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After months of travel in Europe and Asia, I ended this years adventures with a couple of weeks in New Zealand visiting friends. And of course enjoying the amazing green scenery that is New Zealand at any time of the year.

Here are some random pictures from my visit.


Every trip to Auckland has to include a visit to Puhoi Cheese Factory, my favorite place to have lunch.



I stayed with my ex-housemate (from almost 20 years ago when I lived in Auckland) Toni, who has now moved to Papamoa Beach.large_DSCN4117.JPGlarge_986d9740-e306-11eb-bf47-e79103125050.PNGlarge_DSCN4118.JPGlarge_DSCN4115.JPG


McLaren Falls Park. We walked around the lake, beautiful, and lots of bird life.


Close by was McLaren Falls.



Put a face to an online friend, love ya Sarah.



Walk along beautiful Papamoa Beach. Too cold to swim, but so lovely.



Road trip.
Aratiatia Rapids, just outside Taupo.


Yummy mussels for dinner.



Next day we visited Aratiatia Rapids again to see when the flood gates were opened.


Posted by Cindy Bruin 12:35 Archived in New Zealand Tagged park beach factory falls cheese rapids mclaren puhoi papamoa aratiatia Comments (0)


Eastern Coast Walkway

sunny 30 °C
View 2019 Adventure - Germany, Malta, Italy & Indonesia on Cindy Bruin's travel map.


A weekend stopover between Bali and New Zealand. Weather was lovely, great day for a walk.

Bondi Beach...


Eastern Coast Walkway from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach, viewing the sculptures along the path.


  • **Sculpture by the Sea returns to the Bondi Beach to Tamarama Beach coastal walk as the world’s largest free to the public sculpture exhibition. See the spectacular coastal walk transformed into a 2km long sculpture park over three weeks featuring 100 sculptures by artists from Australia and across the world.***







Posted by Cindy Bruin 11:08 Archived in Australia Tagged sea beach the eastern walkway sculpture by coastal bondi coogee Comments (0)

2019 OCTOBER 18, INDONESIA, BALI, Sanur Beach

A day trip to mix it up

View 2019 Adventure - Germany, Malta, Italy & Indonesia on Cindy Bruin's travel map.


Today we threw in a day tour to mix things up a bit, couple of beach stops, ending with sunset on Kuta Beach.

PANDAWA BEACH - we went for a swim but there was a strong undertow.


DREAMLAND BEACH - water looked beautiful, but way too rough to swim in the ocean. we had lunch in a nice little warung near the beach.


- much nicer, we spent a few hours here and dipped in the water several times.


KUTA BEACH - sunset beers with the masses.



Posted by Cindy Bruin 07:27 Archived in Indonesia Tagged beach kuta dreamland nusa dua pandawa Comments (0)

2019 OCTOBER 16 & 17, INDONESIA, Sanur Beach

couple of days by Sanur Beach

View 2019 Adventure - Germany, Malta, Italy & Indonesia on Cindy Bruin's travel map.


A change of scenery, but the next couple of days were much of the same. Beach/pool time, lemon beers/cocktails and great food!

We even found Bali's Stonehenge! DSCN3546.JPGDSCN3547.JPGDSCN3548.JPGDSCN3549.JPGDSCN3543.JPG


More of the same today, ending with a fun cocktail session at sunset.


Posted by Cindy Bruin 07:14 Archived in Indonesia Tagged beach sanur Comments (0)

2019 OCTOBER 03 to 04, INDONESIA, Pemuteran Beach, Java

Java road trip day 1 and 2.

sunny 27 °C
View 2019 Adventure - Germany, Malta, Italy & Indonesia on Cindy Bruin's travel map.


So today we are leaving the island and my friend Wayan (who Dolly and I met here in Bali last year) is taking us on a 7 day tour to his home island of Java. I have left the itinerary totally in his hands. We will be all travelling altogether in a minivan and Wayan is organizing the accomodation, tours and has the task of finding us places to eat.

A very early start today as we left the beautiful relaxing Nusa Lembongan to start our JAVA TOUR. Wayan and our driver was waiting to collect us at the port when we arrived.
As we were the first boat trip of the day, there was a lovely lady who put offerings on the boats motors for morning blessing.



