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Liz & Michael's Honeymoon Odyssey

Hi and welcome to our travel page. We will be checking in regularly to keep you posted on all the fun and games that comes with a whole six months of honey-mooning in three continents! Write in some comments if you like and we'll get back to you- it'll be fun! Cheers, Liz & Michael Balderas.

Diary Entries

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Location: Melbourne, Australia

We got into Tullamarine at 11am on Thursday morning. Our whole trip home, from Paris to Melbourne took a mere 41 hours..... and Michael did not sleep a peep the whole time. Crazy man. We were greeted in style, by the whole of Liz's family including both sets of Grandparents!!!! We will see Michael's family on the weekend. Such an awesome feeling to be home and see our loved ones. We were treated to lunch at the airport, then went our separate ways and were driven to Ballarat with Jude, Rod and Ben. Arriving home at about 5pm, we enjoyed relaxing in front of the TV, eating toast with grilled cheese and tomato and creamed corn, and just generally being looked after and not having to think! What a novelty!!!! We finally went to bed at 11pm - Michael had been awake for 53 hours....... what a little trooper! Our trip was absolutely amazing - we had the time of our lives, but is it great to be home.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Location: Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong

Then the fun began..... we had 16 hours of joyous stopover time to kill.... we started by catching up on some internet work, then (perhaps a little hesitantly, is that wrong?!?!) headed into the main part of Hongers on the train. We wandered around this incredibly hectic and energetic city for a few hours, checking out all the little steep market lanes and sweating like pigs. How's this for sampling local cuisine: our meals today included Subway, KFC and McDonalds.....!!!!!! Fair indication that we are OVER IT. We walked in the stinking humidity a couple of kms to the Peak Tram and cruised up to the glorious views from Victoria Peak. By this stage we were starting to get deliriously tired, having been awake for over a day. But we pushed on and took some great shots and drank some nice coffee up there. Although it would have been great to stay there until night fell and the lights of Hong Kong starred, we simply couldn't do it and needed some different stimuli to stay awake. So, we decided to go to the movies! An interesting choice, one might say, for two utterly devastatingly drowsy beings, but nonetheless, apart from a few nodding moments by Liz (she was repeatedly nudged by Michael) the Bourne Ultimatum was exciting enough to keep us interested for 2 hours! At this point, we had had enough so caught our train back to the airport (and yes we forgot to walk down to the harbour to show Michael the lights of HK.....). A few hours later we were seated in our own little 2-seater spot on a very comfortable Cathay Pacific plane, and Liz was drooling even before taxi-ing had commenced! At one point (5am Australian time), Liz woke up to see Michael ordering yet another scotch and dry..... he just can't resist free alcohol!!! That, and the excitement of so many different movie and TV options just kept Michael awake for the whole 10 hour flight. Amazing.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Location: Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong

We woke at 9am to another gorgeous Parisian day. By 11am we were all packed up, ready and rearing to get going. We checked out and caught the train out to Charles de Gaulle airport. It was surprisingly quiet out there, and although we had to walk a long way with our packs on (for the last time, so we didn't mind so much!) the check-in was quick and we had time to kill in the departure lounge. It wasn't too hard to work out how to spend our last 9 Euros; internet, chocolate, water and chewy did the trick. We were seated next to a young Frenchman, Cyril, who talked a lot about his upcoming Australian backpacking adventure. We flew at 2pm Paris time, and 10 hours later arrived, after a very short night (and no sleep we might add) in Hong Kong at 7am local time.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Location: Paris, France

Our last full day!!!! Sort of, before we start the long trek home anyways. Another sleep in by Liz as Michael went for free breaky, then we were out and about doing some final internet, shopping and sun-bathing. By 4:30pm we had totally had enough of crappy souvenirs, annoying tourists and angry shopkeepers shooing Michael out of stores….. We went home and relaxed before getting ready for the last supper. Yesterday on the tour, Liz asked the guide for a restaurant that was really truly Parisian, so much so that it didn’t have the sucked-in touro markups! He came up with the goods, and sent us to a part of Paris we hadn’t yet frequented – another bonus in itself. The restaurant was just near Bastille, so we caught the metro and found it easily. We were presented with a French-only menu, which helped to prove its authenticity! We assured the waiter we would be fine to work it out, but when he returned to take our order, we politely asked him to explain every dish on the menu!!! He willingly obliged, thank goodness, and we had a splendid feed. Then it was off to L’Eiffel Tour to watch the famed light show which occurs on the hour for 10 minutes. We got there in good time and during our half hour viewing managed to take 54 photos…….. obsessed is a good word to use here… The light display was good, but not as good as it had been talked up to be. Home to sleep off an amazing last night in Europe.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Location: Paris, France

