Holy Beans it’s Great Coffee!

Found a great coffe bar called Holy Beans in Auckland a  few weeks ago. It does great espresso etc

The cafè uses an Indian coffe from Classic Coffee and Spices NZ Ltd which is a little unusual. There is a cool lttle story in the About Us section in their website

Anyway check them out at  18A Fort Street in Aucklands CBD

Happy travels

11 Things to Pack When Travelling in Europe

Following on from a recent blog post regarding bizarre things to pack when travelling, I have had a few requests  to come up with a basic list of things to pack when travelling around Europe. The trouble is that Europe not only is seasonal, but is also changes climatically from North to South and East to West.  Anyway I am willing if you’re willing, so here goes…
1/ Sunscreen:
The reason for being number one is that not only does Europe have fantastic weather in summer you also require sunscreen for those awesome days on the slopes in the middle of winter. Your skin needs it!
2/ Light Fleece with water proof layer:
Instead of buying  a separate raincoat and a fleece these days you can buy a combination where the fleece can be unzipped from the jacket. This enables you to dress nice and snugly on those cold wintery and showery days, but to also where the jacket to keep out the rain in the middle of summer. Obviously there are plenty of others in the market, but checkout this North Face combination for an example
3/ Pair of Good Jeans or Dress.
You never know where you are going to end up. Most places will now let you in with a pair of nice jeans or a dress. It makes a change from your trusty cargo pants and you only need to carry one pair or dress.
4/ Long Sleeve Top:
An absolute necessity, as a lot of churches etc will not let you in with exposed limbs. In particular the dress code at St Peters Basilica and the Vatican has  a dress code which isn’t too suited to 40° C days in Rome.
5/ Flip Flops- Jandals or Thongs
A must in summer. Not only they are necessary for the beach or pool they double up nicely as feet protectors from those greeblies you can catch in communal showers.
6/ Photocopies of your passport and documents
Trust me you have no idea how many people lose their passports credit cards and personal documents either through theft or just plain carelessness. Don’t be the one who has trouble getting them replaced. Take two photocopies. Put one in a plastic envelope and keep it in your pack and give another copy to someone at home. Additionally these days scan them before you leave and email them to yourself so you have them easily accessible in your email account.
7/ Bottle Opener
This in my mind should be at the top of the list. There is nothing quite like being able to buy a ham and cheese baguette and wash it down with a cheap bottle of red. Just make sure you put in your checked in baggage when flying as the authorities won’t let you board with it.
8/ Trainers or Walking shoes
Although they can get a little whiffy in the middle of summer. They are absolutely valuable for walking tracks such as the Cinque Terre. Just make sure you leave them outside of the room at night!
9/ Shorts- 1pr:
Really quite basic, but a good pair of quick drying shorts are invaluable in the middle of summer.
10/ Shirts -2prs:
T shirts are the norm. Try to bring dark coloured ones as they tend to look better for longer and hide a multitude of sins. For going out a light cotton shirt that looks as though it is supposed to be un-ironed is a godsend
11/ Swimming costume –Boardies or Bikini
Yep, you will need them at some stage both in winter and summer. Swimming in your undies might of been cool in the neighbours pool when you were a kid, but it’s not the go now
There are obviously more things that you could take. Just remember what you pack is what you have to carry!
Happy Travels
Following on from a recent blog post regarding bizarre things to pack when travelling, I have had a few requests  to come up with a basic list of things to pack when travelling around Europe. The trouble is that Europe not only is seasonal, but is also changes climatically from North to South and East to West.  Anyway I am willing if you’re willing, so here goes…

