5 tips to beat Jetlag (seriously!)

world mapJet Lag. It’s a painful reality for most long-haul travellers, and for us Aussies it’s seemingly unavoidable since the majority of our international destinations are on average over 14hrs in travel time, with often multiple time zones to cross before we reach our destinations. (Yawn! Why haven’t they invented teleportation yet?)

Over the years I’ve definitely had my fair share of Jet lag. I remember sleeping through a whole afternoon and evening in Paris, after laying down for a ‘nap’, only to wake up the next morning. Needless to say, upon realising I’d slept for about 15hrs and missed my 1st night in Paris (1 of only 3), I was gutted! Rookie error or what?

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From Bintang Singlets to Birkenstocks…. How to avoid ‘bogan bali’ & find your bliss.

As an Aussie, its around this time annually, when it seems everyone you know is off to Bali. With June to August being peak season, It’s dry, the sun is out and the surf is up, so It’s prime time to visit this stunning Indonesian Island. (Still one of Australia’s favourite playgrounds, with around 700,000 of us heading there annually).

When you mention Bali as a travel destination, you’re often met with mixed responses. People either love it or hate it, and to the haters with your preconceived ideas and memories of the Bali of old, I urge you to give Bali another go…. You never know, you may be surprised!!

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4 reasons why coming home from a trip is one of the greatest rewards of travel.

Remember the opening scene in the Hugh Grant film ‘Love actually’? Where they talk about the arrivals hall of Heathrow Terminal being one of the loveliest places to be, since it’s somewhere you rarely see hate… only love? Well, I was recently on the receiving end of an airport pick up, at Sydney Kingsford Smith, International airport, when some friends arrived from the UK for a week of sightseeing in our gorgeous city.

It was an interesting perspective for me, since I’m normally the one on the other side of the gate, but that hour or so in arrivals had my mind and heart in a flutter, as it brought back memories and feelings of the countless times I’ve both departed and arrived at Sydney airport.

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A Cuban crush!

cuba lady 1

A couple of weeks back I posted my answer to that difficult question for a seasoned traveller ‘What’s your FAVOURITE travel destination’, and If you missed it, my responses were Canada, Peru, Cuba, South Africa and Nepal.

I’ve since posted the reasoning behind my decisions for Canada and Peru, and now its Cuba’s turn.

I should admit early on that I only spent 2 weeks in Cuba, so I’m not going to proclaim to know all there is to it or that I experienced everything that Cuba has to offer. However, when asked the question about my favourite travel destinations, Cuba always pops into my head and the fact that a place can get under your skin, in such a short amount of time, definitely means something to me.

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The Great Wall of China, all to yourself!

If you’re like me (and let’s face it, almost anyone with a craving for travel), The Great Wall of China, as one of the worlds most iconic travel sites is undoubtedly on your travel ‘wish list’. It’s definitely up there with the likes of the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids of Egypt or the Taj Mahal, and although I’d never really thought of China as a destination that I’d be personally NEED to visit, I have always wanted to see the Great Wall of China.

I’m lucky enough to have visited China twice now, and after a failed attempt of experiencing the wall in all it’s glory, due to heavy rain and fog (as below), I was hopeful that on my return journey this year, I’d be able to witness the iconic wall that I’d seen in so many images. That seemingly never ending stone structure, snaking it’s way up and over the mountainous terrain, and stretching out across the horizon and fading off into the distance.

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What’s Canada all ‘Aboot’ then?

Canada blog 2

In a previous post I posed the question ‘whats your favorite travel destination’, which as someone who’s been in the industry as long as i have, finds pretty hard to answer. (Read the post here: http://mytravelust.com/2014/05/20/answering-the-question-where-is-your-favouite-destination/).

If you missed it my faves (to date) were: PERU, CANADA, NEPAL, SOUTH AFRICA and CUBA (although it was so so so hard to choose!)

I posted all about Peru and what i love about it, so it’s time for the second installment which is Canada!

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There’s more to New Zealand than sheep & hobbits! (Take 2)

Well…. It appears some spammers got the better of this post, so i’ve had to delete it and re-post! If anyone has any advice for avoiding the SPAM that comes through on here, please let me know…..

