A woman with wanderlust, I decided to become a home based travel agent to justify my travel. I love discovering everything this beautiful wide world has to offer and would love to hit 60 by 60!
  • Day3

    Day 3 One down, one to go

    November 11, 2022 in France ⋅ ☁️ 9 °C

    Day 3 and it’s time for Kat to go home this morning. Luckily we got up before our alarms and Kat had an Uber booked for the trip to the airport. The original plan had been for both of us to go to the airport in the morning. I’d say goodbye to Kat there, pick up my backpack from left luggage, drop both bags at the hotel and head back to the city for the day. Well, as has happened since we got to Paris, things don’t go as planned. Yesterday, I was checking the train times and how long it would take to get to the airport. Timings were about the same as when we arrived but, no B line trains to the airport today. There would be an additional 2 station changes early in the morning, and then a bus. Kat’s bag is heavy due to her dive gear. No way she can be lugging it up and down stairs all over the place. She decided to just suck it up and get an Uber, which she booked last night. I mentioned yesterday how tired we were. Well this was proved out while waiting for the Uber this morning - Kat realized she booked it for 7:50PM, not AM!! Luckily, she had some spare time and was able to get a new booking for 8:30am. Also, she is first class back home so has priority check in and security clearance. Makes a big difference in how long it takes to navigate the airport arrivals process.

    Once Kat had left, I went back to the room for a lovely hot bath!! I have been dying for a bath, for weeks and weeks. It was so lovely to soak in a hot tub! I was not sure what to do about my day now. I didn’t want to go to the airport hotel too early, and I didn’t want to drag my bag around the city. So, I left my bag at the hotel and went on a walking tour of Montmartre. I did do this last time I was in Paris, but each tour is a bit different and I had a lovely time as the guide took us throughout Montmartre and talked about the history, the artists that lived there and the uniqueness of the area. Grabbed a quick lunch after the tour and headed back to the hotel to collect my bag.

    I had fully intended to pick up some lovely truffles for the family, and nice French cheeses for Keith. I stopped in the truffle shop this morning and noted they were open until 7pm. Also stopped at the Fromaggerie and saw they were open until 7pm as well. Perfect as I didn’t want to carry either on my walking tour. When I was headed back to the station, both were closed!!!! No explanation for the truffle shop, but the cheese store did have a note saying they were closing at 1pm in Armistice Day (today) that I had not seen previously. What a bummer!!! I decided not to get macrons instead (as a normal person visiting France would), as I don’t think anyone in my family is keen on them. There goes that idea. 8 weeks away and I am only bringing stuff back for myself 😂 (and a small thing for the grandie’s, from Spain). Probably a first.

    I hopped on the metro, did my 2 changes and caught the bus to the airport. It wasn’t too bad, but I had 1 less change than Kat would have had, and a much smaller and lighter case. Had to pay an extra day for my bag storage, but that’s ok. I struggled with whether or not to even leave it since it was so expensive. But not having to lug it around - especially today since it’s a holiday and transit is really busy - was worth every €€. Including the extra 10€ I had to pay for the extra day today.

    Got to the hotel around 6pm finally and spent the evening organizing my bags, posting and chilling out. It’s been a crazy couple of days! Hoping I can prevail upon the bartender to open my small bottle of Rosé wine. When in France…..
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    Traveler

    Awesome

    11/11/22Reply
    Traveler

    The history is amazing

    11/11/22Reply
    Traveler

    Really is! I’d have loved to live here back then!

    11/11/22Reply
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  • Day2

    Day 2 - National Strike Day

    November 10, 2022 in France ⋅ ☁️ 9 °C

    Day 2 and we find we are thwarted by a National strike. The Metro and buses are affected, as are tourist attractions and heaven knows what else. Some things are open, some are not. Some bus and train lines running, some on complete shut down and some on partial shut down. We had big plans for the day, so headed out early.

    We had all the line closures and partial open times written down and we were prepared We are staying in the Montmartre area and although supposed to be open in rush hour, our local station was shut up tighter than a drum.. Now what? Thankfully we had given ourselves lots of time. So, on went my data and we started walking. We were headed to the Eiffel Tower, and it was just over an hours walk from where we were - not including the 10mins we had already taken to get to the station. Off we go! We knew there was a chance the Eiffel Tower would not be open, due to the strike, as I had had an email the day before. We had purchased our tickets 2 months ago, so fingers were crossed. I had checked the website and my email, and no updates had been added. On the way there, we stopped at the Statue of Liberty flame. This was gifted to France from the US and is set as a memorial to Princess Diana at the entrance to the tunnel she died in.

