layover, I visited a Melbourne cafe called “My Little Melbourne” – I was so happy to have a coffee here! I miss Melbourne so much and I really miss Melbourne coffee so this was a little feels like home away from home for me.
I visited a cute alfresco style restaurant and bar called Platz to enjoy an aperol spritz whilst soaking in that European sun… Seriously, what is better than this? SOMETIMES I REALLY LOVE MY LIFE!
Another place I will give a shoutout to is this hidden gem Szimply for their great brunch options and AMAZING coffee (that is coming from a Melbournian coffee snob). I was highly impressed with the coffee here. Though this place is so hipster it hurts, it’s still nice to visit if you are after a yummy and visually appealing meal.
Send me back to Budapest plsssssss!
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
This one was an interesting one. How many of you can say you’ve visited Ethiopia? I had a really long layover in Addis Ababa – 3 days in fact (that might be my longest layover yet) and I’ll tell you it was an interesting one, good and bad.
On the first day, myself and crew visited a traditional cultural restaurant “Yod Abyssinia” which is an all round tourist trap, however it was a nice introduction to the country where you can watch traditional Ethiopian dancing and try the local food and wine.
I tasted Taj which is the local honey wine, it doesn’t taste like alcohol at all but apparently if you drink a lot of this you will get highly intoxicated and wake up with a killer hangover. It was a little sweet for my liking, I’ll definitely be sticking to regular wine in future.
Can I just say Ethiopian food is delicious!!! It’s basically a whole lot of everything (meat, lentils, vegetables, curries) served on Injera which is the traditional national dish of Ethiopia – it’s a type of bread made out of Teff flour and it has a spongy texture. It’s really yum!
The next day I went on a cultural tour of the city. The first place I visited was the Trinity Cathedral which is is the highest ranking Orthodox cathedral in Addis Ababa.
How beautiful is it? I really enjoyed visiting this place. Addis Ababa is a city of mixed religions. The majority of citizens practice Christianity (particularly Ethiopean Orthodox) whilst there is also a large population of Islamic Ethiopians.
One of the main attractions in Addis Ababa is Lucy at the National Museum of Ethiopia – she is a 3.2 million-year old fossil, known as the first human fossil to be discovered in 1974 in Hadar, Ethiopia. If you are a fan of evolution then this museum is for you.
My FAVOURITE part of the day was trying the local coffee at a popular coffee shop Tomoka. Did you know that Ethiopia is the birth place of coffee? We have much to thank Ethiopia for! I am normally an all black coffee kinda gal, but today I had to try the famous Ethiopian Macchiato which is their go to coffee order in Addis Ababa.
As expected, it was SUPERB! I purchased 2 large bags of coffee beans to take home with me… happy Dani 🙂
I spent the afternoon trying not to get mugged at the Ethiopian Merkato. It’s the largest open air market in all of Africa so I really wanted to come here and look around even though it was advised that this place is quite dangerous for tourists. Don’t worry, I wasn’t alone and our driver escorted us throughout the market. It was very interesting to see the locals all about, definitely a different world to where I’m from!
I have to mention one last thing about my stay in Addis Ababa. On my last day, myself and another crew member booked a tour to visit a beautiful lake in the countryside. Unfortunately, we got scammed, we paid for the tour but the tour guide never rocked up in the morning of our tour and when we called their phone number it went to voicemail… How RUDE! I was really bummed that my final day in Ethiopia got ruined because of this but the good news is I did receive all my money back as I booked the tour through an authorised third party.
Ahhhh what to do?! Welcome to Africa!
THIS… IS…. THE… LAYOVER….I….HAVE….BEEN…. WAITING…FOR! Lucky ducky me, I was rostered Nice this month WITH a day off to enjoy the lovely French Riviera at the best time of the year! I can’t believe it’s already been one year since I was last here. I honestly could return to the French Riviera every summer and never get bored, I love it here!
On the first afternoon, I visited Eze Village – possibly the most beautiful town across the entire French Riviera. It’s a town located high up on the hill in-between Nice and Monaco. It has breathtaking views of the sea and towns below and there is a garden you can visit high up on the hill which is the perfect way to spend an afternoon watching the sunset.
The next day, I went to the luxurious Cannes and spent the day enjoying the beach at one of its many beach clubs. The beaches here are just superb, of course nothing comes cheap but it’s definitely worth the splurge in my opinion! Can I live here?
You might think I’m crazy because it was like 34 degrees that day, but I really felt like hot soup for dinner. I went to this cute little French Cafe called “Le Troquet à Soupes” and tried their very French onion soup where you can add unlimited cheese and bread to your soup to suit your liking. Yum in my tum! Highly recommend this restaurant…
The next morning before my flight, I woke up early for a run along the coast, from the hotel to Nice’s old town it’s around 6-7km.
I had breakfast at this great little cafe called La Popote D’ondine… they have healthy options here which I LOVE of course! The avocado toast was delectable and the poached egg was cooked to perfection… bravo!
I just realised that I write so much about food…. sorry not sorry, I’m always eating 😀
Ahhhh I want to go back already!
Another favourite place of mine is the beautiful Kathmandu in Nepal. This country always surprises me every time I visit in terms of its beauty and the kindness of its people.
I visited the Swayambhunath Temple (monkey temple) last time I visited Kathmandu, but this time I decided to take the stairs and climb up 365 steps to the top!
Monkey eating an ice-cream!
In the afternoon, I visited one of my favourite areas Thamel which is Kathmandu’s old town. Here you can find many bars and restaurants and lots of souvenir shops. The craziest thing is that I unexpectedly had friends from Melbourne traveling to Kathmandu on the same day I was there so I met up with them for dinner at a cute rooftop Middle Eastern restaurant. How crazy is life sometimes… of all places I would never expect to run into anyone I know in Nepal!
Such a great layover, I hope to come back again soon.
Again, another unexpected journey for me this month. I was given this flight from standby so I was not expecting to hit another new country until August. I’m going to assume that most of you don’t know where Djibouti is… I didn’t either until I googled it. Djibouti is a small country in Africa, it reminded me a lot of Doha in terms of it’s weather, water and beaches. It’s also a mostly French and Arabic-speaking country. I didn’t do much on this layover other than enjoy the amazing hotel we are so fortunate to stay at. I was dead after operating a multi-sector flight from Doha to Djibouti, Djibouti to Mogadishu Somalia, then Mogadishu back to Djibouti… talk about KILLER flight!
Though once I got to the hotel, all was forgotten…
Such a big month for me, and now it’s time for another.
This month I’m operating 2 turnaround flights to Bodrum and Istanbul in Turkey. I also have layover in the following places:
- Yangon, Myanmar (NEW COUNTRY)
- Philadelphia, USA
- Nairobi, Kenya
- Warsaw, Poland
I also have 7 days of standby in a row!!! For sure they will give me some flights from this, pray that I get some nice layovers!!
I also have my leave at the end of the month and guess where I am off to….. South America!!!!! I’m finally going on the ultimate trip which is at the very top of my bucket list – Peru! I’m finally going to Machu Picchu and I’m so excited. I’m also visiting Bolivia since it’s right next door. I’m traveling with Emma, my best friend from Melbourne who is meeting me over there and I can’t wait to share our adventure with you next month. My next blogpost will probably be a little delayed as I won’t be returning from my vacation until mid September! Wish me luck!
Until then beautiful people have a great month! xxx