All we had to do today was make sure we were up and at ‘em by 12:30pm to meet Lisa and Seb and a free walking tour group in the Latin Quarter. A pretty simple task one would think. However it was a little tricky after a 5am wake-up call for Michael to listen to his beloved Hawks thrash Western Bulldogs (and then have to go back to bed) and Liz’s continuing, if not strengthening tendency to despise mornings. It was such a gloriously hot and blue skied day when we finally made it to Place de St Michel. Our 4 hour tour took was really interesting even though we didn’t actually go anywhere we hadn’t been before. The guide explained the history and many intriguing facts to us along the way, so we now feel a much stronger bond with gay Parie. Can’t believe how much of a difference the weather has made! Afterwards we went to continue our Parisian odyssey, through a “French” tradition that is possibly more like what the tourists here do than the actual residents….. we bought baguettes, cheeses and bottles of cheap wine and watched the sun set on Paris from the grassy knoll of Sacre Coeur. Lisa and Seb picnicked with us as a final goodbye to traveling together (as they move on to more bus-abouting)! Apart from Liz again managing to spill red wine from woe to go, a lovely balmy evening was enjoyed by all with lots of laughs.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Location: Paris, France

The first day of our last few days o/s started with a big long luxurious sleep in, then a 12pm meeting with Lisa and Seb to suss out Moulin Rouge tickets. We ended up spending 89 Euros EACH for tonight's 11pm show..... that is like AUD$130!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hmmmmm. It does include half a bottle of champers each, and plus everyone we speak to highly highly recommends it, so hey when in Paris! We retreated to the hotel to enjoy our view for a while, then headed out for a stroll when the sun came out. Paris is a totally different city when it's sunny and we lapped it up. We ended up on the top of Montmartre, again, this time for shopping rather than just for the magnificent view. We had chicken salad for dinner in our room, then Lisa and Seb arrived at 9pm to check out our view and have a pre-show drink. At 10:20, many laughs later, we finished our dolling up and walked the 10 minutes through the red-light district to the infamous Moulin Rouge. We were greeted with the most incredible queue and couldn't understand how we were going to make it to our seats in time, however the Frenchies came through with the goods and we were in our squishy little seats, quite close to the stage but on a table off to one side, in good time.

The show was absolutely amazing. Worth every penny we feel! It consisted of not only the expected can-can dances, but beautiful music, singing, brilliant costumes, delightful colours (the girls were enthralled to say the least) and most of the dancers were topless (the boys attention span didn’t wander too much either…)! In between dance scenes, we were entertained (to the point of tear-jerking hilarity) by a strong man lifting his female acrobat in all sorts of bizarre and wonderful positions, a uni-cyclist who could ride his bike up a ramp on one foot while kicking cups up onto his head with the other, a ventriloquist who had us all in raptures and Liz swimming in her own tears, and of course the famous nudey swimmer with the massive pythons!!!! It went from 11:30pm – 1:30am without any breaks. It was great to share it with Seb and Lise too – we had an absolute ball. We thought about going for a night-cap at the Café Chat Noir (famous black cat picture you see everywhere) but it was too exy considering we had just spent over $500 between us…… So it was off to bed at 2am.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Location: San Sebastian - Paris, Spain