    When we arrived at the Eiffel Tower, we were thrilled that the gates were open and we were allowed in! As we walked around at the base taking photos, Kat was in awe. I’ve been before, but it is still a magnificent sight! There was no one in line for the elevators. Wait….there was no one in line anywhere, and the info booth was shuttered and dark. I checked the website again and now the update was there. Closed for the day. 🥲. Are you kidding me??? The security personnel that Kat us in are obviously not in the same union as the rest of the workers. Well, hell. Only upside that I could see is that Graham, Kat’s husband had asked her to save some of the sights for when they go to Paris together (sometime in the future). Eiffel Tower ✅.

    What to do now? Catacombs is open and we need to be there for 1:30pm which is when we booked for. So we have just enough time to walk to the Arc D’ Triomphe (30 mins back the way we came) AND get to the catacombs on foot if we can not get on the metro. Line 1 was apparently running all day and this would work for us IF it really was open. We decide to give it a shot. Only tickets available start at 12:30, but we figure maybe we can get some on the spot when we get there. On arrival, there are armed military personnel walking around, and some kind of ceremony happening under the arch. Looks like it could be a Rememberance Day service, a day early. Who knows - but the ticket office is closed so we can only take our photos and wander a bit. We consoled ourselves that we were getting to see a lot of Paris, with all the walking! So Arc D’ Triomphe for Kat and Graham to see together ✅.

    Next up - the Catacombs of Paris. This IS open. Website says they have to close by 5 due to the strike, which is fine by us! We check the route map and head for line 1. Open -yeehaw!! When we get to the interchange station, Line B is also open as it is SNCF and not affected by the strike. We get to our destination with 1.5hrs to spare and head to this amazing and eclectic cafe for a fabulous lunch. Kat is able to get escargot which she loves (and they did them beautifully) and I got a house made country style pâté which was also wonderful. Rest of the lunch was lovely as well and we headed to the Catacombs with happy tummies.

    The Catacombs are are located twenty meters underground in a maze of galleries (only some of which are open to the public). The area is an ossuary containing the remains of approx 6 million Parisians, according to records. The Catacombs were installed in the tunnels of former quarries. and this unique site recalls the history of quarrying in Paris and how the Catacombs came to be in the old quarries. Preparation work began shortly after a 1774 series of basement wall collapses around the Holy Innocents' Cemetery added a sense of urgency to the cemetery-eliminating measure, and from 1786, nightly processions of covered wagons transferred remains from most of Paris's cemeteries to a mine shaft opened near the Rue de la Tombe-Issoire. The ossuary remained largely forgotten until it became a novelty-place for concerts and other private events in the early 19th century; after further renovations and the construction of accesses around Place Denfert-Rochereau, it was opened to public visitation from 1874. Since 2013, the Catacombs have numbered among the fourteen City of Paris Museums managed by Paris Musées. Although the ossuary comprises only a small section of the underground mines of Paris, Parisians currently often refer to the entire tunnel network as the catacombs. Although I have seen bone chapels in Portugal, they are nothing at all compared to this. The Catacombs of Paris defy anything you can believe, just by the sheer quantity of bones in these tunnels. I loved the audio guide and the history of this unique site!

    Next on our list was to get photos at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris and then head to Sainte Chapelle. The Sainte-Chapelle is a royal chapel in the Gothic style, the residence of the Kings of France until the 14th century. We were able to get back on the B line and come out right at Notre-Dame. There is a ton of construction here and I don’t even know if it was open. We took our photos and headed over to Sainte Chapelle. Oh look - closed due to a “social action”, which we assumed was the strike. Lots of police and barricades, so maybe it WAS something else. We walked all around the Halls of justice block (about 2km!!) but there was no way to even see Sainte Chapelle from the outside. Sainte Chapelle for Graham and Kat ✅.

    Time was starting to run out for us as we had tickets to Moulin Rouge and needed to get back to our hotel to change and have dinner first. We were nowhere near a metro line that would get us to where we are staying, so we were on the hoof again. Luckily, we were able to take a short detour to go and see the outside of the Louvre and the Pyramids. We did this, took a few photos and marched on. As we got close to the Opera house, we were able to take a Metro line that took about 25 mins off our walk, thankfully. We then only had another 25 mins to go to our hotel and made it back by 5:15, after stopping for some cheap wine to bring home.

    Quick change and out the door for dinner and then the show. Dinner was amazing and so much food we could not eat it. We could easily have shared! It was a 3 course meal for 30€, so good value - especially for what we got!

