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Barcelona

After what felt like the longest travel day we’d ever done, we finally arrived in Barcelona, two hours and fifty-nine minutes after it was scheduled to arrive, and I’m not even joking, airline rules state that you can apply for compensation if you are more than three hours late to your destination, and according to the flight scheduling we arrived exactly one minute short of the three hours, the pilot must have put his foot down to get us there for that time.

We got off the plane, waited for immigration, waited another hour for the bags, then got to the train station and the ticket machine froze up for the final minute the train was in the station ready to leave, so we missed that and had to wait another half an hour for the next train.

By the time we got to the city center at 8pm, we had been travelling to here since 6pm the previous day, but the flight is only supposed to take seven-and-a-half hours.

Within ten minutes of being out in the city, we’d obviously forgotten all about the numerous delays and the fact we’d been awake for thirty-six hours already, we were throwing Cava back like we’d just discovered Barcelona for the first time all over again.

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Grand Cayman

We landed in Grand Cayman on the Wednesday afternoon, we were going to be staying for 11 days and staying with family here; Dawn, Rich and their daughter Chloe. To be honest, Stac was really nervous, we hadn’t stayed in any oneย  place for 11 days on this trip, so the thought of staying in somebody else home, somebody who she’d only met once before, and I had never met, actually petrified her. It didn’t bother me, we’re used to getting to know strangers, it’s part of the fun of travelling.

Within a couple of hours, all her nerves and angst had disappeared, it turned out that Dawn was exactly the same, pacing up and down waiting for us to arrive because she was just as nervous as Stac, but we got to know each other, all get on well, and became the best of friends. Over the next week and a half, we explored everywhere together, we snorkeled most days, swam with turtles, went to pristine stunning beaches and got to see some stunning spots on what is an amazing island.

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Cuba

We’re currently sat in the airport in La Habana, Cuba, waiting to fly to Grand Cayman, I thought this might be a good time to write this post, whilst the roller coaster of travelling in Cuba is still fresh in our memories. We’ve both been trying for two weeks to come up with adjectives to describe how we have felt whilst travelling here, it’s been up and down for the whole journey, Cuba, in every sense, is unique.

Today, we’ve been on the road for eleven months, and we just can’t really compare Cuba to anywhere else we’ve been so far. When we leave a country, almost every time we summarise it based on the people, there’s the other important things like the food, the costs, the ease of travelling and meeting new friends, but the people are always the lasting memory.

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Chile

It was almost time to leave Argentina and pass over to the other side of the Andes in to Chile, we booked a bus for the afternoon and had a walk in the morning to a small waterfall and scenic area that our guest house had recommended and shown us on a map. The lady at the guest house had assured us it was about twenty minutes walk away, and that buses ran that way so we could get a bus either way.

We set off walking, a bus never passed us, and we eventually arrived over one-hour and about 6 kilometres later, then quickly realised that it was an hour walk back, our bus left in two hours and we hadn’t eaten yet today. We had a very quick look around the lake-front, then set off and walked the full hour back, of course, five minutes before we arrived back in town, the bus passed us for the first time.

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Auckland and the North

A few days before our flight from Melbourne to Auckland, I got an e-mail from Air New Zealand about bidding for an upgrade on our flight, we’ve only flown economy so far this year, so I thought I would put in a bid and hope it was accepted. A few days before the flight, we got another e-mail confirming that the bid was accepted, and we would be flying in premium class this time, we got far too excited about this ๐Ÿ™‚

It turned out, when you arrive at an Air NZ premium check-in desk, looking like a backpacker and messing around packing the straps away on the backpacks, they automatically assume we don’t belong in premium, and a member of staff pulled us out of the queue to go to economy check-in.

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Melbourne & Great Ocean Road

Over the last few years, we’ve heard nothing but good things about Melbourne, it’s ultra-hip and trendy cafe culture, the amazing food and good wine, the stylish centre, river front and parks. People fall over themselves to tell you what a great place it is, and travel blogs love to claim that it is the most livable city in the world.

It took us less than a day of being in Melbourne to realise that it wasn’t the Utopia it is made out to be by so many. When Melbourne gets rated the best city in the world to live, that’s probably for the people who get good jobs there who make a LOT more money there than they would elsewhere and therefore can afford the over-priced hipster offerings throughout the city.

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Adelaide & Barossa Valley

A quick morning-flight from Sydney and we were already landing in another of Australia’s big cities, Adelaide. I think in the two hours and 1,000 or so miles from the outskirts of Sydney to the outskirts of Adelaide, you must pass over about twenty houses at most.

It is a bizarre expanse of nothingness Australia, a place where everybody lives in the main urban centres and the huge area in the middle is almost completely empty. We picked up our car from the airport, a brand-new Toyota Corolla, and drove the one-hour trip up in to the Barossa Valley.

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Sydney

We flew from Gold Coast to Sydney and landed before lunch time ready to head in to the city. A couple of weeks earlier we had booked a hire car for Sydney to use for the five days we’d be here, but soon after we looked in to parking costs and it is horrifically expensive in Sydney, so we cancelled the hire car and decided we’d be using public transport instead ๐Ÿ™‚

We treated ourselves to a nice apartment again in Sydney, overlooking the city and the harbour bridge and opera house, except, when we arrived, we found we had been stuck in a back apartment overlooking a building site in a run-down room, we complained, and they upgraded us a two bedroom apartment with the view we had been wanting, so it all worked out great.

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Brisbane, Byron Bay and Gold Coast

We arrived in Brisbane to an apartment on the outskirts of the city centre that we had booked, and we couldn’t believe our luck. The previous night we had stayed in an actual shed, now we were staying in a one-bedroom apartment with a large living and kitchen area, a big outside terrace overlooking the city and mostly free parking outside as it was a weekend. It felt like a dream. It even had a washing machine and tumble dryer, Stac was like a kid on Christmas day.

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Road Trip – Queensland Coast

We set off from cairns and headed south without a real plan of where we were going, all we knew was that we wanted to be in Brisbane in around 8 days time. The first day we drove down the main highway and stopped after an hour in Innisfail, we were just stopping as the weather was nice so we thought we would have a breakfast picnic by the river. This all went great for about the first five minutes, then we noticed a full marching band and street procession turning the corner at the top of the road and heading down towards us, we’ve still no idea what was happening, because we packed our things up and moved on before it arrived.

An hour later we stopped in Mission Beach, after a couple of ‘tourist routes’ which are drives sign-posted by the government to direct tourists on nice drives through scenic areas, rather than just driving the main highway. These are great but usually just involve passing endless sugarcane fields, so I think it might actually be a wind-up by the Queensland government sending you round in circles.

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