II Things To pack When Travelling In Europe

1/ Sunscreen:
The reason for being number one is that not only does Europe have fantastic weather in summer you also require sunscreen for those awesome days on the slopes in the middle of winter. Your skin needs it!
2/ Light Fleece with Waterproof Layer:
Instead of buying  a separate raincoat and a fleece these days you can buy a combination where the fleece can be unzipped from the jacket. This enables you to dress nice and snugly on those cold wintery and showery days, but to also where the jacket to keep out the rain in the middle of summer.
3/ Pair of Good Jeans or Dress.
You never know where you are going to end up. Most places will now let you in with a pair of nice jeans or a dress. It makes a change from your trusty cargo pants and you only need to carry one pair or dress.
4/ Long Sleeve Top:
An absolute necessity, as a lot of churches etc will not let you in with exposed limbs. In particular the dress code at St Peters Basilica and the Vatican has  a dress code which isn’t too suited to 40° C days in Rome.
5/ Flip Flops- Jandals or Thongs
A must in summer. Not only they are necessary for the beach or pool they double up nicely as feet protectors from those greeblies you can catch in communal showers.
6/ Photocopies of Your Passport and Documents
Trust me you have no idea how many people lose their passports credit cards and personal documents either through theft or just plain carelessness. Don’t be the one who has trouble getting them replaced. Take two photocopies. Put one in a plastic envelope and keep it in your pack and give another copy to someone at home. Additionally these days scan them before you leave and email them to yourself so you have them easily accessible in your email account.
7/ Bottle Opener
This in my mind should be at the top of the list. There is nothing quite like being able to buy a ham and cheese baguette and wash it down with a cheap bottle of red. Just make sure you put in your checked in baggage when flying as the authorities won’t let you board with it.
8/ Trainers or Walking shoes
Although they can get a little whiffy in the middle of summer. They are absolutely valuable for walking tracks such as the Cinque Terre. Just make sure you leave them outside of the room at night!
9/ Shorts- 1pr:
Really quite basic, but a good pair of quick drying shorts are invaluable in the middle of summer.
10/ Shirts -2prs:
T shirts are the norm. Try to bring dark coloured ones as they tend to look better for longer and hide a multitude of sins. For going out a light cotton shirt that looks as though it is supposed to be un-ironed is a godsend
11/ Swimming Costume –Boardies or Bikini
Yep, you will need them at some stage both in winter and summer. Swimming in your undies might of been cool in the neighbours pool when you were a kid, but it’s not the go now
There are obviously more things that you could take. Just remember what you pack is what you have to carry!
Happy Travels
Photo Credit: Incentaurdump

13 Bizzare Things to Pack When You Travel

 

13 Things Bizzare things to pack when you travel
Over the last day my In laws are taking the Grandmother back to Canada to visit her roots for possibly the last time which is a little sad when you think about it. However, as always shopping trips with Nanna are always quite interesting. The particular mission this time was to buy some new luggage as the old get up was slightly worse for wear and the borrowed suitcases she could have slept in.
 The suitcases were sourced and bought with little hassle. The sticking point came when Nanna insisted she needed a new coat because she was going to Canada and it is cold there. On one hand she is totally correct it is freezing there in winter ( Calgary averages -15°Cin winter) while on the other hand the month she is travelling in – August averages 22.5°C. She had forgotten that in summer it does get hot, so after some negotiation and convincing the quilted winter coat was left behind at the shop.
It got me to thinking some of the bizarre things that people pack with when they travel. So below is a list of  13 items that I have heard of people taking.
1/ Bacon. 
2/ Skis in the middle of a European Summer
3/ Food chopping board
4/ A packed lunch on a flight ( Not so bizarre now if you fly Ryan Air)
5/ Peanut Butter
6/ A World Atlas
7/ A Blow up world globe
8/ Dish washing equipment
9/ A battery operated fan- even though they were travelling in Ireland!
10/ A Vibrator
11/ A separate makeup bag when backpacking
12/ A Blow up Sheep
13/ A Compass- although on explanation this is very smart.
When writing this post I happened upon a site with even more bizarre high tech items at markermap that ranged from a Portable washing machine to PuchiPuchi Virtual Bubble Wrap!
Auckland Café of the Week.
In my search for the best Café’s in Auckland one I can highly recommend is The Maretai Wharf Store in Maretai Beach, Manukau, New Zealand. Fantastic coffee,  mouth watering savoury muffins and as much cool water as you can drink. The service is top class and the location looking over Tamaki Strait to Waiheke is amazing first thing in the morning.
The only thing that I could fault is my pet hate -the generic New Zealand café numbering system. Why can’t staff remember table numbers anymore? If they could you would not end up with what to me is akin to cattle herd numbering stuck in the middle of your table!
Over the weekend I discovered that  my inlaws are taking the grandmother back to Canada to visit her roots for possibly the last time which is a little sad when you think about it. However, as always shopping trips with Nanna are always quite interesting.
The particular mission this time was to buy some new luggage as the old get up was slightly worse for wear and the borrowed suitcases she could have slept in. The suitcases were sourced and bought with little hassle. The sticking point came when Nanna insisted she needed a new coat because she was going to Canada and it is cold there. On one hand she is totally correct it is freezing there in winter ( Calgary averages -15°Cin winter) while on the other hand the month she is travelling in – August averages 22.5°C. She had forgotten that in summer it does get hot, so after some negotiation and convincing the quilted winter coat was left behind at the shop.