    Both of us were dying. Our feet and ankles were killing us and we were just plain exhausted. It’s been a whirlwind couple of days, for sure. But, we still had Moulin Rouge to attend! We stayed in this area specifically because it was close to Moulin Rouge - and so lucky we did as it’s only 10mins walk from the hotel. We were early and got a great table to watch the show. Our tickets came with half a bottle of champagne (each), and it’s a wonderful way to go! The costumes during the show were magnificent. The show itself - meh. We were both a bit disappointed, to be honest. It was crazy expensive and we would rather have seen Cirque du Soleil. There was dancing and of course the Can-Can. But, there was no “theme”. Each act seemed to be a small act unto itself and there was no consistency (other than lots of titties on display) between them. There were also acrobatic acts (balance, strength and acrobatic roller skating) and these were far and above better than the dancing. The show was over 1.5 hrs long and I can honestly say that both of us fell asleep at one point or another during the show!! We were happy when it ended and could escape back to the hotel. I think we were in our beds in record time!! Kat leaves in the morning and now has to Uber, due to the reduced service on the metro, for Armistance Day. She heads out before 8am, so a good sleep was needed.

    Just to note, we walked over 32,000 steps and almost 24 km yesterday, thanks to the National Strike Day!
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    Traveler

    What a lot of ground you two covered in one day! Way to go. Darn strike. But you made the best of it. Safe travels home! ❤️

    11/11/22Reply
    Traveler

    Thanks Anne!

    11/11/22Reply
    Traveler

    Holy moly! This was a weeks’s worth of touring all squeezed into a single day. Too bad about the strike..disappointing for you both but you got to see so much. I can only imagine how your legs and feet must have felt. Wow!

    11/11/22Reply
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  • Day1

    Day 1 - Arrival - Let’s GO!!

    November 9, 2022 in France ⋅ 🌙 10 °C

    Day 1 - We finally arrived in Paris after a very long day. We Left the island at 3pm. Had a 45 min boat ride, 20 min domestic flight, 3hr 50min international flight, another 7hr international flight and over 7hrs in airport waiting time! On arrival we got our tourist cards purchased for transportation, checked my backpack at the airport left luggage store and bought our tickets for Versaille. Then it was off to the city we went!

    Got to our hotel to freshen up and drop our bags and then left to go straight to Versailles and get some lunch. Lunch was the supermarket. Load of French bread that we sliced, fry ham and salami, sliced cheese and two small bottles of wine. This we ate in the train to Versailles. We were so engrossed in chatting and our lovely lunch that neither of us noted we were going the wrong way. We knew Versailles was at the end of the train line and that it would take about an hour. So, we sat there patiently until the train got to the end of the line. Shame it wasn’t the end we needed!!! After mild panic, we worked out where we were - and we were WAY out of the way!! We had been in the right line, but must have grabbed the wrong train. We headed all the way back and we’re able to successfully navigate to the correct train. Versailles wasn’t as far away as we thought and we were there within half an hour of getting the correct train. But holy heck, way to waste 4 freaking hours (from time we started)!!

    Our SNCF adventure left us short on time for the visit. There were some areas that Kat wanted to see specifically (the Kings apartments and Hall of Mirrors) so we hit them up first. The palace is stunning. Everything is so over-the-top as far as decor goes. The King’s bedchamber and the Queen’s were amazing. The King’s was all gold gilt and red, and the Queen’s all tapestry and roses. Beautiful paintings throughout, sculpture and painted ceiling. The hall of mirrors was incredible!! We were also able to take a little train ride throughout the grounds and gardens. It was getting cool as the sun set while we were on this. By the time we got back to the palace, areas had started to close down for the day, so we decided we were happy with what we had seen, and headed back to the metro.

    Next stop, Eiffel Tower to see it all lit up at night - and it was well worth the stop! Absolutely beautiful!! We also wanted to go on a Seine river boat cruise. We were able to find one that fit our timeline and opted for dinner first, then the cruise. Dinner here is not rushed or quick, much to our dismay. We had a cruise to catch in an hour and only just made it. The cruise was interesting but I think it would have been better during the day. Saying that, it was beautiful to see all the sights lit up at night.

    After the cruise, we were both ready to pass out with exhaustion. It was 9pm and we had only had short cat naps on the planes. Both of us needed our beds in a bad way. Half an hour to get to our hotel and we were both out cold as soon as our heads hit the pillows!!
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    Traveler

    Oh My!!! Beautiful. I love Paris. I will see you again some day!

    11/10/22Reply
    Traveler

    ❤️

    11/11/22Reply
    Traveler

    Love this shot!

    11/10/22Reply
    Traveler

    Me too!

    11/11/22Reply
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  • Day8

    Day 8 - The end of this chapter

    November 8, 2022 on the Maldives ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Day 8 and we depart the Maldives today.

