A new beer, the end of Rio and our last-minute travel preps

Mr & Mrs Romance - IG Edition - 1 title

So that’s the Olympics over then. Another 4 years to wait for such an amazing sporting event… and for our TVs to be Shanghaied. The Olympics actually have a special place in our hearts. You see, it was during the Sydney Olympics that Mrs Romance and I met.

So every 4 years, we’re reminded of those crazy days when we first found one another. Check out our full story on how we met here.

But other than watching sporting heroes doing their thing over in Brazil, it’s been another pretty quiet week for us at Romance HQ. However, we did manage to get to my all-time favourite pub for a couple of Friday afternoon cheekies.

The Royal Albert in Surry Hills is such an awesome pub for the beer enthusiasts among us. And – as you can see – the Royal Albert also supports Australian craft spirits too.

Mr & Mrs Romance - IG Edition - 3 Friday drinks

On tap at the moment is a real stunner of a beer here at the Royal Albert. The ‘Bert’ from Colonial Brewing Company is the latest beer collaboration the Royal Albert’s done and this one’s a stonker. Make sure you get down there to give a taste.

I’m very glad we’ve managed to get to try it before we head off too. I doubt it’ll still be here when we get back.

Get back?

Yes, that’s right, we’re off again. Tomorrow in fact. And where? Well, to Borneo, actually. We’re travelling with the local tourism board of Sabah to check out the romance factor of this beautiful part of Southeast Asia. So watch this space for plenty of stories from us. I’ve got a feeling this one’s going to be interesting.

Now we’ve just got to pack…

This week’s travel recap

Each week we go back in time over some of our favourite travel destinations using never-before-seen photos of our travels. Here’s where we’ve been looking back on this week.

Mr & Mrs Romance - IG Edition - 50 San Gimignano street

The winding little streets of San Gimignano in the heart of the Tuscan countryside is about as Italian as you can get. San Gimignano (pronounced ‘jim-in-yarno’) is famous for its towers. There used to be a hundred of them looming over the town.

These days only a few remain but the ones that do you can still see from far away, sprouting up from the horizon of the Italian hills. Such a beautiful place.

For more on San Gimignano and Tuscany, check out our travel guides and tips on this stunning part of the world here.

Mr & Mrs Romance - IG Edition - 54 Cortona

I love it when Mrs Romance captures a street scene like this. It really encompasses so much of my memories of a place. This is a little place in Cortona – one of the most magical little towns of Tuscany. Just a few kilometres south of Arezzo – one of Tuscany’s bigger cities – Cortona still has that beautiful vibe of somewhere that hasn’t been changed too much by modern life.

Check out our week-long itinerary of Tuscany here.

Mr & Mrs Romance - IG Edition - 53 Venice street scene

Ah, Venice. It truly is an incredible city. In spite of the bad press this place gets – it’s true that it is under-populated, and it is over-run with tourists – the majesty of this place hasn’t faded.

Personally I don’t like the gondolas. Even though it looks like the most romantic thing you can do, it’s really a savvy scam to get 100 Euros out of tourists’ wallets. However, getting lost in the little streets and bridges of this beautiful town is the best.

Gondolas are no longer a means of transport for Venice though. If you really want to find your way around this marvellous city, you’ve got to use the vaporetto ferry system. It’s complicated but brilliant.

Here’s how the vaporetto system works.

Mr & Mrs Romance - IG Edition - 52 Tuscan doorway

Everywhere you turn in Sienna, Tuscany, you find beauty. Within the walls of this ancient city history really does live on. We spent a week or so here and would love more time. It’s such an enchanting place.

This is one of the many doors Mrs Romance spotted on our exploration of Sienna. There are many many more. But this one certainly works on the imagination – who lives here? What’s through the next door? Why was it built in the first place? What’s in the courtyard beyond? So many questions!

For more tips on Sienna, here’s our Essential Guide to this beautiful city.

Mr & Mrs Romance - IG Edition - 51 Aperol spritz in Provence

You could be fooled into thinking that this is also from Italy – the spritz Aperol, the prosciutto, the provolone cheese… but this is in fact Provence, in a little town called Lorgue.

We spent a week here a while back and it was one of those times when you completely lose track of how much time has passed. It got to the point where we thought we’d been here longer but actually had another day left. It was the best surprise, and our AirBnB hosts were so accommodating – literally and figuratively!

For more info on our time in Provence – where to eat, where to stay and where to go – check out our archive on this beautiful part of France.

Mr & Mrs Romance - IG Edition - 55 Santa Monica pier

Santa Monica – just north of Los Angeles – is a real pearl of the Californian coastline. Though a busy town, Santa Monica is still far enough away from the craziness of LA to be easy to visit… if you’ve been to LA, you’ll know what I mean. Its streets and malls are clean and friendly, you can actually walk (and park!) with ease here and the beach is really pretty.

This was the last part of our Californian roadtrip driving south from San Francisco to LA – one of the best driving holidays you can do. Here’s our story about this amazing drive.

And if you are thinking about driving in California, you should definitely check out our driving tips for this part of the USA.

Mr & Mrs Romance - IG Edition - 56 La Esquina, NYC

New York City is our favourite town in the world. It’s a bit of a no-brainer, but it’s true. There’s such spirit and character to every street here. You could get lost in your own neighbourhood a hundred times finding something new.

This innocuous corner of Little Italy in Manhattan is home to La Esquina. At one time – we haven’t been back to NYC for a while – this was the most talked about restaurant in town. And for good reason. You couldn’t book, you needed the secret cellphone number of the concierge, and you needed to know when to call.

Then, if you managed to make a booking, you’d find your guy near the corner of the ground floor tacoria and deli, give him your name (and a tip of course!) and he’d lead you downstairs, through a crazy kitchen into a den. A huge speakeasy Mexican den. The food here is unbelievable and the tequila and mezcal are superb. It’s the best place.

These days I think you can book online, but it’s still pretty secret squirrel. If you’re ever in New York, you’ve got to check this place out.

It’s on our very popular Ultimate First-Timer’s Guide to New York City along with a host of other great things to do in the Big Apple. Check it out.

Well, that’s the end of this week’s IG Edition. We hope you’ve enjoyed it. Don’t forget to sign up to our weekly newsletter that I send out every Friday. In it is a rundown of the week’s posts plus news on what’s going on with us.

We also give you exclusive notice on any competitions we’re running or freebies we’re giving away. Click here to receive our newsletter and also our free ebook on travel.

This time next week we’ll be in the heart of the Borneo jungle with lots of stories to tell, so I hope you’re looking forward to that as much as we are. Until then, have a great week.

Images by Mr and Mrs Romance via Instagram: @MrAndMrsRomance.

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