25 March 2009

Week 3 in London - With somewhere to live!

This is going to be short and sweet...

No sight seeing this week. But we found a flat! Its a really nice apartment in Wimbledon - only just built a couple of months ago and we have our own bathroom!! =D  Its walking distance to the tennis ground and town center with a mall and lots of nice little shops etc.... We are living with one other couple who seem nice. So it was goodbye to Malcolm and Sharne. It has been a HUGE help being able to stay there while we got ourselves set up but it was time to move on... I am sure they're happy to have their house back! But we will catch up soon.

Well until today we STILL did not have bank accounts. I was ready to give up... but we went into the branch in Wimbledon today and had a bit of a moan. It is hard to believe different branches of the same bank could be so different. They were so helpful and sat down with us for about an hour and a half to get us sorted out. They even bent the rules a little to get us a better account. Unfortunately Rochelle was denied an account - no logical reason why as the woman entered exactly the same information for Rochelle as she did for me - but "computer says no". They were very apologetic and are trying to sort it out. Fingers crossed for tomorrow. So now we have a bank account - all donations to the neal and rochelles travel fund will be accepted - spending Australian dollars over here hurts!

Still no jobs. Making progress slowly though. Have registered with a few more agencies and have a couple of jobs im chasing up recruiters about, but no contract yet. Rochelle has her first interview coming up as a receptionist at a dentist - which she is stoked about because it is exactly what she wants to do! So fingers crossed for that.

Thats all the news really. Hope we get jobs soon or we may be knocking on one of your doors in the near future looking for a couch to sleep on!

17 March 2009

Week 2 in London - The hunt continues

Its been 2 whole weeks now! And we are still having a good time. Less sight-seeing now and more flat/job hunting...

We have seen so many flats we are pretty much sick of it. Missed out on a few nice ones unfortunately, but we fill find somewhere soon I am sure. We went to see a place tonight which was OK. The house is quite small, and not 'ideal', but its in a really good location and relatively cheap... and its alot better than most of the other flats we have seen.

The job hunting is going better. I had an interview today which went really well, and have had a call from a couple of recruiters.

This week we have been to see a few things. First was the Tower of London. It is really cool inside - they have walking tours taking you around telling you about the history of the Tower and London. You learn about all the people be-headed there, see the instruments of torture - its all pretty awesome really! We saw lots more of the queens guards - some with huge machine guns! Also saw the crown jewels, which includes the largest diamond in the world. All quite impressive.

10 March 2009

Week 1 in London - The cliche London tourist

We have been here for a whole week today... Seems like longer, although when I look at what we have achieved - I'm surprised it really has been that long...
- Bank accounts: no
- Jobs: no
- Flat: no

So not ALOT of progress, but there is hope. We have found an awesome flat which we might be getting. Its in a cool area, flatmates seem nice, has a laundry (believe me - that is special, they just do not exist here) and a huge kitchen (also very rare). It is quite expensive, well it is for us, but we think its worth it.

We have had no progress with the jobs, except I got a call from a recruiter basically saying there is not alot around... We are still trying.

Unfortunately it seems the UK is even more beauracratic than Australia. Apparently it takes 10 working days just to open a bank account. Even in Aus we managed to open an account within a day!

Malcolm and Sharne have been awesome! A big help with navigating the city and filling us in on where to see and go, where to get a flat and where not to... as well as cooking us amazing dinners! Its like being back home.

We have got out and seen a bit of London this last week too... I gotta say, I love this city! Its just awesome. You can't really describe it, its just got a 'quality'.

So far we have seen Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, The London Eye, The National Gallery (saw paintings by Da Vinci, Picaso), Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Marble Arch, no. 10 Downing St, Canary Wharf, as well as taking a cruise on the Thames. We also went into the most awesome toy store in the world called Hamleys - it's 5 floors! All the pictures are named - you just need to click to enlarge them.

4 March 2009

The Eagle Has Landed - London :)

We are finally here!

It was a nice short flight yesterday. After getting off we had our first experience with Londons public transport system - and it was actually really good. Thank god as we had all our gear with us. We had to get 3 separate trains and only had to wait a max of about 5 minutes.

We got to Malcolm (Rochelles brother) and Sharne's (his wife) place in the early evening and just had a chilled out night sitting around talking. We have already moved right in spread our packs half way across the room!

Today we had the BEST sleep in! We are planning to go and get a bank account his afternoon and maybe get a cellphone. The job and flat hunting has already started so we will keep you all updated.

We also plan to do a bus tour of London in the next few days which has been highly recomended by Malcolm and Sharne.

