Natalie Grimson

Mediterranean Dreams

Natalie Grimson

My passion in life is travel. I work in a stable job behind a desk by day and I go on long exiting holidays each year. I am half Thai half Australian and having this melting pot of cultures throughout my life has given me a zezt to find out more about different cultures and differnt cusoms. Travelling back to Thailand from the time when i was a toddler and throughout my youth, I have as a young adult travelled through Asia, the Middle East and Europe. I have recently started writing travel blogs to update family and friends on my travels but all are welcome to share my stories and passion for travel!

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Cesme August 16th 2019

Back in Çeşme, the immigration process was slightly swifter and facilities much better. We found our new hotel, a Boutique (Butik) hotel in the back streets of the main shopping street. The charming couple that run the hotel were very keen to teach us some Turkish and found the language translation apps very useful in welcoming their guests. We had dinner in the main area of town, and a quick wander around. The next day we took a taxi to the nearby village of Alaçatı. Alaçatı is a picturesque village (that now seems to exist solely for tourism) about 9km away from Çeşme. Think white-washed houses with vivid blue doors and window sills, blooming pink Bougainville flowers and ample opportunities to take that perfect photo. It was a lovely walk around town – a little busy ... read more
Bougainville of Alaçatı
Çesme castle

Europe » Greece » North Aegean » Chios August 14th 2019

We arrived in Çeşme in the evening and walked to our hotel (thanks to some locals giving us directions) for the evening. Lucky I only booked the hotel for one night as the only thing it had going for it was the view! We then went to buy our ferry tickets to Chios the next day, had a stroll around the Çeşme market street and relaxed on our balcony with some beers watching the world go by down by the the marina. The next day we caught a ferry from Çeşme to the Greek island of Chios. Despite being a short distance (8km and 15 mins) the immigration process on either end (the Greek side being worse) made it much much longer. The ferry itself was large and efficient. In Chios, our hotel was very near ... read more
Port of Chios
Church of Mesta

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Bursa August 11th 2019

We left our beloved Istanbul and took the ferry across the Sea of Marmara to Bursa. In just under two hours we were at the Mudanya port, about 30km from Bursa. We couldn't work out the buses so we took a taxi to our boutique hotel. I had been to Bursa in 2006 with Intrepid on my first trip to Turkey - from what I remember Bursa is a historical city that was on the silk road. Today, Bursa is famous for its silk. Seljuk-style mosques and the famous Iskender Kebap (which many restaurants renamed it the Bursa Iskender). When I planned our trip, I neglected to check the public holidays – Kurban Bayramı (eid-al-adha in the Arabic speaking world) fell on the day we were due to leave Bursa for Çeşme. Usually, there is a ... read more
Covered gold Bazzar
Ulu Cami
Ulu Cami

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul August 9th 2019

We arrived into the new Istanbul Airport (one word HUGE) late Monday evening from Seoul. We were swiftly picked up by our pre-arranged pick up service by a nice young man in flash BMW and taken to our hotel in the old city. We love staying around the Sirkeci/Fatih area of Istanbul – close enough the Sultanahmet and all of the old city attractions, and only a short walk over the Galata bridge to the shopping/hip district of Beyoğlu. My 6th visit to Turkey, and Bill's 5th. This city will never grow old for us – indeed this country sparks something special for us. Early the next morning (which is a great time as not too many people are out) we walked up the winding street dodging trams and cars to Sultanahmet. As we've done the ... read more
Istiklal Caddesi
Süleymaniye Mosque

Asia » South Korea » Seoul August 5th 2019

The Gwanjung markets is an undercover clothes by day/food by night market. The Netflix series ‘street food', the Seoul episode, focused on this market and one proprietor in particular. We had a snack of kimchi + meat dumplings there, washed down with a cold Cass beer, before heading off to another stall to have Toppoki (rice cakes with chilli pepper sauce) and Gimbap, a Korean type of nori roll filled with beatle leaf, rice and vegetables. While we were eating, we noticed photos of British chef Gordon Ramsay , and as we left, the owner insisted on feeding us more gimbap like she did to Gordon! Afterward, we stopped by a really nice craft brew pub near our hotel which was blasting K pop videos! The next day, we headed off early to wander around the ... read more
Gwanjang market
Photo of Gordon Ramsay wating at Gwanjang market
Bukchon Hanok villiage