We headed north up into the hills, driving up the middle of the island of Bali to the northern coast. Lots of monkeys on the side of the road who did not seem to be scared of man or machine.



We stopped for lunch at a place overlooking the lakes, it was a bit chilly up there and we all opted for BAKSO - a kind of soup for lunch. Very tasty, as well as the coffee and lemon tea, which warmed us all up.


After 4 hours travel we reached the north coast and our stop for tonight. We are staying @ Doubleyou Homestay in Pemuteran Beach. Lovely rooms with outdoor shower room. And the pool was set in a beautiful garden. Lucky the temperature at sea level was much warmer and we all had a swim in the lovely hotel pool.




We crossed the busy road and headed to the beach to watch an amazing sunset. There was some kind of festival on at the beach and there were lots of locals out eating and enjoying the entertainment. We found an assortment of food outlets that managed to satisfy all of us.



This morning we went snorkeling off Menjangan Island. The sun was out and the water was just amazing and we saw lots and lots and lots of colourful fish.


We stopped at 2 different locations, and had lunch in between.


After lunch we had another snorkeling stop.


And now some really good underwater pic our guide took with Dolly's underwater camera.


After our snorkeling trip return to the beach, Wayan was waiting there for us to take off straight away. We drove the short distance to the nearby port to wait for a motor vehicle ferry that would carry us from the island of Bali to the island of Java. We had a short wait and then the crossing took about an hour, plus we had to wait our turn to berth on the Java side.



Once on Java we drove straight to our accomodation for the night as it was already late afternoon. Tonight we stayed in bungalows @ Mirah Hotel and after a full day out we all took time out to have a relax before dinner. I found the hotel pool and went for a swim.


We walked just a short distance up the street and found an restaurant with outdoor seating to have dinner. Wayan had to act as interpreter as the restaurant staff did not speak English. I'm proud of the Bali Seven as none of them complained about the location of our eating establishment. Some of our party have not travelled very much and especially not in Asia so I was a little worried they might be a bit fussy about where we eat. But everyone seemed happy with tonight's (and last night's choices).


Posted by Cindy Bruin 12:57 Archived in Indonesia Tagged beach java island pemuteran menjangan Comments (0)





We catch an UBER to the airport, as today we are flying to Dulles Airport in Virginia. We will be spending time with more of Dolly's family which are very kindly putting us up for a few weeks.




We have just spent the most wonderful 16 days staying with Dolly's cousins in Woodbridge, Virginia, USA.

A giant thankyou and hug to Nanette and Ian. We invaded their home and have been spoilt rotten by their hospitality and generosity. We have had such a good time, lots of laughs, lots of drinks and they drove us hundreds of miles around the countryside to visit Virginia Beach and the never to be forgotten Intercourse.

Also a big thankyou and hug to Barney, Rehan and kids, Noreen, Lindsay and Nino for also sharing your time and hospitality with us. Dolly is lucky to have such amazing extended family who were generous also to welcome in Lyn and I. We had a great afternoon out with Lindsay to Great Falls, where I was able to test out my new camera and a monumental day (visiting the monuments) in Washington DC with Barney and Kyra.

Big hug to Teresa (for making the best cutlets in the world) & Uncle Don (who made the best shrimp dish I have ever eaten).

Thank you to Prudence and to Mandy & Andre, Farah & Angelo, who included us in their birthday celebrations, Jacinta & Patrick.

Everybody made us feel every welcomed, you are all such lovely people and we had a great time with you all.
(My apologies if I spelt anybody's name incorrectly or if I left anyone out).

Below are some photos of the highlights.



We spent the weekend at Virginia Beach, which is obviously a huge summertime/beach destination. The traffic was a nightmare and the drive took the good part of 4 hours. We booked a really nice hotel for the night to sleep the 5 of us, this is probably the nicest hotel we have stayed in this whole trip!



Lindsay took us for a afternoon drive to nearby Great Falls Park. It was late afternoon and a great opportunity for me to test out my newly purchased camera.