13 Bizzare Things to Pack When You Travel

It got me to thinking some of the bizarre things that people pack with when they travel. So below is a list of  13 items that I have heard of people taking.
1/ Bacon. 
2/ Skis in the middle of a European Summer
3/ Food chopping board
4/ A packed lunch on a flight ( Not so bizarre now if you fly Ryan Air)
5/ Marmite
6/ A World Atlas
7/ A blow up world globe
8/ Dish washing equipment
9/ A battery operated fan- even though they were travelling in Ireland!
10/ A Vibrator
11/ A separate makeup bag when backpacking
12/ A Blow up Sheep
13/ A Compass- although on explanation this is very smart.
When writing this post I happened upon a site with even more bizarre high tech items at markermap that ranged from a Portable washing machine to PuchiPuchi Virtual Bubble Wrap!

Auckland Café of the Week.

In my search for the best coffee in Auckland one café I can highly recommend is The Maretai Wharf Store in Maretai Beach, Manukau, New Zealand. Fantastic coffee,  mouth watering savoury muffins and as much cool water as you can drink. The service is top class and the location looking over Tamaki Strait to Waiheke is amazing first thing in the morning.
The only thing that I could fault is my pet hate -the generic New Zealand café numbering system. Why can’t staff remember table numbers anymore? If they could you would not end up with what to me is akin to cattle herd numbering stuck in the middle of your table!
Maraetai Wharf Store
Maretai
Manukau City
Ph 095365002
Photo Credit: Geishaboy500

Really Cool Stuff

Quite often when I am in working I am constantly looking for really cool stuff to tell people about or to just amuse myself with. I find it hard sometimes as there is so much cool stuff about and it’s is difficult knowing where to start.

Thanks to twitter this morning I came across this really cool web site with some seriously cool stuff called cool things in random places. Anyway after wasting about 1/2 an hour my favourites were the Door to Hell in Turkmenistan and the Temple of Rats which is just a lttle bit creepy and unnerving seeing that many rats running around.

 

Photo Credit: roblerner 

Talking about random things and thoughts.  I wonder if The New Zealand Government had taken a look at world’s most bike  friendly cities in the world before they came up with the recession busting National Cycle Way. Hal Amen could give them a clue in what to look for in his post The 15 most bike friendly cities in the world. I still wonder who came up with the idea and if it is really going to happen or it was a big publicity stunt? 

It’s a really cool idea if it does go ahead, But my main question is a really simple one. All that money spent and jobs created, fine. But at the end of the day who is going to use it? So those with a bike. Book your flights and get those lycra clad legs over here right now.

Where is the best coffee?

 

Well I Have been home in New Zealand now for nearly 2 months and finally I have found the perfect coffee. It is one thing that I have really been missing since leaving Italy in March.So thanks to the guys at Café Paris in Howick, Auckland. You have shown me the light. In fact their coffee is so good I snuck out today to have a cappuccino this afternoon. It  is even better than the Italian shop off Ti Rakau Drive, and that serves Lavazza!