Otherwise, here is my post on all things New Zealand…. Take 2!

For this week’s blog I posted the task to my Facebook audience to suggest a travel related subject for me to inspire them about, and the chosen subject is ‘New Zealand, Must do’s’.

There was just 1 response to my call out for suggestions, so Megan… this one’s for you! 😉

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Answering the question… ‘Where is your favouite destination?’

They say that there is almost nothing more beautiful than watching someone talk about something they are truly passionate about. Whether it’s a person, a place or what they ate for lunch, their eyes light up, and their hand gestures become animated, they describe every detail in such a way that you can feel their heart sing with the joy that they are able to share it with you.

Talking about travel and sharing my experiences with my family, friends and clients on a daily basis is like that for me. I’m not sure if people can actually hear my heart sing (that would be weird), but I can feel it. Knowing that I’ve have the opportunity to share my passions with someone else truly makes my soul smile.

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Live it up till it’s gone! (The Swisse Color Run, Bucket list moment)


2014 is zooming by, and at the start of the year I wrote about my thoughts on ‘Bucket List’s’ being the new ‘New Year’s Resolution’.

I described a Bucket list as a chance to think about your wildest dreams and passions, and make a list of experiences you wanted to have (big or small), so that you could have something tangible to work towards for that coming year.

Well, my list is longgggggggggggggggggg. Not specifically to achieve this year, but for my life in general and after having the privilege of ticking off a lot from my list last year, I didn’t expect to get close to that this year…. but I think I may be wrong.

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5 tips to staying fit & healthy when travelling!

You don’t HAVE to get the Heathrow Injection!

Posting about staying fit and healthy over the Easter long weekend seems crazy, considering I am about to inhale a hot cross bun and a small army of Cadbury mini eggs, but I always get asked about staying healthy while travelling, so I’ve taken some time to think about it and I thought I’d post it for everyone to read.

Living an active, healthy life is important to me and I try to continue that philosophy while I’m travelling too. We’ve all heard the stories about those travellers who gain 20kg’s upon setting foot in Heathrow Airport (also known as the ‘Heathrow Injection’), and I know of plenty of people who work out HARD prior to a big trip, knowing that they’ll likely gain a few kg’s, but I believe that you can travel for weeks, months and even years on end and not pile on the pounds, as long as you make the right choices.

Don’t worry, I’m not talking about long gym workouts every single day, or skipping local ‘must have’ favourites (like gelato in Florence for instance), so check out my personal Top 5 tips for staying healthy whilst travelling!

 1. Choose active adventures

This is probably the simplest ways of staying healthy whilst you’re away. Not only will active adventures help you keep off any extra unwanted weight, they’ll allow you to make the most of your holiday by experiencing things you may not get to experience in your day to day life!

There are some amazing trips and destinations all over the world that are designed for active people, and that specialise in certain NICHE areas. Activities like skiing, snowboarding, surfing, hiking and biking are just the tip of the iceberg. Even simple walking tours in your favourite city could be an option or signing up for an overseas Yoga retreat (or sunrise class at your Vietnamese beach resort)….. It all encourages you to keep moving, and will ensure that you stay physical and healthy on a trip overseas.

Just a handful of companies that offer ‘active travel’ itineraries include:




Personally I ensure that every trip has some kind of active component and as the above examples show, It can be as complex as a hike to Mt Everest Base Camp or as simple as adding a city tour by bicycle one day, and a Kayak around the lagoon the next. So, as much as we all love a chilled out beach holiday every now and then, I urge you to choose an active holiday every once in a while… or at least make some time every day to get moving!!

 2. Pack your own healthy snacks for the journey 


Have you eaten that sugar loaded plane food lately or been stuck in transit with nothing but McDonald’s or 7 Eleven for company? Don’t get caught out! Pack healthy snacks that you know will satisfy you during those long flights or car journeys and avoid the convenience of salty, fatty snack foods and soft drinks.

