Well i have arrived safely back in dublin. In fact i have been back now for a solid 2 weeks. The only downside being that i had to work the last 2weekends. The second of which being the australia v brazil match. Pride in wearing my australia soccer jersery to work for the match turned a little bit sour when australia ran out onto the pitch in their navy blue, so instaed i had to spend most of the shift explaining to people that i wasnt actually a brazil fan, despite the result of the match.
My last entry saw me 2 days into my barcelona trip, with myself being forced out of my hostel, and having to move into another one with plans for an early moring jaunt out ot figuares. But as they say the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray, and i ended out being out on the streets of barcelona til 7am that morning, so was just a little to tired to catch the 930 train as planned. Instead i had met a couple of young aussies, and a canadian lad who were all doing a western europe holdiay/trek thingy, and were leaving bareclona the day before me to continue onto Italy, and then a bit of Germany for the world cup.
The soccer is quite mad over here, esp the TV coverage. Ireland has a channel covering it, and the UK tv (which we get) has two free to air channels covering it, plus there is also pay TV, and then of course there are all the shows just about the soccer, with a variety of so-called experts discussing the soccer. Can't say i'm missing bruce Macaveny, but occasionally i feel a small heart pang.
The day i arrived back from barcelona i got back in around 7pm, and was quite washed out with my liver having taken a regular pounding every night. In search of just a quiet night i texted a few people but found nearly everyone was off in italy, but eventually hooked up with my kiwi friend Tony, who was finishing work at 9pm. He said come round for a few beers and we'll go down to the Barge (which is a pub on the canal, where there is no beergarden, but people just stand outside and drink all over the street, and neighbouring park (crazy irish). Well one thing lead to another, as one pint leads to another, and at around 4am we couldn't find anywhere else to go, so i (foolishly) said 'come back to mine (as i had brought home several bottles of spirits very cheaply bought in spain, which i had planned to use to stock my dwindling liquour cabinet), and so we did go, with a male and female nurse from his work, and kept drinking and just playing games until about 1030am, when i crashed as i had planned to meet some lads the next day. Staggering out of the house at 1pm, and later getting home to find a very large hole in my kitchen wall, with no-one having any recollection about how it got there????
That will be interesting to explain to the landlord, esp as i am planning out moving out soon. My friends in temple bar are leaving the country soon as their visa runs out, so i am gonna take over their lease. The apartment isn't as nice, but it is really really prime location, and has a killer balcony to boot, looking right over temple bar st in temple bar, so we can watch all the nightlife go by (hope its not too loud)
Work is going well, i have only 2 weeks to go on this contract, tho i am extending it for another 6/12 as the hours and the holidays it offers are just too good, even if it is the most poorly managed hospital dept i have ever seen. WHat i'm not looking forward to is the new SHO's who are all ex-interns. We basically lose a bunch of SHO's who have done a full 6/12 in our paeds a&E, and replace them with a bunch of 1st week JHO's who have never done A&E or any paeds. Least it should be quietish.
Have lined up an APLS course to do in August over in the UK. The best part is the hosiptal pays not just for the course, but also the flights, and my accomodation. I'm trying to set up some holidays for the week after so i can do a bit of UK travelling afterwards. I figure if i'm there anyway.
Well i'll finish up there. It does get kinda uncomfortable typing on a laptop for a while, even if it is a brand new 19' one paid for by my hospital. Ahhh, God bless the irish health system.
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Well even tho i havent finished my last entries, re: Portugal, trinity ball etc, im gonna punch out a quick one on barcelona.
Im here for 5 nights, and was staying at one hostel, but only booked 2 days, and then when i tried to increase it to 5 they were all booked out, so i have moved to another, where i am in for 2 more days, but then they are booked up too, so still doint know where i will be spending Friday night. Ahh adventure.
Have just spent the last 2 days with this american lad from Kansas that i met at my hostel. As most of you know i do tend to crave a bit of company, audience etc, but after 2 days with this lad, i was craving some solo travel time. Some Seppo´s really drive me crazy. Basically he´s just a bit of a nob.
but enough about that.
Barcelona has been tough. Drinking 1 beers all day, lying on the beach, and generally just wandering around. Have seen some awesome sights, street perfromers not included in that group, especially today as i went up to park guell, which was a park designed by Gaudi (pronounced gow-dee, not gaw-dee) though some of his stuff does push the gaudy boundaries.