    After breakfast, we headed to the pool area for our final morning of sunshine. However, with lots of clouds, there wasn’t as much as we have had in previous days. Kat went for a long walk while I read in the pool. We both had a last dip in the sea before the black clouds unleashed the rain. We sat in the deck watching the rain, while staying dry under the sun umbrella. The island is obviously sad to see us go! Like most showers we have experienced here, it did not last long. This is however, monsoon season. We have been fortunate that it generally rains at night, with stunning sunshine all day.

    Check out was 2pm so we headed back to the room early, for showers and last minute packing. Before we left, Farid came to say goodbye (and obviously clean after we left). He was amazing to us and we both gave him a big hug.

    We settled our account and we’re happy to see a 50% reduction of our lunch bill, that we had complained about. This went a long way to making us feel a bit better about the whole situation.

    We sat by the ocean for a while as we waited for our speedboat transfer. It was beautiful but sad. As much as I have loved it and as long as the week seemed, I wasn’t actually ready to leave this beautiful island. The transfer was 45 mins late and I did worry we would not get back to Male in time for our evening departure, as we still had a domestic flight to catch too.

    Male airport was a bit of a nightmare. Security to enter, slowest check-in line I have ever been in (no word of a lie), passport control and then security again. Took over 2 1/4 hrs for all this. When we got to the gate, the flight started boarding 5 mins later. Oh - and no wifi except in arrivals and a spot for about 2mins near passport control. Got out in time and headed to Paris!
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    Traveler

    😢

    11/9/22Reply
    Traveler

    😮 very cool

    11/9/22Reply
    Traveler

    What a wonderful place!

    11/9/22Reply
    Traveler

    Inc it was so amazing. I would go back in a heartbeat!

    11/10/22Reply
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  • Day6

    Day 6 - Not what we planned

    November 6, 2022 on the Maldives ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Day 6 and today we were excited to get up early. We had booked a Manta Ray snorkel tour and couldn’t wait. We had talked to other guests that said if we do any tour while we were here, this is the one to do. You get to go to 3 or 4 sites, and swim with the massive manta rays. They guides know the feeding and cleaning stations and they get you up close and personal. Bring it on!!

    We got to the dive centre early as requested, and they gave all of us (24 had signed up) a briefing in the mantas and their physiology, how to interact with them and rules about no touching them etc. then off we went on the boat. It was to be a 3 hr tour and our first stop was about 20 mins away. Well, no stop at 20 mins. Or 40, 60 or 80. They slowed the boat down a few times, they radioed other boats and companies. Nothing. Not a manta to be seen anywhere. So after over 2hrs on the boat, they went round and told us we were stopping at a beautiful reef. They often see lemon sharks, reef sharks, rays, turtles and sometimes mantas here because it’s a “cleaning station”. Off the boat we go. We likely snorkelled for 30mins. Nothing exciting at all. All the regular fish we have seen, corals and about a dozen small jellyfish stings were all I got out of it!! Back in the boat and within 10 mins or so, we are back at the resort. What the actual heck??? That’s it, that’s all? And the girls from the dive center not only came round to collect our signatures that we had been on the trip (bye bye $125 USD for the two of us) but also to ask for tips. Uuummm….no. They didn’t DO anything to warrant a tip. 30 mins in the water. And to be honest, we have seen more snorkelling on our own (for free) at the house reef. Not happy at all with this excursion. Now before you get your knickers in a twist, I KNOW sightings are not guaranteed. These are creatures in their natural habitats and they may not always be where you expect them. But look - we didn’t even get the water time we anticipated. We got 30 mins out of a three hour boat ride. And that’s not ok. It wasn’t an excursion boat where we had someone telling us things about the local area, stories, or teaching us something. It was the paying guests sitting on the boat in their little groups or parties while the dive staff stayed out in the bow of the ship together, looking for mantas. Whatever. More money wasted but it is what it is. I did see two flying fish and the fin of a dolphin, along with all the jelly stings. Woohoo…

    After the abortive manta snorkel, Kat and I hit the pool deck for a couple of hours. Same old, same old. Back to the room to shower and change and then the Thari bar as usual. We did get a print out of our bill so far (slight sticker shock!) and I cancelled the massage I had planned for tomorrow. Figure I’ve spent enough and not gotten great value (except for the gin bar hahaha). It was spitting rain when we left the room and for a short while when we were at the bar. We went down to the water to get some photos and lo and behold, we were in time to catch a lovely rainbow too!

    I know I’m bitching about this tour and our expensive lunch. But honestly, these and some nickel and dining at the dive shop have been the only not good parts. The food, beach, snorkelling, our villa and most of all, the people - have all been amazing. A few things out a damper on the trip but it has mostly been excellent!!

