A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about beach

Touring the Colonies

RTW - Caribbean

sunny 25 °C
View Round The World Trip on kmmk17's travel map.


Eventually arriving in St. Maarten I wondered - would this really be worth it? Should I have just flown straight to New York and be done with this palava of getting there? After all, I had just taken an 5 hour overnight flight from San Francisco on a boring old plane, waited in a mostly closed Miami Airport without WiFi for another 5 hours, and then boarded another fairly old boring plane for 3 hours to an island that from the face of it seemed much like Fiji - bad infrastructure and potential for hassling, and this was also hurricane season! - but boy was I wrong, this island was amazing!!!

View from the Apartment

View from the Apartment

The apartment I was staying it wasn't that cheap, but then it came with a kitchen, free WiFi, a huge double bed, air-con, satellite TV, beach front access, great location and best of all - free international calls! Just a 20 second walk from where I was staying was the most beautiful beach you can imagine - even on a miserable day (of which there was very few, as shown by the landlady's comment on one, that it was warmer inside her house than out, something she was not used to!) the sea was still turquoise! There was a supermarket about 5 minutes away with a range of products, an efficient and cheap (mini)bus service that ran almost constantly, and above all else, friendly un-hassling locals!

Maho Beach

Maho Beach

The island was also far more entertaining than I had imagined - being there for 10 days I thought I would be utterly bored out of my skin, but actually, I could have stayed another couple of days! Three times I took a half hour walk along to beach to Maho Bay, where at the end of the runway, planes (including huge Jumbo Jets from Europe) land just 20 metres or so above spectators' heads - a thrilling experience after you get used to the fact they aren't actually going to hit you, as much as how it looks. There was even a bar at the end of the beach for spectators to make themselves as comfortable as they wanted...relaxing in on a beach chair, swimming or simply standing by the fence.

Phillipsburg

Phillipsburg

Another day, I also took the trip over to the capital of this Dutch colony, Philipsburg, to do some serious souvenir shopping, and found the beaches on that side of the territory island were as equally beautiful.

Dutch-French Border

Dutch-French Border

I also spent a longer day taking a colonial trip over the border into the French side (after all this was one of the worlds smallest divided islands), stopping at the Dutch-French border (Belgium of the future?) before taking the ferry over to Anguilla - a British colony.

The French side of the island, classed as an integral part of France itself, and therefore part of the Eurozone and the EU, was completely different to the Dutch, feeling much more colonial, and using different languages, currency and even electrical sockets - to call one side to the other is an international call, despite a completely open border.

View over Marigot, Saint-Martin

View over Marigot, Saint-Martin

I spent a few hours walking around, as well as walking up the hill to the fort, where there was a beautiful view of the western side of the island, as well as Anguilla over the channel.

Tsunami Warning Sign

Tsunami Warning Sign

Anguilla, unlike St. Martin was completely flat, with the entrance to Passport Control containing a Tsunami warning sign!

Above all else, this island will remain in my memory as one of the most beautiful places I'd ever been....turquoise seas all around, and I would not only recommend it, but I would also happily go back myself.

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Sint Maarten Tagged hills boat beach airport island sand plane border rtw colony Comments (0)

"You're British! ...I could tell from the T-Shirt"

RTW - Fiji

semi-overcast 28 °C
View Round The World Trip on kmmk17's travel map.


Bula Bula, Bula Bula Bula - that's Fijian for...well, anything you want it to be really! - They seem to say it at any and every occasion possible

The first long stop of my trip by myself had arrived - I had a week to spend in Fiji before crossing the dateline and making my way back home, and it was time for relaxation!

Unfortunately the weather decided it didn't want to let me enjoy Fiji at its best, and gave me only 3 of 7 days with nice weather, but I made the most of them Arriving at the airport I was collected by the owners of the hostel I was staying in, before eventually getting to my huge room! Paying just £25 a night, I had my own room with three beds, on a beach front property with swimming pool and occasional evening entertainment.

Beachfront Hostel

Beachfront Hostel

However this was where the problem of Fiji began - it is impossible to enjoy Fiji on a budget - the cheap hotels and hostels are all located in a resort that is located a 40 minute walk from the nearest shop, with medium hotels located nearer the town - but therefore at least half an hour from the beach, whilst the most expensive hotels are located in a resort in which locals are barred from entry. This therefore meant I was stuck in the resort, and with it came resort prices - a meal costing at least £5, when it should have cost less than £1. Despite this, I still tried to make the most of my time, and after my first day I made my first travel friends!

