Trip Of A Lifetime

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Travelling Over The Countryside

Right now Adie and I are sitting in Athens feeling rather warm... although I must admit that the weather throughout the UK was stunning and we had no cold or wet weather at all.

We started our four days of Uk travel with Cambridge, the university town. Some really interesting history and gorgeous buildings. Here we are on one of the many shopping streets.

Our next stop was York where we visited the Shambles and saw a lot more old and interesting architecture. We were are so able to wander around on the old city wall. This is a portion of the city wall that Adie thought was fun. Actually it had these turretty things at various intervals along the wall and they really helped to consider how the people defended themselves back when it was a necessary thing to do. On the other side of this rock it says England. They really do only unite for the Olympic Games! Otherwise they see themselves as being totally separate and have a strong rivalry.
We were able to go on a really interesting tour of Edinburgh Castle with a funny Scotsman who made many jokes about Mel Gibson being the man responsible for a huge increase in tourism. This is a canon that was given to a King at some point as a wedding gift... now why didn't we think of that when we were putting together our registry!? We spent a very relaxing day in the Lake District, so relaxing in fact that while in Grasmere we forgot to take a photo of ourselves. You can get an idea of the general surrounds from this picture though.
After Grasmere we went to Lake Windermere for a boat cruise. Here you can see me leaning against the railing while listening to the park ranger tell us some random fact about some floating island in the middle of the lake. After the boat we took a steam train... would the fun never end?! It was smellier than I thought it would be and made me think of Puffing Billy... which in turn meant that I did not really pay all that much attention to the scenery. Oh well, consider that 10 minutes of my life not utilised to it's full potential.
The last town we visited on our tour was Stratford-Upon-Avon. While totally swarming with tourists, it really was a pretty place to visit, and yes, we did visit Shakepeare's birthplace. We spent most of our time down at the river feeding the birds and watching the longboats. I think Adie and I may be looking into hiring one of those if we ever come back and making a trip from Stratford to Bath or vise versa. I think that would be lovely. Anyone else interested?Now, although we've made it to Greece, I'll not be posting about it yet as all we've really managed to do it sit on the beach watching the sunset and finding this Internet cafe. The sunset was spectacular though. Ahhh, life's tough.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Join Us In The Baltics

I am happy to say that I can finally put up the rest of our photos from the Baltics. The last time I only got a few on before the computer cracked the sads and wouldn't play nice anymore.

So what are the photos of? Well this is Tallin, the capital city of Estonia. It has one of the most beautiful, interesting and potentially confusing Old Towns that we've seen so far. After spending most of the day on the bus Adie dragged me kicking and screaming on a walk into the Old Town because he wanted to take photos at sunset. I was tired and sick of walking, but I pouted and followed. It soon turned to smiles as I saw that it was worth it. The next day we were able to get a photo from the same lookout thanks to a friendly photographer on our tour. I tell you it was bloddy crowded and we stood there for about ten minutes waiting to get a shot without other people in it. AS it was we still had to settle for someone's arm!
This one was taken in a town called Tartu. There were lots of lush, green parks and a quaint little town square. The square has this waterfall in it of two people kissing under an umbrella. I can't fully remember what it's meant to symbolise, but two older ladies on our tour thought that her skirt was too short.
Now we're in Latvia, in the town of Cessis. Cessis is a lovely little medieval town with portions of the castle and wall still standing. In front of the castle is a park with this beautiful lake in the middle of it. Closer the the castle walls is...
... an amphitheatre! Which is used to hold traditional dancing and singing competitions in the area.
Here we are in Lithuania at Trakai Castle. This is an area that is covered in many lakes and on one of the islands someone built a castle in medieval times. We were able to go over to the island and wander around looking at artifacts and marvelling at the architecture. When we were done we paid some guy some money to borrow one of his silly-looking, dophin-shaped paddle boats and we paddled around the islands. It was so peaceful out there on the water. Some people were even swimming and made me jealous that I didn't have any bathers with me.
So here, in the last picture for this post, you can see Adie in Vilnius. It was a nice and subdued place, but in all honesty we preferred the other two capitals of Riga and Tallinn.
Should you get the chance to go to these places, do consider it. They are cheaper than a lot of places in Europe and have a really interesting history to tell and share. Their food is hearty and they want tourism. Apparently most people don't come to these parts of the world until they've been everywhere else. It's a shame really.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Did You Know That Baltic Women Are Gorgeous?

