24 December 2010

London in Winter

No travel this month - but I thought I would share a few photos I have taken around London. It is really beautiful and sometimes you can almost forget how freakin' cold it is.

Anyway, check them out.

29 November 2010

Zombies, live music and the best laid plans

Unfortunately I haven't done any travelling in the last six weeks... Not the best fuel for a travel blog. But I do have reasons; my UK visa is up early next year - so I'm planning on a bit of an adventure. The mission is to get as close to home as possible without flying. I think Australia is a realistic goal. The basic route is London to the south coast of France, into Italy, across to Greece and Turkey. I have until the 25th April to get to Istanbul for the ANZAC day services. From there I head to Croatia for the sailing trip I won. (Thanks to everyone that helped me with that!) And from there - hard core Eastern Europe; think Bulgaria, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Latvia, Estonia... It's on to Russia to catch the Trans-Siberian rail, passing through Mongolia and on to China. Once in China it is a straight shot home; through Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. I hope to be able to jump on a yacht to Darwin. And while in Australia, I may as well do a bit of exploring, right? Anyway, check out this map for the more detailed plan.

In other news, I was lucky enough to win tickets to see The Temper Trap. Yes, they are Australian, but they are still pretty cool. I invited my friend Jenna, who is also Australian, but again, still pretty cool. To be honest I wasn't the biggest fan of Temper Trap, but I'm always keen to see a bit of live music. Lets just say I'm glad I went. They really were amazing; the lead singer has a great voice. And you could tell they were having a good time up on stage, which makes such a big difference. I took some videos, so ch-ch-check it out!

15 November 2010

Sick of the Med? Never! - Costa Brava [Day Three]

I don't think I can ever see too many Mediterranean beaches! Today we ventured north of L'Escala, up the coast right to the French boarder. Generally more 'sleepy' than the beaches we had visited the previous day, but just as beautiful. First we called into Llanca, with its huge, rocky cliff faces, large harbour, and wide gravel beaches. We took a break in a local cafe for a spot of lunch - tortilla baguette, beauuutiful.

We drove around the bay and again headed north. Before long we came across Portbou. More of the same really, except here there were crazy people walking over the rocks on the waters edge. There was also a mad fisherman in his tiny boat out in the bay. It seemed quite calm from the beach, but all of a sudden the boat would disappear behind a wave for a good five seconds before reappearing. And when it did it was on such a lean it looked as though it might capsize! The one guy on board didn't seem too concerned, though, as he pottered around the bay before heading back out to sea.

11 November 2010

Ghost Town - Costa Brava [Day Two]

Today's blog is going to be more about the photos than the words. 1. Because I am lazy, and 2. I'm a better photographer than writer...

We made our way south from L'Escala to visit three or four nice coastal towns. The morning was overcast and grey - and the first place we visited, Sa Punta, was absolutely deserted. It seemed like a ghost town; there were rows and rows of apartment buildings facing the beach, but not one person around. It must be huge in the summer time, but today there was not a soul to be found.

9 November 2010

Rugged, Wild and Beautiful - Costa Brava [Day One]

Feeling a little seedy, I forced myself out of bed at a reasonable hour (OK, fine! I was dragged out of bed). The reason for the early start was later that day we were moving on to our next destination - the Costa Brava. This is the area of coastline north of Barcelona, and extends all the way to the French Boarder. Let me hit you with some knowledge - Costa is the Catalan and Spanish word for 'coast', and Brava means 'rugged' or 'wild'. Either way, it is beautiful. A bit like me, really; rugged, wild and beautiful...

We packed up then jumped on the metro to go and pick up our hire car. I gave the woman at the rental place my Australian drivers license. She told me she could hire me the car, but if I got pulled over it would be a €300 fine. As I was still three times over the blood/alcohol limit from the night before (joking!) I wasn't too concerned. She also talked me into buying insurance, which cost more than it was to hire the car! Bloody rental car companies grrr...

In the parking lot we find a nice little silver BMW, very new. It even had one of those keyless keys (yes, such a thing exists!), which you just plug in to the dashboard. It also kept automatically turning off at every set of lights, and would start itself up again as soon as I put my foot on the clutch. Pretty flash!

6 November 2010

130 Years in the Making - Barcelona [Day Three]

Whenever people show you photos from Barcelona, the one thing you always see are those crazy buildings. The big wavy one, and the one that looks like it is melting... or something... Today we decided to go and check them out.

The buildings were all designed by a man named Antoni Gaudí, a bit of a crazy guy really. There are several examples of his work all over Barcelona; we were going to see three. First up the Casa Batlló, which was restored by Gaudi in 1906. The front is covered in a mosiac of tiles, and the roof curved like the back of a dragon. It is pretty freakin' cool. Apparently the interior is even more impressive, but with an €18 door charge, only Glenis went it. Just as well really, I don't think I would have appreciated it €18 worth anyway. About a block down the road is the Casa Milà - basically a building on drugs. No straight lines at all. Check em out!

Not too far away is the Sagrada Familia, an absolutely massive cathedral that has been under construction since 1882, and will not be completed for about another 16 years! Gaudi devoted the last 15 years of his life to the project, with an initial completion date of 2020. The sheer size is overwhelming, but the intricacy is something else. The cathedral has three facades - the Nativity, the Glory and the Passion. We first came upon the Passion, which is covered in edges and straight lines. This is designed to resemble a skeleton if it were reduced to bone. The facade depicts the sins of man and is dedicated to the suffering of Jesus during his crucifixion. There are four giant towers, each dedicated to an apostle (James, Thomas, Philip and Bartholomew).

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