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Dubrovnik – Croatia

What No One Will Tell You About Visiting Dubrovnik

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Dubrovnik is a big hitter when it comes to places to visit in Croatia. As such this means that finding places to park your camper van (if travelling this way like us) for a reasonable price is near impossible. Some campsites charge upwards of 45 Euros per night.

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Using all our resources and after much research we decided to not stay in the main town and booked a campsite in Kupari. You can also find cheaper accommodation like we did by staying outside of the main city. For 15 Euro a night, our campsite was located about 20 minutes down the road. You can access Dubrovnik from here by local bus, but we decided that the more fun way (and also an excuse to make an experience out of it) was to travel by boat.

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Kupari is a really interesting place to stay, it is pretty deserted and this is mainly because the beaches have empty hotels that were used a bases for the army. They were destroyed during the Croatian War of Independence and have not since been inhabited. Covered in graffiti and overgrown with weeds it’s like something out of an apocalypse movie. Imagine sunbathing on the beach as you would in a resort, but turn around and the desolate hotels stare back at you. A little eerie but something really amazing to experience. Unfortunately this was the last year that you would be able to see these hotels like this as the land has been bought by a luxury development company who will be building a Four Seasons hotel in their place. They won’t be in bad company as the 5* Sheraton is located just around the bay, also a 10 minute walk from the campsite.

HOT TIP – If you fancy a dip in their pool, you may just be able to walk through the lobby and downstairs, grab a towel from the pool boy and lay on the sun loungers for a while and take a swim. Just saying……

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We decided to use Adriana Cavtat, the boat transfer company that our campsite suggested. If you travel to Dubrovnik and want to take the same boat, I don’t recommend using this company. The transfer itself is lovely but they are never on time and often get full from the previous stops so you can’t get on the boat that you have been waiting 40 minutes for. It isn’t worth the hassle and there are other providers who seemed more reliable. The views on the journey are awesome, arriving into and departing from Dubrovnik this way is just magical so I highly recommend getting on a boat at some point during your stay.

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Dubrovnik is by far the most busy city that we have visited in Croatia. It is overwhelming how many people visit, and we didn’t visit in peak season. Also bear in mind that we visited in the middle of May and it was 38 degrees! Even the gelato shop manager was pointing out how hot it was for us,  but nothing compared to the temperatures they normally experience – over 40 degrees.

The reason it gets busy it because:

  1. It is an absolutely gorgeous walled city that is so well preserved you cant help but fall in love and tell all your friends about it so they want to come and visit. The views from walking along the wall are just insane.
  2. Since Game of Thrones came out and everyone realised that Croatia is where it is filmed, and Dubrovnik in particular is Kings Landing then the city has really thrived with this tourism. Tours, merchandise, souvenirs you name it.
  3. Cruise Ships – hoards of cruise ship tours come to Dubrovnik to experience this beautiful city so the streets are filled with walking tours.

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To avoid the busy period – come out of season, like really out of season. Find out when the cruise ships are not docked in Dubrovnik so there will be a massive reduction in tourists. This way you stand a chance at experiencing this beautiful place in a little more peace.

The best part of Dubrovnik – walking along the city walls. To be honest, we didn’t do any research on this but knew it was a must do activity. So we were pretty surprised to find out that the entrance to the walls is 20 Euro per person, for us on a very tight budget this was a major splurge. But it was 100% worth it. The journey will take you a good 1 – 2 hours, mainly because the views are just to die for and there are so many nooks and crannys to discover. But also because it is so busy and wide enough for just one person you end up queuing in places.

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My main tip would be to not walk the walls at midday, there is practically no shade and maybe 1 or 2 places to find refreshments along the way.

Once we walked the walls we headed down in to the town to discover what other treasures there were. There are plenty of amazing restaurants, bars and shops interspersed with old churches and museums. Take a walk along the waterfront and admire the views, or even take a boat ride out to sea to visit an island.

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Have you been to Dubrovnik? What are your tips for visiting?

