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Here is where you can all keep tabs on what I am up to while abroad...leave me a message here and i will get back to you asap, Cheers.

Diary Entries

Monday, 18 September 2006

Location: OCTOBERFEST!!!! Munich, UK

Octoberfest in Munich, what can I say?? Something everyone should do. We had a ball. The seven man crew we assembled drank, ate, laughed and stumbled our way through days of festivities with not a bad word to be said for this magnificent event.
Our first day at Octoberfest saw us make our way into the beerfest grounds for the all important opening ceremony which was marked by the mayor of munich tapping the first keg instigating the start of the festivities. The beerhalls were all packed full of people of varying nationalities, all congregating for the purpose of drinking copious amounts of quality german lager. We realised quickly that the tables inside the beerhalls had all been taken far earlier, so we grabbed an outside table and hoped for good weather.
Unfortunately. Our beer wench was not a buxom young lass, but a hardened grandmother, but still we waited in anticipation of our first taste of the beer, and the weekend ahead. The table next to us was occupied by a group of Danish students, and by the time we had all finished out first stein, we were sharing tables with our new friends.
Let me digress for a second, the German beer is without a doubt the best stuff going around. Apart from the sensational taste and quality, the old German beer laws prevent any preservatives from being used in the brewing process, basically this means hangovers are non-existent on that stuff. We were drinking more beer than I have ever consumed every day, and woke up feeling tip top in the morning, ready to get back to the beer halls to do it all over again.
Stein after stein, we continued in our revelry way into the evening until we eventually all had wandered into different directions and had split up. This was a similar pattern for the rest of our stay.
My memories of our second day at beerfest are limited, and varied. The stein tally crudely drawn in ink on my arm suggests we downed no less than 7 or 8 steins of the golden brew (7 – 8 litres…..). Our hazy recollections the following morning confirm drunken animal behaviour, battles with Italians, lost wallets, and all round rowdiness. But its agreed above all, a great time was had by all.
Back on it the third day, but my plans are to venture into the city of Munich for some sightseeing, then back to the beerhalls for a couple of quiet ones before embarking on the 17 hour bus journey back to London. The plans for the morning went accordingly, and I can say that I will definitely go back to Munich to spend more time exploring what looks to be an amazing city. The gothic influenced buildings and laid back atmosphere was charming. However, back at the beer halls in the afternoon, we did have more steins than we had planned, and by the time Ben and I jumped on the bus at the Beerfest gates for our journey back to London, I was well happy.

Sunday, 09 July 2006

Location: Pamplona, Spain

Hi all,

Well, i have just arrived back home from our trip to Pamplona in Spain for the Running of the Bulls!!! Probably one of the craziest things i have ever done!

We flew into Madrid where we spent our first night in a hostel in the city. We ventured out for a drink and a bite to eat and what we found was that all the restaurants had people eating outside on tables at about midnight or later! This is apparently standard practice, most restaurants and cafes don't even open till after 8. I suppose they can afford to stay up when they all have a siesta the next afternoon. Madrid is a fantastic city, and i have vowed to go back for a much better look soon.

Next morning bright and early we headed on a bus to Pamplona. Once we got there, it was mayhem! The whole town was in party mode, thousands of people drinking and partying in the streets all throughout the city at lunchtime. We looked very out of place in shorts and shirts so we purchased the standard white clothing with red belt and scarf asap, the traditional clothing for the San Fermin festival. Next stop, straight to the shop to buy our supply of 'sangria', the traditional spanish alcohol. This stuff was potent!, and we were buying litre bottles for 1 euro (about $1.50 aus)! Very cheap day out, but a bit dangerous at the same time. So from early afternoon we started drinking and mingling with locals, although, hardly any of them could speak english, and none of us could speak a shred of spanish, so it was difficult to communicate at times, but we got by enough.

