Panini’s with a view of Lake Maggiore & ‘Big Chuck’


San Carlo Hotel & Restaurant Pannini with a view

We sauntered in the direction of the lake, past bakeries that were closed, hairdressers, fish shops and estate agents. The people seemed happy and animated. The spray from a large fountain cooled us down. I then saw a group of Muslim women and men praying in the shade of a tree towards the lake. Surrounding the worshippers were dog walkers ambling, Italian tourists lazing on benches, couples taking selfies and kids playing and laughing. It felt like everyone was happily doing their own thing but as part of a community. Continue reading

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Visiting Rocca di Arona Viewpoint at Lake Maggiore

Visiting Rocca di Arona - Angera italy view

Visiting Rocca di Arona – Angera italy view

We wandered from the centre of Arona in Lake Maggiore with no particular direction in mind. However, the sign for Rocca di Arona peaked our curiosity so we headed in that up another hill towards it. On the way I saw a “nonna” hunched over moving slowly but with purpose. She had a leathery  iron creased face and was clutching a spade.  all set to do some hard core gardening. Italian Grannies are great. Continue reading

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Kilkenny in a Weekend, Festival Fun a Cat & Castle


Butler House Gardens Kilkenny Cat

Kilkenny Cat at the Butler House Gardens

To the back of the ivy covered Butler House building there were walled gardens that belonged in a fairy tale and a Kilkenny cat. He stole the show. Silky black and still, his beady eyes focused on the carp fish in the pond. His patience was endless, waiting for just the right moment to go fishing. He creeped forward slowly towards the waters edge. With a swift swipe of the paw he went for it. The fish evaded his attempt and the cat was left damp and disappointed. (The “Kilkenny Cats” are also a nickname for the local hurling team. They were the defending champions who also were left defeated at last years All Ireland Hurling Championship by the Clare team. )
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Things to do in Athlone when it’s raining!

Athlone Cathedral & Luan Gallery

Athlone Cathedral & Luan Gallery


The weather forecast gave warnings of heavy rainfall just before we were about to leave Dublin. One of my friends even said ‘I feel sorry for you’ heading down to Athlone tonight. Others asked “what the hell are you going to do there?” Turns out there is plenty of things to do in Athlone even when it’s raining. Continue reading

Stateside snippets: From New York, Boston & Dallas

Subway New York Skyline at Sunset

Subway Train with New York Skyline at Sunset


New york is a city that is ever-changing. She shows me a new side to her every time I visit.  It was love at first sight for me, the instant the Manhattan skyline revealed herself from the yellow cab window over a decade ago. We rekindled again a few years later for the St. Patrick’s day festivities, then again to visit friends in Queens and more recently experienced yet another new view of the big apple. Continue reading

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Beeriliant Berlin Birthday Bash

Hallo Berlin

Hallo Berlin

So as it happens every 4 years a bunch of my mates who live in various places  across Ireland meet up and go on a weekend city break together in celebration of a birthday. The first time we went away it was Paris. Next we went to Rome. This time it was Berlin’s turn. Continue reading

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Tinakilly House Hotel Wicklow Weekender

Four poster bed Tinakilly

Four poster bed Tinakilly House Hotel

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My Dublin Bucket List

Seomra Spraoi cafe

Image courtesy of


Since I am now based in Dublin and not currently travelling. I thought it would be an interesting idea to bring my sense of adventure and exploration to my own city. I want to recreate that sense of openess and curiosity that I bring with me while travelling. I want to discover new places, new people, create new memories, push the bounderies a little by doing things I would not do normally, to really experience this city. Continue reading

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Marketing a guesthouse or B&B online

Customers via Google to website

Getting more internet bookings to your website can be a challenge. Especially when you are juggling the day-to-day tasks for your small tourism business and working with limited resources. Often during the busy summer months you just don’t have the time to sit down and work out the nitty gritty of how to market your bed and breakfast. However, there are a few things I would recommend for you to consider if you want to increase online bookings.


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Irish Microbreweries the Black Sheep?


The Black Sheep Beer Menu - Capel Street, Dublin

The Black Sheep Beer Menu - Capel Street, Dublin

Since we’ve been away there has been a big increase in Irish microbreweries and pubs that stock their produce. I visited Against the Grain on Aungier Street with some mates from The Netherlands and decided to check out their sister pub on Capel Street The Black Sheep.