    Tomorrow is our last full day, so we will likely make the most of it by doing nothing, again :-). Kat will still go for her massage in the late afternoon but I think other than that, there is just sun, sea, sand and snorkelling in our future. And maybe a couple of drinks at the gin bar 😁
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    Traveler

    ❤️

    11/6/22Reply
    Traveler

    Lol

    11/6/22Reply
    Traveler

    That’s funny

    11/6/22Reply
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  • Day5

    Day 5 - Lazy, lovely day

    November 5, 2022 on the Maldives ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Day 5 at Reethi Faru and really, nothing happening. Like, nothing! Another day of sheer decadent laziness. Late breakfast, hung out at the pool area until 2:30, read, went for dips in the pool and applied lots of sunscreen.

    Kat went for a snorkel in the morning, but the water was too rough. Visibility was about 2ft if you were lucky and she got pushed into the sea barrier twice. She decided it wasn’t worth it and came back to the pool deck.

    After leaving the pool area, we came back to the room briefly before hitting the beach for a walk, swim and more lounging around.

    Thari Bar for a couple of G&Ts before dinner and a wonderful Indian themed meal. Kat decided to go for an evening walk after her shower and I hung out with a tea in our room.

    I did finally get photos of one of the cute little iguanas that are always skittering across the paths. A photo of one of the turtle nesting areas and one of the float planes that land here 5 or 6 times a day. Those were the highlights of the day lol!
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    Traveler

    😍

    11/5/22Reply
    Traveler

    FAB U LOUS!

    11/5/22Reply
    Traveler

    Perfection!

    11/5/22Reply
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  • Day4

    Day 4 - No committments!

    November 4, 2022 on the Maldives ⋅ 🌙 27 °C

    Day 4 on this stunning island, and another relaxing day.

    Both of us are slightly sunburnt from previous days, so today is mostly a shade, read and hydrate kind of day.

    Started off with a good breakfast and grabbed a couple of eggs and fruit for later so as not to be caught out with extortionate lunch prices again 🤣. When we got back to our room to collect our bags for the day, there was a real mattress leaning against our villa wall. When we were leaving, we saw Farid our room steward. He had noticed the futon that Kat is sleeping in had an indentation from the daily use. So he had a mattress brought over so she could be more comfortable (even though she has not been uncomfortable). He is going above and beyond for us. Yesterday Kat left $10 on the bed as we wanted to show our appreciation to him. He commented on that today and was so very happy and appreciative. Tips here are not expected (as they are in many other places), but they are truly appreciated.

    We had decided to try a different beach spot today so we could vary our snorkelling and swimming spots. Over to the other side of the island we go. We also wanted to check out the overwater bungalows, so hit the beach near there. This area is not what they class as a “public beach” with loungers - those are only located on the beach near us, and at the pool area. This may seem a bit silly as I doubt there are more than a total of 60 loungers over those two areas. But - anyone in a beach villa, beach villa with plunge or infinity pool or those in overwater bungalows, all have their own loungers on the beach (or their deck). And they likely hang out at their villas most of the time. I know both Kat and I have said if we had had a beach villa we would never leave lol!! They are quite private and you have your own slice and view of the ocean - without the hassle of people hanging out ruining your view. Back tot he beach - the water by the Reethi Grill, near the overwater bungalows, is beyond amazing!!

    We left our things at a table under a palapa and walked out to the overwater area. So beautiful!! However, due to the damage to the reef in this area from construction (they’ve killed it!) I don’t think this is a room category I would want to stay in. You can’t just slip into the water from your room and snorkel the reef (as Kat said) because there isn’t much to see on a dead reef. Sad, really. Saying that though, we did talk to a couple who this morning had seen two small rays and a black tipped reef shark in the area near the overwaters. So, who knows. Either way, they looked very nice from what I could see on the outside.

    When we got back to the beach area, I went for a dip and Kat went for a short and disappointing snorkel. She said the reef is dead and / or dying in the whole area and there was very little fish life. We decided to move on the pool area and house reef. This time we went out together and went to the drop off again. Visibility is better away from the shore and breaking waves (obviously), so by going to the drop off area, we see more. I am still having mask issues (it’s not mine and doesn’t fit properly - think I grabbed Keith’s in error) so only went for a short while before turning back.M to sort out my mask. Thought I had it done and headed back out by myself - Kat was half way to “our” beach by that point. I saw some amazing fish including one that was almost invisible but iridescent as it moved, a purple guy with orange lips, a black one with two orange things in it’s tail and some orange on the top fin, and one that looked almost rectangular and the colour of cement with black spots. Need to look them up. Kat saw two sting rays and a black tipped reef 🦈!