Great Falls Park is a small National Park Service site in Virginia, United States. Situated on 800 acres along the banks of the Potomac River in northern Fairfax County, the park is a disconnected but integral part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The Great Falls of the Potomac River are near the northern boundary of the park, as are the remains of the Patowmack Canal, the first canal in the United States that used locks to raise and lower boats.



We caught the train into Washington DC with Barney and Kyra for a hot day out visiting the main monuments.




Today we drove with Ian & Nanette from Virginia, through Maryland, into Pennsylvania to the Amish town of Intercourse.


Posted by Cindy Bruin 06:33 Archived in USA Tagged beach falls great virginia woodbridge intercourse Comments (1)



sunny 30 °C



Today we left El Cuco and move further north up the coast of El Salvador to another beach location El Tunco. No mean feat arriving here in one piece either.


Byron had advised us to be at the gate by 8am as that was the time the bus we needed to catch would pass the resort. True to his word the bus came barrelling down the dirt road and stopped in front of us at 8.05am. The conductor was hanging out of the door yelling San Miguel, San Miguel. As luck would have it that is where we needed to go. The fare for this chicken bus was US$4.15 for us and our bags.

Most of the road way to San Miguel was dirt so we had a choice of having the windows closed and cooking in the heat, yes it was already very hot even at this early hour, or open the windows and cop a gob full of dust from the bus stopping and starting along the dirt road. It was a catch 22. Just on a hour later we arrived in San Miguel and were dropped outside the next bus station we need to carry on our trip. Look for bus 305 the conductor told me.

We had about a 30 minute wait until our bus arrived. Lyn and Dolly pushed their way on board to secure seats as there was a big line up to get on this bus to the capital. I assisted with getting our luggage stored below in the hull of the bus. This bus ride to San Salvador too just over 2 hours and cost US$9 for the 3 of us and luggage. This chicken bus left at 10.20am. We drove through the capital and I was thankful that we were not stopping. The El Salvador capital is supposed to be one of the most dangerous cities in Central America.

Again arriving at another bus terminal, with our limited Spanish and their limited English a group of taxi drivers advised us we needed to transfer to another bus station. We did recall Byron saying something about this so we had little choice but to believe them. I asked the taxi driver how much (it's essential to establish an fare amount before agreeing to a taxi ride), he asked for US$15. We laughed and Lyn held up her hand saying cinco (five) and at first he said no until I started to approach another driver and then he agreed. Silly really, these blokes should realize they have us over a barrel and can ask anything, but he seemed happy with the offer of US$5, which means he was still charging us more than he would a local.

The taxi ride was about 20 minutes through city traffic so we were more than happy with the price we paid. Just as we reached the mini bus station a bus was about to depart and the security guard with a large gun ushered us hurriedly towards it. So no waiting here, the fare was US$1.50 each but we had to pay the same for our bags which were put on a seat, no luggage hull. So last leg which departed at 1.45pm cost a total of US$9.

Just a short ride, about 40 minutes and the driver advised us to get of when we had reached El Tunco Beach. So, we departed El Cuco at approximately 8am, 2 chicken buses, 1 taxi and 1 minibus later at approximately 2.30pm (7 1/2 hours) we arrived in El Tunco for a total cost of US$27.15 - I love travelling. These days although tiring, are ground roots travel, we sit with the locals, hopefully pay the same fares and enjoy the passing scenery.

So now we are by the side of the highway, across the road we see a list of El Tunco hotel signs pointing down the side street, but of course ours is not listed. A lovely lady crosses the road and in English asks us if we need help. Yes of course we do, thank you. I tell her the name of the hotel, which she does not know, but she grabs Dollys suitcase and starts wheeling it down the road. It will be this way she says to us. Little option but to follow her, we do and at the first hotel she stops and asks directions. Our hotel is about 500 metres down the road and she escorts us, still wheeling Dolly's suitcase and deposits us at the reception with a passing goodbye and enjoy El Tunco. We are almost always sceptical about the people who stop to help, but on this occasion like many others, this lovely lady just wanted to help. Unfortunately, it's the one or two helpers who try to rip us off that make us so suspicious of people offering help. It's a sad fact, but we have to keep our wits about us with everyone until they are proved to be trustworthy.