We decided beforehand not to book accomodation and just find a spot to sleep in the park in the centre of the city (this is standard practice we were told), but after drinking through most of the night, we decided to lay down, however it was bloody cold! We couldn't get any sleep so we just got up and slowly made our way to the bull run course.
Ben and Myself were the only ones brave (read - stupid/semi enebriated) enough to get in there. You have to get into the course at least an hour before to ensure you get a spot, so we had a long time to stew over what we were about to do. One thing that worried us was the sight of local spanish guys around us stretching up, looking nervous, and praying! It was about now that we started to think, 'What have we got ourselves into?'. We picked a section to run through, it was a narrow street which tunred to a bend where we would be able to get through the fence to safety. Also, this section wasn't as crowded as others, but we found out the reason for this later. Before long the blast sounded to indicate the bulls were running, and shortly after we spotted them coming about a hundred metres away. We started running but what you really don't realise until your in there is;
1. You can't run flat out as planned, because there are people in front that you have to dodge and try to get around.
2. The bulls travel at lightening speed, we were told it is about 6 seconds/100m!
3. The bulls are very angry.
Needless to say, me and ben just got around the bend with a second or two to spare, we got through the barriers as best we could in time to turn around and see the bulls steam through just metres away from us. I have to say, there was a point before we got to the bend where i could hear them just behind me, and i honestly thought i might be in trouble. It is absolutely crazy, you can't understand how dangerous it is until you see it. But, it was such a big adrenalin rush! Later we spoke to some locals you informed us the section of the course we ran is known as 'dead mans corner'. Guess thats why we didn't have any trouble finding a spot to run there.....
A guy fell just in front of me and Ben and we had to jump over him, when we turned to look after the bulls came through, he was unconscious with blood coming out of his head! He must have got trampled as they came though. We seen plenty of injuries, and it is surprising that not more people are killed.
Just as the locals do, we headed to a nice spot on the grass for an afternoon siesta, before restocking the sangria and partying all night again. The whole town was just packed with people drinking and partying all through the night, it was the best atmosphere. everyone is there to have a good time, and the place just buzzes.

We made our way to the bus having had about 2-3 hours sleep in three nights, no showers, and all of us were pretty much running on empty. The trip back to london was a killer, and i don't think i have ever been that happy to have a warm bed to lie down on, but the trip was one of the best things i have ever done.

Hope everyone is well,

Keep in touch.

Monday, 26 June 2006

Location: Cardiff, Wales

Howdy,

Just got back from a weekend trip to Wales with Ben and Jamie. We did a road trip in my car from London on to Cardiff (about 2 1/2 hours) early saturday morning for a short visit. We spent most of Saturday wondering around the city and checking out some of the sights (Cardiff Castle, Millenium Stadium..) before settling down in a nice pub to watch the world cup game. We met some friendly locals who were happy to have a drink and a chat and direct us to some of the better places to head to later that night. In general, I found the locals to be very friendly compared to what we have been used to in London, although its probably just the fact that Cardiff is a much smaller city, and therefore more open to other people. Cardiff is about the same size as Newcastle, so its much more laid back and quieter than London as well, I think all of us really appreciated this for a bit of a break from the hustle and bustle of London. There were some great bars and clubs in cardiff and we had a blast hitting the town till the early hours. We also enjoyed the dramatic drop in price of food and alcohol over in Wales. The prices were so cheap compared to what we have been used to in London, it was unbelievable! Next day was spent doing some more sightseeing around the Cardiff bay area which has some relatively new buildings as well as plenty of shops and cafes right on the boardwalk. Later that afternoon we embarked on the journey home to London, none of us were looking forward to working on Monday, but we all agreed we had a great time in Wales.

Sunday, 18 June 2006

Location: London, England

Hello all!
I will be attempting to keep this page up to date while I am living in UK and travelling around. There should be something new here every week or so.
Been living in London over a month now, and loving it. Its such a great place, there is always something happening, and there is so much to do and see. My first few weeks in London were spent doing the tourist thing and seeing all of the famous sites and attractions in London. These include: Buckingham Palace and the changing of the guards, Trafalger Square, Piccadilly Circus, Harrods, London Tower and Tower Bridge, Big Ben and the houses of parliament, Oxford Street, Notting Hill markets etc... theres just so much here! (refer to my photo section). I have been living in share accommodation temporarily in Shepherds Bush with a group of aussies, a good bunch. I have definately seen my fair share of pubs while I have been here as well, its too easy to sit down and have a few pints especially while the world cup is on! And yes, the beer is not served ice cold here. Its definately warmer than what I am used to, but it hasn't seemed to stop us yet.
The famous London weather is definately unpredictable. The first few weeks i was here were generally very cold, but it would change a lot throughout the day. The last three weeks have been what the english refer to as a 'heat wave', with temperatures souring in the low thirties....
A few of us went to the English Derby at Epsom Downs to get a taste of UK horse racing. Had a great day, and ended up coming out in front for the day after some very astute betting...(actually got sick of terrible uk jockeys, so we started to back anything that aussie Kerrin McVoy was on, and he rode a double!).
We have been supporting the socceroos as best we can, as you can see from some of the photos i have included from the Australia V brazil game. The world cup atmosphere is crazy over here at the moment, its a national obsession. But it always means great crowds at the pub for all the games.

I will update further asap, Cheers.


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