Adie and I have recently returned from our week in the Baltics. We really enjoyed ourselves there. Our faves were Tallinn and Riga, but really everything we saw and experienced was great. Especially the relaxed atmosphere in these countries. It's left us feeling quite refreshed after finishing the school year a week ago.

To explain the title... it's the truth. Everywhere you looked the young women were absolutely gorgeous. I don't know how they do it... great genes I guess.

Here I am at the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania. A really freaky place where people leave crosses of all sizes and descriptions to commemorate those who fell while fighting for freedom or just those that they have personally lost. The place was huge and I can imagine that at night it would be too eerie.
Here is Adie being caught a little off guard in the restaurant where we had lunch in Kaunas. It was a fantastic munch too. You can interpret the photo as you wish. Perhaps he's praying before his meal. Maybe he's about to do one of his world famous dance routines. Only I know the truth!Once we arrived in Vilnius, we went on a tour of the city. Some of the churches and old buildings were like nothing we've seen before. This is Adie standing in Cathedral Square. There was some poor bugger here weeding between the pavement stones. Everytime we came back to this central point over the course of the day, he was still at it... spraying away.Here I am standing in font of St. Catherine's Church in Vilnius. The gothic architecture was really intricate... and I never thought that I would be talking about architecture here.

Monday, July 17, 2006


We have spent the past two days in Lithuania, and thanks to free Internet in our hotel room I'm able to post much earlier than anticpated. No photos yet though... sorry.

At first we weren't sure about Lithuania, but I think that's because we spent too much time in Kaunas. Don't get me wrong though, Kaunas is a beautiful town filled with an interesting history, I just don't think we needed to be there for two hours followed by a guided tour of what we had managed to see already.

From Kaunas we came to Vilnius, which is where we are at the moment. We really like Vilnius. It's interesting, there are a huge amount of parklands scattered throughout the city, everyone seems very relaxed and it's quite cheap.

We've seen a lot of churches and castles, but thankfully they have been quite different to what we've already seen in other countries. The medieval castle we saw today at Trakai was stunning and we even found time for a paddle boat around one of the many lakes. One of the churches we checked out today was covered in white stucco statues and I have never seen anything quite like it.

The weather is sensational. There is a constant warmth from the sun and a cool breeze that comes just when you need it. We've both got a little colour, but we're being careful not to burn. The last thing we want is to be miserable because we're burnt to a crisp.

We are eating like kings at the moment because food here is really resonably priced and of an excellent quality. Today I had the biggest pork chop you can imagine with fried potatoes, beetroot and cabbage. I just couldn't finish it. Yesterday I had a stuffed aubergine (eggplant). It had two types of mushroom, onions and grated carrot with grilled cheese on top. It also came with the most amazing (yet potent) garlic sauce. Again, I just couldn't finish it. I won't be complaining about bland food or portion size while over here.

Tomorow we head on to Estonia where hopefully everything will be as calm and beautiful as we've found the Baltics to be so far.

Friday, July 14, 2006

We're All Going On A Summer Holiday

Adie and I are about to leave for two whole months of travelling and we can't wait. We leave tomorrow morning and don't get back to London until half way through September.

It means that the blog posts may come a little more infrequently as we try to find the time to post stories and photos but, as we've always managed in the past, I'm sure we'll manage again.

In case you're interested, here are our destinations in the order we get to them: Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Scotland, Wales, Greece, Spain, Turkey, France, Croatia, Bosnia and Slovenia.

After that we'll stay in London for a little while and maybe work for a week. We're looking at trying to find the time to also go to Switzerland and for me to visit Germany one more time before we leave for China in November.

It's so exciting! So little to do, so much time... strike that, reverse it!

