Monday, October 30, 2006

A Guide to using the archives

Obviously I have been back from my amazing trip for quite some time now, but I wanted just to type a quick guide to the archives to make this blog useful for anyone looking for information on a specific location. This blog got very sentimental and mushy towards the end but the further you back, the more travel journalism useful style it all is! The archive links are located down on the sidebar.

Check out January 2006 for;
London tourist sites like Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Harrods as well as Windsor and some London money saving tips

February '06 has the goods on;
Greenwich, Oxford, Camden Markets

March '06 checks out;
Portobello Road Markets/Notting Hill, and some London snapshots

April '06 spills the beans on;
Bath, Brighton and Hampton Court Palace + some of the really touristy things my mum made me do when she visited like go to Madame Toussauds and the London Eye

May '06 is where it gets crazy...
See some Paris snapshots, hear about the crazy prices at Eurodisney... then off we head to Lithuania (Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda) and Riga in Latvia. We then jump down to Warsaw in Poland.

June '06 sees the Eastern Europe express continue chugging onward...
Kick on down to Krakow, hear about the Salt Mines and Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps, whizz over to Wroclaw, then jump down to Budapest in Hungary. We then go to Cesky Krumlov and Prague in the Czech Republic, back to Budapest (read to find out why) and then through Vienna and Salzburg in Austria. Then, somehow I got to Madrid in Spain, via Geneva. Toledo was also examined as the month drew to a close. Wow, busy!

In July '06
Valencia and Barcelona were enjoyed, then Florence, Pisa, Venice and Rome in fair Italy were also enjoyed despite the Italians winning the football. We then swung by Germany, staying with a friend in the Black Forest and checking out Lake Konstanz before stopping for a beer or two in Munich before heading back to London where the whole ordeal began.

That's just a brief summary so if anyone out there is looking for info about a specific place you know where to look in the archives.

If you like this blog, send me money so I can go travelling again and write more!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Farewells: Jane Austen was here (with friends)

Me with a keyring I got at Camden Markets

The Jane Austen was here madness begins... in the Circus in Bath

Jane Austen goes to Boots in Bath.

... and to the big pub quiz in Harrow

Lizzy, Joey, Dan, Me... Jane Austen... in Harrow

Farewell hug with Dan P at Trinity in Harrow

Roz, Soph and I in Harrow... looking cheeky!

Roz, Ross and I... I think I am trying to pout or something.

Soph, Ross and Roz in Harrow

Thursday, July 27, 2006

London: Parting is such sweet sorrow

I'm at Heathrow waiting for my flight back to Australia to start boarding. This whole thing finished the same way it started really... me on a Piccadilly line tube on my own with a massive backpack and grey drizzly skies outside. Except this time it was hot outside rather than freezing. And this time I was leaving a city I loved rather than arriving in a city I knew nothing about.

The last few days have been a lot of fun. We went to Bath, where we enjoyed it's loveliness greatly. We paid to go in to a Jane Austen museum which turned out to be really crappy, basically an overpriced tourist trap. Soph was excited... but then dissapointed as the only Colin Firth as Mark Darcy reference was the poster at the front door. Basically it chronicled every house Jane had stayed in for the entire 5 years she lived in Bath. Wow. It even had a crappy video with this chick walking around randomly in a purple sweater providing minimal narration but getting her face in every shot possible. You just had to see it, I'm sorry.

So from this we hatched an ingenious plan while sitting in the garden in the middle of the famous Circus. We made a sign that said "Jane Austen was here" and in every photo we took in Bath, we held the sign. I shall post the evidence when I return to Oz. We thought it was hilarious.

Jane Austen even followed us back to our crazy hostel in Bath, which had crazy coloured walls and beds that were named after celebrities. I was Whitney Housten. Shame I can't sing, and I wouldn't say my alcohol problem could compare to Whitney's either. But hey, the crazy paintwork kind of disguised the way the walls were crumbling... sorta...