“Hells bells” were the words uttered by Liz at 7am the next morning as we rose and organized ourselves to get on the bus. The day started off with a bang as we trudged through the rain for 10 minutes to get to the pick-up point, during which time Liz actually slipped and fell over onto the hard tiles with her big pack on….. A bruised bum, knee and ego resulted, plus wet pants- but no other injuries… We had really timed our hangover well, as the bustrip to Paris today takes um, a mere 13.5 hours. Okay. Apart from a few shady moments, we were generally fine, with a few naps, big bottles of water, entertaining videos and about 6 food stops. Yes, we ate at every stop! Mealtimes mean nothing at times of hardship like this. We dropped off and picked up people at Bordeaux, then at Tours in the Loire Valley. We were 99% sure that our friends from way back on the Northern Loop, Lisa and Seb, would be getting on at this stop. Sure enough, as we returned from McDonalds, there they were!!! It was soooo good to see them. The next 4 hours into Paris went relatively quickly, and we got off the Busabout bus for the last time in good spirits. We quickly checked into our hotel, and were delighted to find an incredible view from our window and balcony – the Basilica of Sacre Coeur is right there in all its glory!!! Divine. We freshened up and hurried out to a nearby pub where we met Lisa, Seb and the hair of the dog. Ally and Drummond popped in for a quick hello and goodbye too. We had a great catch up and midnight meal of massive salads, garlicky potato crisps and for Lisa and Seb, snails. A change from our previous visits to Paris – tonight it was balmy and warm enough to eat outside very comfortably. Gorgeous times.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Location: San Sebastian, Spain

Happy Birthday Dad!!! We woke expecting better weather, and we horrified to find it actually raining harder and more incessantly than the day before. It seemed as though our sightseeing (and beaching) would be put off for a few hours at least. First things first, we had to ring Roddells, so we stood in the rain trying to get onto the busy Hanton household landline for 15 minutes! Finally we got through, and had a nice chat with Rod, Jude and poor fluish Beno. We went to the internet to double-check the weather forecast, and were saddened to find that it has taken a turn for the worse……it won’t fine up until Saturday (our last day) and then will only be 23 with clouds….  We made a split decision to take our leave from San Sebastian on the morrow, and spend four days in Paris instead of just two. We changed our bookings and immediately felt more organized and motivated. If you can’t go to the beach in San Seb, there really is not that much to do except eat, drink and spend money! The rain had increased as we headed home, abandoning all ideas of sightseeing. We met up with some friends, Ally and Drummond at the hostel and had a mid-arvo drink or two. Later on after a few new friends had joined us for some great chats and laughs, the tapas bars called us, very loudly! So out we went into the rain, but this time armed with Ally’s HUGE rainbow umbrella which nearly fitted all 8 of us underneath it. We took turns choosing bars to go into, depending on how the tapas (little snacky bits of food) looked. All the food is lined up along the bar, you ask for a plate and go along selecting which pieces you want to eat. Then you either pay for them before you eat them or afterwards, the latter being much more tricky to communicate and requiring honesty! We had some really nice ones and some not so good, but overall an awesome experience. After we’d all had our choice of venue, we thought a purely drinking bar was in order to finish off the night. This seemed like such a great idea at the time! We found a cute little dark smoky place which offered cheap drinks, free shots and massive 1 litre glasses (fish bowls really….) of cocktails…… EEK. Although in retrospect this spelled DANGER, it really tasted very yummy and was such a novelty that we all chipped in to gobble it all up. 1:30am arrived quickly and saw us returning home and taking video of some of our friends doing ballet and chicken dances up and down the hostel hallway, being extremely quiet of course……

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Location: San Sebastian, Spain

The bell in the massive church outside our window chimed twelve times in a row before we got out of bed today! An awesome effort we feel. It seemed everyone in our hostel had the same idea, and for good reason – it was pouring down outside. We pretty much just cruised around the hostel for the first little while, reading our books and showering etc. Liz went for a run along the boardwalk next to the ocean. We decided we needed one last load of laundry to be done, so we headed out to the laundromat, plus the supermarket and internet…. really exciting stuff..! We checked the weather forecast and saw it is going to fine up the day after tomorrow, so we’ll stay on for our full five days here. This is meant to be our last-minute beach effort, and we’ll be damned if we don’t see some sun! After a brief siesta (don’t worry, not more sleep, just reading!) we ventured out in the rain once again, this time for some shopping, of the window variety of course. San Sebastian is a small place, so we figure we’ll do all our actual ‘sightseeing’ tomorrow. The old town (where our hostel is located on ‘31st of August Street’ is absolutely gorgeous – full of tiny little shops and tapas bars. We returned for a lovely home-cooked chicken curry and some socializing with fellow busabouters in the tiny little cramped kitchen that is common room, lounge and kitchen all in one. A lazy day was finished off with some yahtzee on the computer (Liz won 7-2), an uncontrollable bout of snorting laughter from Michael after our roommate bopped her head (harmlessly) on the windowsill, a major spill of red wine on Liz’s bed by Michael (he really wasn’t having a good night!), and a little taste of decadent dark chocky.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Location: Madrid - San Sebastian, Spain

