26 December 2009

Santa visits London

ITS CHRISTMAS! Crazy to think that this time last year we were in Australia preparing to leave. It has just gone so fast. Its also crazy to think how many places we have been and all the amazing things we have seen in just 12 months. But anyway, on with the show...

We have been getting right into the festive spirit. Its actually really easy to do; we are experiencing the Christmas you see on TV. Its been SNOWING! Such I novelty for us – having never lived in a city where it has snowed before. The lights and Christmas markets are amazing. Only one problem – its freezing!

18 December 2009

Snowboarding Norway [Day Two]

Up and out the door by 9am, and at the top of the mountain by 10:30. We hired our gear and hit the slopes by 11. Conditions were similar to Saturday - again only a couple of runs open.

By midday we started to push the boundaries a bit - trying some rails and a few jumps. Bailed a couple of times in front of a whole lot of people which was fun! On the whole, a frikken awesome day. Our very last run we had a race from top to bottom. We got up a ridiculous amount of speed and almost took a dive a couple of times. The superior sports man won on the day - I will let you guess who that was.

16 December 2009

Snowboarding Norway [Day One]

Our (Shaun & I) Saturday started at about 2am, after only a couple of hours of sleep. We headed down to Clapham Junction station, to catch our train. After about 5 minutes of being there, this dude turns up in a suit, stumbling around. After a couple of minutes he spews all over the platform. Nice!

We had 10 minutes to get from the train to the bus. As Shaun and I are in fine physical form, this was not a problem. The bus not so much a bus as a large van. It also had a mad-man behind the wheel. This guy was plain nuts. So any hope of getting any sleep on the journey was not looking good.

9 December 2009

A week of live music in London

It has been a huge week of live music here in London. First up was Rise Against - an American Punk band. INSANE! These guys were crazy. Not quite everyones cup of tea, but I frikken loved it.

Next was Fat Freddy's Drop - a 7 piece Dub/Reggae band from Wellington. I've been a fan of these guys for years and they didn't disappoint. It had a really chilled 'jam session' feel to it. Although it was a great gig, there was something... missing. I cant quite put my finger on it. Don't get me wrong, it was awesome; really relaxed, cool people, it just wasn't AMAZING! Plus they didn't play 'Wandering Eye', which I was waiting the whole night for.

The last gig was The Living End. Now these guys were off the hook! A truely SWEET live band! Shaun lost his shoes if that gives you any indication as to how crazy this gig was. I didnt take any videos, as I was about 1m away from the stage, but I stole one off youtube from another gig they played - you get the general idea.

I think I have been to more live gigs in London in 10 months than I have in my entire life! I love this city!

25 November 2009

A couple of vids from our Eurotrip

I found these couple of vids on our camera.

#1 The Astronomical Clock - Prague. Prepare to be underwhelmed.

#2 Hofbrauhaus - Munich. The famous beer hall. I got a video of the awesome Oompah band

So its finally over. 6 countries, 8 cities, 15 days. Huge amount of fun. Now to plan for the next trip...

24 November 2009

Geneva to London [Day Fifteen]

Our final day is upon us. We have both had an awesome time but definately looking forward to home, our nice bed, good food etc.

We gave ourselves a bit of a sleep in this morning, had breakfast at the hotel, then headed down to see if we could see Jet d'Eau. Unfortunately still nothing. We had a wander around the banks of the lake, before heading to the station to catch a bus to the UN headquarters.

Geneva just wasn't our place - after trying to get through the crazy security, we were told the only way in was with a guided tour (contrary to all the other information we had been given). We walked around the perimeter, couldnt see alot other than all the flags and the monument 'The Broken Chair'.

Just across the road is the International Red Cross Museum. After scouting around the building, it seemed dead. Both not really fussed we moved on. But we did find an awesome lizard in the leaves!

Back in town, we made our way to the river bank to sit and enjoy the views and sunshine. I think we both fell asleep at one stage just relaxing in the sun. Was a nice change from walking all day every day.