Heś basically responsible for most of barcelona´s coolest architecture. Styles most of it on nature, and as he says, "there are no straight lines in nature", and almost none in all of his buildings. Highlight of his work is the Sagrada Familia, which he designed and started work on in 1890, and is still under construction, and prob will be for about naother 50yrs.
Never let it be said that the spanish are in a a hurry, must be all the goddam siestas.
heading out to Figuares tomorrow (about 2hrs by train) to see Salvadore Dali's home town, apparently has an enormous museum.
Hope its good.
Location: Paris, France
So Paris, the city of lights and all that.
I have been well pleased with the city of Paris, and with the parisians as well.
Never before have i experienced a metro subway service (not having been to New york/london yet) and i think that i have found myself in love with a form of public transport. So fast, so cheap, and gets you all over the city in such a short time. Not much of a view from them tho, i guess with that whole being under-the-ground and all. Could be a little depressing having a very long trip on them. Highlight of the metro is probably the crazy people who get on the line, stand in the carriage and start shouting/preaching/protesting loudly. i found this very entertaining as i had no idea what they were saying, whereas everyone else who could understand them just kept looking politely at the floor, trying not to antagonise them, i would just start at them and smile.
Entry into Paris started well with finding a few lasses with aussie flags on their backpacks, who were catching my metro line, so i took a punt, and they were staying at my hostel (as it had 429 beds, there was always a good chance of that) and happily showed mew the way there. these were lasses from sydney, and were also doing that 6month poor travelling option, so they were on budget living. Watching them do a classy tin-spaghetti for dinner, and then share the old vodka bottle into a bottle of orange juice, we headed out to Cafe OZ (their choice not mine) for some extremely overpriced drinks. And so the evening went well, until one of them started throwing up in the bathroom. the joys of hanging with 20yr olds!! SO home we headed, highlighted by som further vomiting on the metro on the way home, but we just got off, and got back on the next one, which was only 3min later. Gold. So a solid start to France.
Spent the whole next day doing my first France tourist thing. Opened with the Eifel tower, was gonna take the lift, as happy to pay the 6 to go up, but not happy with the 90min lineup, so instead paid to climb the stairs, must have been >1000 of the buggers. unfort on the 2nd level, you have to catch the lift to the very top, and the lineup there was also 90min, so thats where i left it for Gustav and his tower. Then headed down the Champs de Mars, which was pretty, as im sure you can imagine?? Popped into a quick museum, and after realising that all the exhibits were explained in french, just as quickly popped back out, making a note to only attend things with pretty pictures from here on in in France, that dont need to be explained. Off to the Arc de Triumph, which has always been a desire of mine. Great view all around paris, especially as its on a 12 way roundabout intersection, so lots of amusing eurpoean driving witnessed from above. then to the Louvre last in the day, made it in 2hrs before closing time, and wouldnt have seen 20% of it in that time. Found myself running to get to the mona lisa as they were starting to shut up shop, which was good as i was one of only 2 people in the whole room, but did find it a bit underwhelming, which i hear is quite common.
Quiet night that night, went and saw MI:III, something i have dsicovered about seeing movies in foreign countries is they have subtitles (duh), and even tho i cnat read french, or dutch, i find myself constantly reading the subtitles, despite the fact that i can understand the english being spoken?????
Next day met another aussie fella who is doing his own tour, and his girlfriend had just headed back to Aus so he was there for another 3 days before moving on. I took him to the catacombs, which were great, but very macabre. just 1.6km of piles of bones all nicely stacked 30m below the streets of Paris, all the parisians from the 1700's and 1800's. poor buggers. We then headed to Montemarte, and then sacre'ceur (?spelling) a basilica on the side of paris, on a hill, with great cafe areas spreading off from it for kilometeres, plus the red light district, tho it was 2 in the arvo, so relatively quiet.
Got on it a lot that night with Tim, plus a couple of german guys who work in the hostel, a very big night. So big in fcat the next morning after breakfast was considering heading back to bed to sleep until the arvo, only to find a note with "reseption 11am" written on it. Figuring this must be important, i went downstairs to find Tim, the germans, a french canadian, and a greek lass (all of whom were our drinking buddies the night before) all patiently waiting for me. apparently we had made these plans that night before????
Ze Germans were great with a good locl knowledge of the city, and we just walked and talked all day. Ended up drinking some beers on an island, on the middle of the seine, on a small patch of grass, that said "no alcohol in park", and "please stay off the grass".
Went well until some police told us off, but we all played the foreigner card, and seemed to get away with it.
