Well, summer has descended with the promise of overnight thunderstorms and humid temperatures, so if we were having coffee I would actually be drinking Lemon, Lime & Bitters already – a favourite Australasian summer drink of lemonade (fizzy just to clarify for the Americans), lime cordial or juice and bitters that just hits the spot on a hot old day.
If we were having coffee, I’d be telling you all about my recent adventures – a foray over to the Netherlands primarily by train – where I got to catch up with two blinkin’ lovely friends. (I also got to gambol briefly in Amsterdam for the afternoon – these are my favourite things to do in Amsterdam when I’ve got longer in the city and less wine to sip canalside.)
You know how you have Travel Dreams (the ones complete with capital letters) that you keep in your heart of hearts? Well, this one involves my passport, a reliable set of wheels and an enormous map of the States. One day, one day in the future we’d love to take a whole year off and pick up an RV or two as we travel on a USA road trip of a lifetime. Disclaimer: This post was commissioned by RVshare who are running an amazing Smoky Mountains RV trip giveaway – if you’re in the US, enter before the 1st July 2019!
It’s really difficult to pick only a few USA road trip highlights to fit into a single blog post – especially as a year would be an incredible amount of time to explore the continental US – so I’ve just selected a handful of the really meaningful things that we would love to see and do. They are mostly inspired by people that we adore, some of whom have hung out with me in London and shared some of their amazing homes with me via the medium of the internets. (You know who you are!)
There’s a special kind of magic when a group of people gather around a table – all the way from a humble cup of tea, through to intricate tasting menus that titillate the palates. Soutine is elegantly in the middle, a Parisien corner of Salon de thé, a St John’s Wood restaurant in a glorious period building. Disclaimer: We were invited guests of the newly opened Soutine but as ever, all dreamy pastel metaphors are very much my own.
We gathered, a group of four expats – talking of life, love and kettles (long hilarious story) over a table filled with delectable dishes.
Choosing where to stay in Cappadocia was a tough decision. I’m not being hyper dramatic when I say that I probably spent more time choosing this hotel than I did when I was choosing a wedding dress – and in the end, I made a decision via the less than scientific method of asking Mr Kiwi for two favourites, and flipping a coin. (The hotel, not the dress.)
I love staying in quirky hotels – but they have to carefully tiptoe the line between bland and kitsch, and suit our travelling style. I adore the hotels that have a keen sense of place (it’s also a bonus when they come with animal custodians like our stay with Jasper at the Scarlet Hotel in Cornwall or the Pygmy goat neighbours in Austin, Texas) and are lovely to come back to at the end of the day.
Our 100-foot tall hot air balloon floated above the ancient Turkish valleys filled with prehistoric stone edifices – and we just gazed in sheer wonder, 1,000 or so feet up in the sky. What I felt as we silently drifted above the pastel horizon while the sun slowly broke, is actually rather hard to express. Hot Air Balloon Cappadocia.
Part of me thought that those images of hundreds of balloons drifting in the pre-dawn light were photoshop creations but here it was, actually unfolding before us like a magical tableau. (Well, some of those images are definitely photoshopped, but that’s a discussion for another time.)