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Month 101 was another big travel month and saw me traveling in four countries and two states.
I started the month with three nights left of my Cyprus road trip, visiting Agios Neophytos Monastery, Aphodite’s Rock, Ancient Kourion, Limassol, Governor’s Beach, Pano Lefkara, Ayia Napa, and Cape Greco before flying back to London for four nights.
London was mostly wet but I still spent most of my time out exploring, visiting numerous markets, museums, and neighborhoods on this visit. It was great to be back!
From London, I flew direct to Denver where I reunited with my husband and my baby kitty for five nights. We mostly just chilled out in Aurora with family but did make it out to meet up with a couple of friends too. We also had the annual Outlaw Party for two nights at a luxury mountain house in snowy Breckenridge.
After a quick two nights hanging out in the South Bay of LA, I flew to New Zealand to visit family, and have my Dermatology Clinic appointment for the skin cancer on my neck.
I spent the last half of the month mostly in Auckland, catching up with friends and family, whale watching for my birthday, and doing health stuff, but I also popped down to Hamilton for a night to celebrate one of my bestie’s 40th birthdays, and to Papamoa to see my Mum.
Now onto the stats!
Countries Visited: Cyprus, United Kingdom, USA, New Zealand
- Cyprus: Paphos, Aphrodite’s Rock, Ancient Kourion, Limassol, Pano Lefkara, Ayia Napa, Cape Greco
- United Kingdom: London
- Colorado: Aurora, Denver, Golden, Breckenridge
- California: Los Angeles
- New Zealand: Auckland, Hamilton, Papamoa
National and State Parks, Monuments, and UNESCO Sites: Cape Greco National Park in Cyprus; Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site; Duder Regional Park in New Zealand.
Islands Visited: Cyprus, North Island of New Zealand.
Days on the Road: 20 days.
Best Meals: Roast chicken with roast vegetables, gravy, and a Yorkshire pudding from The Roebuck in London; Fire-grilled chicken breast with corn tortillas, pinto beans, broccoli, and salsas from El Pollo Loco in Los Angeles; Fried chicken bao from Bao Baby Bao in Elliot Stables in Auckland; Mixed mezze from Gemmayze Street in Auckland; Mixed mezze from Feriza’s in Auckland; Chocolate bagel with the best cream cheese I have ever had from Best Ugly Bagels in Auckland; Raspberry frozen yogurt waffle cone with cream and strawberry sauce from Copenhagen Cones in Mount Maunganui.
Worst Meals: Nothing comes to mind.
Best Craft Beer: Ginger Pale Ale and Coconut Porter from Broken Compass Brewery in Breckenridge; Pumpkin Spice Latte Milk Stout from Station 26 Brewery in Denver; Against the Currant Gose from New Terrain Brewing in Golden.
- Manhattan Beach to Redondo Beach on The Strand in Los Angeles, CA 11.4 miles out and back
- Domain and Mount Eden loop in Auckland, New Zealand 6 miles
- Viaduct and Wynyard Quarter loop in Auckland, New Zealand 3 miles
- Westhaven Marina and Ponsonby loop in Auckland, New Zealand 5 miles
- Duder Regional Park loop in Auckland, New Zealand 4.2 miles
- Mauao Summit and base walk in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand 4.3 miles
Watching: The Burial, Totally Killer, Hunger, Beckham.
Reading: Sing You Home by Jodi Piccoult.
New Posts: It’s been a busy writing month! I wrote this sponsored post about 8 Fun Things To Do in Austin For Couples, this post about How To Best Explore Cyprus By Car, and this post about the Most Beautiful Places To Visit in the Troodos Mountains of Cyprus.
Exploring Lovely Pano Lefkara
I think I saved the best till last with Troodos Mountain towns. Pano Lefkara is quite far east from the other mountain towns I visited so I went on the way from Limassol to Larnaca.
Pano Lefkara is known for its lace products and I got to see an intricate lacework being created, chatted to friendly locals, admired the pretty cobbled alleyways and bright-colored flowers, and checked out the cute shops in the attractive town center.
Beautiful Beaches of Cyprus
I went to more stunning beaches in Cyprus this month including Aphrodite’s Rock which is a pebble beach with crystal clear water, the secret cove beaches of Governor’s Beach with white sea cliffs and black sand, and the pretty golden sand Konnos Beach with bright turquoise water.
