This blog documents the feeding of our travel addiction - one country at a time. Travel is an essential part of our lives...and even though we have many loves in our lives, I don't think I would be far wrong in saying that we are never happier than when throwing ourselves into a new adventure and experiencing new cultures. The more we travel, the more we see; and the more we see, the more we understand that we know so little - which is a brilliant thing. That's why we will continue to travel until our addiction wanes, which definitely won't be in this lifetime!
Rather than doing round-the-world trips, our preferred style of travel is to spend a block of time in one country or region, and get a real feel for that area and its people. We also love love love eating and drinking! So this blog is bound to have many epicurean details.
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Hope you enjoy our travel stories as much as we enjoy writing and sharing them with you!
Ren and Andrew
And if travel is like love...it is mostly because it's a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end." ~ Pico Iyer
February 5th 2013
HE SAID... Looking back on our travels in Cambodia, I wish I’d given myself a bit more time to research the trip beforehand. We were sitting in the back of a remork as we navigated a narrow back street in Phnom Penh when a name on the wall of a derelict building suddenly caught my attention – Kampuchea. It had been painted over many times and countless billboards had covered it over the years, but it still endured. Some letters were barely visible, but here it remained, defiantly lingering despite years of decay. It almost had the feel of Shelley’s Ozymandias (‘Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’). Yet as quickly as it appeared in front of us, it was gone. Our remork jolted around a tight corner and the building was behind us. For ... read more
February 4th 2013
HE SAID... We arrived at Phnom Penh International Airport at 3.40pm. Check-in was easy, as the airport is very small with only 20 check-in counters. We wandered around the terminal until we boarded our flight at 5.30pm. We lifted off at 6.10pm and were on our way to Singapore. I’m not sure if we’ll return to Cambodia, and it’s a strange feeling to leave a newly discovered country and realise you may not be coming back. The on-board dinner was pretty good – fried prawns with rice and a custard tart with mango. It wasn’t a full flight, and apart from a fairly demanding child a few seats in front of us, the rest of the passengers were normal (which was quite the opposite to our flight from Singapore to Phnom Penh a few weeks earlier). ... read more
February 1st 2013
HE SAID... We woke unusually late at 6.30am. We were leaving Sihanoukville for Phnom Penh at 7.45am, so we had to rush. We ran down to breakfast, where I had muesli with warm milk (it had been cold milk the day before) and Ren had an omelette with toast. We quickly showered, packed and headed to the lobby, where we piled into a public bus at 8am and headed off on our five hour final leg to Phnom Penh. We stopped for a toilet break around 10.40am, so I grabbed a very welcome Khmer iced coffee. The toilets were pretty basic – there was no door on the men’s toilet, and the shared hand basins looked directly into the urinals. It was Ren’s quickest hand wash of the whole trip. We jumped back into the public ... read more
January 30th 2013
HE SAID... We woke at 6.30am, breakfasted on the riverbank at 7am and jumped into our minibus at 9am. We were leaving Kampot and travelling west to Sihanoukville, which was only a two and a half hour trip. We had a quick stop at Veal Renh at 10am and snaked our way through a fascinating roofed market that fronted the main road. We jumped back into the minibus and continued our westward journey to Sihanoukville. We arrived at 11.30am and drove straight to the Starfish Bakery and Cafe for lunch. I had a grilled chicken sandwich and iced coffee, while Ren had a tuna sandwich and iced tea. It was a fantastic and very filling lunch, as the bread was made from sticky rice. We also had an enormous cookie each (which was part of the ... read more
January 28th 2013
HE SAID... We left our homestay (near Sambor Prei Kuk) at 8am and embarked on our long southward journey to Kampot. We pulled into Skuon at 9.30am for petrol and a toilet break. Skuon is jokingly termed Spiderville in Cambodia, and for good reason. The food stalls scattered around the roadside cafe were selling all manner of deep fried spiders and insects. I wasn’t overly hungry, so I opted for a Khmer iced coffee. We jumped back into our minibus and kept heading south, arriving in Phnom Penh at midday. We lunched in the food court on the top floor of Soorya Shopping Centre (the same place I’d purchased my new camera only a week before). After surveying the many food stalls selling a variety of cuisines, we decided to share fried rice with egg and ... read more
January 27th 2013
HE SAID... We woke at 6.30am and headed down to breakfast at 7am. I had no appetite, but I managed a small bowl of muesli and a glass of (very) sweet fruit juice. After a final check of our packs, we jumped into our minibus at 9.30am and left Siem Reap for Sambor Prei Kuk, where we were to be accommodated with a nearby local family. We arrived in Kompong Thom (which sits approximately halfway between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh) at 12.30pm. We stopped at a great roadside restaurant for lunch which had five small wooden platforms (each with two hammocks, a table and a straw roof) jutting into the Stung Sen River. It was an ideal place to relax and unwind with a quick meal. I wasn’t hungry, so Ren opted for ginger and ... read more
January 24th 2013
HE SAID... We woke at 6am and organised our packs. We were leaving Battambang and travelling the Sangker River by boat to Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake, which we needed to cross on our way to Siem Reap. We headed up to our hotel’s rooftop terrace for breakfast. Battambang is not what you would call a picturesque town, and the view from the terrace was nothing more than a sprawling urban skyline of dusty buildings and factories. I had muesli with fruit and frozen yoghurt, while Ren had an omelette with baguette. We both had a hot Khmer coffee with condensed milk, which was a good start to the day. We headed down to the hotel lobby at 7.30am and caught a minibus to the Sangker River. Luckily there was a pharmacy open on the riverbank close ... read more
January 22nd 2013
HE SAID... We woke early at 5am for a 6.30am start on our last morning in Phnom Penh. We packed, showered and headed down to the lobby where our pre-ordered breakfasts were waiting for us in plastic containers. I had yoghurt with roasted cashews and honey, while Ren had a banana pancake. Our minibus was a bit late, so we ate outside the hotel while we waited. We eventually jumped into the minibus at 7am and headed to the bus station, where we transferred to a larger bus for our six hour trip to Battambang. We left Phnom Penh at 7.15am. The trip was uncomfortable, as the Cambodian roads were rough and I was feeling the onset of a chest cold. The apparent lack of road rules was also a bit disconcerting. We stopped at a ... read more
January 21st 2013
HE SAID... On our third morning in Phnom Penh we woke around 6am, worked briefly on our travel notes and then headed out for a quick breakfast at 7.30am. I had muesli with fresh fruit and yoghurt with a pot of Khmer tea. Once again, I had to remove the papaya piece by piece from the muesli. I have to work on my issue with this fruit – it just smells and tastes like vomit. Ren had a pineapple smoothie and an omelette. It was a great start to the day, ruined a little by an old white guy sitting behind us searching for very young Asian women on a dating website. He didn’t seem to care that everyone could see what he was doing on his laptop. Cambodia, like so many Asian countries, attracts its ... read more
January 19th 2013
HE SAID... We bounced down on the runway at Phnom Penh Airport at 8.40am, happy to have survived the solid landing. I was a little concerned on our approach, not only for the safety of the insolent child across the aisle who wouldn’t put his seat belt on, but also for our own safety – the speed of the plane on its landing approach was faster than I’ve experienced for a long time. The customs setup at Phnom Penh Airport was bizarre. No one spoke to us, apart from the passport officer who jokingly thought I was trying to bribe her (I inadvertently placed the $US10 change from our visa payment on her desk as she checked my passport). After making our way through the menagerie of police, customs staff, tourists and locals, we jumped into ... read more