Another interesting dorm night……one of our so-called mates decided to ‘entertain’ his newly acquainted lady friend, in our room! Always a lovely surprise at 3:30am. Anyway, we woke a little bleary-eyed at 7am and got on the bus headed for San Sebastian. Due to terrible traffic, this 8 hour trip turned into 10, and we finally arrived in rainy cold conditions at 6pm. San Sebastian is meant to be our last stab at sun and beach before we come home…. So to find rain, grey clouds and cold winds was to say the least, quite disappointing. But it WILL improve!!!! Savings our pennies, we went to the supermarket to get ingredients for our home-cooked dinner and enjoyed eating with Ali and Drummond, some lovely Queenslanders we first met in our dorm at Barcelona. As we had scrimped our monies for the day, we felt quite validated in going out with them for some drinks, especially as our guide had mentioned two-for-one 3 Euro pints of sangria at one particular bar! We were a little perturbed to find out that it was two-for-one 6 Euro pints of sangria (ie. 3 Euros each), but the guide had been pretty ordinary all day, so we weren’t surprised that she was proven wrong, and plus it was still quite cheap! Once happy hour finished at 11:30pm, so too had we.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Location: Madrid, Spain

With our love for small cities, and even more those with city walls, we were quite henced by the idea of Toledo! So after breakfast, we headed to the bus station and about an hour later were just outside the small medieval township. Toledo is set atop a high hill, amongst a very dry and arid landscape. We climbed the hill, entered the city walls and were immediately taken by the beauty of the place. We made our way to the main square, and sat to have a drink, get our bearings and decide what we’d like to see. It’s hot here…., real hot, and there is a little touristy car-train that transports lazy (or less able) people around the sights and gives them a brief history. Normally, with cost factor and the guilt of sitting instead of walking, we would never think about this, but as we said it’s hot…., damn hot. We investigated, but alas… would not run again for another 3 hours… we set off on foot. We cruised the small, hilly, uneven cobbled streets enroute to some of the museums, churches and mosques that we wanted to see. Although it seemed we were cursed by the construction demon, as every sight we wanted to look at was closed. Nevertheless, it was a nice couple of hours in which we were basically able to see the whole city, from the outside at least. Upon arriving back, we set out to find Calle Sanchez Balderas, which is a street in suburban Madrid. We found it easily enough, and spent a good ten minutes taking shots of OUR name!!! It was a thrill to see the rare name of Balderas on a street sign, but that was easily matched by the disappointment of the cruddiness of the street…… it sure is the dodgy part of backstreet Madrid! We stopped at the supermarket and cruised home for some internet and dinner. At night the hostel held a free Flamenco dancing class, but neither of us were in the mood for dancing, so had a drink and watched the many wobbling body-parts instead! Michael continued to have a few drinks and socialize with other Busabouters, whilst Liz had some Liz-time in the dorm room by herself.