 

Stong Coffee mmmm

Stong Coffee mmmm

 

 

Forget all the usual kiwi stuff in cafés, the savoury scones, the panini with 6 different fillings, the ginger slices etc. Simply, what’s wrong with ciabatta with some nice prosciutto crudo, parmesan and rocket? Three simple flavours that are absolutely awesome together. And what’s wrong with a brioche or a custard filled croissant? 

It is though the cafés in New Zealand are trying to copy each other and the original was a throwback to someones overseas trip to Sydney in the early eighties. Come on guys at least have a look overseas to what the Italians and French actually serve in their cafés with their coffee. 

There seems to be an absolute plethora of coffee shops in Auckland and everyone seems to think it is really cool to hangout in them, which is fine until you actually realise that the majority of the coffee is absolutely crap and the price of everything on sale is absolutely ridiculous!

So I am now on a mission to see if anyone can actually beat Café Paris. I’m starting in Auckland and then the rest of New Zealand. Every week from now on I will be reporting on my mission to find the best and worst cafés that our society has.

Photo Credit: Refracted Moments

I wonder how many people are dreaming of travelling right now?

 

It’s 9.27 in the morning and I have just been looking through some of my favourite travel blogs. It sort of got me thinking about how many people this very moment are sitting in front of there PCs at work or home surfing the newt and dreaming of being somewhere they currently ain’t?

 

Rest and Peace
Photo Credit- Randy Son of Robert

I Wonder How Many People Are Dreaming of Travel?

Me, I’m one of the lucky ones who gets to look at cool travel websites for research purposes. If I am not careful though I can easily lapse into total dreaming mode at the drop of a hat. The usual stuff  like, how cool would it be to do that, I wonder how hard that life style would be and the usual one I wonder about is, if a person in an image has any idea that a photo of them has been spread around the world via the Internet?

It’s usually pretty weird though because I never dream of travel at night I can quite happily do so during the day. It dosen’t help that I have twitter and I follow such people as Indie Postcasts Craig Martin and the award winning Soul Travelers.

Yesterday I came across another blog that may be of interest to those twitterholics who also travel. Check out Vagabond Traveller Rolph Potts post on Should I Twitter from the Road? It’s quite thought provoking.

If the world is anything like me there will be millions of you sitting there sitting at a screen dreaming and hatching new travel plans. Good on you. Carry On. Just don’t let the boss catch you!

Lonely, I’m So Lonely………

So it’s Friday night, you have had a few drinks and your eyes are starting to do back flips in syncro with your stomach and then someone mentions the dreaded word TRAVEL. Giving you the god given right to jump directly into the conversation, as you are a traveler after all.

As in Lucy Cornes article Six Guilty Travel Pleasures all of a sudden you become the hardest of all hard core travelers. The booze fuels your brain so much you forget that occasionally you sneak in the odd Mickey D’s simply because it is so easy to do and it can be comfort food for some. Lucy’s article got me thinking quite a lot, as in a blog a few days ago I may of came across as being quite arrogant for suggesting that always eating what the locals were eating could have been the only way to travel and experience local cultures. For this I apologize.

In fact as Lucy suggests everyone has guilty travel pleasures. Indeed one of mine is to read English newspapers without buying them from the news stand. I have even been chased off a few times by angry vendors. I suppose before the advent of the internet newspapers were the best link to home for a lonely traveler.

Loneliness for a traveler is an interesting subject as one of the primary drivers for new travelers is to meet new people and experience the locals. However the most common feeling that travelers experience is one of loneliness and hence new travelers tend to gravitate to likeminded people with similar interests and start to negate the second driver; meeting and experiencing the locals.

I think that this is where the wanting to be seen as hardcore takes place in that the fact hanging out with likeminded people may just be a little bit contradictory to your reasons for traveling in the first place. And the natural reaction is to boast that stuff you have done independently while conveniently forgetting the stuff you have done out of loneliness and comfort.

But don’t worry. It is perfectly ok to hang out with likeminded people, eat comfort foods from home or even travel with your mother. After all travel, like wine, is an individual experience and what is good for you is not necessarily right for the next person and vice versa. Go for it.