On a recent short trip I toasted a couple of bags of natural almonds and walnuts in sea salt, and baked a few batches of almond meal cookies, that I took with me on my travels. Not only were they the perfect go to snack when I needed a little something to get me through, but it was relatively small in size, and didn’t take up too much room in my luggage.

There are so many yummy, healthy and natural snacks you can make yourself, so get inspired!! Check out this awesome selection of recipes that ‘Girl Meets Nourishment’ has put together, and get preparing!


Trust me, plan ahead, and don’t get caught out. That’s when reaching for a bag of crisps is going to be the only option.

3.  Fresh is best!

We all know fresh is best, so I urge you to seek out the local delicacies based on the environment that you are in, and try to eat what items or products would be most readily available to the restaurateur or chefs in that location.

For example, when in areas that are on the ocean (like Thailand, Indonesia, the Caribbean etc..) seek out fresh, local seafood or the ‘catch of the day’. Chat to the chef’s and find out when the catch was brought in or if they’ve had it frozen. If you’re in the middle of the country, and you’ve got yummy veggies or delicious organic Beef to feast upon, go for it! Use your surroundings as a guide to what you eat.

An awesome example of this was a great Café in Rarotonga that I stumbled across called the Moorings Fish Café. They prepare the menu daily based on what seafood they were able to catch that morning on their daily fishing run. They only had so much and they’d shut up shop when they sold out, so nothing went in the freezer, and It was all prepared fresh daily. Loved it!

If you can, another great idea is to immerse yourself in the cuisine and do a cooking class on your travels. Not only is it a great day out, but you’ll learn a skill and see exactly what’s going into your food!

Keep it simple… Think logically about where you are, and what would be the freshest, most available products and stick to those. If there is a local delicacy, try it! Chances are it’s something they prepare daily and will rarely cause you any real harm.

4. Self-catering accommodation can save the day

I know that most of us won’t want to cook whilst on holidays, but trust me if you have accommodation that has a kitchenette or even just a microwave it can save the day if you’re struggling to find something healthy and decent to eat.

On my recent trip to The Cook Islands it was hard to find anything open after 2pm that wasn’t a fast food place, so a pot of water to boil some eggs and a cuppa served its purpose to fill myself (and my always hungry boyfriend) up, until it was time to hit the restaurant for dinner.

Most destinations are catering more and more to clients looking for that balance between self-cater, and restaurant variety. Even luxury properties are offering self-contained ‘villa’ style accommodation, which personal chefs (the works!) so there is truly something for everyone.

  1. SLEEP!

hammock life

Sleep is the most UNDERRATED health benefit in the world, and ensuring that you get enough sleep whilst you travel is vital.

I know jet lag and time zones can make it tricky, but try adapting to any time zones as quickly as you can, and ensuring that you are still getting your 7-9hrs a sleep a nite.

Not only will it ensure that you are fresh and ready to get the most out of the experiences the following day, but there are commonly known links between sleep and your immune system, so this is one of the BEST ways to protect against picking up any nasty travel flu’s, as the LAST thing you want whilst travelling is a cold. So hit the sack!


I guess to wrap all of this up, my final thought would be enjoy everything in moderation!

As I mentioned right at the start of this post, I’m all for getting out and enjoying your indulgences whilst you’re away, after all FOOD is a huge part of your overall travel experience and can sometimes be the BEST part of a city or cultural experience, but remember to enjoy all things in moderation.

There is nothing wrong with eating a slice of steaming hot, spicy, cheesy, New York style pizza (or 2) whilst in New York, just don’t have it everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Balance your meals (like you would at home) and ensure that you are also drinking loads of water. This combined with an activity or two every day and you’ll escape the dreaded holiday weight gain, and there will be no need to safety pin your shorts back together when you’ve busted out of them!

What are the travel health tips you live by? I’d love to hear all about what you guys do to stay fit and healthy on the road!!!

Thanks for reading!

Kate xxx

The Cook Islands – A brief encounter!

Palm trees and Kayaks
Palm trees and Kayaks line the shore of the Aitutkai Lagoon Resort & Spa!