Back in London on Tuesday and it was time for goodbye drinks at O'Neils in Harrow. It was a good laugh, nice to catch up with people, sad to say goodbye to them. We went to Trinity, Harrow's indie club for a bit of a dance but didn't stay until closing time like usual, we had to catch the last tube back to our hostel. So it was goodbye to Harrow, but in true Harrow style the night was a lot of fun rather than melancholy... a good time was had by Australians and English alike. Our team, titled "Jane Austen was here (ask the Aussies)" even managed to come second in Big Dave's Big Quiz at the pub despite rubbishing our way through most of the questions and even not hearing some of them due to our own loud talking. Jane Austen got around Harrow as well, I think my uni friends thought Soph, Roz and I were slightly nuts. In a lovable kind of way.

So now the sun is setting at Heathrow, my internet credit is expiring, and they have just announced that my flight has been delayed by 15 minutes. Beautiful. Farewell London, I will miss you dearly.

Monday, July 24, 2006

SNAPSHOTS: Friends and fun

Some photos of friends playing around.

Ash and Fabian doing who knows what at Konstanz...

Roz, Ash and Soph at Piccadilly Circus

Yay at long last, a pint of Strongbow. My favourite. Cheers.

Soph tries on a petticoat at the V and A Museum

Roz and Ash make a call

Roz and Ash "playing" with the interactive displays at the V and A.

SNAPSHOTS: Italy and Spain

The spires of Gaudi's Sangria Familia in Barcelona

Italians in Florence getting ready for the qualifying match against Germany in the World Cup.

Crazy coloured pasta in a Venice supermarket

The Colosseum in Rome

Me in a hollow tree trunk in the Black Forest in Germany. Why? Cos Fabian and Roz thought it would be a funny photo. Judge for yourself.

Floating markets in Venice

Me, Fabian and Roz in Germany

A more artistic shot of one of the spires of the Sangria Familia in Barcelona

Lollies at the markets in Barcelona. Yum!

London: Old friends, new friends, weirdos

Catching up with old friends in London is great, as is being here with old friends from home. Sitting in Weatherspoons in Harrow with two good pom friends and two good Aussie friends on each side of me and sharing many a laugh was a great way to spend a Friday night. Portobello markets and shopping on Oxford Street was a great way to spend a Saturday. Going out disco bowling was a great way to spend a Saturday night (especially as Joey was doing an absolutely smashing job of taking the piss of the guy in the lane next to us... he was wearing all white so he glowed in the dark and he was taking the whole thing way too seriously... he deserved to be gently mocked. I also can't forget the freaky gangster bouncers who ran the bowling alley... one of whom tried to hit on me when I got my bowling shoes). Camden markets (one of my favourite places in London) was a great place to spend a Sunday morning/afternoon.

As you are probably beginning to see, everything is quite lovely and great at the moment.

This afternoon though as we were chilling in Leicester Square (where we had earlier been approached another day by a strange old man who said "hello young girls will you drink with me" argh!) we were sitting and chatting when this cocky young lad approached us with a toy mobile phone and asked us for our telephone numbers. We just laughed, he then dissapeared... he returned 5 minutes later to have a conversation with us, and then proceeded to tell us that he was the PR officer for this group he was with who were having lessons to improve their confidence in approaching women. Ah ha. We were laughing all the while. One of his friends (or classmates lol) decided to join us and we were chatting, then when they heard Roz likes doughnuts and hadn't had Krispy Kreme they insisted on taking us to the nearest Tescos express to get some. So we are walking with linked arms through London with these guys we only just met, talking shit and stuff (they were harmless, it was daytime, I knew where we were it was all good) to go to the supermarket. How random. Then we said our farewells... we have an inkling that they were trying to show their classmates at the pick up school that girls aren't that scary and that you can randomly approach them in Leicester Square and they will go with you to the supermarket without breaking your balls too much. We should have told them there was a disclaimer... we only went with them cos they weren't too freaky, had cute accents and were reasonbly good looking haha. I don't know if some of their other friends from pick up school would have had the same luck... its a cruel cruel world. It was very funny none the less... rather mysterious, but what a laugh.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

London: Back in your arms again

I'm back in the arms of this crazy city, the jungle of coloured lines on the underground map, the congestion of double decker buses, and whatever exists in between all those stately buildings that makes me love this place, and makes me not really want to leave it...

