Checking In: The Beverly Hills Hotel

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For a really long time I have wanted to check myself in to the Beverly Hills Hotel. For those who don’t know, the hotel is legendary for being one of the most iconic hotels in the world, known for its playfully pink exterior, banana leaf wallpaper and for being a major destination for film stars in Hollywood’s golden age. So on my recent visit to Los Angeles, I reasoned that a stay here would be worth the pretty pennies, as it is an experience in itself and one that I have been longing to enjoy for quite some time. As such, I did it. I booked a room and checked myself in to the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.

Beverly Hills Hotel Review

The Beverly Hills Hotel

It is difficult to know where to begin when describing this hotel as it has become so affectionately loved by locals + visitors to Los Angeles over the last 100+ years of operation. The hotel was built over a century ago and as such, the neighbourhood of Beverly Hills was formed and built around the property over the years.

Its no secret this is a popular spot for celebrities, but I was so blissed out in my hotel suite that I rarely made it out to people watch at the pool area, which becomes especially popular on weekends and in particular for Sunday Brunch.

Known to many as the “Pink Palace”, this hotel is the kind of place you would check-in to for a staycation, as the idyllic surrounds make it hard to leave the property to venture elsewhere – with a fantastic outdoor pool area, plenty of gardens, and a selection of great eateries (my favourite is the low key Fountain Coffee Room).

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The Suite

My deluxe suite seemed to have it all: a plush king size bed with some of the coziest sheets I have ever had, a large bathroom with a bathtub to fit three people my size, and a huge flat screen with a range of channels to keep myself entertained in the evenings (there really is no end to American reality tv entertainment).

Each morning I would order breakfast from the In Room Dining menu, with my hardest choice for the day being whether to have the “Hollywood breakfast” or the banana-strawberry smoothie with protein (when in fact I would order both, every time).

Checking in to the Beverly Hills Hotel Review | World of Wanderlust Beverly_Hills_Hotel_Pool

Around the Hotel

The hotel is a private playground of sorts, with oodles of public spaces to enjoy but mostly centering around the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel pool. On the weekends this area becomes wildly popular among both hotel guests and locals who drop by to grab a long lunch at the casual poolside cafe, that is just as much about the social scene as it is the food (okay, if I’m honest, it is much less about the latter).

The hotel has all the usual suspects – a gym, world class spa, and plenty of gardens to explore… its the kind of place you never want to leave (so be prepared to stay in for a few days before you head off to explore LA!)

Beverly Hills Hotel Review Beverly Hills Hotel Review Checking in to the Beverly Hills Hotel Review | World of Wanderlust Checking in to the Beverly Hills Hotel Review | World of Wanderlust Checking in to the Beverly Hills Hotel Review | World of Wanderlust Checking in to the Beverly Hills Hotel Review | World of Wanderlust

I visited the hotel as a paying guest and all opinions (plus way too many photos) are my own! 

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

A Quick Guide to Houston Texas

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As the largest city in Texas and the fourth largest city in the United States, Houston is often considered the gateway to your Texan adventure in the Lone Star State. With plenty of diversity you’ll not only be spoiled for choice with Tex Mex cuisine, but also virtually any cuisine you can imagine! Such diversity is what makes this such an enjoyable city to experience for two or three days before you begin to explore more of what Texas has to offer.

So what are you waiting for, here is your guide to Houston, Texas!

Guide to Houston Texas | World of Wanderlust

With a city as big as this, it is difficult to know where to start. The first thing I noticed when I landed in Texas for the first time (technically I have flown in and out of Dallas before without leaving the airport), was that it is true when people say “everything is bigger in Texas”. It really is.

The motorways were flowing with large trucks, the houses were often blown so far out of proportion I wondered how many pools they had inside, rather than if they had a pool, and the meals served in restaurants could rival a hungry sports players’ choice at an all-you-can-eat buffet!

But hey, I’m not complaining. More is more and more is, well, better.

Overall I’d suggest centring yourself in the Downtown area as you’ll find plenty of great restaurants nearby, nightlife, the Theatre District and if you happen to arrive in town for a sports game, you’re just a short stroll from the game (for any of the three stadiums).

Quick Guide to Houston | World of Wanderlust Quick Guide to Houston | World of Wanderlust

And so I checked myself in to the Four Seasons Houston in Down Town. The hotel is currently undergoing a large renovation so my photos are limited, but let me tell you the staff, the service, the food… everything was on point! Before I even had time to catch up on some sleep after the 13.5 hour flight, I made my way down to the spa to volunteer as tribute for a “Jet Lag Recovery” spa treatment. The treatment involved a body scrub and back massage… which was just enough to send me to sleep right there on the massage bed after my long haul flight!

This hotel was my first choice due to its location – right in the centre of town and with plenty of eateries nearby. I’d highly recommend checking out MKT, a one-minute walk from the hotel and serving typical gastropub meals. Situated adjacent is a gourmet supermarket which acts kind of like a less healthy Wholefoods store and serves up some of the most delicious quiche I have ever tasted in my life! I’d highly recommend stopping by.

Guide to Houston | World of Wanderlust Quick Guide to Houston | World of Wanderlust Quick Guide to Houston | World of Wanderlust

Well, I hope you’re hungry… ‘cos you don’t come to the South to start a diet. Being a vegetarian my recommendations are anything but usual in a city that prides itself on the quality (and most of the time quantity) of their meat, but if you’re up for some great options (that still serve meat, don’t worry!!!), then I’ve got you covered.