I recently posted all about my recent visit to the Cook Islands, (Read it here http://mytravelust.com/2014/04/02/the-cook-islands-where-smiles-are-free/  ) but I was asked to compile a little Q&A on the trip, so I thought I’d share a little more with you about when to go, what to do, where to stay, and all of my personal highlights.


So, here you have it…. a brief Q&A of my experiences in the stunning Cook Islands!

WHEN TO GO? You can visit the Cook Islands anytime that you want to escape the rat race of life, but the driest season is from May to October!

PLANES, TRAINS, AUTOS? Air New Zealand operate a weekly direct flight to Rarotonga from Sydney, with modern aircraft, friendly service and an excellent variety of entertainment on board. It was actually one of the best flights i’ve had in a long long time. oh, and the safety demo is pretty cool…. for once every passenger on board was watching it. Check it out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQDip9V49U0

PACKING ESSENTIALS? A bikini (or two), a camera (duh!) and a BIG SMILE to match that of the locals.

MONEY MATTERS!The currency is New Zealand dollars and credit card facilities at restaurants and stores are limited, so have access to plenty of cash. Change or order some before you get there, otherwise there are a couple of ATM’s and a Western Union that does currency exchange. Office hours are a little weird though (Island time remember) and the ATM’s were a little unreliable, so cash is KING!

MUST DO? A visit to Aitutaki. Even if it’s just for a day trip, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven. It is a true Island paradise and worth every extra dollar $$.

MUST STAY? The Aitutaki Lagoon resort. Set on one of the worlds most beautiful lagoons, it has something for everything. From paddle boards to kayaks. Crab races to fire dancers… even the most active of travelers is well taken care of here. Every villa is set on the beach, with stunning views and there is one mega Honeymoon pavilion that looks to die for!

HIGHLIGHT? Diving with turtles and some of the prettiest fish i’ve seen. If you don’t scuba dive, then there are plenty of Snorkeling tours or Lagoon cruises so that you can experience the spectacular underwater world of the Cook Islands.

MOST LUXURIOUS MOMENT? The simple things in life…Sipping on my stunning Island cocktail, in a hammock under picture perfect palm trees, whilst taking in one of the most beautiful sunsets i’ve ever seen.

MOST DELICIOUS MEAL YOU HAD? The freshly seared Tuna Salad from the Moorings Fish cafe in Rarotonga, was divine!! They prepare the menu daily based on what seafood they we’re able to catch that morning on their daily fishing run. They only had so much and they’d shut up shop when they sold out, so nothing went in the freezer, and It was all prepared fresh daily. Loved it!

SIGNATURE DESTINATION DRINK? All of the resorts have their signature cocktails, but nothing quite beats drinking a freshly picked, chilled young coconut from one of the local trees. Tap into the goodness!

BEST ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE? Remember it’s ISLAND TIME over there, so don’t expect things to happen in a hurry. Take a leaf from their book and chill out. There is nowhere to be in a hurry, so sit back, take it all in and relax!

IF MONEY WAS NO OBJECT ? Arrange a private plane to take you and your loved one out to a remote island for the day. You can arrange private picnics or scenic flights over the stunning area, and have it all to yourself.

WHO SHOULD GO? Honeymooners, Wedding parties, Couples, Families … Everyone!

FAMILY? ROMANCE? RELAX? ADVENTURE? Family, Romance, Relax AND Adventure, there is something here for all of you!

WHAT DID YOU BRING HOME? About 1000 photos of Aitutaki, as it was literally THAT stunning!

HOW DID IT ENRICH YOU? the people of the Cook Islands make it the special place that it is. Their smiles are genuine and their hearts are big! Embrace their way of life and they’ll open their home to you!

There you have it …. a more condensed version of my experiences, and a couple of extra pics to check out.

As always, I would love love to help get you there so get in touch is you need an expert travel stylist 😉 kate@richetravel.com.au

Kate xx

photo new 3

The Cook Islands – Where smiles are free!

I told you it wouldn’t be long until the next OS adventure, and the next stop was the stunning Cook Islands!

