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Planning a trip to Australia with your family or friends? Then you surely need to plan a great itinerary. And one place that you should never miss visiting is the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), famously known as “the G.”

This boasts as one of the biggest sports stadiums in the world that can accommodate around 100,000 people. It also serves as the largest stadium in Australia. It’s the tenth largest stadium in worldwide, as well as the world’s biggest cricket stadium.

Melbourne Sports Precinct at Yarra Park where the stadium is location also includes the Rod Laver Arena, AAMI Park, and the Hisense Arena. It also hosts sports matches in the winter, while summer is usually for cricket. The G, as the stadium is affectionately known, was a scene of many great events in Australian sporting history since it opened in 1853.

Here’s our pick of things to see and do around the Home of Cricket—the MCG.

Federation Square. This cultural section of Melbourne blends modern architecture and classics. It where you will find major cultural attractions including the the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and the National Gallery of Victoria (entrance for both are FREE). The place is also filled with festivals, events, exhibitions and concerts throughout the year. Flinders Quarter, the chic, creative and artsy spot in Melbourne is Half-a-block away. You can also pick up fascinating crafts or indigenous art here.

Docklands. Head over to the Docklands and ride the Melbourne Star observation wheel Looking for great riverside views. Experience stunning panoramic views of the city, the Dandenong Ranges and Port Phillip Bay. This spot is also a great place for bargain hunters. Hop on to a ferry at dusk to the Crowne Plaza, or try your luck and play some games at one of the largest casinos in the southern hemisphere.

Great Ocean Road. A good option, though you should keep this one for between match days. The picturesque 243-km drive is one of the most spectacular experience in the world, and takes you to beautiful beaches, stunning limestone cliffs, and thick rainforests. The most iconic landmark is the Twelve Apostles, the majestic rock stacks that shows it best form at sunrise or sunset. While a couple of days would be ideal, you could make this a day trip.

Degraves Street. Hungry? Head over to this is food central that’s bursting with a plethora of bars, restaurants, and cafés. This is essentially Melbournian experience. Many locals insist you’ll only find tourists here. Regardless, there is no dispute about the range and quality of food offered here. Fantastic place for post-match beer and banter.

Accommodations around MCG. Staying near MCG is a fantastic way to experience Melbourne for anyone looking to witness a couple of cricket matches or watch a couple of events in the stadium. The area has a range of hotel accommodations whether you’re well-off or on a shoestring budget! You can read more tips on your Melbourne vacation here.

There are more locations, activities, and experiences you’ll find in MCG that’s not listed here, and that’s for you to discover! Have fun in and around MCG!

Hey all! Big thanks to Katy Blevins for handing over the reins to me at the end of 2017 to fulfill my new years resolution to write...often! Based in Miami, you can find me blogging about family life as a mother of two young kids. But i'll also continue the Chaos and Kiddos theme of business, fashion, parenting, product reviews, and...well, I could go on and on.

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Travel

3 Reasons Alabama Is the Perfect Destination for a Family Vacation

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America is overflowing with beautiful states to take the family on vacation. Some are more common than others (such as New York or Hawaii). However, while Alabama might often be forgotten, the Heart of Dixie is the perfect destination for a family vacation.

Before we get to the three reasons why, we want to encourage travelers to prepare their smartphones. After all, Alabama is home to scenic and breathtaking adventures, from golf courses to Instagram-worthy food displays to beaches. To ensure your camera and phone are in tip-top shape, you can visit one of the many AT&T stores in Alabama.

Now that your phone and family are ready for some serious photo ops, it’s time to take a family trip to Alabama.

The Beauty of Alabama’s Gulf Coast

While Florida, California, and Hawaii get all the credit for their beaches, the Alabama Gulf Coast is home to 32 miles of sugar-white sand beaches, made of quartz grains that were washed down from the Appalachian Mountains thousands of years ago.

Fast forward to today, and the pristine beaches have become tourism wonderlands. While places such as Florida still get more attention, the beaches of Alabama can be considered hidden gems because they tend to be less crowded and are perfect for you and the family.

The best part is that Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are year-round destinations with the average highs in January (the coldest month of the year) still being 59 degrees.

Just like all beach destinations, the Gulf Coast is home to restaurants, nightlife, and entertainment for the entire family, such as the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, zip-line tours, and other excursions.

Tourist Attractions

Speaking of entertainment for the whole family, Alabama is no stranger to must-see attractions.

To prove that point, here are some destinations you and the family should visit:

  • The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is the largest spaceflight museum in the world.
  • Neversink is a 162-foot open air pit in Jackson County, Alabama and is a nature wonder you don’t want to miss.
  • Golf courses, sporting events, and other outdoor activities like seeing beautiful waterfalls flood Alabama and will provide plenty things to do.
  • History and culture: From the Battleship Memorial Park to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Alabama is home to important monuments, museums, and historical sites.

Alabama is Affordable

One of the main reasons people don’t go on vacation is because they can’t justify the price. With Alabama being so affordable it is exactly why it’s the perfect destination for a family vacation. After all, according to CNBC, Alabama is one of the cheapest states to live in America. When a place is affordable, it’s that much easier (and in many cases possible) to take a vacation from a money standpoint. That’s a huge bonus if you’ve been wanting to take the entire family on a vacation.

That, simply put, can mean more southern BBQ for you and the family, which should be music to your taste buds because Alabama is known for its pit stops and barbeque joints. It could also mean a cheaper vacation overall.

The state of Alabama has so much to offer and, given all of the reasons above, it’s the perfect destination for a family vacation, especially if you still want to book a trip to a warm-weather climate that features sandy beaches.

