30 March, 2012

Posing in Sydney

Since asking followers of my travel blog for photographic contributions, I've had all sorts of different pictures. There have been beautiful landscapes; city scenes, and just downright unusual travel photos - I always like something a little bit different to feature on my travel blog. Today's photo is not only cute, but it also made me laugh out loud! Vincent Connaré took the photo, so let's hear more about it!

My brother in law is just retiring from the Navy as a Commander, and we were on a private military golf course south of Sydney when we came across this scene. You do see kangaroos and Wallabies outside of the cities, but they don't normally pose for photos like these two!

Vincent - I love this photo, thanks so much for your contribution! If you'd like to share your own photo please send your photo to the email address on my contact page, with a short description of where it was taken. 

26 March, 2012

Tram 28 - a vintage way to see Lisbon

Lisbon is a wonderful city built on seven hills. In order to get around without having to climb these hills; there is a fabulous transport system which not only serves the locals well, but also provides tourists with a great way to see the city. Electrico (tram) number 28 offers the ultimate in sightseeing. While some trams have been replaced by modern models, there are still a few of the vintage carriages that trundle their way around the streets of the Portuguese capital.

Try to get a seat by the window to enjoy the views - if the tram looks too busy, wait for the next one to make the most of the trip. The old yellow trams have been riding the hills since before the Second World War, and No. 28 follows a perfect route for sightseeing - you can take it up to the Castle and The Sé (Lisbon's cathedral) to name just two sights along the route. It also passes through many of the main districts of Lisbon, but the best part is when the tram starts climbing to the Alfama. If you lean out of the window here, you can almost reach into people's houses - it's THAT close to the walls of their houses! I wouldn't recommend this though in case you lose a limb!

You can get out to explore the Sé, or head to the Miradouro de Graça which boasts fantastic views of the city. The last stretch goes through more narrow streets and hairpin bends up to Graça, where you can explore the Igreja de Sao Vicente de Fora. Tram 28 can also take you to Feira da Ladra, the city's flea market. The best bargains are found here, and everyone is encouraged to haggle the prices. It takes place on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 6am-5pm. The first tram leaves at 6am, and it runs approximately every ten minutes until around 11pm. Not to be missed if you're visiting Lisbon.

23 March, 2012

Travel Photo Friday - Trekking in Nepal

Since asking for contributions for my Travel Photo Friday feature, I've been blown away by how different the pictures are. Today's contribution from Andy Crisconi is stunning.

With the trekking season in Nepal about to get going, I thought I'd submit a picture from Nepal. Here is my friend Nicole walking through the stone archway, which marks the entrance into the remote Tibetan village or Nar, located in north central Nepal at an altitude of 13,5000 feet.

What a truly beautiful photo - a great contribution. If you want to have a look at Andy's own blog, it can be found here, and if you'd like to contribute a travel photo of your own, please send it to me with a brief description at the email address on my contact page.

19 March, 2012

Tranquility in Tobago

Last week I admit....I was a bit of a tease! For those of you who missed last Monday's post, I mentioned that I was about to head off on my first trip of the year, but neglected to reveal my destination. Thanks to those of you who got in touch via twitter, and well done to those of you who correctly identified my destination as Tobago - I was amazed people were able to guess just from the lush photo in my post!

It's fair to say I've spent the last week in perfect paradise! If you haven't been to the Caribbean before you really are missing out, especially at this time of year when the weather is absolutely perfect. Having visited a lot of other islands in the Caribbean, I would definitely say that Tobago is one of the least developed, and it really does have a certain charm about it that some other islands lack.

When you're on holiday, you always have more time to think about things, so what's been on my mind? I've been thinking about what gives a great holiday the X factor, and would love to know your thoughts - please leave your comments below, or feel free to put them on my twitter page @TravelLightbulb. I think that may have to be a topic for my travel ramblings on my return! I've found some gems to feature on my blog in the future, and can't wait to tell you all about them. In the meantime, check back in on Friday for another stunning travel photo.

16 March, 2012

Travel Photo Friday - La Tour Eiffel

I have a feeling most of you will be able to guess where today's featured photo was taken! I was in Paris on a beautiful summer's weekend, and took this picture at one of the most iconic landmarks in the world. Almost seven million people visit the Eiffel Tower each year, and it really is a stunning piece of architecture. Although more difficult to photograph, my favourite time to see this famous French symbol is actually at night. Twenty thousand bulbs sparkle and glitter for five minutes every hour on the hour from nightfall until 1am. It is a truly breathtaking sight that brings out the romance in everyone!

If you have a photo you'd like featured here on Travel Lightbulb then please send it to me by email: travellightbulb@hotmail.co.uk. If you have your own blog I'll happily link to it, but it's not just for bloggers. Let me know where the photo was taken, and a bit about the location and it could be your photo on here soon!

12 March, 2012

Starting the week without the Monday morning blues!

Happy Monday morning to you all. I'm not a big fan of this day of the week, but this is a very happy one for me, as I'm heading off on my first trip of the year tomorrow! Don't worry, I'll still be blogging from afar, but instead of doing three posts per week, I'll be posting on Mondays and Fridays for the next three weeks - well I have to make time to find some amazing new places to feature on my blog don't I?

There's nothing more exciting than packing a bag, and heading off to sunnier climes and that's exactly what I'll be doing in just over 24 hours. So where am I going? The picture above may give you bit of a clue. If you can't work it out, pop back to Travel Lightbulb a week today, and I'll reveal all! However it's not all relaxation for me.....Travel Lightbulb will be back this Friday bringing you another great Travel Photo. Until then, I hope you also have a trip booked for the not too distant future so you too can look forward to a new travel experience!

