honeymoon day two

Good morning husband, good morning fluffy blankets, good morning stars, good mo… 5.20am! I better get in the shower!

As you can imagine, in a lulled state, we just made the plane to our honeymoon. Five minutes later and they wouldn’t have checked us in. You’d think from both of us catching a multitude of planes over the years, we’d have learnt. Obviously, not the case.

We went via Sydney with a couple hours stop over for eating, drinking, and more eating, then made our way to Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu.

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The airport was mind blowing. Never in my life had I been to an airport like this. As you can see, airport security was fairly relaxed and paid no notice to us photographing and posing on the tarmac. Inside the terminal, the line moved steadily through the custom security staff stamping passports. A glistening formed on peoples foreheads and upper lips as we waited patiently in line, to once again form another line. Oh it wasn’t that bad! But it was hot and cramped.

Once through customs and security, we made our way to Adventures in Paradise desk, whom then transferred us via shuttle to the Havannah Resort. On the thirty minute drive to the resort, William, the driver, did not stop talking the entire way. He knew all kinds of fun facts about Vanuatu and the island we were staying on, Efate. He pointed out every village, tourist spot, sign post and rock (haha). No, but honestly! He made us feel really welcomed and it was great being able to see some of the island and learn more about their culture.

As soon as we pulled up, we were greeted by some of the lovely ladies who worked at the resort. They took our bags and walked us to the reception area / The Point restaurant, passing the most lovely trimmed gardens, colourful, vibrant flowers and luscious green shrubbery and trees. Once at the Restaurant, we were handed coconuts, a couch and a gorgeous view.

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After a couple signed documents and two full bellies full of coconut water, they escorted us to our Villa. She took us up the normal path, then veered off down some stepping stones, which lead to our front door for the next five days. Now this was absolutely incredible. Inside was bohemian, yet modern, with lovely timber furnishings and shutters on all the windows. At one end of the villa was the bathroom amenities with an open shower and skylight, and at the other, two giant doors that opened up onto our very own deck, plunge pool, hanging day bed and a view of the beach and vivid turquoise waters. This was literally paradise.

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Once settled into the Villa, it was getting late and our tummies were grumbling. We walked the fifty meters down the pristine footpaths to The Point restaurant with our complimentary cocktails for two voucher (newlywed benefits, hells yeah!) and relaxed for the rest of the night.

goodbye japan

Day 06 –

Grabbing a sushi triangle passing through a train station is the definition of breakfast on the go. We ventured our way to Asakusa and spent most of the morning browsing through the market stalls and collecting souvenirs. Though, our first order of business was to find a particular knife shop that Jordan had researched. When we got there, we discovered entire streets dedicated to cookery, homewares and knives. Shop after shop, there was no shortage. After reminding ourselves over and over about our luggage allowance limit on the flight back home, we eventually got to ‘Kamata’, a sleek store filled with all types and brands of knives. Jordan ended up taking home a set of two Japanese knives, engraved with his last name – Cooper.

For lunch, we snacked on deep fried, pancake like patties filled with meat, vegetables and curry. They were surprisingly delicious. We strolled on through the markets, looking at all the trinkets, artwork and traditional clothing, then made our way to Tokyo Skytree. We didn’t end up going to the top as the line was quite long and we needed to be heading back to the hotel to collect our luggage and make our way to the airport. It was a lovely day and we were able to get a couple souvenirs for our families.

Although we allowed plenty of time to get to the airport, have a snack and say our goodbyes, and board, we only just made it on. Two Jetstar flights were leaving within thirty minutes of each other, Cairns and Gold Coast, and the queues to check into either flight were extremely slow moving and long. Even though the flights were quite cheap, I can’t say I would definitely fly Jetstar internationally again as both flights were disappointing – long queues, staff uninterested in doing their duties, cleanliness and upkeep of toilets.

We were able to squeeze in a couple hugs with Pop before he raced onto the plane and took off. Fortunately, we still had ten minutes before we were due to board, so we raced down to the duty free shop and stocked up on some essentials. Soon, we were in the air and all the food we had packed for our journey was gobbled up by Mr. Cooper in the first twenty minutes.