Museum and Market Hopping in London
London does a lot of things well but two of my absolute favorite things to do in London are to visit museums and go market hopping. On this visit to London, I went to the Maritime Museum and the Queen’s House in Greenwich, the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archeology, the British Museum, and the Sir John Soane Museum – all of which were excellent and free!
For markets, I went to Greenwich Market, Spitalfields Market, Brick Lane Up Market, and the Covent Garden markets. Not bad for three days!
Back With My Husband and Sweet Kitty
It was so great to be reunited with Toby and Joni after seven weeks of not seeing them! As much as I enjoy my solo travels, I always miss my little family. We only had one week together (five days with Joni) so we made the most of it. I’m looking forward to being back with them for most of the next year in January.
Hanging Out With Family at the Outlaw Party
The Annual Outlaw Party weekend (coined by my father-in-law when he got divorced from my mother-in-law and wasn’t an “in”law anymore) is an annual family weekend of games, karaoke, family meals, hot tub soaking, and mountain town exploring.
This year we headed up to Breckenridge and had one of the most beautiful houses yet. There were 11 of us and we had turns cooking, went into town to check out the shops and have lunch, hit up a brewery, did 8 hours of karaoke, played lots of board games, had a onesie night, and a costume contest.
I also had some lovely sunrise hot tub soaks looking out over the snow-covered town and surrounding mountains. It was pretty special.
A Lovely Day in the South Bay of LA
There are lots of places I love visiting in LA, but the South Bay has got to be my favorite. I had an early flight out of LA to New Zealand so I had to spend one night there, so I thought why not make it two and spend a full day in one of my favorite places?
I stayed at my favorite local motel, the Seahorse Inn, ate at El Pollo Loco (twice), and walked along the beach to explore Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Redondo Beach. It was fabulous, as usual.
Attending One of My Bestie’s 40th Birthday Party
I was so happy to find out that I was going to be able to make it to one of my best friend’s 40th birthday celebrations in Hamilton, and despite some lingering jet lag – it was so much fun!
I got to see her amazing extended family, some for the first time in many years, as well as some of her lovely local friends that I have met before. It was only a quick one night trip but it was rich in laughter and fun.
Whale Watching in Auckland For My Birthday
I always try to do something to celebrate my birthday and this year I decided to go whale watching in Auckland. My Dad and my brother came too and it was so much fun!
We saw a Bryde’s Whale which is a type of baleen whale, hundreds of Bottlenose Dolphins all around the boat, diving gannets (they dive into the water at over 60 miles per hour!), and even a Little Penguin. It was a beautiful sunny day on the water and we finished it off with drinks and dinner at the Viaduct and in Wynyard Quarter.
Hiking Duder Regional Park in Auckland
I have wanted to visit Duder Regional Park in eastern Auckland for a while so I took a detour there on the way to Papamoa to visit my Mum. There is a loop trail you can do that covers most of the peninsula across rolling green farmland with epic ocean views.
It was so pretty, the color of the water always wows me around Auckland – it’s so turquoise.
No More Cancer!
So after a year of low-key worrying, I went for my long-awaited appointment at the Dermatology Clinic at the hospital in Auckland to get a basal cell carcinoma skin cancer removed – and they said they couldn’t see any sign of it.
I used a cream a year ago to help fight the cancer and it apparently worked really well. It may come back so I just need to keep an eye on it and see my doctor if I notice any changes. Hopefully, that will be it.
Back at the Mount
I spent a lovely morning in Mount Maunganui, hiking up and around Mauao followed by an ice cream from Copenhagen Cones. It is always great to be back!
Weird Hostel in Limassol
I had bad luck with hostels on my Cyprus trip with both hostels I stayed at having a weird vibe and being quite shabby. I spent two nights at White Hostel in Limassol and you had to access it through a very dodgy-looking building, the owner was quite rude and passive-aggressive, the other worker was unfriendly, and the facilities were OK but didn’t look like the pictures.
The only saving grace was that I met two other lovely travelers whom I chatted with for hours, one from Canada and one from Singapore.
Too Many Flights and Jetlag
I do not enjoy flying so I try to reduce flights as much as I can, staying longer in places and taking other forms of transport when possible. But this month I had to take three long flights and I ended up being in seven different time zones because of Daylight Savings ending in London and Colorado when I was there.
I flew from Cyprus to London, London to Denver, Denver to LA, and LA to Auckland within a two-week period so my body didn’t know what day or time it was. The one upside of this is that I was waking up much earlier than usual when we were in Breckenridge so I took advantage of that and watched the sunrise from the hot tub two mornings in a row.