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Recent Messages

From Sue
Welcome Home!
Response: Thanks, glad to be back - except for Hawthorn's pitiful perfrmance!!
From Janet
Welcome home!!!!!!!!!!!!
Its great to see you both back on home soil.
Now the slide nights begin.
Love Mummsy
Response: Yes, I bet you all can't wait to see 6000 photos worth of slide shows...! Great to be home. xo
From Sue Sloan
Last message so I am a bit sad. But I guess you are probably at the point of being ready to come home and see everyone and also get in to the spirit of the footy finals. Hawks doing very well and Collingwood hanging in there and Lorne had a close one ( one point!)
Take care and have a good trip home. Sue
Response: You are right Sue, we are ready to come home; It has been wonderful, but now it is time for home and being at the finals...... CDFL and AFL!!!!!! Cant wait, thanks for all your messages and updates, really appreciate it. See you soon. Michael & Liz
From Ken & Dawn
Hi Liz & Michael,
Certainly IS hot in Spain !!
Great to hear your news each day. Talk to Fred about Gaudi. He's a devotee!! He is just home from UK yesterday.
We are still at Coolum - had a week at a timeshare at Nerang (Gold Coast) and a weekend with David & Sue Brown at Toowoomba. We are flying home on 28/8 just two days befoe you arrive. Be wonderful to see you.
K & D XX
Response: Hi G&G cant wait to see you too!! Gold Coast sounds great - must have been lovely catching up with A&L, plus D&S. See you very soon! Love xoxox
From Pam & Pete
Hi, Sounds just like a hello, before you head back home. When? We are driving through France, have reached Epernay (champagne country) All so beautiful. Sorry our paths did not cross. LOL. Pam & Peter.
Response: Hi Pam & Pete, we are sorry too - it would have been lovely. France sounds beautiful. we are in san sebastian on the north eastern spanish coast, will head to paris in a few days then fly out on tuesday. Have a blast guys, see you at home! Love L&M xo
From dale
Jaws fine, still blending my steaks though. there are a few thing to see in Madrid, Prado museum, Parque del retiro. But don't get confused with the museum de jamon. It's really a cafe, not a ham museum. Best way to eat dinner is to get a little tapas at each bar on a bar crawl. It's apparently what the madridians do! But don't be offended when they give you a beer half filled with froth. It's also what they do1
Response: Will you be back for finals?
From Craig
Perfect use of the foisty, how long have you been wanting to use that? You learn quickly. I am wondering however why you would allow my brother to attack my pesonal hygeine on such a public forum. This could get out of hand, we are Wisharts dont forget.
Response: I figured the only time I could use it was when you were involved. We are slowly ending our diary and a little banter between the Wisharts might liven up the site
From Dale
G'day guys, have lost track of your whole trip but is this the second time u have been to Barcelona? If not, go for a walk down the Los Rambles. It's brilliant. so much to see especially the venders selling animals. I even saw one guy once selling baby caimens!
Response: Gday pulla, na this is our first time in Barcelona. We checked out the Los Rambles today! All sorts of creatures, and yes I think we even saw a caiman..... although I thought it was a porcelain ornament. Off to Valencia then Madrid and San Sebastian, any more inside info? By the way how is the jaw, chewing the cud yet???
From Jude
Great news from Lagos and Lisbon - must put those places on our to-do list! Only 2 weeks till you are home - can't wait, but will have to - take care in Spain!
Response: Definitely - you must go. I know we are counting down the days, when we should just be taking in all the gorgeousness! We are being extra security cautious here - don't worry. xox
From Sue Sloan
Forget what I said about the Pies - they are hopeless - could not beat the Lorne first's!!! Take care. Sue
Response: That's ok Suzie, someone has to take 9th spot for Richmond
From Dale and Sonia
G'day Bald and Liz, Dale and Sonia here obviously. we finally got internet so don't have to spend $15 for 15 minutes any more. I just have one question. Does craig still smell like a freshly laid dog coil or has he learnt what baths are for?
Response: Gday guys, not sure about the coil, but he definately does smell a but ...... foisty!
From Sue
Hear you are coming home soon. I will miss all the travel tales, but I guess all good things come to an end sometime. You will just be in time to see Lorne, Hawthorn, Collingwood and a few other inferior teams play in their fin als! Very busy here. Lying on the beach sounds good considering how cold it has been here. Take care. Sue
Response: I don't know Suzie, you may have counted your chickens before they hatched! And as for the hawks, not until its mathematically impossible not to make it will I accept that we will.
From Sarah
Hi Liz