Common Bond Bakery

More on the hipster side of the radar is the ever busy Common Bond Bakery in Montrose residential area. I decided to catch an uber here despite it being a little out of my way, because the comments I read online about it being the best bakery in town were too much to resist! Try the salted caramel macaron for a definite win.

1706 Westheimer Rd, Montrose Houston

Hugo’s

If you’re looking for a great, authentic, upscale Mexican restaurant then look no further than Hugo’s — its hard to beat! Open for both lunch and dinner, this is one of the pricier options but still incredibly popular (due to the quality) so be sure to reserve a table in advance.

1600 Westheimer Rd, Montrose Houston

Andalucia Tapas & Taverna

If you’re after typical latin flavours tapas style (so you can try loads of flavours) then head here for a rustic atmosphere, live music and flamenco dancers on weekends!

1204 Caroline St, Downtown Houston

MKT Bar

If you’re looking for something casual, a great place to meet people and surprisingly good food, this gastropub has it all.

1001 Austin St, Downtown Houston

South_Boulevard_Houston Texas | World of Wanderlust

I’ll skip all the niceties and give it to you straight: here are the things you must do in Houston (according to me).

Southern Boulevard

To put it bluntly, “Southern Boulevard” isn’t really an attraction of sorts but it was, hands down, my favourite area of Houston to wander around. This is in the fancy part of town, where houses fetch millions of dollars and are palatial residences that look so pircture perfect, you wander if you’re on the set of Desperate Housewives (just a richer, way way way more swankier version). Real estate aside, this street is home to a glorious avenue of old oak trees – incredibly romantic and tranquil for a city escape!

The Galleria

If you visit just one shopping centre, make it this – the crowning jewel in Houston’s mega shopping malls. The impressive gallery boasts more than 400 shops, striking a good balance between high end and high street (you’ll even find the likes of Zara a stones throw from Miu Miu, rather than stretched out in different areas). There’s a food court downstairs if you’re after a quick snack and if you’re up for it, there’s even an ice skating rink!

Buffalo Bayou

Located on the edge of Downtown and with one of the best views of the city skyline, a visit to Buffalo Bayou is a local as experiences come. You’ll find plenty of Houston(ites?) walking their dogs, running, or having a good ol’ fashioned picnic in the park here.

Space Centre

Even though I didn’t go (I prefer to limit my head to the clouds and don’t usually venture any further), the NASA space centre is a huge hit with tourists, especially those travelling with kids. The centre provides a close up view of the NASA space program and if I’m entirely honest with you, if I had more time I would have popped along to see what all the fuss is about. Even the customs officer convinced me I had to go but in the end, it boiled down to time and how little I had!

Baseball or Basketball?

If you chance a visit on a game night during season, you really have no excuse not to catch a match at either the Toyota Centre (home to the Houston Rockets NBA team) or the Minute Maid Park (home to the Houston Astros MLB team).

Quick Guide to Houston | World of Wanderlust

The Galleria

Biscuit Wall in Houston

Walking on Westheimer

Quick Guide to Houston | World of Wanderlust

Buffalo Bayou

Thanks to the Four Seasons Houston for welcoming me to this lovely city! I flew to Houston direct from Auckland with Air New Zealand, who make the direct flight x5 times per week. It was really, really, really comfy. See a snap here!

A Sweet Walking Tour of Paris

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Ever seen yourself on a sweet walking tour of Paris? I know I have — and you’re about to find out why you should too. This walking tour will guide you around the streets of Paris uncovering all of the city’s best pastry shops full of delicious treats and sweet etas. The aim of the tour is to give you insider knowledge into the best of Paris’ sweet scene with maximum dessert stops and minimum walking… because patience is non-existent when it comes to French pastries!

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Pierre Marcolini

Let’s start our tour in the charming St Germain area, not only because it’s densely populated with Paris’ best pastry shops but also because its streets are as pretty as a postcard. The starting point of our tour will be the established chocolatier Pierre Marcolini. The heady smell of rich chocolate welcomes you through the entrance, stay for a while and buy a couple of divine chocolates or macarons to whet your appetite.

89 Rue de Seine, 75006 Paris, France

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Gérard Mulot

Just opposite, a few strides away lies Gérard Mulot, a quintessentially Parisian pastry shop. Decide among their traditional French pastries such as Tarte au Citron, Millefeuille or Paris-Brest.

76 Rue de Seine, 75006 Paris, France

Tarte Tropezienne

La Tarte Tropézienne 

Let’s take a little detour off Rue de Seine for a moment to discover Brigitte Bardot’s supposed favourite pastry originating from St Tropez. Fluffy brioche cake is filled with velvety cream to create the original Tarte Tropézienne. Grab a full-sized one or a mini one depending on your capacity, there are plenty more pastry stops to come. (Photo by Virginie)

3 Rue de Montfaucon, 75006 Paris

Grom

Grom

Navigate your way back to the scenic Rue de Seine and you’ll arrive at the most authentic Italian gelateria on your left: Grom. Order among the classic flavours such as creamy pistachio, zingy lemon or nutty hazelnut.