    Rest of the day was spend lounging by the pool, reading and just generally chilling out.

    We headed over to the Thari Bar around 5:30pm. Vinnie must have been missing us as he said “I was going to message you because I thought you forgot to come” 😂. You know you are a regular when…! We were much more restrained tonight and both only had theee (fabulous) G&Ts. The biggest issue is not the gin. It’s the damned little munchie snacks he serves with them! We end up nibbling our way through them and can then only eat a small about of dinner (real food!), or risk ending up bloated and feeling gross. And the food here, especially dinners, is SO good. Ah well….choices. And we choose gin :-)

    Kat needed a walk after dinner and I decided to sit on our porch with a cup of tea. I wanted to enjoy the evening warmth and night sounds, which are a lovely end to a great day!
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    Traveler

    Wow!

    11/5/22Reply
    Traveler

    Pretty amazing

    11/5/22Reply
    Traveler

    Awe!!! Love!

    11/5/22Reply
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  • Day3

    Day 3 - Reethi Faru Eco Luxury Reaort

    November 3, 2022 on the Maldives ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Today we actually made it to breakfast 😂. Kat had a scuba dive check in to ensure she knew her skills, so wanted to have a light breakfast first. Since we didn’t plan to eat again until dinner (after yesterday’s lunch fiasco!!) I too decided to eat. Once Kat was on her way with the instructor and other diver, I hung out at the infinity pool. Beautiful views!!

    After the dive, Kat came and found me and we headed back to our room to collect beach stuff. The dive was “ok” but nothing to write home about. The visibility was better yesterday on our snorkel than today in the dive. She did see a sting ray, plenty of starfish and a cool sea anemone that she was allowed to touch (you are not generally allowed to touch anything underwater!). She is unsure if she will even bother with another dive or not. We did sign up for a manga ray snorkel tour, but that’s not til Sunday.

    We headed to the beach for another relaxing day. Honestly, it was pretty perfect. Sun and cloud, but with a breeze and lots of sunscreen. We read our books, cooled down in the ocean, read and dozed, and went snorkelling. We wanted to go the other way to the way we yesterday. Kat went out to the drop off and followed it along to near the boat launch pier, then walked back. I left after she did and went to the drop off as well, snorkelled along for a bit and then back, before walking down the beach to meet her. For some reason, I am having an issue with getting too close to the coral, and snorkelling on my own. And this is so not like me. Normally I am first one in the water and will snorkel for hours. Not sure why I am getting myself so worked up but I hope it goes away as it’s crimping my style!! Totally forgot to go get my bp checked again, but that’s ok. I’m not really bothered about diving anyway. Thinking those days are over if I can’t even be comfortable snorkelling for heavens sake!!!

    After the beach we came back to shower and change for our “romantic” sunset cruise. As we were still early, we paid a visit to Vinnie at the gin bar for a couple of drinks before the trip. I mean half price, right?!

    The boat trip was lovely. To start with. We were able to sit on the roof of the boat, chat and watch the islands go by. Then it started to spit. Then rain. Then the heavens opened and it poured down. We ended up back at the dock 20mins earlier than we were supposed to. The only benefit was the stunning sunset photos we got (rain had stopped).

    Headed back for another gin while we waited for the buffet to open at 7:30pm and then went to dinner. It was Italian night and I have to say, they do local better than Italian. It was still good, but night 1 is still our favourite.

    Long day of doing pretty much bugger all, and we are both exhausted! Time for an early night so we can get up and repeat our lazy day tomorrow!! Loving this trip so far. Just what was needed!
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    Traveler

    Beautiful!

    11/3/22Reply
    Traveler

    😄

    11/3/22Reply
    Traveler

    This photo is resort website worthy! What a great picture!

    11/3/22Reply
    Traveler

    ❤️ thx!

    11/3/22Reply
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  • Day2

    Day 2 - The first full day

    November 2, 2022 on the Maldives ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Today was our first full day. Well, almost full….we slept late and missed breakfast. Oh well, it was almost lunch so we figured we would survive until then. I am not a breakfast eater in general, so I wasn’t overly bothered. We had woken up at 6:20, but both fell right back to sleep. We only woke up when we did because our room guy Farid, was knocking on the door. I think we were messing with his cleaning schedule :-) He comes twice a day - once in the morning to clean and make up the room, and once in the evening to turn down the beds and replenish any supplies. I could get used to this!! Wonder if Keith want as to make some extra money being my “room boy” at home?! Farid told us it was 9:30, so we rushed to dress so we didn’t miss the breakfast. But when we looked at the time, it was 10:07am. Too late.