Still having a few hours to kill, we decided on a boat trip across the lake. It was nice and calm, sun was shining - it was great. Most of the fog had burnt away by this stage and you could see the mountains in the distance. Very picturesque. I think Rochelle got sick of me singing "I'm on a boat" though...

We made our way to the airport nice and early, and just chilled out waiting for our flight. My bag went from being about 18kg on the way over to 27! Must be all the absynth. Lucky we had a nice check-in lady who didnt charge us for excess.

The flight back was on time and smooth. Go Easy Jet! We are on the bus back to London now. Definately not looking forward to work tomorrow, but life goes on.

23 November 2009

Luzern to Geneva [Day Fourteen]

No need for an alarm today - being a jail there were no curtains. It also turns out there was constuction taking place right outside our window - and they like to get started nice and early. Oh well, good excuse for us to get up and moving.

We headed down to the waters edge again just for a wander around. The sun was shining, blue sky - it was a perfect day. We stumbled across some markets on the edge of the lake selling lots of fresh produce and fish, it all looked so good!

21 November 2009

Munich to Luzern [Day Thirteen]

Up WAY to early, and down to the station. Short wait for our train and we were off. I think this is the best trip for scenery we have been on so far. So many small villages, green grass, huge mountains, perfectly still lakes.

Our train was due to arrive in Zurich at 11:44, and our connection to Luzern due to depart at 12:04. 20 minutes to spare. As we were getting closer I realised we were running late. About 15 minutes late! Before the train pulled into the station we had all our gear ready, pack on my back, ready to jump out as soon as it stopped. We ran to our platform to find no train! Luckily it pulled in about a minute later and we made it on no problems.

19 November 2009

Munich [Day Twelve]

Finally a sleep in! But only until 8:30 - we had a walking tour to attend. The guy shows up late, looking... disinterested. Then he opens his mouth, and it all gets worse - he is an American, and not one of those tolerable ones either. He pretty much thought he was the cats pajamas. But, I guess he really know his sh*t, and in parts it was really interesting. If he toned it down a bit it would be a truely awesome tour.

We started the tour in Mariensplatz, outside the Neues Rathaus (New Courthouse) which houses the famour Glockenspiel. The Glockenspiel has been named the second most overrated attraction in all of Europe, only beaten by Pragues astromonical clock. I would say they are on a par, but the Glockenspiel goes on for about 5 minutes!

18 November 2009

Prague to Munich [Day Eleven]

Its going to be short and sweet. We spent most of the day in a train. Good fun :) We arrived in Munich at about 3:30pm, found our hotel and settled in. First problem, we walk into the room and it smells like a pub. THICK with smoke. I go down and ask for a non-smoking room... apparently all the rooms are non-smoking. But he gives us another one anyway. The new room is barely soundproof, and within five minutes of arriving we hear some wierdo singing at the top of his lungs next door, and cars go past so loud and clear you would think you were standing right next to them (we are three floors up).

14 November 2009

Prague [Day Ten]

We had a full on day planned for exploring the spectacular city that is Prague. We'd planned a walking tour starting at 10:30, so decided to check out a couple of places the tour did not visit. The first being Wenceslas Square in Nove Mesto (New Town). This is a huge commercial area, leading up to the National Museum. Really quite a cool spot.

Cesky Krumlov to Prague [Day Nine]

Another early start. We got up, packed up, then headed down into town. The weather was brilliant! Sun shining, blue sky, couldnt ask for better. First stop was the supermarket to get some of this crazy spirit the czechs love to drink. We then headed to get some breakfast, and pick up a few souvenirs.

At 11am we jumped on a bus heading for Prague. It was one of the flashest buses I have ever seen! They were meant to even have WIFI (but they didnt). We arrived in Prague about 2pm.

