Sahara desert

Sleeping under the Sahara night sky

Sahara Desert
I just got back from a magical week in beautiful Morocco, this country has so much more to offer than I expected. My highlight was our trip to the Sahara desert, although it was a long journey to the Sahara, it was all worth it.
I can finally tick it of my bucket list.
When we arrived in Merzouga, on the far south-eastern part of Morocco, near the Algerian border, the first step was to prepare for the hour and half long camel ride through the impressive sand dunes of Erg Chebbi (a dune field of the Sahara).
Sahara desert
I was told that camel riding isn’t glamorous but no one prepared me for the massive thigh and butt aches that were to follow. I was already dreading the ride back in the morning.
Sahara desert
However, it was hard to stay concentrated on the uncomfortable ride when I was greeted by the perfectly formed dunes with a painted rainbow across the sky.
It was such a peaceful place, stillness all around, except for the occasional camel farts.
After a long, butt aching journey, we made it to our campsite, at the foot of one of the bigger, majestic dunes.
Camping in Sahara
I needed to move my stiff legs, so we attempted to climb the dune ( the picture does not do it justice, believe me it was tough and steep).
Erg Chebbi
Lets just say I made it half way, with my heart beating out of my chest. But it was the perfect spot to take in the panoramic view.
Breathtaking.
 Sahara desert
We were suppose to stay inside the set up tents, however, after a long strategic discussion we came to the conclusion that the chances of getting a good night kiss from a scarab beetle (think Mummy returns) was far higher inside the tent than in the wild since the tent was a bigger attraction to Sahara’s locals. So we decided to move our mattresses out into the open, best decision I made.
Although paranoia first took over, every movement was a snake in my imagination, we actually had no visitors crawling up our legs or into our hair all night. Instead, I had the gentle wind on my face, occasionally bringing sand along with it, welcoming me to the Sahara.
But my favourite part of all was the shimmering night sky. I have never seen such a glow, and we were lucky to see two shooting stars as well. It was the kind of beauty you just cannot capture on camera, literally, I did try. But take my word, it made my heart smile.
 camel riding morocco
After our “sleep”, we got woken up at 4am to start our return back to Merzouga on the camel. This was hard, both me and my camel were not impressed at the early start.
But hey, I saw the most dramatic, spectacular sun rise. Now look at that!
 sunrise sahara
 sunrise sahara
In the words of Tom Hanks;

“The desert, when the sun comes up…I couldn’t tell where heaven stopped and the Earth began.”

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Singapore skyline

Taking in the island of Singapore in 48 hours

Many people stopover in Singapore whilst traveling to their final destination. If you do get the chance to visit the world’s cleanest city, I would recommend at least two days to fully appreciate this beautiful, underrate island(Yes I am a little biased since I grew up here). However, try your best to avoid the weekends as it gets pretty damn busy! Here are some options that will allow you to enjoy the best parts of the city, in a short period of time.

Makansutra

  1. The best thing about this city is the food. The mixture of malay, Indian and Chinese flavours can often leave you wanting more. Although I found a little Malaysian/Singaporean food haven here in London, Roti King, it does not offer 95% of the dishes I so love. I would advice to avoid eating at restaurants when in Singapore and always visit the food courts. These are usually found in most shopping centres either at the very bottom floor or at the very top and you can expect to get a full, authentic meal for 4-6 sing dollars.

I would recommend Makansutra, an outdoor food court with a priceless view of the famous skyline! This is right next to the Esplanade (nearest MRT station). Check out my earlier post on the best dishes in Singapore on what you MUST try.

Makansutra

Singapore skyline

  1. Everything in Singapore is accessible by either public transportation or taxi (it is cheaper to flag one down than to call, and try to avoid rush hour which comes with a ridiculous surcharge) and no journey will ever take more than an hour, even if you are traveling from east to west. Make your way to Bugis for the famous Bugis market, the actual products are overrated but you can get food here and it is also not far from Haji lane, Singapore’s smaller version of London’s Brick Lane. Haji lane attracts a more alternative crowd who enjoy chilled drinks and authentic, unique products. Check out Kolombiana if you get the chance and temporarily visit the colourful culture of Colombia. The products here are nearly as beautiful as Karen, the owner of the shop, and made by the indigenous people of Colombia.

Haji Lane

Kolumbiana

Kolumbiana

  1. If you are craving for some sand and sun, even though the beaches here aren’t the prettiest, head to Sentosa. You can get here either by taxi or with the skytrain from Vivocity (Harbourfront MRT). The best thing here would be the Co+Nut+Ink, Delicious coconut ice cream in a coconut shell with scraped flesh served with fresh, thirst quenching coconut juice. It is almost worth coming to Sentosa just for this.

Co Nut Ink

The next best thing about Sentosa would be Mambo beach bar, where you can enjoy a drink by or in the pool while watching the Sunset and listening to some funky house tunes. The crowd is fun and the drinks aren’t crazy expensive.