Lawto arrived from Montpellier, where he had been doing a french course for a week, and was proudly showing his new fluency, and again we got on it. Admittedly the 4am finish wasnt my best idea, as we had to be up at 630 (still very pissed), but we eventually made it to the airport for our flight to Portugal. Which is an entry in its own. lets just say that budget airlines hire budget hostesses, who i think they hire by making sure thir width is exactly the same as the width of the aisle. Sleeping in an aisle seat is tough enough without being hit in the face by massive saddlebags every 2min. i still wake from sleep crying to this day.
Location: Bruge, Belgium
Well well well. Hasn´t belgium turned out to be a many and varied country. After the great disappointment that was Brussels, The city of Bruge has turned out to be a diamond of a location. First and foremost my hostel has a bar for a reception area (always a good sign), and i was checked in by a nice Aussie girl, (an even better sign). My walking tour of bruge was met with historical buildings, glorious architecture, some sunshine, and a marked decrease in street dog poo. After quenching my thirst with a fine ale at a local cafe, and getting a delcious seafood omlette, i felt much more at home, and much more relaxed.
Did my first "lots of stairs thing" by climbing some belfry tower thing. I think it only had 336 steps, so i still have a long way to go.
Back at the hostel hooked up with an aussie fella who is doing that whole travelling for 6 months trying to eke out a living thing, and a couple of delightful canadian gals and around the city we went for another stroll.
Finally exhausted from two city wide jaunts we headed back for some delightful belgian beers at our hostel and got chatting with Adam, another aussie (yes i know they feature heavily in my stories) who works at the hostel. He and a colleague from the Bahaus, an actual belgian this time, took us out for a delightful spoon stealing dinner, and then thru the city to a few belgian cafes, one of whom has over 400beers, and i do like a challenge...
Waking up in the morning i was beset by a panic, finding myself short 1* credit card, my jacket with +300euros, and a large amount of last nights memories. These were all restored (barring the memories) by Maxamillian my aussie comrade who had picked up my jacket from the hostel bar where i had left it the night before. Whew!
Knowing i didnt have to catch my train from bruge to brussels till ~2pm spent the morning wandering the markets, and then waited for a bus to get to the station, only to get to the tracks as my train was pulling away, and having to wait 30min for the next one, knowing this would leave me about 10min to disembark, find the ticket desk, explain my situation, try to pick up my ticket to France, and then find my next train.
Well lo and behold, despite a bit of public embarassment by jogging/running/trying to look cool thru the main brussels train station, i got thru the doors of my France train with less than 30seconds to spare. Heaps of time. I was shitting myself for a while there.
Well more of this in my france email. TTFN
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Tuesday morning finds me rested and raring to go at the world. Brussels has been an interesting experience. It was like the irish weather gods knew that i was leaving theitr lands for a while, and having checked their schedule found an opening, and decided to come along on my holiday with me. Yes folks for the last 24hrs it has been cold, wet and miserable in Belgium too!
After a very quiet sunday night, with just a few beers, and a bit of beglian telly for comfort, i awoke Monday morning chomping for some action, Belgian style. So to my shock and awe i discovered that when the belgians have a bank holiday, they really do it well. NOTHING was open. My journey around town became one long walk of looking at closed mueseums and dsiplays. Yeah sure there were still plenty of nice old buildings and what-not, but what about my planned micro brewery tour :(. So even tho i did enjoy the 4 hr walk around Brussels, of which i must say is probably the most heavily dog-poo'd city in the world, i have decided to move onto greener (or perhaps greyer) pastures and spend my last belgian day in Bruge. City of old castles and that sort of thang.
Havent booked my train yet, but i figure as they run every hour it shouldnt be too much drama. I do have some accomodation lined up, so that will be a nice change, except for that getting off the train and having to find it effort.
The hostel that i stayed at certainly had a lot of promise, with tales of a restaurant, a bar and karaoke. What it actually delivered (thanks to the do nothing bank holiday) was, well nothing at all really. Instead i had to gamble on the belgian food system, and may i say, no-one applies mayonaise on their chips like the belgians do. How they do not all look like Hercule Poirot is a miracle to me?
Well i better end there as i dont want my credit to run out mid-rant.
My bank has said they will send my replacement card and PIN number to my house, that'll be handy. And i have a feeling that the 250E i tried to withdraw from my account has actually been removed from my balance, without finding its way into my pocket. hopefully the ATM, and not the next customer, still has my money, and i'll see it again some day. sniff, snob, whimper