…Not a destination! However, if I had to choose which destinations made me the happiest, this would be my list. Ask and you shall receive! Recently, I reached out to you, my followers, and asked for some direction as to what you would like the content of the blog to cover, within the Cabin Crew/ travel sphere, of course! The most popular response were requests for my “Top 10 Layovers”, “A Week in the Life of a Cabin Crew” and also more about life in Dubai. I plan to meet these responses and more in the near future with enthusiasm and passion so that you may all see what this journey has been like for me so far! In the spirit of a fresh start to the year, and to reflect the upcoming changes in my life, I have updated the blog with a new look that I hope makes my writing more fun to read and even easier get lost in over a cup of tea! So, presenting: My Top 10 Layovers of all time! I would just like to add that it was extremely difficult to pick just 10 out of almost 50 cities I have visited, so I think another post of “Top 5 Weekend Escapes” will be in order, too!
The best part of Kenya will defy all of your expectations. Kind people, great food and lots of activities make for a prefect trip! There is so much to do, but the most fun activities contain animals We went to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for orphaned elephant and rhinoceros calves to watch the gorgeous babies being fed and listened to an informative speech on the endangered status of these giant beauties. The speech moved me so much that I formally adopted Mbegu, a 4 month old calf who was rescued by the team and flown to the safety of the sanctury in a small aircraft (we are birds of a feather!). After this moving activity, we went to the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Giraffe Centre where we were lucky enough to feed a mother and her two very tall sons by hand! It was such an affordable and intimate experience that I doubt you could experience elsewhere without paying a fortune! The third and final stop was the Mamba Village in Mombasa. Here we fed and held baby crocodiles and tortoises, and observed adult Nile crocodiles in a near natural habitat. We also saw ostrich and got to hold their eggs, that are as strong as concrete! I highly recommend Kenya for any animal lovers who are strapped for time/ and or cash, as the prices are affordable to see wildlife up close and personal without the extra travel cost and possible disappointment of not encountering nature on a safari!
Nestled in the Mediterranean Sea near Sicily and Tunisia alike, Malta was another surprising and amazing layover for me! Malta is beautiful in the Summer, and even thought I went in Spring, the weather did not disappoint! We spent the afternoon having cocktails on the terrace of the hotel, before venturing out to the city for some delicious seafood (the parts I could actually eat, seeing as I am allergic to shellfish) and then went to a few little bars and night clubs in Valetta to spend the night drinking cheap rum and discussing the chaos of life as crew. A very relaxing and awe inspiring place, perhaps an alternative if you have already done the typical Conitki, Top Deck, Sail Croatia kind of trip to the Greek Islands or similar, this one is off the beaten track and will surely stay etched in your mind and taste buds forever.
A couple’s retreat that also doubles for a sun baking ground for weary and jet lagged crew, this layover is perfect to have after your leave or a stressful month of long flights. Only 7 or so hours from Dubai, the flight is busy yet the destination is more than enough to make you forget your qualms of promising your first born child to unreasonable customers who will not settle for anything less than the already depleted chicken on the menu. All activities are included in the hotel that we used stay at, such as snorkelling, water skiing, kayaking, paddle boats and fitness classes. For an extra fee, you are whisked away to a magic waterfall surrounded by brazen bare bottomed baboons, where the water is often graced by dolphins. After this you can have a very questionable dinner of (possibly) chicken and salad on the beach prepared by the African man who also provided the home made punch you are drinking and who drove the boat to the middle of nowhere. Nice guy. After such a busy day, there is nothing more to do other than have a bath, repeatedly spam jealousy invoking pictures on social media, accost your boyfriend via what’s app and then fall asleep in a very large but very hard bed. Beggars can’t be choosers, and someone has to do it!