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Being Back in Dub Town

Airbnb Guinness Guestroom

Airbnb Guinness Guestroom

The good thing about returning home after extensive travelling and not having a 9-5 job is that you have lots of free time to explore your own city. A lot has changed in the 2 years I’ve been away from Dublin and I’m enjoying getting to know her again. Continue reading

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Top Travel Trends for 2012

Travel Screen Culture

Gadgetry set for world domination

It is no surprise that tablets, smart phones, e-readers and the like are now the mainstream. How the travel industry will embrace these technologies in 2012 will be interesting to witness.



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A walk, a fall, a beer & a bet – Dandenongs, Australia

Sherbrook Falls, Dandenongs, Australia

Sherbrook Falls, Dandenongs, Australia

I appreciate a state that gives its residents a day off for a horse race. The 5.6 million inhabitants of the State of Victoria are given a public holiday for the Melbourne Cup each year. So, to take advantage of this free time I roped a friend in to taking us on a road trip.

Sometimes you only realise how much you miss open space and nature when you escape from a metropolis. Ferntree Gully is in the Dandenong Ranges it is only about an hour from Melbourne CBD but feels like another world. Even in the carpark the green & red parrots swooped overhead and happily pottered about in gangs on the tarmac. The sounds were unfamiliar, the air pungent and the temperature was even a few degrees cooler. Continue reading

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Video of travel writer Pico Iyer



Travel writer Pico Iyer talks with Marcia Franklin about his journeys, his travel tips and his latest book, The Open Road, about the Dalai Lama. The conversation was taped at the 2010 Sun Valley Writers’ Conference.

I have just created a Youtube channel with a few interesting videos of various travel writers. Stop by and have a gander.

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Travel article round up


Travel Mags at Magnation Melbourne

Travel Mags at Magnation Melbourne



Here is a round up of various types of travel articles from writers I admire. Have a gander.


1) World’s Weirdest Animal Smuggling Incidents by Lola AkinmadeTravel + Leisure (Sept 2011)

2) Exploring the pass through province by Robin Esrock – The Globe and Mail (Aug 2011)

3) Magic Moments around Ireland by Manchán Mangan – The Irish Times (Sept 2011)

4) In the bush by Eva Holland – Vela Magazine (Nov 2011)

5) Dubai City Break Guide by Lara Dunston The Sunday Telegraph (Oct 2011)


If you have a recently published travel article you would like to see here. Let me know.


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[Guide] How to book a cheap flight


book a cheap flight to Bali

Bali flight

For me booking a plane ticket is like a game. This might seem a little weird for some. However, I adore the challenge of securing the lowest possible fare.   Often I am used as the go-to person to book a cheap flight. So I thought I would share a few tips with you.

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What am I doing in Melbourne?

view from the rooftop cinema melbourne australia

View from the Rooftop Cinema Melbourne, Australia

This question was asked quite a bit recently, so I decided it would be a good idea to divulge some background information. From October 2010 to April 2011 my boyfriend and I travelled through Thailand, China, Laos and Malaysia. I am not a digital nomad and we got our money for travel the old-fashioned way, by saving.

I was working in contract positions as well as freelance writing. After paying the bills and day-to-day living costs, it took us about 2 years to save up slowly bit by bit. Working hard for our freedom, we sacrificed nights out and buying any new stuff in the process.

However, we had done this all before in 2007 and in 2004 I packed up and moved to Amsterdam for 3 ½ years. Stuffing backpacks, calling the utility companies and just hitting the road for as long as we possibly can is something we are used to. It’s nor everyone, but I find it keeps life interesting.

This is not me trying to show off here, I just want to say that if you really want to travel you can always find a way to do so. Don’t let a mortgage, fixed contract or money be an excuse to prevent you from realising your travel dreams.

So back on topic what the hell am I doing in Melbourne? In April, we flew from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne basically to cash up. As Europe is in an economic catastrophe right now Australia is probably the best place to be. We are lucky that both our passports allow us to apply for a 1 year working holiday visa. I am working full time, writing part-time and my boyfriend is also working full-time and has several projects on the side. So we’re busy and back in saving mode. It kinda feels like being in limbo we are not quite travelling, not quite settled and we are far from home.

If we are able to reach our savings goal by next April we will have a lot of options. One of which is to live in Berlin for a year, en route visiting some of the pacific islands, Peru, New York, ….. ??

Any suggestions on my itinerary welcome!


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