Mambo beach bar

Sentosa

  1. If you prefer to stay in the city, check out Ku De Ta. This bar/restaurants sits on the top floor of the world famous Marina Bay Sands hotel, known for it’s over instragramed Infinity Pool. Unfortunately, to gain access to the pool, you have to have a room at the hotel, which in my opinion is overpriced for what it actually is. So to get similar views, head to the bar instead, anyone can. Have one or two drinks here as a pre-drink (I don’t think your bank account would want you to have more) before you head to Clark Quay(easily accessible by the MRT from Marina bay), the main area for hip clubs and bars.

Ku de ta

Singapore

  1. Regardless of what night it is, there is always something going on at Clark Quay. Ladies, Wednesday is your night. All ladies get into most bars and clubs for free along with a complimentary drink or a few. Like many Asian cities, Singapore comes alive at night. And when you have had enough of the alcohol and loud beats and the hunger kicks in, many big food courts are 24/7. Jalan Kayu and Thomson road prata house are my two favourite after party food hangouts. The best way to get here is via taxi, roughly 20 mins from Clark Quay. Leave the kebabs and chip shops behind and leave your taste buds wanting more.

Tooth relic temple

  1. Finally, indulge your senses in Little India and China Town. Visit the biggest Buddhist Temple in Singapore in China Town, situated right next to the “street of death”. Back before Singapore’s success and sovereignty, there were many poor settlers. The Chinese believed it was bad luck for their families if they died in their homes. So when they were ill or dying they would take themselves to this street to die, and take with them the hovering cloud of death. Now the street is constantly busy with tourists visiting the temple and the parallel street, the food market.

China Town

China town food market What are your favourite parts of Singapore?

Montserrat

Magical Montserrat – The Saw Tooth Mountain

If you are ever visiting the vibrant city of Barcelona, or Spain’s gay capital, Sitges, I would recommend making a day trip to the tranquil, rugged Montserrat mountain. This is roughly an hour away and can be accessed via organized coaches, trains or the best option, a car.

Various routes are available to take to and around the peak, accompanied by an impressive view.

Montserrat

Montserrat

The multi-peaked mountain overlooking the valley of Catalonia is not the only reason people visit from far and wide. Montserrat is also the home to the Black Madonna aka the virgin of Montserrat which peacefully sits in the Basilica next to the Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat.

Virgin of Montserrat

Expect a queue to see the Madonna statue up close. Even if you do not want to wait, entering the Basilica itself is worth it. This shrine has been visited by millions of Pilgrims throughout the years. Legend has it that a bright light erupting from a cave in the mountain was seen by shepherds in year 880 and that is where they found the Black Virgin Mary nestled in a cave. Although the more likely version of the story was that monks hid the sacred statue in the cave to protect it from the moors and now it continues to be protected in its shrine.

Virgin of Montserrat

Once you reach the Monastery you are also able to get the funicular up to the peak of the Mountain. This is the perfect way to soak in the beautiful landscape, 360 degrees of it.

montserrat

And if you are feeling adventurous, you can walk through the many designated pathways and through the Montserrat nature reserve.

Montserrat

Whether you want to see the geographical miracle or learn more about Catalonia’s culture and history, one thing is for certain, you don’t have to be religious to feel the magic of Montserrat.

heligan gardens

The Sleeping Goddess of Heligan

There is more to Cornwall than the scrumptious cornish delights and surfers on the beach. For those that love the nature and greenery, wander of to the lost gardens of Heligan. From Emus to sleeping statues, as well as a beautiful tea house, this side of Cornwall does not disappoint.

Mud maid heliganUpon entrance, you can either turn right and head into the woodland walk or left into the jungle. On the woodland walk you are greeted with the beautiful mud maid, sleeping peacefully in the bed of grass. This along with the Giant’s head are the inspiration behind two heligan-themed childrens books “The Giant” and ” The Mud Maid” by Sandra Horn.

The Giants head

My mother is obsessed with trees and this was her paradise. I understand her love for trees, sometimes I wish they would just start talking to me and carry me across the woods like Pippin from Lord of the Rings.

heligan gardens

heligan garden

An explosion of colours across the pond and the serene Canopy made me feel like I was somewhere in the amazon, the cold amazon.

gardens of heligan

heligan gardens

I also mastered the art of being tinkerbell and looking like I’m sitting on a leaf.

IMG_8393There is a rope bridge to walk across, a jungle to get your shoes dirty in and beautiful birds nesting in homemade houses.

lost gardens of heligan

This beautiful garden deserves a half or even full day, whether you want a romantic nature break with your partner or to bring the kids outdoors or just to simply have a peaceful walk.

Not to mention, you’ll get to meet my lazy friends Queenie and Edmond!

Emus