Glad to see you got rid of that hairy bloke that seemed to be lurking around you at Oxford. Portugal looks fantastic and I'm happy that Michael seems to have met up with you there.
Enjoy yourselves.
Lots a Love, Sarah Oz xx
Response: Leave off my beard Sarz, just because Jamesy can only grow bum fluff!
From Janet
I think Danny was talking more along the line of a drinking training regime
Response: well I am no where near 'peak fitness' as far as that goes either
From Craig
Yeah, got them cheers for that. There are some excellent photos of Whitehaven from that night with the freaky sky. In my defence he was less than ninety, possibly over eighty admittedly. But he was very angry and that can empower people.
From Craig
Fair point, although I might have needed a bit of backup when that old guy started to yell at me.
Response: Seems to me if you needed help taking on a guy nearly 90 years of age, you shouldnt be getting out of cars in the first place! Did you receive the CD and adaptor?
From Craig
We were both glad that you could get up here. It's not often you get visitors from home and it was an enjoyable (if not tiring) couple of days. One thing puzzles me though, you say you could not get to sleep in the bus from Edinburgh down to London? This doesn't seem right. Every time we went for a drive all I saw in the rear view mirror was you two with heads back and mouths open (the sunglasses fooled no one). Like cats you were. Must have been those comfortable Volvo seats.
Enjoy the rest of your trip.
Craig and Kerry
Response: Hello again, we can't deny continual sleeping whilst you were driving, but along with many others i'm sure, its the only way to handle your poor driving skills. Sometimes its better to drift away and think happy thoughts than to watch the on coming traffic....
From catherine
hi you two! glad you got to Oxford even though it's been so wet. How are Matthew & Suzi? Did they show you Fred's entrance building opposite Christchurch? Hope so!!
Enjoy your birth country!
Love Cath x
Response: Hi Cath, Oxford was just great! We did see St Aldates, but only from the outside... we tried about 4 times to get in, but always closed to public! I think they have a play or something going on. The entrance looked great anyway! Was so good to see M&S&E - they are really well and looked after us. With Dan now - will email soon! xox
From Janet
Hi Kiddies
Craig looks well, doesn't seem to have changed. Danny was in a panic yesterday when I told him it was only 33 days till you were home. He has gone into a strict training regime.
Kane say Hi, hope your enjoting yourselves and stay out of trouble. I've caught up again.
Love Mummsy
Response: Hi-ya, tell Danny not to worry, as I will be in the same regime when I get home. You'll notice we have caught up again, so you've got some reading to do - Love L&M
From al
apparently it is good luck when a bird poos on you...but we all know that luck is really the law of attraction so just watch what you are thinking missy...
Response: HA! I am constantly monitoring.... trust me! I obviously think far too hard about birds, coz a lot of them have pooed on me, I have to say!
From Jude
Great to catch up on all the news of London and the Lake District. What great friends you have - flats & boats to live in! Enjoy your late sleep-ins now - it will change soon enough!!
Love Mum XX
Response: I know, we are spoilt rotten. Again tried to get up at 8am this morn, but didn't actually move til 10....... Even Michael was still sleeping!!! xo
From Sue S
Hey, I hope that you are no where near those floods. It is supposed to be summer over there!! Lorne footy going well, as are the Pies. But I'm playing it game by game! Did anyone tell you that Ally and Anna are having a bub, very excited. Take care. Had a fantastic 70th. I have already invited people to the 80th! Love Sue
Response: Hi Sue, glad you had a great party. No we're are not near the floods, although still getting wet. Will be in Portugal soon enough... sun sun sun! Love us.
From Janet
How good is this. I haven't had time to read your page for quite some time. I have spent about 2 hours scrolling through and have caught up at last, albeit because you haven't made any entries for some time. Danny palyed footy this weekend and said he heard that you will need to get into a fitness routine when you get back Michael, not sure what he means. Time is ticking away and before we know it you will both be home on Aussie soil. In the meantime stay safe and enjoy
Love Mummsy
Response: Glad you're enjoying it! You will note a complete up-to-date-ness now. Bloody hard work! Time definitely ticking away. Love to all xoxox
From Jude
Managed to get all the videos to work! Lovely singing from Notre Dame. Thanks for all your news, lovely to catch up,
Love Mum XX
Response: Yes the singing and organ in notre dame was a real treat. Glad they all worked - took about 2 hours to upload i think! xo
From Beno
Liked the look of my cafe. Thanks for guarantee about competition! I'd love that photo when you get back, love Beno XX
Response: Hi Beno, I'll email the photo to your hotmail address!