We are having fun, a bit tired today, but we did sightsee for nearly 12 solid hours yesterday. We had a lot of good laughs, watching changing of the guard, going to the V&A museum and playing with all the interactive stuff, chilling in parks with our Boots lunch, seeing Harrods, wandering around Leicester Square and central London at night after partaking our currys at the local Spoonies (Thursday night is Curry night! Curry and a pint for under 5 quid, good stuff!)with the lights dancing and the balmy (for England) breeze to cool us down.

Today we were quite tired, went and saw Tower Bridge, walked down to St Pauls and Tate Modern, ate Marks and Sparks food on the church steps... Roz and Soph went to Westminster Abbey, I went to window shop and catch up with a London friend Ross. It was awesome to see him, and I do want to try and catch up with as many people as possible while I am here, but argh I don't really feel like leaving... well nobody ever wants their holidays to end, I will just have to get over it haha.

It's funny cos Roz and Soph think I have an English accent now, but when I told Ross they thought that he burst in to laughter declaring that I don't sound English at all. I wonder what everyone back home will think, I honestly don't think I have an accent, but I probably use some phrases I wouldn't have used before I left.

I've posted up heaps of my photos now on Flickr from Spain, Italy and Germany. Check them out, I might post some of the better ones on here. It's been so long since I've been able to upload photos so I had so many to upload.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

London: Back to where it all began

So my trip has almost come full circle... well, circle isnt the best word to decide the route I took around Europe but hey. I'm back in London, which is cool but weird... it's quite strange to stay in a hostel in a city where I so recently had a home... and it's even more strange to come to the slow and gradual realization that its back to reality next week... my plane sets down in Sydney on Friday week. Eeek. Mixed feelings about that one.

We had a great time in Munich, we did this fantastic free walking tour aimed at backpackers with great guides who worked only for tips. It was so fun, and very interesting, they told the history in such a fun way.

But London is cool, its familiar now, and once again I am playing tour guide for my friends. The coolest thing is that we now have three Albury girls in London, an amazing feat, especially considering that we have zero to nil organizational skills. Its very cool to have the three of us together again, on the other side of the world.

Once Soph recovers from her jetlag (she is completely zonked out in bed now haha) we shall set about exploring London... again for me haha.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Germany: A flying update

I have really been so slack with my blogging! Tonight we have free wifi at the hostel so I have finally been able to upload some more photos to Flickr and blog and natter on to London friends about crap.

Well, we did Rome. Twas fun. Old stuff... ruins... camping... great pasta salad... hot... went on a bus... queued for ages to get in to the Vatican in the heat and it just reaffirmed my personal beliefs about the church but had to be seen... bought fake designer sunglasses from funny men who would run away when they saw a police car. Good times.

Slept in an airport, then flew to Germany. Then caught a bus and three trains and met my friend from uni Fabian (from henceforth known as Mr Schramberg) picked us up and drove us to his beautiful hometown where we were treated to a weekend of fabulous food and lots of fun. We went out the first night with two of his friends and got quite smashed due to having to try the local brews. Not the best way to impress his parents quite possibly but they were so so sweet! We went to Lake Constance, the weather was amazing and we went for a fun swim... we drove to Switzerland to buy cheaper petrol which was amazing for us Australians due to its bizarreness... I mean, going to a different country to get petrol... WTF!!!

We chilled out, ate more amazing food, met Fabians grandparents who were so so sweet as well. The next day we went driving through the Black Forest which was so gorgeous. It was so green it almost didnt look real... like one of those photos in Lonely Planet that you look at and go nah, thats been photoshopped. But it was right there... we explored waterfalls, cuckoo clock shops and ate Black Forest cake... it was loads of fun. It was really awesome to see Fabian again and also to experience real German life and meet his family rather than just do the same old tourist sightseeing stuff. So great, Roz and I both loved it.

Now we are in Munich briefly, and are heading back to London tomorrow night. It's almost home time, I have under two weeks left before I return to Oz! Exciting news though, I have a house to live in, so thats one less worry when I get back. All I need now is a job and furniture. Oh, and a life plan. She'll be right.