So our hotel, Eco Del Mar, is the most expensive place we have paid for so far @ US$73.85 per night and on entering the room it shows. This place is nice and a little treat for us. Air con, TV (no English channels :-( ) and there is a little pool. Kitchenette with mini toaster oven and a sitting area, very posh for us.


El Tunco beach is a bit of a let down, good surfer location but its a bit rocky and rough for us to venture into the water. Lots of the surrounding shops and restaurants are closed today, maybe recovering from the Easter weekend. We find a place to get some food and have an ok burger, although Dolly's fish and chips are shite.

It's hot and the air con room is very welcoming. Although all we can find on the TV is a flash back music channel which suits us ok too.


Another hot sunny day in El Salvador. Sometimes I need to pinch myself to realize we are on the other side of the world in El Salvador, can you believe it.

We had a walk around town and beach and a swim in the hotel pool today.


A few beers and lunch out looking at the ocean view. It's nice and quiet here, not too many people around although a few more shops etc are open today.



We returned to the beach for the sunset, which disappointingly was not over the water, but still enough to draw a bit of a crowd to enjoy the light.



Seriously, if we relax anymore we shall become comatose!

The hotel staff knocked on our door this morning to advise that breakfast was included in our room tariff. News to us, but bring it on.
So typical El Salvadorian breakfast is the same as everywhere else in Central America, scrambled eggs with capsicum, beans, cheese and tortillas. No not yet sick of this breaky, over pancakes but can still eat this with glee.


We sat around today polishing off a bottle of rum, as you do! Did actually make it out to have some dinner and a few beers, like we needed them!



Time for us to move on again. All this bludging around at the seaside is making us very lazy, so today we are heading to the hills again. Another 100 odd kilometres which took us all day to transverse.

After investigation on the internet and asking the hotel staff here, we sort of worked out that the bus we needed to catch left La Libertad (which is just 10 minutes up the road) at either 1pm, 1.30pm or 2pm. So to be on the safe side we made sure we were waiting up on the main road early enough for the first departure time. There are only 2 buses per day from La Libertad to Sonsonate, the first one at 6am - which we would not even attempt to catch - and then one in the afternoon. So we had to be on the afternoon bus.

This gave us enough time to have a sleep in, a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, a bit of a walk around and then a swim in the hotel pool before dragging our bags up to the main road. We were up there in plenty of time by 12.30pm.


After only about 15 minutes wait a chicken bus stopped and although it was not the number I had written down, when I showed the conductor our destination he nodded yes and helped load our bags. We had no idea if there was another bus or not. It turns out this guy obviously could not read as he motioned for us to get off the bus just 15 minutes up the beach thinking we wanted Playa Sunzal not Sonsonate! Most definitely my pronunciation was incorrect, but I think his reading skills were lacking also. Anyway we got a short bus ride for US$1 for the 3 of us and a more shady place to wait on the side of the road for the correct bus.


Next bus we got on will be #287. So we waited, and waited, and waited. Lots of chicken buses passing us but none the one we wanted. Timing wise I think the bus left La Libertad at 1.30pm as the bus we wanted slowed down to pick us up at 2pm. Us and some others also now waiting at the same bit of road we were. Only problem was, the bus the stopped was already full. And by full I mean passengers were already standing on the front and back exit steps. How the hell were we going to get on. The other passengers waiting with us, of course scrambled aboard as they had no luggage to contend with. So we just went to the front door and waited until the people inside squashed up even more and finally made room for us. Dolly was on first with her bag and she made it to the top of the front steps, I was not so lucky and spent the first 30 minutes of the journey on the second step trying to hold on desperately to my bag and trying desperately not to fall our of the door as the bus driver drove without braking around the winding coastal road. Lyn and her bag were taken to the back door of the bus and all I could see as we departed the stop was her hat so I was relieved she did make it on. But truthfully, I think these bus guys live by the motto - no one gets left behind.

Slowly but surely the bus emptied, and our positions became a little safer and more comfortable. The last hour of this 2 hour ride had us all comfortable seated. This 2 hour exciting bus ride cost us US$1.50 each. That was just phase one.