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A journey you’ll never forget: the Camino de Santiago from Sarria

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When you decide to take on your first Camino de Santiago challenge, you will be preparing yourself for a journey that will live with you forever. You will not only challenge yourself physically, but also see many beautiful sights and have so many new experiences.

Traditionally a pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago is now a modern pilgrimage loved by those seeking a spiritual break from our busy world as much as hiking, cycling and cultural enthusiasts.

The Camino de Santiago is a large network of routes from many different starting locations, all of which are spectacular in their own special way. But for those on their first journey, the Camino Frances starting at Sarria with santiago ways is a perfect way for beginners to start.

Sarria, a place full of history and culture

Sarria is around 111km from Santiago, just over the minimum distance that is required for pilgrims to be eligible for the traditional ‘compostela’ certificate that verifies they have completed the Camino de Santiago.

It is a great way to really capture the essence of the Camino. The route takes you through beautiful towns and cities and charming medieval villages and inspiring landscapes.

In the centre of Sarria you have the chance to see beautiful churches,chapels, monasteries and pilgrim hospitals. The main street, rea Maior, is a gorgeous picturesque place and the Church of Santa Marina, the Castle and the Fortress of Sarria are well worth a visit.

From here there is a relaxed hike to Portomarin, 22 km away along country roads past traditional Galician granaries. Highly recommended is a quick stop to the Romanesque church at Barbadelo.

A beautiful green landscape and fantastic local cuisine

One of the best things about this route, is the beautiful forests, farmlands and rustic villages, and stonewall lined trails and paths typical of the Galician landscape.

Leaving Portomarin, the route crosses the Miño River and ascends to the Sierra de Ligonde. Heading through to Palas de Rei, you will see many quaint typical country villages, such as Gonzar and Ventas de Narón.

The next stage from Arzua to Amenal passes through beautiful forests and more quiet villages. You will also be able to see the famous statue of Santiago in the Chapel of St. Irene.

At each overnight stop there are quaint bed and breakfasts to stop at, and many lovely little local restaurants and eateries, so you can not only experience the stunning surroundings, but also get a taste of Northern Spain as well. If you want to split up any of the journeys, so you can take in a little more and ease the day’s hiking that is also possible. The pace and itinerary can be planned to how you like it

A great sense of achievement as you reach Santiago de Compostela

As you reach the final day of your pilgrimage or challenge you will feel a growing sense of achievement, and maybe even share that experience with other travellers on the route. A quick stock at Lavacolla, on the outskirts of Santiago de Compostela, where traditionally pilgrims would wash in the river to prepare for their arrival  in the city. As you approach along the Monte do Gozo hill you will be able to see your final destination, the Cathedral, in the distance.

Arriving at your journey’s end in Santiago

The architecture here is incredible. You will easily find yourself captivated by the historic centre, it is no surprise that it have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You must arrive in time to participate in the Pilgrim’s Mass. Here you can also receive the ‘compostela’ certificate, and take a little time to visit the city and local area.

You may even wish to relax there for a day or two before heading home and really take in the feel of the place.  A day trip to Finisterre or the Cies Islands comes highly recommended.

One thing is for certain, you will never forget the memories you have made, the friends and people met on your journey or the difference you now feel spiritually. In fact you may find yourself hooked and already planning to walk one of the other Camino de Santiago walks.

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5 Tips for an Amazing Babymoon

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For the uninitiated, a “babymoon” is a vacation that a couple takes before starting a family. Typically, this trip occurs after a woman becomes pregnant, but before she reaches the stage in her gestation period when she can no longer travel. Babymoons have become increasingly popular in recent years, and they offer happy couples one last opportunity to enjoy a holiday together before they settle down into parenthood. If you’ve been thinking about planning a babymoon of your own –– or are interested in taking one eventually –– then check out these five tips to ensure your babymoon is a blast:

Get Your Ducks in a Row

Naturally, pregnant women should speak with their doctor often. However, it’s particularly important for pregnant women to consult a medical professional before they go on vacation. Your doctor may advise you to cancel a trip if they feel you’re unable to travel safely –– or if you’re too far along in your pregnancy. (Typically, women take babymoons during their second trimester, for reference.) Let your doctor know about your plans as soon as possible, and make it a point to visit a testing clinic before you depart. 

Select the Right Destination 

A babymoon should, ideally, allow you and your partner to enjoy each other’s company and relax. As such, some travel destinations are more suited to babymoons than others. Las Vegas might be a great place for a bachelorette party, but it’s far from perfect for a babymoon.

Account for Your Hormones

Every pregnancy is different, but almost all are turbulent to some degree. Strange food cravings, mood swings, morning sickness, aches and pains –– they can all still occur even if you take a trip halfway across the world. Rather than trying to ignore these hormonal changes, pick a destination that will help you handle them accordingly.

Talk to Your Partner 

Yes, this trip should be all about the mom-to-be (and we’ll get to that in a moment). Yet it doesn’t make much sense to alienate your partner and plan a holiday they won’t enjoy in the slightest. Talk to your partner and set aside time for a few activities you’ll both relish.

Indulge

There’s no two ways around it –– pregnancy is stressful. From the physical toll, to the new financial responsibilities of starting a family, everything about impending motherhood can feel daunting. Babymoons, then, should allow expecting moms relax, unwind, and relieve some tension –– if even for a few days. Eat what you want, sunbathe, nap, take in a few tourist attractions, and do whatever else your heart desires. It’s what babymoons are for!

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