Asia » South Korea » DMZ August 2nd 2019

Trip 2019 has gotten off to a great start. Bill and I arrived to Seoul on a warm, humid evening. After a swift immigration and baggage collection we boarded a KAL Limousine bus to our hotel in downtowan Seoul (Jung-gu). We wandered around neigbouring Myeongdong distrct to familiarise ourselves and search for something to eat. Myeongdong was everything I expected – dazzling lights, a plethora of shops (in particular K-beauty cosmetic shops) and a bustling street food scene. We finally settled for authentic Korean crispy chicken and beer, the air conditioned restaurant a respite from the opressive humidity. An early start for our tour of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and Joint Security Area (JSA) in Panmunjom the next day. Earlier in the week, I had received an email from the original tour I had booked a ... read more
3rd inflitration tunnel
Panoramic view of North Korea
On the way to the Dora observatory

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok January 17th 2018

We arrived in Bangkok just after midday. We visited my aunty Dhum and her family who live in the outer suburbs of Bangkok. So we got there and saw her and uncle Menk, then all mu cousins On, Pa, Lek and Phong who came with his wife. Then there are the grandkids – 2 of whom are grown up teenagers (Firm and Fair) and Arm who is around 10. And that's just one branch of the family tree! We had lunch there and after a short visit Lueng dropped us off at the Mercure hotel in the centre of Bangkok – Siam square. As we always book and executive room, there is an included happy hour at 5-7pm. I went for a swim on the rooftop pool, then we went to happy hour to take advantage ... read more
MBK shopping centre
Khao San rd

Asia » Thailand » North-East Thailand » Nakhon Ratchasima January 13th 2018

After the sess pit that was Pattaya we drove south near the Cambodian-Thai border to Trat. Along the way, we stopped at the seaside town of Rayong for the best seafood lunch we've ever had in Thailand. Yummy fish and huge prawns in the Tom Yum soup. Rayong is popular with Thai tourists and much much quieter than Pattaya. We then got to Trat and boarded the barge to the Island of Koh Chang. Luckily our mini van was the second last car to get on! A short 30 min whizz across the ocean we were at Koh Chang. This is only the second time I've been on a Thai island ( the first was Koh Samui when I was 15). A different look to say, the picturesque Phi Phi island down south. No limestone casts ... read more
Koh Chang
Koh Chang White Sand beach
A Chang beer in Koh Chang

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Pattaya January 5th 2018

We have been in Thailand for awhile now and while I don't usually do blogs in Thailand as I'm here all the time visiting family. But for the purposes of this big trip I will do a Thailand blog. My mum was already in Thailand visiting her family while we were travelling. After 12 and a half hours of driving and border crossings, the Intrepid crew were finally in Bangkok! Our mini van got there first and while we checked in my mum found us in the lobby! It was great seeing her again. So, after a quick refresh we were all off to the final Intrepid farewell dinner. So as it turns out our German ‘friends' Franca and Fabiana didn't want to join us for dinner. Which wasn't surprising considering they never really joined us ... read more
Wat Pho
Wat Pho
Wat Arun

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap January 2nd 2018

We arrived in Siem Reap mid afternoon after another long journey on a public bus from Kampong Cham. Siem Reap is named so as Thailand (former Thai name Siam) was under Thai administration from 1795 to 1907. Reap means ‘recaptured’ or defeat so Siem Reap means recaptured from Thailand. Our hotel wasn't far from the main area off Siem Reap – pub street. As it was beer o'clock, me, Bill, my dad, Louise and Celine went for a walk to the Siem Reap brew pub for a beer! The beer was nice but not so cold and expensive! Still, it was a good choice to eat the heat. We also had a small snack again I should have seen the sign – being a touristy place it was pricier than the rest of Cambodia. Later that ... read more
Sunrise Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
One of the many carvings

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