    Since breakfast wasn’t on the cards, we headed to the beach. Today was our day to chill after all the travel of the last two days. Hello pretty lounge chairs and white sand! Where have you been all my life?? Slather ourselves in sunscreen and we are good to go! A bit of reading, a lot of sweating and a snorkel 🤿 before lunch. Heaven!! Kat had gone way out and I lost her for a bit. I stayed closer to shore as I had found it hard to navigate through all the coral. Just that quick snorkel (without fins) gave us a good taste of what was to come.

    Headed to the buffet for lunch and we knew it wasn’t included in our plan. Whatever. It’s the buffet. Food was good - but not stellar like the evening meal. Dessert again we edible but not the best. We ordered water as our only drink as we were both feeling a bit dehydrated from the sun. Before we leave, we are presented with our bill to sign -$130USD!!! What the actual F*#@???? Yeah - buffet is $55 USD pp, plus 23.5% gratuity and tax. And the water. Lesson learned the hard way!!! Ask prices before eating or drinking anything that isn’t included!!!! We did go to reception to complain, but they couldn’t have cared less. I tried the argument that even if we had been offered a menu (which we weren’t), the buffet prices were not listed - only the a la carte prices. There are how we other restaurants and if we had gone to ANY of them, we would likely have gotten a better lunch at half the price. I’m trying to “let it go” but am a bit salty about it. Breathe and move on Diane. Breathe and move on. Won’t make that mistake again!!!

    One interesting thing at lunch - we saw a big fruit bat. I had no idea these flew around during the day. Cool!

    After lunch, we headed to the dive centre so I could rent some fins and Kat could pick hers up. It is so hot and humid here that you literally sweat while just standing still. Sweat a lot! Anyway, with the fins, snorkelling was about to get so much better!!! We headed out as soon as we got back to our chairs. We were planning on sticking together, and going out to the drop off where the house reef ended. This was all good until I started panicking a bit about how close I was when swimming over the coral. I have no idea why it was freaking me out, but I had to stop and go back towards shore. Kat kept going. Once I calmed the heck down, I headed back down the beach toward where she was, and was able to navigate through and over the coral here without freaking. Finally caught up to her but was having knee issues and a charlie horse. For heavens sake!!!! After a minute stretching, we continued and Kat took me back to where she had seen a sea turtle. There is was!! We had found it again. After watching and following for a couple of minutes, Kat was pointing furiously. Not sure why she was so excited …. It was only a freaking SHARK!! I mean seriously - seeing a sea turtle and a shark in the same 3 min period! We also saw so many new and different fish, beautiful (and healthy corals), star fish, sea slugs and so much more. Truly a wonderful snorkel. And all this just on our little bit of the house reef! I ended up going back about 10 mins before Kat as I kept getting a charlie horse. But I was so excited by what we had seen, I didn’t care :-) We chilled a bit after the snorkel and chatted with other guests about the diving. The fruit bat here was active and interesting to watch. They live in the trees and it flew around about five times as I watched.

    Time to head to the Thali Bar - it was Gin O’Clock and luckily, Kat is my gin buddy. Half price gin drinks for an hour! Yeehaw - we are in! Took us over 20 mins to find the stupid bar again, due to the trails and no arrows to this particular bar. So, we made up for lost time in a hurry!! We ended up staying almost 3 hours (closed the bar) and getting all the drinks at half price. Quite proud to say we tried every gin on the top shelf except the three we get at home. Two others we both tried but the rest of them one person tried a brand and the other had a sip so so we both sampled them all, in the end. Don’t even ask what the bill was or how many drinks we had. Suffice to say that luckily it was half price, and it came in less than our lunch bill as a result! We may have been slightly intoxicated and stumbled off to a late dinner. Neither of us were particularly hungry though, as the bartender kept giving us bowls of snacks with our drinks. Probably a good thing we were eating them, to be honest 😁.

    Dinner was really good, but we were both super full after only small portions. We decided to take a walk on the beach in the moonlight (how romantic lol!). As we walked, I kept thinking I saw bioluminescence. We didn’t think it was just a reflection from the moon. Finally, we did see a glow on the sand. It was absolutely something bioluminescent! On the way back, we found another glowing piece of - whatever it is. So at least I knew I wasn’t that tipsy that I was imagining things. Kat walked a bit longer than I did and came back to where I was sitting, wringing out here cover up. Apparently she had stopped to pick something up from the sand and a strong surge of water knocker her on her butt! I’d have paid to see that lol!!

    We headed back to our room and got ready for bed. I figured it would be another night of solid sleep as we were both exhausted. Pretty damn good first day in paradise!! (Ok, except for the lunch fiasco - but I’m letting it go!)
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    Traveler

    Oh my! You two are certainly living the GOOD LIFE. Such a gorgeous place. Enjoy each and every moment.