Saying Goodbye to Toby and Joni Again
I was excited to be reunited with Toby and Joni this month even though she was mad at me for a couple of days for leaving her for so long. She had started coming around to me – just as I had to leave her again. Luckily when I get back in January I won’t be leaving her again for a while.
I miss Toby too but we speak on the phone multiple times a day so it’s easier – my kitty probably thinks I’ve abandoned her.
Further MacBook Charger Woes
I have had the WORST luck with MacBook chargers and it is starting to feel like some kind of cosmic joke. I just replaced my charger in July and then the new one started playing up when I was in London this month so I had to fork out for another one. At this stage, I will be over the moon if it even lasts a year.
Battery Slowly Dying on My Mac
Another bigger Mac issue this month is that my battery needs to be serviced and my computer turns off if I am unplugged and get below 30-40%. No issues when I am plugged in but this is obviously not ideal and I will have to take it in to get looked at/repaired when I am back in the U.S.
Although it hasn’t been as bad as last November in Auckland, it has been rainier than I would like after the first few days there being beautiful and sunny. I’m hoping that my time in Auckland in December will be warm and sunny – fingers crossed!
I don’t include international flights in my recaps. Some of my costs are shared with Toby.
Wow, I spent even more this month than I did the previous month when I was traveling in Europe the whole time. Getting a new New Zealand passport, paying my part for cat sitting for nearly six weeks, and big donation, gift, and souvenir spending pushed my total up this month as well as accommodation and food when I was traveling.
This should definitely be less next month because I’ll be mostly staying with friends and family and I don’t have any big spend items coming up until I am back in the U.S. in January.
My 20 nights of paid accommodation for the month consisted of two nights in a hostel dorm room in Limassol, one night at a hotel in Ayia Napa, three nights in a hostel dorm in London, one night in a hostel private room in London, two nights in a luxury mountain house in Breckenridge, two nights in a motel in Manhattan Beach, and nine days with my brother in Auckland.
My 11 nights of unpaid accommodation for the month consisted of five nights staying with family in Aurora, one night in transit between the U.S. and New Zealand, two nights staying with my Dad in Auckland, one night at a friend’s place in Hamilton, and two nights staying at my Mum’s in Papamoa.
Food and Drink $960
Not the worst but still a lot of spending on food and drinks this month.
- 2 x cardigans $57
- Long dress $48
- Warm socks $14
- Thrift store outfit $16.50
- Black T-Shirt $8
- Print mini skirt $19
- Corduroy A-line mini skirt $16
- 2 x hiking tank tops $35
- London Tube $57
- Gas $117
- Flight from Denver to LA $100
- Uber from the airport to Manhattan Beach $32
- Uber from Manhattan Beach to the airport $20
- Return ferry from Auckland City to Devonport $6.50
- Public transport in Auckland $3.50
- Ancient Kourion entry fee $5
- Kolossi Castle entry fee $2.50
- Playing pool in London $2.50
- U.S. Phone plan $35
- Spotify $10.50
- Toiletries $57
- Souvenirs $74
- Donations $122
- MacBook Charger $21
- Tote bag $12.50
- Silver gemstone ring $25
- Locker rental $3
- Kitty sitting and food – 6 weeks $300
- Gifts $98
- Passport photos $15
- New Zealand passport application and courier $130
- Reusable bag $11
- Doctor visit $77
- Wireless headphones $30
Website Costs $12
- Monthly payment for Keysearch $12
Van/RV Costs $42.50
- RV and van insurance for the month $42.50
What’s in Store for Next Month
I will be spending the next month entirely in New Zealand. I have a few days left at my Mum’s in Papamoa then I’ll be heading to Coromandel Town for a couple of nights for a sponsored stay at the gorgeous Buffalo Lodge.
Then it’s back to Auckland for nearly two weeks although I might be heading back to the Coromandel for a couple of days then too. While in Auckland I am really hoping for some sunny weather so I can visit some of the great city beaches, and one of the Hauraki Gulf Islands that I haven’t yet visited.
From Auckland, I will be flying down to Nelson in the South Island to hike the 4-5 day Heaphy Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks – my fifth. I’m hoping one of my best friends can do it with me otherwise I’ll be doing it solo.
After eight days traveling and hiking in the top of the South Island, I’ll be heading back North where I’ll likely spend the rest of the month in Auckland in the lead-up to Christmas.
To read additional Monthly Recaps, you can find them here