A MONTH ABROAD RE-CAP
This is the longest we’ve been away on holiday all at one time. Ihaia hasn’t had 4 weeks off in a row from rugby as the breaks don’t work like that in NZ and in France the season goes for literally 11 months [10 months of games, around 1 month for preseason] so he had a 4 week break and you best believe we used every day of that!
We stayed a week in each place we went [Santorini, Ibiza, Amalfi Coast and Croatia] to have a balance of being busy and relaxing. A couple of places we definitely didn’t need that long there but that was the point of staying for the time we did, to include down days. To be exact if anyone was wanting timings; Santorini 5 nights & 5 days, Ibiza 5 nights & 6 days, Amalfi Coast 6 nights & 5 days, Croatia 6 nights & 7 days on board, 3 nights & 3 days in Split.
Previously before I’d go on holiday, I’d get my nails and lashes done, maybe a spray tan if I’m going from winter to summer and anything else I felt I needed. However this time, I didn’t. Because I don’t get any of that done here in France, I’m used to not having them done and have come to prefer it [for long trips] as I didn’t have to upkeep anything or find places to get something [eg: nails] re-done during the month away. Once a week I did a bit of “maintenance” where I cut my nails, plucked my eyebrows and did a facemask which was usually the last or first day in a place.
People love that we’re from New Zealand, its usually received with big smiles which is so nice as we’re proud to be from New Zealand and also missing home so we enjoyed talking about it where we could!
All airlines we flew with over the month were budget European airlines and its best to check in online before the day you fly. We’ve heard freak stories from airlines that purposely over-book flights for extra $$ and the last people to check in just don’t get on [I can’t even fathom how thats legal but it is]. We had 2 mares, one with Vueling when our luggage didn’t arrive in Ibiza but we got it back soon enough and the second was our last flight of the trip with Volotea from Split to Bordeaux. Our flight was at 9.50pm and they delayed us each hour for 5 hours, by then it was around 2am and we were told the airline couldn’t find a hotel for us so we had to sleep overnight in the terminal. When we woke up at 5am from the lights turning on for the first flight customers coming through, we were told that our new departure time was 5pm… PM!!! So another 12 hours to wait [?!?!?!]. Ihaia and I ended up booking a new earlier flight with a different airline because we just wanted to get home/had too as he started back at rugby the next day! So the airlines are a bit hit and miss. Nothing as reliable [or clean] as good old Air NZ.
We’ve never travelled with an international drivers licence before but we both had one from moving to France so took them with us and actually used them each time we hired a moped. We found them handy to have, for sure. They’re easy to get in NZ, it can all be done online and ours arrived within a week.
Hiring a quad/scooter is so much easier to get around & see things. You get to go at your own time and explore so much more. Better than taxis/buses/tour groups.
I had a list of language basics on my phone for each country we were visiting [hi, bye, please, thanks etc] and tried to use it as much as we could. Just the basics earn you respect from the locals and there’s no point in going anywhere foreign just to be like “HELLO CAN I PLEASE HAVE”…
The way you pay for meals is a game in itself. You get seated, order, eat, ask for the bill, the bill comes to the table, waiter walks away, you add your payment and wait for the waiter to come back, he comes back and takes the bill and if you do need change, please wait for that too. It honestly takes so long, I’m a big fan of get up and pay at the till ourselves type scenario.
Its been so cool seeing so much body diversity everywhere we went. I didn’t even try to loose any weight before this trip [I mean, I definitely thought about it but didn’t action it y’know…] and I’m usually not too openly fussed on how I look but I was quietly worried that I didn’t look like the girls on Instagram splashing in the ocean with their long slender limbs. But every place we went there were aaaaaall shapes and sizes rocking their thing and no-one glanced twice at anything. Also as its Europe, there were boobs galore from all ages and I was there for it. You go gals!
My heart cannot taaaaaake the stray animals. Tell me how to make a happy place for all of them to live and how to get them there and I’ll do it.
Ok funny story, so because I’m an anxious flyer I hardly ever get to sleep on planes. We had a 4am flight [Santorini to Ibiza] had stayed up from the morning before, all through the night and then went to the airport at 2am. We had a flight to Barcelona then a connecting one to Ibiza and I slept soundly through both of them! Ihaia had to wake me up landing both times, once to get off the tray I was leaning on to clip it back up and I can’t even remember taking off the second flight either which baffles me! So, if you’re an anxious flyer just make yourself that tired that you literally pass out. Worked for me *claps*!
We travelled the month of June and we honestly were so lucky with the weather. Everyday was 99.9% blue sky and sunshine. We only had maybe 2 cloudy days and didn’t see rain once.
After 4 weeks travelling, I am looking forward to being on solid ground for a long period of time. No driving crazy roads, squeezing into already packed buses and plane journeys.
Ihaia and I are lucky that we travel so well together. It was the best 4 weeks ever, we saw so much, have heaps of new memories together and are already looking forward to summer 2020!