81 Rue de Seine, 75006 Paris, France

Meert

Meert

Carrying on down the same road, take a right and you’ll arrive at the quaint sweet shop Meert specialising in classic French waffles, originally from Lille. They also sell sweet cakes, fluffy marshmallows and caramels but really the thing to take away is their signature vanilla waffle.

3 Rue Jacques Callot, 75006 Paris, France

Laduree

Ladurée

We’ve now navigated our way down the length of Rue de Seine arriving close to the river. Now we’re going to work our way back up the parallel Rue Bonaparte. The first stop along this road is the much-celebrated Ladurée. Pop in for a few delicious macarons or a full-blown pastry if you’ve got room.

21 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris, France

Pierre Hermé

Pierre Hermé

Up for a fun little taste test? Save your recently purchased Ladurée macarons until you reach Pierre Hermé along the same road. The battle between which macaron reigns supreme has been a longstanding one and now it’s up to you to decide. If you’ve got room pick up one of Pierre Hermé’s inventive creations such as the Ispahan, Montebello or the Tarte Céleste.

72 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris, France

St Sulpice

Patrick Roger

A few feet away lies one of the prettiest squares in Paris: Place St Sulpice. Chocolate connoisseur Patrick Roger’s store is also located on this square. Intricate chocolate sculptures are displayed in the window and lure chocoholics inside. Grab a couple of pralines, dark ganaches and caramels for the road.

2-4 Place Saint-Sulpice, 75006 Paris, France

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Alain Ducasse

From one chocolate shop to another. Take the short walk back the way you came from to Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse to sample some of the best chocolate in Paris. This Michelin-starred chef has now extended his talents to chocolate and the man can do no wrong. Choose among rich bars stuffed with salted caramel, pistachio or passion fruit and coconut.

26 Rue Saint-Benoît, 75006 Paris, France

Café Pouchkine

Café Pouchkine

St Germain has recently been graced with the presence of a newly opened Café Pouchkine in the neighbourhood. This celebrated Franco-Russian pastry shop adds even more competition to the pastry scene in the area, with its sublime creations. Café Pouchkine’s tea room is the perfect place to end our pastry tour and peruse your paper bags full of sweet treats, if they haven’t all been consumed along the way.

155 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris

A Quick Guide to Queenstown New Zealand

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Scenic mountain ranges and lakeside views… what more could you ask for!? My first stop in New Zealand was the incredibly popular town of Queenstown, located in the South Island on Lake Wakatipu. With so much to see and do in the area it can be a little overwhelming at first, but if you’re looking for my favourite spots to see, sleep and eat… here is your complete quick guide to Queenstown!

Matakauri Lodge New Zealand | World of Wanderlust

Introducing Queenstown New Zealand

Located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, you couldn’t find a more scenic location for a town if you tried. The entire area is full of lakes and valleys to explore, so be sure to rent a car for your time here as there is so much to see and do nearby.

Once you arrive at the airport, head to a rental car desk to hire a car or if you’re visiting in high season (especially ski season), be sure to book in advance. For my time in Queenstown I booked a car from Go Rentals, as they were the cheapest rate I could find (a little more than $200 for four days).

The airport is located roughly a 15-minute drive from town. Once you arrive in town be sure to drop your bags, pack some snacks, and head straight back on the road to explore the region.

Queenstown New Zealand | World of Wanderlust

What to do in Queenstown

In Queenstown proper there are plenty of activities to keep you busy – this is the adventure capital of New Zealand after all! Below you’ll find plenty of inspiration to fuel your trip:

Bungy Jumping – if you’re after an adrenaline rush then you will find a handful of commercial bungy jumps on offer in the area.

Cruising – for something a little more low key, there are also a range of companies offering lake cruises from Queenstown.

Cycling – if you’re more of an active traveller, the area is very well suited to cycling and you can make your way over to Arrowtown for a great day trip to a town rich in history.

Hiking – any time of year you can enjoy the many hiking trails around the area. One of my favourite activities was just to stop by a trail I spotted from the road and head off on an unplanned adventure.

Skiing – should you visit in winter, you’ll be bombarded with all the skiiers making their way to the town! Make the most of the opportunity to hit the slopes with Queenstown as your base.

Azur Lodge New Zealand | World of Wanderlust

Stay: Azur Lodge

For my couple of days in the town itself, I checked in to the gorgeous apartment-style accommodation on offer at Azur Lodge. The lodge is a small property with only a handful of rooms, making it a great choice for couples looking to have some time to themselves. With a location on the side of a hill overlooking Lake Wakatipu, from your rooms you can enjoy unparalleled views.

The lodge was inclusive of a fully cooked breakfast, afternoon tea, and hors-d’oeuvres in the evenings. During this stay it was all of the little touches that counted – like a complimentary mini-bar re-stocked daily and the ability to order from any restaurant in town and have it delivered, free of charge, right to the comfort of your room.

A Quick Guide to Queenstown New Zealand | World of Wanderlust Wanaka New Zealand | World of Wanderlust

Short Day Trips from New Zealand

While there are many great landmarks on the South Island, many of these landmarks are a huge undertaking and involve plenty of driving if basing yourself in Queenstown. As someone who doesn’t like to spend too much time in a vehicle and more time outdoors, I chose to take only small day trips of an hour or two and stay close by. If you wish to see more of the immediate area, below are the short day trips I would recommend!