We arrived in Sonsonate bus station just after 4pm and I suggested we go and have some food before we attempted the next leg. I knew the buses to our next and final destination departed every 30 minutes. We found a beautifully air conditioned Pollo Campero (chicken junk food chain) and had some chicken to eat. It was lovely to sit in the cool air and recover from that last bus ride.

At about 5pm we returned to the bus station and found the line up for our next bus to Juayua. We waited about 30 minutes before our bus pulled into its stand. God knows why everyone bothered to line up cause soon enough it was just a free for all with the bus conductor urging everyone to scramble aboard. We moved slowly up the line and it soon became obvious that all the seats in the bus were taken and some people were starting to line up for the next bus. The conductors spied us with our luggage and made a signal to head to the back of the bus so we could load our bags. We managed to get on the now very full bus that was standing room only. Dolly managed to wangle a seat, and old lady stood up for me to sit but I refused. Lyn and I stood the whole way, but it was only about 30 minutes after the initial 30 minutes getting out of the city traffic. This bus ride cost us US$0.50c each.


Todays travel of just over 100 km, cost us a total of US$7.00 for the 3 of us, and a few grey hairs. We left our hotel in El Tunco at 12pm and arrived at Casa Mazeta at about 6pm.

From the bus stop we had to walk about 8 blocks through town to Casa Mazeta, where we have a triple room with private bathroom for US$30 per night. I have booked us here for 4 nights.

Dropped of the bags then back out to find a beer, which of course we did. Golden US$1.25. It is a little cooler out here at night, being in the hills and all.


We also found a supermarket from where we purchased supplies for a sandwich dinner, since we'd had the chicken meal so late. And we found a bottle of pina/coco juice, which went very nice with the last bottle of rum that I was still carrying.

Posted by Cindy Bruin 21:52 Archived in El Salvador Tagged beach bus el chicken juayúa tunco Comments (1)


flight Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Surat Thani, Thailand, bus to Don Sak, ferry to Koh Samui - then free days on Samui

Friday 8th May 2015 (day four)

We had to get very early today to be at the bus station at 6.45am for our 7am shuttle to the airport. Luckily the bus station was only a 10 minute walk from our hotel. At this early hour, although there were still no shops or anything open, the streets were already congested with morning traffic mostly made up of taxis and buses. Today we are flying from Kuala Lumpur up to Thailand, heading for the island of Samui. Lyn's youngest son Patrick is working at a resort on the island and since we were sort of passing by it would be rude not to stop over for a couple of days.

The shuttle to the airport was 12 myr = $4.20 and took just over an hour, getting us to the airport just a little over 2 hours before our 10.35am flight. Or so we thought. Panic struck as soon as we looked on the board and our flight was not even listed. My computer has been out of internet action for a few days so I did not check the flight or know if I had received any emails advising a change of flight time. We walked towards the self checking kiosk praying our flight had not been cancelled for the day, a delay we could live with but a cancelled flight would be a pest. Thankfully it was just a delayed flight that was not due to depart 12pm instead of 10.35am. Not too bad but had we know it would have meant not such an early start to our day. No harm done, we headed to Maccas for some breakfast.

The usual waiting at the airport always seems so much longer than it is, but in our case it actually was when the flight was delayed almost another hour. Finally flying and a relatively short flight less than 3 hours.


At the airport we purchased transfer to Koh Samui which included coach to Don Sak ferry dock, ferry to the island and van drop off at our chosen hotel for 550baht = $22 each. We were the last to get onto the coach and it took off shortly afterwards for the hour drive to the ferry dock. We drove through rain most of this drive, but it was hot and sunny at the port. We had to wait about 30mins for the 4pm ferry and by the time is arrived there was quite a crowd and line up of vehicles to load onto it. This all went smoothly and Lyn was relieved to see the sea also was looking smooth.


Ferry journey was very smooth and took about 2 hours before there was a mad scramble for everyone to get off. I never really understood this mad dash to be the first off. This phenomenon takes place on aircraft also, everyone pushes and scrambles over seats in such a rush to get off you would think the plane was about to take off again before they get a chance to disembark.