    11/3/22Reply
    Traveler

    We are!!! Back at the Thari Bar for a couple of gins before our boat tour!

    11/3/22Reply
    Traveler

    I am so jealous!

    11/3/22Reply
    Traveler

    ❤️

    11/3/22Reply
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  • Day1

    Day 1 - Getting to the Maldives

    November 1, 2022 on the Maldives ⋅ ☁️ 28 °C

    Day 1 - Spain to Male and Canada to Male

    The Maldives - the dream destination for myself, and many others. A honey moon spot and a place for friends and family.

    I had booked a Travelzoo coupon in May of 2020 (at the beginning of the pandemic), for an incredible $875 USD. This gave me a garden room for 2, half board (breakfast and dinner) and the transfer in to the island. On top of this price, I had to pay for any drinks (any and all), lunches, specialty restaurants, the mandatory “green tax” and the transfer back the mainland. The transfer and green tax were an additional $434 USD - so just over $1300 USD for a week, for 2 people. Add you international flight and it’s still a rocking deal. Keith was not interested in the long flights it takes to get here, so I asked my friend Kathryne - who was all in!!! We decided to hit Paris in the way home and really make it worth it!

    As I had already planned my Camino, we added the trip to the Maldives to the end - kind o like a reward :-). Booked all our airfare, our Paris hotels and activities and we were set to go.

    I left from Spain on the morning of the 31st of October. I flew via Abu Dhabi with a longish layover. Kat flew from Ottawa via Toronto and Vienna with a long enough layover that she could explore the city of Vienna. We met in Male airport. Kat had some issues getting through immigration, but eventually made it through :-). She brought my carry on sized suitcase with clothing for the next 10 days, so I had not had to carry it with me on my Camino. Bless her - I was desperate for a change of clothing as I was still in pilgrim chic!

    And the adventure continued. Next up was a 20 min flight (the wait time to board was longer than the flight) and then a speedboat ride of about 45 min. We finally arrived at Reefi Faru resort around 3pm on Nov 1. Great way to start the month.

    Our room is a beautiful cabin set in the gardens. King bed, futon couch, and an outdoor bathroom to kill for, including 2 showers. Goals!!! We have a porch and two lounge chairs, a drying rack for bathing suits and towels and a foot hose for getting sand off before entering. Everything is perfect!

    The resort is on an island - a decent sized island. White white sand, palm trees and a house reef where you can snorkel and dive. I have been in the fence about the diving and I met Kat know months ago that I may only snorkel. Since getting certified, I got entangled in the St Lawrence (which freaked me out after the fact) and have gained most of my hard lost weight back. I’ve been worried about my blood pressure as you should not dive if it’s high as it’s too risky. We went it the dive shop where Kat booked her check in dive (testing skills) and the girl at the counter told me there is a Dr on site that could check my BP. Let’s just say it was higher than he recommends for diving. Now I had had no sleep for over 30 hrs, had been on 3 flights and speedboat ride and had only been in the island 3hrs. He suggested I come back on the 3rd in the morning and have another try. If it’s not down, no diving. So, decision out of my hands. I am sure as heck not risking my life to see some fish etc. I am happy to snorkel.

    We also booked our free sunset cruise and a massage for the day before we leave. What the hell … we are on holiday!

    We went for a walk on the beach and then a swim as the sun was going down. The clouds were so soft and fluffy looking, and tinged with yellow, pink, orange and purple. There was literally no one else on the beach and it felt like we were on Gillian’s Island! Including the huts in the distance (in this case, Nula bar). It was a perfect way to end the long and drawn out travel to get to this island paradise.

    We went back to the room to shower and change for dinner. Appears I may have been a bit stressed when packing. Most of my stuff does not go with other items I packed, and I had not even considered adding in an adapter for this currency (same as UK). Kat to the resume as thankfully she had one. And I have a Doyle USB charger. So, teamwork pulled us through that one. Not so much the clothing situation lol! Dinner does not start until 7:30 and we were both ready to eat a horse. Thank heavens the food was AMAZING! Food from all over this part of the world. There were some items from Lebanon, Arabic items, Indian, and Italian (well, pasta - that counts, right?!). Everything was so good and flavourful. Desserts left a little to be desired, but no great loss if we don’t eat dessert!!

    All in all, the resort is fabulous, the staff is amazing and the food is brilliant. Let’s hope the rest of the week lives up to the standard set on the first day!!!
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    Traveler

    FAB U LOUS!

    11/2/22Reply
    Traveler

    WOW!

    11/2/22Reply
    Traveler

    Oh my God!!

    11/2/22Reply
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