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Paris – France

Paris – My Top 10 Instagrammable Spots

Hey Guys,

So earlier this year my husband and I started our 7 Month long European road trip in our camper van that we completely renovated ourselves. It was such an adventure and we returned just a few weeks ago, so now it’s time to upload the goodies from our trip.

Paris was our first main stop and my opportunity to show my husband around as it was his first time. I created a list of our favourite 10 most Instagrammable spots around Paris. I hope this gives you some inspiration for when you visit the city of love.

1. Castel Cafe

5 Avenue de Suffren, 75007 Paris . Whilst wandering around the Eiffel Tower we actually accidentally came across this cute cafe and had to stop and take a picture. The main reason I wanted to walk this direction was for spot number 2…….

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2. Rue de Buenos Ayres

Taking an iconic alley way shot of the Eiffel Tower has to make the list. It’s like the French version of the Brooklyn bridge photo that is so infamous. It’s perfect as it is just around the corner from Castel Cafe.

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3. The Trocadero Steps

It might seem obvious but it just has to be done. Not only are the views of the Eiffel Tower just incredible, you can also hang in the park, have a picnic or take a ride on the merry go round. Every time I come here I like to twirl my skirt, so get your twirl on – its fun!

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4. The Arc De Triomphe

Not only is this probably the most crazy place to visit in Paris, it is also pretty awe inspiring. Watching the cars whizz around from any of the 12 entrance roads is a sight in itself, let alone the view down the Avenue des Champs-Elysees.

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5. Notre Dame

I am absolutely obsessed with Disney and a massive child at heart so will admit my main reason for wanting to visit the Notre Dame was due to the Disney movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. You might even notice that in my about me page I have even quoted from the movie. It’s a stunning sight and incredible architecture. If you like pigeons- theres lot of those here too…..

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6. Musee du Luvre

An iconic place to stop in Paris whether you visit the Mona Lisa inside or not. Also a great place to relax on the benches that surround the museum and is super close to Jardin des Tuileries. Fact – every time I have visited Paris I have never been inside the Luvre.

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7.Jardin des Tuileries

What better way to stop for lunch than in a giant manicured garden directly next to Musee du Luvre. Grab one of many metal garden chairs, an ice cream and take in the beauty surrounding you. TIP: Buy lunch at PAUL if you want to stick to a budget, they do awesome lunch deals to takeaway.

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8. Le Consulat Cafe

18 Rue Norvins, 75018 Paris. This has to be one of the most instagrammed cafes in Paris. A visit to the bohemian Montmartre district cannot be missed. It is full of amazing boutiques and crammed with amazing art history, so take a seat in the alfresco seating at Le Consulat, grab a coffee (or beer like we did) and watch the world go by. You might also be lucky enough to hear the tour groups go by and learn lots of interesting facts like Monet and Renoir used to frequent these joints back in the day before they were super duper famous artists.

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9. Jardin du Luxembourg

Located on the border between Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter, these gardens were inspired by the Boboli gardens in Florence. The perfect location for a quiet stroll or picnic.

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10. Champ de Mars

If you are looking for the ultimate picnic spot in Paris then I have to say that the Champ de Mars wins hands down. The views of the Eiffel Tower are uninterrupted and there is so much space to spread out and relax. There are also many supermarkets near by to pick up your picnic supplies on a budget. Don’t forget the Champagne!

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What you didn’t know about Eloping in Las Vegas

DSC_6039Ever wondered what it’s like to get married in the wedding capitol of the world? Then my little blog post should hopefully shed some light on our awesome experience for you.

If this is the first time that you have been on everthewanderer.com – firstly welcome and thank you so much for taking the time to explore my page. Let me give you a little background on how Phil (my now husband, I still love saying that!) and I decided to elope.

Phil and I have been together for 12 years, we met at University and instantly had a mutual intense love for travelling the world. We have lived and worked in New Zealand, Australia and Canada as well as travelled to many other countries. When Phil proposed, whilst we were snorkelling on a trip in New Caledonia we couldn’t wait to plan our wedding.