Wanaka – One of my favourite days was making the popular day trip to Wanaka, just a one-hour drive away. The lake here is absolutely gorgeous – be sure to find the famous “Wanaka Lake Tree!”

Arrowtown – Just a 15 minute drive from Queenstown is a small and intriguing town by the name of Arrowtown. This is a scenic little historic town that is great to wander around for an hour or so, making it the perfect midday trip for lunch!

Glenorchy – The day trip to Glenorchy is as much about the journey as it is the destination. Along the drive you can enjoy a scenic look at the lake (so be prepared to make many photo stops!!!)

Queenstown Guide | World of Wanderlust Queenstown Guide | World of Wanderlust

Where to Eat in Queenstown

For a small town Queenstown is absolutely jam-packed with great restaurants and cheap eats to enjoy! Below are some highlights from my four-nights here:

Fergburger – Undeniably the most popular eatery in town that ALWAYS has a line, here you will find cheap and delicious burgers with vegetarian options available!

Eichardt’s Bar – In the winter time you will find mulled wine here – an absolute treat!

Bespoke Kitchen – Probably the best coffee in town – at least of those I tried!

Queenstown New Zealand | World of Wanderlust

Air New Zealand fly directly from Sydney to Queenstown daily. Thanks to Azur Lodge for welcoming me to experience the hotel during my stay in Queenstown!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

Checking In: Matakauri Lodge New Zealand

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With Queenstown being one of the most popular destinations to visit in New Zealand, I was understandably excited to check myself in to the area’s premier lodging accommodation: Matakauri Lodge, on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Just a seven minute drive from the centre of town, the lodge is close enough for convenience but far enough to feel a world away from reality. So if you’re looking for an unforgettable, unique experience in Queenstown, here’s more about my stay at the luxurious but low-key lodge known as Matakauri!

Matakauri Lodge New Zealand | World of Wanderlust Matakauri Lodge New Zealand | World of Wanderlust

Checking In: Matakauri Lodge

If a picture tells a thousand words, then stepping in to this real life fairytale is surely a book waiting to be written. The rooms at Matakauri lodge give you that unique New Zealand experience you’ve always dreamed of, with all the comforts of home and then some. Furnishings are warm and inviting, giving you that instant homely feel as soon as you walk in the door.

Around the lodge you can enjoy all the usual facilities of a five star property, but the additions of a warm jacuzzi and infinity pool make the outdoor experience even more enjoyable — even in winter! From the lodge you can also walk down to the jetty where you can enjoy the lake view

The views from Matakauri Lodge are the kind that inspire you to take up painting or watercolours – they’re really that surreal! From the lodge you get a clear and unforgettable view of The Remarkables, as well as unobstructed views of the lake from your room.

Matakauri Lodge New Zealand | World of Wanderlust Matakauri Lodge New Zealand | World of Wanderlust

Inside the Rooms

The lodge is designed in a way that maximises guests’ privacy, with luscious greenery separating one room’s view from the next.

What I loved most about the room was the balance struck between luxury and purposeful living. Nothing in the room was over the top or unnecessary, as the lodge aims to make guests feel at home in New Zealand with their humble approach to luxury accommodation.

The room rate includes a complimentary mini-bar (the brownies are literally addictive – I can almost taste them just typing about them!), as well as an all-inclusive breakfast and gourmet dinner.

Each room also comes with a private terrace to enjoy the gorgeous mountain views, or you can kick back in the large bathtub and take in the views from indoors.

Matakauri Lodge New Zealand | World of Wanderlust

Around the Lodge

If you can force yourself to leave your room (which I assure you, is harder than it sounds), then you’ll find plenty of things to do around the resort. The resort has an infinity pool, jacuzzi, spa service and a well-appointed gym facing the gorgeous views. And yet even with that draw I couldn’t drag myself in there for a work out!

I would really recommend taking the time to wander down to the jetty for a view on the lake. The lodge has private access making this a great place to kick back and enjoy the sunshine + a good book in the warmer months.

Matakauri Lodge New Zealand | World of Wanderlust Matakauri Lodge Breakfast

The Matakauri Dining Experience

As mentioned earlier, the lodge room rates include a full buffet and cooked breakfast, all-inclusive mini-bar and a gourmet dinner each evening. Now, more importantly, how was the food!?

Breakfast is available to guests between 7-10:30am and is served in the dining room or alternatively in your room should you wish. The buffet is small but plentiful, with a full menu provided to order cooked breakfast items like Eggs Florentine, Waffles, or fluffy omelettes. Delicious!

Throughout the day I couldn’t help myself but to snack on the delicious homemade treats in the in-room mini-bar and if there’s one thing you should do before you die, its try the Matakauri brownies – they’re unlike anything else I have ever tried before!

Finally, for dinner, you couldn’t get a more refined, delicious dining experience if you tried. Guests can choose from an a la carte or tasting menu, and with so many great dishes on offer I just couldn’t help but to order the tasting menu two nights in a row. Prepare to swallow your pride and ask for the recipe – the dishes are out of this world!

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World of Wanderlust visited Matakauri Lodge as a guest – however my opinion and oodles of photos are all my own!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

All Aboard the Glacier Express!

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The Glacier Express is Switzerland’s crowning jewel of rail travel. Travelling by train is without a doubt the best way to see the Swiss countryside and for anyone who has partaken in some or all of the Glacier Express journey, you will know what I mean when I say it is a once in a lifetime experience. But is it all it is cracked up to be?