Milan is the land of prosciutto, pasta, pizza and George Clooney. In search of one (or all of these items), after a deliciously heavy dinner the previous evening, my friends and I hired a car and we set off to Cernobbio, one of the towns along the Lago di Como. Upon arriving and about 5000 photos later, I wish I could report that we caught a small speedboat driven by an Italian billionaire and skimmed waves into the sunset and lived happily ever after, but we actually caught a very bumpy and chilly open air ferry to the actual town of Como. There we dined on pizza and pasta that was simultaneously horrible (due to the price) and heavenly (due to the taste). After snacking on some fresh berries and people watching exquisite women with dogs that have jewellery that cost more than my own, we drove back to Milan and took about 3 years to locate the petrol station, fill up the hire car and return it back to the airport. All in time for the wakeup call to head back to Dubai. I have not yet been to the heart of Milan itself, but itis on my ever expanding to do list!
Poland holds a very dear place in my heart as the food and people are wonderful, the catering stocks chocolate coated cherries in the crew cart and we were shown around by a local. The peirogies that we had (dumplings filled with meat, cheese and veges and fried in bacon) were to die for and the sangria was lovely. Check out Zapiecek for an affordable and authentic food chain with the staff in traditional Polish dress! Old Town in Warsaw is most definitely worth a visit for some sightseeing, people watching and an ice-cream cone or seven! The Polish metro system is quite primitive but very easy to navigate. The stations are grungy and make for excellent creative pictures, and the shopping is extremely within a crew budget (i.e. very very cheap) especially Mohito, a sanctuary for all women with beautifully inexpensive pieces that look and feel worth a million zoltoy! Be sure to pick up some Żubrówka, a polish vodka made from Bison Grass that tastes superb with apple juice on ice…Na zdrowie!
As one of my idol Audrey Hepburn once said “Paris is always a good idea”, and all in all I couldn’t agree more. Whether it is strolling along the Seine solo in Summer, or cosy-ing up with friends in the winter by the le tour eiffel, Paris has you covered. Having been there over six times in the past 3 years I consider myself somewhat an expert on all things Parisienne. Never mind that the French I had studied for 2 years at university escapes me when needed, I can still navigate a metro map and a menu without too much trouble. Other than the main attractions in Paris that you can see on any old big bus tour, be sure to pop into Fauchon for beautifully crafted sweets, ready made cheese boards, colourful bow tie pasta and chocolates that I would probably ingest via an intravenous drip if possible, they are THAT good. Galleries Lafayette is perfect for window shopping (or normal shopping if you are feeling especially festive and aren’t afraid to use your credit card). The Musée d’Orsay is a beautiful museum that is not as difficult to get into and houses just as many masterpieces. Be sure to feast your eyes on the Marie Antoinette style rooms and amazing shiny trinkets in them. Paris is the city of lights, the city of love and one that can be explored alone or in great company, in any season. Getting there is up to you!
One day in Munich is lovely enough, but two is just pure heaven! My first evening in Munich was spent in the bath, followed by room service in bed rather than going to Pacha (the famous night club from Ibiza) with the rest of the crew. I thought this to be a very wise decision, seeing as the next day we ventured out to visit the Neuschwanstien castle in the not-so-nearby town of Fussen. The journey took two and a half hours, but the view of the stunning countryside is beyond worth it, not to mention the final destination! Neuschwanstein is the castle upon which Sleeping Beauty is based upon. Disney used this real life piece of history to bench march a childhood favourite of many, and it is breathtaking! You may enter the castle courtyard for free and without booking, and for the price of a short walk, you can see the castle from a distance on a tiny suspended bridge. The views are phenomenal! A second day in Munich is well spent at the English Gardens, where tourists can enjoy a snack in one of the many beer gardens, or watch surfers conquer a man made wave! All in all, Munich as a city is a great fusion of old meets new, and feel I could have lived there happily ever after!