The updates will probably become a little less frequent for a while but if you want to have a yarn or see what we are up to either email us or find us on Facebook

2 March 2009

Kerry's Ring - Ireland [Day 41, 42 & 43]

I will start off with another map

Point A: Kenmare
Point B: Dingle
Point C: Limerick
Point D: Bunratty
Point E: Cliffs of Moher
Point F: Aughrim
Point G: Dublin

Day 41 - The ring of Kerry did not disappoint. It was everything you would picture Ireland as. We saw rolling green patchwork hills, rugged coastline and jagged hills, tiny overgrown roads with overgrown stone walls on either side... It was an amazing drive! Unfortunately the weather was absolute crap. Not really surprising given the time of year, but would have been nice to see some sunshine.

As well as the scenery, we came across lots of interesting small villages. All very colorful and cute. We also found some 'hidden' ruins. They weren't really hidden, but they had not yet been taken over by the tour buses and people trying to charge you to park etc. The first was Staigue Fort in Castlecove, which was built in the early centuries AD before Christianity came to Ireland (so the sign told me). It had been built without mortar which made it even more impressive!

The next was Ballycarberry Castle. These were the most amazing ruins I have seen so far - I am not sure exactly why, but they just take your breath away. It was built some time in the 15th century.

We found another random fort in Caherciveen, which had no signs or information. Looked pretty cool though haha.

Dingle Peninsula was our next stop. The village Dingle being the main town. We stopped there for a bit and had a look around, but the weather had started to turn really nasty at this stage. We thought about driving right around the peninsula but the weather was so bad we didn't think it was worth it.

From there we headed north up to a town called Adare. We were told it is a huge tourist attraction because it has houses with thatched roofs. We went there, we saw the houses, we weren't all that impressed. You make your own mind up (pics below).

We finished up for the night in Limerick - in a fairly decent hotel - was cheaper than the hostels!! Only thing is they wanted to charge €13 for internet for the night, or €7/hour. That's $26 just for internet for the night... stuff that!

Day 42 - We finally got some sunshine! Although there was cloud and a little rain, most of the day was perfect! We first headed for Bunratty Castle, only about 15 mins drive from where we were staying. The castle also had a historic village around it, which contained lots of old cottages and stuff. The whole place has been restored back to how it was way back. Even the castle has been fully restored. The castle itself was quite cool. Although it looks so huge from the outside, there is really not a lot of space inside. The rooms are quite small. From the top there were awesome views of the village and river. The village was OK, I think it would be a lot better in summer as they have people in costume walking around and stuff (the pamphlet showed this which we thought was a little misleading!)

We then headed to the Cliffs of Moher. These are huge cliffs up to 200m high and stretch out for 8kms. They are really spectacular. The only thing was the parking, it cost us €8 for about half an hour. Bastards!

Our next destination was the Burren. Most people say this is what they would imagine the moon to look like. That is a fairly accurate description. There is almost nothing here except miles of rock. We came across Poulnabrone Portal Tomb, which was a group of rocks that had been place in the form of a 'hut'. I am not sure how old it was, but the sign said it is one of the oldest memorials to human history... so I am guessing its pretty old.

From there we headed to Aughrim. We found a fairly nice, fairly cheap hostel to stay at for the night. It was conveniently attached to a pub haha. Had a bit of a yarn to some of the locals when we first got here. Was going to have a meal there but looked a little dodge. But it was good to meet some true Irish people.

Random ruins on the way to Aughrim

Day 43 - We had still not planned how we were getting to London and we had to return our car the next day. As we had no internet access at the hostel we drove into town first thing and found a random network to connect to. The original plan was to get on a ferry, then take a train. This was still possible but a little difficult - they had little information online and no online booking system. When I tried to call the number wouldn't connect. So basically we could just turn up at the port and hope to get across. The other option was to fly, but this was a lot more expensive! I did manage to find some VERY cheap flights so booked them straight away. When I got the confirmation through it had the date as the 23rd! So I quickly emailed to change or cancel the booking. By this time the laptop was almost flat and we had no firm plans. To be safe we decided to head straight back to Dublin as we knew a good place stay, how to get there, how to get to the airport from there, and knew they had internet. It was a little disappointing as we had planned to head up to Belturbet - where the Ebbetts came from. But you never know - we may make it across to Ireland again before we leave...

So we got back to Dublin and got into our B&B. After a good few hours of searching the internet and trying to find out how we were going to get to London we finally decided to bite the bullet and book flights. We could have 'risked' it, but we have so much gear with us it would just have been a huge mission. So we paid through the nose for such a short flight... but oh well. At least once we get to London we can start looking for work and earning some pounds! The rest of the afternoon/evening was spent re-packing our bags. Lots of fun :)

Next Post - The Eagle Has Landed - London
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