I recently travelled on the Glacier Express for the full journey from Zermatt to St Moritz to see whether it is truly as impressive as it looks at first glance. The journey, as magical as it was, did have a few flaws and for the purpose of review you will find a full overview in this feature on the famous Glacier Express!

Eurail_Global_Pass

The Glacier Express

Although classified as an express train, the Glacier Express runs in full length from Zermatt to St Moritz (and vice versa) in around 8 hours. Thus it has been self-dubbed the world’s “slowest express train”. Much of the journey travels through the Swiss Alps, as well as a portion of the journey running through the UNESCO World Heritage recognised Bernina landscapes.

The full journey passes over 291 bridges and through 91 tunnels, with the most impressive points of the journey being over the Landwasser viaduct, through the Rhine Gorge and the many countryside towns seen through the Bernina landscapes.

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First or Second Class?

As we were travelling with a Eurail Global Pass in first class, we opted to take the journey in first class but were surprised by what little difference there is between the two classes.

The main difference between the two classes was space, though first class wasn’t much different to second and with the same table service + menu, I would recommend taking the journey in both classes – depending on your preference.

What I did notice later in the journey was that the windows in second class were able to be opened, whereas the windows in first class are fixed and result in a strong glare in all of your photos (ugh!) Thus if you are travelling on the Glacier Express for the purpose of taking nice photos of the scenery, I would suggest travelling in second class as a better option.

A Guide to Zermatt Switzerland | World of Wanderlust

Zermatt

We started our journey in Switzerland’s most famous ski resort town; Zermatt. This is the beginning or end of the journey (depending in which direction you travel) and is the perfect winter playground to spend a few days to a week in the snow, enjoying the range of activities on offer.

Read more: A Guide to Zermatt.

Glacier Express Switzerland | World of Wanderlust

Swiss Countryside

The Glacier Express takes the following route through the Swiss countryside: Zermatt – Visp – Brig – Andermatt – Disentis – Chur – St Moritz (or Davos).

Each stop allows enough time to get some fresh air outside of the train, with a longer stop (30 minutes) in Disentis, allowing enough time to disembark and stretch the legs or purchase some snacks at a fraction of the price you will pay on board.

Glacier Express Switzerland | World of Wanderlust

Villages & Towns

With around 8 hours on board there is more than enough time to experience the Swiss countryside from the comfort of your window. Not only does the Glacier Express stop in a number of Swiss towns, but also passes effortlessly by a number of smaller villages and regions.

From Zermatt, the train descends through the Mattertal line, passing through a handful of small towns such as Täsch, Randa, St. Niklaus, Stalden, and larger towns like Visp and Brig.

From here the train passes through the Furka section, into a winter wonderland as you pass through Andermatt, another popular ski destination.

Onwards to Chur, the train then passes through the impressive Rhine Gorge – home to huge rock faces and a turquoise river that is very popular for locals to enjoy water activities such as kayaking and canoeing.

From Chur the train heads onwards through the Albula line and passes some of the most impressive scenery of the entire journey. This is where you will see the famous Landwasser viaduct (a great photo opportunity) and a number of castles in the mountains and valleys. Glacier Express Switzerland | World of Wanderlust Glacier_Express Glacier Express Switzerland | World of Wanderlust

Service & Food

This feature/review wouldn’t be balanced without mention of some of the downsides to the Glacier Express, or at least to paint a realistic picture of what to expect beyond the amazing scenery.

The service on board was very attentive and polite, though the menu itself was a bit of a let down. As the train journey includes table service I was excited to spend an hour or more of the journey indulging in local cuisine to help pass the time.

I read a few reviews prior to our journey, all of which didn’t look too favourably on the food, so upon seeing the prices of the food on board we decided to give it a miss. There were a few vegetarian options which was great to see, however it was hard to justify spending around $60 on lunch with an additional $9 for a soft drink or small bottle of water.

St Moritz

St Moritz

The journey ends (or begins for travellers heading in the opposite direction) in St Moritz, infamously known as the winter playground for the International Elite (translation: its expensive).

Popular in both winter and summer, there isn’t a great deal to do in St Moritz outside of these seasons and as we came to learn, it becomes quite a ghost town outside of these times.

Regardless it was a nice pit stop for a couple of nights after such a long travel day and we used this time to refresh before the onward journey to the Italian lakes district!
Glacier Express Switzerland | World of Wanderlust

Thanks to My Switzerland for arranging my visit to Switzerland and journey on the Glacier Express railway.

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

10 Foods you Must try in Hong Kong

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I’ve been to Hong Kong more times than I can count over the past twelve years since I first travelled overseas as a kid and I’ve gotta say, this place never ceases to fascinate me. No matter how many times I visit this city there is always, without fail, something new to discover. One thing that will forever be new for me is food, because no matter how many times you visit Hong Kong you can never walk away having tried everything! If you’re a first time visitor, here is a collection of my ten favourite foods you must try in Hong Kong (keeping in mind I’m a vegetarian with a strong love for sugary treats!)

Hong_Kong_Tea

Hong Kong Style Milk Tea

Fully aware that the above photo is actually an iced tea (I sadly don’t possess any milk tea photographs in my collection), you could really say all kinds of tea are a must try in Hong Kong. But alas, none are more iconic than the Hong Kong style milk tea! Pop in to a local eatery to try yours.