Often known as the cultural capital of Spain, Barcelona is a wondrous place filled with sangria and tapas, served by the most charming and hilarious waiters you will ever meet (trust me, I’ve already been twice and was yet to be disappointed by anything!) Barcelona is the home of many great architectural works of Antonio Gaudi, the Spanish architect. Perhaps the most popular is La Sagrada Familia, a cathedral that stands in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city itself! After admiring this beauty, it is best to head to the Rambla (main street) to have some delectable Spanish tapas with a fruity sangria. Your taste buds will thank you for it. It is yet to be ticked off my list, but I hear the Park Guell, another great work of Gaudi’s, is a great experience! Another plus about Barcelona is that Zara is much more affordable in Spain seeing as lots of the pieces are made there. Cute clothes, amazing food and a healthy does of sangria mixed in with an eclectic culture….why wouldn’t you love Barcelona?!
2. New York
Think of every adjective you have ever heard about New York City. The big apple, the City that Never Sleeps, Concrete Jungle…these don’t even begin to describe this magical place in the slightest. Perhaps one of the most overwhelming cities I have ever laid eyes on, it is full of everything: culture, food, people, attractions, shops, colours, sounds, lights…it is just amazing. The best thing to do when in New York is to simply hit the pavement and see what you find. 5th Ave, Central Park and a visit to the the Empire State Building and the Top of the Rock will have you feeling as though you’ve just stepped out one of the many TV shows set in this inspiring land of wonder and pizza! Be sure to take a comfortable (but obviously very cute) pair of shoes or boots that serve a double purpose: so comfortable you can walk around for 12 hours straight in them without having to later amputate your feet, and so cute that if you bumped into Sarah Jessica Parker and Blake Lively on the same day, you could still hold your head up high! There is so much to do in New York that 24 hours is never enough, and I would have operate a JFK six times a week just to see half of what NYC has to offer (this of course is not legal and would result in an almost instant case of insanity, seeing as the flight is 14 hours long and we cross about 7 time zones and the North Pole on the way there). I highly recommend going with the flow and taking your time….there is so much to see and do, and the time will literally fly by in a New York Minute!
1. San Francisco
This Californian beauty stole my heart with its ultra hip vibe and gorgeous surroundings. Major highlights for me included an up close and personal concert with Ed Sheeran at Nob Hill Masonic Centre, an audio guided tour of the creepy and captivating Alcatraz, lunch at Fisherman’s Warf, shopping up a storm in Union Square and cocktails at cool bars after dinner and before dessert! There is so much else to see, Lombard Street and the Golden Gate Bridge to name a couple. For once I’m lost for words, the salty air and bay breeze reminded me of home, and the fact that I was with three of my best friends made this layover all the more sweeter!
Well there you have it, my Top 10 Layover posts from the past year. There have been so many amazing destinations that I have been lucky enough to visit, yet these ten have had the perfect combination of sightseeing, eating, fun and most importably, great people. The people that you travel with have the ability to change the whole dynamic of the trip. Looking back, almost all of these “favourites” of mine have gifted me with a new life long friend, which makes the trip and the experience all the more worthwhile.
In saying this, it is with a great sense of pride and happiness that I’d like to announce that I am returning back to Australia…for good! I have decided that my time as crew in the Middle East has come to an end, and I feel that from a career point of view, moving home to work for an Australian company is the best option for me. I am very excited to be able to use my degree and my passion for writing and flying to bring you a very new and exciting project next month! Stay tuned, because there are more posts to catch up on from Stockholm, Manchester, Whistler, Vancouver and the life of flying in Dubai before I commence writing about my new life of flying…in Australia! Thank you to all of my loyal followers and for those of you that are just reading my blog for the first time, I value all of your time, opinions and questions and I can’t wait to begin this new and exciting chapter of my life. I’m thankful for the friends that have turned into family, the nights that have turned into mornings and the moments that have turned into memories. Feeling like the luckiest girl in the world! Thank you to all of my amazing friends and family from all over the word, your support has amazed and inspired me. I look forward to sharing more moments with you very soon x