08 January 2013

{Breathtaking Travel Experiences} by Jay

I'm so thrilled to have Jay of {From There to Here} taking over the blog today!  She has to be one of the coolest expat ladies to ever grace the likes of the blogosphere and she and her hubby Joe lead one seriously exciting life.  When I first "met" Jay, she was living as an expat in Gabon, although she and her husband have since moved to Norway where they live in one of the most beautiful flats overlooking the sea.  On top of their "normal" life, Jay is often travelling around Europe and blogging about their adventures.  Needless to say, she's one of my favorite daily reads :)

- - - - -

Hello friends & readers of Jenna!

I'm honoured to be taking over "A Home Away From Home" today while Jenna's off exploring Namibia.

Travel is amazing, isn't it?  My husband and I were just speaking about this recently.  The ability to be able to be standing on one continent in the morning and another in the afternoon astounds me.  How lucky we are to be living in an age where travel is accessible and relatively easy.

Since moving abroad, my husband and I have had the opportunity to travel quite a bit.  We love being able to explore different countries and cultures and we're thankful for every trip we take.  Wandering the cobblestone streets, visiting museums, sipping coffee at a cafe, people watching - it's all wonderful but every once in awhile, there's a moment that literally takes our breath away.  A moment that leaves us in complete awe as to what we're experiencing and that will forever stand out in our minds.  Today, I'm sharing our top breathtaking travel experiences with you.

1.  Granada, Spain : The Alhambra

We had been traveling around Spain for close to 2 weeks when we arrived in Granada.  Beforehand, we didn't really know anything about the city except that it was home to the Alhambra, a supposedly amazing castle with fantastic views of the city.  On our first full day, we jumped in a cab and rode up the steep hills to the entrance gate only to be greeted by a massive line for tickets despite arriving fairly early in the morning.  After waiting for close to an hour, it was announced that the tickets were sold out for the day and it was not possible to buy tickets for the following day.  We were disappointed but resolved to return the next morning even earlier.  Again, we arrived to an even larger line.  We were to leave Granada that afternoon and there was no way we'd get tickets behind all of those people.  We'd come all of this way and were going to miss the one thing we had really wanted to experience in Granada.  A random stroke of luck led my husband to an unknown ticket machine that no one seemed to know about allowing us to score the tickets when we'd just about given up hope.

The combination of the elation of getting tickets after we thought we were going to miss it and the stunning beauty of the property had us reeling as we toured the grounds.  Standing in the gorgeous gardens, overlooking this amazing city with a beautifully intricate castle to explore left us nearly speechless.  We felt like we had won the lottery.

2.  Kruger Park, South Africa : Tracking Lions

We booked a trip to South Africa after having experienced several rough months of adjusting to life in Gabon and our first stop was to a safari in Kruger Park.  On one of our evening game drives, we came across a lion and a lioness hunting.  It was well after sunset leaving us in our open land-cruiser in the pitch black while we followed these massive animals.  Our tracker had one spotlight which was often kept on the lioness as she was doing most of the work meaning we usually didn't know where the lion was.  We heard some rustling around the back of our vehicle and all of a sudden, the lion walks right alongside of us.  He was literally so close that my husband could have touched him.  We held our breaths as he passed, completely exhilarated yet a little nervous as we glanced anxiously between each other and the cat.  Sometimes, I still wonder if it was real.

3.  Mauritius : A Day on a Private Island

Last year just before Christmas, we embarked on a week long trip to the island of Mauritius, off the Southeast coast of Africa.  We mainly spent our time alternating between the pool and the beach, cocktails and snacks but we did splurge and book an excursion to the hotel's private island.  Early one morning we boarded a large catamaran with 3 other guests and a handful of staff and we sailed off into the Indian ocean.  When we arrived at Flat Island, we were led along a path weaving through brush in 30 degree, humid weather when we were directed down a set of stairs.  There opened up a private beach with large bean bag loungers, umbrellas, a bar and our own private bartender.  That day we dined on the most delicious lobster I've ever eaten, got a little drunk on punch and wine and took in more sun than we should have but it was absolutely perfect.  I remember staring out into the ocean, listening to the waves, sipping my cocktail and thinking, "This must be what it feels like to be rich & famous."

4.  Near Cape Town, South Africa : Chapman's Peak Drive

During our 8 day stay in Cape Town, we rented a car so that we were able to do a few road trips outside of the city.  The owner of our hotel recommended a route that would take us along Chapman's Peak Drive and promised that we would see some amazing scenery.  We really had no idea what to expect but as we drove a long the edge of the mountains, the views took our breath away.  My husband, who was driving, was repeatedly pulling over so that he could take his eyes off the road and gaze out at the mountains plunging into the sea.  It was stunning.

5.  Preikestolen, Norway : Hiking to the Pulpit Rock

When we moved to Stavanger, everyone kept telling us how we must hike Preikestolen, our area's #1 attraction so when a visitor from home arrived, we decided we had better do it.  The hike was somewhat challenging, leaving us to climb over boulders, navigate slippery rocks and occasionally traverse a cliffside so 2 hours later when we rounded the corner and gazed out over the fjord, we absolutely couldn't believe what we were witnessing.  The 1982 foot drop, the views - awe inspiring.

Thinking back to these amazing moments leaves me with a bit of wanderlust - I can't wait to add to the collection.

I'm curious - What are your top breathtaking travel moments?

- - - - -

Thanks so much for posting Jay!  Find her blog here.


  1. Oh Jay - I've read these on your blog but love them even more in a recap! Taking your Cape Town recommendations with me this spring, but Preikestolen is now also on the list!

  2. Love Jay's post! I think the best way to spend a beach vacation is on a private island...so jealous.

  3. Thank you ladies and thank you Jenna for having me!

  4. These seem to be such great travel destinations! I love the pictures of Norway! I've been dreaming about going to South Africa for a while now and I hope that that dream will become reality one day.

    Jay, you've also inspired me to write a post about my favorite travel memories soon!

    Melanie Fontaine

  5. @Melanie - send me a link when you post it! I'd love to read it!

  6. I was completely awed by the Alhambra. It's an incredibly beautiful place. And Norway is just a stunning country. I'll have to try that hike next time!


  7. um, i want a day on a private island...

    xo the egg out west.

  8. what gorgeous pictures jay! my favorite is pulpit rock, i would love to go there someday!

  9. Such a great post!
    I love all the places you have been - except for Norway as I haven't been.

    A private Island in Mauritius is THE BEST!!

    I cannot wait to go back to Spain

  10. I lived in Granada! It is exciting that it made her list!!

  11. ah and now I just want to hop on a plane bound for the next adventure!! great places and great memories! x


  12. I could agree with you' that place has breathtaking view. Glad that you shared some picture with us. Thanks for sharing.

    Canadian Visa

  13. Beautiful Pictures! It's an incredibly beautiful place.cool adventures.Keep Posting.Thanks for share with us.

  14. WOW...You have a awesome experience!great adventure.I really love your pictures.Thanks for sharing.


Thanks for the love!