Back in Oz, we arrived early morning as the sun rose and started our day off with a giant breakfast – I’m pretty sure Jordan got two big breakfasts’. It was nice to be back in the warm weather. We kept busy, going to the gym and walking around the shops. We even started the clothes washing, eugh!

Finishing our holiday up with a couple days at the Gold Coast was relaxing and refreshing. Our last night was celebrated at Moo Moo’s, a great steakhouse in Broadbeach – a little tradition we had started. We had delicious wine and shared a 1kg Wagu Beef Rump, their signature dish.

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I can’t wait to come back and explore other parts of Japan and maybe even take part in some snow sports. Until then, stay tuned for more adventures.

harajuku

Day 05 –

Sauntering the streets of Harajuku is always a good way to spend your day. Lot’s of shops, people and, of course, delicious crêpes. We began our day by eating croque madame with onion soup and a berry smoothie, upstairs in a little café. If we didn’t eat breakfast at the hotel, personally, I found it quite difficult to find anything suitable. Most eateries open in the morning looked to only serve dinner style food and there wasn’t really any difference between breakfast, lunch and dinner. For someone that is used to eating eggs and cereal, I found it hard to eat noodles and seafood for breakfast. I digress, the croque madame was delightful and set us up for the day.

After looking in little trinket shops and finding a street completely dedicated to fancy stores full of second hand items, we decided to munch on a crêpe and make our way to Yoyogi park. This area of Tokyo is very alive with stalls, music and people of all ages.

_mg_2366As the sun started to make it’s way behind the buildings, we made our way to Korakuen for a ride on the giant rollercoaster, Thunder Dolphin, and some dinner. A mini theme park in the middle of the city, with lots of rides, a shopping centre and plenty of eateries. The Thunder Doplphin, in my personal experience, is on par with the Superman rollercoaster at Warner Brothers Movie World, on the Gold Coast. It’s a long ride that travels along a track that weaves around the park rides and shopping centre. If you can get over the extremely high and steep ascent, there are many beautiful views, before you plummet very quickly back down to Earth. Jordan and I were on an adrenaline rush for a couple hours after we stumbled off the ride.

Craving some westernised food, we ate burgers for dinner and finished up at Starbucks with a caramel frappucino.

tsukiji fish market

Day 04 –

On all the past trips to Tokyo, I have never ever been to the Tsukiji Fish Market. Jordan had been looking forward to this in the weeks leading up to the trip and it was finally here! What an experience! A chaotic and magical place. I have never seen so much seafood in my life. The colours, shapes and creatures were captivating. The narrow walkways lined by fishermen selling all things imaginable. Very early in the morning there is a tuna auction, where they only allow a certain amount of people into the venue and you have to line up a couple hours before as well! We didn’t go to that, but there was plenty of giant tuna to be seen around the market. Some used bandsaws to cut the frozen tuna down as they were so big. The octopus were my favourite.

After the fish market, we wandered through the vegetable and fruit market, and ended up at another little market full of food, trinkets, clothing, crockery and lots of people. We tried some odd tasting but somewhat delightful Japanese candy, and some sweet omelette cubes  on a stick.

 

Whilst we were in the area, we went for a stroll in the Tea Garden nearby. I love the contrast of the peacefulness of nature, and the hustle and bustle of the city and the buildings in the photographs above. The way these large parks are maintained and left untouched by the city, and are still a sanctuary, is incredible.

 

After the pleasant walk through the tea garden, we took a train to Tokyo station and made our way to the beautiful Imperial Palace Gardens. Here we ate some lunch on the lawn that we had picked up earlier at Natural Lawson. It consisted of Gyu-Don, peach iced tea and some dark chocolate (that I was hesitant to share).

Next was the National Museum of Modern Art. A short walk from the Imperial Palace Gardens exit, we were there, pondering the art work and making sure a breath was not heard. My favourite pieces were from a collection of large war-time canvas paintings. They were very entrancing and showed a lot of storytelling and movement.