Blood Brothers

I hadn't realised that I never came back to tell you all how our night out for our anniversary went, so I thought I'd quickly do that now.

We had a reasonable dinner in Covent Garden, without bread because they wanted to charge some ridiculous price for it, and then went to see Blood Brothers.

I've not heard very much about this musical, but I do know a little bit because it's on the UK GCSE curriculum and the year 11s were studying it at Shene when I was there. I was certainly intrigued by it and expected to enjoy the show. Unlike a lot of musicals we've seen recently, this one is a drama and not a comedy.

Do to it being a show that is studied by high school students, there were a lot of them around and after the noise they created at We Will Rock You, we were a little nervous about this lot. But they were all very well behaved and didn't interrupt the performance at all.

The show itself was quite good. I thought that the music was a little simplistic at times but the acting was superb and it had me in tears soon into the second act.

I can certainly see why it's ended up on the curriculum. It looks at some fantastic themes and, while it is somewhat complex, it's very upfront in its delivery of those themes so that it could be used as an excellent teaching tool when trying ot get students to understand how theatrical elements can be manipulated to influence the audience. I'll be looking out for it at home... maybe I'll take a class to see it if it makes it back to Australia one day.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Fool For Love

Last night I went to see Juliette Lewis in Fool For Love. My last London theatre in at least three months I'd say.

It was a Sam Shepard play and, although it started off a little rocky, I really enjoyed it.

It was essentially about two people who are bound together but who just can't seem to stay together. All set in a motel room in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

It was full of passion and energy and I think it was well cast. I do have to admit that I've enjoyed watching Juliette Lewis perform for as long as I can remember and it was a real thrill to see her live on stage.

I think I'll miss that about London. The way that actors that I've been watching all of my life keep turning up on the stage. You just don't get that in Melbourne.

Stonehenge And Bath

Last weekend we took a day trip to Stonehenge and Bath. Both locations were really quite beautiful and we had a good day.

Stonehenge is a strange place. When we got there it was quite grey and gloomy, but by the time we'd walked half way around the clouds had cleared and we had blue skies. Either way it was astounding to think that humans 5000 years ago managed to move these stones!

I will admit that it was a little smaller that I expected, but it was not less magical. I almost felt the urge to rip of my clothes and perform some sort of heathen dance, but there were just too many people around.

After visiting Stonehenge we went on the the city of Bath, so called for the Original Roman Bath that is now a sort of museum in the town.

The Baths were fascinating. You could still see the gasses bubble up to the surface of the water and a lot of the original architecture is still intact, including the drainage sytem for all excess water. With what remains, you could actually quite easily visualise the men of the time using these pools.

Most of our remaining time in Bath was spent eating lunch and checking out shops. We saw one shop that Adie's mum would love as it was filled to bursting with dolls houses.

It turned out to be a really nice and relaxing day. Plus we got a chance to see a part of England that we've never been to. I'd always wanted to see Stonehenge and now that I have I'll have to find somewhere else to check out.

An Eye On London

A little while ago Adie and I took a 'flight' on the London Eye. The tickets were a gift that we've been holding onto since October last year, but we wanted to make sure that the weather would be right for viewing.

And what a view! We could see out to Wembly Stadium, which was good because it helped us to locate our house. Obviously, I mean our house here in London and not the one back in Australia.

The Eye itself is massive. You don't actually realise just how huge it is until you get to the top. It was also quite peaceful. There is no noise, only the chatter of the people in the capsule with you.

Thanks again to the wonderful people who gave us this gift! (You know who you are!) I recommend this to anyone visiting London. Just to get your bearings.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Can You Believe It's Been Three Years Already!!!

Today is Adie and my 3rd wedding anniversary. Can you believe it? I obvioulsy can't because the last time someone asked me how long we've been married I told them just 2 years. We must still have sparks!

Anyway, unlike Chip and Dale who seem to always be in some exciting country for birthdays and anniversaries, we are making the most of London tonight with a nice dinner and then a trip to the theatre. We've decided to go and see Blood Brothers, which is exciting because I know very little about it.

I'll let you know how it was at a later date. For now... I must find some mascara!