09 March, 2012

Travel Photo Friday - Cies Islands

Today's photo comes courtesy of Cathy Shanks who moved to Spain to teach English almost six years ago. Here's the story behind the photo...

This sunset was taken looking at the Cies islands from Samil beach in Vigo, Spain. The three islands are just 45 minutes off the coast of Vigo, and I'm lucky to have such a beautiful and unspoilt place on my doorstep! They were declared a nature reserve in 1980, and are included in the Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park.

What a stunning photo Cathy - I'm ashamed to say I had never heard of these islands, so time to do some research. It sounds like it is somewhere that should be featured on my blog in the future - watch this space!

If you'd like to share you're own photo with me on Travel Lightbulb, then send your pic, and a short paragraph about where it was taken to the email address on my contact page.

07 March, 2012

Glamping in Sardinia

I've featured glamping on Travel Lightbulb a couple of times now, in both the UK, and in Australia, and today it has cropped up again. This time I've found a gem in Sardinia, the second largest island in the Mediterranean sea. Bella Pineta in Sardinia is ideal for couples, or friends looking for a special hideaway with all the luxuries you would expect in a hotel.

Photo courtesy of Bella Pineta
Situated just outside Martis, the historical village is one hour from Alghero airport (Ryanair) and ninety minutes from Olbia airport (EasyJet), and you obviously have the option of driving here too. Car hire is recommended anyway, as Bella Pineta is off the beaten track. The two emperor tents sit in six acres of unspoilt Sardinian countryside in the grounds of the owners 16th century house.

Photo courtesy of Bella Pineta
They are one of the largest tents produced with three metres of head height, and six metres of lounging space. They each have a double bed;  private shower, and toilet, and are luxuriously furnished and romantically lit. There are lots of places to eat; drink, and relax in the six acres of countryside where the tents are located.

Photo courtesy of Bella Pineta
The owners also provide a CoolPool for chilling out, and lighting is provided by solar lanterns. A continental breakfast is provided, and can be brought to your tent. They also offer home made cooked meals, delivered to your dining table if you don't feel like going out.

Photo courtesy of Bella Pineta
So what if you do fancy exploring the local area? Well the house and grounds are a five minute walk to the village of Martis which has several bars; a pizzeria; supermarkets, and other local amenities. You are also a mere 30 minutes from the beautiful beaches of Sardinia. This little piece of perfection could be the perfect retreat away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. If you'd like more information, visit the official website.

05 March, 2012

Safari without the steep prices

I've always wanted to go on a safari, and did consider it for honeymoon, but ended up in the Maldives chilling out! Having said that, it's still on my list but the question I pose in my travel ramblings today is.....can you do a safari on the cheap? Perhaps that's the wrong way to phrase it, as I don't think you can find 'bargains' in this area of travel, but there is a lot of advice out there about how to find the best deals.

Photo courtesy of Becky Lynch
So why are safaris so expensive in the first place? Well the high cost is partly down to the fact that they take place in remote settings where supplies are hard to come by - logistically trying to run a camp in the middle of the African bush is difficult when there are no local shops! Another reason for the expense are park fees.  Maintaining a national park and reserve takes a lot, and the fees at some parks are not cheap. Those are just two reasons for the high prices, so how can you keep the cost of such a trip down?

Photo courtesy of Becky Lynch
Your destination is key. South Africa, home to the vast Kruger National Park (daily entrance fee £16), is the traditional choice for a reasonably priced safari. With two million hectares of wildlife reserve, it's hard to beat. Having said that, there are also lots of good deals for East African countries such as Tanzania, Kenya and Namibia.

Photo courtesy of Becky Lynch
Timing is also important, and the African seasons can be a little confusing. Going 'off peak' sounded to me like you'd be going at a time when you wouldn't see much wildlife, and the weather would be poor - but that's not necessarily the case. Off season trips could not only save you around a third of the price of your trip, but many animals have their young at this time of year, and although it's considered 'rainy season', it's unusual for it to rain all day. Instead you usually get showers in the morning and evening.

Photo courtesy of Becky Lynch
And finally, accommodation is the one area where you can definitely save cash. While luxury lodges look amazing, think about how long you're actually going to be spending in your room if you're out looking at amazing landscapes and animals all day. There are low cost lodges (click here for more details) where you are still taken out on game drives by trackers, and you can also do a self drive and stay in a tent in an official campsite - don't worry, they have fences to keep you safe from the wildlife!

I've been writing this blog for months now and the more I discover and learn, the more I want to travel. Having done the research for this feature and found some amazing options, a safari is definitely still on my list.

02 March, 2012

Travel Photo Friday - In the Wilderness of Yosemite

Today's Travel Photo Friday not only features a beautiful photo, but also a great story. It was taken by travel blogger and budding photographer Lane Billings, so let's find out more...

The image was captured at Yosemite National Park. We had sold our house in Los Angeles but couldn't close on our new home in Santa Fe, New Mexico for nearly a month. What to do with the time? Road trip! We said "good-bye" to California by covering much of the coast and northern parts in three and a half weeks. It was just after Christmas and we nearly got stuck - twice - in snowbound Yosemite. Freezing, numb hands and running noses didn't damper the majestic scenes of this forest.

Bonus tip: There are NO crowds in Yosemite in the middle of winter.

What a fantastic photo, and a great story too! Thanks Lane, and if you want to read more about her travels visit www.thelostbackpack.com. I'm always looking for contributors for this feature, so if you have a travel photo you'd like to share, just send it to me using the email address on my contact page, and include a short paragraph about where it was taken. Thanks in advance for your contributions.