All the hotels in the backpacker resort of Nadi Bay encouraged business from each others' guests, and on this one night I ended up getting a curry from the Horizon Beach hotel. It was here that I met a Belgian and her Venezuelan boyfriend, who instantly recognised I was British as she had "bought him that T-Shirt from Primark too"...that's certainly one way to break the ice!

Traditional Show

Traditional Show

Getting chatting to them, they had also thought Fiji would be cheaper, and gave me pieces of advice as well as telling me about their stay so far - remarking that the hotel they stayed in was joined to the posher one next door, and was the centre of the entertainment. They invited me to join them for the evening's Fire Show, which despite me staying at neither hotel didn't seem to be a problem, as the staff were convinced they were also staying at the main hotel - despite her claims that with her dirty clothes she couldn't possibly be wealthy enough to stay there!

Polynesian Show

Polynesian Show

It was a brilliant evening seeing some of the local culture (as false as it probably really was - think Flamenco performances in Spanish resorts), and I even ended up joining in the stupid dance! The following day I had decided to visit the supermarket as I was running out of food, and on my walk down the road my new friends drove past in their hire car - they then gave me a lift and I changed my plans to visit Nadi Town itself, which at 1hr 30m walk away was too far to walk there and back to, but one way would be fine (yes, there were buses, but running on 'Fiji Time' (read: any time), and at just 6 times per day, this wasn't to be relied upon). I then walked down the main street, where I was of course hassled by every single person who wanted me in their shop. Stopping at the main supermarket I bought enough pot noodle for the rest of my trip, and thus did not need to be ripped off with tourist prices.

Paradise?

Paradise?


South Sea Island

South Sea Island

The following day I had booked myself an excursion to visit South Sea Island, and get my tropical/coral experience - something essentially summing up Fiji in my mind. I had also luckily planned it as such, that this would take place on the best day weather wise, making the experience even more enjoyable. After taking off from the exclusive resort and having to change to a small boat from a big one in the middle of the bay, we finally arrived on the island in time for Lunch, where we were also given free drinks all day, and were given opportunities to scuba dive, swim in the pool or the sea, view coral reefs, or relax - I had opted for the latter 2.

On South Sea Island

On South Sea Island


"Coral Reefs"

"Coral Reefs"

However the coral reefs were a mild disappointment, with the sea being rough and the coral being destroyed by the very submersible we were viewing it from - but there were still a few active bits, so it wasn't completely a waste of time. The island itself was beautiful, a real paradise, and well worth the visit. The rest of my trip, the final 4 days, consisted of me relaxing at the resort, and the final 2 days were the two nicest I spent there - however this came to back to bite me, as after spending 4 hours on the penultimate day sunbathing, smothering myself in sun cream, I still ended up epically burned!

All in all, Fiji was interesting and I'm pleased I visited, but the hassling and overpriced resort nature of the destination did make the trip less enjoyable than it could have been.

Next stop: Yesterday in LA

Posted by kmmk17 12:00 Archived in Fiji Tagged beach island rtw Comments (0)

The Balaton

Central Europe - Balaton

semi-overcast 22 °C
View Central Europe on kmmk17's travel map.

Lake Balaton

Lake Balaton

The second part of the trip involved visiting Lake Balaton in the west of Hungary. We stayed in the resort town of Keszthely, where there was a lovely beach into the shallow lake which was rather refreshing after the hot weather of recent. This was also the first place I had ever been where my German was actually required to get around - despite having lived in Germany for a year!

On the following day we took the trip to Sümeg, the village where my grandad lived until he escaped Hungary in 1956, and where the majority of the rest of his family still live.

Family Reunion

Family Reunion

Despite speaking no Hungarian, and most of them speaking no English, we were warmly welcomed and had a thoroughly enjoyable day getting to know them and visiting Sümeg Castle.

Sümeg Castle

Sümeg Castle


Lake Hévíz

Lake Hévíz

The following day we visited the spa town of Hévíz just up the road from Keszthely where the thermal lake had waters of 30˚C+, something I had yet to experience. The sun also left its mark on me that day, allowing me to sport a lovely sunburn for the next week. On our final day we relaxed a little as our next day involved a 5-leg travel into Austria and spent the day at the market hunting for Noodle scrapers!

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Hungary Tagged beach history family castle homeland Comments (0)

(Entries 26 - 28 of 28) Previous « Page 1 2 3 4 5 [6]