Quirky Eats in Hong Kong | World of Wanderlust

Custard Bun

These Hello Kitty custard buns were almost too cute to eat… but I’m so glad I did! Don’t let the savoury exterior fool you – these buns are bursting with buttery flavour in the centre that oozes out as a nice surprise. I’d have them again in a heartbeat!

Quirky Eats in Hong Kong | World of Wanderlust

Egg Waffles

One of my new favourite cheap eats in Hong Kong are the popular “egg waffles” or “bubble waffles”. Whatever you want to call them, they taste delicious. There are many variations on the standard flavour so be sure to shop around and try a few throughout your stay.

Quirky Eats in Hong Kong | World of Wanderlust

Egg Tart

I’m surprised, almost shocked, to say that it took me so many years and visits to Hong Kong and try the famous egg tarts. These delicious eggy treats have a crisp exterior and are made fresh daily. I tried mine at Tai Cheong Bakery in Central.

man mo cafe hong kong

Dim Sum

This list just wouldn’t be complete without mention of Dim Sum, would it!? Dim Sum culture is alive and well in Hong Kong, but don’t be fooled as to how locals can eat such hearty, heavy dishes day after day and still maintain a reasonable digestive system… dim sum is still considered a treat to be eaten in moderation! Kind of like a Sunday ritual, many families head out on the weekends to enjoy a huge (and hugely indulgent) family style dim sum meal.

Wontons

Wontons are a Cantonese-style dumpling, usually filled with shrimp or other meats (vegetarian may be hard to find at first, but is entirely possible once you do your research!) Wontons are hugely popular in Cantonese cooking and will be widely available throughout Hong Kong.

Ramen

Although ramen is a Japanese dish, it is very popular in Hong Kong and widely available throughout the city. Ramen is a noodle soup broth, usually filled with meat, dried seaweed and green onions. Vegetarian versions are available, but be sure to do your homework as many eateries will not speak English and the word “Vegetarian” might be misunderstood!

Curry Fish Balls

As they are perhaps the single most famous street food offering in all of Hong Kong, this list would not be complete without mention of the crispy skewered snack! Although being a vegetarian I have never tried them, curry fish balls are widely available throughout Hong Kong, especially on the Kowloon side where street food stalls are more prominent.

Temple Street Night Market Street Food

On the subject of street food, you really can’t go past the widely popular Temple Street Night Market when looking for great local, cheap eats. Here you will find everything and anything you could possibly imagine, so be sure to come with an open mind as often it will be difficult to order without the simple point and smile method!

Rickshaw Noodles

If you ever stroll past a local eatery and see oodles of noodles, you’re probably staring into a bowl of the famous rickshaw noodles. This dish consists of a watery broth absolutely packed full of flavour, noodles, and various meats/vegetables. If you’re feeling brave and in the mood for eating like a local, look no further!

Tips for Dining in Hong Kong:

Be on time – punctuality is highly valued

Use chopsticks to pick up food, never your hands

Use a hot towel (supplied) to wipe your hands and mouth before & after a meal

man mo cafe hong kong

Thanks to Hong Kong Tourism for guiding me in the right direction to find new faves on this trip to Hong Kong! I flew with Cathay Pacific to reach Hong Kong, the national airline who have great connections throughout Asia to the rest of the world. For more information on flights to Hong Kong, visit www.cathaypacific.com.au.

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

Shopping in Hong Kong: Where to find something special

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As far as shopping in Hong Kong goes, you will never struggle to find anything the mind can imagine. With so many markets, multi-storey shopping malls and street vendors, it can easily become overwhelming to know where to go and where to leave out, especially if you’re visiting Hong Kong for just a few days. Whilst I once loved the cheap market stalls and elaborate shopping malls (like, say, when I was fifteen visiting Hong Kong), at 24 years of age I’m more inclined to venture off in search of special finds – trinkets, concept stores and less kitsch markets (though still a little kitsch – its difficult to avoid!) So here are my favourite places in Hong Kong to find something special to remember your trip by!

Shopping in Hong Kong | World of Wanderlust

Cat Street

If you find yourself looking for a small trinket, novel antique or just a small kind gesture to take home to a loved one, you will find oodles of choice around Cat Street in central. Porcelain is very popular in this area so be sure to shop around before you commit to buy!

Shopping in Hong Kong | World of Wanderlust

Flower Markets

One of my all time favourite places to wander in Hong Kong is the famous flower markets in Mong Kok (Kowloon). Here you can buy a small bouquet at retail prices or if you’re in the market for bunches and bunches of fresh blooms, wholesale prices are available for large orders. Even if you don’t make a purchase this is one of my favourite areas to visit in Hong Kong and I’d strongly suggest taking the time to visit!

Shopping in Hong Kong | World of Wanderlust

Star Street

One of the new and happening areas of town where you can find oodles of concept stores selling many local designers and international names is in and around Star Street. The area is also home to many quirky cafes and frozen dessert shops, so it is a great place to wander in the afternoon when you’re in need of a sugary pick-me-up!

Hong Kong Guide | World of Wanderlust

Pottinger Street

If you find yourself in Central then be sure to wander beyond the endless skyscrapers and onwards to Pottinger Street, an idyllic cobbled street lined with stores selling everything and anything from ribbons and buttons through to costume designs.