This trip came to me as a prize that I had won through the ‘Treasures of the South Pacific’ road show. A touring product information evening that features the national tourism bureaus from most of the South Pacific Islands. As a travel consultant, you attend loads of these product nights during the year, and to get you there they entice you with finger food, an open bar & some lucky door prizes. It must have been my lucky day as an all-inclusive, trip for 2 to the Cook Islands was the grand prize ( a step up from the usual giveaway of a few sarongs, a day tours or a hat), and it just happened to be MY business card that was pulled out of the box.. YAY! (I never win ANYTHING!)

So, it was off to the Cook Islands and despite taking a little bit of convincing, Scott (My BF) was happy enough to tag along. He’s decided to brand himself as the official ‘executive producer’ of MyTraveLust, helping me to experience all of these wonderful properties and destinations. Plus he’s starting to earn his keep by stepping up as my personal photographer (as I’m really not into taking ‘selfies’ HaHa).

Rarotonga (the capital of the country) is a 5 & 1/2hr direct flight from Sydney (Thanks Air New Zealand), and my first impressions were WET! It just happened to be pouring with rain upon our arrival, but thanks to the arrangements made by our property the Muri Beachcomber resort (http://www.beachcomber.co.ck/), we were able to check straight in. So, the wet weather forced us to have a little snooze and catch up on some sleep that the time difference robbed us of.

Not the kind of people to sook about the weather, we took a break in the rain as a sign to get out there. We grabbed ourselves a scooter, and hit the road (the one main road that circles the island), but it took exactly 10minutes for the clouds to open up again, and we we’re soaked through! We ended up being the only tourists (or anyone for that matter) on a bike, in the rain, but if you don’t laugh you’ll cry, so we pushed on. We were headed to the Punanga Nui CulturalMarket (which are held every Saturday) but due to the rain they were closed. Oh well! A lazy afternoon, and evening ensured, and we were amped for our trip over to the much anticipated island of Aitutaki the following day. (We’d be back to explore more of Rarotonga after 2 nights on Aitutaki)

Air Rarotonga flew us across, and flying in over Aitutaki is a site to be seen. The Island is surrounded by a Reef of the most spectacular ‘blue’ colour you’ll ever see, and with the sun shining over us it was a picture perfect welcome.

Our home away from home for 2 nights was the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa (http://www.aitutakilagoonresort.com/) the Islands premium resort destination. Set privately on a lagoon that is consistently voted as one of the world’s most picturesque, you step onto your beachfront villa to take it all in, and it’s easy to see why. Crystal clear turquoise water, white sand and cartoon like palm trees, gently swaying in the breeze. There were day beds and hammocks lining the shore, enticing you to take a load off, and plenty of smiles from the staff to welcome you to their home. We were in paradise!

Aitutaki itself is the 2nd most visited of all of the islands, and although it’s small in size, there is plenty on offer. We spent our days paddling around the lagoon on the stand up paddle boards or kayaks. Exploring the island by motor scooter (including an off road expedition to the peak of the island, for a panoramic view of the surrounding reef), and feasting on freshly caught seafood from one of the cute little fresh fish restaurants like the ‘Boatshed Restaurant’ or Café Koru (which also happened to serve the BEST baked coconut cheesecake I’ve ever eaten!)

As for activities, if you are into diving (like us) then you MUST let Onu from ‘Bubbles Below’ take you out for the day. Onu is a local owner / dive operator who takes pride in his business, and has plenty of dive experience. He is fully accredited and knows the best places to see. We were lucky enough to dive with some huge Green Sea Turtles, Reef Sharks and Spotted Eagle rays, and can truly say that It was one of the best dives I’ve had the pleasure of doing. The warm tea and cheesy toasties after the dive we’re a nice touch too. His site is http://www.diveaitutaki.com/ if you want to check them out.

Other than busying ourselves with the various activities that interested us, there were also Lagoon cruises, Fishing charters, Island hopping tours and much much more to keep you occupied if you desired, although there really isn’t anything wrong with claiming a hammock, and reading your favorite book under the palm trees. (Oh, and lucky for Scott the Billabong Australia team were staying at our resort and doing a swimsuit photo-shoot on site, so he was able to catch a glimpse of a pretty model here and there too. Lol)

Aitutaki is like a dream come true, and no trip to The Cook Islands would be complete without a visit. A week, a night, a day … I can assure you the extra expense is worth it!