12 November 2009

Vienna to Cesky Krumlov [Day Eight]

Up early and off to Czech Repubic! We left our apartment with plenty of time to spare, headed down to the underground to head to the station... no problems so far. Except we had to change underground trains. We JUST missed one, so waited for the next, but instead of the display board counting down, the timer kept going UP! We waited for about 25 minutes before we actually caught one, by this time we were stressing balls.

11 November 2009

Vienna [Day Seven]

Well, the good weather didn't last. The rain held off most of the day, but during the afternoon it decided to start up and hasn't stopped yet. We made the most of the good weather this morning by going out and seeing the rest of the city. I cant add much to what I said yesterday - this place is off the hook! Highlights - City Hall, Parliament Building, Imperial Palace and the Church of St Charles. Lots of stops for hot chocolate and sitting by the heater is recomended at this time of year.

9 November 2009

Bratislava to Vienna [Day Six]

We survived Bratislava! No experiences similar to the movie Hostel, which has got to be good. (click on the pic to the right to enlarge... just do it!)

Up at about 8am and out the door to check out the rest of Bratislava. It definately did not disapoint. I am not going to bore you with the names of the buildings we saw - click on the pics if interested - but what I will say is that this is a truely awesome city. The old town is just plain cool - really authentic. Highlights were Bratislava Castle and these crazy statues that are randomly places over the old town.

Budapest to Bratislava [Day Five]

Today was a day of amazingly crappy weather. We have pretty much been rained on the whole day. Not much fun really.

We started off our day in Budapest with a bit of sight-seeing. We tried to get around the major sights on the Pest side, starting off with St. Stephens Basilica. We had seen this last night, but hadnt realised it was the same church until we walked around the back. Smart eh. Still just as impressive from the front though.

We then made our way up Andrassy - seeing the Opera House, Heroes Square, Vajdahunyad Castle and the Museam of fine arts.

7 November 2009

Krakow to Budapest [Day Four]

We arrived in one piece! And it was a fairly painless trip. We both had a decent sleep - I remember waking up a few times as the train jolted around, but overall it was smooth sailing. No one joined our carriage mid-trip, which was probably the main reason it went so well. But I cannot recommend it enough. We both woke at 8am in a new city feeling refreshed and ready to go, having saved a night on accommodation. Perfect!

We had organised an apartment in central Budapest, and thankfully they let us check in early. We found the place without any problems, and DAMN it is nice. Flat screen TV, full kitchen with dishwasher, leather sofa, flat screen... I have also organised to check out late tomorrow, which they had no problem. I seriously recommend these guys if you are ever in Budapest - check out Pals Apartments.

After we had settled in, had a shower and got ourselves sorted, we headed out to explore the city. First stop was Market Hall - a HUGE indoor market with so much awesome stuff. Plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as all kinds of souvenirs. We picked a few things up including a Hungarian Secret Box - almost impossible to get into if you don't know the trick.

Krakow [Day Three]

If you have been keeping up, you'll know we were going to do a cycle tour this morning. Last night I emailed the cycle tour people to book ourselves in. Lucky I did as they told me the tour started at 12 not 1 as it says on their website. No biggie though, we were just relieved that we hadn't tried to squeeze in the Salt Mine as well.

So this morning we decided we would just go for a wander around the old town, check out Rynek Glowny (main square) and Wawel Hill (containing Wawel Castle and Wawel Cathedral). We set our alarm for 7 and lazily woke at 8 to this...

5 November 2009

Auschwitz [Day Two]

Day two started very early - 6:30am to be exact. The time difference made it worse - to us it felt like getting up at 5:30am. We were out the door by just after 7 - pretty good going for us. We made our way to the main bus station to find a bus headed for Oswiecim. We only had to wait about half an hour and we were on our way.

The 90 minute journey seemed to drag - maybe it was us fearing for our lives as the driver sped down side streets and jumped up curbs. Once we arrived at Auschwitz I, things got a little serious. The place seemed to be in monotone. Even the weather was dull and grey. It felt right to be taking pictures in black and white - but I almost didn't need to, the color seems to have been sucked out.
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