PMQ Hong Kong

PMQ

Located very near to Cat Street is one of Hong Kong’s most popular concept store locations, a huge building named PMQ that is full of local designers showcasing their products. This area is great if you want to find something youthful and unique (image – Wikipedia).

Shopping in Hong Kong | World of Wanderlust

Fa Yuen Street Markets

Although still fairly kitsch, if I were to pick just one street market to visit I would recommend Fa Yuen Street Markets in Mongkok, Kowloon. These markets are really geared toward the younger female crowd, with lots of cute trinkets and stationary to sift through!

Thanks to Hong Kong Tourism for guiding me in the right direction to find new faves on this trip to Hong Kong! I flew with Cathay Pacific to reach Hong Kong, the national airline who have great connections throughout Asia to the rest of the world.

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

French Home Inspiration: Prepare to be inspired!

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This winter I’m taking on a few new projects at home that are (not so) indirectly related to my travels. While I love travelling around the world most of the year, I’m reaching the point where I want to take some of the inspiration and ideas I’ve found around the world and apply them back at home. So for a couple of month I’m planning to take some “down time” from travel and start to spend a little more time at home on another few passions of mine: cooking (recipes), making things (DIY) and re-designing our country home (decor).

But before any of you freak out, I will of course still be travelling! I’m just starting to balance my time a little more, turn down back-to-back jobs that require me to fly to the other side of the world, and start to split my time between all of my passions. In particular, I really want to bring home lots of new ideas from my travels and share how you can apply them back at home.

This month I’m setting out to makeover our country home. I live with my boyfriend on a farm in Tasmania in a very old farm house that needs a little (okay, a lot) of attention. And when I say old I don’t mean a beautiful, old, antique property… I mean a 70s/80s home that contains a lot of brown. Brown wood, brown bricks, brown tiles… so. much. brown.

Personally, I’m more of a light & bright girl in terms of interiors, so I’m setting off to bring home a great deal of inspiration from our trip to France — let the inspiration flow!

Image: World of Wanderlust

We checked in to this manoir in the Loire Valley in April of this year. The manoir has since been restored to its former glory after going through many years of neglect, and I love how they kept the original charm whilst still modernising the property. The playful use of whimsical wisteria completely captured my heart. My plan is to include some wisteria and I’m hopeful it will grow well on our property!

Image: D. Stanley Dixon Architect

Any truly French home starts with one thing: symmetry. Unfortunately for me, our house is anything but symmetrical… so we’ll be going for a more country style (and then there’s the fact that it isn’t a mansion like the on pictured!!!)

Image: Home Design Etc

I’d love to add some stones somewhere in the design of our house… whether it by in or outdoors.

Image: Drury Design

The first room I am starting with is our kitchen – you better start preparing yourself now for the before shots! I’d love to end up with something light, bright, and with plenty of textures to bring it to life and avoid a dull looking kitchen. I’m also fairly convinced we will go for dark wooden floorboards throughout the ground floor of the house to cover the kitchen, dining, living, office and entry rooms.

Image: Jonathan Miller Architects

This gorgeous French country home is more of a dreamy-one-day-possibly-maybe inclusion! If we ever moved and started from scratch, this is the style I would go for.

Image: A Quiet Cottage Life

Aside from the kitchen, the laundry is the other room I really need to get stuck in to (and by stuck in to, I mean it really needs ripping out and starting again!) Prepare yourself, these before photos are really gonna bring the vision to life for you (ha!)

Image: World of Wanderlust

Another shot of the Loire Valley manoir we checked in to in April. I love the playful use of purpose – something to perhaps be considered for the guest room!

Image: World of Wanderlust

A photo taken a few years ago on my rip to Beaune, France. This will never (ever, ever, ever) be my home as I’ll be sticking to something more realistic… but a beautiful chateau nonetheless!

Image: Tidbits & Twine

French country homes are neutral but full of different tones. I love the mix of colours and textures in kitchens.

Image: French Country Cottage

Another beautiful kitchen with a more elegant touch by using the marble topped bench. I also love the huge sink – something I’ll be looking to include in my own kitchen make-over!

Image: Home Bunch

Another sink I love – look at that depth! The gold finishings are typically French but are a great modern touch on the more classic, neutral tones.

colours in france

Image: World of Wanderlust

One day I’ll tackle the garden – o n e d a y .

Image: World of Wanderlust

More snaps from my time in Beaune.

Image: My French Country Home

I absolutely adore open shelving in French kitchens and if I can convince my boyfriend its a good idea, this is the kind of look I will be going for! The splash back gives the kitchen a more bespoke touch – something I’ll also consider when shopping for products to use.

French Country Home

Image: Homedit

I love the tones in this kitchen – bringing a small amount of colour whilst maintaining the neutral look of a French kitchen. The tiles are also nice – though I think I’m sold on wooden floorboards! 

Image: Enchanted Home

Last but not least: a little exterior inspiration for the day (if it ever comes) I’m finished indoors! Gardens take a lot more time and devotion, so there’s a chance I’ll keep putting it off for a while!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

What to do When your Flight is Delayed

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Usually on travel blogs (including my own) you’ll read about all the wonderful, glamorous things. The delicious food, the beautiful views, the fun things to do… but rarely do you read about when things go wrong. I’ll cut straight to it – things do go wrong for me on my travels. A lot.