After 2 nights in paradise it was time to head back to Rarotonga, and this time we stayed at the Crown Beach Resort and Spa (http://www.crownbeach.com/). Located on the sunset coast of Rarotonga, and set on 5 acres of manicured gardens, it’s an all villa property, offering the perfect balance between resort and private luxury. The staff were welcoming, friendly and accommodating, and you truly felt as though nothing was too much trouble.

With 2 full days in Rarotonga to utilise, we did another dive trip and took on the cross island trek. This time the dive was with Dive Rarotonga http://www.diverarotonga.com/ who were also a great company with qualified staff, reliable equipment and a great knowledge of the dive spots. Here we were able to dive with more reef sharks, and the notoriously ill-tempered Trigger fish (though, the two we met were more like puppy dogs, chasing us to play with them).

The Cross Island trek was 4 hrs of hiking and took us to a lookout point at ‘The Needle’, a unique rock formation high above Rarotonga. While the trek itself wasn’t overly challenging for us (especially after having completed the trek to Mt Everest base camp last year), there were definitely some tricky sections in the wet and the bruises on my butt can still prove it.

The view from the top was pretty cool, and gave you an awesome panoramic view of the Island. We did the trek ourselves due to our limited time frame but it you have a few days on Rarotonga, I’d suggest that you engage the services of Pa, a local guide (http://www.pastreks.com/pas-cross-island-trek-walk-rarotonga.htm). His tours are supposedly legendary in Rarotonga, and I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to experience the trek with him, but all in all it was a great day spent exploring the flora and fauna of the area.

There are many more Rarotongan experiences that we sadly missed out on due to our limited time frame, but to give you a glimpse there are plenty of wonderful cultural shows that you can catch if you are wanting a sneak peek into the Polynesian way of life. There are more lagoon and reef cruises to get you out there, without necessarily having to get wet. More fishing charters and snorkelling trips too, and plenty of Eco tourism adventures if you want to see how the Cook Islanders are trying to preserve their natural surroundings.

As for food on Rarotonga there were a couple of stand outs. Moorings Fish Café was suggested to us by our dive guide (and I later realised It’s voted #1 on Trip advisor for food on the island). They prepare the menu daily based on what seafood they were able to catch that morning on their daily fishing run. The women running it were so friendly, and even offered to let us come back the next day to pay as we’d been caught without enough cash! Ummmm, what the? Loved it! https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Mooring-Fish-Cafe/292444140776946

Another favourite was the Waterline resort and Bar which offered a rustic nautical themed dining area, overlooking the stunning white sands and sunsets of the Island. You could feel the love and attention that the owners had put into the space, and the food was delicious with a beautiful variety of seafood and other local delicacies. Definitely worth a visit or two, and you can even dine on the beach with the sand between your toes…bliss! http://www.waterline-restaurant.com/

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Lastly there was also the yummy Kikau Hut restaurant. Here it was the people that really stood out. Big smiles and a genuine interest in ensuring that you were perfectly accommodated, and I think it was on our last day in Rarotonga that this became evident, when the host who had served us at the restaurant a few nights before, literally stopped us on the street for a chat. She’d remembered us, and taken the time to stop and wish us a safe journey home. Amazing!

All in all the Cook Islands proved to be a stunning holiday destination, and it’s not just because of the spectacular scenery. It really was the people that made all the difference, and it’s safe to say its one place in the world where you know that the smiles are 100% genuine. So, If you are looking for a beach break, a honeymoon destination or just somewhere to relax and unwind…. This is it!

Thanks to Cook Islands tourism for sending me to such a stunning part of the world, and all of the properties that hosted us during our stay. I feel grateful every day to be working in such a wonderful industry, which has certainly evolved into a lifestyle, and not just a job.

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Stay tuned for a more in depth review of the properties, and some of my hot tips for making your Cook Islands holiday unforgettable! If you have any questions about this or any of the other destinations I’ve visited, please feel free to get in touch.