After walking the length of the jetty we were met by the van drivers who had already been delegated their drop offs, so when I heard a guy calling out 'Weekender' we gravitated towards him and he showed us to his air conditioned van. A cool haven where we sat for about 15 minutes while he collected his other passengers.

Our transfer to hotel took about an hour as the ferries come in on the opposite side of the island to where the main accommodation areas are. We have been to Koh Samui before and a few things were looking familiar.

So here were are at Weekender Villas Resort for the next week and as soon as we arrive I knew it would be hard to take. NOT!
Travelling with mother to one of the key staff members is a bonus in these situations as we get to stay in the best room bungalow villa in the place. There is only one villa directly facing the beach and we've got it. Beautiful, also overlooking the pool it's pretty flash by our usual Asian travel standards. Air con and flat screen TV and a fridge, wow luxury. Only draw back is only one bed, but its king size so I might be lucky enough to escape Lyn's fondness of spooning. lol.


We had an early night after such an early start.

Saturday 9th May 2015 (day five)

We are going to take full advantage of our time here on Koh Samui by doing probably absolutely nothing. And what better place to do that than on an island in Thailand where the sun promises to shine every day and the sea is warm.

Earlier this morning I attempted a swim but after walking out approximately 100 meters I was still in only calf deep in water. Giving up I just sat down to get wet, so at our resort the pool is the better option.

Lyn and I did wander out to find some lunch and went for a walk along the beach and a swim in the lovely clear water. Unfortunately the beach directly in front of our resort is not the best for swimming.


So just a relaxing day by the pool and the sea - times like this we realize how tough life really is.


Sunday 10th May 2015 (day six)

Mothers Day today, so Pat hired a car to take us on a bit of a tour around the island. Unfortunately the beach that was recommended to us was not the best although its name has received lots of comments on my facebook page. We had lunch at a little beachside restaurant on The Virgin Coast and it was very pleasant.



Afterwards we ended up back on Lamai Beach where we had a swim and bought an overpriced ice cream on the beach.


Monday 11th May 2015 (day seven)

Today we managed to do even less than yesterday, can you believe that.

We did however go for a walk up the beach to watch the sunset and have a beer at a different location.


Cannot believe how warm the water is, in the really shallow places its almost hot enough that if we could catch the tiny fish swimming around us they would be par-boiled and ready to eat straight from the sea. Which reminds me we had a delicious fish for dinner tonight. Red snapper!


Tuesday 12th May 2015 (day eight)

Ok time to be a little active today. After breakfast we hired a motor bike so we could go out exploring. However our first call was to the computer guy where I dropped off my tablet on Friday. Something happened to the internet adapter while in Kuala Lumpur and I was unable to connect to the internet - apparently this adapter needs to be installed for this to happen. How the hell it became un installed is beyond me, but it had and it needed to be fixed, which it was for a princely sum of 500 baht = $20. I have no idea how computers work but am annoyed when they don't so to pay 20 bucks to have this one fixed I was very happy. Only thing is in the process of re installing the internet adapter he un installed the OFFICE program which I use to keep track of our expenses and to write up this blog. Anyway luckily it was a simple task of getting the program key from Mitchell at home and re installing OFFICE. All good now.

Anyway that was out first stop and after that we got on the bike and rode around the island, stopping for lunch at Coral Cove and swims at other beaches along the way and drink stops. It was a nice change and broke a little of the nothingness that we had been doing the last few days. Not that there is anything wrong with that.


We actually went all out today and got on a double kayak for a paddle out on the water to enjoy the sunset. Gee settle down girls don't go getting to energetic I hear you all saying. Don't worry it was a pretty casual paddle with a beer either side of the experience.




Fish again for dinner.


Wednesday 13th May 2015 (day nine)

Today was a real relax.

Lyn went off with Patrick for some Mother/Son quality time together.

I stayed poolside to catch up on some housekeeping after getting computer back yesterday.
It's our last day on the island so making the most of poolside.

Had a couple of cocktails to end the day and a man size chicken schnitzel.


Posted by Cindy Bruin 20:46 Archived in Thailand Tagged beach samui koh surat thani lamai Comments (6)

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