One subject I haven’t covered yet on World of Wanderlust is what you should do when your flight is delayed or even worse, when you miss your flight.

This topic also allows me to share my top tips for how to avoid missing your flight, especially after my travel plans have been thrown into disarray on a number of occasions thanks to missed connections, weather woes or just simply not leaving enough time between flights. So here we go… how to avoid missing flights and what to do when things go wrong!

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Main Reasons Why You Get Delayed (And How to Cope)

Weather – The main cause for flight delays is one that is completely out of your control: weather. Storms, volcano eruptions and all sorts of sporadic occurrences have left so many travellers’ plans up in the air (or quite the opposite if you’ll pardon the pun!)

How to cope: Weather is completely out of your control so its important to first of all stay cool, it will all work out in the end! Try to be flexible as airlines often offer alternative travel plans, like a compensated trip elsewhere or delaying your travel date a couple of days. Although its not ideal, you should always remain calm and remember it will all work out in the end!

Mechanical Issues – The second highest cause for flight delays are those that are the fault of the airline: starting with mechanical issues.

How to deal: Remember it is better to get there safe than to not arrive at all! These kind of issues must be dealt with and are out of your control. Consider booking with airlines who don’t have a bad reputation for delays as the result of mechanical issues (I can think of one airline I won’t fly with in Australia!!!)

Aircraft arriving late – Another airline issue is often caused my close scheduling, or even due to air traffic control being disorganised with arrivals and departures (again, I can think of a great example in Australia!)

How to deal: I have found the budget airlines often have quicker turn arounds and fit more flights within the same day. Naturally this means more delays from them as they’re running on a strict schedule. Thus I prefer to pay a little more and book all of my domestic flights with Virgin Australia as they’re almost always on time.

Luggage not loaded on time – A few years ago I was travelling through Abu Dhabi and my bags were lost in transit by Etihad. This resulted in a missed flight and 24 hour wait overnight for the next flight out to Moscow – not ideal!

How to deal: Try and be positive + always insist your airline hosts you with accommodation, meals and transfers for your layover. This has always been provided to me without fail! On a positive note, its almost like a free mini-holiday in a new destination!

LATAM_Airlines_Business_Class

When your Flight is Delayed: 15 Things to Do

Sometimes you just can’t help it and your flight is delayed for hours or even overnight. What to do?

  1. Head to an airport bookstore and buy a magazine or book to dive right in to
  2. Write a blog about your previous trip (if you don’t have a blog, what a great time to start one!)

  3. Shop duty free (or just spray the perfume for free)

  4. Clean out your wallet and handbag

  5. Find a cozy bench to turn into a bed (usually helps to have a thick jacket on hand as a makeshift mattress)

  6. Download the flag app and brush up on your knowledge of flags

  7. People watch and make up stories for stranger’s lives

  8. Go to the destination board and plan an idyllic holiday to an idyllic location (even if its just for pretend)

  9. Walk around for an hour to burn some calories (and make more room for more snacks)

  10. Text someone you haven’t spoken to for a while (its easy to lose touch when you travel)

  11. Carry a phrasebook with you to learn a new language

  12. Delete old photos & files on your phone/laptop to make room for new ones

  13. Find a quiet corner to do some stretches

  14. If you can score free wi-fi, netflix is your new best friend

  15. Make friends with a stranger or two

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How to Avoid Delays Costing You Money

And then for the worst part of delays: when they cost you money, even when (most of the time) they’re not your fault and completely out of your control.

To make sure you get what you are entitled to, here are a collection of solutions to avoid delays costing you money:

1. Buy Travel Insurance

I’m a huge advocate of travel insurance and always will be, because I once read (and took as gospel) “If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel”. No truer words have been spoken. With travel insurance you have another back up plan if the airline chooses not to cover your costs for food, accommodation or even new transport when the delay is the fault of the airline.

For delays like missing luggage and aircraft delays, usually this will be covered by the airline (as it has been for me in the past). You should always request accommodation if required to stay overnight, food vouchers if waiting in the airport due to a delay (if it is more than a couple of hours delay), and transport to/from the accommodation if you are required to stay overnight. As a golden rule, the airline usually covers this.

For delays like weather conditions or missed connections, I have always sought compensation from travel insurance when the airline refuses to cover it (usually they won’t cover weather delays unless it is a catastrophic event and they treat it as a PR response that hinders their public image). For example, when I missed my ongoing flight to Australia due to a missed connection and had 3 hours between flights at LAX, the travel insurance covered my accommodation, meals and transport for the connection time until I could get on the next flight. Just be sure to keep all receipts and spend within reason. I have been purchasing a one year multi-trip policy through Southern Cross Travel Insurance for years now and they have always covered my costs.

2. Know your Rights

All of the above points may seem pretty straight forward now that you’re reading them, but it took years of travel for me to learn and know what I was entitled to when things go wrong and they’re not a fault of my own.

It is important to know what you are entitled to so that when things do go wrong, you can make sure the airline or travel insurance policy looks after you. Be sure to take a look at your policy and see what you are covered for when you miss a flight or it is cancelled – this is often the biggest determining factor for me when choosing a travel insurance company as it is the one thing that goes wrong most often!

WOW Readers can get 10% off their travel insurance with the discount code “WOW” when purchasing a policy with Southern Cross Travel Insurance. This is unfortunately limited to Australian readers only! Thanks to SCTI for the kind offer!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!