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Low and behold 6 months later we got married…in Las Vegas. Now this was not my first choice of venue – I wanted to get married in the UK in a very traditional way and was swept away with the romanticism that came along with planning a big white wedding. The problems with this idea – we were living in New Zealand so really far from home and a lack of expendable money!

One day Phil said that we should get hitched in Vegas (I thought that he was joking) so didn’t think much of it! I didn’t really want to get married in a tacky chapel with Elvis singing “Viva Las Vegas”. But the idea did grew on me the more I researched and realised that A) It was amazing value and B) You can get gorgeous wedding packages with phenomenal photography.

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After hours of looking for advice on wedding blogs and scrolling through numerous wedding photography websites we finally found a company that was able to create an elopement package that our dreams were made of.

Cactus Collective Weddings create elopement packages to suit many budgets and offer the photography quality that we were after (just look at our photos ) You can easily get married in Las Vegas for $200 including photo’s with other companies, but if quality is what you are wanting then I wouldn’t opt for this.

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So after making our deposit and setting a date we planned the remainder of our trip. We decided that we would elope with just the two of us, no family or friends in May of 2017, when the weather in the desert is just right and not too hot. 6 months after getting engaged we flew to Los Angeles where we embarked on a Californian Road Trip of a lifetime. Getting married was to be the finale to our trip and it was seriously worth the wait.

On our wedding day we woke up from our Suite in Caesars Palace (which we got a complementary upgrade to – more on how to do this in the Las Vegas blog post coming soon) and walked over to The Bellagio where we hired a black convertible Ford Mustang for the day. After driving back to the Caesars Palace valet with the roof down (honestly felt like we were in some Hollywood Movie doing this) we made our way down to the pool, and these pools are insane!

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I can honestly say that never in a million years did I imagine that on my wedding day I would be lying on a plush sun lounger by the pool at Caesars Palace, listening to sweet DJ music and drinking Margaritas before midday (my all time favourite cocktail) We swam, ate lunch and bathed in the Nevada desert sun before making our way to our room to get dolled up for our sunset ceremony.

If you were ever curious to what it might feel like to be famous then all you need to do is wear a wedding dress and walk arm in arm with your other half through the hotels of the Las Vegas strip. The amount of kind well wishes and compliments we received was so heart warming.

Of course on your wedding day something has to go wrong. Our sat nav did not entirely know the destination of our ceremony- possibly had something to do with the fact that we were having it in the middle of the desert about a 40 minute drive out of the city. Luckily road signs still exist and we made it to the venue, albeit only 20 minutes late.

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One of the amazing things about booking an elopement package is that pretty much everything is done for you. All we needed to do was pick up our Marriage Licence (which is super easy to do) the day before and bring this with us.

When we arrived at our chosen venue – Nelson Ghost Town,  we were greeted by our photographer and minister who had our floral arrangements. After receiving a talk on the dangers of the cactus plant and signing a waiver we made our way to our “alter” to say our vows. This was a wooden archway with stain glass overlooking a Cholla Cactus garden at sunset in front of a stunning red rock canyon.

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Within 10 minutes of arriving we were saying our vows to each other. Bonnie, our minister had asked us to complete a questionnaire on our relationship prior to coming and this enabled her to create the most personal and passionate service, we were so moved by her words. It felt like she had known us for years.

As the sun set and the ceremony came to an end we had 2 hours of photography to celebrate becoming Mr and Mrs.  Nelson Ghost Town sits in Eldorado Canyon and is a deserted gold mine. Host for many photo shoots this truly unique location is home to many old vintage cars, barns and trinkets. Exploring the site was so much fun and we ended up with some breath taking photos.

Once the shoot was done we rolled down the roof on our convertible and drove back to the city with the bright lights of the strip leading the way.

If you like the sound of this elopement, consider Las Vegas. I wouldn’t have changed a thing ❤️